Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gifts for senior citizens. Think Hanukkah! Think birthdays! Think Valentine’s Day!

Hi, people. Sam is running errands and I’m here at home with Kleenex and a Marcytini while I nurse the onset of a cold. I am absolutely determined NOT to get sick, so to cheer myself up this morning I ordered a large container of blank CDs, Coricidin caplets and a bottle of Queen Latifah perfume because I’ve always wanted to smell like a large African American rapper who’s technically a lesbian.
Incidentally, Sam and I had a first-class experience yesterday at the Choctaw Casino! Not counting an especially fabulous lunch at the buffet — pea salad, sugar-free pie, catfish, guacamole and green olives for me; salmon and baby cheesecakes for Sam — I had nice wins at the two penny slot machines pictured below, and Sam did extremely well, too. WE LOVE MONEY. Money is wonderful!
Because I always enjoy discovering new places to shop online, the Howdygram is pleased to recommend EasyComforts.com, the perfect gift resource for all the senior citizens in your life. I refer to such products as extra-stretchy socks for swollen feet, toenail fungus cream, an exciting variety of pill sorters, napkin clips for dribblers, those hard-to-find retro plastic rain bonnets, sofa protectors in case you accidentally leak watching a Danny Kaye movie, fancy wheelchair accessories, do-it-yourself kits to reline your own dentures … and so much more! Think Hanukkah! Think birthdays! Think Valentine’s Day!
From our Where Not To Dine While You Buy Weird Furniture department, IKEA has announced that the Swedish meatballs served in their U.S. stores DO NOT CONTAIN HORSE MEAT. What a relief.
Apparently the meat used in IKEA’s meatballs in the U.S. comes from a domestic supplier and is not affected by the recall of 1,675 pounds of frozen meatballs in the Czech Republic, which occurred when the Czech State Veterinary Administration detected traces of Trigger and Seabiscuit. IKEA’s furniture stores throughout the world feature restaurants that sell food typical of the store’s home country — Sweden — including their “wildly popular Kotbullar meatballs.” (I’ve tried them. They’re neither wild nor popular.)

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Come on over. We’re folding socks and playing Pirates of the Caribbean.

Huge and exciting news from Howdygram headquarters! First, we just ordered dinner from China City. Second, tomorrow we’ve planned an excursion to the Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma for their half-price buffet lunch — with pea salad and sugar-free pie! —  and a couple of hours at the penny slots where we might win as much as $25. Third, the monster blizzard that buried the Texas panhandle this morning will miss us completely, thank God.

On the downside, Sam’s right eye is still a blurry, useless mess since his retina surgery last week so he started wearing a black patch this morning after a trip to Wal-Mart. The patch makes him look exotic, dangerous and slightly disabled. He’ll see the doctor on Wednesday. In the meantime we’re playing Pirates of the Caribbean. (Arrgh.)

In case you’re curious, my blow-out with AT&T today actually turned out not too bad. I managed to lower our bill from $207 to $133 per month for the U-Verse “300” package (including all the high-definition channels plus HBO) with Internet service and digital home phone. AT&T is always really nice about helping you find a better deal. The problem is, if you don’t scrutinze your monthly statement line-by-line with a magnifying glass and pick up the phone every time you find a discrepancy, they’ll assume you’re the sucker of the century and continue ripping you off for the rest of your life. I don’t know about you, but I hate doing business like that. You can’t trust ANYBODY.

A bunch of deliveries will be waiting for us tomorrow when we get home from the casino! They include a 30-pound crate of assorted DaVinci sugar-free soft drinks syrups from Lollicup, our new 12-cup Cuisinart coffeemaker from Amazon plus a package of 400 cone filters. We love beverages around here. As I write this post I’m slugging down a glass of Coke Zero enhanced with two squirts of DaVinci sugar-free blueberry and doing laundry concurrently so it’s not a total waste of time. Sock-folding starts in 30 minutes if you have nothing else to do. Thank you.

Our Mr. Coffee died. We’re sitting shiva through Wednesday.

By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that I didn’t write any Howdygram posts over the weekend. I have no excuse, really, other than I wasn’t especially motivated and spent all of my time instead sleeping, eating things and taking care of Sam. This partially explains why I’m awake at 5 in the morning. Too damn much sleep.

Before I get wrapped up in other topics I thought I’d include the following photo of the excellent crap I purchased on Saturday. Included here are: 1) a shiny new Cuisinart coffeemaker with a 12-cup thermal carafe; 2) two kinds of extremely low-carb breakfast cereal; 3) EZ-Sweetz liquid sucralose (Splenda); and 4) several quarts of unsweetened almond milk. Items 2, 3 and 4 are from Netrition.com. We ordered item 1 from Amazon.com because our Mr. Coffee died. (We’re sitting shiva through Wednesday.)
Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried Blue Diamond’s unsweetened almond milk. Isn’t this stuff amazing? Almond milk has less than half the calories of cow’s milk, ZERO LACTOSE (very important) and practically no carbohydrates whatsoever. I can finally drink milk again! I’ve been ordering from Netrition but I might send Sam to Wal-Mart today to find out if they carry it at our neighborhood market.

Did any of you bother with the Academy Awards last night? The only reason I watched was to see Barbra Streisand. The rest of the show was thoroughly meaningless unless you’re into a bunch of grossly overpaid narcissists congratulating each other on national TV.

My projects for today will include laundry, defrosting a brick of ground beef, replacing the Febreze electric scented oil refill thingies in four rooms and another battle with the Einsteins in AT&T’s billing department. This time I intend to strong-arm them into giving us their $129 U-Verse, Internet and digital home phone promotional package because they’re currently charging us $207 every month for the exact same services. I think I waste half my life on their stupid website trying to figure out all the ways they’re secretly overcharging us. For instance, why are we paying $46.75 for Internet service when they advertise it for $29.95? And why the hell do they keep charging my cell phone for incoming text messages when the only incoming texts I’ve ever received are spam from AT&T? I hate these people. I mean it.

I’m going back to bed now. Don’t be jealous, okay?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Anjelica Huston has enough extra chins to populate a small country.

There’s good news tonight from Marcy’s Wonderful World of Furniture … I got an email from Macy’s announcing that our replacement sectional is in stock and ready for delivery! Holy crap! You may recall (see earlier post) that Macy’s agreed last month to replace the sectional sofa we bought in November 2011 after part of it started sagging and a technician acknowledged during a house call that it couldn’t be repaired. We were told we probably wouldn’t receive the replacement until April, which is why I’m so freaking excited that it’s already at the warehouse here in Dallas. Macy’s rocks, people!
Poor little Cyclops Sam (see previous post) has been unconscious in the family room since mid-afternoon. He’s been sleeping in a nearly-upright position per the surgeon’s instructions but I have no idea if he ever intends to transition to the bedroom because he’ll require a truckload of pillows to sleep sitting up in bed. For the time being I’ll probably just let him stay where he is.

I’m hoping tomorrow Sam will have an appetite again. Dinner was four Ritz crackers, one slice of cheese and a marshmallow. A growing boy can’t get his strength back on a meal like that.

One final thought before heading off to bed. Here are frightening photos of three well-known divas who don’t seem to be aging very well. Although Goldie is covered with liver spots and Liza looks homeless, I’m especially concerned about Anjelica Huston, the youngest of the bunch, who has no neck whatsoever and enough extra chins to populate a small country. What the hell happened to her?
Thank you for stopping by. Don’t forget to shut the light when you’re done here, okay?

Cyclops is recuperating comfortably at home.

The big news from Howdygram headquarters this afternoon: My beloved Sam is alive and well following his eyeball surgery this morning! We were up at 5:30, out of the house by 6:15 and back home well before noon, at which time we ate a quick but tasty lunch and slept for most of the afternoon.

During his recovery period — about two weeks — Sam has been instructed to sleep upright, for which there are three possible scenarios: 1) propping himself up in bed with four pillows; 2) sleeping on the chaise in the family room; or 3) standing like Secretariat. The best option is probably the first, mostly because he’s a little too tall for number 2, and number 3 sounds mighty damn uncomfortable unless you’re running in the Preakness.
Sam has an appointment tomorrow morning with the eye surgeon to get the patch removed. Incidentally, this is NOT the kind of eye patch we were expecting. It looks more like a teeny Tupperware pasta strainer than Pirates of the Caribbean.

And now it’s time to begin pondering dinner, which will probably involve grazing rather than cooking because there’s a lot of excellent crapola in the refrigerator. I’m considering a gourmet diabetic’s dream meal, which consists of a hunk of homemade low-carb bread, havarti cheese, cheap little dill pickles and half a quart of sugar-free chocolate soy milk. Sam just wants marshmallows. (He’s really into white food.)

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adios to Drew Peterson, the cowardly liar.

And the good news is ... dirtbag Drew Peterson has been sentenced to 38 years in prison for murdering his third ex-wife, Kathleen Savio. THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS! The former suburban Chicago cop was convicted last September but kept fighting for a new trial based on a lot of meaningless horseshit; his appeal was denied earlier today shortly before sentencing. To refresh your memory, Savio was found dead in a dry, clean bathtub on March 1, 2004. Prosecutors were positive that Peterson killed her even though the defense insisted that she fell, hit her head and drowned. WTF! Who drowns in a dry tub? The Savio case actually didn’t take shape until after Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in 2007. While the police searched for Stacy — whose body is still missing — investigators decided to reinvestigate Savio’s death and finally ruled it was a homicide, not a bathtub accident.
Good riddance to this obnoxious POS, and I would personally like to thank the Illinois courts for a job well done. Let’s hope that prison officials can finally put an end to Peterson’s arrogant “Win A Date With Drew” contest. 

It’s the night before Sam’s eyeball surgery and all’s well at Howdygram headquarters. Sam is still at the office and I’m doing laundry, baking a loaf of low-carb bread, drinking a blueberry phosphate and trying to design a logo for a friend’s new photography business. A hot shower is next on my agenda because I’m freezing.

For your possible interest I had another hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episode today. After a short yet pleasant afternoon nap I sat down at my desk to work on a project and thought it was a little weird that I couldn’t concentrate, so I checked my blood sugar and it was 42. Holy crap, people, 42 is WAY TOO LOW. I chewed up a couple of glucose tablets (they look and taste like gigantic SweeTarts) and felt better almost immediately, but I’m still baffled as to why this happened because I had a normal lunch and my blood sugar was just fine afterwards. That’s the scary part of diabetes. Crap like this happens without any explanation whatsoever and you have to be prepared for the worst. I carry those glucose chewy things everywhere I go and keep some in every room of the house. Maybe I should also carry a large pepperoni pizza.

Thank you for reading this.

Slim Jims and Beanit Butter ... the breakfast of champions!

I have to perfectly honest here. I started taking my new Co Q-10 supplement yesterday at lunchtime but so far I don’t feel any difference whatsoever. I’m just saying.

My latest acquisition of healthy new products for the Howdygram test kitchen includes: 1) WestSoy vanilla and chocolate soy milk sweetened with Splenda; 2) a great big box of tasty little Slim Jims in a display exactly like the kind that’s next to the register at 7 Eleven; 3) Carb Not Beanit Butter, a no-carb peanut butter knockoff made from soy that gets really swell reviews online; and 4) almond flour, which works just like ordinary white flour except it doesn’t have any carbs. It’s also expensive.
Please stop laughing about item 2. I’ve loved these dumb things since my college years and appreciate the opportunity to buy large quantities cheap from Amazon.com. Life just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

In case you’ve forgotten, Sam is having surgery on his right eyeball Friday morning to correct a “macular pucker” behind his retina, a condition discovered a couple of weeks ago during a routine eye exam. We’ve been instructed to arrive at the surgery center by 7 a.m., for which I only have a two-word response: HOLY CRAP. That’s at least two hours earlier than I normally get out of bed and four hours earlier than I usually leave the house! The map below indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters in Mesquite; and B) the Greenville Surgery Center in Dallas. If all goes according to plan we should be home by noon but I’ve decided to pack a cheese sandwich just in case.
Here are my most recent font acquisitions for your possible interest. My favorites are Oregano, Playfair and Clicker Script.
And now, at last, it’s time to hit the sack, mostly because my Marcytini is empty and there’s not much else to say at 2:30 in the morning. Thank you for reading this!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Biscuits & chicken goop deliver low-carb comfort food.

Here’s a new and speedy comfort food recipe of my own invention, featuring two of my favorite food groups: low-carb biscuits and goopy gravy!

To begin you have to make a batch of CarbQuik drop biscuits. This involves mixing ⅔ cup of water with 2 cups of CarbQuik until it forms a dough. (I use my bread machine for this. It takes about 90 seconds.) Divide the dough into six wads, drop onto an ungreased nonstick cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 13 minutes at 375°. Presto … YOUR BISCUITS HAVE ARRIVED!

While your biscuits are in the oven you can make the goop.
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup rehydrated chopped onion
  • ⅓ cup CarbQuik
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup unflavored Almond Breeze almond milk
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 cups rehydrated freeze-dried mixed vegetables
In a nice pot simmer the cubed chicken and broth until the chicken is cooked, maybe about 10 minutes. In another nice pot heat the butter and rehydrated onion. Stir in the CarbQuik, salt and pepper until well-blended. Gradually add the broth, chicken and milk and stir until thick. Add the veggies. Heap everything on top of three CarbQuik biscuits. Refuse to share if necessary.
A couple of final thoughts. First, if you don’t have freeze-dried mixed vegetables you can substitute any cooked mixed vegetables. I use freeze-dried because I’ve got a pantry full of this excellent crapola from Shelf Reliance. Second, enjoy the leftover biscuits for a bedtime snack shmeared with low-carb Jok ’n Al blueberry fruit spread from New Zealand. You can pretend you’re eating jelly doughnuts.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

    I’m recruiting for a hit man to help me get even with tech support.

    I thought I’d horse around with the Howdygram while I wait for the UPS delivery-of-a-lifetime. I’m expecting nine — NINE! — packages today from Amazon, including: 1) a case of Lowrey’s original flavor microwave bacon curls; 2) Dial NutriSkin body wash; 3) 12 bags of zero-calorie Miracle Rice; 4) a Norelco cordless razor for Sam; 5) a sack of nice disposable razors for yours truly; 6) six 32-oz. boxes of College Inn chicken broth; 7) a half-pound bag of xanthan gum powder; 8) an industrial-size carton of Imodium caplets; and 9) a bottle of Nature’s Bounty Co Q-10 extra-strength softgels. Holy crap!

    In the event you’ve never heard of item 7, xanthan gum (pictured below) is a food thickener used in billions of commercially-sold products such as salad dressing, barbecue sauce, milkshakes, gravy and so on. Its benefit for me is the fact that it works these miracles with ZERO CARBS. A half-pound bag will probably last the rest of my life because a little goes a very long way. For instance, ⅛-teaspoon can thicken a pan of gravy and 3 teaspoons will turn an entire vat of soup into sludge. (I love sludge.) Stay tuned for additional details, okay?
    Incidentally, I didn’t write a Howdygram post yesterday because I got sidetracked with a couple of client projects, such as a logo design and recreating an entire website that mysteriously disappeared from the Internet last week. My client almost had a cow while we waited five days for tech support Einsteins in three different departments to figure out what the hell happened. THEY NEVER DID. So yesterday I finally volunteered to re-upload the entire website from scratch, which took maybe two hours from start to finish.

    I’m recruiting for a hit man to help me get even with tech support. Please send an email if you know anybody who’s interested in a quick buck and a trip to India. Thank you.

    Tonight for dinner I’m making Marcy’s Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie, a bizarre recipe of my own invention that almost sounds too good to be true. Basically, it’s three CarbQuik drop biscuits smothered in a gooey, zero-carb gravy with cut-up chicken and freeze-dried vegetables. I don’t know about you, but I think this crap sounds so awesome I might have to post the recipe so you can try it yourself.

    Thank you for reading this.

    Sunday, February 17, 2013

    Plantar fasciitis is an affliction from the pit of hell.

    Sam is on the way to buy himself a couple of doughnuts, leaving me behind at Howdygram headquarters to recover from yet another low blood sugar incident and wax poetic about last night’s unforgettable dinner. I had a craving that ultimately manifested itself as a pile of homemade CarbQuik biscuits, raw onion and the cheapest dill pickle chips money can buy. It was a feast from heaven that clearly didn’t deliver enough carbs to balance the insulin I injected at dinnertime, because I woke up this morning with a reading of 52, which is at least 30 points too low.
    The memory of biscuits and pickles will linger forever, though. I think I’ve discovered a new favorite meal!

    On our agenda today is a nice drive in the country with lunch at the China House Buffet in Sulphur Springs. I’m having a major neuropathy flare-up in my left heel — plantar fasciitis is an affliction from the pit of hell — so there are very few options for frivolity right now. Sitting on my ass in the car for an hour followed by unlimited Chinese food seems to be the recommended therapy. I, for one, can’t wait.

    It wasn’t my plan to write an entire post about eating things so I’ll end with a portrait of Benedict XVI, a retiree with hilarious hats who just announced he’s too pooped to Pope.
    I’m thinking his replacement should be somebody a lot younger with more energy and crowd appeal. Maybe Johnny Depp or PeeWee Herman.

    Thank you for reading this.

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

    Meet the Jacksons: Chicago’s latest crop of creeps, crooks and cronies.

    While I sit here recovering from a middle-of-the-night low blood sugar incident, for which I’m consuming a Marcytini, a low-carb chocolate bar and a stack of American cheese singles, I thought I’d work on a post about Chicago’s latest crop of creepy criminal politicians. This time it’s the Jackson clan: 1) Jesse Junior; 2) Jesse Junior’s main squeeze; and 3) Jesse’s Junior’s daddy. Let’s begin with a quick review of their offenses, shall we?
    Jesse Junior, who resigned his seat in Congress shortly before the end of last year following a six-month absence for “emotional problems,” has just confessed to embezzling $750,000 of his own campaign funds to purchase (among other things) mink capes, a $45,000 Rollex watch, Michael Jackson memorabilia, Bruce Lee memorabilia, Jimi Hendrix memorabilia, Martin Luther King memorabilia, an Eddie Van Halen guitar, a commemorative football and a cashmere hat. You know, all the necessities for the good life in Congress. He also paid his wife’s consulting firm half a million dollars.

    Junior had been under investigation by the FBI since attempting to bribe Illinois’ disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich for the Senate seat vacated by President Obama. Blagojevich is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for racketeering.

    Junior’s wife, Sandi, isn’t a whole lot better. She resigned from Chicago’s city council in mid-January after five years as an absentee alderman, during which she collected a full-time salary while missing nearly half the council’s votes and 91% of her committee meetings because — here’s a shocker — she was actually living in Washington, D.C. with Junior and the kids. Following an FBI investigation Sandi confessed to tax fraud yesterday relative to her husband’s embezzlement issues.

    Big Daddy (Jesse Senior) wasn’t under investigation and didn’t confess to any crimes, but I feel compelled to include him here. Doesn’t it ever bother people that he has no job — or any other visible means of support — but keeps turning up uninvited at every major event in the United States wearing $2,500 suits? I’m just saying.

    I think I’ll go back to bed for a while. Turn off the lights when you’re done, okay?

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    Here’s my low-carb version of traditional Greek “spanakopita”.

    It wasn’t my plan to write a recipe post tonight, but I created a spinach and feta casserole for dinner a couple of hours ago that definitely deserves a little international publicity. It’s low-carb, of course, but feel free to create your own high-carb version if that’s what floats your boat. Here’s my recipe.
    • 3 cups rehydrated chopped spinach*, well-drained
    • 6 to 8 medium green onions with white parts, chopped
    • 8 oz. crumbled feta cheese
    • 2 tablespoons powdered whole eggs*
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • ¾ cup CarbQuik* (or Bisquick)
    • 1 cup unflavored Almond Breeze almond milk*
    • 3 tablespoons powdered whole eggs*
    • 4 tablespoons water
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    Heat your oven to 400°. Spray an 8-inch glass baking pan with Pam. Squeeze as much water from the spinach as possible by pressing it in a wire strainer, then mix the first seven ingredients together in a bowl: spinach, onion, feta cheese, egg powder, water, salt and pepper. Spoon into the baking pan. Blend the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, pour onto the spinach mixture and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.
    This stuff is so good I almost can’t find the words to describe it. I love Greek food, but I can’t eat most of it because it’s all loaded up with carby crap like phyllo dough, pasta or rice. My spinach and feta casserole is a low-carb version of traditional Greek “spanakopita” (spinach pie). Seriously.

    You can buy the ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) as follows: 1) powdered whole eggs and freeze-dried chopped spinach are from Thrive; 2) CarbQuik is a Bisquick knockoff from Netrition.com; and 3) you can buy Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze in most supermarkets or click here to order from Netrition (be sure to use the original flavor, not vanilla or chocolate). I highly recommend all of these products and can’t live without them. Don’t tell Sam, but I’m having a love affair with powdered whole eggs. This might be the most versatile kitchen ingredient EVER.

    Flushing has nothing whatsoever to do with toilets.

    I’ve got another medication update for you. Sort of a Holy Crap Report, chapter three. Dumping the cholesterol drug Atorvastatin on Tuesday has eliminated yet another grotesque side effect — aside from the crippling muscle pain in my back and legs — NO MORE BURNING HOT HANDS AND FEET! I always thought the hot hands and feet thing was a form of diabetic neuropathy, but it wasn’t. I learned yesterday that Atorvastatin lists “flushing” — which has nothing whatsoever to do with toilets or a city in New York — as one of its primary side effects, and in my case it was so severe that my extremities felt like they were on fire at night. No prescription medication on earth is worth horseshit like this, people! Had I known that Atorvastatin was responsible for so much of my misery I would have stopped taking it a long time ago. At 114 my cholesterol level is just fine, thank you, and I don’t need drugs to keep it as low as that. As a matter of fact, even before I started taking Atorvastatin it was still in the normal range (about 18o-something), which means I basically endured a year of horror for NOTHING.

    On the plus side, I feel AMAZING now. My back and legs don’t hurt, I can stand up and walk around the house without pain, my hands and feet don’t feel like they’re on fire, and as a bonus I also get to dump my prescription sleep aid (Trazodone) because I only needed it to mask the agony of Atorvastatin! Life can be swell sometimes, can’t it?
    I hope you like my Valentine’s Day graphic. For the most part this is an accurate representation except I have brown eyes and don’t own pink slippers. For your possible interest the mug contains sugar-free Howdygram juice.

    I think I need a nap. Try not to make too much noise for a while, okay? Maybe you should go play outside.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    My house is so spotless you could do brain surgery on the kitchen floor.

    I’ve got a pile of unrelated topics to string together for tonight’s Howdygram post, so bear with me.

    To begin, my biweekly maid service was here this afternoon and did another truly outstanding job. Isidra works alone now (she used to come with a partner) so her cleaning session takes about an hour and half longer than before, but I don’t mind because she’s really nice, very industrious and doesn’t get in my way. At 4 p.m. she was outside on the patio scrubbing my silk plants and trees, and next time (two weeks from today) she wants to CLEAN THE INSIDE OF MY REFRIGERATOR. Holy crap, I’m so excited about this I might faint! My house is so spotless you could do brain surgery on the kitchen floor. Except I wish you wouldn’t. Thank you.

    From our Extinct Musicians department comes this story about the Dave Clark Five, who were part of the infamous “British invasion” back in the early 1960s. Apparently they performed together for 12 years but had pretty much vanished from the U.S. pop charts by 1967. And now they seem to be vanishing for real, as only two of the original members are still alive.
    Denis Payton died in 2006, Mike Smith in 2008, and Rick Huxley died yesterday. I realize you may not give a crap about any of this, but these dudes are only eight or nine years older than I am and they’re all dying from ordinary old-people illnesses like cancer and emphysema, not from drugs, AIDS or orgies. (Do people die from orgies?)
    In case you don’t know — or don’t remember — who these people are, here’s a 1964 video clip of their first big hit, “Glad All Over.” Dave Clark is on the drums; frontman Mike Smith (pictured above) is on the keyboard. This is the first time I’ve heard this song in maybe 45 years but I remembered every word the minute they started singing. I must be a genius.


    All of a sudden this month I’ve got a steady stream of new graphic design business coming in, including: 1) a brochure project for a bridal consultant in Virginia; 2) a new website for a caterer in South Carolina; and 3) business cards and a redesigned website for a photographer in Colorado. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by all the attention. How come I can’t retire already? Why do people keep throwing money at me? And when will I ever find the time to make another pot of Stupid Soup? Incidentally, if you’d like to check out the redesigned website mentioned in item 3, click here.

    Know what? I’ve got a ton of great television recorded on my DVR! In addition to “Top Chef” tonight and “Project Runway” tomorrow, I still have to finish “Dallas” from Monday night, three episodes of “People’s Court,” two weeks of “Millionaire Matchmaker” and four “Hardcore Pawn” reruns. I don’t know what to watch first ... although a nice Irene Dunne movie comes to mind, such as I Remember Mama or My Favorite Wife.

    Time to warm up in the shower before Sam gets home. I’m freezing tonight.

    Introducing an unidentified new species from California.

    In Monday’s post I wrote about Atorvastatin (generic Lipitor), the crappy cholesterol medication I’ve been taking for the last year or so. Apparently this drug has some grisly side effects, most of which I’d been experiencing for quite some time without realizing it, such as severe muscle fatigue in my legs and lower back that have made it almost impossible to stand or walk. When I complained to Dr. M in an email on Monday she called right away and told me to cut the dose in half and start taking Co Q-10. Being smarter than the average physician, naturally I made the executive decision to stop taking Atorvastatin altogether, and you know what? I felt like a million bucks today!

    No back pain. No leg pain. This was so damn wonderful I even cooked a screwy Italian feast for one (details follow) and reorganized the bottom shelf of the pantry. I don’t know if it’s really possible to feel this much better after 24 hours but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I want my life back.

    Regarding the aforementioned screwy Italian feast, this consisted of half a jar of low-carb pasta sauce, rehydrated beef textured vegetable protein, two 7-ounce packages of drained and rinsed zero-calorie Miracle Noodles, a pile of parmesan cheese and low-carb garlic bread. You might consider this a meal from hell, but I was so happy I called Sam at work to describe everything on my plate. Then I watched last night’s episode of “Dallas.”

    Before I sign off for the night I thought I’d post these pictures of a deranged rock singer named Redfoo. I have no idea who this person is, but judging from his wardrobe choices he clearly thinks it’s cool to share his nipples with the general public and wear a stuffed zebra strapped to his belt. I don’t get it.
    I have to get some sleep now. Thank you for reading this.

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Hot bread. I get aroused just thinking about this.

    It was my plan to start writing this post hours ago, but I had my eyes dilated during a routine eye exam this morning and couldn’t look at my computer screen without squinting until almost 5 in the afternoon. On the plus side, now I know what it must be like to take LSD. The colors were AWESOME, man!

    Regarding the results of my eye exam, in case you’re interested, everything is perfectly swell and Dr. Field detected no adverse effects from my diabetes and high blood pressure. Her only recommendation is new progressive trifocals because my left eye has changed somewhat. She also says I have an early stage of cataracts in both eyes but it’s a slow-growing thing and probably won’t affect my vision for several years.

    Cataracts? Holy crap. How reassuring to add yet another ailment to my aging shit-list.

    And now for brief essay on BREAD. In the event you’ve never given this subject much thought, bread might be a diabetic’s number one most-missed food product. Sure, now and then we can fit a slice of bread into a carb-restricted diet, but what we — actually, I — really crave is stuffing my face with a TON of bread, not just one stinking slice. You know, yanking a whole loaf from the bread machine, tearing the thing in half and slathering it with butter while it’s still hot. (I get aroused just thinking about this.) The reason I decided to mention bread, however, is because I tried a new product today ... a LOW-CARB WHITE BREAD MIX that I ordered from Netrition.com. The entire loaf only has 18 carbs, and that’s one carb less than a single slice of Sam’s favorite whole wheat bread! It baked like a dream in my bread machine in only 58 minutes using the “express bake” setting, after which I lived the rest of my fantasy to the letter while devouring last night’s episode of “Downton Abbey.” Whoa.
    As long as I’m discussing medical crapola I guess I should also mention something about my ongoing problem with chronic fatigue. I always thought the severe muscle pain in my legs and lower back were unavoidable by-products of age and weight, but I was WRONG! I read an article a few days ago that said many prescriptions can cause chronic fatigue and muscle pain, especially drugs for high blood pressure, anti-depressants and “statins” to control cholesterol. One or two of these medications would be enough to cause severe fatigue, except I’m taking FIVE of them: two for high blood pressure, two different anti-depressants, and Atorvastatin (generic Lipitor) for high cholesterol. I emailed Dr. M this morning to ask what I should do. She said Atorvastatin is probably the number one pain-causing culprit in my case and told me to cut my dose in half — and I mean this literally, i.e., with a sharp knife — and begin taking a dietary supplement called Co Q-10 improve my energy and stamina, 200 mg every night at bedtime. So I ordered myself a pile of Co Q-10 from Amazon along with all of the following: 1) a two-quart carafe for instant milk; 2) a nice new pair of nonstick Wilton pizza pans for baking the giant low-carb cookies highlighted in my previous post; 3) Dial body wash; 4) insulin pen needles; and 5) a dozen bags of zero-calorie Miracle Rice. I have a decadent life, don’t I?
    Before I go bake one of those nice big low-carb cookies I thought I’d include my latest acquisition of free fonts. None of these is particularly exciting, although I’ll confess to a mild fondness for Speedy Casual.
    Thank you for reading this!

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    This great big low-carb cookie is too damn good to share.

    This is probably the best recipe I’ve ever made. For me, as a diabetic, it satisfies so many cravings at so many different levels that I almost can’t find the words. For instance: 1) it tastes exactly like an expensive bakery cookie; 2) it’s sugar-free; 3) it’s so low in carbs you can eat the whole thing without help from anybody and not have to beat yourself up afterwards; 4) it’s really easy to make; and 5) it’s beautiful. Here’s the recipe!
    • ½ cup granulated Splenda
    • ¼ cup shortening, melted
    • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
    • 1 egg
    • 1⅓ cups CarbQuik
    Heat your oven to 350°. Spray a nice 12-inch nonstick pizza pan with Pam. (If you have a pizza pan that’s not so nice it would probably work just as well.) Mix the Splenda, shortening, orange peel and egg in large bowl with a spoon. Stir in CarbQuik and mix until a soft dough forms. Spread or pat the dough on the bottom of your prepared pan and bake for 10 to 11 minutes until the crust is light golden and set. Cool in the pan for about 30 minutes and cut into bars or wedges.
    There are lots of ways to jazz this thing up if you’re interested. For instance, you can throw in a handful of sugar-free chocolate chips and/or use several drops of a concentrated LorAnn flavor oil (try almond or lemon) instead of grated orange peel, since I rarely have a fresh orange hanging around waiting to be grated. Extracts would be fine, too.

    Wondering where to buy all this amazing crapola? LorAnn flavor oils are available on Amazon and CarbQuik is a low-carb Bisquick replacement that you can buy from Netrition.com. You’re on your own with the pizza pan.

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Behold a macular pucker.

    There’s a ton of new crap to write about tonight from Howdygram headquarters! First, Sam was on vacation all week so we’ve been trying a number of new restaurants for lunch. Two that stand out were Mama’s Daughters’ Diner on the west side of Dallas and The Steak Angus here in Mesquite.

    Mama’s Daughters’ Diner, pictured below, is a genuine southern diner with massive portions, career waitresses on the verge of Social Security and homemade gravy on everything. The Steak Angus, on the other hand, is a local redneck dive with beat-up d├ęcor, annoying service and exceptionally good food with so many discounts and specials you don’t know what to order first. With a little advance planning it’s probably possible to eat for free.
    I also should mention the results of Sam’s routine eye exam on Wednesday, during which he learned there’s a decidedly non-routine problem with the retina in his right eye! The optometrist referred Sam to a retina specialist, who did some tests this morning and diagnosed a — ready for this? — MACULAR PUCKER, which is a layer of scar tissue or wrinkle on the surface of the retina. At last we know why Sam has had distorted vision in his right eye for the last couple of months.
    Surgery is scheduled for February 22 and Sam also will be off work the entire week of February 25. On the plus side, however, he gets to hang out at home, wear an eye patch and play Pirates of the Caribbean. It could be worse, right?

    Thought you might enjoy the following celebrity lookalikes courtesy of Biography.com. Show of hands ... is anybody besides me surprised that Kathy Bates is a dead ringer for William Howard Taft in drag? Holy crap.
    It’s time for a late snack (low-carb biscuits with low-carb jelly on a low-carb paper plate) and probably a movie. Thank you for reading this.

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    A low-carb, slightly strange microwaved muffin in a bowl.

    As a diabetic and generally unmotivated senior citizen I’m always looking for a low-carb dessert that’s easy, gooey and fast. Glorioski, I finally think I’ve found one! Here’s a recipe for a chocolate chip Microwave Bowl Muffin made with CarbQuik (a low-carb Bisquick knockoff) that really hit the spot tonight.
    You just moosh everything together in a cereal bowl until a soft dough forms and then microwave for two minutes on high. That’s it! You actually end up with something that looks more like a sloppy pancake than anything that remotely resembles a muffin, but what the hell ... the flavor is PHENOMENAL.
    I didn’t have any sugar-free chocolate chips in the house so I successfully substituted one square of a low-carb dark chocolate bar, which I pounded to smithereens in a Ziploc bag. My weapon of choice was a can of Pam.

    For the record, be sure to soak the bowl in hot water as soon as you’re done eating. Trust me on this.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    In Denison, Texas, you can wave at a statue of Eisenhower’s head.

    I’ve discovered that it’s hard to write Howdygram posts when Sam is on vacation because I’d rather hang out with him than with you. I apologize if that’s a little too blunt, but what the hell. Get over it.

    Yesterday we crept north in low-visibility fog to spend the day at the Choctaw Casino. We love the Choctaw Casino, and here’s why:
    • It’s an old crowd, mostly 70 and up. Hell, even the employees are old.
    • Their penny slot machines are EXCELLENT. I play Rembrandt Riches and Sam likes DaVinci Diamonds. (It has to be the sound effects.)
    • Practically nobody smokes.
    • The buffet is a chorus line of canes, rollators and power scooters and all the the food is really easy to chew. I favor their pea salad and sugar-free pie but the meatballs are pretty damn good, too.
    • They have nice carpeting and spotless, state-of-the-art bathrooms featuring: 1) magic faucets and soap dispensers that turn on and off all by themselves; 2) jet engine hand dryers that try to blow off your wedding ring; and 3) huge mirrors.
    The map below indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters; and B) the Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma. On the west side of the freeway at Denison, Texas, you can wave at a gigantic statue of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s head because he was born there. (In Denison, not on the freeway. They didn’t have freeways in 1890. They also didn’t have cars in 1890.) Eisenhower’s birthplace in Denison is no big hoo-hah, though, since he only lived there until he was two. (Seriously.)
    In case you give a crap, here are images of the slot machines referenced in the previous paragraph:
    Sam has an appointment this morning for an eye exam and already knows for sure he’ll need glasses. This will be helpful for him on a number of different levels, but mostly because he: 1) can’t read type smaller than 36 points; and 2) can’t operate our thermostat, oven knobs and TV remote for the reason noted in item 1.

    This is 36 points.

    On the downside, however, with glasses on his face Sam will have to stop telling me I look like a kid of 50. (I’m almost 62 years old. Holy crap.)

    I should go back to bed for a while because it’s fun to sleep when there’s dense fog outside. Thank you for reading this.

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    Why I hate the Super Bowl.

    Although professional football is occasionally okay entertainment I’ve never really been a big fan of post-season games, and last night I was so annoyed I couldn’t even get through the preliminary festivities without switching to TCM to watch The Music Man.

    I hate the Super Bowl because:  
    • Despite the hype, commercials are NOT the best part of the show. This is why God invented mute buttons.
    • The NFL wants you to believe this meaningless, over-priced sporting event deserves more respect than the Olympic games and trumps the discovery of penicillin.
    • They refer to their squads of half-naked pole dancers as cheerleaders.
    • There’s more tradition, flag-waving and ceremonial bullshit than a West Point graduation.
    • I don’t care which team of addled egomaniacs wins.
    Want more?
    • Jennifer Hudson showed up for the pre-game festivities in stiletto heels and a skirt so tight she couldn’t step onto the platform to sing her typically tortured version of “America the Beautiful” ... with a backup chorus from Sandy Hook elementary school, no less. Holy mother of crap.
    • Alicia Keys presented the worst rendition of the national anthem I’ve ever heard. It was so damn s-l-o-w I had to check my pulse to make sure I was still breathing. To me, her performance was reminiscent of closing time in a cocktail lounge when everybody’s hammered and face-down on the piano bar. 

    Alicia is in good company, however, as I’m pleased to include two other miserable versions of the national anthem from past football events. The first is a now-extinct pop singer named Kat DeLuna who’s convinced that she’s nailing it, and the second is Christina Aguilera, who can’t find her pitch or remember the words.




    This was the second morning in a row that I woke up with low blood sugar. VERY low. Yesterday it was 57, today 54. I’m not sure why this happens but it’s always enjoyable to stuff myself with snacks until I feel better. At the moment, however, I’m thinking I might go back to bed for a while because I’ll feel like crap if I don’t get a little more sleep. Thank you for reading this.

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Vijay Singh finally admits using illegal deer antler spray.

    Yo from Howdygram headquarters. I considered going to bed a couple of hours ago but decided to hang out at my desk for a while instead. Also because I’m not especially tired.

    Breaking news from our Overpaid Liars in Sports department! PGA golfer Vijay Singh finally released a statement last week admitting that he used the dreaded deer antler spray, which contains a substance that’s banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy. Singh pretended he didn’t know anything in the spray was illegal but the PGA isn’t buying it. According to an interview in Sports Illustrated, Singh paid $9,000 last November for the “spray, chips, beam ray and powder additive” and claims to use the spray “every couple of hours … every day,” and “sleeps with the beam ray on and has put chips on his ankles, waist and shoulders.” WTF?
    Please drop me a note as soon as possible if you have any idea what the hell they’re talking about. Thank you.

    In case you’re interested, our agenda today will include all of the following activities: 1) flossing; 2) an early lunch at Alfredo’s to avoid all those after-church Einsteins who clog up the parking lot; and 3) possibly watching the Super Bowl, although neither of us really cares who wins. It’s mostly an excuse to turn up the volume on our high-definition TV and eat crunchy things that come in bags.

    Thank you for reading this.

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    Not everybody needs 24 kosher chickens or 36 boxes of Frankel’s frozen blintzes.

    Holy crap, people. I just placed my first-ever order with the KC Kosher Co-Op for a case of Mrs. Adler’s sugar-free gefilte fish! The co-op doesn’t ship anything directly to me, however, they send a refrigerated 18-wheeler to somebody’s actual house in Dallas and I have to show up on a specific delivery date (March 12) at a specific time (5 p.m.) along with dozens of other Jewish foodies to pick up my products.

    The co-op sells just about anything that’s kosher and it’s all priced at wholesale with no delivery charge. Tonight I paid the equivalent of $4.75 each for a case of 12 jars of gefilte fish, and that’s less than HALF what I’d pay at Tom Thumb. Technically, though, Tom Thumb doesn’t carry sugar-free gefilte fish, and most of the time they don’t have any gefilte fish at all. For your possible interest the map below indicates: A) Howdygram headquarters; B) the co-op’s drop-off location in Dallas; and C) George Bush’s house on Daria Place. Let me know if you want George’s exact address so you can look it up on Google maps.
    I don’t need horseradish, however. Horseradish I’ve already got plenty. (That last sentence sure sounds Yiddish, doesn’t it?)

    For the record, every other month the KC Kosher Co-Op trucks food to cities all over the U.S. that have Jewish populations and very few kosher shopping options (Dallas, Phoenix, Minneapolis, and so on). Their website even facilitates order splitting with other customers at your delivery location since most products they sell are packaged by the case and not everybody needs 24 kosher chickens or 36 boxes of Frankel’s frozen blintzes. If my first order works out well maybe I’ll do this again. Stay tuned, okay?

    Sam is taking next week off work and we’re so damn excited we might have a nervous breakdown. We’ve got a growing agenda of stuff we want to do, including one or two museums, a trip to the Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma for a day of penny slots, and lunches at Cafe Greek, Hong Kong Royal and Sam’s Barbecue in Fairfield. But most exciting of all ... tomorrow we’re going to the Natural Grocer on Preston Road so I can buy ZERO CARB BREAD! It’s possible I might have a second nervous breakdown dreaming about grilled cheese and buttered toast. (Diabetics never get to eat grilled cheese and buttered toast.)

    May you live and be well. Happy February.