Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't Read This

Step to the Graveyard Easy Step to the Graveyard Easy by Bill Pronzini

My review

rating: 1 of 5 stars
My first clue that I would not like this book should have been the playing cards on the cover. However, as my ten year old daughter reminded me, "Don't judge a book by its cover." So I gave Step to the Graveyard Easy a fair shot. The first sentence was a grabber and also the only interesting sentence in the least through chapter eight. There is not much character development and the plot is boring.

I was hoping to have come across a unique story when I checked this book out yesterday but I think I will move on to another story that holds my interest. I may give this one another shot if I finish the other book before their due date but don't hold your breath.

View all my reviews.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eat This

Fudgy Low-Fat Brownies

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave set to 50 percent power. For a truly fudgy consistency, don't overbake the brownies; as soon as a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with sticky crumbs attached, the brownies are done. If the toothpick emerges with no crumbs, the brownies will be cakey.

Makes 16 brownies 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 cup sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Fold two 12-inch pieces foil lengthwise so each measures 7 inches wide. Fit 1 sheet into 8-inch-square baking dish, pushing foil into corners and up sides of pan (overhang will help in removal of brownies). Repeat with second sheet, placing in pan perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil with cooking spray.

2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Melt bittersweet chocolate and butter in large bowl until smooth . Cool 2 to 3 minutes, then whisk in sour cream, chocolate syrup, vanilla, egg, egg white, and sugar. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into chocolate mixture until combined.

3. Pour batter into pan, spread into corners, and level surface with spatula. Bake until slightly puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few sticky crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool brownies completely in pan on wire rack, at least 1 hour. Remove brownies from pan using foil handles. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. To keep brownies moist, do not cut until ready to serve. (Brownies can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for 3 days.)

(Thanks to America's Test Kitchen for this recipe.)


Monday, July 28, 2008

Visit This

I stumbled upon this blog through random clicking. It is quite funny at times and a little pompous at other times.

Funny or pompous, it's usually always entertaining.

Click: Photoshop Disasters


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Got Scam?

I am fairly certain someone tried to scam me tonight. Or I let someone down who may have been in dire need of my help. I'm pretty sure it was the former rather than the latter.

I received a phone call from a recording earlier. You remember back in the day, before cell phones, when there was an emergency you ran to a pay phone and called collect if you didn't have a quarter? This recording said someone was calling me collect. It went something like this...

"Hello. Big-long-pause-for-someone-to-say-their-name-but-nobody-says-anything is trying to phone you collect. Unfortunately, your phone service does not accept collect phone calls. In order for you to accept this call you must immediately enter your credit card number..."

I flipped my phone shut at that point so I am not sure what else Recording Lady was going to say. But then I thought, "Oh gosh! What if I did hang up on someone in an emergency?" So I phoned Jeff, asked him if he tried to call collect. He laughed because no one makes collect calls anymore. This is the cell phone age for crying out loud! Even my twelve year old has a cell phone.

I am sure I avoided certain disaster by hanging up and not falling for it. Sadly, people apparently DO fall for it or people wouldn't be trying it. Now I am left wondering how they got my cell number.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Don't Forget...

...about Visually Inspired Life. I will be adding new photos soon. There is also a video you gotta check out. :)

Ask me for access if you don't already have it.


McCain’s Eight Most Inappropriate Jokes

This is a blog of a blog of a blog of a know how it goes...
There are many, many blogs out there about Obama, most of them untrue exaggerations constructed to play on the fears of American's. So I figured that one about McCain wouldn't be so bad.

8. Wife Beating Joke

In a June, 2008 interview with ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, McCain was asked why he had passed over Nevada's Republican Governor Jim Gibbons when choosing his state campaign chair (traditionally, the first choice if the governor and the presidential nominee are members of the same party). McCain explained that he had a longstanding relationship with the state's lieutenant governor, and that his choice was not a snub of any kind. Pressing the subject, Tapper asked whether McCain had passed over Gibbons as a result of the governor's relatively low approval ratings.

"And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago," McCain laughed.

The reference is to what Tapper refers to as a "distasteful bit of DC yuckery so commonly quoted its hackneyed."

Despite the widespread news stories on it in Nevada, it's possible that McCain hadn't heard about Gibbons' recent high-profile divorce, stemming from multiple charges of infidelity. Moreover, a cocktail waitress accused Gibbons of grabbing and threatening her with sexual assault in a parking garage.

In Tapper's words: "Awkward."

7. Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran

Probably one of the most publicized instances of McCain's attempts at humor is his infamous rendition of the Beach Boys classic, "Barbara Ann." When asked what he would do about Iran, McCain broke into song, but substituted "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" in place of the name of the female subject of the song.

McCain defended his quip amid a vocal outcry, telling detractors to, "get a life." Criticism abounded, alleging that McCain's failure to treat the prospect of military action- especially in the midst of two ongoing wars- was indicative of a callous and bellicose approach to foreign policy.

6. Waterboarding Charlie Crist

When Rudy Giuliani made his own attempt at humor, comparing the presidential race to torture, McCain- a torture victim himself- was outraged. And yet, McCain has made a few jokes of his own on the matter.

In late January of 2008, reporters asked Florida Governor Charlie Crist if McCain had pressured him for his endorsement. A nearby McCain interjected, "It was just waterboarding."

McCain's joke, while off-color, might not have been the most inappropriate, especially when compared to some of his other ones. But what makes it worse for the candidate is that it was he who was the first to condemn similar remarks from his opponents.

5. Waterboarding His Staff

About a month later, The New Yorker reported that McCain made the joke again. His presidential hopes apparently derailed, a number of his staff had abandoned the campaign, only to be brought back when McCain reemerged as the Republican front-runner. He joked that he conducted "a short period of waterboarding to find out what they did in their absence."

4. The French

In an interview with Fox News, McCain aimed his ill-fated humor at our allies, the French. "You know," he began, "the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it." This is a country that is heavily involved in the Afghan conflict. McCain's questionable comments raised some a measured ruckus in both foreign and domestic circles, calling the Senator's diplomatic skills into question.

3. IED on Jon Stewart's Desk

Given, The Daily Show is satirical. But when McCain appeared on Jon Stewart's hit series most recently, he joked that he'd brought Stewart an improvised explosive device as a gift from Iraq.

The problem: more than 1,700 US soldiers in Iraq have been killed by IEDs, accounting for more than one-third of all US casualties since the 2003 invasion. His comments were called, "insensitive" and "inappropriate" by a wide range of critics.

2. The Death of Fidel Castro

The Cold War- particularly the tension with Cuba- spanned six presidencies- those of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Not one of them ever joked about Fidel Castro dying. John McCain did.

In February of 2008, McCain told a town hall in Indiana, "I hope he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon."

Current president George W. Bush made no jokes about the death of Saddam Hussein, and in fact encouraged respectful treatment of the situation by others. Why? Because to do otherwise would have been unbecoming of a statesman.

1. 18 Year Old Chelsea Clinton

McCain has a legendary temper. When his wife teased that his hair was getting "a little thin," McCain fumed.
"At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollup, you c*nt!"

But for his own sensitivity, he's not one to restrain himself when it comes to dishing it out. In fact, he can be downright nasty.

In 1998, McCain was speaking before a GOP fundraiser in Washington, D.C. when he asked, "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father." The joke was wrong on so many levels- for it's offense to the Attorney General, for it's offense to the president and his wife. But most of all, for his attack on a eighteen year old girl.

Anyone who has a daughter can tell you that those middle teenage years can be tough. Girls at school can be vicious as it is. But when a national figure makes a predatory attack on a defenseless girl to further his own political causes, it's downright disgusting.

Bonus: McCain Jokes about Rape

In an appearance before the National League of Cities and Towns in Washington D.C.
, McCain supposedly asked the crowd if they had heard "the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die?"
The punch line: "When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, "Where is that marvelous ape?"


Tuesday, July 1, 2008


My uncle passed away June 16, 2008.
He was born October 16, 1944.
He was 63 years of age.

He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late February. In early March he had went through an extensive surgery to remove the cancer and see exactly how devastated his body was with the cancer. It was bad. Really bad. We were told his life would no longer be measured in years but months. Yet, none of us really let that sink in long enough to grasp what it meant. As the month of March ended and he was recovering from this major surgery the prognosis looked a little better, yet, months was still his measure of life.

It's July now, months have passed and for him that measure of months meant four. I won't go into the details of his last days. He worked hard to keep those days private between him and my dad. My dad moved in with him for his final days and I am positive that was as much for my dad as it was my uncle. My uncle did not want any of us to even know he was ill, let alone just how sick he became. However, the details do not matter, just that he died peacefully in his home Monday, June 16 at 3.

My uncle did not want a funeral. In fact, he made my dad promise not to spend any money on a funeral. He wanted as much of his money to go to my cousin as possible and even in death, he did not want anyone to make a big deal over him.

So we had a small, private gathering of close friends and family at my dad's house. And a local car cruise dedicated the night to his memory. (There are pictures on my photo blog of the cruise.) It was nice, really honored how he lived his life.

While cleaning out his house we truly get to see how interrupted his life really was. It is a difficult task going through someones things after they pass. You look at their things and wonder if that particular item was important to them or only important to your memory of them as you look for any kind of connection to salvage. You are flooded with tons of emotions--it's overwhelming, sad, sometimes funny, and usually always regret lingers...that last conversation, last hug, could have, should have, wish I would have...

We will be having an estate auction on the 19th. I wonder what it will feel like to close the door to his house forever. Relief? Great sadness? Both?

It has been months since my uncle's cancer diagnosis. Months since the world has made complete and total sense.