Blogger Award For Unusual Excellence!

Did that title grab you? Good, because I just made it up. But I did receive my first nomination for a blogging award.

Thanks to Daniel Nest over at Nest Expressed for thinking of me.

At first I was thrilled! It’s my first nomination! Then, OMG, I have to answer ten questions. And they have to be funny. Or, in my case, attempt to be funny.

Ain’t that nah-ice?

Batman or Superman? Superman, because he is way hotter than the sexually ambiguous Bat Man.

Hani Amir / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Yah, it’s Superman!

What musical artist do you absolutely hate? I hate a lot of them. From the forties, I hate Bing Crosby because he is a horrible person (buh buh boo). From the sixties, I hate Neil Sedaka because he is a finger-poppin’ slimeball. From the seventies, I hate Led Zepplin, mostly because of Robert Plant and the group’s sleazy lyrics (although RP later redeemed himself with his version of Sea of Love). Lastly, I hate all Rap “music” – it really isn’t, now is it? This includes you, Granny.

 

Who framed Roger Rabbit? Why, I believe that would be Judge Doom. Haven’t seen this particular ‘Toon noir in a long time.

You can plainly see, Jessica, that he is looking at your face.

You’re forever trapped on a deserted island. For some contrived reason you get to pick two people and an animal to live with you there. Who are they? First of all, should they be two men? Two women? One of each? Two men might be good but what if they fight over me, because after all, I’d be the only woman. Or, what if they ended up talking guy talk? I’d be left out. Two women? Hmm. That makes three women and we all know when three women get together, one’s going to get the back thumb. One of each would be nice, but then we two women might fight over the guy. But since I get to pick, that means I’m kind of the boss here, so they’d each be sucking up to me, right? How about Herr Schneider then, and that guy from Gilligan’s Island, the Professor? He’s been there, done that, so I think he’d be a good addition since Herr and I are both a bit DIY-challenged. And a parrot, one who would entertain us with profanity and profundity.

Etrusia UK / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

My name’s not Polly and I’m on a low-carb diet, so screw you.

You can visit and live for a while on any planet in our Solar System. Which one? Pluto. Because I just want to get away from it all. And, I’d weigh about 10 pounds.

Photo credit: Ricardo Machado / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

What do you enjoy most about blogging? I like searching for funny photos. But mostly I like seeing the emails from WordPress telling me someone “liked” my post or, better yet, a comment! Whoohee!

Pink Sherbet Photography / Foter / CC BY

Why did chicken cross the road? To boycott the Chick-fil-A.

Elvert Barnes / Foter / CC BY-SA

You can pick any profession or job (including crime-fighting vigilante). What do you pick? I’d like to be a world-famous novelist.

Favourite word/phrase/insightful quote? “No matter how rich you become, how famous or how powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.” ― Michael Prichard

hans s / Foter / CC BY-ND

You can watch only one TV show for the rest of your life. Which one? Boston Legal. Because there’s James Spader and Candice Bergen and William Shatner. And James Spader and Mark Valley. And, oh, did I mention James Spader?

The following are my nominations for blogs to which I will pass on this prestigious award. I follow many blogs but chose those who did not already have this particular award or who have relatively new blogs or relatively few awards. Please feel free to tell me to take a jump in a cold body of water and ignore it, if you so choose. Or accept it graciously and thank me profusely. Whichever you prefer.

  •  4 Broad Minds – I found this blog from a forum on Goodreads. It’s written by four women and has diverse discussions, many of which are writing-related. Always appreciated.
  •  Musings By Ramona – I also found this blog on Goodreads and since I am a bit of a photography wanna-be, and her blog has some really great photos, I chose it.
  •  Jasmine Schwartz Writer. User. Goddess. Again, Goodreads. Outrageous, funny and personal. Anyone who refers to her husband as “my future ex-husband” deserves this award. Seriously amusing posts.
  •  Blogdramedy – Great sarcasm (there’s no such thing as too much of it), and good, interesting reading here.
  •  Sandy Nachlinger – Not only did this nice blogger feature my book last June, but she, along with her co-author also named Sandy, writes great, informative articles and what a professional-looking blog it is! Love the Tuesday Teaser idea.

 And here are your questions:

  1. Who is your favorite author/book?
  2. What is your favorite drinking game?
  3. What brand and shade of nail polish are you wearing right now?
  4. Boxers or briefs?
  5. If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would that be?
  6. What “completes” you?
  7. Which TV personality/celebrity would you be willing to do twenty years of hard labor just for the pleasure of killing?
  8. If you could trade places with one person for one month, who would it be?
  9. What is the one movie which you liked the most, but could never watch again?
  10. What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

3D Man photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are You A Twitter User? Check Your Tweets!

If you have decided to use Twitter as a marketing tool for your self-published novel (or for any other reason), check your tweets regularly. Because, if you don’t — You Might Miss Something!

Social media is the way to promote books, if you are an Indie author and/or publisher. That’s pretty much a given, but there are so many venues. Which one(s) to choose? I chose Facebook and Twitter. I have a Facebook fan page, where I post a link to a new blog article, and an autopost goes to Twitter whenever there is a new blog post published.

I checked Twitter faithfully for a long time and accumulated a few followers, and noticed that I would get this notification: “@xtrememarketing is now following you on Twitter!”. When I’d check out this particular Twitter user, often I wouldn’t know how s/he found me in the first place. Many of these strangers were following thousands of other people. I couldn’t figure out how they would ever see my particular tweets and anyway, why would they care about what I had to say?

Puzzling over this, I did a little research and found that what a lot of people do is check the list of followers for people they currently follow, and become followers of all those people. Twitter etiquette is more or less “you follow me, I’ll follow you” but what these mass marketers would do, is unfollow me as soon as I signed up to follow them. You don’t know when someone unfollows you, only when they begin to follow you. So now, you are following them but they don’t have to follow you.

Even if they don’t unfollow you, how can they ever find you, in the sea of tweets of thousands? There are lists that can be created, where you can follow the tweets of only the people you really care about. Again, what are my chances of being included on the A-list?

Bottom line, I forgot about Twitter. Didn’t check, didn’t have time, didn’t bother. Then one night I got the urge to tweet something so I downloaded Tweetdeck onto my phone and now started getting tweets again. This past weekend I got a notification (when someone tweets you directly) that I’d been nominated for a blogger award. But also on that list, was a tweet from one of my Boomers and Books buddies, that she had featured Perigee Moon on her Teaser Tuesday post! Great news, except it was back in June! I hadn’t even known about it.

Gah! I felt terrible.

I should have been on that post, replying to the people who left comments. But it’s too late now, it’s been four months.

Moral of the story: If you sign up for Twitter, people expect you are using it, and they assume you read your tweets. If you aren’t going to check them, disable your account. Otherwise, you won’t know what you are missing.

Many readers of The Tuesday Teaser post left comments. Most were positive, “sounds like a good read”, “will check it out”, etc. But here were three I found interesting:

Luke sounds a little bit spineless

Not sure if its for me though…I like stronger willed characters.

I think that Luke is going to be a character that I would like to shake really hard and tell him to get a life

Poor Luke has had this criticism before, that he can be pushed around, that he doesn’t think for himself, etc. I tried to portray him as a passive sort of guy, who keeps a lot of his thoughts inside and was able to be manipulated when he was younger. Sometimes it takes a little growth and maturity to become the person we were meant to be. It was so with Luke.

I know of a case where this Kate/Luke scenario actually happened. Not firsthand, but a friend of a friend kind of situation. Here’s how it went. The woman stalked him, sat outside his house and waited for him to come home at night, from outings with his friends and even dates with other girls. She wouldn’t go away. Finally, he caved and she got her man, and they’ve been married for decades. This is a happier ending than Luke and Kate but I found that story interesting and fictionalized their relationship on the idea that if one person wants it bad enough, sometimes she can convince the other to go along.

This is what happened to Luke. What do you think? Some of you baby boomers, don’t you think that was possible back then? I thought it was.

And now…

News You Should Not Notice!

“I have something, very, very big concerning the President of the United States.” Donald Trump, self-appointed highly respected political analyst, teased the Fox & Friends folks with this tidbit Monday during a phone interview. He is going to announce it sometime on Wednesday, he says, and “it’s going to be very big.”

DonkeyHotey / Foter / CC BY-SA

Just how big is that, Donald? When are we, as a nation who recognizes people such as this guy as somehow having something valuable to say (like “the job numbers are a lot of monkey business”), going to slap ourselves up side the head and recognize that maybe, uh, he’s a moron? Monkey business? That’s a phrase out of the fifties.

Remember, Donald, “The world rewards the appearance of merit oftener than merit itself.” (François de la Rochefoucauld) 

Appearance is the key word here. You only appear to be someone who matters. You really aren’t.

Distressed Lady Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art.

3D Man Photo courtesy of freedigitalprints.net

Marketing Woes and Roasting Turkeys

What a trying time it has been around here. I went back yet again (I must have read this post twenty times) to Peggy Strack’s blog post about new authors paying for reviews. Ms. Strack decided to do it, so I looked into the links she provided. Before I could decide whether I would approach anyone for a review, I visited their websites, clicked on links to authors, links to books, links to blogs, trying to decide if it could be a match. Often I ended up not knowing how I landed on a particular site, completely confused and at a dead end, realizing that I had accomplished very little, if anything.

And was I sure I really wanted to do it anyway? Here was my thought process:

After much consternation (a feeling of anxiety, fear, dread or confusion), I decided to go for it. But which reviewer should I pick? After comparing, I came to the following conclusion. Readers Favorite will do free reviews, and only if you wish to have it expedited (one to two weeks) will they charge $59 for it. I am still uncertain as to how I feel about paying for reviews, unless the reviewer has a reputation for writing them honestly, whether they have been purchased or not. A paid-for “guaranteed 5-star review” isn’t an honest review, not to me as the author who genuinely wants to know what those “in the business” might think of my work, or to readers. I want to pick reviewers who will give me a negative review if my book deserves it. Readers Favorite will post 3, 4 or 5-star reviews on their site, but less than that warrants an email with constructive criticism.

I got the expedited review, though, because I was very curious and hope doing that did not influence the reviewer. It received a 5 star review! You may not be surprised to hear this because you, oh wise readers, know that I wouldn’t be telling you I got the review at all if it hadn’t turned out well. You can read it here.

5 Star Reviews Kick Ass!

I think I may now go for a Publishers Weekly review. This won’t be as immediately gratifying because they select the books they will review and typically only 25% of submissions make the cut. The reviews they do are done quarterly and will be published next in December. They do charge for it but is that countered by the fact that they discard 75% of submissions anyway? The fee is refunded in those cases. So it might not even get a review, and if it does, the opinion could be: This book sucks, but not as much as the ones we didn’t even deign to review at all. In order to gauge whether my book might have a shot, I looked at some of the books they had reviewed in my (sort of) genre.

To indicate that they found a novel particularly good, they star (*) it (just star / no star). I wondered if mine could compete with a starred book so I downloaded one: Jimmy Lagowski Saves the World. I read it and it’s good, very good. What an interesting concept, interrelated short stories but the more I read, the more I thought of it as a novel. It was well-written, and interesting and I enjoyed it very much. The only complaint I had was the amount of semicolons used. I am a firm believer in using this particular punctuation sparingly, and I became obsessed with noticing how many there were.

Based on the quality of this book (i.e. excellent), I haven’t quite made the decision as to whether to submit or not but am leaning toward it.

Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Clipart

I had a dream, one of those frustration things this morning, early. In the dream, I was roasting a turkey, actually two turkeys and I was in an unfamiliar kitchen and the work areas were all cluttered and I couldn’t find anything, including my wine glass. There were others in the kitchen, three people I think, but none of them would help me. In the next room there sat a midget man at a high table, the Turkey Help Desk. He told me to crush potato chips and press them into the turkey skin using an oreo cookie. Okay. This is the kind of crap I dream. I’m pretty sure potato chips would not be the way to go with this. But I did like the oreo cookie part, interesting. Wonder where that came from?

In the dream I went from task to task, in a circle of uncertainty. I need to do Task 1. Before I do Task 1, I should really do Task 2. Then I move to Task 2, and find I need to do Task 3 before I do Task 2. It’s been like that lately with marketing. Going around and around in the interweb (thanks to my new Roadrunner connection I am back in the 21st century), dashing here and there, and forgetting from whence I came.

I don’t do marketing well. It intimidates me. I want to do the right thing, but don’t always know what that is. I can’t seem to focus on it. Woe is me.

That’s why I dream crazy stuff about roasting turkeys.

 

New feature! News You Should Not Notice!

Spotted! Mila Kunis Without Makeup!

Photo courtesy of some papparazzi – so sue me!

Are we serious here? This is a news story? WTF (that’s “who”) gives a farthing of a shit about this? First of all, who is Mila Kunis? I didn’t even know. OH! She’s the Sexiest Woman Alive 2012! Every year we have a new Sexiest Woman? What happened to the Sexiest Woman 2011? Did she (shudder) gain six ounces or something?

And another OH! Mila is the “rumored” girlfriend of Ashton Kucher. Sorry, Ashton, but Charlie Sheen, you are not. And a rocket scientist you are not. And a nice person you are not. I remember that dalliance with the bimbo in the hotel room. You remember that? When you were married to Demi Moore and that girl tweeted about what y’all were doing? She gives new meaning to “dumb blonde”.

This is not news. No one should care about this. But the problem is, we do. We don’t care about what’s happening to our country. No. We care about what Mila Kunis looks like without makeup.

And you know what? She doesn’t look that good.

3D Man Photo courtesy of freedigitalprints.net

Laughing Lady on Porch Photo credit: abbyladybug / Foter / CC BY-NC

Convincing Proof That Electronic Devices Have a Soul

Do you ever think some inanimate objects know it when you are about to replace them? I am currently experiencing “Xtreme” Paranoia about this, ever since I’ve had the inclination to ditch a Verizon MiFi Hotspot in order to return to the comforting arms of Time Warner and Roadrunner.

Roadrunner never did me wrong. It seldom went down and gave me perfectly acceptable internet access. So what did I do? Replaced it with the Hotspot. What a deal! Verizon is already my phone provider and this wonderful little thing is portable and I can take it with me wherever I go and I will live happily ever after in my state of blissful internet connectivity.

Not. The thing sometimes works, or doesn’t work, or works intermittently, or at a snail’s pace, or it might not work in my area. I don’t know what the problem is, all I know is that I’m tired of it and I intend to replace it with something from the past. Roadrunner is in, Verizon Hotspot – you’re out.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Of course, as soon as I decide this, the Hotspot begins to perform admirably and I forget about the tedium of switching, and having to install another wireless modem. Immediately I think, Verizon must have finally fixed the problem! But then it happens again and I have a Bad Internet Day. Oh, how we come to depend on it, those flashing screens, those back buttons which work in a nanosecond, those streaming videos that do not pause and show you the whirling “I’m trying to catch up” icon.

The problem is, when it does happen again, it takes minutes to go from screen to screen, or I am told I now have “no internet access” or this nice message appears: “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage”. Then see, I can’t get online to Time Warner to order anything. It’s as if that Hotspot knows it’s about to get dumped so it stops working.

Why not call Time Warner, you may ask. Well, because. Frankly, I do not like using a phone. I am not a phone person, I don’t do phone well. Yesterday it took me four times longer to schedule a repair person to replace an icemaker via a chat session than it would have if I’d called. This is a quirkiness, a weirdness that I can’t explain. I’m an introvert, what can I say? I am much more extroverted in a chat session than I would be on the phone.

Here’s how a phone conversation would go:

Time Warner Representative (TWR): Good morning! How may I offer you excellent service today?

Me: I, um, want to have Roadrunner back, and also HBO.

TWR: I can certainly help you with that! We are offering a very special package of cable, internet and internet phone for $89.99 per month for one full year! Including Showtime!

Me: I don’t want the phone part. Or the Showtime. I want to add Roadrunner and HBO to my existing account.

TWR: Okay then, I can offer you the package plus $19.99 per month for HBO.

Me: Uh, I was hoping you might be able to switch the phone and Showtime for the HBO.

TWR: Look, lady. I see you had Roadrunner in the past but stopped it two years ago. I know what’s happened here. You’ve decided that Roadrunner wasn’t so bad after all, and now you want us back. Well, it doesn’t work that way, see. Take the deal. Take the phone. If you don’t want to use it, fine, don’t use it. It’s no skin off my left upper bicuspid. It’s $89.99 plus $19.99 for the HBO. Take it or leave it. Offer ends at 4:00 Eastern Standard Time.

Me: Oh, okay, then I’ll take it.

That’s how it would go, because for some odd reason, I tend to become a spineless W.I.M.P. (Weakly Interacting  Massive Particle) when confronted by a customer “satisfaction” representative who realizes I can be bullied. They teach them that in Customer Satisfaction School 101. Ten Ways to Determine if You Are Talking to Someone Who Can Be Smacked Down.

The point was to get to the Time Warner site and chat with a representative there and try to wheedle some sort of deal where I could ditch the phone they are offering in lieu of HBO and get my Roadrunner back. But I can’t do it right now because that little bugger is not providing internet access and that’s because it knows it’s getting sent to the electronics waste dump as soon as the contract runs out. It knows it! I’m sure of it!

If I could get to Time Warner’s site, here’s how the chat session would go:

TWR: Good morning, how may I assist you today?

Me: Hey, good morning. I know all about the deal you’re offering. The $89.99 and all that. Don’t even bother. Here’s what I want. Roadrunner and HBO. And I’d be a really happy camper if you’d give me the $89.99 per month deal for a year, at which time, I’m pretty sure you’ll jack it up to some ridiculous amount. I’ll deal with your sorry ass then. This is now. I want it now. Think you can do that?

TWR: I will be happy to assist you with your upgrade.

Me: Okay. Assist me then. Tell me you’ll give me the deal I’ve asked for here.

TWR: Well. just let me check. Sorry for the inconvenience. Please wait one moment.

Tap, tap, tap, tap. (my fingers on the keyboard, without pressing keys, just irritated by being told I have to wait).

TWR: Thank you for your patience! I apologize! We can make you the deal. No phone, no Showtime, just Roadrunner and HBO. $89.99 per month.

Me: Wonderful.

TWR: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Unfortunately, the above is utter bullshit. But still, I want to do it online and Mr. MiFi over there knows it and needs to act up now and quit working just so I can’t make arrangements to replace him. And then when he figures I’ve collected myself again, he’ll start working and I’ll wonder “Now why would I want to get rid of this cute little thing? Really, it’s so convenient.”

Update: Here’s how that chat session really went.

The above, of course, cannot be made up. It’s a screen shot of an actual conversation. I suspect “Jeff” could be an alias. And notice how I tell him what I want and then he asks me what I want. What the…? And then he gave me a phone number to call, so I called. I will leave it to you to guess how that went. There is a Roadrunner wireless modem in the mail. and now the Verizon MiFi Hotspot is working just fine. Sigh.

Why Would Anyone Do That? (Listen to 60’s Music)

The other day, whilst whipping up this bourgeois gastric delight from the last century, I thought why not dip further into nostalgia and listen to music of that same era? So I turned on the Old Fogey Station and as I chopped and sauted and opened cans, I happened to take a good listen to some of the crap with which we used to numb our brains.

Depending on which part of the country you hail from, you will refer to the plebian delight pictured here as either goulash (preferred), or Johnny Marzetti (Midwestern) or Chili Mac (Texas, maybe?). It’s has been around forever, a dish full of stuff, and was especially popular in the fifties and sixties. I am including one of six thousand recipes for it at the bottom of this post, in DIY casual instructions.

Back to the music, here are seven of my observations about some sexist and/or dumb lyrics I heard.

First up: Wives and Lovers, written by Burt Bacharach.

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you…

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

Thanks, Burt, for this lovely chauvinistic message. I’m sure it inspired a lot of women to go out and buy more of your crappy music.

Sure I sent him off to the office still in curlers but at least I have good hair! What’s with that sausage-roll flippy thing you’re sportin’ there?

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Next! Under My Thumb, The Rolling Stones

It’s down to me, yes it is
The way she does just what she’s told
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb

Under my thumb
A siamese cat of a girl
Under my thumb
She’s the sweetest, hmmm, pet in the world

Mick Jagger was in favor of “The Rolling Misogynists” but was voted down 4 to 1.

Geez, Mick, what will the neighbors think?

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And here’s You’re Havin’ My Baby, by Paul Anka (and this is too bad, because I really like you Paul, but this rates an 8 on the Suck-O-Meter).

Havin’ my baby
What a lovely way of sayin’
How much you love me
Havin’ my baby
What a lovely way of sayin’
What you’re thinkin’ of me
I can see it, face is glowin’
I can see in your eyes
I’m happy you know it

Because, Paul, it’s all about you, isn’t it?

Yeah, Paul, it was fine when it was just a baby bump but now that I’m the size of a VW Beetle you’re sorta changin’ your mind now, aren’t ya?

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Next up, If You Wanna Be Happy by Jimmy Soul. You knew this one was coming, didn’t you?

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty women your wife
Go for my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Don’t let your friends tell you you have no taste
go ahead and marry anyway
Her face is ugly her eyes don’t match
take it from me shes a better catch

Oh, Jimmy Soul. You didn’t make old bones but if you had, some woman would have killed you by now anyway. RIP, but Dude, what a nasty song.

Who’s ugly now, Jimmy, you two-hit wonder!

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Ah, sweet Donovan, how we loved ya’. That is until we listened, really listened, to what you were saying to us.

Superman or Green Lantern ain’t got a-nothin’ on me
I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea, yeah!
A you-you-you can just sit there a-thinking on your velvet throne
’bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine
I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine

Slowly “blow your little mind”? Little mind? Um, I think, lovely Donovan, that perchance it’s you with the little mind, given your penchant for the cannabis.

Maybe I should have tried to find a two-syllable word other than “little”.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Next is Cherish, by the Association.

Oh, I could say I need you, but then you’d realize
That I want you, just like a thousand other guys
Who’d say they loved you with all the rest of their lies
When all they wanted was to touch your face, your hands
And gaze into your eyes

Who wants to bet that they have more on their minds (these thousand other guys) than touching your face and your hands and gazing? Even back then, I don’t recall this scenario. Oh, you say, this is the third-grade? Oh, well then.

Funny, this look worked for the Beatles but we’re not getting anywhere with it.

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And now, Do You Love Me, by the Contours.

You broke my heart
‘Cause I couldn’t dance
You didn’t even want me around
And now I’m back, to let you know
I can really shake ’em down

Do you love me? (I can really move)
Do you love me? (I’m in the groove)
Ah do you love? (Do you love me)
Now that I can dance (dance)

Listen up. Any wench who dumps you because you can’t dance ain’t worth learning to do the shimmy-shimmy for.

Look, I can dance! You can’t see it but I’m doing the whirly thing with my hands. I’m the one with no partner!

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Last but CERTAINLY not least, Next Door to an Angel by the ever-annoying and always-slimy Neil Sedaka.

Do do do, doobie bop bop, oh do bop she don don
Doobie bop bop, oh do bop she don don
Doobie bop bop, oh do bop she don don
Doobie bop bop, oh do bop she don don

I took a look and oh what a shock
to find a little bit of heaven right on the block.
I’m living right next door to an angel
and I’m gonna make that angel mine.

I can’t believe that this is the girl next door,
her funny little face isn’t funny no more,
sixteen and oh what a dream, ain’t it strange
how she changed into such a lovely angel.

Do you know where your sixteen-year-old angels are?

Mmm, it’s a little bit of heaven living right next door to an angel. Did I say, mmm?

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And now for that recipe:

Goulash (aka Johnny Marzetti and Chili Mac) is a combination of pasta, meat, flavorings and tomato stuff. Makes one of those 9 X 13 baking dishes full of good eatin’.
Pasta: Elbow macaroni or whatever you have. Cook 1 pound, make sure it’s al dente since it will cook further.
Meat: Hamburger and/or sweet Italian sausage. Whatever amounts you want but not more than 1.5 lb total.
Flavorings: Any combination, of onions (one medium), green pepper (one medium) and mushrooms (8 oz.) depending upon personal preference. Mushrooms need to be sauteed first since they throw off so much water.
Tomato stuff: One can diced tomatoes, and jarred or canned spaghetti sauce. This dish isn’t worth using up homemade sauce for.

Cook up the meat with the onion and peppers and drain. Mix in tomatoes, optional sauteed mushrooms and jar/canned sauce till it looks like a big slug of chili. Mix in enough pasta that it looks right, being careful not to over-pasta-ize since it swells up as it cooks and can take over your kitchen. Don’t forget to salt and pepper to taste (whatever that means). Other cool stuff you can add: parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. I guess that’s “to taste” also. Just dump some in. Slop this into a baking dish and cover with cheddar cheese. You know the little shards that come in a bag with the texture of cardboard? That stuff. I think it keeps the moisture in or something but really, it isn’t edible. Bake covered for a while, maybe while you drink your first martini, then uncover. Make a second martini and consume it. When done, so is dinner. Good luck because by now you might be too shitfaced to eat it. If so, stick it in the refrigerator and nuke it later, but beware that the stuff on the top does not improve with nuking.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I didn’t count the lyrics. So taking that reduction into account, I am well below the word limit.