Friday, April 28, 2017

Happy 125th, Redondo Beach

Redondo was originally a part of a 1785 Rancho San Pedro land grant. By 1890, there were 603 residents and they incorporated on April 29, 1892.  The Chowigna Indians  were their neighbors and they  lived, largely, off of sea bass, lobster, halibut and the salt trade.  The wetlands around the AES power plant were once a salt lake, unconnected to the ocean.  Just a stand-alone lake.

The estimated population in 2015, 123 years later, was 68,000.  My, my, how you have grown!

The ceremonies planned for tomorrow - Saturday - to celebrate this birthday are rather modest.  Ruby's Diner, down by the water has generously offered a part of their parking lot for a display of old cars.  As the old car society routinely meets there, this is not exactly Midas generosity, but still ... a gesture in the right direction.

Then these old cars will be a sort of  a moving display as they are driven leisurely to be part of the excitement at the Queen Anne House and Morrell House Living Museum, located in Dominguez Park on Flagler, between 190th and Beryl Streets.  Of note, there is also a very nice dog park if you'd like to bring yours. 

What surprised me the most was to discover that Wilderness Park, a 10-acre parcel off Knob Hill, was a Nike missile base from 1956 to 1963!    It is a 10-acre parcel, fenced with a gate, concrete pads (formerly rocket launch pads?)  for the barbecue and outdoor chairs, nice shady trees, sunlight grass and a little stream for the kidlets to splash around in.  Ersatz "campers" can spend the night there for a small fee.  . 

Redondo Union High School graduates include Charles Lindbergh, Demi Moore, Tom and Dick Smothers. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Our Visiting Guest Chef Tonight Is My Grandma"

Enoteca Maria is an Italian restaurant in Staten Island where there is a rotating roster of Italian grandmothers doing the cooking - their specialties, family comfort food - all of the dishes that kids grew up loving.  And probably don't have the time or energy to recreate them.

It was the brainstorm of owner  Joe Scaravella who set it all up in 2016 after the place had been open for nine years.  Seeing the success of this program he widened it to include other ethnic grandmothers so that today half of the menu is Italian foods and the other half, which seems to change daily is another culture's cuisine.  Example:  Tuesday - Thai dish ____ prepared by _____.  The restaurant has two kitchens which makes it easier to do. 

This success prompted him to start an online book of recipes from nonnas - contributors are invited to provide:  a short bio of the nonna, three photos and one recipe.   "Meh," you shrug?  Each entry is presented in the native language of the donor.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, the Murphys have a Maria's, too.  Richie's cousin Ruth Ellen married Gianni Giordano, who was the founder of Maria's Pizza, Cape Coral, Florida, which was just presented the Best of Cape Coral 2017 Readers Choice Awards.   Again.

Maria's began as a one picnic table take-out in 1991 and today seats 75 in a brick and mortar restaurant.  Gianni died, age 81.  By then he had been a grandfather several times over and loved nothing better than to cook for them all. 

And while nonnas (grandmothers) are more frequently thought to be the chefs, a word should be said in favor of nonnos like Gianni.  Richie's brother Charlie commented on a family dinner with awe, "The food just kept coming!  That was the most I ever ate in my entire life!  And Gianni cooked it all!"

Put that in your bonnet, grannie.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Don't Build a Bomb Shelter Yet

Curious about the distance between Korea and America, I looked it up as can you.

From South Korea to the square made of MO, KS,OK and AR is 6,442 miles.  A plane flying 560 mph will take 11.5 hours to get there.

Even if the missile was flying twice as fast, it would still take something like six hours to arrive and surely someone's radar would notice it. 

Don't let the media knot up your knickers.   Remember:  "If it bleeds, it leads."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Me and Al Pacino Made It Through Another Year - and Lesser News

Both of us were born April 25, 1940.  He arrived in Manhattan; I debuted at Axtel General  Hospital, Harvey County, Newton, KS. and got out of Kansas as soon as it was feasible and possible. 

It is fun to Google your "zodiac twin" and I recommend it for a rainy afternoon's amusement.

He's 5 ft. 7 in., I am (now) 5 ft. 5 In.  He married twice - from 1988 to 1989; and again from 1997 to 2003.  I married in 1983.  He has fathered three children;  happily we never had any.  He began working as an actor in 1965; I started my illustrious career in 1958.  His Social Security payments are no doubt a great deal more than mine.  But I bet his squeeze didn't do what mine did - he handed me my yogurt this morning with a birthday candle stuck in the middle, blazing away.

And we both made it through another year.  Here's lookin' at you in 2018, Al!

Comment:  It wasn't raining this afternoon, but I discovered that my zodiac twin is Jennifer Anniston ... puke.  Matt

A misleading headline
The Daily Mail did it again.  They headlined a story about the double executions yesterday in Arkansas?  Alabama?  to make it look like both were dispatched on the same gurney!  An interesting idea for  prison economics.  Stack'em up!  All they need is an arm sticking out of the pile ... 

In the real world as opposed to the land of journalistic excesses, let's set the record straight.  One's doors were blown off at 7:20 p.m.; the other didn't depart until 10:33 p.m.

Although I must say the gurney looked reasonably roomy; certainly spacious enough with a little crowding  but, hey! who cares? 

The London restaurant that serves only airplane food. 
But briefly - this pop-up was open today and closes tomorrow.  Air New Zealand in an attempt to get ink, put together a space with airline seats and trays for ambience and the menu is from their flight menus. 

From England to New Zealand is a popular route and Air NZ's competition is the excellent Qantas (has never crashed.)  Management was smart enough to cull some interesting data:  one in five passengers say that bad food is the worst thing about flying;  one in four say airplane food is worse than that served in hospitals or schools.  Admittedly, this is a pretty low bar to tackle.

Since only one diner (on the ground) was quoted as to what he'd eaten (lamb with minty peas, braised lettuce with bacon lard-ons and salt-roasted crushed potatoes) I went to their listed menus online.

Premium Steerage (jumped-up coach) where breakfast might be (there is no surety on a plane; you're a prisoner, remember?) the following:  Scrambled eggs with pork apple sausages, creamed spinach and tomato relish, hot cakes with spiced plum compote, yogurt and vanilla syrup. 

Up in Business, the dinner starter was seared venison filet, kumara crisps (kumara is a sweet potato there) red onion, smoked chili and "micro herbs." 

If this is the sort of thing that is meant to entice the pax into spending a great deal of money for a very long flight from almost anywhere to New Zealand ... God bless them for trying.  The rest of us?  Pack a picnic hamper to dine and swill down all of the free wine possible. Get your money's worth somehow.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Table Scraps

Drink and Dinner - In the Same Glass
Ports O Call, San Pedro, is touting their bartender's Bloody Marys.  While I digested yet another plateful of food (caviar on a roll with butter, red onion and lemon juice) and Caesar salad, I jotted these down ...

Cowboy Bloody Marty
bacon-infused steak sauce, chipotle salted rim, garnished with a beef jerky stick, pickle spear, celery stalk and lemon and lime juice.

House mix tomato juice, beer back, garnished with salami, a cheese cube, pepperoncini and a pickled green bean. 

Hudson House, PCH, used to make one with a pair of fat, grilled shrimp skewered across the top. 

"I'd Go Back There Again," Said Richie
Which surprised me as neither one of us is particularly fond of Indian cuisine. 

Friends invited us to join them for lunch at Addi's Tandoor, 800 W. Torrance, Redondo Beach, 310-540-1616

When we walked in the door, we began to be impressed.  The room is a large, calm one in gray with a wall of windows facing the street with decorative curtains.  If left alone, they would hang straight, but midway down their length, they are cinched in with a tie of the same curtain color.   The tables have crisp white linens and are spaced far enough apart to encourage conversation at your table, but no need to listen to other's. 

All of our various orders - chicken tikka, chicken curry, shrimp marsala - came with rice and were served after a crisp salad with dressing in a little pitcher on the side.  Service was excellent; Shukriya took very good care of us.  Chef Gurbachan Singh did a great job with their presentations of Goa style Indian food.

We learned that Addi's (owner Addi Decosta) has been there for 20 years.  They've got a good thing going and we'll be going back.  A very ample lunch was $11.25 (chicken curry) and $14.95 (shrimp marsala) with rice and salad.

The French Have a Word for It, But I Don't Know the Word
So here are the facts as printed in various media.  Remembering always that the media has not always represented the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

Leading candidate in the French elections is Macron, nipped at his heels by Marine Le Pen (Go, Marine!) who has been married for 10 years to his former French history teacher.  They met when he was 15 and she was 39, married and had three children.  His parents (a doctor and neurology professor)  asked her to lay off, at least until he was 18, but the happy couple's relationship went on. 

They were married in 2007 when he was 29 and she was 54.  He is 39; she is 64.  Her youngest daughter is the same age as Macron and active in his campaign. 

They are said to be quite devoted, rumors of a rather personal relationship between Macron and a male French official notwithstanding. 

Ah, France - land of love.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fly At Your Own Risk

One commentator wrote "I used to be afraid to fly in case the plane crashed; ah, the good old days."

He's right.  In rapid succession - United beats and drags a pax off; American uses a stroller to subdue a woman flying with 'way too much stuff - perhaps they thought she was moving in?  That the enormous back pack held a camping tent, pots and pans, butane stove?  And another episode in San Antonio when a black woman got on and started flapping her pie hole belligerently, to the crew and pax.  Using very bad language indeed.

Good old days indeed... I was disappointed not to find hilarious one-liners such as those that followed the United fiasco.  Apparently throwing babies and strollers into the mix strikes a chord with our fellow great Americans.  No funnies at all.  Pity. 

In all of our years of flying, we have never seen behavior like this (let alone acted like this) and to a large extent, I blame it on "social media."  All of the pax seem to be armed with cell phones at the ready, salivating to get The Shot that could be seen around the world.

Andy Warhol and his "15 minutes" has a lot to answer for - but he's dead. 

I just remembered an incident back in the '70s.  It was my first flight to Paris and I was having trouble stowing my hanging bag 'cause it was full.  A flight attendant came along and started to help me until she got a look at the shirt I was wearing, black with big white letters that spelled out "Bionic Lover."  She sniffed, dropped her end of the bag and said, "Well, if you're bionic, you can just hang up your bag yourself."    Hey!  She was right!

Friday, April 21, 2017

At the Annual Mammogram

I had an appt. this morning.  Since it had been awhile, I was asked to fill out forms.  We're all used to this, right?

One question spurred me to genius though ...

#14  Is there any chance you may be pregnant?
Not unless there's a star in the East was my written reply. 

Mammograms have a bad rep that could be lightened considerably if they pointed out to their patients that you don't get weighed (no woman enjoys that) and you don't get the boa constrictor around your arm with the BP cuff. 

Furthermore activist groups are apparently unaware that the mammogram staff is always, 100 per cent female.  The woman may have a male ob/gyn who has already not only seen but palpitated her breasts.  It seems a little forgetful? shall we say to have no male technicians.  They don't have to be 100% hetero to start; hire some qualified gay guys. 

You could have a very pleasant conversation during a very unpleasant exam with a good chat about shoes or Nordstrom Rack half-off sales.  Perhaps a shared love of Judy Garland? Exam ends with a rousing rendition of "Over the Rainbow"?