Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Texas: Too small to be a country, too big to be an insane asylum.

In my earlier post today I provided a general overview of Governor Rick Perry’s political agenda. This post offers slightly more detail in the form of five new Texas laws scheduled to take effect on September 1. They’re definitely Texas-size doozies. Read on.

It will be legal in Texas to shoot wild hogs from helicopters. Eager hunters can pay for a helicopter ride to blast away at these animals anywhere they roam and on anybody’s property. A Houston-based helicopter company has already reserved rides for more than 30 hog hunters at $475 per hour and another 60 are on a waiting list. Don’t forget to duck.

The government can no longer impose a fine for catching fish with your hands. Fishing for catfish in Texas without a pole has been illegal for more than 100 years, but now bare-fisted lunatics can grab them without facing a $500 fine. In this practice, known as “noodling,” a fisherman sticks his hand in the water until the fish bites it and then wrestles it out of the water. Bubba shows you how it’s done in the photo below.
Hey, it’s okay to bring your gun to work. Texas workers can now pack a gun with their baloney sandwich when heading to the office every morning as long as they apply for a permit and agree to leave it in the car. (The gun, not the baloney sandwich.)

Welcome to the fastest state in America. Beginning tomorrow y’all can drive faster in Texas than anywhere else in the USA when we raise our maximum state speed limit to 85 miles per hour. I’m sure Governor Perry designed this new law to provide for his good ol’ boys’ most basic needs, such as driving to the convenience store for a six-pack in half the time and never being late to church on Sunday.

If you want to look at naked women while you drink beer you’ll have to pay the state of Texas five bucks. Starting tomorrow Texas strip clubs that serve alcohol will have to collect a “pole tax” (that’s a pun, y’all) just for walking in the front door. Tax revenue is supposed to fund programs for victims of sexual abuse and health care for the uninsured. Fat chance.

And now it’s time to get my dinner out of the oven and enjoy what’s left of Marlene Dietrich Day on TCM. I recorded a couple of her films this morning and plan to watch two more tonight. Most of her movies are excellent, but for the life of me I’ll never understand why a woman with the musical ability of a tone deaf truck driver was always cast as a NIGHT CLUB SINGER. I’m just saying.

All we need now is a side order of Lipitor.

It’s sure been a hard year for Texans. Record-breaking heat, exceptional drought, uncontrolled wildfires raging around the state and nutjob governor Rick Perry hurling himself toward the White House.
Incidentally, when the rest of America finally figures out what Perry stands for they’ll laugh him off the stage. I refer specifically to his views on outlawing abortion, teaching creation and Christianity in public schools, mandatory prayer, rewriting the U.S. constitution, repealing Social Security and restricting voting rights. The image above pretty much says it all. Even conservative Baptists think he’s crazy.

I guess the only bright spot would be today’s announcement of the eight food finalists for this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards at the Texas State Fair, which opens in Dallas on September 30. Here are this year’s deep-fried marvels for your possible interest. A side order of Lipitor sells for 75¢.
Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack: Buffalo chicken strip coated in pancake batter, rolled in jalapeƱo bread crumbs, deep fried, skewered and served with maple syrup. (Don’t look now, but my gag reflex just kicked in.) Deep-Fried Pineapple Upside-Down Cake: Pineapple rings dipped in cake batter, fried and coated with a caramel/sugar glaze. Deep-Fried Texas Salsa: Medley of jalapeƱos, garlic, onion, tomato and pepper rolled together, dipped in corn meal and covered in crushed-up tortilla chips. Deep-fried and served with warm queso. El Bananarito: A deep-fried banana rolled in a flour tortilla and topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar, cinnamon and hot caramel. Fried Autumn Pie: This one actually sounds GOOD. It’s a puff pastry infused with pumpkin, cream cheese, powdered sugar and fall spices. Deep fried and rolled in ginger, cinnamon, and sugar. Deep-Fried Bubblegum: Gigantic bubble gum flavored marshmallows dipped in batter and deep-fried. Decorated with icing and powdered sugar. (Pass the insulin.) Hans’ Kraut Ball: Pork sausage, onion, garlic, sauerkraut, mustard and seasonings rolled into a ball, covered with seasoned bread crumbs, deep fried, and served with your choice of hot mustard, raspberry chipotle dressing or ranch. (Blecch.) Walking Taco: Ground beef, lettuce, onion, fresh tomato, grated cheese, sour cream and salsa dumped in an empty Doritos bag. (Sounds like a grotesque mess, if you ask me. Maybe you’re supposed to hang the bag around your neck and eat it hands-free.)
We’re hoping to take my brother-in-law David to the Fair when he’s here in October. My posts really don’t do it justice — he has to see this internationally-famous food fest for himself. As for me, I’ll be in the corner with a Diet Coke and a corn dog. I’m not very adventurous any more unless somebody wants to invent Deep-Fried Mongolian Chicken on a Stick.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Creating our Garden of Eden.

To jazz up our gorgeous new patio I treated myself to a little online spending spree today — and for a pleasant change of pace it was nice to shop for something FUN instead of diabetes test strips and discounted cartons of injection needles.

Today’s “finds” include a pair of terra cotta seat cushions on sale at Plow and Hearth for our wrought iron bistro set, a mosaic side table from that will sit between our two chaise lounges, and a couple of triple-wick citronella candles in copper buckets from Bed, Bath and Beyond. A photo of the mosaic side table appears below. It does not come with a glass of lemonade.
I’ve also got my eye on a terrific weather-proof wicker resin storage trunk but I don’t want to order this until I show it to Sam because it comes in two sizes and I’m not sure which one he’d rather have. The best price is on — plus there’s free shipping and no sales tax.
I’m still discovering that Amazon sells damn near EVERYTHING, from designer shoes to canned snails to inkjet cartridges. I think you should log on right now and spend some dough.

Time to throw in another load of laundry. Thanks for hanging out with me. Next time bring a coffee cake.

Late-breaking fine arts news.

On the odd chance that you’re a fan of the dumbest show on television, ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” has revealed its cast of D-list celebrity wannabes for season 13, a frightening crew that features beefy sex-change weirdo Chaz Bono and CNN’s Nancy Grace, the legal pit bull who’s best known for persecuting and crucifying crime suspects in the media before they have their day in court. Trying to picture either of these two losers dancing the jive in spandex is enough to make me gouge my eyes out.
ABC executives apparently scraped gum off their shoes to find the rest of season 13’s cast, too, which includes Kim Kardashian’s kid brother, talk show has-been Ricki Lake, soccer goalie Hope Solo, gay fashion maven Carson Kressley and Elisabetta Canalis, the Italian girl who just got dumped by George Clooney.

A lineup like this definitely makes “Operation Repo” a more appealing option for fine family entertainment.

On another subject altogether, I’ve got my first appointment with a nephrologist on Thursday morning. I don’t really know what to expect aside from a few routine lab tests, because there’s really no problem with my kidneys and Dr. M assures me this is just “preventive.” I know you can’t wait to find out more so I’ll keep you posted.

Bedtime at last. Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pass the TicTacs.

Good morning, boys and girls, and welcome to Howdygramland. I can’t sleep, so I figured why not annoy you with some meaningless middle-of-the-night baloney. In addition to insomnia I’ve also discovered that I’m HUNGRY, but I probably won’t do much about it because I don’t feel like dragging myself into the kitchen. (I’ve got half a box of TicTacs. That’s enough.)

We’ve had quite a week around here. Our new cedar arbor was finished on Thursday and our patio expansion was poured and “stamped” on Friday. The crews worked 12-hour shifts in 105° heat. Seriously, I don’t know how they did it, but EVERYTHING LOOKS AMAZING and Sam is so excited he’s floating on air. The concrete has to cure for a couple of days so I’ll post a few pictures early next week.

And speaking of pictures, here are two for your possible interest. First, I’m pleased to offer this recent shot of Prince Charles and Camilla, cheerfully accepting Britain’s latest austerity measures. The happy couple posed for this official portrait in Buckingham Palace’s remodeled throne room wearing their modern new crowns.
Second, in case you’ve been wondering whatever happened to Richard Simmons, now you know — he’s still creepy and he still won’t admit he’s gay. Sort of like Liberace in gym shorts.
And now, at last, I think I’ll try going back to bed. If I play my cards right I might be able to con Sam into dim sum for lunch today or we can just drive over to Denny’s for an order of Senior Scrambled Eggs. I’m extremely easy. Don’t forget to floss.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The man who changed my life before Sam.

A couple of hours ago Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, Inc., and I’m so choked up I almost can’t write this post. Although Steve didn’t mention his health in the press release, you’d have to be pretty dense not to figure it out for yourself: “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”
Steve Jobs was the man who changed my life before Sam. It happened 27 years ago when he launched my career in the creative arts with the introduction of the first Macintosh computer — an adorable little sweetie with 128K RAM, a nine-inch black and white display and no hard drive (see right). The first Mac may look idiotic to you twentysomethings out there, but trust me, in 1984 it was PURE GENIUS. Over the years my Macintosh computers have allowed me to publish a cookbook, create at least a dozen different newsletters, run two national businesses, develop websites, write three blogs and design thousands of idiotic greeting cards.

The bottom line is, Steve’s resignation makes me feel slightly nauseated. During the last four years he’s battled pancreatic cancer and survived a liver transplant; now he’s skinny as a skeleton and resigning from Apple without really saying WHY. I’m sure his inner circle knows the truth, and it can’t be good.

Steve Jobs is only 56 years old. Visionaries should have a much longer life expectancy than that. A minimum of 125 years should be mandatory.

And now I want to check the progress of our new cedar arbor, which has been under construction in the back yard since 10 this morning. The work crew is still here. After an afternoon high of 104° we had a “cold front” slide through the area, knocking the air temperature down to a frosty 84°. So they’re probably taking advantage of it. I wouldn’t mind if they all spent the night out there, but only if they turn off their stupid radio.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Arbor Day in Howdygramland.

We’re in the midst of our back yard remodeling project as I write this post. A father and son team just finished building a flagstone ring around our Texas redbud tree. Tomorrow another group will be here to erect our red cedar arbor, on Thursday a concrete crew will pour our expanded patio, and as soon as it “cures” — maybe over the weekend — the concrete will be stamped and dyed. Sam and I are so excited we can hardly stand it. However, we seriously don’t understand how these people can work outdoors in such OPPRESSIVE HEAT. The tree ring dudes didn’t even bring bottled water or a cooler! Here’s our 10-day forecast for your possible interest. As always, there is no chance of rain whatsoever.
There’s been a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Washington, D.C. this afternoon. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an earthquake in Washington before! Apparently the White House and Capitol were evacuated just in case a few George Washington portraits went flying off the walls. Holy crapola, do you think anybody issued a tsunami warning for the Potomac River? It might be worth a peek on CNN.

The latest news about Hurricane Irene just keeps getting worse and worse. Now she’s scheduled to make landfall in North Carolina as a category 4 storm and then head straight up the east coast. This means Texas is so far out of the equation that we won’t see one stinking drop of rain or half a cloud. I’d write a complaint letter if I could figure out where the hell to send it.

I’ve got a minor Club Meds update. Dr. M did NOT switch me to insulin this morning, which is definitely good news. She wants me to to stick with the double dose of Byetta for the time being and replaced my Glyburide pills with Glimepiride. I’ll be headed to Wal-Mart shortly to drop off my prescription and do a little shopping in-store if I feel motivated — which isn’t very likely because it’s 105° outside and a person would have to be desperate and/or insane to park in the sun on purpose for more than two or three minutes.

Thank you for reading this. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rolling with the punches. Again.

Okay, so here’s the deal. After almost a week injecting the highest dose of Byetta, my blood sugar is still not under control and I’ll be heading back to the doctor tomorrow at 11 a.m. to begin another course of treatment.

It’s “last resort” time. I’m moving on to insulin.

I’m not sure yet how injecting insulin will impact my lifestyle because insulin is available in lots of different doses and formulas. Some are fast-acting, some are slow-acting, some are injected before every meal, others are injected just once a day. I have no idea yet which kind of insulin Dr. M wants me to use, and I also won’t know until tomorrow if my new prescription is available in a pen (like Byetta) or if I’ll have to start using regular syringes like a heroin addict. I’m trying not to overthink this, so my plans for the balance of the day include Joan Crawford movies on TCM, a few mozzarella sticks and an extended nap.
For the classic movie fans among you, TCM’s Joan Crawford lineup for the rest of the day includes cult favorite Torch Song (read my review), Possessed, Mildred Pierce with lots of excellent face-slapping, The Shining Hour and Montana Moon about a flapper in the wild west.

Tripoli is 95% occupied by rebels, three of Gadhafi’s sons are under arrest and The Big Cheese himself is hiding — probably under a double bed at Motel 6, which I suggested in last night’s post. The clock is ticking, Moammar. It’s time for a career change.

In other news, authorities are still searching for that missing woman in Aruba, Tiger Woods is working on yet another pointless “new swing” and Hurricane Irene apparently will intensify to a category 3 storm before it slams into Florida. I wish Irene would turn left and head for Texas instead so we could get some rain and clouds here!

Thank you for reading this. Seriously.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A whole new twist on Sunday dinner.

It’s Sunday, y’all, and there’s a strange phenomenon going on here — the oppressive heat has turned outdoorsy Sam into a COUCH POTATO. We didn’t leave the house yesterday at all, and today wasn’t any different except for taking a half-hour drive around 6 p.m. And the only reason was because I told Sam I wanted to scope out my new nephrologist’s office in Garland in advance of my first appointment, so that’s where we went. For your possible interest, the map below shows: A) Dr. Hsu’s office at Baylor Medical Center; and B) Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite.
As for the “Sunday dinner” mentioned in the title of this post, it’s even too hot around here to EAT so I steamed two small potatoes with half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, and Sam, who has no interest in food whatsoever, spent the evening grazing in the kitchen for cashews, ice cream bars and raisins. At the moment he’s half-conscious in the family room watching Gunga Din. We love Gunga Din.

I’ll have more to say in the morning after I find out if Libyan maniac Moammar Gadhafi is out of business. This miserable goon has had a 42-year reign of terror and I think he and his sons should go live under a rock somewhere or just find a Motel 6 on the outskirts of Tripoli. According to current reports on, Gadhafi’s sons are in custody and oil prices are expected to fall if Gadhafi’s regime is overthrown. Hold a good thought.

And now it’s time to join Sam in the family room and eat a yogurt. Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Still frying in Texas.

Students here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area go back to school on Monday. This seems peculiar to me because we haven’t seen or heard any children whatsoever in our neighborhood since school ended back in June. Not a single bicycle, skateboard or wagon, nobody shooting hoops or walking a dog … NOTHING. City parks look like ghost towns. My guess is, it’s the oppressive triple-digit heat and everybody’s inside playing video games or inventing new ways to torment their enemies on Facebook.

There’s some sad weather news tonight. Tropical storm Harvey is pooping out over Belize, and tropical storm Irene is almost a hurricane in the Caribbean but it’s heading in the wrong direction toward Florida, damn it, and NOT the Gulf of Mexico. WE NEED A HURRICANE IN SOUTH TEXAS, which is the only kind of weather system that will break our three-month drought and heat wave. The temperature today was 107° and warned everybody not to leave the house. Sam and I had no problem with that. We took a nap, watched a couple of good movies and ordered dinner from China City.

Speaking of movies ... I snagged an amazing bargain tonight on I ordered Gosford Park on DVD for $1 plus $2.98 shipping. If you’ve never seen this excellent murder mystery/comedy/drama you’re in for a real treat. Gosford Park has a terrific cast, a brilliant screenplay and was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 2002 — including best picture.
Incidentally, Gosford Park earns the Howdygram’s highest recommendation because unlike most Brit movies you can actually understand what everybody’s saying. The cast includes Helen Mirren, Kristen Scott Thomas and Maggie Smith. Bob Balaban is the token American.

Time for lemonade, pretzels and a movie with Sam. Life is good.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five good things on a Friday afternoon.

Good thing #1. Burger King is finally ditching its creepy mascot and redirecting its marketing efforts to moms rather than stoned teenagers. The result will be a “healthy Whopper” topped with a wad of guacamole. I’m not sure I understand the health food angle, but practically anything is better than that grinning plastic head.
Good thing #2. Sam and I have moved forward with part two of our back yard remodeling project. We signed paperwork today with a local hardscape contractor who will triple the size of our patio, add stamped concrete, cover everything with a custom red cedar arbor and build a flagstone circle around our ornamental tree. We’re so excited we can hardly stand it and I’ll probably spend the afternoon celebrating with a bag of Cheetos, a Marcy-tini and “Millionaire Matchmaker” reruns. Construction will start by the end of next week, so keep an eye out for progress photos in the Howdygram.

Good thing #3. It may be too early to knock on wood, but today, at last, I’m finally seeing some improvement with my new injectable diabetes medication. My blood sugar was NORMAL this morning — 32 points lower than yesterday! — and I’m so encouraged that I’ve decided to wait until Monday to check in with Dr. M. Stay tuned.

Good thing #4. Today is President Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday. I don’t know about YOU, but I miss Bill and I definitely wish I could vote for him again. He was the smartest, most articulate president of our generation, had a terrific accent and America was much better off during his two administrations. If you want to show your appreciation you can click here to post your own birthday message and/or make a donation to the Clinton Foundation. Tell them Marcy sent you.

Good thing #5. Today is also Debbie Reynolds Day on Turner Classic Movies. This means absolutely nothing to Sam, who is decidedly NOT a Debbie Reynolds fan, but for me I get to record and watch three of my favorites: The Tender Trap, The Mating Game and Singin’ in the Rain. 

And now I think it’s finally time for a late lunch and an afternoon nap. Thank you for reading this. Please turn out the lights when you leave.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What to do when you're stuck in neutral.

I seriously hope you’re not as sick of this diatribe as I am, but there’s another crisis brewing at Club Meds. This is day three that I’m stabbing myself with double doses of Byetta, and my morning blood sugar count is exactly the same as it was with the single dose — TOO HIGH. If the results don’t show some improvement by tomorrow morning I’ll call Dr. M to find out where we go from here.

Although I’m sure you don’t visit the Howdygram to read the latest financial news, it appears that the stock market is tanking again today. There’s already been a 528-point drop this morning and it’s only 10 a.m. Today’s devastating freefall apparently has something to do with declining world markets, inflation, no jobs, higher unemployment, rampant domestic drought, rising food prices, atrocities in Syria and French actor Girard Depardieu (see photo) peeing in the cabin on an Air France flight after a stewardess tells him he can’t use the bathroom during takeoff.

Time to feed Sam some lunch. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Double your pleasure, double your fun ...

So here’s what’s going on at Club Meds for your possible interest. Yesterday morning I started injecting a double dose of Byetta two times a day, which is not a barrel of laughs because I definitely had a misconception about how I was going to accomplish this. With the Byetta pen you have to set up each dose by screwing on a new needle and then dialing a knob at the other end. I figured I’d inject the first dose, leave the needle inserted in my skin, dial another dose and push the button a second time. This turned out to be weird as hell, not very comfortable and generally stupid. So now I have to actually do two separate injections before breakfast and two separate injections before dinner. At this rate I’ll be a pin cushion by Labor Day.

For the curiosity-seekers among you, there’s a truly boring video on Byetta’s website. Click here and then choose “View Video Demonstration.”
If all this hoo-hah can actually reduce my blood sugar I’ll ask Dr. M on Monday to prescribe a new Byetta pen at the higher dose. Stay tuned.

Incidentally, just in case you assumed our weather must be improving because I haven’t been whining about the heat, you’re WRONG. Even though we missed breaking our all-time record for consecutive days with triple-digit temperatures, it was only ONE DAY that didn’t hit 100°. The next day the temperature jumped right back into triple-digit territory and hasn’t budged. At the moment it’s 105° outside and our five-day forecast appears below. There is still no chance of rain.
Obviously, when it’s this hot you don’t feel like doing ANYTHING. I’ve had a Costco shopping list on the kitchen counter for almost two weeks but can’t get motivated because everything you buy at Costco weighs a ton and you could die of heat stroke carrying it into the house — particularly if you’re buying pasta sauce, which consists of three enormous glass jars harnessed together like they’re being launched into outer space.

Maybe Sam and I will attempt a Costco junket on Saturday morning. We usually try to get there when they open the doors at 10 and the store is populated with cheerful senior citizens buying discounted crates of Depends.

Today is Humphrey Bogart Day on Turner Classic Movies and I hope you’ll tune in tonight to watch a few of my favorite Bogey films — In a Lonely Place, The Maltese Falcon and The Caine Mutiny. Actually, In a Lonely Place starts in about 15 minutes so I’ll have to finish writing this post as soon as possible.

Under the circumstances, shalom, y’all, and have a nice day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Miscellaneous baloney continued.

Howdy. I forgot to include a couple of Schwan’s product reviews with my last post so I thought I’d give everybody a late-afternoon thrill and take care of this NOW.
First, Schwan’s Fire-Baked Pepperoni Pizza is an experience in mediocrity. It might work as a substitute for genuine pizza if you’re stuck at home with a lousy cold and can’t tell how hideously salty this thing is, but anybody with functioning taste buds should avoid it at all costs. Also, there’s not nearly as much pepperoni as you see in the photo — I’d guess less than HALF, actually — and the “fire-baked” crust is just soggy and sad. I’d love to meet the culinary bozo who thought this product would be a hit.

Schwan’s Mozzarella Sticks, on the other hand, are TERRIFIC. I ordered them at the last minute a couple of weeks ago when Sam and I had a craving and I didn’t feel like sending him to Tom Thumb because they’re usually not easy to find in the freezer case. Schwan’s Mozzarella Sticks are superior to anything in the grocery store. The breading tastes better, there’s a perfect amount of cheese inside to make them totally edible and they don’t get oozey in the oven. (Frozen mozzarella sticks from the grocery store are usually so thick it’s like trying to bite a radial tire.)

I think I’ll order in for dinner tonight because I haven’t eaten anything today except a handful of pretzel sticks for breakfast. Thank you for reading this. Send vitamins.

Assorted updates and miscellaneous baloney.

Seriously, I apologize for not posting since Friday. I was feeling moderately crabby and frustrated most of the weekend due to another diappointment with my diabetes medication — this time it’s Byetta, that fancy new “pen” that I started using last week for do-it-yourself injections. 
I guess the bottom line is, it’s just NOT WORKING. My blood sugar is still too high, so obviously I’m stabbing myself twice a day for NOTHING. I left a voice-mail for my doctor and I’m waiting for further instructions. Stay tuned, but please don’t hesitate to go about your normal routine in the meantime.

In other news, in a throwback to my years in Los Angeles there was a low-speed police chase yesterday in Fort Worth with a flock of wailing squad cars on the tail of a STOLEN FORKLIFT doing about 25 m.p.h. as it swerved through city streets, mall parking lots and eventually onto Interstate 30. The driver of the forklift was a shirtless yahoo drinking beer and throwing the empties at police. I’d refer you to the video clip that’s posted on YouTube (a pair of good ol’ boys followed the chase and filmed it with a cell phone) but it’s laced with substantial profanity and the Howdygram doesn’t want to jeopardize its worldwide popularity as a family-friendly blog.

It seems that Ruth Madoff, wife of incarcerated Ponzi monster Bernie Madoff, has finally decided to dump her disgraceful husband in an effort to patch up relations with her surviving son and grandchildren, all of whom froze her out of their lives after dear old dad was convicted, sentenced to two lifetimes in prison and elder son Mark committed suicide. Ruth is pictured below attending an informal luncheon in Manhattan dressed like Ralphie from A Christmas Story.
Incidentally, my doctor’s office just called and told me to double my dose of Byetta, so I’ll give it a shot (no pun intended) and see if it does the trick. Thank you for reading this. I’m going to eat some pretzels now.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Extolling the virtues of

For those of you waiting breathlessly for the outcome of my first do-it-yourself diabetes medication injection, the results are in — IT WAS NO BIG DEAL WHATSOEVER. Even though the needle was at least three times longer than the picture in the manual, it’s still extremely teeny, puncturing myself turned out to be a very simple procedure and I honestly didn’t feel a thing.

I can’t wait to do this again TOMORROW. (Okay, maybe not.)

To celebrate, I ordered a really nice insulated travel case for diabetics from that holds all of my supplies and comes with a gel pack to keep everything cold. I love all these zipper compartments and pockets. Some even have VELCRO!
I know I say this a lot, but there’s practically NOTHING you can’t buy on Amazon — from suppositories to Fred Astaire movies to gefilte fish, I am constantly amazed.

Believe it or not, weather nerds, Dallas fell one day short of breaking its long-standing record for consecutive days (43) with triple-digit heat. Yesterday’s high was a frosty 88° due to heavy cloud cover. The air outside actually felt cool after so many weeks at 105° and above, and late in the afternoon there were even a few — hallelujah! — THUNDERSTORMS in the area. None of them actually got very close to Mesquite, but it probably would’ve been worth a half-hour drive to see it raining in Denton.

And finally, the Howdygram would like to extend birthday wishes to former Cuban dictator and hard-line Communist funnyman Fidel Castro, who turns 85 on Saturday. Castro is best-known for overthrowing Fulgencio Batista’s government in 1959, after which he installed himself as Cuba’s Cigar King and initiated a decades-long love affair with the Soviet Union. Castro continues to wear ugly outfits and bad hats since retiring for health reasons in 2008.
I’m going to spend the afternoon watching Tiger Woods self-destruct at the PGA Championship in Atlanta. Yesterday he apparently shot his worst opening round EVER and spent most of the day whacking his ball out of bunkers, ponds and knee-high weeds. This is certainly golf at its best. Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Club Meds is definitely no trip to the beach.

I saw my doctor again this morning to discuss Prescription Adjustment #2,173 in our ongoing effort to get my blood sugar back under control. Everything got out of whack a few weeks ago when I had to give up taking Metformin because it’s having a negative effect on my kidney function, and God knows a person has to protect her kidneys. Unfortunately, the meds I was taking as an alternative to Metformin haven’t exactly done the trick for my blood sugar, so today we eliminated Onglyza and replaced it with Byetta.
Byetta (see above) is an INJECTABLE medication, and with my first dose tomorrow morning I will officially enter new territory here at Club Meds when I begin puncturing myself with this blue and orange pen twice a day. Aside from the fact that I’m not a huge fan of self-inflicted pain, I’ll also have to deal with some inconvenience when Sam and I travel because Byetta has to be stored at a certain temperature, like lipstick and mayonnaise.

I also have an appointment with a nephrologist at Advanced Kidney Care of North Texas on September 1 to make sure my kidneys are happy. I visited the clinic’s website this morning to download their new patient forms and it’s a very nice site with three really pretty people posing in the banner. I’m figuring this is probably a stock photo and the people are professional models.
Wrong! These are the THREE ACTUAL DOCTORS at the clinic! My appointment is with the one on the right, Dr. Hsu. There’s a closeup of her on another page and she has terrific teeth. Quite honestly, I’ve never seen such pretty doctors in my entire life who aren’t performing in a soap opera.

Incidentally, please send me an email if you can explain why people are rioting in London. I’ve been scanning most of the online news stories and can’t find any information about how or why this crap got started. Cheerio, y’all, and thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The bread machine disaster from another planet.

Coming soon to a theater near you ... how an ordinary little bread machine mix becomes a TWISTED FREAK OF NATURE and a FRIGHTENING LUMP OF PETRIFIED CRUST that wreaks havoc on a quiet Dallas suburb!
Okay, maybe I get carried away sometimes, but a post about last night’s kitchen disaster is definitely worth a few additional adjectives. It was my plan to make French bread with a pre-packaged mix I’ve bought several times in the past and the stupid thing baked into an amorphous, unidentifiable mass of rock-hard crust (see photo) that could destroy an island if you dropped it from the space shuttle. I couldn’t even get a knife through it.

I’ll try making another French bread mix tomorrow but this time I think I’ll skip the bread machine and throw the dough directly onto the patio. The temperature here will be 109° ... our 39th consecutive day above 105°.

Send Popsicles. Thank you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Howdygram weekend review.

I’ve decided that sometimes it’s not convenient to work on the Howdygram on weekends because Sam’s here and we’re pretty much joined at the hip. This involves damn near everything from driving around in the country to taking naps together to hanging out in the kitchen to see what’s in the refrigerator. Basically, the only time we’re apart is when I’m making the bed or Sam decides to water our trees.

If you’re annoyed that I didn’t write a post over the weekend you have my deepest sympathy. Also, you might want to consider therapy.

This is a Howdygram love letter to Saltgrass Steakhouse in Rowlett, Texas, which might be our favorite local restaurant. We love the food, we love the service, we love the decor, we love the menu, we love the parking lot and we even love that they give you a gigantic carafe of extra ice tea so you can drink until your kidneys float into the next county.
We only have one teeny tiny little criticism. Maybe someone on Saltgrass’ management team can explain how come the two cute hostesses standing in the front entrance who see us park in a handicapped spot and watch me walking in with a cane decide they need to lead us to a table that’s so far from the front door we’re practically eating lunch in Oklahoma. Keep in mind the doors have only been open for 15 minutes and THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT IS EMPTY except for a couple of servers folding napkins at the reception desk. Old people do NOT think this is funny. I’m just saying.

Tiger Woods didn’t win the Bridgestone Invitational yesterday. He actually finished in a tie for 37th place, a distinction that’s not worth a stamp to write home about. Tiger’s recently-fired caddie, however, did a whole lot better. In an amazing display of poetic justice, Steve Williams (see right) carried the bag for Adam Scott, who finished FIRST at 17-under-par.
There was a 2.6-magnitude earthquake that shook the Dallas metro area yesterday. The epicenter was located six miles southwest of Dallas near the border of Irving and Grand Prairie (see the map below).
Early reports indicate that nobody noticed and nobody cared since this was roughly the same as slamming a car door. Thank y’all for reading this.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hopelessly out of touch.

Sam and I love Texas. Mostly it’s full of swell people, photogenic livestock, huge freeways with almost zero traffic and you can dress up like Gene Autry any time you want and nobody would notice. My only complaint concerns the online version of Dallas’ only newspaper. Judge for yourself. On a day when the stock market had it worst crash since the financial disaster of 2008, Congress is in the toilet with a disapproval rating of 84%, we’re frying here with the worst heat wave and drought in decades, the TOP THREE STORIES on the Dallas Morning News website are:

“First Exclusive Photos from Cowboys Training Camp”
“Clown Hopefuls Audition at American Airlines Center”
“Proposed City Budget Beefs Up Staffing for Traffic Light Repairs”

They also included some inspiring and helpful photographs, which I’ll share with you below.
While I wait for Sam to get home from work I just ordered some office supplies from because it’s too damn hot outside to go shopping. I also ordered dinner tonight from China City, and when I opened the front door it felt like sticking my head in the oven to baste a Thanksgiving turkey. Even worse, the delivery dude gave me a 15-minute shpiel about his allergies. Apparently he confused me with somebody who would actually give a crap about this.

In other news, the Howdygram would like to wish an extremely happy birthday to Lucille Ball, who would be 100 years old tomorrow if she hadn’t died in 1989. It may interest some of you to know that her hit TV sitcom “I Love Lucy” has been on the air continuously since the day I was born almost 60 years ago. Click here for a video clip of Lucy’s classic Vitameatavegamin routine and be sure to watch TCM tomorrow for 24 hours of Lucy’s movies. My favorites are Lured and The Long, Long Trailer.

Incidentally, the new season of “Top Chef Just Desserts” premiers August 24 on Bravo. Don’t miss this chance to watch a lot of competitive gay pastry chefs frost things for big money. This is truly fine television. Seriously.

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Strategies for surviving a heat wave.

As I mentioned in my last post, the only way to survive this three-month north Texas blast furnace (i.e., summer) is to sit under a ceiling fan eating sugar-free Popsicles. Unfortunately a person can get really sick of eating these, not to mention there’s also zero nutrition and a high risk of irreversible brain freeze. For a nice change of pace I’d LOVE to get dinner tonight from Slab’s, a terrific little dive for takeout barbecue that’s less than five minutes from home, but it’s TOO DAMN HOT TO GO OUTSIDE and Slab’s doesn’t deliver. This is a crushing disappointment. And I’m running out of Popsicles.
Incidentally, I just realized that I haven’t reviewed any Schwan’s products for quite a while, so here’s your fix.
The Shepherd’s Pie isn’t bad. The flavor’s okay, the portion size can feed two average adults (or a couple of picky eaters and an irritating child) and it’s an easy meal that bakes in 55 minutes. My only complaint is the PRICE. Our local Tom Thumb supermarket sells a nearly identical private-label frozen Shepherd’s Pie for $4.99. Schwan’s charges $10.98.

The Italian Melt Sandwich is a better value. You get two really big oblong focaccias covered with cheesy goo and toppings. The instructions say you’re supposed to bake them side-by-side and then slap them together and whack the thing into sections like a big gigantic sandwich (see photo), but Sam and I think the crust gets too crunchy to eat it that way so we just keep the two halves separate and enjoy it like a flatbread pizza. This is VERY GOOD STUFF and the sauce has a surprise kick to it. A person should always be prepared for a surprise kick.

Sam just called. He’ll be late coming home from work again tonight, which means I can finish watching a truly stupid Betty Grable movie (see below) that I recorded this morning — The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend — and maybe get started on one of my new Flash Gordon DVDs.
Thanks a million for stopping by. I can’t wait for fall.

August 4 is Ronald Colman Day.

A lot of you probably know that Ronald Colman is my all-time favorite actor, right up there with William Holden, James Stewart, Montgomery Clift and frequently Alec Guinness. But talent and fabulous performances aside, Colman clearly stands apart from all the rest with one unforgettable quality. His voice.
Thursday is Ronald Colman Day on TCM, and I suggest that you stay home from work, bribe a relative or program your DVR so you won’t miss any of these terrific films. My personal favorites in Thursday’s lineup include The Prisoner of Zenda, Random Harvest, A Tale of  Two Cities, Raffles and Arrowsmith. You should also check out Lost Horizon if you don’t mind a weird restoration with a lot of still photos and dialog in the background.

It’s after 1 a.m., Sam hasn’t come home from work yet and the temperature outside is still 94°. This heat wave is absolutely suffocating and nobody’s having a very good time around here. People are being warned to stay indoors with their pets and turn up the thermostat to save electricity. I keep ours set at 80° during the day, which works out fine if all you want to do is sit under a ceiling fan eating sugar-free Popsicles.

Among those paying no attention to the warnings — or even to COMMON SENSE — are most of our local high school football teams, who apparently continue to practice outdoors in triple-digit heat. Two coaches dropped dead this week. I’m actually surprised it was only TWO.

Don’t forget to floss.