Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Onion - Good Stuff!

For those of you not familiar with The Onion, this is a satirical publication started in Madison, Wisconsin about 20 years ago. It features satirical articles written about current events, both real and imaginary, editorials, interviews, and media. If you’re ever having a really boring day, I totally recommend reading through The Onion website (I think the print editions are only offered in a few locations around the country, likely with large college populations). It’s very intelligent humor and cracks me up all day long! Without doubt, my favorite pieces are the columns by Smoove B ( - Smoove is the BEST!

*Warning* - some material on The Onion is totally irreverant, sometimes a little sacreligious, always a little weird, and potentially offensive to some people, so be sure to remove the stick from your ass before reading!

Anyway, The Onion appears to be going mainstream - I actually saw an Onion article on CNN today. The disclaimer was hilarious – "Editor's note: This may look like a real news story, but it's NOT. It is from the The Onion, a humor publication that calls itself "America's finest news source." CNN may beg to differ, but we do enjoy a good laugh, and hope you will enjoy a weekly selection of their satire.” I guess that some people just wouldn’t ‘get it’ without the disclaimer, but still, it’s so funny to have to explain SATIRE! Hahaha

Anyway, this is the article that was listed on CNN today. I hope you enjoy it! Love, Mer


POLOKWANE, South Africa (The Onion) -- After three rainy seasons together, a black rhinoceros and a parasite-eating tickbird are beginning to suspect that their symbiotic relationship has fallen into a rut, the couple reported Sunday.

The rhino and tickbird pass another morning on the African savannah not saying one word to each other.

"We're really symbiotic -- almost too symbiotic," the rhino said. "It's just gotten so predictable lately that I'm starting to wonder, 'Is this all there is?'"
First meeting at a local watering hole in 2004, both creatures immediately saw themselves as natural for one other and, in the words of the rhino, felt something "new, gratifying, and mutually beneficial." Within hours, the tickbird had moved into the rhino's habitat and set up house on his thick hide.

But as time went on, it slowly dawned on the couple that their partnership was perhaps merely one of convenience.

"I admit, when we first got together, I was a total mess," the rhino said. "She really helped me clean up my act. But we've been together so long now that I always know exactly what she's going to do next."

Devouring horsefly larvae embedded in her 3,000-pound partner's back, the tickbird seemed to agree that there was little fire left in their symbiotic relationship. At worst, she said, it feels like she and the rhino have been trapped in the same dead-end symbiosis for "countless millions of years."

"We just go through the motions, and there's hardly any communication," the tickbird said. "And we do it the exact same way every time. I get on top and take the parasites off while he just lays there."

"Feed off the embedded ticks on his hide, chirp when the predators come. Feed off the embedded ticks on his hide, chirp when the predators come. Where's the passion, the heat?" the tickbird continued.

The tickbird also accused the rhino of trying to make her "feel small."

"He doesn't realize everything I do for him," the tickbird said. "If it wasn't for my 'incessant squawking,' as he calls it, he would be shot by poachers before he even saw them coming."

Both creatures separately expressed envy of their neighbors, a plover and crocodile, who "never seem to have the problems we do," the rhino said.

"That crocodile appreciates having his teeth cleaned, and he makes sure she knows," the tickbird said. "Look at that big grin."

The rhino said that he often feels like a victim of her nitpicking.

"I might look tough, but I have feelings," the rhino said. "I give her plenty to eat and a great place to perch, but it feels like she's constantly pecking an open wound. Ugh, why can't we just be friends with mutualistic benefits?"

The frustration has caused the pair to act out in passive-aggressive ways. The rhino will frequently charge without warning, jarring the tickbird from her perch. Meanwhile, the tickbird often deliberately embarrasses her partner by speculating aloud about a symbiotic relationship with a cape buffalo or zebra, often within earshot of those species.

According to a nearby elephant, this sense of stagnancy commonly occurs in symbiotic partnerships across sub-Saharan Africa.

"The rhino and tickbird may have evolved physiologically to meet each other's needs, but it's clear they haven't evolved emotionally," the elephant said. "They need to recognize that in order to go forward. The rhino's loud snorting is very alienating. And obviously the tickbird is projecting her own feelings of inadequacy when she criticizes the rhino for being a typical Diceros bicornis."

For all their friction, both creatures conceded that they weren't sure they could actually live without each other.

"I don't know why we stay together," the rhino said. "I guess we're just creatures of instinctual habit."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

TV Week

So most of you know that my New Year’s resolution the last couple of years has been to watch more television. WELL, I sure have accomplished it! And for those of us that love TV, this is a great week!! It’s the first of the new season for all my favorite shows!!

So last night started The Bachelor and Dancing With the Stars (yes, I’m a chick) and you *know* I was watching! So this year, I’m not really excited about any of the dancers that are on DWTS – there’s noone that inspires me like Heather Mills or makes me sweat like Mario Whatshisface… But it does appear that there will be some good dancing. And since the annoying cohost, Samantha Harris, just had a baby yesterday, at least we don’t have to put up with her annoying non-sequitur comments; But it doesn’t matter – the show is still enough fun to keep me watching every week. And Maxsim Chmerkovskiy alone is a good enough reason to watch – those hips make me crazy! Meow!

I know you’re dying to hear my pre-season prediction for the winner this year, and that is… Wayne Newton. Yep – Wayne Newton… he’s an entertainer and will probably make the ballroom dances look good. All the girls are either the uncoordinated type or the hip hop dancing type, and the guys are all talking heads or super athletes with muscles too big to really look good. I could be wrong, but this is my conjecture.

OK, regarding The Bachelor, the hot business owner from Austin... YUM! Where was THAT guy when I was there? Geez?! I’m not even into that blond, all-American type, but he’s really hot. And the accent? I guess I’m just a southern girl, but it really hits my soft spot (and mama loves the TX boys). I would NEVER compete for a guy, much less on national TV, but if I had known that this guy was the bachelor, I might have been persuaded. hehe

But seriously, what is with these girls that go on this show and just act like morons? There was the girl last night that showed him her webbed feet in the hopes that she would make a good impression (she certainly made an impression, but I’m not sure it was good); the girl that showed him her “human pretzel” impression; the one that changed into a bikini, jumped in the pool, then asked him to take his pants off and join her; and of course, the girl that got way too drunk and couldn’t talk, then pulled out her chicken filet (fake boobie) and confessed sloppily she was trying to look bigger breasted. Or the girls doing the booty shaking lap dances for him in black tie attire? I’m sure I’ve pulled some doozies before too, but never on national television while competing for a super hottie!

Anyway, the first episode was good one – I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Tonight is the new SVU – yea! – and Thursday starts Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy as well as My Name is Earl. Wooo hooooo! It’s going to be a very exciting week for this newly committed couch potato.

Anyway, hope you all have a good one, too. Love, Mer

Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Monday

OK, the head is now clear after a fun weekend getaway to Austin. Well, not clear, as my brain cells are swimming in alcohol and I'm seriously lacking sleep, but getting away for a weekend was just what the doctor ordered! Getting back to Texas and seeing D is always so eye opening - I have so much food for thought upon getting back home!!

We never made it to the game Saturday, but watched it on D's giant plasma, so I think it was probably better than going to the game. We went to Whole Foods Market and got tons of food, plopped on his version of the Life Sucker 4000, and ate and drank ourselves silly. Some friends came over to join us and we were up til dark:30 drinking, hanging out, and playing Guitar Hero (more on that to come).

By the way, the Whole Foods in Austin was something like you wouldn't believe! Of course, it's their flagship store, as Whole Foods is based in Austin. The hot food bar was like a Vegas buffet, their cheese section was more extensive than anything I've ever seen, the wine selection was to die for, and the seating area had a stream running through it; it even has a kids playground to keep the little ones happy. It was unbelievable - even though our WF just got remodeled, it seems like a dump now...

And Guitar Hero... OK, this game is like crack. I've never really been into video games, but this was so unbelievably fun, I can't even tell you. So you have this little fake guitar that you use as the controller and basically play along with the songs. For every note you hit, you get X points. It doesn't work like a real guitar, so you don't actually have to know how to play it. There are buttons that you hit on the guitar that correspond with the screen, and show you which note to hit. It's really fun, the music is totally 80s hair band rock (which is a riot), the graphics are hilariously cool, and if you have 2 guitars, you can play against each other. If you get a chance to play it, you must - it's awesome!!!

Anyway, I hope you all had a great weekend too and have another great week.

Love, Mer

Friday, September 21, 2007


SERIOUSLY, it's been a crazy week! Between caring for my newly neutered puppy, helping Shayne get out of her place and moving all her stuff into mine (everything from 8 boxes of Jello instant pudding, 3 bottles of olive oil, 10 cans of black beans, a clothes steamer, a Swiffer Wet Jet and all the accoutrements, a dining room table, several pairs of fabulous shoes, tons of body lotions, a wine rack, and lots more), dealing with some rather upsetting boy drama, and somehow making time for a couple workouts, a hair color, and a massage somewhere in there… I planned an impromptu trip to Austin for the weekend. I had to cancel my trip to NC from the 12th - 18th, which was a huge bummer, but I’m excited to at least get out of town for a couple of days this week and clear my head. (NC peeps - I'm coming after the new year, I promise!)

Austin – live music capital of the world, home to my Texas Longhorns and Texadelphia (the best cheesesteak on the planet), and the scene of a few crimes from my past. I usually prefer not to look back, but as I get older, I feel much more of a pull toward my once-home. I plan to check out a football game and do some Texas-style tailgaiting, do some shopping at this fabulous new mall that just opened up (yippee!), and head out to Oasis to watch the sun set over Lake Travis. And of course, eat a ton of Tex Mex, barbecue, and drink as many margaritas as possible - duh!

Update forthcoming!

Love, Mer

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ode to Shayne

So my lovely friend and neighbor Shayne has had about enough of the land of sunshine, plastic body parts, and underdeveloped etiquette. It's time to return to the Northeast where people actually read books, discuss current events as a way of life, go to church, and wear cashmere! Get out those pearls and winter coats, girl - you're going home!

Meanwhile, while I know isn't much about San Diego that Shaynie is going to miss, I think there might be just a few things she just might...


10. Flip flops
9. Walking Max across the Autobahn to pee (9th Ave)
8. Her personal trainer here
7. Nosy neighbors (excluding me, of course; she likes it when I'm nosy)
6. The parking garage of Discovery
5. Having her fabulous winter clothes packed in boxes
4. Missing Boston, NY, and Philly
3. The general population of San Diego
2. The horrific dating scene in San Diego
1. Legal Arts


10. Sunshine and pool time at the Big D
9. Her dog nephew, Baci
8. The red kitchen
7. Spinning classes with Mer
6. Dog Beach at Coronado
5. The Rock Church
4. Café Chloe
3. Pink nights
2. The Life Sucker 4000
1. Her SD friends, especially ME!

San Diego (and I) will miss you, Shayne! Best of luck in your journey - in a few months, your life will be so drastically different and you're going to love it!! I can't wait to see how it all unfolds and will be supporting you from afar.

Love, Mer xoxox

p.s. Check out Shayne's new blog:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Doggie Update

So my little Baci ball became a man and got neutered this past Friday. My little love bug had a super fun bachelor party at Yappy Hour at Metropawlitan Dog (he got to hump a Great Dane’s leg and hip) the night before, and got his rocks off before getting fixed.

It was only about 24 hours before Baci was totally back to normal and back to playing, barking, chasing, and doing all the things that puppies do. I wish I had the energy!! Here’s a sweet picture of the baby after his surgery – quiet and mellow for a change! The blue thing is an alternative to the lampshape thingy that people put on their heads to keep dogs from licking their wounds – I call it “the donut”.

Oh, and his haircut is looking SO much better – it’s growing longer on his back and he’s starting to get that ‘furball’ look again. He’s the cutest doggie in the world to me!!!

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well. Love, Mer

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Prayers Please!

There are a couple of very special people in my life who have very special family members being treated for different types of cancer. Please keep Roni's mom, Jo, and Ruchi's niece, Meena, in your hearts and prayers as they undergo treatment for ovarian cancer and a very rare form of cancer called Esthesioneuroblastoma. That's a big, scary name for a sweet little girl!

Please get well soon, Jo Mama and Meena! Lots of love and positive energy, Mer

Cancer is so limited...

It cannot cripple love

It cannot shatter hope

It cannot corrode faith

It cannot destroy peace

It cannot kill friendship

It cannot suppress memories

It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul

It cannot steal eternal life

It cannot conquer the spirit.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th - Where Were You?

I was living and working in Raleigh, NC, married to Jason, and about to move up to Newport, RI and eventually to San Diego for Jason to start his career as a Naval officer.

I remember that Fall morning being particularly beautiful, and I even noted to myself how gorgeous it was as I looked out the window of my coveted window cube at Manpower Professional. Around 9:00 a.m. EST, my boss Chris came over and told us that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I immediately assumed it was an accident... I immediately went to the CNN page and the site was unavailable because so many people were trying to access it at the same time.

We turned on the TV in the conference room to check out the news and by then, the second plane had struck. I knew immediately what it meant - terrorism, tragedy, war. Not that I'm this incredible omnipotent or politically intelligent person (I'm SO not!), but I just felt the enormity of what was going to happen immediately. I knew that my (then) husband was going to be right in the middle of it. And here we were with this new president... I freaked out! I couldn't stop crying...

And then the towers fell, and I wept more for those that died. I didn't get anything done that day - I read the internet all day long and rushed home to watch the news. I was transfixed on the news, just like the rest of the country, for weeks, stunned and obsessed with figuring out what on earth had just happened!

About 2 weeks later, we moved up to Newport to live on the locked-down Navy base for a few weeks of training. On our way up, we stopped in DC and in NYC, but didn't see Ground Zero - I wasn't emotionally prepared to see what had happened, and am still glad we didn't go. I do have pictures of NYC, while sightseeing, and in the air still stood a haze between the buildings and city lights. I'll never forget it.

May the families and loved ones of the victims of that horrible day feel some sort of healed heart by now. And may those victims never be forgotten.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

So if you have been anywhere near to me lately, it's likely that I've made you Macafoni and Cheese. Did Mer just commit a typo? NOPE! It's actually MacaFONI (as in phony) and cheese! And it's YUMMY!

As the foremost mac and cheese connoisseur, I am always looking for ways to sneak it into my diet. Well, diet is probably the wrong word... but who cares - it's SO GOOD, it's worth it! My favorites are my own Christmas version of homemade mac and cheese, Dussini's lobster mac and cheese, Chive's crab mac and cheese, Whole Foods' hot bar mac and cheese, and Lean Cuisine mac and cheese.

But Macafoni and Cheese is an amazing and healthy alternative, friends. Instead of pasta, I use tofu, which has an al dente texture, and no flavor, just like pasta. I use soy cheese, which has lots of protein and few carbs, egg whites, and soy milk instead of heavy cream. It's actually a really yummy option when you're craving the good ol' fashioned favorite...

So give this a try and let me know what you think! Even Petri and KT (the equivalents of Mikey) like it!

Love, Mer

Mer's Macafoni and Cheese


1 lb. tofu, firm - well-drained
2 cups cheddar soy cheese
3 egg whites
1/4 cup soy milk
salt and pepper - to taste
1/2 cup onion
1 large clove garlic, minced

Use the firmest tofu you can find, preferably "cotton" tofu, as opposed to silken which is usually used for desserts. Drain well and press out extra moisture (usually not necessary with firm tofu).

Combine eggs, cream, and cheese. Dice tofu into large macaroni-sized pieces. Stir into the cheese mixture. Season as desired. Place in greased casserole (or small individual casseroles). Optional: top with additional cheese (I cheat and top it with real Cheddar or something like quattro formaggio).

Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and slightly crunchy on top. (It holds very well in a warm oven.)

Serves 4. After fiber (1.3 gr) there are 2.6 grams net grams of carbohydrate per serving.

**Disclaimer - photo is of maCaroni and cheese, not macaFoni** :)