Thursday, June 30, 2011

The big news you’ve been waiting for.

I won’t torture you any longer with the final results of our fabulous guess-the-change contest. Drum roll, please ...
For those of you who require a little more detail, the grand total included 5,600 quarters, 3,800 dimes, 1,920 nickels, 6,601 pennies, 116 dollar coins, 12 half-dollar coins, 3 two-dollar bills and 2 one-dollar bills. Whew.

And the winner is . . .
Sam’s cousin Hailey guessed $1,622, and she was closest to the actual total. MAZEL TOV, HAILEY. Your crate of prizes will be on the way within the next two weeks. Everybody else will receive a valuable consolation prize along with our heartfelt thanks for entering. Seriously.

Sam and I are definitely having some fun with his vacation time this week. We’ve been exploring east Texas and enjoying the picturesque small towns and pastoral scenery, which mostly consists of pine trees, cattle and mini-marts. Tomorrow we’ll probably hit the road again, maybe heading west towards Fort Worth after I pick up a couple of prescriptions at Wal-Mart.

Thank you for reading this. I think I need some dinner now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In case you’re wondering what happened to me.

I’m peachy-keen, thank you, but I’ve been a little busier than usual with client projects that include designing two logos, letterhead, envelopes, mailers, business cards and another new website. The website project is actually an extremely convenient barter arrangement with our handyman, Gary. I’m designing his website for FREE and he’s painting all the exterior trim on our house today for half price. In blistering 101° heat.

Wednesday is Sam’s birthday. Please click here if you want to send him a Happy Birthday email. Sam is taking some vacation time starting tomorrow and we’re planning a nice drive to Fairfield (about 85 miles south) to have a birthday lunch at a popular barbecue pit called — what else — Sam’s Restaurant. My treat.

I’m sure everybody has heard the news by now that former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been convicted on 17 counts of corruption and fraud ... the same charges the Feds have always used to nail gangsters and mob bosses. This is hugely thrilling for me as a former resident of Illinois, because nearly every high-ranking public official in the state has been — or deserves to be — behind bars with a tattooed cellmate named Bubba. Seriously.

To round out an otherwise stellar post I think I’ll make one final push for everybody to enter our current contest. We’re asking y’all to guess how much money is in Sam’s five-gallon jar of loose change. Click here for all the details. The grand total (and the winner) will be announced on June 30. Good luck, thank you for reading this and can somebody please come over right now to help me kill a fly.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I promised you an update, so here it is.

The results of my lab tests weren’t as thrilling as the rest of my checkup earlier this week. Apparently a couple of blood tests indicated that my renal function is beginning to decline so we’re experimenting with different doses of my two diabetes meds. Also, my triglycerides are still too high so I have to take TWO Niacin capsules every night instead of just one. I’m supposed to go back to the doctor in four weeks for another round of lab work. Maybe the lab should just install a 24-hour hotline in one of my veins so I can shoot them a few tubes whenever they need it. Sheesh.

In other news, all of a sudden my Ovation Creative website clients are dropping like flies. In the past month I’ve lost FOUR of them — three closed their businesses and the fourth went broke and hoped I’d be dumb enough to continue hosting her website for free.

Please allow me to discuss client number four for a moment, who was a semi-deadbeat from the get-go. During the past three years every time she made a payment to me for ANYTHING I’d get a “declined” error message on my credit card terminal and would have to play email tag with her for days on end until she finally paid what she owed me. The last straw was earlier this month when she was supposed to shell out $89.85 for quarterly website hosting. Her card was declined on the date the payment was due and I had to send FIVE EMAILS over the course of seven days until she finally got back to me with the following message: “Sorry, I’ve been so busy! I’ll send new my credit card information tomorrow!”

The next day was Friday, which came and went with no communication. Ditto for Saturday and ditto for Sunday. Finally, on Monday she sends the following email sometime during the evening: “I will not be able to make my web hosting payment. Financial issues are taking every dime I have and I honestly can’t afford to pay you. Thanks!”

I’m especially intrigued by that cheerful little “Thanks!” at the end, because she apparently assumes I’m running a website charity service for bankrupt ninnies. I write back and tell her that, under the circumstances, I’ll have to unpublish her website and cancel her hosting account, and please feel free to get in touch some day in the far, far distant future if you ever win the lottery and want to start over. She freaks out and shoots back a fast email asking isn’t there anything she can do to please keep her website online. So I write back: “ONLY IF YOU PAY FOR HOSTING.”

I never heard from her again.

On the plus side, however, new clients are filling the void. I designed and published a really cool website for Michael Page Associates a couple of days ago and I’m also creating one for a local handyman service here in Mesquite. These projects are excellent distractions so I won’t have to think about what the devil is going on with my kidneys. I also wouldn’t mind dim sum tomorrow for lunch.

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Saturated at last.

Before I get into the “saturated” issue I’ll begin by reporting that Sam got home on Sunday safe and sound. His flight was a little late — they ALL are these days — but I knew this ahead of time and didn’t get to the airport earlier than I had to. The best part is, he brought me a present! I’m now the proud owner of nine NEW PHOTOS OF BABY SAM that I’d never seen before. And they’re all BIG ones, taken by a professional photographer. I’m so excited I could scream.

And now for the title topic — SATURATION. After virtually zero rainfall in the Dallas area for the last four weeks, which included the entire month of June to date, we finally had some mighty wild thunderstorms around here after dark on Monday and Tuesday this week with straightline winds and nearly SIX INCHES of torrential rain. That’s actually 30% more than our typical rainfall for the whole month in less than 18 hours. We desperately needed the rain — especially after two weeks of triple-digit temperatures — but six inches in 18 hours is just crazy. If I knew where to send the letter I’d file a complaint about this.

I’d also like to share the news about my good quarterly checkup yesterday. I’ve lost 35 pounds since the end of March and my blood pressure was 118/70. This is EXCEPTIONALLY FABULOUS and I’ll have more information as soon as I get my lab results, probably tomorrow. Incidentally, in case you’re wondering how the hell did I drop so much weight in three months, I’d like to thank my HAPPY PILLS and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (Okay, maybe the Academy didn’t have anything to do with this.) My rheumatologist prescribed Amitriptylene for me eight weeks ago to relieve the pain in my hands from peripheral neuropathy, and as a unexpected bonus it’s also an anti-depressant and a powerful APPETITE SUPPRESSANT. As a result I’m a pain-free, disgustingly happy senior citizen who has zero interest in food. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

I’d like to make one final push for everybody to enter our current contest. We’re still in the process of counting and rolling coins from Sam’s gigantic jar of change, and the results — and the winner — will be announced on June 30. Click here to enter now and thank you for reading this.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Remembering dad.

Even though I’m hungry and not 100% motivated to write a post at the moment I didn’t want to start grazing through the refrigerator before I extended this holiday greeting to dads everywhere.
My own father — Herbie — passed away in 2002. I have countless vivid memories of him, especially our regular junkets to various amusement parks throughout my childhood because dad enjoyed them even more than I did. In the mid-1950s we had Fun Fair (see below) that was actually walking distance from our house in Skokie, but dad also shlepped us to Hollywood Kiddieland on the north side of Chicago near Lincoln Village because I was really impressive at age four behind the wheel of their miniature tractors. He used to brag about me.
When I was a little older — maybe 9 or 10 — dad introduced us to Chicago’s iconic Riverview Park, a moderately seedy (it was seedy by 1960, anyway) 70-acre amusement mecca built in 1904 that featured enormous scary roller coasters and big-kid rides like the Bobs, the Flying Turns, the Rotor, the Water Bug (motorized inner tubes that operated like bumper cars in a huge pool), the Silver Flash, the Comet and the Chutes.
Dad loved roller coasters and rode them all with me, but my favorite was the Chutes because you’d get drenched to the skin and it was the only ride at Riverview that didn’t make my little sister throw up. I remember waiting in line for what seemed like an eternity, listening to a recorded safety message that repeated every 10 seconds until it got so wedged into my brain that I can still recite it verbatim half a century later later. Keep your hands inside the boat. Don’t grab the side of the boat, hold onto the handles!

And now it’s finally time for lunch, probably Cheetos and leftover egg foo young, followed by a brief afternoon nap until it’s time to drive to the airport to pick up Sam. He’s been gone for eight days. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

Thank you for reading this!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I forgot to mention something.

A question this afternoon from Sam’s Aunt Adie prompts me to clarify a certain point regarding The Great Mailbox Caper. I neglected to mention that Silas’ car was NOT the same four-door Ford compact that was parked in front of our house on Thursday — the one that didn’t have any trunk damage so the police officer sneered at my story and refused to knock on my neighbor’s door.

Oddly enough, Silas said his car had no trunk damage, either, so my Einstein cop turned out to have the investigative skills of Inspector Clouseau.

The upshot is, buy a Ford Focus because they’re built like Sherman tanks.

And now I think I’ll whip up a Goofy Fruity Shake in my new blender and watch the U.S. Open. In case you’re not following the action, everybody’s making a huge hoo-hah of Rory McIlroy’s lead at 11-under. Apparently he broke a tournament record yesterday when he was actually 13-under for a while. However, this is NOT the first time 21-year-old McIlroy got everybody excited about nothing. At the Masters back in April he was 12-under — solidly in first place — heading into round 4 when his game collapsed on national TV and he started whacking balls into ponds, port-a-potties and back yards (see below), ending up so far down from the lead that he probably took home a check for $4.72.
McIlroy (on the right) is pictured here with his caddy trying to figure out how to get his ball out of somebody’s yard and back onto the golf course. The caddy is saying, hey, dude, just try not to hit the dogs, the patio furniture or the Escalade in the driveway. Seriously.

Thank you for reading this.

The Great Mailbox Caper: SOLVED.

There’s late-breaking news this morning from the crime scene here in Mesquite. The driver of the mysterious four-door Ford compact who whacked our brick mailbox on Tuesday (see previous posts here and here) showed up at the front door last night and admitted what he did. Apparently our next-door neighbor had to nudge him a little to come forward, but I’m sure that’s because the driver is a 17-year-old high school kid who probably thought nobody saw him do it. (At 17 I might have done exactly the same thing.)

Silas turned out to be a nice boy and a high school football star who responded to everything with a “yes ma’am” and then offered to pay to have the mailbox foundation repaired. I told him I’d get in touch when we had an estimate and that Sam and I would let him make payments if he wanted to.

So the case is closed, the crime has been solved, and I think I can safely call off the Mesquite Police, the FBI, the CIA, the FCC, the FDA, the Navy Seals, the Department of Homeland Security, the Channel 21 News Chopper and Interpol.

In other news, I received the following photo of Sam and his brothers this morning in an email from my sister-in-law Lisa.
Pictured from left to right, we have David, mom, Steve and (of course) Sam, who all met for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory somewhere in the greater Los Angeles area. For the record, in real life my mother-in-law does NOT actually have a fountain squirting out of her head.

There’s another heat advisory today in Dallas. The high will be 103° with a heat index of 110°, and since the National Weather Service is suggesting again that you check on the elderly, why don’t you come on over with a nice coffee cake around 2:30 and we’ll watch “People’s Court” and play cards in the dining room.
Everybody keep cool. Thank y’all for reading this.

Friday, June 17, 2011

News from the Texas blast furnace.

According to the National Weather Service we’ve got a heat index of 110° in Dallas today, which apparently is a combination of the actual air temperature (102°) and 53% humidity. And there’s a red alert warning on instructing everybody to: 1) drink water; 2) wear a hat; and 3) check on the elderly.

I have plenty of water here and more than one hat, but with Sam still out of town you might be interested in pursuing #3. I can be reached by email and wouldn’t mind a seedless watermelon, a nice hunk of Havarti cheese and an order of Mongolian Chicken, all of which can be shipped overnight via FedEx. Thank you in advance for your attention and generosity.
In anticipation of Sam’s homecoming Sunday evening I’ll be busy in the kitchen all day tomorrow preparing my World-Famous Potato Salad and Marcy’s Wild West Guacamole, although the latter depends on whether or not my avocados get ripe enough by then. I bought all my ingredients at Tom Thumb this morning along with a variety of other essentials, including excellent sesame seed flatbread crackers and port wine cheddar cheese spread, Mrs. Fields ice cream sandwiches, olives, jumbo eggs, whole cashews with sea salt, bananas and several bottles of Perrier.

Thanks so much for stopping by. This is your favorite elderly blogger in Texas, signing off.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Great Mailbox Caper continues.

There have been THREE DEVELOPMENTS since I last posted about this crime on June 14.

Development #1. Although I haven’t heard back yet from our next-door neighbor about who was the jerk in the four-door Ford who murdered our mailbox and drove off into the night, yesterday morning our landscaping crew stood our fallen mailbox upright on the cement base and made it look almost as good as new. Sam was ecstatic when I told him because our landscapers always come to the rescue and we LOVE them. (They also fix leaky sprinkler heads.)

Development #2. Later in the day I called our handyman, who said he’d stop by before Saturday to give me an estimate. Gary has the thickest Texas drawl I’ve ever heard. This has nothing whatsoever to do with his ability to fix things, however, plus he’s cheap and exceptionally punctual.

Development #3. I went for a short drive this morning for a nice change of scenery and to get some cash at the bank, and when I got home — holy crap — THE CRIME VEHICLE WAS PARKED IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE. I called Sam and asked if he thought I should contact the Mesquite police and he said yes, so that’s what I did. A nice officer came over and I told him what happened Tuesday night, but when he took a closer look at the Ford parked out front he said it couldn’t be the crime vehicle because there wasn’t any damage to the trunk ... even though I was POSITIVE it looked caved-in. He said no, not really ... the back end of a Ford Focus is just “naturally ugly.” At that point I pretty much felt like an idiot but I’m glad I reported the mailbox incident anyway.

Now you’re completely up-to-date.

I’m also pleased to announce that my left knee seems to be improving. I’d love to celebrate with ice cream but I don’t have any, so I’ll just make popcorn and watch a movie. Thank you for reading this.

A tale of heat and heartburn.

I apologize that I didn’t take time to write a post on Wednesday, but I was under the weather and only felt motivated to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. First, I woke up yesterday morning with severe and unexplainable pain in my left knee that never subsided. Then I had another round of indigestion — which, I eventually discovered, only happens when my stomach is EMPTY — followed by a scary low blood sugar episode during the evening that required stuffing myself with raisins, Sam’s breakfast cereal and little chewable glucose tablets to avoid turning into a clammy, disoriented heap.

As a result I spent most of the day limping, staggering, whining and burping. Posting did not fit into my plans.

I feel much better this morning except my left knee is still out of whack. Today’s goal, therefore, will be to get it back in whack somehow. Two or three hours of additional sleep would definitely help.

In other news, we’re FRYING here in the Dallas area! Temperatures are now in the triple digits every day with relentless sunshine and humidity hovering around 50%. This basically feels like sticking your head in the oven to baste a turkey. According to our next chance for rain — of which we’ve had NONE so far in June — will be possible scattered thunderstorms next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

Time to go back to bed. More later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A whole new way to meet the neighbors.

About an hour ago I was conked out in the family room watching The Story of Alexander Graham Bell — starring Don Ameche, Loretta Young, Spring Byington and Charles Coburn — when I was rudely awakened by the sound of someone pounding on the front door. Turns out it was Clark from across the street, who introduced himself and told me he was mowing his front lawn when he saw a blue compact four-door Ford back into our brick mailbox and knock it over. KA-BLAM, the poor thing is laying on the grass like a gigantic concrete cadaver. Clark said whoever was driving the Ford had been visiting one of the college-age daughters who lives next door to us on the north, so I called and left a message for the homeowner.

Stay tuned for further developments. We may need to hire Nick and Nora Charles to get to the bottom of this.
There’s really not much else to report from Howdygramland tonight. I went for a drive this afternoon and talked myself into stopping at a Braum’s ice cream shop for a scoop of sugar-free vanilla. After sitting in line at the drive-through for 15 minutes I got all the way to the cashier’s window when they told me they just ran out. Feeling thoroughly despondent how the hell could they run out of sugar-free vanilla! — I drove home and ordered Mongolian Chicken for dinner. Mongolian Chicken is the perfect substitute for just about ANYTHING, sex included. (Don’t tell Sam.)

Thank you for reading this. Seriously.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Keeping up with Sam.

It’s no secret that Sam is having one hell of a time in California this week. So far Mister Jet-Set has eaten nearly every meal as the guest of one relative or another, flitting like a hummingbird from booth to booth all over greater Los Angeles. This morning it was breakfast with mom and Aunt Adie at Dos Arbolitos restaurant. Sam, modeling a new yellow polo shirt, poses below with my mother-in-law. Yes, friends, Sam is REALLY that tall. And I miss him. Look at that smiling face. Oy.
Unfortunately, there’s not much happening on the home front. The two high spots of my day included wheeling our garbage can to the curb for Monday pickup and filing my nails. I have no idea what I’ll do for fun tomorrow because I’m fresh out of ideas. Leaving the house isn’t a reasonable option because it’s too damn hot to park in the sun when the temperature is 101°, so maybe I’ll just reorganize the pantry and make tuna salad. Don’t be jealous.

Time is running out in case you haven’t had a chance yet to enter our contest. All Howdygram readers — yes, this means YOU — are cordially invited to guess how much money is in Sam’s giant jar of change, which is actually a five-gallon plastic Sparklett’s bottle that weighs 145 pounds and stands 19" high. Whoever comes closest wins a pile of valuable gifts and we’ll even print your picture if you send us one. Click here to enter now, and good luck.

And now I’m going to heat up some leftovers and finish watching a screwy movie I started a few hours ago: The Good Humor Man with Jack Carson. Thank you for reading this.

Naps, deadbeats, Red Skelton and indigestion.

Sunday turned out to be a real dud around here. I took a very long, very strange afternoon nap in the family room, waking around 4 with a numb left hand and mysterious indigestion because I really hadn’t eaten anything except toast at 11 a.m. After sitting around in misery for three and a half hours I finally gave up and drove to Walgreen’s at 7:30 for a gigantic bottle of Tums.

That was the highlight of my day except for writing to two clients who haven’t been paying me. I’m pleased to report that I’ve officially dumped BOTH of them.

In case you haven’t heard, the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA championship last night. I personally have zero interest in the Mavericks, but the rest of “Big D” thinks this is an EXTREMELY HUGE HOO-HAH and every bar and restaurant in the metropolitan area hosted a basketball event with liquor for lots of screaming screwballs with painted faces. Me, I watched Red Skelton in Merton of the Movies on TCM and emptied the dishwasher. Life can be very, very good.

I think I’ll go to bed now. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

You've got a front row seat.

If you’re wondering FOR WHAT, last night I ran across this priceless 1938 music video (for lack of a better term) on YouTube of jazz legend Louis Prima and his band with their version of the song “Loch Lomond.” Be sure to watch this all the way through to the end because the dancing audience becomes UNHINGED.

FYI, this is actually an excerpt from a longer clip called Swing Cats Jamboree that apparently was shown in theaters. Take a look at the full program here.

It’s another beastly hot sunny day in Dallas with the temperature at 100°. As a matter of fact, I just checked and we’re expecting more of the same every day for the next 10 days with no chance of rain until a week from Tuesday — and then it’s only a 20% chance. This explains why the parks are always empty here and you never see kids playing outside or riding their bikes. Nearly all of our neighbors have children and I don’t know their names, how old they are or even what they look like. (This is not a complaint. It’s FANTASTIC.)
In case you haven’t been paying attention, we’re asking all of you to guess how much money is in Sam’s giant jar of change. Whoever comes closest will win a crate of Howdygram gifts and Texas-themed treasures; everybody else gets a genuine Howdybuck (see below) to redeem for a consolation prize. We’ll announce the results on June 30.
I definitely think I need to eat lox and bagels now. Please pass the cream cheese and thank you for reading this.

Assorted diversions.

In an effort to avoid the crushing boredom of Sarah Palin’s just-released emails from her brief but forgettable half-term as governor of the Arctic, I decided to spend my first Sam-free Saturday night with a sack of Cheetos, a tall Marcytini and a pair of fine films — Pillow Talk and Murder on the Orient Express.

(Don’t tell anybody, but that was probably the most excellent lead-in sentence I’ve ever written.)

Actually, I also spent some time tonight ordering air freshener refills from Yankee Candle (see photo), filling my seven-day pill sorter for the week ahead, rinsing out a few dishes and admiring the haircut I got this morning. No kidding, this is absolutely the best haircut I’ve had since I moved to Texas in 2007. Carmina is a new stylist at the salon I’ve been using for the last couple of years and I told her if she ever decides to leave I’ll have to throw myself in front of a city bus. (I might be exaggerating a little. Maybe just a Volkswagen.)

And now it’s time to head back into the family room to watch a couple of vintage Julia Child episodes that I recorded yesterday on The Cooking Channel. (You can tell these have to be extremely old reruns because her mixing bowls are AVOCADO GREEN.)

Julia Child is brilliant, hilarious and adorable. Last week she taught me the right way to hard-boil eggs. Seriously.

I might stay up all night. Thank you for reading this and bon appetit, y’all.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday morning musings.

Sam leaves this morning at 11 for his annual eight-day visit to California to see his mom. EIGHT WHOLE DAYS. This gives them plenty of time to hang out together, watch game shows on TV, walk around the block twice a day and eat bagels with assorted relatives. A large number of these relatives also read the Howdygram, so here’s a great big
from me to you. Please take care of Sam while he’s away from home and keep him supplied with raisins, Mrs. Fields ice cream sandwiches, baby carrots, Clif bars and lox.

I already miss him ... and he’s still here!

As for me, I intend to use my week of “alone time” wisely. I’m going to write a lot of Howdygram posts, eat gefilte fish and watch every Doris Day movie I can get my hands on. If you don’t think this sounds like wonderful fun, you must be nuts. Seriously.

Thank you for reading this. Please stay tuned for more.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Seriously, I think the world is insane.

A couple of things.

First, I wonder if anybody else saw the story yesterday on about Ross and Sandra Titus, a childless couple in their late 40s who legally adopted a 29-year-old woman. Ross and Sandra met Jillian at work in 2008 and bonded over their dogs. So they ADOPTED her, and the state of Washington even altered Jillian’s birth certificate to show Ross and Sandra as her parents! I don’t know about you, but this is exceptionally stupid and I can’t understand why the three of them couldn’t just be pals and order a pizza or go sing karaoke together now and then.

I’ll put my own twist on this. I’m nearly 60 years old and childless, and I’d like to adopt a successful 40-year-old attorney to take care of Sam and me during our golden years. I’m willing to do your laundry and you can come have dinner with us on Passover and Thanksgiving. All interested applicants please click here.

Second, I’m still intrigued by the ongoing saga of nutjob Representative Anthony Weiner, who puts a whole new twist on the congressional phrase “distinguished member.” Apparently it wasn’t bad enough that he accidentally posted bulging underpants pictures of himself on Twitter and got caught in explicit online sexual relationships with a bunch of young women. Now it’s been revealed that Weiner also emailed graphic NUDE photos of himself, and one of them was ricocheting all over the Internet last night. Weiner’s poor wife, who’s pregnant, works as an assistant to Hillary Clinton and is reportedly wearing a bag on her head that bears the official seal of the State Department.

I enjoyed another little Internet shopping spree last night. Here’s a photo of the latest loot, which should be delivered sometime next week. Incoming packages will keep my spirits up while Sam is in California for eight days visiting his mom. He leaves on Saturday. A steady stream of shipments begins on Monday.
Before I forget, this would be a great time to enter the Howdygram’s current contest. Thanks a million for reading this!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer heat and the latest Jobs report.

There’s not much to do around here this week except roll a mountain of coins and watch the thermometer climb. It was 99° today in the Dallas area -— hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk if you don’t mind the bugs and grime. Me, I just stay inside when the weather’s like this.

On this date in 1692 a massive earthquake and tsunami destroyed the depraved, pirate-infested town of Port Royal, Jamaica. For an exposé on pre-earthquake living conditions in Port Royal you should take a look at Errol Flynn’s masterpiece, Captain Blood. Also ... on this date in 1962 Credit Suisse opened the first drive-through bank in Zurich, Switzerland, and in 1937 actress Jean Harlow died of kidney failure at the age of 26.

And now you’re all caught up on history.

In other news, acclaimed visionary — and my personal god — Steve Jobs took the stage yesterday at San Francisco’s Moscone Center to introduce the Mac’s new “Lion” operating system and Apple’s new iCloud service. Unfortunately, at the moment Jobs is looking skinner than the latest iPod and he’s scaring me half to death.
The Howdygram has launched an official program to send Steve an ongoing supply of Twinkies and In-N-Out Burger gift cards. Click here if you’d like to contribute.

Thank you for reading this and don’t forget to enter our contest.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mazel tov to Lisa and other news.

As a quick follow-up to Friday night’s post, my sister-in-law Lisa correctly identified Billy Gray, former child star from The Day the Earth Stood Still and TV’s “Father Knows Best.”
Billy is 73 years old. I’ll bet he would have aged better if he’d still been performing for the last 40 years. Now he just looks like an ordinary old guy with a bunch of age spots. I’m just saying.

If you’re interested, I spent most of the day on Saturday rolling coins and watching “Two Fat Ladies” reruns on the Cooking Channel. Around 5 Sam and I decided to go to dinner at Royal China in Dallas, arriving just in time for the invasion of early-bird senior citizens — a group to which we proudly belong. Royal China has terrific food (including the best cream cheese wontons EVER) plus an energetic noodle dude who entertains in the dining room. For more details from an earlier Howdygram post with an actual photo of the aforementioned energetic noodle dude, click here.

I’m going back to bed now because I need to rest up for another full day of coin-rolling. DON’T FORGET TO ENTER OUR CONTEST. Thank you for reading this.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday miscellany.

It’s been a genuinely swell (but extremely hot) day here. After Sam left for work I parked myself in front of the TV, rolled a mountain of coins and watched an interesting array of movies, including Julie & Julia, Night Train to Munich and Secrets of the French Police.

In case you’re interested, Julie & Julia is an adorable film (a true story) about a blogger named Julie Powell who writes about cooking her way through Julia Child’s book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year’s time. Blended into the movie is a parallel story from Julia Child’s memoir about her married life in Paris after World War II and how she learned to cook at Le Cordon Bleu, with Meryl Streep doing a dead-on imitation that’s almost better than the original. And you also get to see a whole lot of beautiful food. I love beautiful food. All of a sudden I have an urge to buy a pound of butter.

Incidentally, the temperature in Dallas hit 99° today and it’s still spring. It’s so hot here your shoes stick to the pavement. Seriously.

I’m pleased to introduce a new and thrilling (okay, maybe not so thrilling) Howdygram feature! Please study the photo below and let me know if you can guess who this old man is. You can either send me an email or post a comment. (Here’s a little hint for you: STUDY HIS FACE CAREFULLY ... he was once a popular child star.)
I desperately need a very large glass of ice tea. Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Eddie Fisher, Amtrak and a mountain of fruit.

Romance is not dead, and I say this with confidence after nearly 10 years with my adorable Sam. For instance, last night in bed while I’m giving him a back rub I begin to sense that he’s not really paying attention and might actually be ASLEEP. I say his name quietly, to make sure, and here’s what happened next. (Sam’s comments are in black. He remembered almost NONE of this conversation when I reminded him about it this morning.)

Sam? Sweetheart? Are you asleep?
All we need now are Myrna Loy and Eddie Fisher.
Myrna Loy and Eddie Fisher.
What are you talking about?
What did everybody do before railroads?
Railroads? Are you hallucinating?
No. What are you doing with that mountain of fruit?
(Laughing.) I think I’ll eat it. Go back to sleep.

Nearly everything in yesterday’s post under the heading “Marcy’s Calendar” has turned out to be completely bogus. My maid service didn’t show up today and Steve and Therese canceled their trip to Dallas, so I don’t need anything from Bed, Bath and Beyond and I don’t I have to make a big hoo-hah about lunch on Sunday or shlep to Central Market for any fancy food. Come to think of it, the only activity still valid from that entire “to do” list — aside from folding socks and underwear — is Sam’s appointment tomorrow morning to get his stitches removed. And you thought life in Texas was boring.

To cheer myself up this afternoon I bought the following items online.
I’m replacing a very old blender that’s difficult to keep clean and the food mill is a product I’ve been wanting for a long time. It fits over any size bowl and is a lot less trouble than a food processor, particularly since the only reason I need one is to grind up ingredients for tuna salad now that mashing anything by hand is almost impossible with carpal tunnel syndrome. The food mill is from and the blender is from Overstock. I highly recommend both websites for free shipping and no sales tax. I also highly recommend my tuna salad.

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Enter today. Anybody can win!

I want to begin by repeating part of yesterday’s post regarding the Howdygram’s brand new contest. We’re getting ready to empty and count Sam’s giant change jar — which stands 19" tall and weighs 145 pounds — and think y’all should have a chance to guess the value of the contents. Grand prize is a crate of valuable Howdygram gifts and Texas-themed treasures. Everybody else will win a genuine Howdybuck that can be redeemed for your choice of consolation prizes to be announced at a later date.
I also want to stress that EVERYBODY IS WELCOME TO ENTER, including complete strangers, amused foreigners and distant relatives. Click here. Thank you.

Sam and I are having a damn exciting week and think all of you deserve to know exactly what’s happening in Howdygramland. Tonight I’m folding a mountain of socks and underwear. Tomorrow our maid service will be here to do what they call “spring cleaning” (windows, cabinets, ceiling fans, moose heads and so on) and afterwards I’ll go to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy a pile of fun crapola like little condiment spreaders, a new shower puff and a pair of nice serving bowls.

On Friday Sam will see the plastic surgeon at 10 a.m. to get the remaining stitches removed from his legs and I’ll drive to Central Market in Dallas to load up on ingredients for Sunday lunch because Sam’s brother and his wife (Steve and Therese) will be here. I’d much rather do Central Market on Saturday, but the store is intensely crowded on weekends and the deli counter is worse than the Apple Store in Manhattan when they launch a new iPhone. Seriously, it’s so mobbed you wind up with ticket #93 and they’re calling #16, and nobody EVER lets you move up in line even if you look pathetic, carry a cane, start to cry and drag a leg. (I speak from experience.)

Some assorted Central Market photos appear below. If you don’t have a Central Market where you live you should be very jealous.
I guess that’s about all for tonight, mostly because Sam will be home from work by 10:15 and I want to finish folding the last pile of socks before he gets here. It’s very important for a wife to keep up with socks. Thank you for reading this.