I just want the damned recipe

While watching Sunday morning TV I saw an ad for Hellman’s mayonaise featuring a tasty looking chicken parmesan. The ad said to go to Hellmans.com to find the recipe. Easy, right? WRONG! Try it. You arrive at a page which purports to be Hellmans.com and one of the links is “chicken recipes”

When you click on that you are led to a plethora of links to chicken recipes. Be careful which one you pick, or you will be required to give your email address, phone number and date of your future baby’s birth, but no chicken parmesan recipe. One link led me to page after page of offers for services and deals, but no recipes at all. I gave up after 7 pages when my address verification failed…guess they realized there was no Lilac Lane.

Has Hellmans sold out to commercial America? Are they aware of this travesty? or complicent with the various companies advertising.

Thank God I gave my gmail account email address rather than the one I really use. I anticipate offers for baby stollers and sun-filled holidays to fill that mailbox.

The Chicken Parmesan recipe? Just google “Hellman’s Chicken Parmesan” and you will find it everywhere…just not on the Hellmans.com page. Hmmm…maybe I should use Kraft Mayo!

Err..one of my bright librarian friends, RV, pointed out that I was on a false site…Helmann’s is spelled with 2 ns…my bad…should have looked at the jar!

Rick Perry, the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party, and 1964

I’ve been following with great interest the newly announced candidacy for the presidency by Rick Perry, current governor of Texas. Reading some of his statements, I would expect him to be the Republican candidate in 2012. He is virtually the poster boy for the  radically conservative right and Tea Party members of his party. And let’s face it, that is who is running the GOP for the foreseeable future.

In his book Fed Up, published last November, he has delineated many of his opinions one of which asserts that both social security and medicare are unconstitutional. He doesn’t believe in climate change, or evolution, would like to get rid of all regulation from Washington, would probably like to deep six both the Education Dept. and the EPA. He is running on Texan job creation, although most of the jobs recently created in Texas were with the oil industry or were federallly funded government jobs . (Oh, yes, he eagerly accepted stimulous funds.)

Let’s back up 47 years to the 1964 Republican convention when a courageous candidate, Nelson Rockefeller stood up and denounced the radical right fostered by the John Birch Society that was threatening to take over the GOP and run Barry Goldwater as their candidate. His speech should be read today by all citizens, http://www.rockarch.org/inownwords/pdf/nar1964.pdf   My favorite parts of the speech are as follow:

“The Republican party is in real danger of subversion by a radical, well-financed and highly disciplined minority.” …

These extremists feed on fear, hate and terror. They have no program for America – no program for the Republican party. They have no
solution for our problems of chronic unemployment, of education of agriculture, or racial injustice or strife.

These extremists have no plan and no program to keep the peace and bring freedom to the world.

On the contrary – they spread distrust. They engender suspicion. They encourage disunity. And they operate from the dark shadows of
secrecy.

They have called President Eisenhower “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”

Replace John Birch Society with the Koch brothers and corporate America and Eisenhower’s name with Obama and there you are. The more things change, the more they stay the same!!

Wake up Republican Party or the 2012 election results will be the same as the 1964 results. a Democaratic victory. One can only hope.

Alley Oop Zucchini

Growing up on a Northern Indiana vegetable farm in the 50’s, I frequently encountered what my Dad would call Alley Oop Zucchinis, those huge specimens which had gone undetected during a couple of pickings and had grown to immense proportions. They reminded him of the clubs dragged behind cartoon cavemen and thus the epithet.  We had a special Greek customer who even requested that we let a  plant go to grow these for her. She stuffed them with meats,  rice, and cheeses and baked them for  her special treat. Unfortunately we did not get her recipe.

Fast forward to our return yesterday from a lovely Michigan lake vacation with friends to find not one but two alley oop zucchinis in the garden. Now we picked zucchini last Sunday, since besides those I took to our friends house, I still had 4 left in the fridge. Somehow, these two had laid in a hidey spot and now burst forward. As you can see from the photo, these are whoppers.

I immediately googled “stuffed zucchini” and found long lists including one called “Drop Dead Delicious Stuffed Zucchini.” It sounds delicious along with the variations offered by 18 commentators, however, the first thing you do is boil the veggie whole in a pot of water. Oops, no pot large enough! I kept seeking. Cooks.com actually has 52 results for sausage stuffed zucchini, so it seems I’m not the only one with Alley Oop zucchinis. Unfortunately most called for cucumber sized zucchini.

I took the other four, some newly picked tomatoes and onion & parmesan and whipped up my Zucchhini fry, but those two alley oops continue to stare at me from the counter. I am the product of depression-era parents, so if I were to throw these away, both  would probably rise from the dead. So I’d appreciate any ideas you all have…I could attempt wheat-free zucchini bread or another casserole or start looking for cartoonists needing a prop.

Then there are the 6 generous sized yellow squash now in my crisper!

What this Country Needs is Bathroom Regulation!

I just took another trip to Door County & the Clearing (sigh) It seems everytime I do this, the country goes wacko whilst I am away. However, I discovered a need for regulation that I’m sure the battling politicians have missed… PUBLIC BATHROOMS! Forget regulating gunk-spewing factories and  thieving Wall Street bankers. What this country needs is some consistency in public bathroom fixtures.

Upon entering a  PB one must first determine which stall has a locking door which won’t slip open as soon as you are in your most compromising position and where exactly is that locking mechanism? The hanger for ones purse should be high enough for the purse to be far from the tacky floor, low enough so thieves cannot reach over the door to snatch it and not hanging by one screw.

Then there is the problem of toilet paper dispensers. The humongous double roll holders not only encroach on your private space, but make it impossible to actually find the end of the roll to pull. If you do find it, you soon realize that God must have put your hand on the end of your arm backwards for you must twist the hand in an untenable position to actually grasp the paper.  And Toilet Paper!  How can I describe the variations in thickness, width, texture and availability, except that I once saw wood chips faintly visible in some French toilet paper.

It is at this point that a crucial area for regulation occurs…flushing mechanisms! Over the years I have encountered pedals on the floor, chains from above, buttons, automatic flushers that are carefully hidden and old fashioned levers. Consistency Please! One just wants to know how to make this mechanism actually destroy the evidence.

Ultimately we have arrived at the cleansing area of PBs and the greatest need for regulation arises. How does one get the water to work, which handle emits hot or cold water? Is it timed so you have to soap up and reposition your hands in 3 seconds, 6 seconds or four minutes? Do you twist a lever, wave your hand, position your body or speak to it? Is the soap dispenser a push button, hand waving or plunging device?  And how the hell can you dry your hands?!?  Must you use an air blowing device that sounds like a jet engine and could be hot and gale force strength or cold and a gentle breeze. Does the paper towel dispenser work by a wave of the hand, a pull of a lever or through the use of that deformed hand whose fingers are now too fat to pull out a paper towel from the box on the wall?  Americans just want to know what to expect when they scurry into a public bathroom.

I am convinced that the first political party that advocates for Public Bathroom regulations will be a shoo-in for the 2012 election!

An August Trip to Ikea

I’m off to Door County soon for another week at the fabulous Clearing folk school. This time I will be attempting to stay wheat- free so needed a number of small containers for the food I’m taking. I received a new catalog from my local Ikea (less than 3 miles from my house) and lo and behold a 12 piece container set was on sale for under $4. Done deal.

The first thing that struck me as I approached the gigantic royal blue and bright yellow building was that right by the door, sprinkled amongst the handicapped parking spots were a few designated for Hybrids. Wow, you shouild have seen the u-turn manuever I did to claim a prime spot. Already I was in a good mood. The great parking spot coupled with a wooden lazy susan calling to me (I really have been looking for one) made my smile grow wider.

This turned out to be one of my BEST shopping experiences in a long time. Why?!? One can learn a lot about America by shopping at Ikea in August. The entire 3 floors were crawling with college students preparing to go off on their own , far from Mom and Dad.

The operative word on everyone’s lips seemed to be “CHEAP”, since I kept hearing it everywhere I went. One girl said, “This is only $1.99.” Her friend countered with, “What is it?” Two young ladies, perhaps friends, perhaps new room mates were quick to point that out to each other. One girl raised a toilet bowl brush over her head and squealed, “Ooh we’ll need this, look how cheap it is.”Little did she realize that her counterpart had the most god awful look on her face. It was obvious that she had never thought that a toilet brush was in her immediate future, or that she might have to actually use it.

Next was the stud pushing a cart half full of candles and various candle holders. Do you think he plans to set the mood? Behind him was another young man, obviously an engineering student practically taking a bed apart to test its strength.

They have row of pillows for side sleepers, pillows for back sleepers and even pillows for stomache sleepers…Does that mean we all need 3 pillows?

And don’t forget the most important part of this annual shopping experience —MOTHERS. Mothers were almost as omnipresent as their offspring, and downright thrilled to help their progeny outfit their new dorm room or apartment. Most obviously handled the purse strings, and tried to coordinate the purchases., but my favorite extended her arms in a framing position toward a Klimt inspired 6 foot tall print telling her daughter, “This would be perfect as a single statement in your decor.”

Another thing I noticed is that Ikea is host to people from all backgrounds and ethnicities. truly making this a cosmopolitan place. In how many languages can you say CHEAP!?!

The Lady with Three Tank Tops

Attempting a wheat free existence as I am, my husband and I go out to Sweet Tomatoes Salad Buffet, where I can find all kinds of choices. Having assembled my two plates of salad and a glass of tea, I began one of my favorite things to do—people watching at buffets. I won’t get into how many “Wheat Belly” victims one usually sees at a buffet, but what appeared before my eyes, but a woman wearing 3 separate tank tops. Were I to try this fashion forward look, I would end up looking and feeling like a sausage.

Obviously this woman had taken great care in her selection. Each tank top was a variation of the colors in her plaid capris. Did they come as a set? Did she have to go to dozens of stores before she found the perfect colors? And what’s worse, the top one did not even cling to her svelt body. She kept passing our table, but I can’t say I ever saw her with a plate of food….was she just marching around showing off her coordinated look? her toned arms, her tan? She did not fit the locale.

I prefer the gleeful looks on the faces of children headed to the soft serve bar, Grandma telling the child he could have a cup or a cone, but remember, “you get more with a cup!” (Could that be how real buffet eaters develop?) Surely not by coordinated and layered tank tops.

The Stupidest Lie

During my annual eye examination this morning, the technician was called out of the room by someone who characterized himself as the “Office Manager.” I suspect he needed her as a witness to the disciplining of a fellow employee.

The walls were thin, so I couldn’t help but listen as the “Office Manager” reamed out a man in the adjoining office, accusing him of taking care of personal business while on the job. He bemoaned the fact that as office manager, no one listened to him or could see what he saw.  The employee loudly disputed the accusation, said he didn’t need to hear this and was going home, because he felt sick. The O.M. as I will now call him. warned him not to do that, “don’t you do that,”and after much arguing finally said he was stepping back. All became quiet.

In a moment or two, the door to my examination room opened, and a short, rotund, officious looking man appeared at my side. It was indisputably the O.M. who proceeded to apologize for delaying my examination. He then went on to say,

” We have an employee who is nine months pregnant and she started having contractions so I needed the tech’s help. You understand, I’m sure..” !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wanted to ask him if the employee next door was the man in labor, but I was having trouble shutting my open-jawed mouth. That has to be the stupidest lie I have ever heard. It is pretty clear  to me which employee should have gone home.

Books & Electronic Gadgets

I have long been known as the gadget girl even if the Nordmeyer Effect that seemed to follow me played havoc with computers.
Now, I think I’ve found something for my Christmas gift wish list— the new Book Book holder for my iPhone…Simulating the rich feel of a leatherbound book, this little baby marries the convenience of a wallet with your iPhone.

http://twelvesouth.com/products/bookbook_iphone

Only problem—where does the lipstick go?

Take Away their Talking Points…..puhleez!

According to Wikipedia talking points arise when “a political think tank will strategize the most effective informational attack on a target topic and launch talking points from media personalities to saturate discourse in order to frame a debate in their favor, standardizing the responses of sympathizers to their unique cause.”  I’m sure you have heard the political talking points and phrases constantly coming out of media pundit’s and politician’s mouths in answer to questions.

For example, were you to ask a Republican how to prevent child abuse he would immediately say, “It’s not a revenue problem, it’s a spending problem.”

If you asked a Democrat if he supported cancer research, he would respond that that might gut medicare and social security.
In other words, no matter what you ask them they respond with talking points someone has told them will make their case. They twist and turn but always answer the same way, demonizing their opponents and pompously staking their cause.

I hate talking points and cringe whenever they are used. That is why I can only cheer CNN commentator Don Lemon who decided on Saturday  to hold the politicians to a real answer, not to let them use their talking points. Evidently he did this with several guests, but I only saw his conversation with Tea Party darling, Rand Paul. Asking Rep. Paul if he thought the Tea Party had made their point and now was in danger of over reaching, Paul immediately resorted to his talking points about the 14 trillion dollar debt. Lemon interrupted him and tried to get him to actually answer the question attempting to not allow him to rant on with his talking points. It was wonderful to watch. Rand Paul rolled his eyes, he blustered, he squawked that Lemon was interrupting him….but he never answered the question. This was Mr. Lemon’s point. The interchange occurs about halfway through the clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy4hKG1A0T8&feature=player_embedded

Watch and join me in tuning out talking points and encouraging more journalists to not allow politicians to use them in answer to any question asked of them. Go, Don Lemon!

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