Friday, September 26, 2008

This is fun

If you're looking for information on what the two presidential candidates really believe (or at least, have said), try this link:

The graphics are *way* fun.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Presidential Election 2008

This is a plea to everyone who shares, or does not share, my political views.

First of all, chances are good that unless you're my immediate family, or my best friend, Rene, you don't know my political views.

Please, please, stop sending me e-mail "Forwards" that lack substance.

If you have information -- *TRUE, SUBSTANTIATED INFORMATION* -- that you want me to know, whether it be about Biden, McCain, Obama, or Palin (notice, alphabetical order), or about any other candidate you support - please feel free to send it to me.

But - if you don't know the truth, or if your e-mail is simply of the "let's slam the opposing candidate" variety -- please, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.

I have received e-mails about all the individuals in this presidential election. Some of the information is blatantly untrue. A quick check of Snopes revealed that a slamming e-mail involving Palin was patently false. Another e-mail was so stupid (claiming Obama is the anti-Christ) that I didn't even have to bother with Snopes. No matter who any of us support, can't we agree to stop with the senseless forwarding? And please, while we're at it -- stop those "I'm a nurse and this is what I've seen" or "I'm a lawyer and this is what I've seen" forwards as well. Check SNOPES. As heartrending or as aggravating as the situations sound in these e-mails, many of them are simply recycled from a prior use and are simply designed to incite anger. If you can't personally swear that it really happened, then why tell your friends?

Here's a story that's absolutely true. And I say that with confidence because I was there. Years ago, before this election was even a glimmer in anyone's eye, there was another contentious election going on. And guess what? Democrats and Republicans were the front-running candidates. I was at a churchy event. I say "churchy" because this particular situation involved a lot of very, very devout - very religious-type people. I was there as an outsider (long story), but I overheard the spirited conversation. These very devout people were talking about that era's current president, and about what a terrible job he was doing. (Sound familiar?) They were so completely against this man that they discussed how much they hoped he would be assassinated. Yes. They actually said that.

This was hatred, pure and raw. I was ashamed for these folks. Did I get into the middle of it and argue? No, of course not. They were about as close to a mob mentality as you can get at a churchy thing. But the moment stuck with me. And I have chosen to avoid these people ever since. These people were so sure of their beliefs that they actually wished death on another person. You know what? I think that's sick.

If the e-mail you're about to forward doesn't help the situation... if it's designed simply to make people angry -- to make them hate their fellow man -- then why send it?

If the e-mail you're about to send is true ... if it's YOUR experience, or your belief that you want to share -- if it's something you feel passionate about and it's YOUR words, please send it to me. I would like to know how others come to their decisions. I think that's fascinating.

Who do I support? I don't care to share that information at this time. And maybe I haven't made up my mind yet. I get e-mails from both the McCain and Obama camps. Why? Because I am very interested in where they both stand on the issues and I want to stay informed up to Election Day. If someone can send me *TRUTH* (and who can, really?) then I encourage them to do so. But if someone simply wants to send empty rhetoric, I'd rather they stay silent.

Spreading lies is just another way to spread hatred. Please, let's all work to stop that. We have a wonderful country. We have an amazing system of government. If we put all this energy toward a common good, just think of what we could accomplish. Let's stop tearing things down, and instead - try building things up. Let's do it for the United States of America. Because, no matter who wins, we're all in this together.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Bro!

Just a quick time-out here to wish my little brother, Paul, a very happy birthday!!

I'm not going to tell you his age, since he is my *younger* brother. I'd like to pretend that maybe we're both about ten years younger than our respective chronological ages would have you believe.

That picture is the two of us from about a year ago (2 years?) when we revisited our old grammar school. Hadn't changed. Not even one little bit.

Just like us, right?


Monday, September 15, 2008


This morning was my first Strength Training exercise class. I loved it. And I usually hate exercise. I have to tell you, though, I chose carefully when signing up for this class. It's only a half hour. There were two other classes that bookend this one, but they are one hour each. Not a chance.

I looked like a goofball with my Star Trek t-shirt (Hey, I think "Resistance is Futile" is a perfect mantra for an exercise class) and a pair of my daughter's pajama pants, but I kept up, mostly. I think the thing I loved the best was that I wasn't overwhelmed this first time out.

When it was time to choose weights, the instructor didn't know what size barbells to advise me to pick up. She asked me what my current exercise regimen was. I said, "Uh ... zero." She assigned me five-pounders. Perfect. Maybe by the end of the eight weeks, I'll work my way up to ten-pounders. Wouldn't that be great!

In any case, I came home, took a shower and now I feel really charged up about writing ... my exercise stretching is carrying me into the home stretch of writing the next White House Chef book (tentatively titled: EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS).

And, just to continue the theme ... my saying that I'm in the home stretch of this book is definitely stretching the truth.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Raspberry Lemon Drop - Part II

I want to thank Jen and Bonnie for sending me recipes for Raspberry Lemon Drops. Who knew there were so many varieties? It should be fun to try them out! Thanks, Ladies.

Today, I received another recipe - from Valerie - who works the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton. She was able to procure the recipe from the bartender who invented it and she shared it with me (in the comments section of the original post). I'm not only excited to be able to try this at home, I'm touched that Valerie took the time to contact find it for me.

Thank you so much, Valerie!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Raspberry Lemon Drop

I am in search of a raspberry lemon drop martini. Seriously.

Back in May, when I visited Sarasota, Florida for my daughter's graduation, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Ritz-Carlton hotel for drinks and camaraderie by Paul and Mitch, my brother, and for all intents and purposes, my brother-in-law.

Anyway, they love the Ritz. I'd been there the week before (as you may recall) for the Jeffrey Katzenberg reception and I raved about the high tea service. Fabulous place.

When we all went there for drinks one evening, the waitress suggested their special Raspberry Lemon Drop and I decided, why not?

Well, it was fabulous. Best martini ever. (I confess that martinis have little to no effect on me. Wine will put me to sleep and/or make me slur my words after one glass. Martinis -- nuthin')

Since returning home, I've been searching in vain for a place up here that serves Raspberry Lemon Drops. Anybody have any ideas? I've requested them at places where they weren't on the menu and the bartenders have made valient attempts ... but no luck. I found one on the menu at Buca di Beppo yesterday. Whoa! Ordering that was a mistake! The waitress said she couldn't find any raspberries so she was about to substitute blueberries. Give me a break.

When the bartender finally found some raspberries, she brought them to the table and unceremoniously plopped them into my less-than-tasty Lemon Drop. Yeah. Didn't make it any better, and the unappetizing method of delivery made me question why we decided to eat there in the first place. I won't make that mistake again.

So, does anyone have any ideas where one might find a quality Raspberry Lemon Drop? I swear I'm no lush, I probably have a drink once a month (at the most) -- but that's why it's so important I don't waste my time on bad concoctions.