Notification From Department (Police)
It says something about my conscience, I suppose, that when I saw that subject line in my inbox this morning, my overly-caffeinated heart momentarily tried to leap from its cavity. See I watched My Name Is Earl
this year and I've learned about Karma
. Previously I thought karma only affected chameleons. I believe it was the Bard who said, It comes and goes, it comes and go-e-oh-oes
But a few weeks ago, I was convinced karma had finally caught up with me in the form of jack-booted state trooper,
despite the fact that I was speeding like an Andretti-on-crack trying to avoid it. I admit I've been very very very very very very lucky over the years concerning my inability to drive the speed limit. I'd been pulled over but once in all my driving years and only through extreme good luck and a car-load of short-skirted women was I able to avoid getting the ticket. But when I saw the mean reds flashing behind me on a recent excursion, I thought to myself, "Well, good for you copper! It's been a long time coming." I didn't cry, I didn't lift my shirt, I just responded to the "Do you know why you've been pulled over, Ma'am?" question with a nod of the head and a big smile.
And then something amazing happened. The state trooper nodded back at me, told me I'd been clocked doing 25 miles over the speed limit (quite a relief!), then instructed me to have a nice day and be on my way.
So you see, when I saw the "Notification From Department (Police)" message in my e-mail box, I immediately thought to myself, what went around has now come around.
Imagine my disgust then when while reading through this missive that I learned: "You have been sent this email notification from the Department of Intellectual Property and Informational Technologies." Clearly this was naught but misdirected junk since obviously I'm in possession of no discernible intellectual property whatsoever. The letter went on to say that my hotmail address was currently under suspicion of false financial activities and "We earnestly ask you to complete all the fields in the attached document and send it by fax (04 498-7400) or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may eliminate you from our investigation."
But the best part of this (Police) message, was the sign off at the bottom. Instead of using I dunno, "Sincerely," the man from the Department of Intellectual Property and Informational Technologies, says, "Yours faithfully."
Mine faithfully? No one ever has EVER been mine faithfully... And then the kicker, he signs it "Michael Lucky Tuluona." Lucky indeed! As in, what kind of dumb luck would he have to have if someone were actually to respond to this? Then again, perhaps it's just another manifestation of karma. Perhaps I should fill out the forn, get my bank account drained and repay my debt, especially considering the fact that me and my lead foot will be hitting the roads again very shortly.
So who knew that the New York Times'
illustrious--and conservative--editorialist, John Tierney, was so openly...fey?
It appears that over the Memorial Day weekend, when his cohorts in politics and commentating were probably going on about patriotism and honor and the duty to serve, Johnny was getting...a manicure!
He writes it off as research, the classic field trip that editorialists very rarely take into the world when they realize they can't solve all the problems from their desk on the Upper West Side. In order to tackle and conquer the big policy issues, like immigration, unemployment and economic opportunity, they need to go see for themselves how the plebs is making out.
So John went to LA and got some manicures. See, his theory is that immigrants aren't stealing American jobs. And he proves it by describing how when all the Vietnamese manicurists started edging out their pricier American counterparts in LA, the Americans just became freelance manicurists. They left the strip malls to the new girls, and upgraded to the luxury spa market in Santa Monica where the clientele wants a nail girl who speaks English.
Nothing beats a real numbers-based policy solution, huh?
John was really impressed with the work he got at Shutters On the Beach! "Harris spent half an hour working on my right hand, gently using compresses infused with tangerine and peppermint as well as hazelnut and menthol scrub." Looks like John has found his cuticles! The $8 counterpart from Nancy Nguyen, a recently-arrievd Vietnamese immigrant, well, John wasn't so pleased: "Nguyen did my left hand in 10 minutes without explaining what she was doing." The nerve.
But John's got as point, and that's that the cheapie manicure serves its function--it's inexpensive, accessible, and it's serving a market that didn't exist before. Relax, nobody's stealing anybody's jobs. And John is willing to go out and get buffed to prove it.
The People's Republic of Brangelina
As the world (or, possibly, the entire universe) eagerly awaits the birth of our twenty-first century messiah, also known as the spawn of Brangelina, the uber-couble have thrown a wrench in the usually well-oiled machine that is the tabloids. Demonstrating a cunning that most would not associate with the photogenic Pitt or Jolie, the couple has sought refuge from the shutterbugs by actually taking over an African nation. Think of it as the new Imperialism. It’s the new British Empire, but with American accents and better teeth!
Yes, eschewing the best hospitals LA (or Scientology) has to offer, the couple has more or less colonized Namibia while they await the latest infant addition to Hollywood’s A-list. Now running off to some remote location to escape the paparazzi is, of course, not entirely original. And their African adventure wouldn’t be all that remarkable except for the fact that the people of Namibia appear to have elevated the couple’s status to somewhere slightly below deity. Yes, the Pitt-Jolies have Namibia eating out of their well-manicured hands. To wit: any foreign journalist that wants to cover the birth (and by “cover” I mean slither through a hospital air duct to get grainy shots of the tip of the newborn’s head while swaddled in blankets) has to get written permission from the Pitt-Jolies to even enter the country. Now that’s clout.
Even better? An informal poll by a Namibian radio station found that listeners were evenly split on whether a national holiday should be declared on the date the Most Beautiful Baby In The History Of Mankind is born. Let’s get some context here – it took 15 years to create the federal Martin Luther King, Jr. day. (But, really, what he did do compared to the unborn child of People magazine’s annual Sexiest People alive?)
Well, you know how these things go. If one A-lister has something then they all have to have it. (I’ll be damned if Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are going to sit idly by while Brangelina are worshipped daily by all of Namibia. They have feelings, too, people.) So get those travel brochures ready, nations of Africa. Opportunity’s knocking. I’m looking at you, Cameroon. Dust off the red carpet and start putting that power-point presentation together now. You want to be ready if Tom and Katie (Kate, I meant Kate! Dammit. An honest mistake. Don’t sue, Tom) decide to give Suri a brother.
(And check out a new piece by yours truly at The Morning News. It's Brangelina's favorite site. www.themorningnews.org
Ready For Their Close Ups?
I'm beginning to think twins are no longer just the provenance of Doublemint commercials, Devito/Schwarzenegger films and all the Grups
in my neighborhood. Check out the folks in these photos (at least 1/2 the pair was seen in the yesterday's NYTimes) and tell me they haven't been separated at birth:
On the left h'oil heir Brandon Davis, the lovely young gentleman who, to curry favor with a certain classy dame named Paris, besmirched La Lohan by calling her a "firecrotch." On the right, actor Charles Laughton
, in "The Sign of the Cross" playing Nero, the man who fiddled as Rome burned.
On the left, we find Reverend Jerry Falwell
.(And if we may--a moment of self-congratulation here--we're certain to be the FIRST to have ever written that
sentence!) On the right, Deputy Dawg, the bloated cartoon figure who believes he represents the will of the people and can thereby interpret the law.
On the left, actor Ron Perlman
in "Desperation," on the right, actor Ted Danson in Hollywood. Same same.
What seems most amazing is that not only do these people physically resemble one another, each also appears to have a deeper connection to his doppelganger.
Am I implying that rich trash is emblematic/a cause of the fall of an empire? Am I suggesting that exhuming old stars and placing them in sitcom retreads
is a desperate act among the Networkeratti? Do I mean to intone that Jerry Falwell is no more credible than a caricature? Well, regardless of what John McCain
now wants us to believe, perhaps it is best to let these disturbing images speak for themselves.
Bill 'n' Hill
It was with great
delectation that I read today's New York Times
story--a front page, top of the fold story, no less!--about the always fascinating thing that the Clintons' call their marriage. For years I've wondered--intrigued, envious--what could hold together a relationship that had survived: countless skanks, living in Arkansas, pathetic headbands, more penis control issues, abrasive perosnality control issues, excessive golfing, serious humiliation, serious standing-by-your-man, serious rationalizing-slash-lying to Senate and House committee panels, a daughter, a daughter's awkward phase, fading semen stains, bad calves, improving hair, a big book deal, a less big book deal, some bypass surgery, still fucking golfing all the time, a severely premature presidential run, and a really embarassing portrait.
Well, the Times
today--plunging into Star
-worthy celebu-voyeurism that's as a delicious as the story itself--gives us the exact formula. So forget couples therapy, quit trying have a talk with him because you know he hates that shit, and follow these simple steps:
- Spend about 14 days a month together, neither less, and definitely no more. Try to do this in the privacy of either a suburban New York mansion, or a Georgetown mansion. Always with a dog.
- In February, spend only one day together, ideally Valentine's day, because remember that this is not about being together, it's about getting the most mileage for everyone out of seeming like we're together.
- In August, however, spend 24 out of the 31 days together.
- Keep your friends on retainer and provide them with the scripts of Old Married Couple stories to leak to the media: stories of you two gardening, playing Scrabble, dining out at Le Cirque.
- Use all significant holidays to make predictable appearances. To wit: wandering through the near-empty Chappaqua Village market on Christmas eve. Holding hands.
- Write your memoirs. Disclose that you have sought out couples counseling. Feel free to follow through and do it, if you'd like.
- Have your spokespeople release, as frequently as possible, your schedules where there is official Spending Time Alone time scheduled for you guys.
- Buy her a new diamond ring.
- Wear the new diamond ring. Tell people he bought it for you. Beam. make it look like you mean it--it's bling, it's pretty, it shouldn't be too hard.
- In public, frequently say how you wish you could spend more time together.
- Exchange forehead kisses while on stage. Always.
Learn English. Or Get Laid. Whatever.
Desperately grasping for a pole to hang onto, wedging that Wall Street jerk’s gym bag out of your kidney, loathing every single person around you (yet you tell all your friends that you love New York “because it’s so diverse and has such energy”), you’re commuting on the subway and it sucks. So you look up and focus on the only thing that makes the ride bearable…the subway ad. Seriously, if you’ve lived in New York for even a short time, these images and slogans are as familiar to you as the face of any loved one.
Now I’m not saying they’re good. They’re just there. And, usually, the worse they are the better. And, man, have there been some bad ones. Like so eye-gougingly bad that they deserve some special award. In fact, perhaps one car could serve as a hall of fame for the best of the worst. And the inaugural inductee would have to be the genius anti-rodent campaign “Rats. Let’s Stop Them.” (I don’t how much money the city paid for that slogan but it should demand a refund. I mean, what the hell were the losing submissions? “Rats. Feh.” Or “Rats. Bastards Still Haven’t Provided A Cure For Cancer. Kill ‘Em All.”) And a close second would be none other than “La Decisión,” the anti-STD (or pro?) ad campaign. (What the hell was the final decisión, anyway? The city kind of left us hanging on that one. Did she get back together with the creepy bald guy?). And, joining La Decisión would be her good friend, Lydia with Chlamydia (Yea! Fight STDs thru rhyming! It’s just heaven when Lydia wonders why she’s itchy down there and her homegirl Bea tells her “Girl, that’s an STD!”) And, of course, the attorney ads for the lead paint babies. (Ah, those blessed little stick figure cartoons with Xs for eyes. Your ticket to millions!) And, finally, last but not least, the King of Zits, Dr. Z.
Yes, there have been several brilliant subway ads. But one in particular stands out. It’s the good people at ALCC, or 1-800-ENGLISH. Trust me, you’ve seen these ads. They’re the ones with impossibly hot foreigners beckoning you to come learn English with them. I mean, seriously, the ALCC students make the Benetton models look like a bunch of lepers. (And, unlike those models, the ALCC kids don’t look like they’d talk your ear off about the rainforest or the evils of the World Bank.) Now, obviously ALCC is not going to hire babushka from the Old Country to be the face of their company, but come on. This looks more like an escort service than a language school.
Well, actually, maybe my English could use a little tune-up. Anyone know how to say “What’s your sign?” in Slovakian?
One of These Things...
Take a gander at the photo from this week's New York
magazine's LOOK BOOK feature. Yeah, yeah, I know, terrifying, but don't turn away: there's a secret hidden in this picture! How oh-so-very Da Vinci Code
, no? And I doubt even the editors at NEW YORK realize what they've gotten here. So in honor of Tom Hanks's follicular debacle, look and see if you can divine this picture's most interesting element:
Whaddya say? Think it's dog walker Suzanne's intense Whoopi Goldberg-meets-Morticia Addams-cum-George Clinton fright wig? It's a good guess, but really, you can find that hair on any suburban runaway who'll be littering the streets of NYC come summertime.
Maybe you're thinking, "Holy shit, it's Spuds MacKenzie! Dude, I'd heard he'd died in the eighties when someone fed him Pop Rockets and Pepsi." Wrong! That was just a urban legend, you goose! Both he and Mikey are living together in perfect harmony on a farm in Montana.
Oh, now you're checking out the blue bra on the cutesie white dog, aren't you? Well quit it, you perv! We'll have none of that man-on-dog action here. We leave that sort of thinking to the Republicans.
Give up? Well, that outfit you have on would certainly imply it...
S'okay, I'll tell you, but as I say, it's a secret, a secret that could rock... whatever. I have it on very good authority (mine own eyes--I see Suzanne regularly walking around my 'hood) that the pretty little dog in the foreground--yes, the one that looks like Charlotte's from Sex And the City
--is actually the pup of Middle Earth PrincessLiv Tyler
and house husbandRoyston "Don't Call Me K-Fed" Langdon
Fascinating, huh? Okay, yeah, I know, outing celebrity doggies does not a big scoop make, but dollars to donuts if this nugget gets out, next thing you know, be-dreadlocked Suzanne will be bumping Oprah's Dog Whisperer
off the best seller list in no time.
How Opal Metha Got Desperate, Got Hustled, And Blew Thirty Grand
Of all the things written about Opalgate - schadenfreude over the failings of an overachieving Ivy League student, the stereotype of hyper-driven Indian kids, the role of book packagers, Ambien-induced writing (or whatever her excuse was) – the one that got the least attention, and that I’m still stunned by, is the $30,000 her parents dished out on a college admissions guru – let’s call her the Harvard Whisperer – to nab a place in an Ivy League school for their daughter. Thirty thousand freakin’ dollars!
Now perhaps college admissions have changed since the girls (and by girls I mean the lovely R&R, although I’m still not sure if that’s one or two people) and I went through that hell. Maybe now you have to create a series of haikus in Latin explaining why you are the superior choice for admission to Yale. Maybe a short feature is now required, shot on digital that captures the essence of your favorite director and genre. I guess that might justify throwing a few bucks at IvyWise. But, should they still be using the same crappy three essay question format that I endured, I’d ask for my money back if I were Mama and Papa Viswanathan. I mean, do you really need to pay someone to help you craft your “How I Worked Hard To Make the Junior Varsity Soccer Team Even Though I Knew I Wouldn’t Play Much Because It Would Build Character” or “Serving Homeless People On Thanksgiving Is Not Just A Cheap College Admissions Stunt But Something I Care Deeply About” essay? And that jaunty section at the end where you fill in “fun facts!” about yourself, such as favorite movie, favorite thing I own, cast member of Dawson’s Creek I’d bang. (ok, maybe that last one wasn’t included). Do you really need to pay someone to tell you what you like?
Nope. IvyWise is IvySnakeoil. You simply can’t justify paying someone to tell you which uneventful high-school activity you should write about on your application. The people at IvyWise are frauds. Like, worse than Ms. Cleo (you remember, the psychic who had the hysterical late night ads and was later hauled off to prison. Didn’t see that coming, did ya Cleo?) So keep your chin up, Kaavya. This too shall pass. And call Elliot Spitzer. He lives for this stuff.
Check out Renée!
Quick like a bunny, click this link: The Food Section
because our very own ex-Ithacan Kaplan is now guest blogging for this fantastic foodie website and her first post is up today.
The Food Section editor, Josh Friedland, has given our girl quite the warm introductory welcome and with her excellent post (that manages to explain this weird and somewhat disturbing graphic), she's already done him and us proud!
How Low Can He Go?
It's not just me: seems a big, giant majority of the country is now hatin' on the president.
And while it's somewhat gratifying to know that even the nincompoops who put him in office are finally experiencing sickeningly sour feelings of remorse and regret, the "holy crap, how'd I wind up here?" hangover--you know, the one that makes you swear you'll finally stop mixing copious amounts of alcohol and OxyContin for good, or, at least until next time--I find it still somewhat of hollow "told ya so" victory.
Really, how can I take pleasure in the fact that now 61%
of Americans think going to war in Iraq was a BAD FUCKING IDEA? And there's no joy in knowing that 2/3
of the country has "little to no confidence" that Bush can successfully end it. Regardless of his staff "shake up"--you know the shake up, the one in which Bush loyalists were replaced by Bush loyalists (who else kept getting the shark tooth visual?)--we Americans are now questioning the way he's handled the issues at the top of his agenda. A mere 13% approve of Bush's handling of rising gasoline prices. About 25% said they think he's doing a fine job on the suject of immigration. Know what that means? It means 87%
think he handled the gas hike poorly and 75%
think he ain't got a clue on the way to deal with immigrants.
But since I can't/don't want to gloat about this, I've kinda been feeling at a loss for how to channel my rage properly at this point. Fortunately, a really cool woman I work with sent me this link to an online videogame she worked on. (Gina Zdanowicz did all the sound and music for it.) It's a game I believe most good lefties seeking (harmless) vengeance will be able to take pleasure in.
Check it out: Capital Collision
You get the Fate You're Named
By absolute principle, any man who assumes the nickname "Dusty"--as well as "Trip," "Quartie" or "Watty"--deserves what he gets. WASP entitlement is just not hip anymore, and if you go by some cloying New England name, and then get involved with corrupt congressmen, dirty lobbyists, and call girls at the Watergate, well then you deserve watchoo got coming.
But if your name is not only "Dusty," but "Dusty Foggo," then you should be stripped of your rep tie and Brooks Brothers suit, tarred and feathered, and then locked up for display in a go-go dancing cage at a gay club in some den of liberal iniquity, like New York City. It turns out Dusty Foggo is--was--the Number Three man at the CIA, but like a few too many WASP chronies in the beltway these days, he got a little complacent, and got involved with the wrong old boys. With a name like that--just saying it out loud takes me straight to a weekend clam bake on the Vineyard!--of course he was destined for power, money and the command of conservative institutions. And with a name like that, he also deserves to fall low and dirty, to someplace so dishonorable his grandfathers--say, Casden Ames and Atherton Walbridge, but I'm just guessing--would rather disown him than risk implication by association.
As it turns out, Dusty Foggo probably hasn't done anything worse than anyone else in DC these days--certainly no worse than Abramoff or the Duke--but his name is Dusty Foggo and he's finally going to have to pay the consequences.
The A.P. Just Passed You A Note In Homeroom
Like most busy worker bees, I periodically check out the Internet during the day to keep abreast of recent events and important breaking news. (And by periodically I mean about every 3-4 minutes). And who better to provide these updates than our good friends at the Associated Press. Peace is close in Darfur? Excellent. Thanks for the tip, A.P. Bush sets new low in approval ratings? Hmmm. Good to know, let’s see how that plays out in November. Paris Hilton and Stavros Niarchos have split up? Gosh, didn’t see that comin….
Paris Hilton dumping someone is “breaking news” for the A.P.? Next to stock market reports and Enron trial updates is the demise of celebuskank Hilton’s latest quest for love? Huh? Now don’t get me wrong. The break-up of PaSta (it’s rough, I know, but not a lot to work with there) certainly has its place in People, TeenPeople, Us, Star, Page Six, Cat Fancy and just about every other magazine currently in circulation. These magazines dutifully replicate the world of junior high school, delivering us back to that apex of awkwardness with their slavish devotion to all things unimportant. “Stars – They’re Just Like Us!” might as well be “The Popular Kids – They’re Just Like You!” (or so mom kept telling me). Basically, these magazines are just one big denim binder. (Too obscure? Remember in junior high when you would write the names of current couples on your denim binder, possibly with a heart drawn around them, only to eventually draw a huge X over it after the messy break-up? Everyone else did this too, right? Hello?)
Well, that’s basically what the A.P. is doing. They’ve scratched out Paris + Stavros on the front page of the New York Times. You’re supposed to be above that, A.P. So screw you. (But totally still invite me to your end-of-the-school-year pool party.)
(Also, on another note, a big happy birthday to my niece who turns five this weekend. She recently visited her uncle and left a path of destruction a mile wide. I look forward to her next visit when she turns 17).
Shoot to Kill
Every time I read about it in the headlines, which is often, I have the same reaction: revulsion and plain old disbelief--and anger--that the United States is the only industrialized democracy in the world that condones the death penalty. It's galling, shameful. Capital punishment strikes me as so obviously barbaric, I get worked up just thinking about the absurd moral contortions we do to justify it.
It's less frequent that capital punishment strikes me as...funny. I'm a little sheepish to say so, but there was a big Death Penalty Funny yesterday. Both funny haha, and funny fucked-up. In our absurd dedication not only to killing criminals, but to figuring out how to kill them most efficiently, it turns out we're still making a lot of mistakes. Now, how it is that we can create technological marvels like cloned animals, heat-seeking missiles and space stations, but we can't figure out how to shoot up a dude with chemicals so he can die peacefully--I don't know.
But that's exactly what's still happening. Yesterday, the New York Times
reported that it took almost 90 minutes to execute Joseph L. Clark in an Ohio prison, because the good people at the correctional institute...couldn't find Mr. Clark's vein. Tap tap tap! they went. Damn drug user hasn't got a good vein left! But the best part happened when the exasperated Mr. Clark is lying there after they've finally found a vein and the chemicals are allegedly trickling into his body and taking him out of Ohio once and for all. "After about three or four minutes," a prison spokeswoman said, "the inmate was able to raise his head off the gurney and said, 'It's not working.' "
Oops. Sorry man, you don't mind sticking around for a few minutes while we continue to stick you, do ya?
A Big Week for Books
I know you know tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the release of the modern classic, SHAKING HER ASSETS
. And, if you're like us, you're planning a major celebration to honor the book and authors because of the impact it's had on your life. So you know what? You should feel free to go ahead and buy yourselves several new copies because we have it on fairly good authority that those folks who own at least 15 volumes get a free pass into heaven whenever the time comes.
But this week is not just about lauding the literary efforts of R&R. As it turns out, we have several very good, amazingly sharp friends who have NEW books out, and we SERIOUSLY recommend that you buy them.
Matter of fact, out today (May 2nd!) is PUG HILL
, the second novel by the tremendously talented AlisonPace
. Ali, as you might recall, wrote IF ANDY WARHOL HAD A GIRLFRIEND
, an excellent & fun read last year. But this new one, PUG HILL, is not only a worthy follow-up, it's a cool, clever story the critics are raving about. In fact, one set of critics had this to say: Pitch-perfect and deftly written, Pug Hill is a funny, charming and touching novel.
Well, we couldn't agree more if we'd said it ourselves, which, in fact, we did. Here's a quick summary:
For Hope McNeill, pugs are love, unconditional friendship, happiness, and freedom-all qualities currently in short supply in her own life. Though she doesn't have a pug of her own, she does have Pug Hill in Central Park, where pugs (and their owners) from all over New York City convene.
She also has a serious crush on one of her co-workers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a flailing relationship with her squash-playing, cold-weather-loving boyfriend, and an unspeakable fear of public speaking. When Hope's father calls with a daunting assignment--to make a speech at her parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary party--Hope is completely taken off guard. As a last resort, she signs up for a public speaking class, but can’t help wondering, will it be enough?
Some fears are so big that even all the pugs in the world might not be enough...
Also out today is our friend Gary Shteyngart's
. Don't know if you caught the GIANT, GORGEOUS, GLOWING review in this Sunday's Times Book Review
, but in addition to featuring a life-sized version of Garry's head on the cover, Walter Kirn lavished on him praise befitting the person who cures cancer. The review starts out thusly: "Why praise it first? Just quote from it — at random. Just unbutton its shirt and let it bare its chest. Like a victorious wrestler, this novel is so immodestly vigorous, so burstingly sure of its barbaric excellence, that simply by breathing, sweating and standing upright it exalts itself." As unfathomable as it is to believe, the review only gets BETTER from there.
And last but certainly not least, the stupendously gifted Shari Goldhagen
also has a book that just came out, FAMILY AND OTHER ACCIDENTS
. Shari, too, got reviewed in Sunday's Times
(it was a very proud day here!), and for her first novel, she got this praise: "... In exploring the tug of war between desire and family duty, she concentrates mainly on domestic details and interior lives. But she covers the familiar terrain with vitality — this is real life with snappier dialogue — and as the points of view expand to encompass the brothers' wives and children, her book reminds you that simply paying attention is one of the things literature can do best." Ha-cha! Nice no?!! Yes! And having had the privilege of reading this book a little early myself, I can honestly report that I, too, was blown away.
Bottom line: We are seriously proud of our friends and hope their books prove as incredibly successful as they deserve to be. So quit wasting precious time -- link through to make some purchases! We know you love great writing, after all, you're reading this blog, aren't you?