Friday, July 31, 2009

A bar by any other name

Last time I was in Seattle visiting my family, I left my Mom's downtown office and spied a bar called "The Honey Pot." While it isn't offensive, mind you, I do think it lacks a little, well, panache. Now honey pot could refer to your nether region, your good stuff. But it is also what one company calls their mobile sh*tters. (eg: port-o-johns)

And once you know that, "Honey Pot" just loses any saucy allure it may have held.

So in the event you wanted more where this came from, and in the spirit of TGIF, here are the worst actual bar names I have heard and their location. Oh yes, I know some of them are a play on words, trust me. But really? That's the best you could do?

Pink Taco: LA

Whiskey Dix: Winnipeg

Happy Cock: Japan

Post Coitus: Japan

Labia: Tokyo

Manhole: Chicago (gay bar)

Dog and Sphincter: England

The Cock: Manhattan

The Wet Spot: Houston

Spread Eagle: Bury, England

The Quiet Woman: York, England (The logo is a woman carrying her severed head. And yes, perhaps this is the only way you will be sure she will be quiet.)

Cheers. And by all means, if you are savvy to additional names, tell all.



And all the fabulous commenters from Tuesday were placed in a magic hat from the finest of milliner's this morning. Thanks for celebrating my 6 month half-a-birthday-blog-o-versary.

The IHC Overnight giveaway winner is the wonderful AmyK at Life's Not a Cruise. One night off compliments of JennyMac. Congratulations.

PS: Someone asked me if I work there. No. I WISH. I would give away rooms galore and be on permanent vacation. I just know fab when I see it, and wanted to share it. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't you be my neighbor

We have some fine civilians down here. You can't have them. They are all ours.

First up, a tidbit of local news from this week: A 40 year old babysitter in a community 45 minutes from downtown Atlanta is being sought for allegedly giving wine to an infant that ended up hospitalized with a blood-alcohol content of .33.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

No. I am not. Every one reading feel free to writhe with fury.

This was not the regular babysitter but the parents had another medical emergency so they used this recommendation. The Grandmother came to pick up the children and discovered the infant in a lifeless state. The infant was immediately taken to the emergency room. Police said the baby recovered and was released from the hospital Wednesday. Thankfully. Permanent damage is unknown at this time.

Considering most adults can't function at .33 BAC, I can not fathom what in the _____ this woman was thinking to subject a baby to such atrocious risk. No, she didn't think it was grape juice.

And now, she is on the run. And I certainly hope they find her soon. We shouldn't judge others? Wrong. We shouldn't judge normal others. D-bags are not protected. You give my child wine because you are in reality the worst babysitter on earth who doesnt actually like to babysit, you will have more to fear than being behind bars. In fact, you will beg for the jail. Double that in the event either of our son's Grandmothers EVER found that someone had mishandled our child. In that case, you will race to the electric chair willingly.

And because tragedy loves comedy, let's end on a more humorous if no less ill note.

A 53 year old man from Jonesboro, Georgia was arrested a few days ago for performing a sexual act on his dog. His picture was published on AJC.com so no need to dirty up my blog with it.

Ummm, Sir?

Doggy style is merely a euphemism. Too big a word for you? Ok, well, its a position. Not a literal translation.

Enjoy jail. You will now know what doggy-prison-style is like.

Enjoy the felony bestiality charge on your record. That will look awesome during job application time.

Did you know you can pay people to do that? Since you clearly didn't set a high bar, it won't cost much. I will mail you the quarter.

Did you also know people will pay you to have you do that to them? Uh huh. Since you didn't set a high bar, you could probably make your quarter back.

Oh, and how in the world the police found out about you, I am not sure. Perhaps you were trolling the Internet for willing pals. Heads up, dogs don't read the #^@%!)! Internet. Also, don't share this story down at the local saloon. No amount of drunk makes this a fascinating tale. You must have done something even more bizarre to tip people off. You are a moron. I hope that dog goes into Witness Protection.

Georgia has 'em...not you. Don't be jealous.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sculpture: It's an art form


Beauty. In the eye of the beholder?

Now, I am going to applaud anyone with talent for art, be it photography, painting, or sculpture. And I further applaud people with this vision who lived 35,000 years ago. While I might see something a bit different than the artist had in mind, I am not one to look down upon creativity.

So when exploring deep in a cave in Hohle Fels, Germany, several scientists discovered this ancient relic, I am sure initially, they too wondered exactly what it might be.

This figurine, carved from mammoth ivory, is believed to be around 35,000 years old and therefore would be the oldest example of sculpture ever found.

Known as the Venus of Hohle Fels, it depicts a female figure with exaggerated breasts and thighs. Above, the sculpture is shown in a side and front view.

Ahhh...a female torso. Ok. Not being as savvy with human forms from the Upper Paleolithic period, I apologize if I seem indelicate. I would have bet cold cash this was a depiction of a chicken with breast implants.

However, this was also the time period believed to be shared between humans and Neanderthals. So let's assume this depiction of the female body came from those earth-dwelling hominids.

And isn't it something that the chicken torso / early female inhabitant of earth would have such a disproportionately large rack. Perhaps it is a demonstration that man's fascination with the breasts is so deep in their DNA that even an artist from 35,000 years ago made sure his sculpture included over-sized cannonballs. Excellent.

Couldn't utter a word yet, could you Mr. Neanderthal, but you knew you loved the ta-tas.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I give good blog

mmmm, that got your attention didn't it? What I should say is I give good blog love.

Let's have a cocktail turns 6 months old today. Oh, she is but a baby still isn't she? But she is growing. And hopefully blooming.

Remember the birthday post? In response to that post, and the incredible commentary from all of you, my Mom called me and said,
"I love reading the comments as much as I love reading the blog."

Which I willingly helped her clarify that surely she meant she likes reading the comments almost but clearly not as much as reading her own child's comic genius.

She said, "No. I love the comments too."

Repeat that conversation with older brother.
Repeat that conversation with younger brother.

But the truth is, the comments here are amazing. I must now employ caution regarding where and when I read them since I made the mistake of reading them during a meeting via Blackberry and when I guffawed out loud, I assure you my laughter didn't coincide with the discussion of contractual terms. Well, frankly, contractual terms, you should not be so dull.

Part of the excellence of the experience for me is not just the writing, but that the writing finds an audience, and the audience responds. From the comments to the blogrolls and the awards, every one of you adds value to this process for me. Everyday.

So thank you for your incredible response.

And I want to give some love for that. I can't mail you a cocktail, you certainly don't need a framed photo of me, and my fabulous baked goods won't make it past my mailman. So I came up with something better.

I wanted to give you something you deserve. And hopefully, something you can use. So....

I am giving you a night off. Seriously.

In celebration of turning 6 months, I will propose a toast. And then I am giving one of you a certificate for one free night at any InterContinental Hotel in the world. InterContinental Hotel Group is incredible. They also own Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, and various others. Top notch hotel group with 4500 hotels located in 97 countries, I think a night off in which someone else will pick up after you just might be handy.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. And if you feel like sharing it with others, do it. If you feel like hogging it to yourselves, you can do that as well. It is my way of thanking you for giving me big blog love in return.

And Friday, I will pick one of your names from a magic hat.

So here's to all of us who are reading, and writing, and responding. I hope our best work still lies ahead.



PS: Do not make me get into legalese of black out dates/restrictions/expiration date/and other boresville snoozeyfacts. There are very few restrictions. I will give the winner all of the details. If you don't have an IC Hotel near you, worry not. I have a Plan B.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Scrappy...and getting awarded for it.

Jen the mastermind behind Jen's Voices sent me my first Blog Award. Honest Scrap for honest blogging. I am honored. Let's just say, I was a bit scrappy back in the day so I like the name. If the blog award fits, wear it.

I would like to thank the Academy...
ergh...wrong speech.

But Jen, thank you. So here is the lowdown. The Honest Scrap” award is one you receive and then bestow on others.

First, the recipient has to tell 10 true things about themselves in their blog that no one else knows. (Good luck with that...since we are all so secretive and shy.)

Second, the recipient annoints ten other bloggers with this prestigious award and advises them of their famed status.
They in turn give you a proper nod for recognizing their brilliance, and then pass the award along.

To get this party started, here are ten magical things you just couldn't wait to know:

1. I love to bake and the people in my office pine for any and all of my baked goods. Seriously. I get requests from people for their birthdays. But I love it. I will be the first to tell you if something I made needs work or is a-ma-zing.

2. I despise meatloaf. It looks like a slice of meat bread. No further comment needed nor can I think of one redeemable thing about this dish. Perhaps it has nutrients. I wouldn't know. I used to call it nucleur waste and carry on every time my Mom made it. Oh, I could have been your daughter but she was the lotto winner.

3. I was a competitive dancer in my youth.

4. I sang "Heat of the Moment" on stage with Asia in front of 15,000 fans (theirs..not mine). It was fan-f'ing-tastic. Rockstar status if only for one night. No, not back up. Lead mic.

5. I miss my dog, Nixon. Terribly. I saw a boxer at the park last weekend. I was running by and when I saw that familiar back-end shake boxers all seem to do, it made me cry. She passed years ago but it might as well have been last night for how sensitive I still am about her.

6. I used to know all the words the song "Life is Too Short." As in every word verbatim. CLASSY. I know. And I say "used to" in order to make it appear less wretched.

7. I went to a private party at Edinburgh Castle. I pinched myself it was that good. Had picture texts been all the rage then, OH what fun that would have been. Ummm..on second thought, perhaps everything need not be photographed. BUT, I would have been in the bathroom at least once that night for 20 mins sending messages at lightening speed.

8. I was a Rhodes Scholar nominee. Did not reveal # 6.

9. I auditioned for The Apprentice. Did not reveal #6 then either.

10. I still keep a mental "Top Five" list of hot men I would automatically get to enjoy a tryst with given the opportunity and regardless of JohnnyMac's permission merely entertain a pretend rendezvous. A new phenomenon? Oh no, its a recycled idea circa 2001 from your friends Monica and Ross Geller. On my list? Oh...that's not part of the share.

Now, selecting others to win the award is easy, and its hard. Easy because there are so many thought-provoking bloggers who make me laugh, think, and sometimes even cry. And it is hard because you have to pick a narrow list and there are more great bloggers than ten.

And I want to thank SamsMama and Jen's Rantings and B. at La Belle (see above) for giving me MORE awards this past week including this awesome block for my blog. You all rock me like a hurricane.
How to choose? I employed a very scientific method of selection. My variables? I will never tell. With each award you win, you get to give away between 7 - 15 more awards. So, with about 47 to dish out, I am giving both Honest Scrap and the first round of Best Blog Awards today. Winners, do with them what you will.

A diverse selection whom I enjoy visiting thoroughly, and hope you will too. There are more than 10 here but consider it me still talking even though the orchestra started playing. And there is fine print on the awards themselves that I may couple them and distribute as necessary. Oh, there's no fine print? There is now. Lawyers find loopholes.

And the prize(s) go to:

Lisa and Laura Write: sass in sisterhood meets mad writing skills
La Belle Mere UK: hysterical writing meets tales of a StepMom
Dustjacket Attic: style meets art through gorgeous photographs (I think she will do an incredibly interesting take on the 10 things to share.)
Mean Girl Garage: brilliance meets comedy
Mo Mad Dog Stoneskin: razorlike wit meets honest takes on life
Mandy Life After 30: fun meets humor meets the great girl next door
The Walking Man: genuine meets creativity meets poetry
The Triplet Crown: pure heart meets triplets
Mom in High Heels: fab meets more fab
The Bad Ass Geek: smart meets interesting
The Peach Tart: brains meets bold

Shall we celebrate? By all means. Name the place. I will bring the cocktails. And for the remaining awards I get to bequeath? More annointing, on its way.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Get Tanked

Yesterday a woman asked me where I got the tank I was wearing. Well, I shared with her and since I love it so, I will share with you too. I was wearing the Amelie from Americas Basics in Brooklyn.

Tanks in the summer time are a staple. AB has a variety but I like mine fairly plain. For all you other sassy ladies, there is a wide variety of options. I have several and they are all that yummy cotton/lycra combo so they fit (and look) great on a variety of body types.

America's Basics in the brainchild of Lauren Mishaan, a young, hip, working mom of two darling daughters. Having dabbled in the fashion industry for years, she launched her own gig last year. And she is putting out some great t-shirt and tank options for women. And you can not beat the rock bottom prices. Plus, she is fun and I hope her company continues to grow leaps and bounds.

I am all for supporting any great business, and especially those owned by women.

My mom started a business in one bedroom of my parents house while I was in college. Her company grew, and grew, and grew until my mom had a formidable roster of clients including the United States Coast Guard. It was a great reminder to me that your Mom is so much more than your Mom. And I had never seen my Mom so kick-ass and phenomenal until the first summer I worked for her. She was successful, respected, and taught me some very great lessons. And chatting with Lauren last week, I shared my view because someday her daughters will say the same thing about her.

Now, check out her site, because next to a cocktail, a tank is the next best way to keep cool in the summer.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Have A Sip Of: Basil-Strawberry Vodka Lemonade


This will certainly wet your whistle during the heat wave of summer. Perfect for parties, lazy afternoons, or the rare opportunities you get time alone. Goodness awaits...make yours soon. And for the minors, this is (almost) just as good sans Vodka.

Cheers!

Basil-Strawberry Vodka Lemonade

1 bottle vodka
2 liters sparkling water
2 bins of fresh strawberries (or 2 ten ounce packages of frozen strawberries)
1 12 oz can of frozen lemonade
1 bunch of fresh basil

Loosen 4 or 5 basil leaves and muddle with a bit of sugar and water. I also muddle a few of the berries. Combine all ingredients, mix, serve, and try not to claim it "didn't turn out well" so you can keep it all to yourself.




And while I am sipping on some of this delicious nectar, I am taking part in BlogHop '09.

There are such a fantastic group of writers in BloggyWorld. And I am getting to know some of them this weekend. Like to read along? Please do. Better yet, join.



Friday, July 24, 2009

My own cartoon life?




My mom sent this cartoon to me and wrote, "see what you have to look forward to with a son?"

I hope she is not correct, but anticipate she is. Lord help us.
So far, my two year old has merely told me to get a penis. Time might still be on my side.

When my older brother was little, he dumped an entire bucket of frogs on my parents bed to show my mom all his "new friends".

And he ate petrified dog shat.

And once, he was doing something very wrong. My mom spied him through the window. She called out, "IF YOU DON"T STOP THAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET A SPANKING!"

He answered back, "Are you coming out here to do it or should I come inside?"

My little brother got out of the house when everyone was asleep. He was almost 3 and walked up the street to play in a pond. And he wore my mother's gorgeous wedding heels when he did it.

In several of these examples, somebody got their arse beat.


Please don't let this happen at our house.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Would Shady Do

Look who's back. Back again. Shady's back. Tell a friend.

Well, perhaps he isn't the real slim shady, but he is close. Trust me.

Atlanta and other cities the world over were fortunate to have another blitz of media coverage about Michael Vick this week. Michael Vick, former QB for the Atlanta Falcons, was released from federal custody after serving 21 months in a largely publicized scandal involving dog-fighting and cruelty to animals.

He now must face the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, as well as the litany of NFL team owners and demonstrate he is fully remiss, reformed, and ready to return to the field.

Michael Vick was suspended indefinitely by Goodell two years ago. Vick finally admitted he provided the scratch for "Bad Newz Kennels" (here we go again with illiterate misspellings!!!)
And he admitted he was involved in termination of animals performing poorly in test fights. He initially denied it. Guess what? When your DAD narcs you out, good luck. His Dad said Michael started dog-fighting in their family garage. His quote "This is Mike's thing. And he knows it." You have got to be some kind of pitiful fool that your Dad turns State's witness.

NOW: Before I get all worked up to unleash a diatribe about the barbaric tendencies of ANYONE who would dog fight, or how lying leads you nowhere Mike, or how claims of ignorance to what was taking place on his property is ridiculous, or how it is amoral and unconscionable and socially abject to participate in anything like that, let's take a hard left shall we?

Michael Vick is without doubt one of the best QBs in the game. He was on the Heisman ballot as a college freshman. He has multiple NFL records. He also became the first quarterback in NFL history to tally more than four career 100-yard rushing games. His tally now of such contests is eight.

Should he be allowed to return to the NFL? Not my decision. I promise you someone will pick him up. Many a coach are vocally wary at this point but with so many struggling teams, someone will pick him up. People do often deserve second chances. And this is the NFL, not a group of gals getting together making tea cozies plotting philanthropic pursuits. In other words, the NFL has seen more arrest warrants than Hell's Kitchen. So we will likely see him suit up again.

And whether he returns to the NFL or doesn't is not my issue.

My number one issue with Michael Vick's post arrest behavior is actually becoming a behavior I now see with the same frequency in which I see sunshine in Georgia in the summertime. Constant.

After arrested, Michael Vick at a press conference said these words, "Jesus has forgiven me. Why can't you?"

Really. Jesus has forgiven you? Did he send you a text message?
I understand your ploy, I do. Who is going to argue with that seal of approval? Will this work for me:

Husband: You sold my golf clubs and bought several new pairs of Manolos?
Me (if an idiot): Jesus has forgiven me. Why can't you?

If Jesus did forgive Mike Vick, maybe He and I should chat.

Now, I am all for faith that guides people to do right. And I do believe that sometimes people find that path in desperate and dark hours. What ails me is convicts, violent criminals, and d-bags ranging from Michael Vick to Mike Tyson to Elliott Spitzer grow a deep, deep love of all things holy ironically in perfect synchronicity with being arrested, indicted, or jailed.

And I certainly assert that when Michael Vick was drowning animals in Virginia he was not asking What Would Jesus Do.

Stop doing this, amoral arseholes.

Now, we don't need to dissect the Third Commandment. Especially not here. (I would need a cocktail for that and well, that just doesn't feel right.) Whatever your interpretation is of the Third Commandment, I believe it does include restraint from using God's name in a frivolous manner.

And I vote that it be amended to disallow every little pig caught with pants down, Call Girl riding you like a Kawasaki ATV, dirty blue dress, coke addled mirror on the floorboard, addiction to oxycontin, offshore bank account, and hand on the dog collar from Twittering Baby Jesus for a little aid only after placed in shackles and just then realizing, once in prison your biscuit is going to have more weekly visits than Facebook. And suddenly you want to be forgiven.

And what better way to demonstrate you are off the hook and all is well than to claim that you and Baby Jesus are BFF now and since he forgave you, the world should too. Really?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ungrateful

I love presents. Oh yes. I love the purchasing and bestowing them upon others in direct equivalent to receiving them myself. I am not selfish.

My family loves giving gifts to one another, and we LOVE watching the reaction. For years my mom and I would open our gifts from each other over the phone because apparently we get a quite a kick out of the big reveal.

And usually, we are spot on with our gifts. For one another and all others in our gift-giving circle. Its because we take the time, we listen, we take a note here or there if you mention something you love.

And we believe this level of care magically applies to the general population. I am sure you are the same. I think people invest time in finding something just right for a friend or family member.

But I realize that I am wrong. Thorough consideration and thought process when selecting gifts doesn't apply to everyone. And that's who we should discuss today.

Have you ever received something from someone, and not someone who met you last night at the grocery either, but someone who actually knows you, and that gift gives you reason to pause.

A brief pause if only to ask who might this be for?

Let me share.

I dated someone for over a year. He was a great guy with many a great characteristic. We had big fun but I wasn't dreaming of a wedding dress. On my birthday one year, we had a big dinner party (you know by now I like the parties) and he went to the liquor store to pick up the necessary evils. His parting question, "What kind of wine do you want?"

My answer (per usual) "Red."

He returns with plenty of appropriate beverages until I spied the wine. Jugs of wine. Jugs and jugs of wine. Jugs and jugs of Merlot. Now, this was all pre-Sideways and even then, I have never liked Merlot. In fact, he never once witnessed me sip a mouthful of Merlot in years. Plus, its in a jug with a name like "Ted's" splashed across the front. He said it was on sale. I don't care if they gave you twenty dollars per jug you took off their hands. We are having a dinner party. I was about to turn 31 not become House Mom to the boys from Sigma Nu. I am all for economy and good finds but this was not a good find. A roadside truck stop would not serve this wine on "$2.00 all you can drink" day. This was a sign.

I overcame the foible by making Sangria. Birthday party + Sangria = delicious fun.

Party fully underway, all having fun. And he wants to give me his gift. A grand gesture of bestowing a gift in front of all others not his usual style. I never feared it was a ring so I presumed it must be something quite showcase worthy for the pomp.

I opened the big box. And there it was, staring me in the face. A book about Bill Clinton. Bill "I like young girls, I like cigars, and why should I choose between the two" Clinton. And when I picked it up, I quickly determined it was 100% a tribute to Bill Clinton.

Had we not had numerous conversations about Bill Clinton. Matters not if all others think highly of Bill Clinton. I do not. And that was my gift. I literally laughed because no one who knew me would give me a "All praise to Bill Clinton" book. Ever. He is arguably one of the greatest orators of our time. And I still don't want to read a book about him. Oh, I know, I know, he vastly improved the education system of Arkansas and improved the state economony as Governor and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Half the people in the room were puzzled. A book about Clinton? For JennyMac? Why not give her a coal mining helmet and perhaps a new pair of shoes made from deli ham. Those would be other gifts that make no sense.

I am all for exotic, new, unique. I am not all for books about Bill Clinton. Or ham stilettos for that matter. And he was a huge Clinton supporter (break up, on its way) and thought I could be enlightened.

I acted graciously. I am sure my stuttering giggle like "th-th-th-thankssss...heh heh... eeee-gads....s-s-s-so much" sounded polished and genuine.

MarciaGarcia showed me a gift she got once, from a family member. It was a Chester the Cheetah sweater. Yes, you read it right...a SWEATER with CHESTER THE CHEETAH! Know him? He is the mascot for CHEETOS. No, she wasn't fifteen. She was in her late 20's.

My college roommate got a collection of paperback-in-cardboard sleeve Nancy Drew books. She was out of Medical School at the time. This was from a boy who loved her. Seriously?

A friend of mine got a gift from a co-worker when he started his new job like a Welcome to the Office gift...a partially eaten box of cookies. No, I am not kidding. There were empty slots inside the box.

A girlfriend got a book called "At Home Makeover: How to drastically improve your looks". From her sister-in-law.

My brother got a book once and when the person handed it to him, they said, "I spent more on this than I really would have liked, but here you go. " No, they weren't not being sarcastic.
And it was a free book with purchase. How did he know? Oh, from the label placed on the front of the book.

Looking....much better than smacking a gift horse in the mouth, agreed?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Be not my future daughter-in-law

A few days ago I popped into a spa I love for a facial. The spa is in Buckhead, a lovely community in Atlanta.

My regular girl was out so I had someone new. Fine. It's good to mix it up a bit a times. This lovely girl seats me in the spa chair for pre-treatment foot scrub and we begin to chat. I feel the need to apologize in advance because JohnnyMac and I went out the night before to Northside Tavern, a filthy, dirty blues bar (with fabulous music). One of the last places that people can smoke indoors in this city apparently and the other barcrawlers were certainly taking full advantage of the Smoke It Up Zone and were puff, puff, puffing away like this would be there last pack of cigs. Ever.

As a result, my long locks absorbed every exhaled breath of carbon monoxide. I didn't want her to think me a wretched girl with dirty smoky hair so I relayed the tale.

She asked where Northside Tavern is and I said Midtown at 10th and Howell Mill.

I asked if she knew where that was and she said, "No, I live in the city."

"Which city?" I ask.

"Buckhead," she replies.

Buckhead is not a city. It's a sector within the city of Atlanta. Just like Midtown. They are 5 miles apart. She is about 25. How does she not know this? Oh, it occurs to me she is not from Atlanta or Georgia and may simply be confused.

(Author's note: This would be equivalent to saying you are from the city of Little Italy and don't know where Tribeca is located.)

In the nicest voice possible, I tell her Midtown and Buckhead are both in the city of Atlanta. She says "Oh. I am not good with directions."

"Where are you from?" I ask, assuming she is from a distant state.

"I am from Tinytown, Georgia. Do you know where that is?"

No.

She says, "Do you know where Macon is?"
Yes, I do. Macon is about an hour south of Atlanta.

She says, "Ok. Well, its an hour north of Macon."

Which would be Atlanta.

I try not to make let my facial expression demonstrate my dismay although I have clearly shared I struggle if required to maintain a Poker Face. But I merely tilt my head and wait for more. Nothing comes. I say, "I think an hour north of Macon would be Atlanta."

"Oh.... giggle I meant the other North."

What other NORTH is there? Tell me more Stephen Hawking.

This isn't my co-worker or someone I am hiring to be our nanny, so I just keep the conversation moving. She tells me about her family and all of her siblings. Two live in Vegas. I ask what they do in Vegas. She said, "They work for the United States."

The United States Treasury? Post Office? I have never heard someone categorize their employment this way and perhaps I will learn something new.

"The United States.....????" I ask

"Air Force." Ahh. Ok. No more talking necessary.

While I think about our conversation I get a frightening vignette of a dinner 20 years from now and what I will do if my son brings home a girl like this. Cute as a button and the same IQ.
My future and hopefully never fulfilled vision was this:

All at dinner table. JohnnyMac says, "CNN had a story on today about..."
Girl my son brought home: Who is Siennenn? "

Me: GULP, GULP, GULP. Oh look who finished all their wine! Excuse me. I just need to step outside and take a cyanide tablet.

Sidebar: Once, in dealing with a complicated situation made complicated only by someone's sheer idiocy, I tell my Boss that perhaps I don't have enough patience. His response is that I am quite patient (at work I am. And with my son. All others? Beware.) but I don't suffer fools well. (e.g. I don't like stupidity).

I sit in silence to determine if context of his statement is positive or negative.

He followed up with "And there are just so damn many fools."

Perfect. And true.

And since our son is only two, I can't yet predict who he will date. I already told you he likes Scarlett Johannson but I can not attest to her IQ. Perhaps he will someday bring home someone a bit soft in the brain. I hope I have plenty of vino or vodka on hand. It's not out of the question right? I know hoardes of highly intelligent men who have done this. And some have even married them. Reasons why? I can't say. I can only hope that a girl like the one I met today has a different soulmate in store. And pray this "type" is not even a remote semblance of my future daughter-in-law.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lemur for sale


A man cycles past a lemur displayed for sale in Jakarta. The lemur is one of Indonesia's rare and endangered species. An illegal trade in primates for laboratory tests is thriving in the country despite local and international regulations designed to control such exports, a British animal welfare group said.

Does this look like a secret underworld set up for such transactions? A body-guarded back room? Or does it look like a multi-lane thoroughfare? And what kind of local and international regulations do you have Jakarta? The regulations are not relevant if you do not enforce them. Stop taking a big nap, city officials.

Oh, and how do I know you are not enforcing them when I live 10,000 miles from you? Because no one who is fearful of penalty would sell an endangered lemur on a stick next to a busy street unless they had moxie the size of, well, Jakarta.

And while this lemur couldn't be cuter, who wants to own this as a pet? The term "lemur" is derived from the Latin word lemures, meaning "anal dwelling butt monkey". And the lemurs as a species, are ruled by their females who by the way, are dominate in order to manage and survive the unusually high reproductive demands from their counterparts. So unless you are either prepared to subdue a hostile female lemur OR have plans for your pet lemur that would make Caligula proud, why not just get a kitty?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Take A Bite Of: Raspberry Cream (Birthday) Cupcakes

the lightest, most delicious twist on a regular cupcake you will ever have. And since today is my big day, don't I need something fantastic ? Of course.

I will be making these little birthday vittles to share. And fabulous Jen over at Jen's Voices gave me my first Blog Award called Honest Scrap. So while I put together my list of 10 things you just couldn't wait to know about me, I might as well have a cupcake. Another great Giada recipe. Buon Appetito!

Raspberry Cream Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3 large eggs whites
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 (6-ounce) containers fresh raspberries, cut in half or 1 (16-ounce) container fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting

Directions:

Line 18 muffin cups with muffin papers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl for 2 minutes, or until the batter is well blended. Using about 1/3 cup of batter for each cupcake, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake the cupcakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack.

Using a fork, coarsely mash 1 1/2 containers of raspberries in a medium bowl. Beat the cream and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl until firm peaks form. Fold the mashed raspberries into the whipped cream.

Remove the muffin papers from the cupcakes and cut the tops off of each cupcake. Spoon the raspberry whipped cream atop the cupcake bottoms. Place the cupcake tops on the cupcakes. Dust with more powdered sugar and serve with the remaining berries.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Having cake, and eating it too.

Let's pop the cork on this thing.

Now, take a deep breath, and help me blow out all these candles.

38....is great. And I will be blowing out 38 candles this Sunday.

Deep in the matriarchal DNA of my family resides the long linear polymer for I LOVE BIRTHDAYS. Of course, I already pontificated on this subject and told you about Sangria Cha Cha Cha which will be served to the rim this weekend at a bit of a bash in my honor. Since I can't pour you a glass from here (oh, I would if I could honey) if you want to partake, here is the recipe .

I want all of you to join me for a cocktail as I reflect on a very full and fun life.

In this retrospect, I thought of sage advice and prolific words of wisdom I might share if I had the chance to write a letter to JennyMac at say, age 8. Like to hear it? Here it go....

Dear 8 year old JennyMac:

Happy early birthday. You turn 9 in just a few days. You LOVE parties and always will so enjoy your day.

You little girl, are brave, trusting, and good. Smart as a whip and certainly not afraid to clarify that for others who do not seem to grasp it. You are also sassy and have quite a mouth on you. A natural proclivity toward sarcasm is typically not developed so young. Use it wisely. And by wisely, I mean, don't use it on your teachers. As more specifically, don't call Mr. M an "arsehole" to his face. He is your Leadership teacher. This is not good leadership. And you are a kid. Not nice. Oh, and you certainly get in trouble at home so side-step that temptation.

Charm is of utmost importance and the sooner you employ it, the better. It is NOT charming to tell your mom, whilst she is spanking you, that you "can't feel a thing." Wise up. This will induce more spanking. Don't be smug.

You love sports and are quite good. You will love soccer, skiing, tennis, and volleyball for life. Give up piano lessons. Early. Your older brother has the musical talent of ten people. There is none left for you.

Oh, you are a tiny thing. Guess what, you will not grow and look like a real girl until 7th grade. Because of this, when you decide in 5th grade to cut off all your long hair for a Dorothy Hamill hair cut, I will be the first to tell you DON'T DO THIS. People will ask your parents about their "son" on more than one occasion. You will not like it. Pay attention to my words and don't cut your hair, or at least find someone who doesn't cut it like you are about to join the Army.

Your Father tells you at a young age you better find a career that pays you to run your mouth the way you do. You pick Lawyer. From the age of five you aspire to be two things: a Solid Gold Dancer or an attorney. Solid Gold goes off the air but watch it and learn all their skills. Law school is the answer. Although in any given opportunity, you will emulate the deft moves of a Solid Gold Dancer
for years
a long time
forever.

And don't tell lies. Like when you borrowed your Mom's bronzer, turned your face orange because you used too much, got it ALL over the impeccable white counters and floor, and then when questioned, you feigned bewilderment and innocence. Well sugar, the writing is all over your tangerine skin. Lucky for you, you learn quickly and just take your licks.

You will get tall, but you will be a size zero until about 13. Don't fret. You will never be a size zero again. And your boobs don't actually feel like participating in the "growth" process so they wait. For about 2 or 3 years. And when they come, its a weak showing. You twist and turn on this. Worry not. Why? Magic words: padded push-up. Plus, Victoria's Secret will solve this problem for you later in life with the first Miracle Bra. Even better ones come. Oh, and the braless, flat girls abound after the 90's.

Skip school a few days in November of 1984. You are only in 7th grade so just hold the thermometer near the light bulb for a few seconds. During November of this year "pants-ing" people becomes all the rage amongst the boys at school. You are not developed yet. You will get pants-ed. You will be called Peach Fuzz. You will react in a way the fuels fire. Not wise. You will need to work on this. Try laughing and telling them you lead the frontier for the Brazilian wax. Instead you will cry. Peach Fuzz sticks with you for about a year. You will laugh about this only DECADES later. Do yourself a favor, and just feign sickness. When you finally do get boobs, these same boys will not be singing Peach Fuzz.

You are going to have a great life. You are so lucky, and so loved. You adore clothes from a wee age when you refused to wear panties and socks that don't match. Nordstrom was the first word you could spell. You will make some wildy poor outfit choices in the 80's but everyone does.

You will wear a velour mid-length snap front bathrobe to school and because it is fabulous and purple, you will tell people it is a coat. Ummmm, one day you and TazBud will get in a fight and she will out you. Save it for the shower, sweetie.

Also, you will put blond hair color on one side of your hair. Right at the roots. Let's not. It will turn your hair orange and you will be stuck growing this out for over one year. This will be in ALL of your cheerleading pics. Your mom will hang these in the living room for ALL to see. If you don't take my advice, enjoy getting hazed. For years.

Oh, and stay out of Mom's jewelry box. Especially without permission. Yes, you like the jewels but you take her black pearls without express consent and then wear them in your class pictures. Ummm. Really? You have them ON in the picture. What more proof does she need? Perhaps you should have got your tiny arse beat because you will also one day take a ring of hers without asking and lose the stone. Turns out her father gave her the ring as a graduation gift. This will break your mom's heart and you will not know that for years to come. And you can NEVER replace something of such sentimental value. Just be respectful and ask first.

But older brother's room is a free for all. He has sh*t hidden everywhere: love notes, Copenhagen, contraband cigs, a one-hitter. You will have such great ammo against him. Start looking now.

You have some of the greatest friends of your life growing up. You will still be friends with many of them to this day.

Oh, your high school boyfriend was actually not the one who informed your Mom about who bought you alcohol in order to gain her good graces. You and all of your friends have big fun calling him Eddie Haskell for about the next decade but he is innocent. She is reading your journals. But, you are so clever that you often write your shenanigans in code. Brilliant move. She doesn't know HALF of what you are up to.

And believe me, you and your gal pals are innocent little lambs compared to teens today.

Oh, but when you get asked by one coach if you were drinking during a high school party thereby violating Athletic Code, DENY DENY DENY. She is a cow and will mishandle it. You and your two close friends will be suspended from the team (only for a bit though). Instead, smile at her as say " I would never." And wine coolers shouldn't really qualify as "drinking."

Oh, and when you pitch a full throttle fit when you are forced to watch 90210 because it's your little brother's birthday and he gets to pick, the least you could do is later admit to him you became obsessed with the show and watched it religiously.

While you think it is AMAZING that your first college boyfriend helps you make a beer bong (with a shut off valve...genius) it is HIGHLY UNWISE to bring this home on your first college break to show all of your friends also home on break. Breath-takingly more foolish is that you actually show your Step-Dad. Ummm, they are paying for education not beer-induced sex fest. DO NOT SHOW YOUR PARENTS A BEER BONG. Especially YOUR beer bong with YOUR nickname on it. And then you tell SD who helped you craft it. When that boy comes to visit, your SD calls him a troll. To his face. Your SD does NOT want to think about a boy funneling beer in your mouth at the speed of light for obvious reasons.

And being in a sorority is a great idea. You will love it. Although, those girls can drink. Wine coolers have not prepared you. Oh, and watch those 3 am calzones. Yes, I know you are hungry. Try eating during the day time. You will spend an entire summer working that off your arse.

And "credit card" is not magical slang for "free money" or "something somehow unattached to actual debt". When you Father tells you to pay attention to your credit, that's not French for "MAD SPENDING SPREE". You are smarter than this. Stop acting like you forgot all mathematical and economic concepts because its your first credit card.

Your first really serious college boyfriend is going to break your tiny heart. And he is cheating on you, sweetpea. Don't change a thing, because you learn more from this particular relationship than you can imagine. Its determinism, and it will change you 100% for the better. Pack your tissues though ladybug, its going to be a tough one.

You follow him across the country because you are so wise and grown up. The positive to this is, it is the best mistake you have ever made for the wrong reasons. PS: When your parents are paying for everything, they do, in fact, get a vote.

You will LOVE the University. Thankfully, you will actually like the "school" piece of it too. And you learn quickly skipping class is not wise. You will learn this the day your Western Civ mid term is rescheduled and you were not in class to hear this. Or the next session when they remind people. Oh, you are one smooth talker and overcome this dilemma but just go to class in the first place.

You will come out of your college experience a different and better person (and you think you are pretty fly at the time, trust me). And you will date stellar men from that point on.

Law school is a wise choice. It will benefit you indefinitely. You will have a hemorrhage over your first law school writing grade. That's what you get for being a smarty pants and not studying. Don't be a jackarse. Everyone here is smart. Oh, but you ace the Wills and Trusts exam that you almost have breakdown over fear of failing. Stop carrying on at your apartment on the phone to Mom. You miss your flight and have one hell of a time waiting at the airport for hours because it is winter and there are all kinds of weather issues. Oh, but you do meet a cute boy so all is not lost. And he likes to buy cocktails but easy does it. Don't get off the plane shatfaced to meet your family.

And going to the Grenada every Thursday night for "80's Night & Dollar Pitchers" when you are supposed to be studying Tort Law is a good idea. You will remember those nights much, much longer than you will remember Palsgraf v. Long Island Rail Road.

And when you graduate, you will have achieved your first life goal. And you will meet some of the best friends you will ever hope to have during this time. Well done.

You will have a great career free of blemish. Don't go to work for Big K though. You will get in an argument with him over open toe shoes at the office. In 2001. He is a clown. And you don't work in a manufacturing plant. His wife actually refers to him as "fat bastard". Just decline that offer. And save yourself a headache of trying to educate someone that you don't need to wear clogs and bonnets.

You will paint the town. You will fraternize. And you make good decisions. It is BIG fun.

But that guy that says you "suck" because you don't like his friend, and you answer "hardly" and laugh in his face, that's just fine. But then he calls your friend a " ____stupid____" because she won't give him her number. You debate throwing your drink in his face for saying that even though that seems, well, a bit of an over-reaction. Well, THROW IT HONEY. He is begging to be b*tch-slapped via vodka tonic. Believe it. And then you and your friend can reminisce about how good it felt to do it.

At your wedding shower, your favorite and beloved Aunt will say "you sure kissed a lot of frogs before finding your prince." But, you will LOVE kissing these frogs. Kiss away.

And you marry someone strong, and smart, and loving. Having a baby will change both of your lives. And when you are raising a son, you will realize the importance of teaching leadership and being a good parent. And you realize how hard it is sometimes and you regret, oh, about 1,000 things you did/said to your parents.

Oh, and then you will remember that one time you went to your BFF's nieces first bday, and all the kids at one point seemed to be screaming. And you said, "For the love of God, I need a drink. How can you bear the racket." And your BFF, MarciaGarcia, says, "Oh, eventually you just drowned it out." And you say, with what for !&%# sake, a hammer? You will finally know what she means.

And the first time your tiny child says "I love you" without you saying it first, you will melt.

And you will achieve another life goal of writing a book, don't be discouraged that after a few agents give you the nod the only real creatures interested are the spiders crawling on the dusty manuscript in the garage, well, we don' t know what's to come of that yet. You just wrote it a year ago. BUT, you want to start blogging three years before you do. Do it sooner. There is an INCREDIBLY witty, fun, sassy, and smart group of people you will meet in BloggyWorld, doing the same thing, and you will become addicted. Soar baby, soar.

Happy Birthday, and yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Love, JennyMac at age 38


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Front Court Smash

Let's go to the wide world of Sports. Some of you may know the name Serena Williams. She likes to play tennis. She has been ranked the #1 player on four separate occasions. She is currently ranked #2. In the world.

You may not know the name Jason Whitlock. He is a sportswriter for FoxSports and the KC Star. He is what you might call a touch abrasive. Perhaps even hardcore. Hardcore being a euphimism for wee bit of a jerk. Let me enlighten.

Last week, Jason Whitlock wrote an article about Serena Williams and her efforts at Wimbledon.
Below are actual excerpts (verbatim) statements from the article. I highlighted my favorite parts.

At age 27 , Serena Williams owns just half as many major titles (11) as Steffi Graf, the greatest women's player of all time. That's a terrible shame. With a reduction in glut, a little less butt and a smidgen more guts, Serena Williams would easily be as big as Michael Jackson, dwarf Tiger Woods and take a run at Rosa Parks. Unfortunately for us, she lacks the courage to fulfill her destiny. She'd rather eat, half-ass her way through non-major tournaments and complain she's not getting the respect her 11-major-championships résumé demands. She complains about being ranked No. 2 in the world when she's not bitching on Twitter or her blog about new rules that forbid Wimbledon players from eating in the locker room.

Seriously, how else can Serena fill out her size 16 shorts without grazing at her stall between matches?

God gave Serena everything, including drop-dead looks. She's chosen to smother some of it in an unsightly layer of thick, muscled blubber, a byproduct of her unwillingness to commit to a training regimen and diet that would have her at the top of her game year-round. Think about it. At 5-foot-10, 145 pounds, Serena would be unstoppable on the court...Instead, Serena is arguably pushing 175 pounds, content playing hard only in the major tournaments, happy to be photographed on dates with pro athletes and proud to serve as a role model for women with oversized back packs.

BBWs — Big Booty Women — do not write me angry e-mails. I'm only knocking Serena's back pack because it's preventing her from reaching her full potential as an athletic icon. I am not fundamentally opposed to junk in the trunk, although my preference is a stuffed onion over an oozing pumpkin. (A stuffed onion is a booty so round and tight that it brings tears to your eyes). I'm sorry. I digress. She could break the glass ceiling for female athletes and become the transcendent superstar who connects globally. She could join Oprah and Madonna. Serena could be an impossible-to-ignore advocate for any position she supported. Right now I'd put on Serena on par with Paris Hilton.

Oh Jason Whitlock...brrrrrrrr. You are cold, cold, cold. But you also might be a touch full of shat. Let's review in steps:

Fat? Blubbery? I just can't discern from these recent photos unless every photo of her is run through Photoshop. Lazy? Could one be a world ranked tennis player and be lazy? Do you need to be a sports commentator to know this is highly unlikely? No.

She likes to eat? I can't comment. But you know who does like to eat? Mr. Whitlock. I have no problem with his size, girth, or that he enjoys a little midday nap. Here is an actual photo of him demonstrating one of his many talents. If he only had his meatball sub in his hand, he would be in heaven.


I don't care if Jason Whitlock's biscuit preference is big or small. I don't care if he likes tennis or likes Serena. Here is the issue: If you are generally rotund, you should not lament (in multi-paragraph form) about someone's muscled blubber, proclivity towards snack-time, or booty; be it onion or pumpkin. Let's not point our chubby finger at someone's size 16 shorts, shall we? I mean, it does seem a bit unusual Jason Whitlock would have ANY issue with someone weighing 175 pounds, right?

And if you really must discuss her lack of talent and weight, did you have to liken her to Paris Hilton? Paris Hilton? Really? I would rather wear a t-shirt emblazoned with the words "THE MORE, THE MERRIER" to a maximum security prison yard than to have someone say I am on par with Paris Hilton. No one wants to be in that dumpster.

I know less about Serena than I know about other athletes. But guess what I do know? She is a bad ass. Has won dozens of athletic awards including Female Athlete of the Year. And has a WORLD RANKING. I play tennis but certainly not with World Ranking status. Therefore, I am in no position to make derogatory remarks about her skills, lack of ambition, or laziness. Because I would look like a fool if I did. You too Jason Whitlock. UH OH! I should have chatted with you before last week.She plays the game. You write about it.

I think he should try a few drills on the court with her. Better yet, play her. She serves the ball at 128 mph. And with his dimensions, he would make a nice pin-cushion for her powerful serve.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Scrub a dub dub


Do you know why hand soap is a common staple in a bathroom? Well, I am certain you do but I assure you some people might find this inquiry befuddling. The hand soap is not a prop, or a mystical illusion. It serves a utility function and is meant to be slathered and lathered on your hands prior to departing the lav.

Why am I explaining this obvious social paradigm? Especially with such a mordant bite? Because I have had the unpleasant misfortune to witness ickyness multiple times this week.

While I am in the public restroom, why do I see people come out of the stall and whisk right by the fully equipped sink and soap area like it was merely a mirage.

But admittedly, I am not as concerned about the potentially nescient masses visiting the public restroom to the same degree as someone I see in our office complex.

This I have seen so many times, and each time, I find it ill. These are highly educated people. That I see daily. AND know by name. Do you see me seeing you NOT washing your hands? Tiny reminder: you are not sheathed in a hooded cloak. I am locking it down in the memory bank, trust me.

Besides the blatantly obvious benefit of washing your hands to limit exposure to cold and flu, wouldn't it be wise to wash your hands after you were dealing with your biology? I mean, come on. Here's something lovely I read recently. Take a deep breath and try not to dry heave. (SERIOUSLY...you were given fair warning. Put your fork down for this next bit.)

While you are busy going potty in the restroom, all kinds of microbits go splashing around. A gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses, 1 million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts, and 100 worm eggs. Now, you don't need Dr. Korev to tell you bacteria can be beneficial: the human body needs bacteria to function, and only 10 percent of cells in our body are actually human. Which means the remainder, are not. Small fecal particles can then contaminate water, food, cutlery, and shoes AND be knowingly or unknowingly consumed.

So, how do you avoid such hazard to yourself as well as exculpate yourself from being the office germs-a-la-poopoo spreader? Simple! Just wash your mitts.

The CDC actually posts on its website instructions for washing your hands in the event you skipped all of first grade.

At home, handwashing can prevent infection and illness from spreading from family member to family member and, sometimes, throughout a community. In the home, the basic rule is to wash hands before preparing food and after handling uncooked meat and poultry, before eating, after changing diapers, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one's nose into a tissue, and after using the bathroom.

Do you need the CDC to explain appropriate occasions when you should lather, rinse, repeat? Even if you were a nomadic cave-dweller, I am quite certain you would place "after trips to the can" right at the top of your list.

So, to my co-worker who was in the bathroom stall for many minutes, and walked out of the stall failing to even consider a cursory splash of water, I think you need a refresher.

The same co-worker I then walked behind to our break room where you touched the coffee maker, water cooler, microwave, and fridge door all in less than 2 minutes, all I ask is that you do me a favor and read one of the FOUR signs posted in the bathroom about the importance of hygiene. And don't worry, I won't catch your 10 million viruses because I use a paper towel on the handles and sprayed Lysol in the kitchen after you left. Thanks for making me lose my appetite. I wanted to lose a few pounds before my birthday this weekend anyway.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Wrong

In many a modern romance, one believes that kindred spirits and soul mates exist. And from here to the furthest corners of the earth, you will find, women who earnestly believe in love.

And then there are just delusional gals living in Cuckoo Town. That's where we are going today so pack your satchel friends.....

Why? Oh, there must be some compelling reason.I mean, no one would do this just under normal circumstances, RIGHT?

Alas. Her assertion is it is LOVE. And she believes the dog has many of the qualities of her late father.

Let me ponder. I can see loyal, spunky, and maybe well-behaved. However, that's why dogs make great pets, even "family" members. Not domestic partners or conjugual pals.

Emily Mabou a 29 year old woman living in Aburi, married her 18-month-old dog.
Ummm...there is a litany of sophomoric locker-room style humor that can be inserted here but I will refrain because well, it's just too easy. However, I will say at the minimum, this constitutes a rather odd situation, yes? And at the maximum, its seems so pitiful and sad.

And I am all for love...and even May-December romances, but this, well, it doesn't remotely qualify. I LOVED my dog. She slept in her bed, I would kiss her little face, and occasionally I would let her lick off my ice cream cone and then continue eating it. But I draw the line at "CIVIL CEREMONY."

Ms. Mabou's ceremony was attended by a traditional priest and some of her local villagers who were curious and let's admit it, just wanted to see a train wreck live.

She does have a younger brother, David, who indicated the family declined attending the wedding which they felt was "a stupid step to combat her loneliness".

Ms Mabou said: "For so long, I've been praying for a life partner who will have all the qualities of my dad. My dad was kind, faithful, and loyal to my mum, and he never let her down."I've been in relationships with so many men here in Togo, and they are all the same - skirt-chasers and cheaters. My dog is kind, and loyal to me and he treats me with so much respect."

Right. And he licks his own nuggets. Dogs hump legs and pillows. They have no discerning capability. Perfect.

In the ceremony, the priest warned villagers not to mock the wedding, but to "rejoice with her as she has found happiness at last". Poor, sweet traditional Ghana priest....you must not know much about the human condition and our proclivity towards scuttlebutt. Mock? If she had a broken leg I think your request would be honored. She married a PUPPY. Mockery is the cherry on top of such a bizarre event.

Asked how she intends to raise children with her new husband, Ms. Mabou said simply: "We will adopt."

Whhhhhew....for a minute there, I thought you might be crazy Ms. Mabou, but you really bouyed back with that answer. Of course you are going to adopt unless you plan on shagging your DOG and bearing a litter. For the love of all things sacred, please tell me this is the last we see of a story like this. But congratulations Ms. Mabou, you actually provided something more interesting to read than the media coverage regarding Katie Holmes upcoming appearance on So You Think You Can Dance. Thank you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Here to annoy

I don't know the general consensus on gym etiquette, but let's vet it out shall we?

There are a litany of things I observe at the gym I find foolish and unnecessary. While so many people there are just normal people trying to be fit, there are others who, well, you know.

The loud grunting is annoying but so is the constant dropping of weights on the floor. Didn't you just lift that 15 times? I am certain you have a fraction of energy left to calmly place that barbell back on the floor then. Oh, and the sunglass wearers. Really? You are indoors. You look silly. Overhead light just too bright? Stop it Jamie Foxx.

But my least favorite are the cell phone chatters because the sunglasses, grunts, careless and exaggerated hurtling of weights to the floor don't directly impact me. However, the cell phone chatters impact everyone around them.

Two weeks ago a girl, let's call her MegaLipShine (because she reapplied it 10 times in an hour) gets on the elliptical next to me. Oh, she has plenty to chat about with her friend on her bedazzled, beglittered pink phone. I don't think you need to chat on the phone while exercising, and certainly not while you are exercising in my vicinity. Look around. No one in the whole cardio machine sector has a cell phone in use. However, if you have an emergency or a con call you must take since you are "working from home" that day, fine. If you have to check on childcare, dog at the vet, grocery list, I get it. Most people do this before they begin their work out but perhaps there are extenuating circumstance. But I assure you, MegaLipShine had none. MegaLipShine did however have plenty to say to friend on phone about Bessie.

MegaLipShine: I can not believe Jay won't call me back. I know he is dating that Bessie woman. She is a new doctor in his building. His neighbor told me all she wants to do is have sex. She is such a whore.

Hmmmm. First: Would any man call that a whore? Or would he call it "Near Perfection". What next? Bessie doesn't like to talk about her feelings? Oh boy...if so, Bessie will soon be the most popular girl in the world.

Second: Bessie is a very uncommon name. In fact, I know of no woman named Bessie. Especially Bessie the Doctor. You give too many details, MegaLipShine. Therefore, if you are talking about Bessie the Doctor in a large open-air environment with hundreds of people, it is likely due to her unusual name, someone here may know her. Smarten up. If you are going to subject the crowd to your salty rage about why Jay would rather date a doctor who loves sex as opposed to you with your resplendent, pink sparkly phone, use code. PS: You sound dumb.

But I simply turned my iPod on and drowned out MegaLipShine. And I had forgotten about it until yesterday.

I was at the gym in a rare hour of virtual emptiness. There are 30 exercise bikes and I am the only one using them. Until another person comes and sits down on the bike right next to me.

And then gets on his phone and loudly tries to explain to the person on the other end that he "never actually said I was a partner at the firm" and that it was all her boozy haze that had somehow misconstrued "salesman" for "practicing attorney". And he was loud. And it went on and on.

I am trying to read my new book, Olive Kitteridge, and since there are 28 other bikes open, must he sit adjacent to me? Does he not need more privacy for his nauseating conversation? At first, I decided to move. And then, I remembered I was wearing my bitchybritches, I decided to do something else instead. I started whistling. A merry tune. Raising the decibels in micro amounts. He suddenly says into phone, "Yes. I hear it too. Yes, it IS very irritating....OH, its the girl next to me." The volume of my whistling growing in direction proportion to my mounting immaturity.

He turns to me and says, "That is rather irritating."
Me, in deadpan disbelief look him in the eye and say, "Oh, is it?"

He got up then and only then did I realize he is wearing tight black bicycle shorts with his t-shirt tucked in. My retina stung from looking. I simply can not take a grown man with a shirt tucked into bicycle shorts seriously.

But more importantly, please do not select the bike next to the only other person over here and carry on a loud and rather mundane conversation on your cell phone.

So, when you feel all aglow with so much news to share, maybe just maybe, you can wait until you are done exercising. Some are here to actually work out while some are simply here to annoy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Take A Bite Of: Artichoke Gratinata


something rich, full flavored, and perfect in the summer time. Oh, and it bakes in about 10 minutes; all the more reason to serve this incredible side dish (and one of my favorites.)

From Giada De Laurentiis comes a perfect vegetarian option for your dinner table. Buon Appetito!

Artichoke Gratinata
Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or you can use 2 cans)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the artichoke hearts, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook until the artichoke hearts are starting to brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer the artichoke mixture to a 2-quart baking dish.

Melt the butter in the same skillet used to cook the artichokes. In a small bowl mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan and top the artichokes with the bread crumbs. Bake until the top is golden, about 10 minutes.

You can also add pancetta or cappacola if you want. Simply take 3 or 4 slices, slice into small pieces, and brown over medium heat until crisp. Add before baking.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Mizzpelled

A tiny conundrum: Why would you commit time, money, brain power for plotting, planning, negotiating, organizing, hiring, developing and executing a business plan to open your own business to then at a critical juncture decide the BEST way to carry your legacy forward would be to annoint your company with name that is misspelled.

Krazy Kousins Realty


This is the business name I saw upon a sign I passed last weekend. No, it wasn't spraypainted on the back of a cardboard moving box staple-gunned to a telephone pole either. It was on a building. Rare? No. There are countless examples of this phenomenon as you already know. Guess who I don't want brokering a deal for me? The person who doesn't know how to spell COUSINS.

And during the financial crisis of our times, when Wharton grads with flawless credits can't secure financing to start their business, best not roll into the Savings and Loan with your horribly selected name. Literacy: the cornerstone of success. And spelling is as important now as it was in first grade. No one loans money to the person launching "Phoebes Phish Pharm."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm counting to three....

Guess what is an incredibly fun activity for you and your youngster to enjoy together? It's called TIME OUT.

Well, at least it is an activity even if "incredibly fun" is misleading.

We, being so fresh and new to parenting, thought all we read and heard instilled in us a good line on how to implement and execute Time Out. The good news is we were primarily on the right course. And with a few tweaks, I thought we would have total cooperation. Again, only a fresh and new parent of a toddler would think such foolish things.

We started doing Time Out about six months ago.

While our son quickly absorbed the concept, he decided he didn't actually want to participate. As in, no thanks, I would rather not sit on the stair. Short of holding him down, which produces a joyful noise you can imagine, I wasn't sure what to do. I have assisted him by the arm, and his face looked quite similar to the face of this cub.

Oh yes, I know the imperative role of consistency. I could have simply opted to escort him back to the stair....100 times if necessary. But I wanted an easier and smoother route to his understanding. Oh, and that joyful noise I mentioned? Just wrap your arms around a wild, injured animal next time you are in the woods. Go ahead. Get in close and cuddle. That sound is one you can "block out" only after you hear it for ten straight minutes.

As you can guess, this seemed inefficient for everyone involved.

I was talking to another Doctor at work, and she recommended a book called 1-2-3 Magic. We tried it and Booo Ya. Success. The book gave us some great tips, and as any parent knows, your child will either be an instant conformist, OR the opposite.

Our little man has always been an Angel Baby. He was scheduled from about week one (scheduled within the confines of normalcy and not neurosis that is). And he was an adapter. He was sleeping through the night at nine weeks. Yes, its true. Even then, he was easy breezy.

Toddler time has proven to be the same interesting time for us that it is for anyone else who has ever had a two or three year old expert now living in their house who loves to tell you "I WILL DO IT MYSELF". The pursuit of independence and liberty? I know it well.

But Time Outs are necessary for us. We utilize one of our staircases, and our son has to sit on the bottom step. Initially, he played along very nicely with the theories of 1-2-3 Magic. Testing the boundaries was sporadic. We were at some friends and JohnnyMac dropped the counting on our little man. When he got to three our son looked at him and said, "Where's the stairs Daddy? No time out if there's no stairs!" Wrong. But I respect your rationale.

And so he played a trick on me. He was an instant conformist and now quite frequently, he is in staunch (and vocal) opposition.

One day, it was like baby wrestling. Me, encouraging him to stay in time out (with no emotion. And no talking. Per the book). And he was trying to go pound for pound with me. Umm, kiddo, you won't succeed there. Then he screamed NO MOMMY about thirty times. This tactic failed. He changed course and said, "I JUST WANT TO HOLD YOU!!!!!!!!" You are clever, little bird.

And one day, I was reflecting on where we got off the path of "WOW. WHAT LUCK!! Time outs work beautifully!" and I saw a women we know who has a son a six months older than ours and also a brand new baby. I asked her how things were going and she said if she knew what their older child was going to be like at this age, she would never had another baby. Except, now she has one she likes (said with a tired grin) when she realizes how much the other one drives her crazy. Oh, it takes a lot to be an honest Mom. And I appreciated it. And it made me realize, we are no where near that stage with our son. I can be more patient. Hence he turns into a toddler we want to leave at Grammy's house all summer.

And while he still might not want to do it (and likely never will), we have also achieved the "magical" plateau where simply getting to "2" often helps him modify his behavior.

However, let's be candid. On the occasions in which he declines the invitation to stop whatever it is we want him to stop doing, he might also occasionally opt to treat Time Out like a battle of wills. (I am groomed and bred on this game, just you wait little one. ) Once on the step if he is disinclined to sit their on his own accord, we simply sit him on our laps. This gets very fun, very fast.

And when he has had enough, he shouts at the top of his tiny lungs NO MOMMY NO MOMMY NO MOMMY NO MOMMY. It is ever so pleasant. The art of 1-2-3 Magic is that the parent refrains from the nonstop chatter that goes hand in hand with discipline. And, you are encouraged to be completely emotionless when your child is in Time Out. No back rubbing, no scolding, no talking period. This is a skosh easier when your child is not screaming, and then trying to buck away from you like a wild donkey. Let's hope those instances are few and far between. (Older, wiser parents feel free to laugh now.)

Now, Time Out works on everyone. Daddy did something we are not letting our son do, so Daddy (proving a great point) went to Time Out. Our son felt sad for Daddy so he ran right over. I thought it was great until JohnnyMac gave me the "ahem...how long do I have to sit here?" Sorry! But it was working and I haven't heard pure silence in the house when we are all home together and awake in, well, over two years. And if I can get that, well, I will volunteer to go to Time Out.

And for any one who has a precocious toddler in the house, you know we can all use a little 1-2-3 Magic.