Book-"Devil in the White City", Reality TV Reviews, Reince Prebus Comes to Delaware, WII and Fitness

The National Chair of the Republican Party came to the swamps of Delaware last week. We’ve got some pics and video. Here’s hoping that peace will once upon descend upon our local GOP that so disrupted our group during the candidacy of Christine O’Donnell.

We’ve got a book review of a book that tells a most amazing story. It might be a tale of a famous world’s fair or it might be a shocking story of a serial killer. It mesmerizes, it teaches, it leaves the reader with so much to ponder. It’s “Devil in the White City”.

Some links to the many TV reviews from my column with The Morton Report, including The Bachelorette, The Next Food Network Star, Hell’s Kitchen, many more.

Guest writer Michelle amuses us with tales of penguins, exercise and her WII.

Pic of the Day

”Take Back Delaware” Event Kicks Off With National RNC Priebus

This past Saturday, 8/20/11, husband and I attended an event featuring the Chairman of the National Republican Party. It was called the “Take Back Delaware” kick off. The plan is for the Republicans to get rid of the one party (Democrat) rule that is destroying this state. There is also the divide caused by former Delaware House member, Mike Castle, who continuously voted against the wishes of the Republican base. Christine O’Donnell unseated Castle in the Republican primary and the state’s Republican party was ripped apart.

It took a lot of anguish and darn near pitchforks and tar, but eventually the Blue Bloods of the Delaware GOP were methodically removed from the State Chair on through the Sussex County Chair.

Below is a picture of the new Delaware State Chair-John Sigler. Sigler was once the President of the National Rifle Association and he replaced that awful, awful Tom Ross.

Below is a picture, blurry, of Reince Priebus, Chair of the National Republican Party.

Sussex County Republican Chair introduces Delaware State Republican Chair-John Sigler.

State Republican Chair introduces National Republican Chair, Reince Priebius.

Two short videos of Reince Prebus speaking at the “Take Back Delaware” event.


Here is the definition: "Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation."

"Where there's a will, I want to be in it," is a type of paraprosdokian.

Ok, so now enjoy!

1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

3. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. Evening news is where they begin with 'Good Evening,' and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

10. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

12. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'

13. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

18. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

19. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

20. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

21. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

22. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

23. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

24. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

25. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

26. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

27. A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.

28. Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.

29. I always take life with a grain of salt. Plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.

30. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

[of course they also use foam, dry chemicals, CO2, yes and backfires when fighting brush fires]

Words of Wisdom

"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."


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(Harry is doing well. He is back at work and while it's a bit earlier than he probably should be, that's how it works when you're self-employed. If you don't work, money doesn't come in. He is being careful and he has help.)

Just before Harry's surgery, we bought a barbecue. It's a Weber Summit and now that he's well enough to cook, we found out it works really well. Or maybe it's the chef that works really well. Either way, the pork chops and hamburgers that have come off the barbecue so far were really yummy. The only bad thing is we have a major coordination problem.

Harry does the meat, and that's wonderful. But . . . man does not live on meat alone, even if he wants to. The side dishes are up to me, and so far my timing hasn't been so hot. In fact, the pasta was definitely cold.

With practice, I think we'll be able to sync up the meat de-grilling at the same time the pasta de-stoves. Hopefully. If not, we're doomed to a long succession of cold side dishes.

My coordination is lousy on the Wii, too.

Every one of the multiple options require balance and coordination. Even the yoga poses. (Maybe especially the yoga poses.) Need proof? Here's my typical afternoon regime.

Around 4:00pm is my designated Wii Workout Time. Originally I had done it early in the day but when I then switched to afternoon on the first weekday, I got scolded by the game. I should do this at the same time every day, it told me. Okay, fine. Time to get home, put the dogs out, check for anything pressing to do at alaHouse, then on the Wii around 4. Works pretty good.

Start light. Hmmm. Yoga is light. First up, Palm Tree. Stand on one leg, raise my arms, and hold. Ten seconds, twenty seconds, thirty seconds. Sounds easy in the Drivel, doesn't it? (Here's a test for you. Leave the computer, stand in the middle of your room and try it. Harder than it sounds, isn't it?)

That floating dot shows me what my balance is doing.

At five seconds I wobble. At ten seconds I clutch the cabinet to keep from falling down. At twenty-one seconds my raised foot touches down for just a heartbeat, to regain the balance I've been trying wildly to keep since second eleven. At thirty seconds, the Wii tells me "good job!" Apparently it can't see what I'm doing.

Next is a couple of aerobics exercises. First, a three and a half minute jog. That one is actually pretty easy. (Yesterday I got eager and advanced a bit and ended up spending sixteen minutes jogging. Ouch!)

Next, Basic Step. Basic, right? Ha! I have a pattern to follow, and characters on the screen doing it, too, so you'd think I could follow along and put my feet in and out at the right times. Sigh. Right foot on the Wii Balance Board. Left foot on the Board. Right foot off. Left foot off. Repeat. That part I do okay.

Then the game wants me to go sideways. Right up, left up, right off, left off, right up, left up, right to the right, left to the right, left up, right up. Say what? I mess up so badly the game has to stop and wait for me.

For me, at least, the aerobics part of this is trying to keep from playing Twister instead.

Finally that's done and I can see what a lousy score I got. The game tells me not to worry; my body may not be used to exercise.

On to Balance! This one I'm liking. I really suck at it, but Feed The Penguin is cute. I stand on the Balance Board and shift my weight from side to side. On the screen, I'm controlling an ice flow and my character is dressed in a penguin suit. She slides to the right if I press my weight on the right and slides to the left if I press left. A sudden switch pops her into the air slightly. Too slow a change and she slides off into the sea.

All the time, fish are jumping fish-style across the ice. When my sliding, popping penguin encounters one, I get points. One point for small blue fish, two points for larger green fish, and a whopping ten points for the harder red fish, who don't cross the ice but just hover slightly out of reach on the side. It requires a decent slide and a good pop to get a red fish.

(I never thought I'd be saying something like that.)

Last for the day, try something new. Today it was Free Step. This one is really, really easy. Step up on the board, one foot, two feet, then off, one foot, two feet. For ten minutes. Easy! Oh, wait. At minute five, I realized the characters on the screen are swinging their arms, too. Swing when the first foot goes on the Board. Swing the other way when the second foot comes off the Board. Foot up/swing. Foot up. Foot off. Foot off/swing.

I tried it.

And forgot to move my feet.

Turns out I can either step on, step off or I can swing, swing. Not both. Well, at least not yet.

Overall, I'm having fun but not getting really good scores. I was wondering if all this was helping any (because I haven't lost any weight) when I dropped my pencil at work and it rolled under my desk.

Bending, reaching, stretching to get it, I realized the Wii is working. I can tell the difference from the last time I had to get something out from under there. This time it was definitely easier.

So, it's working. Somewhat. My coordination still sucks.

Don't expect to see me on Dancing With The Stars anytime soon.


The Desk Drawer writer's exercise



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”Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

It was a major effort to wrap my mind around the subject of this book. Which might be because the book had so many subjects the mind gets boggled.

The commonality in all of the topics covered in this book, written in 2003, is the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. This fair was called the White City but as the author amply illustrates, it was surrounded by the black of despair and horrible murder.

There were a bevy of famous people featured in this book. There were famous architects, including the designer of Central Park in New York as well as Jackson Park, the Chicago locale for Chicago’s world’s fair. The inventor of the Ferris wheel, George Ferris, built his first ride bearing his name at the Chicago World’s Fair. The Fair featured Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and such luminaries as Thomas Edison and Theordor Dreiser were part of the Fair’s surround.

One of the major subjects of the book was a fellow named Henry Holmes. The author alternated the various book chapters amongst the subjects of the Fair.

Holmes was a serial murderer and his connection to the fair was more logistical than as in any part of its creation.

I found myself hurrying through the sometimes mind-numbing tales of the angst of creating the fair to come again to a chapter about the infamous Holmes. Because it’s difficult to believe that such a cold-blooded human being could have walked this earth, murdering woman and children so cavalierly that it chills one’s soul.

In fact, Holmes own a pharmacy and hotel near the Chicago fair. He specifically had a special room housing a kiln that could hold an extremely high heat. He also would, if in need of money, hire a surgeon to strip bodies of his victims of all skin and flesh and would sell the skeletons to medical schools.

The author acquaints the reader with several of Holmes known victims, which included his own child. There were many females who succumbed to Holmes’ infamous charm and eventually met their faint in his chamber of horrors.

Which is not to say that the story of the Chicago World’s Fair wasn’t compelling. There was the assassination of the Mayor, the state of the country’s economy, desultory, streets filled with homeless, despair.

The infamous fair itself was a most magnificent creation for its era, as the reader learns. The Midway was a walk of wonder and a pre-cursor of Midways of fairs across the fruited plains, no doubt.

The author ends the book with the story of Holmes and how he eventually was captured and met his own fate.

It’s a teaching book. This reader learned so much about this major American event that I’d never known of even with an education all the way through college.

I was left with a lot of questions but they were good questions, questions an author who did his or her job would want the reader to have. I pondered an endeavor that cost so much in terms of money but also human life during such a dark economic time in America. I pondered such a wanton murderer could operate so blatantly and not get caught for so many years. I pondered that the Chicago World’s Fair might well have been the birthplace of modern architecture, both in building and landscaping.


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My TV Reviews on the Morton Report Last Month

Big Brother 8/1/11

The Bachelorette 8/2/11

Food Network Hell’s Kitchen 8/7/11

America’s Got Talent 8/8/11

Big Brother 8/9/11

Design Star 8/10/11

The Bachelor Pad 8/11/11

Love In the Wild 8/12/11

Project Runway 8/13/11

Food Network Star, Master Chef 8/14/11

Big Brother 8/16/11


A Brain Infection? A Medical Journey Surpassed by Few

A Medical Odyssey to a Quadruple Heart Bypass

To My Townhall Blog

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My Face Book Page

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