Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An Introduction to My Deep Thoughts...

My friend Cher is a very funny girl. She works in at our Publications Department here at work. Every month...or maybe it's quarterly, I don't know...her department creates an employee newsletter called "Coffee Break". I call it "Cawfee Tawlk". (I'm still waiting for her to rename the newsletter, at least once, to "Cawfee "Tawlk"...but I won't hold my breath.) But I digress...

I told her that I wanted to have a column called "Deep Thoughts by Joey Demerly". I will write some really deep, meaningful quip and it will become very popular. People will flip through the "Coffee Break" just to read my Deep Thoughts. She agrees that it will be a highlight to the newsletter and she created this photographic logo for me.

Needless to say, I am going to start practicing on you faithful readers. Every week I will post a "Deep Thought" and you can, in turn, reply and let me know if you found it inspiring. I'm certain that it will be.

God bless...and don't let the bedbugs bite.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's 5 o'clock somewhere...

"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink I feel shame. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this wine, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say "It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver." Jack Handy

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may leave you wondering what the hell happened to your bra and panties.

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not." Stephen Wright

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing. "When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. So, let's all get drunk and go to heaven!" Brian O'Rourke

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause pregnancy.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like a retard.

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza." Dave Barry

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

"To some it's a six-pack, to me it's a Support Group. Salvation in a can!" Dave Howell

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the Buffalo Theory to his buddy Norm. Here's how it went: "Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

Who needs a drink?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Our living room.

OK, you can kinda see the Christmas tree (you can't see the piano) but this is our living room. We just recently purchased the gas can read that post here.

I'm posting this photo because hardly anyone (including our family) has been to our house since we painted, bought the logs, got new furniture, etc. I'm hoping they'll look at the photo, see all the "good" we've done, and give us more money to do more "good".

We're very proud and want to share it with you. Come over for a cocktail...we'll give you a tour!

Making Memories.

I know that I posted yesterday that I don't like crowds and it could have been misconstrued that I was bitching about the holidays and the Christmas music that's playing already. While the crowd thing really does bother me, the holidays and the music do not. I love Christmas. I love the music. I love everything about this holiday. (It's funny that the things I love most about Christmas aren't the things that I Jesus and stuff. I like the decorations and the food and the silly songs like "Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer"...stuff like that.)

Yesterday, when I was preparing to leave work, I decided that it might be fun to have my Aunts and Uncles over for cocktails. My Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Ken live in Kentucky and they haven't seen our house since last Christmas...we've done a LOT. Painting, new furniture, etc. I called Jamie and warned him that we would be having guests and then I made some phone calls. I called Aunt Nini and Uncle Tom and left a message for Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Ken. It turned out that only Aunt Nini and Uncle Tom came over but we had a wonderful time regardless.

Moving on...

I told Jamie that I would be running to the store and that he should work on straightening up the basement (we have a bar in the basement...but we haven't entertained in a very long needed some tidying-up.) I ran over to the liquor store and to Rite Aid to buy some booze and chips and stuff. Then I went home and started Martha Stewart-izing the house. Jamie was busy in the basement so it was the perfect time for me to make the house all Christmasy.

Last year, when putting the decorations away, I decided that it would be simpler not to dismantle the Christmas trees. I made sure all the ornaments were secured to the branches and we took the trees upstairs to the attic. It turned out to be a good idea. In less than 15 minutes, I had "put up" two trees, strung garland over the piano and buffet, and threw a few holiday pillows on the sofa. Voila! Christmas!

(Note on the trees: I LOVE to decorate Christmas trees. I love it. I have spent more money on tree decorations than I care to remember. We have a 5 foot "slim" tree in our living room that I have decorated with white, green and red lights...but not just any lights. The red and green lights are special because each bulb is 1/2 red and 1/2 green. I also bought larger, crystal-like red and white lights. There is also a string of just red lights. It looks lovely. There are over 100 ornaments on it (in the white, green, red theme) and a silvery ribbon for garland. It took me a few hours to decorate it last year and it looked perfect. That's the reason I didn't disassemble it. The other tree is a smaller 3-4 foot tree that I bought at Sears about 5 years ago. It is one of those pre-lit trees (with white lights already strung into the branches.) It has seen many holidays and many different locations. I had originally purchased it when we lived in West Seneca. Then I set it up for my Mother when she was living in Pittsburgh. Now it's in our dining room in Hamburg. It looks brand new still... It has about 250 ornaments on it...honest to God. I strung blue lights in addition to the white lights. It is decorated with multi-sized ornaments and bells...all blue, light blue, and silver...with a few white bulbs for good measure. It's finished with silver beaded garland and an blue, antique glass topper. I love it. This is why I didn't want to take off the decorations...they already look perfect. OK, enough of this.)

With the trees set in place, the garland hung and lit, and some Yankee Candles (Christmas scents) burning...all we really needed to do was put some snacks in bowls. But, you see...I was in my Martha Stewart mode, I didn't want to use just any bowls...I wanted to use my "fancy" bowls. OK...detour time again:

(Note on "fancy" dishes: We painted our house (the living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom so far) in "historic" colors. Noble Cranberry for the living room, Christmas Cactus for the dining room, Dark Celery for the kitchen, and we're finishing the Rusty Pumpkin in the bathroom. I like the colors and I like their timelessness (is that a word?). The dining room is decorated with Duncan Phyfe furniture. I like antique things. We have a curio cabinet and a china cabinet...I wanted them to have green glass. I purchased an emerald green glass collection at a garage sale for $20...they're in the curio cabinet. I purchased a much larger olive green glass collection at an antique store for $100...they're in the china cabinet. Some of the individual pieces exceed $100 - I got a phenomenal deal. I have some depression glass, some vaseline glass (look it up), some carnival glass. It is a nice glass collection and I haven't really had a chance to use it yet. Until last night...)

Back to my story... I bought some Christmas M&Ms, some pretzels, some Chex mix, and peanuts. Then (yes, this is how bizarre I really am) I made devilled eggs and asked Jamie to cut up some cheese and pepperoni. We put all of these things in my "fancy" dishes (I even have a green glass devilled egg plate) and arranged them just so on the dining room table. Everything looked beautiful! We had the fireplace going, the trees lit, the house was sparkling clean, the dogs were behaving...I even had Christmas music playing in surround sound! Jamie and I got changed and waited for Aunt Nini and Uncle Tom to come.

They came in and thought everything looked beautiful. They were amazed at the difference. We told them that it's amazing what a little paint and elbow grease can actually accomplish. (It really does look nice...I'm very proud of us.) Then we enjoyed a wonderful evening at our bar. Telling stories, laughing, making memories.

That's what the holidays mean to me. Making memories. It didn't take too much work, it didn't cost too much money, it was a last minute get-together. But we sat down, had a few cocktails, told a few stories and made memories. Nothing fancy.

We often tell our family members "oh, we have to get together over the holidays"...then we get "too busy" and we "forget". Well...just as paint and elbow grease can transform a room, snacks and conversation can really make memories. Sappy or not...I really mean it.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oh, the people outside are frightful!

I do not do the whole "start shopping at 5AM thing" the morning after Thanksgiving. I'm surprised anybody does. The last thing I would want to do after a night of eating and drinking way too much would be wake up BEFORE dawn and drive to the mall only to stand in line with 1000 strangers waiting for the doors to open so I can find out that what I wanted really, really bad was already SOLD OUT! I mean...c'mon.

I am actually working today. Today is just a normal day for me. It always has been. I do not remember EVER having "black Friday" off since I started working. I drove to work this morning and passed about 300 minivans all crammed with middle-aged women clucking like chickens. I even though I could hear them...that's how much they annoyed me. The backs of their minivans were piled to the roof with bags upon bags of presents. I just really get annoyed.

I know that this shouldn't bother me. I mean...people can do whatever they want. I just don't understand it. Crowds. I don't like crowds EVER. I get all jittery. Just the thought of being surrounded by people...ugh...makes me shudder. I have been in lines before and literally walked out because I start to have a panic attack. Maybe that's the reason these people bother me so much...because all I have to do is imagine it and I get sick.

Ugh... The holidays are now officially upon us. We'll be hearing Christmas songs from now until New Year's eve... Yippie.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family.

It's been a good day so far. I got to sleep in, my stepfather fixed my gas line (for my gas logs...more on that later), I made my Orange-Braised Fresh Green Beans with Buttered Cashews, went to the Kelley's, went to pick up Grandma Dem and went over to Aunt Helen's and Uncle Brian's, now I'm sitting at Uncle Gary's eating crab dip and chips...then we're going to be off to my cousin Danielle's to eat some traditional Thanksgiving fare with some more family...

It's not the normal Turkey Day by any means but I'm very thankful for what it is... I love the family I'm with and I love the family I'm not with...I'm thankful that I have a wonderful, loving family wherever they are...

I hope you find something to be thankful for and that your holiday is/was a great one.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving Thanks.

The holiday of family, friends and food is fast approaching. To say that I'm not entirely excited about it this year would be an understatement. Not that I'm not excited...don't misunderstand me. I'm just not as excited as I normally am.

It's funny...the older we get the more things tend to disappoint us. (Maybe it's the fact that we've lived longer therefore we have more things on which to base our disappointment...that's probably closer to the truth.) Hmm...interesting.

When I was younger, my Mother used to ask me and my sister to get all dressed up and then we would start the traditional "let's drive all over the place" holiday. I loved it...and so did Katie. We would leave the house in the morning and venture over to Grandma Kelley's for an early Thanksgiving dinner. Then we would drive back to North Tonawanda and have another Thanksgiving dinner with the Skovenski family. Then Katie and I would drive over to Grandma Demerly's and have another Thanksgiving dinner. On rarer occasions, we would then drive to my Dad's house in Pennsylvania or Virginia and have another Thanksgiving dinner (normally the following day.) We got to see most of our family and we would gain about 15 pounds each. It was a hassle and we couldn't really spend enough time with enough people but at least we got to see everyone. It was very nice and I remember it fondly.

Now, as we get older, things change. Not for the better, not for the worse. Just change. Some people move and some people die; Couples divorce and couples marry. Things just change.

This year, more than others I think, my family is realizing a large amount of change. My sister recently got married and she and her husband purchased their very first, brand new house in Virginia; my Aunt and Uncle are getting divorced; another Aunt moved across the country; some of my cousins had babies this past year and will either be spending Thanksgiving as a family or elsewhere (I'm sure it's hard enough getting a baby to one location, let alone multiple.) Change, change, change.

I don't consider any of these changes to be bad or good. It's inevitable. It's just a bit hard to accept certain changes. This Thanksgiving, however, I am going to try my best to be thankful for won't be easy but I can't ignore it. I can't wallow in it. Change is makes us who we are. And I can truly say that I am thankful for what I have, when I have it.

I am thankful for my family and friends whether they're with me or not. I am thankful that I have a job I love in a profession I adore. I am thankful for the roof over my head. I am thankful for those I see every day and, no matter what mood I may be in, they make me smile. I am thankful for the things that I endure which make me stronger. I am thankful for advice.

I am thankful...period. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


My friend Steve just opened a new store in Allentown called Krudmart. He's been selling all sorts of things on his online website for a long time. Visit for more information.

I haven't seen Steve in a long time but I know that he is going to be super successful with this. He has a great personality, a real drive to do well, and a good attitude in general. I'm very excited for him.

To be completely honest, I didn't even know that he was going to be opening a retail store. I was driving home one day and I passed a storefront on Elmwood Avenue. The sign, as you can see from this picture, said "Krudmart". I had remembered that this was his online store's name and that it must be his place. Just driving past the store made me smile. I came home and checked out his website. He's really doing well.

Check out the site and go to his store. Although I haven't been there yet I bet it's a neat place. From the pictures on his site it reminds me of a hip LA retail store. I'm excited to check it out. I think he specializes in t-shirts. I know that he sells a whole bunch of things but graphic Ts are definitely his thing.

How cool?! Very cool. And his store address is 125 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo (just north of Allen Street). I may even check it out should too.

I've posted a link to his site and the store's blog on here. Check it out...and tell Stevie that Joey says hi!

Blog Security.

My friend Michael recently had something very frightening happen. You can read his post here. In a nutshell, his apartment had been burglarized...and the person who did it took only one thing...his computer. Strange? Yes... Read his post, you'll understand.

This immediately got me thinking about how "safe" we are. I know that I go about my day pretty calmly. I don't really worry about walking to my car at night; leaving my office door open while I run to the bathroom; keeping the garage door open for the 5 minutes I'll be gone. I tend to be a relatively trusting person. I think we all are to an extent.

Those of you reading this blog, most of you I would imagine, know me. At least I think you do. How certain can I be? To be completely honest, not very certain. This is the WORLD wide web, for heaven's sake. Anybody could really be reading this. I know that people as far away as Malaysia have taken a gander. Why am I comparing Michael's recent burglary with the Internet? Here's why:

We post things on our blogs that we intend for our friends and family to read. Things about work; things about family; things about our personal lives. I know that I've read the stories about "keeping children safe from Internet predators"...we all have read those stories. But do we really try to keep ourselves safe? I'm not suggesting that we're looking for trouble...I just know that I've never really thought about it before. We need to keep ourselves safe from Internet predators too...just a different kind of predator, I imagine.

Perhaps we shouldn't post personal stories online. Maybe we can't tell a funny story about what happened to us at work. If people are out to get you, they'll find a way. Why should we make it easier for them by posting where we work (I know I've done that) or who our friends are or what our family member's names are?

I am a bit paranoid now. It's not a safe place. I just told my Mother to look at my blog...she's probably going to see this and get equally paranoid for me. But I can't blame her. In a way I'm surprised that I hadn't thought about this before.

Should I be as generic as possible on this blog? Should we all become faceless people on the Internet? In the world of MySpace and Facebook and Instant Messaging...should we all just become invisible? No. I don't think so. I do think we should consider this. I do think we should "watch our backs". I do think we SHOULD live in a world where we don't have to worry about the bad people. But we don't. Am I going to stop blogging? No. Am I going to stop telling stories about myself, my friends, my family? No. Am I going to be more selective in the stories I tell...yes.

Just some food for thought...

I'm going to make sure my car doors are locked...right now.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I am so happy.

We have a beautiful fireplace that we can't use. It is really a nice fireplace. The hearth is built right into the wall...kinda adobo style. Is that a word? Adobo? Oh well. It can't be used it to burn wood because it hasn't been used in over 40 years. So, what did I do? Why am I writing this post? Why am I happy? Because I just purchased vent-free fire logs.

They're from Monessen. I love them. The picture on this post is what they're going to look like...or what they DO look like.

They'll heat our whole house! They're 99% efficient. They'll make me very happy. I'll take pictures and post them as soon as I get them delivered.


My Sister's Blog.

Katie, my sister, has a blog. She had to jump on the fucking bandwagon. She posted three times already today. She thinks she's me.

Click here and tell me what you think. Leave her comments telling her that my blog is will make her happy...she loves me.

Katie, Katie, Katie...

Brownie Bake-Off.

My stomach hurts because I was one of the judges for a brownie bake-off here at work today. Five ladies from our publications and human resources offices baked brownies and decided that they were going to have a contest to see who bakes the best. Seven lucky guys were asked to be a guest judge...I was "lucky" enough to be one of them.

It was fun, I must admit. And it's amazing how different each lady's brownies were. There were brownies with nuts, brownies with chocolate chunks, brownies with was a brownie lover's dream.

It's strange, though. I used to LOVE sweets. I used to love desserts. I dont' really love them anymore. I don't particularly even like them. I can take them or leave them. To be completely honest, I usually leave them. I just get a "gut ache" when I eat desserts. I shouldn't have gone to this bake-off contest but I did.

Not that you probably care but it was almost unanimous. I felt bad about telling the ladies who won. You work hard and you really want to win. I would have been disappointed too. But they were all good sports.

I don't want to eat another brownie for a very long time.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my cousin, Danielle, and her beautiful baby, Skyler. I drove them to the Shriner's Hospital in Erie, PA.

I have to tell you that this place made me very happy. Skyler, you see, was born with a medical condition where her feet were "pointed in". There is obviously a medical term for her condition, I just don't know what it is. She needed to have surgery and Danielle and her husband, Chris, arranged for Skyler to be taken care of by the Shriner Hospital.

I didn't know very much about the Shriners. All I remembered about them is that they were the silly people that were those silly hats and drove around in silly motorcycles in parades. I didn't know that they were actually very caring, charitable individuals.

Apparently the Shriners, around the world, collect donations for children's hospitals...and children with mild to severe medical conditions get medical care...for FREE. Yes, for FREE. Children with severe burns; children with broken bones; children with disfigurements; children with anything wrong with them...all can go to a Shriner's Hospital and be taken care of for free.

When I walked into the place I was amazed at how clean it was. I know that it's a hospital and all but I've never seen one as clean as this. And, since they cater to children, there were tons and tons of toys in the waiting room. Toys for babies, toddlers, and bigger kids. It made me smile.

I just wanted to let everyone know about these great people and what they do. I will think twice when I see the silly hats from now on.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Da Vinci Code DVD

Finally. Finally this DVD has been! I have been looking forward to this for a long time. I did not see the movie in the theatres but I have read the books. (Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon and read the books due to the hoopla...but I still read them.) I bought it right after work.

In a way I'm bittersweet about watching the movie. As with any books-turned-movie, I normally have a lot of trepidation...I don't want the book to be soured due to an overly-Hollywood movie version. But I won't dwell on that right now.

I am going to slip into something comfortable (get your mind out of the gutter), make myself a cup of tea, curl up on the couch and watch the movie. I'm sure I'll enjoy it...even though Tom Hanks is playing Robert Langdon.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I've blogged quite a bit today...although I'm very tired.

As you'll notice, should you read any further, we opened our new show at the theatre last night. It's great. We had a reception and I got home late. Then I went to my Grandmother's and had a couple of Seagram's 7s...they were great. Then I went home and had a bratwurst and a Baby Ruth candy bar. Then I went to bed. I was tired then too.

I had to wake up early today because I had a TV interview. It was kinda strange...but in a good way, I guess. David Lamb of God was supposed to do it this morning but his plans changed. I went to Channel 4 and taped a segment called "4 the People" of all things. Gina Browning was the host. I know that she's the director of the SPCA...I don't know why she's doing a morning show. She was lovely though. She actually subscribes to The Kav. What was strange however was the fact that it was a 14 minute segment...without commercial breaks. When I first heard this I thought that I'd never have enough to say to fill 14 minutes. I was wrong. She was very easy to talk to... I just hope that I didn't sound stupid. But that's probably a fruitless hope because I always sound stupid on TV. There were 3 cameras and I didn't know which one to look at. I'm sure I looked stupid as well as sounded stupid.

So, now I'm at work and I've been answering the phone and blogging all day. I get to leave at 4ish. I wanted to rake my leaves but it's raining. I also wanted to make a soup but I don't know what kind of soup I should make. By the time I get home and decide what soup I want to make I'll still be tired and I won't feel like going to the grocery store. I'll probably eat another candy bar and then take a nap.

Then I'll wake up from my nap, have another couple of Seagram's 7s and then go to bed. Maybe I'll blog later. Oh, I know! Maybe I can make my corn chowder. That would be a lovely idea. It is raining and I can't rake and I am tired and I love Seagram's 7 and Corn Chowder.

But I'll probably be too tired.


You know what I just noticed? I shouldn't really say "just" or "noticed" for that matter - I've known this since day one. Why do these blogs post newest to oldest? What if somebody happens across my blog, likes it, and starts reading it backwards? Isn't that like reading a book in reverse? I don't mean to suggest that these rants and raves are even remotely close to being as interesting as a book but, don't you understand? I'm sure you do. You're a very smart person, I would imagine. But...doesn't that boggle your mind? I mean...if you visit this blog on a regular basis you wouldn't want to read "old" blogs first but, then again, what if I posted something this morning and then responded to that post this response would precede the original post and then you'll all be in a quandary as to what the hell I'm talking about. Oh well, I guess that's not my problem.

I just noticed that there's a bottle of French's 100% Natural Classic Yellow Mustard sitting on my desk. I wonder how that got there and why.


Speaking of mustard... Why do they put ingredients like "natural flavor" in the ingredients list? Have you ever wondered that? I about being in a quandary. What the hell is natural flavor? Is "flavor" even an ingredient? Isn't that what you get when you taste a specific ingredient? "Natural flavor." That's a bit misleading I think. It's like when they say "artificial vanilla"... Isn't it? If it's artificial and if these nutrition facts are supposed to be remotely useful to an inquiring mind...don't you think they'd tell us what's IN the fucking artificial vanilla? Or what the point of putting "natural flavor" as an ingredient list is? Jesus.

Here's another question that just popped into my mind. Maybe it's not strange but it makes me chuckle a little but: We had to buy breakaway glasses for the current show. You know, like a wine glass. They were very expensive...just to break. Anyway, we found some local guy who makes breakaway glass and he thinks he can do it cheaper. He just came in the office to take one of the fake glasses so he can make a mold of the fake glass to make more fake glasses. I don't know...just sounds strange to me. If you were making fake glasses, wouldn't you want to use a real glass from which to model the fake glasses? Instead of making a fake glass from a fake glass?

I'm really getting a headache now. But I took my last Bayer aspirin yesterday. I've been having a headache almost daily...and heartburn. Maybe it's from all of the Seagram's 7s and Baby Ruths? Doubt it. I've only eaten one Baby Ruth. And I haven't had Seagram's 7s on a daily basis. Maybe it's a tumor.

"Iz nadda tooma."

Hehe... I'm still tired.

I'd tell her to wear a fucking hat...

Family Cookbook?

Well, I've wanted to do this for a long time and I thought that now is as good a time as any. I composed the following letter and sent it off to my family...I want to compile a family cookbook.

I love to cook. I always have. My family has conditioned me to cook, I suppose. That's why I want their recipes. I have a huge extended family: my mom's, my dad's, my stepfather's, my stepmother's, my sister's inlaws, cousins, friends, etc. I've only received one recipe so far...from my stepfather. You can read it at after you read the letter I sent:

Dear Family,

Please accept my apologies for the form-letter-feeling this letter will undoubtedly have. I hope you're all doing well and I love you all very much…and I am writing to ask a favor. Don't worry, it's nothing big. Just a recipe or two will do.

For years I have been thinking about compiling a cookbook. I have had different ideas about what kind of a cookbook to compile. I've considered collecting recipes from local actors and selling the book as a fundraiser for the theatre I work for…but actors apparently don't cook that well. I've considered collecting recipes from co-workers at D'Youville College and donating the proceeds to their scholarship fund…but apparently teachers don't have time to cook. Finally, I thought about collecting recipes from my family. These are the recipes I grew up with and love! I don't know how to make Grandma Kelley's pigachi…and I want to.

Sound like a good idea? I agree. Think this is a silly idea? Too bad…send me a recipe anyway.

This idea was born from my addiction to buying books. Books of all kinds: autobiographies, plays, fiction, non-fiction, true crime, and cookbooks. I recently started cataloging all of my books and I found that I have 3 dozen cookbooks. I do use them but not nearly as much as I had anticipated. Of each cookbook I own however, none of them tells a story. I think it would be great to have a little story to go along with each recipe. (When did you have this meal for the very first time? For what special occasions would this dish be prepared?)

So, dear family, I am asking for your help. Would you please look through your recipe boxes and send me a few of your favorite dishes? Think appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts, side dishes, soups, beverages, etc. I'd like for this cookbook to be as comprehensive as possible. Could you ask your aunts & uncles, brothers & sisters, mothers & fathers, sons & daughters to contribute as well? Many of us have enjoyed Edgy's homemade Thanksgiving Stuffing; possibly he can share his secret recipe with us. I used to love his mother's cucumber salad; I could share that recipe with you. Grandma Demerly makes the best sauerkraut in the world (it was actually her mother's recipe); perhaps I can persuade her to contribute as well.

I really think that this would be a great way for our very extended family to come together and I'd hate to put this off much longer. Now is the time. As much as we'd all hate to think about it, our Grandmothers will not be around for ever. Wouldn't it be a comfort to know that their recipes for the foods we grew up with will be?

If you'd like to help me in this endeavor (and I sincerely hope you will), please e-mail or drop your complete recipes to me via snail mail (addresses below). A complete recipe should include: your name, the name of your recipe, ingredient list, preparation list (please include temperatures and duration), servings (if you know this), and a personal story to go along with your recipe. If you have some heirloom recipes (Great-Great Grandma's Vanilla Pudding, for example) please send those to me as well. The more recipes we compile the better. In addition, please don't hesitate to send me some "basic" recipes. I don't really know how to make a good macaroni salad, for example.

Oh, I really hope this works out! I'm certain it will with everyone's collaboration. And I thank you all very much in advance for taking the time.

With love,

OK, here's the recipe I told you I got:

Easy Turkey Recipe from Edgy:

Here is a turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing - imagine that. When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.

10-15 lb. Turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup dried stuffing mix (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
1 cup uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER'S)
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven. Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and the turkey flies across the room, it's done.

The Glass Menagerie

Last night was the opening of The Kavinoky's production of Tennessee Williams' THE GLASS MENAGERIE. He is one of my favorite playwrights and it is one of my favorite plays. To say that I've been looking forward to this production would be an understatement. Although I'm always excited for a show to open at "my" theatre (I should say almost always...I could have done without a few of them), I really think that this production GLASS is the best one I've ever seen.

Let me just tell you that Paul Todaro is the perfect Tom. When he was first cast I have to say I didn't "see" it...not that I would ever doubt Paul's acting abilities, I just mean that I didn't visualize him in the role. (I don't know why...there isn't really a Tom-type. I just picture Tennessee Williams playing the role, I guess.) Paul is wonderful! He gets the play. He knows that Tom is telling a story and that he's remembering things...he's not, necessarily, "living them" for the first time. I've seen other Toms playing two separate characters, I see Paul playing Tom the storyteller who happens to fill in for Tom the son (Did that make any sense to you? Have you ever read the play? Should I elaborate as best I can? OK...let me try:)

THE GLASS MENAGERIE is a play in the truest sense. In Tom's opening monologue, he tells us exactly what we're going to see...similar to watching a magician. He says, "[A magician] gives your illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion." Tennessee Williams sets the tone immediately: this is a play. Tom is "setting the stage" most literally...then he eventually meanders into the memory-action. He is always aware though. Not that the things he's doing on stage are false, that's not what I'm trying to say. What I'm trying to say is, I have a perfect example:

You're sitting at a bar with a friend of yours and you're trying to tell a story about what happened to you yesterday. Although you're not travelling back in time and reliving those events, you can't help but get a bit caught up in them. That's kind of what happens with Tom in GLASS: he is telling a story and, in doing so, he gets caught up in what he remembers.

I have never seen this more accurately portrayed than by Paul (I've seen the play 5 times.) Throughout the course of the play you remember that he is telling a story even when he's "reliving" his memories. Granted, the playwright has a lot to do with does the set and the director. But even with the words written in stone, with the same set and the same director, I wonder if I'd like the play as much were it not for Paul.

You see...sometimes the "actor playing the Tom who is telling the story" doesn't play the same Tom when he's reliving it. He plays an ak-tour...who then plays a realistic scene. I don't doubt for a moment that the narrator of the play is the same Tom we see in the scenes. That's my point.

OK, this was totally not meant to be an ode to Paul Todaro. I just wanted to explain what I meant about him being the best Tom I've seen so far...I don't want any of you to think that I'm kissing up...I had to justify my remarks (or at least I thought I did.)

As for the rest of the cast, I can tell you that they're all top-notch. Anne Gayley plays Amanda. At first I thought (and I'm being completely honest with you) that she was a bit too old. I love Anne, don't mistake me. She is one of my most favorite people. I just thought that this role was a bit young for her. I was pleasantly mistaken. The Amanda we see in Act One is the perfect Amanda. (By the way, who said that Amanda has to be younger than Anne? Nobody. I was wrong.) The Act Two Amanda is most appropriately pathetic. (Again, I don't want to tell the story...I'm assuming that if you've read this far you know the play. I'm just commenting. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the play and then re-read this post.) Anne is wonderful.

Katie White was born to play this role. I saw her do it nearly 10 years ago at Buffalo State with Oasis Theatre Company. I remember loving her then too...but not as much as I did last night. This production is much fresher in my head, mind you. There is such a possibility that the actress playing Laura will over-do-it. That she'll exaggerate her limp, or play stupid, or be shy around her family. Most shy people are only shy around people they don't know well. Most of the shy people I know well aren't even shy towards me. Katie plays Laura perfectly. You don't really even feel too sorry for her...until you're supposed to. I've seen Lauras who are pathetic for pathetic's sake...Katie is smack-dab right on. We understand where her Laura is coming from. Lovely.

Now. Joe Wiens. Since I'm being completely honest right now I have to tell you that I did not think I was going to like him in this. Although I thought he gave a great audition, I didn't think he had the "chops". (I'm not a theatre expert nor do I profess that I would ever have "chops"...I just call 'em as I see 'em.) Again, I was wrong. And I am so happy to say that I was wrong. I have seen Joe Wiens in musicals and I saw him in Celadine (he was a mute). I didn't have much to base my acting opinion on. Gentleman Caller. His Jim is the perfect Jim. You know his Jim. You went to high school with his Jim. You can totally relate to his Jim. We've all seen productions of this play where a hunky, dim-wit is cast as the Gentleman Caller. In a way, we all think: he's just pretending to be nice to Laura; he just kissed Laura to make her feel good; maybe he's lying about Betty just so he can get out of the house. I don't think any of these things are true and neither will you when you see Joe's Jim. When he says "I shouldn't have done that" you can hear that, although he's right, he's kinda glad that he did.

Loved the play. Loved the actors. I didn't even mention Bob Waterhouse's direction...directors always get short-handed. have to see it. You must. I know..."I've seen THE GLASS MENAGERIE so many times." Well, first off - I don't believe you. Many people think they've seen it just because they read it in high school. Secondly, even if you have "seen it so many times" you've never seen it done as well as this. Honestly.

"Blow out your candles" and get your ass over to the Kav before December 10th.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A poem...

"SISTER, sister, go to bed! Go and rest your weary head." Thus the prudent brother said.

"Do you want a battered hide, or scratches to your face applied?" Thus his sister calm replied.

"Sister, do not raise my wrath. I'd make you into mutton broth as easily as kill a moth"

The sister raised her beaming eye and looked on him indignantly and sternly answered, "Only try!"

Off to the cook he quickly ran. "Dear Cook, please lend a frying-pan to me as quickly as you can."

"And wherefore should I lend it you?" "The reason, Cook, is plain to view. I wish to make an Irish stew."

"What meat is in that stew to go?" "My sister'll be the contents!" "Oh."

"You'll lend the pan to me, Cook?" "No!"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Why is it that raindrops, but snowfalls?

This is just one of the questions I have been pondering lately. Here are some more:

If God dropped acid, would he see people?
If all the nations in the world are in debt, where did all the money go?
If work is so terrific, how come they have to pay you to do it?
If the number 2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still number 2?
If you ate pasta and anti-pasta, would you still be hungry?
If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?
Could it be that all those trick-or-treaters wearing sheets are dressing up as mattresses?
If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?
Is there another word for synonym?
Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice?"
If you choke a Smurf, what color will it turn?
Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
If swimming's such good exercise, how come whales are so fat?
How do Keep Off The Grass signs get there?
If a person told you they were a pathological liar, would you believe them?
Can you learn to read from a "Reading for Dummies" book?
If someone gives you a penny for your thoughts, and you put your two cents in, where does the other penny go? Do you get change?
If pro is the opposite of con, and progress is moving forward, what is congress?
Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?
Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why do people with closed minds always open their mouths?
If Jimmy cracks corn, and no one cares, why is there a song about it?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thrill Me.

I have had this blog for a while now and I'm amazed that I haven't talked about Leopold and Loeb...I can go on for hours and hours about them...but I won't.

(I know that I have more important things I could and should be doing right now but I am going to procrastinate a little more and write about some child murderers instead.)

Let me preface this by saying that I am obsessed with Leopold and Loeb. Obsessed. This whole obsession started in the fall of 1999. I was sitting on Tim Finnegan's porch with my friend Mike Root and I heard about this play called "Never the Sinner" that BUA was thinking about doing. Timmy briefly told me the story and I went right home, read about it online, ordered the script and started some very intense research (research that I still do to this day.) I was hooked.

Leopold and Loeb ("L&L" henceforth) were two wealthy, extremely smart young men who had a very peculiar friendship. Leopold was in love with Loeb and Loeb was in love with crime. They would set fires, steal petty things, break windows. They finally decided to do commit the ultimate crime...kidnapping and murder. They created a pact and planned their murder. They killed a little boy named Bobby Franks...for the fun of it. They wanted to prove to themselves that they could commit the "perfect crime" and that they were Ubermensch (supermen) like Nietzsche wrote about. Long story short...they were found out, tried, and committed to life plus 99 years. You can read all about them and the crime here. (I totally gave you a very watered-down version. So watered-down that I'm almost ashamed of myself...but I digress.)

Anyway...I read the play, convinced Javier that I should play Leopold, then booked a flight and a hotel in Chicago (where it all took place.) My friend Christine went with me. It was wonderful.

(I have to digress again. I don't want any of you, dear readers, to think that I admire these murderers. That's not the case. I am an avid reader of true crime...that's why. I am intrigued by true crime. I can't imagine ever doing something like they did but I can't help but read about it. It's kind of like driving pass a car wreck: you just have to look. My obsession was with their story, not with their crime.) Good, I got that "out there".

OK, back to Chicago. I tried to tell Christine that I wanted to go to Chi-town for many reasons: Robie House, Second City, the theatre, the Elbow Room, the Pump Room...but my main reason to go was to "retrace" their steps. To see where they lived. To find some shit out. And I did. (I'll elaborate on this another time. I'll share pictures. I'll bore you to death.)

Well, fast-forwarding a few months: we did the play. Chris Kelly was Loeb, Jack Hunter was Clarence Darrow, I was Leopold. Donn Youngstrom directed. It was great. a few years. I had heard rumblings in chat rooms and forums about a musical version of L&L's story. I think I laughed initially...I couldn't believe somebody was going to write songs about this. I let it go. Then, a few years later, I read that there was indeed a musical about L&L. It had gone through some "try-outs" (I put that in quotes because I don't really know if that's what they were called...they were productions) and had finally moved on to Off-Broadway at The York. It was written by a guy named Stephen Dolginoff. That name wasn't immediately familiar to me but then I realized that he wrote the musical "Most Men Are" that I had seen in Toronto. I was even more intrigued. OK, long story short (again)...I e-mailed Dolginoff and began a pen-pal friendship with him online. We chatted about L&L, his musical, and the fact that he was going to be replacing the Leopold at The York because the show kept extending and extending. I decided that I was going to see it. (Not to mention that Javier and Tony had seen the show and liked it. When they told me that I knew that I wasn't going to miss out.) I went to New York and saw the show (by the way, it's called "Thrill Me") on Stephen's debut performance. I loved it. Oh, wait...I have to digress again...

In between going to Chicago, doing "Never the Sinner", and continuing to research L&L, I also was determined to purchase any and all "memorabilia" as I possibly could. I searched eBay on an almost hourly basis. Well...let me tell you. I got lucky. I bought lobby cards from Compulsion and Rope, I bought newspapers from the time it happened, and I bought Leopold's autobiography Life Plus 99 Years (yup, that's what it's called) SIGNED by Nathan Leopold. I swear on my Grandfather's grave!!! It is signed to Capt. & Mrs. H. H. Caldwell with fond affection, Nathan Leopold. It cost me an arm and a leg but I bought it. I was bidding against the website people (that's the link I put in this post.) I was ecstatic.

Back to "Thrill Me." I went to the show and loved it. Then I met Stephen and Doug Kreeger in the lobby and showed them my book. I got a crowd of people around me and I felt famous. It was great. The final song of the show is "Life Plus 99 Years". It made me smile.

OK...this paragraph is going to be short because I really have to get back to work (although it is an exciting story): Stephen and I became friends and started talking. I told him that I'm an actor too and that I'd love to do the show. We talked for over a year...trying to get somebody to produce it. Finally he sold the show to Dramatists and I convinced the Phoenix to do the show. I am going to play Loeb and Stephen Dolginoff is coming to town to star opposite me in his OWN show. This is very exciting for me. He was nominated for 3 Drama Desk Awards and countless others. "Thrill Me" is being produced all over the world. I can't wait. I am truly thrilled. It will be in June. Yippie. Click here to order the CD.

OK, enough. Like I said, I could rant and rave about this for days...and I should...but I won't.

Theatrical Props.

Why is it that fake things cost more than the real thing? Shouldn't something fake cost less? It's fake for fuck's sake. That means that it's not real.

I work in a theatre and I wear many hats (so does everybody who works in the theatre, I imagine.) This means that sometimes I have to find some of these fake things. I laugh about it sometimes. Granted, we can't always use the real things because they're dangerous or unpractical. But that doesn't stop me from bitching about if I didn't bitch about these things you'd have nothing new to read, dear reader.

Here's a list of some of the props we've had to locate and pay "through the nose" for. Notice the differences in fake vs. real and their costs:

  1. Real wine glass: $.50-$1.00 at Goodwill. Fake "breakable" wine glass: $18.
  2. Heinz Ketchup Bottle: $2.95. Fake Heinz Ketchup Bottle: $15.
  3. Bowl of macaroni salad: $5 or so. Bowl of macaroni salad that will last 5 weeks: $30.
  4. Semi-automatic pistol: Just ask any Buffalo high school student, you can probably borrow it for a bag of pot ($20). Fake semi-automatic pistol: $265.
  5. 32 ounces of real blood: Painful but free. 32 ounces of fake blood: $28.
OK, this list is not extensive...mainly because I couldn't remember all the things that initially prompted me to write this post.

But you get the point.