Sunday, November 30, 2008

Politically Incorrect Kartoons (PIK)

Yup, it's that time again -- PIK day. Take a gander and vote on your favorite:

1.) Oops!:

2.) Holiday Madness:

3.) Bad, Maxine, Bad!:

4.) The Weaker Sex:

5.) Slightly Used:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spotlight On...Let's Get Crazy!

*Note to readers. In the above notice, "were" should be "we're," but I'm powerless to edit it since I borrowed it from the Internet as is.* :)

Okay, I've confessed my love of wacky costumes, and you can plainly tell I have an abiding love of the slightly-off-kilter if you've read some of my Ledbetter Lunacy episodes or Politically Incorrect it shouldn't surprise you one bit that I really like doing crazy things when the opportunity presents itself.

In case you ever get a similar itch that needs scratchin', here are a few ideas:

On your lunch break, sit in your parked car with your sunglasses on (the bigger, the better) and point a hair dryer at passing cars.

At work, if possible, or when shopping at a large store, have yourself paged over the intercom or P.A. system.

Every time someone asks you to do something, say, "One, two, buckle my shoe," or "Will that be dine in or carry out?"

Put Decaf in the coffee maker for a couple of weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine withdrawal and headaches, switch over to Espresso.

I'd love to hear some of your sanity saver tips!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ledbetter Lunacy - Part IV

Yes, dear Blogosphere buddies,
it's Friday, and therefore it is
time for your end-o-the-week
installment of fantabulous,
freakish fun!

~~shrill flute music & cymbals crashing~~


Castle Wench at high school football game in Wolfie rig --->

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Floor is Open...Let's Talk Turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving, my wonderful bloggy buds! Hope your day is going exactly like you planned and hoped for.

I'm off helping volunteers prepare Meals on Wheels (giving regular workers a much-deserved break), then on to my parents' for the traditional gathering, where I'll snag the gobbler carcass for a slammin' gumbo, if I'm lucky and fast enough. What's the highlight of your day?

A friend sent me this little story (supposedly true) via email, so I just had to share the wealth since it fits the Turkey Day theme so well. Enjoy!

One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister's house for the traditional feast. Knowing how gullible my sister is, Mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister she needed something from the store. When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen, and inserted it into the turkey, and re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back in the oven.

When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird.

With a look of total shock on her face, Mom exclaimed, "Patricia, you've cooked a pregnant Bird!"

At the reality of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry. It took the family two hours to convince her turkeys lay eggs!

Yep..................she's blonde!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Writings - An Exercise

Now that the photo caption contest is closed, I can announce the winners. Barbara and Terri were only one measly vote apart, so I declare them co-winners! *Please send me your addresses so I can get your prizes in the mail.* And Congratulations!

I thought it'd be fun today to try a short writing exercise, something we once did a lot of in my writing group. There are only two "rules": 1.) you can't cop out or give some lame excuse for not participating. Yeah, yeah, my laundry's stacked up to the ceiling too, and I've got Thanksgiving cooking and stuff to do. But we can all take five minutes to slow down and play. 2.) You can't self-edit or listen to that slimy little gargoyle of an editor residing next to your brain's right hemisphere while you are writing!

You may just be surprised at the writing fodder you come away with and/or the cool nuggets you'll get for some future project. And best of all, it's free! Don't be shy -- after you're done and have a chance to clean up your work, post your results in a comment so we can all share in the fun.

Pick at least three words from the list below and start writing. It's perfectly fine to use a different form of the word. If you haven't done so in a long time, try longhand. And if the spirit leads, keep writing after the five minutes are up. ANY kind of writing is fine: poetic, prose, articles, rambling, a letter, whatever.

Ready? Set? Go!

blue postcard pelican longing

rain calendar campus lips aspirin

coffee cup tulip rust slipper surgery

moron cap envious symphony candy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Instant Death by Chocolate Recipe

*Warning, warning, Will Robinson! If you're a chocoholic, you may not want to continue reading!*

Instant Death by Chocolate
(aka Death by Mugging)

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in milk and oil, and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed. Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. Eat! (This can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night! {Thanks to my step-daughter for passing this deadly dessert recipe on to me!}

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Fluff

I love trivia of all sorts. I enjoy it so much, in fact, that it sometimes crowds out the more important data I really need to access...say, like my kids' names, long ago conversations and how much money is in my banking account (or not).

Since it's Monday, the day reserved for talking about whatever, I'm gonna share some trivia and fluff with you. So, go grab your favorite beverage and enjoy browsing.

First, this is a super
quick personality test I had fun with. You will be shown some designs/graphics, and you pick your favorite. I didn't believe it, but played along anyway, and the "type" my choice revealed was pretty durn interesting.

Now, for the trivia, which BTW, has its own cool origination: The derivation of the word trivia comes from the Latin for "crossroads": "tri-" + "via", which means three streets. This is because in ancient times, at an intersection of three streeets in Rome (or some other Italian place), they would have a type of kiosk where ancillary information was listed. You might be interested in it, you might not, hence they were bits of "trivia." ~~

  • The word stewardesses is the longest that can be typed with your left hand only.
  • All continents end with the same letter they begin with.
  • Most lipstick contains fish scales, and mascara bat guano.
  • Chewing gum while cutting onions will keep you from crying.
  • Donkeys kill more people than plane crashes.
  • Pinocchio is Italian for pine head.
  • The first twosome ever to be shown in bed together on prime time television was Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

If you're avoiding going to work or doing the laundry, here's one more interesting factoid for ya:

  • I caught a snippet of the Paul Harvey ("The Rest of the Story") radio program yesterday in which he reported that the latest medical studies show people who attend religious services have a 20% lower mortality rate.

Blogland buddies, today's the last day to vote on the monkey photo [scroll down just a bit to see that precious critter] caption winner, so take a sec and cast your ballot in the poll conveniently located in the upper right hand corner. Here are the contenders:

Terri - "Not the hairbrush again!!"
Melissa - "My gas bill is HOW much?"
Barbara - "What? A root canal?!?!?"

Have a great week, and see ya tomorrow!

PS to writing friends on a non-trivial subject-- there's an AWESOME post at our Year of Gratitude (YOG) blog today from author Danielle Younge-Ullman ! (Her debut novel, Falling Under, is newly released, published by Plume/Penguin. (Read a review of Falling Under at Roses & Thorns.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey Flavored Politically Incorrect Kartoons

Yep, go ahead and shake your head at naughty Gumbo Writer. I just can.not help loving the slightly offensive in humor. In particular, I think sassy cartoons around the holidays make a nice side dish to the super sweet and savory other kind of graphics and homespun lovelies...kinda like a delicious slice of real key lime pie a few hours after a humongous holiday feast. Know what I mean?

So, for your Thanksgiving preparation pleasure, here are a few Turkey Day treats for ya [and please do feel free to vote for your fav and/or post a link to your own wicked or weird funny bone tickler]:

1. Maxine Gets Smart:

2. Thanksgiving "Pome":

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your big dinner
Stay off of your thighs!

3. Bad Bad Gobblers:

4. Thanksgiving in Oz:

5. Here, Turkey, Turkey, Turkey:

Many thanks to the friends who shared these yummy Politically Incorrect goodies with me by email!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spotlight On...Monkey Photo Contest Picks

The contest on Thursday was fun, and I enjoyed all the comments/entries. It was really hard to narrow the choices down to just three, but alas, it had to be done. [BTW, a very odd thing happened on the Gumbo Writer's blog "create post" page -- the little icon that lets you switch font colors has disappeared! How strange is that? So if this post does not appear in the normal dark black I am so fond of, please know it's because I had no other choice when I was putting together this post last night. Hey, I wonder if the monkey ate it? Well, I'll be a monkey's just popped back up there, so now I can write in black! Computers and technical stuff can be so maddening!]

Anyhoo, here's the picture for which all you witty and talented people made captions:

Isn't he/she adorable? I can't figure out if it's the humanoid facial expression or the clothes that makes me want to bring this little baby home and make it part of my family! But I digress...again.

The top contenders for the top secret double naught fantabulous prize to be snail mailed are:
  1. Terri - "Not the hairbrush again!!"

  2. Melissa - "My gas bill is HOW much?"

  3. Barbara - "What? A root canal?!?!?"

My caption thought was, "WHUT? Blogger's gonna be down for maintenance for HOW long???!"

Please take a sec to fill out the poll. And remember, only one vote per customer. :) Good luck, contestants!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tagged Again!

For those who were expecting another episode of LEDBETTER LUNACY today, sorry 'bout dat. Due to unforeseen circumstances (chores, errands, others who had doctor appointments and such, and a general lack of time), the artiste was unable to extract the vision in her head and transfer it to paper.

Instead, blog-o-buds, I'll participate in the meme I was tagged for so I can get that out of the way. Ami is the culprit (umm, I mean, friend) who selected me as on of her pals to play along. Visit her site to see her answers and say hey!

Five Things I Was Doing 5 Years Ago:
  • Being the busy mom of 14, 13, and 11-year olds
  • Had just begun being the aide for a wonderful special ed elementary class I'd teach for the following 3 years
  • Freelance writing/editing
  • Enjoying being the co-author of an inspirational book, doing interviews, radio shows, a few TV spots, book signings, etc.
  • Facilitating two live writing groups

Five Things on My To Do List:

  • Get blog posts ready for Year of Gratitude (YOG Blog), The Rose & Thorn Literary e-zine's blog and Gumbo Writer
  • Continue agent research
  • Edit a humor short story and send it to target market
  • Grocery shop
  • Go watch youngest son bowl

Five Things I Like to Snack on:

  • Coffee?
  • Nuts (especially sunflower seeds)
  • Cereal
  • Humus and crackers
  • Apples with peanut butter

Five Things I Would Do If I was a Millionaire:

  • Open banking accounts or trust funds for my kids
  • Help fix up the elementary where I taught and my sons' high school down the street from there
  • Donate to the Men's Shelter where I volunteer
  • Give lots away anonymously (especially to a few friends!)
  • Buy a cherry 66 Mustang

Five Places I Have Lived:

  • Have never lived outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Five Jobs I Have Had:

  • Private investigator
  • Caterer/cook (own company and worked for another)
  • Small Biz Owner (residential & commercial cleaning)
  • Freelance
  • Special Education teacher

Five People I Am Tagging:

  • None! But feel free to play along if ya wanna and take the meme rules to your blog for a post!

TGIF to you all. May your day be as special as you are! Huggage!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Floor is Open...for a Contest!

The rules are simple. Look at the photo below. Stare at it if you must. Whatever you have to do to get in the prize zone, do it. After you've gone cross-eyed or come up with a brilliant idea, submit it in a comment. You can either write a caption or the opening line of a story. If the creative juices are really flowing, feel free to submit a short poem of no more than 10 lines.

The top 3 entries, judged by moi, will be entered in a poll beginning Saturday, and running for a few days to give everyone a chance to vote.

The winner will receive via the US Postal Services, a prize of my choosing and of indeterminable value, probably not wrapped in the above manner. Doesn't that sound fun? No? Do it anyway. Your creative nature is screaming to get out!

Okay, here's the contest photo:

[I can already hear it "speaking" to go ahead, post your thoughts!]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random Writing Tips

We're all tired of hearing how the odds are stacked against writers, and how selling a first novel is impossible in this economy. We're saturated with pessimistic ponderings from publishers and literary agents. We know the bad odds, and yet we keep on writing, working hard and waiting.

So, while we wait for things to "get better," how about some hopeful stuff to read? According to agent Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency, the news for debut authors isn't all bad. In a recent blog post she advises, "I would be concentrating on writing the best freaking novel you are capable of writing because lots of debuts astound the market." Read the rest here:

Author/blogger Holly Kennedy thinks we should all get a bottle of Bum Glue and get busy. [I know some of you already saw her post because I read your comments over there. I think you'll agree it's an inspiring read.] Check out the blog entry and see if I'm not telling the truth:

Along with these two ladies' thoughts, I'll share some good tips I got from a writing conference not too long ago. The NYT best selling authors were generous with their tippage too, so here's a few tidbits to file away for later:
  • Successful writers run the business of writing like any other -- with a business plan. Update it every six months or so, but definitely annually.
  • Start and keep a perspective agent file with research notes, including who gets the big sales and large advances. Look for agents who love what you write; don't waste your time on those who don't.
  • A good friend and successful author who's writing book 5 or 6 now advises using the "shotgun" approach to finding an agent. When your synopsis and query packet is as good as it can be, send it far and wide.
  • When your manuscript is accepted, or while it is making the rounds, begin work on your second.
  • Check the shelves of your favorite bookstore (brick & mortar, as well as online) to see what's hot in your genre. Check the acknowledgment pages while you're there to see if agents are mentioned. If so, add them to your list.
  • Branding is important and should extend to your website, logo design, blog, etc.
  • Follow the rules and preferences of the person(s) and place(s) to which you plan to submit. If you don't, you'll likely end up in the slush pile.
  • Have a log line/hook line/tag line for your book, and one for your writing style-- a short, catchy description that will help an agent or editor grasp and remember your book. [Ex. "Ledbetter writes as if she is the love child of Wally Lamb and Dorothy Allison."]
  • Your synopsis should explain what the emotion of your story is.

Okay, we all know that after five minutes of a lecture or a page of notes, our brains turn off. In the interest of mental health, I'll stop here for now.

So, how's about some tit for tat? What's the best writing, publishing or agent-finding tip you ever got?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chicken Salad Recipe

It's Tuesday once again, so that means it's time for Gumbo Writer to pull out her trusty recipe file and share something good with her friends. Today's offering is something my family loooooves. It's perfect party food too, and yes, it's great for using up leftovers and staples you probably already have on hand.

But before we begin, let's all take (or re-take) the Home Cook's Pledge I originally posted here:

"I will henceforth and forever after not feel guilty when a member of this household accuses me of not providing for their nutritional needs. I know there is plenty of food in this house. And in fact, the very next time I hear words to the contrary, I will smack the offender in the head with this wooden cooking utensil and take myself out to dinner. This I do swear, on the ____ day of _____ month, 20__, in the sacred names of Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima and Chef Boyardee."

Best Ever Chicken Salad

1 roasted chicken (found at bigger store's deli already prepared)
2 cups fat-free mayo (I use Duke's), or more to taste
1 cup Craisins
1 cup nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts or a mixture)
1 small green apple, skin on and chopped small
2 cups seedless grapes, cut in half

Debone chicken and cut in small cubes. Mix all other ingredients in and stir well. Voila! You've got an awesome sandwich spread, cracker dip or even a nice side dish with soup. I've also put the chicken salad on lettuce bowls.
Before and After pics:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Which Superhero are You?

Ever fantasized about being a superhero in real life? Have an idea which one you'd be, or would you make up your own comic book personality? Would you save the world? Clean your house at the speed of light? Have the ability to speed-read books in five minutes? Fly through the universe and explore unknown galaxies? Vaporize mean and evil people in your path?

If you've got a few minutes, this quiz is fun and just might clue you in to a new facet of your personality. Have fun and don't forget to report your results. Whichever hero represents you, hope your week is a super one!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Politically Incorrect Kartoon (PIK)

Hello, bad children of the Blogosphere! For your giggly enjoyment, today's offering of PIKs are below. I'm numbering them, so please "pik" your fav and let me know in a comment.

1. Rabid Fan:

2. Holiday Happiness:
3. DST:
4. Sniper Kitty:

5: Smoky the Snowman:

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