Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm a Quitter

 You should eat what you want on your birthday.  

I sorta wanted one of these:  

But then I wouldn't have had room for a favorite birthday main dish.  So I'll just have to make the trip to Gigi's Cupcakes another day.


1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 1/4 cups water
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
3/4 tsp. salt
1 package (11 1/2 oz) corn chips
Assorted garnishes: sour cream, grated Monterey jack or Cheddar cheese, sliced ripes olives, diced green pepper

In a large skillet cook together ground beef, onion, and garlic until beef loses its color and onion is soft; drain off excess fat. Add remaining ingredients except corn chips; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Serve over corn chips with any desired garnishes.

 Recipe from Winifred Jardine's Managing Your Meals

Thank goodness for a week of favorite foods, because my stack of books has been so trying lately that I quit one after another.

If you want to finish Samantha Hunt's The Invention of Everything Else, you will need to have a thing for the scientist, Nikola Tesla.  She introduced him as a pigeon-feeding recluse living on the 33rd floor of a New York hotel.  A young girl in the hotel befriends him.  I don't care how much they both love pigeons; a friendship between an old man and a young girl creeps me out too much.  This is not to accuse Hunt of dirtying up what may be a perfectly innocent story.  To me, her Tesla was like an airplane seatmate that I'm perfectly happy to avoid conversing with.

Next, I tried  Bad Things Happen, a murder mystery by Harry Dolan.

Now, I respect mystery writers.  They take on a tough job, planting all those clues and giving you reason to suspect the grumpy piano player at the bar, or the troubled city manager with the gambling problem, when all along it was the star student who spends her summers on mission trips.

Yes, I respect what they do.

But there are special potholes that only mystery writers are prone to fall into.   In the search for clever, never-been-done plot twists, something that will really keep us guessing, they can twist human behavior so far out of shape that nobody's really acting human anymore.  Somebody swings a bottle at someone's head.  Somebody inaugurates an affair.   Nobody seems desperate or lonely enough to commit such rashness.  But they plunge ahead anyway, just because we need action that keeps the reader guessing.

Could it be that my brain is diminished from reading a fluffy novel last week? 

But let me just get this off my chest:  The affair is between a woman with long, flowing blonde hair (my goodness, I'm so surprised by this) and the main character.  Mrs. Blonde Hair has no particular complaints against her husband.   She suffers no clinical nymphomania symptoms.   She just gets  up one day and pursues the narrator.

Can you say "author fantasy"?

Mr. Nesquik recently completed a knights-and-druids series wherein a wizardess captures men and beds them 'til they're plumb worn out and begging for mercy.

Uh-huh, they'd all like to meet such a female.

Me, I just want to walk into the cupcake store and eat myself silly.  


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