Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pleasantly Not Repulsed! ...

I went to the store for Swedish Fish, which is not something for which I usually run to the store, but Angelo is in Vegas and in his showroom, there are snacks and he had posted pictures on Twitter and this year, he bought theater-size boxes of candy because let's face it, the fun-size treats have long since ceased to be fun, and the very first image I clicked on was the image of the Swedish Fish which I love but which I don't have very often because, well, come to think of it, I'm not sure why not because Swedish Fish are awesome, so I ran to the store to buy my own theater-size box of Swedish Fish because that's the only way they can be had at the grocery store, though the whole situation is heavy on the packaging, light on the fish, but that's OK because I really only wanted a few of them anyway, just the red ones, because I like the weird red flavor but a "few" is a misnomer because on the way home, I had five.

(Thank you for indulging my Faulknerian meditation on Swedish Fish. I just bowed.)


While I was at the store, wandering around, thinking that I should probably leave with more than a box of Swedish Fish and a bottle of low-fat chocolate milk, I headed down the aisle that houses oatmeal, because I've been pondering a cookie that would require oatmeal, which is on the bottom shelf because as mascots go, a Quaker isn't the sexiest option so there's really no reason to keep him at eye level, and besides, people who buy oatmeal can probably benefit from having to bend over to pick it up, and that's when I passed the Pop-Tarts which are absolutely at eye level and which take up far more shelf real estate than you'd expect, and holy hell, do you know what I saw?!

Frosted Chocolate Peanut Butter Pop-Tarts!

And yes, I immediately thought, "THESE ARE REESE'S IN POP-TART FORM!"

And, Swedish Fish aside, I thought of Angelo again, because he loves Reese's, as do I, as does any sane member of the human race.

And Pop-Tarts were on sale.

On sale, people.

So I had to buy them. For research's sake.

I had to.

So I did.

And just a little while ago, I put one – just one – in my toaster and set it on the lowest heat setting, as instructed, and didn't even let it toast for a full toast cycle, and removed it to a paper towel and let it cool ever so slightly and broke off a piece and popped it into my mouth and, as the title of this post has already revealed, I was pleasantly not repulsed!

It's not quite the same as a Reese's, because it's a Pop-Tart, but they're definitely related in the flavor department.

And, hello, check out the callout on the box:

Multivitamin schmultivitamin, Gone Nutty! Pop-Tarts are a "Good Source of 6 Vitamins & Minerals," vital information which is presented in a rather Dr. Seussian font, to boot, to further drive home the fun!

Will I eat the rest of them?

I don't think so.

But I am very glad to have bought them, and tried them, and photographed them, and written about them.

Angelo, in case these had somehow not yet penetrated your consciousness, you may want to search them out. Maybe keep a box in your luggage and warm them up with the irons in the closets of hotels.

For when you're on the road and it's late and you're left wanting for something chock full of preservatives and crap.

In other words, when you've run out of Swedish Fish.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Reconsidering Coffee ...

I didn't have coffee twice this week, on successive days, and I had the headache to prove it. But on the third morning, I was feeling pretty OK.

And I made coffee, and I drank a bit of it and woooooo! Hello, caffeine! But then I headed out to run some errands and my coffee cooled down, and well, yuck. I poured it out in a parking lot.

This morning, I made it again – less caffeine mania going on at the moment, thanks for asking – and as I'm sitting here, with my morning allotment nearly gone and the remainder of the pot on the stove, cooling down, which I will chill for iced coffee tomorrow morning, I'm wondering if I should dispense with my daily coffee habit.

I apologize to those of you who just clutched your chests.

I've pondered this before. I went through a big "Should I or shouldn't I?" debate with myself about 10 years ago. I told a friend about my plan. He was very concerned. "But we like something warm to drink in the morning," he said, sounding more than a little sad that I might be on the cusp of giving up one of life's great joys.

I had been working in an office that kept giant Styrofoam cups on hand and had taken to drinking my coffee out of them, with a proportionate amount of coffee goo, which was far too much coffee goo.

So I bought a Fiestaware mug – purple! – and kept drinking coffee, a sane quantity at a time.

I like the idea of coffee in the morning. I like shuffling into the kitchen and putting it on. I like the gurgling sound the coffeemaker makes as the brewing cycle ends. I like that friends and family know that coffee is a good gift. (Though I'm all set when it comes to coffee mugs, thanks. Although I've had to retire my beloved Mind The Gap mug, pictured above, so I shall have to return to London to buy another.)

But my relationship with coffee waxes and wanes. There are days that I want more than what I allow myself each morning, and then there are days that, a few sips in, I find myself thinking, "Blech. I don't want this."

I know, right? Weird.

Yesterday, I was telling mom about the God-awful coffee that happened on the 3-Days, back when I used to walk them. I presume the coffee has not gotten any better. I don't believe there is any good way to prepare good coffee for more than 1,000 people.

Perhaps that memory is coloring my thinking this morning. A Twitter friend is walking Boston this weekend. I suspect that she faced awful coffee this morning. It's really a shame. If ever there is a need for an early-morning caffeine boost, it's when you're about to embark on Day 2 of a 3-Day, as your body is saying, "Wait? That thing we did yesterday? You think we're doing that again?"

Henceforth or for the foreseeable future, I will assess my coffee interest each morning. Perhaps I will not cut it out entirely. Perhaps it will become more of a treat.

And perhaps I'll quickly realize the absurdity of foregoing my daily hit of caffeine.

Time will tell.

Monday, July 22, 2013

'Someday, Someday, Maybe' ...

Read it, read it, now.

It's a delightful novel.

And while I've gotten away from writing about books in much detail because I want every reader to experience books for him- or herself, I will say that the sentence at the top of page 177 is exactly where I am in life, as are, I suspect, many, many others.

I'm a fan of Lauren's from her "Gilmore Girl" days, so in reading this book, I was biased from the get-go, but it's charming.

She and Hugh Laurie can form a "People I Love From Television Who Have Written Knock-Out Debut Novels" club. Hugh's "The Gun Seller" is annoyingly good.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Donna's Would Be/Should Be Birthday ...

Today is Donna's would be/should be birthday. She would have turned 8.

Donna's Mama wrote an amazing post about celebrating her birthday in her absence. It suggests many ways for folks to honor Donna, including sharing a photo on the Donna's Good Things Facebook page.

I'd love for you to know her. You can see her storysong at the bottom of this post.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Reality Show I'd Watch ...

I had an idea this morning for something that may already exist, but I'm not going to Google it because I don't want to know. At least not until I finish this post.

Here it is: reality-show psychologist.

I'm thinking of it in terms of real-estate shows, but just as there are 4,000 versions of "House Hunters," there could be franchise opportunities with this niche, too.

This morning, I caught a few minutes of "Bang for Your Buck." Generally, I shun the "cheap-to-produce, fill-up-the-schedule, maximize-profit, content-be-damned" shows, but I'd seen the episode before and I remember how crushed one of the homeowners was that Kristan dissed her cabinet hardware. And what can I say? It's hot outside. I was in the mood to sneer.

The wife homeowner had pulled a bait and switch on the husband homeowner and dropped $495 on square crystal pulls for the cabinets. He wanted something with a little more heft to grab on to, but she insisted they were the right choice because they were pretty. She was very proud of her "form over function" aesthetic.

Now, I'm no designer, God knows. I was raised by a practical mother. And so, as the homeowner was gushing about her brilliant choice of iridescent blue glass accent tile behind the stove – "They looks like pearls!" – I said to the TV, "Are you nuts? Behind a stove? Do you realize what a pain in the ass that's going to be to clean?" Ridiculous.

Then again, maybe she's never going to use the stove. It cost nearly $5,000, but plenty of people buy high-end appliances in some lame attempt at status. She also recoiled at the agent's suggestion that the fridge feature ice and water access in the door. Since they were in ... Arizona. "That would be tacky," wife homeowner huffed. With her, it was all about appearance. Function was an afterthought in her kitchen, never mind that the kitchen is intended to be the most functional room in a home.

Another wife homeowner was very offended that Kristan pointed out that the sink, stove, and refrigerator were on the same wall. There's a reason it's called a work triangle. But no, this wife homeowner said, the work-triangle idea was very '80s. I laughed at my TV. "No, dear, the work triangle very functional." Maybe that wife homeowner doesn't cook, either. Kristan also gave a thumbs down to the one weird chair stuck in an empty corner. Wife homeowner said it was a design statement. Maybe. If your design statement is "Shunned Guest."

Kristan suggested building in some bench seating and adding a table. Wife homeowner thought that was a brilliant idea. I guess she'd never seen a breakfast nook before.

I didn't bother watching the third couple again. But I was amused to be reminded of just how offended couples are that a designer would dare enter their homes and criticize a single thing. Had they not seen the show before? Have they not seen any show before? Conflict, kids. Shows need conflict. Which is why reality shows try to hard to inject drama even where none really exists.

Did they think that theirs would be the only homes in which a designer wouldn't find fault? Like Ralphie's theme fantasy in "A Christmas Story" in which his teacher floats along the blackboard writing "A++++++++++++"? Yeah, no.

And what's with the people on the house-hunting shows who are hung up on double-height entryways? I remember one guy being very clear that he wanted a home that would impress people when they arrived. What's up with that? Most guys I know aren't hung up on foyers. Most guys I know are happy with a house so long as it has a single wall large enough to hold the biggest-ass TV they can buy.

So I think it would be really fascinating to have a psychologist sit down with these people and ask them what's behind their choices and wishes. Agents don't ask those questions on these shows. If a client wants a big-ass foyer, fine, the agent finds homes with big-ass foyers. So long as a commission's involved, who cares, right? But why, dude, do you want people to be impressed when they walk into your home? What's lacking in your life that you feel the need to flaunt your home in order to impress people?

The bridal version would be even more interesting. Or more sad. Like the woman who was going to blow her budget on a $17,000 dress because she was a "diva" and she was going to have whatever she wanted. I'd love to ask her a few questions about her childhood.

And don't even get me started on that "Real Housewives" business. I've never watched an episode, but I've caught glimpses while surfing and I've seen commercials. Wow. Talk about women who could use some help.

So, have at it, producers. All you need is a camera, a shrink, and a couch. The pool of candidates is near-endless.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's Not The Heat, It's The Humidity. (No. Wait. It's The Heat, Too.) ...

Have I mentioned lately how much I do not like summer?

I like aspects of summer – summer fruit, ice cream, lemonade, fireflies, late light – but summer itself?


When I step out of the shower and immediately start sweating? No.

When I wonder why I'm bothering to apply any makeup (not that I wear much to begin with) because it will only slide off my face in short order? No.

When I want to bake something but then think of the madness of turning on my oven on a 100-degree day, even if my house is air conditioned? No.

When I walk outside into the swampiness? No.

I went to a client's office yesterday and one of the staffers I sit near when I'm there asked if I had brought in treats.

I often bake for clients – it's yet another of my many professional selling points, people – but no, I told him. Not with the heat. Though I added: "But I'll be back in September. Your odds are better then."

Unfortunately, scientists have not realized my idea of divvying up the planet into quadrants by season so that I can live in fall for 10 months of the year.

I thought climate change might work in my favor this summer. The 4th of July was so lovely this year (after being so wretched last year) that it gave me hope that the rest of the summer would follow suit.

I could be OK with a summer full of 80-degree days, with low humidity and a nice breeze. That would be A-OK.

But this? No.

Thankfully, I read a piece yesterday that explained that it takes more energy to heat homes than to cool them, so at least I can feel less guilty when I turn on the a/c.

But I'm already looking forward to fall.

In the meantime, you can find me in my bedroom, with the shades three-quarters drawn.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Everybody's A Critic ...

Apparently, YouTube is not a fan of my user name.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

National Blueberry Muffin Day ...

I've blogged about blueberry muffins in the past, but given this auspicious day, I'm reposting the post and recipe along with a more recent photo.

You can tell fall is on its way: I'm inspired to bake again.

It was a lovely, cool morning, so I went for a walk to Starbucks for some coffee and a low-fat blueberry muffin. And then, on the walk home, I strolled through the farmers' market and saw lovely boxes of blueberries. I couldn't pass them up. I bought a box, thinking I'd put them in oatmeal. But then, with the pleasant memory of my blueberry muffin fresh in my mind, I decided to make blueberry muffins and share them with my neighbors. (Hi, Rhonda, William, and Shane!)

Once home, I pulled a couple cookbooks off my shelves. My first instinct was to check Baking with Julia. Surely I'd find a winning recipe in there. Julia baked with the most amazing chefs in that series. Sure enough, there was a recipe for blueberry muffins. But the recipe called for ingredients I didn't have on hand – cake flour, sour cream – and I'd have to haul out my stand mixer. Too much effort. And the picture of the muffin was forlorn. The recipe stated that the muffins, when baked, would be flat-topped. Well, who wants a flat-topped muffin? It didn't even look like a muffin. It looked like a failure of a muffin.

Harumph. No thank you.

I checked some other baking books and was surprised by the dearth of blueberry muffin recipes. And then I remembered Mostly Muffins, a little, unassuming square book, one of a three-book set I bought years ago, along with Completely Cookies and Simply Scones. Surely Mostly Muffins would have a blueberry muffin recipe. Blueberry muffins are the gold standard of muffins. Sure enough. Page 10. The third muffin recipe. (The sections are arranged alphabetically, otherwise I'm sure blueberry would be up front.)

I read through the ingredients list. Yup, I had everything on hand. But walnut pieces? Yeah, I have walnuts in my house. I always have walnuts in my freezer. But who puts walnuts in a blueberry muffin? I don't, and I put walnuts in just about everything. Plenty of recipes don't call for walnuts but I add 'em anyway. But a blueberry muffin should be unsullied by nuts of any stripe. The only thing I want to find inside my blueberry muffin is more blueberries.

So I got down to business. I was shy a few muffin liners, but I spritzed the unlined cups in my muffin tin with some Pam and forged ahead.

One useful tip out of Julia's book is to coat the blueberries with a bit of flour before stirring them into the batter, to help them stay suspended in the muffins. Left alone, they sink to the bottom. So once I measured the flour for the recipe into a bowl, I removed two tablespoons and added that to the bowl of blueberries and tossed them gently. (Note: I washed the blueberries gently in a strainer then turned them out onto a clean kitchen towel to dry them gently. [Yes, "gently" is the key when handling blueberries.] That also gave me the opportunity to check for smooshed berries and discard them.)

If you're not usually a muffin maker, a key to making muffins is not to overmix the batter. Don't beat it vigorously until it's perfectly smooth. Just mix the wet and dry ingredients until they're almost combined, then add the blueberries and gently (see?) fold those in. Then stop! Resist the urge to keep mixing.

Blueberry Muffins
(From Mostly Muffins, Published by St. Martin's Press, 1984)

2 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. plus 1 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. lightly salted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 t. vanilla
2 C. fresh blueberries
1/2 C. walnut pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 3 x 1 1/4-inch (3 1/2- to 4-ounce) muffin cups. [I used a standard muffin tin.]

In a large bowl, stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, butter, egg, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. [I didn't do the next step, but I'm including it because I'm copying the recipe exactly as written. I didn't want blue muffins.] Mash 1/4 cup blueberries and stir into batter with a few quick strokes. Stir in remaining blueberries and walnuts (if desired). [NOTE: I measure the flour out into the mixing bowl, then remove two tablespoons of flour to another bowl, into which I've placed the washed blueberries. Then I toss the berries gently with the flour to coat. This step helps the berries stay suspended in the muffins, instead of sinking to the bottom.]

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one muffin comes out clean.

Remove muffin tin or tins to wire rack. Cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from cups; finish cooling on rack. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

These muffins freeze well.

Makes 12 muffins

Update: I figured out why I was short a few muffin liners. I went to the store last night and bought another package of 32 liners. Who's the genius who thought to put 32 muffin liners in a package when most people bake muffins in multiples of 12? Oh, and I should also mention that while these muffins are delightful while still warm, they're right tasty later, once the flavors have a chance to further meld. As I said to my mom last night, "Damn, that's a good muffin!" If you have any baking tendency whatsoever, try these babies. They're easy and delicious and they go together in no time, so you can whip these up for breakfast whenever the mood strikes. And you'll knock the socks off guests if you offer warm blueberry muffins in the morning!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cheese! ...

I had a bit of cheese left in the fridge from my earlier cookie-baking exploits. (Thank you, nice Greek lady, for not allowing me to buy the small quantity I requested.) But I wasn't about to bake more cookies. And I certainly couldn't bear the thought of wasting cheese.

So, being the cheese-loving logical sort that I am, I thought the best course of action would be to make a version of saganaki.

I dipped the slices of cheese in a bit of milk and then dredged them in a bit of seasoned flour and then placed them in a pan in which I'd melted some butter, let them brown on each side, took them out, hit them with a bit of lemon, snapped a picture, and dug in.

I didn't douse them with brandy and set 'em on fire. I thought that would be unwise. I'll leave that to the pros.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Good Times, July Edition ...

The July cookie installment for the angelo:HOME blog features Saganaki Sablés. Yes, based on the Greek flaming cheese. Try 'em. Trust me.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

(Mostly) Fourthtastic ...

Last year was ridiculous.

The street in front of my house had been freshly paved, asphalted for the umpteenth time. So it was nice and smooth, the way an asphalt stretch of road is for about a day and a half, a pleasure to drive on.

It was also dark.

And the 4th of July arrived and brought with it a 100-degree temperature and nothing but blazing-down sun.

Oh, those poor parade walkers.

Oh, poor me.

I was still recovering from an exquisite bout of food poisoning but had pulled together lunch for family and friends. I stayed in stretchy pants all day, fashion be damned – not that I care about fashion most days anyway.

I also made it a point to stay in the air-conditioned house as much as possible. Folks would come in, wilted. I busied myself with putting away leftovers and composing bags of food for folks to take home and doing dishes to stay ahead of the post-party clean up. My house has windows. I could glance outside and see the parade.

This year, I thought I might not be home for the parade, but I invited folks to come by anyway. My lawn wasn't going anywhere. The street wasn't going anywhere. The parade would still appear on the street. In front of my home.

But then plans changed, as plans often do, and I was going to be here after all. So the evening before, I retrieved my outdoor chairs from the loft space in my garage and hosed them down and set them by the street. Everyone sets out their chairs and canopies and such the night before, to reserve space. I always leave a good stretch of frontage open, for folks who don't live on the route but who make their way to the festivities.

The next morning, I was up early. I put out my flag and ran to the grocery store for ice and a few other necessities. I baked a pan of brownies. I dealt with some weeds in the back yard, in case anyone looked. I cleaned up the house. I showered and got dressed. I put on a Springsteen CD. (It would have been my friend Jeff's 26th wedding anniversary, so I was spinning Bruce in honor of him and Sherry.) And I waited. Given the change in plans, I wasn't serving lunch. And it was nice, to not be busy in advance of lots of folks arriving.

A few people arrived and settled themselves in chairs by the street. I stood in front of them, chatting. (Sitting in a row is not conducive to conversation.)

And as banal as it is to talk about the weather, I couldn't help remarking: It was exceptional 4th of July weather. Sunny (but shady under the tree in my parkway), breezy, the temperature flirting with 80. A huge improvement over the previous year's freshly asphalted ovenpalooza.

The parade commenced – I ducked inside to avoid the worst of the sirens – and continued pleasantly. A family had been wandering down the sidewalk before the parade began, a mom, dad, and two kids, with chairs in tow, clearly looking for a space to settle. I invited them to use my set-aside portion of lawn. The mom and I chatted briefly. I warned her about the sirens. And also mentioned that her kids were well positioned for candy gathering. (I expect that those further down the route get skimpier candy as those who toss it out during the parade probably start running out and begin to conserve.)

There was the usual mix of parade entries: some folks who put a lot of effort into floats, people on horses, the lazy contingent who affix signs to the sides of minivans and SUVs, bands, cheerleaders, politicians.

And then I saw a woman holding a sign that read: "Abortions kill babies."

I glanced up at the van that was trailing her slightly. I don't remember the name of the organization, but you get the gist.

I turned to my brother and said, "Way to bring down the mood."

I'm not sure of the entry requirements for a parade, and I'm a big fan of the First Amendment, but there's a time and a place to express your message, and, well, a 4th of July parade might not be the most ideal setting with the most receptive audience. Kids are scampering into the street to scoop up Tootsie Rolls and Twizzlers. Folks are collecting little American flags. War veterans are rolling by on floats and flatbeds.

"Abortions kill babies" is a bit jarring in their midst.

Thankfully, the moment passed. As all moments do. Of course, for another mile or so, folks for another mile or so would have the same experience as the parade rolled by them. But we turned our attention to whatever was next, as would they.

As the parade neared its end, I popped back into the house to slice up watermelon and brownies and put on a pot of coffee and set out napkins and plates.

The post-parade clean up consisted of folding up a few chairs and leaning them against the garage.

And then a small group of us gathered in the dining area of my kitchen and noshed on brownies and grapes and watermelon and sipped coffee which was enjoyable because it wasn't 100 degrees outside. And we snapped a few photographs of us outside, with my flag playing its part in the background. And off they went. And I didn't have much facing me in terms of getting my house back to rights.

Later, that evening, when darkness finally fell, I plopped down in a dining chair and watch the fireworks that I could see from my dining-room window and then headed back to the couch where I would have dozed off if it weren't for the series of booms happening outside my window.

But I did sleep, eventually. Which I know because I woke up in darkness and said, "Oh. It's quiet." And I got up and shuffled off to my bedroom, where I looked at the clock and noted that it was 1:48 a.m. So, yes, it should have been quiet.

I hereby request that all 4ths of July from here on out be sunny and breezy and right around 80 degrees. Even a bit cooler would be just fine.

I hope your holiday was filled with good times and noodle salad.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Neighborly ...

I was outside, doing a few chores that I've put off until now because, hey, I live alone, but tomorrow, hey, friends and family will be by for the 4th. And while I don't care about any opinions of passersby, heavens, I can't risk judgment from those I actually know.

So, I was outside. And I saw my across-the-street neighbor, whom I hadn't seen in quite some time, so I crossed the street to ask if he needed any help with his chore. Or any ensuing chores. It's always more fun to help someone else do something, isn't it? Also, it gave us a chance to chat.

He was working at a task, meticulously, which I admire in the biggest way, so I lent a hand, happily.

"I didn't know I had a perfectionist for a neighbor," I said.

He chuckled. "I don't know if I'm a perfectionist. I just like things done right."

Yup. Me, too.

We finished his chore and chatted a while longer, and then I made my way back to my house. (He offered to help. I have many awesome neighbors that way. They're always happy to pitch in.)

And a few minutes later, I noticed him walking up my driveway with something very green in his hand.

I walked toward him.

"Would you like some lettuce?" He had just picked it out of his garden. "It's the last of it."

He handed it to me like a bouquet.

I marveled at it. "It's perfect!"

"My wife has the green thumb," he said.

I commented that bugs usually do a number on lettuce.

"Or rabbits," he offered.

But the lettuce I was holding was gorgeous. Picture-perfect. Clearly untouched by rabbits.

So picture-perfect, in fact, that I set it on my front stoop and headed inside to fetch my camera.

From across the street, he must have wondered why the hell I was photographing lettuce.

This is why:

I did nothing to the settings on my camera. No color enhancement, no filters. Just the setting for daylight.

I came inside and washed it and spun it in my spinner.

Now it is wrapped in paper towels and in the fridge.

I'll see my mom tomorrow and will offer to share. She's a big fan of lettuce. I get my love of it from her.

And what better lettuce than lettuce hand-delivered from a kind neighbor's garden on the third of July?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

'Writers Needed (Any)' ...

Tired of making too much damn money?

Have you found yourself thinking, "I'd really love to write a nearly superhuman amount of content and get paid next to nothing"?

Well, today is your lucky day.

When you apply for "Writers Needed (Any)," you'll have the opportunity to churn out up to 60 articles per week – that's right, 60 articles per week! – for the princely, princely sum of – Wait, are you sitting down? You probably should be sitting down – between .005 and .015 cents per word.

Oh, yes, you read that correctly!

You have the chance to earn between a half cent and one and a half cents ... PER WORD!

"Our rates vary depending on the client and will range between .005 and .015 per word." So do your best to align yourself with the posh one-and-a-half-cents-per-word-paying clients!

Let's have a little fun with math, shall we?

Let's assume a 500-word article (which is short and which won't allow you to say much of anything, but it's a nice number) and let's assume you have time to research and crank out 60 of those puppies a week:

500 x 60 (30,000 words) x .005 cents/word = $150

500 x 60 (30,000 words) x .015 cents/word = $450

Consider the possibilities!

If you wrote at peak production, you could earn between $600 and $1,800 a month, and you'd only have to churn out, say, 120,000 words of decent copy!

Also consider that an average novel is about 85,000 words.

That's right: By simply pounding out the equivalent of one and a half novels a month, every month, you could earn MORE THAN $21,000 A YEAR.

Which isn't remotely enough to live on.

And you'd completely fry your brain.

But if you can ...

- Follow instructions
- Meet deadlines
- Write with excellent grammar and an engaging voice
- Perform excellent research
- Complete between 10 and 60 articles per week

... today is your day.