Friday, November 24, 2017

And So the Traditions Begin Once Again ...

Among the time-honored festivities we find:

The Gala of the Gut wherein we are encouraged to eat a special meal and then brag about how much we ate.  As part of the celebration, the males of the household watch football on TV and the females wash the dishes.  A holiday for some is not necessarily a holiday for all ...

The Friday Fights and Free For Alls - when merchants encourage greed by discounting many of the items in their emporiums to encourage people to leave their cozy homes in favor of camping out city-style on the sidewalks and parking lots of said markets to be first when management opens the store doors.  So far this 2017, a 19 year old male was shot in Columbia, Missouri, and is at the moment "spending" in an ICU.  An entire mall in Alabama had to be closed due to the rioting wanna-be customers. 

We are not safe in our own homes from offerings of deeply discounted items on line.  So far this morning RiteAid and The Irish Store specifically have let it be known that they crave my patronage. 

And yet there is hope.  At 11 a.m. today Father Joe of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church will be blessing the trees at the Kiwanis Christmas Tree Lot, Pacific Coast Highway and Pier Avenue.  The blessing is said to be a tool to remind us of Jesus existence and (presumed) goodness.   I doubt that there will be any riots nor fights over the perfect tree.

A much more genteel event.  Viva  Tradition!

Thursday, November 23, 2017


                 HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

May politics never come up at your table
                 Nor old family feuds

If you're lucky enough to have friends around the table, here's the annual toast at our house:
"We can't choose our families, but we can sure as hell choose our friends!  Here's to'em!"

Don't give the dog or the cat a chicken bone - they splinter and the vet is closed today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Of Mashers, Hat Pins and Turkeys

Given the backwash of bad behavior on the part of men today - and 30, 40 years ago - it would behoove us to take a look at Olden Days.  Especially as a man's basic character, personality whatever don't change.  or so 'tis said.  Long gone are the courtiers of yore who wooed with poems written for their beloved as well as flowers, and valuable gifts.    Oops - valuable gifts do still exist.  "Oh, baby - I'ma in love - what color Beemer you want - tell Daddy!"

Be that as it may be.  In 1903 American women were wearing enormous hats - many of them were themed - several birds in an elaborate nest perched on and in the woman's hair were popular.  Great swaths of tulle were wound around a basic bonnet frame and from extant pictures, this head gear looked like the pictures of A-bomb testing on a slightly smaller scale.

To hold these weighty and not dainty at all confections on their heads, women employed a tool called "a hatpin."  These instruments were often a foot long and always had a very sharp point (to force the way through the tulle) and a dull end for the fingers pushing it into the hat/hair.  

Mashers and lechers (virtually interchangeable) were in for a rude awakening and the birth of what they themselves called the "Hatpin Peril."    In Scranton, PA, a 19 year old girl gave her boy friend a "playful" stab which fatally pierced his heart where upon he upped and died. 

Hatpins weren't used just against men.  Wives would tackle mistresses and the duel would commence out in the street to the amusement of all of the neighbors. 

By 1909 Hatpin Peril had spread internationally and the mayors of Hamburg and Paris were considering banning hatpins. 

But, as the '20s approached, women began getting their long-enough-to-sit-on hair bobbed with the advent of the flapper.  Out went the hatpin; in came the flapper slap.

Interestingly enough, you can still buy hatpins today.  Hello, Google?  But sadly what no longer seems to exist today are women tough enough to pack a hatpin and use it.

A Stroke of Genius - or Not?
Over the years, our usual Thanksgiving dinner guests have waned in numbers.  Moving for the job took three adults; even worse two died and others had never come to us because they already had somewhere  else (and doubtless better) to go.  This year's head count is one with maybe two more.

I don't like baking a turkey in the first place for that awful sweetish, nasty smell after about a half an hour in the oven.  Further, I had to go through a couple of years of Richie whining, "I want a real turkey!"  This means wings and legs.  He has been overly influenced by turkey ads.  I counter that no one we have ever invited likes dark meat.  "I don't care - I want a real turkey!"  You can imagine the amusing conversations here re "real" turkey vs. breast only.

Another reason is that we always have leftover turkey.  I have spent time with paper, pencil and calculator trying to calibrate number of guests with size of turkey to be purchased.  I always have gotten it wrong and poor old turkey lingers in the refrigerator in its little aluminum dress forever.  Or at least until one of us bites the bullet (but no part of the dead turkey) and tosses it. 

This year I got smart.  I strutted up to the deli counter and bought a pound and a half of Boars Head Oven Gold turkey sliced into half-inch thick slabs.  My turkey is boneless and skinless and you can eat every bite of it!  It was $35, but zero waste.  I think that's worth it.  I will gently baste it in chicken broth to heat it and put it in descending slices prettily on the platter and drizzle gravy down the middle just for garnish.    And do dance steps as I bring the rest of dinner to the table.  NO TURKEY WAS BAKED IN THIS HOUSE. 

And I didn't have to use my hatpin on Richie to convince him we don't have to have a "real" turkey.  Win win.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I Was (Not) Sexually Harrassed in the Supermarket!

And this is what didn't happen.  I was the only Next! customer in the deli line.  I was trying to eyeball the various kinds of sliced turkey needed to accomplish my great idea (more of which anon) when a trio of Manhattan Beach Fireman joined the line behind me. 

Of course, the instant I deciphered the uniforms (everyday blue - turnouts would have made me function nanoseconds faster) I gestured for them to go ahead of me. 

"No, no," said the one on the left, patting my shoulder, "you go ahead."
"Really," and I gestured again; he patted again.  So I said, "Well, if you're sure ..." a third pat and a reassuring nod so I turned back to attempted turkey perusal (not helped by the fat lady and her cart parked directly in front of the display) and they resumed their joshing among themselves. 

It wasn't until we were back in the car, speeding away with our spoils that it dawned on me that were I a 22 year old bimbo two things might have happened - the pat would have had an entirely different meaning and the bimbo would have either hollered "Masher!" and stabbed him with a hatpin always at the ready or flung herself into his manly, blue-clad arms, begging, "Take me, take me!"  Which would have certainly alarmed everyone in the store.

However:  reality is:  the fireman/paramedic went into "Paramedic Comfort" as swiftly and as easily and as unthinkingly as we would a tuck into a hot dinner.  After all, the lady in front of them was definitely an old lady (77) and probably using the cart as a walker (not as much as six months ago;) and any traces of beauty she may have had (age 4 to around 5 1/2) were definitely behind her.  As was a substantial derriere.    

But I thought to myself as Richie stopped for a light, "Back in the day, baby ...I could have lit your fire ..." and grinned evilly just to myself.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Taxpayers Rejoice! Manson Is Dead

Charles Manson has died, age 83, "of natural causes."  I'd like to know what they were specifically so that they could be given to the rest of the lifers on Death Row. 

Some statistics to explain my desire to empty our prisons - via the needle.

2011 - California spent $9.6 billion (billion) on our prison system.  This figure includes guard and prison personnel and worked out to $71,000 per year per prisoner. 

In contrast, the State spent $6.7 billion on "higher education."  Whose higher ed wasn't specified in the statistics I consulted.  This equals $8,667 per year per student.

Manson went to the Grey Bar Hotel aged 35 and remained there for 48 years at an estimated cost of $50,000 per year for a grand total of $3,408,000 spent on Manson.  As he was kept in solitary for most if not all of those years, the State saved $21,000 per year.  Whee!

Apparently he didn't want a sex reassignment surgery - another savings because the great State of California would have paid for that, too. 

We the taxpayers are getting stiffed every year when a simple rope or sufficient voltage to blow the prisoners underwear off or the gentle prick of a needle would save US money.  Time to reconsider sending nothing but bleeding heart liberals to the House.  After all, we vote - prisoners can't. 

Although I did hear disquieting rumors that legislation is being prepared to let "convicted felons" vote in future.  Pyschos and murderers, eat your hearts out.  And maybe die from that.  Fingers crossed. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Ignoring any religious instructions about Sunday being a day of rest because You Know Who did, the day has always been one of my favorites.  After a five day workweek, Saturday was then devoted to errands but Sunday it had all been done and it was a day to somewhat spoil yourself.  I can get behind being spoiled.  Who can't?

Some fun amusements for me that you might enjoy and BTW, you can sneak them into the regular work week if you've got a fast screensaver on tap.

JIGZONE.COM  Jigsaw puzzles with a great deal of variety.  The easiest are the 6 piece classic and progress up to a grand finale of 247 pieces.  BFD, you mutter.  Here are the various shapes - classic, zigzag, birds, wavy, round, tetris, Euros (my favorite) US state shapes.  There are all kinds of what you puzzle, too.  Animals - cats, dogs, birds, fish, various.  Landscapes - cities, country inns, Caribbean beach shacks, farm fields and a great deal more.  Close ups of items such as a tape measure; fine art with Michelangelo's fingers touching painting...

VIDEO POKER  Wish you could go to Las Vegas but don't have the time or the throwaway bucks?  is just what it says - free and video poker.  Get your gambling fix and never risk a penny.  The game starts you off with $500 in play money.   I won't say anything about my work habits (or lack of) but I've worked that up to $1,546.  Which speaks for itself.

My only caveat would be don't play excessively or you risk a case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

SOMETHING NEW for Alzheimer, senility or dementia victims.  So far it's only available in select test senior nursing homes.  (Silverado, Prospect, Redondo Beach has one.)  Created and put out by an outfit called Mynd VR it is a set of virtual reality scenes for the deranged (and I'm getting closer every day.) 

The patient wears a lightweight set of earphones with boxy glasses over the eyes.  The scenes can be chosen by either the patient or the nurse and allow the patient to - go mountain skiing or deep sea diving or race car driving or ...

Post-use tests have shown that in many cases, a "treatment" with the Mynd VR is beneficial to the patient and can elicit conversation about the experience and happiness at having had it in people who had been largely silent previously. 

There are no claims whatsoever that the device can reverse the problems in the brain.  It is meant solely as a device to make patients have a little fun and to do again what is forever lost to them. 

And they have access to it every day, not just Sundays!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

1% 2%

The 1% is a common reference to multi-billionaires who presumably got an education and then shifted their arses out of bed every morning thinking, "What can I do to make a buck today?" and went out and did so.

The 2% is altogether different and it applies to two groups of people and has nothing to do with wealth acquired or inherited. 

"Mensa" a rather exclusive international group is by and for the 2% of us who have genius IQs. 
"Densa" is for the 2% who, to put it gently, don't have genius IQs. (aside) "How're we doin'?"

Originally, according to, the "Densa group" was a jokey article in the Mensa periodical "Boston & Outskirts Mensa Bulletin (BOMB)."  The treatise about Densas was printed in 1974.

Recently (day before yesterday) mention of Densa was made in the Readers' Digest and urged readers to Google "Densa" and take their IQ test to see where we rank.  Highs and lows ranged from "Smart enough" to "an IQ lower than a loaf of bead." 

The questions are sneaky.  So as not to be a spoiler, here is only one example.

"Is there a 4th of July in England?"  Ans.  Yes, of course!  There's a July 5th, 6th, etc. too.