Friday, December 17, 2004

Odds and Ends

Found out very early Wednesday morning from my mom and sister that my ex brother-in-law committed suicide early this week. Not sure of the details other than he was living in Boston and it looks like he o.d.'ed. He was only 48.

I haven't had any contact with him in any way, shape, or form for 12 or so years and we were never close to begin with so it's not a grave personal loss but it's still sad. Still relatively young and had been battling manic-drepression for many years but could never get it under control. That may have contributed to his death...dunno. I'll try to find out more later when my sister gets back to her home.


On a lighter note - These articles were e-mailed to me, this one about Tom Wolfe's latest book:

Wolfe's sex scenes are howlers
By Gideon Long in London
December 15, 2004

AMERICAN author and journalist Tom Wolfe won one of the world's most dreaded
literary accolades yesterday ­ the British prize for bad sex in fiction.
It is awarded each year "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often
perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern

Wolfe won it for a couple of purple passages from his latest novel I am
Charlotte Simmons, a tale of campus life at an exclusive US university.

"Slither slither slither slither went the tongue," one of his winning
sentences begins.

"But the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it
has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the
otorhinolaryngological caverns ­ oh God, it was not just at the border where
the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest ­ no, the
hand was cupping her entire right ­ Now!"

Judges described Wolfe's prose as "ghastly and boring".

The former Washington Post correspondent, whose debut novel Bonfire of the
Vanities was a defining text of the 1980s, fought off stiff competition from
10 other authors including South African Andre Brink, whose novel Before I
Forget contains the following description of a woman's anatomy:

"(It was) like a large exotic mushroom in the fork of a tree, a little
pleasure dome if ever I've seen one, where Alph the sacred river ran down to
a tideless sea.

"No, not tideless. Her tides were convulsive, an ebb and flow that could
take you very far, far back, before hurling you out, wildly and
triumphantly, on a ribbed and windswept beach without end."

Another writer who only narrowly escaped the prize was Britain's Nadeem
Aslam for his novel Maps for Lost Lovers, a tale of life in a Muslim
community in an English town.

"His mouth looked for the oiled berry," one of his raunchiest passages

"The smell of his armpits was on her shoulders ­ a flower depositing pollen
on a hummingbird's forehead," another reads.

The winner of the award, organised by the London-based Literary Review, is
given an Oscar-style statuette and a bottle of champagne ­ but only if he or
she comes to the awards ceremony in person.

Organisers said Wolfe, who is based in New York, was the first writer in the
12-year history of the competition to decline his invitation.

and this one about an all-cereal restaurant in Philly:

Cereal cafe opens in Philly
Cereality serves 30 brands, 36 toppings

Sunday, December 05, 2004

By Joann Loviglio, The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- How's this for thinking outside the box: a cafe with
jammies-clad servers pouring cereal day and night, topping it off with
everything from fruit to malted milk balls, and serving it in "bowls"
resembling Chinese takeout containers.

It's all cereal. Seriously.

Cereality Cereal Bar & Cafe, which opened its first sit-down cafe Wednesday
on the University of Pennsylvania campus, is a sugar-coated -- and
tongue-in-cheek -- homage to what your mother always told you was the most
important meal of the day. But she probably never dished out bowls of Froot
Loops and Cap'n Crunch topped with Pop Rocks.

Behind glass-door kitchen-style cabinets at Cereality are 30 varieties of
brand-name cold cereal. Customers order from "cereologists," whose most
popular mix is two 8-ounce scoops with one of 36 toppings, plus regular,
flavored or soy milk for $2.95. Also offered are cereal bars and
made-to-order cereal smoothies and yogurt blends.

Though some of the choices sound like a sugar overdose or a dental disaster
to the uninitiated (or to those long past their college years), they're all
not that indulgent.

"This is great because you can try all different kinds and not have to buy
the whole box," said Penn freshman Erica Denhoff, 18, as she munched on a
healthy concoction of Quaker Oat Squares, Corn Chex and yogurt flax bark
with skim milk. "I'm on the track team. ... I eat cereal for breakfast and
for a snack if I need energy."

Co-founders David Roth and Rick Bacher opened the first Cereality, a
200-square-foot kiosk in Arizona State University's student union, last
year. Besides the 1,500-square-foot Philadelphia cafe in the middle of
Penn's retail district, the Boulder, Colo.-based company wants to open more
than a dozen Cerealities next year on campuses and in hospital lobbies,
airports and office buildings.

"We don't see this as [solely] a college concept; we see this as being
relevant to the 95 percent of the American public that eats cereal," Roth
said. If college students, "the most cynical market we can go after," like
it, Roth's confident that office workers and travelers will like it too.

Cereality also offers its own combos. John Merz, 27, a Penn employee, was
bowled over by Devil Made Me Do It -- an ambrosial elixir of Cocoa Puffs,
Lucky Charms, chocolate crunchies and malt balls, topped with milk.

"You're eating candy with milk on it!" chided his co-worker Caroline
Couture, 42. After polishing off her Banana Brown Betty with hot oatmeal,
bananas, molasses, sugar and streusel topping, she said she'd be having a
salad for lunch -- but that she'd visit Cereality again.

"We're all still kids, really," she said. "A lot of the foods you loved in
childhood you still love as an adult."

In Philadelphia, customers can eat Apple Jacks and stretch out on a couch,
watch cartoons on a flat-screen TV or check their e-mail via free Wi-Fi access.

Like build-your-own salad bars with fattening and healthy foods side by
side, "I think this is something that's as good or as bad as you want it to
be," said Jeanne Goldberg, of Tufts University's Friedman School of
Nutrition Science and Policy.

American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Gail Frank agreed that cereals
can be a good fast food because they're high in fiber and loaded with
vitamins and minerals -- as long as customers pick healthier toppings such
as nuts and fruit.

Between bites of hot oatmeal with cranberries and almonds, Penn junior
Alpha Mengistu, 20, said Cereality offered more than a quick carb and sugar

"I think this would be a good place for a date," she said. "You could learn
a lot about a person by what cereal they choose."


Thanx to Dennis for posting this link:

Michael Jackson's Favorite Things.


Congratulations! You are Lynette Scavo, the
ex-career woman who traded the boardroom for
boredom, mixed with moments of sheer panic as
the mother of four unmanageable kids.

Which Desperate Housewife are you?
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