Sunday, January 27, 2008

More Chocolate

My old boss Dan used to tell me I was spiritual which showed how little he knew me even after 5 or 6 years; occasionally religious yes but spiritual no, and quite glad about that (although he meant it as a compliment). Still, given my love of chocolate, had I known that one could download a daily moment of spirituality from Hershey's Kisses to provide "motivational, love and friendship quotes for enjoying life to the fullest" maybe I would have done so and then turned out totally different...

More to the point, I recently came across a bin of Hershey's Kisses marked 75% off and tossed one package into my basket, thinking they were part of a post-holiday markdown. In fact, they were Chocolate Marshmallow Kisses and although I found the flavor a bit odd at first, that didn't stop me from nibbling half a bag as I tried to tidy up my home today. Since I can't find them on the Hershey's website, I wondered if they were being test marketed in Boston or whether they were a dramatic failure and are being discontinued? It turned out they were a limited edition, and going a pretty penny on eBay had I thought to buy two bags!

Did you know Hershey's Kisses have been around since 1907?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chocolate Bread

I talk about cooking a lot more than I actually do anything about it, and like Betsy Ray, I am able to make a company dinner and little else. However, I own an new and as yet unused silicone loaf pan waiting to be filled, and I now realize chocolate bread is clearly the right choice for this project. Just read this description from NPR and drool...

If you like your chocolate gooey and compliant, you could pop a slice in the toaster. If you like your chocolate firm, dark and potent, you could eat it as it was. Either way, the bread was mouth-filling, faintly decadent and addictive in both the short and long term.

Either way? For a second, I thought I had to choose!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Superbowl Bound!

I was rooting for Brett Favre and the Packers to join the Patriots in Arizona on February 3. Perhaps this is remnant fondness from the Green Bay Replay book I worked on at Avon years ago (and how I wished I had insisted on attending a game at historic Lambeau then when the late Dick Schaap was able to get us tickets). In 1997, I organized a sweepstakes for all the Barnes & Nobles in Wisconsin: as I recall, each store got a pair of tickets which were supposed to be given to the salesperson who sold the most books. Most of the contests I tried to organize related to books were quickly rejected, and even that one was not supported by management but the stores were thrilled and very cooperative when I called them (confirming my theory that the farther one got from NY the more receptive staff were to promotional ideas, so long as they weren't overly inconvenienced).

In any case, Eli Manning and the Giants somehow managed to win in OT, much to my disappointment (although I have nothing against Eli). However, since the Giants are my former boss Dean's beloved team, I am happy for him and Will Pesce (Will has the good sense to root for my Blue Devils when he is not cursing - I mean, rooting for - the Giants). The local Boston media appears delighted that we are facing yet another NY team in an epoch contest. It is hard to believe they enjoy hanging out with the likes of the miserable Murray Chass but maybe they are softened by William Rhoden's acknowledgement of Bill Belichick as the genius coach of all time. I guess they realize the ongoing rivalry between Boston and NY will give them something fresh (?) to write about during the endless next two weeks. Despite my mixed feelings about Belichick and Brady, of course, I want the Patriots to win! And everyone loves Tedy Bruschi! I would have thought Tedy or Mike Vrabel would be the captain of the team but to my amusement I see there are SEVEN captains which seems like overkill.

Jeff Brown, don't you wish you had listened to me in 1992 when I urged you to ask Bill Belichick to do a leadership book?

Miss Manners has this advice for non-sports fans. If there are any besides my grandmother.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What to buy the person who has everything

Her own copy of the Magna Carta!  There are four original copies left.

 I promise I would put it in a place of honor in my living room!

Friday, January 18, 2008

another Children's Literature Quiz

This quiz is slightly harder and more focused on British books but should not pose difficulty for my well read friends...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Got old sneakers?

NIKE Reuse-A-Shoe And Let Me Play Programs will take your old, worn-out sneakers and make them into sport surfaces (everything from tennis courts to soccer fields) for the refurbishment of courts destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Visit the Nike website for its reuseashoe program which lists how and where to drop off your shoes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Children's Literature Quiz

This quiz was not very difficult - but can you get a perfect score? Perhaps I would have to write one myself to really challenge my expert friends.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Early Bird Gets the Bad Grade

Having read this NYT article, I now believe I have the body clock of the teenagers it describes - that must be why I have such a hard time getting to work as early as I would like! You know what Ben Franklin would have to say about it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ambassador for Children's Literature

No, it's not me, but rather Jon Scieszka - what a fun job and comes with a $25,000 stipend! There is a funny story about his book, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, and one of my former bosses at Penguin, but it is easier to relate in person without spoiling the punch line.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Christmas books

I try to give books for Christmas presents, and found something for nearly everyone in the family:

King of Lies by John Hart for my father, who also got the new Joseph Finder (I was amused that his comment was not, “Oh, New York Times bestseller whose other books I have read,” but “Oh, he spoke at the Harvard Club recently.” Well, maybe he hasn’t read Finder’s other books but I have, since back when a company I worked for published the Moscow Club. They are uneven but some are quite good (not sure about this one or the last one – they are probably misses).

Bess of Hardwick by Mary Lovell (author of the book about the Mitford sisters) for my mother, courtesy of my friend John. I read most of this before I wrapped it and really enjoyed it. I also gave her a paperback for her vacation, What Angels Fear.

Anastasia Krupnik for my niece Alexa, which it turned out she had already read. I had Ophie Out of Oz as a backup but hesitated. It is a cute little book about a girl who switches schools a lot and doesn't always make friends as fast as she would like. However, Alexa will be switching schools soon and I didn't want to precipitate any angst... So it is still in my apartment. I also began reading the nieces Skating Shoes and gave them one of my copies to bring home with them. Here is a picture of me with my nieces at Dillon Field House:

I gave The Princess and the Hound for my niece Victoria, which has a sort of Robin McKinley-esque element (she also received The Keeping Days from my sister-in-law, which I didn't realize Samantha had ever read). Harry the Dirty Dog for Nicholas, Goodnight Boston for Xavier, and several for the nephews in NYC whose books are still waiting to be sent. I decided Christopher was ready for Laura Ingalls Wilder, and James got The Happy Lion, recommended by Kelly.

I received City of Shadows, written by Diana Norman under a pseudonym, which I had been looking forward to for months. I also ordered for myself the new WEB Griffin and the new bio of Alice Roosevelt.

I forgot the most satisfying gift - I found the four books my brother in law was missing from his collection of Three Investigators! He has already begun reading book one, The Secret of Terror Castle to my nephew.