Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Summertime Fun - Laughing At and Cheering For a Pet Rock, a Worm ... it's All Here..

"The Contest Book - 299 unusual contests you can enter!" compiled by Ken Dollar, Ruth Reichel and Susan Subtle  190 pages  $7.95  published 1979

Since the pub date was 1979, I cautiously explored whether or not my selections have been heard of since then.  So - batter up!

The International Worm Fiddling Contest
Careyville, FL  Held since 1974
 It should be noted that this is not music lessons for worms.  "Fiddling" in this case is a means of  luring worms, comfy in their holes to emerge from them to see what's going on.  Here's how it's done.  You will need a 2" round stake, which you stick into a worm-fertile looking bit of ground, down about a foot.  Then take a brick or a piece of wood and scrape it back and forth shaking the ground.  The worm fearing for its life, will emerge.  If you didn't garner a large number, take a look at what you did lure up to see how long it is.  There's a prize for Longest Worm Captured.

National Condom Couplet Contest
San Francisco, held in February often on the 14th for Valentine's Day
First prize is a solid gold condom' 2nd is a silver wallet with the telltale ring extrusion; 3rd is a gross -or 144 -  regular condoms for "the night of your life."

Some past winners - "From using condoms you will learn.  No deposit means no return."
"Rubberizing copulation puts a cap on population."
"When you rise, condomize."

The Pet Rock Race
Sterling, CO

Residents here in Logan County became firmly convinced that a rock was the first "pet" of  primitive man, and from that these contests devolved.  Strict rules apply.  "All rocks must weight at least 2-oz. and no more than 5 lbs."
Dressing or costuming your pet rock is not allowed.
Pets shall compete from a standing start and maintain a true course that does not impede progress of other contestants.  The rock that travels the furthest wins.

Logan County as a whole says, "Rock on!"

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Must-Have Insult

Which is "You're a racist!  Things are getting kind of bad, so please be aware...

 The other day I overheard this exchange.  Two women of a certain age were discussing summer foods from their perch on a waiting-for-the-bus bench.

Purple dress: " Oh, I do like a nice tray of iced  crudites in the summer but they can just leave off the radishes and add more carrots instead!  I don't like radishes!" and gave a delicate shudder.

Woman in yoga pants and billowy top:  "Ohhh, you're a racist!"  and so saying, slid a little further away from Purple dress.

Both then ignored each other in favor of looking up the street for the bus.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Slave Reparations

Just suppose that your great, great, great, great grandfather killed someone.  Are you going straight to the gallows?

There are other groups - I want reparation for the Huguenots who were forced to flee France, for one.   

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Stuff White People Like Is a Real Website

And it's great entertainment no matter what color you might be.  There's always that wonderful comparative ethnicity wherein yours is the best.  And the corollary is that you can feel superior especially to fellow white slobs.

What is this poor demented woman writing about now?  Is she trying to start a race riot?  Does she not know that any mention whatsoever of the fact that people do come in a great many shades is  rude?

Here are a couple I picked at random …

Art Appreciation
At the time this was written, the graffiti artist Banksy was a  big hit.  White People consider graffiti to be "art" when it looks like something other than squiggles which are considered vandalism.

The World Cup
It allows White People to pretend that they are European and that they get to match a country with the tipple of choice there.

They don't remember a single play in any of the games (or the games themselves)  but can remember with instant recall getting knee-walking drunk on Sangria during a Spain-Paraguay match at 5 a.m.

Roller Derbies (Women's Division)
Considered a whimsical event to watch, but not one in which to participate.  Skaters stage names provide additional glee.   For additional laughs, Google "female roller derby names" and see what comes up.   In fact that's such a good idea that I'm off to do it.  Happy hunting!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

My Printer Is Back!


I'm almost done celebrating Friday/s Big Event.  A representative of Wireless Planet, came to the house, waved magic fingers and Presto!  My new printer worked for the very first time!  When Columbus happened upon on what is now America, he couldn't have been happier than I was at hearing the roller rattle and a sheet of once pristine white paper emerged with  stuff on it! 

Also of note:  if any of your children show signs of interest in the technical side of computers, encourage them.  The guy that came to use was here 15 minutes and after a $75 cash payment wended his cheerful way onward.  When I was sure he was well away, I screamed up the stairs to Richie and the cats:  We've got a printer again! YESSSS!  None of them were impressed in any way. 

Let's do the math:  15 minutes $75
                                   30 minutes $150
                                   60 minutes  $300.  
Now you see why I urge computer sciences for your kids?  

And I'll say this for free.  Spend the money!  

Friday, July 12, 2019

Strozzapreti Pasta (priest strangler) at the New Neighbors

As savage as that might sound, it is a dish that emerged, more as wishful thinking than the actual murder of a clerical figure.  This pasta comes to the rest of the world via Tuscany and Umbria where the Church's greedy hands took everything they could get said hands on - land, buildings, tithing and inviting themselves to after-Mass dinners on Sundays.

Your house was penalized if the cook was particularly talented.  Then every Sunday you would find his knees shoved under your Sunday dinner table.  After a month or more of this rapacious priest stuffing his face with food meant for the immediate family, the wives (generally the chefs at that time) developed a certain … resentment.  To release some tension in their kitchens, they invented a new pasta shape and among themselves, they secretly referred to it as "priest strangler."    To this untutored eye, it look like three linguini squashed together, and cut into 1 1/2 in. strips and given a twist in the middle.   How the women must have enjoyed "strangling the priest."  

Who is this New Neighbor in the shopping mall, corner of Aviation and prospect?  Spumoni, 1101 Artesia, Hermosa Beach, 424-304-2421  it replaced an Indian restaurant named Akbar.

Richie, "D" and me, decided to try it last night.  The interior of the large dining room is very old-fashioned chic with banquettes against the long wall and chairs plus a large nook with group seating off to the right from the entrance.  White tablecloths, waiters in black pants and white shirts.

Here's what we ordered (and ate with some gusto.)

Richie:  Pollo Cacciatore - double chicken breasts, with roasted peppers, mushrooms, onions, in a light white wine tomato sauce.  $20

"D" Linguini Pescatore $19 but I couldn't find it in the online menu.  I know it had mussels because Richie "borrowed" three of them.

Me :  Strozzapreti Carbonara  $18  It was delicious and as they give large portions, it's my dinner tonight as Richie's leftovers are his.  Clearly he filled up on mussels...

Drinks:  two glasses Fantini Sangiovese - $26
One glass house pinot grigio  $9
Two glasses Carmenet Cabernet  $26
Two splits sparkling Prosecco  $28

Three people, food and wines' $170.45 without taxes.

And no priests were harmed during this dinner.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Er, The Dentist's Bad News

For me, not them.  X-rays (routine; it was time for them) showed that I need two root canals and two subsequent crowns.    These are expensive treatments and to say "sticker shock" is wild understatement.  ($7,000+)

Years ago I was offered dental insurance, but I turned it down since previous experiences were only routine teeth cleaning which insurance didn't pay for anyhow.

I can only speculate (spin) that the money I saved NOT having insurance will pay for this massive hit on the old assets.  Every cloud, silver lining …   and other relevant bullshit.

To quote that wise old philosopher Linda Ellerby, "And so it goes."

If you've had one, what did you think of it?


For seniors there really is not a great dental insurance plan but if you have dental issues like mine then having insurance can save you in the long run.
     Anderson's Own Doug.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Two Good Things About Going to the Dentist

Tsk!  And you didn't think there were any!  Behold!

You never get weighed at the dentist's.

If you request it politely (and we one is always polite) they will rub a numbing jelly across your gums and unless you have some kind of bottomless hole in a tooth, you will never feel getting your teeth cleaned.  

You have a choice of flavors (except a gin martini; have been lobbying for that for ages) such as a Margarita or a Pina colado.

Teeth cleaning?  Shrug.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Athletes Bite Hands That Clap For Them

First came Colin Kaopectate who relished his new found notoriety for, essentially, spitting on our flag.  The first couple of times he knelt, I joked it was in homage to the United States!  Nobody bought it.

He is 31 now; certainly old enough to behave much more maturely.   I don't think stopping a production line at Nike (Betsy Ross flag shoes) is helpful to those workers.  And I now totally disrespect Nike for bowing to this pipsqueak.  Have worn and advocated wearing them for many years.  No mas. 

The tattoos  he wears all (according to recent research) talk up his utter devotion and love for God.  One, notably, is "God Will Guide Me."

Interestingly enough, his partner Nessa Diab professes to be a Muslim and works as a TV commentator.  I would imagine that Christmas around their dwelling is rather interesting.

He was given the WAC Offensive Player of the Year Award 2008 and 2010.  Nothing could be truer.

But wait!  Is that the spotlight moving slowly but inexorably away from Kaopectate?

By a woman no less!  Megan Rapidtoe has burst into the headlines with her declaration of non-attendance at any sort of White House congratulations ceremony to the team.  In rather vulgar language at that.  My first thought was, "Get the invitation before you start shooting off your mouth.

Then trying to be more understanding I read that she was one of six children, of which was her fraternal twin Rachel, also a reasonably bright soccer star.    maybe this was simply an identity problem being one of six?  The man she gave a shout out to is her older brother Brian who has been in and out of prison and rehab for drug abuse since he was 15 years old, but now is reported to have kicked it.

She also has a chunk of the Nike cake as well as Samsung.  Both are sponsors.  But not really great role models for kids.  Quite the reverse.  He's looking for a job; she's 34 and will hopefully retire.  God Will Guide Them indeed...

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Mother Nature Tugs At Her Girdle, But We Roll On

Happily there have been no fatalities yet which, of course, could change by the time I finish typing this sentence.

Many of you apparently live where there are no earthquakes, but! don't get cocky; you have tornadoes, forest fires, hurricanes - there is no place that is absolutely safe from Ma Nature.

These recent events have so far been "rollers" not BAM!  CRASH! which will indeed get your attention.  These are the babies that will throw you across a room.   During the first one here -a roller as have been all subsequent events this time and Redondo Beach is 166.1 miles away - Richie was snaking out the downstairs bathtub; I was upstairs reading in his recliner.  He yelled up, "Did you feel that?" and I  yelled back, "What?!"  "We had an earthquake!"  So I said, "Oh." and turned a page.

I am not foolishly blasé about them.  My first experience follows... I moved out here in 1964 and we all lived a quiet life until 2-9-1971.  I was in my studio apartment, about to step into a hot bath, when I decided a quick pee would not be a bad idea.  As I sat, stark naked on the toilet, we had a roller and stricken, I thought "And this is how they'll find me - stark naked, jammed into a toilet bowl."  Talk about an ignomious demise...

The next of note occurred on 8-6-1979.  I lived in an apartment in Beverly Hills (yes, 90210 and you may be sure that I mentioned that little number on any possible occasion) overlooking an alley behind the building.  Somewhere in the dead of night I heard a noise that sounded like a train derailment careening up that alley.  I ran to the living room and looked out.  The power line and pole was swaying!  But there was nothing else notable going on so I went back to bed and next morning, got up, showered, dressed and headed off to work.  My job was within walking distance and during it, I passed the rather posh liquor store.  The floor was awash with busted liquor bottles to a depth of about two inches.  It reeked!  But the sidewalks were clear and everything else looked "normal."

Time flew and I was married, we'd bought a house and thoroughly enjoyed life.  Then, 1-17-1994 came Northridge.  Which has been - so far - the worst yet.  I'd already noted that the o nes that touched the South Bay generally took place around 4 a.m.  They were all gentle, low-powered rollers and I got used to them to the point that I didn't bother to get up,

But Northridge chased my lazy butt out of bed when the rattling and shaking and noise of a lot of things banging together - and most tellingly, the bedroom ceiling light was swaying - all of upstairs was right above my head.  I hung on the bedroom window sill and spotted what had to be the refinery in a roaring blaze.  The earthquake seemed to be going on and on and on!   It was later found to have lasted "10 to 20 seconds."  It's certainly not my place to sneer at scientists, but let me say, "It felt like three full minutes!"

Richie and I both took (and passed) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. Things to do:  grab a bottle of liquid detergent that you keep taped to the gas shut-off wrench, and go to your gas meter.  Rub the soap into it and look for any bubbles (gas leak).  Shut off gas.

If you and your house are okay, go next door and walk all the way around it looking for structural damage.  The rule at CERT is:  save yourself first, then go help others who in turn will help others.  CERT was designed to be a stop-gap while the real First Responders go the direst situations.  If your area has this program, go for it!  It's not just for earthquakes!

I forgot to mention that one effect of an earthquake is sounds.  Last night, getting out my toothbrush, I heard slow drops of rain.  Extremely puzzling this as no rain whatsoever mentioned anywhere.  I reached up to turn out the light and a picture was swinging gently back and forth!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Hot Dog Update

Richie's old friend Sonny - they used to clam together - sent us a link to yesterday's contest.

Joey Chestnut is very much the reigning king of hot dog scarfing with yesterday's score of 71.  Astute readers noted that his personal best was 74 in 10 minutes.  Not content with dominating the playing field this retired construction manager, San Jose, CA, also holds these titles:

Most gyozas - 381 in 10 minutes
Most hard-boiled eggs 151 in 10 minutes
Personal-size pizzas - 7.5 in 10 minutes.

A competitor in the past has been a woman called Sonya (the Black Widow) Thomas.  Newsday did not explain this soubriquet.

Miki Sudo, a pretty blonde, is gaining on Chestnut and apparently beat him to championships in short-form ice cream - 16.5 pints and Kimchi 8.5 lbs.!

KIMCHI!  Garlic-laden, salt driven, gas producing kimchi.  I love it and am to date the only person I know that will eat it.  I don't understand that, but more for me.  A glass pint jar is $8 so it's just as well. If only someone else like it, I could sell small dishes and get my money back.  Ah dreams of greed...

Thursday, July 4, 2019

I Think I Bit Off More Than I Can Chew...

Sometimes I run across story material that is too odd or funny or downright crazed than I can easily write about.   I want to go deeper and find out more!  Yes, I am a nosy bitch!  How did you guess?

Such is today's effort on over eating for $$$.  It was brought to my attention by publicity for the annual Coney Island Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.  Ring a distant bell?  Yeah, me, too.

One of the articles detailed perennial champion, Joey Chestnut with his wins.  In 2018 he ate 74 hotdogs in 10 minutes.  These were normal-sized dogs and buns.  His technique?  Eat the dog out of the bun, dip the bun in water, shove it at your face and open mouth.  The esophagus can't take  a ton of "dry" descending on it.  Chief rival Takeru Kobayashi breaks the dogs into twos and shoves them down his maw.

Hot dog eating contests are said to have begun in 1916 when Nathan's first opened.  A couple of PR guys concocted a contest - the person who could eat the most Nathan's hot dogs was the most "American."

As America has become diversified, so have eating contests and monetary prizes .  Some items and prizes when they were mentioned

Poutine (Canadian favorite; French Fries with cheese curds and brown gravy) 20 pounds in 10 minutes.  $6,000

Raw jalapenos 265 for $1,500

Shrimp 10 lbs.  $1,500

Peeps (Easter candy) 200 in five minutes

Gyoza dumplings  359 in 10 min.

bacon 1 lb. in 10 minutes

Joey Chestnut also vies for championships with deep-fried asparagus, Key lime pie, lobster and cheesecake as the items.

Surely this forced mass eating can't be good for one and it isn't.  Some if the bad things that can happen:  Liver damage what with massive hits of carbs and fat; so much so that (figuratively) the liver throws up it's hands and says, "I can't take it anymore.  I quit."  Too much of a load also can cause hypoxia or less oxygen to the brain and brain damage ensues.  Most obviously, of course, is choking.

Here are a few contestants and their sad fates.  You could say they died trying...  Cockroaches, hot dogs - a bun got lodged in a throat, paramedics couldn't get it out: plotz.  Ukrainian dumplings led to a heart attack.  Rice balls, pancakes for charity which is truly unfortunate, and KFC wings.  

I've only seen one contest and it was at the Long Island Oyster Bay annual fair.  Contestants are given metal pie pans with a specific number of ready-to-eat oysters and they slurp them down.  This is not a pretty sight.  As for myself, I can say that in high school, I could down a can of beer in 10 seconds.  The guys were impressed.  My secret?  Lock your throat open and pour straight down your gullet.

In any case regarding all of this foolish recklessness - DO NOT TRY ANY OF THESE AT HOME.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Anniversary in Florence, Italy

No, we did not board an Alitalia flight to Rome for dinner last night.  We did the next best thing; we had dinner at Aliotta's Via Firenze in next door Torrance!  

Beautifully and quaintly decorated the dining room features a faux balcony around two walls with wine storage below them.  Very, very much sparkling white tablecloths and impeccably groomed servers.  

To our mutual amazement, owner Mike Aliotta recognized us!  He cited our last visit (maybe 6 weeks ago), agreeing with me that this was the same table we'd had then; went on to say that I like sparkling prosecco and had two glasses of Muscato; asked to switch out the spinach for angel hair pasta in my order... 

It was early and staff wasn't that busy so Mike continued our conversation.  Born in Sicily, he came to America in 1984 and opened Aliotta's in 1999.  That when Toyota went elsewhere so did a lot of his business.  He pointed out a son, another relative and stressed that it is a family-owned and run business.

Richie then and tonight cleaned his plate, willingly foregoing next night's leftovers for dinner tomorrow night.  

We started with a Caesar salad and when they arrived - yes, "they" - had been neatly divided and served in twin square bowls.  ($10)  Our server was listening when I said we'd split it rather than two orders. 

What has enchanted him?  Saltimbocca - veal scaloppini topped with prosciutto and mozzarella cheese with a sage wine sauce.  ($29)

Scampi Don Mike - large shrimp, wrapped in bacon with a sambuca and Romano cream sauce over a bed of spinach which is willingly and pleasantly replaced for angel hair pasta.  ($30)

I had a half-bottle of sparkling prosecco ($21 - economical as a single glass is $11; him a glass of cabernet sauvignon Vista ($8.50.)

Food $69  Wine  $29.50  Tab $108.84 

And I get to have it again tonight!  4485 Torrance Boulevard (back corner of a small mall) corner of Anza and Torrance)  310-371-9555

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

On This Date: 36 Years Ago ...

July 2, 1983  Richie and I got married in the Methodist Church, 243 W. Broadway, Redondo Beach  Of note, their distinctive tower is still standing.

Richie and I dated for two years; never lived together and this was his proposal:  (talking to his parents on the usual Saturday night 5 p.m. here; 8 p.m. on Long Island where they lived  "Oh, I guess Neena ("The name's Nina!") I mentally snarled) and I will be getting married."

So we began discussing when this would occur.  I said, "August?"; he countered with, "No, July 4th weekend."  I said, "So you won't forget the anniversary?  Or you'll think that all of the fireworks are for you?"  He made no reply.  Draw your own conclusions...

Next came Religion.  Richie is a lapsed Catholic.  I am a lapsed Methodist (assuming there is such a thing.)  So I suggested a Justice of the Peace.  "No! No! I want a church!"  Since he didn't specify which church, I began to explore alternatives.  The first I visited had turned her living room into her office with two little church seats and a sort of podium.  It looked like the viewing room in a mortuary.

She kicked off with what she described as an old Indian prayer and off she went "I will walk in your moccasins..." I politely interrupted her and made my way to the door.  Got in my car, gunned the motor and peeled away.  I never tried another one.

I converted him to Methodism, telling him the truth - the Ms are very welcoming and would think nothing of marrying a former one to a Catholic.  The attitude is "Everyone is welcome." He went for it.

I sent out party invitations rather than a formal wedding invitation because at 43 and 42 the white dress and all seemed rather inappropriate.  However when they accepted the party invitation two-thirds of them wanted to come to the ceremony, too.  Happily I acquiesced after warning all and sundry that it would be a very brief event and probably boring.

May I say boldly, that it was anything but dull .. in no particular order...

*The morning of The Day, I am braced against the headboard staring gloomily at my feet, thinking, "What have I done? What have a done?" wild eyes looking at Richie  in front of the basin shaving and merrily singing, "I'm getting married in the morning..."  Loudly.  I scooched down deeper against the headboard.

*I  drove my parents and sister and her 18 month daughter to the church; Richie drove his brother and his wife and old family friend Dutch.  I got lost and had to beat my way back.  Despite the landmark tower rising above it all.

* I was so nervous that the minister gave me the license info to type up and distract myself.  I had told Richie that I have a nervous tic and tend to cry in church so he wrapped my small bouquet stems in half a box of Kleenex and glowed proudly.

* My sister preceded me down the aisle as did Richie's brother where they waited for my Dad to escort me down the aisle.  When asked "Who gives, etc?"  he replied, "Her mother and I do, I guess."

* I had stressed to the minister ( who BTW looked nicer than I did - he was wearing a white robe, a colorful stole with white patent leather loafers -he had a much bigger "do" down in Palm Springs after us) that I was outraged when, in his fervor (and haste - the PS thing) brought us another step on the dais.

*There he launched himself into an endless prayer and then began the taking of the vows.  Did anyone present have any information that would preclude this marriage? and Richie stepped forward, put his hand on his brow and looked searchingly out at the audience.  He got a big laugh

*By pre-design we omitted "obey."  When he (finally) pronounced us Man and Wife I turned and shook his hand!  He laughed indulgently and told Richie, "You may now kiss the bride," Richie grabbed me, threw me back as seen in old movies and planted one on.  Another big hand from all present.

* I had forgotten about being moved up another step and in my haste to get the hell out of there, took a great stride forward and went sailing out into the audience.  Happily I was co-ordinated enough to land on both feet.  A 10 for dismount, you might say.

*Known Catholics in that audience all reassured me that the service had been totally inoffensive to the Catholic faith.

With a final handshake for the minister (and my Dad slipping him a $50) we repaired to The Red Onion for an open bar, buffet, champagne for a toast, a live band and wedding cake (which I'd gotten at Ralph's supermarket.   A very good time was had by all.  Largely because Richie kept the bar open another hour.

And that's what happened July 2, 1983.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Of New Foods and Vacation Destinations

Ah, Summer.  Pack up the kids,  make sure you didn't leave anything on the stove, slam the doors (making sure the kids are still in the car.  All of them.) and whoosh!  Of you all go.

An unlikely destination for most families who are most often fixed on a water or amusement park, would be a US Presidential Library and Museum.  But I must say that we've so far hit seven of them and found them fascinating.

In no particular order just random like a lot of our travel destinations are.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Abilene, KS.  Among other things in Abilene of interest is the Greyhound Hall of Fame with a lovely statue of same out front.  This was not there when we were, so speculation is all I can offer.

Ronald Reagan: of note - there is no mention, no hint, not even so much as a framed shared billing poster tucked away in a remote bathroom that includes Jane Wyman, his first wife.  Nancy was a jealous bitch, wasn't she?

Richard Nixon's down in Orange County had a subdued air to me.  His boyhood home is included and it amazed me that such a small house could house five rambunctious brothers.  They must have slept stacked up like cordwood and taken shifts for meals.

Harry Truman - absolutely typical midwestern architecture  and interesting to me having grown up there.  The tour guide was enjoying himself and cheerfully told our group some not-so-well known tidbits about Truman family life.

Bess's mother owned the Independence house and charged him (but not Bess)  a modest rent, but she also made him mow the lawns and paint the house interior.  A former President of the United States had a shrew for a Ma-in-Law.  In a quiet act of rebellion, he put a cactus in a big pot in the dining room near his spot at the table.  I didn't admire it - all snaky, pointed blades - but when I heard the name of this particular cactus, I roared.  Mother-In-Law's Tongue.

Andrew Jackson - His wife was literally buried in the back yard and every single day that he was in residence, he would go visit her and discuss the events of the day.  Also in the backyard was a two-seat outhouse; no doors.  The Jacksons, their guests and the household staff routinely shared it.  Master and servants in the same outhouse at the same time.

Another striking feature of the house were the colors used on the interior walls.  A bright blue, a Kelly green, a sunbeam yellow come to mind.  They were 'way ahead of their times which was mostly wallpaper and "fussy" at that.

LBJ/s wife Lady Bird's natural habitat was of more interest than his museum.  One could tell it was really a labor of love.

The first one we ever toured was Teddy Roosevelt's in Oyster Bay, Long Island.   I admired the broad porches that were dotted with Adirondack-style chairs and rockers, overlooked a sweeping swath of lawn.

These museums can be quite interesting as I hope I've demonstrated here.

FOOD  I have a new fascination with Trader Joe's Mushroom and Company Multipurpose UMAMI Seasoning Blend.  It's on the dining room table to be used as we do salt and pepper.  I really can't put my finger on it to describe what it tastes like - here are the ingredients to speak for me.

Kosher salt, dried onions, ground mustard seed, porcini and button mushroom powders, crushed red pepper, black pepper dried thyme.   Bon chance (good luck)

Sunday, June 30, 2019

They Came Out In Droves!

It was a fond farewell and the attendees no doubt closed the place at 2 a.m.  We weren't among them.

Suzy's Bar and Grill is our local pub and we have faithfully popped in to re-hydrate over the years and numerous changes of personnel.  I remember the real Suzy's, followed by a father from New Jersey who bought it for his daughters to run (and you thought a car for high school graduation was excessive) and then Sal Longo who fought unsuccessfully with the City of Hermosa Beach to a have a full liquor license back in 2016.

Suzy's gave up the battle and that's when Sal decided to sell.  The new owners are Adnen and Lenore Marouani who also own Barsha Wines and Spirits.  They said they want to fluff the place up a little, change the bar menu to reflect a "Mediterranean  diet" which only means one thing to me:  little bowls of hummus with pita chips on every table - a twist on chips and salsa.  I'm against!  Even after I checked to see exactly of what it consists.  Foods from Greece, Italy and Spain with lashings of olive oil.

The feature that kept Suzy's going for a long time is live music every night which has given tremendous breaks to aspiring local musicians.  The new owners have stated publicly and often that the music stays.

We wanted to pay our respects and we arrived at 5:30 p.m. to a packed house.  Every possible seat inside had a butt on it.  The crowd surged out onto the patio.  Our friend "D" found us at the patio doorway and the three of us huddled half in and half out of the door.  Richie and "D" were deep in Dodgerville and paid no attention to me.

One of the guys on the patio had secured a table and two chairs, one occupied by a friendly lady and he asked me if I'd like to sit down?  I was grateful and did.  "Amy" engaged me in conversation about her ancestral tree.  She was part Finnish, Danish and I think I heard "a dash of French."  The noise was continuous and L O U D.

The gent who gave up his seat was hailed by a tall, tanned, blue-eyed man, and they fell into conversation.  During their chat they turned to the ladies (me and Amy) and the newcomer remarked that back in the day, he dated a 16 year old and he was 22!  Interested, I asked, "So how long were you in prison?" and two the  guys erupted into truly great roars of laughter.  You could easily hear them over the crowd.  

Blue eyes was so delighted that he began praising my beauty (non-existent) and indicated he wanted to run away with me as I was a rare specimen of beauty and brains.  He was lit up like the Christmas display at Rockefeller Center, of course.  But affable.

Always leave''em laughing so  I made my adieus and escaped to the car.  Richie and "D" promised to just "finish our drinks."  We went home; "D" had spotted three of his friends and was happily engaged with them.  God knows what time they did leave.

Suzy's is to re-open at the end of August.  I think we'll trundle past three days after it does, based on the farewell.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Breakfasts of Champions? You Be the Judge

I don't know where I was in cyberspace (a not infrequent situation) when I ran across an article about what Melania Trump eats for breakfast.  Got a pencil?  A "Green Smoothie" consists of:
Olive oil
Flax seeds
Omega 3
Vitamin D

I'd think it would take most of the morning to compose this (I can't call it a dish.)  Vegetable prep would be extensive unless you kept bags of the various ingredients in the refrigerator ready to whip the hell out of them.   I believe the White House provides the help to do it.

So then I got to wondering about the other First Wives and set off exploring.

Hillary Clinton - scrambled eggs.  The version pictured looked like they'd been scrambled in pure butter and quite a bit of it to see them.

Michelle Obama - scrambled egg, turkey sausage and fresh grapefruit; it wasn't said whether it was whole pieces or juice.

Laura Bush's famous love of privacy extended to what the hell she might eat for her breakfasts in or out of the WH. Even with extensive Googling nothing came up.

You can also find President's breakfasts; more First Ladies, the menus for State dinners at the White House and who was being honored and a great deal more regarding food - recipes such as George Washington's Corn Pancakes, so-and-so's muffins and on and on.  Will close now as getting hungry and a nice pair of scrambled eggs cooked in butter sounds appealing.  Butter being one of my favorites.  Another dish for winter system starters … scrambled eggs with creamed chipped beef poured lavishly over it .. beats the shit out of oatmeal.   I recommend it.

But as for what Laura Bush ate for breakfast or not, you're on your own.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The 2,000 Year Old Man Isn't a Newborn AnyMore

Mel Brooks, writer, producer is 93 years old today.

 He seems to be in fine fettle despite having been a widower since 2005.  He and Anne Bancroft were married in 1964 when she was 33.  She died age 73 of uterine cancer which she kept a secret until the obituary notices.  She was said to be intensely private and, indeed, who would want to upstage Mel Brooks!?

Especially since his brilliant career began when he was 9 years old!  His uncle, a cab driver, traded some free rides in return to a popular at the time production at a Broadway theatre.  Apparently or possibly at his bar mitzvah, he told his parents he was going into show business and promptly got a summer job at a Jewish resort in the Catskills as a "tummler" a comedian who specializes in bizarre actions to amuse a largely Jewish audience.

He worked the swimming pool and one of the examples of crazy humor was:  he would put a big, oversized overcoat on over his swim suit, pick up a pair of pails filled with rocks and stroll out to the end of the diving board.  There, he would declaim "Business is  terrible - I can't go on!" and jump.

2,000 Year Old Man should be good for amusing us for years to come - at 93, he's just about to learn to walk.  Jumping into pools will have to wait a while.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

And The Crowd Disperses

My sister and bro-in-law flew back to the North of Chicago home last Monday;  Richie's brother and my sister-in-law fly back to Long Island this Saturday.

Here's why I need to look into a short diet.  Meals taken out …

With my sister and bro-in-law:

Wednesday - drinks at the Crow's Nest, atop Old Tony's RB Pier
followed by dinner at Kincaid's, RB Pier

Thurs. - lunch at the Cheesecake Factory for the South Bay Writers annual Summer Solstice celebration.  After that we took them over to our local pub (Suzy's on Aviation and Prospect)  for a gentle libation
Then dinner at Bluewater Grill and we all had lobster bisque (best in the South Bay) before wearily waddling back to the car and hotel and home.

.Richie's brother and sister-in-law had flown in the previous Saturday and, following a well-established family tradition, their daughter picked them up at LAX and met us at Tin Roof Bistro, long a favorite.

Friday we went to them out in Studio City for dinner at another favorite - Maria's Italian Kitchen.
We were eight at table as the sons joined us.  Maria's has the best Spaghetti Carbonara this writer has encountered.

The Family (Both) Dinner
All of the above met for dinner at Las Brisas, 1969 Artesia RB which was a great success.  My side had only met the Other Side once and that was at our wedding 36 years ago on 7/2/2019.

Yesterday we took them (Richie's brother and sis-in-law) to Kincaid's for lunch.  I was delighted to see that bacon-wrapped prawns are on the lunch menu, too, and practically yelled out my order them as the waiter approached the table.

See what I mean about a small diet?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Of Anorexia and And The South Bay Salad Dressing

I ran across a novel way of addressing the genre "Four girls meet in college/girls' school"...chick lit.

Put your heroines in an anorexia treatment live-in rehab facility.  Just as if they were all various drug addicts.  And continue with Life in Rehab (and, in this case, a lot more about anorexia, bulimia, side bar for cutting and similar than I ever wanted to learn) and carry on.

Of note, chefs hate vegetarians or vegans.  They're a real pain inna ass with "No eggs, cheese, dairy, butter" and more.  More, much more. Thank you Anthony Bourdin.

"The Girls at 17 Swann Street" by Yara Zgheib   370 pages   $27.99

If you are contemplating adopting anorexia, here are some of the side effects that ought to shut down that little whim quite quickly.  Because of the loss of any meaningful nutrients, the body's chemistry is thrown off, leaving you wide open to a failing heart, constantly being cold and wearing an overcoat to the beach, your entire body will sprout very fine hair in an effort to retains some heat; your skin breaks down behind being so dry that a dirty look can make a bruise … Read the book by all means - a loved one may someday have this problem which is a listed psychiatric disease.  Just read, don't do.

I Thought So!

Pier Salad Dressing is not called that but is served at Old Tony's and Kincaids as the house dressing, only the other items in the salads differ.

Basic dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
Lashings of white pepper

Old Tony's -  iceberg lettuce, tossed with grated, hard-boiled egg, little baby shrimp   I loved that salad!  When Tony's Fish Market sold to another, my biggest fear was that sister restaurant Old Tony's would abandon it.  Happily not.

Kincaid's Broadway Pea Salad - butter lettuce used as cups for:

 a bag of frozen baby peas - defrosted and dried.  Add sliced water chestnuts,  bacon crumblets and toss.

Interestingly enough, frozen baby peas are actually good as somehow they retain a spring-like freshness.

Bon appetite!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

At A Loss For Words

Hard to believe by anyone who knows me, but I am.  I go back and forth in my mind about this book's context, meaning out in the greater world highlighted by "Th brutality!  The ignorance!  The peasants!"

A friend extolled it to me, saying that it was the best book he'd ever read.

In it's time (1965) it was praised and/or attacked nearly evenly.  The writer was similarly praised and attacked.

"The Painted Bird," by Jerzy Kosinski  234 pages   $7.05 (!)

The incidents in this volume sounded positively medieval.  The peasants (apparently the rich, educated had other things to do)  in their superstitions, fables and morals.  As brutal as animals during their respective mating seasons.

The narrator is a 6 year old boy whose parents sent him to strangers in a small Slav village, to avoid the gathering drum sounds of WW2 in 1939.  Misadventures propel him forward from one to another.

Over and over, as I made it to page 110, I marveled at the brutality of their lives - horse and cart - carrying around a tin container of moss and a banked fire to use as a weapon and as a necessary item of survival, ready to be used as a portable oven/stove.  Woe betide the person who let his die.  

The writing is matter-of-fact; such as:  descriptions of eyes rolling on the dirt floor after being forcefully enucleated from the owner who was ogling the peasant's wife.  The boy speculates on their future possible uses - supplement his own eyes by putting them (somehow) on the back of his head.  Such is Kosinski's  realistic portrait of a boy that age.

And what appalled me after nearly every page was the thought, "OMG this actually happened!  No one could make these up."

 I wanted to see the boy in adulthood, living happily in America but from a quick cheat at a page at The End, I know this isn't going to happen.    Back to the library with my best wishes for a less horrifying experience for another.

Monday, June 24, 2019

"Riddle Me, Riddle Me, Ree"

Heads up, fellow writers!

Who is the author that didn't venture into writing fiction until she was 50 years old?
She described herself in the Wellesley graduating class of 19 umpty-ump, as the "Youngest, Smartest and Shortest" in the class.

Her English professor liked her work, but she couldn't spell (! - pretty much a requisite in this field) so she gave Krantz a B telling her, "I hope this makes you think about your writing!"  She said in a later interview, "It did alright - I didn't write again for 31 years!"

Determined to show her husband, a film and TV producer who insisted that she was "a natural-born storyteller"- that she couldn't write fiction, dammit, she wrote her first book "Scruples" which became a best seller.  Today she's sold 80 million copies of her books in 50 languages.    

She was besties with a great number of famous people in show biz.  In fact Barbara Walters, a fellow high school friend introduced her to her future husband at a 4th of July barbecue.  A year later, they married (1954) and by all accounts were insanely in love for 43 years, prior to his death from pneumonia, age 83.  She was then a widow for next 12 years, prior to her own demise at her Bel Air, CA, home age 91, on Sunday, June 23, 2019

Wish Godspeed to Judith Krantz

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Stolen Goods

Sheila and I have been friends since 1964, ever since we lived in the same apartment building.  She met, married an Israeli who whisked her off to live in a suburb of Tel Aviv where they have resided ever since.  Their three kids are now adults.

One thing that has kept us close for 55 years is her wonderful sense of humor.  Richie is semi-famous for his ability to sniff out a dive bar or Hells Angels lounge at the city limits of any town we've ever been in.  Sheila has a great fan following here in North America because she always gets the very best jokes.

To give an example - here are some beauties that arrived today.

Sometimes I'm surprised at my own brilliance.  Other times I try to get out of the car with my seatbelt still on.

Sometimes someone unexpected comes into your life out of nowhere that makes your heart race and changes you forever.  We call these people "the police"

If you'll be my friend, you can be "the normal one."  Rah ha ha!

Friday, June 21, 2019

"Oh, This? Got It At Amazon".

According to this person is referring to a mail-order house ordered from Amazon.

Plans, wood (but usually not concrete, stone, bricks) for an extremely low-priced domicile.   I seem to remember the most expensive was $149,000 and the cheapest, $11,000.

My first thought was,, "What is this world coming to?!"  my second is an empty farmer's field would make an excellent site for a whole village of these places designated for the homeless.  In fact, I don't doubt that Amazon could afford to donate a dozen or so of these places.

On the other hand, if you are a very small adult, check out's selection of  kids' playhouses.  The most expensive I saw there was $409, all cedar, ready to assemble.

I'm sure that the ACLU would object with great fanfare to any attempt to put up little signs in the yard that read:  You Must Be 3 ft. 6 in. Tall to Live Here.

In today's PC World you don't know what's what anyhow.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Move Over, Kid - They Make Them for Adults Now

Ever since I first saw a little kid wearing light-up shoes, I have gazed enviously at their darling little feet watching  their every move as they run from Mommy  with a handful of candy or danced with Daddy and just in general, had a hella good time.  How much of this bliss can be attributed to light-up shoes and how much to the natural enjoyment of life by a kid?  Your guess is as good as mine.

But, every time I saw a pair, I wanted me some!  Little kids get spoiled on a daily basis by doting family.  My motive is not that selfish (or warranted) I just wanted to see what they looked like on my feet.   I would finally have something of interest on a casual basis.

Comes now the LA Times Sunday Travel Section.  On the back page they often run three or four "aids for travelers" compromising mostly various types of luggage, neck pillows, etc.

That day it was Power Spurz which are horseshoe-shaped glow-in-the-dark neon-looking lights which clip around the heels of your running/training shoes.  The ankles - where they clip on - are thoughtfully padded.

My has arrived!  Admittedly, sort of.  The Power Spurz emit a steady beam; they didn't appear to flash.  I'm easy to please; fine with me.  They're close enough for hand grenades and horseshoes (which they closely resemble.)

They come in orange, green, blue, and maroon-ish.  Prices range from $8 to $17 and they all look identical as to shape, manner of fastening, etc.  The manufacturers have thoughtfully included extras - a dog leash, arm band … you could get all lit up like Santa at Christmas in his favorite stop-hydration station.  ("Bar" to us.)

Also useful - I saw a female bicyclist on a dark street wearing a double row of those little Christmas light necklaces that you can set to flash or not.  Make a note for December - or probably Halloween when Christmas goods begin their annual surge for sales.

But for the moment, hie yourself to  It also occurs that a party store might have Glo-Sticks which could be wrapped around your wrists or ankles.  Why didn't I think of that much, much sooner.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Various ...

Insulted by a librarian
Richie and I were checking out books and movies and our clerk looked us both over and said, "Did you know we're doing a new program? (without waiting for an answer from either of us,) she went on, "It's for proficiency in English for adults!"

I must have stepped back a pace as I feverishly tried to think how to respond to this.  Hercule Poirot's little gray cells were whirling in the empty space between my ears. I didn't want to offend her, but on the other hand, I am a professional writer!  (Meaning I get paid for writing!) ((sometimes)).

So I smiled (non-lethally) and murmured, "I'm not sure I need it - I'm working on my fourth book right now.  I'm a writer."

Undaunted, unashamed and with what I consider to be brazen nerve, she said, "Well, it's a very interesting program, as she continued checking our choices out.  Safely outside of her hearing, I expressed my indignation to Richie as we headed for the parking lot.  And his reaction?  He laughed.

Mistaken identity and then some
A man wrote the following exchange to the Reader's Digest.  He and his wife stopped in to a restaurant for lunch after working at their flea market booth.  He said that he and his wife have to have a lot of dollar bills in their business, so when the check came, they paid it in dollar bills.

Their waitress looked at the tab, looked at all of the bills and said to his 70 year old wife, "You had a good night dancing last night, huh?"

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Gathering of the Clan

Richie's brother and wife fly out from Long Island every June to celebrate:
Richie's birthday, Father's Day, and their two grandsons' birthdays respectively on June 18 and 28th and their umpty-ump anniversary.

Meanwhile, on my side, my younger sister has traditionally served my bro-in-law a steak dinner with all of the trimmings.  (She's an awesome cook) and this year it was their sons' first Father's Day after the birth of his and his bride's baby girl's arrival.  She was born April 26, 2019, and is the first grandchild. 

"Avril" is French for April so she picked out a bottle of Domaine Juliette AVRIL  chateauneuf-du-pape.  How clever is that?  

And they all (except the baby) had steak for dinner.  

Meanwhile out here, there were eight of us around a long table (it had to be) at Maria's Italian Kitchen, 13353 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks.   

I can honestly say that they serve the best Spaghetti Carbonara I've ever eaten.   Exactly creamy enough, but not thick and cloying.  Perfect balance between ingredients and seasoning.  Smoked bacon, egg yolk, cream garlic sauce, peas, Parmesan cheese on linguini.  Delicious!

When we all go back there - and we will; it's their favorite restaurant - I am going to order a Muffaletta, famous throughout New Orleans (recommend the ones at Central Market)  It could be labeled deli meats of Italy as it contains salami, pepperoni, mortadella, capicola, provolone, olive an Giardini relish on toasted focaccia bread. 

Meanwhile I can hardly wait for dinner and leftover Spaghetti Carbonara.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Father's Day!

Hope you are having a lovely time and that you can look around a room filled with off-spring, their spouses and children and nod appreciatively at your wife(ves) for the way the kids turned out.

May they never disappoint you and may they know the bliss you have had as their father(s) when they have kids.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Now This Is A Real Senior Prom!

"How so?" you ask with a quizzical facial expression.

These are "senior proms" with a formal dinner, dancing, live music (somebody's cousin's band who is just starting out) and King and Queen of the Senior Prom - and all of it is just for senior citizens.

The difference between high school seniors and an adult (very adult) senior prom is that you can have a cocktail before dinner.  Having a shot before dinner, someone remarked, really gets our guests out on the floor - even if wheelchair confined!  Rubber positively squeaks during their elaborate turns on the dance floor.

Very often volunteers - from the immediate neighborhood or high school seniors - help by serving food or partnering a senior on the floor or simply sit in the "wallflower corner" and chat with those that prefer not to hit the floor (literally in some cases.)  

I think it sounds like a dynamite entertainment for those who didn't live where it was a custom, or a war separated them from participating  and have consequently never been to one.

No dress, ladies of Staten Island?  Visit which offers more than 350 formal outfits, free of charge.   You can make a sartorial donation at any of the four Applebee's bar and restaurants there.  Interestingly enough Applebee's caters these events.

I like the mixing of teens and nots.  Both have much to learn from one another.  And that's always a good thing.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Of Thomas Jefferson and Ice Cream; Puns and Groans

The July issue of A Taste of Home contains a recipe for what is purportedly (by them) to be Jefferson's own for Vanilla Ice Cream.

The 4th of July is striding into view and a truly American dessert to celebrate our history might include it.

2 quarts heavy whipping cream (invite your cardiologist to your party)
1 cup sugar (ditto dentist)
1 vanilla bean (banker for a loan)  or 1 Tbsp. of extract.
6 large egg yolks

Combine the cream and sugar and add a split vanilla bean to that.  Heat until bubbles form around the pan sides.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Put the 6 egg yoks in a separate pan and gradually beat the hot mixture into them.  Then when all is blended mix together with remaining hot cream and sugar.  Cook over low heat until it's thick enough to coat your spoon.   Pour whole thing into a bowl and set it on a larger container full of ice.  Cover this dish and put in the freezer overnight.

Next morning, put it into an ice cream maker and whir away.   Serve with pride and a tip of your baseball hat to Thomas Jefferson!

Puns and Groans

Will glass coffins be a success?  Remains to be seen.

I have renamed my iPod  The Titanic so that when I plug it in, it says The Titanic Is Syncing

I was wondering why the ball kept getting bigger when it hit me in the face

"I have a split personality," said Tom; "I'm being frank."

Kleptomaniacs take everything literally.

I have a few jokes about unemployment, but none of them work …

I lost my job at the bank on my first day.  A woman asked about her balance, so I pushed her over.

Note to readers: please don't hate me because I did the above. did 100 of them!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Song of the Nail Gun

Is not a pretty melody.  We know.  The hard way.  I include Fred the cat in the audience … he heard the rattle of a tool box on the way up the walkway  to the front door and faster than the eye can move, he was under the stair well in his Clubhouse, a nest of paper packages of paper towels and toilet paper.   And he stayed there for an hour after they left.  It has one of those bump it doors so in his mad flight from DANGER he just bangs a paw on it, the door swings open and in he goes.  It closes by itself, but a bump from inside and it opens up to freedom.

I was kidding one of them and said, "So - do you have Saturday night nail gun fights?" and he looked horrified and then … a certain flicker of something glittered for an instant in his eyes.  His name is Matt and if he invites you out for a beer on a Saturday night; don't go.

Just a thought …

The job is very nearly done - when the next box of flooring comes in (special order) it will go down, the white painted baseboards will be installed, they will pull up the paper protecting the regular floors and we will all say, "Bye - thank you!"

And I will purr in delight at my new upstairs bathroom and crack a beer.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

More Floor

A helpful hint for those contemplating a bathroom re-do.  Never drink beer upstairs in the living room, when the only functioning toilet is downstairs.  Just sayin' ...

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Home Construction

The upstairs bathroom floor began peeling off of the floor.  The laminate gave up the ghost.

So one thing led to another and I have changed the whole "look" there.   New vanity, mirror, vanity wall re-painted, and more.  Today the guy that does demo (demolition) is coming at 8:30 a.m. and Fred the cat who will help by secreting himself in the storage under the stairs and not come out until an hour or more after the guys are gone.  Streaky the cat will only nap on her chair cozily ensconced in her special cushion.  She's 17 and doesn't freak out in construction.

To remove a floor, it has to be absolutely bare naked.  Our upstairs is now tore up from the floor up literally.  The streamlined scales (for weighing the cats - we have one that needs to gain weight and the other to lose a pound or so) is resting against the living room divan to give but one example.  The vacuum cleaner is now on the balcony.

It is said to be a two day job and then we get the joy of discarding that which is useless and then filling up the new vanity.

You've been there and quite possibly with worse horror stories than one small upstairs half-bath.  The saying of which just jinxed the whole damned project.

Onward, anyhow.  It will be a stunner - soft grey and white like a Cape Cod beach cottage.

If I'm right.

Monday, June 10, 2019

If Catios, Why Not Doggios?

There is so often something new … today springs the "catio" on us.  This is, essentially, a Florida Room or large screened-in outdoor room.  The purpose of it is to keep your cats (notoriously curious about the world around them) in a safe environment.  Walled-off from predators (So. Calif. coyotes, for example), poisons set out for pest riddance...a good idea and timely, too.

If you don't have unlimited sums of money to make it big enough for you and your cats, just create an interesting space for the cat(s).    They are useful for keeping your neighbors calm - you know, the ones who rant and rave, "Your cat is destroying my yard!"  It should also be a form of natural population control.  If you put enough "stuff" in this addition, the cat(s) should be amused and getting in a cat's amount of needed exercise.  Kittens bounce around; a 17 year old cat does not.

Okay, all good things for all concerned.  Why can't this be done for the so-easily-preyed upon small dogs?  Their yapping isn't really a good defense system.  Coyotes are truly a major threat to them.

And you could go nuts on Dog Décor - strings of lights shaped like dog bones... space for a fake fireplug … it seems only fair to protect them, too.

Fair play for our animals!  Visit Lowe's or Home Depot today!


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Semi-Surly Vacationers Get Home; Complain

A Brit complains:  It took nine hours for us to fly home from Jamaica; for Americans only three - This seemed unfair.

At a Game Lodge I saw a visibly aroused elephant - this sight ruined my honeymoon!  It made me feel inadequate!

A side bar - his wife saw it, too, and left him for the elephant.

The beach was too sandy!  When we returned to the room, we had to clean everything.

They went to Goa and complained thusly:  there was curry in every restaurant and I hate spicy foods!

I wanted twin beds, but they gave us a king instead.  I got pregnant which would not have happened if I'd gotten the room I wanted.

The brochure for the BNB said everything provided, but there was no egg slicer in the utensils drawer.

The pictures in the brochure showed white sand but it was really yellowish.

The convenience store next door did have proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.

And the best - a sign on a beach in Bali:
We don't have wi-fi.
Talk to each other
Pretend it's 1995

Friday, June 7, 2019

When Posh Goes Semi-Plebian ...

That's the time to look alert.  In this case I'm referring to a veddy fancy and normally expensive restaurant.  Add in a wonderful ocean, and Redondo Beach Pier view for even more value for the money.  Such is Kincaid's, situated at 500 Fisherman's Wharf.    It's a big restaurant with a summertime outdoor patio.

And very expensive.  Last night was our third visit (and they didn't know it, but their third shot at keeping us as customers.)  What was wrong? you ask?  Outrageous prices and snotty servers.  In fairness, we knew it was pricy before we ever walked in the door.  But Waiters With Attitude was not on the menu I looked up online.   Being snubbed by the help was a new experience and certainly not what I did during my brief foray as a waitress at The Mermaid, Hermosa Beach (six weeks.)

But for the opportunity to eat a three-course Kincaid's Dinner for $29, it was very worthy of a look-see.  So Jay and Barbra and we met up there.  No waiting, right to a comfortable window booth with a friendly waiter (!)  A promising start which continued.  Look for the Early Dining Menu which is 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Pull up a chair and see what appeals to you - Appetizers
Clam Chowder

Broadway Pea Salad composed of peas, water chestnut slivers, crumbled bacon in a creamy pepper dressing served on a couple of leaves of butter lettuce that had they been any fresher, I would have had to slap them.

Iceberg lettuce wedge; choice of dressings

Wagyu Meat Loaf with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes* roasted rainbow carrots, smoked mushroom and a cabernet demi-glace.

Aged 40 days Wagyu Sirloin with crispy Green onion potato cakes*  Roasted green and  cannelli beans with slivered almonds and a mustard aioli. and  $3 extra for Wagyu

Beer Battered Cod with Chips, house artichoke caper tartar sauce.

Key Lime pie or Burned Cream fresh fruit.  The French major here asked what "burned cream" might be and was told by our still-friendly server, "Crème Brulee."  Yeah.

All four of us asked what "Wagyu" was?  Meant? and were told it's the same meat as Kobe, but bred and raised here; Kobe comes from Japan.  The cattle there are pampered beyond belief - offered beer to drink and cow masseuses.  Wagyu is just raised like .. well, a cow.  Both are believed to be extra flavorful as they are well-marbled.  I remarked to no one in particular that I didn't think I'd want to eat cow that had been messed with (massage parlors are unappealing somehow.)    My meat loaf was juicy, much more so than a non-Wagyu slice - this was a square portion as if it had been made in a very large, very deep sheet cake pan and then cut into squares, sauced and served.  Richie said his steak didn't live up to the tenderness touted by the waiter who implied it could be cut with a butter knife.

* I asked if I could trade Yukon for green onion crispy cakes?  "No problem!  Of course!"  I think that management has somehow bred (or beat) the snottiness out of the servers.

Our tab:  Bombay Sapphire dirty gin martini, up. $13
Beefeater Gin and Tonic $10
Cabernet  $12
Valdo Sparkling Prosecco  $11
Sirloin $32
Meatloaf $29
$107 before tax, $120 after.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

A Weakness for French Lunches

And - bonus points:
  Classique with Ham and Swiss Cheese
   Nordique with salmon, cream cheese, capers, onion and dill

Savory Specialties
   French Onion Soup
   Croque Madame composed of ham, bechemal sauce (cream gravy essentially) Swiss chese and a sunny-side up egg.  Richie had this with a starter of vegetable soup.

The lunch special was Quiche Lorraine ($9) which pleased me as it is an old favorite.  The side orders include mixed greens, fruits and "potato waffles" which I seized upon never having heard of such a thing.  I had visions of hash browns only to be presented with a waffle made out of - Mashed potatoes.  Now if had come with a little pitcher of brown gravy … but it didn't.  I tried filling the pockets with some of Richie's soup, but no improvement whatsoever - for both.

The menu ranges on through a French ham sandwich ( baguette, butter and piles of ham.)  paninis, croissants

But the first thing that caught my eye were baskets of vertical baguettes (normal) and ficelles which are best-described as a baguette after a diet - ficelle means "string" in French.  GRAB!  Here in the South Bay it's rare enough to find a "real" baguette never mind a ficelle.

Pinwheel French Café and Bakery
2553 PCH, Torrance 90505

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Yesterday and Today - Trivia, More or Less

Five students and our professor of French Conversation went on an excursion to the Getty Museum ( to tour and lunch.

To get there, Caroline, Notre Professeur, booked an Uber SUV/Mini van and we met it in the parking lot of the classroom (Hermosa Beach Community Center.)  We were milling about minimally when a large black SUV came rolling up.  "My God!" I said to another passenger, "People will think we're the Russian Mafia!"

When Richie and I were apprised that it would be a Uber set of wheels, I was somewhat dismayed.  I remembered (vaguely) horrible stories of sexual assault by drives on comely (or perhaps not so) female pax, the odd robbery and so forth.  And to be fair, drivers killed while working.  Still and all, our party was composed of three men (could defend if necessary) and three women, one of whom was wearing heavy-heeled boots quite adequate for head bonking.  Most of all though the reassuring factor was the driver himself.  Middle aged, no visible tattoos or facial jewelry and a professional mien.

We enjoyed our ride; me especially because the seating was:  Male at shotgun, male behind driver (could garotte with one of the lady's scarves) and me.  The three other women filled the very last row and twittered and peeped accordingly.  I was in the second row with the guys which I liked.  I much prefer the company of men.  Ladies make me nervous.  The driver and shotgun discovered commonalities - both very familiar with Rhode Island and my contribution was "Did you know that Rhode Island has more professional hitmen than any other?" and that launched them into a discussion that was highly-entertaining to me.

The Getty Museum does not charge admission to the facility, but when you park your car - $20, please!  With a ride share deal, they just roll up to a designated space, the Uber/Flyt /pax crawl out and proceed on to the museum proper.   And the ride goes wherever.   When it was first opened, one had to make a reservation, just to get in.  "I'm sorry, we're completely booked until (six months later.)

The headphones with explanations of what you are seeing are free - but you have to leave your Driver's License or other form of ID to use them.

When we began to feel a little peckish - it was lunch time - we ankled over to the formal dining room - white tablecloths which serves fancy lunch and then later fancy dinner.  A couple of us read the menu, looked at each other and promptly left to apprehend the others, now walking toward us and report.  I remember Octopus something with a shudder of horror.

We immediately traveled further to the much more informal grab and go café and bought what each taste dictated.  We sat out on the vast patio on French parc chairs and ate and chatted.  It wasn't until later, when I asked R to see the check that I was shocked to read:  1 small bag of Doritos $2.50, 1 small bag Lay's potato chips $2.50   1 white chocolate chip and cranberry cookie $3.25.  Worse than trying to buy something to nibble at an airport!  We did each get an Italian Deli sub half and the whole one was $13, so that was reasonable.  

We all enjoyed the visiting over lunch and I for one could have spent the afternoon right there, under a shade tree, admiring the park-like views.

Our Uber driver back to our cars was thoroughly professional, the 405 was heavily trafficked and he paid attention to that and not us which was fine. Uber Sidebar  Don't stand on the street waiting for your ride; stay inside and then when a car stops, approach and ask who he is waiting for? - Always made them say your name.  You will have told someone where you are going, color of the car (women are usually no good at describing vehicles) and driver's name. Sit in the back - see garotting above.

All in all an enjoyable day but if I ever have occasion to go back (doubtful - the Getty is large spaces, beautiful building design, dynamite views and very little art.) I'm carrying a large purse with lunch inside it.

The morning radio news had a line that instantly made me sad.  It was that 9,388 American military were buried there - all facing home - the United States."  

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Why Birthdays Are Happy

Dr. Ruth (Westheimer) the self-proclaiming sex expert is 91 today.  Wonder if she's still gittin' any (elbow jab) heh heh 

Born in 1928, she has led an exciting life - successfully fled the Holocaust, escaped first to New Palestine and then to the United States. 

She forged ahead with an MA in Sociology at the New School in 1959 and went on to an Ed.D in 1970.  She also blew through three husbands, but stated that #3 Manfred (Fred) Westheimer was "the real marriage."   They were married from 1961 to his death in 1997.  
They met skiing in the Catskills which struck me as funny as Dr. Ruth isn't as long as a ski was back in the day.  This tiny little figure on gigantic skis schussing down a slope … amuses me.  

Undoubtedly she is happy to be having a birthday even if it is her 91st.  

I am happy because it looks like I may have at least another one.  A recent mammogram prompted a call from the mammogram people; could I please make an appt. for a re-take of my left breast.  Something about breast density and photo could be better, all said matter-of-factly.  

Having had a recall on the equipment previously, I shrugged.  The mammogram this time had been customized for this procedure and had something I had never seen in a machine.  Instead of two flat plates that meet, this time the top flat plate had been enriched with what looked like a handle, ending in an upside-down plastic cup (to capture just one part?)  The tech said, "This is a little more painful than the regular," and she was not kidding.  YeOWWW!

The sonogram that followed was downright relaxing - warmed  gel, while lying flat on your back and feeling it trace soft curves around here and over there.  Even a little towel to wipe off when she was done.  She left me to pull my sweater back on and retuned to hand me a paper and asked me to sign it.  It was the report on findings and the box marked "Normal/Negative - no evidence of cancer" was the only marked box on it.

I am happy because unless I do something stupid, I'll have another birthday next year.  If you're lucky, so will you.  Let's all have a drink together and toast our good fortune and have a another happy birthday again!   

Monday, June 3, 2019

Walt Disney Would Have Merchandised His Grandma - and Probably Did!

Comes a new volume from Disney.  It's titled "Eat Like Walt - The Wonderful World of Disney Food" compiled by Marcy Carrihur Smothers.  $35 for 171 pages.

However:  you don't come to the actual recipes! until page 148.  Which are comprised of basically a combo Great and Glorious World of Walt Disney His Own Self! and the Wonderful History of Disneyland Through the Years!

It is basically an info ad and the book should have been free because that's all it is.

Under a general heading of "So you want to drink like Walt?"    Here's his tipple

Crushed ice
2-3 oz. Canadian Club or Black and White Scotch (I believe it's the one with a little black and a little white terrier of some sort on the label,  haven't seen it in a donkey's years.)
Twist of lemon peel or slice of orange (get those vitamins in!) and a long silver spoon to mix them.

Out of a kindness in my heart, will spare you Mickey Mouse Macaroni and Cheese.  It involves boiling the yellow cheese in milk.  In today's world, we have Velveeta as God intended for mac and cheese  and whatever-and-cheese omelets.

It is a big book and probably tips the scales at 8 lbs.  Awkward to lug, so why bother?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Go Away! Unless You're a Computer Wiz

And if you are, come in!  Come in!  Here's the computer and new printer; may I bring you anything while you're working?  A little champagne to keep the gears meshing smoothly?  Perhaps an ounce of Beluga for protein aka brain food …

Otherwise, beat it!  I've wrestled worse (and no doubt will again.)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Marine One - Treated Like a Redheaded Stepchild

To point out the contrasts between Air Force 1 and even "The Beast" (schematics of either easily looked up)  about the only thing we, the general public, know about this helicopter is that it lands on the South Lawn of the White House.   Countless photos of it being used somewhat like Uber - sitting President strides across the lawn towards it; halts at the boarding steps for some last minute quotes, reporters and cameras move on, President gets on and show's over.  Or reverse.

The second moment with Marine One is the outgoing president waving (he with a hand; she with a tear-stained lace handkerchief) as they are transported to Edwards AFB for their last ride in what was once AF1 but is now designated AF2 for their ride home.  

In an effort to be fair, this is what I discovered of interest to us.  The first President to use a helicopter was Dwight Eisenhower in 1957.  Why a helicopter instead of AF1 to flit back and forth to his Pennsylvania home?  No landing strip at the house or near enough to make it practical so AF1 stayed in the hangar.  Ike was quite used to a helicopter for transport.  In 1958 the South Lawn went into service.

In March, 2009, for the first time a crew of women only flew off with then-President Obama.  It was the final flight for Major Jennifer Griever who moved in rank to Lt. Col. when she was downgraded due to a domestic disturbance, fined $500, and left age 45 after 28 years' service.

In 2008 $6.1 billion was earmarked for 28 new helicopters, but the price quickly went up to $11.2 billion.  One was the "civilian" version with bathroom, executive suite and galley.  The military version stepped up defense and communication systems.

Today the pilots wear Marine Blue Dress Bravo uniforms; not the flight suits previously used.  The flight crew includes pilot, co-pilot and two flight engineers.

If  Marine One is going farther than Andrews or Camp David, it has a five helicopter escort and all six of them rotate around in flight so that no one on the ground knows which one the President's butt is sitting on.

That's quite an entourage - and Marine One, you've earned it!  Hope this little salute makes you feel better.

Friday, May 31, 2019

All These Splendors ... and We Weren't Invited! Major Pout Coming On!

I am referring to the soon to occur State Banquet hostessed by Elizabeth II for U.S. President Trump and both families ( QE will have Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, Prince Andrew and Trump is bringing Melanie and all of his children) at Buckingham Palace where  State Dinner prep is probably no more than just another day's to Staff who have weathered innumerable ones.  

Some details gleaned from the Brit newspapers:  The table is set so that each guest's plate(s) are exactly 18 in. from one another and from the veritable forest of glasses next it - six in all:  Water, Champagne for the traditional toast - leader to leader - Red, White wines to match the courses, a Dessert wine and Port (presumably for the gentlemen. "Now don't linger over the port, gentlemen," said with a wagging finger by the dinner hostess in many a British novel)  

Speaking of formality, the dress code for this event calls for "Tiaras and White Tails."   

To mention some details … Prince Charles eschews butter and will have a little dish of olive oil at his place for his bread which will be easy to locate as his "bad back" requires a special cushion.  

After the speeches (re what was not disclosed) 12 pipers will march around the room, tootling away.  This is truly when it pays to be the Queen or the sitting President of the United States as they will repair to another room for their post-prandial coffee.  And when the Queen leaves the room, the party is over and guests are ushered gently out.  

On the other hand, the Queen is said to be very fond of her bagpipers and Trump's mother was of Scottish descent.  If she lingers then I feel for those among us who loathe and detest bagpiper toots and  sour chords.  Maybe not being invited is not such a bad thing after all...

Thursday, May 30, 2019

You Say "Impeachment; I Say "Vote of No Confidence"

A vote of no confidence is a formal vote by the members of a legislation indicating they no longer support a leader in government.  Because impeachment is certainly a vote of no confidence, I lumped the two of them in my mind and proceeded accordingly.  As in:  I didn't think about it any more.

In the USA Step 1 levels charges of against the politician which does not automatically remove the offender from office.  That comes in Step 2 when an indictment of criminal law - charges to include Treason, Bribery and other Crimes or Misdemeanors - is brought against the so-called offender.  Then the legislative body votes again and it's this vote that can oust the alleged offender  from office.
Countries which use impeachment include Northern Ireland, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy.

In Great Britain, "Impeachment" is defined as questioning the integrity or validity of something.
In the USA it is a charge of misconduct against a holder of public office.

Based on the impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, nothing happens.  Both just got their fingers rapped in public and presumably embarrassed mightily.  Much like someone voting no confidence in your actions.   Both are pretty much toothless old dogs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Polite Ways to Diss the Other Guy

To express your view of the doubtful completion of an action on their part...

Some samples:

Honey, you know he'll get your power tools back to you when there are glaciers in Key West...

Yeah, she'll learn to cook when pork chops grow on the palm trees in downtown Tel Aviv …

The day after the first day back at the gym, "I'm stiff as a hinge that's needed oiling for the past 20 years!"

What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

I Know You Don't Want To, But We're All Gonna Die - Make the Most of It

In fact, as you know, every living thing on, above or below Planet Earth is going to die so read all about it so yours will be a beautiful passage with flowers and music and weeping friends and relatives that the Splendor Of You is leaving their midst.

"The Art of Dying Well, A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life" by Katy Butler,  262 pages, $25. has it at $12

I will skip the case histories, good advice (and for all I know some clunkers thrown in) to give away something that might be helpful.  Back of the book's Further Sources of Reliable, Unbiased Medicine:

Center for Science in the Public Interest - excellent guides to medicines

American Cancer Society - Not funded by Big Pharma which she says promotes straight info from them

Choosing   Am. Board of Internal Medicine lists items such as specific treatments, tests, procedures that may be of no help or do more harm than good.  Enter all of your Rxs and get a free personalized report on possible interactions.

eProgress  Calculate the odds of how much time you have left.  I can't recommend this for Type A's as the competitive urge is strong in us …

Mayo Clinic  Reliable summaries of diseases and standard treatments.

As this sample is merely  small one of the good advice in the rest of the book, I recommend it even if you are in booming great good health.  Plan ahead.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Arlington National Cemetery - Some Statistics

Today - Memorial Day it seems "right" to think about all those who have, through no choice of their own, been relegated to it.

Number of people buried in it's 624 acres which also boasts the cooling shade of  8,500 trees:   420,000 and more as there are an average 25 burials every  day.  Every single tombstone has been photographed, presumably from the time they had cameras as the first person buried there was one Private William Christman in 1854.  All are available for viewing on a Web site.

Who is allowed in for interment?  Active duty military, retired reservists, POWs and US Presidents.

Section 27 holds the remains of 4,000 former slaves in what was once Freedmans Village, the first free neighborhood for them.

President Taft was joined originally by JFK who hospitably gave space to his brothers Joe, Jr., Bobby and Teddy along with his wife Jackie plus son Patrick, who died shortly after birth, and the daughter who was still-born.  I assume that Ethel has a space next to her darling Bobby (proof of their love being some 11 kids) and eventually whoever was Resident Wife at the time of his departure with Teddy.

Due to lack of space, some have predicted that Arlington National Cemetery will be completely out of dirt in 25 years.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Ah, A Tranquil Sunday

The headline for this deathless bit of writing may infer that I spend my weekdays toiling in Asian sweatshop downtown, churning out hoodies for 18 hours a day.  With a 5 minute lunch hour and those other girls are really quick with chopsticks and noodles!  I am not but I can sometimes get a 3 minute break by the only kindly supervisor to mop up my front before I go back to work on the hoodies.

Rah ha ha!  Sewing a button back on is agony for me.  My opposing fingers are not pin cushions.

No, happily, I am a writer and we don't do jack-all.  We spend our days "researching" reading the media, humorous Websites looking for something to … liberate and/or reading a book "for review in the blog" purposes.

This morning is only different from past Sundays in that the Indy 500 is running (amok some would say) upstairs where Richie is thrilling at the incessant noise - very familiar to me from racing photographer days and not the stuff of dreams.  When the race is over, I can go back to working on solving both the NY and LA Times crossword puzzles.

In the meantime I've visited and done today's puzzle (a hairy dog in a drying off towel) and another that appealed.  Answered the mail, caught up on all of the news sites, took a glance at   What patients say to anesthetists while going or coming back was fairly funny …

I remember well and I don't doubt that the anesthesiologist hasn't forgotten it either.
Scene: the outpatient surgical clinic.  She began by injecting something and said, "You'll like this - you'll feel like you just had a flute of champagne!" all tinky winky bright..

At that moment my ob/gyn walked in to the room and said, "I saw you on the surgical list so I just popped in to say hello."  He and the anesthesiologist  exchanged warm greetings and he bounced away.  Hearing the door slam, I said to her, "Oh, so he's here to do an abortion?" and she took a half step back and shocked, said, "Heavens no!  He's a devout Catholic - I remember him as an altar boy!  He was such a sweetie."

And then I was rolled into the OR.  I was indeed comfortable and she must have begun to gently bring me back.  Error!  I popped up on my elbows to see over the short screen separating my eyes from my feet, and said brightly, "Whatcha doin'? and  the podiatrist gasped, rallied and said in nor
mal tones, "I'm just finishing up; I successfully removed the Morton's neuroma from your foot."

"Oo, can I see it?" and he obligingly held up a pair largish tweezers with a beautiful shade of  pink blob in their grasp.  "It's so cute!" I exclaimed, "Can I take it home?"   Now his eyes did bulge a bit but he gamely informed me it had to go directly to the lab.

It's now 11-ish a.m. and time for lunch.  A good one is:  two slices of rye break, crusts cut off, one side layered with cole slaw and the other with a spread of mayo and three thin slices of Boar's Head Chipotle Chicken.  Handful of potato chips and will be ready for the afternoon's excitement.  Which may well be listening to the rain (70 per cent chance forecast) and continuing with my book on the art of dying well.  So far it doesn't include slurping caviar, swilled down with  Moet-Chandon champagne. The beginning is a paean on changing evil life styles for healthy ones.  Diet, exercise, social agenda.  I am waiting for scenes at a death bed such as all of the family members standing around intent on their smart phones while the poor individual croaks his last.  And no one hears him … no one at all as their fingers flash on the keyboard.

Promising for a rainy afternoon, no?   I'll wait to revue it until I get to the good stuff.  And the wilder the better.



Saturday, May 25, 2019

BBQ Sauce Under My Fingernails

Last Wednesday it was our monthly dinner and Mouton had chosen the place this time.  It was his turn.  He chose The Rib Company, 5800 E. 2nd Street, Long Beach (  There is a sister spot in Newport.

The Long Beach Rib Company presents a cozy exterior with a grey barn siding-looking façade with a couple of benches for anyone waiting for a table (or sneaking a quick cigarette.)

The extensive menu indicates that this isn't Uncle Reubens side of the road smoke joint and bbq, County Line Road, Open Weekends Only, with  a dusty parking lot and beat-up looking picnic benches under a shade tree.

Our drink order was promptly taken by "our" server to be and we had:  Mouton and Dee - glasses of wine, Richie a draft beer and me  split of sparkling prosecco.  For an appetizer, we ordered a half loaf brick of onions which arrived with a cunning little "silver" sauce pitcher filled with their bbq sauce (sweet and good).  We went through that like a bunch of starving farm workers after a long day threshing.  The only things left on the serving platter were some beat-up looking lettuce leaves (brick heat killed it; not us.)

Theirs is a typical bbq menu with Sandwiches, Burgers and the ubiquitous Ribs.  I don't often see this, so I was impressed:  full rack $29.99 for 12/13 ribs; 3/4 rack (!)  with  9 or 10 bones
 for $26.99; half rack $24.99 for 6 or 7 bones.

This is a touch that I genuinely appreciate.  Under the heading Senior/Smaller Sizes, the lead dish is Sr. baby back ribs (4) with one side $19.99.  Not for the price particularly, but for the recognition that older people very often have smaller appetites.  And after I had eaten my share of the onion brick, it was inconceivable that I could plow through 12 or 13 ribs.  At that I only managed one and one-half ribs.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables and Mashed Sweet Potatoes among the more traditional offerings (fries, cole slaw, beans) were a surprise.  And so was the potato salad I ordered as mine.  They were dry-ish and tasted like boiled potatoes.  Just boiled potatoes.  I took mine home, dressed it up with chopped red onion, pickle relish and mayonnaise and it was then a respectable dish.

They do offer seafood and I would go back solely for the Hawaiian-style Shrimp Kabob with vegetables for $25.99.

Meanwhile, I finally got the sauce out from under my nails and am off to other adventures. They did give each of us a full-sized hot washcloth at the end of the meal (aping 1st on a plane?) and we availed ourselves of them with gusto.