December 30, 2010

Movie Review: How Do You Know

How do you know if you should see How Do You Know? Just ask me.
Great cast: Reese Witherspoon who just lights up the screen, Paul Rudd who's adorably appealing, Owen Wilson who's fine, just not one of my favorites, and Jack Nicholson who's...well, Jack Nicholson. You can't fault the performances, they all did a great job with what they had to work with. Problem was the hugely inane, implausible script, and the direction.
Bad, bad, bad movie.
A waste of money, talent and MY TIME, even to review it.
Zero stars out of five for How Do You Know.

Do You Like Snow? Go to Frisco, Colorado

If you like snow this is the place to be, and here's the get sunshine with your snow! Have you ever heard of Frisco? I hadn't. Not until my friends Cathy and Ted Johnson moved there. Ted tells me they get 300 days of sunshine per year. I don't know how many inches of snow they get every year but suffice it to say it's a shitload (that's a meteorological term).
Click on the photo below to see the album from my recent visit:
Frisco, Colorado - December 2010

The first few pictures are on the drive from Denver, where it was 57 degrees, up 9000 feet and directly west about 75 miles to Frisco. As we got higher we ran into snow and by the time we were about halfway there they had closed some of the roads. In Frisco it was around 20, and stayed that way while I was there with some snow every day.
It's a winter wonderland. We did some snow shoe'ing and hiking, went to Breckenridge and Georgetown. It was great. What the heck, if you don't have to shovel it what's not to like?

December 28, 2010

Important News Item

Hugh Hefner tweeted that he got engaged. Actually that's two pieces of news; one, that he tweets (really, he TWEETS???) and two, that he's going to marry a 24-year-old. Come on honey, I know you're young but you can add, can't you? He's 60 years older than you. No, he's not 60 years old, which would be bad enough - he was already 60 years old when you were born. That doesn't strike you as a little creepy?
Hef's quoted as saying that when he gave her the ring she burst into tears. Well of course she did. LOOK AT HIM.
Okay, okay, enough of that. I'm not going to make the inevitable diaper jokes or gold-digger jokes. I refuse to stoop to that level. I'm sure they're truly in love, they're soul-mates, they complete each other.
I'm sure Crystal's a Rhodes scholar. She's probably on the brink of finding a cure for erectile dysfunction. And she'll get back to work on it as soon as she finishes texting her BFFs, puts her clothes back on and stows her bunny ears.

Movie Review: Somewhere

This movie would more accurately be titled Soooooomewheeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrre because that's the length of most of the scenes. That's not to say I didn't like it because I did. And the more I think about it the more I like it. It's that kind of film. But be aware that it's not action-packed, it just moves along at its own pace (slooooow) giving us a glimpse into the life of an alienated actor and the daughter he occasionally spends time with. Steven Dorff is perfect as Johnny Marco, the actor, and Elle Fanning is unselfconsciously wonderful as his daughter.
Lost in Translation, Sophia Coppola's first film, is one of my favorites. After I saw it I wanted everyone to see it, so went again with some friends. It was shocking to me when my friend Lauren described it as "like watching paint dry." To me it was perfect. I could say unequivocally that Lauren should not see Somewhere. It may be too slow for some but it's Sophia Coppola and you have to spend time with her characters. Sometimes you almost feel like a peeping Tom. But it's worth it.
My favorite scene: the pole-dancing twins who bring their portable poles to Johnny's hotel room and do their dance with plastic smiles and zero passion. Very funny. The funniest part, tho, is when he falls asleep before they're finished. There's another falling-asleep scene but I won't spoil that one.
4-1/2 out of 5 stars for Somewhere.

December 27, 2010

Movie Review: The King's Speech

Who knew that Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson were such assholes? If this movie is to be believed, they were. Especially Edward who is portrayed as being very cruel to his brother, making fun of his stammering, even as an adult. I read about them when I was young and always thought it very romantic that he gave up the throne for her (stupid, but romantic) but who ever heard about "Bertie," the stammering king?

It's a very engaging story with wonderful performances by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Both could have easily overdone their roles but fortunately they didn't. Helena Bonham Carter doesn't have a huge part but when she's on screen she's amazing.
Five stars out of five for The King's Speech.
BTW, Eve Best and Guy Pearce are physically perfect as Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson.

December 25, 2010

Movie Review: The Black Swan

Don't go to this film thinking it's a dance movie. Oh, there's plenty of dance but that's really secondary to the central story which is a psychological thriller that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. It's hard to keep up sometimes, and sometimes hard to watch, but it's well-done and beautifully acted.
Natalie Portman is riveting as Nina whose dance obsession is driving her to the brink, or maybe what's making her crazy is her scary, symbiotic relationship with her mother, played by Barbara Hershey. More likely it's Hershey's creepy, surgically altered face that fuels her fears.
Mila Kunis is wonderfully sinister as the new young dancer who would do anything to replace Nina in the lead roll. Or would she? Maybe it's Nina's imagination. You be the judge.
Four out of five stars for The Black Swan.

December 24, 2010

Movie Review: The Fighter

I'm a sucker for the underdog-beats-the-odds kind of movie and especially when it's based on a true story. The Fighter is an exceptional film with lots of heart and great performances from people who are cast against type. Christian Bale is amazing as a burnt-out, crack-head ex-boxer and Mark Wahlberg is fabulous as his brother, although Wahlberg doesn't exactly look like he belongs in that family. Too GQ, but his performance makes you believe he could be. The most amazing was sweet and sparkly Amy Adams as a cynical, hardened bar maid who talks like a truck driver. Talk about casting against type. But it works. In spades. She is one of the best actors of our time, she has a truly engaging screen-presence, and that she could play this part realistically speaks to her talent. I can't imagine who read that script and said, "I know...Amy Adams!" as opposed to someone like Juliette Lewis, but it was a brilliant risk and it paid off.
Melissa Leo plays the mother of nine children (including the two boxers) and she's perfect as a trailer-trash, trash-talking, chimney-smoking mom who lives for the glory of her sons. The seven big-haired women (yes - SEVEN!) who play the sisters are mostly caricatures but their appearance is usually a funny bit that beautifully lightens the tension.
Five stars for this film with great writing, stellar performances and a lot of heart. A great film about the really stupid sport of boxing. Jeez, why would anyone want to do that?

Book Launch Video

Have you seen the video from my book launch for Mr. Right-Enough?

Get your signed copy here (right over there on the right) or on
And if you've already read it please write a review for me on Amazon. It really helps in the rankings.

December 23, 2010

A Jewish Christmas

Yes, I'm Jewish, but I don't care if you tell me to have a merry Christmas cuz the day will be very merry, indeed. I didn't have to agonize over the perfect gifts for my goyishe family, I didn't have to move furniture to put up a huge outdoor plant in my indoor living room, or worry that the lights would spontaneously combust the dry needles. I have no decorations to bring out and pack away after enjoying them for fifteen minutes. I don't have to wear a sweater with a big Santa on it and my cat doesn't have to wear antlers.
As a Jew, I get to enjoy a day at the movie theatre and then go out for Chinese food. No stress, no fighting the crowds in the stores...just lots of good cheer (read: alcohol) and those yummy chocolate covered strawberries my Jewish sister sent me for Christmas (well, she's married to a goy so she's an equal-opportunity celebrator).
So, I'll have a very merry Christmas and I hope you do too. Don't forget to get out your socks with the reindeer on them.

December 22, 2010

Too Hot to Handel

Every Monday I rehearse at Old St. Pat's as part of the Too Hot to Handel Choir. What's a Jewish atheist doing singing Handel's Messiah, singing about Christ and the Lord Our God and "For unto us a son is given" and the Hallelujah Chorus? I know. But I love it. We sound so wonderful!
Come hear me sing at the Auditorium Theater on January 15th and 16th. Not to worry, there will be about 200 other voices besides mine.
This is a rockin' jazz-gospel version of Handel's Messiah and it's energetic and rousing - you'll be dancing in your seat.
Use the promo code FRIEND when you buy your tickets and you'll get great seats at $10 off.
Click on the poster to purchase tickets. Or call the Auditorium Theatre box office: 312.431.2357.
Let me know if you're coming. Hope to see you there!

Have You Seen This?

If you haven't seen this take a look. It's great.
And if you come to the Auditorium Theatre on Jan. 15th or 16th you can hear it live. Use the promo code FRIEND to get a $10 discount.
I'll be the girl on her cell phone.

December 21, 2010

Call him nuts, but Hoffman's vision a success

Great article about my cousin, Ken Hoffman, published December 10, 2010
See you at the game, Ken!

DETROIT -- There have been some big up-front names involved, from former Michigan State coach George Perles to ex-Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, but the name that really counts and always has in regards to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl is Ken Hoffman, Toledo born and raised.
The game, for many years known as the Motor City Bowl, is Hoffman's baby, from start to present. And the reason that sentence doesn't say start to finish is due to Hoffman's optimism and perseverance.
Read the rest of the article in The Toledo Blade

December 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Dad

My dad would be 101 today. He lived til 90 and tho it wasn't long enough for me he had a good, long life. He was a good, kind, loving father, and my biggest supporter.
This is the picture he carried in his wallet. That's me, in case you don't recognize the girl with all the hair (where'd that go??).
And this one is from his 85th birthday.

December 5, 2010

Movie Review: Unstoppable

3-1/2 stars out of 5
Unstoppable is a film that wants you on the edge of your seat but doesn't quite get you there. Maybe the problem is that I saw it right after I saw 127 Hours, and that's a film that essentially pastes you to the edge of your seat. The tension is 127 Hours is relentless and gripping. Unstoppable is too predictable to cause much anxiety but that doesn't keep it from being fun to watch. How can you not like something Denzel Washington is in? He's a likable, reliable, watchable actor and you can't help but root for him.
Rosario Dawson is pretty good as the yard master although her part could have been cut with no noticeable effect on the movie. If they give Oscars for wrapping up your hair in a ponytail, pulling out the band, then doing it back up again, she gets it. That's mostly what she does, I guess to show tension or something.
The story is fairly unbelievable, like when the Denzel Washington character is running across the top of the train as it's speeding down the tracks, jumping from car to car (photo above). Yeah, right. But the unbelievability didn't bother me. It was an entertaining way to spend an hour and a half and isn't that what a movie's supposed to do?

December 3, 2010

Ron Santo, Dead at 70

I woke up to the news that Ron Santo has died at 70, and it made me cry. How could you not love Ronny? He was an amazing man with an indomitable spirit in the face of so many challenges including the amputation of both of his legs to diabetes. And he loved those Cubbies like no one else.
It's a very sad day for Cubs fans and Chicago in general. He should have made it into the hall of fame while he was still alive.
It's a sad day in Chicago.

December 1, 2010

Movie Review: 127 Hours

5 stars out of 5
Oh my god. Go see this movie.
That's my review. (The real-life Aron Ralston, right)
Well, I couldn't possibly leave it there but really, it's an amazing film and you have to see it.
I love Danny Boyle's filmmaking (even though I wasn't crazy about Slumdog Millionaire). He has a clear, unique style and a knack for intensity - from the split screen at the beginning (and again at the end) to the perfect music to the way you are so right there with this guy who is in a situation that's impossible to imagine, yet you imagine it, you feel it.
If you've been living on Mars and don't know the story this is a spoiler alert. It's a true story of a guy in Colorado who's an outdoorsman and a risk-taker. He rafts, he hikes, he the extreme. On this day he goes out by himself with a little food and water and a dull knife, climbs down into a canyon and an enormous boulder falls in after him and pins his arm. He's there for 127 hours and has to cut off his own arm to survive.
The arm-cutting is not terribly gruesome although by that time you'd do it yourself. The tension leading up to that moment never lets up. From the time he's pinned I was on the edge of my seat even though I already knew what was going to happen. That's the sign of a great filmmaker.
James Franco's performance is stellar. He has to carry this film and he does it admirably. You believe every move he makes and every word he utters.
It's an amazing film about an amazing story.
I had to wonder, tho, why he couldn't sharpen that knife on the rock. Did it not occur to him or would that not work?
Anyway, small thing. Big thing is, you have to see it.

November 30, 2010

I'm Kvelling!

I'm kvelling! Do you know what that means? It's a Jewish word for beaming with pride and joy.
My friend Alicia gave my book to a friend for her 50th birthday (what a great idea Do you know anyone turning 50 who needs a gift??), and she just sent me an email with the recipient's reaction.
This is the reason I write, to tell a story that will touch someone. Thank you Alicia, for giving the book to your friend and thank you for sharing her kind words.
This is my favorite review so far! Have you written yours yet? You could post one on any time. Consider it my Chanukah present.

"Funny, I laughed reading through the whole thing. she is so me. It was like a chronicle of my life up to this point. Really, is this how all newly 50 year old women feel? Her character's life so paralleled mine. Really, her girlfriend marrying her high school sweetheart? hmmmmm. Even her relationship with her boyfriend and the calling stand off! I read that and laughed. How true! And the passage when her dad dies, literally the exact words were uttered when my mom called me when my brother died. Scary. Maybe she's been channeling me! Funny, funny, funny. I saw myself all over this book, except I don't have a hunky ex-boyfriend waiting in the wings to sweep me off my feet! Thank you! What a great gift. Too bad she hasn't written more. I read the book in one night - couldn't put it down!"
JoAnn Valeo Losoya

Get your book now on Also available for your Kindle.

November 28, 2010

Movie Review: Burlesque

3-1/2 stars out of 5
Is this a great movie? Not by a long shot. Is it a good script? No, sort of silly, really - predictable and trite. Is it fun to watch? To quote the disturbingly ubiquitous Sarah Palin (why am I quoting HER???), you betcha!
It has a great feel to it, it's beautifully photographed and has sort of a Chicago/Moulin Rouge vibe. Okay, so it's off-and-on campy. But that's okay, it kind of worked for me. Mostly it's simply a vehicle for Cher to show off how good she looks (if you like that plastic, my-lips-don't-move-any-more kind of look) and how she still has a great voice (if you liked her voice to begin with, which I did and do). Her last number in the film is gratuituous - comes out of nowhere and ends with a Jimmy Durante walk-off. Stupid. But I liked watching her anyway.
And it's also just a vehicle for Christina Aguilera, who's a surprisingly decent actor besides having an incredible voice, and not least of all beautiful with an incredible body. In one of her big numbers she's in a slinky, green, off-the-shoulder dress which threatens to just fall right off as she's singing. Maybe by the time you see it it will actually fall. That'll be fun.
Stanley Tucci is fun to watch, as always. Peter Gallagher plays Cher's ex-husband and I didn't buy that at all - there's not a millimeter of chemistry between them - and his part could have ended up on the cutting room floor with no loss to the film.
There's much made of the "throwing up everything but your memories" line but there was another that I liked even better. Too bad I can't remember what it was. I'll update if it comes to me!
All in all, I walked out of the theater smiling so I guess that's my recommendation.

November 26, 2010

My Favorite Thing About Thanksgiving

They can put a man on the moon, why can't they create an aroma app? You have to smell it in here. It's the seductive deliciousness of turkey soup cooking, made from the carcass of the Thanksgiving super-star.
No recipe, but here's basically how I make it:
Cut up the turkey carcass. You'll probably have enough for two batches so wrap 1/2 in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for another time.
Meanwhile, throw the other half in a pot with a couple celery stalks, a couple carrots, an onion (cut it in 1/2 but throw it in, skin and all), bay leaf and any other fresh herbs you have on hand. Let it simmer for 3 hours or so.
Let it cool, then pull out all the bones and stuff. Strain. Save any turkey meat. Refrigerate overnight, skim off fat. Bring back to simmer, correct seasoning. Then throw in the turkey meat with whatever else you want. Yum. It smells heavenly in here.
I'm going to work on that aroma app. Do you think Bill Gates would be interested?

November 25, 2010

To My Friend Charlotte

My friend Charlotte died this morning and on this Thanksgiving day I am thankful that she was part of my life. Charlotte was my best friend Judi's mom, and my idol.
I met them 47 years ago when Judi and I became fast friends. We were inseparable and I spent almost as much time at their house as I did at my own.
Back then Charlotte wore platinum blonde curls piled high on her head (early 60s, remember). She always had music playing in their house, often listening to LP soundtracks from the latest Broadway musicals and she introduced me to a new young singer named Barbra Streisand.
In the 70s she wore a shag cut and hot pants and elegant clothes and drove a Jaguar XKE. She was young and chic and sophisticated and so hip to the times.
She and her husband Nortie went out for elegant dinners and to cocktail parties and to the theatre; they had pool parties in their backyard and served martinis to all their beautiful friends. Charlotte smoked Benson and Hedges 100s (or was it Virginia Slims?).
She was so different from my mom. My mom was, well...a mom. She wore housedresses and aprons, cooked (dry) pot roast and canned peas. I never saw her in an evening gown. She didn't talk to me as tho I were a person, I was just her daughter. But Charlotte was cool. She talked to me like a friend, and introduced me to new foods, new people, culture...the world. I wanted to be just like her.
She was too young to die, not even 80. Her loss leaves a big hole in my heart.

Hints for Thanksgiving

They're doing hints on the morning show about how to eat today. What? Like we don't eat the rest of the year? Hints like, use smaller serving spoons. Well, that's probably a good idea cuz you'll use more calories with all that extra spooning.
Here are my tips for Thanksgiving:
1. Don't eat too much
2. Don't drink too much
3. Don't pour gravy all over everything
4. Don't take seconds of all the desserts
5. Wear pants with an elastic waist (just in case you do all of the above)
6. Don't take a nap after the meal and then get up and eat more
7. Eat whatever you want. Gobble, gobble,'s once a year and it's good stuff! Just go home and puke it all up.

November 20, 2010

What's Your Thanksgiving Dish?

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dish? Is it that green bean casserole with the (ugh!) Cream of Mushroom Soup? Or cranberry-orange relish that your mom always makes? Oddly I don't remember any special T'giving traditions, not even sure where we had T'giving dinner but I doubt it was at our house. Probably at one of the aunts'.
We always had the usual; sweet potatoes, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce (that jelled stuff in the can), pumpkin pie.
But here's my traditional dish, the one I'm always asked to bring. It's yummy, and really easy, which is always nice.

Corn Soufflé
1 8 ½ ounce pkg Jiffy cornbread mix
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
1 15 oz. can creamed corn
1 15 oz. can white or yellow corn, drained
1 8 oz. carton lite sour cream
2 eggs, beaten

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the cornbread mix and melted butter in a large bowl. Add the creamed corn, white corn, sour cream and eggs; mix just until combined.
2. Pour into a greased 9” or 10” baking pan; bake until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out dry – 30-40 minutes.

Would love your recipe if you've got a favorite.

November 17, 2010

Movie Review: Morning Glory

I have an unjustified fascination for Diane Keaton. I will see every movie she's in even though I think she's one of the worst actors in the world. I know, I know...she won an Academy Award for Annie Hall, but that was before the Academy knew she was just playing herself. But no matter, I love her. First of all I've always loved her looks and the quirky way she dresses. And even now at 64 she looks great (one of the few Hollywood actresses who hasn't had a boatload of plastic surgery and she still looks beautiful). I don't know why, I just love watching her, even while I'm deriding her performance in my head.
I digress. Back to the movie, which I would rename Morning Grumpy because it's all about the irascible Harrison Ford character and the predictable way he softens into a vulnerable human being.

Oh, please.
Okay, it's entertaining and there are some funny lines and funny bits (starting with the roller coaster scene) but it could have been more than that. I think it's a cute script but it's over-directed.I hate that. Why don't directors know that subtle is better? All three performances are over the top. There are sane moments, but mostly they're too grumpy, too cutesy, too ditzy. Sure, there's an audience for slapstick so if you're going to do that then do it all the way. But if you want a romantic comedy with believable characters that we can relate to, subtle performances are what works. At least for me. Why doesn't anyone ever ask me?
Three out of five stars.

November 15, 2010

Bill Kurtis, My New BFF

Bill Kurtis invited me to his house yesterday for lunch and cooked me a sumptuous six course meal (including grass fed beef from his company Tallgrass Beef) - yum!) and now we're BFFs.
Well, okay, he didn't exactly invite me. I was sort of thrust upon him since he and his lady Donna LaPietra generously offered a tour of their beautiful estate/gardens (it was supposed to be in the spring, but you know how these things go) and lunch at their home as an item at a charity auction, and my friend Ron bid on and won the event, and invited me and my Bill to be among the guests.
And, all right, Bill Kurtis didn't exactly cook the meal. Sarah Stegner, chef/owner of Prairie Fire and Prairie Grass restaurants did, and the meal was amazing.

But Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra were warm and gracious hosts, and dressed to the nines in our honor. Well, actually, they looked very nice but that's a picture I found on the internet. They were a bit less formal, but still warm and welcoming.
All in all it was a lovely day. Thank you, Bill and Donna, for your hospitality, and Bill Kurtis, I still consider you my new BFF. See you on the 6 o'clock news.
BTW, has Kate Sullivan graduated from high school yet? She looks 12.

November 12, 2010

A Second Video from the Book Launch

What do you think of this one? I put this one together - used some of Carley's footage.

Which one do you like best?

November 11, 2010

Mr. Right-Enough Video

What do you think of this promotional video? My friend Carley Reiff put it together for me.


November 10, 2010

Mark Hetzel's New Video

Okay, maybe I'm prejudiced since Mark is my Bill's son, but I LOVE this video. He's so talented. Check it out.

What do you think? This needs to go viral. Send the link to all your friends!

November 6, 2010

Thanks, Auditorium Theatre!

Thanks to the Auditorium Theatre for the publicity about the book party today.
Unfortunately they called me Sarah. Oh well...publicity is publicity!

November 4, 2010

The Mr. Right-Enough House

For the cover of Mr. Right-Enough Bill and I drove around a beautiful neighborhood in Evanston where there are lovely, older homes and mature trees. It was spring so all the flowering shrubs were in bloom and everything was luminous green (made even more luminous through Photoshop for the final version). We took photos of at least ten homes and then I decided on the best of the lot, the one that most looked to me like the house that figures prominently in the book.
But then we both forgot where we had taken the picture.
Then last week Bill drove me to Evanston to take care of some issues for a new client (did you know I'm a personal assistant when I'm not writing?) and we got a little lost looking for my client's home. And then, lo and behold, I looked to my right and said, "Stop! There's the house!" Not my client's house, but the house on my book cover.
Serendipity, right? How else would we have ever found it? Actually, Bill was convinced the house was in Lakeview.
So I wrote down the address and last week I sent them a signed copy of the book along with a note thanking them for having such a beautiful home. I don't really expect to hear from them, I just hope they're pleased and that they enjoy the book.
Now, my glass-half-empty friends (and you know who you are) have said, "What if they sue you?"
Sue me? Sue me? For what? For using the public facade of their home without their permission? Wouldn't it be more likely they'd be excited to see their home immortalized?
Well, my glass-half-full response to the question is, they'd have to be complete assholes to want to sue me. People like that couldn't live in a house so beautiful.

Could they?
Here are a couple other homes I photographed. Didn't I choose the perfect one?

November 3, 2010

Movie Review: Secretariat

Secretariat is a heartwarming, Rudy-esque story and an okay film. In the hands of another director it could have been a great film - Clint Eastwood, say, or Steven Speilberg - but it was a bit Disneyland for me; a little too beautiful, too whitebread, characters too perfect. For example, while Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) is off compulsively obsessing about her horse her family is unraveling but in such a lovely, wholesome way. A little darkness, a bit of realism would have been nice.
And then there's the trainer played by John Malkovich. Okay, now I know John Malkovich is considered an acting genius, but really...don't you think it's just because he's crazy? I think we often confuse the two.
I think he must have loved this part so he could dress like a peacock but his performance is unnecessarily over-the-top. And, okay, the character is French-Canadian, but did we need Malkovich ranting in fake-sounding French just so he could (sort of) show off?
BTW, I heard he is working on a clothing line. I thought it was a joke but it appears not. Who the hell would his audience be?
My Bill and I saw him on the street a few weeks ago, right across the street from my apartment, actually. He must have been staying at the Sofitel or the Tremont Hotel. Anyway, he was wearing jeans with the cuffs rolled up to about mid-shin, a yellow linen jacket and a red, cowboy-style kerchief tied around his neck. Pretty goofy outfit. I wonder if this is part of his new line.
I digress...
So I give the movie 3-1/2 out of 5 stars. It just misses for me but it's a movie that the following people will love: my sister, Susan & Jerry, Cathy & Ted, Joann, and Renie & Harv. I'd put money on that. So you guys should go see it and tell me if I'm right.
Oh, and watch the Breeder's Cup on Saturday for another inspiring, true-life horse story. Zenyatta is running her 20th and final race and so far she's undefeated.
I see another movie in the making.

November 2, 2010

Come to the Party This Saturday

My friend Kathleen Skolnik is the author of a new book: The Architecture of Harry Weese. On Saturday she is celebrating the publication of this labor of love, and has kindly asked me to join her to celebrate my book, Mr. Right-Enough, as well.
You're invited to attend the festivities at Mart Anthony's Restaurant. This is a free event and open to the public. There will be wine and appetizers, and you may want to consider staying for dinner afterward. Check out the menu HERE.
Bring your friends and join Kathleen and me at a great restaurant with a real old Chicago ambiance.

When: Saturday, November 6, 2010
Time: 3:00 6:00 p.m.
Where: Mart Anthony's Restaurant
1200 West Hubbard (corner of Hubbard and Racine)
Chicago, IL

Please feel free to send this to anyone who might be interested.
Hope to see you there!

October 31, 2010

Halloween Can Be Dangerous

Warning for Halloween: Keep your pumpkins away from the alcohol.

October 29, 2010

5 Uses For Tin Foil!

5 Uses for Tin Foil. Love this! Did you know you can use a ball of tin foil in place of a dryer sheet? Or to soften brown sugar? Who knew? So many uses for tin foil.

October 25, 2010

Dupuytren's Info

I haven't posted anything about Dupuytren's for a while although I continue to hear from people who are waiting to get the enzyme injections, now that they're on the open market. I heard from Fred in Kansas City who was going to get the treatment. This was in August and I don't know if he's had it by now. But here are his before pictures. You're not going to believe this. (Beware it's kind of disturbing - makes me so grateful that mine is not worse.)
More pictures here.
You might think he's intentionally bending the fingers on his left hand, but that's what the disease does in the worst cases.
There's lots more Dupuytren's info on this website. Just type it into the search box.
Also a series of videos about the enzyme injection on YouTube

October 22, 2010

Random Thoughts on a Friday Morning

I saw Bobby Flay this morning on Michigan Ave.! We passed each other running and by the time my brain kicked in that it was him he was too far away for me to shout, "Bobby, I love you!"

I hate when that damn pump thing quits working when there's still 2" of cream in the bottom of the container. They can put a man on the moon...can't they come up with a pump thing that'll suck up EVERY LAST OUNCE?

My friend Teresa finally read Mr. Right-Enough. She was afraid to for fear that she wouldn't like it. Here's what she said: "Wow, I've been wanting to write you for several days, ever since I finished reading your book. I started it, I think last Th or Fri and simply could not put it down! The only reason it took me 3 days to finish was that I had tons of work to do. And for the first 2 days I neglected that work often just to keep reading. Then what happened was that I slowed down a bit only because I wanted the story to keep going forever, you know how that feels--when you want to savor it and not have it end."
Thanks so much, T! Don't forget that Amazon review!

My computer's sooooooo slow. So annoying. Does it make sense to add memory to a 5-yr-old computer or should I just buy a new one?

Is there anything that doesn't taste good with whipped cream on it? I squirted a dollop of Reddy-Whip on my Greek tasteless yogurt and granola this morning. Yum! Oh, come's fat free!

October 21, 2010

Jambayala For Breakfast?

I cooked jambalaya in my slow-cooker the other night and when I got up in the morning it smelled amazing in here. It's not exactly my idea of breakfast food but I couldn't help taking a couple spoonfuls. Yum. Just didn't go with my orange juice. Anyway, it's a really simple recipe and really, really good.
Here it is:


* 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" cubes
* 1 pound sausage, cooked
* 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes, crushed
* 1 cup onion, chopped
* 1 cup green pepper, chopped
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 2 teaspoons oregano
* 2 teaspoons parsley
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons seasoning
* 1-1/2 pounds shrimp, cooked
* 2 cups quick cooking rice

1. Combine all ingredients in a 6-7 quart slow cooker except shrimp and rice. Stir well.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours HIGH for 5 hours.
3. Stir in rice and shrimp. (If you don't have quick cooking rice cook the rice beforehand and just heat for a few more minutes to combine.)
4. Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Serves: 10-12

October 19, 2010

Movie Review: The Social Network

3 1/2 stars out of 5
I love the opening scene with Aaron Sorkin's clever, sarcastic, shot-gun dialogue where Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend breaks up with him, telling him he'll probably be a really successful computer person but he'll end up alone. Not sure that's the case in real life but her words paint the mood of this film.
Is he really the unethical schmuck the script shows him to be? I have a friend who gives his behavior a pass with a medical diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder. My medical diagnosis: Gigantic Asshole Disorder. If this story is to be believed Zuckerberg's an unethical, back-stabbing liar so if you like that kind of person you'll root for him but I found him sadly despicable. And Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of him left me a little flat. He's a great comic actor (the Jewish Michael Cera), but not that good in a dramatic role. His performance was one-dimensional. I would have liked more nuance; some humanity, vulnerability. Without that it's hard to sympathize.

One of my favorite things about the movie which I didn't know while watching it was that the twins, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, were both played, digitally, by Armie Hammer (great name). Technical wizardry at its best.
But there was another digital enhancement which drove me crazy. In a scene where Zuckerberg and his buddy go outside of a bar to have a private conversation (where we're told it's 20 degrees) they don't appear to be all that cold but there's an excess of digital condensation coming from their mouths as they talked. Weirdly unnecessary and obvious.
All in all this is a good two hours. Not great but good.
BTW, I didn't believe for a minute that a nerd like Zuckerberg would have such an intelligent and hot girlfriend (remember that beginning scene?).

October 15, 2010

Hot-Dogging on a Segway

I'm generally pretty coordinated so after a little personalized demo on the Segway I was tooling around like a pro. Until I crashed into my significant-other. Not my fault - he was showing off his spectacular Segway prowess by starting and stopping really fast (admittedly not the easiest thing to do), but I only crashed into him a little bit and no one was hurt. The Segway and I were unscathed and I learned to give Bill, the hot-dogger, a wide berth.
Did you ever try one of these things? You should, they're a kick. And a great way to see the city. Go to Segway Tours on Randolph. Our guide was Parker, a med student with 92 other degrees in various and sundry other (apparently useless) occupations. No matter, he's a hell of a Segway tour guide (even though he told the group they reversed the flow of the Chicago River in 1999 and he was 99 years off on that one). That's all right, Bill the hot-dogger enjoyed correcting him.

October 12, 2010

Book Launch/Signing

I think everyone had a great time last week at my book launch party. I KNOW I did!
One of the most fun things was that we did an audience participation reading. I re-wrote part of a scene as a script, and Claire Alshuler and John Gawlik read the parts of Libby and Michael, two of the main characters, while I read the narrative. They were fabulous. Claire's a natural (ham), and John (whom I met for the first time that night) was amazing. It made it so much fun and the audience seemed to get a kick out of it. Unfortunately I don't have still pictures of the them but I'll have some video up soon.
Stay tuned.

October 11, 2010

Have You Reconnected With Your High School Sweetheart?

A lovely letter from Grace about Mr. Right-Enough:
"I just finished your book. I loved it.
I'm 53 and I lost my mom years back so in many ways I could relate to Libby.
My sister Amy ran into her high school boyfriend and
they talked for 36 hours. Then she went back to Philly, told her live-in that she was moving back to Chicago. She married her "Patrick" 2 months later.
Loved it, loved it!"

Mr. Right-Enough
is the story of 50-year-old Libby Carson who reconnects online with her high school sweetheart on the same day her significant-other proposes. This is Libby's story as her desire for security battles with her craving for passion.
Get your copy on