My Christmas 2010 Book-Giving Guide

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 28 of November , 2010 at 4:07 pm

You’ll notice I have very few political books on this list.  In my experience, people buy those books themselves.  The only exception would be if you are able to give a signed book. (Plug: CPAC book signings are a great opportunity for getting boat loads of personally signed books, so plan ahead for next year!)

For History Buffs:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas — How can you beat a subtitle like that?  This is the only book on the list I haven’t had a chance to read.  I gave it to someone as a birthday gift and I’ve heard great things.  I’m also a fan of Eric’s other books. 

America: The Last Best Hope (Volumes I and II) by William J. Bennett — I am not a history buff, but I enjoyed these books.  Dr. Bennett is a great storyteller.  What gets lost in most scholastic history books is the interesting tidbits that make names, dates and places come alive.  Years later most of us only remember the interesting things like Washington’s “wood” teeth.  In America: The Last Best Hope, all the interesting parts are actually true.  Leave it to public schools to remove the humanity out of history!

For Fashionistas, Reality TV fans, Girls Like Me:

My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster — This book chronicles Jen’s transition from reality TV junky to cultured woman.  Jen is one of my favorite authors.  Read more about her here.

Good Enough to Eat by Stacey Ballis — I’m reading this book right now.  This could easily go in the next section, but I think the storyline is more important.  The gist of it: Starting over is hard.  Making perfect mashed potatoes is easy!

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell — Warning: this book is only loosely based on what you know about Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, so don’t obssess.  It’s not soul-shattering prose, but the last page makes it worth it.  Don’t skip ahead though!

For Foodies:

Hungry Girl 1-2-3 by Lisa Lillien — Ok, this one is not really for foodies, but for women who want to cook low-calorie meals without having to think about it.  The Hungry Girl series is pretty popular, so she must be doing something right.

At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook — I love this book because it takes me away from D.C.  Pair with the Blanchards’ memoir, A Trip to the Beach, which chronicles a Vermont couple who left the “concrete jungle” to open a restaurant in Barbados and live life on “island time.”

Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain — If someone you know is a fan of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations,” they’ll obviously love these books.  Just make sure they don’t already have them.  I’m a fan of the TV series, but only read Kitchen Confidential recently.  I recommend buying both just because I prefer the older Bourdain to the younger Bourdain.

Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser — This book is similiar to Good Enough to Eat in that it’s a memoir with recipes.  The author is a food writer for the New York Times but, surprisingly, it’s not pretentious at all.  That’s the problem most of negative reviewers have with the author, so ignore them.

Also be on the look out for church, Women’s League or any collaborative cookbooks.  They have great family recipes and purchasing them helps support local organizations.

For Sports Fans:

Andy Roddick Beat Me with a Frying Pan by Todd Gallagher — This book is perfect for people who sit around thinking about who was the greatest this or that or whether this team from yesteryear could beat the current team.  Some of the questions the author actually tested include: Could an average guy start in the WNBA?  Would an obese man be the best goalie ever?  Could an average swimmer beat a Olympic swimmer who could only dog-paddle?  (FYI, ladies, this book will probably end up in the bathroom.  Take it as a sign that he’s actually reading it!)

For People Who Have My Sense of Humor (i.e. Awesome People):

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack by Nicholas Gurewitch — I love this comic strip.  The book is a perfect way to introduce your favorite awesome person to this ridiculously funny comic strip.

The Bible of Unspeakable Truths by Greg Gutfeld  — This is the most political book on my list, but I’m including it in this section because Gutfeld’s sense of humor is more important than his politics (which are also pretty great). This is the political book I wish I could write.

For Parents:

The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls  — I’ve given this book several times and it always ends up in the hands of the parents.  I think it’s a good primer for teaching your kids how to do cool things like making the perfect paper airplane and how to tell a good ghost story.

(In case you missed it, also check out my online shopping guide here.)

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Category: Clicks of the Day

My 2010 Christmas Shopping Guide for Agoraphobes

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 27 of November , 2010 at 8:05 pm

I don’t go to malls unless it’s the only way to get to a Chick-fil-a.  Other than the grocery store and Target, I really don’t go to any brick-and-mortar stores.  As such, I’m a very experienced internet shopper.  About 90% of my gifts are purchased online.  Over the years I’ve found some pretty cool sites.  Here is my annual list of online stores for unique and fun gifts:

Amazon.com — Ok, you probably knew about this one.  I like it because they literally have EVERYTHING.  It’s really great for dog lovers.  Just put in the breed and you’ll get hundreds of fun items with their breed of choice — socks, stationary, PJs, etc.  Ditto for anyone else that’s really in to something or someone or some team.  It’s also a great way to support smaller retailers since most of the stuff that will come up isn’t directly sold by Amazon.

PerpetualKid.com — This is my favorite site for stocking stuffers and fun gifts.  My friends and family will definitely recognize some of the stuff on here.  Best category: Robots and Cupcakes.  My favorite item: the Stress Wiener.

UncommonGoods.com — Lots of great things for family and friends who entertain.  Also, great for finding unique gifts.  A few years ago I bought a friend who is a die-hard Yankees fan a pair of cufflinks made from the seats at the old stadium.  They also have a helpful gift section that can help you narrow down items by price, recipient, sale items and what’s new.  On my Christmas list: Arm Warmers

KuKuRuZa.com — Gourmet popcorn in really yummy flavors.  It ships a lot better than cookies.  I’ve spent lots of time and dough (hee hee) shipping cookies to people and then finding out they were a crumbly mess when they arrived.  Wouldn’t your loved ones rather have Maple Bacon popcorn than crumbly week-old cookies?  Or Egg Nog with Brandied Chocolate Popcorn?  Or Cashew Caramel Popcorn?  Or Rocky Road Popcorn?  Or Hawaiian Sea Salt Popcorn?  Um, yeah, I recommend the Sample Packs.

Forever21.com — Don’t laugh!  They have really cute costume jewelry and hair accessories. 

CafePress.com — There are several sites that offer a similar service, but this is the one I use.  Take a photo someone has taken or photo of their dog (I obviously know a lot of dog lovers) and make it into cards or a jewelry box or calendar or whatever.  Just be sure to think ahead since this isn’t your best bet for a last-minute gift.

Coming soon… My list of books that make good Christmas gifts. Good news: most of them aren’t political!

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Category: Clicks of the Day,The Internets,Things I Want

Worth a thousand words…

Written by Lotus on Monday, 16 of June , 2008 at 4:26 pm

A photo taken by Heather Brand at the John McCain for President headquarters:

UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin for linking!  Also, some people seem to think I took the photo or did some kind of trickery.  The photo was taken by a McCain campaign photographer and was posted on his daughter’s blog (see link above).  Can’t we all just appreciate a good joke? 

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Category: Clicks of the Day

Russert’s passing is a loss for everyone

Written by Lotus on Friday, 13 of June , 2008 at 7:10 pm

I’ve been reading several comments on Fark, Wonkette and others and I can’t believe that liberals think conservatives would be elated over Tim Russert’s untimely passing.  It really shows how blind they are.  Russert is one of the few reporters/interviewers in the mainstream media that was just as tough on Democrats.   This is a loss for everyone.

Click here to read some of Russert’s great questions during the last debate with Clinton and Obama.

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Category: Clicks of the Day

Do you have a secret?

Written by Lotus on Thursday, 29 of May , 2008 at 5:14 pm

Every Sunday the first website I go to is PostSecret.  Several years ago Frank Warren asked people to anonymously send in postcards with secrets they want to get off their chests.  In a recent e-mail to his list, Warren poses with the orginal box he bought for storing the postcards.  He’s surrounded by boxes and boxes of the postcards he’s since received.

If you have a secret to share, send a post card to:

PostSecret
13345 Copper Ridge Road
Germantown, MD  20874

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Category: Clicks of the Day

A Hero Says Goodbye

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 5 of January , 2008 at 1:29 am

Major Andrew Olmsted has been on the frontlines in Iraq as a soldier and blogger.  The Rocky Mountain News reported:

Fort Carson-based Army Major Andrew Olmsted is blogging from the war in Iraq, where his mission is to teach members of the Iraqi Army how to defend their country and provide security for their people. Major Olmsted is a veteran blogger and he is determined to make a difference in Iraq. “The sooner the Iraqi government doesn’t need U.S. support to provide security for its people, the sooner we will probably be asked to leave.”

“hilzoy” at Obsidian Wings writes:

Andrew Olmsted, who also posted here as G’Kar, was killed yesterday in Iraq. Andy gave me a post to publish in the event of his death; the last revisions to it were made in July.

The following is the first part of Major Olmsted’s funny and touching post.  I don’t feel it’s my place to pick excerpts, so be sure to read the entire post here:

“I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here.”
G’Kar, Babylon 5

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
Plato*

This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G’Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It’s not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn’t hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don’t know. I hope so. It’s frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won’t get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.

“When some people die, it’s time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or the Irish, it’s time to celebrate.”
Jimmy Bender, “Greg the Bunny”

“And maybe now it’s your turn
To die kicking some ass.”
Freedom Isn’t Free, Team America

What I don’t want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I’m dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren’t going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I’ve enjoyed in my life. So if you’re up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw ‘Freedom Isn’t Free’ from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can’t laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I’m dead, but if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.

Click here to continue reading.  One last thing — please respect Major Olmsted’s wishes and keep politics (pro or against the war) out of the comments section.

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Category: Clicks of the Day

I Resolve Not to Indulge Pointless Small Talk

Written by Lotus on Monday, 31 of December , 2007 at 2:27 am

Jen Lancaster nicely sums up my feelings on New Year’s resolutions and, specifically, people who ask for yours.  Our failures are hard enough to admit to close friends.  So, why do nosy strangers insist on asking?  Jen writes on Jennsylvania.com:

The thing is, resolutions are rarely about what we already find kind of awesome about ourselves, like I resolve to continue to be a great parent, or I resolve to continue to visit my senile grandma in the nursing home three times a week or I resolve to keep adopting third world babies

(OK, maybe just Angelina Jolie on that last one.)

Point is, resolutions generally entail what we don’t like about ourselves, as in I’m too fat or I’m disorganized or my spending is out of control.  Therefore, when you, a perfect stranger, ask me about my resolutions, you’re basically requesting I lay all my flaws bare and I think it’s incredibly rude and presumptive, especially when you’re in no position to help me achieve whatever it is I resolve to do.

So, going forward, if you ask me what my New Year’s resolutions are, I’m not going to give you the bullshit I resolve not to make any resolutions! answer.  Instead, I’m going to tell you this:

I resolve to be self-aware enough to spot potential problems within myself and to begin to work on them immediately, without a making a public announcement or waiting to start the improvements on an entirely arbitrary date.

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Category: Clicks of the Day,Conservatives I Love

One for Me, One for You

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 25 of November , 2007 at 9:19 pm

Today’s lazy Sunday was brought to you by three NFL games, a Godfather II and Sopranos marathon on A&E and pre-Cyber Monday deals.  The (financial) downside of the seductive holiday deals is that people often overspend on gifts for themselves.  I’m certainly guilty.  I often justify over-shopping by telling myself that I’ll buy two of something in case there’s someone I’m forgetting.  Right… 

Anyway, here are a few of the online stores that are taking my money this Christmas:

Target — Free shipping on a lot of items, but like Amazon.com and Overstock.com, one order may come in several shipments, so be sure the delivery date for all of them is before December 25.

Perpetual Kid — Love this site!  It’s great for stocking stuffers.  I guarantee you’ll have a unique gift.  After all, who else sells tattoos for the elderly and edible candy cane-flavored shot glasses?

Overstock.com — Ok, I was disappointed with several of my purchases, so use Overstock with caution.  A lot of my friends are big fans though, so I thought I’d include it in this list anyway.    All you ever hear on the-website-that-must-not-be-named is “Free shipping on returns.”  I tried to return something today and they actually do charge you for shipping if they deem your reason for returning the item as unworthy.  By the way, the reason I’m returning said item is because the photo was misleading, i.e. item was labeled as a non-stick pan and photographed from the top. It’s actually a non-stick bowl.  So, Website-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, feel the wrath of my strikethrough!

Old Navy — Bigger selection, less tweeners than the brick and morter shows.  I love their flat $5 shipping.

Macy’s — My coworkers can attest to the fact that I have a Macys.com addiction as they’ve signed for many packages.  They often have a bigger selection of brands than the Macy’s that’s less than one mile from house.  In fact, returns are so easy that I usually return by mail instead of going to the brick and morter store.  I’m all about minimizing human interaction.

Amazon — No explanation needed.  We both know you’re going to give them more money.

Uncommon Goods — This site is one of my worst “one for me, one for you” indulgences.  See Illusion Wine Glasses.  Another favorite is the Global Warming Mug — I love giving this to my Exxon Mobil fat cat friends.

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Category: Clicks of the Day,LOTUS Recommends

Lazy Monday

Written by Lotus on Monday, 8 of October , 2007 at 2:25 pm

UPDATE: 3-18-08

Greetings Mr. Borchers and readers reader of “CoulterKampf”!  In case you missed it, below is my original article about Dan Borchers’ stalker behavior.  Enjoy!

Debunking the Coulter Plagiarism Charges

by Lisa De Pasquale

July 10, 2006

Liberals are positively orgasmic over the accusations recycled from nut websites in the New York Post that bestselling author Ann Coulter plagiarized others’ writings. Oddly, the Post didn’t think these accusations were important enough to ask her about when interviewing her in early June. Perhaps this is because the accusations of plagiarism aren’t news. Calling Coulter “mean” and other four-letter words wasn’t gelling with Americans who actually know how to read, so liberals had to move on to plan B — she’s a plagiarist!

In his second article citing “plagiarism expert” and CEO of iParadigms John Barrie, New York Post recycler Philip Recchia gave no examples of passages that were plagiarized by Ann Coulter so the reader could compare them. Barrie, a graduate from the People’s Republic of Berkeley, is the creator of the iThenticate computer program that claims to root out plagiarism. But according to Universal Press Syndicate, the company that distributes Coulter’s widely-read column, a representative for iParadigms suspiciously said that he wasn’t sure the company “ could provide the same information about Coulter as was given to the Post.”

Recchia simply offered vague references to old claims, including “10 facts” that were also in a Heritage Foundation paper. These facts were descriptions of projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. How many ways can a columnist describe a picture of “Christ submerged in a jar of urine” to its gentle readers? Columnists for at least three publications — the Manila Times, San Diego’s Daily Transcript and the Southern Illinoisan — described the work of “art” in those exact same words after Coulter did so in her June 29, 2005, column. Given that it’s more likely that they read Coulter’s column than a 1991 Heritage paper that isn’t available online, does that mean they knowingly plagiarized Coulter? Of course not. There are only so many words one can use to describe the filth funded by the NEA.

Likewise, there are only so many arguments liberals can use against Coulter. Her detractors are as predictable as Pavlov’s dogs. Devoid of critical thinking, they have a conditioned reaction to successful conservatives. By the way, you may find that I am not the first person to describe the Pavlovian theory with the words “critical thinking” and “conditioned reaction.”

Another example that is being recycled by bloggers is a 2002 article that accused Coulter of plagiarizing in her first New York Times bestseller, High Crimes and Misdemeanors. The author of this ridiculous article is longtime Coulter critic Daniel Borchers, a so-called “principled conservative” and owner of the now defunct AnorexicAnnie.com website. Borchers has put himself in the spotlight by claiming to be an expert on Ann Coulter. It is now time for me to speak out about Daniel Borchers.

From 1997 to 1998, Borchers sent 10-page fan letters once a week to Coulter. The letters went unanswered by Coulter and since then he has repeatedly harassed her, her family and her former co-workers. I experienced his erratic behavior firsthand as program director of an organization that sponsored her campus speeches.  

However, Borchers may have a few copyright issues himself. At the 2002 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) I witnessed Borchers distributing folders filled with his rants against Coulter and pornographic photos that were meticulously cut-and-pasted so that her face replaced the female faces in the photos. Former CPAC staffers have told me that Borchers has gone to great lengths to sneak into CPAC under false pretenses, including making a phony press pass on his home computer and registering under fake names.

Amazingly, even for the National Enquirer, Borchers’ rants against Coulter were recently quoted in their ludicrous article demanding that “she should be thrown out of the country.” He has also been cited in Mother Jones and by numerous liberal blogs, such as Huffington Post. This is literally like hiring John Hinkley to write about Jodie Foster.

The fact that the left is using Borchers as the go-to expert on Ann Coulter proves how little evidence they have against her.  In 2005, the liberal dogs were still salivating over the 2002 release of Coulter’s second New York Times bestseller, Slander. The Daily Howler’s Bob Somerby wrote: “Coulter wanted to say that the liberal [New York] Times had engaged in the nastiest possible conduct. So of course!  Unable to make such a claim in good faith, she plagiarized. She simply made the claim up.” Which is it: a made up claim or plagiarism? Here’s a newsflash: Claims of misconduct by the New York Times do not need to be fabricated. 

Most telling is the fact that none of the authors or publications that liberals claim Ann Coulter plagiarized have come forward. Liberals are always parroting themselves because they think truth is based on the number of times an accusation is repeated. The latest cry of plagiarism from the left is simply their conditioned response to her continued success. If the New York Post’s famed “pattern recognition” expert John Barrie couldn’t spot this trend, I wouldn’t put much stock in the vague accusations he makes against Coulter. Nor should anyone take obsessive rants seriously just because they are recycled in tabloids and in the liberal blogosphere.

 ————- BACK TO ORIGINAL “LAZY MONDAY POST ————-

Happy Colombus Day! 

I’m sitting at home working on my column, watching reruns of Roseanne, BOTUS at my side.  It’s a wonderful 86 degrees outside, so when I reach some appropriate milestone (say, 400 words), I’m going out on the deck for awhile.

If you’re stuck inside, here’s a link to occupy your time — MyHeritage.org.  Upload a picture of yourself and see which celebrities you look like.  If you’re really bored, upload pictures of celebrities and see if they get match to themselves.

Lisa’s Look-a-Likes

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Category: Clicks of the Day

Clicks of the Day

Written by Lotus on Wednesday, 12 of September , 2007 at 5:02 pm

Mary Katherine Ham at Townhall has photos from yesterday’s protests at Ground Zero. 

Grab some tissue for this article.  So sweet…

Best Onion article in awhile.

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Category: Clicks of the Day

Author

LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.