Monday, May 21, 2018

Dear GoFundMe, Please Get Me $9.7 Million, Abe (Lincoln)

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is seeking $9.7 million as part of a payback on a $25 million loan with $23 million due in October, 2019.

To show sincerity and keep a credit rating, the Foundation is holding a sale in Las Vegas of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia on June 23, 2018.  It turns out that Marilyn Monroe (here is where you might say, "Of all people!") was a great fan of all things Lincoln.

Who knew?

The Lincoln Library was opened October 14, 2004; the Museum followed on April 19, 2005, and attendance figures have been robust since then.  It is a State-controlled Presidential Museum which begs the question - is the State out of money?  This is Illinois, keep in mind, where finances are somewhat whimsical, depending on the greed level of elected officials.

I consulted to learn about these three buildings that contain the Lincoln items in a kind of complex in downtown Springfield and what is on exhibit looked damned interesting - the gloves he was carrying and the top hat he was wearing as he traveled to his doom at the Theatre.

The Mary Todd Lincoln White House china set (196 [pieces) is on display along with depictions of his boyhood home and more - letters, household items, and who knows what else?

As a sort of final flourish, GoFundMe for $9 million dollars???? I wonder what a request for a more modest sum could get us ... ya want in on a million?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

At A French Teacher's Funeral

Arlette Nelson  May 17, 1945    April 24, 2018  of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Arlette began her decline in mid-August.  Medical testing did not define her illness until mid-November.  Nina months later, dating from mid-August, she was dead,  And she wanted to go.  "Every morning I wake up and there is a little more gone," she said, during our visit to her on Thursday, March 29, 2017, in a hospice facility.

I mention this because most funerals are filled with tears of sorrow; her audience cried cheers of joy that she was free at last.  Speakers remembering her said some of these things. 

Arlette wore her hair short with as often as not, a spiky little piece poking up from the top/back of her hair.  In person I would tease her, "I see you got a hair cut " and at her puzzled look, would lift a strand of my hair in the same spot.  And we both guffawed.

At the funeral, a member of the French class who also had short hair, said that as she was preparing to go to the funeral, her husband indicated that she had some stick-up hair in the same spot.  She said, "No, no - let it be - it's my tribute to Arlette!"

Another woman remarked that she had heard Arlette speaking to granddaughter Jasmine in French at the dog park, so she introduced herself as a fellow French émigré and introduced her to a lot of other dog owners, all of whom remained fast friends and clustered in a knot in the back row.

A man remembered fondly that at about the mid-point of her class at the Hermosa Beach Community Center, unbidden, a man would appear with a steaming hot cup of coffee for her.  In mid-lesson, she would stop and thank him.  This speaker finished by saying, "If he'd asked her, I bet she would have married him!" so happy was she at the arrival of her coffee.

But the best anecdote was the true story her daughter told.  "We had finally got a house big enough to entertain in and she was in heaven - now she could entertain again as she loved nothing better than cooking for friends and family and using a lot of her and her mother's recipes for various French delectables.

"It was Easter and Mom was making the Easter dinner.  Whatever it was smelled so delicious that I wandered in with some of our guests and asked what it was?  "Ah," she purred - "it's rabbit with a lovely white wine cream sauce!"  She didn't understand why we all were screaming with laughter and looked a little affronted until it was explained to her that one of the American Easter rites was the Easter Bunny and then she laughed the hardest of all of us.  And we ate every bite, it was so good!"

The musical selections were:  a male member of the church singing and accompanying himself on guitar; the lyrics so the audience could sing, too, were flashed on big screens -  one on each side of the audience for easy visibility.  The second song was something no one in our row recognized but confirmed my suspicion that it was in Italian.  And the "it's over, you can get up now" song was -- wait for it, "Coming to America"!  As she did at age 23 and loved us ever since.

RIP Arlette, you've earned it.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

So Much for the Wedding - Onward to the Preakness

This could be a summation (of sorts) about The Wedding.  When Richie uncovered our cockatiel Lady Bird this morning I heard him say to her, "Okay to put away the wedding gown..."  The bird had no discernible response.

In an endless quest to find something entertaining, I noted that the second race of the Triple Crown known as the Preakness takes place outside of Baltimore today.  The weather for the race is not promising - 80 per cent chance of precipitation, 94 per cent humidity (look for lathered up horses at the finish) and a gentle wind at 10 mph.

It's what I would call a "small race" with only eight horses competing -- of note, all of them are brown.  Not a grey one in the bunch.  This means my bet requires me to work at it a little instead of just saying, "The grey one - here's the mortgage payment."  I'm forced into a default position that has me just picking a name I like.

I'm not the only one to question the scarcity of grey horses on the racing circuit.  It turns out that grey horses carry a gene that changes the original color of the horse by lightening it.  A dappled grey horse will eventually turn white.

But the sad fact remains:  there are not enough grey horses who are good enough to be bred.  Sting!

Disappointing news indeed.  So my bet is the horse named Quip.  Seems appropriate for a writer.

Friday, May 18, 2018


Me either.  Not even going to tape it.  If the planners had made it more exciting, put a little show biz in it ... might then tape it.

I am referring to an ancient Chinese custom of all of the bridesmaids being dressed exactly like the bride.  Huh? you ask?  It was also customary in those wild days of hooligans and no-goodniks to try to rob the bride and if the robbers had to stand around and try to establish the true bride, help could come.   If so inclined.

In Victoria's time, both the bride and her bridesmaids wore white as did the groom and his ushers.  A veritable sea of white bobbing around ...

All-white and all alike ... that would certainly add some pizazz to this event.  Alas.  Ain't gonna happen.  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Four Customers and a Waiter - at the Movies!

The Daily Breeze front page this morning had a huge article on "dinner and a movie" IN the theatre.  Yes, extra wide recliners, little tray tables, an armrest button to summon a waiter for another drink or dessert ... all at the movies.  It was illustrated with two pictures - two women giggling in their recliners and a kneeling waiter, taking their order.  Frankly as they were the size of small houses, I didn't think they needed nourishment, but why be a spoilsport?  And on an inside page, the back of the heads of two customers, otherwise concealed in their recliners and a waiter kneeling beside them.  Otherwise all of the rest of the seats in the theatre appeared to be empty.

The enjoyment of a movie - any of them - in a theatre was never something I understood.  My parents were not cine fans; I was not allowed to go to the movies (or read comic books) so I didn't grow up in the back of a movie theatre.  

I didn't miss it and I won't go to a theatre today.  IT'S TOO FRICKIN' LOUD!  Granted I worked rock'n roll and often spent time in a recording studio but that was business and I was being paid to do it whereas movie goers are stripped of the mortgage payment just to sit in a seat with gum underneath it and stray popcorn sticking out of the seats.

Still, I wondered what was being served at these pavilions of profit.  Take a look - for further info.

Nibbles ...
Loaded Brisket Fries with pulled brisket, sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese sauce, sweet jalapenos and ranch dressing $10.29  1,370 calories

Ultimate Nachos with spicy queso (Mexican cheese) jalapenos, black beans, pico de gallo, cilantro, guacamole and cool lime cream.  $10.99  1,640 calories

Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan, chili salt, and a house spice blend.  $7.99  230 calories

Dessert - Chocolate filled churros with whipped cream.  $8.99  1,050 calories.  I remember buying churros, three for 25 cents at the border crossing from Ensenada to the U.S.

Clearly the dishes above are easily executed in your own kitchen.  You can control the sound volume from your very own recliner.  There is never a line for the bathroom.  Easy enough to pour another glass of wine or open a beer.  And - bonus points - you can do all of the above in your ratty underwear (if any).  And if you don't like the movie, hit the button and take it back to the library the next day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

RIP Tom Wolfe, age 88

Wolfe was hailed in his time for his nearly electric prose, his long paragraphs filled with nothing but adjectives and a satiric eye at Society.  He nailed it nearly every time as far as good writing and controversy were concerned.

In addition to being a gifted linguist (in his adjective strings) he coined phrases that were absolutely de riguer in their day - remember ...
The Me Decade
Radical Chic (used more on the East Coast than West)
The Right Stuff - I think he might have lifted this one from old pilots.
Social X-rays - the aged trophy wives of New York, all of whom looked youthful and bright due to excessive use of Botox or face lifts.  He pointed out that they really aren't fooling anyone by reminding his audience to look at the back of their hands - age and liver spots.
Master of the Universe came out when the market and the dot.coms were going nuts.

Wolfe believed early in the logo presentation of a writer.  His habitual garb, visible across the busiest street in Manhattan, was a white "ice cream suit" with vest, striped shirt and spats with a straw fedora on top.  Once asked what he would call this habit/style he responded, "Neo-pretentious."  That alone would rank him tops with me.  Neo-pretentious.  I love it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Drink Your Nice Garlic

Richie has been exploring  his vast collection of books.  Down into the depths of Richie's Room, up with a selection of paperbacks for me to read or give to the Redondo Beach main library.  Among the gleanings yesterday was a cookbook - "International Garlic Festival Cookbook" by Caryl Simpson.

To say Ms. Simpson is a fan of garlic is understatement.  In addition to an unmistakable taste and scent, she believes it has medicinal qualities as well and who knows?  She might be right.  For your good health -

28 oz. chicken broth
1 whole bulb of garlic
5 sprigs minced parsley
6 sprigs cilantro
1 teas. each:  lemon pepper, minced mint leaves, minced basil leaves and curry powder.

Peel the cloves, throw everything in a pot and heat'er up.  Get well quick!

My recipe is easier - 1 can chicken broth, one T garlic powder, 1 T cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic, minced
3 capfuls of vinegar (apparently any will do)
water to fill the glass
Chaser - 1 T honey.    This is just a play on the old vinegar and honey and water elixir thought to promote good health.  The theory apparently being that if you reek of garlic, people will avoid you and you will be exposed to far fewer germs.

If you want to clear out a bar because you're feeling cranky or an old boyfriend is flaunting a new g'friend and it isn't you ...

2 jiggers gin
1/2 teas. dry vermouth
1 garlic-stuffed olive

1 clove garlic per person
couple of squirts of lemon juice
  Chop the garlic and put it in a shot glass.  Give the garlic a squeeze or two of lemon
add 1 to 2 T of water.  Swirl in shot glass and bolt it down in one big swig.

Now - anyone up for Savory Garlic Cheesecake?  I didn't think so!