Leslie's Omnibus

Around the Bend

Winter is coming!

(Pardon my fan-girl palpitations...)

And here's one for the guys:


Holiday Schedule

I'm in the middle of taking an eleven day weekend. See you when I see you...

Traffic Alert

Take this cartoon...

... and translate that conversation to a work environment. That's how my last three days have gone.

And yours?

Q. Is it me or are there just more people acting nuts in the workplace?

A. Yes, when the going gets tough, more people act nuts. This is also when the tough learn every interpersonal strategy to deal with nuts.
Someone in my workplace flipped the crazy switch into the upright and locked position at 11:00 a.m. last Friday. We have yet to figure out how to turn it back to the "off" position...

Traffic Alert

How's my day going?

And yours?

Saturday Ramblings

Ear Worm of the Day:

Blame it on the Son of Eli.

Ooooo, lookie here! Macy's is having a huge sale on Frangos, and the shipping is really reasonable. Get 'em while you can!

Thinking about getting your dear one(s) an e-reader or perhaps and iPad for Christmas? Read this article first. That's about as clear and unbiased review as you can get.

Roadside Diner

I've eaten the food of two distinctly different purveyors this week, both of which were excellent.

First up was Nia, which I hadn't heard of, but for which a good friend had an about-to-expire Groupon. The restaurant has a warm, Mediterranean atmosphere, with predominating shades of Tuscan gold and deep burgundy, with lots and lots of shimmering candlelight. (The photos in their site header don't do it justice.) It's small enough to be cozy and large enough to accommodate a good sized group. Frankly, it'd be a great date spot if you like tapas.

The dishes run the gamut from Spanish to Middle Eastern, and feature a lot of seafood. In addition, Nia makes and cures its own sausages -- three different ones monthly. My friend and I split the charcuterie plate, which for a measly $20 featured all three sausages (including a fresh chorizo that knocked our socks off), crostini, black olive and roasted red pepper tapenade, apple and pear tapenade, a peppered goat cheese and a sheeps milk cheese -- delicious and so filling that we only had room for one of the tapas. We opted for the shrimp and avocado dish from the cold list. I know it sounds really simple, and it is, but it is also pure bliss -- big chunks of tiger shrimp, perfectly ripe avocado, seeded and diced tomato, diced cucumber, a lemon and EVOO vinaigrette and a light chiffonade of fresh basil.

The wine and drink lists have great selections at all price points, and I had a Tempranillo that at $10/glass was a bargain for a Chicago restaurant and tasted like it should have cost half again as much. My friend reported the same for her Sauvignon Blanc.

A word on service -- it was not to much, not too little, but just right. Knowledgeable, around when we needed him, left alone when we didn't and didn't disappear just about the time we were ready for our check, we loved Marty. Ask when you go (and tell him you heard it here). He's an absolute peach.

At the other end of the gastronomic spectrum, tonight I stayed home and ordered in from Wally's in Park Ridge, IL (found viaGrubHub). For $15, which included delivery fee and tip, I got half a rack of tender, smoky spare ribs with extra sauce on the side, sweet and tangy coleslaw, a big baked potato with lots of butter and sour cream and a big slab of garlic toast. Dinner showed up in under the scheduled time, was piping hot and so good I finished everything. This is unusual, in that I can and do usually split a delivery meal into two servings. I'll definitely order from Wally's again, and may just have to mosey over there some evening, too.

For ordering dinner for delivery, I like GrubHub because I get tired of ordering from the same local places, and they're always adding new and different restaurants. It also allows you compare and contrast menus, minimum orders and delivery fees. Finally, you can pay via PayPal, including adding a tip. It's a beautiful thing when the delivery guy just hands you your meal and then leaves -- no fumbling with credit cards or cash involved.

Bus Fumes

My BlogDaddy may think it's funny, but here are today's two things that stand my hair on end with regard to the TSA:

This quote by a TSA agent on so called pat-downs, for those of you who still believe that it's innocuous and no big deal.
"You're not going to like it," a TSA agent told correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. "Nobody's going to do it once they find out (what) we're going to do."
And the fact that TSA agents are now putting their hands down fliers' pants:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday that the agency has an "open ear" to any "adjustments" to security measures in place at the nation's airports, as some groups and individuals continued to call for a boycott of full-body scanning machines that they complain are invasive....

But, she said, "if there are adjustments we need to make to these procedures as we move forward, we have an open ear. We will listen."Sure. Listening costs nothing. But that doesn't mean she intends to change one freaking thing about the procedures, unless it's to make them even more invasive.
I'm with Michael Graham, who says:
Napolitano says it’s vital to our security, though nobody can point to a single attack foiled by this fondling. She insists this is a key part of their “layered” approach to air safety.

OK, fine, Janet. I’ll do it. Only, you go first.

I want you to zip over to Reagan National and, on live cable TV, go through the full body scan - with the images available for broadcast and our review. Since it’s no big deal and it’s all for security, I’m sure you won’t mind setting the suck-it-up example.

And after that, you can step over to the personal screening area for what you euphemistically call a “pat-down.” We’ll all watch as a female TSA employee does to you what she did to American grandmothers over this weekend.

I’ll do whatever the TSA says, and without complaint, as soon as I see Janet Napolitano do it. Until then, I’m fighting back.


Why didn't I do a play-by-play recap of the Hysterics at Eric's? Because I knew that nobody does it better than my favorite Jooette:
The only downside to blogmeets are two things: 1) The people you are hoping will show up but cannot, and 2) The kind of painful and depressing knowledge that you will have to go another year before seeing these off-the-charts kickass friends again.
Yes, indeed.

Rules of the Road, Rule No. 597:
Only asshats bogart life.
I'll drink to that.

It seems Mitch McConnell has finally gotten the message:
I have seen a lot of elections in my life, but I have never seen an election like the one we had earlier this month. The 2010 midterm election was a “change” election the likes of which I have never seen, and the change that people want, above all, is right here in Washington.

Most Americans are deeply unhappy with their government, more so than at any other time in decades. And after the way lawmakers have done business up here over the last couple of years, it’s easy to see why. But it’s not enough to point out the faults of the party in power. Americans want change, not mere criticism. And that means that all of us in Washington need to get serious about changing the way we do business, even on things we have defended in the past, perhaps for good reason.

If the voters express themselves clearly and unequivocally on an issue, it’s not enough to persist in doing the opposite on the grounds that “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That’s what elections are all about, after all. And if this election has shown us anything, it’s that Americans know the difference between talking about change, and actually delivering on it.
Too right, Skippy. Now let's see you stick to your word. We're watching...

So now that Hannity says it, you can believe what I told you here?
“There are some Democrats that cue me into things. I got to tell you that the feeling among some people in the White House is that this president is unhinged, that he’s detached, that he’s losing it, he’s obsessed with critics, very specifically obsessed with Fox News, he can’t stand Biden, he hates the Clintons, the Clintons hate him. That the only thing he is passionate about seems to be ESPN and playing golf and and playing some basketball, the only thing that gets his interest. Infighting apparently, and finger pointing is at an all-time high, if the President is brought bad news on the economy he has a meltdown every time he hears it. And this is what people — and I’m telling you my sources are reliable — are telling me. And I don’t know how he’s going to deal with this a story, ‘One and done, to be a great president President Obama should not seek re-election in 2012′.”
Scary stuff, that, though.


For Andy...

... who's rocking a Movember mustache. Go donate, if you can.

I suspect this guy...

... is related to my little buddy Grabby Hayes, so named because now he won't take the almonds dropped on the ground -- he'll ignore them and insists on being close enough to grab them from my hand. (Video to follow soon.)

Vito and the Salutations may just have managed to kill my undying love for doo-wop music with this mangling of a thing of beauty.

(Gee, thanks, Ken.)

Giggle of the Day:


Spit-Take of the Day:
Seventeen year old son opines the swords and knives are just a front. The real reason for Ren-Faire is boobies.

"Four pounds of cheese fries in an edible [tortilla shell] bowl -- you can't beat that."
-- Nick Digilio, talking with Ted Brunson, host of Chicago's Best TV, about Susie's Drive-In on Montrose, between Elston and Keeler. Yum!

They also reverentially mentioned "The Slinger" at the Diner Grill as fine late night (i.e., after bar) dining. What's a Slinger?
The Slinger is, in its own greasy way, a masterpiece and it comes on a large oval platter. The foundation is a massive portion of hash brown potatoes covered with grilled onions. On top of that is 2 side-by-side cheeseburgers, topped with a couple of fried eggs, sunny-side up. The whole thing is covered with several ladles of chili. Two pieces of toast come on the side.
Sweet Baby Jeebus!

I don't generally visit the bars on Division Street -- too touristy or waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too young -- but I might just have to make an exception and spend some time at The Lodge:
The Lodge, 21 W. Division, brought back its clunky Flash Bowling (or Puck Bowling) machine after a 15-year absence.
Whoohoo! Let the youngsters play their video games -- flash bowling and pinball are the games of my youth, and I'll take them over their contemporary counterparts every single time.

The Presidency hasn't grown -- the government has grown, and if it's too big for one president to handle, then it's time to shrink the government back to manageable proportions.

Pouring Jet Fuel on the Bonfire

Seems I'm not the only one who's had a bad experience with the TSA's new procedures, as this little poll over at the Washington Post has stirred up a shit storm in the comments.

Question: Have you ever been subjected to an airport security 'pat down'?

They're having a free-for-all in the comments section, as well they should. (Be sure to read 'em all.)

In fact, people everywhere are getting pissed and demanding that heads (or even departments) roll.

If that doesn't get your Irish up, then perhaps this will:

(A tip of the cap to Amy Alkon.)

This is ridiculous and totally beyond the pale.

Here's the problem: Good parents like my pal LL are starting to say things like this:
If any man or woman put their hands in my children’s crotches because of a perceived security risk, I absolutely would reign fire and destruction upon those muthafuckers.

Mark my words.
Try it, however, and you'll find yourself under arrest, facing jail time and at least a $10,000 fine.

For those of you who think giving up your right to privacy is a small price to pay, a superior mind to yours replies:
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

As for me, I may just have to rethink the not driving thing, and soon.

Bus Fumes

You know, I really wish they'd stop calling them "pat downs" -- because they're not. From Dictionary.reference.com:
[pat-doun] Show IPA
an act or instance of passing the hands over the body of a clothed person to detect concealed weapons, drugs, etc.; frisking.
In reality, from recent personal experience, TSA agents don't just pass their hands over your body -- they grope you, and hard in the manner of Dictionary.reference.com's definition #6:
Slang . an act or instance of sexually fondling another person.
I also take issue with TSA's promise of privacy and that no pictures will be taken:
The U.S. Marshals Service recently admitted saving some 35,000 images from a machine at a federal courthouse in Florida. TSA says that will never happen. Human experience says, oh, yes, it will.
Here's all the proof I need that your parts can and may be exposed to the rest of the world: this CNN article photo. This quick Bing image search. Repeated photos from the scanners on Drudge Report banners. This quick google image search. Also, this Fox News report that shows images of not only the scanned image, but also identifiable images of the person scanned:

Sure, the TSA assures us that the image-saving capability "will be turned off" in these scanners, but they don't say when, and they don't say what has been or will be done with the gazillion images already saved.

Then there's this YouTube video describing the "pat down" for an "opt out":

Even if you agree to the scan, you still aren't out of the woods. I didn't opt out, and still got the so-called pat down, thanks to my bra's underwires.* The young lady in the video at least got groped in private. I got my breasts squeezed and twisted in full view of every single person in the security area -- and no, nobody offered to take me off into private to do it.

(Please don't tell me it's okay because I submitted. I had no choice. Neither did anyone else in line that morning, as we were all forced through the scanners or to submit to a pat-down if we wanted to fly that day.)

I'm a mature adult who's seen a lot, and still this was a humiliating experience for me. Imagine, then, if it's your grandmother or wife or teenager or tween or very young child who's always been told never to let a stranger touch them inappropriately. Whether its the public chest mauling or the full body scan or the private full body feel-up, it's wrong on just about every level.

Furthermore, the new procedures really slowed the security line down at O'Hare. Don't be even a little late for a flight, or these new procedures will likely make you miss your flight. And be prepared for gridlock at airport security if you're traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Neither of these forms of screening should be used until or unless there's a suspicion that a passenger may be carrying contraband of some sort. It should not be the primary screening method unless it's used for all airline passengers -- including the Head of Homeland Security, the President, the First Lady and the First Children. The TSA has gone way too far.

*The least the TSA could do is educate their screeners as to what an underwire looks like and why it's not a threat to national security.

Update: I've heard a lot of discussion on talk radio about this subject today, and a lot of people who experienced the old "pat down" with the back of the hands that came if you made the metal detector beep more than once or had a medical note due to surgical pins, rods, plates or replacement joints saying that TSA agents were "respectful" and that "it's not that bad" and that they were given a choice for their pat down to happen publicly or privately.

Trust me, things have changed. I can't wait to hear about your next experience with the TSA. That was then. This is now, and it's different.

Also, I just heard a United Airline employee assert that NONE of the airline food service truck personnel or bag handlers have to go through security of any type at O'Hare "because they're TSA employees." But pilots and flight attendants do have to submit to those indignities.

There's no logical reason why this is so.


Update II:

If this photo from today's (11/15/10) Drudge Report doesn't convince you of the outrageousness of the TSA's procedures, nothing else will:

(And for those people who insist that they do the full feel-ups in private, this disproves it.)

Hey, Big Sis! How's that discreet thing supposed to work again?

Sunday Schedule

Once again, some entities are more equal than others in the eyes of the White House when it comes to Obama Care:


If you live in NYC, you'd better make sure that either your pet stays indoors or it has a collar and tag or is microchipped... or your lost pet may be toast.
Hoffman said, by law, an unclaimed animal can be adopted out or euthanized after as little as 48 hours, although it usually takes longer than that.
Spread the word.

Oooooo! Bacon-wrapped pork belly. Sounds fabulous.

Movie Review of the Day:
The movie is imaginative, gripping and completely undone by an epilogue that is nothing short of bonkers.
Based on that quote alone, I might just have to see that movie.

Quote of the Day:
“People don’t understand their purchases make a difference, and that by buying something that wasn’t exactly what you want, it gets you closer to what you want. It’s an investment.”
No, that wasn't President Tin-Ear... but I bet she voted for him!

Giggle of the Day:

If you've ever been owned by a cat, you've witnessed this in real time.


Okay, here's another head-slapper: on my sitemeter at 5:46 a.m. today (What? You don't get up this early, too?) is a sole visitor from Yazd in the State of Yazd, Iran. And what search, pray tell, brought them here?

I can't figure out what's more disturbing -- that I'm in the sights of someone from Iran, that search string, or that the Omnibus pops up as #1. Once again the LOLs serve me well...

Saturday Morning Cartoons

From a more recent era, one of my favorites: Kenny the Shark

Theme Song:

Pet Tricks:

Boy Trouble:

Trash Talking:

He's the contemporary Magilla Gorilla!


I don't know what I find scarier -- that this might for even a second be true...
White House leaks about the ineffectiveness of Obama's presidency are expandng [sic] beyond the revelations attributed to a former high-level Obama administration insider and which have been reported by a blogger named "Ulsterman." Some White House staffers have described a "reign of terror" in the White House over continued leaks and a troika of leadership that is making decisions without any input from the president. The troika reportedly consists of First Lady Michelle Obama, presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, and the president's mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, who resides in the White House.

Not to be deterred, some White House staffers have sought out journalists and have arranged to meet them at nearby Starbuck's cafes to discretely convey to them inside information about the current disarray within the Obama administration. Some staffers have personally born the brunt of Obama's temper and witnessed his extreme narcissistic behavior. WMR has also learned from White House sources that Obama is taking presciption [sic] anxiety medication.

... or that Biden is second in line.

I trust that this is wishful thinking, but then there's that faint whiff of truth. *Sigh* If it's not one thing, it's another.

(A tip of the cap to Desert Cat.)

Update: It's in stories like this that I find that faint whiff.

Governor Giveaway just doesn't get it...
"Well, (legislators) voted for it, seniors ride free, a couple years ago. I think when you have a program, you want to see how it works. I think the seniors are pretty happy with it. (Curtailing free rides) is really not going to save the state money. I think we should do as much as we can for public transit."

Asked if a means test should determine which seniors ride free, Quinn said: "Well, you don't have means tests for Social Security. The genius of that program that was founded by President Franklin Roosevelt was, when you have a universal program, you have everyone participating and everyone supporting. I do believe in that principle of universality on important programs. I have supported seniors ride free, and I don't think that's our top priority right now; our top priority is to fund our schools."
...but at least one newsman does:
The free-rides program for seniors that Blagojevich jammed through the legislature costs the three transit agencies at least $38 million a year. Given their finances, the transit agencies cannot afford these free rides. Quinn should be apologizing for another governor's financial recklessness, not declaring that he'll block any attempt to rein in the freebies. [Emphasis mine]

Remember, these transit systems survive only because governments create them and riders pay to use them. We were troubled to read a comment in Wednesday's Tribune from Beryl Clemens, former president of Metro Seniors in Action, an advocacy group: "The whole bus is empty. It's not costing (the transit agencies) anything." Yes, it is. Those who use these systems ought to share the costs. All of us could, in a moment of selfishness, point to an empty seat and say, "I'll just plop my fanny right here and nobody's out a dime." Doing that would steal revenue from the kitty that keeps public transit in business for everyone.

We hope legislative leaders deliver to Quinn a more sensible means for handling senior riders. If Quinn issues a veto, we hope legislators override him and bring this notion of free rides to an end.
Too right.

With all the controversy over the new airport body scanners and pat downs (which are, from very recent personal experience, really rough gropings, not fondling), $1 Greyhound fares on brand spanking new motor coaches sounds pretty good, as does Megabus or Amtrak. Since I'm not an Islamic woman I can and did have more than the area from the neck up manhandled.

So, I got to have at least one complete stranger see me nearly naked, and then I got the privilege of being mauled by another complete stranger in a way that I wouldn't have put up with on a date with someone I actually knew and liked... and I wasn't the only one.

Be prepared -- TSA is not using these scanners when they think there might be a problem -- they're using them for everyone.

Quite frankly, until and unless Big Sis volunteers for both, we ought to all say an emphatic "NO" and find alternate transportation.

Hah! I love it when Karma works it's mojo:
For the first time in almost two years Thursday, WGN-AM 720 made a major personnel move that didn't upset at least some of its longtime listeners: It said so long to Kevin Metheny, its polarizing program director for the last 23 months.
I didn't like what he did back then, and I still don't like it. I'm not sorry to see him go.

Chartered Excursions - The Hysterics at Eric's

Wonderful people. Fabulous food. A gorgeous setting. Bonfires. Pool. Incredible music. Poetry. A walk in the woods. Laughter -- lots and lots of laughter. So, a huge THANK-YOU ...

... to Eric and his lovely wife Fiona for the invite, and Fred and Bob for the cat fix.

... to Teresa, who bummed me a ride and entertained me enormously.

... to Erica, who blows me away with her gorgeous photographs and her big, beautiful heart.

... to Elisson (who'll get the humor in the above) and the lovely and charming SWMBO.

... to Jimbo for the music, and to Ken the Bodyguard for making sure Jimbo can make the trip.

... to KNine, whose blogging I've missed so much and for the breakfast at Tellico Junction, and to Jack, his faithful companion.

... to Jerry, who's always got an eye for the absurd.

... to Denny, for the music and the fun (and, usually, the wine).

... to Bou, for the ziti and for the great conversation.

... to Rick and Georgia -- it wouldn't be a blogmeet without you.

... to John, for the great conversation about books and the chance to finally get to know you a little bit better.

... to El Capitan, because he inspires me, makes me laugh, and pushes me to be a better writer.

... and finally, to Tommy, who I've heard so much about, but never met before. I promise that next time we'll sit down and have a good long chin-wag.

Don't let anyone kid you -- it is possible to make lifelong friends on the internet. I can't imagine my life without these folks, and I have a smile on my face for days after one of these shindigs.

It's always hard to say good-bye until the next one... and this earworm has been rattling around in my noggin ever since:



Sometimes I'll trip over a really bizarre search that points somebody through the intarwebs and right at my blog. Today's eye-popper?

That's right. In the middle of this incredible panoply of images from the blase to the ridiculous to the downright kinky you'll find this.

Freaking LOL cats!

I'm still scratching my head...

And if that's not enough, I found this in the news today:
Carolee Bildsten, 56, of the 5300 block of David Court, allegedly assaulted the officer on Tuesday evening with what Gurnee Police Cmdr. Jay Patrick called “a rigid feminine pleasure device.”
That just boggles the mind...


In memory of my father, Ronald J. Morlock, I always choose a team and support Project Valor-IT. This year, I'm once again going for Team Army, in honor of Dad's service as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division.

What does your donation to the project do?

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. Technology supplied includes:

Voice-controlled Laptops - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

Wii Video Game Systems - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).

Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.

The way I see it, it's the least we can do for those who are giving so much to us to give them back mobility and dignity.

learn more

Dig deep, will you? And then...

learn more

Quick Stop

There are cricket balls...

And then there are cricket balls!

Book Your Ticket

I'm still processing my way through my maiden voyage to the Hysterics at Eric's and will post on that soon. In the meantime, I found this via Tommy, who may be big, but is not stupid...

1. Favorite childhood book?

It was a set called "The Children's Classics," bound in deep, rich, shiny cordovan leather and embossed with the profiles of a young boy and girl, that came with our Encylopaedia Britannica. The set contained Black Beauty, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and many more. I read and re-read those books.

2. What are you reading right now?

Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

None. Although I have a library card, I almost never have time to stop there.

4. Bad book habit?


5. What do you currently have checked out at the library teed up on your Kindle?

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1, Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith; Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know, Hamilton Wright Mabie; Worth Dying For: A Reacher Novel, Lee Child; The Life and Adventures of Santa Clause, L. Frank Baum; The Reluctant Mage, Karen Miller; Hour of the Hunter, J.A. Jance; Diary of Samuel Pepys; The Mountain of Marvels, Aaron Shepard; and Decision Points, George W. Bush.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

My bosses gave me a Kindle for Christmas last year. I carry it with me everywhere. In fact, I love it so much that I bought one for my sister-in-law!

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

One book at a time. I'm a really fast reader, so it doesn't make sense for me to jump around too much.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

Not since starting a blog. My reading habits really slowed down, however, when I got a computer at home!

9. Least favorite book you read this year?

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It ranks right up there with The Bonfire of the Vanities, which I loathe and have never been able to force myself to finish. The Fitzgerald book has equally miserable characters.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

Beatrice and Virgil by Yan Martel. It's a beautiful, terrible, immensely moving book.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

All the time!

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

Cozies, mysteries, fiction and the occasional panty-dropper.

13. Can you read on the bus?

I can and do all the time.

14. Favorite place to read?

Everywhere and anywhere I have five or more minutes.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

I don't lend books any more. I'll give you a book if I'm done with it. If it's one of my all-time favorites that I read over and over again, I'll buy you one, but you can't have mine.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! That's sacrilegious!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

Again, no. But I do like the highlighter and notes features on my Kindle.

18. Not even with text books?

Ask me in January.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

English. I can do a little Spanish and a little French, but not enough to do a whole book.

20. What makes you love a book?

Finely drawn characters. A great story line. The delicious details of time, place, and the five senses. Something that makes me stretch a bit. Being able to close my eyes and effortlessly envision the characters and the scenery.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

I have to love the book myself, and know the reading tastes of the person I'm recommending the book to.

22. Favorite genre?

Who can pick?

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

Business books. I really enjoyed Rembrandts in the Attic, Freakonomics and Digital Phoenix. I should raid my own company's library more often.

24. Favorite biography?

The Lyndon Johnson series by Robert Caro. Fascinating stuff.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

I'm Okay - You're Okay, and that was back in my hippy-dippy camp counselor days.

26. Favorite cookbook?

The Princess Mom's old Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or nonfiction)?

Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiorty, by Tom Burrell (whom I also got to meet at the Chicago Book Fair).

28. Favorite reading snack?

Honey roasted cashews. Pistachios. Smokehouse almonds.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

I won't say "hype" so much as say I had an author believe her own hype so much her books became expensive and overrated retreads -- and that would be Janet Evanovich, who I no longer bother with.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

I don't read a lot of critics. I read a book because it interests me, not because of what someone whom I've never met recommends for or against.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews??

If the book is bad and I save someone else from wasting their time and money, I don't feel bad at all. If the book is a so-so book and is written by a blogger, I have a harder time with that because I want to love the book and do love the person. Still, I think you've got to be honest. I've read blogger-written books that I've loved, and I've read blogger-written books that just didn't do it for me.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

Latin or Greek.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). Math and science are not my strengths. Still, Feynman makes it all approachable.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?

My next textbook.

35. Favorite poet?

John Donne. I love the way he uses secular language to describe religious themes and religious language to describe secular themes.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

I don't. I do, however, usually have at least three or four books teed up on my Kindle besides the current read.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?


38. Favorite fictional character?

Piscine Molitor Patel.

39. Favorite fictional villain?

Tyrion Lannister, who is sometimes villain, sometimes not.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?

More light-hearted reading. I save the heavy stuff for home.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

Two days... and it nearly killed me.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

See 9 above. I've tried three times and never could get through more than six chapters of Bonfires. I won't even bother to try again with Beautiful.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Nothing. I once let a chicken burn so badly it welded itself to the pot and the house was filled with smoke. Because I was reading, I didn't notice a thing. (Yes, The Princess Mom was pissed.)

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

Not a single one. I'm always so disappointed with the film because it doesn't match my own imagined version. I read the book or see the movie, but never both. The only exception I'm going to make with this policy is the HBO miniseries of Game of Thrones.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides. Babs really stank that one up.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

Around $100.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

What skim? I open and inhale.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

Bad writing. Not one character or idea I identify with.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

The Kindle does it for me. I've got a couple of series I like, and I keep them in order. Other than that, I keep organized by giving books away.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

Give them away. There's not a chance in the world that I could afford to build the shelves to hold all of the books I've read. Besides, there's great pleasure in the giving and sharing!

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

No. (Other than textbooks. Which is about to change.)

52. Name a book that made you angry.

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War, by James Bradley.

Also, The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created "Alice in Wonderland" (the writer is delusional and makes arguments in favor of a pedophile) and The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

Life of Pi, because the cover art just didn't appeal and I felt it was over-hyped (and which turned out to be my favorite book ever) and The Poisonwood Bible, again because the cover art didn't grab me.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

Moby Dick, or, the whale by Herman Melville. Gadzooks, what a miserable slog that was.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

The Vicki Lewis Thompson Nerd series. The Aunt Dimity series. Anything by Hester Browne. The Billy Boyle World War II series. Brad Thor. Lee Child. Karen Miller. Jaqueline Carey. My nemesis -- George R.R. Martin. Jonathan Kellerman (but not his wife Faye). Is that enough to start with?

Laying Rubber

How close do I live to O'Hare International Airport?

I awoke with a start at 5:02 a.m., realized my alarm hadn't gone off and still made my 6:00 a.m. flight.

God bless 303 Taxi!

(I have no clue what I shoved in my suitcase other than clean undies, socks and a toothbrush...)


A shooting at a Coast Guard recruiting station in Northern Virginia is connected to a string of similar incidents at military-related buildings, the FBI said Wednesday.

FBI spokeswoman Lindsay Godwin said ballistics tests concluded that the same gun was used in the first four shootings, and preliminary test results also link the latest shooting. The Coast Guard incident was reported Tuesday. No one has been injured in any of the shootings.

No details about the type or caliber of weapon have been released. But investigators previously have said it appeared that the shots were fired from a high-powered rifle.

Five different military buildings in Virginia have been shot at and this is the first we've heard of it???

It's idiotic articles like this that make me want to disown most feminists:
It’s a wise child, they say, that knows its own father. Nowadays, however, wisdom is hardly required; DNA tests can do the job with scientific certainty. For the entire course of human history, men have nursed profound, troubling doubts about the fundamental question of whether or not they were fathers to their own children; women, by contrast, usually enjoyed a reasonable level of certainty about the matter.

Now, a cotton-wool swab with a bit of saliva, plus a small fee, less than £200, can settle the matter. At a stroke, the one thing that women had going for them has been taken away, the one respect in which they had the last laugh over their husbands and lovers. DNA tests are an anti-feminist appliance of science, a change in the balance of power between the sexes that we’ve hardly come to terms with. And that holds true even though many women have the economic potential to provide for their children themselves. [Emphasis mine]

I want to tar and feather this bitch myself for her breathtaking egocentrism and profound stupidity.

Gawd. It's no wonder so many men dislike and distrust women.

For all you people who think only cat people are nuts, think again:
The PAWsitive Therapy Troupe is hard at work preparing to present "A Canine Version of the Nutcracker" in Glen Ellyn and Downers Grove this holiday season. Their 45-minute production will feature 28 dancing therapy dogs and one human, said Becky Jankowski, founder of the troupe, organizer of the show and wife of the human (Don Jankowski).

Some dogs are unleashed for solos, and others perform on leash with their owners in group dances. All are in costume, or as much as a dog will tolerate.

At least cats are smart enough that they'd never put up with this nonsense!

Well, this little piece of news makes me have new respect for Oklahoma voters:
Oklahoma voters have approved a measure that would forbid judges from considering international law or Islamic law when deciding cases.

Republican Rex Duncan, the sponsor of the measure, called it a "pre-emptive strike" designed to close the door on activist judges "legislating from the bench or using international law or Sharia law."
Well done!

Because I just love the guy:


Quote of the Day:
"We've got pigs in there, you've raw meat hanging up...I was there this morning, and it was absolutely disgusting. It smelled foul and looked foul but that's how it should be, so we're happy."
I'm such an idiot fan girl!

Urk. It'll be days until we know who are next Governor will be. I have no idea what the voters in this state were thinking that made the race this close.

The owner of a North Side auto dealership was ordered held on $50,000 bond Wednesday on a weapons charge after police found a gun on his passenger seat and him apparently naked from the waist down inside a Bentley on the Near West Side.
What do you want to bet there was alcohol involved?

Quick Stop

Giggle of the Day:

Inspired by Yabu.


Did you?

Keep your fingers crossed:



I spent the day at the Lincoln Park Zoo yesterday:


Saw this...

And immediately thought of Jimbo. Can't imagine why...

Tagline of the Day:
"Protection for your privates, both literally and figuratively"
Love it!