Squawk Radio

Friday, June 23, 2006


This morning as I rolled over on an empty bottle of tequila and groped for the alarm clock someone had been rude enough to actually set to go off (funny, Liz), I knocked my bottle of "illegal substance" to the floor, spilling pills everywhere. Never one to be wasteful, I crawled over Buck?/Hector?/Pete?--Who cares? Some biker with spectacular tattoos--and got down on all fours. It took me about ten minutes to find all my pills under the pizza boxes, rum bottles, empty potatoes chips bags and chocolate wrappers. But as I was gathering them up, I found myself steeped in philosophical musings (I'm deep) and wondering just of which of the many possibilities represented among all the crap littering the floor (and my bed) I would give up if I had to. Which was the worst for me? Of course, I have no intention of giving up anything but still...

So I decided to pose a question for the squawkers and you readers: What is your favorite thing that is bad for you?And Lisa? I'm not taking about lipgloss without SPF protection.


For those of you who may not know of them, mallomars are an extremely weird source of nutrition. Almost 90% of all sales are in the New York metropolitan area (which says something about them right there). Nabisco only sells them during the winter months because otherwise they deteriorate in the heat. My Italian husband swears they taste like cardboard (he doesn't like popcorn or board games either--let's face it; he's no American). I swear they taste like heaven. What you have is a cookie at the bottom, with a big marshmellow on top, and the whole thing covered in a thin dark chocolate topping that cracks when you eat it. It's a S'More without having to do all the Girl Scout/campfire/bonding crap that never really worked for me. Well, how could it? My mother thought Girl Scout uniforms were sexist. At any rate, putting the woes of my childhood aside, for me, mallomars are the most desirable food in the world, bringing together childhood memories, irresistible flavor, and the huge pleasure involved in eating a substance with a complete lack of nutritional value.


I suppose true crime books aren't really all THAT bad for you, but I can't see how they enrich one's life very much. I do love true crime books, though. Not so much the gory details of the murder written about (though, um, I don't skip over those parts), but more the way they're solved. The forensics and deduction and all that stuff. And it's amazing how much they've changed since, say, the Jeffrey McDonald murders in 1970 written about by Joe McGinness in FATAL VISION.

My favorite true crime book, though, is Jerry Bledsoe's BITTER BLOOD, since two of the murders written about in that book took place only a few miles from my home. (Gee, that's a gruesome thing to confess to liking, isn't it?) When my son was in Kindermusik, we used to drive past the house where Susan Lynch and her cousin Fritz Klenner shot and killed her ex-mother- and sister-in-law every week. And every time we did, I held my breath. The house has changed owners several times just in the seven years we've lived out here, and as of a couple of weeks ago, it was up for sale again. Kinda gives you the willies.

I guess reading true crime is a safe outlet for my fears, the same way watching a scary movie is. And there's something very satisfying in reading about someone who DIDN'T get away with murder. Keeps the world in balance, I suppose.


My first introduction to the cinema of Quentin Tarantino came when I heard a reviewer talking about PULP FICTION. He said, "You know how there are movies you wouldn't watch with your mom? Well, I wouldn't watch this movie with Satan." Since I don't care that much for profanity-laced films or the gratuitous violence of movies like DEATH WISH or the crude humor of AMERICAN PIE, I surprise myself by adoring Quentin Tarantino movies.

I love his use of music and the way he makes every shot count and his seamless blending of Hitchcock, the spaghetti western, blaxploitation films and martial arts. And most of all I love the way his dialogue in Samuel L. Jackson's mouth can make a stream of ear-blistering profanity sound more eloquent than Shakespeare (Sorry Eloisa!) As a writer I'm always looking to spot the puppet strings and he's one of the few filmmakers with the power to surprise me.

I love the KILL BILL duet but my all-time favorite (and probably the sweetest of his movies) is JACKIE BROWN. Robert Forster's protrayal of kind, decent bounty hunter Max Cherry who falls for Pam Grier's flight attendant never fails to move me. Toss in Bridget Fonda's snarky stoned surfer girl, Robert DeNiro's bumbling ex-con, and Samuel L. Jackson's indelible portrayal of clever but ice cold arms dealer Ordell Robbie AND a fair amount of hilarious dialogue, and you have a modern cinema masterpiece. So I love Quentin Tarentino movies. Just don't tell my mom, okay?!!!

When my husband Greg and I moved from Houston to a small west Texas town approximately forty-five minutes from the nearest mall, I knew my days as a fashion goddess were over. And let's face it--even when the mall is nearby, there's not much shopping one can do while encumbered by a fussy baby, a fifty pound stroller, and a diaper bag the size of a Hefty Cinch Sak.

Then the internet saved my life. I discovered all you have to do is type the name of your favorite store followed by .com, and you can order anything you want in the any size and color, delivered right to your front door. Sure, there's a shipping fee, but when you factor in the cost of the food court at the mall, plus the gas to get there, it's still cheaper to let your fingers do the walking. Not to mention faster and infinitely more convenient.

Ultimately, however, the convenience is the problem. The internet allows one to spend money with reckless abandon, in lightning-fast paperless transactions. Internet shopping can turn into a form of entertainment, accompanied by a flood of endorphins as the final process your order button is pressed . . .

Excuse me, I have to run. Heard there was a sale at AnnTaylor.com . . .


Chocolate chip cookie dough! Cool, chilled, salty, sweet, gooey, delicious uncooked chocolate chip cookie dough! I'd rather devour a bowl of them in their natural state than even a couple once they've been cooked. I confess, I have made an entire batch of cookies that have never seen a baking sheet, let alone the inside of the oven. In fact, a baggie filled of pre-scooped morsels of ambrosial delight lay nestled in the bottom drawer of my freeze --because if you can't have cookie dough fresh, the next best thing is frozen.

So there's my bad-for-you favorite. I laugh in the face of Salmonella, I throw my fate in the teeth of bacterial threats! I LOVE CHOCLOATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH AND I'M NOT GOING TO STOP EATING IT!


Behavioral psychologists say that your bed should be used only as the place you sleep. They say that if the only reason you go to bed is to sleep, you develop the habit of sleeping when you go to bed. I think that's probably right. I also think I don't care.

I love my bed. I love the way it looks, I love the fact that it's tall and when I fluff up the pillows behind my back I can look out at the view from the windows while I do my email, or read, or, heck, write a book. The only thing I don't do in my bed is exercise, and well, never mind, this is a family blog.

For a year I've been asking for one of those reading pillows with the light and the arms with the pockets in them for your glasses and your pen, and my husband has steadfastly ignored me. Which would be okay if he was buying me diamonds, but nooo. I think he's ignoring me because he figures if he buys me one, I'm never getting out of bed.

Which is a problem why?

Eloisa James, 7:39 AM