Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sectionals, podiatry and hunting for a haircut.

Another day, another nutso pile of weirdness. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote that Macy’s agreed to replace our defective sectional sofa by the end of January? Proving once again that crap happens, I called Macy’s this afternoon to ask about a delivery date and found out this hoo-hah is taking way longer than anybody expected. The manufacturer isn’t scheduled to deliver the sectional to Macy’s “super center” in Miami — Miami? WTF! — until mid-March, at which time they’ll ship it to Houston, stuff it onto another truck and haul it to Dallas. Their best guess for estimated arrival is sometime in April but I’d be willing to bet it’s closer to Memorial Day.

So I asked how about a credit for the defective sectional and we’ll pick out something else, and Macy’s thought that was fine, except after spending three hours on their website tonight scrutinizing every sectional they sell I don’t see anything I like better than the one we already own! Therefore, tomorrow I’ll call back and tell them to keep us on the list for that Miami-to-Houston-to-Dallas horseshit and we’ll just have to be patient. What a screwy mess.

On the plus side, however, I had a pleasant visit today with my podiatrist and then spent the better part of an hour driving all over Mesquite looking for a place to get a haircut. My first choice was a brand new salon about 90 seconds from home, but when I pulled up in front I realized they cater to “women of color” and probably have zero interest in styling an old white lady. My second choice was Salon 2000 on Town East Boulevard that apparently went out of business during the last couple of months. But the third time’s a charm, and I finally got a nice cut at Vince’s Salon. Also very inexpensive.

The map below indicates the following points of interest: A) Howdygram headquarters; B) my podiatrist’s office; C) the salon that doesn’t do old white ladies; D) the former location of Salon 2000; and E) Vince’s.
Sam just got home from work so it’s time for TV, insulin and a lot of snacks. We have a full and rewarding life.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Since when don’t Cheeseheads understand English?

Every now and then I wind up with an Einstein client who makes me realize how desperately I want to stop designing websites and do absolutely nothing except watch “People’s Court,” write Howdygram posts, label spice jars and fold socks. My current Einstein suffers from an inability to understand compound sentences and pay attention. Two weeks ago she told me she intends to shut down her website (no problem) and transfer her domain name to a new registrar (easy). I sent her the following email in response: “Anything you’ve got stored online in webmail will disappear, so before we put your domain transfer in motion you’d better set up Microsoft Outlook or make plans to offload copies of all your email.” Ten minutes later she responds that all of her email is already in Outlook and she’s in great shape. So ... one week later, on the date that Einstein specifies, I unpublish her website and transfer her domain to GoDaddy. I figure I’ll never hear from her again, and I’m absolutely fine with that.

Ahh, but the plot thickens! This morning — eight full days after we transferred her domain — Miss Cheesehead (she’s in Wisconsin) sends me the following frantic ALL-CAPS email: WHY CAN’T I ACCESS THE EMAIL ARCHIVES AND FOLDERS I LEFT IN WEBMAIL?!

I write back to Cheesehead and tell her that she’s probably out of luck with this, at which time she proceeds to have a cow — no pun intended — and shrieks: YOU’D BETTER DO SOMETHING IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE I CAN’T LOSE TWO YEARS OF EMAIL! Followed by four exclamation points! I hate multiple exclamation points! Since there’s nothing whatsoever I can do about her missing email archives personally, I try to reach my hosting company’s tech support department but eventually get sick of holding for the dumbbells in Mumbai and hang up. I figure, holy crap, I’m not getting paid for this any more, let Cheesehead waste her own time negotiating with India! So I email the number and tell her to give it a shot. That was two hours ago; she’s probably still on hold.
Please, can I retire now? Can I have your permission to dump the rest of my moron clients from outer space and get on with my life? (Respond here.)

Since food has always been the answer to my problems (and the reason for most of them, too, ironically) I think dinner sounds like a damn good idea right now. And I’ve got a bevy of mouth-watering options from which to choose: 1) Loma Linda fake meat in a can; 2) leftover egg foo young from China City; 3) a large slab of low-carb cheesecake; 4) Five-Minute Stupid Soup; and 5) a Schwan’s frozen vegetable omelet. I’m currently leaning towards numbers 2 and 3, but not necessarily in that order because senior citizens are allowed to eat dessert first. Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I deserve Mongolian chicken because I’m doing laundry tonight. Also because I’m starving.

So far this has been a seriously stupid day. In case you care, Sam got home from work at 5:15 this morning. We talked for a few minutes when he came to bed, but I could tell he was too wide awake to unwind so after a few minutes I got up and migrated to the chaise in the family room for a couple of hours. Sam eventually woke up at 9:30 after only four hours of sleep and looked genuinely not so great when he went back to work at 1:15 this afternoon. He should’ve called in pooped today. Holy crap.

Remember Stormageddon from yesterday’s Howdygram post? It never materialized, a statement that should come as no surprise whatsoever to anybody who expects a reliable forecast from the lying sacks of poo at Weather.com. Around 4:30 this afternoon we had five minutes of rain, five minutes of thunder, a light breeze and a refreshing drop in the temperature from 75° to 60°. BFD.

I tend to bounce back quickly from disappointment, however. This has been an excellent day for bargains on Amazon.com, where I purchased all of the following essential crapola: 1) 24 boxes of wintergreen TicTacs for (are you ready?) only $12.13, which is three whole bucks LESS than I usually pay for a dozen; 2) a stainless steel coffee scoop for — wait for it! — scooping coffee; 3) a set of four 32-ounce plastic tumblers so I can finally enjoy extra-large Marcytinis; 4) a shitload of Charmin; and 5) that’s it. The only thing that could make this even better is Mongolian chicken, which I’m considering seriously at the present time. For the record, I deserve Mongolian chicken because I’m doing laundry tonight. Also because I’m starving and haven’t eaten anything since 11:15 this morning.
Thank you for reading this. Pass the soy sauce.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Waiting for Stormageddon. Pass the cheesecake.

So here’s what’s going on tonight at Howdygram headquarters. In a word, NOT VERY MUCH. (Okay, that’s three words.) So far the highlights of my evening have included all of the following activities: 1) Sam called about half an hour ago to let me know he’s working late; 2) I’m redesigning a website for a client in Colorado; 3) my third load of laundry is in the dryer; 4) my knees are killing me; and 5) I might make myself a nice Easy No-Crust, Low-Carb Cheesecake now that I know I’ll be home alone for a few more hours. I can eat it while I watch The Iron Lady, which I recorded tonight on Showtime. It’s that Meryl Streep film from 2011 about the life of Margaret Thatcher. I was never too crazy about Thatcher, personally, but I sure do like Meryl Streep. Especially when cheesecake is involved.
There might be some huge severe weather around here tomorrow. The Dallas metro area is expecting thunderstorms, powerful straight-line winds, heavy rain, possible tornadoes, hail, fire and brimstone and a possible plague of locusts, primarily because we’ve had unseasonably warm and humid weather — it was 80° today — which obviously can’t last much longer without the world coming to an end. The current Stormaggedon map appears below in case you’re interested. The hoo-hah is scheduled to get underway around noon. Stay tuned for an update, okay?
Today marks my 92nd consecutive (and final) featured Hat of the Day. I don’t know if you paid any attention to those crazy pictures in the right sidebar or not, but a few of my favorites appear below. You can shop for these hats and other classy fashion treasures online at Rita’s Couture. If you tell them the Howdygram sent you, you might get a courtesy discount. Or maybe not. Thank you.
And now it’s time for cheesecake, Meryl Streep and an insulin injection. I love my life!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I think if I’d had children, one of them would have been named Farfel.

I just disappointed Sam. We wanted to go to Alfredo’s for lunch today except my knees are killing me and I didn’t think it was such a good idea to drag myself into a restaurant with this frightening expression on my face. So we’ve moved on to Plan B, which involves: 1) me staying home in a robe; and 2) Sam driving to Tom Thumb for bread and cream cheese followed by picking up lunch for himself at Five Guys if he’s interested in a sloppy cheeseburger.

Pictured here are the various items mentioned above with the exception of Alfredo’s restaurant. I couldn’t find any pictures of Alfredo’s online so next time we go I’ll have to bring my camera.
So. What’s on your agenda today? I’m planning to do as little as possible until late afternoon, at which time I promised Sam I’d make a No-Brainer Low-Carb Lasagna Pie for dinner while we watch Danny Kaye movies. Specifically, Wonder Man (1945) with Virginia Mayo and The Court Jester (1956) with Angela Lansbury and Basil Rathbone.
A couple of days ago we saw The Inspector General (1949), which is one of my all-time favorite movies, especially the scene where Danny Kaye sings an opera quartet with clones of himself and another when he tells the smitten mayor’s wife, played by Elsa Lanchester, that his name is Farfel. I think if I’d had children, one of them would have been named Farfel. Or maybe Kishke.
I guess it’s time to get on with my life. Thanks for stopping by. Please send an email if you want to come over for No-Brainer Low-Carb Lasagna Pie tonight, okay? There should be enough.

Upside-down in the fog.

I’m having an upside-down night that’s due, in part, to two extended naps on Saturday and a persistent weather-related headache that hung on practically all day. I finally tried to go to bed at 2 a.m. but that didn’t work out too well. At 2:30 I sat up and announced that I wanted to take a shower. So I did. And now, while I wait for my hair to dry, I thought I’d spend some time at my desk with a low-carb chocolate bar and a Marcytini. Sam, that lucky devil, has remained comfortably unconscious through all of this. I don’t know how he does it.

As I write this post the entire Dallas metroplex is shrouded in zero-visibility fog. Here in Mesquite it may be slightly better than zero, as I can almost see the fuzzy blur of a neighbor’s driveway light across the street. I haven’t heard a car go by or any other sound outside for hours. I guess that’s a good thing. I would NEVER drive around in weather like this because dense fog scares the crap out of me.

I just read an article on CNN.com that North Korea’s irritating flea-brained leader, Kim Jong Un, has asked his top security and foreign affairs officials to take “substantial and high-profile important state measures” as he plans to explode a nuclear device in direct defiance of an order from the United Nations. I’d be willing to bet that somebody could bribe him to stop all this threatening horseshit if they threw in a year of free styling services at SuperCuts.
I should try going back to bed for a few hours. Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fog, drizzle and pondering breakfast.

Happy Saturday morning from the depths of north Texas, where it’s 46° with dense fog and drizzle, perfect weather for staying in bed (and remaining unconscious) for as many hours as possible. I won’t waste your time complaining about today’s crappy forecast, however, because by mid-week we’re expecting temperatures near 80° with a 60% chance of THUNDERSTORMS. Apparently somebody forgot to tell God that it’s January.

I’m considering a nice big slab of cheesecake for breakfast. I baked one last night (my favorite Easy No-Crust Low-Carb Cheesecake recipe) but didn’t get around to eating any of it because I was way too full from the leftover Five-Minute Stupid Soup I had for dinner. Under the circumstances, and because it’s far too lousy outside to venture to Denny’s for Senior Scrambled Eggs, cheesecake for breakfast is an excellent idea. The sooner the better, actually. Once a person starts pondering cheesecake it’s almost impossible to write a coherent Howdygram post.

Maybe I’ll try going back to bed first. I’m almost as tired as I am hungry.

An easy, no-crust, low-carb cheesecake. Seriously!

This cheesecake is so damn good you can serve it to company and they’ll never guess you’re sneaking them a tasty low-carb dessert. Here’s the recipe!
Heat oven to 350° and spray a 9½-inch glass pie plate (or an 8-inch square glass baking pan) with Pam. Dump the first six ingredients into a blender container (or food processor) and blend on high for about 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides. Add the cream cheese and blend for another minute. Pour into your prepared pan and bake just until puffed and center is dry, 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (Do not overbake this thing, okay?) Cool slightly. Spread Sour Cream Topping (see below) carefully over the top and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or until you can’t stand it any more.

And here’s how to make the Sour Cream Topping:
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 drops of EZ Sweetz
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
My own personal preference: I don’t like vanilla in the sour cream and I love little globs of sugar-free fruit preserves on top. But that’s just me.
Try adding a flavor to your cheesecake. I’ve got a dozen teeny bottles of concentrated LorAnn flavor oils in my kitchen and all it takes is six to eight drops to jazz up your dessert. I recommend banana, apricot, almond or pineapple. (You can buy them on Amazon.)

*CarbQuik is a low-carb, high-fiber Bisquick knockoff. I really LOVE this crap!

    Friday, January 25, 2013

    What kind of loser hangs out at a laundromat selling black-market detergent by the cup?

    I’ve got breaking news from Diabetesland! I had a regular checkup yesterday morning with Dr. M, and her staff just emailed my lab results. Holy crap, people … I ROCKED IT. Here they are in a nutshell and why each of these results is a very big deal.
    • All my kidney results are stable. This is good news because some of the numbers had shown a decline in earlier lab tests. 
    • Glorioski! My hemoglobin A1C — the “holy grail” blood test for diabetics — is finally down to 6%, a number that refers to the percentage of glucose in the blood. I worked my ass off to achieve this, counting every carb I put in my mouth and logging my blood sugar numbers four times a day. Six months ago my A1C was 10% and knew I had to do a lot better than that if I expected to live a long and happy life (with an occasional order of Mongolian chicken).
    • My average blood glucose is 114, which includes an average of readings before and after meals. A very big deal indeed. 
    • My cholesterol is 114 and my triglycerides are 105. These numbers are in direct correlation to the wonderful low-carb products I’ve been buying from Netrition.com, since most are loaded with dietary fiber. (When you eat 90 grams of fiber a day your cholesterol drops like a rock.)
    As a bonus my blood pressure was 120/70, I lost 11 pounds and I got the best parking spot in the lot right outside the front door of the clinic. It doesn’t get much better than this! The map below indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters; and B) Dr. M’s office at Baylor Family Health Center. This is genuinely as close as it appears. You could probably just put the car in neutral and coast.
    I saw a strange article on ABC’s news website earlier today. It’s a story about a huge national organized shoplifting ring that’s stealing TIDE LAUNDRY DETERGENT. Apparently it’s so serious that retailers and supermarkets are keeping their Tide under lock and key and have even hired SECURITY GUARDS to protect the detergent aisle from thieves. The shoplifters are stealing thousands of dollars worth of Tide — by the cartload — and driving off before they’re apprehended. Police say Tide has become “liquid gold” on the streets and it’s being peddled at inner-city laundromats by the cup.
    I guess there’s no level that’s too low for pond scum! What kind of loser hangs out at a laundromat selling black-market cupfuls of DETERGENT? Did these Einsteins ever consider earning a legitimate income? You know, one that doesn’t involve stealing shit from somebody else? Check out this video.



    And now it’s time once again to think about dinner. After I make myself a CarbQuik Easy Cheesecake for my late-night snacking pleasure I’ve got a nice big container of leftover Five-Minute Stupid Soup waiting for me. Soup is an excellent idea tonight because I’m really COLD. Frozen, actually. My fingers feel like icicles.

    Thank you for reading this.

    We’re finally minus one loud, militant lesbian in the “Top Chef” kitchen.

    Hi. It’s me again. I woke up at 3 a.m. itching from head to toe, which (for me) happens to be a frequent side effect from diabetes. It feels like you’re itching from the inside out because and no matter how much you scratch it doesn’t feel any better. Think of this like TORTURE. On the plus side, however, I usually stop itching after 15 or 20 minutes and decide to settle down for a while with the Howdygram and a tall Marcytini. Lucky you.

    In case you’re interested, I’m thrilled to report that obnoxious Josie finally got sent home this week on “Top Chef.” No kidding, I’ve never been so happy to see a contestant get kicked out in my entire life. Josie is abrasive, aggressive, self-absorbed and REALLY LOUD and thinks that her sexual orientation — militant lesbian — should be just as important on this show as her cooking skills. Or lack of cooking skills.

    Good riddance, Josie. Don’t let an “elevated pickled watermelon salad” hit you in the ass on your way out.

    In news a little closer to home, apparently the Mesquite Metro Airport broke ground on Tuesday for the construction of a $3 million tower. This is supposed to increase air traffic (a good thing, I guess) because some pilots aren’t allowed by insurance regulations to land at an airport without one. To tell you the truth, I was only vaguely aware that Mesquite even had an airport. Here it is!
    The map below indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters; and B) the Mesquite Metro Airport, which is conveniently located near Devil’s Bowl Speedway, Catfish Corner and Rapunzel’s Cupcakes.
    And finally, from our Chinese Food Porn department I offer the following picturesque entree that’s making me swoon. I have no idea what this is, exactly, but I see dumplings, hot sauce, teeny chopped-up green onions and something that appears to be ground pork, and if you’ll send me a VERY LARGE ORDER of this within the next 45 minutes you’ll be my best friend forever. Click here to request my delivery address. Thank you in advance.
    This might be an excellent time to catch up on a couple of Danny Kaye movies. Shut the lights when you’re through reading, okay?

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    Nine out of 10 doctors agree that Mongolian chicken is the new morphine.

    Yup. I did it again. I just changed the Howdygram’s banner graphic (again) for no valid reason whatsoever except that I like this one better. My basic philosophy is, it’s my blog and you can’t stop me. Thank you.

    I am exceptionally tired right now. Sleepy, actually. I’ve had an unusually busy week with household projects — reorganizing the pantry and kitchen cabinets, filling canisters, labeling 30 spice jars, stuffing my pillow shams — all of which involved standing for prolonged periods of time, and this is not easy for me any more due to crappy arthritic knees, crappy lower back pain and crappy neuropathy in my feet. To alleviate my discomfort I ordered Mongolian chicken from China City and watched last night’s episode of “Top Chef.”

    Nine out of 10 doctors agree that Mongolian chicken is the new morphine.

    Great news, people. “Project Runway” is back! Season 11 premiers tonight on Lifetime and it’s recording on my DVR as I write this post. I hope the show’s producers were savvy enough to stock up on drama queens this year, because I get real satisfaction from watching silly egomaniacs making ugly clothes. Or maybe it’s the other way around. (I’ll bet nobody cares.) Four sample designers from a field of 16 appear below for your possible interest. The rest of them look pretty much the same except with different haircuts.
    I ordered something new from Shelf Reliance last night, the website where I buy all my favorite freeze-dried whatnots. This time I’m trying their Whole Egg Powder because it should be comforting to always have enough eggs on hand for the CarbQuik casserole and dessert recipes I’ve been collecting. Plus everybody gives this stuff great reviews online.
    The pantry-size can of Whole Egg Powder costs about $9 and contains the equivalent of 66 fresh eggs. That’s a swell deal, isn’t it? I also ordered a #10-size (gallon) can of Beef Textured Vegetable Protein because I can’t live without it. This is the best crap on the market, bar none. I throw handfuls of Beef TVP into damn near everything not including oatmeal and cheesecake. (Even Sam likes it.)

    Ah, I almost forgot. Here are my latest new fonts, all downloaded at no charge from a variety of websites. Lately my favorite has been FontScore.com. They seem to have entire families of all the top-name fonts, and some of them would be worth a small fortune if you actually had to pay for them, God forbid.
    Before Sam gets home from work tonight I want to take a quick shower, file my nails and eat peanut butter, not necessarily in that order. Thank you for reading this.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    It’s Christmas in January with really stupid barcode labels.

    It’s Christmas in January around here, with a wide variety of UPS drop-offs clogging our front doorstep! During the past 24 hours I have received all of the following: 1) six quart “boxes” of College-Inn chicken broth; 2) six bags of Miracle Angel Hair Pasta; 3) a dozen bags of Miracle Rice; 4) a box of 24 really inexpensive PowerFactor AA batteries; 5) six new empty jars for my spice rack from MySpiceSage.com plus teeny bags of onion salt and garlic salt. The spice jars are currently soaking in hot water because they arrived with really stupid barcode labels on them. Items 1 through 4 are all from Amazon.com.
    Show of hands. Do you ever read Dear Abby? Her column included a letter today that really knocked me for a loop:

    If a couple has been dating for a long time, do you think he has a right to have sex with her while she’s sleeping? My sister and I disagree about this. I feel it’s abuse. My sister isn’t quite sure what to think.

    Abby replied that it’s not just “abuse” ... it’s RAPE. I agree, but the Howdygram feels compelled to take this a step further: WHO THE HELL CAN SLEEP THROUGH SEX? Holy crap.

    In case you’re on the market for something different, shop now for some intriguing new seasonings from Big Cock Ranch, where profanity is apparently the spice of life. (This is not a joke.)
    To expand my low-carb snacking options I’m considering a Dip Shit six-pack ($14.99) to accompany my Lowrey’s Hot & Spicy Microwave Bacon Curls. I love tasty crap, don’t you?

    As I sit here contemplating tonight’s dinner I’m leaning towards a vat of Five-Minute Stupid Soup. This time I’d like to throw in a cup of instant pinto beans and some cilantro just to keep it interesting. Stupid Soup is my favorite all-time meal next to Mongolian chicken, Hungarian Un-Stuffed Cabbage and dreaming about pizza. (Diabetics always dream about pizza.)

    Before I sign off, let’s all sing a quick chorus of “Happy Birthday” to my adorable mother-in-law, Belle. Thank you.

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    Neanderthals are alive and well in the Lone Star State.

    What a day I’ve had! In addition to completing most of the activities outlined in my previous post — filling my new canisters and making tacos for lunch — I also found time to: 1) watch four hours of the inaugural parade and accompanying CNN commentary while I finished rolling a couple hundred dollars’ worth of Sam’s loose pocket change; 2) eat dinner; 3) clean out the pantry; and 4) I can’t think of anything else. Trust me, numbers 1 and 3 were monumental accomplishments. Especially number 3. The pantry is so damn gorgeous right now that I’ll bet Sam won’t recognize it when he gets home tonight. THIS IS THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF MY ENTIRE LIFE! (I might be exaggerating a little.)

    For the record, my pillow sham activities have been rescheduled for tomorrow. A girl can only tackle so many projects in one day before her brain explodes.

    My niece Allison sent some pictures tonight from my mom’s 90th birthday party in November. I thought I’d include a couple of them here because I think mom looks amazing. She’s in a nursing home and confined to a wheelchair, but she still gets her hair and nails done every week and wouldn’t think about leaving her room without lipstick. Holy crap.
    I just read an article that Harvard geneticist George Church thinks it’s possible to reverse-engineer the Neanderthal genome and pass their long-extinct advantages to our own offspring. He says all that’s needed is an “extremely adventurous female human” to be a surrogate mother. When Church was asked by the German magazine Der Spiegel if a Neanderthal baby could be born in his lifetime, Church, who is 58, replied, “That depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think so.”

    Somebody should introduce Church to Rick Perry, pictured above in full dress makeup for another anti-abortion speech to the Texas legislature. Neanderthals already lead productive lives here in the Lone Star State!

    I’m too pooped to write a complex post so I’ll simply close with a photo from President Obama’s inauguration earlier today along with a big fat MAZEL TOV to our cute first family from Howdygram headquarters.
    Thank you for reading this.

    On tap today: pillow-jamming and big fat canisters.

    Hey. Its Monday. Another week full of promise, Loretta Young movies and unseasonably pleasant January weather!

    Three projects are on tap today at Howdygram headquarters. Project number one, finish filling my new glass kitchen canisters (see below) and shoot a couple of photos for a follow-up post. Project number two, I’m making tacos for lunch. Project number three, try to jam my overstuffed king-size pillows back into the shams that match my ivory quilt. After that I’ll be ready for a nap.
    In case you’re interested, and I honestly can’t imagine why you would be, I bought four of these really huge air-tight things from Anchor Hocking’s website, ranging in size from 48 ounces to 1½ gallons. They will hold: 1) several pounds of CarbQuik flour; 2) a lot of granulated Splenda; 3) brown sugar for Sam’s oatmeal; and 4) my favorite dehydrated vegetable mix for Five Minute Stupid Soup, thereby reducing my actual prep time by at least 60 seconds. If I decide to dwell on this I’ll probably have to adjust the name of my recipe. Holy crap. Life sure gets complicated, doesn’t it?

    Thank you for reading this.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Coca-Cola. Still only 140 calories.

    Please, people. Next time I announce I want a new comforter for our bed I hope somebody whacks me in the head with a concrete pillow sham. I’M SICK TO DEATH OF THESE STUPID THINGS for the following reasons: 1) they’re too heavy; 2) I can’t sleep; 3) they make me sweat; and 4) they get wrinkled and look like crap. The comforter I ordered from Wal-Mart a couple of months ago (see image below) was gorgeous on their website and a pruny mess on our bed, and I don’t think I’ve had a decent night’s sleep since I bought the damn thing. Therefore about 15 minutes ago Sam and I yanked it off the bed and replaced it with our favorite un-wrinkled all-weather quilt!
    In other news, Sam and I had a fun and memorable Sunday. The weather today was unusually balmy and spring-like for January, so after we picked up one of our vehicles from Pep Boys we drove to CafĂ© Greek for their excellent buffet lunch, where I watched Sam consume more food than he usually eats in a week. I’m talking about SEVEN PLATES, not including six pieces of galaktoboureko pastry for dessert. A slice of galaktoboureko agreed to pose for us this afternoon and appears below for your possible interest.
    And now some news from our Who The Hell Are They Kidding department, where it seems that one of the world’s most successful and iconic companies has launched a baffling marketing campaign. I refer to Coca-Cola and their stupid new “healthy lifestyle” ads. We zipped past a billboard today on I-30 that announced in ten-foot-high type: “COCA-COLA. STILL ONLY 140 CALORIES.”
    Seriously, WTF does a person do with meaningless data like this? Are we supposed to get excited that a 12-ounce can of Coke “only” contains 140 calories of high fructose corn syrup ... especially when most people are slugging down 64-ounce Big Gulps from 7-Eleven? For the record, that 64-ounce tub of carbonated syrup contains 750 calories, and that’s not counting the sack of Cheetos and king-size Reese’s peanut butter cups you buy to go with it!

    As I write this post Sam is multitasking in the family room, watching Okahoma! starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae and concurrently rolling four coffee cans full of pocket change. He says he’s averaging $100 per can. Not bad! WE’RE RICH!
    And now it’s time for a shower, lots of food and a couple of nice Danny Kaye movies. Thank you for reading this.

    Behold the must-have ketchup fountain.

    When Sam went to bed at midnight it was my plan to write a speedy Howdygram post and join him no later than 1:30. I wound up redesigning the Howdygram’s banner graphic instead and never actually got around to writing anything until five minutes ago, except now it’s almost 4:45 in the morning and I’m so tired I can’t sit up straight. Oy.

    In case you’re planning a wedding reception or charity gala sometime this year I’d like to introduce you to the KETCHUP FOUNTAIN, a popular new party accessory that lets your horrified guests dunk their burgers and fries with reckless abandon. Frankly, this crap looks more like a prop from a slasher movie.
    Before I go to bed (at last) I’d like to post my latest collection of free fonts, all of which I downloaded Saturday afternoon when Sam and I got home from lunch. I’m not sure why, but my favorites on this list are Life Savers and Happy Monday. Also McLaren.
    I’ll post again later on today, okay? Thank you for reading this.

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    The spice of life, revisited.

    Let’s talk about spice racks for a minute, shall we? I just spent part of the evening relabeling all my little glass jars of spices and arranging them in no particular order on a nifty three-tier shelf unit that arrived yesterday from Amazon. This replaces the annoying metal racks that actually came with the jars when I bought them back in October, an attractive product from MySpiceSage.com with a shitty design because you couldn’t see the labels on the jars unless you had your chin on the counter or yanked each jar out of the rack one at a time to take a look at the contents. After engaging in this meaningless activity two or three times you’d rather drop a hammer on your foot.
    Before ordering the aforementioned nifty three-tier shelf unit, however, I took a stab at labeling the lids of the jars so I could identify the contents without actually investing any additional significant dough. This turned out to be a major life event. I ordered one-inch round silver foil inkjet labels, but after wasting several dollars at OnlineLabels.com and half a day of my life I discovered the lids aren’t suitable for labeling because they’re DOMED, and round labels end up puckering around the edges like teeny little pie crusts. AND THE DAMN INK RUBS OFF.

    Moving on to Plan B, I bought the shelf unit from Amazon ($16.99) and went back to OnlineLabels.com for a few sheets of rectangular clear matte inkjet labels and white glossy waterproof. As you can see from the photo above, the white waterproof labels were definitely the way to go. I can read them from a distance and they won’t smear if my hands are wet or I decide to shake a little parsley into a nice, steamy vat of Stupid Soup. This is a win-win for everybody! (Well, actually, just for me. I’m positive that Sam doesn’t give a crap.)

    Speaking of Sam ... he’ll be home from work any minute now so I’ll wrap up this post and wish all of you a happy and healthy Friday night. I think I have a craving for French fries.

    It’s Pete Rose, posing for a Jockey underwear ad.

    I can’t sleep, and it sucks. My hands and feet are burning (I really, really hate diabetes) so around midnight I finally decided just to get the hell out of bed and stop annoying Sam. For the past several hours I’ve been downloading fonts, researching low-carb dessert recipes, enjoying a nice tall Marcytini and trying to remember everything I want Sam to buy at Wal-Mart this morning. Cream cheese for sure and probably sugar-free Cool Whip.

    The aforementioned free fonts appear below for your possible interest.
    We watched a surprisingly excellent British “heist” film yesterday on TCM … The League of Gentlemen (1960) with a first-rate cast that included Richard Attenborough, Roger Livesey (my personal favorite) and Jack Hawkins, one year after he was Quintus Arrius in Ben-Hur. Here’s a shot of the entire cast; that’s Jack Hawkins, inset.
    So here’s a quick rundown on the plot. Jack Hawkins is a disgruntled career Army officer facing forced retirement. He decides to get even with the government by rounding up seven other men who were booted from the service for various embarrassing reasons and coercing them into a complex bank robbery scheme that takes advantage of their military skills, such as blowing things up, stealing gas masks and driving a getaway car. Actually, the story is like an early version of The Dirty Dozen except everybody’s wearing a tie. Sam and I thought this was fine entertainment with a damn good ending.

    I’ve got a treat for you. It’s Pete Rose, hairy and out of shape circa 1970, posing for a Jockey underwear ad. Holy crap, check out that haircut. He looks like Moe!
     I have to try going back to bed now. Thank you for reading this.

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    I don’t own square plates and I don’t garnish anything with wrinkled shrubbery.

    There must be something wrong with me. At 5:30 this morning I woke up with a craving for spaghetti and meat sauce, and it was so bad that I sat at my desk playing out the entire scenario in my head for at least half an hour, including how to get my great big pot out of the cabinet without making any noise and wondering if we have enough parmesan cheese. (I like a LOT of parmesan cheese.) Eventually I wound up going back to bed and didn’t actually eat anything until lunch, at which time I reheated an unusually large bowl of Five-Minute Stupid Soup leftover from last night’s dinner.

    It is presently 6:40 p.m. and once again I find that I’m obsessed with spaghetti and meat sauce. I’ve got a package of Carb Counters Skinni Spaghetti calling my name from the pantry, and with only 12 carbs in the whole damn box I can go for total gluttony if I want to. Either that, or I might print out a sheet of new spice jar labels and order Mongolian chicken. You can stay tuned for my final decision but it’s not likely that anybody really gives a crap about this.
    For the record, my spaghetti and meat sauce looks exactly like this photo except I don’t own square plates and I don’t garnish anything with wrinkled shrubbery.

    Show of hands. Does anybody besides me think Manti Te’o should be a mental patient instead of a linebacker? You know, that football doofus from Notre Dame who’s mourning a dead girlfriend who never existed? In a press conference today Te’o finally admitted that he had an online romance that began in 2009 with a fake girl named Lennay Kekua from Stanford University who was in a fake severe car crash and died — tragically — of fake leukemia on December 6. Apparently the only thing that’s real here is his stupidity.
    An article today on Deadspin.com uncovered all the facts behind Manti’s almost unbelievable tale of deception:
    “There is no SSA record of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, that day or any other. Her passing, recounted so many times in the national media, produces no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper. Nor is there any report of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua. Background checks turn up nothing. The Stanford registrar’s office has no record that a Lennay Kekua ever enrolled. There is no record of her birth in the news. Outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts, there’s no online evidence that Lennay Kekua ever existed. The photographs identified as Kekua — in online tributes and on TV news reports — are pictures from the social media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who is not named Lennay Kekua. She is not a Stanford graduate; she has not been in a severe car accident; and she does not have leukemia. And she has never met Manti Te’o.”
    While sports commentators are throwing around the possibility that Notre Dame will probably dump him, I think Te’o has a strong future and a shot at the NFL. Not too many players start their football careers with an advanced case of brain trauma.

    Thank you for reading this.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Mazel tov to Governor Rick Perry, the Howdygram’s Putz of the Week.

    He did it again. He opened his big dumb mouth and said something so embarrassing he makes me want to jump in front of a speeding bus. Or better yet, he should jump in front of a speeding bus!

    I’m referring to Rick Perry, of course, the Einstein governor of Texas who thinks President Obama’s gun control proposal — which would end the sale of high-powered assault weapons and increase background checks — is “a disgusting anti-Christian, anti-patriotic act being advanced by Satan.” (I wouldn’t joke about this.) Perry added, “The piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me personally.”

    Holy crap. Once again, the Howdygram has no choice but to present this half-brained ammo-loving Neanderthal with our coveted Putz of the Week award.
    Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, called Governor Einstein’s comments “ridiculous and offensive’’ because Perry apparently believes that the answer to the horrific tragedy at Newtown is to encourage heavily-armed teachers and concealed handguns in schools, guns on college campuses and in dormitories, guns at soccer games, guns at frat parties, and guns at large-scale public events where alcohol, aggression and emotion already lead to violence. Hinojosa concluded, “Twenty children have died, and Perry sees it as an opportunity to push his own radical agenda. Nothing could be sicker and more of an abuse of power. We have a governor who thinks the answer to our societal problems is a wild west shoot-out.”
    For the record, and this should come as no surprise whatsoever, the state of Texas ranks first in the U.S. in the sale of guns and ammunition and dead last in spending for Women’s Health, Children’s Health and Education. We also don’t have any decent delicatessens.
    Thanks for stopping by. Drop me a line sometime, okay?

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Thunder-sleet, a Macy’s do-over and I can’t wait to eat my low-carb cheesecake.

    We woke up this morning to a world covered with white crap. Sam said we had a thunder-sleet storm going on around 6 a.m. that coated everything with frosty ice pellets. As a result I had to cancel my 11 a.m. podiatrist appointment because I have a hard enough time just walking on dry ground.

    I’ve got a bunch of unrelated, mostly uninteresting crapola to report tonight. First, before I forget, here’s a cute yet informative video clip I received a couple of days ago from Sam’s Aunt Adie about how women can tell if they’re having a heart attack. Feel free to recommend this to your friends and neighbors, okay?



    Also, we found out today that Macy’s plans to replace our new-ish microsuede sectional sofa (it’s slightly more than a year old) by the end of the month! A technician from their service department was here on Friday to check out an area that started sagging, and when he reported the issue back to his boss they made the decision to REPLACE THE ENTIRE SECTIONAL rather than repair it. A formal portrait appears below for your possible interest. The color is called “Stone.”
    I’m outrageously excited about this because it’s like getting a free do-over with regard to smooshed-up cushions, an unexplained greasy little hand-print and two badly-dented accent pillows. THANK YOU, MACY’S. Yee-haw!

    I don’t know how I wound up on this mailing list, but there’s an irritating little Greek cafe here in Mesquite that focuses their entire marketing campaign on advertising when they’re CLOSED. For example:

    “Happy holidays. We’re closed on Christmas.” 
    “Drive carefully. We’re closed New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!” 
    “Just a reminder … we’re closed every Sunday.” 
    “Hi. We’re closed today due to the weather. See you tomorrow!” 

    In case you don’t believe me, click here and here and here. These people must be insane.

    The local news in Dallas is reporting that Lee Harvey Oswald’s former apartment building in the Oak Cliff neighborhood was torn down yesterday morning with a crowd of onlookers arriving at dawn to grab a few bricks and whatnots as souvenirs. I don’t really understand why anybody would want crap like this, but you have to keep in mind I’m talking about Texans. Texans are weird.
    I spent most of the day hard at work on my big client project, the scope of which has expanded to include: 1) a new logo; 2) matching business cards; 3) postcard invitations to a gallery show; 4) a PDF mailer; and 5) redesigning her website. I finished 1 and 3 this afternoon and feel very accomplished. As soon as I wrap up this post I plan to celebrate with a nice hot shower, the low-carb cheesecake I made last night and this week’s episode of “Hardcore Pawn.” Holy crap, does this sound fantastic, or what? If I feel motivated afterwards I might empty the dishwasher, although technically this activity doesn’t fit into anybody’s concept of celebrating. Especially mine. I’m just saying.

    Incidentally, with regard to that low-carb cheesecake from the previous paragraph, it really turned out GREAT. I used the famous Bisquick “Impossible Cheesecake” recipe modified for CarbQuik ... a real no-brainer that you mix in the blender, pour into a glass pan and bake for half an hour. Let me know if you want the recipe, okay? Next time I think I’ll shmear a jar of no-carb lemon curd on top instead of sour cream. I love lemon curd.

    Thank you for reading this!

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    I don’t know what I’d do without Meat Loaf Night.

    I decided not to write any Howdygram posts over the weekend because, quite frankly, I just didn’t feel up to it. Winter weather makes my bones ache — even when it’s a “Texas winter” at 45° — so I spent most of Saturday and Sunday involved in the following important activities: 1) eating; 2) sleeping; 3) finishing my Ovation Creative website project; 4) trying to relabel 24 spice jars; and 5) watching movies. Item one included a Sunday morning excursion to Hong Kong Royal for dim sum and item five featured The Little Foxes (1941) starring Bette Davis and Herbert Marshall and The Great Race (1965), a personal favorite, starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood. This is probably the funniest epic comedy ever made with the best pie fight EVER.
    To round out a busy weekend, Saturday night was also Meat Loaf Night. I don’t know what I’d do without Meat Loaf Night.

    In addition, Sam and I enjoyed a string of surprisingly entertaining fast-talking 1930s B-movies with veteran actor Lee Tracy. The best of the litter was Crashing Hollywood, a screwball comedy about a screenwriter who teams up with a pair of ex-cons to write realistic crime dramas. Although Tracy’s best (and most iconic) role was probably the part of Jean Harlow’s publicist in Bombshell, I think Crashing Hollywood is a close second.

    Drum roll, people! I’m pleased to announce that I finally finished redesigning my Ovation Creative website! (Click here to take a look.) I was motivated primarily by a project request on Friday from a client in Colorado who wants me to revamp her photography website and produce a new collection of printed marketing materials in time for a gallery show in mid-February. I figured I’d better wrap up my own personal baloney so I can earn some money. Money is good.

    Here, for your possible interest, is a recent portrait of Wayne Newton, whose new part-time gig in Las Vegas involves haunting houses. Oy, Wayne, what the hell did you do to yourself?
    And finally, an exciting and affordable new gift idea for those hard-to-shop-for friends, realtives and co-workers! I thought Mr. T’s 15 minutes of fame was finished in the mid-1980s but apparently he still finds marketing Einsteins willing to work overtime on weird horseshit like this. You can buy yours here.
    Now it’s time for my Monday afternoon projects, listed for you here in no particular order whatsoever. They are: 1) a nice nap; and 2) folding kitchen towels; and 3) baking a low-carb cheesecake. It’s a full life, isn’t it?

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    Sam responds badly to hysterical screams in the middle of the night.

    Ah, Friday. It’s 4 a.m. and I’m trying to bounce back from a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episode that started about an hour ago. I woke from a sound sleep feeling clammy and screwy with a craving for sugar and wound up where all loopy diabetics would go in that condition — THE CAN — at which time I began shouting for Sam because I knew I couldn’t make it to the kitchen for the various whatnots I needed to undo what was going on. Sam, as always, came to the rescue, although I tried my best to not sound panicky because he responds badly to hysterical screams in the middle of the night. (Actually, I guess everybody does.)

    At any rate, I’m definitely much better now after consuming a low-carb ChocoPerfection bar (the kind that tastes like cheap Easter bunnies from Walgreen’s), two chewable glucose tablets and a Marcytini with extra ice. Extra ice is an important part of this complete breakfast.
    Yo! We’re expecting a nice, balmy day today! The forecast says 70° and partly sunny, and that’s a nice change of pace for the middle of January. (It’s typically about 50° here this time of year when we’re not having an ice storm.) If it doesn’t rain I’m hoping for a dim sum outing with Sam on Saturday because we haven’t had dim sum for an awfully long time and I need shrimp dumplings bad.

    I also need more sleep, but before I sign off here’s another batch of free fonts that I downloaded on Thursday. I think all of them are from FontScore.com. I especially love Neutra Small Caps and Din Condensed Pro, but I can’t explain why.
    Thank you for reading this.