Tuesday, November 20, 2018

As Always...

If I can't find something funny, interesting or mildly educational, I'll keep my trap firmly shut.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Brief History of "Festivus" a Holiday NOT Invented by "Seinfeld."

Sad news, I know that the devotees of "Seinfeld" will be devastated.  Tough shit.  Neither Seinfeld nor Curb Your Enthusiasm are even remotely of interest, let alone to be considered hilarious.

This is how Festivus came about.  In February, 1966, a now retired Readers Digest editor named Daniel O'Keefe - apparently a major romantic (or a guy who just liked to have a few to celebrate damned near anything) created  what he called "Festivus" saying later that the name just popped into his head.   He insisted that his wife join him in celebration of  the anniversary of their first date.  Hard to get more nebulous than that …

Time went on, the couple had three sons, one of whom wound up as a writer on the "Seinfeld" show.  A fellow on the show overhead Dan O'Keefe describing it to other show writers and lobbied to have an episode written about it.  O'Keefe didn't want to do it and protested mightily to (clearly) no avail.

Before "Seinfeld" the O'Keefe household celebrated Festivus on random holidays - not just Christmas.  Activities included wearing funny hats, Dan and his two brothers wrestling and a clock put in a bag.  This mystified the boys but all their father would say was, "That's not for you to know."  This may be a sort of Celtic recognition of death inasmuch as the first Festivus arose from the death of O'Keefe, Sr.'s mother.  A way of saying, time is fleeting; seize the day, we never know when the bomb will drop on us.  There was no pole made of  aluminum, pine or anything else at the O'Keefe residence.  

Airing of the Grievances on the show was in turn inspired by O'Keefe the Elder's admiration for Samuel Becket's play "Krapp's Last Tape."  During the continuation of Festivus at the house from the '60s, '70s and on, he would tape himself talking about whatever had gone on during the previous months.  Again, an item copied by the show writers.

Now you know more than you may have wished about Festivus.  Since, ideally, this non-official holiday includes food and drink, and plenty of it, give some consideration to the end of January as your Festivus.   The bills have come in, the weather (and many of you) has gone south on us all and it is, generally, a good time for a party.  Ice the champagne and caviar and have at it!


Friday, November 16, 2018

Bad Weather and (Probably) Worse to Come: Timely Correspondence From Our On the Ground Reporter

My cousin, Doug Vermillion, in Indiana is our correspondent from his catbird seat in lovely Anderson.  Aside:  a family motto - "Keep nepotism in the family!"

Breaking:  We are having ice, freezing rain, sleet and snow here today.

Sidebar:  A suitable poem from a high school classmate - totally appropriate for this kind of bad weather - and yet, delightfully educational for all who read it and want to know a little about weather in the mid west.  With no further adieu …

It's winter here in Indiana
Where the gentle breezes blow
At seventy miles an hour
While it's thirty-five below

Oh, how I love Indiana,
When the snow's up to my butt
I take a breath of winter air
And my nose gets frozen shut

Yes, our weather here is wonderful
So I guess I'll hang around
I could never leave Indiana
Because I'm frozen to the ground!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

How To Foil a Package Porch Thief

Timely, considering Christmas presents are coming to our front porches soon.

Yesterday, Dave from Silva Construction came over to see what we want done here so as to give us an estimate.  Our business concluded, he left.  An hour later, I noticed his measuring device on top of the dishwasher (with a lot of other crap.)  Knowing the firm has more than one, I didn't worry about it.

He called last night and asked that we leave it on the porch for one of his guys to pick it up today.  "Of course," I said.

This is clearly an expensive item - this tape measure - as it is clearly industrial length.  It may weigh as much as 2 lbs.  Our porch is visible from the street, but only if you're a porch bandit looking.

I wanted to follow instructions (for once) but I worried it might get stolen.  FLASH!  idea!  (A rare and wonderous thing for this writer) so I took a sheet of typing paper, switched over to Word, chose RED INK and typed:


Richie came in from his morning walk, noticed my bomb outside the man door to the garage and came into the house yelling, "Call the police!"  I said, "It's okay, Blondie.  Calm yourself."

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything At All "

The above quote could be from any one of our mothers.  So, not for the first time, I will try to foil (!) my own mother, by saying as much "nice" as I reasonably can and still get something to write about for today.

Here goes.

It is a very large room, made to look even larger by the vast paned windows that stretch all the way across the space, overlooking an outdoor rectangular patio and the street.  The bar is to your right as you enter and the dining area - wood tables, bar height and normal -size dining tables and chairs, all of which is dominated by a HUGE TV screen that must measure 6 or 7 ft. tall and 8 or 10 ft. wide.  I joked to our server (a very personable guy) "I congratulate you on having a TV Stevie Wonder could watch!" and he roared.

Happy hour prices are properly lower than normal as evidenced by my $2 dirty gin martini, but it was served in a flat champagne glass, not a flute.   Richie had a Citra ale $8, and "D" a glass of Sky Fall Cabernet Sauvignon $9.  Those finished, "D" had a second and Richie his first.  The wines were $27 for three.  In addition to my $2 martini, I had a glass (smallish) of De Luca prosecco. $8

With our drinks, they ate (and clearly enjoyed) the Chicken Tenders, $5, and I joined them in the order of house-seasoned French fries , $4, which were nicely crisp.

"D" ordered and ate with enthusiasm, the Fish Taco, soft shell, $9, and Richie the Tavern Burger, $12.50, and I the grilled cheese sandwich of white Cheddar on cranberry/walnut bread which arrived on a square wooden plate, neatly quartered and burned.  $12.50.  A bit price-y I thought for two slices of bread and some cheese, whatever they grilled it in (and semi-charred) and NO side dishes.

The tab was $96 of which $59 was the bar.  So never mind my whine about a grilled cheese sand for nearly $13.  It was a good flavor pairing and now we can all make them at home for considerably less.

The Laurel Tavern
1220 Hermosa Beach, Hermosa Beach 90254

laureltavern.com  Take a gander at your own risk - the online and on site menus are different.



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Full Gravy Boat Lifts All Spirits

Perhaps it's due to having grown up in the Midwest when gravy is very often a dish on the dinner table or just an instinctive love of it, isn't known.  It was  the first thing my mother taught me too cook when I was 12 years old.  Unfortunately Ironing Lessons came along about the same time - easy stuff, to be sure, sheets, pillowcases and my Dad's boxer shorts. So much for my pitiable childhood stories of forced labor.

In a section of Parade (I think) last Sunday, there is a series entitled  "What America Eats" and it was fancy-pants sandwiches made the day after T-Day.  One of them that caught my eye called for using waffles made from stuffing as the BREAD of the sandwich - that also contained barbequed turkey, crisp bacon and cranberry jalapeno mayonnaise.

"Hmmm," I thought.  "Waffles from stuffing …"  Why not serve them with the real meal?  Think of all the gravy those little holes could hold …

So:  make your favorite dressing (here we have 1 in. baguette cubes, lavished with chicken broth, chopped red onion, and lashings of white or rainbow pepper and plenty of sage)  and while it sits, get out the waffle maker (everyone has one - classic wedding gift) and brush the grill with the oil of your choice.   When done, stack them on a tray or pan  and put in the oven with the turkey to stay warm until ready to be eaten.

Mentally, I am blissfully pouring gravy  into waffle holes! Let the level of the gravy boat rise!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Don't You Hate It When the Computer Goes Blooey?

It happened to me this morning.  Tried everything I know to no avail.  Finally called Horizon and a very nice lady fixed the router from whence the problems stemmed.

Back at the usual stand tomorrow - I read a great idea for waffles.