Vince Flynn Shout Out…

I mentioned in a previous post that S had given me a Vince Flynn book for Christmas.  Rush Limbaugh had been talking up the author on his radio show and that got me interested in the author even though I am not much of a fiction fan. 

Well, yesterday I read Protect and Defend.  I read it in a matter of hours because it was too good to put down.  It was better than I had expected and better than I could have inagined.  And it only took me about 75 pages to get past the main character’s stupid name, Mitch Rapp.   The characters in the book are well fleshed out and all of the CIA/spook details give one the feeling that one is not so much reading fiction.  I also loved that Mitch Rapp was a masculine man, not some uber senstive male.  I’d be curious to know how many women love reading Vince Flynn…

I am now on a quest to get all of the Vince Flynn novels that I can get my hands on.  Hopefully they will be just as good as this on.

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Educated…

A shout out for S

In late December, she turned in her masters thesis and now holds a document that says she has graduated.  That would be masters degree #2.  Also in December, she finished up her first semester in her doctoral program.

As seen on TV…

For years I was obsessed with watching the infomercial for the GT Xpress 101

It is a sandwich maker thing with two deep wells that cook the food on both sides at the same time.  During the infomercial an older woman demonstrates about 2 dozen recipes that can be cooked in about 9 minutes in the GT Xpress 101.  She makes salmon with a side of wild rice.  She makes omelets.  She makes angel food cakes with strawberries inside them.  She makes use of leftover meatloaf and garlic bread.  She makes breakfast burritos with your restaurant leftovers.  She makes those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in less time than it takes to heat up a standard oven.  Essentially, she makes anything and everything you can dream of.

Anytime I happened to flip to a channel that had the GT Xpress 101 infomercial on, I watched it.  I’ve probably seen it all the way through about 100 times.  But, I’ve never really ordered anything off of the television before, no matter how obsessed I was with the product.  That all changed one day last January.  I went online and purchased the GT Xpress 101.  Actually, because of the way the product is sold, I bought two for the price of one but had to pay the shipping on both which is where I was taken for a ride.  After I ordered the product I started reading reviews of it on various websites and I got freaked out.  Half of the reviews were horrible.  Some people said that the GT Xpress 101 was total junk.  Others said that not only was it junk, but it took three months to arrive.  Needless to say, I totally freaked because I had just spent $70+ on it.

Due to the awful reviews, I half expected the GT Xpress to never arrive.  And if it ever arrived, it wouldn’t work.  But, it did arrive, about two days beyond what I was told to expect (16 days).  And, it worked.  It made everything that the infomercial said it would.  It made amazing burritos.  S and I cooked in it everyday, several times a day for three months.  It made these great breakfast sandwiches with a raw canned biscuit, an egg, two slices of bacon and a handful of cheddar.  I cannot express just how much I love the GT Xpress 101.

Of course, the novelty eventually wore off and we use it a lot less than we did when we first got it.  I still love it and it still works, but now I am crazy about this wok that S’s grandma gave me.  I wok the house.  I wok my world.  But every now and again, I still whip out the GT Xpress 101.

The thing is, I have a whole new As Seen on TV obsession.  It is the Sham Wow!  I am fascinated by the Sham Wow!  I need a Sham Wow!  I just haven’t gotten around to ordering one yet.  I had been putting it off, sort of like I did with the GT Xpress 101 but the other day, while waiting for my pictures to be developed at Walgreens, I found that they sell the Sham Wow!

I will be buying one in the coming days.

Uncomfortable…

I think that this year S and I did a pretty good job with the Christmas gift giving.  We thought about the people we were buying for and what they might need or want or really, really like. We started thinking about the gifts in November and there were some ideas that were tossed out there and then rejected.  Only the best ideas made it to Christmas shopping weekend.

I had a fairly solid budget of what we could afford to spend and thankfully it worked nicely with the presents we wanted to buy.  I didn’t pick some magical cash number for what we were going to spend equally on each person/couple on our list, some gifts would cost more than others, but each person would get the perfect gift.  Isn’t that how it is supposed to be? 

S’s family seemed fairly easy this year.  I knew exactly what we should get for each of them and we were able to find everything easily.  Watching them open their gifts this year was even better than last year.  Everyone loved what they got and some of them were even a wee bit jealous of a gift or two that we gave to someone else.  It was cool.  S’s mom has called us twice since Christmas to thank us again and again for her MP3 player (not an Ipod, as we are anti-Apple).  That is a great feeling.  The other night we went to a post-Christmas party at brother el ‘Jeffe’s house and it was nice to see that the box of hand picked ornaments we gave to his wife were on their tree.  Gil couldn’t have been more thrilled with the large selection of exotic beers that we gave him.  Seriously a great feeling.

My family was a little more difficult.  Well, Shaggy was easy because that remote controlled dragonfly was amazing and needed to be given to someone.  Her older sister, L, was harder.  She is eleven years old and she already has everything she could want.  When asked if there was anything special on her list, her mother told me “money”.  No way.  Slipping a ten dollar bill in a birthday card is fine, but not for Christmas.  We ended up getting her a video game for her Nintendo DS, but it didn’t feel special enough.  I was disappointed.  She thanked us for it but then tossed it into a pile of other DS games that she got.

DK the Asshat has always been weird about gifts.  He is reluctant to open them and then he acts ashamed when he finally gets around to it.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it is no good for me to put too much effort into his gifts.  I end up disappointed and he ends up miserable.  This year we gave him a beers of the world six pack and it was still as awkward as ever.  S picked a physics/mathematics book for my brother, MK, and he was over the moon about it.  We gave MK’s girlfriend, Ginni, an easy to use cookbook, as she is new to the whole world of cooking.  It has step by step pictures along side the recipes, which I thought would be helpful to a new cook.  For DK the Asshat’s wife, Satan, I picked a “book” by Keith Olberman about the worst people in the world.  I meant for it to be ironic.  The funny thing was, she had given my brother the exact same book that morning.

My mother has too much of everything already.  Like last year, I chose to give her restaurant gift cards because now that my grandmother is gone, my mother is even less inclined to cook.  She likes to go out to eat and she really likes to go out for lunch and sandwiches.  I also gave her a bunch of cookies that I had baked because she really wasn’t inclined to bake this year.  I didn’t get to see her open many of her gifts since we arrived so late in the evening, but she was given an HD video camera/still camera from MK and Ginni.  I was jealous.  The thing is, she still hasn’t used the VCR we gave her 10 years ago, so she probably isn’t going to learn to use her new fancy camera.  Maybe she’ll give it to me…

MK and Ginni went a little crazy this year with the gifts.  Not that I am not grateful.  In fact, I am quite grateful, but it did make me feel uncomfortable (which made me relate to DK the Asshat and I hate that).  They gave S and mea GPS thing.  Not a Tom-Tom or a Garvin or anything with a service.  Ours is just the unit and it works with the free military GPS stuff.  S is over the moon about it.  We’ve named it Chuck even though it has a woman’s voice.  Sis directionally challenged and thinks that GPS will save the free world.  I have an inner GPS that astounds probably even the military, so Chuck does not impress me.  In fact, when S tells me that Chuck wants us to turn right at the next light, I feel the need to tell her that I already knew that.  Chuck pisses me off.  But I tolerate him because it makes S so happy.

Ginni had also gone online and found some guy who had a ton of old 1930’s Chicago Bears photos.  Great quality pictures.  She gave six of them to me and my brothers because our grandfather played for the Bears back then.  It was such an amazingly thoughtful gift.  I don’t know how she found them exactly because I had been on the lookout for that kind of stuff too.  Ginni has some strange internet shopping powers, I think.  Oh, and she also bought nine minutes of footage from a game our grandfather played in.  But she only got one copy and couldn’t make copies for the rest of us.  I want her powers.

Just in time for Mother’s Day…

So this morning I was listening to the Laura Ingraham talk radio show, like I do every day between 9 and 11 am, and she had this build up to a major announcement that was going to be made on the show.  Laura had been off air all week, with some fun guest hosts like Tammy Bruce and Tucker Carlson, but there was no explanation as to why Laura was away.  Since she battled breast cancernot too long ago, there is always the fear that she is off dealing with a medical issue or some such thing.  But the explanation of the absence was fully explained during the big announcement.

Laura was in South America adopting a child.  A little 3 year old girl to be specific.  You would think it would be stunning to hear that a very conservative talk show host went head long into the world of single parenting, but it really isn’t.  Laura has always seemed like a parent, just one without any children of her own.  And it never really seemed like she was going to end up married, which I just don’t understand because she is beautiful, talented, sweet and all those things that men should want in a wife. 

Anyway, congratulations Laura and Maria

Shout out…

If she were still alive, today would be Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday.  G_d, I love her voice.  I have a great disk of Ella live in Germany where she does a stupendous Mac The Knife.  I have a dozen favorites by her, and if you put a gun to my head I swear I couldn’t name just one favorite.

Scott at the Powerline blog has a nice tribute to her today.  There is a video link in his post too.  Check it out.

Shout out…

We found out late last night that S got accepted into the Phd program.