Monday, December 24, 2012

What Can You Find in Translation?


Speak up!
“Found in Translation” made me realize how emergency operators, space station mechanics, doctors and love letter writers need to be understood. Natally Kelly and Jost Zetzsche have written a fascinating book that explains how nuances in language can change so much in life and death matters and how one enjoys an episode of “The Simpsons.” I read it from cover to cover, in English. I feel like I’ve been around the world and even to outer space.  

Decorate the men
Tamba, aquatin and horizon as colors are still some concepts I’m trying to define. When you are as creative as the Gawdy Bobbles people, you can come up with whole catalogues full of creative  beauty that looks great without a definition. Artists make limited production chic, natural, modern goods including a delicate  white dear skin leather wrap with silver or gold chains weaved in; bar and buckle closure and bracelets in colors from pearl, and juniper to fern and marigold. You just want to reach in photographs and touch these works. See their web site for an extensive line that includes men’s braided leather bolo wraps and metal, magnet closures that are as tough as they are stylish. Guys, women really do like to see a touch of jewelry on men, and these natural pieces are gateway pieces. Investigate.

Lint Lizard
I’m all for getting trapped lint out of the dryer to prevent a fire, so I got a Lint Lizard to try. The test dryer was relatively new, but I’m guessing dryers that have been worked hard would yield the results this As Seen On TV product shows. The long, clear, tube attaches to your vacuum to reach way down in the vent gap and you can use it to clean that taunting, narrow gap between your washer and dryer. I held a flashlight so my daughter could see where the hose was headed and we got the job done fast. You can also or der a Dust Lizard brush attachment so you can clean up crumbs from your keyboard and dust from your air vents. Here’s to a clean sweep of the new year.

Money belt goes chic
Dad’s money belt stuffed with traveler’s checks accompanied us on trips across the south in the ‘70s. Now The Clever Travel Companion travel gear features secret pockets stitched into shirts, undies and long johns. Ditch your fanny pack, belt or purse and stash your passport and cash.
Did you ever have to sleep in an airport? Are you worried you’ll lose your papers while snowboarding? The Clever Travel Companion has you covered. You don’t have to wait for an international journey. My tank top pocket is good for holding a phone and ID. Love it.

The Edge of Glory
The video explaining how to use Edge of Glory knife sharpener actually comes up above the Lady Gaga song by the same name. I didn’t try to sharpen a credit card into a knife so that I could slice a tomato, but I certainly did jazz up several knives from my kitchen drawer. I’m cooking spiced apples as I write this as a reward for my kitchen upkeep diligence. Telebrands says this tiny fist-sized sharpener with dual hardened tungsten carbide teeth is quick and easy. Yes, it is. My favorite feature is a tiny arm use to create a suction on your counter. Once the sharpener is in place, pull your blade to you and you’re sharp. The price is right on this one.

Cut to it by visting

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Party Animals steal the show

Party Animal
Ok, we have to admit it, Party Animal Dancing Pet Speaker is cute, cute, cute. Cobra Digital’s “toys” have adjustable arms so Tom or Cleo the Cats can jive with Sandy the dog. I played with Spike, a black dog with a white belly who made everyone smile when he swayed hips and tilted his head to music from the laptop. My daughter chose “Cabaret” for his debut. Spike goes from Broadway to pop and beyond with style. A portion of Party Animal proceeds benefit animal support groups, so the smiles keep spreading. We brought this to a party and it stopped traffic.

The Yogurt experiments
My friend Brenda stumbled upon my yogurt experiments and now she wants a T-Fal Balanced Living Yogurt Maker, too. It seems young people in her household are consuming flavored store-bought cups of the stuff at an alarming rate. Sure, it’s a better snack/dessert than many other options, but the costs can stack up. Making your own is a budget buster and allows you to control ingredients. You make it with your milk and starter, add fruit, honey, etc. if you like, but leave out a host of artificial gunk that you read about on some labels.
I’ve enjoyed several batches of thick, creamy yogurt from the T-Fal and love the jars with a dial-a-date lid you can pack for work. I heat milk, mix it with starter, fill the jars and set the maker for at least 8 hours. The next morning, the jars are ready to refrigerate. My preference is plain yogurt with honey, nuts, chocolate shavings and such added upon serving. I’ll bet my friend will play around with the cooked fruit versions. For the holidays, I’m going to strain some into yogurt cheese and serve it with olive oil and herbs. Imagine, an addictive hobby like this can help you keep up with New Year’s Resolutions.

The bamboo business
Core Bamboo has a catalogue with the most tempting bamboo kitchen creations. It’s easy to visualize chip and dip bowls, cake pedestals, serving and cutting boards, and serving utensils created in smooth natural, or brightly colored wood. The look is simple and clean and classic and modern. Here’s the thing that amazed me, the knives. I tried a vegetable dicer that’s both soft and sharp, and I even shredded red cabbage with it. I carried it around in my purse for a week just to show people and let them feel it. They were as impressed as I was. The line includes serrated slices for bread. Of course, your cheese tray would be graced by such a well-bread tool.

What you need to know about men
“Men Don’t Pee Straight: And Other Things You Should Know About Us” is Mr. Rick Dean’s little book that reveals much. It’s apparently well documented that men think about food, sex and sleep, and will even on occasion buck the notorious trend for not asking directions if it is for something like sex, sleep or food. Men need attention, the author asserts, and they do so by doing things like yelling, driving fast cars and drinking. Under the fragile ego category, he suggests that asking “Can you lift that” constitutes fighting words. The mode of this book reminds me of ‘70s printings read in the “grown-up” section of gag stores. Of course, it’s meant to be funny and the notions don’t sum up all of mankind, but I’ve got to admit, from my own experience, that I snickered under the cleaning dishes section that men find more than one spoon confusing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Find the holiday frog


Find the Frog at Holiday Inn Park Central
As many years as I’ve been writing about owner Kathie Rachwal’s holiday fantasy display, I didn’t know she hid a frog in there every year for guests to find. I’ve been by a couple of times, but haven’t found it yet.
Judy Schoolfield, sales manager, took me aside at the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce new member showcase to show me the “Man Tree” at the Manhattan Lounge. She slipped and called the club Triangles, which was its name in the ‘80s. Everybody standing around Judy remembered Triangles, including me and some fun college nights of dancing. The Man Tree boasts elves playing poker around a tree decorated with pizza, beer and pool ornaments. Everybody has their own Christmas memories. Make more with these PA highlights:

·         Pompeiian Villa will display 500 Santas through Jan. 18. Call 983-5977 for your personal tour.
·         Plan ahead for Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas! Love and Legends is the theme for an early festival, set for Feb. 7-10 of 2013.

Shop the Museum of the Gulf Coast
The gift shop volunteers are always pointing out the holiday bling at the store. It’s a way to spend locally and support the museum. I wouldn’t mind a Janis Joplin magnet or T-shirt in my stocking.
The Museum had a packed house with the UGK induction recently. The ceremony was mentioned in a lot of music industry media and the New York times.  Visit  for more on “Lights! Camera! Action!”


Monday, December 3, 2012

Wagner's cd and Hipster Chanukah

Wagner planning cd release party
Dwight Wagner says he mentions Jesus in a lot of his songs, but not all of them. Even so, he’s hoping to have a release party for a new recording he hopes will appear in January or February.
He says it’s some gospel, some inspirational and all positive.
Wagner sings City by the Sea, called the Port Arthur Song, and says he’s been invited to write a song to honor Jefferson County. This longtime Port Arthur principal is retired from the Port Arthur Independent School District.
And now, in other holiday news:

Hipster Chanukah
Sweaters can spark faith sharing this holiday season. The “ugly holiday sweater” trend is still hot. Most of these themes trend toward snowmen, Santas and tree bling. Carin Agimand was invited to one and hadn’t a stitch to wear. She created and came up with a line that’s far from ugly. This season I’ll be sporting a fine-quality acrylic/spandex blend adorned with driedles in blue and ivory. The gold model with the Star of David and menorahs in gold tones really rock. If you’ve seen me visiting Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Port Arthur, you know I’m Catholic, but I’m loving the discussions my sweater are turning up. Look up the Hassidic Snowmen, you’ll want your own. I also love the festive postcards that came with, with lines such as “Too Thin? Try some Channukah, fattening Jews up since 165 BCE. Happy Holidays to everyone, and I mean everyone.

It’s all about “hue”
I wish I’d heard of Dermelect’s new Moon Kissed “shimmy off white with silver accents” nail polish before the Triangle Aids Network Paint the Town Silver benefit, but it’s a shoe-in for the rest of the sparkly holiday season. All th Envy, a metallic chartreuse and lust Struck, a coral cream opaque, are others in the Me Resort 2013 Collection with signature peptide technology. They fit into the season’s grend forecast and address fragile and weak nails. The peptide comes from New Zealand sheep’s wool and I’m telling you, this brand goes on smooth. There’s a real difference when you compare this formula to what other brands sold years ago. Even when you remove the product, you can tell Dermelect leaves nails in a better condition.

“Celebrating Home” by Christy Rost
An evening lighting ceremony of switching on small lamps makes the long winter evenings glow for Rost, who must make that myth that Texans and Coloradoans don’t mix dissolve. Her “Handbook for Gracious Living” shares how she sets tables, cooks and entertains in Dallas and Breckenridge. It’s both cozy and lavish and I’m sure every guest leaves with a lasting memory. Her husband is in on this welcoming attitude as they serve dishes such as Sea Scallops iwht tripel Sec-Orange Sauce and Mango Ponzu Salsa. Here’s the chutney she serves with Jumbo Prawns with Feather-Light Crust.
Spicy Mango Chutney
3 ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 –inch cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons tart apple cider
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon dry ginger
¼ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes or until it begins to soften; stir in the chile flakes.
Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of the apple cider to form a  smooth slurry; set it aside. Stir in the remaining cider into the onion mixture and add brown sugar, granulated sugar, vinegar, curry powder, ginger and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir in the mango and reserved cornstarch slurry and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently and the mixture thickens and reduces by one fourth.