This won’t end well…
My doctor said I had too much stress and needed a hobby.
Me. I’m on the far right.
“Have you thought about gardening?” he said. “Gardening takes away stress. And if you grow and eat vegetables, it’ll help your bowel movements.”
I wasn’t too sure about this bowel movement thing. I already shit 2 or 3 times a month as it is. I was worried about what adding bowel movements to that would do to my free time.
And I wasn’t too sure about the hobby thing, either. I’ve had hobbies before. They have all gotten me in trouble. My last hobby was target practice. It was boring, so I started shooting at tires on moving cars out on the parkway. You’d be surprised at how much that ups the challenge.
“Give it up,” my attorney told me. “You can’t afford any more trouble.”
I tend to believe him, even…
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…from social media — funny guy named Jesse — asked me to write down this recipe. As a rule (there is no rule, I’m just making that up), I don’t write down recipes. At all. Especially not this one. That’s because the last time someone asked me to write down this recipe, she died. (Not making that up.) So read this recipe at your peril, make it if you dare, and eat it with whomever you plan to kiss goodnight. Or goodbye. Or whatever.
(caramelized vegetables with garlic-yogurt sauce)
3 yellow summer squash, or 5 zucchini (or courgette, or whatever you call them in your country. They are “kabak” here in Turkey, but you don’t care and why should you?)
3 eggplants (aubergine, “patlican”)
3 sweet red peppers (the kind you would roast, not red bell peppers, although those would be okay I suppose, you heathen) (“kirmizi biber”)
3 sweet green peppers (not bell peppers)
1 or 2 sliced, hot green peppers, more if you are a full-grown dragon (optional)
1 cup olive oil
2 cups full fat, unadulterated plain yogurt
8 fat cloves of garlic, fewer if you are a baby dragon (none if you are not a dragon at all, and how sad for you)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
pinch of fine (table) salt
strain the yogurt if it seems runny (an hour should do it; we’re not making yogurt cheese here)
mash the garlic cloves and coarse salt with a wooden mortar and pestle; it should be pretty much liquified — you don’t want big pieces of raw garlic to chomp on; stir the mashed garlic into the strained yogurt and refrigerate, covered
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (dragons, just use your breath)
Fry the vegetables in olive oil:
cut the squash into 3/4 inch cubes, sprinkle them with a little fine salt, and stir fry them in a single layer in a large frying pan in 1/4 cup olive oil, over medium high heat, just until they start to soften and have some well-browned sides; remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and scatter into a small, shallow roasting pan
cut the peppers into 1 inch pieces and fry them in the same oil, just until they blister; add them to the squash pieces in the roasting pan
add the remaining oil to the frying pan and heat it, while you
cut four strips of peel lengthwise from the eggplants and cut them into 3/4″ cubes.
add the eggplant pieces to the pan, sprinkle them with a little fine salt, stir them until they are equally oil-sodden little sponges, and fry them until they, too, have some well-browned sides. You might need to add even more oil, but don’t worry; they will release quite a lot of this oil in the oven. Add the fried eggplant to the roasting pan and stir in the hot pepper slices, if using.
Roast the vegetables for 15-25 minutes (This is to your taste. 25 minutes makes them a dark, sweet, creamy, lightly carcinogenic, suitable-for-toothless-Turkish-mothers-in-law mush). Transfer the vegetables and their oil to a shallow serving dish.
Serve warm or at room temp with yogurt sauce (on the side or smothering them, your choice), sprinkled with the pepper flakes if you wish. For vegans, omit the yogurt sauce; the caramelized veggies are pretty tasty without it. And they are pretty good cold, too.
Try not to die.
Have you ever considered that there are some words you dislike, that irritate you, but you don’t know why?
I never did.
In fact, I found it amusing to know that some people can’t bear to hear the words “moist” or “panties”… even when they aren’t used in the same sentence as “grab ’em by the pussy”. But lately it’s occurred to me that there are some very useful words that I’ve come to hate.
And I know why.
Here are just a few of them:
bellicose, braggart, bully, liar, delusional, two-faced, greedy, slanderer
Think about it. Are there any words YOU hate, that you’d like to share?
You don’t have to say why.
A few years ago, and just yesterday…
Yesterday would have been my mother’s birthday. I thought and thought about how I wanted to commemorate it, but didn’t quite find the right thing. Then, today, I found this video:
These marvelous pigs, drawn by the amazing Sandra Boynton, look so much like the first thing my mom taught me to draw — little pigs made of circles and triangles, with wry little smiles and snuffly, naughty noses…
I’m glad that she read part of my first novel, that she saw that I was finally on my way to being a published author. That she said, “I’m proud of you.” That I said, “You are the best mom, ever.” And I’m sorry she’s missed the rest of my flight. But Mama’s little piggy took wing and she’s defying the laws of gravity every day.
Wish she could have seen my website. (I did it all myself, Mom.)
Gotta go blow my snuffly nose, now…
It’s Alive! The 2nd edition of our charity antrollogy for grown-ups, For Whom the Bell Trolls, is now available at Amazon! With two new stories and an afterword by Aristotle, no less! Here’s a little something…
…about the Antrollogy
Submitted for your perusal: a smorgasbord of trolls. Literal trolls, literary trolls. Trolls in space, trolls in cyberspace. Trolls that are naughty, trolls that are nice. Troll detectives, trolls that have lice. That’s just the way it is, with trolls.
…about The Authors
Some of the authors are well-known. Some are just not well, not well at all. Some are hiding under their beds, or possibly bridges. Some should be. That’s just the way it is, with authors.
Our international authors have something in common: they have contributed their work for free, in hopes that readers will make donations to charities they support — charities listed in their bios, after their stories.
All but two of these stories were written for this antrollogy. All but one are making their debut. We hope you’ll enjoy the stories and follow their authors’ links to your doom. (Just testing whether you read this far. You did.)
… about The Editors
John L. Monk and I met online, and were immediately smitten… with each other’s books. So much so, in fact, that the moderator told us to get a room.
Instead, I got the idea for a charity antrollogy — after being “trolled” on a spoof news website. I penned the title story and invited a select group of authors to write their own, starting with John. Some were members of critiquecircle.com, my favorite online critique group; others were published authors John and I had met through reviewing books or stories, or through KBoards, the website devoted to all things Kindle. Some were spotted at The Writer’s Pub, an online authors’ hangout. A few we met along the way… and two were brave souls who had stuck up for me on that naughty news site. Much to my surprise, almost everyone said yes!
For more about us and all the authors, please read the bios after our stories. As for those books that got us into this troll story business…
I would like to thank The Academy…
Once upon a time, For Whom the Bell Trolls was mine, all mine. That is to say, the concept was mine: invite indie authors to build a book about trolls — a book that could showcase our talents and make cold, hard e-cash for worthy causes.
I’d love to take the credit for everything; I will take the credit (and the blame) for the puns and pictures, for the silly Easter Egg Hunt, and for each and every typo in this unique book. But For Whom the Bell Trolls is unique because of all the talented and generous people who came together to make it so. The authors have donated their stories for free, but they’ve also been troopers throughout the editing process, crying “Uncle” (more often “Auntie”) for the greater good — sometimes gladly, sometimes stoically. (Sometimes, I suspect, huddled in their closets, their anguished cries muffled by flimsy lingerie clutched to their quivering lips and heaving bosoms — and that’s just the men.) Some of the authors also helped with proofreading, and the charming and hilarious John L. Monk, “Droll Troll” and co-editor, really had my back.
Thanks always to my much better half, Boo, for putting up with all my crazy, all these years, and for all the awesome tech support.
This book is dedicated to Gretchen Sackett, my kick-ass sister, who made the publication of the first edition possible. Gretchen died suddenly only three months after the release of its first edition , and hearts were broken from sea to shining sea. If you’d like to know more about this amazing woman, please read my blog post about her:
Now that the second edition is out, I’d love to thank by name everyone who reviews it, who tweets and shares and blogs about it, but of course that is impossible. And for those who donate to the charities: Thank you. You’re good eggs. For Whom the Bell Trolls… trolls for thee. Stop by our facebook page anytime, to chat. But first…
… about our Book Launch
Please join me and as many of the authors as we can lasso on Saturday, December 17th at noon, US Central Time Zone, for our Book Launch Event, hosted by Scott Burtness, author of the Monsters In The Midwest series! Feel free to ask us impertinent questions, learn Too Much Information about our sordid lives and books, and otherwise spend up to two hours of your precious Holiday Shopping Time with us, huddled with the device of your choice wherever you generally huddle when doing embarrassing things on the Internet.
I expect there will be a giveaway or two, too! Hope to see you there.
Not only was she determined and brilliant and patient and desperately kind, she was sometimes quite funny. If I was stumped, she’d say, “Just give it some time.” If my letters sucked, she’d shake the bag. “Drowning in vowels? Jump in here and swim for some consonants!” Sometimes she’d say, “Let’s see what you’ve got; let’s do it together. I’ll help you. Then you can help me.”
Every game with her and my three sisters was a lesson in friendly competition, in loving cooperation. I learned from her — and My very little sister — that the only real way to lose was to give up in frustration, was kicking the table and sending the letters flying. But this was no “everyone gets a trophy just for participating” sort of game. There was always a winner, and it was never me, not for years. Still, I kept playing, and when I finally won all on my own, she couldn’t have been more proud. And then we played again. And I lost.
I told someone just the other day how we used to play: how, although there was always a winner, we thought the real competition was getting the highest overall score — that the Total of All Our Efforts mattered the most. That Someone thought I was crazy; she truly believed that the only point of a game — every game — was to crush the competition and emerge victorious and alone.
How sad for her, and for all who live like her. For all who think like her. For all who vote like her. For people who never knew my mom.
A couple of days ago, America held an election. Less than half of the country voted. Then, thanks to the unfair nature of the Electoral College, less than half of the voters — let’s call them People Who Never Knew My Mom — kicked our national card table from below and chose a new president. It was a low blow, a hard kick; it sent the pieces of our lives flying. Some of these People Who Never Knew My Mom had recently been kicked out of the game for deplorable behavior. (Racism, Misogyny, Homophobia, Religious intolerance…) Others were hard-working folks who quite rightly felt left behind for years, felt like the Rest of us always won and they didn’t have a chance, because the game was rigged against them and no one seemed to care. And they weren’t wrong, but they were conned into voting for the very worst of the riggers. (Just sayin’.) They wanted to “drain the swamp”; they wanted change, and they voted for it. They voted anti-establishment in the primary, and anti-establishment in the general election. Except, not so much. The facts are that they voted Godzilla in to drain the swamp, but left the same old GOP gators guarding the plug. Still others — mostly white, financially secure, educated voters, let’s call them GOP Gators Who Never Met My Mom — voted for their interests and their interests alone; they clearly saw what Trump would do for them: maintain uncontrolled gun rights, lower their personal and business taxes (if they were rich enough), install Christian right-wingers in the court, gut social programs that THEY don’t need, and try to bleach our multi-hued nation just that much whiter by keeping the immigrants out.
We don’t yet know where all our letters will land, but it isn’t looking good. These people, my countrymen and women, think they have emerged victorious. But everybody lost.
They’ve had their tantrum, and Folks, it was a doozy. The world was watching, aghast and in disbelief, and we’re embarrassed for them and for ourselves. And we’re scared. And some of us are having tantrums of our own. Both sides are capable of bad things — deplorable things — for the sake of their idea of good. But we’ll pick up the pieces and play again. And this time let’s Remember it isn’t just a game, the world is watching, and millions — billions — of real lives hang in the balance. No one really stands alone and victorious, unless they stand on a pile of ruins.
As for the worst of us, we won’t let them ruin it for everyone.
If they think Deplorable Behavior will be fun for long, they’ve got some new words to learn. We all need to learn them. “Empathy” would be a good start: seven letters, you can spell it on your own. “Tolerance” and “Cooperation” would be good, too. Both are words that take more than one turn to accomplish, that take building on another’s word.
Seven years ago today, my mother died. I wish I could have played Words With Friends with her on Facebook. Fact is, I’ve had a few Words With Enemies on facebook lately and while I’m up to the challenge, I’d rather play Words With FRIENDS. There are millions of folks like me, and we’ll keep playing until all Americans, especially those hard-working folks who’ve been left out, are winning.
Well, almost all. All you Deplorables — you racists, misogynists, homophobes and religious extremists? Let me spell it out for you, metaphorically of course:
Go stand in what was once your nice, safe corner of the world with your blinders and your Deplorable Dunce Caps on, and think about what you’ve done. Because it isn’t Safe anymore. Beyond this place, there be dragons…
It’s too bad you never knew my Mom. Metaphorically.
Good luck to awesome author and journalist David Lawlor in his new life, making our families’ pasts come to, er, life! His is one of the few blogs I still read, and his story in our upcoming “antrollogy” reboot (yes, it really does exist!) is one of my favorites.
Jobs are funny things … you can invest your heart into them, or you can simply take the money and run. I’ve tended towards the former rather than the latter in the course of my journalistic career, but that’s about to change.
After 18 years with my current employer I’m about to head off into the great unknown – and not by choice, but by redundancy. It’s a little scary as prospects go but I’m hearted by the example of others who have made the same leap and found that everything has worked out just fine.
You only have to look to Pope Francis II for an example. Before he donned a collar of his own, he used to grab people by theirs. You see, Il Papa used to be a bouncer in a Buenos Aires nightclub before he answered the call (and I don’t mean the one for last…
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Give it up for John L. Monk! He’s done it again…