Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And They Lived Happily Ever After For Two Weeks

"A wedding is a funeral where you smell your own flowers."
Eddie Cantor

"All marriages are happy. It's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble."
Raymond Hull

"All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner."
Red Skelton

"I enjoyed every minute of my tiny little bite-sized marriage. I dedicated myself fully in the earnest struggle to make things work, but after two long weeks of matrimony . . ."  
Sinead O'Connor 

     Okay, I made that last one up. One imagines Sinead or Kim Kardashian saying it, along with the ever-growing number of celebrities determined to make a mockery of "Till death do us part." It is more like "till I get bored" or "till I find out about the pre-nup" or "till you clip your toenails in bed on top of my teacup poodle."

     Barry Herridge, the guy who most recently wed Miss O'Connor, was apparently unaware that his shaved-head-combat-boot-wearing fiancee who famously destroyed a photo of the Pope on camera was . . . a bit wild. Seems that as soon as wifey took off on her wedding night to find a little weed to smoke, Barry was so shocked he had to reconsider his choice. Who would have imagined that Sinead O'Connor would smoke weed? Or that Amy Winehouse used to get tipsy occasionally?

     The woman most famous for her rendition of Nothing Compares 2 U has four children from her previous relationships. She wed music producer John Reynolds in 1989 and journalist Nicholas Sommerlad in 2001. This past April, she split from longtime friend and collaborator Steve Cooney.  

     Maybe for her, nothing compares 2 Sinead with a joint or nice bowl.

     Sorry it didn't end blissfully, Sinead. When you are well-known, it is difficult to commit to another human being for more than a New York minute. We understand.

Love from Delta.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Digital Story of the Nativity

Dearest Facebook and Email Addicts,

Please enjoy this video. It was sent by my favorite top-secret source of material. She knows who she is.

Love and Merry Christmas from Delta.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Christmas Must-Listen List

Everyone has a favorite Christmas song. Here are a few of mine.
(Please pardon and skip the commercials.)

Loved him at 13, love Brad now. Listen all the way through!

It goes without saying why this makes the list.

Love the Garth Brooks version, but had to settle for this.


Carrie can sing.

Josh Turner's voice is amazing, and he is not difficult to look upon.

A Band Aid staple, remade by the incredibly talented Glee cast.

Hope you enjoy the music, and please post your favorites so I might add them.

Love from Delta.

Monday, December 19, 2011

That's What Friends Are For.

We moved.

Left our life in The Sunshine State, roaches and sand spurs and pretty beaches and glorious sunsets and rude Yankee snowbirds and hurricanes and stifling humidity and dear friends and relatives and upscale chi-chi restaurants and traffic jams and warm church embraces and Junior League and community boards and political activism and Publix (where shopping really is a pleasure) and unrelenting heat . . . and came to Alabama.

My husband's roots run deep here. Mine run even deeper.

We awake to scenery that I was born to love. Red clay clings to my sneakers and tires. The chickens remind me to greet the sunrise. Cheaha Mountain envelops me in her shadow.

Though I am so happy to be here . . . and those who know me know that . . . I miss certain people of over twenty years' acquaintance. Two of them came yesterday to visit.

Beth and Bill Monette are not friends. They are family, because we began our marriage across the street from their home, birthed and raised our children with their guidance, spent countless hours enjoying their company, counted our blessings along with theirs, and thanked the Lord they were in our life.

When Jace was born, Beth appeared at our door with a ceramic crowing rooster to display when he accomplished something great . . . a first step or a Master's degree from Alabama. When Savannah was little, Beth was her other mom—recipient of a thousand confidences.

They celebrated their fortieth anniversary with us. We were honored.

Years ago at a very low point in my life, Beth brought me a pilllow embroidered with this:  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."-Jeremiah 29:11

It meant a lot. She has always been good at meaning a lot.

When I started writing, Beth was the first to read every chapter of Delaney's People. She was my promoter, encourager, motivator—everything. On the days I did not believe in myself . . . she did. Beth said, "You have a gift to share with the world."

I listened. I wrote.

Now I think she was right. 

As Alabama says:

"Oh I believe there are angels among us.
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours.
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give.
To guide us with the light of love."

Beth and Bill have been ours for many years. 

Love from Delta.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It Is Not Real.

Clothing magnate H&M just admitted it puts real models' heads on computer-generated bodies for its ads. Apparently, models are not skinny enough.

I ask you, people: when will the madness end? How much anorexia must we induce before gaunt is no longer chic?

Look at this.

If these girls were not thin enough to begin with, what does that say about our current ideal? Supermodels are fat? The only acceptable size is a negative one?

Enough, already.

Women used to be supposed to look like this:

Or this . . . 

Embrace femininity. Embrace curves. Reject the ridiculous starving-heroin-chic-give-that-girl-a-burger model stereotype, H&M. Real women don't look like that, and don't want to.

Love from Delta.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm Alabama

     Okay, y'all. Most of you know I've been reveling in my Alabama-ness since moving back about four years ago. I am seriously crazy about this state . . . my feverish devotion even resulted in a recently-published book.

     This is the "Year of Alabama Music." In conjunction with that celebration, a songwriting contest was held. Here is the winner, Joseph Baldwin:

     Please listen all the way through. The man is talented, and I love what he has to say.

     The Alabama Tourism Department is releasing a compilation of the top competitors' submissions called "Alabama Road Songs." I will be purchasing one and hope you will, too.

     (As well as a copy of my love letter to Alabama, Delaney's People. Shameless plug.)
     The acoustic version is great, but this is the one I'm waiting to download and wear out in my car. Many of these scenes were filmed near my home. (That is Cheaha Mountain in the distance at the top of the page, and Joseph is standing on it!)

     Thank you, Joseph Baldwin, for your wonderful homage.

Love from Delta.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Not-So-Romantic Dinner

     Yeah, it's gruesome . . . but I love stories like this. A 32-year-old Pakistani woman named Zainab Bibi drugged her husband, hanged him to death, and then carved his body into 51 pieces for easy cooking. I am not bothering to add "allegedly" because this did not happen in the United States, where seventeen eyewitnesses can describe and identify a murderer drenched in his victim's blood and holding her decapitated head, but he is "alleged" until they lock him up or execute him. Even then, some people still insist on "alleged."

     But I digress.

     Zainab's hubby was apparently fixated on his teenage stepdaughter (an Islamic Woody Allen!), and planned to divorce his wife and marry her.

     Zainab did not like that, and enlisted her 22-year-old nephew to help deal with Mr. Bibi's remains in spirited "Goodbye Earl" fashion.

     No, she was not planning to eat him (gross). She simply thought she'd found a superior way to get rid of a human body. Might've worked, too, if a neighbor hadn't smelled something funky. (Never try out a new recipe near a window.)

     I shudder to think what they will do to Zainab in an Islamic country. I don't mean this ugly, but Mr. Bibi probably had it coming.

Here are the details:

     I hope she gets a fiercely excited Rachel Ray and Paula Deen on her side. When the full truth about Mr. Bibi's evil ways comes out, she may have women rallying around her from all over the place.

Love from Delta.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black and Blue Friday

     It's a bit eerie in light of Target's new crazy Christmas shopping lady commercials to witness what the first official day of the season brought. You may have heard of the rather Grinchy woman who used pepper spray when Black Friday bargain hunters tried to cut in her line at a crowded Walmart store in Los Angeles. She attacked at 1:20 a.m. because she apparently feared the loss of opportunity to get an X-Box.

     This was the merry scene:

     God bless us every one. Fifteen people were injured in her wake. She left without her intended purchase, though one presumes little Timmy will still get his gift. Or not . . . but in the words of Merle Haggard, Mama tried.
     I have never been willing to do the Thanksgiving midnight grabfest thing. I have friends who bravely march into the darkness for deals, risking life and limb at the hands of armed Walmartians. Unless Walmart, Target, Best Buy or TJ Maxx start giving away complimentary Christian Louboutins for the first thousand shoppers, you will not see me participate. Even then, I would probably choose the safety of my couch and a leftover turkey sandwich.

    In related news:

     A Rome, N.Y., man was charged with disorderly conduct after a fight that broke out the moment Black Friday shopping began at midnight. Several shoppers at the electronics department at a Walmart store were pushed to the ground, and a number of fights broke out. Two shoppers were taken to a hospital for minor injuries.
     Police said they were investigating a possible shooting in the parking lot of Valley West Mall in West Des Moines, Iowa. Police got a call of shots fired shortly before 4 a.m., when the mall opened. 

     A 55-year-old shopper was shot and wounded during a robbery near a Walmart in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tonia Robbins, 55, took a bullet in the foot after two men demanded her purse shortly after 1 a.m. ET Friday as she stood by the trunk of her car with friends.
     An explosive device was found at a break room at a Walmart in Cave Creek, Ariz., according to reports Friday. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said a suspicious package was found inside a refrigerator in the store break room on Thursday. The store was evacuated as a precaution while deputies investigated the package.

     A shopper was shot and critically injured during a robbery outside a Walmart in San Leandro, California early Friday. Police patrolling the parking lot found a victim suffering a gunshot wound and a possible suspect being detained by his/her angry family members. They were walking to their car with Christmas purchases and approached by thugs who demanded the merchandise.

     Gunfire erupted at a North Carolina mall as holiday shopping commenced. People were very cross at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville. No injuries were reported.

     Black [and Blue] Friday kicks off the holiday shopping frenzy, when merchants can make 25 to 40 percent of their annual revenue. It is expected that shoppers will spend nearly $500 billion during the 2011 shopping season, about 3 percent more than they did last year.

     "It's a good move to try to get shoppers to spend sooner, before they run out of money," says Burt Flickinger, III, president of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.

     Uh huh. Call me when you have those complimentary CL's or large Jay Strongwater pieces, Burt. Until then, I'll shop online in my jammies or in stores where the kinder, gentler people tend to gather during normal business hours.

Love from Delta.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Not-So-Friendly Skies of Comtel

     Air travel has changed a lot over the years. Gone are the days when you donned your Sunday best and sipped cocktails delivered by svelte seductresses. Flights are . . . well, different . . .  these days.

     On Tuesday, passengers aboard charter company Comtel's jetliner traveling from India to Britain were held up for the equivalent of about two hundred bucks each in U.S. funds. During a layover in Vienna, they were commanded to fork over the cash if they wanted to reach Birmingham. This was thoughtful: they were allowed to leave the plane to access ATM's to fetch the money.

     Folks were told the payment was for either fuel or . . . suspiciously . . . "fees." Even though they'd presumably purchased tickets from Comtel, a bit more was necessary to get them to where they were going.

     "I could not believe what I was witnessing," Lal Dadrah told British network ITN. "It was as if we'd been held hostage against our wills, with the 24,000 pounds we all eventually had to pay being the ransom."

     Today, passengers aboard a Comtel flight were asked for money before takeoff from Amritsar, according to Madrid-based Mint Aviation. They own the aircraft and provide the crew.

     Richard Fluck, Comtel's CEO, told CNN that the dispute involves Comtel, Mint and a third firm, Astonbury Ltd., which sold the tickets under the name Skyjet. Skyjet suddenly suffered corporate failure this week, with the British government urging about 200 passengers who booked flights with them to make new arrangements.

     Officials at Birmingham Airport said all Comtel flights to and from Amritsar have been canceled for the coming weekend, and the Civil Aviation Authority said it would help get stranded fliers back home.

     Here's the kicker: Astonbury had not paid either of the other two firms for their last two flights, so Mint told its crew to collect the money it was owed from passengers or refuse to continue.

     According to a defensive Mint CEOAlfonso Martinezit was Comtel that refused to pay and owed money to Amritsar's airport authority as well. Martinez said Comtel ordered the flight crew to take up a collection in Vienna.

     Next time you're annoyed at having to remove your shoes in security or choking down what passes for an in-flight snack in the USA, remember it could be worse. Maybe the TSA's scanners can see more than modesty allows, but you can be fairly sure you won't be shaken down in Atlanta on your way to JFK.

Love from Delta.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oops He Did It Again

I admit it: I was on the Perry bandwagon early on. 

Television interviews with the Texas governor last year—pre-presidential candidacy, with earnest Rick declaring that the federal government was interfering with his state's efforts to stem illegal immigration and the attendant crime wave—were impressive. He was manly, handsome, articulate, confident and charismatic.

I thought I had my guy for 2012.

Now I'm trying to figure out what went wrong. The Debate Debacle . . . seen by every non-cave-dwelling American citizen . . . has caused me to shed the last vestige of support I had for Perry. I can't shake the image of him aww shucks oopsing, struggling to remember the third government agency he aspires to eliminate.

This was no stumble. It was the creation of a tumbling Rick avalanche.

Been in a cavern somewhere?

Governor Robot Romney has been programmed to make light of the situation and appear all sympathetic as he suppresses his spontaneous tap dance chip in front of the press.

Herman Cain is apparently a bit too randy to be President, though Bill Clinton set the bar pretty high. Ron Paul is, well . . . Ron Paul. There will be no foil-hat inaugural ball, and we all know it. Bachmann? Can't see that happening. Newt? Nope.

What's a Republican to do? Year after year I wait for a field of candidates who impress, not depress, me. Maybe 2016 will be better. I've pretty much lost interest in this election.

Love from Delta.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Who Else Is Going to Stand Up For the Dead Fish of America?

     Ah, PETA. Thank you for interrupting a fairly boring news day with your insistence that people stop cruelly throwing dead fish.

     People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Robert Zonies, president of the Terra Ceia (Florida) Village Improvement Association, urging him to cancel the annual “mullet toss” at this year’s Terra Ceia Mullet Smoke-Off, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. November 12.

     The annual event challenges contestants to try their hand at aiming and tossing dead mullets into a toilet, wheelbarrow or wash tub, positioned a challenging distance away at Seabreeze Park.

     According to PETA’s manager of corporate affairs in Los Angeles, Dave Byer, “It sends a terrible message to kids when adults are throwing the carcasses of animals. If you wouldn’t throw a dead puppy or kitten into a toilet, why throw a dead fish?”

     Indeed. As the friend who forwarded the article to me remarked, "I normally put a helmet on the fish I plan to toss." (She has a gift for sarcasm.)

     I know of no festivals in which dead puppies and kitties are thrown for fun, but I would find it more appropriate for PETA to focus their efforts there. A dwarf-tossing intervention would make more sense. Perhaps a new branch is warranted: PETAADAOTTGT (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals And Dwarfs And Other Things That Get Tossed).

     I get it—we should demonstrate kindness to all creatures. That is a noble thought. I am just wondering if the dead fish really care if the Terra Ceia residents have a bit of fun with their carcasses.

     In addition, PETA would much prefer that alfalfa spouts be substituted for the smoked mullet sold for consumption at the event. “It would be great if they served vegan,” Byer said. “But we are only asking them to stop playing with dead bodies.”

     Naturally, the Association was taken aback at receiving the official letter urging discontinuation of the barbaric hurling of inanimate sea creatures. The Mullet Toss is a fundraiser, supplying money for maintenance of the park as well as teacher supplies for local schools.

     Maybe the teachers could simply include notes with each pack of crayons saying, "Don't throw dead fish. It's cruel."

Love from Delta.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Halloween Question . . .

     . . . if you looked like this:

     Would you choose this for your Halloween costume?

     Heidi Klum has gone to costume extremes before, but this may be her most bizarre choice. Lady Gaga's meat dress rivals it, though she was not attending a Halloween party when she donned it. Maybe it's just me, but when I look at a human body, I don't want to think "meat".

     Of course, Miss Klum/Mrs.Seal has made it known that she loves October 31st and all its fun dress-up possibilities for eons. Here are two of her more reasonable outfits:

The Hindu Goddess Kali

The Serpent and The Apple

     I think Heidi is at her best when a sense of fun is involved.

     Maybe it will re-emerge in 2012.

     Other celebrities seem more rational when it comes to Halloween.

     Nicole Richie chose to dress as J Lo this year. She's the one on the left.

Alyson Hannigan and family as Babes in Toyland

Brooke Burke as Catwoman

Gwen Stefani as a princess

Katie Couric as Donald Trump

Kim Kardashian as Poison Ivy

Lisa Rinna as Lucille Ball

Mariah Carey as a mermaid

Snoop Dogg as [a stoned-looking] Count from Sesame Street

     And, okay . . . maybe this is perfectly rational for Snooki. She was The Pickle Queen last year.

      Whether you are attending a party as my amazing friends Melinda and Dave did . . . 

Beth and Dog Bounty Hunter

     . . . or sitting at home handing out treats, I hope your Halloween is a very happy one.

Love from Delta.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Slim Pickings

My home state is in trouble again. We are running out of people to pick our crops and tackle difficult construction work. We have adopted a stance against illegal immigration that seems to be irritating the more liberal folks out there.

Alabama drew a hard line in the red clay (one that I heartily applaud, by the way), and is getting kicked around for it. This is why:


Section 1. 
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act.

Section 2. 
The State of Alabama finds that illegal immigration is causing economic hardship and lawlessness in this state and that illegal immigration is encouraged when public agencies within this state provide public benefits without verifying immigration status. Because the costs incurred by school districts for the public elementary and secondary education of children who are aliens not lawfully present in the United States can adversely affect the availability of public education resources to students who are United States citizens or are aliens lawfully present in the United States, the State of Alabama determines that there is a compelling need for the State Board of Education to accurately measure and assess the population of students who are aliens not lawfully present in the United States, in order to forecast and plan for any impact that the presence such population may have on publicly funded education in this state. The State of Alabama further finds that certain practices currently allowed in this state impede and obstruct the enforcement of federal immigration law, undermine the security of our borders, and impermissibly restrict the privileges and immunities of the citizens of Alabama. Therefore, the people of the State of Alabama declare that it is a compelling public interest to discourage illegal immigration by requiring all agencies within this state to fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. The State of Alabama also finds that other measures are necessary to ensure the integrity of various governmental programs and services.

Sounds reasonable to me.

There has been a curious backlash. People who are living here perfectly legally are packing their things up and relocating, claiming that they no longer feel welcome. I find this absurd.

Crops are withering on the vine, and no one is around to do the messy stuff. One Alabama farmer said, "I've had people calling me wanting to work. I haven't turned any of them down, but they're not any good. It's hard work, they just don't work like the Hispanics with experience."

Hmmm. Does this mean that every state requiring documentation of the legal status of its citizens will suffer economically? Are we being held hostage by Mexican workers? Are Americans just too darn lazy? Is the current system the modern-day equivalent of slavery? Will there be a revolt? Will the last Hispanic departing the State of Alabama please leave the American flag in place?

My opinions on this issue veer far off the politically correct path. I don't want to press 1 for English. I don't want to wait with a loved one in an emergency room, insurance card in hand, while people who have no legal residence here are treated first. For free. With my tax dollars.

If illegal workers are this vital to our economy, it is time for some new ways of doing business; some thinking out of the tomato box.

I challenge other states to follow Alabama's lead. It is the first step toward reason.

For those who want the full text of HB56:

Relating to illegal immigration; to define terms; to require the Attorney General to attempt to negotiate a Memorandum of Agreement under certain conditions; to require a person to present proof of citizenship and residency before voting; to preclude any state or local government or official from refusing to assist the federal government in the enforcement of federal immigration laws; to prohibit an alien unlawfully present in the United States from receiving any state or local public benefits; to prohibit a person not lawfully present from being eligible on the basis of residence for education benefits; to require business entities or employers seeking economic incentives to verify the employment eligibility of their employees and to provide penalties; to require an illegal alien to possess certain documents already required by federal law and to provide penalties; to prohibit an unauthorized alien from seeking employment in this state and to provide penalties; to require the verification of the legal status of persons by law enforcement officers under certain circumstances; to criminalize certain behavior relating to concealing, harboring, shielding, or attempting to conceal, harbor, or shield unauthorized aliens and to provide penalties; to create the crime of dealing in false identification documents and the crime of vital records identity fraud and to provide penalties; to prohibit a business entity, employer, or public employer from knowingly employing an unauthorized alien and to provide penalties; to prohibit certain deductible business expenses; to make it a discriminatory practice for a business entity or employer to fail to hire a legally present job applicant or discharge an employee while retaining an employee who is an unauthorized alien under certain conditions; to require the verification of legal status of every alien charged with a crime for which bail is required; to amend Section 32-6-9 of the Code of Alabama 1975, relating to driver’s licenses; to require law enforcement to detain any alien whose lawful immigration status cannot be verified under certain conditions; to require notification of the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Alabama Department of Homeland Security when an unlawfully present alien is convicted of state law; to provide for a stay of the provisions of this act when an alien unlawfully present is a victim or critical witness of a crime under certain conditions; to authorize the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to hire state police officers and give the department enforcement power under certain conditions; to provide penalties for solicitation, attempt, or conspiracy to violate this act; to require the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to file a quarterly report with the Legislature under certain conditions; to require the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to establish and maintain an E-Verify employer agent service under certain conditions; to prohibit the enforcement of certain contracts under certain conditions; to require public schools to determine the citizenship and immigration status of students enrolling; to require school districts to compile certain data and submit reports to the State Board of Education; to require the State Board of Education to submit an annual report to the Legislature; to further provide for eligibility and requirements for voter registration; to establish a state election board; to provide duties of the board; to provide that a person may obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate from the Department of Public Health free of charge under certain conditions; to prohibit an alien not lawfully present from entering into a business transaction under certain conditions and provide penalties; to prohibit a landlord from knowingly entering into a rental agreement to harbor an illegal alien and provide penalties; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

What do you think?

Love from Delta.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Patriotic Is Your Favorite Restaurant? Do You Care?


     Enough, already. I am a wee bit embarrassed that the town next to my hometown in Alabama . . . Oxford . . . is making national news over a flag fracas. The little suburb of Anniston (that is going to get me into big trouble) has a lovely Olive Garden restaurant. My husband and I frequent it, and are always happy with the food, atmosphere and service. It's a typical Darden restaurant, run with efficiency and respect for its patrons. 

     It is currently under attack along with all other Olive Gardens for this appalling reason (my tongue is firmly in my lasagna-lovin' cheek): a local Kiwanis club booked the place for a meeting, and they were told (gasp!) that because there is no private meeting room, the facility was unable to accommodate their request to display an American flag.

     Double-gasp. The enraged meeting planner raised all kinds of fuss over this, and now the corporate vice president of OG has to come to Alabama and make a formal apology.

     Really, folks?

     Online commentary on this story has run the gamut from, "Boycott Darben (sic) restaurants!" to "Olive Garden is anti-American!" to "My dad (brother, uncle) served in the Army and I will never darken their door again."

    Calm down, please. Untwist your knickers for a moment and answer these simple questions:
  • Do you want to walk into Olive Garden for lunch and see a Nazi flag? A banner for the thing that offends you the most deeply? A sign denouncing your particular ethnicity?
  • Do you think it is unreasonable to fail to check in advance on a meeting venue's rules of display, and then denounce them for failing to honor your demand upon arrival?
  • Is there a graceful way to say, "I understand, and we will book our future Kiwanis meetings elsewhere—keep your breadsticks."?

         In one of the more amusing offerings I saw after the story broke, a woman accused Olive Garden of failing to offer Southern hospitality. She must feel it is incumbent upon every public restaurant south of the Mason-Dixon line to bow to the every whim of its patrons, y'all. Maybe serve complimentary sweet tea and hush puppies to the neo-Nazi group that dropped in last Thursday.

         All of this reflects badly on a local establishment that bends over backwards to please its customers. (I am one, and I have witnessed it.) It reflects badly on my beloved home state and its vociferous citizens. It reflects badly on those who fail to understand that this is, after all, America—we love our flag, but it doesn't have to be displayed everywhere (men's room?), nor should it be.

         I have arranged a number of meetings in my day. One thing I always did was inquire in advance about full accommodation of my group's needs. One person's failure to do so does not give anyone the right to demonize Olive Garden.

         If you will excuse me, I have some spectacular leftover Lasagna Rollata al Forno waiting in the kitchen. From the doorman's greeting through the nice conversation with an employee on the way out the door last night, I had a perfectly wonderful meal at the Oxford Olive Garden. In fact, I noticed several employees wearing American flag lapel pins as they usually do.

    Love from Delta.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Miss Representation

    Dear Friends,

         Regardless of political persuasion, religious affiliation, feminist or non-feminist orientation, age, color or creed . . . I implore you to take two minutes out of your busy schedule and watch the trailer for a powerful documentary called Miss Representation. After viewing it, I urge you to drag your spouse or significant other or best friend over to watch it. Use force if necessary.

         Then discuss. Please. Your views are welcome here, as always.

    Love from Delta.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    A Word From MacBeth

         Once upon a time, long long ago, I had a friend at work who bought a newfangled personal computer. It was an Apple MacIntosh, and Bill could not work it to save his life. His cries for my assistance became so incessant, I told him to start screaming "MacBeth!" instead of "Beth!" so I could identify it as a computer emergency.

         MacBeth fell in love with desktop computers then and there. It would be a while before Bill Gates stole Steve Jobs' "windows" system, and I would get an affordable PC of my own.

         I have grown weary of people disparaging Mr. Jobs and his contributions to society. As far as I am concerned, he made a lasting impact on all of our lives, and did it with class and style.

         Here's to a classic American entrepreneur.

    May he rest in peace, with love from MacBeth.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    On Tiny, Magnificent Cakes . . .

         Recently, a vegan friend (yes, omnivores and vegans can be fond of one another) sent me a darling little book called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I have never attempted to bake without my precious Diablo and Poseidon eggs (and Publix eggs before them), but I may well do so after reading some of these mouth-watering recipes. The margarita cupcakes look especially interesting . . . one is forced to purchase tequila to create them. One is probably expected to have a margarita or two while stirring, as well. I'm just sayin'.

         There are some terrific tips in this book, and even I—Queen of 300,000 Baking Sessions—learned a thing or two. According to the authors, a surefire way to get people to look at your blog is by posting pictures of cupcakes.

       Okay. Here are a few of my cupcake babies . . .

      New Year's Eve Cupcakes
      Vanilla Snow
      Auburn National Championship
      Chocolate Buttercream
      Deep Chocolate Madness
      Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache
      Chocolate Cherry Fudge
      French Vanilla with Chocolate Buttercream
      Milk Chocolate Minis with Vanilla Icing and Cocoa Sprinkles
      Chocolate with Mint Cream and Ganache
      Fresh Strawberry with Strawberry Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache
      French Vanilla with Chocolate Ganache and Vanilla Buttercream
      Vanilla Snowball Cupcakes
      S'Mores Cupcake
      Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream
      Triple Chocolate
      Marshmallow Dream
      Chocolate with Chocolate Buttercream and Deep Chocolate Drizzle
      Banana Chunky Monkey
      Triple Chocolate in a box
      Strawberry with Strawberry Buttercream
      Strawberry with Fresh Strawberries, Strawberry Buttercream and Chocolate Drizzle
      Valentine's Day Collection

           I admit it: I am somewhat ovo-dependent . . . but I am going to try Lisa's cupcake book, because I love the way it is written.

           Here are some tips from the book:
      • "Baked stuff cools quicker and more evenly when set on a cooling rack. And without them the bottoms of cooling cupcakes can get soggy—so sad." Yup.
      • For decorating, get a small metal frosting spatula (also referred to as a palette knife). Great for spreading thick frostings into a smooth, swooping finish.
      • "Use an ice cream scooper with a release mechanism for easy pouring and filling."
      • "Spray your batter pouring implement with cooking spray before dipping it in the batter."
      • "Make sure that the cupcakes are fully cooled before filling or icing, unless otherwise indicated in a recipe. Spreading icing onto a still-warm cupcake is the work of fools."
      • Cute toppers: Cinnamon sticks, vegan gummies, gel fruit slices, colorful, fun-shaped kid's vegan breakfast cereals (I use the regular, sugary, evil kind.), chocolate-covered pretzels, edible flowers, Scrabble pieces, small plastic farm animals, fake flowers
           I love this: "The world is enraptured with this tiny cake—maybe it's our selfishness, knowing that the cake is 'Mine! All mine!' Maybe it's our obsession with beauty; cupcakes, like flowers, seem to have the perfect proportions to capture our eye. Maybe they speak to the child in all of us, our yearning for a simpler time, where a little something sweet was a reminder that there was something to celebrate."

           I have baked them with love for countless people, and I know this much: cupcakes make folks smile.

           I like that.

           Lisa might just find a little vegan sumpin'-sumpin' in her mailbox someday.

      Love from Delta.