Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chinese food is an excellent substitute for damn near anything.

I’m starving, and as soon as I finish this post I’m heading straight for the kitchen. I’ve got a huge craving for an American cheese sandwich with Vlasic bread & butter pickles and a strawberry milkshake — I wouldn’t joke about this — but will most likely settle for reheated Chinese leftovers from last night because: 1) Chinese food is an excellent substitute for damn near anything; and 2) it’s faster.

For your possible interest my weekend Internet purchases (so far) have included six bags of Bear Creek Hot & Sour Soup from, toilet paper from Wal-Mart and more freeze-dried whatnots from Shelf Reliance because this stuff is really GOOD. I’m ordering small containers to see which ones I’d order again and keep in the pantry. Stay tuned, okay?
I’d also like to mention a surprisingly entertaining little movie I saw today: Never Too Late (1965) produced by Norman Lear and starring Paul Ford, Maureen O’Sullivan, Connie Stevens and Jim Hutton. It’s the story of a fiftysomething wife and her sixtysomething husband who find out they’re going to be parents for a second time. Ford and O’Sullivan are fabulous as these characters. Their married daughter (Connie Stevens) and her husband (Jim Hutton) live at home with mom and dad.
No kidding, this film had to be the precursor to Lear’s hit 1970s TV series “All in the Family.” Dad is a lovable curmudgeon, mom — who’s named Edith — runs around the house like a happy maniac mopping floors, ironing, shlepping and cooking meals, the son-in-law is constantly being insulted by his father-in-law and the daughter is an emotional nutcase who gets hysterical at the drop of a hat. All that's missing is Archie Bunker’s warped social commentary.

And now it’s time for food because I should have eaten dinner about four hours ago. I don’t know if Sam is hungry or not so I’ll try to lure him with an ice cream sandwich. Thank you for reading this.

Our decadent Saturday … scrambled eggs at Denny’s before dawn.

Due to insomnia — and then waking Sam at 5 a.m. to horse around and keep me company — we decided to drive over to Denny’s for Senior Scrambled Eggs. I thought we were being decadent (it was still dark outside) but apparently this is not such a unique idea among old people here in Mesquite as Denny’s enjoyed a rather steady stream of incoming elderly the entire time we were there. This makes me a card-carrying member of the blue hair brigade now ... and only three days after I get invited to my first free funeral-planning seminar for senior citizens. Holy crap.

I went back to bed as soon as we got home. When I woke up three hours later I found Sam unconscious on the chaise in the family room, wrapped in our faux mink throw with a Boston Blackie movie on TCM. I think he looks like Smokey the Bear. (Sam, not Boston Blackie.)
Come to think of it, more sleep sounds like a damn good idea right about now. Don’t slam your door on the way out, okay?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Living the good life. Free cookies, funeral planning and a hearing aid test.

It’s been a while since my last pet peeve outburst, but here goes.

Today’s pet peeve. I’m sick of multiple exclamation points and crackpot clients, and my current example combines them both. A couple of hours ago I got an email from a client named Janice that made no sense whatsoever. Here it is, copied and pasted, with her original typos intact. I should preface this by mentioning I hadn’t heard from her for more than two years.
“My Zumba instructor is employeed through Zumba Inc. he is an character on one of the DVD Rush Videos, he drives me crazy, hes great, I want him to contact you so bad for branding material and website! Because I love you!!!! His name is Jason, maybe you can send him some material to look at and tell him I recommended him to you! I showed him by business carts last night! He is so talented!!! But if no one knows you exist if doesn't matter! Jason is a dery humbled, God fearing Christian that will needs exposure. He is on video with Beto who invented ZUMBA!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!”
This woman scares the living crap out of me. She not only can’t type, she also can’t spell, can’t punctuate, can’t think and can’t conjugate a coherent sentence. I want to slap her senseless.

And now for something completely different! This must have something to do with my advancing 60+ age group, but lately I’ve been receiving pathetic ads in the mail. Today it was a free seminar on the topic “Funeral Advantage Program Assistance for Seniors” and a coupon for free cookies and a hearing aid test at the Mesquite Senior Center. In case you’re interested, I also qualify for Meals on Wheels now. I wonder if they deliver Mongolian chicken.

Thank you for reading this.

For my money, nobody ever did screwball comedy like Irene Dunne.

I almost forgot. I wanted to include this in my earlier post … but better late than never! Allow me to recommend yet another hilarious Irene Dunne screwball comedy … this one from 1938 called Joy of Living. It’s the story of a Broadway musical star (Dunne) with a family of noisy, whiny, unemployed leeches (Alice Brady, Guy Kibbee and Lucille Ball) who are draining her bank account and cluttering up her life. Enter Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., as a stalking fan who morphs into her love interest and shows her how to break away from her sponging relatives and enjoy life. Their first night on the town together includes a scene at a roller rink doing “crack the whip” — when they’re both seriously inebriated —that’s probably the funnest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously, I almost couldn’t breathe. I might have to buy the DVD so I can watch this scene at least once a week.
That’s probably about all for now because I think I hear a FedEx truck outside.

Sarah Palin, pink slime and baloney.

Glorioski, y’all. I slept 11 hours last night! I’m sure this has a lot to do with Sam’s insane hours this week and the fact that I stay up really late sometimes to wait for him. It didn’t work out that way last night, however, because I went to bed at 1 a.m. and he didn’t get home until 4:20.

I just read an insane opinion piece by columnist Timothy Stanley on titled “If Only Sarah Palin Had Run.” Either this dude is an Einstein or he’s just posted an early April Fool’s prank. Stanley suggests that Sarah’s “weaknesses are a thing of the past,” she’s had “fewer gaffes than Gingrich” and is “far more disciplined than Rick Santorum.” Seriously? Are you on her payroll? Sarah Palin is as lame as ever! She’s a snotty, self-serving, vindictive juvenile who’s dumb as a rock, spent six years trying to get a four-year degree from a third-rate college, quit her job as governor of Alaska for a fatter paycheck in the private sector and — in case you have a really short memory — has already been tested as a candidate for vice president and failed miserably. Sarah Palin’s 15 minutes of fame were up four years ago.
Thank you for putting up with me. I mean this sincerely.

While I’m on the subject of idiots in politics, Governor Rick Einstein Perry is singing the praises of “lean, finely textured beef” — you know, pink slime — since slime-producer Beef Products, Inc. operates a facility here in Texas and recently halted operations at several of its plants due to plummeting demand caused by negative media frenzy. Perry says that “science supports keeping this lean beef product on grocery store shelves,” and Beef Products, Inc. thinks we’d be comforted to know they’ve been adding their product to our ground beef for at least 20 years.

I’ve actually given this subject some thought lately. Twenty years ago is probably around the same time we stopped seeing beef labeled “ground chuck,” “ground round” and “ground sirloin” in favor of “85% lean,” “94% lean” and so on … because I’ll bet that’s when pink slime entered the picture. Holy crap. I’d like to slime YOU, Governor Perry!

Big news, boys and girls ... I’m expecting my latest delivery from Shelf Reliance today (see my earlier post). You know, cans of freeze-dried chicken, freeze-dried mushrooms and freeze-dried diced potatoes. This is so damn exciting I might sit in the living room window to watch for the FedEx truck, which should have been here by now. (They usually deliver by 4:30.) I’ve also been tracking a delivery from Amazon that was due today — 12 bags of Popcorners — but I think UPS screwed up. The last tracking entry was yesterday and said “Arrived in Mesquite, Texas” ... but there’s no entry today that tells me it’s on a UPS truck for delivery. I am devastated beyond all comprehension. Thank God I still have baloney in the house.

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Newt Gingrich ... the Einstein who wants to bring back orphanages to save money on welfare.

It’s Wednesday night. Since Sam will be at work until dawn tomorrow (seriously) and I’m 100% caught up with all my client projects, this is a perfect opportunity to spend a little quality time horsing around with the Howdygram! Other planned activities for the balance of the evening include: 1) finishing a mug of hot chocolate that’s no longer hot; 2) tackling a hangnail; and 3) making popcorn. These are not listed in order of importance.

I’m sure you’ve read the news that, due to a serious lack of funds, GOP whackjob Newt Gingrich has cut back on his campaign for the presidential nomination and laid off 30% of his staff. He’s basically crawling around in the gutter at this point, and I personally can’t wait until this disgusting loudmouth gets off the public stage. Gingrich is the Dickensian Einstein who suggested “bringing back orphanages” to save money on welfare to families with children and thinks the United States needs a “minimum voting standard” for native-born Americans ... a basic citizenship test to make sure people are smart enough to vote. Ever heard of the Voting Rights Act, Newt? Your idea is not only stupid, it’s illegal.
A few additional Gingrich brainstorms:
  • Concerning the student loan debt bubble Gingrich discussed a small college where students get a break in tuition for helping to clean the campus, and his Republican audience gave him an ovation. Gingrich seriously believes this a solution to student debt and expects universities to fire their maintenance staff and force poor students into janitorial chain gangs. I’m wondering if he ever examined the ratio between the number of students and janitors in a typical college.
  • We should grant citizenship to illegal residents by establishing local committees to figure out who they think is qualified. You know, a group of bossy white men who sit around deciding the fate of families. Because there’s no possible chance for corruption or bigotry with a scenario like that, right? Even worse is Gingrich’s insistence in checking if applicants “belong to your church.” Granting citizenship on the basis of religious affiliation happens to be illegal.
  • Gingrich wants Americans to implode the fundamentals of Democracy by asking Congress to pass a law insisting on the centrality of God in defining American rights, legitimizing prayer in public places and rejecting judicial supremacy as a violation of the Constitution’s balance of powers. I kid you not. When the Supreme Court objects, he says, Congress should pass a second law “to define the court’s jurisdiction.” What he means is, the President should have the power to throw out the Supreme Court and impeach federal judges who don’t agree with him. Holy crap.
And finally, I’d like take a minute to recommend a VERY cute movie I saw today for the first time, a real charmer with Alexander Knox, Irene Dunne and adorable Charles Coburn called Over 21.
So here’s the basic story. Knox is 40 years old and managing editor of a major newspaper when he decides to enlist in the Army during World War II. His publisher (Coburn) desperately tries to stop him, and Knox’s wife (Irene Dunne), who’s a successful author and screenwriter, gives up their New York penthouse to follow her husband to basic training in Florida, where she lives in sweaty little bungalow with lots of other Army wives — all half her age — as neighbors. It’s a great screwball comedy with plenty of poignant moments and I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before. Too bad Sam slept through most of it.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Perfect weather for sitting on the patio with a book and chocolate milk.

Show of hands. Anybody ever tried a snack called Popcorners? I just ordered some from after reading a pile of five-star reviews. Apparently this stuff tastes exactly like real popcorn except it’s healthy and cheap. I especially like cheap. Amazon sells a dozen 5-ounce bags for $15 with free shipping, which is almost $9 less than the manufacturer’s website. Popcorners come in a bunch of flavors like Butter, Cheesy Jalapeño, Caramel and Kettle; I ordered ordinary Butter because I always gravitate towards the classics. Another good example would be Oscar Mayer baloney.

Incidentally, I’m expecting my Popcorners delivery on Thursday if you’d like to come over and split a bag with me. I’ll even make Marcytinis.
We’re having some lovely weather this week in case you’re interested ... sunny, temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and an insignificant chance of thunderstorms on Friday afternoon. Mostly this is perfect for sitting on the patio with a book and chocolate milk. I’m almost done reading my Clifton Webb biography; Myrna Loy is next. I have enough sugar-free Nesquik in stock to last through both.
Don’t forget about Thursday; send an email if you’re coming over. Say hi to the family for me, okay?

Today’s deliveries include TicTacs, foam plates and exciting socks for Sam.

News flash. Remember the can of freeze-dried ground beef I ordered last week from Shelf Reliance? I tried it Sunday for the first time and the stuff is REALLY AMAZING. You just soak some in an equal amount of warm water (lightly salted) and 15 minutes later you’ve got really normal — and lean — ground beef for any sauce or recipe. In my case I rehydrated about half a cup and tossed it into homemade tomato soup. Seriously, this was so good I went back to Shelf Reliance and ordered cans of freeze-dried chopped chicken, freeze-dried mushrooms and freeze-dried diced potatoes.
Shelf Reliance promotes their products for food storage and emergency rations but they’re definitely missing a bigger audience beyond survivalists and religious nutjobs. I think freeze-dried food is BRILLIANT for lazy people in general or seniors like me who only want a ¼-pound of ground beef to throw in a bowl of soup or a few mushrooms for an omelet. This is so much smarter than buying fresh mushrooms from Tom Thumb that get slimy in the fridge after three days and wind up in the garbage.

Just in case they’re reading the Howdygram, I think Shelf Reliance should also consider freeze-dried Mongolian chicken and freeze-dried baloney. I’m just saying.

Sam’s Aunt Adie sent the following photo of her granddaughter Hailey a couple of days ago. Hailey’s doing the “Sam wave” at Huntington Gardens in San Marino, California. Hi back, Hailey!
This is a monumental week around here for package deliveries and all of the following essentials will arrive at Howdygram headquarters either today or tomorrow. Pictured below are diabetes test strips, a case of wintergreen TicTacs and 12 boxes of Lipton Hearty Chicken Cup-a-Soup from and foam plates, Efferdent and exciting socks from Wal-Mart. The exciting socks are for Sam.
And finally, I’d like to introduce BABY KIWI FRUIT. Apparently they’re grown domestically in California and Oregon in September and October and get imported from Chile and New Zealand in March and April, which means you should be able to buy them NOW at a local supermarket. Holy crap, are these cute or what? If you manage to find them somewhere please send me a few attached to an email.
For the record, baby kiwis may be teeny and exceptionally sweet but they’re NOT as teeny and sweet as Baby Sam (see inset). Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Everybody knows that frosted cake is the perfect food for all sporting events.

Great news, boys and girls! I’ve got a ton of fabulous crapola lined up for this Howdygram post and there’s no better time to get started than RIGHT NOW. Sam is at the office — yes, on Sunday — indefinitely, I just watched Tiger Woods win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and for the moment I’m all through horsing around with that new website project while my client tweaks a few final edits. I’m all yours. Holy crap, right?

First, please allow me to extend heartfelt congratulations to Tiger Woods from everybody at the Howdygram Sports Desk for winning the aforementioned PGA tournament. By the time he got to the 18th hole — with 20,000 spectators chanting his name — he was so visibly excited he almost couldn’t putt. I know exactly how this feels! (I might be joking.) Note to Tiger: shave the stupid goatee.
I saw in the news that psychopathic former vice president Dick Cheney, 71, received a heart transplant yesterday at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. I find this absolutely SHOCKING as I didn’t know the conspiratorial fearmonger ever had a heart to begin with! During the George Dubya Bush administration Cheney’s first official assignments in February 2001 were to help organize wiretaps to spy on American citizens and conspire with oil companies to plan the invasion of Iraq. Around the same time he also was asked to head the Counter-Terrorism Task Force, although he held no meetings and ignored hundreds of written warnings about Osama bin Laden for nearly seven months. Cheney finally convened the CTTF on September 12, the day after the destruction of the World Trade Center. So you can imagine how happy I am that Satan gets a new heart. Isn’t medical science wonderful?
What some might consider the perfect segue, please join me in wishing a happy 60th birthday to Hasbro’s first big-seller, Mr. Potato Head.
I had a Mr. Potato Head when I was little. At the time it was just a box of push-pin body parts (eyes, lips, feet, etc.) that you jabbed into a real potato, which was big fun for about seven minutes. Unfortunately if you forgot to throw out the used spud afterwards you wound up with a moldy monster sprouting horns, which always sent me screaming all over the house at three years old. Thanks for the nightmares, Hasbro.

And now for a couple of Howdygram product announcements! First, just in case you’re a pious Christian who celebrates Easter with mountains of sugar you’ll surely want to buy a Giant Gummy Bunny for friends and loved ones. It’s 6½ inches tall, costs $14 and comes in your choice of three religious flavors. You can order yours here.
Second, are you ready for some crap from Pawley’s Island, South Carolina? Then I’d like to introduce you Bird Crap, a custom-blended seasoning that’s supposed to “taste great on just about anything.”
If, for some reason, this is making you hungry, you can order Bird Crap from the manufacturer’s website. One bottle is $5.99, a Bird Crap Double is $10 or you can get a Case o’ Crap for $55. Yee haw!

For your possible interest a brand new season of “Mad Men” premiers tonight on AMC after an excruciatingly long absence due to contract disputes. If you remember the 1960s you’ll love this series, which is populated with sleazy but handsome Madison Avenue advertising executives, hilarious 1960s-era product placement and women with lacquered hair and road-cone boobs who make meat loaf for dinner. This is definitely fine television and a Howdygram four-star recommendation.
Since Sam is still at work — he’s been gone since 11 this morning — and I have no idea what time he’s coming home, I guess I’d better rustle up some grub in the kitchen because I haven’t eaten anything all day except for a piece of frosted cake during the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Everybody knows that frosted cake is the perfect food for all sporting events. Thank you for reading this.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Victorian-Vampires-Meet-Hasidic-Jews ... fashion for the 21st century.

For those of you who missed the big finale last night, goofy little Mondo won “Project Runway All Stars.” This time it was easy enough to predict, since Michael showed half a dozen dopey animal print outfits you could buy at Penney’s 10 years ago and the theme of Austin’s collection was Victorian Vampires Meet Hasidic Jews. He even instructed the hair stylist to give his models sideburn curls. I kid you not.
To illustrate my point I’m pleased to provide examples of the aforementioned losing fashion collections, although Austin’s insane pink knickers (see below) would be perfect for shoplifting TicTacs and disposable razors at Wal-Mart in Brooklyn. I’m just saying.
In other entertainment news, Sam and I watched a crappy science fiction movie this morning called X: The Unknown (1956) starring Dean Jagger as Dr. Adam Royston and nobody else you ever heard of except for Anthony Newley in a bit part. The basic plot is, near a remote Army base in Scotland the ground cracks open and a mysterious vapor starts killing Einsteins who get too close. Local genius scientist Dean Jagger decides the crack is a “bottomless pit” — he definitely knows this for sure, right? — and the vapor has to be radiation. As a matter of fact, it’s not long before a growing blob of RADIOACTIVE PANCAKE BATTER starts oozing its way all over the countryside, feeding on energy from Dean Jagger’s lab, terrifying the citizens and heading towards an experimental nuclear power station for “the biggest meal of its life.” In the meantime everybody’s running around with geiger counters and soldiers are shooting the batter with pistols, prompting Dean Jagger to philosophize: “This is basically just mud. How do you kill mud?”
In the photo directly above, from left to right, are three people I don’t know plus Dean Jagger. (Nice hat.)

Sam is still at the office. He has no idea what time he’s coming home so I’ve decided to park myself in the family room and eat things, beginning with homemade tomato soup. This is a dorky recipe I invented myself because canned tomato soup is loaded with corn syrup and I’m diabetic. Therefore, I heat up two 15-ounce cans of diced tomatoes — the kind with onions and celery — plus a wallop of cayenne pepper and seven packages of Equal. As soon as it simmers I pour in two teaspoons of corn starch mixed with ¼-cup of nonfat milk, and voilá ... Marcy’s Amazing Sugar-Free Cream of Tomato Soup!

Thank you for reading this. Seriously.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I think this might mean I’m not really retired yet.

Miss me? I’ve been working my ass off on that new website for Gardenia’s Cakes & Catering in South Carolina, and it’s really hard to unwind with the Howdygram when I’ve got so much client work to do. Seriously, Gardenia’s will be the biggest site I’ve ever created except for the monster I developed for Ovation Chocolates — does anybody remember when I owned Ovation Chocolates? — back in 2005, which was an e-commerce website with more than 175 pages. But wait, there’s more! I just found out that a client in Colorado thinks it’s time to redesign and expand her website (Julie Cardinal Photography), which will probably be another huge job since she hasn’t made changes to her site in more than three years.

I think this means I’m not really retired yet. Rats.

Incidentally, I might have to list our house with a realtor this afternoon because a moth flew in when I opened the front door a few minutes ago. For the time being “Mothra” appears to be trapped behind the blinds in the living room but if he finds a way out you’ll hear me shrieking from coast to coast. I am positively PETRIFIED of flying insects.
The Howdygram is proud to present its latest Einstein Award to Dan O’Leary, city manager of Keller, Texas, who decided to lay himself off this week when a budget shortfall indicated a top management position had to be eliminated. O’Leary’s last day will be April 20. He wants everybody to know, however, that his last job review was very good and he’s NOT firing himself due to excessive tardiness or lousy performance.
For your possible interest, Keller is located just north of Fort Worth and is marked by a pink star on the map above.

You know you’re getting old when the highlight of your week is an online AARP “webinar” about Social Security. It starts about half an hour from now and I even remembered to email an advance question for the experts. Yee-haw! I just found out I’ll have to borrow Sam’s computer for this, though, since AARP is requiring a specific browser — Firefox — that’s no longer installed on my Mac after it went totally kablooey (the technical term for “corrupted”) a couple of months ago.

I hope AARP won’t mind me eating half a bagel during the webinar if I promise not to make anybody jealous.

A quick Howdygram public service announcement before I sign off. Under no circumstances should you EVER Google the word “leprosy” and click “images.” Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Take a guess what Sam and I want for Hanukkah this year.

Holy crapola, Howdygramsters. Our total rainfall for the huge storm system that chugged through here this week was EIGHT INCHES. Eight! Here’s a photo of the storm as it approached Sunnyvale and Mesquite late Monday afternoon. Cattle are clearly indicated for your possible interest.
Believe it or not, the water restrictions from last year’s drought are still being enforced all over north Texas even though our lakes are full and our rivers are flooding. Why? Because north Texas buys its drinking water from Lake Texoma (in Oklahoma), and since Lake Texoma is currently fighting an infestation of zebra mussels it’s illegal for them to sell water! (Take a guess what Sam and I want for Hanukkah this year.)

Last night when Sam got home from work we ate snacks and watched an amazingly swell film, The Moon and Sixpence (1942) with Herbert Marshall and George Sanders, which is based on Somerset Maugham’s biography of artist Paul Gauguin. Sanders’ portrayal of Gauguin — a scoundrel and a misogynist —is so outrageously evil you almost want to throw furniture, but it was also so riveting that Sam actually managed to stay awake for the entire 90 minutes even after we ran out of brownies.
In case you’re interested, my projects for today include: 1) ongoing work on my new client’s website; 2) emptying the dishwasher; 3) reminding Sam to pick up a prescription; and 4) waiting for UPS to deliver a couple of packages from Wal-Mart and Amazon. Tomorrow’s deliveries are actually a much bigger hoo-hah, however, as I’m expecting those canisters of freeze-dried ground beef and onions (see post) from Shelf Reliance and a ton of sugar-free Vlasic bread & butter pickles from Buy the Case. I’m so excited I might wait outside for the truck if it’s not raining. (Yes, we’re expecting more rain.)

Thank you for reading this

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If you zoom in, I’m the one in the window with a box of TicTacs.

Okay, I admit it. This time finally got it right ... and that’s why I couldn’t write a Howdygram post yesterday! Although our monster storm system didn’t get underway until 8 last night — more than 12 hours later than the original forecast — wild afternoon winds gusting to 50 m.p.h. knocked out our electrical power and left us in the dark from 6 p.m. until maybe half an hour ago. What a night. I was here by myself with nothing to do except eat a can of fake meat with hot glass of Coke Zero in a room illuminated by two flameless candles and a flashlight and then take a nap on the chaise in the family room. Sam got home from work at 10:30.

Here’s our current weather map. We’ve already had 4¾ inches of rain and expect at least two more before this all ends today around noon. The pink star below denotes Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite. If you zoom in, I’m the one in the window with a box of TicTacs and a blue bathrobe. (Sam is still in bed or he’d be waving at you, too.)
Right now I think I’ll pour myself a nice tall Marcytini if we still have any ice cubes and then maybe go back to bed for a while. It’s thundering like crazy and thunder always sounds better in bed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dueling billboards: a sensible way to spend large sums of money on something really stupid.

Hi, y’all. It’s the wee hours of Monday morning and I haven’t been to bed yet, a situation most likely caused by two thoroughly ridiculous Sunday naps. (One lasted almost four hours.)

There’s a breaking news story on ABC’s website right now about an auction of “rare” Marilyn Monroe pictures. Come on, how rare can these stupid things be after all this time? Just about every month somebody discovers another stack of rare Marilyn Monroe pictures in a dead director’s basement, making her the most over-exposed deceased actress EVER. Here’s one of Marilyn’s latest, where she’s posing in a never-before-seen bed with a rare glass of milk. Holy crap, people. Can we be done with this obsession already?
The entertainment world is reeling tonight after Ashley Olsen, 25, announced her decision to quit acting and focus on the fashion empire she’s created with her twin sister Mary-Kate. Aside from the fact that I don’t think Ashley has had a speaking role on television since she was three years old, the bigger revelation is that she considers herself fashionable.
The Olsen twins, pictured above, are in fact a pair of GRIMY BAG LADIES frequently photographed shlepping around Manhatttan with dirty hair, chewed-off nail polish and clothes they’ve pulled from the dumpster behind Goodwill. Is this fashion? Seriously?

On March 2 Frito-Lay will launch their latest line of chips — “Doritos Jacked” — because we can never get enough greasy crap in our diets. The new Doritos are 40 percent thicker than regular Doritos (why?) and will be available in two new flavors: Enchilada Supreme and Smoky Chipotle BBQ. At last! A thicker, crunchier path to obesity!
I saw a news story a little while ago that I had to read twice because it genuinely freaked me out. Apparently a nutjob pastor named Richard Geringswald (see right) of Polk County, Florida, and his faithful flock of nutjob haters have anointed a highway leading into town with olive oil in order to “call out the angels to check every car that enters the county to make sure they’re Christian, and if they’re NOT Christian they would either have to follow Christian beliefs or get put in jail.” A group of atheists washed the highway to make a statement for tolerance, after which the aforementioned nutjob haters buried bricks engraved with Psalm 37:9-11 alongside the 12 major roads that enter the county and held a public prayer vigil. The atheists and nutjobs are also investing in dueling billboards, which is certainly a sensible way to spend large sums of money on something really stupid. Hey, is America fun, or what?

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m not tired enough yet to go to bed. To amuse myself in the meantime I’ve been checking every half-hour to watch for their predicted storm system to show up on radar. So far there’s nothing whatsoever in the vicinity even though they’re promising a 95% chance of huge thunderstorms by 7 a.m. Here’s the scoop.
I won’t believe any of this Weather Channel baloney until it actually GETS HERE, so stay tuned for additional updates and thank you for reading this.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Meteorology isn’t science, it’s science fiction.

They’re at it again. is taking yet another stab at predicting scary weather for the Dallas area. This time it’s supposed to happen tomorrow — Auntie Em! — a 90% chance of thunderstorms with egg-size hail (extra large or jumbo?), 65 m.p.h. wind, flooding rain and a couple of possible tornadoes. Our current forecast map appears below.
Don’t believe it. They’ve predicted this identical scenario so many times — with no results whatsoever — that it’s turned into a standing joke around here.

In the dictionary meteorology is defined as “the branch of science concerned with the processes and phenomena of the atmosphere, especially as a means of forecasting the weather.” Fat chance, pal. Meteorology isn’t science, it’s SCIENCE FICTION.

Know what? I’m starting to get excited about that freeze-dried hamburger I ordered a few hours ago from Shelf Reliance (see post) and just decided that my first culinary effort will be sloppy Joes since I’ve got a can of Manwich somewhere in the back of the pantry. Do you think I’m supposed to use freeze-dried buns with this? (I don’t have any.)

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

Oy. What if these people are a bunch of survivalists?

Holy crap. I think I accidentally just got myself involved in something weird. I went back to the website (Shelf Reliance) where I bought that can organizer yesterday for our pantry and discovered they also sell their own line of mysterious DEHYDRATED FOOD, such as freeze-dried veggies, freeze-dried ground beef, freeze-dried grains, eggs, milk, fruit and God knows what else ... all with “shelf life stability” into the next millennium. I got slightly carried away and ordered small cans of freeze-dried ground beef and freeze-dried chopped onions. I have no idea what I’m going to do with this stuff, but it’s a cheap adventure and I’ve been known to eat damn near anything. Loma Linda fake meat, for instance.
However, all of sudden I’m thinking — oy — what if these people are a bunch of SURVIVALISTS? You know, wackos who sit around waiting for Armageddon? The whole website has a panicky undertone with articles about: 1) do you know your children spend 25% of their lives away from home; 2) why you should pay off your debts; and 3) how to freak out your friends and loved ones with frightening instructions whenever they go to the mall without you. I have no idea how any of this relates to dehydrated asparagus, but if you get sucked in by it all you might be an excellent candidate for Thrive’s “business opportunity.” It’s probably like hosting Tupperware parties except everybody wears a helmet.

Stay tuned for more details and thank you for reading this.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

News flash. Humphrey Bogart sucked at foreign accents.

I have to admit, this was probably the best St. Patrick’s Day EVER. We had lunch at Hong Kong Royal, enjoyed an extended nap as soon as we got home, and then Sam and I spent the afternoon hanging out on our patio because the weather was perfect (75°, mostly cloudy and NO BUGS). But wait, there’s more! This afternoon I reordered another dozen cans of Loma Linda faux “Swiss Stake” from Amazon, two big boxes of Equal from Wal-Mart — only five bucks each! — and a dozen jars of sugar-free Vlasic bread & butter pickles from Buy the Case, an exceptionally cool website where everything is — take a guess — sold only by the case! Their prices are good, shipping is cheap and there’s no sales tax. A double yee-haw for cheap shipping and no sales tax!
I also ordered a pantry organizer from Shelf Reliance that was half the price of a similar product on Amazon and has lots of great user reviews. Apparently this thing is HUGE, which means I’ll finally be able to straighten out all my cans of diced tomatoes and fake meat. (I have a lot of fake meat.)
And now I think I’ll make myself a gigantic mug of sugar-free hot chocolate and shlep Sam into the family room to watch a movie with me. (He’s playing Texas Hold ’em on Come on over if you have nothing else to do, okay? We’re planning to watch Virginia City with Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott, Miriam Hopkins and Humphrey Bogart, who’s a Mexican bandit with an accent so atrocious he actually sounds French. (Bogart’s mustache isn’t too exciting, either.)

Thank you for reading this.

There’s no parade for Irish cowboys in Mesquite.

Sam and I would like to wish all Howdygram readers a joyous St. Patrick’s Day. We’re planning our own official celebration later today with lunch at Hong Kong Royal — dim sum! — and a nice long drive that might include a trip to the Choctaw Casino if I can talk Sam into it. This is the best we can do considering we don’t drink beer and there’s no parade for Irish cowboys in Mesquite. Also we’re Jewish, which means Chinese food and slot machines are perfect for all occasions.
Thank you for reading this.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Get ready to vomit shamrocks!

Hello from north Texas, where the skies are gray, the air is warm (78°) and somebody’s getting rain ... but it’s just not us. is teasing us with thunderstorms for the next several days — severe storms on Monday — but trust me, I’ve lived here almost five years and they blow it every chance they get. Our five-day forecast appears below. Don’t believe it. The fine people of Dallas should go ahead with their outdoor weddings and golf tournaments.
Get ready to vomit shamrocks! To help the world honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of drunks and parades, Burger King is giving away FREE FRIES WITH GREEN KETCHUP — no purchase necessary! — on March 17 and 18, after which you should drive straight over to McDonald’s to wash them down with a minty green shake. Except you have to pay for the shake since McDonald’s apparently doesn’t give a crap about holy days.
Here’s some breaking financial news. Always a model of fiscal responsibility, I called AT&T yesterday afternoon to cut back on our U-Verse cable service. Last year they offered me a juicy 12-month discount when I signed us up for their bloated “450” plan with every channel ever invented including Bulgarian Classics, The Hopscotch Network and Korean high school wrestling. To avoid being billed an extra $48 a month starting tomorrow I switched us to the “350” plan, whereby we get to keep basic, expanded basic, premium basic, all the high-definition channels plus Encore, HBO and Cinemax ... all for less money. Glorioski! Pass the chips!

And now for the latest hogwash from presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the GOP’s official Stormtrooper-in-Chief, whose latest crusade is to ban pornography in the United States. This would include everything available to the general public that doesn’t meet his personal standard for decency, such as “Playboy” and possibly even “Top Chef,” where a couple of contestants were taped flirting with each other during season eight. Santorum says, “As a parent I am concerned about the widespread distribution of illegal obscene pornography and its profound effects on our culture. The Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families. That will change under a Santorum Administration.” Obama favors pornographers? Seriously?

Excuse me, Field Marshal Santorum, but have you read the first amendment lately? Ordinary pornography is not illegal ... and it’s also not especially widespread. I don’t know where you shop, Rick, but I walk into plenty of stores and businesses and have never yet been bombarded with copies of “Anal Weekly” or “American Orgasm.”
Santorum clearly wants to ban everything that offends him. Using that logic, I want to ban HIM. Actually, I’m surprised he’s found time to worry about porn considering his busy schedule condemning college educations, premarital sex, Puerto Ricans for speaking Spanish and radical, fallen women who work outside the home and take birth control pills. Please promise me you’re NOT going to vote for this idiot.

I’ve been trying to decide what’s for dinner tonight. The options here are endless, such as: 1) potato pancakes; 2) a toasted bagel with baloney and Vlasic bread & butter pickles; 3) fake meat in a can; or 4) call China City. At the moment I’m leaning towards #4 but the others all sound awfully damn wonderful, too. Please send an email ASAP if you’d like to cast your vote. Thank you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Paul Revere and the Raiders: five jumping geriatrics still in costume after 50 years.

Once again it’s an honor to report that Sam has saved my life. He does this regularly, every time I’ve got a crisis and he jumps in like a tall but spindly super-hero minus the cape and tights. (Damn, he’d look great in tights.) Around 9:45 last night I called Sam at work to tell him: 1) the shower faucet handle in the master bath was disconnected and I couldn’t figure out how to snap it back where it belonged; and 2) while I was eating dinner a Schwan’s popcorn shrimp rolled off my plate, landed momentarily on my right foot and then ricocheted under the sectional sofa in the family room. A masterful troubleshooter, Super Sam fixed the shower handle and retrieved my rapscallion shrimp less than 10 minutes after he got home from work. We celebrated with mozzarella sticks and watched Up the River starring Humphrey Bogart and Spencer Tracy.

Shortly before the events of paragraph one, around the same time that renegade shrimp took a nosedive under the furniture, I had an out-of-body experience with a PBS all-star music special co-hosted last year by Peter Noone and Davy Jones (who just died). While Davy is singing his first number — “Daydream Believer” — the camera pans around the audience and I’m thinking, are they taping this in a senior center? Who the hell are all these old people and why do they know the words?

And then it hit me. Holy crap, THEY’RE MY AGE. They’re all sixtysomething GRANDPARENTS with gray hair and high blood pressure! Noone (64) and Jones (65) looked AMAZING, although nice teeth and money probably have a lot to do with that.
I recorded the program and plan to watch the rest after Sam leaves for work today. A bizarre number by Paul Revere and the Raiders — five jumping geriatrics still in costume after 50 years — sort of pushed him over the edge so I promised to change the channel.
In other news, I’m expecting a number of exciting FedEx deliveries this afternoon, including the sugar-free Vlasic bread & butter pickles from Wal-Mart that should have been here YESTERDAY. (I will probably eat the entire jar for dinner. I love those things.)

One final thought before I go back to bed. Maybe somebody can explain why the GOP presidential candidates are so obsessed with sex and birth control, because I don’t understand it. Yesterday Mitt Romney announced, “Planned Parenthood? We’ll get rid of that.” Frankly, I’d rather get rid of YOU, Mitt, and the entire field of nasty, frustrated Republican nutjobs. GET THEM OFF THE PUBLIC STAGE. A woman’s reproductive system is none of their damn business and I’m fed up with their degrading rants. Seriously.
Have a nice day and thank you for putting up with me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An unapologetic egomaniac bites the dust. On live TV.

Holy crap. I just finished watching Rod Blagojevich’s live farewell address to the troops on, broadcast from the sidewalk in front of his house in Chicago. It’s pretty hard to believe at this late date — he reports to federal prison tomorrow to begin a 14-year sentence — that Blago still has NO CLUE what he did wrong. His speech was a delusional train wreck that I couldn’t stop watching.
To condense 18 minutes of bullshit (I was actually typing as he spoke) into one neatly-written paragraph, ex-Governor Blowhard said his biggest mistake was “not being humble enough” (seriously? that’s it?) but he always “did the right thing for Illinois” and “the people know the truth.” He boasted about his one accomplishment — free city bus rides for seniors — and still insists he never knew that racketeering, bribery, fraud and conspiracy were illegal because it was all “just politics.” “In the end,” he said, “I was on the right side of the law but the jury thought a line was crossed,” their “decision went against” him, and now he’s stuck “paying a price for trying so hard for the people of Illinois.” His final thought to the crowd on Ravenswood Avenue? “Right makes might.” (What the hell. Now he thinks he’s King Arthur.)

In an effort to immortalize this unapologetic egomaniac one last time, please feel free to clip and save the following mask, suitable for Halloween or target practice. Even better, line your litter box with my compliments.
A sad final thought. The sugar-free Vlasic bread & butter pickles I was expecting this afternoon won’t actually be delivered until TOMORROW, which means I might have to blow my brains out. Okay not really, but my plans for dinner are definitely ruined. I was counting on baloney and American cheese on white bread with pickles and chocolate milk!

Please send an email if you’d like to suggest an alternate menu. Thank you for being my friend.