It’s time to start our Annual Random Shoutout list – kudos that we arbitrarily bestow on anything that tickles our fancy - no axes to grind, no sales to be made and no kickbacks in sight.  Just stuff we applaud.  Here goes:

Wendy McClure’s hilarious book of old Weight Watcher recipes, The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan: Classic Diet Recipe Cards from the 1970s has some of the most appalling recipes and horrifying food photos you’ve ever seen.  But it’s Wendy’s side commentary that will have you doubled over with laughter.  I kid you not.  Every time I read these cards, I wind up laughing so hard I’m crying, snorting, spraying and gasping for breath. Thank heavens I have a spectacular bladder, is all I can say. So either my sense of humor is all twisted and wrong, or this is a new form of inexpensive, belly-laughter therapy.  Before you preview these cards here, I should warn you that Ms. Wendy is a tad raunchy and uses salty language. 

It turns out that Martha’s Vineyard produces a spectacularly potent form of organic, homegrown catnip that will knock the socks off your cat – even before you take it out of the box it arrives in.  Kristy’s Sock Catnip is, like, the ultimate Elixir of Frisk and has ‘em dancing and dining with gusto and zest.  Meeyowza!!  You can score some by clicking here even though this shop mainly caters to dog lovers.

No item is too small, too lowly to mention on the Annual Random Shoutout List.  So, I’m here to loudly praise a brand new variety of interstitial gum scrubbing doodad – Butler GUM Soft-Picks.  These little plastic (but latex free) sticks totally rock my world and keep the periodontist at bay, in spite of the fact that I’m bedeviled by having a crowded mouthful of all my teeth – every last molar – so no dental floss can survive the squeeze. But these little thingies are amazing.  My dentist was dazzled by the results. You can find them here.

The YouTube segment of British mobile phone salesman, Paul Potts, singing Nessum Dorma for the show, Britain’s Got Talent (the UK version of American Idol) still grabs me every time I see it.  If you like seeing the underdog kick some butt; if you had an affinity for fairy tales like Cinderella and The Ugly Duckling; if you need a lift and want to give your ears a special treat, click here on that amazing voice coming out of this humble guy with bad teeth and a bit of a paunch. He’s since cleaned up quite nicely (and no longer needs his day job).

Okay, that will do for now.  But for better or worse, this is just the beginning! We’ll be back with more random praise over the course of 2009. 

Take care & be well,