Sunday, July 31, 2011

Early morning cravings, part two.

Sam wasn’t irritated, just kind of disinterested. He gave me a crinkle-face when I suggested brunch at Blue Mesa because last time we were there our waiter was crabby, so I forged ahead to “Plan B” — Cheetos and a Prilosec capsule washed down with an ice cold Marcytini and an old Dr. Kildare movie starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. I’m definitely living the good life here!
More later. Thank you for stopping by.

Early morning cravings.

In case you’re curious, I chose leftover Szechwan tofu last night followed by cottage cheese half an hour later. Unfortunately, an uninspired dinner always leads to an early A.M. breakfast craving, so at 5:45 in the morning I’m trying to figure out how to needle Sam into taking me to Blue Mesa at 10 for their brunch buffet. I especially need Blue Mesa’s adobe pie, which is so good a person could DREAM about it. Ditto for their guacamole.

I wonder if Sam would get irritated if I woke him up to discuss Blue Mesa. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dining without inspiration.

We’re having an exceptionally lazy Saturday, which so far has consisted of several back-to-back naps, reruns of “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover,” very little food and no desire at all to leave the house in 104° heat. Dinner-time has crept up on us, however, and apparently we’re faced with the ultimate decision — what the hell to eat when you’re not hungry, motivated or interested.
Sam, who is definitely NOT a foodie, says he’ll be happy with a bowl of cereal or the potato salad he bought at Tom Thumb this afternoon. My options are significantly more exciting: 1) cottage cheese; 2) leftover Szechwan tofu; 3) Schwan’s frozen mozzarella sticks; or 4) fat-free Ball Park turkey hotdogs minus buns because I don’t have any.

I’m not telling you any of this to make you jealous. Trust me.

Have a pleasant Saturday night and thank you for reading this.

Don croaks in south Texas.

I’m referring, of course, to the useless tropical storm that landed yesterday in Brownsville. Apparently Don kicked the proverbial bucket before producing any drought relief whatsoever, and Texans everywhere are pretty irritated about this. Here in the Dallas area we were holding onto a shred of hope for maybe one cloud and a teeny chance of rain today and tomorrow, but when I checked the 10-day forecast a couple of minutes ago on here’s what I saw:
Look at the daily high temperatures which, incidentally, do NOT reflect the “heat index” with humidity factored in. On Monday and Wednesday next week we could easily wind up with a heat index above 115°. Oy.

I just read a very interesting article. Apparently Apple Inc. has more available cash on hand than the treasury of the United States.
What makes this even more amazing than it sounds is, Apple did it all under the leadership of one singular visionary — Steve Jobs — by inventing, manufacturing and marketing exciting products that everybody lines up to buy. Sure, there are other large corporations with lots of money (think big oil or pharmaceutical companies) but they make their dough by gouging the public for an essential service, manipulating supply and demand and hoarding windfall profits from tax breaks they don’t deserve. When you compare corporate goals, cultures and public perception, Steve Jobs rises to the top as the most amazing CEO in history. And he got there in jeans and a black turtleneck. I’m just saying.

I got up way too early today. I’m thinking I should go stretch out on the couch for an hour or two or maybe even go back to bed for a while. Thanks for stopping by. I like you.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Medicine for a burning heart.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I don’t have a burning heart. I don’t even have ordinary heartburn. I have daily (and constant) INDIGESTION that’s triggered by my ever-expanding menu of prescription medications. I’ve had to give up eating peanut butter, bell peppers, eggplant and anything that comes within half a block of garlic. Some days it’s so bad I walk around with a bottle of Tums in my pocket.

Fortunately, when I saw my doctor yesterday she told me to try Prilosec once a day and I’d feel a whole lot better. So Sam, my adorable genius, brought home the generic equivalent from Wal-Mart (see below) this morning. I took my first dose at 10 a.m. and what a MIRACLE ... no more indigestion! Seriously, this is the first day in MONTHS that I haven’t been miserable.
Had I known the cure was so simple I would have tried an over-the-counter medication a long time ago. I just get really tired of taking so many pills and refused to believe that adding one more could ever make me feel better. Holy cow, was I ever wrong.

For the weather nerds among you, Tropical Storm Don came ashore today in Brownsville, Texas, without much hoo-hah here in the Dallas area. This is mostly because Brownsville is 550 miles from Dallas and there’s almost no chance in hell we’ll get any benefit whatsoever from the rain or clouds, although one or both would be mighty welcome. We’ve got an exceptional drought situation going on and a few clouds would help break the heat wave a little. For instance, a little cloud cover tomorrow might be the first time in SEVEN WEEKS that our temperature dips below 100°. (I’ll believe it when I see it.)
FYI, even though the 10-day forecast pictured above indicates the “chance” of an isolated thunderstorm tonight, tomorrow and Sunday, this is pretty much the same probability that exists for a visit by aliens, free parking downtown or winning the Powerball lottery.

Sam just called to tell me he’ll probably have to work late tonight, which means I can continue horsing around with the Howdygram for a while, take a leisurely shower and eat my new #1 favorite junk food until he gets home.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried these or not, but Chester’s Puffcorn with Cheese is probably the best stuff on the planet next to Mongolian chicken. It actually tastes exactly like cheese popcorn but without all the annoying unpopped kernels that can break a person’s teeth.

Thank you for reading this. Send napkins.

Musings of an insomniac.

Thank you for letting me vent in yesterday’s post, although I actually didn’t realize I was unloading on y’all until Sam pointed it out several hours later. Sam can be very astute. And he’s cute, to boot! (Oy.)

I have insomnia tonight. I tried going to bed with Sam around 1:45 but that didn’t work out very well. He conked out immediately and I flopped around until I’d memorized every wrinkle in the sheets. I finally decided I’d had enough exercise and got up so I wouldn’t disturb him. So here I am at 3:30 with a box of TicTacs, half a glass of Coke Zero and the Howdygram, wide awake. Lucky me.

Faces I never want to see again, part one.
Just wondering ... does anybody besides me want to throw up every time you see a picture of Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner? I don’t want to turn this blog into a high-level political forum, but Boehner’s face is so irritating that I would actually prefer looking at creepy old John McCain ... and trust me, McCain and his little yellow teeth wore out their welcome a long, long time ago.
For the record, Sarah Palin is still at the bottom of the heap ... directly below Warren Jeffs, Charlie Sheen, Rod Blagojevich and Casey Anthony.

In closing, I’d like to mention that “Project Runway” season 9 premiered last night on Lifetime. It was an excellent first episode with plenty of extremely gay designers. This is almost my favorite reality show after “Top Chef,” “Hardcore Pawn” and “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” I gave up on “Operation Repo” several months ago because I think all their televised confrontations were staged by actors portraying lunatics. Thank you for reading this! I should try going back to bed now.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Important topics for discussion.

Please allow me to extend my best wishes for a very happy Thursday to Howdygramsters near and far. That being said, now I can move on to more important issues.

I hate AT&T U-Verse.
Technically, I only hate the halfwit who writes their online MOVIE REVIEWS. A few days ago I recorded Dinner for Schmucks from one of the premium channels because the U-Verse reviewer gave it 3½ stars. THREE AND A HALF STARS. That’s half a star MORE than they gave Lawrence of Arabia, an epic blockbuster of the highest caliber that won seven Academy Awards and continues to be, nearly 50 years later, among the five finest films ever made. To me, it’s right up there with Ben Hur, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and The Apartment.
So Sam and I are kind of excited to watch Dinner for Schmucks, which turns out to be 114 excruciating minutes of disastrous gross-out stupidity that’s geared to the mentality of middle school boys. Not only isn’t this a 3½ star movie, I wouldn’t even give it TWO. And just for the record, I’m really, really sick of Steve Carell constantly playing the same one-dimensional pathetic loser character. He and Adam Sandler are definitely in a class all by themselves.

Praying for a hurricane.
Tropical storm Don is in the Gulf of Mexico aiming for the Texas coast. Computer models on show it arriving near Corpus Christi and then heading northwest once it’s onshore. I, for one, hope it intensifies into a category 1 hurricane ... which is the ONLY way we’ll ever get any rain here in the Dallas area. We haven’t had a drop since sometime last month and need at least 15 inches to catch up. In case you’re interested, today’s high will be 105°. And it will be 105° tomorrow, all weekend and most of next week. We’re frying.
A medical update.
I promised a quick summary of my doctor visit this morning, so here goes. Dr. M asked me to try taking Onglyza again because she doesn’t think it could have been responsible for that mysterious high fever I had last weekend. If I don’t have an adverse reaction this time she actually wants me to DOUBLE the dose. And — for added excitement — she’s referring me to a KIDNEY SPECIALIST because, according to last month’s lab results, the meds I’m taking for diabetes and high blood pressure are starting to affect my kidney function. This is frustrating because I’ve actually been feeling really good lately. Stay tuned and thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Three quick things.

First, I wasn’t planning to write another post today but had an overpowering urge to share these photos with you after reading news reports for the last few days about that maniac terrorist in Norway.
I don’t know if you agree with me or not, but I think this scary Norwegian dude could double for “Saturday Night Live” alumni Chevy Chase, pictured above left circa 1975. I’m just saying.

Second, Sam and I watched a really crappy movie on TCM yesterday — Island of Love from 1963 with Robert Preston, Tony Randall and Walter Matthau. Robert Preston apparently was expected to recreate a character like con-man Harold Hill from The Music Man, a role for which he won both a Tony and a Golden Globe. Here he was miscast and way too old, Tony Randall was completely wasted as a useless drunk, and Walter Matthau played an effeminate Greek gangster with a lisp. Seriously.

Third, here’s a photo that embraces perfectly the concept of “aging badly.” Actress Patty Duke is 64 — four years older than ME — but looks twice my age and prunier than my mother, who will celebrate her 89th birthday in November. Patty has really nice veneers on her teeth, though.
Thank you for reading this.

Delirium, debt and marinara sauce.

I apologize for not writing a post on Sunday or Monday. Frankly, I had kind of a lost weekend and it took a couple of days to get back into the swing of things around here. My high fever came back on Saturday night and I wound up like an amorphous mass on the couch all weekend, ate practically nothing for two days and then decided to stop taking my new diabetes medication (Onglyza) because it was probably the trigger for all this. Unfortunately, lack of food and the choice to discontinue one of my meds definitely did NOT help my blood sugar, which is now ricocheting all over the map and I have an appointment to see my doctor Thursday morning. Stay tuned.

Other than that, everything here is really good with two exceptions: 1) the debt ceiling stalemate going on in Washington; and 2) I can’t believe I have to wait five more days for the next episode of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
On last week’s show Melissa and Joe had to kick out a pair of moron guests from their Christmas party. Truth is, if they kicked out ALL their moron guests they could have saved money on liquor because there wouldn’t be anybody left.

For those of you who aren’t fans, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” is the trashiest show on television and my #1 favorite guilty pleasure. These women cook dinner in sequined hoochie-mama dresses and they’re all married to a bunch of barely-literate mafia wannabes with hair-trigger tempers who hurl tables and beat up their in-laws at banquet halls. This is truly television at its finest. Promise me you’ll tune in sometime.

I also highly recommend “Hardcore Pawn.”

And now I think I’d better eat something before I pass out. All of a sudden I have a taste for Italian. Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The morning after.

8:15 a.m.
The mystery continues. Last night around 8:30 I had to call Sam to come home from work early because my fever jumped to 102° and I was too limp to make dinner (not eating can be big hoo-hah for diabetics) or lift myself off the sofa. As always, Sam was absolutely ADORABLE. He must have driven home at 90 m.p.h. on Interstate 30, helped me get into the shower, wrapped me up in a huge fluffy blanket, watched an exceptionally stupid movie with me — The Life of the Party with Harriet Hilliard and Gene Raymond — and then bundled me off to bed at 11:30. Maybe I should get sick more often.

I’m feeling weak but considerably better this morning, although I have no idea what caused all this and don’t know why would a person run a high fever for no apparent reason. FYI, 102° is especially high for me because my “normal” is 97°. Please send an email if you can explain. Thank you.

For your possible interest, I apparently bought that set of Flash Gordon DVDs sometime during the night because this morning I found a thank you email in my inbox from Amazon. Lucky me!

8:48 p.m.
Wow, what a lazy day! Mostly I just watched a bunch of crappy old movies during and between periods of consciousness on my favorite sofa in the family room. The worst of these was Ramona, a genuinely awful 1936 romance/melodrama with Loretta Young as a Mexican seƱorita — a portrayal made even more ridiculous by her enormous blue eyes and false eyelashes — and Don Ameche as her Indian husband with a fright wig and a headband. See below in case you think I’m kidding.
I’m thankful that my mysterious fever hasn’t returned but I did experience something weird after I took a shower this afternoon — A BLOODY NOSE. Sam was running errands at the time so I hung out in the kitchen with a paper towel shoved up my left nostril waiting for him to get home. I hope this isn’t too much information.

And now it’s time to rip open a new bag of Cheetos, whip up a Goofy Fruity Shake for two and relax with Sam and a couple of straws. Don’t be jealous and thank you for reading this.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday night chills.

Consider this a “prequel” to Saturday Night Fever. It’s 6 p.m. Friday and I’m not feeling well. Seriously, I just woke up from a short nap in the family room with chills, aching muscles in my legs and a very hot neck — all of which confirm 100% that I have a temperature. My best guess, even without shlepping to the master bathroom to look for our thermometer, is 100°, which also happens to be the current outdoor temperature in Mesquite as I write this post. I think all of you should send something to cheer me up as soon as possible. May I suggest: 1) an email; 2) chicken noodle soup; 3) a box of 64 crayons; 4) sugar-free lemon jello; or 5) cash. I really like cash.

Another possibility is a fabulous Flash Gordon DVD set from for $9.99. These are the original serials from the 1930s that I watched on TV as a kid, starring Buster Crabbe as Flash, Jean Rogers as Dale Arden, their famous COAL-POWERED ROCKET SHIP (seriously) and the whole cast of outer space characters — Dr. Zarkov, Prince Barin, Ming the Merciless, Princess Aura, the Clay People, the Shark Men, Ming’s evil Death Ray aimed at Earth and so on. The three films in the collection are Space Soldiers, Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe. 
Here’s a Flash Gordon clip from YouTube for your possible interest. These movies used to scare the crap out of me on Saturday mornings when I was eight years old, especially Ming and the Clay People.

The only thing scarier is this photo of has-been athlete Bruce Jenner following his last round of plastic surgery. Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why I love the Internet.

Aside from the fact that it’s always available even the middle of the night if you can’t sleep and want to read local restaurant reviews, write a post, check the weather or annoy people with email, the Internet offers AMAZING SHOPPING OPPORTUNITIES for savvy consumers just like me. Today's brilliant deal comes to you courtesy of, which is probably my #1 favorite place to shop.
Yesterday I signed up for a QUARTERLY COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION. Amazon sells our favorite Melitta hazelnut ground coffee for $15.04 for a box of four cans. That’s $3.76 per can, or about HALF what we’re paying these days at the grocery store — with no sales tax and free shipping. Sam will think I’m a genius for doing this because we’ll never accidentally run out of coffee again for the rest of our lives.

Even though I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this in other posts, Amazon offers subscriptions to lots of different products that people tend to use up on a regular basis, like detergent, toilet paper and so on. Prices are lower when you subscribe and you get to decide how often you want your shipments. This is so cool I almost can’t stand it.

As soon as I finish one more load of laundry I’m off to Wal-Mart to pick up a pile of prescriptions. Sam and I both have refills waiting plus I’ve also got a new diabetes medication — Onglyza — that my doctor called in for me this morning. I hope it’s a generic and I also hope it’s teeny enough to fit in my pill organizer because some of these suckers can be monsters. (The biggest pill I’ve ever taken is Metformin 1000 mg. It was practically the size of my THUMB.)

Incidentally, it’s 101° here and perfect weather to curl up with a book and a Marcy-tini. I’ve just started reading “Good Stuff” by Jennifer Grant. She’s Cary Grant’s daughter and I love her family photos. This is #1 on my agenda as soon as I get home from Wal-Mart.

Thank you, as always, for reading this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fear of frying.

I realize that most of the nation is suffocating in extreme heat right now, but in case anybody’s interested in Texas last night at 11 p.m. the temperature outside had finally cooled down to 94°. The heat has been so oppressive here it’s like standing behind a city bus. For the next 10 days our afternoon high will bounce between 101° and 105° — with a heat index closer to 115° — and no rain in sight until at least the week after Thanksgiving. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating about Thanksgiving, but we haven’t had a drop here since June 20 and I’M REALLY AGGRAVATED.

Thank you for letting me vent.

In other news, even though every news website, newspaper, magazine, reporter and tabloid photographer in the United States is trying to find out, I don’t give a shred of crap where Casey Anthony is hiding. I just hope wherever she is, she STAYS there, because we all know she’s NOT running for Mother of the Year and probably won’t be partying in karaoke bars any time soon. I read yesterday that a nutjob woman in Oklahoma rammed her SUV into a car and caused it to flip three times because she thought the driver was Casey Anthony. Although I definitely think this particular tactic was a little over the top, it expresses the general public’s opinion quite nicely.

I’m waiting to hear from my doctor as I write this post. She changed the dosage of my two diabetes meds last month so I called her voice mail this morning to let her know that my blood sugar has been going up. Normally it tests between 95 and 107 before breakfast; now it’s up to 150. This isn’t SCARY high, but it’s definitely high. I’m thinking she might want to adjust the doses again and postpone next Monday’s office visit for a couple of weeks to see what happens. Stay tuned.

I think it’s time to eat something. Send an email if you have any suggestions. I’ve got leftover Chinese, a brick of Velveeta, a bowl of tuna salad, milk, baby carrots and half a jar of Smucker’s sugar-free apricot jelly. Thank you for reading this.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Surviving AARP overload.

When you join AARP there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is, members get lots of coupons for Kellogg’s cereal, 20% off dinner at Denny’s EVEN IF YOU ORDER FROM THE SENIOR MENU and some pretty good deals on cruises. The downside? AARP never leaves you alone. Every day I get AT LEAST half a dozen cheerful little emails from them covering such critical issues as:
  • Discuss your favorite songs for summer.
  • New screening tips for lung cancer.
  • Learn to play Surf Solitaire.
  • How to make Tomato Salad with Lavender Dressing.
  • Seven reasons to change your will NOW.
  • How safe is your colon?
  • 99 ways to improve your car’s gas mileage.*
*I would rather blow my brains out than read an article with a title like this.

Truth is, I joined AARP to support their lobbying efforts in Congress on behalf on senior citizens and also — mostly — for the discounts. But I sure didn’t bargain for their nonstop barrage of tips, ideas, recipes, news, medical breakthoughs for incontinence and generally corny crapola. This is even worse than Reader’s Digest, but if I opt-out I’m afraid I’ll miss the occasional message that’s actually worth reading. If you have any suggestions please send me an email.

According to the high temperature in Dallas today was 106°. This is somewhere between a griddle and a blast furnace, and it’s so hot I don’t want to leave the house even though Kohl’s is having a really big sale and Sam needs ties. I’ve ramped up to “emergency heat wave” mode, which means I set the thermostat at 80°, turned on all the ceiling fans and made tuna salad for dinner. It’s ALMOST TOO HOT TO EAT and you wouldn’t believe how much weight I’ve been losing! Of course, this is primarily due to a side effect from my new meds (decreased appetite) and the occasional — albeit accidental — ingestion of a sugar-free ingredient called “maltitol” that works on my intestinal tract like a hydrogen bomb. I apologize if this is too much information.

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Celebrating the French.

Today is July 14 — Bastille Day — the French national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 and the official start of the French Revolution. This is also an excellent opportunity to reflect upon France’s unparalleled contributions to world culture and celebrate all things French, as illustrated by the following images. Pictured below are French dressing, French fries, French bread, Inspector Clouseau, a French manicure, French horns, the world-renowned French skunk Pepe Le Pew and a racy French postcard* from the late 19th century.
*Children under 13 years of age may not view this postcard under any circumstances.

For my personal celebration of Bastille Day I watched three outstanding Julia Child reruns from the early 1970s. Today on “The French Chef” I learned to make fish stock, mold a weird puff pastry and how to open an oyster without amputating my hand. I have never opened an oyster in my entire life, but I want to believe these are all useful techniques for a Texas kitchen because my culinary adventures typically include toasting a bagel, defrosting something for lunch and Rice-A-Roni.

Au revoir, y’all, and merci for reading this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Comedy, tragedy and storm doors.

Consider this a triple whammy blog post covering a wide range of important topics and the entire gamut of human emotions. Well, maybe not the ENTIRE gamut. You be the judge.

I hunted around on today to buy a A Damsel in Distress on DVD and discovered that it hasn’t been released for sale since the olden days of VHS tapes. But the good news is, is taking advance orders for a first release expected in August so I signed myself up. In case you’ve never seen A Damsel in Distress, it’s an adorable comedy from 1937 with Fred Astaire, George Burns and Gracie Allen.
The story is staged in England and Fred does a routine with a stuffy madrigal choir singing the Gershwin classic “Nice Work If You Can Get It” that’s just about the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on film aside from the pie fight in The Great Race and Ernest Borgnine’s song and dance in The Best Things in Life Are Free.

Apparently host Robert Osborne is taking a three-month leave from Turner Classic Movies. I’m so despondent I might stop eating Mongolian chicken! An announcement on says he’s “taking a short break from his TCM hosting duties for minor surgery, followed by a vacation.” No kidding, if TCM is lying about any of this I’ll have to start writing VERY SNOTTY LETTERS.

Storm doors.
Big news from Howdygramland ... we’re shopping around for storms doors! I want the kind with these really clever retractable screens so we can enjoy all the beautiful Texas weather that occurs annually for three to five days every April. We’ll probably buy them from Lowe’s and ask our handyman to do the installation for us. My color choice is almond (pictured at left) but I’m having a serious problem deciding what kind of finish I want for the handles — satin nickel, bright brass, oil-rubbed bronze or almond to match the doors (we’re buying two). If you’d like to help me decide please send an email and vote. (If you don’t want to vote you can still send an email just to say “Hi.”)

I meant to tell you something a few days ago but I forgot. The neuropathy pain in my left hand is finally gone — YEE-HA! — but apparently I’m stuck with 100% numbness in my thumb and first three fingers. This makes it nearly impossible to do ordinary things like typing because I can’t feel the keys any more. I’m trying to retrain my left hand, but I’ve been typing the same way since I was eight years old and change tends to make me crabby. For instance, I should probably move this paragraph to the “Tragedy” section except I don’t want to and you can’t make me.

Incidentally, all of you who entered our recent contest should receive your prizes by the end of this week. Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Howdygram: international blog of mystery.

I’m not exactly sure what started all this, but today has been a banner day for international visitors to the Howdygram. I check my blog statistics several times a day to find out how many readers I’ve got, the countries they’re from and how long they spend looking at each post. Apparently this morning somebody posted a link on Facebook to one of my articles from last summer about ugly world leaders and WHAM, half the globe has showed up to read about it. In addition to locations all over the U.S. and Canada, so far today I’ve logged visitors from two cities in South Africa, Malaysia, England, Argentina, Ireland, France, India, Ireland, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and three different cities in Egypt!

I don’t know about YOU, but I find it really difficult to visualize a bunch of Egyptians reading the Howdygram. I’m just saying.
A few days ago I mentioned that I’d been working on a website project for a new client and would share the link as soon as it’s done. Well, it’s done, so click here. For the record, I have no additional website projects lined up at the present time, so if you, a relative, a neighbor, a close personal friend or somebody you met last week on the bus needs an affordable website, I’m available. Gracias.

I’m treating myself to Chinese food tonight for dinner. I haven’t ordered for a while because I thought I was getting burned out, but thank God I was wrong. I’ve had a love affair with Chinese food since 1952. I was barely 14 months old at the Golden Pheasant restaurant at Lawrence and Broadway in Chicago when dad taught me how to order fried rice with a Chinese accent. I would say “flied lice” and the waiters got so hysterical they would shlep the chef out of the kitchen so I’d say it again. Somewhere there exists a photo of me in a high chair sucking an egg roll.

Thank you for reading this and pass the soy sauce.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A startling realization.

This is a quick one: I’M GETTING OLD. The reality hit me this morning when Sam and I went out for breakfast to Denny’s. (Yes, Denny’s AGAIN. Stop laughing.) As we sat in the dining room at 10 a.m. with other elderly diners I ordered the Senior Scrambled Eggs — seriously, that’s what it’s called on the menu — and got full eating less than HALF of what they gave me. I actually felt pathetic. Normal people don’t get full on one scrambled egg, one sausage link and half a pancake.

Sam ate my bacon. He’s still a growing boy of 52.

In preparation for my brother-in-law’s visit in October I’m pleased to present the following photos of the Texas State Fair, which will be on David’s agenda while he’s here.
Pictured above are: 1) a happy corn dog; 2) the opening day parade in downtown Dallas; 3) Big Tex, who’s 52 feet tall and welcomes visitors to Fair Park; and 4) the midway at night.

Our state fair is the largest in the United States and also the GREASIEST, as the following sign montage clearly illustrates. If you’ve never had fried butter, fried pecan pie, fried beer or chicken-fried bacon, grab some napkins and a bottle of Tums and let’s get ready to rumble.
Other attractions at Fair Park (see below) include the Cotton Bowl and the Texas Star ferris wheel, which is tall enough to give you a nosebleed. There are also a pile of interesting museums and an aquarium in case a meal of fried butter isn’t a big enough attraction.
And now I think I’ll make a quick trip to the drug store in Sunnyvale to pick up some assorted crapola and then come home and continue with the laundry. I’ve got a MOUNTAIN of it. (We’re either exceptionally clean or exceptionally dirty, but I’m not sure which.)

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thoughts for a lazy Sunday.

Promise me you won’t be shocked when I tell you this, but I just got out of bed. And I’m seriously thinking about going BACK because I can’t seem to wake up. Maybe I’ll just sit here and noodle around with the Howdygram for a while until I decide what I want to do. Please put up with me. It’s going to be a very lazy day!

Actually, it was lazy around here LAST NIGHT, too. I’ll bet it’s the heat. We picked up barbecue for dinner from Dickey’s and finished eating around 6:30 while we were watching Red River. Sam conked out about half an hour into the movie and then continued to sleep through supersonic jets and screaming world leaders in Fail Safe, 90 minutes of blooping sonar noises and a nuclear explosion in The Bedford Incident and All the Presidents Men.

Sam could win a contest as the Howdygram’s all-time champion napper. I don’t know how he does it. SIX HOURS IN ONE POSITION ON A SOFA — with a nuclear holocaust in the background!

While Sam was unconscious last night I had some time to eat pretzels and dill pickles (a new craving) and reflect upon my favorite western movies. Sam and I have always agreed that our four favorite westerns are Stagecoach, Three Godfathers, Red River and The Searchers — all starring John Wayne, which is an interesting point that I didn’t really think much about until last night.
Not only are these four movies the best performances of Wayne’s career, they’re also the four best westerns ever made on Earth since the beginning of time and that covers a LOT of territory dating all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia in 3100 B.C. I’m not joking about this.

By the way, if you’re a big fan of westerns please DO NOT bombard me with comments here about the merits of Shane or High Noon. Alan Ladd was a moody little shrimp who had to stand on a box to make himself taller and Gary Cooper had as much screen presence as driftwood. They may look normal in the poses below, but don’t be fooled.
It’s time for a nap. Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm really, really sorry. Seriously.

It’s been FIVE DAYS since my last post. The reality of this is thoroughly disturbing — well, to ME, anyway — but I’ve got three excellent excuses that I will share with you here.

Excuse #1. It’s been a crazy week for me with lots of client projects, including a six-page website design that was so intense I almost forgot to eat. I’ll let you know when it’s online so you can take a look.

Excuse #2. My ever-expanding list of meds and some new doses have been screwing up my digestion and I just don’t feel like writing — or being funny — when my stomach is a wreck. I’m noticing some improvement, however, and hope to take Tropical Fruit Tums off the menu here shortly.

Incidentally, I’ve discovered that a couple of banana-flavored Tums can be a fabulous summer dessert but I don’t recommend serving this to guests without Cool Whip.

Excuse #3. I don’t know about YOU, but I’ve been extremely freaked out by the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. I suppose the only positive about this outcome is that, at 25 years old, Casey’s entire life is basically in the toilet and her popularity is 50 rungs lower than Joran Van der Sloot’s — and in my book he was already at the bottom of the heap. Casey is a train wreck waiting to happen, and with any luck she’ll be hounded by the press everywhere she goes for the next seven decades. Oy, don’t get me started on this again.
We’re FRYING around here. The temperature yesterday hit 104° and we’re not expecting anything below triple-digits for the entire month of July. (And August won’t be much better.) We’ve already passed our average annual number of triple-digit days and the next chance for rain is a 20% possibility on July 17. A copy of our 10-day forecast from appears below in case you think I’m making this up.
It’s too hot to park at the mall, too hot to walk a dog, too hot to grill burgers on the patio and way too hot to buy ice cream sandwiches at Tom Thumb and drive them home in the trunk of your car. Your only hope is strapping them into the front seat and aiming the AC at them. I wouldn’t joke about this.

Time to hit the sack at last because it’s almost 3:30 in the morning and I’m feeling a little cross-eyed. Send some cool weather if you have any extra lying around and thank you for reading this.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Our weekend of big surprises.

Big surprise #1.
Sam and I discovered that we love eating at Denny’s. Stop laughing. We had lunch at a Denny’s in Red Oak on Saturday and went for breakfast at Denny’s here in Mesquite on Sunday. Sam seems to be hooked on their build-your-own Grand Slam thing and I love Denny’s impressive senior citizen menu, which is extremely cheap with a lot of very good options including Egg Beaters. And their Diet Cokes are super-fizzy, they’re open 24 HOURS A DAY so you can get pancakes at 3 a.m. and they have lots of polite employees who are always saying thank you.
Holy crap, I seriously can’t believe I’m writing this.

Big surprise #2.
We watched a semi-goofy Roy Rogers marathon on TCM a couple of days ago and found ourselves turning into huge fans. The films included Don’t Fence Me In, My Pal Trigger, The Golden Stallion and Trigger, Jr. They were all REALLY GOOD, but my favorite was probably My Pal Trigger (1946) because it had one hell of a juicy plot. Roy gets framed for murdering somebody else’s horse and winds up in prison for three years. ROY ROGERS IN PRISON!

Here’s a video clip of a screwy song called “All The Cowhands Want to Marry Harriet” — which was a big hit with Sam — from My Pal Trigger sung by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Be sure to check out Dale’s wild west dominatrix outfit and her hat from hell that looks like a dust mop.

Please allow me to offer the Howdygram’s best wishes for a very happy Independence Day. We’ll probably stay close to home, eat a bunch of leftovers and watch one of our favorite movies on TCM. If you’ve never seen the musical 1776 you don’t know what you’ve been missing. The songs are great, the costumes are great, the story is funny, inspirational, tragic and historically accurate to the smallest detail, and you’ll suddenly find yourself remembering everything you learned about the second Continental Congress and the Declaration of Independence in seventh grade except this time it’s actually FUN and set to music. Promise me you’ll watch this movie. Thank you.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A fabulous Saturday excursion.

Sam and I went for a long drive yesterday. We usually head north or east but this time we threw caution to the wind and decided to try south and west. A map of our route appears below.
We started at point A — our house in Mesquite — and drove 45 miles to Waxahachie (point B), where we were hoping to have lunch except we weren’t motivated to settle for KFC or Whataburger so we meandered another 20 miles south on country roads until we got to the town of Italy (point C). Unfortunately, Italy’s only dining options were squashed together at one intersection and included McDonald’s, a beef jerky outlet or pizza by the slice at an Exxon station, so we decided to stop horsing around and make a serious effort to find food. Sam merged onto I-35 and peeled rubber due north to the town of Red Oak (point D), where we eventually discovered a nice Denny’s on the service road. We were hungry enough to eat the napkins.

And now it’s finally time for bed. Sam has been asleep since midnight but I wanted to finish watching one of my all-time favorite movies, I Know Where I’m Going with Wendy Hiller. Thanks for stopping by. Next time y’all should bring some popcorn.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Two huge things.

By now everybody probably knows that I do a LOT of shopping online. This is mostly because I can always find whatever I want for less money than the local retail stores PLUS there’s no shipping or sales tax, you never have to look for parking and your order is delivered to your doorstep. Recent purchases have included: 1) small kitchen appliances and bedding from Overstock; 2) inkjet cartridges from Epson; 3) room fragrances and plug-in scented oils from Yankee Candle; 4) cookware, DVDs, books, office supplies and household products from Amazon; and 5) practically everything else from Wal-Mart.

So here’s my first “huge thing.” I reordered my diabetic testing supplies a couple of days ago from the local pharmacy and sent Sam to pick them up this morning with my discount card. For those of you who may not be aware, diabetic supplies are so outrageously expensive that most people can’t even afford the insurance co-payment without signing up for a manufacturer’s discount program. In my case, the standard co-pay for a 60-day supply of teeny little disposable test strips costs ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS — minus 30% if you have a discount card. Apparently my card had expired, however, so Sam came home empty-handed to find out what I wanted to do.
This turned out to be a very brilliant move on Sam’s part, because while he was gone I DISCOVERED THAT I CAN BUY MY DIABETIC SUPPLIES FROM AMAZON DIRT CHEAP — AND WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION. A few minutes ago I paid $45.65 for a 60-day supply of the same teeny little test strips, and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. There were dozens of online product reviews practically kissing Amazon’s feet for making these products available at such a huge discount.

I wonder if a website can have feet.

As for my second “huge thing,” we just found out that Sam’s brother David is coming for a week-long visit in October. I have labeled David for you in the photo that appears below.
David’s visit is REALLY BIG NEWS because we never get any houseguests here except for my mother-in-law. As a result we’re definitely planning all kinds of adventures and authentic Texas excursions, including the Fort Worth stockyards, the Mesquite Rodeo, a tour of Cowboys Stadium, the Texas State Fair, lots of down-home restaurants and a chance to enjoy our brand new patio, which is being remodeled in September with fancy-shmancy stamped concrete and a custom-built cedar arbor. Stay tuned for updates and thank you, as always, for reading this.