Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Address the Mess

It’s time for me to address the mess. Several people have asked me the difference between Elin Woods and Sandra Bullock. One word. Actually, it’s two. Or it has a hyphen. Hell, I don’t know, either way- it’s SELF-RESPECT. Elin, regardless of how much she loves or loved her husband- and I’ve said this from the beginning- needed to leave him. She can hide behind staying with him for "her children," but what really is she demonstrating to them? To her daughter- once you are married you will endure any abuse at the hands of your husband, be it emotional, psychological or physical? To her son- you needn’t be a good husband, hell, your father wasn’t, but your wife will stay with you so do what you will. Hmm ... When we say we are staying together for our kids- what does that mean?

Monday, March 29, 2010

And Finally, THE Four

I probably should have done this yesterday, but because I was soooo sick, I had to rerun a post for the first time. I’m feeling better today, so let’s get back at it, Clever Girls. I know I have promised the kettlebell post for weeks, and I apologize for pushing it again, but Ken Blackburn’s family has sustained a tragedy and, out of respect, I’d like to wait.

So, in the meantime, let’s talk about the big FOUR. This is when basketball gets really exciting- and that’s saying a lot for me because I think I’ve made my feelings clear on this sport. It’s fast and furious and high-scoring- I like it but I don’t LOVE it. College Final Four, however, is a totally different, well, ball game.

This is it- these boys are playing with heart and soul and it will be a battle until that last game when one college takes home the National Championship trophy. As is typical, plan on the winning team, beginning with seniors, to each cut a strand of the net for themselves to commemorate their victory and for the head coach to cut the last strand.

You need to know Coach K. His name is Mike Krzyzewski. He has been the coach of Duke men’s basketball for 30 years and has taken the team to the Final Four 11 times- but not in six years- so this is a big deal. Duke defeated Baylor and have high hopes of taking home a national title- their first since 2001. An interesting side note- former Duke center/power forward Christian Laettner is the only college player to start in four consecutive Final Four games.

Is He Listening?

I hope not to do this again, but I am sick. Absolutely, completely and totally ill. So, I have to, have to recycle a post so I thought I'd go with one of the earliest ones for new readers who don't have the time to go alllll the way back.

Whether I have pneumonia or not- expect the kettlebell post tomorrow and prepare to embark on a whole new fitness regimen and you will NOT be disappointed with the results- especially Clever Girls.

Is he listening? Mmmm. It depends on what you are saying.

With men, what you say is as important as how you say it. Perhaps the reason you didn’t get that second date was because on the first one the poor bastard nearly slipped into a boredom-induced coma over dinner as you talked incessantly about work, why you switched manicurists or your sister’s divorce.

If he can’t work in his favorite topic – himself - no matter how gorgeous you are, you might be doomed. If his attempts to introduce his interests were met with a complete lack of knowledge and interest, you can count on not hearing from him again. If you are full-time hot, and part time borefest- it will catch up to you. Be advised, if you are full-time hot- he will still probably have sex with you- but you can count on little to no follow up outside of sex.

Why didn’t that guy from the party call? You were banking on it. Think back. Can you pinpoint the moment his eyes began to dart about as if looking for an exit? Was it while you were arguing with him about abortion, lecturing him on politics or unfurling your complicated family history? While TOO MUCH INFORMATION is an overused phrase, it is overused because TOO MANY PEOPLE SHARE TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Race is On

OK, Clever Girls- here is what you need to know about the NHL real time. Let’s start with the fact if I am Eric Lindros I am really pissed off right now. Why? Eric Lindros was acknowledged as one of the future greatest hockey players of all time in his early teens. However, he was plagued by head injuries throughout his 15-year professional hockey career.

The quintessential power forward (think- I will go through you, over you or around you to get to the goal), he was often the target for cheap shots, bad hits and dirty tactics.

The NHL has officially put a stop to some of the better executed shots to the head as of last Wednesday. After a nasty hit by Penguins forward Matt Cooke, Marc Savard of the Bruins is out for the season with a serious concussion. If you put a reel together of questionable head shots in the past 15 years, Eric Lindros would probably be the star of the video. It’s been going on too long and the players are applauding the ruling.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Just a Piece of Gum

I was having brunch on Sunday and a situation arose at a table next to me. It started out innocuous, but (and I can still hear it in my mind’s eye) then, I am almost certain the leit motif from the pistol duels from the old Westerns began to play. The duel was ocular, the issue was not a woman or money but a piece of gum and the honor in question became apparent quickly.

A mom, a dad and a 3-year-old little girl. As I sat down, they were obviously finished and settling their tab. The child was well behaved and drawing quietly while the parents chit-chatted.

"Mommy, may I have a piece of gum?" Insert my warm and fuzzy feelings over a tiny little person having such great manners. Mom flips open her purse, fishes about and produces a pack of gum. She absently plucks one piece, notices the package is empty and crumples it after handing the gum to her daughter.

"Actually? I’d like two pieces.

"There is only one left. I know you would prefer two pieces, but I have only one.'

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Ultimate Target Shooting Experience

I received a fantastic question from a reader the other day and thought it was a great topic, as marriage has so often been on Clever. She asked what ideas I had for wedding images post divorce. Hmmm.

If you have children, it would be best to package them up for the children to have some day. While they may never remember you being married- it is an important aspect of their becoming. I myself have an image of my parents on their wedding day displayed in my office- though I have no recollection of them being married. It’s nice. Simple as that.

If you have no children and the divorce was acrimonious- I suggest you purchase a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol and find a friend who has a deer lease. You’d be surprised how much anger can be resolved putting bullet holes in things. I’m kidding- kind of. This is still a part of your life, who you are and who you have become- it's not out of the realm you might have fonder memories some day, so I’d hold onto them. You don’t have to look at them ever again, but you might get married again some day, you might have children and if you are honest with them about your previous marriage- they might be curious.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Can You Handle the Scandal?

I've got to admit, I'm having a difficult time keeping my nose out of Sextrology- true to my bookish nature, it has me in it's grasp. Arrggg. I must get something done today. I have a long flight on Wednesday- this book will keep me So Very Warm.

A very Clever Professor, Bill Genereux, from Kansas State posed a question on twitter that got me thinking. I’d already planned on addressing this issue, but his thoughts served as a catalyst for this post.

He asked whether schools should be allowed to discipline students for what they post on their social networking pages about teachers and other students.


This gives rise to a number of interesting concepts. The first could be freedom of speech. The second could be libel. Now, I am not an attorney, but I do know a thing or two about publishing. Once you write something on the internet and post it- you have published it. Thereby, if you are making defamatory comments about people- there is the potential for legal action. Never have people been so careless in sharing their opinions and thoughts. It's outright recklessness.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sextrology- You WON'T Believe What's in This Book

Ok Clever Girls (and guys), start your engines because I have got something that will make you redline. Forget Googling your upcoming date. No, don’t forget it- do it anyway, but find out their astrological sign and do some digging.

I have to be honest- I’ve never been all that into astrology- except that which my So Very Clever best friend, Alisa, has foisted upon me since we were 6. But THIS is something else entirely.

Seems my best friends are into astrology because Julie told me about a book called "Sextrology," and since I'm a sucker for a turn of phrase, we went to a fantastic book store called Legacy Books and purchased it. Then, unexpectedly, we ended up hunkered down for the balance of the day and made sense out of our entire lives. Well, OK, not sense- but we shed some light on a great many things.

This book is- well, at the risk of understating (as I was just told yesterday I have a flair for understatement), is FREAKING awesome and So Very Sexy. If you are a reader, passionate about the use of the English language or just alive- you will find something worthwhile in this book. Don’t be intimidated by the size (you can count on this post to be LOADED with double entendre). Use both hands, and engage your mind.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Backlash- Beware Clever Young Ladies

Ok Clever Tribe, enough fun and games- it’s time to get serious for about three pages. I had the opportunity to spend time with a young woman named Christin a couple of weeks ago when I was guest speaking at a college. When I try to describe her the word comprehensive leaps to my finger tips. She shattered some notions I have been holding onto lately and for that I am grateful.

When I look back on myself at that age, I was so very different from Christin. I was defensive, a know-it-all, painfully introverted, fiercely driven to acquire knowledge as if it would "protect" me from unknown enemies. I was (and still am) circumspect and cynical, skeptical at every turn and not easily amused by the triviality of Hollywood.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Eyes are Smiling

OK, I’m going to say this once- I do not have to wear green- my eyes are green. So, if you see me today- please refrain from pinching me or telling me I should be honoring my Irish heritage by "wearing the green." It’s really So Very NOT Clever.

Now, to honor my Irish heritage, I want to give you this important recipe- if not for this year- surely for next. It’s called boiled dinner and it is a tradition. I’ve eaten it every single March 17th of my life and tonight is no exception.

Boiled Dinner

Corned beef (try to get a pre-seasoned cut, packaged)

One head of cabbage, quartered

2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

6 large carrots, peeled and quartered

1 to 1.5 dark beer- I should tell you Guinness, but I used Shiner Black today

Put it all into a crock pot and cook it all day on low- or for five to six hours on high

Now, a few interesting tidbits for the sadly uninformed. St. Patrick’s Day is named after, you guessed it, Saint Patrick- the most well known patron saint of Ireland. He passed on March 17th, 461 AD. In his ministering- he used the shamrock as an accessible symbol of the holy trinity. A leaf representing each: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Initially, St. Patrick’s Day was a Catholic holiday- a day of remembrance. So how did it become a day for feasting? From early on, the Irish used St. Patrick’s Day as a one-day break during the 40 days of lent. This is great news for my friend Vicki- what good is being on vacation in NYC if you can’t have a drink? So, overindulge Vicki, because we’ve got a stretch left.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"It's Just a Dress- Right?" WRONG

And now, for the soon-to-be So Very Clever grooms. The wedding planning process is an absolute ass kicking- so allow me to extend some tips for managing the bride, your expectations and the chances of your scoring often.

Do not, at any point in time, try to tell her what she can and cannot spend on this dress. The only thought this will invoke is, “I can’t even buy the wedding dress I want? How am I going to navigate a marriage?” Not what you want running though her mind. This is her day to look her most beautiful. If it helps, concentrate on what she will and won’t be wearing under the single most expensive piece of material you have ever touched.

It's not out of the question this dress will cost as much as the engagement ring, your first car or even a year of tuition at an Ivy League institution. However- you will nod and smile- and forego a band and opt for a DJ or scale back the honeymoon if you must. Challenging this purchase will have you experiencing a lengthy physical, uh, drought. You can expect a shoulder so cold you'll wonder whether she is, in fact, alive.

The search for THE DRESS might take one day or several months. If she has one custom made, you need to be prepared in advance for moodiness and frustration, which can be medicated with a hot bath, a glass of wine or a compassionate ear. Employ these methods often and you might consider a well worded text to let her know you are thrilled with her planning efforts and can’t wait to see her.

Know in advance that dresses (often more than one for one wedding) come with veils (not necessarily one), shoes, garters (not the ones that hold up stockings, the one you will remove from her leg and throw to all of the uninterested single men at the reception), accessories, which will include but not be limited to necklace, earrings, bracelet, tiara and hair accessories, at least one trial for make-up and hair, and then make-up and hair for the day of.

Now, it is still customary to exchange a gift prior to the wedding (and no, the ring you already bought will not work), so you can offer to purchase a piece of jewelry for the day of. The trend emerging is for the groom to purchase the shoes she selects to wear the day of.

This should mitigate some nights on the couch for you, Clever Guys. Back at it tomorrow with some observations about the rampant lack of self respect in young women.


This title is in is all caps because most brides will put it close to the top of their priority list. I have split this post up into two second- one advise for the Clever Girls who are soon-to-be brides and advice for guys who need to be So Very Clever when approaching the uncharted waters of Wedding Planning.

The stress associated with the acquisition is similar to selecting a college or naming your first child- it involves a commitment of great consequence. Photos of your wedding will likely be seen for decades, perhaps centuries as your grand children feature portraits of those who have entered the holy sacrament before them at their own weddings. I identify with your diligence in finding the EXACT right dress for you and have some hints how to manage your budget and still satisfy your needs (wants).

Know this. No matter what dollar amount you have budgeted for the dress- you are likely to not only exceed it but surpass it to such an extent you feel you need to lie, reallocate and pilfer from other areas of the wedding to cover the expense of the dress that has redefined the word “lust” for you.

Let’s take this slowly because it quickly becomes overwhelming and a source of anxiety for brides. Look at magazines, get an idea of the style you think you are interested in- you will be shocked how much they vary. Do some research in your area and select a bridal boutique likely to have a wide range of styles- in the Dallas, Fort Worth Area, the pinnacle of all things wedding is Stardust Celebrations located in Plano- it is worth the drive even if you are a couple states away- hell, Southwest Air will get you here in a jiffy. Stardust is the largest bridal boutique in the country- perhaps the world, boasting nearly twenty thousand square foot of space allocated to WEDDINGS.

A well reputed bridal boutique will have professionals educated in dresses- despite what you think you want- take their advice. I know so many women who have flipped on a dime after trying on a dress recommended to them. Often the styles we see on others are not the styles which work best for us- low rise jeans is THE case in point.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Avoid Fish Shrapnel- It's Gross

Way to go Clever Girls! You made it through the grilling series and here is your reward. The sacred salmon recipe. It's perfect for this weekend and good luck!

Grilled Salmon with Salsa Verde

Wild salmon (I don’t use farm raised)

20 limes

Sea salt

1 to 2 bunches of cilantro (depending on the amount of salmon and the number of people) pick through to make sure you have removed wilted or bad leaves and take the thick stems off completely. The more slender stems are OK for blending. I cut off about one inch of the stems prior to rinsing in a colander.

2 to 3 fresh jalapenos

1 to 2 cans of black beans

1 jar of Mrs. Renfro’s salsa verde

1 to 2 packages of Casbah Toasted CousCous (pearl pasta)

2 to 4 cups (two for one package of couscous- four cups for two packages) of chicken stock

½ of each- red, yellow and orange pepper, julienned

Black pepper

Garlic powder

Juice all but one lime (save for garnishing yummy Mexican beer)

Women who Eat are Tres Sexy

Clever Girls- are you bored yet? Don't quit on me now! This is it. The last day and it isn't even educational. Below you will find ways to dazzle your guys with talk of hot coals, grill marks, medium rare plus, fire, heat and of course ways to lure him in. If you questions about cuts of red meat- check out the post in Clever In the Kitchen about MEAT and dining in steakhouses. One of the most Clever Guys I know, Tom Walters guided me through the critical items women MUST know when it comes to both.

Let's Talk Grilling

It's so easy to impress a man with talk of food, but what is more impressive to a man is a woman who ENJOYS cooking, will cook for him and, ta-da, knows not only how to operate a grill, but owns one.

Fire it Up

This is my first endeavor into a series- which kind of freaks me out. If you don't like the content- you won't come back until the series is over- Friday by the way. I'm trying to make this the least boring I can- though, if you are not one who likes to be in the kitchen- you might want to rethink that. Cooking is a sensorial experience. The scents, the flavors, the heat and if you never have- split open a blood orange and without preparing it- lower your mouth to it and take a bite. Such pleasures await!

I simply can NOT overstate the appreciation men feel at being cooked for. If you are not DOING it- DO IT. If he is not appreciative- he's NOT Clever so move on. If you are really lucky- he will sit, with a glass of wine in the kitchen with you and chat- his eye trained on your backside wondering when a good time would be to take you to the floor or press you against the counter top and lavish you with lingering kisses.

For my young and lovely readers. The kitchen is a fantastic place- get to know it and it will serve you well. Laine, your mother is one of the most compelling cooks I've ever met- learn from her- she has much to teach.

Prepare to Prepare the Grill- Bring a Bag

If you are arriving late to this series- we are embarking upon grilling. This is the second post, the first was The Yet to be Discovered Art of Grilling- Tres Clever. So, check it out and then get ready to get your hands dirty- if you have a charcoal grill it's almost an inevitability.

Preparing the Gas Grill

Gas grills use natural gas or propane, which can be purchased in tanks from most large grocery stores. Most grills have a low fuel indicator so you are less likely to run out mid-meal- which, in addition to being massively inconvenient pegs you as a novice griller. Gas grills generally use lava rocks and it’s a good policy to allow your grill to burn for 10 minutes or so after removing the food to burn off excess fat or food particles. This makes for fresher grilling next time. Rocks do need to be replaced over time and that should be before they turn into ash.

The Yet to be Discovered Art of Grilling- Tres Clever

Ok, Clever Tribe, it's great to be back at it. I've had the opportunity to spend some time with some fantastic college students, so I'm looking forward to touching on some subjects highly relevant to the 18-24 age group.

First, we need to talk about something CRITICAL. I finally figured out how to read my analytics. With the help of a Very Clever Guy named Jason- I have come to realize my readers are reading about one and a half pages of my posts- the posts are generally three to four pages long- this statistic tells me you are getting BORED halfway through. I can’t have that. So, I am going to experiment with shorter posts. It might interrupt my train of thought, as I do like to let things unfurl a bit.

Pam brought it to my attention that while she signed up for e-mail notification of new postings- she has never received an e-mail. Jason and I reinstalled the FeedBurner application, so please sign up again and let me know it if it's working. Be sure to check your spam folders for the e-mail you'll need to respond to in order to complete the process.

So, today we are going to discuss grilling for the Clever Girls and even the Clever Guys who don’t yet grill. I will be breaking it up into several posts. Next week you can count on some Clever commentary on the lack of self-respect among young women and a couple of Clever Wedding Planning Tips for the selection of THE DRESS.

A cooking woman is sexiness personified, but a woman who can grill? Men enjoy being catered to, so what better way to show you care than to prepare food for him. Don’t fume if he doesn’t want to join you in the kitchen, don’t lament the playful photos in Cosmo, where the kitchen agenda amounts to sexual-encounter-destroys-dinner. Instead, pick a night when you know there is a game or program you don’t care to watch and make it your mission to fuss over him.

Monday, March 1, 2010

To Hell on a Greased Rail?

In giving thought to cultural literacy, which I will cover more thoroughly in the next few weeks, I pondered a cross section of children, wondering what their source of cultural education might be. Parents? The news- and if so, FOX or CNN- CNBC- PNR- local, MTV, People magazine or other periodicals, teachers, church …

I wondered at the difference in five children who are taught to view the world through the lens of their cultural influence. I bet your wondering where I come up with all of this crap? I was staying with my friend Julie and her husband, and while I was packing to go, they were settling in to watch a show on the History Channel. I can’t remember the name, but it was about Gangs. I think I capitalized the word Gangs because the content of the show created an ominous feeling- the word itself now carries more weight than lowercase.

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