Monday, September 29, 2008

Stupid China

You know, it was bad enough when they screwed with my nephew's Thomas the Tank Engine toy set.

Now, they've gone and f*cked up my Cabury Eggs and Oreos. THEY MUST BE STOPPED.

Cadbury: Chinese-made products questionable

September 29, 2008

HONG KONG---- British chocolate maker Cadbury said Monday that tests have ''cast doubt'' on the safety of its Chinese-made products and ordered a recall, the latest foreign company affected by China's tainted milk scandal.

Meanwhile, two U.S. food makers were investigating Indonesian claims that high traces of melamine were found in Chinese-made Oreos, M&Ms and Snickers.

Cadbury said in a statement it has recalled 11 chocolate products made at its factory in the Chinese capital Beijing, which are distributed in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia.

Tests ''cast doubt on the integrity of a range of our products manufactured in China,'' Cadbury said in the statement issued from its office in Singapore.

It was not immediately clear whether the tests revealed melamine, the industrial chemical at the center of China's recent milk scandal.

An Asia spokeswoman for Cadbury did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

The company said all of its dairy suppliers have been cleared by government milk testing.

China's recent food safety scandal started with the discovery of melamine in baby milk powder.

Four deaths have been blamed on the bad milk, and some 54,000 children have developed kidney stones or other illnesses after drinking the contaminated baby formula.

Authorities say suppliers might have added melamine, which is rich in nitrogen, to watered-down milk to deceive quality tests for protein.

Two U.S. food makers were investigating Indonesian claims that high traces of melamine were found in Oreos, M&Ms and Snickers, but stressed the same goods tested negative in other Asian countries.

They said they were looking into all possibilities, including counterfeiting.

The milk scandal erupted this month when the public learned that melamine, which is used to make plastics and fertilizer, had been found in milk powder and was linked to kidney stones in children. Contamination has since turned up in liquid milk, yogurt and other products made with milk.

Four deaths have been blamed on the bad milk and some 54,000 children have developed kidney stones or other illnesses after drinking tainted baby formula. Countries across Asia have removed items from shelves or banned them outright.

Myanmar added its name to the list Monday, saying dairy items from China would be barred from entering its military-ruled country. The Philippines, meanwhile, warned exporters they would be locked out of the market if they did not fully disclose the origins of their products.

''Of course it's always good to have evidence rather than just speculate, but we will have to shift the burden of proof to them because our duty is to protect public health,'' said Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in laying out the new regulations.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oh, it cuts way more than carrots...

It's been a slow week at work, so I headed home a little early yesterday to get a head start on dinner. Since Tony and I are making a feeble attempt to eat healthier meals, last night's menus consisted of sauteed zucchini with chicken andouille sausage.

To saute zucchini, I first needed to carve the vegetable into even 1/4'' inch slices. Not a problem. I just pulled out our handy dandy OXO Mandolin that Tony gave me last Christmas. And by" gave", I mean he used the remainder of our Williams-Sonoma gift card to make up for an argument he'd started earlier that day.

Just for clarification: When I say that I used a mandolin to carve the zucchini, I'm referring to this:

As opposed to this:

In any event, as it turns out the blade on the mandolin is mad-sharp. Like, ginsu knife sharp. If you recall the original commercials, a ginsu blade can carve through brick and still make perfectly thin slices of heirloom tomato.

So you can imagine my dismay when, in a moment of poorly timed neglect, I failed to notice that I had reached the end of the zucchini and proceeded to take off a not-so-healthy portion of the finger.

From Drop Box

The pad of your thumb holds a surprising amount of blood. And, it turns out I'm not so good at seeing blood pour out of my digits. I started seeing spots and had to lie down for a little while. Twice. (The 2nd time after Tony redressed the wound.)

The zucchini still turned out well. And Tony took me out for chocolate peanut butter blitz pie to help me feel better, which totally worked.

In future, I'll remember to keep an eye on my hands and fingers in the kitchen. Lest I end up like THIS guy...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Go Grandma!

One of the unexpected perks of marrying into my husband's family is the family vacation. We were unable to make last year's trip to Cancun - what with the wedding and all. Next year's May trip originally included a Caribbean cruise on the high seas.

I'm sure most people love the idea of a cruise (particularly a near-free one, as Grandma G is treating). Thoughts of sun decks and all-can-eat-buffets spring to mind.

Not me. Adding to my list of personal quirks is the fact that I really have no desire to go on a cruise. Ever. I'm damn near anti-cruise to be quite honest. While other people think of sun and fun, I'm haunted by fears of norovirus outbreaks, tsunamis, and giant squid. (Thank you very much, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.)

Still, I sucked it up for the sake of love and family. Plus, I figured I could, if nothing else, pass the time consuming mass amounts of drinks served in tall glasses stacked with fruit and miniature umbrellas.

But then tragedy fiscal and familial struck when Grandma G had to have heart surgery and the cruise budget began to mirror her medical bills. So in the end the cruise was scrapped. (*tear)

But from the sunken vacation wreckage, a new vacation plan has emerged. Now, we're not taking a cruise - we're renting private villas. In the Dominican Republic. And Grandma G is STILL treating.

HOW PIMP IS THAT?!? Go Grandma!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Surreal moments with alcohol

So after a failed attempt to check out an apt listing, Tony and I decided to go to our favorite bar for burgers and beer. Or rather bison burger (me) and hot gravy-covered turkey sandwich (Tony) and beer (both). Fraizer's on the Avenue is an odd little half hole-in-the-wall/half restaurant in Hampden. It's like a bar you'd find in Lawrenceville, but without the pretension.

Anyway, we walk into the bar and low and behold, what is everyone watching one of the TVs? Discovery's How it's made? Nope. (Although that was on one of the television sets.)

Instead, the majority of patrons were raptly engaged in an episode of A&E TV's Intervention. Two episodes, in fact. Better yet, both shows centered on individuals who were steadily drinking themselves to death: one a returned Afghanistan army vet with a yen for vodka and the other an obviously manic depressive former body builder who eats his own cigarettes while washing them down with bottles of Southern Comfort.

The SoCo/Marlboro snack mix nearly killed my appetite.

It's a completely surreal experience to be indulging in alcohol and fries while watching a person physically and mentally deteriorate on nationally syndicated TV. You start to wonder where that line is where you go from casual drinker to functional alcoholic to not-so-functional addict.

It's a bit of a downer, really.

A slightly more surreal moment is when the show wraps up (both show subjects went to rehab; one stayed sober) and the bartender turns to the few of us at the bar, decrees that we will NEVER watch an episode of the show during bar hours again, and then shouts:

"Intervention special! $1 SoCo shots for everyone!"

I love this place.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This is easily some of the best waste of Web time ever invented (Thank you, Suz!)

Tired of the ethnic non-Judeo Christian bent of your moniker? Curious about what your name would be if it was picked by all-American heart throb Sarah Palin?

Then YOU need to check out the...

Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator!

Just head over to the web site and plug in your name. The SPBNG will give you the opportunity to identify and embrace your new identity in a Palin-dominated universe.

My name, for the record:
Bash Budweiser Palin

Oh Yeah...

Monday, September 15, 2008

I need to bring a camera to these things...

This weekend marked the last of our out-of-town trips of the summer. Hallelujah!

This week it was a 9 1/2 hour road trip to Louisville, KY for the marriage of David (Tony's best friend) and Patty. The ride wasn't too bad: West Virginia is still green and loaded with hillside views (and a subsequent number of vehicles which have rolled down the sides of those hills, blocking the roadside).

Oh, it's also just loaded with all sorts of Christinsanity (my word for the extra-strength crazy common among fundamentalist types). I'm talking billboards that read things like, "Become an organ donor. Give Jesus your heart." And "Abortion is forever," accompanied by a family portrait with one blank outline where one of the kids has been photoshopped out of the picture. Nice touch.

The kicker, however, was the road-side construction project by God's Ark of Safety. For those of you who prefer your Christinsanity in super-sized doses, this group is currently busy reconstructing a life-size version of Noah's Ark. I shizz you not. I didn't have our camera ready in time to snap a photo of the mayhem, but not to worry! God's Ark has a Web site:

I'm actually more impressed than anything else. Nothing like a literal interpretation of the Bible to prepare one for a wedding ceremony were a dog is escorting the ring bearer. The weekend was a treat overall. Several of Tony's childhood friends were together for the event. While I love seeing all of them together, it's a wonder they all survived their childhood. Honestly - the shizz they tried to pull as kids...

Louisville - minus the constant humidity - is a beautiful city. It reminds me of Baltimore in some ways. The ceremony took place on the roof of the Glass Works, which is quite stunning.

It's also windy as hell. So I apologize to whomever I inadvertently flashed that evening.

The wedding itself was gorgeous. Patty wore a beautiful sky blue gown. Our buddy Scott got himself ordained online and officiated the ceremony. The maid of honor, Aubry, hand-made all the pottery glasses and centerpieces for the reception.

The highlight of the evening, however, came when Tony stood to do his part of the ceremony readings. Tony was responsible for the "Passion" portion of the readings.

Did I mention that by "reading," I actually meant "singing?"

Oh yes - the congregation (as it were) was treated to the dulcet tones of my husband crooning an a capella version of Elvis Presley's "Love me tender." Just to address your questions early on: Yes, he knew for months he had a part in the wedding. And, yes, the groom specifically requested that Tony sing.

I'm not sure how many of you have heard Tony break into song. While he does a killer Louis Armstrong impersonation (it's rather eerily accurate), his regular singing voice is a cross between Miss Piggy and that pimply teenage side character on the Simpsons. Tony is well aware of this, but sang his heart out anyway. I could not have been more proud.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

If you can't live on a $100K paycheck then you, my friend, are doing something SERIOUSLY wrong

Living Paycheck to Paycheck on $100,000


By Joseph Pisani, News Associate,

| 11 Sep 2008 | 09:49 AM ET

If you are counting the days until the next payday comes around, you’re not alone.

And we're not talking Jane and Joe Six Pack here.

Some 21 percent of those with salaries of $100,000 or more say they are living paycheck to paycheck, according to a recent survey conducted by

While experts are quick to acknowledge that high gasoline prices, the slumping housing market and a generally weak economy are weighing on consumers' finances, they also agree that the general difficulty in making ends meet is also the result of persistently bad spending and saving habits that are now catching up with the spendthrift American.

"Unquestionably, more people are living paycheck to paycheck now than 12 months ago,” says Ken Goldstein an economist at the Conference Board. "Americans have never been big savers under any economic circumstance or condition."

The amount of money Americans save has been declining for decades. Most recently, the personal savings rate was 1.2 percent of after-tax income, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. A couple years ago, the rate was actually negative, meaning consumers were dipping into savings to cover expenses. One-in-ten workers making more than $100,000 say they put no money in a savings account each month, according to the CareerBuilder survey.

While recessions and inflation are inevitable, your personal balance sheet need not be perpetually red. "The one thing you can control for a more secure long-term financial future is your savings and spending rate,” said Alyce Zollman, a financial consultant at Charles Schwab.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Man's abandoned best friend

Consider this my request for philanthropy (courtesty of my buddy, Stephanie):


Hi Everyone,

As some of you may know, this past weekend I took in a stray dog that my boss found in her neighborhood. I've been meaning to do foster work for a long time, and found that this was the perfect opportunity to do so. I'm working with the rescue Recycled Love in order to get the stray, named Amber, medical attention and a good home.

On Monday I dropped Amber off at the vet's for a series of tests. I got the results back yesterday. For the most part she is good, however, the vets found that she has a grade 3 heart murmur (out of 6). They said that due to her age (she is 6yrs old), she should see a cardiologist in order to determine how serious the heart murmur is and what can be done for her.

A cardiologist is expensive, so Recycled Love and I are going to try to raise the money in order to get Amber the medical attention she deserves. So, I am asking all of you that if you can contribute, please do so (even $5 will help!). Recycled Love will be posting information for donations on their website in the near future. But until then, I'll be collecting what I can. If you can contribute anything I know that Amber will be most appreciative (attached is her picture). Also, please spread the word around.

I know that many of you know how special pets are and would do anything for your own. Please help me out with Amber as she is a good dog and deserves a great life! Thank you!


So if you can buck up and help out, just head to donate whatever you can.


Adj, Steph, & Amber

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lesson of the (yester)day

When sitting for one's follow-up tattoo appointment, one must be exceptionally diligent about one's blood sugar before the ink starts a-flowin', lest one become light-headed and fainty during the event.

Several mini-Milky Way bars and 60 thank-the-lord-that's-over minutes later, I finally have my completed tattoo. Two sittings and roughly 5 hours total. I think that enough for this year...

I'll post a photo of the post-bandaged artwork after the weekend, promise.

Q: So how does a major retail chain handle a PR snafu that could have killed a child in their parking lot?

A: Why, by throwing the store's manager under the bus, of course!

Linens retailer says manager erred to not help
September 09, 2008 07:25 EDT

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A Fayette County official said he is researching whether a retail chain could be charged after one it its managers failed to help when a child was found in a hot car.

The Lexington Herald Leader quoted First Assistant County Attorney Brian Mattone as saying he is reviewing state statute on whether Bed Bath & Beyond could be charged.

Police said a manager refused a Danville couple's request for the store to call 911 after they discovered 3-year-old Ryan Patel in a locked van in the store parking lot, saying it was the company's policy not to become involved in parking lot incidents.

In a written statement from its corporate headquarters in New Jersey, Bed Bath & Beyond said the manager misunderstood its policy and the company would retrain employees.

The couple called for help and the child was rescued on Saturday.

Tanuja R. Patel, the boy's mother, was arraigned Monday in Fayette District Court, pleading not guilty to first-degree wanton endangerment.

Monday, September 8, 2008

3rd time's a charm

So, it seemed like it was time to move my random postings and brain lint from their original home on MySpace and Facebook (home to the original "Windy Welly" postings) to something more broadly accessible. Now everyone can read my musings without having to sign up for a social networking service.

Lucky people, right??

Anywho, I haven't quite mapped out which direction this little project of mine is headed. It's probably best to start at the beginning. However, I'm at work and don't really have time to sketch out a mini-bio, so I'm subbing in one of the hundreds of fill-this-out-personal-details forwards my friends have a tendency to repeatedly send me. (You know who you are, people. And I still love you - even if you're still asking me to list my favorite smells for the eighth time.)

So, in a nutshell:

I have...

(X) Gone on a blind date

(X) Skipped school (If we're counting college classes)

( ) Watched someone die

(X) Been to Canada

(X) Been to Mexico

(X) Been to Florida

(X) Been on a plane

(X) Been lost

(X) Been on the opposite side of the country

(X) Gone to Washington, D.C

(X) Swam in the ocean

(X) Cried yourself to sleep

( ) Played cops and robber

( ) Recently colored with crayons

(X) Sang Karaoke (To the people who had to sit through that audible mess - I sincerely apologize)

( ) Paid for a meal with coins only

(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't

(X) Made prank phone calls

( ) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose

(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue

(X) Danced in the rain

(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus

( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe

(X) Watched the sunrise with someone you care about

(X) Blown bubbles

(X) Gone ice -skating

( ) Been skinny dipping outdoors

(X) Gone to the movies

1. Any nickname? Adj; Adjers

2. Mothers name? No way I'm posting that, dude!

3. Favorite drink? Tea, coffee, soda water, Champagne

4. Tattoo? Several

5. Body Piercing? Ears (one twice); belly button; once upon a time I had a tongue ring...

6. How much do you love your job? I normally love it but it's slow and a bit boring this week

7. Birth place? Just outside Chicago, Ill

8. Ever been to Africa? Not yet

9. Favorite vacation spot? Wellington, NZ or Charleston, SC

10. Ever eaten cookies for dinner? Multiple times

11. Ever been on TV? Not that I'm aware of

12. Ever steal a traffic sign? no, though I have been given one

13. Ever been in a car accident? Yes

14. Drive: Kia Spectra

15. Favorite salad dressing? Blue Cheese

16. Favorite pie? Apple

17. Favorite number? 3

18. Favorite Movie? Oh man....My Left Foot, anything by Pixar, Chocolat

19. Favorite dessert? green tea ice cream; fried bananas; cake

20. Favorite food? all of it (particularly fried chicken and shashimi)

21. Favorite day of the week? Pajama Sunday

22. Favorite brand of body wash: I like the sugar scrub I have from Lavage

23. Toothpaste? Dude, seriously?

24. Favorite smell? clean laundry, fresh bread

25. How do you exercise? walk around a bit, otherwise it's yoga

26. What do you do to relax? read or hang out with my husband/friends


So that's about it. I'd post more, but I've got to run - I've got a tattoo appointment to keep.

Peace out,