Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hopping Like A Rabbit In Chicago

We are shortly going to a family wedding at a resort (Eagle Ridge) in Galena, IL, which is 13 miles from Dubuque, Iowa.  The wedding is Sunday afternoon; Monday we drive to Libertyville which is 20 miles north of Chicago.  Just to give you a feel for the trip. 

Tuesday morning is our only shot at touring Chicago as we fly home Wednesday.  One of the tour companies sounded good - a two hour land tour on a little shuttle bus, followed by an optional boat ride.  Both appealed, particularly the boat cruise.  We are fools for riding around on the water.

But then I remembered that part of the wedding festivities include a boat tour.  Happily Chicago has what we so enjoyed in London - the Hop On, Hop Off Big Red buses.  I loved sitting on my languid ass, atop a bus where there is a 360 view and a (with any luck at all) knowledgeable bus driver. 

In London, we hopped off at Harrods's to do some hostess gift shopping and, of course, to see the memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, product of a deranged father's dream.  Back to the Big Red Bus stop and off again at Kensington Palace to see an exhibit on Queen Victoria.  It was dull but we split a great shrimp sandwich in the cafĂ©-gift shop. 

The Big Red Bus - Chicago - is the same thing.  we'll take the commuter train in to town and the closest bus stop is the enormously tall Willis Tower, billed as either a 3 minute walk or a 4 minute cab ride or a bus ride of uncertain duration. 

Richie likes going to the top of buildings (Sears Tower previously) and to look around.  As I am terrified of heights (once assumed the fetal position on the floor of the glass elevator at the Rio, Las Vegas, from the first to the 50th floor) I stay sensibly on the ground as God no doubt intended us and wait from him to return, babbling about how far you can see!  If I wanted to see farther, I'd buy a telescope.  (snort.) 

We are trying a new house sitting service for this trip.  It seems that the Jehovah's Witness have a sideline.   The live in your house while you're gone.  Their arranger, who assigns houses to their volunteers made only one request - did we have a couple of lawn chairs they could put out in the driveway so as to contact more possible converts? 

As a matter of fact, we do.  So, dear readers, a warning - if you drive past a house and see a pair of either sex sitting in lawn chairs out in a driveway - hit the gas - that's our house and they are Jehovah's Witnesses.  When the lawn chairs are gone, we're home.   

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Running of the Bulls - in New Orleans.

One of the contestants on "Jeopardy" last night told Alex and the audience his interesting experience.  He ran with the bulls - teams of female roller derby skaters - who wore horns glued to their helmets and whacked the runners with wiffle bats in New Orleans.   He admitted that it was, of course, much safer than the real deal in Pamplona, but added rather ruefully that a wiffle bat delivers quite a smack.

Never having heard of this quaint custom, I set off to find out more about it.  It's a three day event held in New Orleans and starts with a cocktail party Friday night; the running of the "bulls" Saturday morning and an afternoon event called the Festival of the Pants and finally Sunday's recap of the whole thing called "Poor Me."  Live bands, strippers, more food and drink mark this occasion.

Contestants must wear white clothing with red material (scarf, strip of cloth) at the waist and neck to mimic the outfits worn by contestants in Pamplona. 

Two team captains of the Big Easy Rollergirls (BERG):  Brutalicious, Rest N Peaces.

We missed it this year, but here are the dates for 2018:  July 13th to July 15th.  For more information visit  It's safer than actually being there.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Spilled Birdseed

Santa Ana Winds and Your Sinuses
In addition to their starring role as a Fire Starter all through California, the Santa Anas cause daily grief to people with allergies plus, if you weren't allergic before you damn well will be after one.
In addition to stirred-up dust, bonus points for leaf bits, dried weeds, dust bunnies and more!  Wheee!

The advice given by a doctor in this morning's newspaper, plus scouting on Google is that you need to wash inside your nose via saline flushing it.  To keep your paper dry nose interior away, I've found that a swirl of Vaseline on a Q-tip works wonders.  The heavy, oily Vaseline blocks your nose interior from being able to receive allergens.    If you are a woman with long, dagger-like fingernails, the Q-tip is essential. 

Ah, the Irish are a resilient bunch, hurricane or no
And it should be added, a great sense of humor in the face of times of trouble.  I ran across these this morning - tweets?  Twitters?  Bird song? 

"My wife hasn't stopped staring through the window since the storm started.  If it gets any worse, I'm going to have to let her in."  

"I'm having a yard furniture contest - random winners."

"The North Council is out there raking leaves.  Raking. leaves. before. a. hurricane."

"All of the companies in Ireland are sending home staff.  All of the pubs are calling in staff."

"School's off tomorrow, too?  My kids have done more damage to the house today than a 10 hurricane ever could."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Just Because It Amused Me

Photo of a weird-looking gun - caption:  Gun.  Because I can't throw a rock  1,115 feet per second.

It was the visual of the rock throwing that amused me.  Maybe the guy could hold the rock in his dominant hand and then be shot out of a cannon?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Small Things

A Cortisone Shot
This is most definitely not a small thing if you are on the receiving end of a rather substantial-looking shot.  The barrel with the goodies was easily a twin to my little finger and the needle was no less substantial. 

 As he emptied the plunger into my knee, I said, through gritted teeth, "This is the coldest pain I've ever felt!" and he muttered, concentrating on plunger speed, "It's called "arctic pain" and I thought, "Damn!  I can believe that!"

If you have never had one, you, too, will feel icy cold pain which is such a contrast to "regular" pain, that you will be surprised.  The good news is twofold - when the needle comes out, the pain stops.  In my case, one shot will last about six or seven months.  Which is plenty of time to forget all about arctic pain as women are said to forget labor pain.  I wouldn't know, but the descriptions I've heard from mothers who vividly remember every detail makes it unlikely that women forget "in the bliss of a new little life to guide and direct."  Yeah, right.  But in fairness, a cortisone shot really does work and is considerably less trouble than birthin' and subsequent college expenses. 

UPS vs. FedEx
I finally got around to shipping my old high chair - later used by my younger sister - to her as she has prospects of grand children.

We took it down to the AIM place below us and I was amazed at the speed of the transaction.  The owner counseled us to which shipper to use.  "UPS may be a little cheaper, but they really bang packages around."  'Nuff said.  That high chair is 77 years old and while not fragile - being made of nice, solid wood, the tray does have a crack running through it. 

This was done on a Wednesday and Fed Ex said they'd have it there the following Saturday.  Whoa, Nellie!  From here to a town 20 miles north of Chicago?   That's taking it on down the road in anyone's book. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bimbos Unite! Cry In Unison!

In further proof that the media is desperate for something - anything - to write about and turn into "a cause" I give you Horny Harvey and His Adventures In Hollywood.  It is a  tale that illuminates a fact of life that has been observed since Time Immemorial (1956 in some cases) - those with power use it! Shocking!  Who knew?

Short answer:  everyone.

For years the "casting couch" has had to be periodically re-upholstered from the use it was getting in the offices of agents, producers, directors ... and off in a barn somewhere the president of the stuntmen's' union is probably sampling the wares of wanna-be cowgirls, flying spies and what not and has been enjoying the same droit de seigneur on a bale of hay. 

The formula for Hollywood success goes something like this:  take a woman with an amazing rack, pins up to her eyebrows and the brains of a dust bunny and make an appointment for her (hasn't mastered phones yet) with a mighty power figure in "the Industry" as movie makers call it.  I don't think "industry" when applied to making a movie compares with the assembly lines of GMC or Ford which at least produce a tangible item for sale rather than generating $15+ a seat in a cinema, but that's me.

And then sit back and wait - sometimes as long as 20 years, bring lunch - for the inevitable "He took advantage of me" wails from the poor and oppressed women who were clearly witless enough to balance a nebulous chance at stardom for a brief (they're all old guys) sexual encounter. 

I have no sympathy for them as is noticeable in this column.  Many of these women are on podiums and graduation diases urging other women to Fight Male Oppression.  They do this right after they get back from drinks in a hotel with a mogul who happens to be staying in said hotel where she willingly repaired to his room with him  to inventory the mini-bar drinks and exclaim over the ingenuity of a variety of  sex toys. 

One column referred to actress Streep as Moralizing Meryl.  The implication was that Ms. Streep was no stranger to "give to get" Hollywood style. 

By the way, ladies, how'd that Pink Pussy Hat thing work out for you? 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Small Concerns

Yesterday's recipe for blue corn quesadillas with pear salsa was in the front of  "South Bay Gourmet, a collection of Sandpiper Members' Recipes," and I kept plowing along to the end.  It wasn't until I finished the book that the something that had nagged at me all the way to the end became apparent.  The women up on The Hill are rampant, incipient alcoholics! 

To give you a sampling of recipes requiring alcohol, these were picked at random:  prime rib of beef with cabernet pan sauce; roast prime rib of beef with herbed crust and madeira sauce, steaks with green peppercorn, horseradish and cognac sauce, Irish cream macadamia nut pie,  champagne-poached pears,  Kahlua chocolate mousse... you get the picture - and it isn't a pretty one of the Sandpipers "testing the sauce" and, hey, long as the bottle is out, why not take a swig to make sure it hasn't gone off...

I wonder how many times the Hill paramedics have been called to fish a Sandpiper chef out of the oven??? Or off of the floor. 

Be that as it may - not our concern.  Moving along ...

3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12-oz. bag of  cranberries, picked over and rinsed
1/4 cup Tawny Port
1 large acorn squash about 1 1/2 lbs. halved, then quartered, seeds and strings discarded.

Mix the water and sugar together, bring it to a boil for 10 minutes to make a syrup; add the cranberries - set aside a cup of them for the topping add the Port and keep stirring.

Place the squash chunks skin-side down, on a rack over boiling water and steam them until done.
Put them on a platter, drizzle half of the cranberry sauce over them and put the leftover cranberry sauce in a pitcher and use with the turkey.   A double shot of port, if you will. 

Cut an acorn squash in half, scrape out seeds and strings, place squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake until easily pierced with a fork.  To serve, cut the pointy end off, flip it over, and put a pat of butter in the resulting "cup" of squash.  Serve. 

I can assure you she wasn't sitting looped at the kitchen able pounding down the port while the squash baked.