Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I moved...but I did leave a forwarding address

Last night, after months of fighting with Blogger, I finally got so frustrated that I plopped down $50 of my own hard-earned money for my own blog. Visit me soon...I'll be waiting!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Author offers a new take on Twain classic

How much do you know about 80s music?









You Scored 50% Correct


















You are a solid child of the 80s



You'd never confuse Tiffany from Debbie



And while you may not know Prince's first #1 hit



You know every word to Little Red Corvette




Sex advice from editorial assistants

The World According To Barbie

Confessions of a writer who didn't pen a memoir

Link - We all hope to do something worth writing about, even if it's just us doing the writing. (Hey, at least they are picking on the memoirists now too and not just the bloggers.)

See, it's not just blogging that gets you fired...

Link - Eli Lilly & Co. said on Monday it fired an employee who wrote a book, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, about his tenure as a Pfizer Inc. sales representative which boasted about how little he worked and how much money he earned.

Reidy said he worked for Lilly for four and a half years, first as a salesman but most recently training other representatives. The book is based on the five years he worked at Pfizer, which makes Viagra.

Lilly's stance: Company spokesman Philip Belt said Jamie Reidy was terminated because the book advocated actions that were in violation of Lilly's policies.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A Whole New Mind: Meaning Portfolio

Dan Pink at 800.CEO.READ talks about an exercise invented by Jim Collins, author of the blockbuster book Good to Great. He encourages people to look at their lives--in particular, their work--and ask themselves whether they would still do what they're doing now if they had twenty million dollars in the bank or knew they had no more than 10 years to live. For instance, if you inherted $20 million dollars, no strings attached, would you spend your days the way you spend them now? If you knew you had at the most ten years to live, would still with your current job? If the answer is no, that ought you tell you something. This test alone obviously can't determine your life course. But the approach is smart--and the answers will be clarifying. He also has some additional books for your 20-10 reading list.

Dr. Thorson's Multi-Dimensional Sense of Humor Scale

My scores... Take the test yourself here.

1. Your Creativity and Performance Score16
2. Your Coping Score14
3. Your Facilitation Score14
4. Your Appreciation Score16Total score60
Your Creativity and Performance Score : 16

Statements 1 through 4 have to do with humor creativity and performance. If your total score for these items is 15 or 16, you’re probably the life of the party. But you don’t have to be a wild and crazy guy to be creative. Maybe you think of the thing that will crack up the group, but you’re reluctant to say it. Or you think of the right response 10 minutes too late. The point is, you do think of it. You may have a subtler or quieter wit, and that’s all right. If you scored 6 or less on these first four items, though, maybe you’d be happier if you opened up a little. Nobody wants to cultivate a reputation for being dull.

Your Coping Score : 14
Items 5 through 8 deal with coping. It’s important to realize that you don’t have to have the weight of the world on your shoulders in order to use coping humor. We all face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. And even if you’re living a glorious life, you know that none of us gets out of this alive. So, having to cope might be situational, but it may also just be one of the good habits that prevent us from taking ourselves — or our lives — too seriously.

Our research indicates that women tend to score higher on the coping factor. This may seem paradoxical, as others’ research has shown women on average to be higher in depression, and coping humor is an antidote to depression. Either women are better able to admit vulnerability, or maybe they just have more to cope with. Scores of 13 to 16 indicate that you can laugh off in a healthy way much that might otherwise vex you. Scores of 8 to 12 suggest that you can often smile and go on. Scores of 4 to 7 may mean that you would be healthier if you laughed off some of your stressors.

Your Facilitation Score : 14
If you scored 14, 15, or 16 on Statements 9 through 12, you’re a facilitator. People mean so much to you that you’re willing to go out on a limb to ease their discomfort. You know that your coworkers are more productive when they’re happy, and you will go out of your way to try to cheer things up. Scores of 10 to 13 on these items don’t necessarily mean that you let other people stew; perhaps the situation demands some tension. If your scores on these items are low, though, you might study ways to inject humor into a situation.

Your Appreciation Score : 16
The last four items deal with appreciating humor. If you scored very low on questions 4 through 8, you might find that comedians really bug you. Do you think people don’t take things seriously enough? Perhaps you’re right. Or maybe you should take things less seriously. Read the comics before you read the obits.If, however, you can see hilarity in circumstances that others find mundane or distasteful, then perhaps you are blessed. Your optimism and playfulness go along with your rich appreciation of fun and funny people. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we diet.

In our work with a longer (25-item) multidimensional sense of humor scale, we have found that situational variables are important in total sense of humor score. Combining the factors above, the sum may be dependent on who one is and where one is in life. Young males, for instance, tend to score fairly high on creativity and performance, probably because their peers value being funny.

Older people, on the other hand, score fairly low on these items. There may be a cohort effect here: Young people were not expected to be so demonstrative when these subjects were young. Or they may have found quiet appreciation of others’ humor more valuable than being the class clown.

Both older people and women tend to score high on the coping items. This may be a matter of their peers’ styles or expectations. Or they may use less humor in public and more within the in-group. They are facilitators, who enforce group norms using humor, or they may be those who ease tension by making light of what might otherwise be seen as threatening. Most psychologists agree that those who cope by using humor are healthier mentally, and perhaps physically and spiritually.

People who appreciate humor don’t have to use it to cope or as a social lubricant, nor do they have to be gag writers. They may just smile at life. We find, though, that those who appreciate humor also use it as a coping mechanism. And one has to have appreciation before one can learn to create. Facilitation often depends on creation and performance.

Total Score : 60

So, total your four scores. The maximum score is 64. If you’re near it, you let your sense of humor serve you, improving your quality of life.

If your total score is between 40 and 50, you use humor sometimes, but perhaps you could learn to let yourself go and enjoy more variety.

Did you score between 20 and 30? Well, you poor old gloomy thing. Less than 20? You need to make an effort to look on the bright side. Life has greater potential if you can loosen up and enjoy it. You don’t have to laugh out loud. Somebody might hear you. Just mellow out a bit. Pull my finger.

Spring is in the hair

If a haircut is on your to-do list, make the cut at a local Fantastic Sam's salon and provide hairpieces to children. Locks of Love, a group in Lake Worth, Fla., is sponsoring a cut-a-thon on April 23 to collect hair for the hairpieces. Those with 10 or more inches to spare can get a free cut and style if they donate the clippings. Even a trim benefits, though - $1 from every cut goes to the charity.

Eudora Welty quotes

On the daring life of writers..."All serious daring starts from within."

On her keen sense of Southern dialect..."Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them." (from One Writer's Beginnings)

On photography...Eudora claimed that her love of photography taught her that "life doesn't stand still."

Her rumored last words, when the doctor asked her if he could do anything for her on her deathbed..."No, but thank you for inviting me to the party."

Don't pay for ice cream...

Mark your calendars. April 19th is Ben & Jerry's 27th annual Free Cone Day at stores worldwide.

Masters of the (Information) Universe

Link - In the new economy, knowledge is the ultimate source of competitive advantage. Grinding through the daily deluge of news, magazines, Web sites, reports, memos, voice mail, email, and junk mail is tough enough. But to succeed in your job, to get promoted, to become the "go-to guy" in your company you must also master all that information. To help get you started, Fast Company asked three know-it-alls who are widely regarded as Information Masters to share their secret techniques.

Exclusive Interview with International Book of the Month author Leslie Lokko

Courtesy of Quality Paperback Book Club...

QPB has given new meaning to the term International Book of the Month; our newest pick, Saffron Skies, isn't available in U.S. stores. But we were so taken by Leslie Lokko's sharp, glamorous, globe-trotting saga of four women that we had to share it with club members. Before you take in this thrilling U.S.-exclusive – which reminds us of Judith Krantz and other greats – read our one-on-one interview with its talented Scottish author, which we've included below. Enjoy!

Q. You flesh out all of the major characters in Saffron Skies so thoroughly. How did you decide what would happen to each character, what their family’s pasts would be, etc?

A. I found that getting to know the characters properly—really understanding what they were like—helped enormously. In each case, with Max, Amber, Madeleine and Becky, for example, I spent a lot of time imagining everything about their lives—what their rooms looked like, what they liked to eat, wear, do—and making notes about each one. I ‘lived’ with them for a period of about 6 weeks, ‘talking’ to them in my head, and so on…once I’d got to know them, the rest followed almost effortlessly. They ‘told’ me what was going to happen, not the other way around!

Q. Did any of the characters in Saffron Skies do anything that surprised even you, their creator? If so, what?

A. Paola and Kieran surprised me; I hadn’t planned on their illicit relationship developing at all…the scene literally just came to me as I was writing dialogue between them; Becky also surprised me a little…I’d almost written her off half-way through the novel and then she came back, a little gutsier and more determined than before.

Q. With which character in Saffron Skies do you have the most in common, and why?

A. I think Madeleine is closest to me in the sense of having been an outsider within a certain culture for part of her/my life; I recognize the same desire to find ways to fit in, make myself likeable and acceptable—as, I suspect, nowadays, many people experience.

Q. You’ve been credited with “bringing brains to the blockbuster.” How do you feel about that statement?

A. Good! I’ve always loved fat, juicy books that had something more to them than sex and shopping and I’ve always been attracted to books that don’t fit easily into genres. I remember reading Andre Brink’s An Act of Terror, set in South Africa, which combines serious political and historical research with a thriller feel and reading it over three days, hardly sleeping. I love reading books I can’t put down.

Q. How did you feel when you heard that Saffron Skies would be the newest International Book of the Month?

A. I was absolutely thrilled!

Q. Saffron Skies is a big book—almost 500 pages. How long did it take you to write it? And were you developing each character’s story as you went along, or did you do it one at a time?

A. The actual writing didn’t take that long—about 9 weeks, although I spent a lot of time beforehand thinking it through. As I said before, I spent a lot of time getting to know each character before letting them loose on the page, so to speak. Also (of course), having trained as an architect, I can’t resist the urge to plan everything through well in advance of execution! It’s not all that different from building a house…start with the foundations, then move upwards, making walls, spaces, etc., then getting into the details. Writing, for me at least, is curiously three dimensional.

Q. What was the most important lesson you learned from writing Saffron Skies?

A. Know the people and places you write about. And don’t stay with one person for too long.

Q. You’re trained as an architect. What made you decide to pursue a writing career?

A. In architecture, I was always interested in the relationship between culture, identity and architecture, and not just in more straightforward building…writing was an opportunity to talk about some of the same issues (race, cultural identity, movement, migration and so on) but in a much more plastic and malleable form. Architecture generally takes a very long time to come off—there’s something about the immediacy of writing that has always appealed to me. Plus, architecture tends to be quite serious and pedantic, especially when talking about these sorts of issues. I was looking for a medium that could be fun and spontaneous, as well as informative, in some small way. I spent some time working in South Africa in 1992-94, and the idea for my first novel, Sundowners, developed from the experiences I had over there . . . Saffron Skies is a continuation of the same sorts of themes, but with religion, family secrets and sibling rivalry thrown in!

Expert: Hurricane Ivan caused severe sand loss along Gulf Coast

Link - New findings show Hurricane Ivan caused massive erosion of beaches, dunes and barrier islands along the Gulf Coast and underscore how vulnerable the American coastline is to hurricanes, a U.S. Geological Survey oceanographer says.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Stupid Human Tricks

Quentin and I returned from our brief spring break trip to Waveland. We went down to support my mother in her first Paws on Parade. She is a volunteer at the local animal shelter and spent a lot of time and energy working on their annual event, so we wanted to be there to cheer her on. Everything went beautifully - I have lots of great photos that I'll post sometime this week (if I ever have time). The weather threatened to rain but was just overcast (which was probably better for the pets anyway).

During Paws on Parade, there was a contest for the pet who could do the neatest trick. I look up from my seat and my five-year-old son is trying to break dance in the center ring. By this time, I figure it will draw more attention to go get him out than to just wait until the contest is over.

He comes to me afterwards, downtrodden because he didn't win. "But, mama," he says, "I thought I did a pretty good trick."

"Son, it's not human tricks. It's animal tricks," I reply.

"Oh," he answers softly. A few seconds pass. "But I still think I had the best trick."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Creative Commons search engine

Link - Yahoo! now has a Creative Commons search engine.

Sleeping with the guitar player

Link - In the Ages of Man, there are the classics - infancy, childhood, adulthood. We have the Midlife Crisis, of course, so dear to therapists and second wives everywhere. There is adolescence, which in some men seems to last, oh, well, when does it end? But in the last few years I've experienced, via my husband, another masculine stage, one I'd been blissfully unaware of. This is the time of a man's life that I must now and forever think of as the Guitar-in-the-Basement phase.

M-W offers new words for College Dictionary

Merriam-Webster announced this week that it is adding 58 words to the New World College Dictionary.

58 bon mots, including wedgie, blog, Al Qaeda, cargo pants, irritable bowel syndrome and partial-birth abortion. (via Worthwile)

Why Logic Often Takes A Backseat

Link - The National Hockey League and its players wrangle over a salary cap. The impasse causes the season to be canceled. Everybody loses. What went wrong?

Artichokes: Raising Eyebrows, Lowering Cholesterol?

Courtesy of The Good Cook electronic newsletter:

A member of the thistle family and one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, the artichoke looks like a green pine cone. It has raised eyebrows ever since its introduction to the west from its native North Africa, and its popularity was once based on rumors that it has aphrodisiac qualities. Today it is thought to have various health benefits.

The artichoke historically has had as many critics as fans. The Roman writer Pliny, disgusted by artichokes, could not understand why people paid so much for them. Catherine de Medici, however, compromised her reputation by eating many artichokes at a time when they were believed to be an aphrodisiac. This attribute, never proven, carried into the 17th and 18th centuries, according to food historian Andre Simon; Parisian green grocers would snicker suggestively at the mere mention of the word "artichoke."

Artichokes often cause great consternation when served, because the only way to eat a whole, mature artichoke is to pick it apart with the hands and pull its petals through the teeth. But there is a long list of health benefits popularly attributed to the vegetable, with some studies suggesting that artichokes protect the liver from damaging toxins and help lower cholesterol. It has been scientifically shown that artichokes stimulate the gall bladder and the kidneys, though there do not appear to be any health benefits from this.


ARTICHOKE LEAVES WITH HOLLANDAISE
Makes 3 to 4 Hors d'oeuvre servings.

This old-time classic hors d'oeuvre is hard to beat.

What this recipe shows:
Microwaving is a quick, simple way to prepare an artichoke.

2 large artichokes, rinsed and stems cut off close to the base, sharp leaf tips trimmed (if desired), 1 recipe hollandaise (see below).

Wrap each artichoke in microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave one at a time for 6 to 7 minutes on High. Let stand 5 minutes. Push the leaves down to spread out and make them easier to remove. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold with hollandaise for dipping and a plate for the leaves, which are discarded after the edible portion has been eaten.

Classic Hollandaise
Makes about 1 1/3 cups

What this recipe shows:
Once the yolk-lemon juice mixture begins to thicken, it has reached a temperature high enough to kill salmonella.

Whisking in the melted butter over hot, not boiling, water off the heat prevents the yolks from scrambling.

Adding salt to the hollandaise after the ice cubes are added and the hot water has cooled prevents the yolks from scrambling.

4 large egg yolks
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon water
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, and water in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl resting over the top of a medium saucepan of simmering water. It is important that the top of the water be well below the upper part of the double boiler or the bottom of the bowl. Have the melted butter ready to drizzle in. Whisk constantly. The second that the yolk mixture begins to thicken slightly, remove the top of the double boiler or the bowl from above the hot water and continue whisking. Turn off the heat. Add four ice cubes to cool the hot water a little. Put the pan or bowl of yolks back above the hot water. Whisk in the melted butter, drizzling it in very slowly. If at any time the sauce looks as if it is about to break, remove bowl and continue whisking to cool it down or whisk in 1 teaspoon cold water. With constant whisking, whisk in the salt and cayenne. When all the butter is incorporated, taste and add more salt or cayenne as needed.

From Cookwise, Copyright 1997 by Shirley O. Corriher. Reprinted by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Golf courses springing up

Link - The number of golf courses affiliated with Coast casinos will double in the next few years.

Two of the three new courses will open by next spring: Beau Rivage's Fallen Oak and an unnamed course in Jackson County being developed by the owner of the Palace Casino. The third course is connected to the proposed Bacaran Bay Casino.

Each has a celebrity designer. Tom Fazio, the famous golf architect, is responsible for Fallen Creek. Former professional golfer Jerry Pate is doing the Jackson County course slated to open next spring. And golf great Arnold Palmer is planning the Bacaran Bay course.

Hot line set up to aid search

Link - A national hot line has been set up to help in the search for missing 14-year-old Jacob Jordan Sigalis, who was last seen March 4 in Gautier. The number is 1-800-433-TIPS (8477). All calls are anonymous, with a $1,000 reward offered for any information leading to an arrest in the case or the location of the missing teen.

Get the Drunk Home game

Try this game and see how far you can keep this drunk man up.

You just move you mouse left to right (no clicking) to keep him walking in a straight line. The object of the game is to keep him walking, without falling over, by moving your mouse from left to right or right to left - you can't see your mouse, which makes it more difficult. Apparently the record is 90 meters!

Love the sound effects. It's in German.

Everything I learned, I learned from the Easter Bunny

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.

Walk softly and carry a big carrot.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

There's no such thing as too much candy.

All work and no play can make you a basket case.

A cute little tail attracts a lot attention.

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

Some body parts should be floppy.

Keep your paws off of other people's jellybeans.

The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.

An Easter bonnet can tame even the wildest hare.

To show your true colors you have to come out of your shell.

The best things in life are still sweet and gooey!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Xtreme shots

To capture your extreme exploits in near-DVD quality, pocket this cigarette pack-sized Sports Cam and strap the second lens to your arm, leg or helmet. Its wide-angle view is fed to the main unit over a tether cable. A water-resistant rubber shell protects the system.

Bend like Beethoven

The Japanese perfected the hand roll and moved on to the rockin' roll. This Hand Roll Piano is a flexible 2.5-lb rubber pad unfurls into a 61-key set. It offers 128 synthesized sounds. And, when not in use, the keyboard rolls up for easy carrying.

What a Girl Wants

Link - In Tokyo, teen trends come and go faster than bullet trains. As soon as Sanrio's My Melody cell phone straps were all the rage, it-girls in Shibuya wouldn't be caught dead with them. For companies that cater to these kogals, spotting the next fad is like throwing udon against the folding screen to see what sticks. Luckily, the cool-hunters at GirlsLab (www.girlslab.com) discovered a way to divine what's cute and hip.

Rock Doctors

Link - It might surprise you to learn that Dr. Dre never actually received a doctorate (his must be some sort of honorary degree). But a handful of musicians got their PhDs the hard way - by powering through the rigors of higher education.

Rebuild Like You Give a Damn

Link - The flip side of disaster is a fresh start - at least for those lucky enough to survive. Cameron Sinclair founded Architecture for ­Humanity in 1999 to help apply innovative design to humanitarian crises. Its motto: "Design like you give a damn."

The Ultimate Drill Down

Link - In the movie The Core, Hilary Swank saved humanity by drilling to Earth's center. In reality, of course, that's impossible - and not just because Swank isn't the geologist type. Try as they might, actual scientists have yet to get through even the crust, the thinnest, outermost skin of the planet. It's just too deep.

Did You Hear That?

Link - Why worry about watching the watchmen when you can become one yourself? Safety Dynamics - an Illinois company that's installing a network of smart gunshot detectors for the city of Chicago - plans to market cell phone-sized units to consumers. The Smart Sensor Enabled Neural Threat Recognition and Identification system, or Sentri, uses microphones and a time-phased acoustic pattern modeled on the human brain to listen for specific sounds, then dials 911.

13 things that do not make sense

Link - I'm impressed. Only 13? (via Big Jim)

Benefit planned to raise money for transplant

In two weeks, Sierra Phillips, 2, of Pearl will receive a kidney from her grandmother during a transplant operation in Birmingham. Sierra was diagnosed with renal failure two weeks after her birth. Since her birth, she has undergone six operations, including one to remove her right kidney. Her remaining kidney was too weak and she has been on dialysis for most of her life - she's the youngest known dialysis patient in the state.

To help her family pay for medication that could run as high as $3,000 per month, plus a possible two-month stay in Birmingham and other expenses, a fund-raising is set for March 26 from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. at Pearl Park, U.S. 80 in Pearl.

Proceeds will be generated from the $1 per person admission tickets for a day of games, giveaways and other entertainment, and other sales, including food and drink. Another fund-raising, a benefit race, is planned for 7 p.m. April 2 at Jackson Motor Speedway on Old Byram Road in Byram.

The transplant operation is scheduled for April 7 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center.

For more information, contact Christy Phillips at (601) 933-0406 or sierraphillips@aol.com. Tickets for the Pearl Park benefit can also be purchased at the Shoney's in Pearl (601-939-8127).

Knight Ridder, Gannett, and Tribune buy Topix.net

Link - Knight Ridder, Gannett and Tribune have formed a new JV to buy 75% of Topix; the founding/managing team holds the remaining 25%. Topix will operate independently, and will have its own editorial voice.

The JV structure is the same approach these three Newspaper Co's already use to share ownership and operate CareerBuilder, ShopLocal, and Classified Ventures, which includes Cars.com, Apartments.com and Homescape.

Author Barry Hannah hospitalized for undisclosed illness

Link - Author and professor Barry Hannah is being treated for an undisclosed illness in an intensive care unit at a Texas hospital, his wife, Susan Hannah, said March 17 through a family spokesperson.

Hannah, an acclaimed author who has won numerous awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, had been teaching creative writing at the University of Mississippi.

The Clinton native took leave from the University of Mississippi after accepting a one-year position as writer-in-residence at Texas State University-San Marcos.

He has been the University of Mississippi's writer-in-residence for 23 years.

Hurricane experts worried about 'skinny line' effects

Link - Experts gathering for the National Hurricane Conference this week are worried about people paying too much attention to the "skinny line" tracking the eye of a storm's predicted path because it can offer false hope.

Museum collecting menus

Link - The nation's first cultural institution dedicated to the South's deep and wide appetite for good eating is now building an archive of menus from every Main Street restaurant, dirt road dive, juke joint and grocer, across this most food-centric region.

Decidedly ambitious, the Menu Project is among the first conducted by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans, which opened recently. The museum, in one of the great culinary ZIP codes, is committed to understanding the role of food in Southern culture.

The Menu Project, a partnership with the University of New Orleans, is requesting that menus be sent to Southern Food and Beverage Museum, 1435 Jackson Ave., New Orleans LA 70130. For information, go to southernfood.org.

Crockpot Shrimp Creole

1 1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup diced green pepper
28 oz. diced tomatoes
16 oz. tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
Tabasco to taste
1 lb fresh shrimp, shelled

Combine all ingredients except shrimp in crockpot. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. During last hour, turn crockpot to high and add shrimp. Cook one hour. (Goes great with a green salad and a loaf of Gambino's French Bread.)

Easter flowers

1-800-Flowers is offering an Easter special - Flowers from $24.99. Same Day Delivery

(I prefer daisies, by the way.)

Borders printable coupons

Printable coupon for 15% Off the Regular Price any one item

Printable coupon for 10% Off Your Total Purchase (via Cheap Stingy Bastard)

Expert's Experts: How to win at Scrabble

Link - Paul Berger of the Washington Post asked the best Scrabble players in Washington, D.C. for their tricks of the trade.

I'm headed to my parents this weekend, where a heated game of Scrabble awaits me with my mother, so I'll have to peruse the suggestions before I go. But, I beg you living room Scrabble players - don't just memorize the two-letter words that get you by and the arcane letters that mix into some semblance of a score.

The beauty of Scrabble lies when you find the perfect word for the perfect place with the perfect score. It's just phonetics if you're only memorizing "game tricks." There has to be a better way!

The princesses meet the queens

I forgot to blog about flying into Jackson on Sunday. In Houston, we met up with half the girls of some sorority at Ole Miss flying back to Jackson. In the Jackson airport, we met all of the sweet potato queens flying back home from the Hal & Mal's parade. I felt like turning to the college girls and saying, "Look closely, girls, and be nice. This will be you in 30 years." But I kept my mouth shut for once.

One big difference (besides the fake tiaras on the SPQs): Obviously, high school graduation for the sorority girls was the year of the monogrammed luggage. It was everywhere. (And they still couldn't find their damn bags because they all got the same color.) ;)

Net Family News

Link - Kid-tech news for parents. Toys, trends and tips for parents. For example, here's an article about cyberbullying. It's moved to the blogosphere. (via Blogging About Incredible Blogs)

Blogging Mount Everest

Link - In the next few weeks, British climber Gavin Bate will be attempting a solo summit of Mount Everest, for a charity called Moving Mountains. He's blogging the adventure, and will also be phoning in reports via AudioBlogger.

IACP 2005 Cookbook Awards finalists

Link - The International Association of CulinaryProfessionals (IACP) announced the finalists for the 2005 IACP Cookbook Awards at a reception for cookbook authors, editors, publishers and the food media at the Time & Life Building in New York recently. The awards, which are sponsored by the California TableGrape Commission, Cuisinart, and Le Cordon Bleu, honor the bestwriting and publishing in the food and beverage industry.

Waxing lyrical: What rhymes with Camilla?

Link - Britain's official poet Andrew Motion, who once waxed lyrical about Princess Diana, now faces the trickier task of composing a celebratory ode for the wedding of Prince Charles to his longtime lover Camilla Parker Bowles.