Leslie's Omnibus

Book Your Ticket

Books Read in August 2010 – 16/117 (ytd)

The Apostle, Brad Thor*

Dragon Keeper: Volume One of the Rain Wilds Chronicles, Robin Hobb*

The Goddess of Fried Okra, Jean Brashear[1]*

I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society, Amy Alkon[2]*

Twenties Girl: A Novel, Sophie Kinsella*

Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire Series, Book 6), Naomi Novik*

The Sea Fairies, L. Frank Baum*

Nature Girl, Carl Hiaasen*

The Ocean Inside, Janna McMahan*

Star Island, Carl Hiaasen*

Sky Island: Being the further exciting adventures of Trot and Cap’n Bill after their visit to the sea fairies, L. Frank Baum*

The Book of Unholy Mischief: A Novel, Elle Newmark[3]*

My Mother Takes a Tumble, Eric Kraft*

The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, Sally Smith O’Rourke*

Think of a Number, John Verdon*

The Girl with the White Fur Muff, Eric Kraft*

[1] This is not the foo-foo girlie book that the title suggests; rather, it’s a book about broken people and the ways they find healing. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it highly.

[2] Better known as The Advice Goddess, Alkon uses humor to uncover some unappetizing truths about the state of contemporary American society and deliver a sound butt-kicking in the process. While most of us gripe about how rude society has become, Alkon chooses creative and highly effective tactics to fight back against those who steal her time, her property and her energy. I highly recommend it.

[3] Gorgeous period novel set at the end of the 15th century involving the Doge of Venice, the Pope, the Borgias, the Inquisition, food, philosophy, religion and more. My only bitch is that it ends rather abruptly. More, please!


Cat's Meow

The only cool cat I know who participates in the Friday dance party instigated by Jihad Gene is Billy Sweetfeets Gingersnap Norton, who is three today. At his request, in honor of his "purrfday" I offer up this dance...

... this appe-teaser...

... and this bit of premium nip...

Happy Purrfday, Darling Billy!



P.S. -- Watch your mailbox!

Pony Express

Because I haven't given you a Giggle of the Day in, well... days...


Theater District

Seanachai Theatre Company's production of The Weir opened to a sold out house last night! I'm hearing that it's a really a fabulous show, and can't wait to see it myself. (I'll be there tonight, but working "shush patrol" in the hallways. Tomorrow I'll actually get to see the show.)

Now homed at the Irish American Heritage Center, we're easy to find, and the parking is free, and the IAHC is also easily accessible via the Blue Line or bus.

Want more reasons to join us?

Stop by The Fifth Province, an authentic Irish Pub, located on the first floor of the IAHC, for all the best in Irish entertainment.

The pub is open every Friday and Saturday night and friends can gather to grab a pint and sit by the fireplace. Pub food, like fish and chips, onion rings, corned beef sandwiches and Irish sausage are available for those wishing to grab a bite to eat. The building is wheelchair accessible.

The pub is open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights and live music begins at 9pm. There's plenty of free parking and rarely a cover charge, making this one of Chicago's hidden gems.

Fifth Province hours are Friday, 4pm-1am and Saturday 5pm-1am and pub food is served from 6pm to 10pm.

Grab a bite to eat, see the play, go back down and indulge in a pint or two, a bit of craic and some wonderful music, too.

Who could ask for a better evening of entertainment?

Update: Whoohoo! We're Jeff recommended! (The buzz was correct. Nice.)

Saturday Morning Cartoons

For Todd, because he asked!

Commercial Break:

Commercial Break:


Traveling Companions

A side benefit of my grandson's early entry into the world is that I also got to spend some time with MMPC's mom and dad... and their critters! It's been a long time since I've been able to board the Friday Ark over at The Modulator's joint.

Meet Rubio...

... and Spunky...

... and Ramses.

Gorgeous boys, aren't they?

Precious Cargo

I've fallen heels over head in love!

Meet Mr. Monkey Toes:

Seriously, he's got the longest toes I've ever seen on a baby!

Totally smitten moi:

Besotted Dad:

My Most Precious Child:


Home Run

Just got the word My Little Slugger is on his way. Yahooooooooo!!!


Someone ripped a page right out of The Princess Mom's Big Book of Logic and Guilt Trips (TM):
"If something happens to me on the weekend and I die, you’ll be hearing from me!"

I've got bacon on the brain:

Another reason I'm bad at the dating game? I think this is hilarious... and true.

And I want one of these kits to embroider and hang in my cube...

(Found here, which has lots more really cool stuff, most of which I want.)

For my friend Barrie, and anyone else who is Facebook-challenged, heres a link to show you how to disable that pesky Facebook Places.

I'd really like to know just how Philadelphia is going to enforce this $300 blogging fee. It'll cost more to enforce than it would in fees, one would think.

Alligator or crocodile, it's pretty darned certain this gives Jimbo one more reason to never visit New York City or Chicago.

I can see this law working for pet stores, but animal shelters and animal control facilities?
As of Jan. 1, pet stores, animal shelters and control facilities must disclose on the cages of dogs and cats the name and location of their breeders, as well as the animal's medical history.
How in the heck is an animal shelter going to get breeder information and medical history on strays? On pets dumped on their doorsteps? On mixed breed strays? Breeders who've moved? Died? Gone out of business?
Fines for disobeying the new law can cost up to $1,000 and include mandatory probation.
Will this new legislation lead to more euthanization because it's easier and cheaper to euthanize than it is to comply with this well-meaning, but next to impossible to comply with law?

Ear Worm of the Day:

Brought to you by the Danish family walking behind me this morning on their way to the Willis (Sears) Tower Observatory. Imagine this with a heavy Scandanavian accent and then you'll understand why it's been stuck in my head all day!

World Tour

Luxembourg, tiny little home of some of Europe's wealthiest citizens...

(Eurovision 1980 entry from Luxembourg. Classy!)

... and land-locked Bolivia, ancient home of the Incas.


Saturday Morning Cartoons

Super Chicken:

Cartoon Break:

George of the Jungle (Opening):

George of the Jungle:

Commercial Break:

Tom Slick?


Quick Stop

Quote of the Day -- It's a Two-fer:
"You have wide crack, narrow crack, sweaty crack, hairy crack...it's all different. Do you ever wonder about butt crack?"
... and...
"You have thug butt."
You've gotta love Momma Fargo!

World Tour

North, South, East, West -- my visitors covered the globe this morning, including the equator! And what brought them here, you ask? This, this, this and this. (Never underestimate the power of a LOL!)

Quick Stop

Having served on a jury that hung because of one person after a two day trial in traffic court (I was ready to pinch the guy's head off and flick it down the hallway in disdain), I sympathize with the jurors in the Blagoviator's trial who were stymied by another lone holdout after months of trial and weeks of deliberation.

I'll bet you big bucks that that single juror lost the distinction between reasonable doubt and beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Some people will come up with the craziest arguments around guilt or lack thereof, and it's incredibly frustrating to be a party to those contortions in logic. It's doubly so when you know that a mistrial will result in a retrial with all the attendant costs of time, money and emotion.



Oh, no! There was another person killed on my train line -- two weeks to the day since the last one -- and it was a teenager this time.

How can otherwise intelligent people not figure out that train beats human every time?

Good God.

My heart goes out to that kid's parents.

Arrogant Quote of the Day:
"Although this new level of transparency may not be obvious to casual observers, it is inspiring real transformation in the federal government," Devaney wrote.
If it's not obvious, it's NOT transparent, you idiot.

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014 is up. Yikes, does that make me feel OLD!

(And Bou should note that her eldest son is not alone. See #1 on the list!)

Humorous Quote of the Day:
"Heck, I could have strapped on a coconut bra and still have flown under radar." -- Steve Dahl

Holy Crap! Quote of the Day:
"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next." -- Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google
And he's serious, too.

Ear Worm of the Day:


Giggle of the Day:


Roadside Diner

If you added sour cream, bacon and cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes, this Meat Man Parfait truly would contain all of Nature's Perfect Foods.
It's sort of a deconstructed shepherd's pie, a meat and potato concoction, we'd vote it into the State Fair Food Hall of Fame” (if there was one).

Bus Fumes

"Don't give in to fear," Obama said Monday in his latest ominous vision of a country led by the opposition party. "Let's reach for hope."
English Translation?
"Let's reach for the wallets of the middle class again. They're still ripe for plunder."

Aw, geeze! Another childhood classic smashed to smithereens:

Why, oh, WHY do good actors agree to crap like this???

Book Your Ticket

Why do I love Brendan O'Carroll's books so? Because he makes me laugh out loud in each and every one. I just finished The Young Wan, which is the precursor to his Agnes Browne series. (Marion Delaney's First Confession alone is worth the price of the book.)

Here's a sample the stage version of the Agnes Browne saga:

Kept a straight face, didja?

Go get the feckin' book already!

Update: My downstairs neighbor heard me shrieking and came up to make sure I was okay. I assured him I was just laughing. Sheesh.


BlogHer wasn't all breakout sessions, scholarships and keynotes.


Miss Nancy and I also found time to "squeeze in" a couple of Quickies:


Sunday Shows

In the Chicagoland area television pickings were pretty slim on Sunday afternoons, unless you tuned in to shows like the Lone Ranger. Bonus points if you can identify the actor playing young Bob before the credits roll! (Betcha my BlogDaddy gets it first!)

Part One:

Commercial Break:

Part Two:

Commercial Break:

Part Three:

Love that snappy dialogue!

Sign of the Times


Update: I got a birthday bonus from my girl Betty and my guy Craig!



I'll never get caught up on my backlog of unread blog posts by my regular reads. Argh!

They Say the Neon Lights are Bright...

On Sunday, the lovely Miss Nancy and I saw Kelsey Grammer in La Cage Aux Folles. Grammer was, as expected, fabulous. Tender, fatherly, loverly -- he was George, not Frasier. Douglas Hodge as Albin rocked the theater. The rest of the cast were equally as wonderful. If you're in or around New York City, drop by the little jewel box that is the Longacre Theater and see this wonderful gem of a production!


Photo Op

I've got a ton of pictures and lots of stories, but, for now, a few photos from our last day in NYC.

The lovely Miss Nancy, waiting for Erica to call.

Moments later, our favorite Brooklyn Jooette arrives!

And we're off to Central Park to give our cameras a workout!

But first... a hot dog break:

I will treasure this shot, from Erica's lens, as a memory of this wonderful day.


Hold the Bus!

New York is expensive:

1 Panasonic 45-200 mm lens

1 Digital Advance High Definition DLSR Pro MC AF Digital Wide Converter w/Macro 0.48X52 mm lens

1 52 mm PC filter

1 62 mm PC filter

1 Courier camera case

1 lens cleaning kit (which was what I went in here for. All I went in there for, actually.)


I knew this would happen. I just didn't know it would happen so soon.

It's all Nancy's fault.

Milk Run - BlogHer 2010

So where was I?

Oh, yeah.

Writing Lab session on stoking creativity and inspiration (and a nice chat with Fiona). Geek Lab session on techniques for getting better pictures out of you digital point-and-shoot or SLR (led by Lotus, Mishelle and Rachel -- really helpful stuff). Yes, we missed one session, but I consider networking with the vendors educational, too.

An afternoon break in the Chill Space internet lounge led to a conversation with Artiatesia, who does beautiful website and blog design, as well as other graphic design.

Then it was off to dinner and the Community Keynote, which was truly fantastic.

We ran into Catherine, who led the fray that resulted in BlogHer partnering with "Tutus for Tanner" group for a 5K fun run yesterday morning to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy, on our way to view the art for the online auction which will raise funds to help clean up the oils spill damage to the Gulf of Mexico.

Then, of course, there was more food and more cocktails and rock star karaoke with a live band and... we went to Le Maison to see Alex.

I'll have more later about the major speed bump in the fun for Nancy and I yesterday. In the meantime, it's time for the first session of the day...

Milk Run - BlogHer 2010

On my Metra Route, a milk run has no express runs -- it hits every stop.

Here's almost every stop I made today:

Lunch with the lovely and talented Miss Nancy, as well as: Eliana, Emily, Laura (who has great ideas for where to eat on the cheap in NYC), Veronique (a crafty, wonderful lady who my nieces would adore!), Sandy and this lovely lady, who shares little but the twinkle in her eye.

A run through the downstairs swag hall -- SOYJOY bars, including the new banana one that's not even out on the market yet (Hi, Kendra!), Weebles!, live Mrs. Potato Head (pictures to come), eye makeover thanks to Debra Macki, interesting conversation regarding HPV testing with cervical cancer survivor and all around great chick Christine Baze, Poppin' Fresh the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the dog from Marmaduke (pictures to come), an offer from Jenn Foreacre to blog about her most interesting products from time to time and in any fashion I felt comfortable (okay, it was this post that prompted that offer), enough Eucerin products to moisturize an entire tribe of Bedouins, a lovely service dog, personalized Dora the Explorer tee shirts for my nieces (Crap! Reminder to self to go pick them up in the a.m.), Laughing Cow cheese (which is sitting in the mini fridge, and will be breakfast on Sunday)... okay -- enough already!


More tomorrow...

I'm about to fall over from exhaustion!

But I did want to give a shout out to our waiter Alex at Le Brasserie de Maison. He was the capper on our most lovely day!

And Miss Nancy says she loves having cocktails getting tipsy with me. Like I'm the bad influence or something...

Pit Stop

Jihad Gene says, "It's Friday! Let's Dance With Kim Jong IL!!!"

Alrighty, then. I Gotta Feeling he's going to approve of this one:


And now... back to BlogHer. Dance among yourselves in the comments!

Booty Call - BlogHer 2010

People have asked me what's BlogHer like, and my first response has always been that you wander around and they throw really cool shit at you.

The swag is already stacking up -- from Toy Story 3, full-sized Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Cool little lunch bags. Water of stuff bottles. Note pads. Coupons. A big hemp tote bag with about 20 lbs. worth of stuff, including a full set of Play Doh. And it's not even 9:00 a.m. on Day 1.

I'm going to need a Mayflower moving van to get all this stuff home.

(And I'm feeling like a pirate with a fantastic haul of booty!)

P.S. -- Bruce Jenner is here, pouring juice for Tropicana. (No lie!) I'd go get some from him, but I'm afraid I'd be giving him what-for for jacking up his face with all that plastic surgery....

P.P.S. -- Breakfast with Nancy, Jane and Fausta. Also, Susan Woolf, Elaine Wu and Judi Boomer Girl. Got recognized from last year by Rebecca. Met Jennifer and talked books, books and more books! It's going to be a FUN weekend.

Rules of the Road

Rule No. 1:

If you're at the wheel of a moving vehicle and have to vomit, pull over and put the vehicle in park and then puke.

Rule No. 2:

Train beats car every freaking time.

Yes, that's my train station. No, I didn't go to work today, or I'd have actually witnessed this.

What an incredibly foolish waste of a life.


I took one look at this LOMME sleeping pod and all I could think was, "Man! If you tried just about anything but the missionary position in that thing you'd probably end up with one hell of a concussion."

But maybe it's just me...

That's a Fact, Jack:

It's happy-making.

Sweet heavenly Lord!

I'm off to BlogHer '10 first thing in the morning. I'm rooming with the lovely and talented Miss Nancy. I'll be catching up with Fausta and Tanis and Mamacita and more. And new friends -- I'm sure there'll be plenty of those, too.

Miss Nancy and I are also staying an extra day and planning a little site-seeing. Or maybe MOMA or the Cloisters or... who knows?

We also hope to catch up with our favorite Blownstarred, Blown-Eyed Blodger from Sheepshead Bay.

I'm like a little kid on Christmas Eve -- I doubt I'll sleep much tonight!

Ear Worm of the Day:

Yep. That's the ticket!

Sunday Schedule

Ooo! One of my favorite authors is on the Sunday Night Radio Special tonight.

Brad Thor is on, talking about The Apostle (which I just ordered for my Kindle), Foreign Influence (which I'll buy when it comes out in paperback and the Kindle price drops commensurately), how he got started writing and other cool stuff. Check back later in the week for the podcast if you're a Brad Thor fan.