Monday, February 28, 2005

De-Lovely was de-lightful

I watched De-Lovely last night and thoroughly enjoyed it, which is saying a lot for me since I don't like too many musical-type productions. Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd were both very likeable - and the makeup was very impressive.

My favorite line: "In a musical, everyone works for the composer."

My second favorite line: "Songs don't have to be about someone, you know."
(But then they almost always are, aren't they? Even in Cole's case.)

Third favorite line: "Learn to trust your audience." Said to Cole from Linda

Fourth favorite line: "We live in castles built on sand." (sounds like it's stole from somewhere else...but Linda says this upon the death of their friends' young son)

Anything Goes would be a great name for a blog too! If I hadn't already gotten used to mine, I might consider changing.

My favorite song from the movie...

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything Goes.

Good authors too who once knew better words,
Now only use four letter words
Writing prose, Anything Goes.

If driving fast cars you like,
If low bars you like,
If old hymns you like,
If bare limbs you like,
If Mae West you like
Or me undressed you like,
Why, nobody will oppose!

(And my second favorite song...Let's Misbehave.)

Mississippian Morgan Freeman called a class act, both on and off the screen

Link - Even the Oscars didn't stop Morgan Freeman from keeping a promise. So three days before his appearance at the Academy Awards, Freeman flew his own plane from Clarksdale to Jackson to fulfill one he made more than a year ago. The visit surprised and delighted some 200 English professors, who were gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson for a yearly educational conference.

Morgan Freeman explains his love for Mississippi

Link - OSCAR nominee MORGAN FREEMAN has discovered why he loves his home state of Mississippi so much - it's less racist than most other places in America. The actor grew up in racial segregation in the Delta region, which was once considered the heartland of American racism, but he insists he never felt oppression until he moved away.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

It's all about you: Spa treatment is everywhere

Link - Including my personal favorite:

A sexuality-enhancing spa stay just for women. Cooking schools turn out better chefs; tennis camps tune up the old serve-and-volley. The new "Awakening Aphrodite" at the Miraval spa near Tucson aims to put women in touch with their sexuality and improve lovemaking skills. Taught by a female physician/sex therapist, the session, which runs May 1-5, includes classes in sensual exercising, "pelvic awakening" and opening a man to pleasure. Cost is $3,421 for a single and $2,916 for a double, including all classes, lodging, meals and some spa treatments. Information: 800-232-3969;

Spas have gone mainstream - there is now a spa for everyone (and every woman). But I was hoping it was taught by a Fabio type...not a female physician. Somehow I've lost interest now.

She's in love with the lonesome road

Link - Traveling alone is depressing — at least, that's the conventional wisdom, says Lea Lane, author of Solo Travel: Tales and Tips for Great Trips (Fodor's, $15). But the conventional wisdom is all wrong, says the veteran travel writer, who proudly counts herself among the 15.9 million Americans who travel solo regularly. Lane says there's no reason to pity solo travelers; in fact, they are to be envied.

My Cattel 16 Factor Test Results

Cattell's 16 Factor Test Results
Warmth |||||||||||||||||||||||| 78%
Intellect |||||||||||||||||||||||| 78%
Emotional Stability |||||||||||||||||| 54%
Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Liveliness |||||||||||||||||||||||| 78%
Dutifulness |||||||||||||||||| 58%
Social Assertiveness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Sensitivity |||||||||||||||||| 54%
Paranoia ||||||||| 30%
Abstractness ||||||||||||||||||||| 66%
Introversion ||||||||| 30%
Anxiety |||||||||||| 38%
Openmindedness ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Independence ||||||||||||||||||||| 62%
Perfectionism |||||||||||||||||| 58%
Tension ||||||||||||||| 46%
Take Cattell 16 Factor Test (similar to 16pf)
personality tests by

50 Book Challenge

BookSlut is challenging bloggers to read and review 50 books in 2005:

With a new year comes a new 50 Book Challenge. The idea, of course, is to read 50 books in 2005 and blog about them either in this livejournal community or on your own blog. (I think there was a list of non-livejournal participants last year, but I can't seem to find it again this year.) Large Hearted Boy is going all fancy this year with the challenge and getting sponsored. (It must be those extra two books he commits to.)

Sounds fun, I'm in.

NASA Offers Prizes to Students with Revolutionary Ideas

Link - NASA's Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is offering up to four $9,000 fellowships to students with ideas that can dramatically advance the Vision for Space Exploration. The NIAC Student Fellows Prize program provides opportunities for creative college students to develop revolutionary advanced concepts in aeronautics, space, and the sciences.

AP RSS News Feeds

Link - AP has added feeds in many main topic areas...and the traditional Top News too.

I now join millions of men worldwide...I'm in love with Halle Berry

Link - Halle Berry was named worst actress of 2004 by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation for her performance in "Catwoman" and she showed up to accept her "Razzie" carrying the Oscar she won in 2002 for "Monster's Ball."

"They can't take this away from me, it's got my name on it!" she quipped. A raucous crowd cheered her on as she gave a stirring recreation of her Academy Award acceptance speech, including tears.

She thanked everyone involved in "Catwoman," a film she said took her from the top of her profession to the bottom.

"I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit," she said as she dragged her agent on stage and warned him "next time read the script first."

It is rare for a Razzie winner to show up at the spoof awards held on the night before Oscars -- but Berry did, saying her mother taught her that to be "a good winner you had to be a good loser first." She received a standing ovation.

Disappearing America

Terry Teachout (what a great name!) and Jeff Jarvis are asking for suggestions for items we now (almost) never use. Suggestions, so far...

• Ketchup in glass bottles.
• Newspapers and magazines on paper. I can’t remember the last time I read one (except for a couple of the magazines for which I write). If I can’t read it on line, I don’t read it.
• Fax machines. I have one, but I rarely use it more than twice a month, both ways.
• Going to the post office to mail packages. I use FedEx and UPS almost exclusively.
• Black discs and cassettes. I got rid of the remnants of my collection when I moved to this apartment two years ago. I no longer own a turntable or a cassette deck.
• TV commercials. I now watch all TV programs after the fact (having previously recorded them on my DVR), meaning that I only see commercials as they whiz by silently and at very high speed.
• Typewriters. I disposed of my last one ten years ago. The only thing I miss about it is not having to address envelopes by hand....
• Floppy disks. I back up my computer on line every night.
• “Water-cooler” TV shows. The last TV series to be viewed on a regular basis by more than a handful of my friends was The Sopranos....

Jeff added:
: Stick shifts.
: Corded phones.
: Videotape.
: Christmas cards.
: Ice-cube trays.
: Car cassette players.
: Knobs on public washroom sinks.
: Bar soap.
: Aerosol cans.
: Downtowns.
: Local hardware stores.
: Polyester.
: Modems.

Here's what I added...
- Human beings answering the phone at businesses
- Car CD players (satellite radio, iPod, etc., breaking into my car CD listening)
- Walkman-style portable radio (now they are all CD/MP3/insert widget here)
- Local pharmacist (I still have one, though)
- Travel agents
- Mops (Swiffering away here)
- Toilet brushes (disposable now)
- Increasingly, our local movie rental place (as more offer mail-in services)
- Products that don't multi-task (i.e. moisturizing anitbacterial lemon hand soap is what you see now)

Myers-Briggs for Dogs?

Link - Could be happening sooner than you think if Dr. Samuel Gosling of the University of Texas has his way. (via Book of Joe)

McHenry man produces film

Link - As the crow flies, it's a long way to Hollywood, but don't tell that to Martin O'Neal, a McHenry businessman who is the executive producer of a major motion picture, Smile, set for release in April. It comes to South Mississippi on April 22. It opens in San Francisco and Los Angeles on April 8.

Red Carpet Fashions blog

Link - If you're more interested in Oscar clothes than Oscar movies...

Next NASA launch in hands of Mississippi native

Link - As he is working through the mounds of paper that cross his desk, or while sitting in on a heated discussion among engineers and scientists, Bill Parsons often gives a quick thought to the historical significance of it all.

Parsons, who grew up in Magnolia and earned an engineering degree from the University of Mississippi, is NASA's shuttle program manager. He is in charge of the space agency's Return to Flight — now set for May 15 with the launch of Discovery. It will be America's first manned shuttle voyage since Columbia's crew of seven was killed during reentry Feb. 1, 2002.

Run From the Sun will be held April 16

The Second Annual Run From The Sun will be held April 16, 2005, in downtown Jackson.

Along with the 5K run/walk and 1-mile fun run, there will be a free skin cancer screening for the public. For a registration form, click here.

The run is held by the Leonard E. Warren Melanoma Foundation, who recently contributed $5,000 to the Melanoma Research Foundation to help fund research efforts to find a cure for the deadly form of skin cancer.

The foundation plan to distribute kits to several schools later this year that will give teachers everything they need to teach a unit about sun safety. The goal over the next few years is to make sure every student in Mississippi is aware of melanoma and how to protect against it.

The foundation will also partner with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Clinic of Houston, Texas, to provide Project S.A.F.E.T.Y modules to teachers. The kits contains an 85-page teacher's guide and a CD-ROM with streaming video and animated graphics to complement the three-lesson series.

An educational tabloid for Mississippi students is also in the planning stages. For more information, contact Keith Warren or Marshall Ramsey.

Challenge Academy accepting applications

The Mississippi National Guard Youth Challenge Program is taking applications for its ChalleNGe Academy.

The program consists of a five-month residential phase conducted at the Guard's training center at Camp Shelby outside Hattiesburg. For five months, students live in a military-structured environment. Students who enroll must be high school drop-outs ages 16 to 18 who want to make changes in their lives. Participants can receive a high school equivalency diploma and a full first-year apprenticeship in a craft area. For information or an application, call (800) 507-6253 or visit the link above.

Berkeley offers summer abroad for high school students

Link - High school students can study at the University of California at Berkeley this summer.

The Berkeley Fast Track Program is one of 10 Summer Advantage sessions offered by the American Council for International Studies. The four-week program runs July 4-July 30.

Apply by Feb. 28 to qualify for free airfare. The standard application deadline is April 15.

Pickering to give info on military academies

Link - Third District Congressman Chip Pickering will host his annual Military Academy Day on Saturday, March 27 at Madison Central High School in Madison County from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

The Military Academy Day provides interested students and parents an opportunity to learn more about our nation's military academies, requirements for admission and the appointment process. The event is free and open to the public. Pickering and members of his staff will be joined by representatives from each of the five service academies: U.S. Military Academy (West Point), Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy and Coast Guard Academy. Cadets and midshipmen who have gone through the process will also speak at the program.

Dueling banjos

Link - A good example of the bad that can happen when we Webgeeks have too much time on our hands...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Where ya been? / Where ya going?

Bold the states you’ve been to, underline the states you’ve lived in and italicize the state you’re in now. [via]

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C. /

A To Z Of De-stressing

Link - Americans spend billions of dollars each year coping with stress. From guzzling martinis or popping pills to paying burly masseurs to pummel us, much of our lives--and dollars--are devoted to unwinding, loosening up or just decompressing for a while.

Stephen Jones' & Kim Newman's 100 Best Horror Novels

Link - A good basic list of horror novels, with the added bonus of brief commentaries on the works by important writers. So here we go.

A stellar eclipse worth watching

Link - Early on the morning of Thursday, March 3, the Last Quarter moon will occult the 1st-magnitude red supergiant star Antares, one of the brightest stars in the sky. This should be a superb event for skywatchers in much of central and western North America.

A great alternative to the traditional butcher block knife set

Link - Knives with a sense of humor (andmoroseness)

Honda to offer GPS on some motorcycles

Link - Honda plans to add an optional Garmin GPS receiver to some of its motorcycle lines. The handlebar-mounted unit includes all the usual GPS functions like a color LCD display and voice prompts.

NASA World Wind — See the world from your computer screen

Link - NASA has just issued free software that lets you zoom around the globe, dive to the surface, and track fires, floods and storms anywhere on our blue planet from the comfort of your chair.

Vice President, CMT Dukes of Hazzard Institute

Link - Get paid $100,000 for one year to watch television!

Job responsibilities include:

-- watch The Dukes of Hazzard weeknight on CMT
-- know the words to The Dukes of Hazzard theme song, Good Ol' Boys
-- write The Dukes of Hazzard Institute online blog for
-- serve as expert on all things The Dukes of Hazzard
-- maybe take The General Lee for a spin now and then

For a Job Application, please visit:

Left brain vs. right brain

You Are 40% Left Brained, 60% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Oscar's blogging

Link - The official blog of the 77th annual Academy Awards

Sideways is a bit sideways

While in Birmingham, I used my night out of town to go see a movie without dragons, robots or animation. We went to the 10 p.m. showing of Sideways. One of us (not me, of course) fell asleep during the movie...two or three times, and snored loudly.

With all of the raves and Oscar nominations, I thought it had to be great. It was mediocre. And I'm especially surprised that the screenplay is up for the top award. The comedy was all situational - not much clever writing. It was like it tried to be a new kind of Woody Allen movie for the early 40s set and it just fell flat in some spots.

I will say that the last half is better than the first half, so if you can make it through the first half without sleeping (unlike Melissa), you will enjoy the last half.

I don't see how it's making everyone want to go on a wine tour. The scenery was not that beautiful and the wineries shown in the film didn't look much different than Joe's Fish Shack or some other generic restaurant. It made me want to learn more about wine (and it definitely made me feel like I'd drank a few bottles myself) but it didn't make me want to take a Sideways tour, as so many are obviously doing.

Attention fellow bargain hunters...

Linens-N-Things is offering a down comforter or featherbed for 39.99 WITH bonus feather pillows. And if you enter coupon code 846100000003, you will get 20% off that price...for a grand total of approximately $32 for a down comforter or featherbed. (A featherbed, in my case).

And if you don't want those items, you can use the 20% off on an item of your choice (some exclusions apply).

Women and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Harley-Davidson has added a "Women and Motorcycling" section to their Web site for women like me dreaming of riding off into the sunset on a Harley. The section features female riders. Harley has even licensed its name to makers of women's shoes. (As a result of this niche marketing, the fairer sex now accounts for 10 percent of all Harley purchases, up by about 25% since 2002.)

The new media hub? Your car

Link - Imagine if the entertainment system in your car rivaled the setup in your house. Inside the vehicle's cozy confines, you'd have 500 channels of TV, high-speed Internet access, MP3s that stream off your car's hard drive, and live traffic feeds to warn you of snarls.

I Like Your Heart

On our way back to Jackson from Birmingham, we stopped in Tuscaloosa to refuel and restock my cough drop supply. (What a lovely business trip!) As I'm approaching the check-out counter, a college-age looking guy says to me is what I think is "I like your harp." I look at him quizzically. And he says, "I like your HEART!"

I'm thinking "Thank you, kindly, sir, but how do you know anything about my heart?" when he finally breaks down and points exasparatingly to the crystal heart pin I'm wearing and says a little louder (like my hearing was the problem, not my comprehension) "I LIKE YOUR HEART!"

Thank you, I say. (I'm guessing he did not give another woman a compliment the rest of the day, poor boy.)

Sprawl called preservation threat

Link - Development along Mississippi 18 continues to threaten the Civil War battlefield in Raymond, a preservationist group said.

930 Blues Cafe welcomes blues royalty

Link - If having B.B. King show up at your club isn't a sign of being an authentic blues destination, maybe nothing is.

Jackson jazz scene jamming at last

Link - Jackson's jazz scene is a hodgepodge of happenings requiring a keen eye and a flexible schedule. The landscape is musician-centered rather than club-based, with fans following their favorites from one venue to another.

For a list of Where to Go, click here.

Mississippi College art on exhibit

Mississippi College senior art students will exhibit their works in the Samuel Marshall Gore Gallery in Aven Hall on the MC campus from March 3-April 1.

An opening show reception is 2 till 4 p.m. Sunday. The public is invited and the show and reception are free. For more information, call the art department, (601) 925-3231.

Fondren Theatre's "Vital Signs" opens on Wednesday

Fondren Theatre Workshop will present Vital Signs by Jane Martin at 7:30 p.m. March 2 through March 6 at the Rainbow Co-Op at Lakeland Drive and Old Canton Road.

Tickets are $10 and FTW members get a 20% discount.

No reservations will be taken and seating is limited to 60. Dessert and coffee service is available from Rainbow. The play is not recommended for chilren under 16. For more information, call (601) 982-2217 or e-mail

Play info:

With humor and pointed satire, the eclectic characters in Jane Martin's Vital Signs weave together stories that speak to the relationships, fears, sadness, joys and love in our everyday lives. Ranging from comic to the serious, Vital Signs explores and embraces the essence of the American experience.

Robert St. John recipes

Link - Robert St. John, self-dubbed chef, author, restaurateur and world-class eater, has samples of recipes from his A Southern Palate and Deep South Staples, on his Web site.

Back from Birmingham

I made it back from my Birmingham trip and had to go to the doctor's office this morning. I woke up with fever, a sore throat and sore ears. Quentin had strep throat recently so I thought that's what I had, but I guess I just had the general crud, which I probably inherited from my assistant who had it at the beginning of last week.

While in Birmingham, we were able to visit the Irondale Cafe for lunch, which was the basis of the Whistestop Cafe in Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. (And you know it's down-home, country cooking when you get the vegetable plate and are full for the rest of the day.)

The fried green tomatoes were delicious, but would've been better with sauteed crawfish tails and a Creole sauce on top (one of my favorite appetizers at the Crescent City Grill).

Friday, February 25, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes is up

Link - Rocket Jones shares some out-of-this-world recipes this week.

The Freud Test

What Freud would say about me, according to

Shawn, Freud would say your strongest unconscious conflict stems from events that happened when you were an Adolescent.

He would also conclude that relative to others, your personality today is moderately affected by the events of your childhood. It appears that your biggest unconscious conflict that still afflicts you stems from what Freud defined as the genital stage of development that occurred when you were older than 13. Freud would say that this conflict can manifest in your personality by making you more prone to seek a partner similar to your opposite-sex parent. However, you have a relatively less conflicted sense of gender identity than most people do. This normally happens when parents successfully avoid all the major pitfalls most parents make in earlier years and the child uses their resiliency to manage any early conflicts.

Freud defined five psychosexual developmental stages that everyone goes through on their way from infancy to adolescence. And each of those stages is associated with adult personality traits. At each stage, we all had to overcome certain "conflicts" or hurdles as we learned new skills and developed relationships with others. No one gets through all five stages without having trouble with at least one of them. And it's this unresolved "trouble" that Freud encouraged people to travel back to, recognize, and overcome.

See what Freud would say about how childhood events and the way you were raised led to the conflicts you may still be experiencing today...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Where do you wear your thinking cap?

Link - New research shows that 81% of people have their best ideas outside of the office - usually while in bed or in the car. So much for brainstorming.

I agree with the car and the bed. But, for myself, I would add walking and soaking in the bathtub. (I have been known to jump out of the bathtub, with the steaming hot towel I place on my eyes falling down, to quickly jot something down in my red Idea Notebook - with the lightbulb drawn on the front. After the pages dry, usually I can still see the writing.) ;)

For my fellow Calvin & Hobbes fans...

Link - The online repository

My favorite one is when Calvin tells Hobbes he's writing a novel. Hobbes, of course, asks what it's about. Calvin explains it's about a guy who watches TV and flicks through a lot of channels. When Hobbes looks confused, Calvin explains, "They say to write what you know."

Google goes to the movies

Link - Here's my search for movies playing in the Jackson area...

I am Woman, Hear Me Shop

From a different BusinessWeek article...

Forget multitasking -- women like Varma are "multiminding," a newly coined buzz phrase that describes the process of simultaneously thinking about various things. Marketers have found it hard to grab such women's attention with TV ads. "Today's woman has less time and is such a tough consumer she has single-handedly pushed marketers to actually go to PR budgets," says Silverstein. "She reads magazines and wants to know the detail around products." That's one reason marketers are increasingly emphasizing product placement, sponsorships, and shaping editorial content over TV ads.

Varma is a vascular surgeon in the article and I don't pretend to have the schedule of a vascular surgeon. But my life mirrors the story again. I no longer watch TV (except movies rented from Netflix). But I read lots of magazines (and lots of blogs) - and a book occasionally when I can fit it in.

I, too, workout at 5 a.m. and then rush home to get my son to kindergarten. I make something for my family to eat most every night (though we do have leftovers often and don't often eat it in a family table setting). I tend to use lunch to run errands (like going to Target or Best Buy). I tend to go to the grocery store right after work with my son (and I want to get in and out as quickly as possible).

And I love inserts in magazines like "Oprah's Favorite Things" or "Things We Love" type stories if I don't feel like the magazine is just cloaking ad sales to me as an article. If it seems like they really could love these things, I feel like they have helped me find great things. If I don't, I feel like they have insulted my intelligence, wasted my time and made me mad (rather than sold me anything).

I have a '66 Mustang GT convertible - and have had serious thoughts about buying a Harley. But since it would have to be either/or for me I don't know if I could give up the convertible.

Of gadgets and gender

While reading this BusinessWeek article, I had an awful realization...I AM JILL. I thought I was much more nuanced and could never be pegged by a mere market researcher. (Another personal myth bites the dust!)

This has led Best Buy (BBY ) to adopt the "Jill Initiative," a program to target its typical female customer. "Jill" is a trend-savvy working suburban mom with a fair amount of disposable income, who's likely to shop at Target (TGT ) as opposed to Wal-Mart (WMT ).

The consumer-electronics retailer found that women read Target's newspaper inserts for ideas about how to better design their homes and use Best Buy's inserts for research and price comparison. So, Best Buy is using scenes that depict family life in its inserts and peppering them with gift ideas for children and friends.

As Best Buy discovers more of women's wants and needs, it's rolling out newer programs and advertising in magazines like Real Simple and Better Homes & Gardens. Last year, it launched 68 concept stores in California and Nevada, where personal assistants whisk female shoppers into their domain and provide them with information tailored to their needs.

Target and Best Buy are the only as inserts I read in the Sunday paper. (I do read the Steinmart that comes on Saturday some times too.) And I do look at Target for decorating ideas in addition to sales items. And I have a subscription to Real Simple and Better Homes and Gardens.

So Best Buy market researchers, feel free to give me a call when you want to discover more of Jill's wants and needs. She is me.

How to turn a hard drive into wind chimes (or a key chain)

Link - But I love wind chimes, so that's the one I'm going to work on first. (via BoingBoing)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

WSJ for your Blackberry

Link - The Wall Street Journal Online at, a paid subscription news site, and Outercurve Technologies, a provider of wireless handheld business solutions, have announced the launch of The Wall Street Journal Online for the BlackBerry platform from Research In Motion. "The Wall Street Journal for BlackBerry" will be available to customers of Outercurve's InfoEdge On-Demand information-delivery platform. To introduce "The Wall Street Journal for BlackBerry," Outercurve and the Online Journal are offering this service free of charge through April 30, 2005.

The Zen Garden

Link - "It is not enough just to enjoy for oneself...true enlightenment comes only to those who share."

Zen blogging here...

Monkey Naming Rights

Link - Stars, stadiums...and now monkeys.

My crockpot pork roast

I made this last night. It's a family favorite and quick and easy.

Pick the vegetables that you like and put them in the crockpot on the bottom. I use baby potatoes, baby carrots, mushrooms, pearl onions and celery. You will place the pork roast on top of the vegetables.

Get about a three-pound pork roast (I usually buy the Boston Butt). You can either place a little olive oil in a Dutch oven or rub oil over the roast. Then pat the spices you like in all over the roast. (I use parsley, oregano, basil, lemon pepper and a little bit of sage.) Get the Dutch oven hot and brown the roast on all sides. (If the Dutch oven is hot, you get almost a blackened effect on the roast - the spices are crusted onto the roast.)

Put the roast on top of the vegetables and cook in the crockpot for 10 to 12 hours on low.

Family Fun's Five Cookbooks That Save Our Sanity

From Family Fun, March 2005

1. Desperation Dinners by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross - All meals are guaranteed ready in "20 minutes flat." Recipes include Chicken Fingers Parmesan, Chicken Tortilla Soup and Apple-Glazed Burger Steaks.

2. The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas - Atlas peppers her book with healthful breakfasts, snacks and lunches (and even tips on what to call new dishes so kids will bite). Recipes include Cream of Baby Carrot Soup and Pasta with Hearty Lentil and Spinach Sauce.

3. One Bite Won't Kill You by Ann Hodgman - A cookbook with a sense of humor. Recipes include Barbecups, SWEEEEEEET Potatoes and Pizza'd Shrimp.

4. The Big Book of Soups and Stews by Maryana Vollstedt - If (like me) you think the perfect weeknight dinner is a one-pot meal, this book is for you. Recipes include Cream of Chicken and Chicken Cacciatore Soup.

5. FamilyFun Cookbook (of course) by Deanna F. Cook - Kid-realistic, fun recipes. Recipes include Wild Turkey Soup and Carrot Coins.

Letter holders

No need to have the neighbors collect your mail the next time you're away. Let the post office do it for you! Your local post office will hold your mail for up to 30 days at no charge. Make arrangements online at or call 1-800-ASK-USPS. (You can even arrange for next-day service should last-minute travel plans arise.)

Gail Pittman Easter Eggs benefit Jackson Habitat for Humanity

Link - This year’s Gail Pittman Easter Egg is the fifth in a seriesof an original design made especially for Habitat. All sale proceeds benefit Jackson Habitat for Humanity.

The boys taking a break from their parade duties for a little of their favorite activity...the GameBoy. (My son, Quentin, is on the left.) Posted by Hello

My mother-in-law at her 82nd birthday party and annual Amite In-House Mardi Gras Parade (thus the beads around her neck). The boys (my son and my brother-in-law's son) collect beads at the parades and then have their own parade at Grandma's house because she's not able to get to the parades these days. Posted by Hello

The Onion outlines Jude Law's First 100 Days as the Sexiest Man Alive as only they can. Posted by Hello

Wives Who Bite Their Tongues Risk Their Lives

Link - In health news today, it looks like Shawn Lea will live a long and healthy life.

Do you have an office wife (or husband)?

Link - This story was intriguing to me because I don't think I've every had an office husband. This is strange for me because outside of work I tend to "connect" more with men than with women. But at work, I generally connect more with women than with men.

There was once a guy who reported to me that was obviously enamored, and I was puzzled. I was married, and I must admit I'm just not used to having men being enamored (maybe it has something to do with being married!). ;)

So I tried to ignore it, and it did go away on its own when he found someone else to amuse him. But one day, he called in sick and we had a deadline on a project I had to finish. He told me to look on his desk and there would be a notebook with notes on the project. The trouble was he was an artist and there were notebooks and sketchbooks everywhere. I opened one notebook and found a nude sketch of myself lounging on a divan like a pre-Raphaelite woman. I was stunned. Stunned by the picture. Stunned by the likeness (considering he'd never seen me naked).

Shortly after that, I set him up with the woman he's now married to. (I promise there was no agenda in this set-up.) And they all lived happily ever after, forever and ever, amen.

But it did leave an impression. And it showed how easy it is to wrap yourself up in someone that you see every day. And how hard it is for some to separate personal and workplace thoughts.

Monday, February 21, 2005

My little quirks

Everyone has them. Those weird things that you do for no reason besides that you've done them that way your entire life. This Fender Discussion Page item got me started thinking about mine. Here's the ones I know off the top of my head...

- I cannot eat just one of the following candies: M&Ms (except for peanut - I eat just one of those and have to eat the chocolate outer shell first and then the peanut), Skittles and Tic Tacs

- I put the sock and shoe on each leg before going to the next (chosen by which shoe is picked up first)

- When I'm going out of town, the kitchen has to be clean.

- The alarm clock has to be set to wake up to music - I can't stand the blaring alarm.

- Oreos and Nutter Butters are divided in half before eating.

- While doing laundry on the weekend, I wash loads in this order: towels/socks/underwear first, then whites, then blues/browns/greens then pinks/oranges/reds. (Repeat as necessary.)

- When checking the online TV directory, I have to start with 2 and work my way upward.

That's all I can think of right now - I'm sure more will come to me later.

Shakespeare's Rose theatre to rise again after centuries under London silt

Link - British acting's aristocracy unite to resurrect Bard's first stage, immortalised on film

Waterman's Howlin’ Wolf image chosen for Double Decker festival

Dick Waterman has been chosen as the featured artist for the Double Decker Festival which will be held here in Oxford on Saturday, April 30. This means that one of his photographs will be the poster and T-shirt, on the Web site and used in all the advertising and publicity.

Congratulations, Mr. Waterman! I love the blues and I love photography...any man that can combine both for me is high on my list of cool dudes.

Let the sunshine in...

Link - March 13-19 is Sunshine Week. According to the Sunshine Week Web site, it is "focused on opening a dialogue about the public’s right of access to government information. Participating daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, online sites, and radio and television broadcasters will feature editorials, op-eds, editorial cartoons, and news and feature stories that drive public discussion about why open government is important to everyone, not just to journalists."

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France (Surprise!). Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? Is it an odd, or an end?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

P.S. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"?

My iTune purchases last week...

Allan Sherman – Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah
Confederate Railroad – Trashy Women
Coolio – 1-2-3-4 (Sumpin’ New)
Sex Packets – The Humpty Dance
House of Pain – Jump Around
Jesse Dayton – Just to Get You Off My Mind
Judy Collins – Both Sides Now
Kate Campbell – Harper Valley PTA
Lee Ann Womack – I May Hate Myself in the Morning
Lee Ann Womack – Time for Me to Go
Moby – Beautiful
Naughty by Nature – O.P.P.
Naughty by Nature – Hip Hop Hooray
Simply Red – Sunrise
Sippie Wallace – Women Be Wise
Sippie Wallace – You’ve Been a Good Ol’ Wagon (But You Done Broke Down)
Sylvie Lewis – When I Drink (It’s About You I Think)
The Time – Jungle Love

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Books on the way...

I spend most of my free reading time on fiction, but two business-type books recently caught my eye (and ear) recently and are now on the way to my house. Reviews to follow later.

Happiness by Richard Layard

The book tackles "the paradox at the heart of our lives" through recent research in the fields of psychology, sociology and applied economics. Or as Freud would phrase it, What do humans want?

Turns out that more money only makes you happier when it lifts you out of poverty. Or when it makes you richer than the people around you. But when whole societies become richer, there's no happiness boost. Layard concludes that if we really want to be happy, we would stop working so much, get married and stay that way, have kids, unplug the TV, help the less fortunate - and our governments would have policies to facilitate all of that.

Sun Tzu Was a Sissy: How to Conquer Your Enemies, Promote Your Friends, and Wage the Real Art of War by Stanley Bing

For the title alone and because I loved Bing's 10 ways a CEO is like a baby article in the Feb. 21, 2005 print edition of Fortune magazine. And because most of the lobbyists I know refer to Sun Tzu's The Art of War as their handbook and I find this comical.

Meet the Tom Peters for the Britney Spears generation

Link - L. Vaughan Spencer, a "gangsta motivator" or L-Vo, as he prefers, is the alter ego of Neil Mullarkey, a British comedian who masquerades as a shady motivational speaker.

L-Vo began in an improv comedy troupe Mullarkey founded with Mike Myers (aka Austin Powers, where Mullarkey had a cameo as the quartermaster clerk) in 1985. He created a workshop designed to draw out executives' creative side that landed big corporate clients. He began parodying the self-help gurus - and executives loved it.

L-Vo preaches such techniques as letterology (like numerology but with letters), Tong Shui (the art of being at one with your hair) and the importance of moisturizer ("If you have the right moisturizer, then you're guaranteed success.").

His Web site also lists his books, including The Tao of Shaving and Succeed in Just Seven Days.

L-Vo's bottom line message: "Don't trust these people. Trust in yourself."

Location, location, location

uLocate Family Finder recently released global positioning technology that can track the movements of anyone who shares software on your mobile phone account. Over 1,500 families are currently using the service.


Textura Design, a Seattle Web-design firm and holding company, is using blogs almost exclusively to pitch its Clip-N-Seal system. Staffers blog on company and product news at They also link to other blogs and encourage links to theirs.

To keep customers engaged, the company runs online contests and promotions. The result: More than 1.25 million hits on the Clip-N-Seal site since the product debuted two years ago, with 35,000 pieces sold...via a strategy that costs almost nothing. (via Fast Company print version, March 2005, p. 30)

It's also a good example of a Web site built on blog software that doesn't scream BLOG! (In other words, a visitor that had no ideas what a blog was would not know it was built like a blog.)

Daily papers readjust to take on competition

The newspaper industry is under assault from cable TV, the Internet, radio and our growing lack of free time to divide between those media.

Newspapers are conducting exhaustive surveys to find out what readers want. They are beefing up online editions and adding blogs, feeds and other "new media" offerings to their print vehicle.

Some are offering free papers, and trying to change the metrics of the industry. Readership (the number of people exposed) should be measured, rather than circulation (the number of people who buy). (Interestingly, I've heard similar arguments in the blogosphere - that loyal readers or "subscribers" should be counted much more than random hits.)

The changes are coming because circulation is eroding. The Baby Boomers are keeping the industry alive now, but the big fear is what happens when today's 18-to35-year olds don't match the Boomers buying patterns.

Sports Illustrated President John Squires recently told a room full of newspaper and magazine circulation executives at a conference in Toronto in November: "Print is dead. Get over it."

And with newspapers turning more and more to electronic publishing, their animosity with bloggers will grow, I believe. (Prime example: Jarvis vs. NYT). Newspapers will grow more vocal about bloggers "me too" form of journalism - and bloggers will growingly have to put up or shut up. No more starting the conversation with a newspaper article - we have to create our own conversations to be true journalists.

And I believe the line between journalism and public relations will grow even fuzzier as public relations professionals become "online journalists" for their company or cause. We won't need the newspapers as vehicles anymore, but we will need to become much better journalists in our own right. (Minus the burying the lead crap anyway.)

As advertising and (especially) public relations professionals, I think we are going to increasingly visit the question in coming years, "If my local paper did not exist anymore, how would I get my message out?"

Bumpers giving away $18,500 in scholarships

Link - Each year, Canton-based Bumpers restaurant franchise gives Mississippi high school juniors and seniors the chance to compete for a portion of $18,500 in scholarship money. To participate, students get their contest passport stamped at 12 of the state's 31 Bumpers locations. Students with fully stamped passports are then eligible to enter a drawing to win $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000 prizes. Five $2,000 scholarships are awarded on a regional basis.

Summer food program looking for sponsors

The Mississippi Department of Education is seeking sponsors to operate the 2005 Food Service Program in counties around the state.

The Summer Food Service Program provides nutritious meals to children during summer school vacation periods (usually from May to August). Meals and snacks are served to children in schools, playgrounds and parks. Public or private nonprofit schools; local, municipal or county government; and public or private nonprofit organizations may qualify as sponsors.

Training for new sponsors will take place in Jackson in April. Potential sponsors should contact Lenora Phillips, director of the Technical Assistance Division, Office of Child Nutrition, P.O. Box 771, Jackson, MS 39205; phone (601) 354-7014 or (601) 354-6982; or e-mail

Fly United and earn a free* BlackBerryTM handheld.

Link - Earn a free BlackBerry handheld with a paid, qualifying roundtrip flight of $250 or more and activation of qualifying T-Mobile service plan. Select the $39.98 data only service plan and get a BlackBerry 6230 featuring e-mail, web browsing, organizer and phone or choose the $59.99 voice and data service plan and get a BlackBerry 7230 with the same great features and color display. Either way, you'll stay connected in 9,000 cities across the country and in over 100 countries worldwide. Be out-of-town, not out-of-touch. (via Cheap Stingy Bastard)

10 questions for Mireille Guiliano

Link - The author of the best seller "French Women Don't Get Fat" answered questions from New York Times' readers.

In Creole Kitchens, Chefs Mix Cultures and Stir Well

Link - For outstanding but modern creole cuisine, the New York Times says these are the restaurants to visit...

When I go to New Orleans, I always insist on beignets at Cafe du Monde and one bowl of crawfish etouffe from Paul Anderson's (the original restaurant on Bourbon Street, not at any of the retail knock-offs).

HBR's Breakthrough Ideas for 2005

Link - Harvard Business Review's annual survey of emerging management ideas

SciFi Eye for the Geek Guy (or Girl in this case)

As I've confessed before, I'm a sucker for any type of "personality" test. I have not yet figured out why. (Hey, is there a test that will tell me why I love personality tests?)

I digress.

Kuro5hin wants you to think of your favorite sci-fi television or movie franchise or writer...and then read on to see if he's pegged your personality.

Here's mine...and, for the record, I hate Jar Jar Binks.

Star Wars

You are more action and adventure oriented. While you might occasionally dress up in costume (usually a stormtrooper), you're typically more obsessed with seeing every last second of footage and being the first to do so. You are more athletic that other sci-fi types, having Jabba the Hut as a good image to stave off over eating too much. Also, you will most likely have genuinely tried the Jedi mind-control trick at least once in your life.

Episodes IV - VI - You are cool and hate Jar Jar Binks.

Episodes I thru II - You think you are cool and like Jar Jar Binks for what you believe is much needed lighter humor.

Christmas Special - You are warped and twisted and probably own all the original action figures (with 20+ storm troopers) and several giant Darth Vader heads to keep them in. You live in your parent's basement. Get a haircut and job, freak.

Jon Stewart on bloggers

Link - Here's Jon Stewart's Daily Show bit on blogs (QuickTime)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Me Against the Music

There are some professions that we all know probably have a very short shelf life in this day and agent, insurance agent, [insert agent middle man here], but DJ? Whoulda thunk it?

94.7 here in Jackson recently changed to JACK FM...playing what we want. And they must have settled into town because they finally got rid of the Yankee voices praising Jack's great taste in music and actually have some "y'all"s in there.

I assumed "Jack" was used in stations nationwide, but had to do a little research when I got home tonight. (Yet another weekend spent on the road - this time a birthday celebration in Amite, LA. After my trip next week to Birmingham for work, I plan on parking myself until my trip to San Antonio at the end of March.)

I just didn't know how much Jack got around. Or "Cadillac Jack" Garret I guess I should call him (aka Bob Perry, according to the Web site). Jack even has a blog (alas, with only one post and 39 comments...but hey, that Jack does what he wants). Jack has many ardent lovers according to his comments (Spare White Guy even offers to help Jack upgrade his blog from Blogger basics).

The most intriguing thing about Jack to me (the radio station, not the imaginary man) is the almost open celebration of the loss of the DJ. No apologies. No regrets. No DJs. A celebration of a lack of chatter.

So in the end, will it come down to DJs against the music?

Friday, February 18, 2005

The one who got away

Link - Curtis Sittenfeld, Rebecca Traister, Geraldine Sealey, Andrew Leonard and others reflect on their lost loves.

I failed the love test, but I passed the female test (just barely)

Your Brain is 66.67% Female, 33.33% Male

Your brain leans female

You think with your heart, not your head

Sweet and considerate, you are a giver

But you're tough enough not to let anyone take advantage of you!

Vacationing in a college town: Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Link - Budget Travel profiles Hattiesburg in their February issue.

Miss Gay America Pageant move from Arkansas to Mississippi

In a bid for more national exposure, the Arkansas owners of the Miss Gay America Pageant have sold the franchise to a Mississippi company.

The annual pageant has been headquartered in Little Rock for more than three decades. Organizers describe it as the largest and most prestigious female impersonator competition in the nation.

Former owner Norman Jones sold the pageant, its copyright and a smaller circuit of competitions on Feb. 4 to L&T Entertainment, a firm in Nesbit, Miss., about 20 miles south of Memphis.

Jones won the pageant in 1973 as Norma Kristie and afterward started running it out of a Little Rock nightclub that he also owns, but now he says he's ready to move on.

The pageant draws 350 impersonators to pageants across the country to compete for the chance to come to Little Rock. Contestants are scored based on evening gown, creative costume, talent and interview. The winner receives $6,000 in prize money and an estimated $35,000 in earnings from guaranteed booked performances after the coronation.

Terry Eason, co-owner of L&T Entertainment, said he is looking at a couple of different cities for the next October competition.

(I would place my bet on New Orleans.)

Non-infantry soldiers get badge for combat

Link - The Army is creating a combat badge for soldiers who come under fire in close combat in Iraq and Afghanistan but who are not otherwise eligible for special recognition because they are from armor, artillery or other non-infantry units.

Mississippian makes mark in world horseshoeing circles

Hernando resident Lim Couch was recently one of four inductees into the 2005 International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held at the International Hoof Care Summit in Cincinnati. Teh hall of fame, housed at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Ky., has 95 inductees worldwide.

Couch has been shoeing Elvis's horses at Graceland since 1967. He has been a farrier, or equine phalangeologist, or horseshoer (however you prefer), for over 35 years. He is credited with finding a practical way to change the design of a traditional blacksmith's anvil to make it more useful for shaping horseshoes.

He founded the MidSouth Horseshoeing Academy on 120 acres off Laughter Road in Hernando. The academy had 1,600 students from the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee at Memphis before closing in the 1980s. He is also considered one of the foremost authorities on founder, a hoof inflammation that can impair a horse's movement, and the realignment necessary to protect it.

He used to shoe 50 to 100 horses a year and travel the world working on the best horses and for the rich and famous before health problems slowed him down. But he still makes horseshoes the old-fashioned way over an open coal fire in his workshop.

Richland's Primrose Path Theatre Presents

On March 3, 4, 5 and 6, 2005, Primrose Path Theatre in Richland invites you to witness the Sanders Family Singers during their first night back on the gospel circuit in five years! Primrose Path's presentation of Smoke on the Mountain takes place in a small country church in North Carolina during the late 1930's.

"A young, enthusiastic pastor invites the Sanders Family Singers to help bring his congregation into the 'modern world,' " said Lydie Vick, director of Smoke on the Mountain. "Many different obstacles combined with opening night jitters keep this family on their toes throughout the production. It's a very sweet, family-oriented show."

Primrose Path's production of Smoke on the Mountain includes a cast of about a dozen family members. The audience plays the role of the congregation. "It is just such a fun show to be a part of," said Brighton Goode, who plays the part of Denise Sanders in the musical. "We have a wonderful cast and it's an exciting show because it's one that people of all ages, from children to the elderly, will enjoy."

"And you just can't beat the good old bluegrass gospel music," added Vick.

Smoke on the Mountain can be seen March 3 - 5 at 7:30 p.m. and March 6 at 2:00 p.m. Seating is NOT limited but get there early to insure the best seats! No reservations will be taken. For more information call 601-420-1576. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Primrose Path Theatre is located in the Richland Community Center just off Hwy 49 behind Walmart in Richland.
Posted by Hello

My best quality according to


The fact that you're a smart person who is more able to understand complex concepts than many other people are really draws people to you! (My intelligence is telling me that this sentence really needs some work by the writing crew.) But that's not the only thing. Your answers on the test indicate you're a reliable and dependable person whom others can usually count on. You are great at expressing yourself and can be at your best when articulating ideas or communicating with others, too.

In all, there are 15 qualities that help define you when you're at your best. Those are the traits potential employers, friends, and partners look for in you. What makes you unique is your particular distribution of those 15 qualities.

We've found that your particular combination of qualities is rare. Only 3 in 10,000 people share the same general mix of traits. Those are great odds if you're trying to show a potential employer, colleague, friend, or date why you're exactly the right person for them.

In their second e-mail and last-ditch effort in getting me to buy my full personality profile, they sent...

Did you know that people who are intelligent are better able to articulate their thoughts and also have a higher sense of integrity than others?

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count kicks off today and lasts through Monday.

The National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, sponsors of the eighth annual count, said participants may choose to enter survey data by town, postal code, or national public lands that include national parks and forests, provincial parks, wildlife refuges and Air Force bases.

Residents may count birds on any or all of the four days, keeping track of the highest numbers of each species they see. They then report their sightings over the Internet.

This year's theme is "North America's Great Backyard." A new feature this year is the opportunity to take photographs for the GBBC.

Using the buzzword means understanding your audience

Link - At the end of the day all that really matters is thinking outside the box. There has to be a certain synergy in the workplace to create a win-win situation. Everyone should get on the same page and be customer-centric and that -- all you Generation Xers -- will lead to core competency.

Confused? Irked? In a state of cliche overload? You have just been exposed to eight of the 18 most annoying and overused buzzwords in the workplace.

Mississippi native Faith Hill to be at the state Capitol

Link - Country music star Faith Hill is scheduled to appear Feb. 21 at the state Capitol to promote the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center in Meridian.

Rankin County named on list 10 Best Places to Live

Link - Progressive Farmer recently named Rankin County to its list of 10 Best Places to Live in Rural America.

And here's the last. Posted by Hello

And here's the last. Posted by Hello

Here's another close-up. Posted by Hello

Here's the first close-up. Posted by Hello

Here's the other side. Posted by Hello

My parents' new house has an interesting mural in the entranceway - here's one side. Posted by Hello

Carnival of the Recipes is up

Link - And this week we have an award-winning line-up.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Blogger's Grotto

The Blogger's Grotto - add a frozen margarita machine and it has everything you need!

Brand Autopsy suggests that we need to create a blogger's grotto, after reading about this writer's grotto in San Francisco. The picture above was actually sent to me by a friend as a joke - he claimed this is how he remodeled his bathroom. But add a frozen margarita machine and a small refrigerator for fresh limes and you might just have the perfect blogger's grotto! ;)
Posted by Hello

Books for Your Design Library

Link - Todd of 800-CEO-READ gives us HOW magazine's 20 Essential Books For The Designer's Shelf.

I did already have a journal (though not moleskin), Green Eggs and Ham, Pantone's Guide to Communicating with Color, Photoshop Wow! Book (but not for version 7, I still have 6) and The Tao of Pooh (that I got for a gift).

Five down, 15 more to go.

Do-It-Yourself Disney Park

Link - Disney is auctioning off Space Mountain and Sky Bucket ride-vehicles from Disneyland. (via BoingBoing)

French Women Don't Get Fat - an excerpt

The Good Cook book club sent me an excerpt this morning from French Women Don't Get Fat. Since it sounds like a similar principle of my forthcoming (in eons) book, The Itty-Bitty Gourmet, I thought I would share. Enjoy! (And I hope The Good Cook's not trying to tell me something...sending me e-mails about how to lose weight! The nerve of some book clubs!) ;)

When she spent a year in the U.S. as an exchange student, la francaise Mireille Guiliano, then nineteen, gained twenty pounds--moving her father to exclaim "Tu ressembles a un sac de patates" ("You look like a sack of potatoes"). Thanks to the family doctor and a few "old French tricks," Guiliano soon reclaimed--for life--her svelte, typically Gallic frame. In her national, buzzworthy bestseller, Guiliano (now a U.S. citizen) explains how in FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure. We've included an exclusive excerpt from Chapter 1 below, in which she recounts those dark days following her (heavier) return to France, and how she began to return to her former weight.


Those were blurry days of crying myself to sleep and zipping past all mirrors. It may not seem so strange an experience for a nineteen-year-old, but none of my French girlfriends was going through it.

Then something of a Yuletide miracle occurred. Or perhaps I should say, Dr. Miracle, who showed up thanks to my mamie. Over the long holiday break, she asked the family physician, Dr. Meyer, to pay a call. She did this most discreetly, careful not to bruise me further. Dr. Meyer had watched me grow up, and he was the kindest gentleman on earth. He assured me that getting back in shape would be really easy and just a matter of a few "old French tricks." By Easter, he promised, I'd be almost back to my old self, and certainly by the end of the school year in June I'd be ready to wear my old bathing suit, the one I'd packed for America. As in a fairy tale, it was going to be our secret. (No use boring anyone else with the particulars of our plan, he said.) And the weight would go away much faster than it came. Sounded great to me. Of course, I wanted to put my faith in Dr. Meyer, and fortunately, there didn't seem to be many options at the time.

For the next three weeks, I was to keep a diary of everything I ate. This is a strategy that will sound familiar from some American diet programs, such as Weight Watchers. I was to record not only what and how much, but also when and where. There was no calorie counting, not that I could have done that. The stated purpose was simply for him to gauge the nutritional value of what I was eating (it was the first time I ever heard the word). Since nothing more was asked of me, I was only too happy to comply. This is the first thing you should do, too.

Dr. Meyer demanded no great precision in measurement. Just estimate, he said, stipulating "a portion" as the only unit of quantity and roughly equal to a medium-size apple. In America, where the greatest enemy of balanced eating is ever bigger portions, I suggest a little more precision. Here's where the small kitchen scale comes in. (Bread, which sometimes comes in huge slices here, might be more easily weighed than compared with an apple, which seems bigger here, too!)

Three weeks later, I was home again for the weekend. Just before noon, Dr. Miracle, distingué, gray templed, made his second house call. He also stayed for lunch. Afterward, reviewing my diary, he immediately identified a pattern utterly obvious to him but hiding somehow from me, as I blithely recorded every crumb I put in my mouth. On the walk between school and the room I was renting in the Seventh Arrondissement, there were no fewer than sixteen pastry shops. Without my having much noticed, my meals were more and more revolving around pastry. As I was living in Paris, my family could not know this, so when I came home, my mother naturally prepared my favorites, unaware I was eating extra desserts on the sly, even under her roof.

Copyright © 2004 Mireille Guiliano

My love number...ouch, this hurts

At least it wasn't a zero, I suppose.

Your Love Number is


You tend to be a stubborn lover, holding your ground in every argument
You take your time falling in love. You aren't the type to lose perspective.
You are loyal (to a fault), and you require the same loyalty in your sweetheart.
At your best, you are a wise and inspiring partner - who sticks around.

The Blogs Must Be Crazy

Link - "Salivating morons." "Scalp hunters." "Moon howlers." "Trophy hunters." "Sons of Sen. McCarthy." "Rabid." "Blogswarm." "These pseudo-journalist lynch mob people."

This is excellent invective. It must come from bloggers. But wait, it was the mainstream media and their maidservants in the elite journalism reviews, and they were talking about bloggers!

MSO continues Bravo Series with Italian-themed concert

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra will continue its 2004-2005 Bravo Series with an evening of Italian classics on February 26. Bravo IV, La Dolce Vita: Viva Italia! will feature some of the Old Country’s best classical works, including many of the world’s great opera arias. Beginning at 7:30 pm at Thalia Mara Hall, and under the direction of Maestro Crafton Beck, the concert will feature celebrated New York tenor Carlo Scibelli and the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet.

The Bravo Series is the MSO’s classical series, which consistently features works by the world’s greatest composers. La Dolce Vita: Viva Italia! will present Italy’s masters with works including Rossini’s Overture from L’Italiana in Algeri ; Gabrieli’s Canzona per sonare #2; Respighi’s The Fountains of Rome; and Verdi’s Triumphal Scene from Act II of the opera Aida, in which the horn section will play from among the audience. Opera lovers will also be treated to arias from the operas Rigoletto, L’elisir d’amore, Tosca and Turandot, sung by guest artist Scibelli. Highlights of Mr. Scibelli’s illustrious opera career include performances at many of the world’s great opera houses, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, and New York City Opera. His Jackson appearance is made possible through Mississippi Health Partners.

Local dance company The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet will also join the MSO for excerpts from the Italian-inspired ballet Napoli, by Danish choreographer Auguste Bournonville. A rousing version of the Neopolitan tarantella dance will re-create the feel and sound of an Italian street festival. The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet is a regional dance company housed at the historic Madison County Cultural Center in Madison.

The February 26 concert will mark the inauguration of a new partnership between the MSO and Bravo! Italian Restaurant and Bar called “Bravo! Bravo!” On the evening of MSO Bravo concerts, patrons are invited to show their Bravo concert tickets at Bravo! Restaurant for 25% off their total bill. Offer applies to pre-concert dining on the day of the concert only. “We are very excited about this joint venture with Bravo! Restaurant. Because our concert series and the restaurant share the same name, the partnership made sense; but we also are glad to be associated with a restaurant of Bravo!’s caliber! We think our patrons will appreciate the discount, but most importantly, a wonderful dining experience before our concerts,” says MSO President and Executive Director Michael Beattie.

Tickets for Bravo IV La Dolce Vita: Viva Italia! are $40/$25 for adults, $30/$20 for seniors 65 and older, and $5 for students ages 4-18. College students with a valid student ID may also purchase $5 tickets during “Student Rush”, 30 minutes before the concert is scheduled to begin. Please call (601) 960-1565 or visit the MSO office at 201 East Pascagoula Street in downtown Jackson to purchase tickets.

Up-close picture of the inner workings of the baby grand Posted by Hello

Mom's grand piano is a Pearl River - here's the emblem on the piano. Posted by Hello

Mom playing the piano for Aunt Ann (sitting in background) and Uncle Jack (standing), who are visiting for a few weeks from Grays Lake, IL (just outside of Chicago). Posted by Hello

My mother got a grand piano for Valentine's Day. (That may be one reason they have been married so long - great gifting skills.) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Area Seabees teach Iraqis to build their own school

Link - At the last main intersection before Forward Operating Base Duke in An Najaf sits a small village of mud homes.

It is a common sight, but what makes it special is the new school in the middle of the village. Built by Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7, Gulfport, and tribesmen from the village, the eight-room school dubbed "Desert Lights" will serve children who normally walk 7 to 8 kilometers to school each day.

Stennis to test aircraft engines

Link - A company famous for its line of luxury automobiles will operate an aircraft engine testing facility on an estimated 15-acre site at Mississippi's John C. Stennis Space Center. Rolls-Royce North America, with U.S. offices in Chantilly, Va., will invest $42 million in construction and upgrades of an existing facility on the NASA campus. Although the Rolls brand is well-known in the upscale car industry, the company has produced aircraft engines since 1914.

B.B. King honored by Mississippi legislature

Link - Blues legend B.B. King was touched by an outpouring of praise from his home state, including the first major recognition by Mississippi lawmakers.
He also said he wants to open his namesake restaurant on Farish Street in Jackson.

Lawmakers declared Feb. 15 "B. B. King Day" in Mississippi, praising the Grammy-winning artist's achievements.

King, who was born outside Itta Bena, tearfully accepted the proclamations while a packed Senate chamber interrupted the ceremony numerous times with standing ovations. It was the 79-year-old's first visit to the Capitol building.

Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta

I made this tonight...It was quick and delicious. It's from Southern Living, contributed by Loraine Carder of Cumming, Georgia. (I don't know what year - I just ripped the page out to save.) Of course, I took shortcuts. I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for my chicken - I didn't boil mine.

1 quart water
4 skinned and boned chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
8 oz uncooked bow-tie pasta
1 cup chicken broth
1 celery rib, chopped or about 1/2 cup (I used a lot more - who chops one celery rib?)
1 small onion, chopped or about 1/2 cup
1 10 3/4-oz can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. Velveeta (or similar), cubed
Garnish: Chopped fresh parsley (or dried parsley, like me)

Bring 1 qt. salted water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add chicken, and cook 12 min. or till done. Remove chicken from water with a slotted spoon. Add pasta to water in Dutch oven and cook 10 min. or till tender; drain. Keep warm.

Heat 1/4 cup chicken broth over med-hi heat in a Dutch oven; add celery and onion and cook 5 min. or till tender. Stir in chicken, soup, cheese and remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth, stirring till cheese is melted. Toss with pasta; garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Rock 'n Roll fonts

Link - Rock on, dude.

Sausage and Pepper Stew

I'm sorry I've fallen behind on my tried-and-true recipe postings. It's been crazy here! OK, enough whining, on with the cooking.

This recipe is from the February/March 1999 Fine Cooking. Anytime I get tired of trying new things and ask my husband what he wants me to cook next, I always get the same reply...Sausage and Pepper Stew.

I, of course, take several shortcuts. I have included the original recipe here, but I don't tie up a bouquet garni - I just dump dried basil into the soup (so much for "fine cooking" at my house). I also cut the sausage up into small pieces before sauteing in oil, rather than leaving them whole. I don't use 3 tbsp olive oil - I just mist a little olive oil in the pot I cook the stew in. (I'm sure the sausage is enough fat for one recipe.) And double the recipe because this freezes well!

Sausage & Pepper Stew

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 lb hot Italian sausages
1 med. onion, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
28-oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped (I use diced though)
2 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked small pasta (tubetti, ditali or shells)
5 sprigs fresh basil and 5 sprigs fresh mint, tied together in a bouquet garni
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over med-hi heat. Add the sausages and onion; cook, turning the sausages to brown all sides, until the onions are just tender, about 8 min. Add the garlic and bell peppers and cook another couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, pasta, basil, mint, salt and pepper (make sure the pasta is submerged). Raise the heat to high and cook until the liquid starts to boil. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the sausages feel firm and the pasta is tender, about 25 min. Cut the sausages into slices or leave whole for serving.

Ashley sees a camera and has to turn around... Posted by Hello

Best friends Posted by Hello

Quentin (on the left) and my best friend's kids, Aaron and Ashley. They came to visit us while I was at my parents' house in Waveland. Posted by Hello

Tsunami throws up India relics

Link - The deadly tsunami could have uncovered the remains of an ancient port city off the coast in southern India.

Burning through Napster's collection, free

Link - Hundreds of music CDs, zero dollars, obtained legally. (Not including the cost of blank CDs)

Best travel blogs

Link - According to Travel and Leisure

Rock Wisdom

Link - Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself...

The Apollo missions

Link - For the first time you can now experience the moon just as the astronauts did - almost as if you were there.

Get free online tax filing - while it lasts

Link - If you're looking for a great deal on Web-based tax software, start your search at the IRS's Free File Alliance page: You'll find offers from all major tax-software vendors for free online tax preparation and e-filing.

MAD Magazine covers

Link - Every single one...this guy's MAD! ;) Did anyone besides me have a subscription to MAD?

Animal astronauts photo gallery

Link - Fish, spiders, dogs and chips who've launched into orbit

Hello Kitty crop circle

Link - Sanrio commissioned Surface to Air (New York) to make an artwork celebrating Hello Kitty’s 30th birthday for an exhibition at the Mori Museum in Tokyo.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day!

I gave my five-year-old son a stuffed animal and some candy for Valentine's Day this morning. I jokingly asked where my present was (I have been showing him which balloons I wanted at the grocery store every week).

He came over and gave me a big hug and a kiss and said, "Mom, I just gave you my heart."

What else do I need? I hope all of you have a great Valentine's Day full of love and flowers and chocolate and candlelight and bubble baths (but mostly love).

Top Ten most Polite Ways to Say Your Zipper Is Down

Top Ten most Polite Ways to Say Your Zipper Is Down
from David Letterman

10. The cucumber has left the salad.

9. Quasimodo needs to go back in the tower and tend to his bells.

8. You need to bring your tray table to the upright and locked position.

7. Paging Mr. Johnson... Paging Mr. Johnson.

6. Elvis is leaving the building.

5. The Buick is not all the way in the garage.

4. Our next guest is someone who needs no introduction.

3. You've got a security breach at Los Pantalones..

2. Men may be From Mars.....but I can see something that rhymes with Venus.

And the #1 way to tell someone his zipper is unzipped.....

1. I always knew you were crazy, but now I can see you're nuts.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

WRNO...just like the good ol' days

The easiest route to reach my parents' house in Waveland is to head south towards Louisiana and then turn east back to Waveland. When I get close to New Orleans, I turn the satellite radio off. It's the only time I get to hear WRNO.

And it's like a time capsule. For just a moment, I feel young and hip and with it again. Ready to go out on a Saturday night when the humidity is down and you know your hair will stay right. And there's a bonfire on the beach with a pirogue full of boiled crawfish waiting for you. And later you and your two best friends will sing "Hotel California" at 2 a.m. in the moonlight on the edge of the beach.

Yes, it is a "lovely place." And you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. (Until your five-year-old screams from the back seat, "Mom, how do you get to the next level in Shrek?" at the top of his lungs. Then you leave too quickly - reality sets in again.)

Create a PDF from any document

Link - With CutePDF Writer

Blues Guitar Lessons

Link - FREE and on video

ACME Heartmaker

Link - Make your own candy valentine

Cure is bad as the disease

My son had strep throat last week. He had to get penicillin shots in his legs. (It took a long time for the nurse to explain why he was getting a shot in his legs when it was his throat that was hurting.) This happened on Wednesday.

The shots have traumatized the boy. We're walking on the beach in Waveland this morning and I challenge him to a race. He then informs me that since the shots on his legs he is able to walk, but not run. And what caused this?, I ask. The culprit is obviously "some oil" that they put on his legs after the shot.

I'm guessing the mystery oil was alcohol, but I guess I'll have to watch the legs closely! ;) I suggested we go back and get another shot so his legs could run again, but upon little consideration, he decided that would not be necessary.

Between Midnight and Day

Link - Dick Waterman, photographer, agent, manager, and promoter of traditional Blues artists, is holding an illustrated lecture at the Library of Congress. The lecture is free and open to the public. Wednesday, February 23, 2005, 6:30pm in the Mumford Room, 6th floor ofthe James Madison Building. Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave,SE.

In honor of Valentine's's my seduction style

Your Seduction Style: The Charmer

You're a master at intimate conversation and verbal enticement.
You seduce with words, by getting people to open up to you.
By establishing this deep connection quickly, people feel under your power.
And then you've got them exactly where you want them!

Aggregator Aggravation

I'm quickly discovering that the big problem with news "aggregators" is that they keep reading - even when you're not. Last week, I made myself go three days without NewsGator in the name of "getting things done."

Freshly smug in my time management skills, I came back to work that morning ready to catch up. I almost uninstalled NewsGator when I opened up the application and had...this is no exaggeration...6,000 ITEMS waiting for me.

This weekend, I was at my parents' house in Waveland and had a mere 1,500 items waiting for me on Sunday evening.

I think I'm going to have to do some culling of my blogroll in the name of sanity. Is anyone else experiencing similar drama?

Playwright Arthur Miller dies at 89

I was a strange child, I'll admit. By the time I was a teenager, some of my favorite reading was the thick tomes of the "Best Plays of (insert year here)." My library's collection started in the late '40s. I started there and worked my way forward. Death of a Salesman was one of the first plays that I vividly remember reading. I know others are sometimes considered "better" by critics, but it will always be my favorite Arthur Miller play.