Saturday, February 28, 2009

Catching Up

Hmm, let’s see. Since I was last here for real I’ve done a bunch of stuff.

Riley and I had a night out with Eva and the Little One. An adventure with the girls is always fun. Dinner and then Oliver. It was well done but not likely to become one of my favorite shows. I did love the villain. Big surprise, right? The guy portraying him had the most incredible voice. Mm, went straight through me.

I did my edits for Hot Rush so soon I’ll know the release date. I also wrote the dreaded blurb and chose an excerpt. Yep, still really hate that part of this whole publishing thing.

I dropped off my tax mess. I’ll be able to pick it up next week, all neat and tidy. I am so dreading it. Anyone hit the lottery lately? Like me enough to help me out here? It’s going to be bad. Seriously bad. Bad enough I’m sure I’ll consider heading up to the roof to jump. Oh, I won’t. It’s not high enough to do anything other than maim me and that would be worse so nope, no jumping for me.

A cool thing I discovered. I had to stop by John’s Great Cars, where I got Howie. While I was there I asked about the variety of wax they used. You see, he smells like crayons and I love it. But, it’s not the wax. They informed me that they’ve noticed that in all the Beetles they’ve had. That made me smile. Nothing like getting into a sunshine yellow, crayon smelling car at the end of a bad day to improve my mood.

The other thing I did yesterday was take Quinn for his rabies shot. Finally! He’s been quarantined with me six months now and shows no signs of rabies so he’s now been deemed safe by the state. Good thing since he bit me the first week I had him. The downside of this was I had to tranquilize him before he went. When he went for his distemper booster after a month he was out of control. So I drugged him about an hour and a half before we left home. He was still wild. It took two techs to hold him while the vet gave him his shot and trimmed his nails. The noises he made were downright scary. He truly hates to be scooped up and held. Kind of amazing since he spends hours at a time curled up on top of me, pesting to be petted. Now he’s good to go for another year. Hopefully, he’ll mellow a little before he has to go back.

So what have you been up to?

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Chuckle

This is why women should not take men shopping against their will.

After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunately, my wife is like most women - she loved to browse. Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from the local Wal-Mart:

Dear Mrs. Samsel,

Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Samsel are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in House wares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away.'

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.

6. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?'

9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the ' Mission Impossible' theme.

12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his Madonna look' by using different sizes of funnels.

13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through yelled, 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed, 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!' And last, but not least...

15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, and then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!'



Hm, I hate to shop...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What The...

In Birmingham, Alabama yesterday, a funeral director was arrested and charged with felony abuse of a corpse. There was a woman who died back in November of 2007. Apparently her family wanted her cremated however they failed to pay the tab.

After storing the body for over a year the owner of the funeral home must have decided it was in the way. For some reason the man in question stuck it in a hearse registered to him, drove it 60 miles to a property he owned, and left it locked inside in a cardboard box. He then removed the vehicle’s battery so it couldn’t be taken easily.

And now, two months later someone reported a foul smell, prompting local authorities to go poking around, thus discovering the cause. Gee, do you think the funeral director was surprised when they came to get him?

In other stuff, a gift for the man who has everything. A portable urinal in a fake golf club. It’s called the uroclub, should you desire to acquire one for the special man in your life. It even comes with a privacy towel that is attached to the club and then tucked into the waistband to shield the activity from view.

The resevoir only holds about a pint and the club, though it appears to be real, can’t be used to play golf. Well, perhaps to play minature golf but kids are curious and might notice what’s going on.

Yep, I was listening to the radio in the wee hours again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weird Tree Tidbits

This week, I learned two things about trees I never knew before. Since I’m guessing most of you don’t know either I’ll share.

The first concerns willow tree bark. Way back when Hippocrates was a physician he used to prescribe that patients chew on it. Doing so cured all sorts of maladies. Why? What common analgesic is a derivative of willow trees? Aspirin. Ah ha. Next time you’re out hiking in the woods perhaps you want to keep that in mind.

The second, and one I’m going to need to test out myself before I believe, concerns dead wood on live trees. Do you know how to tell, in the spring when the sap begins to flow, whether a branch is still alive or not? Other than the obvious, waiting to see if it sprouts leaves? Supposedly, you can feel the difference. Dead limbs will be warm to the touch whereas live ones will be significantly cooler.

Anyone live where it’s already beginning to warm up? Could you please go out and feel your trees to test this and then let us know? I’d really appreciate it as I’m sure everyone else will too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

As Expected

Some things never change.

I met up with some of the ladies I used to work with for dinner tonight. Those I used to enjoy, I still do. Those I didn't care much for, I still don't. No big surprise there.

One thing that was confirmed by chatting with them. I certainly don't miss working in purgatory. Nope, the current day job definitely suits me more. No big surprise with that one either.

You'll be very proud of me. I behaved myself. This time. Don't know if there'll be a next time because it was so hard to not say some of the things I was thinking. Or maybe I'll organize the next gathering so I can invite only those I'm truly interested in seeing again. Yes, that sounds like a better plan to me.

While I was there, Neeley called. Too bad I couldn't talk to her because I haven't been sticking to my vicarious exercise program very well lately. I really need to do better at that. Besides, her I do miss.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Believe it or not, I’ve cooked dinner the last three days. Yes, that’s right, three days. Real food. With vegetables. And I have something thawed, waiting for me to post this, to cook for tonight.

I think I’ve lost my mind. Not that I have any problem with cooking. Actually, I like to cook. Only not for just me. No, much too much work to bother for just me. And, of course, I’m currently being anti-social about inviting anyone to my house.

See? No real need to cook. Which takes me back to the thought that I’ve lost my mind. There has to be something wrong with me. Microwave dinners are generally fine. Or even delivery stuff since I live in the area where just about everyone delivers. Just not the last few days.

Oh well, I’m sure the urge will pass. Either that or I’ll suddenly become friendly again. Now that’s a truly scary thought!

And speaking of friendly… I’m going out with some of the ladies I used to work with tomorrow evening. Yeah, I know. But at least that’ll break the habit of this cooking nonsense I’m sure. What do they say? It takes thirty days to form a habit and only one to break it? Whew! I’m safe!

Okay, yes, you caught me. I had no idea what to blog about today, no interesting tidbits to share, nothing I felt like researching, so you got stuck with me rambling about nothing. Aren’t you glad I don’t do this more often? Or maybe not. Stick around long enough and I might slip up and you’ll learn something truly juicy about my checkered past. Hahaha!

Ooh, almost forgot. In real writer news I wrote some stuff over the weekend that I don’t absolutely abhor. This is the first time since Mouse died.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I've spent the weekend collecting up everything I need for my tax appointment this week. I'm very afraid, due to a choice I made at the beginning of the year. Retaining my home seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, I'm not so sure. Door number one is starting to look mighty attractive. Oh, not for real, don't worry. However, if there were a surefire way of faking it and not being caught...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mensa Invitational Part Two

But first, Linked received a very cool review from Kristy Bock at ParaNormalRomance. Thank you, Kristy! "an intense read...Barbara Huffert's Linked breaks the mold by balancing love, violence and mind blowing sex. ...Linked takes you on an adventure and is not for the meek." Yeah, I'm smiling. Click here to read the rest.

And now, back to the Mensa Invitational.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade , v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n.. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon , n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mensa Invitational Part One

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa invitational - which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus (n.): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication (n.): Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation (n.): Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy (n.): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid

7. Giraffiti (n.): Vandalism spray-painted very,very high.

8. Sarchasm (n.): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte (v.): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis (n.): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon (n.): It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes andit's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido (n.): All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect (n.): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm inthe fruit you're eating.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Forget It

Contrary to popular belief, it is somewhat difficult to poison anyone with mercury in its elemental, liquid state. Neither ingesting, nor intravenous injection provide enough mercury absorption for systemic toxicity to result. For that, you would need to alter the mercury to release vapor as inhaling it is much more harmful than swallowing it. Of course you would then most likely poison yourself too so it’s not recommended. Unless whoever it is you are trying to knock off has absolutely no powers of observation, they’re very likely to notice you wandering around in a full biohazard suit, including helmet with face shield.

Only slightly more effective are mercury salts. Prolonged or heavy exposure to them will eventually result in neurological damage. However, you’d cause kidney damage long before that and probably get caught too.

If you seriously want to do away with someone via mercury, your best bet would be a compound such as dimethylmercury which is so toxic even a few drops coming in contact with the skin or even a latex glove would be enough. It is, however, damn difficult to obtain unless you work in a specialized lab to that pretty much rules it out as well. In other words, come up with some method other than mercury if you’re that determined.

That said, people do still have all sorts of mercury-related issues. Most come from methylmercury which is an organic compound that works its way up the food chain through bioaccumulation. In other words, it’s in the stuff we eat, mainly fish such as swordfish and tuna, but also land animals. There have been studies however, and the benefits of eating one or two servings of fish a week far outweigh the risks.

Oh, so you know, there can be a period of latency between eating contaminated seafood and symptoms appearing. If you ever experience tingling or numbness in the skin or sensory impairment, vision, speech, or hearing, do not just ignore it. In many cases, treatment can be administered and the effects of the poisoning minimized. On the other hand, if the wrong dosage of the substance used to treat the mercury poison is given the side-effects are just as bad and can speed death rather than prevent it. Still, it’s better to be safe.

Some interesting tidbits:
The phrase mad as a hatter is a reference to mercury poisoning because mercury-based compounds were often used in the manufacture of felt hats in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In Iraq in 1971 there were 6530 cases of mercury poisoning including 459 deaths that were the result of treated seeds being used to make bread instead of being planted. There was a mercury compound formerly used as a preventative against seed mold.

In 2008, a man died from inhaling mercury vapor while trying to extract gold from computer parts. His residence was found to be so contaminated that it had to be completely gutted.

In Japan in the 1950’s there were almost 3000 cases of poisoning with 600 deaths due to industrial discharges into rivers and coastal waters.

In 2000, a man attempted to kill a former employee by pouring mercury into the ventilation system of her car. It didn’t work so don’t bother.

In December 2008, actor Jeremy Piven was diagnosed with mercury poisoning resulting from eating sushi twice a day for twenty years.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back Away Slowly...

…And no one will be hurt.

Ever have one of those days when people were just so annoying you wanted to turn around and walk away? And keep on walking, never to return? Well that was my day today.

Back tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Was Bad

But it was justified.

Years ago, before my ex was an ex the out of town branch of his family was coming for a visit. That morning, I got up early to make sure the house was in order, vacuuming and dusting so everything was just right when they arrived.

While I was expending this effort for people I really didn’t care much for, my ex was still sleeping. As I finished, he decided he would get up and cook himself breakfast in my freshly cleaned kitchen, dumping the pans in the sink about two minutes before they were due.

Needless to say I was not a happy girl. After making a total mess of things, he attempted to joke, saying he wasn’t sure he even wanted the breakfast anymore. Big mistake! He turned around to pull the salsa he drenched everything in the universe with and I snatched his plate right off the counter, dumping the contents down the garbage disposal in my now empty sink since I had just finished putting the pans in the dishwasher after wiping down the counter.

The look on his face was priceless. Just as the explosion began, the doorbell rang. Unbelievably, it was one of the rare occasions in our relationship that his family sided with me. Actually, I think that was when they finally realized there was more to me than previously suspected and quit openly sniping at me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

In Today's News

I had the radio on overnight again. You hear the most bizarre things in the middle of the night.

The world record holder for the longest fingernails has them no more. She was in an accident and tosssed from her SUV. She’s reported to be fine but her nails aren’t. They all broke.

The last time she trimmed them was in 1979. In total she had almost twenty-eight feet of nail. Yes, that’s correct, feet. Her right thumb nail, the longest, was approaching two feet.

Several questions here. How do you possibly function with those kinds of nails? And why the hell would you even want to? Sorry, but to me a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records is just not worth it.

When I was little my grandmother and I used to go to luncheon fashion shows at a local department store restaurant. There was a woman who we saw fairly often whose nails were longer than normal. I’d say maybe about four inches. They were brown and curling around, kind of like mountain sheep horns. I hated when she was seated near us. It was disturbing and in my opinion, they were just plain gross. I can’t imagine seeing over a foot of that on each finger, all gnarly and disfigured. I don’t want to, Guinness worthy or not.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I caught part of an episode of Ghost Adventures the other night. At one point they were discussing the feeling you get when you sense a place isn’t quite right. The hair on the back of your neck stands on end and your mind goes wonky. Yep, I know it well.

The house I grew up in inspired that feeling often. I hated it. It wasn’t so bad when I was real little and my room was in the old farmhouse though it was still there. My room was in the front corner, the one that faced the direction storms came from. I loved sitting on the deep windowsill, watching them. But that was all I loved. The ceiling was tongue and groove dark wood with patterns on it. Patterns that would begin to move if you stared at them too long. Kind of hard not to do when I was awake with screaming nightmares all the time.

For some reason there were two holes in my ceiling that opened up into the attic. My parents put tinfoil pie plates in them from above to close them off but that wasn’t enough. I’d work up my nerve to go to the attic in order to put something heavy on top of them, quite a feat for a petrified kid. Only thing was before long I’d hear scraping above me during the night and the next time I went up whatever I’d put there would be gone. I just knew something was peering down at me whenever I closed my eyes. I could feel it.

Then, when I was eight, my parents built an addition and I got a new room. Mine had a window above the porch roof. Big mistake since there was often something out there. It also overlooked the creepy cornfield you’ve already heard about. Or perhaps not. At least I had a second window facing the backyard too. I could get out if I had to. Of course I’d have to jump two stories but that wasn’t important. My brother’s room only had one window so I’d have felt even more trapped if I’d ended up with that room.

If not for my fearless cat, Dee Dee, I don’t think I would have survived growing up in that house. She came to live with me was I was six and protected me until I moved out. As long as she was with me I was safe. Whatever it was that was in the house was afraid of her. But her sphere of influence was only so big. I had to keep her right with me in order to remain protected. At night, I’d lock her in my room with me or I didn’t stand a chance of sleeping. And yes, I do mean lock, literally. When she was there I could even open the window above the porch so we didn’t suffocate.

The rest of the time she more often than not humored me by staying with me. Then I could go anywhere in the house. Oh, except on the few occasions she refused to go to the basement. But, if she wouldn’t go, neither would I and no amount of threatened punishment from my parents could change that. I didn’t care if the laundry, one of my chores, was done or not. No way was I going downstairs to the washer without Dee Dee.

My family, of course, thought I was insane. They couldn’t feel it. I suppose that’s good, since my mother still lives there. Alone. On the other hand, it’s not because she won’t be expecting it when whatever it is decides to reclaim its territory. But I won’t be at all surprised. And you better believe now I only go there when I absolutely have to and in broad daylight.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Under the guise of needing to rest up from the remnants of my cold I've given myself rare permission to be a couch potato. And I'm so happy I picked today to do so.

Chiller is having a Beauty and the Beast marathon! Mm, don't you just love him? Something about all that savage strength wrapped around his warm heart and how he was willing to protect her at all costs. Yeah, definitely fantasy inspiring. Sigh...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Do You Count?

As you’re performing repetitive, routine tasks, I mean. 2,3 There’s something I do on a weekly basis, 4,5 that requires me to put eight different things in a container. 6,7 I set up my workspace the same every time. 8 3 I even have a little shuffle, sway I do as I work. 1,2 I let my mind drift to everything and anything. 3,4 But at some point I generally notice I’m counting again. 5,6

The harder I try to distract myself the more obvious it becomes. 7,8 4 As I assemble these packages, 1,2 I put them away in lots of six. 3,4 That’s how many I can carry at once so I have to count the total I have ready as I go too. 5,6 Today I tried writing this inside my head as I went. 7,8 5 You can tell it didn’t work at all to make me quit. 1,2

I also noticed that I scoop up the items on my left with my left hand. 3,4 And the ones to my right with my right. 5,6 The ones directly in front of me are a toss up. 7,8 6 There was no distinguishable pattern for them. 1,2 I wondered why but then I decided it must be because I’m equally comfortable using either hand. 3,4

So what about you? 5,6 Do you have things like this you do? 7,8 1 Perhaps you count the number of times your turn signal blinks as you’re making turns. 1,2 Or how many pieces you chop your veggies into if you have to dice something. 3,4 How about how many jelly beans you’re about to eat to make sure you have an even number? 5,6 Hm, do you have to buy the same amount of items at the grocery store? 7,8 2

What’s the weirdest thing you count? 1,2 I asked that question today and the best I’ve come up with so far 3,4 is how long you touch the light switch when turning it on and off. 5,6 Can you top that? 7,8 3

Thursday, February 12, 2009


There’s a local organization that, as their fundraiser, sells flans on street corners. Vanilla flans with caramel sauce. And, oh my, are they good!

Every day when I head home they’re there. Fortunately, they’re always on the busy corner, the one that would be difficult to stop at and then pull back out into traffic. Or they were until yesterday that is. For a year, I’ve resist. I’ve been so proud of myself too. Only yesterday they moved across the street, to the corner that you can use the changing of the light to pull out and my resolve flew right out the window.

I zipped Howie right over to the curb, pushed the button to lower the window, and whipped out my cash. They tossed my flan on the seat and off I went, all in less than a minute. And then I got silly.

Anyone who isn’t aware of this organization would surely think they just witnessed some sort of illicit transaction. It was warm so the flans were in a cooler. There aren’t any signs to indicate what’s being sold. You just have to know. If someone didn’t, all they’d see is a car suddenly stopping, an exchange being made and then the car taking off again, quick as can be.

Thank goodness the local authorities know what’s going on because I’d sure hate to be pulled over and searched just because I couldn’t resist a treat after a long day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The girls and I went out last night. Yummy dinner first and then Rain, a Beatles tribute band. Even though I was never a big Beatles fan I still knew all the songs and it was a fun evening partly because of the memories they evoked.

When I was a kid I wasn't permitted to listen to the Beatles. I was too young, according to my mother. She and her friend used to go off for afternoons, leaving me with her son who was eight years older than I was. He was under strick instructions not to play that music with me around. So what did we do as soon as they were out the drive? Put on the Beatles of course. There was plenty of other stuff on our forbidden list but we went ahead and did most of that too. Hm, perhaps I'll tell you more about that sometime.

The other thing that made the night so good was how much the Little One enjoyed herself. How cool is it that this kid also knew all the words to all the song? Not only that I put her in charge of screaming at all the appropriate times so I didn't have to. I can talk today. I have my doubts about her.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's The Law

Did you know it's illegal to trap mice in Cleveland, Ohio without a hunting license? Yep, it's against the law to defend your own home from invasive rodents.

Okay, so this brings up all sorts of questions. Such as, how do they enforce this? Are valuable police resources expended going through people's trash, searching for little mouse carcases or do you suppose there's a special bureau just for this? Is there a limit to the number of mice you can get in a season? Must you state the reason for which you are applying for the license? Food? Sport? Fur-trapping? How long has it been since anyone actually bought a mouse license? I must admit I got very silly thinking of the expression on the face of the clerk receiving a form for such a license. And is there a specific mouse license or do you think it's a generic hunting license with a mouse stamp on it? Must you display the license on your person when engaging in mouse hunting? As in the entire time you have traps set within your home? I wonder what the penatly is for trapping without one. Can you imagine calling someone to bail you out after being hauled in for illegal mouse trapping?

Yes, these are the things I want to know. I'm sure you do as well, now that I've brought this to your attention.

No blog tomorrow - girls' night out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Barb

I got some excellent book news this week. Ah, almost forgot I write since I don't ramble about it very often, didn't you? That's okay. I'll remind you when something comes up.

My wonderful editor gave me a contract with Ellora's Cave for Questing, the first in my Cosmic Connections series. It's Jordan and Kiley's story and it's very sweet. Oh, except for when Kiley is drugged and kidnapped by a nefarious bastard but you'll have to read it to find out more about that. Sorry, I haven't gotten the release date yet but I'll keep you posted. I have the cover request all ready to send and if the gurus smile on me again it should be hot! Now all I need to do is come up with the most dreaded blurb and I'm all set. Oh no, better not even think of that today or I'll break out in hives and need to go straight back to bed.

In other book news I received the first review for Linked, recently released at Ellora's Cave. Joletta from Sensual says, "Linked is an original, fast paced thriller that I could not put down." How cool is that? Click here to read the rest of the review.

In other stuff, I gave directions to a priest in a black camero the other day. Accurate directions that were easy to follow and would definitely get him to where he was trying to go. You see, I've kind of made it a habit in the past to not do that. I'm the first to admit that I'm pretty much a heathen but even I won't risk the bad karma chips I'd surely get from sending a priest in the wrong direction.

Speaking of being a heathen, I did attempt to read the bible one summer in high school before I was old enough to have a job. I intended to float around the pool, soaking up the rays as I read it. I only got as far as all that begatting and smiting stuff before I dozed off and it went overboard. Even though I fished it off the bottom of the pool but that ended that idea. As I saw it, if the universal powers that be truly wanted me to read the bible they would have either made the beginning more interesting so it didn't put me to sleep or made it float so the pages didn't turn to mush if dunked in chlorinated water.

Have a blessed day.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Today's Bizarre Adventure

Believe it or not, I spent this afternoon at the Pennsylvania State Rabbit Breeders Associations Show. That's right, a bunny show. At the Lebanon Valley Expo Center. Admission is free and it's continued tomorrow in case you want to go too. Why? Well, why not?

Actually it was pretty cool. Over 6000 entrants. All shapes, sizes, and colors. The rabbits ranged from 2 pounds up to 20. Yes, a 20 pound rabbit. Calamatiy here is a Flemish Giant. She weighed in at 18 pounds and is waiting to be judged. How'd you like to stand around holding her all day?

Steve is an English Lop. He was a real sweetie. Friendly and into being petted. The owners I spoke to were all very helpful. I knew next to nothing about rabbits before today other than they are cute. Now I've learned that bucks are better tempered than does, home bred ones are generally friendlier, multi-colored bunnies are referred to as broken, and rabbits really do come in blue. This picture of V isn't all that good but you can see the blue tint to his fur. He's a Holland Lop and weighs about 4 pounds.

People came to show their rabbits from all over the east coast. There are lots of shows. Within the next two months, there are two more local shows, in Leesport and Hamburg, in case you can't make it tomorrow. But in the spring, there is a national show in York, if you want to attend a major one.

If you're interested, lots of attending rabbitries have bunnies for sale, both show quality and pet quality. This is Bruno. He's placed in several shows. Isn't he handsome? And he was so friendly too. Prices I noticed ranged from $10 to $85, depending on the breed and quality.

It was amazing to walk in and see cages upon cages filled with cute and fuzzy bunnies. Some seemed curious, twitching their little noses as if looking for attention. Others were sound asleep, like they were old hands at this show business.

While judging the rabbits are placed in open wooden boxes, several in a row. I couldn't believe it when they all just stayed put. I had imagined they'd hop all over the place if you did that but most didn't. I saw a few trying to hop out to visit the bunny next to them but a hand hanging over the side of the box was all it took to discourage them. Rabbits are judged on all sorts of things, including flesh, crown, and breadth of shoulders. They go through an elimination process, with the last remaining in the boxes being the best. The top 5 spots earn ribbons plus there's a point system that I really haven't mastered yet. At the end there is a best of show category.

All in all it was a fun day but let me tell you, it you're allergic or not an animal lover this isn't the place for you.

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's Friday!

'Nuff said.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I stood in front of my cd collection this morning and attempted to figure out what I wanted to listen to all day. I gathered up a nice variety, tossed it in my bag and off I went.

The problem was that once I did what I do and settled in at my desk the choices I brought weren’t right. I spent a vey frustrating day, listening to the wrong things. No, I couldn’t just flip on the radio. We only get two stations, both of which repeat songs constantly and I’ve been sick of all of them for weeks. Thus the cd’s.

Now I can’t really say what it is that I would have preferred. No idea actually. It just wasn’t any of what I had with me.

And then on the way home I decided to swing through the 3 Minute Car Wash to get Howie a bath. The last time I had a car I cared enough about to wash the salt off of it cost $3.00. Today it was $10.38. Damn, I’m old.

So. That was my day. How was yours?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought we should know a little something about the other candy, the non-chocolate one.

Originally manufactured by hand by the Rodda Candy Company, PEEPS were made of marshmallow, sugar, gelatin, and carnauba wax and took 27 hours to make by squeezing the marshmallow mixture out of a pastry tube. In 1952 Rodda was purchased by Just Born, a chocolatier in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Just Born got it’s name because Sam Born, the Russian immigrant who made the chocolate and invented the machine that automatically places sticks in lollipops, used to put a sign “Just Born” in his shop window when he had a new batch of chocolates ready.

Soon after acquiring Rodda, Bob Born, Sam’s son, invented a machine to mass produce PEEPS. With that, it only takes six minutes. First, the ingredients are mixed and melted into a slurry which is then whipped until the marshallow is light and fluffy. The machine then squishes out the whipped mixture into shapes on a conveyor belt loaded with colored sugar. They go through a wind tunnel sort of thing which evenly coats the PEEP with color. Finally, they end up in the decorating room where the eyes and other decorations are still applied by hand.

The first PEEP was a yellow chick, thus the name. Bunnies and other colors, pink and white, came next. Eventually other shapes were added with different colors to coincide with holidays so that PEEPS are in season all year round. Now they have chocolate-filled PEEPS and Easter eggs with a baby PEEP inside. They even have pumpkin PEEP decorating kits for Halloween. And, starting in 1999, some PEEPS come in vanila and strawberry cream flavors.

Some interesting tidbits about PEEPS:

Just Born produces enough PEEPS in one year to circle the earth, twice.

Yellow is still the best selling color for PEEPS chicks and bunnies.

There has been a PEEP Off, a cooking contest, held in Maryland on the first Sunday after Easter every year since 1994.

In 2008, PEEPS were added to the winning entry in the Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles.

Several newspapers, such as the Seattle Times, Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune, hold annual PEEPS diorama contests.

People enjoy there PEEPS in all sorts of ways, swimming in hot chocolate because they float upright until they dissolve, aged so they’re crunchy, roasted so they’re gooey, and frozen. Just don’t try to toast them over a campfire. The sugar burns too easily, making them inedible.

Oh, so you know, Just Born also manufactures Mike and Ikes, Hot Tamales, Peanut Chews and Teenee Beanee Gourmet Jelly Beans.

Monday, February 2, 2009

According to the Groundhog

Yesterday Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow. That supposedly means six more weeks of winter.

Hm, what I don't get here, and please tell me if I'm wrong, is if he doesn't see his shadow there's going to be an early spring. Well, six weeks is an early spring. So why does it matter what the little guy sees or doesn't see?

And another thing. Part of the TV equipment includes lights. Um, if you shine bright lights on something how is there not going to be a shadow? I say next year we leave the poor creature sleep in. He can come out to the party later if he feels like it. After all, isn't that the real reason behind the whole event anyway?

In other news, Maritime Academies are now offering a growing number of anti-piracy courses. Why? Because piracy incidents as reported by the International Maritime Bureau were up 11 percent in 2008. There were 293 events with 49 vessels hijacked, 889 crew members taken hostage, 11 killed and 21 reported missing and presumed dead.

Piracy hotspots have been identified off East Africa and in Southeast Asia, South America and the Caribbean. It only takes a small number of well armed pirates in a tiny skiff to take control of a huge tanker. They can also board cargo ships, coming and going, stealing the ship’s equipment before anyone notices they’re aboard. Thus the need to teach merchant seamen to be on the lookout for pirates and what to do should they encounter some.

Sorry, the article I read didn’t indicate what they do with a full-sized tanker after hijacking it and drainer whatever cargo it was transporting.

I Was Bad

Years ago, I was between dentists. My childhood one was retiring and my current hadn’t taken over his practice yet. So I thought I’d try someone close by.

I should have followed my instincts and turned right around as soon as I walked in. I don’t know why I didn’t since I got such an instantaneous bad feeling about the man. Not that there was anything visibly wrong. No, he seemed nice enough and the office was clean. I just didn’t like him for no tangible reason.

Then, as he was getting started, he told me to let him know if he was hurting me so he could stop. Um, hurting me? He felt it necessary to warn me? Yes, I didn’t leave before but I should have then. He began and it did hurt. I told him, several times, in fact and he didn’t quit. So I did the only thing I could think of. I bit him. Hey, grunting and attempting to pull away hadn’t worked. What would you have done? Needless to say, that was the last time I went there.

My current dentist is a sweetheart. He’s up on all the latest technology, he has a thing for gadgets, and he’s never hurt me at all. Oh, I did mention my experience with the other guy to the office manager who was the same one who was there when I was a kid. She wasn’t at all surprised. And I think she may have informed the hygenists since the first few times I had my teeth cleaned they kept checking to make sure I was comforatable.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Ramble

Superbowl Sunday... How I hate it!

I do not watch professional football. Never have, never will. It's much too slow so to me, it's incredibly boring. I did go to a game once. After I got tired of people watching I fell asleep between plays.

There's a very popular bar on my corner, the World Famous Pike Cafe. Yes, that's what really is embedded in brass in the sidewalk at the front door. Don't get me wrong, the Pike is a great place and I've spent my time there. Both before it was remodelled and after. It's a fun place, great food, good service, and a friendly staff. And there are thirty-some large flat screen TV's plastered all over so it is a great place to take in an event. In fact, if you're ever in the area I recommend you stop by. You won't be disappointed.

There've never been any problems inside on any of the many occasions I've been there. It's outside where the trouble is. You see, people, especially on major sporting event days, forget that the bar has neighbors. When they leave it's not uncommon for them to feel the need to scream and shout at each other all the way down the block long parking lot. Although that is much better than before there was a parking lot. Back then they would be in the street so when they decided to shove one another around it was often our cars that they were thrown up against. At times, they seemed to think they were in a bumper car venue instead of on a public street. Yep, I don't know anyone who's lived here for any amount of time and not had their car bumped at one point or another. The last time I called my insurance company I was informed that with the next instance my rates would go up because I live in a high risk area even though all the times I've been hit my car has been parked legally right up against the curb where it belongs.

Now I'm not blaming the bar for this. People are responsible for they're own actions. It's not the establishement's fault that those leaving are suddenly overcome with the need to clean out the inside of their cars, tossing all their trash on the ground instead of carrying it 20 yards to one of several cans spaced randomly throughout the area.

The parking lot has also helped tremendously with the parking situation on most days. Except, of course, big game days. Like today. Today, I won't leave my house after 2 because if I do I won't be able to park within blocks when I returned. It's not that I really have any place I want to go. I did all my errands yesterday. It's just the point of the matter.

I guess what I'm really trying to say today is have some respect. If you go out to a bar or a superbowl party, have fun but don't act like an ass when you're heading home. Some of us who aren't football fans will be trying to sleep.