Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Will somebody please tell Rowdy Gaines and Dan Hicks to shut the hell up.

For the first time in nearly 61 years I’ve got a useless car in the garage with a flat tire. As luck would have it, this is also THE EXACT SAME DAY I’m in need of an emergency haircut and feel like driving over to Five Guys for a hot dog. I also wouldn’t mind going for a ride. Click here to email a new tire immediately so I can get the hell out of here for a couple of hours. I don’t know for sure what size tire my Hyundai needs but it doesn’t really matter since I only plan to drive around for a short time. Thank you in advance.

There’s a lot of whining online about NBC’s crappy TV coverage of the London Olympics and so far I find myself agreeing with just about ALL of it. For instance:
  • NBC’s pathetic four-hour prime-time recap assumes everybody already knows who won and lost the day’s events because Bob Costas, sports’ teeny little Botox poster child, finds it necessary to begin with half a dozen spoilers, i.e., “Coming up … Missy Franklin wins gold!” Thanks a lot, Einstein.
  • NBC announcers described women gymnasts as “emotional divas” and the men as “determined and passionate.” Obviously they missed gymnast John Orozco’s reaction when the U.S. men finished fifth. (He was CRYING.)
  • Will somebody please tell Rowdy Gaines and Dan Hicks — NBC’s chatterbox swimming experts — to SHUT THE HELL UP. I’m so sick of their horseshit “filler” information that I’m ready to blow my brains out. I seriously do not need to know that Missy Franklin got started in the pool at a Mommy & Me play date when she was 14 months old. 
  • Marta Karolyi is not God and it would be nice if somebody informed NBC.
  • I’m pissed off that NBC doesn’t display the gymnastics scores of other teams when you can obviously hear the crowds screaming and cheering in the background. What the hell?
  • NBC paid $4.3 billion for the rights to broadcast all Olympics coverage through 2020. I think I might throw up.
And now it’s time to bring in today’s UPS deliveries from the front doorstep and throw together something wonderful for dinner, such as a bowl of gefilte fish or the leftover mozzarella sticks that Sam didn’t eat for lunch. Thank you for reading this!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Crapola deliveries and sauteed armadillos.

Hello from Texas, y’all. It’s 103° here this afternoon, and that’s certifiably hot enough to fry an armadillo on the sidewalk ... although most of us prefer them lightly sautéed with a side of cole slaw. (If you’re on a diet you can use Pam instead of butter.)

Just in case you’re interested I thought I’d provide a brief rundown of the deliveries I’m expecting tomorrow via UPS! This will include all of the following, in no particular order of importance: 1) two cans of Bisto chicken gravy granules; 2) six bags of Bear Creek Hot & Sour Soup Mix; 3) a couple of styrofoam wig heads; and 4) 11 boxes of Streit’s Potato Pancake Mix from — of all places — Soap.com. Items 1 through 3 are from Amazon.
Next week I’ll receive an order I placed this morning with Shelf Reliance for another supply of fantastic freeze-dried crapola.
Pictured above are Thrive Freeze-Dried Mushroom Pieces and Taco Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). Sam and I love this stuff. Our favorite is the Taco TVP (this time I ordered two gigantic cans) because it cooks in two minutes (boil water, add product) and tastes exactly like the taco filling you’d get at a fast food place ... except this stuff is actually HEALTHY with almost no fat and lots of fiber and protein. Plus it’s also cheap. Their big #10 can (47 servings) is only $15.

The Freeze-Dried Mushroom Pieces are pretty damn wonderful, too. Just soak them in cold water for about two minutes and you end up with adorable mushroom slices to use for damn near anything except maybe lemon meringue pie.

Breaking news from the Hollywood scandal sheets! Apparently the “Octomom” (Nadya Suleman) is making headlines again. Since posing topless, starring in a porn film and stripping at gentlemen’s club in Florida this year didn’t bring in enough cash to support her 14 offspring, cash-strapped Octomom is turning to her fans — holy crap, she has fans? — for financial aid. She recently set up a website asking for donations to raise $150,000 because her house is in foreclosure and she’ll have to vacate with her three-ring circus in tow by mid-August. Judging from the condition of the property (there was an exposé a couple of months ago) they’ll probably have to burn it to the ground when she leaves. Photos posted online showed holes punched in walls, a broken bathroom barricaded by chairs, children pooping in little potties on the patio, graffiti on the walls and shredded carpet. I’ll bet the neighborhood is hosting a block party the day after she moves out.

Thank you, as always, for reading this.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

More Olympic fashions, a scratching post for humans and a diabetes breakthrough.

Before I start blabbering about Friday’s opening ceremonies in London I need to scream GLORIOSKI and HALLELUJAH, because I finally found somebody who sells scratching posts for people! You can buy them at BackscratcherWorld.com (click here) with all necessary mounting hardware on sale for only $19.95. I’m so excited I almost can’t stand it. My back itches about 90% of the time and it sure would be wonderful to give Sam a break once in a while even though he never complains. (I’m married to a swell guy.)
Speaking of Sam, at the moment he’s on his way to Tom Thumb for a carload of grocery essentials that includes: 1) a bunch of pepper jack cheese; 2) three boxes of Streit’s potato pancake mix; and 3) I can’t remember what else is on his list. Maybe a honeydew melon. I think I also told him to pick up some cole slaw. It’s hell getting old.

At last, it’s time for Howdygram’s fashion review of the London opening ceremonies a couple of days ago. It was my original plan to write this post yesterday but I got caught up watching the actual Olympics instead. I even watched three sets of women’s beach volleyball, and I hate women’s beach volleyball.

The first four featured nations appear below. Togo’s athletes, much like Spain’s (see previous post), got all dressed up to work at a food court. Syria sent a team of middle-aged businessmen. I’m not sure where Lesotho is — somewhere in the middle of South Africa, I think — but their athletes marched into the arena carrying garment bags with striped dunce caps on their heads. The crew from American Samoa dressed up in hospital scrubs and, in case you didn’t notice, the men are wearing SKIRTS.
Pictured below, athletes from the Czech Republic wore blue rubber rain boots with matching umbrellas. I don’t exactly understand the rest of their get-up, either. Are the women really wearing blazers over short white dresses with knee-length print underpants? Winning our award for Strangest Hats is the slightly cartoonish contigent from Kyrgyzstan. As for the athletes from Malaysia, they simply scared the crap out of me.
Now for our final group of three. I can’t quite explain why, but I loved the outfits from Nigeria, especially those green satin head things! San Marino’s fashions were created by Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo. I guess if you’re only sending four athletes to the Games you can afford to dress them in cashmere with $1,800 handbags. And matching shoes. Holy crap. And finally, Liberia sent the most patriotic athletes on earth and literally wrapped them in plastic shower curtains that looked like their national flag. Way to go, Liberia!
In other news, I made an interesting discovery today related to my diabetes. I discovered that my fasting blood sugar count in the morning is incredibly lower after a really good night’s sleep. Two nights in a row last week I barely managed four hours of sleep and wound up with elevated blood sugar numbers in the morning (138 and 152). Today my count was perfect (90) after sleeping eight hours. I’m not exactly sure how to process this information so I’ll mention it to Dr. M when I see her in August. Maybe she’ll suggest a SLEEP AID! (The only thing better would be Mongolian chicken or frosted cake.)

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The liars at Weather.com strike again.

It comes as no surprise whatsoever that none of those huge thunderstorms ever showed up earlier today (see previous post). We didn’t even get rain. This is exactly what I’ve learned to expect from Weather.com because the whole damn bunch of them are PATHOLOGICAL LIARS. But before you accuse me of over-reacting, I think I should mention there are several additional issues contributing to my current snotty mood: 1) exhaustion, due to receiving only four hours of sleep last night; 2) I almost ran out of peanut butter; 3) cancelling my 10 o’clock haircut  because I was too tired to get dressed; and 4) my right hip hurts.

Regarding item two (above), guess what just showed up on my doorstep: SIX JARS OF PEANUT BUTTER from my buddies at Amazon.com! This time I ordered Fifty 50 brand, a sugar-free low-glycemic (safe for diabetics) product that actually tastes better than any other peanut butter I’ve ever tried, including Jif, which was my all-time favorite until 10 minutes ago. I decided to try Fifty 50 based on a pile of five-star reviews, and it turned out to be a very good thing to do. Amazon sells six 18-ounce jars for $28.99 with free shipping. Buy yours here. For the record, Fifty 50 donates half its profits to diabetes research.
In case you give a crap about this, my plans for the rest of the day are as follows: 1) take an extended afternoon nap; 2) order dinner from China City; and 3) run the dishwasher; and 4) I can’t think of anything else. I love my life.

Don’t forget to watch the Olympics on TV tonight. Thank you for reading this.

Crappy Olympic fashions from around the globe. (Spain wins.)

It’s the middle of the night in Howdygramland and I can’t sleep again. Same reason as last time — neuropathy — except tonight my hands and feet feel like they’re on fire from the inside (a very weird sensation) and I’m also having an issue with a very ugly and itchy rash between two fingers on my right hand. Therefore, as long as I’m sitting here like a zombie I decided to write a post so the night won’t be a total loss. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get to bed before thunderstorms start rolling in here around 3 a.m. (I didn’t know we were expecting any storms until 15 minutes ago. Surprise!)

For your possible interest I’d like to share some meaningful Olympics crapola. First, here are a couple of photos of Australia’s star swimmer Leisel Jones, who’s apparently packed on some serious pounds leading up the London Games. The Australian Olympic committee is pissed that local reporters are commenting on Leisel’s size even though it’s pretty clear to damn near everybody that she’s not in great shape for a competitive swimmer. (Maybe she’ll switch to wrestling when she gets to London.)
And now for a preview of some curious Olympic uniforms from around the globe in case you don’t plan to watch tonight’s opening ceremonies. I think the worst of the bunch are Spain’s  because their athletes look like FOOD COURT EMPLOYEES. This outfit is so thoroughly stupid that I’m almost speechless.
Here are three more, representing a variety of additional crappy Olympic fashions from China, Great Britain and the Ukraine.
All of these are pretty bad, but I guess I’m most confused by those purple outfits on Great Britain’s medal presenters and “escorts.” The women are wearing tight purple polyester dresses with random zippers and flying strips of orange toilet paper; the men look like gay airline stewards. And is there any kind of explanation for that pointy Judy Jetson hat?

Weather.com just rescheduled our incoming thunderstorms an extra hour to 4 a.m. with an 80% chance of severe weather by 7. Knowing their general track record I’d be willing to bet we never see any severe weather at all. Or any rain, either. In the meantime this might be an ideal opportunity to go back to bed since I have a haircut appointment at 10 a.m. and it’s always a good idea not to nod off in the chair. (I’ve actually done this.) Thanks for stopping by and please turn off the light on your way out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thank you in advance for giving a crap about this.

I’m having an exceptionally lazy day after a crappy night’s sleep (four hours). Due to the resulting lack of energy, motivation and brain function I’ve decided to make my singular goal du jour researching NBC’s TV coverage of the London Olympics. Following 9½ minutes of concerted effort, the Howdygram is pleased to provide this handy link to help all of you decipher your local listings. FYI, the opening ceremonies will air Friday night on NBC during prime time; cool events like swimming start Saturday morning. I’m definitely into  swimming. Also gymnastics. I have no interest whatsoever in volleyball, rowing, throwing javelins, fencing, sailing or badminton. Badminton? Seriously?

For your possible interest I’m pleased to post the latest installment of our popular Holy Crap Gallery, this time featuring a variety of pin-up dudes from the 1950s and 60s. Personally, I think all of them aged beautifully, although money and great hair could have something to do with it. The only exception is the late Troy Donahue, who looked like he’d been living in the back of a station wagon. For my money, gorgeous Chad Everett managed to look even better at 75 than he did four decades ago. (Don’t you wish everybody could say that?) Unfortunately, Chad died yesterday from lung cancer.
Wow. I’m STARVING. I’ve been sitting here for the last 45 minutes trying to figure out what I want for dinner. (Yes, it’s true, I have a really nice life.) My first instinct is to order something wonderful from China City, such as Curry Shrimp and Mongolian Chicken, which would supply enough leftovers for at least two days, although I also have a massive quantity of gefilte fish in the refrigerator. It’s quite a conundrum, isn’t it? If you have any thoughts or suggestions I’d appreciate a quick email within the next 15 minutes because I need to eat something. Thank you in advance for giving a crap about this. It’s nice to have friends who care.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Holy McShitsky ... healthy options for world-class athletes!

First and foremost, please accept my apology for not writing any Howdygram posts for the last couple of days. On Sunday I got caught up making tacos and watching the British Open, and yesterday I spent most of the day working on website updates for a couple of annoying clients who are — is there a nice way to say this? — TECHNICAL IGNORAMUSES who don’t know a URL from a potted plant. (I definitely like their money, however.)

Breaking news from the London Olympics! After facing lots of flak and official scrutiny for being the world’s largest purveyor of USELESS HIGH-FAT CRAP, McDonald’s — the 2012 Games’ exclusive food vendor — has decided to promote itself as “low calorie” and “healthy” by distributing a chart of its menu items under 400 calories. This would include favorites like Sausage McMuffins, “snack size” Oreo McFlurries, a single hamburger, a small order of fries and water. Please keep in mind, however, that a typical McDonald’s meal adds up to far more than “400 calories.” A couple of McDoubles, a large order of fries and a chocolate shake contain 2,168 calories and 246 grams of fat. Holy McShitsky ... let’s thank McDonald’s for all these healthy options for world-class athletes!
In case you’re looking for some top-quality TV entertainment tonight, the Howdygram recommends the two-hour season finale of “Deadliest Catch” on Discovery and this week’s episode of “Hardcore Pawn” on TruTV. No kidding, these are the best programs on television and if you’re not watching regularly a lot of high-quality reality is passing you by.
“Deadliest Catch” delivers the life-and-death hijinks of crab fishermen on the Bering Sea; with “Hardcore Pawn” you get a family of bickering Jewish pawnbrokers (visit their website) battling homicidal lunatics in the bowels of Detroit. Seriously, what’s not to love?

On the subject of homicidal lunatics for a minute, accused mass murderer James Holmes appeared confused and unstable in a Colorado court yesterday, where he exhibited signs of psychotic behavior and even nodded off during the proceedings. Experts are scrambling for an explanation and several have suggested that Holmes could be “faking it.” Trust me, HE’S NOT. Holmes is criminally isane. He let police capture him alive, told them his apartment was booby-trapped and then sat in jail playing with evidence bags like hand puppets. The face pictured below is Satan with a L’Oreal Paris dye job. 
On a more cheerful note, in a few minutes I’m going to watch one of my all-time favorite napping movies: Around the World in 80 Days (1956) with David Niven and Cantinflas. The musical score and cinematography are hypnotic, and the cast is a who’s who of classic movie star cameos featuring Ronald Colman, Noel Coward, John Gielgud, Charles Boyer, Gilbert Roland, Frank Sinatra, Cedric Hardwicke, George Raft, Marlene Dietrich, Peter Lorre, Red Skelton and Buster Keaton, to name a few. Also Andy Devine and Cesar Romero. (God forbid I should forget Andy Devine and Cesar Romero.)
Thank you for reading this. I know I say this a lot, but I’m not joking.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Austrian court issues a ban on unnecessary cowbells.

While Sam is taking a second afternoon nap (this time in bed) I thought I’d horse around for a while with the Howdygram because it’s 104° outside and too damn hot to do anything else. I don’t even feel like cooking so Sam promised we’d either order from China City or pick up a sack of barbecue from Dickey’s. I’d suggest gefilte fish but that’s what I ate for lunch.

I’m unable to discuss the biggest breaking news story of the day because I’m already so sick of James Eagan Holmes I could throw up. His name makes me sick, his face makes me sick, the fact that idiot losers can own assault rifles makes me sick, and — more importantly — I’ve never been a fan of that frightening Dark Knight Batcrap, anyway. Everybody knows the only REAL Batman and Robin were Adam West and Burt Young.
The second most important news story comes to us from Austria, where a civic court last week banned cowbells from a field after residents complained they couldn’t sleep because of the endless clanging. The owner of the cows had refused to remove the bells and argued that they were an Austrian tradition and he liked the sound. But after judge Erich Kundegraber paid a visit to the aforementioned field near Stallhofen he ruled in favor of the neighbors, since there was no need to hang bells on cows when they’re easily visible in a fenced field and not roaming around on a mountain like Julie Andrews.
There is currently a general panic spreading across Austria, as it remains unclear to what extent the ruling sets a precedent that could lead to the widespread ban of cowbells altogether. Holy crapsburg.

While I wait for Sam to get up from his nap I think I’ll watch an “Antiques Roadshow” rerun and a racy little pre-Code Barbara Stanwyck movie called Illicit (1931) where she plays a free-thinker who wants to live with her boyfriend rather than marry him. The shock of this concept is almost more than I can bear.
A nice pose from the movie appears above. Stanwyck is pictured with Natalie Moorhead on the left and Joan Blondell on the right. Thank you for reading this.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I’ve got so much gefilte fish I’m hyperventilating.

I love Fridays. It’s always been my favorite day of the week even though I haven’t been in school since 1972 or held a real job for more than a decade. Today’s exciting Friday activities included: 1) sleeping until 10:30 (really!); 2) making Schwan’s mozzarella sticks for lunch; and 3) attempting to watch Julia Misbehaves (1948) starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon while a bunch severe thunderstorm warnings bleeped across the TV screen. In case you’re interested, the storms missed Mesquite and I’ll have to run the movie again because the storm alerts screwed up most of it.
I also received a huge carton from Amazon this afternoon that contained EIGHT GIGANTIC JARS OF MRS. ADLER’S GEFILTE FISH. I wasn’t expecting this until Monday and got so excited I almost hyperventilated. God bless gefilte fish.

And now for the news you’ve all been waiting for ... a recap of last night’s “Project Runway” premier! It should come as no surprise whatsoever that more than half the contestants competing in season 10 are gayer than gay, and this includes a surly lesbian named Alicia who designs butch overalls, menswear styles and work boots for other lesbians. Definitely a “Project Runway” first. A few of last night’s stand-outs appear below.
Andrea is almost 60 years old and thinks hoop skirts and Birkenstocks are the “look of the future.” (Maybe in Civil War nursing homes.) Alicia is pictured above wearing her version of “haute lesbian chic.”

Christopher and Gunnar (see below) are this season’s token princesses, a pair of silly, snotty, jealous, excruciatingly non-straight twits who act like 12-year-old girls. They actually look alike (except Gunnar dyes the front of his hair blonde) and at times it’s almost impossible to watch them. They started fighting with each other less than 15 minutes into the first episode. “You are SO MEAN!” “No, YOU are!” “Nuh-uh, YOU are!” (You get my drift.)
And then there’s a Martian named Kooan who wants us to believe he’s from Japan. Kooan perms his hair in a 1970s afro, has six front teeth all pointing in different directions and dresses in clothes that look like they came from a dumpster behind Good Will. He bowed every five minutes in the first episode and his glasses fell off his face every single time.
Pictured below is the outfit Kooan designed for last night’s runway competition, a childish, hideous romper with pink plastic shoulder straps that reminds me of My-Pretty-Pony-Meets-Hello-Kitty. The judges didn’t eliminate him because another designer was actually worse than this (seriously) but they warned him to stop acting like such a clown.
It’s almost 8 p.m. and I think I’ll take a nice shower and eat gefilte fish and cactus pears for dinner. I’m pretty sure that Sam and I have no real plans for the weekend since it’s supposed to be pretty damn HOT around here. Personally, I’d be happy just hanging out in the family room watching the British Open. Please send an email if you’d like to come over. I’ll make onion rings.
Thank you for reading this.

New this year: chocolate-covered bread with sea salt, whipped cream and potato chips. Seriously.

I can’t sleep (again) so I thought I’d waste some time thinking and writing about food I know I’ll never be able to eat. The following photos — courtesy of the 2012 Orange County Fair in California — probably fall into the category of “food porn.”
Never to be outdone, the 2012 Texas State Fair is still two months away but organizers are already advertising their list of cardiovascular monstrosities. On this year’s menu are the following new concoctions:
  • Deep-Fried Biscuits and Gravy. A flaky biscuit filled with gravy is dunked in batter and deep-fried. It’s the breakfast of champions, y’all. 
  • Heavenly Deep Fried Brownie. A bite-sized brownie battered and deep-fried, dusted with powdered sugar and served with chocolate-cherry syrup. Ooh!
  • Fried Batter-Dipped Tamales. A new twist on a Mexican favorite with twice the fat and cholesterol. No thanks. 
  • Deep-Fried Southern Hospitality. Seasoned pork, collard greens, and corn bread shaped into a cone and deep-fried. Served on a stick. No thanks FOR SURE.
  • Double Fried Chicken Breast Taco. Breaded home-style chicken breast wrapped and refried in a flour tortilla. Served hot with cream gravy or jalapeño ranch dressing. Meh.
  • Praline Sweet Potato Poppers. Mashed sweet potatoes blended with a mixture of butter, brown sugar, brandy, chopped pecans, ginger and marshmallows. Dipped in sweet batter, deep-fried and doused with powdered sugar. Holy crap.
  • Fernie’s Deep-Fried “Whole Lotta Chocolatta.” Two slices of Italian bread stuffed with dark chocolate, dipped in egg wash, coated with bread crumbs and deep-fried. Served with a side of potato chips, sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with a hard white and milk chocolate shell. Topped with milk chocolate whipped cream. (If 21, served with a glass of chocolate wine.) I’ve got a problem with the concept here. Is this actually chocolate-covered bread with sea salt, whipped cream and potato chips? And what the hell is chocolate wine?
  • Fried Pecan Caramel Candy. Caramel squares dipped in chocolate batter and deep-fried. Topped with pecan caramel sauce. Sam would eat this.
  • Deep-Fried Chicken Skin. Available mild or hot & spicy. Seasoned, battered and deep-fried until crisp. Holy crap again.
  • Deep-Fried Cake Balls. A crumbled cake ball blended with chocolate or vanilla frosting, dipped in batter and fried. Topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar and chocolate syrup.
 Somebody please call 911.
  • Fried Loaded Baked Potato. A Texas version of loaded baked potatoes in one crunchy bite. Includes bacon, cheese, green onions, sour cream and butter. Rolled, battered, deep-fried and drizzled with brown gravy. Gravy? We don’t need no stinkin’ gravy.
I think I just gained 15 pounds. Maybe I’d better try going back to bed now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Holy crap, Fred. Keep it zipped.

Happy Thursday, y’all, and welcome to Howdygramland! Sam is on his way to Tom Thumb to buy a few household essentials — horseradish and canned seltzer — so I’ve decided to annoy you with a post while I wait for him to get home.

We’re having typical triple-digit Dallas summer weather this week, which means it’s way too hot to do anything except make lemonade and watch a bunch of old movies. I’ve been enjoying the following titles that I recorded Tuesday on TCM:
  • But the Flesh Is Weak (1932) with C. Aubrey Smith and Robert Montgomery as father-and-son gigolos. (Seriously.)
  • Untamed (1929) with Joan Crawford as a creepy, uncontrollable tramp named “Bingo” from the South Seas.
  • The Easiest Way (1931), a pre-Code treasure with Adolph Menjou, Robert Montgomery and Constance Bennett. Constance plays a floozie from the slums.
  • No Time for Love (1943) with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Fred is so buff I almost had a heart attack. (Okay, maybe just mild chest pains. But he looked amazing.)
  • Our Modern Maidens (1929), a silent film with Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
  • They Learned About Women (1930), a strange but touching story about best friends falling for the same girl, starring Bessie Love and the vaudeville team of Van & Schenck.
Corresponding photos of these films appear below for your possible interest. I also watched a good whodunit called Solitaire Man (1933) with Herbert Marshall but couldn’t find any images to include here.
There’s a breaking news story today. Actor Fred “Einstein” Willard, 72, has been arrested for engaging in a lewd act all by himself — I assume no additional hints will be necessary — at the X-rated Tiki Theater in Hollywood. In case you’re unfamiliar with this screwy dude, he’s best known for his roles in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary comedies Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind and is currently the host of a comedy talk show on ABC called “Trust Us With Your Life.” Ironically, Fred has just been hired to star in a romantic comedy set in Ireland called “The Yank.” I’m sure the producers were hoping for a classier public relations stunt. I’m just saying.

This is the 21st century, people, with a never-ending supply of free porn available 24/7 on the Internet. I can’t figure out why anybody would still go to an X-rated theater. I also can’t figure out why anybody would still OWN an X-rated theater. Holy crap, Fred. Keep it zipped.

Thank you for reading this.

Another scumbag for reality television.

I’m sitting here in the middle of the night trying to deal with a lousy flare-up of diabetic neuropathy. My current symptoms include sharp stabbing pains in my feet and hands, both of which make it almost impossible to fall asleep. I just read an article at the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website that says neuropathy can take many different forms, and — lucky me — I get practically ALL of them at various times, including heartburn, nausea, difficulting swallowing, dizziness when I stand up, bladder problems, numbness in my fingers (I can’t feel hot or cold) and changes in the texture of my skin. As I mentioned to Sam a couple of days ago, if I’d known diabetes was such a pain in the ass I would have signed up for a different disease. Holy crap.

As soon as my hands and feet calm down I’ll try to go back to bed. Mongolian chicken might help me feel better but I don’t have any.

The Learning Channel is producing a train wreck new reality series that follows the everyday meaningless activities of creep-of-the-century Pete Rose, now 71 years old, and his triple-D fiancée Kiana Kim, a former Playboy model, who’s 30 years his junior with a bunch of young children.
Rose, you may recall, was permanently banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on games (and against his own team) while managing the Cincinnati Reds. The following year he pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud and served five months in a Federal prison. I can’t imagine why anybody would waste their time producing or watching a TV series about this slimeball’s life. Initial episodes will include Kiana getting additional breast surgery — her goal must be honeydew melons — and Pete’s ongoing campaign to weasle himself back into baseball. Personally, I’d rather have all my teeth extracted.

And now I think I’ll go back to bed and attempt to get some sleep. It was nice of you to stop by, and I mean this sincerely. Shalom.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Announcing the Howdygram’s Great 2012 Mashed Potato Vending Machine Campaign.

In the face of a crumbling global economy, widespread national drought and Donald Trump still clinging to that pointless “birther” horseshit, 7-Eleven has discovered what the modern world needs more than anything else: A MASHED POTATO VENDING MACHINE.
International spice and gravy manufacturer Maggi has developed the “Magic Maggi” machine that dispenses a wad of mashed potatoes into a little paper cup with a spray of brown gravy on top. I wasn’t too impressed by the YouTube video (below) since the mashed potatoes apparently are rehydrated potato flakes — remember Hungry Jack? — with the consistency of wallpaper paste, but the notion of instant comfort food from a convenience store is almost too good to be true. Imagine being able to buy Tic Tacs, pencils, car deodorizer, a sugar-free Slurpee and mashed potatoes ... ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

At present this automated food marvel is available only in 7-Eleven’s stores in Singapore. And although there are no immediate plans to introduce them in the United States, the Howdygram would like to launch The Great 2012 Mashed Potato Vending Machine Campaign by bombarding  7-Eleven’s corporate headquarters with a vast number of written requests:

7-Eleven, Inc.
Guest Relations
P.O. Box 711
Dallas, TX 75221-0711

There’s also a contact form embedded on 7-Eleven’s website but it’s not too easy to find. Click here to give it your best shot and don’t hesitate to tell them the Howdygram sent you.

We received a really big Schwan’s delivery this morning with all of our favorite products because we ran out of practically EVERYTHING last week. This included one or more of each of the following:
Our regular driver is on vacation this week so we wound up with a new temporary doofus. I’m pretty sure nobody gives a crap about this, however. (Including me.)

Just a quick reminder that the new season of “Project Runway” premiers tomorrow night on Lifetime, offering another excellent opportunity to watch a bevy of overtly gay and emotional designers creating extremely strange and unappealing clothes. Please don’t forget to tune in and — as always — thank you for reading this!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Things I want but know I’ll never have.

As I sit here trying to decide what I want for dinner I’m thinking why not kill a couple of birds with a rock and also write a Howdygram post. So here I am, throwing rocks. My first order of business is a short list of things I want but know I’ll never have, a fantasy that frequently comes to mind now that I’m a senior citizen with false teeth and a cane.
  1. A teeny helicopter.
  2. A gated driveway.
  3. A SodaStream machine with accessories.
  4. A moat.
  5. A whole Sara Lee cherry cheesecake with a quart of milk and a spoon.
  6. Servants in uniforms.
  7. Size 7½ feet.
  8. My own cactus pear ranch.
This list doesn’t depress me, however, because I can always fill the emptiness with “Hardcore Pawn” reruns — easily the best show on television — and my adorable, attentive and entertaining husband, Sam. Also Mongolian chicken. Not necessarily in that order.

Yesterday I watched a couple of PBS specials about Britain’s monarchy that taught me a number of exciting new facts about the Windsors, two of which I’ll share with you here.

To begin, this week marks Britain’s annual “swan census” — correctly known as swan upping — during which several crews of silly dudes with fancy outfits and royal canoes patrol the entire length of the River Thames to count swans, which all belong to the Queen, because God forbid a swan should go missing. The chief silly dude is David Barber, Royal Swan Marker. I wonder if he uses a Sharpie.
I also learned that the Yeoman Warders — sometimes called “Beefeaters” — are the Queen’s ceremonial bodyguards at the Tower of London. The key word here is “ceremonial,” since most of these dudes are overweight retirees too old to tie their own shoes. Historically their primary function has been to keep an eye on the crown jewels and look after prisoners, although the latter have been in short supply since 1799. There’s also a Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster whose full-time job is to babysit six ravens. According to legend, if the ravens ever escape the Tower and monarchy will crumble. Even though this is obviously horseshit, the Queen feels justified to pay all of these doofuses a generous annual salary and dress them up like a bunch of cartoon characters. Their positions and uniforms date back to 1485.
The most sought-after career in Britain has to be milliner. Learn how to make hats and you’re set for life. Holy crap.

And now I think I’ll take a hot shower and watch a few of the aforementioned “Hardcore Pawn” reruns. A new episode is airing as I write this post but Sam and I will watch it together when he gets home from work along with this week’s episode of “Deadliest Catch.” Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sam & Marcy’s hunt for affordable groceries.

Today’s big burning question is, why the hell is Tom Thumb charging $6.85 for a stinking package of Ballpark Smoked White Turkey Franks? ARE THEY INSANE?

Sam went to the store this morning to buy a few essentials for the week and I told him to pick up a couple packages of Ballpark Smoked White Turkey Franks for me because I love those things and they’re fat-free with practically no calories. He couldn’t find them at our Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market a few days ago so I was hoping Tom Thumb would have them. When he called from the hotdog aisle to tell me the price I almost had a BRAIN HEMORRHAGE. They’re more expensive than the buffet lunch at Lucky China!
I see these Ballpark Smoked White Turkey Franks priced online at other markets for about $3.50, and the last time I personally bought them in a grocery store they were always on sale two for $5, although I admit that might have been several years ago because I’ve got disintegrating knees and other mobility issues and really don’t shlep myself through supermarkets any more. But $6.85 is OUTRAGEOUS, and the next time I’m in Tom Thumb I intend to whack the shitzky out of everybody with my cane.

Sam just reminded me that SPRINKLES are another overpriced dilemma. His favorite donut shop charges a nickle extra for sprinkles, such as a 60¢ chocolate donut will cost 65¢ with sprinkles. Sam is crazy about these things — we used to keep a two-pound tub in the pantry — but he refuses to cave in and pay that extra 5¢ so he buys apple fritters in protest. However I’d be mighty surprised if the cashier (or anybody else) gives a crap about this.
A sample donut with sprinkles and an apple fritter appear above for your possible interest. I don’t eat either product because I have diabetes. Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tasteless relish and gentile pickles. Next time I’ll try the Italian beef.

Last Sunday I wrote about our ongoing quest for a genuine Chicago-style hot dog — or at least what might be considered a reasonable facsimile — anywhere the Dallas metro area. Our options, to put it mildly, have been slim. According to a number of local food bloggers and critics the best Chicago-style hot dogs can be purchased at Five Guys, The Dog Stop and Wild About Harry’s, although the latter is located on Knox Street in a snooty and ridiculous congested neighborhood that’s not worth the trouble. We tried the hot dogs at Five Guys last weekend (see post).
So, a couple of hours ago Sam and I drove to The Dog Spot, a teeny little drive-up hut in north Dallas (see above), and bought ourselves four Chicago-style hot dogs that we shlepped back to Mesquite for dinner. They looked picture-perfect but were otherwise underwhelming as the dogs had no “snap” and definitely weren’t Kosher, they forgot to use celery salt, the relish was tasteless and the pickle spear was disappointingly gentile. On a scale from 1 to 10, these were maybe a 5. (Even Five Guys’ was better.) Next I’ll try the Italian beef.

As long as I’m reminiscing about food from Chicago this might be an excellent opportunity to mention Barnaby’s, a north suburban restaurant that first opened in 1969 during my last year of high school and became a favorite hangout for my crowd of friends. Barnaby’s is still in business — which I didn’t realize until a few minutes ago — and still winning pizza awards. Inside it looked like an English pub with hardwood booths, huge iron chandeliers and stained glass portraits of wenches and medieval dudes. In addition to pizza and sandwiches you could also get big pitchers of really good root beer. I’m actually hungry enough to drive to Chicago RIGHT NOW except there’s a thunderstorm moving in and Sam is outside on the patio enjoying the light show.
Doing anything fun tonight? As soon as it starts to rain (any minute now) and Sam comes back inside we’re planning to watch Support Your Local Sheriff with James Garner and Jack Elam, as illustrated by the photo below. (Bruce Dern is the bearded character in the window.) Support Your Local Sheriff is one of the funniest western parodies EVER and well worth watching if you’ve never seen it. Afterwards Sam and I have a few more Three Stooges episodes to see because we’re connoisseurs of highbrow comedy and dialog. (Please get that expression off your face.)
I think I’ll scrounge around for something to eat — maybe gefilte fish! — and bake a batch of Pillsbury sugar-free brownies if I can remember where I put the last box. Thank you for reading this and say hi to the family for me, okay?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Morris-dancers threaten the London Olympics.

I’ve got 30 minutes until the Howdygram’s Summer Gefilte Fish Festival gets underway so I thought I’d use this opportunity to share some breaking news!

Naked Einstein drives his truck into a mall
to steal pants and Air Jordans.
When Dallas police responded to a call about a break-in at Southwest Center Mall they found that a naked man had driven his pickup through the glass entrance doors near Macy’s, plowed down a main corridor and over several mall kiosks, and then crashed through the metal security gate and into Champs Sporting Goods inside the mall. When police finally caught up with him he was wearing pants (thank God) with the price tag attached plus a pair of brand new Air Jordan basketball shoes. What made this Einstein think that Champs Sporting Goods was a drive-through?

The London Olympics are off to a really crappy start.
First — and most importantly — there’s apparently a monopoly on French fries at the Olympic Village. McDonald’s has been awarded an ironclad contract giving them EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO THE SALE OF ALL FRENCH FRIES sold at the Games. Even worse, McDonald’s is the only restaurant allowed to sell brand-name food, and despite complaints by British doctors and nutrition experts the food choices will be exactly the same as McDonald’s fare around the world. (Translation: HIGH-FAT CRAP.)
The newest McDonald’s at Olympic Park is the world’s largest, with a staff of 500 and seating for 1,500. They expect to serve up to 14,000 people a day. That’s a hell of a lot of lousy cheeseburgers.

Other ongoing difficulties at the London Olympics include:
  • The main thoroughfare from Heathrow Airport to London is closed for bridge repairs. Seriously!
  • Delays at airport immigration counters (customs) for incoming travelers is so slow that during an Olympics run-through this week passengers in line started slow-clapping in protest.
  • Due to a screw-up by a private contractor, a shortage of 3,500 security personnel will be filled by armed military. The soldiers are rightfully furious, since the same regiments were just LAID OFF due to government austerity measures. You know your country is really broke when they have to lay off the army. Holy crap. Worse yet, this will bring the total number of military on duty at the Games to 11,000 ... that’s more than Britain’s entire deployment in Afghanistan. Lawmakers are complaining that London will look like a police state.
  • The residents of Scotland are having a cow. The Games will cost taxpayers $17 billion but Scotland, 500 miles to the north of London, will reap zero benefits.
  • Labor unions are threatening to go on strike during the Games, and a representative for the taxi drivers is hinting that many cabbies may refuse to work, too, after being told they can’t raise fares more than 5.3%.
And then there’s the issue of MORRIS-DANCING FLASH MOBS. Practitioners of this ancient but screwy British folk tradition are furious they were overlooked for the opening ceremony and intend to organize “flash mobs” to spontaneously entertain and frighten large crowds of people. They also plan similar stunts along the procession route of the Olympic torch. The morris men feel betrayed by ceremony organizers who want to present a more contemporary image of Britain to a worldwide TV audience by showcasing pop groups and Hollywood-style special effects.
Morris dancing began in England about 600 years ago and the word “morris” is believed to be a derivative of “Moorish.” Unlike the original Moors, however, morris dancers wear decorated leprechaun hats and fringed knickers, perform with big sticks and have jingle bells tied around their legs. I can’t imagine why the Games’ creative director would choose to exclude them ... can you?

And now, at last, it’s time to begin the Howdygram’s Summer Gefilte Fish Festival! My order from Amazon arrived a couple of hours ago and I’ve got a nice big jar that’s already cold with lots of extra horseradish. Afterwards I’ll peel a bunch of cactus pears and watch three “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” reruns. Thank you for reading this.