Come on, people Come on, children Come on down to the Glory River Gonna wash you up And wash you down Gonna lay the devil down Gonna lay that devil down ... I got fury in my soul Fury's gonna take me to the glory goal In my mind I can't study war no more
There's something about a Thanksgiving cold-snap that begs for baked apples. Baked apples with ice cream, pecans, brown sugar... and gooey, toasted marshmallow melting on your tongue. Everybody holding hands.
Go ahead, tell me how bad you want it!
When my friend Steve Harsin visited me to help catalog my dad's library, he shared his mother's baked apple recipe with me, which involved plugging the cored fruit with a marshmallow, before you pop it in the oven. It's a brilliant improvisation on the old Betty Crocker standby.
I stuffed the apples with a flourish. "It's like a marshmallow buttplug!"
Steve said: "If my mother heard that, she would die."
Hey, mom will laugh harder than anyone. After all, she wiped all your butts for years.
Baked apples are easy-peasy to prepare, and will blow your Thanksgiving guests' minds. People forget the tasty genius of a basic baked apple, and they'll worship you for reminding them of what's right and good in the world.
Just remember, Don't Tell Steve's Mom.
Choose some apples that are a little tart. You can't go wrong as long as they're crisp and flavorful.
Wash and core apples with a cheap but effective APPLE CORER. It works a lot faster than a paring knife.
Don't quite pierce the bottom of the apple; just drill down to about the last 1/2" -1/4". Your opening needs to be almost 1" wide.
Place in baking dish with sides. Fill the centers of each apple with 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar, a teaspoon of walnuts or pecans, 1 tsp. of butter, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I actually don't measure anything in this recipe myself, I just use my fingers and approximate!
I've given you the basic ingredients... but you could substitute or add anything you think tastes good with apples.
For the final touch, take a marshmallow and rudely stuff it in the top of each apple, pushing down the other ingredients into the cored hole.
It doesn't matter that the marshmallow pooches out at the top— baked apples are suppose to be messy.
Fill your baking dish with about 1/4" of water, so the apples are sitting in a shallow bath.
Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven until tender when pierced with a fork.
Time varies with apple size, but it's about 30-40 min. Yum yum yum! Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, like an apple sundae. Mommy loves you!
I've just published a guided sex journal— a locked and illustrated diary, a "blank book" that's not blank.
Yes, it really does have a lock and key on it!
I prompt you with questions about your love life and erotic point of view— all you do is pick up your pen and start reacting!
If you enjoy writing about your life, if you're interested in sexual memories, erotic dreams, and close observations— this is catnip.
But... Who cares what I think?— I need to try it out on some real diary-writers and journal afficionados!
I'd like ten volunteers to review my sex journal. Here's how we'll do it:
I will mail you a complimentary copy.
UPDATE:I just ran out of my free copies! Darn! But I am looking into getting a discount coupon for all of you who wrote me. Meanwhile, feel free to purchase a copy and review the stuffing out of me! ;-)
You read through it, respond to some of the questions that strike your fancy, and THEN...
You write a review for the Amazon book listing, and send a copy of your review to me, so I know it's you.
After your review is posted, I'll send you a coupon code for (2) free audiobooks at Audible, where I do my weekly podcast. No strings attached.
I need to get reviews posted on Amazon before December 10th.
— A woman! This journal reflects the issues that often come up in a woman's sex life. I'd be curious what a man would think of the journal too, but for this round, I'd like women volunteers.
— Someone who's had at least one sex partner in her life. (One day I'll do a "virgin" journal, but this one makes more sense for a woman who's crossed that bridge).
—Someone who's posted at least one Amazon customer review, so you know the ropes.
— You need to live at a U.S. address, so I can mail your package expeditiously.
— Dependable! Trusty! A Girl Scout! Seriously, just be someone who will keep your word and has the time to look over and review a book before December 10th. Once you start, I know you'll have a ball.
What doesn't matter:
It doesn't matter WHO or what kind of person you're attracted to— this journal is completely open in terms of sexual preference and taste.
You don't have to be any particular age— I vetted my journal questions with gals from high school age to grandmother-hood.
You don't have to love every page or kiss my ass— I want your honest reactions. I hope you'll be pleased, but I need your feedback.
You don't have to be a journal-writing or sexual superstar— far from it. All you need is curiousity, a libido, and a pen!
Are you ready? Send me your request to email@example.com, with "Sex Journal" in the Subject Line. I can't wait to hear your reactions!
*Writing Amazon customer reviews isn't hard, it's just something one should experience before you commit to a deadline. I don't care what the product or review is, I just want to know that you're at ease with the technical and community process.
P.S. If you are one of that rare breed, a professional book reviewer, please send me your request too, and I'll make sure my publisher sends you a review copy. If you'd like to interview me about how I composed the journal, I'd love to talk more about it. Thanks!
Speak, memory! I'm in the studio this month to record my entire backlist — seven audiobooks, with a Christmas deadline. It's an honor to complete my literary history in audio— 30+ titles in all.
It's also been a tough ride through the Wayback Machine— to sit at the mike and perform, out-loud, every story I've penned since I was 22 years old. Humbling? Uncomfortable? I did... fucking WHAT? Yeah, all that. Sometimes I'm touched by my dewy talent and daring adventures— other times I wince.
I can see from my early work that I always had sweet moments; I knew how to tell a story and make an argument. I could throw the ball. But like a kid with "athletic ability," I needed someone to exploit and train me.
Like a Minor League pitcher, I couldn't always sustain my control through an entire show. I needed more editing than I got— although by editing others, I absorbed the lessons I taught my pupils. Maybe that was the best way.
It's odd to consider that I was paid so much, commercially, when I was a young writer— and now that I'm a consummate pro, the bottom has fallen out of publishing's paper cup. I'm nearly 53 now, just wrote my first memoir, (out in March!), and I've never hustled harder.
Still, any deprivations I face today do not lessen my satisfaction of having control over my ball.
The ball is your story, and your story is an argument that must be pitched and resolved over the plate.
With apologies to Elmore Leonard and Timmy Lincecum, I would like to present the following writing guidelines composed with the happiest of hindsight:
The closer a pitcher gets his body and arm to the target, the easier it is to control the ball.
Writing well takes unfailing honesty. You might be a lying bastard in your off-hours, but when you pick up the pen, face your enemy. Find the heart, the meat of your story— and you will connect with your reader.
I work as an editor. I coach writing students; I give my daughter unsolicited advice on her college essays. My advice to all concerned is to perform one's work out loud before you publish.
I do mean loud— no whispering, no rushing. You will hear every one of your faults, and if you've been a dedicated reader all your life, you'll have a clue how to remedy your errors.
Warm up. Once you're good and loose, begin to move around your pitches.
First drafts are your friend— they are DESIGNED to lead to second drafts, and thirds. There is no such thing as a cold first draft that couldn't be beaten. You need a second set of eyes, you need to feel the words in your mouth, you need to shake it off and do it again. One end of the writing process doesn't exist without the other.
If pitchers want to improve their velocity, they must improve their momentum.
The missing ingredient in boring stories and weak arguments is lack of action. Even rhetoricians build their arc with dramatic movement.
Stop telling me about the weather, your clothes, your inner emotions. —Pull a trigger, step on the gas, come on my face. I'll find out everything I need to know about the rain and the hem of your skirt.
Be glad you were born with the natural ability to throw a ball.
This is a bit of parental advice— what's "natural" about ability is the exposure to great talkers and storytellers since infancy.
Start reading to your own kid before they can talk. In utero! Tell them stories, sing them songs, show them picture books and poetry, over and over again, like mantras.
Fairy tales, ghost stories, your family history, songs your grandparents sang— it's all Shakespeare to the young mind. When I meet students who say they want to be great writers and don't know where to begin, I tell them to read rhyme and sing their guts out for a year. You'll learn all you need to know about drama and timing.
Gaining consistency is going to be a challenge.
There's only one shortcut: eliminate every adverb in your second draft. One day you'll wake up and realize you've kicked the habit.
It's a simple editors' tool, yet baby writers fight it every step of the way. Fine, keep sucking your thumb— you will never grow up.
Play a quick, focused game of catch— where your partner never has to chase one of your throws.
The reader should never be aware they're "reading"— you want them in a trance. Afterward, they can watch the replay and marvel at your skills.
Every time you pick up a ball, you should have a purpose.
I happily went out to vote this morning, but I am not expecting a pretty result. The GOP is poised to exploit our country's misery in a rather spectacular way.
As much as the Democrats have let their base down, it's not as cruel as what the GOP errand-runners are primed to deliver.
When times get tough: the tough start drinking.
Let me present to you, after careful testing and sobbing, "The Election Night Crying Jag" — a cocktail that will allow you to stomach the statistics and even laugh as you're getting reamed.
I have three versions of the cocktail, which should give you an idea of how you can tweak your own medicine. Each one relies on bitters, a blend of herbs and mysteries which put the "cock'ed" in cocktail.
If you aren't "BITTER" about this election, you're not paying attention. However, in your drink cup, bitters turn philosophical and even calming.
Where can you get these unusual ingredients? In a rush, BevMo has them all— although any well-stocked liquor shop will be impressed with your shopping list.
Following my recipes, you will see my post-election predictions.
Election Night Crying Jag #1
Shake throughly over ice and pour:
2 oz, Bourbon (Bullet, Makers) 1 oz pineapple juice .5 oz Campari .5 oz Blood Orange Bitters or Torani Amer .5 oz Maraschino liqueur 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 ripe banana 2 T Cream of Coconut 1 cup crushed ice 1 oz "151 Proof" Rum .5 oz Torani Amer .5 oz Maraschino liqueur .5 oz Campari 6 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Blend until creamy-smooth and finish with a straw exit poll. Makes two.
Candy-Colored-Clown Crying Jag
1 cups frozen raspberrys 2 T Cream of Coconut 1 oz "151 Proof" Rum .5 oz Torani Amer .5 oz Maraschino liqueur .5 oz Campari 6 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Blend until creamy smooth and with a straw exit poll. Makes two. Add Vicodin for final twist.
17 Reasons Why: Predictions for the New Plutocracy
1. Racist, Virgin-Fetishing, and Gay-Bashing Victors will grow horns, while doing whatever they please in their private lives. They have a special C-Street License to indulge every perverse whim.
2. The U.S. Justice Deparment, already incapable of prosecuting anyone or anything, will become a wet-paper pussycat. There will be no oversight of any major industry in the United Sates.
3. Union workers will be targetted not just for having decent jobs, but for having jobs at all. If they get wiped out, there's no job protection or leverage for anyone in the blue, pink, or white collar class. —The best that can be said is that the few remaining unionists alive at this moment have been radicalized for life.
4. Racist appeals to quarantine, imprison, deport, and execute will become unrelenting. Look forward to pronouncements like, "I'm not a bigot, but brown and bearded people have GOT to be go!" Four talking heads will then agree on every media channel.
5. Gay Republican staffers, (which are virtually all of them), are going to turn against their masters in greater numbers. Their entitlement is going to make them uppity.
6. Abortion rights are going the way of toast. If you're rich, you will always have a way. Female sexual power is now consigned to the aristocratic traditions: virginity and lineage.
7. Female GOP candidates are the sign of one thing: The Shitty PR Job that girls always get, while patriarchs elsewhere pull the strings. It's a sign of how little candidates are worth.
8. Why do libertine billionaires feel content to stoke Puritanical rages in pursuit of their economic goals? Because they don't give a shit who wins, as long as government is inoperable— and they, therefore, are untouchable. Vice-&-Color-Frenzies deplete interest in good governance.
9. The Church of Profit doesn't include humanity; it's not efficient. How far can they go before the riots start? That's what the Plutocrats want to find out, and they're betting it won't happen in their pampered lifetimes.
10. Middle-class expecations and aspirations are over. Education, infrastructure, jobs as a ladder of success, anything that isn't inherited mega-wealth, is FINIS. Democracy and equality are not of interest to plutocrats who imagine their supply of humble servants and gated communities can continue without end.
11. Voter disenfranchisment in the new America will make the voting laws of the early Colonies look like a broadminded liberal concept.
12. Sex education, is going the way of the esoteric and elite. Public sex literacy is already an ignorance drip. Irrelevant commodies— be they poorly-made drugs or poorly-made vibrators— are sold as sexual answers to problems which no one in public policy or health education is willing to speak of.
13. In the name of "Recovery," clean air, clean water, safe food supply, safe medicine, virtually all consumer protection, will be set aside.
14. People who thought that because they were "white," straight, wholesome, god-fearing—that they were going to be spared in all this ARE IN FOR BIG SURPRISE. If don't have an off-shore bank account, you are not invited to this ball. Even Cinderella doesn't have a spot.
15. The prison industry and the military industrial complex are the last working industries in this country, and will soon... merge.
16. The far-right litmus tests for Republicans— coupled with the appeasement-minded Democrats' cowardly whimpers for power-sharing— will force the end to the two-party system and beg the issue of alternative parties on the far-left and apocalyptic-right.
17. Last: More crying. Hopefully there will be some kicking along with it.