Saturday, June 30, 2007

Liberal Quiz

My Liberal Identity:

You are a New Left Hipster, also known as a liberal, a Netroots activist, or a Daily Show fanatic. You believe that if we really want to defend American values, conservatives must be exposed, mocked, and assailed for every fanatical, puritanical, warmongering, Constitution-shredding ideal for which they stand.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Taste 'O Turtle

After a 12-year hiatus -- not counting two appearances a few years back -- the dish made famous by the South Loop restaurant Binyon's will once again rear its head at Taste of Chicago.

"It's a Chicago tradition, like shrimp de Jonghe and chicken Vesuvio," said Donnie Kruse, BB's co-owner, who is gearing up to sell 50 gallons of turtle soup a day. "

Now after reading a few articles like the above, I wanted to know what type and where exactly these poor little turtles were coming from. So I called BB's.

A very young gal asked a server, who told her the turtles were farm-raised.

Now far be it from me to say terrapins aren't tasty, (they are. I'm hideous. I admit it) but I did want to be ecologically sensitive.

Turns out there are several large U.S. turtle farms in places like Oklahoma and Louisiana. Unfortunately, there is still plenty of wild collecting going on in Texas and other states. Read a great article about how the U.S. is exporting the delicacy to China. (Hope they get salmonella.)

China has overharvested turtles from all of Asia and is now seeking our surplus. Unfortunately, farming any type of seafood is fraught with negatives - disease within the colony, potential for farm stock to escape and infect wild populations, and the dreaded 'doesn't taste as good' factor.

But let's all give BB's the benefit of the doubt. I don't know how many tickets a taste o' turtle will cost you, but be sure to ask the server about the type and source of the meat. An informed consumer will drive the market.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shop Til You Drop

So I stop at Evil – Mart on the way home tonight…Is it just me or are they trying to send a subliminal message by putting the cat food next to the tampons? I should have then checked to see if the beer was next to the frozen pizza.

I go to check out and waltz right up to the “Twenty Items or Less” lane. I figure, if they don’t know grammar, what are the chances they know arithmetic? I mean, what will happen if I have 22 items? Will the register freeze up at exactly twenty? A big horn go off? Red flashing lights?

The check out man (greying, 15 year pin, so I know whence I speak) asks to see my credit card. “Would you like to see my ID?” I offer, pleased he cares. “No,” he says, squinting at the signature box to check if I could write just like the card I had stolen.

Having passed my art test, I was released to the parking lot. A cheery lady thanked me for coming. She’s still got a job. All those Union Textile workers who lost their jobs when China was the low-bid for the 4th of July T-Shirts in aisle 6 don’t.

Yes, I’m part of the problem. Shame on me. But you should see the really cute melon sweater I got for only $4.50! 5% angora and 2% cashmere. The other synthetic fibers probably cause cancer, but hey, $4.50! Whoohoo!

(Freaky - I was too lazy to photograph the sweater myself, so I just did a Google Image search for Melon Sweater, and the fifth choice was the exact item - from their website! So I stole it. I foresee a showdown where Google and Wal-Mart have each amassed all the data they possibly could and are suing each other to gain sole control of all the information in the other's databank in hopes of ruling the universe...)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mr. Dead!

Please, please, shoot me before I pay some vanity press to self-publish my work. It just isn't pretty.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane!

Just when I thought there was no place worth emigrating to, comes word from former east-bloc city Karstaedt, Germany, that more than 2,000 schools in eastern Germany have closed due to falling birth rates.

For the last three decades, birthrates in Germany have lingered at 1.37 children per woman, one of the lowest in the world and far below the 2.1 figure that is seen as the benchmark for stable population growth. In eastern Germany, however, the birthrate plummeted to 0.77 in the years after reunification, the lowest level ever recorded.

Whoo-hoo! I’m moving there for some peace and quiet!

Now, of course, the silver lining comes shrouded by a cloud. Seems all the slacker young men of the area have stayed behind at the Mom Hotel while their bright young female counterparts have long since fled.

Roving packs of losers concern me, but the lure of an agricultural area being reclaimed by wildlife sings its siren song!

Elsewhere in Brandenburg, as the human population recedes, the animal kingdom is recovering lost territory. The crane and the white-tailed eagle have reappeared, and wolves, absent for more than a century, now roam the forests of Brandenburg and eastern Saxony.

"Unlike the people in this area," the Berlin Institute study notes, "the wolves have enough offspring that their future existence is guaranteed."

Haiku – Doku

Pen poised for action,
Digits menace within grid;
Inky Doku win!

Don’t Link to This!

"Make each chapter no longer than four pages, the average American has A.D.D."

Just wasted 400-plus pages of my life reading The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry. I don’t want to say the book was bad, just very, very average.

Now, Berry has written these little historical adventure-mysteries before, so I can’t blame him. I blame editors that jump on the “if you liked the Da Vinci Code, you’ll love this!” bandwagon. I mean, how many “the world would explode in a power keg if this religious tidbit got out!” stories can the public stomach?

And to the reviewers who claimed AL was a ‘more literary rendition’, I say, no! It wasn’t! It wasn’t any better written, and certainly had just as little character development. Even I figured out on page 84 the watch was a transmitter. C’mon!

Okay, so I didn’t get as upset as Orson Scott Card did. I didn’t take the politics quite that seriously. That’s not my axe to grind here. I just want to say no matter how many biblical bombshells you drop, it won’t make one iota of difference. Faith is belief in the presence of proof to the contrary! Jesus married? A father? Oh, no. The shroud of Turin a fake? Absolutely not. Joseph Smith a nutcase? L. Ron Hubbard a huckster? Oh, no.

So who cares where the promised land is? All I know is where the fighting is, and that’s everywhere. Because hate has no boundaries. And I don’t have Steve Barry’s agent, so my loss.

In the “Well, at least that book HAD a plot” department: I also read Remainder by Tom McCarthy.

Anyone who would care to explain the book to me, please feel free. Am I some kind of intellectual dwarf who didn’t get that it was “A masterpiece waiting to happen – again and again and again” as 3 AM Magazine said on the back cover? Or do I just like to feel something I’ve read is more than a creative writing assignment? Is this what is known as an ‘experimental novel’? If so, please don’t experiment on me.

This would have made a better short story. As a novel, it was tedious. The writing was good, but I knew it was somehow not going to ‘pay off’ in way I would appreciate; so I found myself skimming pages, bored with the narrator’s obsession. Or mental illness. Or genius. Or whatever.

At some point McCarthy just lost me. I stopped caring, began just flying ahead to get to some ‘shocker’ ending… He’s dreaming – He’s dead – He’s in a coma – He’s a woman…

Silly me. I won’t attempt a novel because I have ‘nothing to say’. I don’t have a beginning, middle and an end. I don’t have plausible characters with rich inner lives and disturbing pasts. No uncanny perception as to the intimate thoughts of a hit man, homeless woman or ten-year-old abuse victim. So I sit silently. Blogging, as that is the only format I ‘know’ – the diary. The personal observation. (Received Leaves of Grass as a gift – took me a whole ten seconds to figure out why that’s the perfect tome for the self-centered writer)

How wrong I am. All I need is a typewriter and the fortitude to produce 200 pages. Let some editor decide how they should be collated. If my first book sells, I won’t even need an editor any more. Worked for Joseph Heller and Naked Lunch guy.
Why not me?

If I Were Bill Gates

Thanks, Doug!

Hey, kids, time for another episode of “If I Were the Richest Person on The Planet”!

As you may recall from past installments, I’d have the dinosaur Sue in my foyer, and a 1967 Sting Ray convertible on a mirrored turntable in my Florida Room overlooking my gardens.

To that, I’d like to add, “
purchase large swaths of Chile and Argentina”*.

Thank God Douglas Tompkins thinks the way I do! The founder of North Face and Esprit clothing was recently quoted as saying he is trying to save the planet by buying bits of it and protecting it from development!

Jose Luis Niella, a Catholic priest and social activist, said many poor people no longer have access to lands where ancestors lived freely for generations. "It's not fair for him to be concerned only with protecting the environment," Niella said.

Oh, Boo-Hoo. Yes, it is ok. He's not prohibiting human birth control, your church is. Let's have some more wildlife preserves. We already have too many cities.

My hero!!! You go, Tompkins! Save that rainforest! A special you “Got A Life” award to you! Oooh, I know. The “I Got A Life” Lifetime Achievement Award!

Thank you, Doug Thompkins. Now, can I interest you in some vacant farmland behind my property? It really needs protection!

*Be sure to check out the conspiracy theory!

Part of the Solution

Here’s a great article about how some doctors are creating ‘micropractices’.

The concept is simple: the doctor greatly limits patient load and has no nurse, receptionist, insurance specialist, office manager, nurse’s aid, or answering service. These practitioners have sacrificed a little income for greater sanity – and patient satisfaction. I think this is an encouraging trend, and I hope to see more of it.

Right now our country is asking, “Why don’t we have Universal Health Insurance?” As usual, we are asking the wrong question. We should be asking, “Why is insurance needed to see a doctor?”

The billion-dollar insurance industry doesn’t want you asking this question.

So, if you hear a story about how I bled to death by the side of the road because some ambulance driver refused me service because my insurance card could not be ‘located’, you’ll know it was a cover-up. They WANT me dead. I have an insurance card in my wallet. Really.

However, Michael Moore, whose new documentary Sicko was just screened at Cannes, had something of interest to say in June first’s Entertainment Weekly.

When asked, “What do you say to the Canadian and French people who claim you paint a far-too-positive picture of their health-care system?”, Moore replied, “Wanna switch systems? The answer is always no…”

That’s the best reply I’ve ever heard to my concerns. But sorry, I still don’t support socialized medicine.

Moore somehow feels we could set up a system that recognizes their shortcomings and fixes them. Possible? Certainly. The probability of the United States getting it right? Absolutely zero.

That’s why we need the Michael Moores of the world. Perhaps he is truly an idealist. Wants to make things better. Or, maybe, just maybe, like me… he knows this country is going to crash and burn, and just wants to be able to say I TOLD YOU SO.

I Demand a Recount!

See? Not funny.

Hey, kids! It’s time for another edition of “Well…(I never)!” the journal of righteous indignation.

The Oxygen network aired a special entitled: ’50 Funniest Women Alive’ this past weekend. What ranking did I get? None! Nada. Zip. Not even honorable mention!! Exactly who did the ‘voting’ here was never explained.

I agree with
JoAnne Weintraub of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who noted some of the omissions were amazing:

Are the list-makers ignorant of Helen Hunt, Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, Betty White, Bea Arthur, Cloris Leachman, Carol Kane, Shelley Long, Penny Marshall, Julie Kavner, Jane Curtin, Nora Dunn, Jan Hooks, Ana Gasteyer, Cheri Oteri and Andrea Martin?

What are Janeane Garofalo, Jennifer Saunders, Sandra Bernhard, Kathy Najimy and Carrie Fisher - chopped liver?

So, at least I don’t have to lick my wounds alone. But the worst travesty of the whole two hours was giving Kelly Ripa #6!!!!!!!!!!

Are they nuts? Did she finance this whole show? She was the host! And she stunk!!! Do you mean to tell me someone genuinely funny could not be found? I hate that fake!! Or, as this blonde wrote, She is just a bad name to all blonde's out there. (sic)

I’m funnier during a root canal than she is on TV. Or real life. Or during a bomb scare. Or at a funeral…

I got screwed. And that’s not funny.

BTW: When is someone going to create a fansite for me? I mean, other than this one?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Real Women Set the Pace

My Next Car

No, really. There's a raffle. I'm on a winning streak. Why not?

Oh, Come On!!

ALMONT TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A former Wal-Mart cashier says he was fired for joking on his MySpace page that the average IQ would increase if a bomb were dropped on the company's stores.

David Noordewier said he was fired Feb. 27 for posting the message, which he said was a joke and not a threat.

"I told them that this was crazy," Noordewier told The Flint Journal. "It's not like I have a fighter jet in my backyard to drop a bomb with. Then they escorted me out to the parking lot."

Noordewier said store officials had him sign an acknowledgment that he was fired for "gross misconduct -- integrity issue."

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kory Lundberg confirmed that Noordewier no longer worked for the company but would not discuss why.

Unemployment officials said Noordewier did not qualify for benefits because he had made a threat.

Noordewier had a near-perfect work attendance record and once received a personal thank-you letter from the company president over compliments from a customer he once helped.

He said he thinks a co-worker disliked him and pointed the MySpace page out to his boss."If you have a MySpace site, you better act like you're a politician," he said. "Be politically correct and don't try to be funny."

Oh, and in a totally unrelated (yeah, right) story, Dell computers just cut 10% of its workforce. Right after announcing they were partnering with Wal-Mart to distribute their wares. Coincidence? I think not!

Does Bill Nye Have an Alibi?

Don Herbert


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Am I the Only One?

Paris Hilton
has decided not to appeal her 45 day jail sentence, of which she'll probably serve less than half.

Personally, I'd love thirty days of solitary, if I could have as many books as I liked. People get on my nerves, big time. And I have so much reading to catch up on! Classics, things loaned to me by friends, tons of stuff!

Also, the heiress claims to have found God. I had no idea He frequented LA night clubs!

"God sent her to jail as part of a plan, she said, explaining her epiphany. "

Even God hates Auto Abusers. Let that be a lesson, ladies...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Right Show, Wrong Celebrities

ABC has a new reality show, "Fast Cars and Super Stars":

Twelve celebrities -- including extreme skateboarder Tony Hawk, daredevil surfer Laird Hamilton and tennis diva Serena Williams -- trained with NASCAR drivers before competing in time-trial races at the Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C.

This is all well and good, but regular readers know my pet peeve is billionaires without the common sense to learn to drive their super cars properly - and sober. So I'd like to see Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Nicole Richie learn to drive on a closed track.

Oh, wait, let's not even have them start out with real cars.

They need to work up to that...

You Go, Girl!

Rags to Riches became the first filly in 102 years to win the Belmont Stakes this Saturday, and only the tenth filly ever to win a triple crown race.

Sired by A.P. Indy, her paternal sire was Seattle Slew, and she also counts Secretariat as an ancestor, so she had my support right there.

I win again!! Yay!

Al said I should buy dinner with my winnings. No problem, the Stakes winner buys the steaks... until I saw how much they were. I asked Al if we could please buy the loser instead.

Now for the "Coincidence? I think not..." department:

Later that evening, the TV movie of the week was "Ruffian", a dramatization of the world's greatest filly. It was billed as a 'family event'. Excuse me? She dies!! What's so heartwarming about that? The family that sobs together stays together? What next? Cujo: the Story of a Boy and His Dog?

I spoke to a few girlfriends that day, and they didn't even want to watch the movie! They were still traumatized by seeing it on live TV years ago. This has to be the greatest tragedy ever in sport. So, armed with about three boxes of Kleenex, I settled in to watch the show.

First off, was Ruffian played by a male horse? Sure looked that way in a few scenes!! I mean, couldn't they find another female that looked like her? Or were they trying to represent her unusually large (for a filly) size?

The movie was OK, but I didn't cry, so it couldn't have been too good. The part where they put the little inflatable cast on her leg really brought back the memories, though. It also showed them burying her in the infield of Belmont track. The whole horse! Not cremated. I didn't expect that. Very sad. Guess she's out to pasture with Barbaro now.

Am I the Only One?

...Buying gas by the quarter-tank, so it doesn't hurt quite so much?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wish I'd Said That

"During last night's Democratic debate, all the candidates said that if they were elected, they would get rid of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for gay soldiers. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will be replaced by the new policy, 'Don't Tell Me You're Wearing Those Boots With That Gun.'" --Conan O'Brien

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Testy Trivia

I listen to a local radio station every morning.

Martha hates this station, because they don't do any actual reporting, they just have a deal with a local newspaper to read off a headline or two, and half the time they can't even do that right. (And allow me to mention that this local paper they are quoting will go down in history as the Politically Correct Rag that created a headline telling everyone it was the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb by the 'Enola Homosexual'.)

Anyhoo, they get the weather and traffic correct about 70% of the time, so I tune in. Each weekday they have a silly trivia question where they state some poll or statistic, and have listeners call in to win a prize. Today's question was, "What takes 25 minutes on average?"

Several callers guessed how long a piece of gum is chewed, or a phone call, etc.

The winner correctly guessed "How long an argument with your significant other lasts."

Twenty-five measly minutes? Are they nuts? What kind of amateurs were polled? Twenty-five minutes? I'm not even warmed up at that point. I haven't even made my point... and I do have one. And it's a doozy...

What about long, three-day silences? Do they count? I know they're the happiest days of Al's life.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Take My Life...Please!

A funny thing happened on the way to the electric chair...

LIVINGSTON, TEXAS -- Convicted murderer Patrick Knight is collecting jokes and will pick the funniest for his last statement before his execution June 26.

He was condemned for shooting his neighbors, Walter and Mary Werner, to death almost 16 years ago outside Amarillo.

Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson said, "This tells you a little bit about the guy's character, anyway." Richardson was chief deputy at the time of the Werners' killings and plans to witness Knight's execution.

Knight concedes there's nothing funny about his execution."I'm not trying to disrespect the Werners or anything like that," he said from Death Row.

He's had about 250 wisecracks mailed to him or e-mailed from a friend who has a Web site for him.

Stop, you're killing me!

To see more "last words" from Texas inmates, click here. Love the guy who said, "Howdy." Bet you never even knew there was a website, eh?

Thanks to Kane Citizen for the link!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sad But True

This is probably the hardest post I've ever had to write. (Deep Breath)

OK, here goes:

The book Ant Farm by Simon Rich gets an A.

My blog wishes it were that funny.

Sorry. That was just really difficult for me to admit. I have to go lie down now. Maybe I'll think of something funny to say ... tomorrow.