Friday, August 31, 2012

You can’t bake bread without a thermometer. This is called science.

Because there’s nothing a graphic designer would rather do than horse around with Adobe software, I just spent the better part of two hours redesigning the Howdygram’s banner, tagline, sidebar title graphics and a few other whatnots that probably won’t make a difference to anybody but me. The most obvious change, I suppose, is smilin’ Sam’s face in the middle of the Howdygram’s logo. I honestly can’t think of anybody who's more deserving. Plus he’s exceptionally cute. Thank you.

And while I’m discussing Sam, I ordered some rye bread mixes (his favorite) from this afternoon plus a nice new kitchen thermometer because the readout on the thermometer I bought last year is paralyzed at 140° for no apparent reason whatsoever. (You can’t bake bread without a thermometer. The water you use has to be a certain temperature for the yeast to rise. This is called science.)
For the record, Amazon’s prices today were even more fantastic than usual. I bought a six-pack of Hodgson Mill caraway rye bread mixes for $12.88 with free shipping. That’s about $2.14 per box. The same six-box package on Wal-Mart’s website is selling for $22.74, or $3.79 per box. Holy crap.

My plans for the remainder of Friday evening until Sam gets home from work will include: 1) making a pot of Bear Creek hot & sour soup; 2) eating the soup mentioned in item one; 3) watching a Warren William movie recorded yesterday on TCM; and 4) I can’t think of anything else.

I love my life. Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fantastic low-carb crap and a fancy new throne for Howdygrammin’.

I don’t know how stays in business. Yesterday their lying sacks of poo team of meteorologists forecast up to two inches of rain from Hurricane Isaac for the Dallas area but today we’re no longer expecting any rain whatsoever, not counting a 20% chance of meaningless moisture from 3 to 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. We’ve got clouds and wind instead, enough to kick up some dust and make the tumbleweeds dance through the center of town. (I might be kidding about the dust and tumbleweeds. Our streets are paved and the current wind speed is about 25 m.p.h.)

To cheer myself up I placed an order a little while ago with for a bunch of fantastic low-carb crap, including two bags of Bob’s Red Mill whole grain bread mix (works in my bread machine), a couple of sugar-free snack cake mixes that get excellent reviews and several cans of Wilderness sugar-free apple and cherry pie filling that I can eat right out of the damn can! (Silverware recommended.)
There was another major purchase around here today, too, after Sam and I agreed it was time to buy me a fancy new throne for Howdygrammin’. My former chair, which we bought when we moved to Texas in 2007, is a ritzy mesh thing by Herman Miller that stopped being comfortable more than a year ago. So ... I did some research, found a swell sale online and ordered the chair that’s pictured below:
I’m so damn excited I think I’ll make a pot of soup and watch a few of those Warren William movies I’ve been recording all day. In the photo below Warren poses with Claudette Colbert in a scene from 1934’s Cleopatra, which is even worse than it looks here. In one scene when Cleo is tied up and taken prisoner in the desert, she says to the dude who finally releases her: “I don’t know what you’re complaining about, I haven’t even had breakfast yet.” This is a genuine Cecil B. DeMille monstrosity that you have to see for yourself and it starts at 8:45 tonight on TCM.
Thank you for reading this. Pass the popcorn.

Happy Warren William Day to you and yours.

Holy crap, I don’t know how I forgot to tell you about this, but today is Warren William Day on TCM and you’re already missing some of his best movies! I’ll wait while you run immediately to your DVR to record the following films. (All times shown are central.) I won’t bother to list the movies shown earlier this morning because that would be stupid.
  • The Mouthpiece (1932) with Aline MacMahon; 8:45 a.m.
  • Skyscraper Souls (1932) with Maureen O’Sullivan; 10:15 a.m.
  • Three on a Match (1932) with Joan Blondell; 12 p.m.
  • The Match King  (1932) with Glenda Farrell and Lily Damita; 1:15 p.m.  
  • The Mind Reader (1933) with Constance Cummings; 2:45 p.m.
  • Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) with Joan Blondell; 4 p.m.
  • Times Square Playboy (1936) with June Travis; 5:45 p.m.
  • Lady for a Day (1933) with May Robson; 7 p.m.
  • Cleopatra (1934) with Claudette Colbert; 8:45 p.m. (Warning: CRAPPY MOVIE.)
  • Employees’ Entrance (1933) with Loretta Young; 10:45 p.m.
  • The Case of the Howling Dog (1934) with Mary Astor; 12:15 a.m. (Warren William plays Perry Mason in this one.)
  • The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939) with Rita Hayworth; 1:45 a.m.
  • Arséne Lupin Returns (1938) with Melvyn Douglas; 3 a.m.
Warren William, in case you’re unfamiliar with him, was known as the “king of pre-Code” and had some really juicy, racy roles. His dumbest film — still worth seeing, if only for comic relief — had to be Cleopatra, Cecil B. DeMille’s over-budget Roman toga-fest featuring bad costumes and idiotic slang dialog that sounds like everybody’s in a booth at a New York coffee shop. One of my favorites is Arséne Lupin Returns because Melvyn Douglas co-stars and (as everybody knows) I love Melvyn Douglas.

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tater tots and dill pickles ... breakfast of champions!

I just woke up from the nap of a lifetime … two hours of UNINTERRUPTED HEAVEN that included no stupid robo-calls and nobody knocking on the front door with a delivery from Amazon. As a matter of fact, I feel so damn good right now I think I might bake Pillsbury sugar-free brownies for Sam to show my appreciation for this morning’s mattress-turning event (see previous post).

In breaking news today from the Lone Star State is the story of Bill Bohlke, 65, mayor of Hollywood Park in south Texas, who was attacked and killed by an aggressive donkey on his ranch. Chief Deputy David “Barney Fife” Soward of the county sheriff’s department told the Associated Press that donkeys “can become very mean, sometimes triggered by a female in heat.” Yeah, right. It’s always a woman’s fault. “We’ll probably never know what triggered it,” Soward continued, “but it was evident this particular donkey was involved based on what we saw on this donkey.” Was he wearing Mayor Bill’s favorite hat? Hollywood Park is a small town north of San Antonio. Photos of Bohlke and the donkey appear below.
Mark your calendars! The 2012 Texas State Fair will be open for business from September 28 through October 21 at Fair Park in Dallas. And Labor Day weekend marks the Fair’s annual deep-fried food fight competition, where winning a Big Tex statuette for Best Taste or Most Creative is a huge hoo-hah for the vendors because it creates a ton of guaranteed media buzz and long lines of fat customers with heart conditions. This year’s entries, according to an official State Fair press release, include all of the following:
  • Chicken-Fried Cactus Bites. Hand-picked prickly pear cactus pads, chicken battered and deep fried. Served with secret-recipe jalapeño ranch and agave nectar dipping sauce. Holy crap.
  • Deep-Fried Divine Chocolate Tres Leches Cake. A slice of chocolate tres leches cake soaked in buttermilk batter and fried. Topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, whipped cream, fresh strawberry slices, peaches and syrup. Fried cake? Seriously?
  • Deep-Fried Jambalaya. A State Fair spin on a Cajun classic! “From scratch” jambalaya is created using shrimp, cajun sausage and seasonings, then coated in seasoned flour and fried to golden perfection. Served with a side of “made in house” spicy ranch dressing. I have trouble visualizing this one. Isn’t jambalaya a sauce?
  • Deep-Fried Mac-N-Cheese Slider. Three-cheese mac-n-cheese is baked until golden brown, battered in bread crumbs, deep-fried until crisp and placed on a slider bun with a griddled beef patty. A Southern-style invention that almost calls for a rocking chair and a front porch! Also paramedics.
  • Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll. Fresh cinnamon roll dipped in a special sweet pancake batter, dredged in crumbled bacon, deep-fried and dusted with powdered sugar. It’s a main course and dessert all in one! Pass the Pepto Bismol.
  • Fried Mexican Fire Crackers. A yummy, spicy chicken, cheese and jalapeño mix wrapped in fresh-made masa dough and deep fried to a crispy crunchy. Served with fiery TNT sauce. No kidding, I might actually try this one.
  • Fried Pork Wings. This juicy morsel is slow cooked for six hours then deep-fried, rolled and tossed in a smoked bacon chipotle glaze. Accompanied by homemade potato chips. What’s next ... unicorn ribs?
  • Picnic on a Stick. Pieces of spicy fried chicken on a skewer alternated with tater tots and dill pickles, dipped in batter, rolled in bread crumbs, and fried until golden brown. Comes with your choice of barbecue sauce, ranch or honey mustard dressing. Ants not included. Tater tots and dill pickles ... breakfast of champions!
Now that I’m sufficiently nauseated I think I’ll go watch an Ingrid Bergman movie. Gaslight (1944) just started on TCM co-starring Charles Boyer and Joseph Cotten. Thank you for reading this!

Hurricane Isaac is a pleasant temporary fantasy.

Glorioski, people, it looks like we might get rain and weather from Hurricane Isaac! While Louisiana and southern Mississippi are getting hammered,’s latest storm track shows east Texas — including Dallas — in the path for rain on Thursday and Friday, maybe up to two inches. I’m not sure I necessarily believe this, of course, but it’s a pleasant temporary fantasy nevertheless. The red star on the map below indicates Howdygram headquarters.
At the moment I’m staying as far away from Sam as possible because he’s in the middle of his number one most hated household chore: turning our king-size mattress. Actually, it’s not really the mattress itself that ruins his life …  it’s adjusting the damn DUST RUFFLE. Because I hate to see a grown man suffer like this I’m officially requesting a staff of servants for Hanukkah this year. (Please tell your friends.)

And now I’d like to tell y’all about a screwy experience with China City, my favorite local source for Mongolian chicken and other drugs, where nobody speaks a single word of English but they all answer the phone anyway just to make you insane. For this reason I always order from their website but had to call yesterday with an additional request a couple of minutes later. Our conversation follows.

Me:  I just ordered online but want to remind you not to send rice with my entrees, just
         some teeny bags of crispy noodles.
CC:  I know, I know. You get the Moo Shu.
Me:  I didn’t order any Moo Shu.
CC:  Then you order not here yet.
Me:  Sure it is. I just ordered online.
CC:  Take 45 minutes.
Me:  I know it does. I’m not calling about that.
CC:  What you order number.
Me:  19053.
CC:  It here. Thank you. (Click.)

Anybody into food porn? Here’s a portrait of the “Elvis” donut from a popular Dallas dive called Hypnotic Donuts. No, you’re not hallucinating, that’s peanut butter, bacon and bananas on top. And if you’re not into Elvis they also sell one that’s loaded with jalapeños and Tabasco. Why would anybody eat crap like this for dessert? WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MILK AND COOKIES?
Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kidneys, earthquakes and Einsteins in the news.

Hi, everybody. In the event you’ve been keeping up with Marcy’s Adventures in Diabetesland, I had my kidney ultrasound this morning at Baylor Hospital in Garland and it was mostly a routine and uneventful experience not counting the fact that an Einstein in Admitting incorrectly coded my diagnosis as “acute kidney failure” and scared the living crap out of me. The ultrasound itself actually took less than 20 minutes, and Sam and I were back home and on the sofa by 11 a.m. watching San Francisco with Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald. I’ll post the results of my test as soon as I know what’s what. In the meantime, a scan of my Baylor patient bracelet appears below.
Please allow me to recommend San Francisco in case you’re one of the few people who’ve never seen it. MGM really knew how to host an excellent earthquake, and the special effects for 1936 were absolutely amazing. My only complaint? Everybody who survived was a bloody, beat-up mess except for Jeanette MacDonald with her perfect ostrich feathers and lipstick. Only in Hollywood.
We’ve got a couple of extraordinary Einsteins in the news today courtesy of NBCNews. First, on Sunday night 44-year-old Randy Lee Tenley of Kalispell, Montana, got all dressed up in a moss-covered military “ghillie” outfit (see below) and ran into traffic so somebody would call state troopers to report a Sasquatch sighting. Tenley’s plan backfired a little, however, as he was immediately struck by two vehicles and killed. The drivers, both girls, were 15 and 17 years old.
Second, also in the news is the story of a German track and field official, Mr. Dieter “Einstein” Strack, who died Monday after being struck and killed by a flying pointy javelin during a teen competition in Dusseldorf. Mr. Strack apparently believed he could measure the distance of a throw before the javelin actually touched the ground and wound up directly underneath it, resulting in a gruesome accident whereby the 16-year-old javelin thrower collapsed in shock and many of the 800 spectators will be in therapy for the rest of their lives. HOLY CRAP.
Sam will be home from work soon. Please send an email if you’d like to join us for ice cream sandwiches and tonight’s episode of “Hardcore Pawn.” Thank you for reading this.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A tale of body aches, banana phosphates and Democratic storms.

The Howdygram would like to thank fellow Democrats at The Weather Channel for helping to cancel the first day of the Republican convention for no apparent reason whatsoever. Tropical Storm Isaac has missed Tampa altogether — indicated by a red star on the map below — and is aiming instead at New Orleans, where it will arrive as a category 1 hurricane sometime Wednesday morning. In the meantime airlines have canceled nearly 1,000 flights nationwide, tying the GOP’s panties in a virtual knot from coast to coast. Is this cool, or what?
In other news, don’t get too close to your computer screen today because I think I might be SICK. Last night I had all the classic symptoms, such as body aches, chills, a 100° fever, a headache and an uncontrollable craving for a coloring book and crayons. I was also so thirsty I drank TWO BANANA PHOSPHATES.* I feel a little better this morning, however, and plan to tackle all of my Monday chores, which include running the dishwasher, putting away laundry and eating lunch.

Oh boy, Sam just got home from the grocery store with three bags of crap! I’ll try to post again later, okay? Thank you for reading this.

*Contains eight squirts of DaVinci sugar-free banana syrup with 12 oz. of cold seltzer.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A couple of awesome instructional videos for the Einsteins among us.

Remember that menacing blotch of storms from my last post? I went back to bed for a couple of hours, and when I woke up they’d already pooped out. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I EXPECTED, although Sam said he walked around the block while I was sleeping and got drizzled on for a few minutes, so I guess it’s not really a total loss after all. For those of you who get a kick out of crap like this, the map below — offloaded from around 10 a.m. — clearly indicated no more stinking thunderstorms. Howdygram headquarters is under the pink star.
And now for a couple of Howdygram public service announcements disguised as educational videos! First, here’s the correct way to dispense TicTacs, just in case you’ve stayed up nights worrying about this. Who knew?

Second, from China, here’s the easiest way EVER to separate a raw egg. (There are no subtitles but you don’t need them.) I hope this is really as easy as it looks because I have to try it sometime. Even Sam got excited about this one!

Thank you for reading this. I think it’s time for a hamburger and an Irene Dunne movie.

If you’d like to come back after sun-up please bring a couple of donuts for Sam.

Although I’m positive the following information probably won’t change your life, it may interest you to know that the chocolate cheesecake mix I blabbered about in last night’s post turned out to be a real dud. All you get is a great big tub of pudding that doesn’t look or taste like real cheesecake in any way whatsoever. I’ll get over it, though, since eDiet Shop sells lots of other amazing crap for diabetics that I order all the time, such as their sugar-free vanilla shake mix (in big cans) and an instant sugar-free pumpkin pie mix that I like to eat right out of the bowl. It’s so good a person might consider using a ladle next time if nobody’s looking.

We’ve got thunderstorms on the way this morning, as promised by an official graphic (see below) offloaded from that clearly indicates our chance of rain increasing from 80% to 100% from 7 to 10 a.m. If this sounds like a sure thing I don’t think I’d bet the farm on it because — as everybody knows — WEATHER.COM IS A LYING SACK OF POO.
This time, however,’s animated map actually shows a huge stormy blob developing northwest of Fort Worth that’s headed in our direction, so let’s all hold a good thought. In the meantime, the pink star on the map denotes Howdygram headquarters. If you zoom in you might be able to see our new patio chairs.
I’ve got a headache starting behind my right eye so I think I’ll use this excuse to go back to bed for a few hours. Thanks for stopping by. If you’d like to come back after sun-up please bring a couple of donuts for Sam, okay?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Howdygrammin’ on a Saturday night.

Yo, y’all. It’s a pleasant Saturday night in north Texas and I thought it might be fun to hang out in the study and do some Howdygrammin’.

After an unusual day that began with a low blood sugar incident at 6:30 a.m., which I remedied with six dried apricots (the ones we bought last Sunday at Costco) and a Schwan’s Egg McMuffin knockoff, by 11 Sam and I were sitting in Pepe’s and Mito’s Mexican Cafe in Dallas, where we enjoyed damn fabulous food — glorioski! chipotle wine sauce! — presented by a couple of damn swell servers. I requested guacamole for dessert because I’m diabetic.
We napped most of the afternoon, I watched Never a Dull Moment (1950) starring Irene Dunne and Fred MacMurray, and for dinner Sam picked up our FREE APOLOGY MEAL from Dickey’s (see earlier post). This time the brisket didn’t include brittle little bits of meat-flavored formica and they actually gave us a full pound of smoked sausage. (Thank you, Dickey’s.) Afterwards I made a sugar-free chocolate cheesecake, which is already in the refrigerator becoming awesome as I write this post.

For your possible interest, the cheesecake is an instant mix I ordered from the eDiet Shop. You just whip it up with nonfat milk and pour it into a square glass pan (with no crust) and refrigerate. So easy even an Einstein can do it! There’s only 80 calories per serving and eight measly carbs, and for around $8 you get enough to make THREE CHEESECAKES. Holy crap, right? They also sell mixes for pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate chip cheesecake and regular plain cheesecake. If this one’s a hit I’ll have to try the others, too. I’m particularly happy about the chocolate chip mix because chocolate chip cheesecake is seriously cute.
According to a news story I just read on, the first day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa has been canceled due to Hurricane Isaac. Personally, I think this is a classic example of GOP brainpower at its best and one that’s suitable for framing. These medieval Einsteins aren’t even smart enough to not schedule a convention in south Florida in the middle of hurricane season. I also find it amusing that the Evangelical Christian right is so deliriously excited about a Mormon and a Catholic, who are neither Evangelical nor Christian. Pictured below are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, looking a lot like the dudes from Brokeback Mountain.
Thank you for reading this!

Friday, August 24, 2012

News flash: Einsteins eat at Denny’s and work at AT&T.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the Einsteins at AT&T must be borderline criminals or, at the very least, a pack of peabrains who can’t comprehend compound sentences. I’ve been calling once a month since April to find ways to reduce our monthly U-Verse bill, but every single time one of their employees makes an adjustment THE BOTTOM LINE KEEPS GETTING WORSE. For instance, last month I spent the better part of a week horsing around with AT&T (see post) trying to change the billing information on our wireless account (two cell phones) from Sam’s name to mine so we could combine it with our U-Verse statement — which has always been in my name, for reasons that defy logic — to qualify for a stupid discount. Didn’t happen.

And that brings us to today’s fiasco! AT&T emailed our August U-Verse statement this afternoon and (no surprise) the grand total was higher than July. Actually, a LOT higher than July. A tense 45-minute conversation with their Einstein du jour revealed that AT&T: 1) added an expensive unlimited family texting package to our wireless account even though I never asked for it; 2) forgot to credit us for three TV promotional packages; and 3) “accidentally” charged us for a movie package that I canceled two months ago. Eventually I was able to reduce our U-Verse bill from $319 to $219. I can hardly wait for September. Holy crap.

Now for our latest adventure at Denny’s, where we always find lots of handicapped parking spots and cheap meals for old people. After we dropped off Sam’s car at Pep Boys this morning for routine maintenance we drove over to our favorite Denny’s at Beltline and Interstate 80 for Senior Scrambled Eggs. Call it dumb luck, but we were seated directly behind the village Einstein who’s bellowing into a cell phone, whistling for the waitress and kind of smells bad. Bonnie (our waitress) told us he'd been wedged into the same booth drinking free coffee refills for THREE AND A HALF HOURS, driving her crazy and trying to get everybody in the dining room involved in a conversation. Obviously Sam and I weren’t expecting an experience like Tavern on the Green, but a little peace and quiet with our eggs would have been appreciated. The map below indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite; and B) the aforementioned Denny’s.
A portrait of Denny’s Senior Scrambled Eggs appears below. In case you’re interested we always ask for our pancakes on separate plates and I get sugar-free syrup with mine. Please let me know if this is too much information, okay?
Tomorrow Sam and I will commence an official Tex-Mex culinary tour of Dallas. I’ve compiled a list of the top five highest-rated Tex-Mex restaurants in the metro area and we’re figuring on visiting a different establishment every couple of weeks for a late Saturday lunch. These will include:
  1. Pepe’s & Mito’s Mexican Cafe (featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”) at 2911 Elm Street near Baylor Hospital
  2. Amigos at 940 E. Belt Line Road
  3. Avila’s at 4714 Maple
  4. Mario Sabino’s Mexican and Salvadoran at 5404 Lemmon Avenue near Love Field Airport (they don’t have a website)
  5. Rafa’s Cafe at 5617 Lovers Lane
I’m definitely stoked about this. Restaurant reviews will be forthcoming.

A quick report from Club Meds. I’ve discovered an unwelcome side effect from the insulin I’ve been using for the last few months: MEMORY LOSS. I inject the maximum allowable dose (100 units) of Lantus® every night at bedtime and for the last several weeks I’ve noticed that I’m not remembering names, years, people or words and sometimes get halfway into a sentence and lose track of what I’m trying to say. It’s a lot like being stoned except without the munchies.

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why the Howdygram recommends Cheetos.

The director of the Howdygram’s public service department (okay, just me) feels compelled to provide the following details regarding three substantial product recalls making news today.
  1. Dole has recalled 1,039 cases of bagged Italian Blend salads after a random sample tested positive for the Listeria bacteria. The specific product in question has a “use-by” date of August 20 and was distributed in Florida, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia. Sorry, but I don’t think I’d believe them if I were you.
  2. U.S. health officials have identified Chamberlain Farm Produce as one possible source of cantaloupes tied to an outbreak of Typhimurium salmonella that has sickened 178 people in 21 states. Two people have died. Personally, I prefer honeydews. Maybe it’s the color.
  3. The American Licorice Company has recalled one-pound packages of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists with a “best before” date of 020413 because the candy was found to contain unacceptably high levels of lead. The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers to toss the contaminated packages. They suggested feeding your children something healthier, such as cantaloupe or a nice fresh salad.
And now you know why the Howdygram recommends Cheetos, which to my knowledge have never been recalled for any reason whatsoever and, as a bonus, will stain your fingers with a good-for-you orange dye that possibly contains dietary fiber and nutrients. (Or maybe not.)
Before I forget ... tomorrow is Irene Dunne day on TCM and I think you should plan to record a few of the following excellent movies. (Times shown are central.) The titles of my all-time favorites appear in red.
  • Symphony of Six Million (1932) with Ricardo Cortez; 5 a.m.
  • Bachelor Apartment (1931) with Lowell Sherman and Mae Murray; 7 a.m.
  • The Secret Of Madame Blanche (1933) with Lionel Atwill; 8:30 a.m.
  • The White Cliffs of Dover (1944) with Roddy McDowall, 11 a.m.
  • Consolation Marriage (1931) with Pat O’Brien; 12:15 p.m.
  • Theodora Goes Wild (1936) with Melvyn Douglas; 1:45 p.m.
  • Together Again (1944) with Charles Boyer and Charles Coburn; 3:30 p.m.
  • My Favorite Wife (1940) with Cary Grant and Randolph Scott; 5:15 p.m.
  • The Awful Truth (1937) with Cary Grant and Ralph Bellamy; 7 p.m.
  • A Guy Named Joe (1943) with Spencer Tracy; 8:45 p.m.
  • Life With Father (1947) with William Powell; 11 p.m.
  • Show Boat (1936) with Allan Jones; 1:15 a.m.
  • Never a Dull Moment (1950) with Fred MacMurray; 3:15 a.m.
It may interest you to know that I managed to catch up on my sleep this afternoon. Immediately after Sam left for work at 1:15 I conked out for 2½ hours on the chaise in the family room. I feel so damn good I think I’ll make low-carb pasta for dinner and watch “Project Runway.” Life just doesn’t get any better than this.

Thank you.

Creepy dreams, hot feet and another Einstein making headlines.

It’s almost 7:30 in the morning and I’ve been awake since 4:15. I’m not sure why, but it might have something to do with a creepy dream (okay, a nightmare) and hot feet. Lucky for you, horsing around with the Howdygram is my favorite way to kill time. I’ve definitely got plenty of it.

Before I plunge into hot news from the world of fine art, does anybody besides me remember the movie Bean (1997) with Rowan Atkinson? He plays a halfwit employee of a London gallery who travels to the U.S. to deliver a valuable painting to a prestigious Los Angeles art museum. He tries to clean it — with TURPENTINE — before the unveiling ceremony and ends up redrawing “Whistler’s Mother,” as shown below.
And now for the aforementioned hot news. Because truth can be stranger than fiction — or at least just as stupid — this week an old woman at a church in northeastern Spain decided to take a stab at art restoration. Without anybody’s permission Grandma Einstein “touched up” a 19th-century Spanish fresco by Elias Garcia Martinez and replaced it with the following hairy monstrosity. HOLY CRAP. (Literally.)
I forgot to mention that Sam and I watched an exceptionally adorable movie a couple of days ago ... Puss in Boots (2011) with Antonio Banderas voicing the title role and Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws, a sexy declawed cat who runs around in a Batgirl outfit. There’s also a Humpty Dumpty character with a dark and snarky personality, shown below disguised as a golden egg.
This movie was so damn much fun I wouldn’t mind seeing it again, and RIGHT NOW might be a good idea since going back to bed doesn’t appear to be an option any time soon. I might even whip up a tall Marcytini to keep me company but I’ll have to drink quietly so I won’t disturb Sam.

From our This Is Why I Can’t Sleep department, it seems that McDonald’s and In-N-Out have canceled their contracts with a California raw beef supplier after the FDA shut its plant for severe and frightening health and processing violations. NOW YOU KNOW WHY I LOVE FAKE MEAT! (Nobody ever recalls a can of textured vegetable protein.)
Pictured above are some of my favorites: Loma Linda Swiss Stake and Fried Chik’n (available from, Thrive TVP from Shelf Reliance that tastes like Taco Bell meat and cheap cans of faux duck gluten from Asian Food Grocer.

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rednecks that make Jed Clampett look like the Duke of Edinburgh.

Holy crap, y’all, I just watched half an hour of the worst television EVER. After reading frightening reviews, recaps and endless buzz about a new show on The Learning Channel called “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” I decided to record an episode tonight to see what the hell everybody’s talking about. It’s even lousier than I expected, featuring a family of redneck Einsteins in rural Georgia, a squealing pet pig named Glitzy who poops on the dining room table and a seriously loud and obese six-year-old — the aforementioned Honey Boo Boo — who requires every dime from the family’s bank account to enter BEAUTY PAGEANTS. Her fancy dresses cost $2,000 each while the rest of them survive on Pop Tarts, ramen noodles and juice boxes. It just can’t get any worse than this.
Watching these clowns interact makes Jed Clampett look like the Duke of Edinburgh. They fart on camera, toilet paper their own house and maybe have a combined fifth grade education if you add all their years of schooling together and multiply by three. In tonight’s episode, June (the mama) and Sugar Bear (the happy dude sitting on the top step who has no teeth) were celebrating their eighth anniversary even though they’re not married. For your possible interest, Sugar Bear is Honey Boo Boo’s father; the three other girls all have different daddies, none of whom married June for reasons that should be obvious. Their big anniversary hoo-hah was dinner for two at a neighborhood cafeteria, where June proceeded to eat chicken fried steak with her hands followed by three desserts. Sugar Bear gave her a large bronze deer statue as a present because they like to pick up dead bucks along the highway for road kill cookouts.

This was 30 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. From now on I’m sticking with educational programming like “Project Runway,” “Hardcore Pawn” and Andy Hardy movies. Thank you for reading this.

Please help me vote these medieval right-wing uterus gods out of office.

While I wait for Sam to get home from Tom Thumb with American cheese and a million cans of seltzer I thought I’d write a quick post about Rick Perry, the dimwit governor of Texas, who’s so obsessed in his fight against abortion that he cut off all state funding for Planned Parenthood. Governor Einstein insists that Texas is entitled to exclude groups “affiliated with abortion providers” from its federally-subsidized Women’s Health Program.
According to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the issue here in Texas isn’t really about Planned Parenthood at all ... it’s about the state’s desire to deny critical health services to more than 200,000 women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control and medical exams. A lawsuit by Planned Parenthood is pending; now it’s up to women nationwide to vote these medieval right-wing uterus gods out of office. (This entire conversation makes me want to hurl.) Thank you.

Out of curiosity, did any of you lucky people get to see naked pictures of Prince Harry this morning? Apparently they’re all over the Internet after TMZ posted them online. Harry was partying with other naked nitwits in Las Vegas and wasn’t bright (or sober) enough to make sure somebody confiscated cell phones first. Buckingham Palace is confirming the photos are genuine, and as I write this post Harry (pictured here fully dressed) is on his way home for a chat with grandma. Holy royal crap.

Breaking news! I found out yesterday that all of Mesquite (including Howdygram headquarters) is scheduled for aerial spraying tonight to eradicate the West Nile virus, which is a major public health emergency with more than 400 confirmed cases and 16 deaths in the Dallas area. A few days ago the county health department shpritzed only a teeny section of Mesquite located north of Interstate 30; the rest of us get it tonight around 10 p.m. I might order dinner from China City to celebrate because Mongolian chicken is the answer to damn near EVERYTHING.

Thank y’all for reading this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The grass is soaked, trees are smiling and cattle are mooing with joy.

It’s a genuine WINTER WONDERLAND here in Dallas today! We’ve had steady light rain showers since breakfast with a high temperature of 77° … and it’s still AUGUST, people! Holy crap! The grass is soaked, trees are smiling, cattle are mooing with joy and Lake Ray Hubbard is so full that all our local Einsteins can go ahead and drown if they want to! For your possible interest the following map indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite; and B) Lake Ray Hubbard. An actual photo of the area in the dotted pink rectangle appears below the map.
And now, since my blood sugar is probably a little low and I’m genuinely starving, I thought I’d post the following photo of a mistranslated — at least I hope it’s mistranslated — Chinese menu. When I see stuff like this I laugh so hard I could crack a rib. God bless
This actually makes me want to limp into the kitchen and pop open a teeny can of tasty braised gluten! For the record, this is a yummy little treasure that’s mostly healthy and shockingly CHEAP. I order them from Asian Food Grocer for $1.68 each and keep a big stack in the pantry for occasional braised gluten emergencies. (I would never joke about this.)
It was nice of you to stop by. I think I’ll go watch a few “Millionaire Matchmaker” and “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” reruns and maybe put my feet up. I’ve had a long day not doing much of anything, although folding socks is a definite possibility after dinner. Mostly white ones.

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, August 20, 2012

GOP Neanderthal Todd Akin and why we should re-elect President Obama.

Neanderthal nutjob Todd Akin, the GOP’s Senate candidate in Missouri, is currently slobbering all over himself to apologize for comments he made during the weekend about “legitimate” rape. Basically, Akin believes that abortion should NEVER be an option — even in cases of rape — since women who are victims of legitimate rape can’t get pregnant. Holy crap.
Just about everybody on earth knows this is horseshit, and Democrats and Republicans are all begging Akin to quit the Senate race and get lost. On a personal note, I’d like to tie him up in Hefty bag and kick him into the nearest landfill.

I’d like to use Todd Akin as a segue into my thoughts about the upcoming election: WE DEFINITELY NEED TO RE-ELECT PRESIDENT OBAMA. And to help prove my point, check out the following links to learn more about the repressive (and repulsive) Romney/Ryan “Go Back Team” and Mitt Romey’s warped economic program. I also recommend this video:

In case you’re curious, my top 10 reasons for re-electing President Obama are:
  1. Obamacare
  2. Being a woman is no longer considered a “pre-existing condition”
  3. Bin Laden and Gadhafi are dead
  4. GM is alive
  5. Obama brought us back from an economic free-fall
  6. He ended the war in Iraq and wants to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan
  7. He’s the only adult in the room and proves time and again that compromise works
  8. Obama considers President Clinton a trusted advisor on issues like healthcare and tax cuts
  9. He’s honest, articulate, selfless, people-oriented and totally cool
  10. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to cut Medicaid, ruin Medicare, privatize Social Security and destroy the middle class
Thank you for putting up with me!

    The sushi tray that got away and other tales of interest.

    For the thousands of you keeping track of my health issues, lab results and expanding regimen of prescription medications I’m pleased to report that I finally have an appointment for a “baseline” kidney ultrasound … 9:30 a.m. on August 28 at Baylor Medical Center in Garland.
    I’m thinking about asking Sam to come with me so we can turn this into a fun outing and stop for Senior Scrambled Eggs at Denny’s on the way home. The map below indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite; B) Baylor Medical Center in Garland; and C) Denny’s. Please send an email if you’d like to join us at Denny’s so I can get a table that’s big enough. Thank you.
    In case you’re wondering, I didn’t write a post yesterday because Sam and I were too busy eating and sleeping after a morning excursion to Costco, where we loaded our cart with the following awesome crap:
    • chicken salad
    • tortellini pasta salad
    • a carton of charcoal-grilled hamburger patties
    • lots of sliced cheese
    • sliced up rotisserie chicken for sandwiches
    • a tub of tasty mozzarella balls floating in olive oil
    • steak flautas
    • three pounds of pistachios
    • a sack of crumbled bacon
    • dried apricots in big, big bag
    • two dozen really cute peeled hard-boiled eggs
    I also wanted a party-size platter of assorted sushi (see below) but Sam managed to talk me out of it at the last minute. I recovered from my disappointment when he consented to a large quantity of PEELED HARD-BOILED EGGS, easily the most brilliant invention ever not counting cruise control and penicillin. I made us a pile of deviled eggs as soon as we got home.
    From our Two-Slugs-On-A-Couch department, we watched a number of interesting movies this weekend, including: 1) Professional Soldier (1935) with Victor McLaglen and Freddie Bartholomew; 2) Listen, Darling (1938) with Judy Garland, Freddie Bartholomew, Mary Astor and Walter Pidgeon; 3) North by Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint; and 4) Hatfields and McCoys (2012) with Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton. Numbers one through three were terrific. Concerning number four, Hatfields and McCoys was a barbaric hillbilly nightmare that SUCKED and we deleted it from our DVR less than 20 minutes after we started watching. I couldn’t even look at the screen.
    I have no idea how or why this redneck hatefest was nominated for so many Emmy awards. Holy crap, who in their right mind would consider children being shot in the head with rifles — only because they have the wrong last name — to be ENTERTAINMENT. Personally, I’m much happier with fine programming like “Hardcore Pawn” and “Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

    For the record, I placed my very first online order today with the National Mustard Museum store for the fine products pictured below. This website receives a Howdygram recommendation for being hilarious, clever and a genuinely fun place to spend money! The owner (and museum curator) is Barry Levenson, Wisconsin’s former attorney general, who resigned from law in 1991 to devote his life to mustard. (I am absolutely, positively NOT KIDDING about this.) Barry’s regular email newsletter (subscribe here) is just as adorable as his website. He is shown at right wearing official apparel from his Poupon U. collection. Perfect Hanukkah presents for all your favorite Jewish mustard lovers, which probably number in the thousands.
    All of a sudden I have a huge craving for bratwurst. Thank you for reading this.

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Ahoy, Einstein. Men in rubber boats are looking for you.

    You gotta love Dallas. After another summer of drought and practically no precipitation whatsoever since the middle of June, we got swacked with a large line of severe thunderstorms today that threw our creeks and rivers into a RED ALERT FLASH FLOOD WARNING about 10 minutes after it started raining. Holy crap, people. A city this size can’t handle two inches of rain without flooding? I just read that a group of Einsteins tried fishing from a creek along I-30 this afternoon — yes, in the middle of a thunderstorm — when one of them fell into the water and got swept away. Apparently the aforementioned creek transformed from a dry pit to raging rapids in less than half an hour and now there’s an all-night search and rescue operation underway in rubber boats. Ahoy, Einstein.
    Incidentally, in the middle of this afternoon’s crappy weather we wound up with a two-hour power outage here at Howdygram headquarters. Sam and I marked the occasion by sleeping since there’s not much else to do without electricity.

    A snack would be an excellent idea right about now. Send cookies. Thank you for reading this.

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Artistic stimulation might include the national harmonica convention in Irving.

    I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I sat up until 4 a.m. horsing around online and never bothered taking a nap today. As a result I’m so damn tired right now I don’t even feel like baking brownies for Sam, and that’s a real shame because I promised. For the record, I always bake Pillsbury Sugar-Free Fudge Brownies, and they’re so good nobody would ever know they’re sugar-free. Pillsbury’s sugar-free frosting is pretty damn wonderful, too, and you can eat it right out of the can with a spoon (a big one). You can find Pillsbury’s entire line of sugar-free crapola in all major supermarkets.
    Please let me know if you have anything fun planned for the weekend, because we have nothing whatsoever on our agenda except for picking up lunch from Dickey’s and folding socks. If we get desperate for artistic stimulation we can always head over to the Westin Hotel in Irving for the last two days of the annual harmonica convention. The Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH) is expecting a mob of 500, and this might be almost as much fun as the National Elvis Impersonators’ Convention we ran into in Laughlin, Nevada, ten years ago, featuring an endless sea of weird dudes with bad hair and jeweled belt buckles. The theme even carried over into the hotel buffet, where the weekend’s entrees were “Elvis specialties” like deep-fried peanut butter sandwiches with grape jelly, a pound of butter and bacon. It’s not hard to figure out why the King didn’t make it to his 43rd birthday.
    Thank you for stopping by. I think I’ll call Sam at work right now and annoy him for a while.