Saturday, December 31, 2005
A girlfriend and I took the free audio tour of the flagship store on State Street Friday and enjoyed it immensely. Do take the opportunity if you’re in town
We arrived just before ten a.m. and went to the Walnut Room as we heard they were giving out ‘pagers’ that would alert you when a table was ready for your lunch, and wanted to be assured a seating.
Upon approaching the desk, we were asked if we would like breakfast or lunch. Some other shoppers said lunch, and were directed to follow a maze-like route that would end in a line for a pager. At that time, the wait for a pager alone was half an hour!
We opted for breakfast and had a delicious meal of scrambled eggs with cheese and chives with a salmon-red potato hash. This might sound unusual, but was quite delicious. The tree was decked out in Swarovski crystal, prompting our speculation about promotional tie-ins and did they pay for ‘placement’ on the tree?
After making fun of some other diners and taking a few pictures, we left to pick up our audio tours from the Visitor’s Desk. The tour is free and there’s a handy coat check right next door. We wandered about listening to tales of the retailer’s history narrated by Bill Moyers (who apparently speaks six other languages, including Japanese, just press four).
It looked like the lunch line (just to get a pager, mind you) was up to about two hours by then! We weren’t sure just what the appeal of bringing three bored kids to stand in line all day in order to not finish their strawberry pancakes ‘because it’s tradition, damn it’, was exactly, but there were plenty of families on hand to prove us wrong. But this did explain why we saw so many parents having cocktails with breakfast that morning….
One of my favorite stops on the tour was the Narcissus Room, a banquet area that was silent – and unlocked. We wandered about listening to the story of the Narcissus Fountain (now topped by a Christmas tree – no Greek god in sight) and I found the light switch so we could take pictures. As I handed the camera to her, I sat on the edge of the dry fountain. She said the shadows were still covering my face, so without prompting I hopped in the fountain for my close-up. How appropriate. Ms. All-About-Me gets her portrait taken in Narcissus’ pool!
Daniel Burnham figures prominently in Field’s history, and I’m glad I read Devil in the White City, which I recommend heartily as a history of the area and a darn good mass-murderer story. Bet Jeffery Dahmer’s apartment building doesn’t have half as an exciting back-story. Take that Milwaukee!
Sorry. Anyhoo…we discovered Lost Staircases, Tiffany Ceilings, Juliet Balconies and Burnham Fountain (which I believe was not erected until after Burnham’s death, as Field thought it too ‘gaudy’)
In traipsing through seven floors of retail space, I came across an awesome little fainting-couch like piece with matching ottoman. It was soooo comfy – just the thing needed for reading by the fire. Gasping, I pointed out the $1100 price tag on the ottoman. Then I found the $3300 price tag on the seat. Nice to know I just had my shoes on it! That was followed by the admiration of the $11, 235 table and eight matching $1600 each dining room chairs…perfect for your next Boardroom meeting. You paid how much for this dinette set? You’re fired!
My friend complemented me for pretty much staying on track during the audio tour – she knows how hard it is for me to pass shiny things without buying them. We returned the equipment and got down to the business of shopping, buying a few clearance items at Fields. I hear the Christmas ornaments and anything imprinted with the Field’s name has long been sold out to rabid souvenir seekers and eBay profiteers.
We looked at the outdoor window displays a little; this year’s theme is Cinderella. I was disappointed I couldn’t discern any secret messages or sabotage efforts by disgruntled employees upset by the sale to Macy’s in the windows. Guess turning into a pumpkin doesn’t upset them all that much. They don’t seem creative enough for that stuff. We agreed we could have done much better window displays. At least make the wicked stepmother look like Ron Klein or something. I would have done A Christmas Carol with the head of Fields as Scrooge being visited by a Sam Walton Marley warning of the folly of profits first (and the dangers of not cleaning your public toilets – that hasn’t been done since 1921 either, I assure you). That’s just me.
We then visited a few other stores, where I fell in love with Nordstrom’s Rack. Great petite section and stupendous prices – I got a turquoise cashmere cardigan for only $19.98! Whoo hoo! Shopping success! Lots of other nice things too, lord knows I don’t have anything to wear in the New Year!
Well, that’s all for now, I need to get ready to play Emergency Waitress for the New Year’s Eve crowd at the restaurant. Hopefully everyone will be drinking so much they don’t notice I never brought their salad.
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood"
Daniel H. Burnham, Director of Works, Columbian Exposition, 1893
Monday, December 26, 2005
I was surfing the web, looking for a definition of 'brumation', when I stumbled upon a fellow blogger with an excellent site...http://answergirlnet.blogspot.com/
As you can imagine, my turtles are fast asleep awaiting the spring and I can only dream of joining them. Somehow it's not working out... I'm sleeping a good 14 hours plus a day (we have some nice four-day weekends for the holiday) but eating incredible amounts and putting on weight! This is so unfair! Bears will wake up thin and hungry in the spring while I'll just waddle to the shorts and tank tops only to find nothing will fit. Then I will cry and want to find a cave. Very backwards. But anyhoo...
Did you know reptiles brumate, rather than hibernate? Now you do. You can learn the meaning of this and many other fascinating terms at Answer Girl's blog. Each day she takes a term, gives the meaning and industry or discipline in which it is used. Kind of a word-of-the day plus. She lists herself as a writer and editor and gives a little personal info as well. Also, the Virginia Beach resident is a Snake in the Chinese Horoscope, just like myself.
I don't agree with the Zodiac symbol of Aquarius as an assessment of my personality type. Typically they cite the altruistic nature of this sign. Great humanitarians. Wants to advance mankind. Supposedly they are not materialistic and want to save the world. Yeah, right. I must have been brumating when they were handing out those qualities.
Per Cafe Astrology:
One of the standout characteristics of those born under the Sun Sign of Aquarius is their unwillingness to follow the beaten track. Ok, true. It's not a track, it's a rut.
With advancement and progress on their minds, there can be an irreverence to old and outdated ways of thinking and doing things. Ditto
Many Aquarians aim to free themselves of personal and social conditioning. Although open to change in theory, Aquarians can be surprisingly stubborn. Their idealism runs strong, but they can be very fixed in their opinions. So what's your point?
Often a bit aloof and even standoffish, Aquarians nonetheless are usually well-liked. They are curious and observant, and tolerant in a broad sense. Prejudice and bias is offensive to the typical Aquarius. True
Aquarians are generally very clever, witty, and intellectual. Yes, we are
They value progress and frankness. It's difficult to throw Aquarians for a loop they're generally on top of things. Guilty as charged...
Diplomatic and popular, the Snake has the sensual art of seduction down. This Sign is an interesting mix of gregariousness paired with introversion, intuitive reasoning paired with savvy business skills. Of course.
Snakes tend to be rather tight with cash Towards others...
The Snake is somewhat insecure deep down Who me??
Slightly dangerous and disarmingly smart, the Snake's philosophical and intuitive mind generally supersedes logic in favor of feelings and instinct. Guilty!
Snakes are hard workers (when they see good reason to be!) and are possessed of a keen intelligence Aw, shucks!
Snakes must try to learn humility Note to self: take an on-line course...
Most compatible sign: The Ox (Mr. Right!)
But the number one reason to love the Chinese Zodiac? I get to be a reptile! Not some dumb guy with a bucket.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
As for posthumous blogging, I have stuffed my blogspot password in a sealed envelope to be bequeathed to another Blogger upon my demise. I mean, how hard could it be to continue blogging as me?
Topics to include: It’s Wonderfully Hot Here! or You Call This Heaven? Where’s the Preferred Parking?
Alas, the United Kingdom's descent into dhimmitude is beyond parody. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (Tory-controlled) has now announced that, following a complaint by a Muslim employee, all work pictures and knick-knacks of novelty pigs and "pig-related items" will be banned. Among the verboten items is one employee's box of tissues, because it features a representation of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. And, as we know, Muslims regard pigs as "unclean", even an anthropomorphised cartoon pig wearing a scarf and a bright, colourful singlet.
Cllr Mahbubur Rahman is in favour of the blanket pig crackdown. "It is a good thing, it is a tolerance and acceptance of their beliefs and understanding," he said. That's all, folks, as Porky Pig used to stammer at the end of Looney Tunes. Just a little helpful proscription in the interests of tolerance and acceptance.
And where's the harm in that? As Pastor Niemöller said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I'm more of an Eeyore.
Mark Steyn, London Daily Telegraph
If you ask me, Winnie the Poo is the real threat – this soft dim-witted captialistic hedonist has corrupted too many youngsters!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
First day of winter. Blah. I don’t know how I will ever get through another three months of this. Seasonal Affectation Disorder is just another of my many charms. Another little observation: for someone who hates snow, I sure do love sweaters with snowflakes on them. This is right up there with the fact that I can’t swim, yet have seven bathing suits. Oh, well.
Keep hearing rave reviews about King Kong, but hesitate to see it, as I hate apes and monkeys, although I loved the (original) Planet of the Apes*.
What does Kong symbolize? Man’s desire to subjugate the Id? Can’t miss the metaphorical message of having the U.S. Military successfully kill anything that threatens tall buildings in New York, now can we? What of the helpless female? Suggestive of the desire to possess beautiful women no matter how inappropriate the relationship might be? Personally, I’m going to play the race card on this one.
The real reason I don’t want to see King Kong is because he kills dinosaurs! These images will be far too disturbing for a herptophile like myself. As far as I’m concerned, the whole planet has been going downhill ever since mammals took over. Dinosaurs ruled for sixty million years and it’s taken man only about 40,000 to foul everything up. Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men? More like: Peace on Earth, No Men.
And who really did win the King Kong-Godzilla war anyhoo?
*(Hey, there’s a sequel that really needed to be made, eh KaneCitizen?)
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Your Fashion Style is Urban
You've got a style all your own... and it works
Not too trendy, not too freaky - you've got streetwear down to a science
You always look cute and put together, but keep it comfortable too
You're the type of girl that creates trends and inspires others to be funky
Why does the President insist on calling it a war? It's an occupation. And we're doing a lousy job at it. Those spying incidents Bush has admitted to authorizing? Want to bet one of them is me? Time for the tinfoil hat. No, wait, wool. Warm, fashionable and doesn't conduct radiation as well.
Jersey Village High School teacher Carol Pearsall went to Adopt-A-Classroom to ask for a high-tech system that makes class discussions a little less threatening for shy teens. It costs about $1,000.
"I'm hoping to get an electronic system where all the kids have their own little remote control and I can ask a question and they can respond to it," Pearsall said. "If they're wrong, the other kids can't see."
Gosh, whatever happened to High Schools preparing students for real life? For public speaking? For interaction with their peers and the world around them?
No, instead we have 'shy teen' outreach programs like the above. This way kids can answer electronically and anonymously and not face ridicule. Great. Let's put 10.000 class clowns nationwide out of a job. How else is High School supposed to scar you for life? Most schools have already eliminated gym class.
Heck, this blog is more open to discourse than the above suggested system. Answering questions with no one else seeing the answer used to be called a TEST. Having to raise your hand and speak intelligently and convincingly used to be called CLASS DISCUSSION, and you were graded on it. Let's replace the debate team with the write it on a slip of paper and don't offend anyone team.
What real life situations are we preparing these teens for? Middle East Peace Negotiations?
Now Israel, I want you to write down what you would like on a slip of paper and fold it in half... No peeking Palestine!
These ambitious, well-prepared leaders of tomorrow will go right from High School to - On Line College Courses! Where they will get A's and be ready for - a real live job interview! Not. Perhaps they can just design video games from home. Yes, that would be best. Don't push them.
Sorry I haven’t posted sooner, but I wasn’t feeling so well this weekend… was it Germ Guy at Wal-Mart? Coughing Co-Worker? Or the fact that I put my bare hands on the shopping cart at the grocery store? At any rate, I would once again put forth the theory that it’s all a vast right-wing conspiracy to keep me weakened by denying our area flu shots for the second year in a row.
This year for little co-worker Christmas gag gifts I’m giving out these tiny tissue packets I found at a World Market store. They have little pictures of reindeer and snowmen printed on tissues wrapped in cellophane with the word “Sniff” on the front. Nothing says I Love Working With You, But Cover Your Mouth When You Sneeze like a personal packet of tissues. And since they’re from some foreign country that most likely lacks environmental or health standards, the dye used might “wipe” out a few sickies to boot…
Just when you thought I was going to be driving rice rockets forever, news from DaimlerChrysler (the Industry joke on the pronunciation of this name is, “the Chrysler is silent”) announces the resurrection of the Dodge Challenger. Slated for the 2006 auto show circuit, this car might make me brave Chicago’s winter and crowds at McCormick place for a glimpse of the latest 6.1 liter Hemi V8 to be mated to a six speed manual. (Yes, right now I’m exclaiming “I coulda hadda V8”, although MPG figures have yet to be estimated). One article notes that 45% of all vehicles offering the Hemi are sold with that engine. I wonder how the latest Challenger will stack up against its big brother the Charger I lusted after earlier this year? I for one was ready to purchase the Venom prototype that never came to showroom floors, but am encouraged by the thought of a flashy two door retro-mobile.
Ever wonder how much professional rivalry exists between Calvin Nichols and Robert Sabuda? Enough to warrant an exacto knife to the eye? Paper cuts alone are lethal.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
“Each winter North American put 10 to 15 million tons of salt on their roads – 10% of all the salt in the world for all purposes combined”
I am convinced the vast majority of this amount is accumulating on the frame and finish of my precious new arrival*. I’m afraid to park it in the driveway for fear the woodland creatures will come out of the forest to lick it. She hasn’t even gotten her first set of snow tires on yet, but she's been trudging through more snow than most Decembers are alloted. It’s not even the official first day of winter yet, and we’ve had record breaking cold and accumulating snows. I just don’t know how I will handle another three months of this. Yes, I’m flaking out.
* KaneCitizen asked if I had a baby monitor set up in my garage, and I had to admit he had a good idea there…
U.S. Pacific Fleet surprised the Japanese forces
Thursday, December 08, 2005
A) I don't want that brand of snow tires for my car...
B) Had the jet traffic been lighter due to an operational Miegs Field, this wouldn't have happened
C) Didn't another NBC show, ER, just do a big episode about a plane accident? Are they upset it didn't happen during their show last week? Or would it have boosted ratings by occurring the week before?
Although, you have to admit, "I was hit by a plane" would be a pretty funny thing to call and tell your boss...
*I so relate to Karen
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Thank you, mystery man who was ahead of me in line at Wal-Mart. When the cashier told you to go home and get some rest, why did you have to linger and answer her about how you were just too busy to do so while coughing and hacking all over that little stylus that she then directed me to use to sign off on the Magic Credit Card screen?
And Thank You, evil government entities, for once again neglecting to supply the country with enough flu shots in my area so that once again, I must go without. Oh, give them to the elderly, you said. Yeah, well who needs to stay healthy enough to work and pay taxes for the elderly and their health care? Me! Me! Me!
It's not about flu. It's about ME.
Monday, November 28, 2005
The Shanghai Natural Wild Insect Kingdom has lost 13 of its 18 turtles in recent weeks after visitors walked away with them, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported.
The park has put bars around the turtle tank and posted security guards to protect the animals, one of its managers, Chen Min, told the newspaper.
The stolen turtles were about the size of a child’s hand, Chen said.
“It is very difficult for our security guards to detect someone stealing a turtle, because the turtles can be put into pockets, and they don’t utter sounds, even if they are attacked,” she said.
The park also lost a ferret — imported from the United States at a cost of $600 — after a visitor took it out of its cage. The ferret was found later in a hay stack in a sheep pen, the report said.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Saturday, November 26, 2005
I'd just like to point out this is the second reptile-related food atrocity this month...
From The Northwest Herald
More than a good fiber source in this can
By JESSICA PERSONETTE
McHENRY – Brenda Eisenberg of Spring Grove hopes that when people make their green-bean casserole this Thanksgiving, they will look a little more closely at what comes out of the can.
Let’s just start my commentary by noting my absolute horror of all things “Green Bean”. I hate them. Always have. Being told I must finish them before leaving the table confirmed the phobia. I was offered canned green beans as a child, so don’t even try to wax rhapsodic on the wonders of fresh. I was turned against the legumes in a canned state and will forever avoid them at the risk of vomiting. That said, I buy them for both Mr. Right and the lizards. The lizards are crazy about them. Canned, frozen, fresh, they don’t care. Wax beans to a lesser extent. I’m sure the following report would upset them to no end, thinking one of their little friends could be inadvertently embalmed in bean brine.
Eisenberg said she recently discovered what looked like a reptile or frog leg in a can of Allen green beans.
Tough call – looks like salamander, but could be putrefied frog. I suggest Reptiles Magazine run a contest to identify it properly.
"I know with the holidays coming up, if it got mixed up in green-bean casserole, no one would know," she said. "Hopefully, people will think about it. I just want them to know."
Thanks. I needed that image. Really. Actually, I worry more about biting into a holiday dish that has hidden green beans more than biting into something that contains secret animal products.
Eisenberg bought the can of green beans at the McHenry Wal-Mart on Nov. 7. The next night, she opened the can, emptied it into a bowl, heated up the green beans, and served them for dinner, she said.
Same MO I’ve used for years… Quick. Easy. No thought.
As she was cleaning up after dinner, she noticed that one of the "beans" left in the serving bowl looked strange, she said.
Uh, oh. Here it comes.
"It had black spots and looked slimy," Eisenberg said. "I examined closer, and saw four fingers or toes. I got totally grossed out."
Yeah, that would make me jump. Make me count pet legs, at the very least.
Eisenberg said she e-mailed the Allen Canning Co. of Arkansas, and contacted the McHenry Wal-Mart suggesting they take other cans produced at the same time off the shelves.
Nice to know Average Consumer needs to do the jobs of the Health Department, FDA, EPA, etc.
According to e-mails provided by Eisenberg, Allen apologized and offered $25, a variety gift pack, and a copy of Allen's "Can-Do Cookbook." Eisenberg also said she was told that the company would ask Wal-Mart to take the cans off the shelves.
Can – Do? Things you Can Do with lizard parts? “Funny Things Found in Cans” Hall of Shame? Herp Helper? Kermit in a Can? Suddenly Salamander? Newt-A-Roni? Gecko-Olios?
A manager at the McHenry Wal-Mart referred calls to Wal-Mart corporate offices in Arkansas. A call to a Wal-Mart spokesman was not returned Friday.
James Phillips, vice president of corporate services for Allen Canning, said Friday that the company's products are processed in the can, so everything in the can is rendered commercially sterile and safe.
Sure it is. How many rat hairs per pound allowable again?
Phillips said that the company inspects and washes its product, but Eisenberg's experience does happen on rare occasions with agricultural products.
Sounds like this was packaged in an Asian rice paddy…Disgruntled migrant workers, perhaps?
"When we start growing green beans in laboratories, that will stop, but since we have the farmers of America grow our product, no matter what technology you have, you'll occasionally have this," Phillips said.
Then we’d get human fingers only….Yay Genetically Altered foods! Hydroponics is the way to go.
Eisenberg said she was not trying to extort anything from the company.
Except maybe some antacids and a free barf bag.
"I do not want a gift pack from them," she said. "I just know I don't want anyone else to have to find a frog leg in their green beans or green bean casserole."
I wouldn’t want their lousy gift pack either. Are there Frog Legs in their jars of Pig Knuckles as well? Worse yet...Is a diner somewhere ordering Frog Legs and getting a bean mixed in?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
One good thing about being a lousy cook…you don’t walk away from the table with that ‘too stuffed’ feeling.
Speaking of stuffing – Did you hear?
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Ruth M.
Siems, a home economist who helped create Stove Top stuffing, a Thansksgiving favorite that will be on dinner tables across the country this year, has died at 74.
Now I can’t help but wonder – did her family leave her body out in the sun to dry up, then add herbs and seasonings in the hopes of reconstituting her with boiling water?
I’ll bet you’re questioning if primo shopper Getalife will be hitting the stores at 5 a.m. tomorrow…
The answer is no. It’s like when New Year’s Eve comes around and all the real alcoholics and bar denizens stay home because it’s ‘amateur night’. Besides, it’s a shopping-for- others type holiday. No interest there. I’ll just go online and order everyone on my list a Swiss Family Cheese basket or something equally laden with individual wishes and profound thought. Especially if I can find a coupon of some sort…
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Stopped by the grocery store to get a few last minute items for the scrumptious feast I'm preparing tomorrow (Thank God for On-Cor Frozen Turkey w/Gravy and Ocean Spray can-berry).
Did you know Stove Top Stuffing is unavailable in Australia? Wow. Things are much tougher in the Outback than I'd imagined.
About the only thing the store was having a special on was ill-behaved children. Seemed to be a "Begat One, Get Two Free" special of some sort going on.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Made the journey over to the Gail Borden Public Library of Elgin, Il (Motto: “We may have condensed milk, but offer unabridged audio”) to see their display of Giants: African Dinosaurs.
What a beautiful library! The huge two-story structure is only a few years old, which I’m sure didn’t cost the community anything, as it’s spitting distance from that lovely riverboat casino designed to generate all the tax revenue you could ever want…yeah, right.
Anyhoo… the facility is gorgeous and even had a dino-themed gift shop! Whoo hoo! My stamp of approval right there! Especially enjoyed the Quiet Reading Room – a huge circular hearth with four gas fireplaces and comfy overstuffed chairs to read in! (And yes, Mr. Right, they all matched in a harmonious style!) I'd apply for a job there, but most likely would be assigned the task of poking the homeless at closing time or something...
They also featured Dinos-on-Parade, one of those community projects where you decorate some statues on a theme like Cows-on-Parade to generate goodwill and civic pride and vandalism and injury…
All in all it was a great evening with some friends from work and I recommend you check it out because most of all: it’s FREE!!!
I frequent a local McDonald’s drive-thru with some co-workers for lunch. It’s more a chance to chat with friends than participate in gourmet cuisine, but I must admit those Happy Meal toys are pretty elaborate. Way cooler than anything I used to get as a kid. Nothing like thousands of dollars of media-tie in’s to drive your tyke’s dining choices.
If you’ve read or seen Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, you are well aware of the dangers these meals posses. And most likely, like me, you really don’t care. His documentary is excellent and I really suggest you check out his website before ordering the next McRib. That said, I can’t help but contemplate why the clown doesn’t go after my demographic – the disaffected office worker suffering from nutritional apathy and career ennui. You know, a Despondent Meal. The toy prize could be a little cigarette two-pack reminding you how your company just cut health benefits yet again, so who cares?
Just experienced the coolest November 17 in forty-six years, and I’m none too happy about it. After months of above-average temperatures the crash is hard to bear. It snowed lightly last week prompting county workers eager for a little extra Christmas cash to hit the highways in full force. Passed a huge snowplow on my way to work that spewed salt chunks the size of acorns all over my car’s precious new Nighthawk Black finish. (Remember, I’m just buying black cars until they make something darker.)
Had to wait until Saturday when it warmed sufficiently to wash the car thoroughly. Predictions for the holiday weekend are dismal, and as much as I may love shopping, you won’t catch me in a store on the day after Thanksgiving. Besides, holiday shopping is all about other people. Not much fun in that. I’ll just wait for the after Christmas sales, thank you.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
I had no idea this existed, but now that I do...
There’s this house not far from me that WAY overdoes it on the holiday lighting. I mean, what ever turns you(r 500 amp service) on. But could you do me one itty bitty favor? Don’t plug the damn things in yet! Take advantage of the nice weather to string the lights up all you want, but could you wait until at least Thanksgiving? This house is on 6 acres, and over five of them are covered in lights. It’s ridiculous. Com-Ed sends them a Christmas card of thanks every year. They even send a truck over with the cherry-picker basket to help him do the huge pines out front. And of course the lights are still on far into February…
There wasn't a prize in my can...
AINSWORTH, Iowa - Marjorie Morris just wanted to pour coffee into a canister. What she found in the package of freeze-dried coffee left her shell-shocked.
Morris, 77, of Ainsworth, found a dead baby turtle in the 2-pound package of Folgers coffee last Sunday.
"I thought it was a toy at first," said Morris, 77, of Ainsworth.
Morris said she had been making coffee from the same package for a month before she made the discovery.
"It's a responsibility of the company to check their shipments closer," she said. "It could be much more serious."
Morris said she doesn't plan to file a lawsuit against Folgers.
She said a customer service representative for the company dismissed the find, explaining that because many Folgers plants are based in New Orleans the turtle might have ended up in the coffee as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
Sussane Dussing, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, the company that owns the Folgers brand, said it's too early to say how the turtle ended up in the coffee.
Dussing said she wasn't aware of other similar incidents and that Morris' discovery would be investigated.
Morris, who has kept the turtle, said she would continue to drink coffee, but that she is now a more mindful consumer.
Things could have been worse, she said.
"It could've been a snake."
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Thought I was a bit of a fashionista until I read about the e-mails Brownie was sending while New Orleans sank. Ever notice when you really dislike someone, they share a character flaw with you? One you can’t own up to?
I really can see myself worrying about what to wear to a flood. I mean, hip waders just come in that ugly black rubber. What goes with that? I’m thinking a bright metallic purse or belt to offset all the dark muck and reflect nicely off the water…
A rumor went around town that Mayo Clinic was interested in opening a branch. Great. Helicopters overhead. Ambulances blaring down the street at all hours of the night. Then a friend pointed out that Mayo is more about research. Great. Croesus coming home with two-headed rats. I could open a Slightly Seconds Syringe Shop or something. Must admit to my secret fantasy however: Mayo Clinic calls and says they are out of operating rooms –can they use my master bath? That would validate my quest for cleanliness. I don’t want germs to even think about congregating at my house. The spiders are issued little paper booties at the door so as not to track up my white carpeting. I have so many layers of Future Floor Finish on my kitchen floor that if a drinking glass fell, the floor would shatter into clear sheets of wax and the glass would bounce away unharmed.
I know! Perhaps it will be a company that manufactures modular homes – you know, trailers. Trailers that no one in town can live in.
[Mayor]“Nolan said he assumed that the building might be used for manufacturing because no one had requested zoning changes.”That’s because the word is out: whatever you want the City Council to approve, they will, regardless of what the Zoning and Planning Commission recommends, or how many angry citizens show up to protest. It’s a cake walk! No zoning issues here. You want a Toxic Dump? No problem. Nuclear Waste Storage? You bet.
Well, hard to believe, but it’s almost Thanksgiving. Suppose I’ll have to go buy a turkey or something. I’m sure Mr. Right will insist on a BUTTERball. Tented in TINFOIL.
I despise cooking. Like milking a rattlesnake for anti-venom, it’s a necessity that’s best left to highly-paid professionals or somebody is going to get hurt. On-Cor makes a microwaveable turkey tray, don’t they?
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Have to admit, a pack of snarling Pit Bulls can be a strain on the budget, so I'm going with the basic "Child Predator" red tag on my door to keep the neighborhood kiddies from ringing my bell to sell magazine subscriptions.
Pit Bulls - just one more example of Intelligent Design. You tell 'em Kansas.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Loving the new vehicle, just wish I could truly appreciate its potential.
As I navigate a twisty road in the colorful November landscape, I can't help but think how much more fun it would be at twice the speed. It's as if the car whispers: Look, we both know I can do this corner at 70. Move away from the brake...No one is looking...
Did you hear about Coors beer selling brewing byproduct as a fuel additive, an Ethanol type filler? Of course, they claim it reduces harmful emissions and reduces dependence on foreign oil. What they don't tell you is it's still a carcinogen and rusts internal engine parts when used at the 10% level allowed in Illinois due to the corn lobby.
If they don't lower the price of gas soon, I'll be making my own gas in a still out back. Prices have fallen slightly as refineries in the gulf recover from hurricanes, but we still bear the burden of preemptive war at the pump.
I don't know about you, but the Halloween Candy-fest has taken its toll by pushing me into a larger size of Levis...
There's so much candy consumed at work that if I cut an artery, I'd bleed Hershey's syrup. The healthiest thing I've eaten all month was a taffy apple. I think there was some fiber in the stick.
Got a flyer in the mail yesterday from Lane Bryant. It's as if they're saying, "Come to the Dark Side. The Dark Chocolate Side. We know you want to wear stretch pants and tunics, admit it..."
Must. Work. Out. Must. Resist. Sugar.
Global warming is a reality, despite what Michael Crichton may have you believe, but can this glorious year really be the start of an incredible warming trend for the upper Midwest? This blogger can only hope all her efforts of spraying Aqua Net at the sun and buying gas-sucking monster cars is beginning to pay off. Let's hear it for a Warm Christmas!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Yes, it’s finally D-Day! The day I purchased a new car!! Months in the planning! Years in the preparation! It’s over! Kinda like the Sox.
Somehow, I’ve ended up with yet another black car. Well, black with little blue metallic flakes. Kinda cool, like glitter.
There were so many other colors to choose from, I was having a very difficult time, but when it came down to it, the car in the showroom (and car dealerships are lit by the same experts who do the lighting in jewelry stores – magically the product looks ten times better in the display area than outdoors) just happened to have the huge wing spoiler I wanted and looked like a million bucks.
There was a Japanese teenager sitting in it when I arrived at the dealership Saturday afternoon. He was tall and lanky, with an earring and bored rich-kid attitude. He seemed to be buying that one, so I didn’t get too close. His family appeared to be speaking with the salesman so I figured it was a just-got-my-license present or something. I’m sure he’d truly appreciate it.
When you have to shoo away the fast and the furious crowd from your potential purchase, you have to admit your automotive tastes are skewing young. Face it, anyone my age buying this car is having a mid-life crisis. This doesn’t worry me, since I’ve been attracted to the same cars and music since I was seventeen. It’s just a sign of immaturity. So what?
Really liked my salesman, a young Hispanic man who was very knowledgeable about the product. He spent a great deal of time with us as I looked at every color permutation available. Gone are the days you could custom order a car. There were NO special packages or interior color combination choices to be had. They were motivated to sell something on the lot, of course, and that’s how we ended up talking about the black one.
Buying a black car is announcing to the world that you have way too much time on your hands. Those seven hours a night you spend sleeping? It could be so much better devoted to washing and waxing a car. It has the drawing power of a Black Hole to attract bugs, dust and grime. Yet when it’s clean -- it gleams brighter than any star.
We went back and forth on price for a while. I think I did OK. Not great, but I certainly didn’t let them call all the shots about price and was ready to walk at any moment.
It’s amazing how easy it is to drive off THAT DAY with something you haven’t paid for yet. They were like, oh, bring your title in, bring your check in, get financing or you can use ours. Very laid back. Little did they know, Betty Gooch is my grandmother…
She’s got 17-inch wheels, 6 speed manual transmission, 6 CD AM/FM Cassette with sub-woofer and leather seats. ABS. Hatchback. Massive spoiler. Plus heated side mirrors! (Not seats, darn)
Sunday was such a beautiful day – the last “Indian Summer” day we are likely to have. It was in the 60s and partly sunny. I took advantage of the situation and performed all the ‘new car rituals’.
Much like the naming ceremony in Roots, there are special protocols to follow when welcoming a new car. I didn’t have time to wait for the next full moon, as winter is approaching fast.
Baby’s First Photos: park car in various sites around the yard and photograph from every conceivable angle. (These are the photos you will use when selling the car five years from now.) Now you can send these to family and friends as a birth announcement. New development: Blog Posting.
Baby’s First Wax: determine best wax for car type and color. I only use Meguiar’s products and they have a great website to answer any questions you may have about car care. I’m using Gold Class wax. It’s ok to wax a new car immediately as new car parts are cured at higher temperatures than you could use on an assembled, finished vehicle. Meguiar’s recommends waxing four times a year, so I will log this in the service record along with oil changes, etc. If you’re the least bit anal retentive (does that have a hyphen?), you’ll want to buy a car from me. Included will be mountains of paperwork documenting every service item and expenditure.
Waxing is done in a clockwise rotation. Should I move to Australia, I will change to counter-clockwise. I have no explanation for this, except it just feels right. Which it should, I’m going to the right.
I notice some crows flying overhead. Are they cawing their approval of the color? Or merely noting: Fresh Target Sector 8?
Tomorrow: Showing off at work!
Thursday, October 27, 2005
EU: When it comes to feta, the Greeks stand alone
By Raf Casert
Published October 26, 2005
BRUSSELS -- The European Union's highest court finally settled the fate of feta cheese Tuesday, decreeing it a traditional Greek product deserving protection throughout the 25-nation bloc in a ruling that went against other European producers.
Thank goodness the EU court spent years researching this issue. I’d hate for them to be plotting world domination by unifying currency or something.
Germany and Denmark, backed by France and Britain, had challenged the designation of origin for the salty, crumbly cheese and turned it into a gastronomic fight lasting almost two decades and involving lobbyists, the European Commission and, finally, the European Court of Justice.
When’s the last time this crew agreed on anything? See why I’m uneasy about this whole ‘union’ thing? Waste all the time learning Spanish you want, I still feel Germanic languages are the way to go.
"The court upholds the name `feta' as a protected designation of origin for Greece," the Luxembourg-based court said in its ruling.
Monaco lose the coin-toss to host court?
Danish and German producers had hoped to be able to continue producing such cheese and call it feta to maintain the product's marketability. They argued that what made feta specific was the technique of making it, not the geographical origin.
See also “Big Champagne Fuss”
"Our efforts have been crowned by success. The European Court issued a historic decision, declaring finally and irrevocably that the feta is not for common usage and is exclusively Greek," a jubilant Greek Agriculture Minister Evangelos Basiakos said.
And to think I’ve been duped by inferior imposters!
Danish producers were outraged.
That’s just them.
"The ruling is grotesque and political," said Hans Bender of the Danish Dairy Board. "What will be next? Will the Italians demand that pizza become a protected product that no one can make?"
Grotesque and Political? So’s our current administration. What’s your point?
Name changes, though, will be inevitable.
Fake-A? I Can’t believe it’s Not Feta? Vel-Feta? Feta-Whiz?
"Our feta production will continue. However, we will sell under other names," said Astrid Gade Nielsen, spokeswoman for Arla Foods, a Danish company that produces 25,000 tons of the cheese a year.
What does Wisconsin produce? Do they do Feta? Green Baya?
When the European Commission gave feta its protected designation of origin in 2002, it argued that natural, geographic and human factors had combined to give the cheese its specific Greek character. It said the extensive grazing of special ewes and goats on Greek terrain gave the cheese its specific aroma and flavor.
By any other name, it still stinks as bad…
And don’t get me started on the Special Ewes and Goats.
I can tell you one thing – You won’t see me sneaking that Danish stuff on the same plate as genuine around Mr. Right! Because he can tell the difference, Right?
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
It's almost Halloween! I best get busy making the Taffy-Onions for the neighborhood kiddies. The looks on their little faces is just priceless! Of course, there haven't been many brats back to my place after the big raw broccoli giveaway of 2000, but it never hurts to be prepared.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Not like I'm bemoaning the fact that I didn't get to sit outside in 48 degree rain, it's just a general statement of longing to see a Chicago baseball team get a grand slam in in a series game. Love those fireworks!
They are losing badly right now. Not like I'm worried. It's all rigged. Designed to get the maximum advertising dollar from the consumer. Remember how the Bulls won their later championships on the road after there were disturbances in Chicago after wins? Just a coincidence? Yeah, right.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Nice to know the US Cellular field is under a tight security watch during the World Series. Unlike poor Meigs Field when da mayor tore it up. Can’t help but think the Sox are participating due to a marker Daley has called in…
I have to take just a second to explain I will be working extra the next two weeks and will have to reduce posts somewhat. Expect expanded coverage after that, as the weather here is horrible and I’ll have more time to devote to writing.
Saw a magazine article about the “Sexiest Cars of 2006” and the Corvette wasn’t even on the list! Heretics. The Z06 is one of the most awesome cars ever made. Instead they put the Mazda Miata on the list. Popular? Good Value? Slight restyle? Yes, but all can be said of the Corvette. But really now, which would you rather show up to your High School Class Reunion in? Have a soul, people.
Compelled to mention how awful the book The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd is. (You may recall her debut The Secret Life of Bees was also reviewed on this site). This smarmy romance is making me sick. Is this what passes for literature these days? Do women really want to read this crap?
It’s a Harlequin romance by a writer too talented to be wasting her time with a story about a bored middle-age housewife who doesn’t know what to do with herself now that her only child is in college. Despite her wonderful, perfect husband who adores her, the woman falls in love at first sight with another man. A monk. Who conveniently lost his wife and child in a horrible accident, and, what do you know? He falls madly in love with her at first sight as well. Yeah, right.
At least the Thorn Birds had some sweeping multi-generational exotic locale plot lines. That book I enjoyed. Mermaid is reminding me of two other very popular romance novels I absolutely hated: The Horse Whisperer and The Bridges of Madison County. If this is what sells, it’s no wonder I haven’t been flooded with book offers.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I love studying ancient civilizations. Ever wonder what it would have been like to live in times of emperors and gods? Hey, wait a minute!
Hmmm... Let's see...a highly cultured city wiped out forever because they ignored the little pieces of lava raining for hours beforehand...
Villa of Papyrl
What do you mean, I can't take my dog?
Is this where I'm supposed to catch the FEMA bus?
Nero and Pliny the Younger deciding what to tell Tacitus
Monday, October 17, 2005
My kind of place! Finally. A hotel worthy of my tourism dollars. Where's my passport?
Hotel plans to ban kids
LINZ, Austria (AP) - An Austrian hotelier has come under fire for his plan to ban children under 12 from his inn starting next spring because they disturb his adult guests, although dogs are welcome guests.
Roland Ballner, who runs the Hotel Cortisan on the shores of the picturesque Wolfgangsee in the province of Upper Austria, announced Thursday that he will only take in guests older than age 12 beginning May 1.
Ballner justified his unusual decree, saying young children were running around the hotel and grounds screaming and marking walls and new furniture with felt pens.
But his decision was condemned by regional officials, who said it would give the area a bad reputation, and by Sepp Schellhorn, the head of the Austrian Hotel Association, who called it excessive.
Ballner said he's convinced he'll still make money by refusing to let youngsters check in. Adults are welcome to bring their dogs, he added.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Town gets family on feet
Down on their luck before Katrina, a Louisiana couple and their kids start over with help from Local Area
There's a chocolate cake on the kitchen table, a mini-van in the driveway and a new computer whirring in the corner of a four-bedroom cabin--all of it provided for free.
A) I’m getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from this story already!
B) I’d really like a new computer myself, but I’m too busy paying for heat.
Even as Name Withheld describes his recent good fortune since fleeing the devastation in New Orleans, two volunteers are installing windows on his new home.
A) Isn’t it wonderful how Americans all pull together?
B) Wish I could get some of that cheap evacuee labor to wash a few windows around here…
For the former felon from Louisiana, his wife and four children, life--so far at least--has turned out pretty well in the northwest suburbs, where they have become the self-proclaimed "hurricane family of Local Area."
A) How beautiful! A deserving family getting a fresh start.
B) Apparently law abiding citizens don’t rate articles or TV shows, isn’t that right, Martha?
"We go out to dinner, and people recognize us," said Name Withheld, 32. "They pick up the tab. It's unbelievable."
A) I’d do the same.
B) I’d be afraid if we went out to dinner and people recognized me, they’d spit in the food.
A little more than a month ago, Name Withheld, his pregnant wife and children were crammed into a rented three-bedroom trailer, tucked in the woods on the outskirts of Slidell, a New Orleans suburb. He said they were living "paycheck to paycheck."
A) Those poor babies!
B) Who told them to have all those kids?
Then Hurricane Katrina hit in late August, battering Name Witheld's mobile home to pieces. Trees crashed through the roof and smashed the bedrooms. The family's banged-up 1995 Dodge Dakota was wrecked. After staying in motels and with relatives, they were picked up by Name Withheld’s uncle, who lives in Local Area and drove 16 hours one way to retrieve them.
A) I’d do that for a family member.
B) I’d drive 16 hours to avoid a family member.
Although the killer storm wreaked havoc throughout the Gulf Coast, claiming more than 1,000 lives and destroying livelihoods, it afforded Name Withheld and his family, he said, the opportunity to start over with new stability, new comforts and the support of a whole town.
A) I’m sure they will make the most of this chance and prove worthy of our trust.
B) Oh, are they gonna screw this up…
The most recent chapter in Name Witheld's life has been provided largely by Local Area's residents. For starters, the home at YMCA Camp Local Area has been provided gratis for at least the next year.
A) Our community is so generous!
B) Tell that to the guy who has lived under the local bridge for years.
"The whole community has pulled together to help them out," said Community Pillar, a volunteer and regional director for the Local Area Jaycees Association. "It's been remarkable to see so many people together. The cabin was in rough shape. Now it is a home."
A) Bet they give it to another needy family when they are done.
B) Let’s see what kind of shape it is in after the year is up.
Unemployed for the last six months in Louisiana, Name Withheld was given a job at a local heating and air-conditioning company. He received a cell phone and a Plymouth mini-van with insurance. The family even has a computer with Internet access, a "luxury" Name Withheld said he has never had before.
A) He’ll use it to look for a job.
B) Think he’ll Google himself and find this blog? I know, I’ll remove all names.
The unexpected opportunities created by the hurricane have given Name Withheld the chance to put his troubled past behind him and start fresh, he said.
A) It’s so great to offer someone a fresh start.
B) Guess Barbara Bush was right.
"I needed something stable, and now I have long-term prospects," he said on a recent afternoon. "This is my chance."
A) You Go, Name Withheld!
B) NIMBY, NIMBY, NIMBY
The new lifestyle is a stark contrast to the one they left as the hurricane bore down on Slidell, about 30 miles northeast of New Orleans, one of the hardest-hit communities.
The family was receiving food stamps and other aid. Name Withheld said he foolishly had quit his job as an assistant manager at a fast-food chicken chain six months earlier. He had worked there on and off for 15 years and said he wanted to try heating and air-conditioning work.
A) What an incredible outpouring of support, the way he was offered a job in the field he wished to pursue.
B) Um, excuse me? If a hurricane blew away my house, would anyone offer me my dream job? I think not. I’d be waiting tables and working at Merry Maids.
Name Withheld said he loves Louisiana but won't miss what he left behind. Over the years, he has had at least three criminal convictions for offenses that include theft, assault and forgery, he said. A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Corrections said Name Withheld was released from probation in 2004, five years after pleading guilty to theft. He did not serve prison time.
A) Anyone can make a few mistakes.
B) Is there going to be a follow up to this story in a year?
As Name Withheld started his new job Monday, Camp Local Area is getting ready to house four more evacuee families this month, director Helping Hand said. Volunteers at the 118-acre camp, located on property owned by the Local Area Conservation District, are refurbishing a large cabin to accommodate the additional families.
A) We have the resources to help so many more. Helping feels good.
B) Hellooooo…you there, under the bridge. Still hungry?
"This is not a shelter," Helpind Hand said. "This is their new home. It's a new beginning for them."
The outpouring from the community has been remarkable.
A) I’m so proud of everyone.
B) Perhaps we’re putting a little too much pressure on these poor folks? Perhaps they feel uncomfortable being pet causes?
More than 400 volunteers, including electricians and plumbers, chipped in to prepare the cabins and provide supplies, ranging from food and toiletries to toys and a television.
Local Businessman, owner of Custom Heating and Air, installed heating systems and air filters in the cabins. He also gave Name Withheld a job.
"The door is wide open for them," L.B. said. "The whole community is helping out."
The donated goods take up nearly all the space in a separate camp cabin. Crates of clothes are stacked nearly 5 feet high in a room that resembles a "mini-mall," as Helping Hand called it.
The pantry holds more than 50 cans of pineapple chunks, peas, pears--all stacked ceiling high. A local company is donating a cow to be butchered, H.H. said.
The outpouring of help has made Name Witheld's decision to stay an easy one, he said.
His children One, 9, Two, 6, and Three, 4 are attending local public schools and preschool. His wife, Mrs. Name Withheld, is caring for their newborn, Four.
The place already feels like home, he said.
A) Tell all your friends!
B) Just be glad I wasn’t a Supreme Court nominee.
But still, "nobody knows who cries behind closed doors," Name Withheld said. "It's tough. But we are putting a smile on our face. And we are very thankful."
A) We know you are.
B) Just live up to it, ok? (But no pressure, really)
All A’s: How did you stumble into this site? It’s much too coarse for your delicate sensibilities. Please remove any cookies from your browser and lie down in a darkened room for a few hours.
Mostly A’s: Do you know me? Or did someone else refer you here? You are much too kind to be reading this site. Go back to Cutepuppydog.com while you can.
Mostly B’s: A regular reader, right? I’m saying the things you don’t dare. You secretly admire me.
All B’s: Call me! I have a few world-domination theories I bet you’d like to discuss…
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
unwanted pets loose into the wild is a bad idea?
As usual, the invader is decimating local wildlife populations, not tourists. Darn.
Hmmm. Seems a local library is seeking to attract more male patrons.
...Library staff members are looking for a few good men.
To help library officials with the process, the library has been awarded a $38,500 grant to buy materials and conduct programs that would draw more men and boys into the library. The Illinois Secretary of State's Library Services and Technology Act awarded the grant, reference librarian Martha Hansen said.
Only 25 percent of library patrons are male, Hansen said, and less than 50 percent of cards issued are to males. Hansen said the library planned to buy more items geared toward men and boys, such as graphic novels and anime films. Possible programs the library is considering include an antique-car show, a visit from an athlete,and a men's book club. Plans also are in the works to form a men's advisory council.
"We want to focus on our male clients and put in library materials they'd be interested in checking out," she said. Hansen said the library also would need volunteers to help with the planning because 98 percent of the staff is female.
$1500 Graphic Novels
$1500 Anime DVDs
$500 Orange Short-Shorts (Staff Uniforms)
$35,000 Plastic Surgery for staff, so they get ‘checked out’
Result: Only the male librarian gets wait listed