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 nolabulls.com  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 ...

ACORN SQUASH WITH CRANBERRIES AND PORT
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. 

MY MOTHER'S BAKED SQUASH
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.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Fall Treat - Or Not

This dish is titled Blue Quesadilla with Fresh Pear Salsa

This dish is for pear lovers of whom I am not one.  Pears are deceptive - holding one in your hand, hmmm, the skin is fairly smooth, the heft is noticeable.  The "smooth" skin is a lie and the heft is due to the grit with which a pear has been constructed. 

Nevertheless, let us forge onward.  Shall we begin by making the quesadilla part, done in bulk rather than one on one?  I.e. individual Qs. 

Take four blue corn tortillas, brush with oil and put them oil side down on a cookie sheet.  Cut a Carambazola into half inch dice and put on top of Q's.  Spread pear salsa on top of cheese.  Put the "lid" tortilla on top and brush with oil.  Bake at 500 (whoa, mamma!) for 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top tortilla heading for brown. 

Now about this pear salsa...
2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2 in. cubes.  Put in a biggish bowl - you want room to flail around with a big spoon to mix together:
cubed fresh pears
2 dried pear halves, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro or both
1 lime, juice of and grate off some zest and throw that in, too.
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
pinch of crushed hot red pepper flakes.

Mix it all up and serve.  This recipe comes from a group called the Sandpipers who founded themselves back in 1931 as a charitable group to help victims of the Great Depression.  They have flourished and one of their charitable efforts these days is a house tour of their mansions up on The Hill (Palos Verdes.)  All visitors to all of the houses will be greeted by the sight of a basketful of surgical booties next to the front door as foot covering for your low rent shoes.  I find this less than welcoming somehow and only did the tour once with a friend who was dying to see inside their various homes.    In a more raucous mood I might add "Stick your booties in your 'blue corn' tortillas.  Plain white aren't good enough for you?"

  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Popcorn on the Circus Tent Floor

First let us dispose of the outcome of my proposed singing debut at the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club.  It didn't happen.  Mr. Tucker clearly had forgotten it and I wasn't about to remind him.  We did have some excitement in that it was the club president Paul Goldman's 81st birthday, and as such was celebrated by the invitation to have a slice of the birthday cake, a massive sheet of chocolate cake with lavish amounts of chocolate frosting. 

****
California, You So Crazy
In addition to the many crazy laws we have here in the not-so-sovereign State of California, comes a new one.  If you repeatedly address a denizen of a long-term care facility with their birth certificate sex and they have changed that, you are up for arrest and a $1,000 fine. 

Without any intention of  being unnecessarily cruel to the old and deranged, or "my peers," I think that a number of long-term health care providers would be happy to tell you that in the Alzheimer's Ward, many residents have no idea what sex is let alone which sex they think they are.   

****
I would like to jeer at Hollywood while I'm here - Raucous cries of "Racist sex offender!" cannot now be played.  Harvey Weinstein is white; Bill Cosby is black.  Equal opportunity offenders both.   

****
New (to me) in restaurant advertising.  We had dinner at Hudson House (previously reviewed) and along with the bill came a 4/c postcard with the name and logo on the front;  space to address it and write a message on the back.  Sending it will require a 20 cent postcard stamp. 

It's a handsome card, no doubt about it, but restaurants today have their Web site printed on the tab.  Seeing a post card used in this manner was ... interesting.  It is entirely possible that I'm missing something here (not for the first time either) and customers are meant to write a review/critique and mail it in? 

I think it will make a good bookmark. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It Appears That My Mouth Has Written a Check and There are Insufficient Funds in the Account

This afternoon (10-8-17) is the monthly Jazz Club afternoon concert.  Last month, spurred on by bonhomie I thought it would be fun to sing with the band - not just at our table, but a solo in front of the band.  Previous mentions had been warmly received by band members.  I can't claim that I was drunk - half a pint of Stella doesn't have that kind of effect on me.

Personally I put my good humor down to the fact that I was FINALLY done with "And the Best Blog is: Word of Mouth" and that it was listed on amazon.com and best of all:  I had $12 in royalties coming to me which grandiose sum would pay for a half-pitcher of Stella.  Bliss reigned.

Richard Tucker, trumpet, is a friend of ours and a fan of my writing.  He always has a pleasant look on his face - as if he's delighted to find that the interesting package underneath the Christmas tree is for him.  Sure enough he willingly said we could sing a duet - I didn't want to be the only target up there - safety in numbers - and we would sing "something easy - "My Blue Heaven." 

Except "My Blue Heaven" isn't easy.  I will italicize the trouble spots.

When whippoorwills call and evening is nigh, I hurry to my blue heaven.
You take a turn to the right; you'll find a little bright light that leads you to my blue heaven.
(Here you can belt it out) You'll find a cozy place, a fireplace, a cozy room - a little nest that nestles where the roses bloom ...
Just Molly and me and baby makes three, we're happy in my blue heaven.    

My blue heaven seems to require three octaves "my" normal voice, "blue" here's where the trouble starts - go up or down to bass?  "heaven" is more or less neutral, you're heading back to a normal singing voice for all of the rest of it. 

If I manage to goad myself into actually carrying off this mad idea, at this moment (no Stella yet) I think the best part of prudence would be to just shut the hell up on the "my blue heaven" parts. 

Singing with the band was a marginal bucket list item.  I think I'd rather kick the bucket than do this. Mr. Tucker will do just fine without me. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Gay Bingo Update, A New Mexican Restaurant and the Fire Hydrant

Following up on yesterday's column on Gay Bingo, we have an update.  T read the column and wrote back:  "Those sorry-assed Fruit Loops! LOL"  T is not the fan of drag queens that I am.  He went on, "There aren't many gay bars that offer it.  It's usually the regulars that get it started and then word of mouth."  Word of mouth!  Aren't you a clever boots, T!

Forced Patronization of Another Mexican Restaurant
Yesterday afternoon, we were lucky enough to get the plumber to come same day to fix a leak in the kitchen sink.  As this had involved removing everything under the sink,  after they had fixed it and left, I proposed dinner out.  I will take every chance opportunity to put my knees under a restaurant table rather than our own.

Richie said, "Las Brisas."  But - what's this?  The entrance to their parking lot was blocked by one of the waitresses waving her arms and yelling, "No! No! We have a private party downstairs, we are closed!"    Wishing them well - "Charge'm double!" I bellowed - we pulled back into traffic and away.

Richie said, "I know" and pointed the car toward Inglewood Avenue.  "It's called Leo's," he said. 

Leo's Mexican Food, 16006 Inglewood Avenue leosmexicanfood.com
While it was a new Mexican restaurant to us (ever-faithful to Las Brisas,) it was by no means "new" to a lot of other people.  Leo's opened in 1941 and now, four generations later, is thriving. 

It's a big restaurant, laid out in a line - from left to right - dining room, bar, dining room, enclosed patio.  They were doing a good business with locals; we were the only strangers in the joint.  I know this because everyone but us was waving greetings, pausing at other tables to admire comely babies and so forth. 

The drinks menu had a line re margaritas "Only served with dinner."  In other words, ya wanna marg?  Order dinner.  We're not gonna be responsible for you knee walkin' outta here.  I thought this was a thoughtful gesture and as we walked through their parking lot to the car, I thanked them for it.

Our traditional test of any Mexican restaurant is the salsa.  My hopes for a new find diminished  when I tried theirs.  I think it was the cooked variety and if I had to make up the recipe I would try a roux of flour and mild ground chilies, with water added to make a sort of gravy and toss in a couple of sprigs of cilantro which must have instantly turned into weeds.  A teaspoon of sugar to finish it and away to a table. 

Our food was good enough, but the total lack of any kind of heat - not even a cuddly warmth - disappointed.  Tex-Mex most closely describes it.  We would go back; it wasn't that kind of "bad" but quite probably without a lot of enthusiasm.  However, if you like mild rather than a ragin fire across your tonsils ... have we got a place for you!  

Fire Hydrant
Despite the cheery reassurances of various city officials, it remains exactly as it was - shrouded in a yellow plastic hoodie.   It does not block a handicapped parking space.  There are none on our residential street.



 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Poetic License

Our superb French language teacher, Arlette Nelson, has been introducing us to French songs in an effort to get us to translate as well as improve our vocabularies.  Well and good. 

What is not so good as far as neighboring ears are concerned, are our efforts to sing-along with such as Edith Piaf (pronounced Eeedit) or Jaques Brel, both mainstays of the French music appreciation crowd. 

Last week we did a job on Jackque Brel's classic "Ne me quitte pas" or "Don't leave me."  But:  wiser more duplicitous heads have translated that for the English-speaking audience as "If you go away." 

This is something you have to watch out for if you are going to listen to French songs with an English translation.  "Don't leave me" is considered "romantic" by French listeners and it catapults along with all of the dreadful things that would happen; memories of good things and promises by the singer to make the recipient a queen where love will reign.

Okay, all well and good.  Regret, begging (always a favorite of women all over the world) but it ends with the singer's desire to "be the shadow of your shadow" "your hand" and the very last line is "the shadow of your dog"!   I think this is carrying groveling just a little bit too far. 

I can hardly wait to see what we will be singing today.  I looked up a bouncy little pop song that was The Rage in France when I was first there in 1974 called Les Voisines (The Neighbors.)  A sample lyric:  I curse the technician among whom the Venetian blinds cut...(off interesting bits of anatomy.)

 "I always preferred the neighbors to the neighbors which dry their underwear/dainties on their balcony."  

Ah, France, you old romantic you. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bingo and Crochet - Not Just For Old Ladies Any Longer

Among the many clichés upon which we depend not to disappoint us - three on a match is unlucky; okay, when was the last time you saw a match?  1956? or if two famous people in a given field  die, there will a third so you start paying attention to the news.

Get a grip - these have just been abolished:  "bingo and crocheting are for old ladies in nursing homes."  Yes, it was a shock to me, too.  I am old and my future of throatily calling out "Bingo!" or whipping great big needles through nylon rope just died.  And I'll tell you who stole both. 

The other day we were having lunch with our great friend, T.  We hadn't seen each other for awhile and thus had a great deal of ground to cover.  T and I grabbed our phones and started trading looks.  He opened the bidding with shots of Michael, his new squeeze and I countered weakly with a shot of Fred, our cat.  Yes, well ... work with whatcha got. 

Photos over, we started talking.  When T told us of an incident at bingo, I held up a palm in "Stop right there. " T, bingo?!" I said in disbelief. 

"Oh, yeah.  Every Wednesday night at the Crest.  Tuesdays we bring our crocheting."  I nearly slid under our table so great was my disbelief that groups of handsome (mostly) middle aged gay guys were playing bingo.  My heart would have to deal with crocheting later on.  Bingo had been enough to nearly kill me.

Come to find out, Gay Bingo (its given name) began back in the 1990s when a group called the Chicken Soup Brigade, Seattle, was looking for a fund-raiser.  One of the group discovered that with bingo which was hosted and run by drag queens, one could get fun and make cash.  Today Gay Bingo is found in not only densely populated places (Los Angeles, New York, etc.) but in Utah and Alaska, too. 

Putting it in the capable hands of drag queens was a stroke of genius.  DQs (not Dairy Queen) will crucify anyone with a very well-chosen insult.  Even their names are funny - Anna Conda; Annie Depressant; Lauren Order; Mary K. Mart.  A scholar explained that these double-meaning names are  "Homophonic" and gave this example:  You can tune a guitar, but you can't tuna fish.

I think gay bingo sounds like terrific fun as I have always found DQ wit insanely funny.  I should live so long and be so funny.  But gotta pass on the crochet.  So not my thing.  Yo, gays, have at it - flash those needles!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

An English Lesson

I sent a copy of "And the Best Blog Is: Word of Mouth" to my friend Sheila, in Netanya, Israel.  She replied that my writing reminded her of a bloke named Jeremy Clarkson, whose style I shared she thought.  Terse and to the point.  I was equally flattered that someone else wrote as badly as I do and curious about this younger rival (57.) 

Amazon delivered with amazing speed and yesterday I got halfway through "The World According to Jeremy Clarkson" (371 pages) before I was able to tear myself away.  He is funny.  He is not afraid of upsetting apple carts or commenting negatively about such as the Brit version of OSHA, various Prime Ministers and similar matters that I rarely cover.  "Abroad" gets trashed as it always does when the traveler is a Brit.  Nothing outside the edges of Great Britain is any good.  Accommodations with noisy hotel room neighbors, strange and indigestible foods, rude fellow travelers and on and on.   

But all through the book, he gives delightful reminders of common slang in Great Britain. 

Keep schtum - to keep silent; believed to derive from the German "stumm" or "silent."

Grass - usually includes "out"  To tell on someone or (America) rat them out.

Shop - to sell  someone out, possibly or likely for personal gain.  "I could shop him to the coppers for the joint he smoked back in 1979." 

Incandescent with rage  This would be a fair description of my visage during all Presidential elections to date.

Drinking ourselves daft.   Also in use for being drunk is the colorful  "tits up"  My personal favorite, Jeremy, if I may be so bold as to first name you is:  knee-walking drunk.

Skint    I'm skint = I'm broke.  Speculation:  possibly from one sheep to another each Spring?


Monday, October 2, 2017

Las Vegas

ATTENTION:  WANNA-BE ASSASINS  - PROCEDURES HAVE CHANGED

THE VOICES TOLD ME TO TELL YOU THAT FROM THIS DATE FORWARD, WE ARE TO COMMIT SUICIDE FIRST, NOT LAST. 

NO DEVIATIONS FROM THIS PLAN WILL BE ACCEPTABLE TO THE VOICES.  FOLLOW IT AND DO NOT DISOBEY THE VOICES.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED; ACT ACCORDINGLY.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

In Praise of Pimento (Cheese)

Pimento Cheese is a Southern staple that originated in New York state when farmers there began making a soft, unripened cheese that became cream cheese.  At the same time (or thereabouts) Spain began exporting canned red peppers or "pimiento" and some dolt, somewhere must have spilled one onto or into the other.  Viola!

Today most commercial pimento cheese containers are expensive ($4.50 average) but much less expensive when you make it yourself.  Put the box grater to use and shred a bunch of mild Cheddar cheese.  Mix in enough mayonnaise to make it less stiff and then toss in drained, diced canned red peppers.  Beat it up well.  Store in a plastic container in the refrigerator. 

The usual accompaniment is a cracker and there is no limit on what kind as long as it tastes good to you - wheat-thins - Melba toast - toasted pita bread pieces - let your taste buds be your guide.  I am going to try raw baby carrot sticks with it, too. 

In 24 hours I found these two items to be acceptable as a change from crackers.

PIMENTO CHEESE OMELET
Beat up the eggs, start them in the skillet and let that side cook thoroughly.  Flip the eggs and carefully spread the cheese on the cooked side.  Fold and serve.

PIMENTO MORTADELLA SANDWICH
Using the brad of your choice (I like air bread, crusts trimmed off) and spread the cheese - do not use mayo; you won't need it as it is in the pimento spread.  Quarter two slices of mortadella, put on top of the spread, squash and eat.    You're good to go with either of these. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Navy Veteran Remembers A Differently-Purposed Kneeling

Bruce Newman and his wife Lynn are old friends.  Bruce was our financial guide for years and he finally was able to tear himself away from the roily-boily world of the Market when he was 75. 

Back in 2015, he and Lynn flew to Paris and then went to Normandy's beaches to pay their respects to the dead.  He e'd me about it and gave me permission to print the following:

"I am one of those veterans who is in the strange position of having been on active duty during the Cold War.  We were in the Western Pacific for eight months while Nixon and Kennedy were debating the defensibility of Quemoy and Matsu Islands.  We were doing joint exercises with the National Chinese Navy in that area (scary!) 

I finished my sea duty and was assigned to a Marine-Navy-Army joint command in Coronado, CA, and got to go back to Okinawa for a teaching gig.

Then Berlin happened and I was extended four more months after my four months of Officer Candidate School (OCS) for a total of 36 months active duty.  I stayed in the Reserves until '65.  Did a reserve cruise on a destroyer escort (talk about scary!)

Anyway, the bottom line is that Cold War Vets do not even have a ribbon for that duty and Congress keeps rejecting efforts to present that to vets.  On the other hand, I was lucky that no one was shooting at me. 

Without seeming falsely modest, there were a hell of a lot of other guys doing the same thing.

And a couple of historic sites which stand out in my memory are a reminder of how lucky I was to have been born in 1936.

I saw the USS Arizona before the monument went up.

On a beautiful afternoon in Pearl Harbor in the Fall of 1959, I stood at attention with our crew and saluted as we went by the sunken ship.  I still get goose bumps every time I tell that story.  And seeing the destroyed bunkers and cemetery at Normandy defies description.  It is impossible to imagine the chaos of those events."

Today's chaos is the spoiled, wealthy sports pros kneeling to protest their harsh treatment. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Loose Change in the Sofa

The Fire Hydrant On The Corner 
E-mail from the Deputy Fire Marshall, Redondo Beach, to Richie.  I will quote exactly.

"Dear Murphy,

I spoke with CA Water Service, and they are in the process of relocating the hydrant on Wooly and Comforter.* 
They said the work should be completed within a month due to the fact that they are relocating to a different corner (where it is now blocks a disabled parking space) at that intersection, and they are changing the size of the pipe that supplies it.  If you have any further questions all hydrants are repaired and serviced by CA Water Service and they can be reached at 310-257-1400.

Thanks so much,
(name) "

*False street names, author

Eating Gold
This business yesterday with the $2,000 gold pizza caused me to wonder if eating gold is harmful to the human body.  I'd think if it were, that the chef wouldn't use it.  "Customers Eat Gold-Leaf Pizza, Die in Restaurant" is not the kind of PR any chef (that wasn't crazy and sadly, so many are) would want.

I also wondered about the purpose of so doing.  Would chewing gold fill in any little dings on a gold filling?  Would it provide the equivalent of a liquid fast on the digestive system and more or less rotor-rooter out the system?  And just how much gold would you have to eat for either function?

According to various sources, gold is "biologically inert" (so is silver) and as long as the cook is using 22 to 24 karat gold, all will be merry.  Lesser karats are cheaper, but more likely to have an ill effect.  Gold garnishing is not a cheap way to make food, birthday cakes, etc. look better.  A package of 10 sheets of 23 karat gold is $49.99.  Why not just get a wad of $10 bills, sterilize them, shred them and serve them as the salad course?   Put some gold flecks in the dressing and bill it as Millionaires Salad.  I think I'm onto something here...

RIP Hugh Hefner
My only experience with Hefner was indirect.  Back in the 60s there was a national holiday called Secretary's Week (and who else gets a whole week?  Nobody, that's who)  and since my birthday fell within that week, my bosses always took me out to lunch, secretly congratulating themselves on being able to combine two costly events into one.

One year, my boss thought it would be terrific fun to take me to the Playboy Club for lunch.  I was cool with it and in fact, looked forward to the Bunnies bringing the drinks and food and doing their little bob - in his direction, not mine.  I knew it would make for a good story later.

And it did, because here is what happened ... he made reservations, we arrived punctually and we were told that my attire was "unsuitable" for the Club.  From raised eyebrows, I looked down me.  Navy blue Nehru pants suit with the longish jacket and collar that made it "Nehru." 

Quizzically we both looked at the Mamma Bunny or whatever her title was who said sternly that women in pants were not allowed in.  Putting aside the brief thought that the coutume de Bunny would not be accepted anywhere else but the Club, I asked what I could do?

She told me to go to the ladies room, remove my pants and come back, jacket only.  My boss and I looked at each other and then down at my jacket which barely covered my bottom.  As one we smiled, said, "Thank you" and marched out the door and up Sunset to Scandia where ability to pay was a great deal more important than what you were wearing.  Some $75 later, we went back to the office, laughing all the way.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wretched Excess # 6 million

I feel somewhat sorry for the chefs who have to come up with New!  Exciting!  Different! to keep the fat cats waddling in to their restaurant.  That said, I am also horrified by some of the things they come up with to amuse these customers.

Example:  Industry Kitchen (industry-kitchen.com) next door to Wall Street, Manhattan, is offering a $2,000 ($2,000) pizza.  "What the hell could you make a pizza out of that could possibly cost $2,000?" you mutter, perplexed.  I'm gonna tell yas:

12 in crust made from Indian squid ink and a special flour from Italy.  First topping - white Stilton which is then covered with gold flakes (presumably edible) from Ecuador.  Then come slices of foie gras, imported from France along with $300 worth of truffles, also imported from France. As an aside, this is where my doubt crept in - French truffles are usually sold by the kilo and a kilo can cost more than $3,000.  Based on what I've read about truffle prices, that's dirt cheap.  (Deliberate.)

Now comes a slathering of Ossetra caviar detailed with edible gold stripes.  To aid digestion?  There is a glass shaker filled with gold flakes to garnish as you will.

The above is totes cray cray although a review praised the mix of salt (cheese, caviar) and sweet (foie gras) but it's all too rich for my blood. 

Incidentally, if the Two Grand Pizza doesn't appeal, you could order their Pop Candy Land pizza with cream cheese instead of tomato sauce, topped with pop rocks and cotton candy.  No price given.  Gastro's fees, check your insurance.  Or if you prefer a more healthy dish, a 3 ft. long bone-in rib eye with three sauces - truffle or port wine or Gorgonzola with potato curls aka potato chips.

To be fair, I am not in  position to criticize the above as my favorite is pepperoni and pineapple.  Richie,  Brooklyn-born and later Long Island native regards this as apostasy.   He believes we should all eat what God intended us to eat when He invented pizza - tomato sauce and mozzarella aka "a cheese pie."  Hey, pepperoni and pineapple is a hell of a lot cheaper than $2,000.  With a coupon, you can get the Really Big-size Pizza for $15.  Call Valentino's, the best pizza in the South Bay.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Fire Hydrant

Being a reprint of correspondence between Richie and our Councilperson relating to an unused and unusable fire hydrant in our neighborhood and my guffaws when I read the Councilperson's response.  Every effort has been made to make the locale and the person involved undetectable. 

Richie to Councilperson:

About a month ago, I noticed that the fire hydrant on the corner of Wooly and Comforter had an Out-of-Service yellow rubber bag over it.

I called the Fire Department and left a message.  A day or so later, they e-mailed me, thanking me and stating that they will notify the Water Department.

As of 9/24/17, the hydrant is still Out-of-Service.  I don't know how important it is, but it must have some use in an emergency.  Not losing sleep over it, but something should be done by somebody to make it operational again.

Best regards, Richie Murphy

Councilperson's reply:

Thank you, Mr. Murphy.

I really appreciate you reaching out to the Fire Department and I will follow-up today with them as well.

Anytime you see something like that, always copy me.  I will keep the pressure on from the beginning.  (Remember we are dealing with a fire hydrant.)

Thanks again, please feel free to reach out to me anytime with thoughts, concerns and ideas.

Once I get some information, I'll reach back out to you.

Have a terrific day and we hope to talk soon!

Sincerely,
Nameless Councilperson from equally nameless District.



Monday, September 25, 2017

Long Island Food Porn

Let's be orderly here and start with breakfast.  Long Island is home to a lot of commuters who take the train into the City five days a week.  Very often they don't have time for breakfast at home, so they slither in to a deli for a Breakfast Sandwich.  When I list the ingredients of a typical breakfast sandwich, you may snort in disgust and think, "Just a Mickey D's Egg McMuffin."    

My turn to snort.  The Breakfast Sandwiches were being eaten long before Egg Mc-whatever came into being.  Toast a pair of slices of white bread, butter them, add scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, American cheese and double wrap.   At least three mornings of our five day stay, that's what I had but Himself preferred ham instead of bacon.  We'd take the steaming hot bag straight to the parking lot overlooking the harbor and eat and admire the view of sail boats shifting slightly in the current made by the clammers charging toward the Sound for a day's work. 

The Bar at Oheka Castle; we ate in the dining room, but I suppose you could eat here as well.

This is an interesting way to present an apple tart.

Bourbon pecan pie with vanilla squiggles

Lobster BLT salad

The lobster BLT salad was something new ... heritage cherry tomatoes to the left, Applewood-smoked bacon to the right with a generous portion of lobster over chopped Romaine, dressing is a lemon vinaigrette.

Desserts are all $12; my salad was $28,, but that's got to be 1 1/2 lobster tails!



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Gate Crashers and Crumb Pizza

Richie went to the motel office for morning coffee and on the way back to the room spotted these three deer.  Plop! went the coffee cups on the table; swoosh went his hands grabbing for his camera and -- viola!

It really is a beauty shot, but they didn't come back for the Murphy Family and Friends Reunion at noon.  Just as well - have no idea what you feed adult deer. 

I don't think they'd like our menu particularly and, of course, plates, silverware and drinking cups are utterly foreign to them. 

This reunion thing was my idea which was reasonably pushy of me; I'm only one by marriage, but if no one else will do it (and they haven't so far, 34 years later) I, by God, will! 

We were staying at the Chalet Motor Inn, Centerport, as we have for some 30 years and behind our backs, management/owners have really spiffed the place up - added a pool! a covered patio where we established ourselves and another covered patio with fat, cushioned chairs (ours were plain wrought iron.)  The view is the woods and the pond behind all of these new glories and that's where Richie got this shot of the deer. 

In an attempt to cover all food tastes (vegetarian, non-vegetarian, diabetic) we laid out a buffet of cold cuts - all Boar's Head, one of which we don't have out here - "sweet ham."  O/T they have the new Caramel M & Ms and I haven't seen them out here.  A fruit plate, a veggies and dip platter, two cheeses, Kalamata hummus,  and crackers and rolls for the meats - another thing they do that we don't, rolls for sandwiches.    And iced brownies and the box of "French" cookies Richie insisted on getting, too.  We had bottled water (they're nuts for it back there) and of course, a sufficient supply of beer and three bottles of wine.  (Hella buy - Bottles and Cases was having a three for $10 sale.  I got two whites and a red, but they were all from Italy and I don't speak Italian so can't be any more informative than that.)

Another custom of which I was unaware is this:  instead of bringing a bottle of nicer wine for mein host as we do here; they bring desserts there.  We were gifted with: an enormous lemon pound cake, a large cellophane-wrapped plate of fancy cookies; the bakery's logo was a gold decal and the cellophane was tied with real ribbon! 

And there was one more item ... Sonny, Richie's old friend from back in their clamming days, was the first to appear - carrying a pizza box!  While I was delighted to see Sonny, the pizza box was ... daunting.  It would surely get colder than a banker's heart before anyone else even got there.  Damn!  What was he thinking? 

So, thanking him profusely, I put the box on the table.  More people arrived, and, o horrors! another one was carrying a pizza box! Smiling on the outside, sighing on the inside, I put it on top of the other one. 

People ate, wandered around, trading old photos and asking, "Who's that?"  Old photos, BTW, make wonderful conversation starters.

I hadn't been paying attention to the buffet, other than to make sure everything was "proper" - forks for serving the meat, knives for the mustard, etc.  Housekeeping chores.  And then, with a great cry of delight, the first pizza box was opened. 

"Oh! Crumb pizza!" several guests shouted.  Crumb Pizza is:  rich, buttery pie crust covered in streusel crumbs, round, and cut into pizza wedges.  It was fallen upon with gusto while I just stood quietly to one side and pondered the mind that thought that one up.  These New York types are ... different.  But no less lovable.  Far from crashing our little do, the deer were last reported heading for the Hamptons at a good clip.  Too much noise.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Sketchy Portrait, Huntington, Long Island

The 5 p.m. Bunny
Charlie (Richie's younger brother) and his wife, Rosalind, live in the same house the boys grew up in, starting ages 11 and 9.  Connecting the house to the garage is what's called a "breezeway" in those parts.  It has always been my favorite place and in good weather it becomes the family living room with tables and comfy chairs and a great view of the spacious back yard.  A tree-covered hill climbs daintily up from the back edge of the lawn to the houses above.

It was our habit around 5 p.m. to repair there with a beer, admire the fine weather around us and visit.  Our reminiscences were interrupted by one of the party spotting movement out of the corner of an eye and -- it was a medium-sized brown field rabbit.  I just assumed it was a male because I think people tend to assume rabbits are males due to early exposure to Peter Rabbit, but that's an unproven theory. 

It would not be it's last visit.  Every day around 5 p.m. he would hop into view - at a safe distance, you may be sure - and nibble grass.  A brash squirrel intruded one late afternoon and the rabbit turned on the power and scampered at warp speed into a pile of lumber at the next door neighbors.  The squirrel sauntered away as if to say, "My work here is done."   I was surprised that he wasn't spatting his front paws together in satisfaction.

Of Lobsters and Wine Lists
The Feed and Grain restaurant at 73 Main Street, Northport, had a billboard on the sidewalk next to their patio advertising "6 lb. lobster - $49.00".  I snorted in disbelief, pointed and said something witty such as perhaps, "They've gotta be kidding!  Lobsters don't grow that big!"

But Sean, a bay man who ran lobster traps until some virus or other killed them off, corrected me.  "Yeah, they do - guy caught one so big that he put a collar and leash on it and walked it around on the dock."  Since Richie's nephew Sean is as honest as the day is long, I believed him.

It was too cold to be out on the patio so we were seated in the big dining room with a long bar running down the right side of the room. 

Our server, named Lucas L according to the check, popped up at the end of the long table of our booth and asked for our drink order.  When it got to be my turn, I asked politely for the wine list? at which  Lucas guffawed and asked, "Red or white?"   I will not vouch for the look on my face, but the rest of our party howled in glee at my faux pas.

Signage Seen
In residential neighborhoods - "Drive like your kid (grandkid) plays here." 

On the road encircling Lloyd Harbor, not far from Billy Joel's former gated and guard-housed residence, "Turtle Crossing."  with one depicted where the deer usually is placed.  Whose turtle it might have been, why it was allowed free range status?  None of us had any idea.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Long Island Scenes

Conclusive proof Summer is over

The 5 p.m. Bunny

Bistro Cassis

French Onion Soup - it was a cold-ish day - perfect!

Follow the water to the Long Island Sound

Huntington Harbor

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Decoding Notes to Myself for Your Delectation

Writers are urged to start at the beginning so ... MAA #2 left LAX at 8:45 a.m. which means it was a breakfast flight Up Front aka 1st.  As I mentioned previously, re another 1st breakfast, try to fly around lunch or dinner time. 

The first thing to arrive as we settled into our cubicles was ... let me explain "cubicle."  This is a new configuration for First and each seat very closely resembles an office cubicle.  So much so that three of our fellow 1sts were quietly crying - two men and a woman and what they were saying, between sobs, was "Oh, Gawd - can't I ever  escape my cubicle?" 

They all face the window with a desk next to your elbow, a hole for your feet when the chair is flat like a bed.   So much for being seated next to a chatty person, your own mate or a crying baby. "But our celebrity passengers love them," trilled an FA and he was a guy. 

As always, we were offered Mimosas or Straight Champagne which came in a stemless white wine glass and was a much more generous portion than the previous little plastic cup (the flavor does nothing for the drink) or real champagne flutes. 

So -after reaching cruising altitude,  the smiling lady walked around a basket with your choice of a croissant or a mini-bagel or an enormous biscuit.  All were warm, not icy cold!  The butter was splayed out like ocean waves charmingly in a little pot and there was a little plastic container of honey. 

We both ordered the same thing so I can only tell you one other choice which was Shrimp Avocado Toast.  Peon that I am, I thought that a bit much for breakfast.  Our choice was billed as Scrambled Eggs with Chives and Sour Cream, Chicken sausage and Chipotle Oatmeal.  Let us attack the eggs first.  They were not visibly scrambled, but they did look like what they were - curded as in a Crème Brule.  The four slices of sausage, apparently cut from a whole that was as thick as a baby's arm, nestled between them and an enormous amount of what looked like it had been fried, like corned beef hash, but was instead, orange-ish colored oatmeal with little lakes of orange oil dotted over it.

If this is a common dish at your household, I do apologize for my ignorance about it. I liked it! let me hasten to add. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Getting To Be A Habit With Us

We got 1st out; Steerage home. 

Took notes and tomorrow I hope to tell you about the 5 p.m. bunny; the lobster so big the guy who caught it put it in a harness and leash and walked it all over the dock and more tales. 

East or West though, Home is best.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Vacay! - Additions

Going to New York tomorrow.  It's part business - to try to con Book Review, a veddy posh book store in Huntington, Long Island, into carrying "And the Best Blog Is: Word of Mouth" and pleasure - seeing Richie's side of the family. 

Later this same day ... if we are lucky enough to get 1st or Business, will liberate the menu and tell you what they served, if anything. They list breakfast and snack as the food service.   I seem to remember a breakkies in 1st some time ago where the excitement was a small container of strawberry yogurt, a blue berry muffin (ice cold) frozen butter pat...dish of fresh-ish fruit (canned peaches, I swear it.)  No chickens must have laid eggs anywhere the airport.  Certainly no hogs were harmed in the making of bacon ... 

But the rule of commercial flight is:  if they serve you something to eat, do so.  You never know when you'll see food again.  We have logged personal bests for a Quarter Pounder, small fries eaten in airports across this glorious land.  Once more won't kill us. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

So Far So Good

The people we were worried about in Southwest Florida seem to be okay or to put it another way, we haven't heard that they're not.  Cape Coral and Bonita Springs were the two locations of concern.

I very much hope that if you had anyone in Irma's way that they are all okay this morning. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Waiting For News - So Armchair Travel

Since Irma has not yet decided where to stop off next - shoe sale?  Lunch? - the column's correspondents are, of necessity, silent.

For pure escape From It All, go to   vasyenmetro.com  This is an interactive map of the Paris Metro with it's 14 different trains/routes and innumerable destinations.  It's fun to type in where you are (figuratively) and where you want to go.  I just got back from a run from Charles DeGaulle airport to the famous cemetery Pere La Chaise.    Nice day today.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

How To Express Reluctance To Do Something

Writers love this kind of thing - a colorful phrase that can be, uh, liberated for the writer's own use. 
Here are a couple of dandies this writer thinks.

Stubborn as an oil stain.

I'd rather shove a wet noodle up a bobcat's ass in a phone booth.

I'd rather sit nekkid (or "naked" if you wish to sound erudite) on a stump, eating raw bacon while a lizard runs up and down my back.

I am waiting to get Irma news from various correspondents and will print it when I do.   The above was just a vamp.   

Friday, September 8, 2017

Is Your Name On One?

Hurricanes, that is.  Since there are (as of this morning) three whirling away there could be confusion about which is where if they were numbered instead of given a name. 

Who names them?  The World Meteorological Organization composes a list and then works their way down it.  When, in the fullness of time, all of the names have been used, they switch to the Greek alphabet.  Sloppy reporting here, but I don't think that has happened yet. 

Is there a hurricane out there with your name on it?  (Not meant in a sinister Clint Eastwood way.)

Hurricane Richard  October 20th, 2010.  100 mph, two dead, $80 million in damages   Affected Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

Hurricane Nina  August 7, 1957  85 mph, four killed, $100,000 in damages.  Last of the season for the Central Pacific and affected Hawaii. 

"So what's your hurricane, baby?"  Overheard in a bar. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Get to Your Wine Cellar - Quick!

Richard Branson Junior tweeted that all on Necker Island are safe despite being a little crowded in the wine cellar.  Giddy with excitement at being so close to their leader and prompted by his lavish gesture toward the many wine bins -"G'wan - arve a drink," staff has rather forgotten its manners.  "Put the empty bottle back where you found it full" is not being heeded.  The stone floor is now carpeted in shards of glass from careless revelers thanking their God and toasting their survival.


When the last puff of wind from whichever hurricane is passing at the time, has gone punishment will be delivered. Branson pointed out to staff that cuts from broken glass are not covered by health insurance nor is alcohol poisoning and anyhow, there's no hospital on Necker.  OSHA is going after Branson for that one - when the storm(s) are gone.

Branson in a gesture of bon homie urged fellow island owners to take cover immediately.  "My wine cellar provided such good protection, that I urge all of you to take cover in yours. Based on my experience with staff, I caution you to limit them to plastic water bottles.  Probably better for them in the long run anyhow.   Cheers!"

AP - 9-/7-17 
      Richard Branson's lavish houses on Necker have been destroyed.  To all potential vacationers planning on a visit, Branson assures them that the posh resort will be up and running by next Tuesday afternoon.  "The workers shacks have walls for privacy and it's a warm climate here.  Most of them are comely so if they have to wear rags, enjoy the view of some very pretty people!"

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Arrogance of the Willfully Stupid

This is a reference to the people who, faced with a 185 mph hurricane that comes barreling straight at them, refuse to leave their homes.    It's not like these people can whine afterward (if in fact they survived)  "Oh, I didn't know anything about it!"  C'mon - the media has made a real 14 course dinner out of it for three days. 

I understand loving one's home.  I certainly love this one.  But I love our cats, bird, husband and self 'way too much to risk harming any of us.  I'd rather be alive and rebuilding then dead and taking up land space.

But most of all I despise these idiots - for idiots they are - willfully stupid, in fact - because they may cause harm to a first responder.  These are the men and women who risk their own lives for trash.   Even if the governor of a state ordered them and the National Guard to stand down, a few of them would disobey orders.  They wouldn't be First Responders if they didn't. 

The saddest thing in a way is that the stay-at-home people are not defending million dollar homes if you want to put it on that basis - worth vs. danger. 

Which brings us to the despicable Richard Branson, proud owner of Necker Island, his own paradise.  He is known for ardently seeking publicity.  Much like a mole popping out of a hole, Branson pops up at the faintest sound of a Nikon's click. 

Branson, 67, estimated worth $5 billion, has decided to ride out Irma in his wine cellar.  His staff will be with him, he said,  and he jauntily posits that "there won't be any wine left when the storm is over!"  ha ha.    Isn't that precious?  Doughty Richard who remarked on last night's sleepover for staff (about six were pictured, all very attractive young people) that it was the most fun sleepover he'd had since he was a kid.  Awww...

The staff count is plus or minus 100 people, depending on the season and/or the guest.  The Obamas most recently dropped in. 

What I want to know is:  were Staff offered the chance to leave and the transportation to do it?  Branson owns Virgin Air so it's not like he doesn't have support aircraft for his high-powered guests to flit  to and from his paradise..

If not, why not?  Does Branson fancy himself as King of the Island (undoubtedly) and so the sarvints must stay because God forbid he do anything for himself. 

I would say that making people stay to face extreme danger could be classed as Murder 1 and should Branson survive, he should be prosecuted on separate charges for each staff member that was, in fact, killed.  Try a couple of hundred years in prison, Branson.  It's no Necker Island and you sure as hell won't be the boss. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Hey, Mondays Aren't So Bad!

        Have a great Labor Day - and don't.  Labor, that is. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

It's Getting Cooler!

No doubt, we will be looking for warmer clothing (or least putting some on) by 4:30.  I am mentally reviewing ingredients in the kitchen and hearty soup recipes.

                                   It has plummeted from 102 to 98 off of the balcony.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Necessary Flood Gear You May Not Thought Of

For the people in the low-lying areas of Houston and environs, who maybe didn't think of this either. 

You should keep on hand a catch pole and a roll of duct tape.  For speed in using these items, stick the catch pole through the hole of the tape.  You don't want to have a catch pole in one hand while you're fumbling around in the tool chest for a roll of duct tape with the other.    

"Huh?  Do what?" and you stare perplexedly. And you might ask, "You bin smokin' crack er somethin?"  Hah!

There have been reports of alligators in Harvey's flood waters.  Just this morning I saw a photo online of a man carrying about 4 ft. of alligator out  someone's front door.  His (or her - who knows with alligators) mouth was firmly shut with a wrap or two of duct tape. 

One could probably buy a catch pole from a sporting goods store located in areas where there are alligators or ask Animal Control if they have an extra one that they don't foresee having to use.  Duct tape is ubiquitous and you can find it at your local drugstore. 

Be prepared.  We often can't see what is in the flood waters lapping closer and closer to us,  but we would sure as hell notice an alligator waddling through the living room to the kitchen. 

No need to thank me, happy to be of service.  But if you do trap an alligator, send me a picture and I'll run it here.  Don't hide your light (alligator trapping) from the world.  "Have Catch Pole; Will Travel"  or "Mamma Needs a New Pair of Alligator Shoes." 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Good, Bad and Old Friends

Post-Harvey - The good is that the guy who owns and runs a couple of mattress shops called Mattress Mack opened the store to let those fleeing Harvey come in an hunker down. 

The nation of Taiwan is donating $800,000 to rescue efforts in sympathy - every Summer and Fall, they have devastating typhoons. 

The Houston Police Chief put out a warning to  would-be looters.  Don't do it.  We will catch you and we will impose the maximum punishment.  Even it quits raining, you won't see sunshine for a very long time. 

Post-Harvey - Bad.  Very bad.

Faux ICE and fire fighters are showing up at people's houses and making them evacuate.  When the deluded, bullied home owners  have rounded the corner, the "ICE" and/or the fire fighter go in to the house and rob the people blind.  ICE is NOT in Houston or environs and does NOT plan to be. 


Chasing Favorite Restaurants - Hey!  Stop!  We want to eat there!

Both restaurants got their starts on the upper end of Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach. 

We loved the Ragin' Cajun due to the many visits we've made to New Orleans.  Whenever we were overcome by hush puppy longing, w knew right where to go.  And we did.

But then the evil landlord who owned the property decided to let his son open a restaurant.  So he kept jacking the Cajun's rent up until the owner couldn't pay it.  Instead, forced out, he took it on the road with a food truck.  Then luck and a nice landlord smiled on him and he opened the new Ragin' Cajun on PCH in Redondo Beach.  Business has been good there, but apparently a longing for his old stomping grounds moved the owner to buy a third property and set up shop again.  The new place is on Pier Avenue - just about dead center across from his original Ragin' Cajun.  Now, chant with me:  Karma's a bitch.

We had dinner there last night, the owner, in his Cajun outfit - soft-colored plaid shirt, tails hanging down, a pair of jeans so long that he could have been wearing 6 in. spike heels and the hem would have only brushed the floor instead of sweeping it.)  greeted us with his usual enthusiasm, and we enjoyed ourselves and the food.  Richie ordered a beer and I asked for a glass of pinot grigio (white) and the portion had to be about half of a bottle.  It was $7 and the whole bottle was $28. 

Crème de la Crepe  is also great favorite when we miss Bretagne and Normandy and their foods of note.  When they first opened - at the top of Pier Avenue - we supported them with enthusiasm.

And they, in their turn have prospered (not due to us)  and now have crepe stores in Beverly Hills, San Diego, Long Beach, Culver City and Huntington Beach and RB's own Riviera Village as well as the now-flagship Dominique's Kitchen. 

We had lunch there today.  We had French class from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and Richie wanted to continue the French experience.  My Matinale crepe tasted exactly the same as the first one I ever ate there - buckwheat crepe, scrambled eggs, cheese and bacon.   Richie's Americain of ham, egg and melted  Brie was the same, too, he said.  We split a dessert crepe of mango, caramel syrup, vanilla ice cream and a cloudy puff of whipped cream. 

For your consideration - Monday nights are 50% off a bottle of wine; Tuesday and Friday, all the mussels you can eat for $25 and Thursday night is a three course dinner for $29 or $45.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

PC Idiocy Part 2

Yesterday we learned that the LA City Council wanted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.  Today I read that 14-1 voted to do it.  The usual knee jerk reaction to  anything mentioning slavery, real or imagined or made up.  "Columbus had slaves!  He killed Indians!" 

Except it wasn't American Indians or imported blacks. 

My cousin, Doug, a noted historian writes:

"I keep reading where people are saying Columbus and his men were responsible for massacring Indians.

"In all of the years I've studied history, I have never before read that from an authoritative source.  His crew was involved in killing Indians who attacked his ship (in the Caribbean Islands, as I recall) but I've never heard they massacred people." 

Note to the LA City Council:  Buffoon alert - read up on history before you make fools of yourselves.   

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"And" Doesn't Exit in the PC Crowd's Lexicon

California, in its great wisdom, is listening to the blather of a bunch of Politically Correct  City Council members whose newest great idea is to banish Columbus Day, a federal holiday held on the second Monday in October, and to replace it with Indigenous People Day.   Or more informatively "Native American Day."

Native American Day is already celebrated in September in the great state of California, but the wack-a-dos of Berkeley are not happy with that.   Columbus Day must go!

Why is not possible for the holiday to be Columbus Day AND Native American Day if they have to celebrate it?  Because liberal thinking forbids anything but my way or the highway.

Legislatively, they're about as needed as a life guard in a car wash or as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.   Instead of The Last of the Mohicans, how about The Last of the Liberals?  I'd celebrate that for a minimum seven days. 

And when the celebrants of the 91st Feast of San Gennaro to be held this year from September 14 to the 24th in Little Italy, Manhattan,  hear about this newest folly from California ... well, yas don' wanna be dere.  It ain't going to be pretty. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Everything Old Is New Again

Today's Antifa thugs are just yesterday's pre-WW2 Brown Shirts..  Pure and simple. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Rockport Update

This came in this morning concerning the fellow classmate and his wife who had to flee Rockport as reported yesterday.

"Just had some friends go by our home in Rockport.  Doors, windows and roof are okay.  No flooding.  One broken small palm tree and fence down in places.  Still without water, electricity, sewage, etc.  We are going home tomorrow.  Thanks for all of your prayers."

Bill, our class correspondent,  added that he also heard from several other classmates who have relatives or friends in Houston or the Gulf Coast area.

"Phil and I were in Rockport until we had to evacuate.  We have friends that have a condo there.  He went in yesterday to see the damage.  Parts are really bad.  We were planning to go back in two weeks, but don't think that will happen.  (We're) praying that Larry's is one (of the houses) that made it without too much damage. 
"Also, please pray for our son and his family that live in Houston.  They have had 17 in. at their house and expecting another 20 - 30 inches.  So far they are okay, but not with another 20."  Gloria and Phil Rollins

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Report from Rockport, TX

Our high school's designated "contactor" wrote this morning about a fellow Southeast High School member and quoted that note to the rest of us.

"Good morning, Bill.  Thanks for your prayers.

We escaped to a safe harbor before Harvey - a town about 200 miles west.  It appears that Rockport is in shambles.

Martial Law has just been announced, so we may not be able, for a time, to get home to examine damage right away. 

Power is not expected to be returned for 30 to 45 days.  I lived in Coastal areas sine 1975 and this is my first loss of a home.

We appreciate all prayers.  Psalms 91:11  Take care and God bless.  Larry and Nancy "

Friday, August 25, 2017

Suitable for Tornados and Hurricanes

The Mayor of Texas city about to be affected by the hurricane  advised the people who insist on staying in their homes to put their Social Security Number in indelible ink on an arm.

If it were me, I'd put all of my i.d., a credit card and the smart phone and charger cord in a ziplock sandwich bag and tape it securely to my chest with duct tape.  . 

Harvey! You Leave My Cousins Alone!

Harvey is scheduled to land tomorrow - Saturday - morning.  If they hadn't lived in Texas all of their lives, my cousins safety would be a cause for worry. 

Corpus Christie -  Paul, his wife and daughter can go to their ranch inland

Beeville (60 miles north of Corpus) - one family lives in an immense, solid (18 in. thick walls) mansion that has been there since 18-something. One could take the position that if it hasn't been blown down by now, it's unlikely it'll go this time.   It's last incantation was as a B & B and insanely popular with hunters in deer season. 

Another flock has nested about a mile from the Beeville Country Club (which has been there since the '30s)  in a cluster of low-to-the-ground one-story houses surrounded by live oak trees.    If they run out of food?  Shove aside the tree branches, grab the little red wagon handle and hike over to the Club.

Harlingen - that cousin is the former Risk Management Supervisor for the City of Harlingen.  I believe he knows what to do. 

We heard the mayor of Corpus Christie saying yesterday that while the city has not gone to forced evacuation yet, it could happen.  And if it does, he warned, go. " I am not risking our first responders lives to save someone who stubbornly stays home."  Or words to that effect.  I really wanted to clap and cheer, but that would have scared our cats. 

I hope that if you have loved ones in Harvey's path, they emerge safe and sound. 


And if you do live where there might be strangers pounding on your front door, here are some doormats that might distract them from trying to barge in and eat all of your food and drink all of your water.  Of course, a double-barreled shotgun would undoubtedly turn them away, but how unchristian!  Not the famed Texas hospitality At All.

       DOORBELL BROKEN -
YELL DING DONG REALLY LOUD- 

ASK NOT FOR WHOM THE DOG BARKS
         HE BARKS FOR THEE

IF YOU ARE PIZZA, AMAZON OR A DOG
         WALKER, WE"RE HOME

           NICE UNDERWEAR

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sadly Disillusioned ...

Early evening, 8/23/17
I had spent the day in a haze of euphoria - "And the Best Blog Is: Word of Mouth" was ranked 4.6 stars out of a total of Amazon-issued 5 stars.  I also spent a good part of the day advising my nearest and dearest of this amazing (couldn't resist; should have) news. 

As evening gently came down, so did my spirits.  I am a practical person.  Euphoria drifted away as that pragmatic person (me)  realized that amazon.com is in the book-selling business.  They are hardly going to award a book (or writer) with a half or one star.  That would not intrigue the potential buyer to act with alacrity to buy the book. 

So I stood in the middle of the dusty old road to Enlightenment  and watched Reality jump up on the Practical wagon, gently flap the reins on the  Common Sense horse and plod away. 

And I finally got over myself. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Goodie For Me, She Chortled

More unabashed glee.  A friend prodded me to pay more attention to my listing on amazon.com and Barnes & Noble for "And The Best Blog Is:  Word of Mouth" so I dutifully skipped over to amazon.com and found .....

This is really great!

Wait for it .....

Out of a five stars possible rating, "And the Best Blog Is: Word of Mouth" scored a 4.6.

How cool is that?! 

On top of:   Barnes & Noble using it in an online ad for various books they're promoting yesterday.  I couldn't have been more surprised - or pleased. 

It may be overcast and gloomy outside (and it is) inside, sunlight and joy prevail. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

More of Richie's Treasures

Periodically he decides to go through some of his collection and he makes a point of showing most of it to me.  Baseball cards and sprint car magazines are lusterless to me somehow. 

Among yesterday's gold and dross was an information sheet from the good ship Jubilee on which we traveled touring the Mexican Riviera in 1990 to celebrate my 50th birthday.   Obviously there have been some changes in ships since 1990, but it's fun to look back. 

Trivia - built in 1986, and is the largest ship to ever come out of Scandinavia (built in Malmo.)

We toured the Bridge and according to the information sheet we were given...

Satellite Communications Terminal - Inmarsal Raytheon JUE 35A
This system provides high-quality telephone, telex data and facsimile services.  Calling is fast and easy, and because transmissions are by  line of sight microwave radio, they are virtually unaffected by weather or ionospheric conditions."

Since I understand exactly nothing of the above, but it sounds like a good idea, let us find something I could understand.  The following has probably been around since the '30s.

Why is a ship called "She"?   BECAUSE:

There is a great deal of bustle around her
She has a waist and stays
It takes a lot of paint to keep her looking good
It's the upkeep, not the initial expense that breaks you
She is all decked out
It takes a good man to handle her
She shows her topsides; hides her bottom sides
When coming in to port, she always heads for the buoys!

I did say "1830s" didn't I?

Monday, August 21, 2017

And the Henny Pennys Have a Field Day!

Their cry is not "The sky is falling!" but "The sun is dying!"

Not content with that, the more religious among us are saying the eclipse portends the Apocalypse!  The Rapture!  The Second Coming!

The beach cities will just have to miss it all.  It is heavily overcast here and not scheduled to clear up before 11 a.m. or noon.  The eclipse is due here at 9 a.m. and at 8:27 a.m. as this is being written, it is still overcast.

We can always see it on TV - benefit - no danger to our vision. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Blink and You'll Miss It

Tomorrow's much hyped total eclipse (WOW!) will be seen for a grand total of two minutes, 40 seconds, anywhere along its path.

Your cell phone will not go dead.  The climate will not plummet into the low 30s.  Your pets will not suddenly stop whatever they were doing and go to sleep thinking it is bedtime; outside birds will most likely just keep flying.  They will not drop like stones, onto the nearest branch for sleep. 

As always, given a shred of fabric, the scare media makes a tablecloth.  Where they will dine in glee at having scared you.  Don't give them the pleasure. 

If you live near the beach, you, your pets and the wild birds won't even know about it.  We're scheduled for overcast Monday and all the rest of the week. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The "Knife-Resistant" Vest

Thursday Writers aka the South Bay Writers Workshop.com finished critique and we had time leftover.  The discussion turned to the news, none of which, of course, was good.  One member said, "I always feel so sorry for the British police - they aren't allowed guns!"

Another member said, "It's very difficult to get a gun in Europe ..but those jackets are knife-proof." 

You would have to conclude, as I did, that nothing had been resolved. 

Still, those fluorescent yellow vests were rather smart; I wondered if an American citizen could buy one for Home Country use?

Indeed.  Pages of vendors, but the one that caught my eye had this blurb ",,, to individuals who require reliable protection from edged weapons in their chosen vocation."  Was that gracefully phrased?  Was it typical British understatement?  You betcha!  That sentence alone would make me buy from that supplier.

Take a look - they have a British Bobby Yellow version in sizes XS to 4XL. PPSS-Group.com

Previously covered in my book "And the Best Blog Is:  Word of Mouth" was one Miguel Caballero who manufactures bullet-proof designer clothing in disguise.  Looks like your sister is wearing a wife beater undershirt?  Uh huh.  Vest.  Lovely suede men's jacket?  Ditto.   Bonus points:  anti-bacterial.  Men's jacket 4,401 Euros; woman's undershirt 2,023 Euros. 

But I side with the woman who feared for the unarmed bobbies.  At least they are guarded against knife thrusts. 


Friday, August 18, 2017

Coming Soon To Your Local DMV

Now Hear This:  Inasmuch as there have been a number of regrettable vehicular incidents involving crowds of innocent (or presumed innocent) civilians, be advised that your car keys are now considered a deadly weapon and you are now required to register said car keys at the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

There will be no exceptions to this directive.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Letter to the Editor

Alert readers will notice that I deleted God in the letter.  He ran yesterday.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where's The Sauce for the Gander?

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. 

Apparently the sauce for the gander ran out - the KKK, New Black Panthers, #Black Lives Matter, the pink pussy hat wearers for womens' solidarity, the Antifa, Social Justice Warriors and the Westboro Baptists Church poured it down the drain. 

These demonstrations and marches (with or without a permit to demonstrate) have changed exactly nothing at all other than overtime for the trash collectors  to clean up their meeting sites.  These supporters may believe ardently in their "cause" but clearly not in trash cans. 

The 1st amendment blesses (and rightly so) a peaceful assembly.    All of the above groups do not assemble with any kind of "peaceful" in mind.  It is time to call out every group that riots and causes riots, no exceptions.  If God came down from Heaven and picked up a protest sign and started yelling for His cause, I'd tag him, too - for Remedial Peaceful Assembly 101. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Now At Barnes & Noble

"And The Best Blog Is:  Word of Mouth" is now available at Barnes and Noble bookstores as well as amazon.com

Can I Offer You Some Swineapple?

Apparently foodies are now turning their noses to the aromas of pork and pineapple; their ears to the crackle of cooking bacon and their salivary glands are working overtime!

Who knew?

"Swineapple" is a cute name for a fresh pineapple, cored, and the vacant space filled with cooked, pulled pork or stuffed with Spam.  Then a lattice of bacon strips is draped over it cunningly and the whole mess is put on an outdoor grill or in an indoor oven. 

I read that a bacon lattice is made in the same manner one would make the lattice for a pie.  I think just the bacon lattice all by itself would make an attractive dish as an appetizer - put it out whole on a platter with a sharp knife and let guests cut their own portion.  Add to the merriment by basting it with a mix of brown sugar and whisky as it cooks.  It should crust up nicely and give a visual and taste bud treat.  Cook the lattice at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, plus or minor. 

On the other hand ... Saute rings of fresh pineapple, put them on a plate, fill the hollow with pulled pork and garnish with an "x" of grilled bacon strips.  One strip halved should work just fine per pineapple ring.  Let's not get giddy here.  Bacon doesn't grow on trees.

Want proof?  This is an old Israeli/Jewish saying:  "Such-and-such will happen when pork chops grow on the palm trees in downtown  Tel Aviv."  I think you can take that pretty much as the long way of saying, "Never." 




Sunday, August 13, 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Shameless Self-Promotion

hhtps://amazon.com/dp/0964102764

Dogue de Bordeaux

I am grinning ear to ear about the use of this perhaps slang French word for "dog?"  "Chien" is dog in French.    Maybe it was one of those jokey Cajun things like "Geaux"  for "go."  But since the Kennel Club lists them and we pretty much know that's not a jokey group ...  

Another dog listed for today (8-12-17) and tomorrow's Kennel Club Show being held at North High School, Torrance, from 9 a.m. to around 3 p.m. when Best Dog in Show is determined, is a Peruvian Inca Orchid.   Yes, orchid.  I thought maybe the typesetter had slipped and confused the list of entries with a flower show, but, no.  They are beautiful medium-sized dogs - 26 lbs.-  and hairless so no allergy worries. 

The one pictured had great, clean lines that reminded me of a greyhound, to give you a mental picture  and an alert look.  My only nit pick would be that this dog has rather larger ears than might be necessary for it to get through life.  Puppies go for from $400 to $600.  Check the pound first. 

It really is an international list -

Finnish Spitz, French Bulldog, Chinese Shar Pei, Irish Setter, French Poodle ...

And, of course, le Dogue de Bordeaux. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Robbery Foiled

Yesterday I mentioned that Zazou, a French restaurant in Riviera Village, was offering a three courses for $40 per person special menu.   Richie and I looked at each other and the decision was made that quickly.  We would go and ravish this menu, knowing that many restaurants put in one of their big ticket dishes such as filet mignon with various sauces.  

We were told "Sit anywhere" and once we'd plopped our butts down, the server Daniel D  approached and laid out a wine menu, the regular food menu and the three course menu.  We glanced at each other and grinned.  This was what we'd come for - let the games begin!

Unfortunately, there was nothing at all on it that we would eat.   Colorado lamb.  Nope, don't eat lamb.  Richie asked me what Brick Chicken was and after I'd explained, he turned it down.  He didn't explain, but I got the feeling that he thought it was a rather rude thing to do to a hen.  In short, so much for robbing the kitchen profits blind. 

Richie has developed a fondness for beef short ribs that have been cooked longer than FDR was in office and ordered them.  They came with braised spinach, another love of his. 

I ordered the Shrimp Toast, remembering the Duchess of Windsor's favorite appetizer, made of half baby shrimp and half butter with a pinch of nutmeg, creamed together and used as butter on toast rounds and baked.   It had always sounded good and quite naturally, I've never stirred myself enough to make it.

Zazou's shrimp toast is quite different.  Picture an oval dish with a long slice of toasted and grilled baguette covered with flavored olive oil, sautéed cherry tomatoes, sautéed shrimp (the big ones) cubes of feta cheese, garnished with sprigs of arugula.   We split it because it was a lot for a single serving.  We nodded knowingly at each other as we chewed.  We'd lucked into some good stuff. 

I am still in the hunt for a perfect Caesar salad, so I ordered the hearts of romaine salad (aka Caesar) and it arrived in a deep bowl, whole  fronds sticking gracefully out of the top, garnished with another slice of toasted, grilled baguette but with a smear of seasoned, lemony avocado.  Served in a bowl and not flat on a plate said, "Finger food" to me so that's how I ate it.    It was excellent, I loved salad as finger food and it is definitely in the Finals for Best Caesar. 

I think it should be mentioned that we have three French restaurants in our area - Crème de la Crepe (two - Hermosa Beach and Riviera Village,) Dominque's Kitchen and Zazou.  One would expect French speakers on the staff at any or all of them.  Zazou - zero.  Dominque's Kitchen - one.  Crème de la Crepe was ALL French speakers when they first opened but no more.  I think this may come under the general heading of misleading advertising.    Still, I don't have to have a Frenchman serve the salad - God gave me fingers.