Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Holy crap. Oklahoma has clubs?

Take a guess who just caught the last train to Clarksville! In breaking news from Howdygram headquarters (and every major news website in the United States), DAVY JONES, 66, former miniature 1960s heart-throb and member of the TV singing group The Monkees, died today of a heart attack near his home in Indiantown, Florida. He last appeared on stage 10 days ago at a club in Oklahoma. Holy crap. Oklahoma has clubs?
Jones is survived by his wife, four daughters and a pair of seriously impressive jugs (see below). I’m guessing the latter should be destined for the Smithsonian.
I wonder if Governor Christie will order all the flags in New Jersey to be flown at half-staff. I liked Davy Jones a lot better than Whitney Houston.

In other news, FedEx just dropped off a huge and exceptionally heavy carton from Wal-Mart that contains two enormous containers of laundry detergent, two industrial-size bottles of Scope mouthwash, paper towels and a couple of one-pound tubs of sugar-free Nesquik because I’ve recently started mainlining chocolate milk. However, I can’t actually lift the carton so I’ll have to let it sit quietly on the front step until Sam gets home tonight.

But wait, there’s more! I’m still expecting UPS to deliver a biography of Clifton Webb from plus two teeny bottles of concentrated LorAnn flavor oil that I ordered last Friday. Flavor oils are genius. Just a few drops can change an entire bowl of frosting or a whole cake mix. LorAnn makes at least 100 flavors; I’m starting with raspberry and marshmallow. As you can see from the expression on my face, I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.
Time to head into the kitchen and rustle up some grub. I’m considering two possible menus for tonight’s evening meal: 1) a can of Loma Linda fake meat and a Mediterranean vegetable blend that I got this morning from Schwan’s; or 2) sugar-free pudding and Cheetos. You have 15 minutes to help me decide by sending your vote via email. Thank you in advance.

Why the best thing about China is egg foo young.

Okay, so sue me. I’m not politically correct. I correlate a civilization of 1.3 billion souls — 20% of all humans alive today — with fried omelets and gravy. But China is definitely weird as hell, from rampant retail counterfeiting to sneaking 11-year-old girls with fake birth certificates onto their women’s gymnastics team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the way the government enforces its long-standing “one-child” birth control policy. Please bear with me while I lampoon this last point for a minute, okay?

According to China’s national Communist Party newspaper the government is implementing a new program to “soften” its abrasive rhetoric where forced birth control is concerned. For instance, the government will no longer use the following slogans:
  • If you don’t receive tubal ligation surgery by the deadline, your house will be demolished.
  • We would rather scrape your womb than allow you to have a second child.
  • Kill all your family members if you don’t follow the rule!
  • Once you get captured, an immediate tubal ligation will be done. Should you escape, we’ll hunt you down. If you attempt a suicide, we’ll offer you either a rope or a bottle of poison.
Over the years China’s one-child policy has always faced international criticism. Aside from obvious concerns about civil liberty and human rights, the policy has had the unintended outcome of many families aborting female fetuses until a male is conceived, a trend that’s resulted in 118 boys being born for every 100 girls. Males currently outnumber females in China by an estimated 40 million.
For your possible interest, China’s new, softer birth control language will be: 1) Caring for a girl means caring for the future of the nation; and 2) Please get rid of alcohol and cigarettes before you plan to be a father.

What a country. Pass the soy sauce.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Howdygram is in a class by itself.

You should be thankful for the Howdygram. Seriously. Whenever I browse around on Blogspot I see a LOT of really stupid, boring, one-note blogs floating around in cyberspace, and most of them are either focused on babies — busy mommies! drooly newborns! our little angel pooped today! — or somebody’s terminal illness and funeral arrangements.

The Howdygram is completely different and in a class by itself. I rant and post on any topic whatsoever, including shopping, relatives, politics, retirement, sports, smashed toes and other general medical issues, recipes, movie reviews, Einsteins (they walk among us!), breaking news, prescription adventures, photos of Sam and the occasional amusing video. And it’s the latter that I’d like to share with you now ... an addicting TV commercial that Sam and I saw a few days ago. I can’t stop singing the damn jingle.

Show of hands. Has anybody ever heard of a strange sleep disorder called Kleine-Levin Syndrome? I read an article about it on ABC’s news website yesterday. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, symptoms include sleeping 20 hours a day, excessive intake of junk food, irritability, hallucinations, childishness and speaking gibberish ... and episodes can last for weeks at a time. Glorioski, somebody just figured out my ex-husband!

Thank you for reading this.

Today only! Free pancakes for everybody on earth!

Thanks to that idiotic extended nap yesterday it’s after 4 a.m. and I’m still wide awake with my second full-strength Marcytini. To fill the time I just posted my recipe for Sugar-Free Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie and now, for your possible amusement, I’d like to share this fine photo of GOP funnyman Rick Santorum with his handsome wife and happy offspring.
Holy crap, wouldn’t they make us proud in the White House? (I honestly can’t believe I just typed that last sentence.)

Breaking news in case you’re hungry. Today is National Pancake Day and IHOP is offering everybody on earth a FREE “SHORT STACK” OF BUTTERMILK PANCAKES from 7 a.m. through 10 p.m. in return for a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network. Wow!
However, there’s a $5.95 surcharge for syrup plus $2.95 for 30-minute fork rental. (I might be kidding about this.)

I think I’m finally tired enough to go to bed. All I need is a quick slug of water and I’m done. Thank you for reading this!

Marcy’s sugar-free black bottom banana cream pie.

This pie is so damn wonderful you won’t believe it, and it’s so easy you can throw it together in less than 10 minutes. If I can do it, anybody can do it.
  • 2 large bananas, sliced
  • 1 pkg. Jello Sugar-Free Banana Instant Pudding
  • 1 pkg. Jello Sugar-Free Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding
  • 2 cups cold nonfat milk, divided
  • 1 cup thawed sugar-free Cool Whip
  • 1 sugar-free Fifty50™ graham cracker pie crust
Prepare chocolate fudge pudding with ¾ cup milk and pour into your pie crust. Top with the sliced bananas (you don’t have to be too neat if nobody’s looking). Prepare banana pudding with remaining 1¼ cups of milk, pour over the layer of sliced bananas and refrigerate for at least one hour. Top with Cool Whip before serving.
The best way to eat this pie is all by yourself. Just store it in the refrigerator in a plastic container marked “leftover liver.” I’m serious.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It’s sing-along time with Rick Santorum: “Send in the Clowns.”

Hi, boys and girls. Before I leap into this post’s primary topic I need to mention that I’m feeling a little upside-down right now after an afternoon nap that went awry. At 3:30 I stretched out on our chaise in the family room to watch Seven Days in May on TCM, conked out and didn’t open my eyes until 7. That’s a 3½-hour nap I didn’t need and definitely wasn’t expecting, which means I’ll be up all night long annoying you because I can’t fall asleep.

For your possible interest here are several exciting treasures that I bought online today: 1) two gigantic bottles of Gain lavender-scented detergent and two bottles of Scope from Wal-Mart; and 2) a dozen cans of Loma Linda “Fried Chik’n” — GOD BLESS FAKE MEAT WITH GRAVY! — from along with hardcover biographies of Myrna Loy and Clifton Webb, two of my favorite golden-era Hollywood personalities.
FYI, this is the first time I’m buying these huge bottles of detergent with TWO CAPS and I’m confused. Please send an email if you know what the hell they’re for because I’m way too old to start screwing up the laundry. Thank you in advance.

And now I’d personally like to extend my heartfelt thanks to GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. The fact that he’s such an incompetent and frightening boob means he’s handing a second term to President Obama ... and that’s just fine with me! Santorum announced today in Lansing, Michigan, that it was HIGH GAS PRICES — not cheesy balloon mortgages or illegal activities on Wall Street — that collapsed the housing market in 2008 and created the current economic slump. He said: “We need to look at the situation with gas prices today. We went into a recession in 2008 because of gasoline prices. The bubble burst in housing because people couldn’t pay their mortgages because they were looking at $4 a gallon gasoline.” Seriously, Rick? You think that AIG and all those big banks and investment houses went bankrupt because of GAS PRICES?

For the record, this is the same whack-job who: 1) doesn’t believe in the constitutional separation of church and state; 2) wants to forbid women in the military from combat; 3) promotes home-schooling instead of public education; 4) wants to install hardcore Catholicism as a national religion; 5) believes that elitist, left-wing snobs like President Obama — seriously? — are forcing America’s pure and conservative children into college, where they’re indoctrinated with dangerous liberal doctrine; and 6) hopes to legislate everything that goes on under women’s skirts, including access to contraception.

Holy crap, people. This jerk’s theme song should be “Send in the Clowns.”

It’s getting late so I think I’ll pop open a can of Loma Linda Swiss Stake for dinner (a carton of 12 arrived today from Amazon), steam a sack of frozen vegetables and watch “People’s Court.” Afterwards, just for fun, I might fold socks and file my nails. You can come over if you want to, okay?

I love my life. Thank you for reading this.

Good movies, swell latkes and a Googled pie.

I’ve got something really important to tell you so please stop checking your Facebook page for two minutes and pay attention. The new season of “Deadliest Catch” — the Discovery Channel’s hit series about lunatics hunting for crab off the coast of Alaska — will premier on April 12. This is the only reality show that Sam will watch and it’s positively INCREDIBLE in high definition. As a matter of fact, “Deadliest Catch” might be the #1 best reason to use your tax refund to buy an HD-TV. I mean this sincerely.
There’s not much else to report unless you’d like to know that we had a nice lunch on Sunday at Mariano’s Hacienda. Then, following an intense two-hour nap that I really didn’t need, I made a swell batch of “latkes” and a sugar-free banana cream pie for dinner, after which we enjoyed a couple of excellent movies: What Price Hollywood — the original, racier version of A Star Is Born from 1932 — with Constance Bennett and After the Thin Man (1936) with William Powell and Myrna Loy. Photos of everything appear below for your possible interest, although I’d better confess that I Googled the pie photo because I don’t own white plates and I don’t know how to squirt fancy whipped cream from a pastry bag.
Holy crap, it’s 4:30 in the morning and I haven’t been to bed yet! I should probably give it a shot or I’ll look like a raccoon for the rest of the day. Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hollywood’s 84th celebration for overpaid narcissists.

The Academy Awards are on tonight. I haven’t seen this show in YEARS for several excellent reasons: 1) I refuse to give up three hours of my life watching the current crop of overpaid narcissists handing prizes to each other; 2) Ronald Colman, William Holden, Walter Huston, Melvyn Douglas, Errol Flynn and Cary Grant are not on the list of presenters; and 3) I haven’t set foot in a movie theater since 1997. Regardless, I’m pleased to provide the following in case you need a visual for item 2.
Even though Sam just woke up and started the coffee I think I’ll go back to bed for a while because it’s still dark outside and my feet are cold. Say hi to the family for me when you have a chance.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I don’t care what anybody says. The dust bowl is lousy entertainment.

I just escaped from the family room where Sam is watching The Grapes of Wrath, the most wretched, joyless and demoralizing movie on God’s green earth. The first ten minutes are enough to make me suicidal but most of the time I can’t even get past the CREDITS.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940) is based on John Steinbeck’s novel about destitute Oklahoma sharecroppers forced off their land by meanies during the “dust bowl” (in the early 1930s) and how they shlep to California crammed in a Beverly Hillbillies truck to look for work as migrant farm laborers. Grandma and Grandpa are lucky enough to die along the way but everybody else eventually gets to pick oranges for 2½¢ a bucket while being tormented by evil cops and snotty vigilantes, and if you bruise any of the fruit they HANG YOU. Okay, maybe not, but it’s definitely terrible with no sanitation or running water, everybody’s starving, and poor Tom Joad (played by Henry Fonda), who spent the best years of his life in prison, is always on the lam from one sheriff or another because he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer and everything he does — even the good stuff — turns out like crap. Henry is third from the left in the photo (above). I can’t remember the name of the goat.

Click here to purchase this sparkling comedy from Amazon.

Today’s pet peeve. Pointless concepts like “Navy pilots.” I mean, why would a person join the Navy to fly? Isn’t this basically just as stupid as “An RKO Radio Picture”?
I guess that about wraps it up for tonight since it’s time to head back to the kitchen to wash a frying pan and make a sugar-free banana cream pie. Due to the late hour, however, I’ll probably just eat the last piece of cake and make my pie tomorrow.

Thank you for reading this.

Three quick things from your pals at the Howdygram.

Dawn is breaking in Howdygramland and I’ve got three quick things to share before I go back to bed.

First quick thing. I flipped out this week for sugar-free powdered Nesquik and just ordered two more one-pound canisters for the pantry, this time from Wal-Mart because only an orphanage for diabetics would buy a case of 12 from This stuff makes milk taste like a candy bar and it’s infinitely better than sugar-free Hershey’s syrup which is really crappy even on ice cream. (And it’s not easy to ruin ice cream.)

Second quick thing. Because I also discovered that DaVinci Gourmet’s sugar-free banana syrup mixed up in my aforementioned chocolate milk is TO DIE FOR, I just ordered sugar-free raspberry and sugar-free caramel as part of my effort to develop new and exciting non-carbonated beverages. The Marcy-tini will NEVER go out of style but every girl could use a little variety once in a while.
Third quick thing. Sam and I watched a priceless movie last night. In Old Arizona (1928) was 20th Century Fox’s first talkie and featured Warner Baxter, Edmund Lowe and Dorothy Burgess.
Apparently director Raoul Walsh had no clue yet that dialog was the key element of a talking picture, since the characters had nothing of value to say to each other — or to anybody else, for that matter — and Warner Baxter’s accent as the Cisco Kid kept drifting between Transylvanian and French. (It was so bad that Sam originally thought he was Bela Lugosi with a perm.) Baxter won a Best Actor Oscar for his hair performance. I’m guessing he ran unopposed.

As far as I know we have no discernible plans for the weekend other than eating things, taking naps and enjoying the glorious spring weather. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Chinese food but I’ll leave that up to Sam. Stay tuned for all the details, okay?

Friday, February 24, 2012

By the time you figure out how to open the package your friends have moved on to pretzels.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Howdygram product review but I’m feeling inspired after trying Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowl microwave popcorn. Sam bought this several months ago and it’s been hanging out at the back of the pantry ever since, mostly because Sam — who’s clever, well-educated and extremely coordinated — couldn’t figure out how to open the damn bag.
Aside from the fact that Pop Up Bowls are overpriced and stupid, I’ve got a number of random yet essential thoughts to share with you.
  1. Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowls contain very little popcorn, and they’re shaped more like canoes than actual, you know, BOWLS.
  2. Due to item #1 above you’re warned not to use the popcorn setting on your microwave.
  3. About a third of the kernels don’t pop; everything else burns.
  4. You need a master’s degree in civil engineering to open the package, and by the time you figure it out all your friends have moved on to pretzels.
  5. I don’t get the point of this product. Why would Orville Redenbacher’s marketing Einsteins conclude that the average consumer can’t open a traditional bag of popcorn and pour it into a bowl?
Time to join Sam in the family room so we can eat things and watch today’s episode of “People’s Court.” Thanks for stopping by.

Meet Victoza’s poster child for lousy lifestyles.

Before I leap into my rant du jour I’d like to mention that my new TELESCOPING BACKSCRATCHER came today! It’s bigger — seven teeth instead of five — than the old one that broke 10 days ago and covers a lot more territory without dislocating your shoulder in the process. I’m really excited and think we should all order them for every room of the house. My new one has a blue handle but you can also get pink, genuine wood or all-aluminum. (All-aluminum goes with everything.) Click here to shop now.

As promised, it’s time for today’s hysterical outburst. I’ve been holding back on this topic since last month when Paula Deen, the Food Network’s southern-fried Queen of Butter, announced that she’s had type 2 diabetes since 2008 but didn’t want anybody to know until now because she just signed a multi-million dollar deal with pharma giant Novo Nordisk to promote and endorse Victoza, the most expensive “designer” diabetes drug on the planet. (I should know. I inject it every morning.) Confused? Don’t be. The same woman who earns her fortune on TV pushing outrageously high-fat, high-sugar, high-carb recipes that can cause, exacerbate and advance a potentially life-threatening disease now collects a substantial extra paycheck as Victoza’s poster child for lousy lifestyles. And she’s taking a lot of crap from her fans, peers and the public in general. Me included.
As far as I’m concerned everything about Paula Deen is hypocritical and phony, from her syrupy personality to those blinding white dental veneers. Food columnist Paolo Lucchesi complained “there was not one modicum of regret or culpability for her entire persona and recipe encyclopedia, which is pretty much a butter-lubed bobsled ride to Diabetesville.” And TV chef Anthony Bourdain added, “I should get into the leg-breaking business so I can profitably sell crutches later.” (I love this guy.)
Out of curiosity, if you haven’t seen Paula cook and eat her famous half-pound “heart attack” burger between two Krispy Kreme donuts you might want to check out the video from an earlier Howdygram post, which makes it pretty clear why Novo Nordisk is so damn excited to have her on board. (Keep in mind ... Paula already knew she was diabetic when she filmed this episode.)

Holy crap, I’m STARVING. I think I’ll mosey into the kitchen and open a can of fake meat for dinner with a bag of steamed vegetables and watch tonight’s episode of “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.” Thanks for stopping by.

Sucking TicTacs for fun and profit.

It’s the middle of the night here in Howdygramland and I don’t know why I’m not asleep. Sam and I watched the last half of Amadeus when he got home from work last night and I really thought I was tired when we shut down the TV and went to bed at 12:45. Well, I guess not! About half an hour later I popped out of bed — wide awake — and decided to write a post and horse around online for a while. Thank you for hanging out with me.

I don’t know if anybody cares or not, but Chicago is in the middle of a snowstorm right now that’s called a “Saskatchewan Screamer.” I have no idea what this means but apparently they’ll have something substantial to shovel in the morning. (Better them than me.)

And now for a brief recap of “Top Chef ,” which continues to sink to new depths for manufactured drama, annoying product placement and contestants void of any discernible talent. Judging from comments I’ve read all over the Internet, nobody — including me — gives a flying crap who wins this thing next week. Even though all the challenges have been staged here in Texas, the season’s three-part finale has been filmed in a blizzard on top of Whistler Mountain in Vancouver, British Columbia, but nobody has bothered to explain why.

For your possible interest here’s an image of this season’s cheftestants, doctored in Photoshop by a blogger named Deeky. (The faces are all his; the bodies belong to the sleazebags of “Jersey Shore.”)
Holy crap, it’s already after 4 a.m. and I haven’t had any sleep! I’d really like to sneak into the kitchen for a snack and a Marcytini but I don’t want to: 1) wake Sam by making noise; and 2) end up with indigestion. Maybe I’ll just suck one last TicTac and try going back to bed. Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sock-folding party starts at 8. Reservations suggested.

I just got home from the salon and feel absolutely STUNNING. Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement. I actually feel slightly less frumpy than I did a couple of hours ago. I got a nice haircut and my eyebrows waxed at Vince’s in Garland and then drove around for a few minutes to enjoy the 80° weather. That’s my entire Thursday in a nutshell except for eating leftover fake canned meat for lunch and watching an exceptionally funny movie: The Guardsman (1931) with Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne and Roland Young. This was the film version of their hit Broadway comedy from 1924 and I definitely want to see it again. Maybe even tonight right after “Project Runway All Stars.”
The rest of my Thursday night agenda includes dinner and folding laundry. If you want to stop by for a sock-folding party I plan to begin around 8 p.m. local time, so send me an email if this sounds like an activity that interests you. Snacks will be provided.

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Marcy’s feast for the gods.

Holy crap and glorioski ... FAKE MEAT IN A CAN IS INCREDIBLE. I tried the Loma Linda “Swiss Stake” for dinner tonight and I’m hooked. You get four fully-cooked patties in a can, and they’re made from soy, rolled oats and egg whites, have lots of protein and almost no fat and actually taste like beef with savory gravy. However I strongly suggest dining by candlelight because they look a lot like Alpo. Two patties are enough for a meal.

For your possible interest, my complete dinner menu also included cole slaw, a pair of green olives and a glass of chocolate milk made with sugar-free Nesquik. A feast for the gods!
Apparently Sam is being held hostage at the office tonight because he should’ve been home two hours ago and I haven’t heard from him since he walked out the door at 1:15 this afternoon. It sure would be nice to see his face and watch him eat graham crackers. Incidentally, Sam is exceptionally entertaining and it’s also fun to watch him eat baby carrots, cereal, raisins, vanilla wafers and brownies.

Thanks for stopping by. Please turn out the light when you’re through, okay?

Introducing Nepal’s latest claim to fame.

Thanks to a pair of thrilling late-afternoon UPS deliveries it’s been another historic day here in Howdygramland. Take a look at the following incredible treasures that arrived today.
I’m so excited about these crazy cans of fake vegetarian meat that I don’t know which one to open first! I might smash some of that canned “Swiss Stake” into a Fifty50 pie crust and wash it down with big glass of sugar-free Nesquik chocolate milk. Plus a few green olives because green olives are wonderful with anything. Okay, maybe not. But I’m definitely HUNGRY, and since Sam is at work and I don’t have any plans tonight aside from folding sheets and watching this week’s episode of “Top Chef,” I can pretty much do (and eat) whatever the hell I want. God bless America.

In breaking news from our I’ve Eaten Burritos Bigger Than This department, Chandra Bahadur Dangi, 72, of rural Nepal (see below), arrived in Katmandu earlier today to meet with officials from the Guinness Book of World Records. The teeny dude is only 22 inches tall and believes he’ll be named World’s Shortest Man. I’m sure this must be a huge deal in Nepal, since up till now Mount Everest has been their only real tourist attraction.
Thank you for reading this. Seriously.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It’s almost impossible to get pasta to smile. I tried.

Breaking news! Howdygram headquarters just received a truckload of fantastic Tuesday afternoon crap from This includes six bags of Bear Creek Chicken Noodle Soup mix, six boxes of exceptionally healthy Dreamfields Elbow Macaroni and — let’s hear a great big yee-haw for this one — three boxes of Liberty Orchards’ Fruit Delights, all of which posed for the portrait posted below. For the record, it’s almost impossible to get pasta to smile. I tried.
And now for something completely different. I just found this hilarious clip on Foodbeast of Conan O’Brien and a pal dining out and decided to share it with y’all, mostly because I’ve actually eaten at the soul food restaurant in this video. (This was many years ago when I had a love/hate relationship with my arteries.)

But wait, there’s more! In a seemingly desperate attempt to steal business from its competitors, Wienerschnitzel is proud to announce the rebirth of its inexplicable “Sea Dog” ... a skinny slab of fried fish on a hotdog bun with tartar sauce, which makes almost as much sense as Long John Silver’s selling pizza shaped like a salmon.
I’d better get back to my mountain of laundry. I’ll try to post again later if I’m not too busy horsing around with socks. Thank you for reading this.

And the celebration continues!

After an exhaustive late-night Google search because I can’t sleep, the Howdygram is pleased to continue honoring Presidents’ Day with a comprehensive list of the favorite foods enjoyed by all 44 of our fearless leaders.

1. GEORGE WASHINGTON: fish and ice cream. We’re not sure if that meant together or in succession, but George was a hemp farmer so anything’s possible.

2. JOHN ADAMS: Indian pudding. Minus the feathers and arrows.


4. JAMES MADISON: Ice cream. Apparently this is all the White House had in stock between 1789 and 1817.

5. JAMES MONROE: Fried chicken.

6. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS: Fresh fruit. Nerd.

7. ANDREW JACKSON: French food.

8. MARTIN VAN BUREN: All I could find was “oysters and donuts.” I wonder if Imodium had been invented yet.


10. JOHN TYLER: Pudding.

11. JAMES K. POLK: Corn pone. Try to type that without wetting your pants.

12. ZACHARY TAYLOR: Creole food.


14. FRANKLIN PIERCE: Fried clams.

15. JAMES BUCHANAN: Fresh butter. Paula Deen’s primary food group.

16. ABRAHAM LINCOLN, man of the people: chicken fricassee and herbed biscuits.

17. ANDREW JOHNSON: Popcorn. Probably the giant bucket with extra butter and a side order of Sno Caps.

18. I have no idea what ULYSSES S. GRANT ate, but he was a huge dude so we’re guessing he did double bacon cheeseburgers providing you could find them in 1869.

19. RUTHERFORD B. HAYES: cornmeal battercakes. Sounds like a 19th century version of unicorn poop pancakes.

20. JAMES GARFIELD loved squirrel soup, thereby earning the Howdygram Prize for Most Disgusting Palate. I refused to Google a photo of this so let’s pretend he liked lasagna.

21. CHESTER ALAN ARTHUR: Mutton chops and beer. Very studly.

22. GROVER CLEVELAND: Corned beef and cabbage.

23. BENJAMIN HARRISON: Blue-point oysters.


25. WILLIAM McKINLEY: Eggs. Wow. A gourmet.

26. Apparently TEDDY ROOSEVELT put down his big stick long enough to do fried chicken and gravy.

27. WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT weighed almost 350 pounds and got stuck in his bathtub on Inauguration Day, March 1909. He loved deviled almonds. Probably by the ton.

28. WOODROW WILSON: Ham and fruit cobbler. Somebody show me a recipe for this one.

29. WARREN G. HARDING: Chicken pot pie.

30. CALVIN COOLIDGE: Pickles. Seriously.

31. HERBERT HOOVER: Corn soup. With or without cobs?

32. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT loved greasy crap just like cousin Teddy: grilled cheese.

33. HARRY S. TRUMAN: Fried chicken.

34. DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: TV dinners. Such as those tacky 1950s foil trays with fried fetal chicken parts and deflated little peas.

35. JOHN F. KENNEDY: Clam chowder.

36. LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON was a fan of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows. Me, too.

37. RICHARD NIXON: Meatloaf.

38. GERALD FORD: Waffles with strawberries. I wonder if he knew my mother-in-law.

39. JIMMY CARTER: Red beans and rice.

40. RONALD REAGAN: Macaroni and cheese.

41. GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I have no idea what he loves, but it’s common knowledge that he hates broccoli.

42. BILL CLINTON. McDonald’s cheeseburgers. Followed by a quadruple bypass.

43. GEORGE W. BUSH, the eternal frat boy: pretzels.

44. BARACK OBAMA: Hawaiian pizza. You know, with ham and pineapple. I never realized people actually ate this.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A presidential celebration, an early spring and God bless leftovers.

In honor of Presidents’ Day I briefly considered a one-day shutdown of the Howdygram but ultimately recognized the stupidity of that decision since it would only serve to confuse the majority of our readers who live in foreign countries such as Latvia, Portugal, Morocco, Australia, India, Denmark and South Dakota. Therefore, allow me to shout “mazel tov” to George and Abe as we celebrate their birthdays here in the United States, a holiday that’s commemorated by withholding mail delivery and closing financial institutions even though you can still withdraw $50 with your ATM card at Wal-Mart.
Later today at Howdygram headquarters I’ll hold my own private party with cake and singing but for the moment these plans are in serious jeopardy because I’m feeling somewhat nauseated. This is most likely the result of: 1) Republicans; 2) a lingering headache; and 3) Einsteins in general. Please note that numbers 1 and 3 are frequently interchangeable.

Hey, nerds ... take a look at our four-day forecast!
The weather here is GORGEOUS and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we need air conditioning by mid-week. This is warmer than usual for February in the Dallas area because our average high temperature right now should be 62°. This is not a complaint. I think 75° and 77° are swell, and I’ll bet you do, too. If you want to come over to enjoy some warm weather please send an email to reserve our guest room. Thank you.

And now it’s time for my Monday night movie recommendations! The following three gems are on TCM tonight for your possible interest. (Times shown are central standard.)
  • 7:00 p.m., The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) with Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins. An adorable and racy Ernst Lubitsch musical. You have to see it to believe it.
  • 9:00 p.m., The Third Man (1949) with Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. Compelling suspense drama set in post-war Austria with an unforgettable sound track. (The sound track is actually my favorite part!)
  • 11:00 p.m., Amadeus (1984) with Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham. An amazing spectacle that’s worth seeing for the costumes and music alone.
Also, please don’t forget to record “Clinton” on PBS tonight because a person can’t watch everything all at the same time even with a lot of popcorn.

Thanks for stopping by. I’m going to take a hot shower now and heat up leftover soup for dinner. God bless leftovers. Seriously.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

An addendum to my previous post.

Breaking news. The four-hour, two-part PBS special presentation of “Clinton” isn’t on tonight after all. It’s on tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday instead. So much for believing everything you read online. I was a little irritated when I realized I had the wrong information but it’s not a total loss because we’re watching Fiddler on the Roof instead. All of a sudden I’ve got a craving for gefilte fish.

Incidentally, here’s a little Fiddler trivia. Take a wild guess who wanted the role of Tevye in the movie version.
Seriously. FRANK SINATRA. This makes as much sense as Shirley MacLaine as Golde and Dean Martin as Lazar Wolf the butcher. Gouge my eyes out.

Thank you for reading this.

When did crazy become the new normal for Republicans?

Hi, boys and girls! I apologize that it’s taken me all day to write this post but I’ve been busy with a variety worthwhile weekend projects (translation: eating cake and taking naps) here at Howdygram headquarters. Thank you for your support.

From our Let’s Try Giving Them Away department, now through March 5 participating Burger King restaurants are offering a BOGO (buy one get one free) deal on their chicken sandwiches, which includes the Original Chicken Sandwich, the Chicken Club Sandwich and the Italian Chicken Sandwich. I’m not sure this is really as exciting as it sounds.
In case you don’t have anything special on your agenda tonight you might want to watch “Clinton” on PBS. It’s a two-part, four-hour look at his life and complex presidency. Here in Texas the program starts at 8; the second part airs tomorrow night. I’ll make popcorn if I can find some in the pantry.

And now let’s take a closer look at the terrifying insanity of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. This is the Einstein whose 18th century hard-core religious beliefs compel him to publicly denounce:
  • Pornography in any form whatsoever.
  • Contraception because he says it’s dangerous and doesn’t work.
  • Abortion, even in cases of rape, because these babies are “gifts from God.”
  • President Obama’s entire political agenda because it’s not “based on the Bible.”
  • Our national health insurance mandate for free pre-natal care for pregnant women, because it’s actually President Obama’s secret cover-up plan to cull potentially disabled Americans from the population. Santorum believes that women who have access to free pre-natal care will automatically ask for an abortion if they find out they’re carrying a “defective fetus.” 
And if that’s not enough to scare the crap out of you, when Santorum’s wife miscarried in 1996 they took the corpse, whom they named Gabriel, home to introduce “your brother Gabriel” to the other children. My question is, when did crazy become the new normal for Republicans? WAKE UP, PEOPLE.

Thank you for putting up with me. It’s time for dinner.

Clever chemical cupcakes and gingerbread Lakers steal the show.

Hello and how’s the family. The rain finally stopped around midnight here in north Texas. But despite the weather, yesterday was a lovely and thoroughly unproductive day that included sleeping through two movies ... Journey to the Center of the Earth with James Mason — a long-time favorite of mine since I first saw it in the theaters in 1959 — and 90 minutes of infuriating pro-Stalin propaganda called Mission to Moscow with Walter Huston that actually tries to portray the Soviet Union as a misunderstood nation of progressive, freedom-loving patriots. I thought my brain would blow up.
I should probably add that Mission to Moscow was made during World War II at the request of President Roosevelt, who wanted to drum up some American support for our Soviet allies. It didn’t work and the movie is outrageous crap.

Remember your middle school science class? Somebody named Rachel produced 118 cupcakes (see below) for her chemical engineering department at work … one for each known chemical element in the periodic table. These are so adorable I’ll take half a dozen Hydrogens, please.
I’m also pleased to include this image of the Los Angeles Lakers posing as gingerbread cookies, which are being sold at the Staples Center to raise money for the team’s youth foundation. Two reviewers said the cookies are hard as granite with no flavor whatsoever. (Next year they should hire Rachel to bake cupcakes.)

I need more sleep. If you plan to hang around for a while please keep the noise down and turn out the lights when you’re through. Thank you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Creepy Einsteins and twisted role models.

Surprise! The only story in the news today is Whitney Houston’s funeral somewhere in bowels of New Jersey, with live video coverage plastered across the front of every major — and minor — news website in the country. I don’t get this, folks. She’s being treated like a fallen head of state — a national treasure who led a meaningful life of public service — rather than a has-been last-century singer whose addictions to crack and alcohol drove her into poverty and then killed her. And of course, America’s unrelenting opportunists extraordinaire, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, are front and center heading up the cast of today’s all-star mourners. All of these fine citizens are pictured below for your possible interest.
I apologize if you think this post is crabby and cynical. Truth is, I’m just sick and tired of creepy Einsteins and twisted role models.

Thank you for reading this. I desperately need a Marcy-tini and a two-hour nap.

P.S. It’s still raining. Yay.

It’s a wonderful day to be alive and don’t forget to floss.

It’s raining in north Texas. Hard. According to we’ve had 1¼ inches since 2 a.m. with at least another inch or two expected by the end of the day. The current weather map is posted below for your possible interest with a teeny red star indicating Howdygram headquarters. If you zoom in, I’m the one in a pink robe sucking TicTacs. (Our drought is over, by the way.)
In a temporary fit of unexplained passion I just ordered some Liberty Orchards Sugar-Free Fruit Delights on ... three boxes for $15.77 with free two-day shipping. Just in case you don’t know whether or not this is a great deal, if you shop on Liberty Orchard’s website the same three boxes cost $53.80 ($13.95 per box and $11.95 to ship). Holy crap, right?
The Howdygram is pleased to relay the following breaking news from Foodbeast. On March 8 Taco Bell will introduce NACHO CHEESE DORITOS TACO SHELLS in its restaurants throughout the United States, and they’ve even got a real-time countdown on their website in case you’re one of those screwballs who always has to be first in line. Apparently there’s a frightening population of Taco Bell fanatics who’ve been begging for these for years. All I can say is, it’s a wonderful day to be alive and don’t forget to floss.
And now for a thrilling product announcement from Nabisco! Apart from being the world’s top selling cookie (really?) Oreos will celebrate their 100th birthday on March 6 with a limited-edition batch of BIRTHDAY-CAKE OREOS that will be available in stores nationwide starting next week.
I have no idea what’s actually different about these other than a teeny “100” stamped on the cookie and all those flecks of inedible dyed glitter injected into the filling. Enjoy. Seriously.

I’d better go back to bed now even though we have no plans today due to the weather plus the fact that Sam is working from home this weekend and has to stay close to his computer. The last part of that sentence is actually not as bad as it sounds because we get to hang around in pajamas, watch a couple of movies and I’ll make a big matzo omelet for lunch.

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Grady and Hiram achieve greatness as grand champion nerds.

A little while ago I was feeling dopey about my earlier post, the one where I bragged about the product reviews I’ve posted on during the last year and a half. Although I’m listed as a “Top Reviewer” because other shoppers like what I write and find my reviews helpful — and this is certainly a gratifying aspect of my life in semi-retirement — I’m not even remotely close to the grand champion nerds on Amazon’s “Hall of Fame” list. I refer specifically to the two individuals pictured below.
Grady, who has reached “Hall of Fame” status for six straight years, has posted 6,868 product reviews and received 73,385 thumbs-up votes from grateful Amazon shoppers. Hiram, with 5,140 reviews, is closing in quickly. While both gentlemen appear normal — with the possible exception of Grady’s wardrobe choices — their accomplishments simply underscore how far I need to go to achieve greatness.

While I ponder my many shortcomings I just got a call from Sam, announcing that he’s “running late” at work and doesn’t know what time he’ll be able to leave. In the meantime I think I’ll shop online for a buffet lamp to replace the one I broke half an hour ago when I knocked it over in the foyer. Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Thank you for reading this.

Unforgettable crap, stiff knees and plenty of boobies.

There’s nothing much to do today except pick up a prescription at Wal-Mart so I just spent an hour and half posting new product reviews on for all the excellent, unforgettable crap I’ve been ordering during the past couple of months, such as Yehuda matzo farfel, a battery-powered lantern, Melitta coffee, Bear Creek soup mixes, a roasting pan, Bisto faux gravy granules, Downy Unstopables and Miracle Rice. I draw the line at reviewing personal care products, however, because if people need outside assistance with shower gel and toothpaste they’re nothing but a bunch of Einsteins.
In case you’d like to waste an hour of your life click here to read all my product reviews on Amazon.

It’s a dismal, overcast day in north Texas with lots of rain on the way tonight and tomorrow, a fact that was apparent even before I checked because my knees hurt like hell today and they’re stiff as a board. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if I could take a decent pain-killer, but all I’m allowed to use is ordinary Tylenol. I had to give up Motrin and Naproxen last summer when my kidney function started to decline, and prescription meds like Ultracet make me so excruciatingly sick I’d rather skydive without a parachute. (You get my drift.)

Sam and I watched an outrageously well-made and frightening movie on TCM this morning … Trader Horn, nominated for best picture of 1931 starring Harry Carey and Duncan Renaldo.
Trader Horn was filmed in East Africa by an MGM crew with zero experience away from a Hollywood studio, so nearly everybody wound up with malaria and life-threatening infections and also had to survive flash floods, sunstroke, swarming locusts and attacks by snakes, wildlife and armies of ants. Director Woody VanDyke even included ACTUAL FOOTAGE of a native being killed by a charging rhino and another being eaten by a crocodile. Give this movie a shot sometime. It’s probably the most realistic, unvarnished look at “darkest Africa” you’ll ever see, and because it was released several years before the production code there are also plenty of boobies. We enjoyed this film so much I won’t even comment on Duncan Renaldo’s silly pith helmet that was big enough to double as a canoe.

I think I’ll make dinner now. In case you’re interested, this includes a pot of Bear Creek hot & sour soup with some tofu thrown in — a person can never get enough low-fat protein! — and sugar-free frosted cake for dessert. There’s always enough to share if you want to stop by. Try to get here by 7 if you want to watch this week’s episode of “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.” Shalom, y’all.