Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meet “Aunt Barbara,” Long Island’s drag queen Tupperware lady.

I’m being bombarded by client projects again. Today I redesigned two websites, set up an online photo gallery and quoted a brochure project that will probably get underway tomorrow. Every time I try to inch a little closer to retirement I wind up busier than the week before. The money’s nice, but quite honestly I’d rather take a nap and eat cake.

I received two cans of Bisto today from Amazon.com. Bisto is a British product ... intensely popular instant fake gravy granules comprised of seasoned chemicals that you mix into a cup of boiling water. Bisto will make almost anything taste better, such as styrofoam, corrugated cardboard or Schwan’s Chicken Patties, which are basically pre-chewed chicken nuggets on steroids (see below). Bisto is available in a variety of flavors. I bought “Favourite,” which makes a dark brown gravy that pretends to be beef but doesn’t exactly taste like it, and “Chicken,” which should be self-explanatory. (It’s yellow.)
Bisto’s big claim to fame is speed with zero lumps. It’s also very low-calorie with practically no carbs or fat, making it the perfect enhancement for your favorite processed mystery meat.

Here’s a story I read this morning on ABC’s news website about a drag queen superstar Tupperware lady in Long Island named Aunt Barbara. She was the company’s top consultant in North America last year, selling more than $250,000 worth of Tupperware’s overpriced plastics and earning a 2011 Fort Mustang convertible and a trip to Hawaii.
Aunt Barbara is actually Robert Suchan, a 43-year-old former social worker who’s 6'5" tall and booked solid for Tupperware parties six months in advance. She He especially loves Tupperware’s cheese grater, which can double as a weapon in case of a home invasion. The video clip below will give you a better picture. Is he hilarious, or what?

While I wait for Sam to get home from work I think I’ll make a Goofy Fruity Shake and hang out in the family room to watch tonight’s episodes of “Hardcore Pawn” and “Tabatha Takes Over.” You’re welcome to join me but bring your own straw, okay?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Scary cosmic monsters and other happy childhood memories.

I recently told Sam a couple of stories from when I was a kid and he thought both would make excellent material for the Howdygram. So here they are. I won’t mind if you’re not interested, but maybe you can pretend just for the hell of it.

Story number one concerns First Man Into Space, a 1959 movie about the very first astronaut coming back to earth that scared the living crap out of me when I was eight years old. I remember running from the Skokie Theater screaming and then having ongoing nightmares about this crusted, disfigured monster for MONTHS — actually, YEARS — afterwards. The worst part was his one huge oozy eyeball and his huge cockeyed teeth, apparently the result of radioactive cosmic dust.
Looking at these pictures now it all seems really lame, but trust me, that monster was too much for my brain to process at eight years old. And his eyeball was just HORRIBLE.

I’m also pleased to include a photo of the aforementioned Skokie Theater (circa 1962), which was really teeny with one screen, very good popcorn and a 10¢ soft drink machine that dispensed syrup and carbonated water into a paper cup in separate streams with a clump of crushed ice at the end. This was fabulous and my favorite flavor was Green River.
And now for my television debut, which is story number two. “Lunchtime Little Theater” was a Chicago children’s TV show in the mid-1950s starring Uncle Ned, Uncle Bucky and Aunt Jeannie. (I wouldn’t joke about this.) In 1956 mom got tickets for my sister and me to be in the audience ... I was five, Robin was three. Three years old probably pushed the envelope a little, because Robin had a shrieking fit when they seated her with me in the peanut gallery so she got exiled to sit in back with all the mothers. And although I have almost zero recollection of “Lunchtime Little Theater” that day, I remember walking up and down the sidewalk in front of our house when I got home — still wearing my party dress — because I was positive everybody would recognize me. Oh my God, isn’t that the cute little girl we just saw on TELEVISION?

Trust me. “Lunchtime Little Theater” did NOT launch my career and thank you for reading this.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Here comes Sam.

Sam is coming home today — yee-haw! — and after the busy morning he’s had I’ll bet he falls asleep on the plane providing there’s enough room for his legs. (It’s not so easy when you’re 6'5".) He just called to tell me that he and mom went out for breakfast with David, Lisa and Anna, they all stopped at Mount Sinai Cemetery to see his dad’s grave and then everybody dropped him off at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, which is where he is right now. The family photos below were taken this morning by Lisa at Mount Sinai Cemetery. Bob Hope and his airport appear courtesy of Google.
As for yours truly, I bounced — okay, that might be a slight exaggeration — out of bed this morning at 6:45 after eight hours of luxurious and uninterrupted sleep, folded two loads of sheets and towels, napped through Gypsy starring Rosalind Russell (see right) and ate leftover hot and sour soup. I actually would have preferred napping through Funny Girl but I deleted it last night.

Sam’s flight gets in at 5:30 so I’ll be leaving here about an hour before that to pick him up. According to American Airlines’ website he’ll be arriving at gate C-15, so I decided to provide the enhanced map that appears below for your possible interest. All important features are outlined in pink.
Thank you for reading this. Seriously.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A vote for Newt is a vote for “space mirrors.”

I am desperately tired right now. I can’t keep my eyes open and it almost feels as though I haven’t slept for a couple of days, which is not the case at all. It’s 10:45 and Marcy the night owl is actually thinking about going to bed. But first, courtesy of TheWeek.com, here are four of the craziest ideas ever proposed by Newt “Tweedledum” Gingrich, the GOP’s nastiest excuse for a presidential candidate. In addition to promising voters that he’ll colonize the moon by 2020 and establish it as our 51st state, Newt has also suggested that we:
  • Shoot lasers at North Korea. Newt has pledged to use “unconventional methods” to stop North Korea from launching a missile, including the Airborne Laser, a top-secret secret jumbo jet that’s fitted with a missile-zapping energy cannon.
  • Launch “orbital death rays.” In 2002 Newt told PBS that space lasers shot from an orbiting satellite would be the key to stopping Russian and Chinese missiles. (This is basically the plot of Diamonds Are Forever.)
  • Kill marijuana smugglers. Newt sponsored the Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996, whereby anybody convicted of bringing more than two ounces of pot into the United States — two ounces? — would receive a mandatory life sentence. Repeat offenders would be executed. He neglected to suggest where we would incarcerate the entire population of Central America or how we’d fund a prison the size of Pennsylvania.
  • Reduce crime with “space mirrors.” In 1984 Newt promoted an idea to install giant mirrors in space to illuminate the night sky like a lot of full moons, making streetlights obsolete and preventing criminals from jumping out of dark alleys to scare the crap out of you.
He’s certifiably insane. Thank you for reading this.

AT&T, the Einstein communications powerhouse.

I wasn’t planning to write another post at this point in the day but changed my mind a couple of minutes ago when I checked email and found this adorable photo from Aunt Adie, taken yesterday at Venice Beach. Are these guys cute, or what? They even match the landscape!
And then a few minutes ago I get an email from AT&T U-Verse announcing that my monthly bill is now available in video format — what the hell? — and all I have to do is click the link to view it. They say it’s “an additional way to help you understand the billing details of your award winning U-Verse service.”

I click the link and — take your best guess here — it doesn’t work. So I close the browser page and start over. No luck. But the third time’s a charm for AT&T because now their little video swings into action. It plays for five whole seconds and stops dead, then teeny little numbers start lurching slowly from 1 to 100. The counter stops dead twice. When the video finally reloads it plays for another five seconds and stops dead again, more teeny little numbers lurching to 100, and so on. Play. Stop. Die. Lurch. Play. Stop. Die. Lurch. I waste half an hour of my life horsing around with a three-minute video produced by Einstein & Company. I’m definitely feeling inspired now to recommend “award winning U-Verse service” to everybody I know. (This post ought to take care of that.)
Incidentally, the aforementioned “lurching number” is circled in red in the image above. I hate these things. (And even worse, the font is Times Roman.)

Time for a hot shower and dinner. Thanks for stopping by!

Public schools give me a migraine.

Good morning, shalom and welcome to Potato Salad Day here at Howdygram headquarters. My big mixing bowl is out on the counter and my hard-boiled eggs are shelled. The next step involves cooking some actual potatoes, which is at the top of my agenda as soon as I finish this post. You can check out my world-famous recipe here.

I’m pleased to report that I slept very well last night. My toes didn’t hurt and my hands weren’t hot. As a matter of fact, I didn’t get out of bed this morning till the crack of 10:30 and didn’t even wake up when Sam called at 9. (Apparently I thought I dreamed the phone was ringing and just rolled over.)

And now, here’s a little something from our Knee-Jerk Reaction department. I read an article this morning that the principal of Pottsdown Middle School in Pennsylvania has banned “open top boots” — such as those popular but stupid-looking Uggs (see below) — in classrooms because students are sneaking in contraband items hidden in their boots. The school is referring specifically to cell phones, which students are not allowed to bring to class.
I have two questions for Principal Einstein. First, how the hell can boots have “closed” tops? And second, don’t cell phones also fit in a pocket or backpack? Public schools give me a migraine. I’m just saying.

One final thought. A few thousand years ago when I was in middle school I wanted to dress like a GIRL, not like a sherpa heading for base camp at Mount Everest. Thank you for reading this.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Missing Sam.

Hi. It’s 9:45 p.m. and I’ve had just about all the activity a person can stand for one day. I emptied the dishwasher, re-bandaged a toe, ordered in Chinese food, talked to Sam long-distance in California, considered eating a piece of cake and watched an amazing movie called Letter from an Unknown Woman with Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdan (see photo). Incidentally, the Einsteins who rate these films for our AT&T U-Verse cable guide gave it 3½ stars — the same as Dinner for Schmucks, which is AT&T’s benchmark for excellence in filmmaking, and Ben-Hur — so you know it must be awfully damn special.
Breaking news ... SAM COMES HOME ON SUNDAY! To say I’ve missed him would be the understatement of the century because it’s awfully dull around here when he’s gone. Not only is Sam the life of the party, he’s cuddly, exceptionally attractive and the Howdygram’s official mascot. (He’ll kill me for that.) First, however, I have a number of projects scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday), such as making a mountain of my world-famous homemade potato salad, ordering a 12-pack of Bounty select-a-size paper towels from Wal-Mart and trying not to destroy any additional toes in the process. Sam’s flight gets in at 5:30 Sunday and I’ll be there to pick him up.

Click here to send Sam a welcome home email. Thank you.

Toes, part two, and how to plan ahead for Thin Mints.

The baby toe on my left foot? I think it’s BROKEN. That’s the one I smashed into the leather bench in the master bedroom at 3:30 this morning when I didn’t have the brains to turn on a light. The toenail has turned a motley shade of blue/black, the actual toe is swollen — which is tricky to detect because my baby toes have always been lumpy little things, anyway — and the whole side of my foot hurts like hell. The toe on my other foot, the one I crushed on a corner of the sectional last night, finally stopped throbbing a couple of hours ago but it’s still wrapped in a bandage and hurts like hell because a huge chunk of skin has gone missing.

I guess I should apologize if this is a little too much information. I’ve barely had five hours of sleep, walking sucks, I don’t want to wear shoes and I refuse to leave the house. (I’m not particularly interested in wearing a brassiere, either, but this has nothing whatsoever to do with my toes.) Quite frankly, I need CAKE.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, the Howdygram is pleased to announce that Girl Scout cookie season starts next month! As a matter of fact, if you go to the Girl Scout cookies website you can type in your zip code and find out exactly how many minutes and miles away you are from shoveling a box of Thin Mints into your face. Apparently here in Mesquite we’ll be able to find cookie fairies in front of every Wal-Mart, Kroger, Tom Thumb, Minyard’s, Albertson’s and Lowe’s. Lowe’s?

In my case, of course, I don’t do Girl Scout cookies because they’re loaded with sugar and I’m diabetic, so Sam usually gets suckered in at the office. Last year he wound up eating an entire sleeve of Thin Mints and came home at midnight with the jitters and a migraine headache. Never again. This year the Howdygram cookie police are on high alert.

Thank you for reading this.

There’s no business like toe business.

First things first. I’m turning off lights in the family room last night, getting ready to go to sleep, when I walk into the edge of our sectional and crush a toe ... the exact same spot where I crushed another toe three weeks ago and ripped off the entire nail.

But I digress.

Limping and bleeding I shlep into the bedroom, sit on the bed and manage to wrap a bandage around my toe after three tries. I lie down but can’t get comfortable or fall asleep because my foot is throbbing like a jackhammer so I figure I’ll get up watch a Doris Day movie. However, I forget that I’m home alone and it’s okay to turn on a light so I slam into the leather bench at the foot of the bed and smash a toe on my OTHER foot. By now I’m in no mood for Doris Day whatsoever. I’d be much happier with Bride of Chucky or a chainsaw murder.

In case you missed this in the news yesterday, Robert Hegyes, the character who played Juan Epstein on “Welcome Back Kotter” in the mid-197os, died of a heart attack at age 60 ... the same age as me. (I suppose I should stop carrying on about my toes now.)
I have no idea what Hegyes did after “Kotter” went off the air in 1978 aside from a couple of commercials and turning gray. Gabe Kaplan, however, the comedian who played the actual role of “Kotter” (see left), is now a professional poker player and looks a lot like the dude who changes our oil at Jiffy Lube. Except the Jiffy Lube dude shaves.

And now for some comic relief, I give you the delusional GOP crackpot, Newt Gingrich (see right). Pandering to an out-of-work aerospace crowd in Florida yesterday he decides to announce that when we elect him President he’ll colonize the moon and turn it into a state by 2020. Judging from Newt’s racist views about lazy blacks on welfare and abolishing child labor laws so public schools can fire their janitors and force poor minority students to clean the toilets, let’s guess who he’d send to the moon to set up that first colony. (Think there’s any chance we can convince Newt to be governor? I’ll help him pack.)

I should try to get some sleep because it’s almost time for breakfast. Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

“Craving incontinence.” Let’s search for a cure.

And now for something weird. I woke up this morning at 8:30 with one thought in my head … an excursion to Gio’s Deli in Dallas for chopped liver, a couple of half-sour dills and a knish. I need chopped liver bad. Except it’s raining again and I don’t especially want to drive around town on wet freeways. I figure if it stops by noon (it’s supposed to) I’ll go to Gio’s later on instead. The map below indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite; and B) Gio’s Deli on Preston Road.
I guess the weather gods felt my pain because it stops raining at 10:30, the sun comes out, and I’m thinking, glorioski, CHOPPED LIVER! I jump in the shower, blow-dry my hair, and by the time I’m done shpritzing myself with Estee Lauter I no longer have any craving for chopped liver whatsoever and my attention turns to washing a load of towels, reheating leftover soup and making hard-boiled eggs.

I actually find it frightening to be suffering from “craving incontinence,” a non-contagious disorder whereby senior citizens are unable retain a simple craving for more than 15 minutes at a time. While the condition can sometimes be attributed to not wanting to bother with shoes and a brassiere, in most cases the aforementioned senior citizen just forgets the craving altogether and moves on. I seriously hope there’s a pill for this and it’s available as a generic.

Thank you for reading this.

Clients, cake, rain and Cheez-Its.

I know you’ve been waiting for the official news. The Dallas area has received 4¾" of rain during the last 36 hours, bringing our monthly total to 6½" — three times the average rainfall for January — with more expected later this morning. We tripled our average rainfall last month, too. I’m almost starting to get excited about this!

Once again I’m being bombarded by a ton of client projects, and it’s been pretty much nonstop since the first of the year with requests for website updates, tweaks or complete redesigns. I charge a pile of money to do this (Sam loves it when I charge a pile of money) but I have to work on my attitude a little because most of the time I just want everybody to GET LOST.

I’m wondering if any of you have ever seen the musical “Sweeney Todd”? TCM aired the 1982 made-for-TV movie last night, which was technically a televised broadcast of the Broadway show with music by Stephen Sondheim and starring Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett, the whack job who baked humans into meat pies. Just between us, I do NOT understand the public’s ongoing fascination with this disgusting musical about a serial killer and a cannibal. The whole experience was so damn disturbing I almost couldn’t eat my cake and Cheez-Its.

Bedtime at last. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No, Bubba, your pickup truck won’t float.

First, I’d like to share a couple of photos taken this morning in north Dallas following a night of torrential rain. All the ramps and underpasses to the LBJ Freeway were flooded and underwater, and emergency crews were staying busy with high water rescues because apparently the fine citizens of Dallas think their pickup trucks can FLOAT.
And now here’s one for the record books. Ralph Shortey, a nutjob Republican state senator from Oklahoma City, introduced a bill on Tuesday that would ban the use of aborted human fetuses in food even though he’s never actually heard of any company that’s doing this. Undeterred, Shortey said his own research led him to believe such a ban is absolutely necessary and his bill is aimed at “raising public awareness.” However, the executive director of Oklahomans for Life, a group that’s pushed some of the weirdest anti-abortion laws in the country through the state’s legislature, said he’s never heard of human fetuses being used in food or food research and basically thinks Shortey is an idiot. Although maybe not in those exact words.
Seriously, Ralphie ... fetuses in food? You don’t think state lawmakers are already wasting enough time? Why not introduce a bill to ban hamster pee in soft drinks or toe jam in Twinkies? (I’m feeling ill.)

Incidentally, I apologize if anybody is offended by the can of Campbell’s soup that appears in this post. It’s a joke. This is NOT a photo of an actual product.

Thank you for reading this.

Get ready to rumble!

I’m having a crappy night’s sleep for one reason and one reason only ... GREAT BIG THUNDERSTORMS! They’ve been rolling through here for the last three or four hours with plenty of lightning, boomers and rain so heavy it sounds like a herd of buffalo running by the bedroom window. So I finally got up, poured myself a nice Marcy-tini and shlepped into the study to find out what’s happening on Weather.com. Here, for your possible interest, is the whole shebang.
The big red star denotes Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite. If you zoom in I’m the cute one in the blue robe with squinty eyes because it’s 5 a.m. It’s okay to wave back if you want to.

In other news, the Alliance for Biking & Walking’s 2012 benchmark report indicates that Dallas is just about the worst big city in the United States when it comes to people riding their bikes to work. Seriously? Who the hell wants to ride a bicycle to work in Dallas? For eight months every year we’ve got temperatures above 90° with subtropical humidity, so commuting on a bike would only make sense if you work two blocks from home and stack dishes for a living at Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse, where everybody else has heat stroke, too.

We also run the risk of getting trampled by wild man Rick Perry in a pickup truck or a gang of longhorns looking for greener pastures. No thanks. I’ll keep my Hyundai.

I should probably try to get a little more sleep so I won’t nod off watching “People’s Court” this afternoon. Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Celebrating homemade soup, frosted cake and a flood at White Rock Creek.

I’m pleased to report that I’ve had a thoroughly worthwhile and productive day. I made a gigantic pot of homemade soup, baked and frosted a sugar-free chocolate cake, cleaned up the kitchen twice, spent three hours working on client projects, wrote several Howdygram posts beginning at 5:30 this morning, took two delicious naps, listened to the rain and watched the State of the Union address.

I also enjoyed a couple of good movies (see below) ... a 1944 biopic about Woodrow Wilson surprisingly titled Wilson with Alexander Knox, and an odd Hitchcock costume drama from 1949 called Under Capricorn with Ingrid Bergman. (I believe I slept through a significant portion of the latter. Sorry, Ingrid.)
For all you weather nerds out there, we’ve already had an inch of rain today with two more inches expected overnight and another two inches expected tomorrow. This will make a very significant dent in our “extreme drought” situation, and apparently White Rock Creek in Dallas is already at flood stage. Yee-haw! A flood!
The map above indicates: A) the location where White Rock Creek always overflows at Northwest Highway; and B) White Rock Lake, which is surrounded by lots of very snooty homes.

To wrap up an otherwise perfect day I think it’s time to unwind, eat cake and watch tonight’s episodes of “Tabatha Takes Over” and “Hardcore Pawn.” Thank you for reading this, and I mean it sincerely.

Highlights from Kazakhstan Fashion Week.

With torrential rain less than 10 minutes away I thought I’d write a quickie post before I curl up in the family room with a movie and a bowl of homemade soup that smells so good I almost can’t stand it. The red star on the map below indicates Howdygram headquarters, and all that crazy weather is moving to the northeast and heading straight for Mesquite. I plan to keep my feet dry no matter what.
It’s NOT just Paris and New York! And now for the fashionistas among you, here’s a peek at six designer runway shows from Fashion Week events around the world. Kazakhstan? Who knew! The designer’s name appears under each photo. (Frankly, I’d be too embarrassed to admit it.)
Nice touch with the slurpee eye cups, Frankenstein shoulder pads and that plaid jock strap. Much like modern art and all that B.S. about beauty and the eye of the beholder, the photos above offer ample proof that “shit sells.” (In Kazakhstan, anyway.)

I need soup. Thank you for stopping by.

Glorioski! We’re actually expecting rain!

Yo. It’s 5 a.m. and all’s well in north Texas although I have no idea why I’m awake at this hour because I didn’t actually go to bed until 1:45. But I figure if I’m up, you might be up, too, so I’ll sit here and write. Give me a little nudge if I start to nod off, okay?

Since Howdygramsters are known far and wide as engaged and model citizens, here’s a reminder to watch President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. It’s on at 8 p.m. (Central time) and should turn out to be quite a major hoo-hah when you consider all the crappy, contentious, disrespectful blowhards sitting in Congress right now.

In case you’re interested in professional golf you also might want to check out the HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi later this week. The Golf Channel will be airing it live, which means you’d have to get up in the middle of the night with a Marcy-tini and a baloney sandwich to help you stay awake. (Frosted cake works nicely, too.) Another network will probably televise the final two days of competition (on Saturday and Sunday) during normal hours for the U.S. audience so please keep an eye on the Howdygram for additional details. Incidentally, Tiger Woods is scheduled to play. Go, Tiger! Thank you.

This ends the Howdygram’s public service announcements for January 24.

Glorioski! Did somebody do a rain dance? I’m pleased to post the following map from Weather.com, clearly indicating A VERY SERIOUS RAIN EVENT for Texas today, tonight and tomorrow. Although they’re NOT predicting thunder or severe weather, you’ll note that Dallas is in the “yellow” zone, which means we’re expecting up to 5" of rainfall ... and that’s very good news for our lakes, reservoirs, lawns and trees. (Plus the cattle are sick of drinking Dr. Pepper.)
After I go back to bed for a while — something I absolutely plan to do within the next 15 minutes — I’ll spend the morning making homemade soup since my fridge is stuffed with all the beautiful crapola I bought yesterday at Tom Thumb. By the way, I always make enough to share so please send an email if you’re interested.

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Yes, Einstein, the Oklahoma dust bowl really sucked.

This is no surprise. The Einsteins at Weather.com just revised our forecast (see my earlier post) and it seems that we’re no longer expecting any thunderstorms whatsoever ... just a 90% chance of rain from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday evening. I’m fully confident they’ll revise it yet again by tomorrow morning until the forecast turns into mostly sunny and 65° with a light breeze from the Gulf so we can all dust off the patio furniture and sit outside with a sandwich. Seriously ... unless somebody starts delivering significant rainfall around here we’ll end up like the Oklahoma dust bowl (see photo, circa 1937).
There’s good news from California tonight ... Sam tells me he’s bringing home another batch of baby pictures! If they’re anywhere near as good as the batch he brought home last summer I’ll enlarge the whole lot of them to 11" x 14" and paper the entire foyer. My five favorite baby Sam photos currently appear in the right column of the Howdygram, cleverly titled “The Baby Sam Gallery.” I’m sure you’ll agree he was remarkably adorable with a pantload of personality!

I guess I’ll shlep myself into the family room now to watch a late movie and eat things. I’ve got a couple of Doris Day classics recorded — Lover Come Back (the one where she wears all those hats shaped like trash cans) and Pillow Talk — so I’ll probably watch one or both because Doris and Rock are banned around here whenever Sam’s home. Ditto for Debbie Reynolds and practically anything with Maurice Chevalier.
Thanks a million for stopping by. How’s the family?

Check this out and be glad if you’re not there.

I don’t know where this happened but I’m awfully damn glad I’m somewhere else. I spent 40 years of my life in Chicago (mostly) and Michigan, trying to commute in crappy, terrifying weather like this. Never again.

I need cake. Thank you for reading this.

January 23 ... it’s a quadruple-whammy celebration!

I’m sitting here at my desk fully dressed, listening for — go on, take a guess — the GARBAGE TRUCK to drive by. Seriously, I can’t wait to take a nap but first I have to wait for trash pickup so I can run down to the curb and haul the wheelie-can back into the garage because Sam and I are not slobs and never let the can sleep outside overnight. At the moment, however, this anti-slob routine is wrecking my afternoon and cutting into nap-time. The garbage truck is late.

Today is Monday, January 23, and the Howdygram is pleased to announce an exciting QUADRUPLE-WHAMMY CELEBRATION.

Whammy #1. Happy 80th birthday to my adorable mother-in-law, Belle, who’s pictured at right with Sam. They’re spending the day at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena because it’s raining and apparently there’s not much else to do except watch “The Price Is Right.”

Whammy #2. Today is CHINESE NEW YEAR and the entire Howdygram editorial staff (actually, just me) would like to wish y’all a deliriously happy Year of the Dragon. Egg foo young for everybody! (If egg foo young is unavailable just shake some soy sauce on your Wheaties.)
Whammy #3. Today is also NATIONAL PIE DAY, an event that deserves to be a legal holiday with a day off work and no mail delivery. Although I can finally celebrate National Pie Day as a diabetic with the three brand new sugar-free graham cracker pie crusts I’ve got sitting in the pantry, I woke up this morning with a critical craving for sugar-free chocolate cake with white frosting.

Yes, friends, I definitely march to a different drummer. I want cake on National Pie Day and matzo balls on Christmas.

Whammy #4. I finally did my grocery shopping this morning at Tom Thumb. It was a thoroughly worthwhile excursion during which I bought everything on my list plus a tub of Blue Bell sugar-free vanilla, SMUCKER’S SUGAR-FREE CARAMEL ICE CREAM SYRUP and — be still, my heart — new PEPPER-JACK CHEEZ-ITS. I’m so excited I want to eat everything at the same time and bake a sugar-free chocolate cake as soon as I’m done.
It was awfully nice of you to stop by today. Next time, call first and I’ll pick up a coffee cake.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pumpkin pie filling and Miracle Whip ... the options are endless!

The reason why I’m writing so many posts in Sam’s absence is because I can’t think of anything else to do with my time. I’ll have a new website to design in the not-too-distant future but won’t be able to get started until my client returns his signed contract. I’m expecting to hear from him tomorrow.

There’s some kind of screwy weather front rolling through here. It was very windy all day Sunday gusting to 45 m.p.h. plus a ton of dust blowing in from west Texas. Not leaving the house was an easy decision. Monday will be nice (see below) but on Tuesday everything gets kablooey with a 100% chance of thunderstorms and rain expected all day Wednesday as well. That’s a bold prediction for Dallas forecasters since they’re usually delusional, pathological liars and dead wrong about anything that remotely resembles precipitation.
Under the circumstances it’s my plan to get an early start to Tom Thumb in the morning so I can make the homemade soup mentioned in a previous post and also homemade potato salad in time for Sam’s homecoming next weekend.

Today’s Internet splurge, courtesy of Amazon.com ... three boxes of Atkins low glycemic (i.e., good for diabetics) Dark Chocolate/Coconut bars with almost no carbs. These are so damn beautiful you’ll swear you’re eating a Mounds.
Atkins has a bunch of other terrific varieties, too, such as Caramel Chocolate Mousse and another that tastes exactly like a Reese’s peanut butter cup. I wouldn’t mind stocking up on all of them but I always get scared off by too much of a good thing. Plus I don’t want my pantry to cave in.

Now that I’m desperately hungry I think I’ll prowl around for something to eat and watch a few episodes of “Cops.” I’ve got half a bowl of pumpkin pie filling in the fridge, a package of baloney, low-fat Miracle Whip and a jar of Claussen pickles. The options are endless!

Thank you for reading this.

“Add-A-Sam” … now only $29.95!

I screwed up. I overslept this morning and now it’s too late to get to Tom Thumb before the First Baptist Church of Garland lets out. I’ll have to wait until later today (maybe around dinner time) or go tomorrow morning instead. I always try to shop when I know I can find a handicapped parking spot and the store isn’t so busy that I have to wait in line 20 minutes watching grandma Einstein sort a suitcase full of coupons while my knees give out. Contrary to popular opinion I do NOT enjoy shrieking obscenities, shaking my cane at the cashier and threatening to strangle other shoppers. I’m just saying.

And now for an exciting special offer from your pals at the Howdygram … our fabulous new “ADD-A-SAM” program, where we’ll Photoshop a happy, waving Sam* onto all of your treasured family vacation photos. Just imagine the possibilities ... Sam in Aspen, Sam at Disneyland, Sam on the beach in Hawaii!
*Choose Texas Sam or California Sam. Operators are standing by to take your call.

Know why Sundays sometimes suck? No deliveries! I’m waiting for piles of wonderful crap from Amazon.com but UPS and FedEx don’t knock on doors on Sunday so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow for my Palmolive dishwashing liquid and Suave body wash, which are pictured below for your possible interest.
Incidentally, I’m trying NEW FRAGRANCES for both of these products, which is mighty damn exciting for a variety of reasons. This time I ordered Palmolive’s “soft touch” dishwashing goo with aloe and Suave’s “milk & honey” body goo. (I love goo.)

I’d better eat some lunch. Thanks for stopping by!

Please ... no remedial farmers in the White House.

So here’s the plan for Sunday. I woke up about an hour ago and decided I desperately need a pot of homemade beef barley soup today (except with chicken) so I’ll finish this post, go back to bed for a while and then drive over to Tom Thumb to pick up a few ingredients. I have almost everything in the house already except celery, barley, vegetable broth, kidney beans, baby carrots, chicken breasts, spinach and mushrooms. Okay, maybe “almost everything” was a small exaggeration. The only ingredients I’ve actually got are diced tomatoes, salt and parsley flakes.

Even though he’s back in Texas now, y’all should be very, very thankful that Governor Rick Perry (pictured at right in the middle of that famous “oops” moment) has exited the national stage as a candidate for President. And this is because THE DUDE IS AN IDIOT. In college he majored in Agriculture, barely squeaked by with a 2.0 GPA and a degree in Animal Science, and then proceeded to grease his way into politics because he never had the talent to do anything else. I downloaded Perry’s transcripts from a local news website yesterday and they paint a mighty grim picture: Cs, Ds and Fs in practically everything except for a B in “The Basics of Livestock Grading” in 1971. Obviously he was even too stupid to master the skills for farming. This sure sounds presidential, doesn’t it?

Time for a quick Marcytini and then I’d better get a little more sleep so I won’t fall down in Tom Thumb’s produce department. I’ll write more later. I promise.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The “Sam wave” sweeps North America.

Forgive me for taking so long to write a post today. After I drove Sam to the airport this morning I wound up finishing a big pile of client projects, redesigned my invoice forms for 2012, quoted a new seven-page website for a caterer in North Carolina and then sent him a contract to sign and return because apparently he’s having a nervous breakdown and wants me to get started immediately. All of this involved a ton of back and forth emails and turned out to be a lot more work than I expected. I’m pretty sure I had a crabby face for a few hours but everything is much better now.

I’m pleased to announce my web shopping splurge du jour: a 12-box carton of jumbo TicTacs in the new “Powermint” flavor — they’re blue! — which I ordered from Amazon.com because a person can never have too many little minty things. Holy crap, I’ll have the best breath north of the Rio Grande!
Today was my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday party, and Sam’s Aunt Adie emailed the following photos about an hour ago. What a happy bunch of relatives! Please note that Sam’s older sister, Marian, joined the siblings via Skype (see the middle photo) because she’s snowbound in Seattle.
Incidentally, I’ll bet you didn’t know I married a rock star. When I talked to Sam this afternoon he mentioned that his aunt and cousins have been posing for pictures all over North America doing the famous “Sam wave.” You know ... the one I plaster all over the Howdygram (see right). Take a look below to meet some of the featured players. No kidding, this is so cute I could bust.
I think I’d better publish this post and find something to eat before I conk out. I’m considering baloney on white bread because Sam isn’t here to make fun of me. Baloney is good. Thank you for reading this.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sock-folding party tonight at 8. Mark your calendar.

Okay, so here’s the deal. Sam leaves tomorrow for eight days in southern California and I’ll be home alone in Texas with the Howdygram, the Internet and a couple of credit cards. Holy crap, does life ever get better than this?

I actually jumped the gun before dawn this morning with a mini-spree on eDietShop.com and Low-Carb.com, where I bought myself three packages of sugar-free pumpkin pie mix, three sugar-free graham cracker crusts, a bag of sugar-free Hershey’s chocolate chips and a box of Dreamfields low-carb angel hair pasta. (I apologize profusely. I could only find a photo of rotini.)
Just for the record, that sugar-free pumpkin pie mix is TO DIE FOR. Just throw it in the blender with four cups of nonfat milk, whiz it around for about 30 seconds and glorioski, you’ve got pie! You can either pour this into a pie crust and refrigerate for two hours or — what I did — into a big bowl like pudding. You can order it here. FYI, those sugar-free graham cracker crusts are also available at your local Wal-Mart grocery store and on Amazon.com, except Amazon makes you buy a dozen at a time. This sucks unless you’re planning to make dessert for a shelter full of homeless diabetics.

My one big project for today other than designing a newsletter for a Lutheran church in Virginia  — seriously — is LAUNDRY so Sam will have everything he needs for his trip. He’ll pack when he gets home from work tonight because we need to be at the airport tomorrow morning by 8:30. For your possible interest I’m pleased to provide this map that illustrates the location of: A) Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite; and B) Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. This represents a pretty decent shlep of approximately 35 miles each way.
I’d better get started on all that laundry. Send an email if you’d like to stop by later with a bag of chips for a sock-folding party. We can watch last night’s episode of “Project Runway All Stars.” Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Razor refills, home-delivered Whoppers and three naked celebrities.

Some people subscribe to “National Geographic.” I subscribe to Charmin. Such is the life of a web-shopping addict. Thanks to Amazon.com I almost never have to set foot in a grocery store unless I need grapes or a gallon of milk. I buy damn near everything else online, and I especially love Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program because you get an extra discount, free shipping, no sales tax and really speedy service. So far — in addition to toilet paper — I get recurring deliveries of Ziploc bags in two different sizes, peanut butter, coffee, shampoo, sugar-free Israeli halva, deodorant, toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, laundry supplies, body wash, Atkins snack bars, Mach 3 razor refills for Sam (remember him?) and I’m considering canned tomatoes.

Fast food news you can use. Beginning in February Burger King fans (Burger King has fans?) can “have it their way” at vending machines and grocery stores because the chain is lending its name to a new line of crappy snack chips ... because apparently they paid a marketing Einstein to discover that’s exactly what America needs. This venture is in partnership with the same idiot company that created a line of crappy snack chips for T.G.I. Friday’s. Burger King’s two flavors will be “Ketchup & Fries” and a yet-to-be named chip that’s supposed to taste like flame-broiled burgers. I’m definitely feeling nauseated.
But that’s not all. In a desperate effort to catch up with its fast food rivals, Burger King is also experimenting with home delivery. Customers will be able to order online or by phone, although at the present time delivery is available only in the Washington, D.C. area. If it’s successful the pilot program will be rolled out nationwide along with discount coupons for gastric bypass surgery. Just promise me nobody dressed like that gigantic king with the plastic head will ever show up at my front door.
Three naked celebrities. And finally, here’s a little something from our God Bless Photoshop department courtesy of comedian Conan O’Brien, who’s trying to beat the anticipated ban on morphing heads of public figures onto random naked bodies. Is this awesome, or what?
I think I’ll mosey into the family room now and sleep through one of my favorite movies ... The Kennel Murder Case starring William Powell. Thank you for reading this.