Wednesday, March 20, 2019

I Didn't Know She Was Still Alive!

A long time ago, the Girl Singer at the Jazz Club sang a haunting song, insanely popular during WW2, called "We'll Meet Again."  The artist who introduced it was one Vera Lynn.  The lyrics run (loosely)  "We'll meet again; don't know where, don't know when but I know we'll meet again some sunny day!  Keep smiling through as you always do 'cause I know we'll meet again some sunny day."

You can see why that would resonate with those alive in WW2.  I like it so much that I left instructions for it to be played at the "afters" when we're dead.  It's also blessed with a very danceable beat.

It was also the background music for the atom bomb explosions in "Dr. Strangelove."

Today the Notable Birthdays column in the Daily Breeze led off with Vera Lynn, 102!  I really had associated her so strong with WW2 that I just assumed that she had died long ago.  How wrong I was.

Her life was filled (justifiably so) with awards and citations (the good kind; not traffic violations) and she was made first an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1969 which was followed by a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1975.  This latter won her the Dame in front of her name.

She married Harry Lewis (saxophonist) in 1941; they had a daughter - now 71 - and they were married 57 years before he died in 1998.

Vera, I'm sorry I thought you were dead when you were actually just fine.  When I see you, I'll apologize.  Keep smiling through!  

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Pardon My Nerves This Morning ....

My Tuesday should have been a Monday as far as problems are concerned.  The first shock to my nervous system was the first e-mail of the day informing me that I had canceled my domain ( which I most certainly hadn't!

That sucker cost me several days, numerous purpose tremors and a general malaise.  After putting it together, the very last thing I would do would be to cancel it.

But to my joy, after I finally got into my account at, I got help, renewed it and paid them $98 to get it back.  Don't rat me out but I would have paid more.

This is the first time since 2000 that I had minimal fuss (try working with online and got a problem solved in eight minutes.

But given my experiences in cyber space, we will see what tomorrow brings.

For a bit of levity and perhaps a laugh, consider what we saw driving north to Culver City to our CPA with our 2018 taxes.  We're on Sepulveda, just about to pass Jefferson off to our left, when looking idly out of the window I spotted this - Secret Pole-Dance Studio.

Food for thought indeed.  I noticed the building did not have windows and after I got home and pulled up their Website I saw why.  Classes are most assuredly not made up exclusively for  the young and lissome one might expect considering my first thought was, "They have a university?"
And given our destination (tax guy) whether attending would be a write-off in the future?

Numerous photos of the classes - which include lap dancing - showed me a galaxy of  beefalos bending, stretching and assuming coy poses.  The copy allowed as to how these classes are a good workout (the pole would bend in half of some of them attempted to climb it) and "release a woman's inner sexuality."  With presumably a pecan pie and an chocolate cake joining in.

There are two locations:
Secret Pole-Dancing Studio
11409 Jefferson Boulevard, Culver City - 9 poles  and
12913 Hawthorne Boulevard, Torrance - 11 poles!

Just in case your inner sexuality is bangin' at the door to freedom.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Talkin' Texas

Reader's Digest runs a regular column called "Toward More Colorful Speech" but I propose a simple trip to Texas to become the most colorful sumbitch in your circle of friends and strangers.

I am lucky enough to have more than several relatives in South Texas.  Every one of them is a delight to listen to as most of Texas clearly wants to entertain any passing non-natives.

Some samples gleaned from various sources such as Texas Monthly,  Dan Jenkins (my late grammar instructor)  who gave us such, "Got a problem? "Money whip it!"  To shapely adorables of dubious morality - "Fifties and hundreds over here!"  "Bangin' her like a screen door in a twister."

Describing terrorists "...Or some other pack of off-brand foreigners who dress silly."  Describing a Board of Directors as in "I was surrounded by bobble-head dolls."  

Random Selection:

Texas has four seasons:  Flood, Drought, Blizzard, Twister.

Hotter than a stolen tamale

So foggy that the birds are walking.

Shy as a mail order bride

So hot the hens are laying hard-boiled eggs.

Useless as an ash tray on a motorcycle

Re a pre-marital pregnancy:  They ate supper 'fore they said, "Grace."

Astute readers will notice that none of the above involve any vulgarity.  They are simply witty ways to describe most anything nicely but with some zip to it.  

Sunday, March 17, 2019

When App Application Goes Too Far

A headline on Drudge caught my eye about the new iPhone 11 which, 'tis rumored, to have three cameras (with no camera opening; shooting right through the glass) and will fold into thirds to make screens larger and - drum roll - wait for it!  a fart detector!!!

I could not come up with anything even remotely necessary about this third feature.  So I clicked on and read that a Headline Editor had just been having some fun.  This fart part is 'way down the road if, in fact it is used at all,  and is meant to sniff out poisonous gases in homes and other locations where it will ring an alarm to alert iPhone11 owners.

So much for "Pull my finger! ha ha ha!  Gotcha!"

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Further Digestion of the Reader's Digest...

And once again, I do the heavy lifting so you won't have to (sigh)

I ordered a bed from Ikea and they sent me a tree trunk and a saw.

Everybody's a tough guy until they have to use a screwdriver overhead for two minutes.

Movies show people kissing in the rain, but I want a guy who'll run out there and get the cushions off of the porch chairs when the weather starts kicking up.

How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?

My husband is so good at home repairs that they have a special VIP area for him in the emergency room.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY  May the parade start on time; may a Budweiser Clydesdale not step on your foot, and the green beer not run out.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Let the Religious Wars Rage On ...

The Spanish Inquisition...Huguenots run out of France … Holocaust … 911 …  add: New Zealand mosque attacks …

Religious wars are not new anywhere on the globe.  The best advice?  Never Forget.

Someone even more cynical than I am might quietly think, "Well, with New Zealand, we've (non-Muslims) finally got skin in the game."

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Not Good Enough for the Daily Breeze?

Well la di dah!  I'll just run it right here!

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sirs:

Perhaps our California Governor Gavin Newsom is unaware that in his ban on actually executing those who so richly deserve it, he is defying the court, judges and juries that put him/her there.

Nina Murphy

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

It's Not "Leggo my Leggo!"

It's how to bring waffles into gourmet status from a foodie magazine.  If you're kind of twisted or confused as to what constitutes propah things to put on regular waffles.

Forthwith, for your judgement - and judging is not solely a pinko, Commie, fag activity - here are a variety of what - a food magazine for the homesick for various family, traditional meals featured in the April/May issue.

Bananas Foster Waffles - topping is:  sliced bananas, butter, brown sugar and booze.

Coffee Butter Waffles - caramelized bacon, maple syrup and "coffee butter" mix the two together?  They didn't say.

Lemon and Blueberry Waffles - lemon curd and blueberries, whipped cream and lemon zest

Nutella Waffles - peanut butter, Nutella, bananas and a sprinkle of crushed peanuts.

Croque-Madame Waffles - waffle with bechemal sauce (white gravy to us country folks) with sliced ham and over-easy egg on top.

Churro Waffles - top waffles with cinnamon, whipped cream and dulce de leche sauce.

PBJ Waffles - spread the waffle with peanut or almond butter, then top with fresh berries of your choice.

I would say "Bon appetit!" but that's another food magazine.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019


The magazine's purple prose re Hawaiian Chili Water was … deceptive.  To hear them tell about it, households in Hawaii cannot function without a bottle or two languishing in the refrigerator, waiting for dinner while another couple of bottles are brewing and waiting their turn on the table.

My sister's remarks ran yesterday; today "D" told me he'd never even heard of it let alone seen it being used.  "D" goes to Hawaii annually and probably has for the past 20 years!  Even if it'd been a fad back then, he's still never seen any.

The only conclusion I could come to is:  Saveur lied.  And bad cess to them for it, too!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Of Hawaiian Chili Water and Xylophones

Saveur, a lesser-known foodie magazine, arrived the other day and browsing through it I came across a said-to-be Hawaiian specialty.  Chili Water which accordingly is a condiment on every table in Hawaii, including one's home.

Never having been there and not planning to go, I asked family and friends who have been there.  In some cases, many times.  Only one response so far, and it was from my sister.  She said she'd never seen it because the family stayed in condos and largely cooked their own meals.  Thus, she knew nothing about it.

What particularly intrigued me in the article was the assertion that Chili Water is also sipped (like fine wine?) to cut the cloying sweetness of some Hawaiian foods.

8 oz.  water
2 oz. white vinegar
1 teas. kosher salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 to 3 fresh red chili peppers

Boil the water, add everything else, pour into a clean jar and store the jar in a cool place for two days and then begin using it, storing it in the refrigerator.  The type chilis used will determine the final amount of heat generated.  Mahalo.

Yesterday's monthly South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club meeting's featured band was a quartet:
Piano, drums, and the triple-threat - he played trombone, cornet and clarinet - and a xylophone guy!

My mind instantly flashed back to the old "Ed Sullivan Show" - remember that?  This quartet gave good value for whatever pittance the club is able to pay the featured bands.  Their set ran a half an hour longer than booked, due largely I think, to the fact that each number seemed to last at least 10 minutes.

Nevertheless it was enjoyable and we did.  But the band I love to see is coming on Sunday, April 14th, from 2 to 4 p.m. and it's the Youth-oriented - you must be 13 to 20 years old, be able to read music and love jazz.  These kids put on a wonderful show, complete with uniforms, and the front row band name on shields in front of the first row of players to hide the music stands.  Tremendously nostalgic sight and especially with kids doing the playing.  I'll mention this opportunity to see some good, focused, young adults until closer to the date.

Meanwhile you can make Hawaiian chili water?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

International Women's Day

First of all what does Int'l Women's Day mean or do or accomplish?  Hell if I knew so I looked it up.  This day, traditionally March 8th, is held to celebrate women's achievements.

Apparently the memo for this glorious event never reached the ladies of Baghoulz, Syria, who were gathered at a screening point there.  It is reported that a group of 10 of them, disguised in their burkas and veils and black robes (total anonymity) pointed their index fingers to the sky which in that group  is meant to mean "the oneness of God."  Only the index finger is used - could it be a truncated "Heil Hitler"? salute?

Another batch threw rocks at photographers, clearly hoping for a hit on their cameras.  They threw in at no extra cost, the news flash that the photogs were pigs.    

A female reporter who had stupidly (editor's opinion) not covered her hair had it grabbed by one of these viragos and was asked (at peak volume) "Have you not read the Koran?  Are you not ashamed?!"

Another woman took the opportunity to rail at a female reporter in jeans or pants was warned that "God curses women who resemble men!"

There are two International Women's Days - the second is United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.  Uh, huh.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Sad News for Admirers of Humor in the Written Word

A master humorist has upped and died on us.  Richie, reading the sports pages this morning, announced "Dan Jenkins died."  "Oh, shit!" I replied.  Richie went on, "He was 89."  I reflected on this additional tidbit and said, philosophically, "Well, he had a good run."  But I felt badly anyhow.

I should have remembered what he himself said, apparently on the death of someone he was fond of.  "All day long, I have been telling myself it's only a merry-go-round.  Some people fall off quicker than others.  No big mystery."

Jenkins was born December 2, 1929, in Ft. Worth.  After his parents divorced his grandparents raised him.  He died March 7, 2019, in a hospice facility as a result of Congestive Heart Failure and the effects of a fall.  He leaves wife June, sons Danny and Marty and daughter Sally (also a sports writer of some repute.)

Some quotes:
"What I know about Dubai.  It's one of those over-there-somewhere-places where they make sand."

"Laughter is the only thing that cuts trouble down to a size where you can talk to it."

"If a caddy can help your game, you don't know how to play golf."

"Type fast, get it done and go to a bar."   AMEN!

RIP, Dan Jenkins and thank you so much for the laughs and a very colorful way of expressing various serious matters such as your golf game, crooked zebras in football and other matters of national interest.

Thursday, March 7, 2019


Trust me on this!   This is the 4th time the hyacinth has bloomed in the balcony window box. Rain and all.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Goat Yoga; Puppy Yoga - What's Next? Rhino Yoga?

Something new in the vast world of yoga techniques and styles.  Based on various sites' information, classes  can be taken in a barn or a cement brewery floor (free beer when class is over) and, locally, the South Coast Botanic Gardens.  (See them for schedule.)

What concerned me about this new fad was the probability that goats hooves are sharp.  I visualized post-class a lot of women with shredded tops (and backs) and quite possibly puncture wounds where the goat had frolicked.  I remembered a stray bit of information regarding PSI and a 120 lb. woman in spike heels.  The little dot that is the end of the spike exerts 600 lbs. pressure.  This was explained to me in a survive an attack class in New York.

The goats used in yoga range in age from a few weeks to two years.  A Nigerian Dwarf goat (used frequently) weighs 30 to 40 lbs.  A regular goat (so to speak) weights 60 lbs.  Readers were advised to leave their own mats at home and rent one ($3 to $5) from the leader of the class.  Goats are not potty-trained.

It seems a natural leap to something smaller and … softer pawed.  Let the puppies loose!  The biggest is only about 10 lbs. and all four paws are soft.  Naturally a Great Dane is going to be a bigger puppy than a Chihuahua.  With bigger paws where little paws could stab you like a paring knife.

So, bearing in mind the desirability of larg-ish, flat hooves, I am considering the merits of the baby rhino.   Weight may be an issue - at birth they can weight 88 to 140 lbs.  But:  they 've got great big flat hooves!  How much of a workout do you want?  Go for it!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Sadness of British Royal Celebrations

Yesterday "the Family" attended a royal to-do when Queen Elizabeth threw a reception to honor her son Charles' "50 years of service."  Which begs the question of service to whom?

Charles has been jobless for 50 years!  This is something to celebrate?  At least he's not living in Mum's basement of Buckingham Palace.  It is doubtful anyone could live in it anyhow.  One of the "lost rivers" - The Tyburn - runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace!

Mum Lizzie had him declared the Prince of Wales on July 26, 1958 when he was nine years old.  He was not formally named P of W until July 1, 1969 when he was 20.

Present were the Queen, Charles, Camilla, Prince William, wife Kate, Prince Harry, wife Megan, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  Prince Philip, age 97, was not there.  Prime Minister Teresa May was also a guest. Early reports of the event made special mention of the fact that Kate and Megan were seen to be quite affable to one another.

 This isn't supposed to happen, but QE2 was wearing a teal jacket and Ms. May a suit of teal in the same shade.

The sadness (to me) was that 50 years of being literally on the dole is a matter to be celebrated?  And worse, not being able to get the job until your mother is dead!  Is that morbid enough?The Brits are "different" one must grant them that.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Bleach Advice

Re the article on San Diego streets bleached clean, "Raffish" who lives there reminded me yesterday that the formula is one cup of bleach for every nine cups of water. Bleach is powerful stuff!

 He has long been a bleach supporter, specifically for his Three Corals Dojo in San Diego.

He and a co-writer have written a lengthy piece on Asian customs which you can read by Googling:

"Nitten Soji and the prevention of infection RH Gutierrez"

Pulling it up for the photos illustrating it alone is worth a look.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

A Difference In the Sans - Diego and Francisco

Both have significant numbers of homeless people.  Both have a lack of public toilets; ergo human waste dots their city's landscapes

San Francisco  Back in 2015 a revamped city bus was converted into a two showers with changing room and toilet vehicle that served the homeless public.  This conveyance used water from fire hydrants that  had been run through a propane heat source.  There was chatter about adding two more similar buses but none in further news that I could ascertain.

The most recent effort to combat fecal waste on the streets was the issuance of an app for your phone for access to the poop map of San Francisco.  The, uh, brown waste shown looks like a Hersey's kiss. Which is enough to put anyone off of a visit to San Francisco.  When dogs can't poop outdoors, but humans are issued maps against human poop there is something very wrong here.  

San Diego  To combat a hepatitis A mini-epidemic which has killed 15 and left 400 ill, prompted their new program.  Find and flush the poop and used needles with household bleach.  Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove the offending items.  Spray the area with bleach again, wait and pressure hose to finish removal and cleaning.

The city does spot maintenance every week and then the full treatment outlined above is done every two weeks.   I would assume that there is some sort of warning issued to hapless tourists, but the easiest thing to do is book into the Del Coronado on Coronado Island.  The Del as it is affectionately nicknamed would never tolerate anything as ghastly as so much as a squirrel poop on their grounds.  It would not surprise me to find snipers in the palms shooting at the gulls who were imprudent enough to relieve themselves over the Del's sand.  

Friday, March 1, 2019

But What Happened Then?

I read yesterday's column on Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickock to the Thurs. Writers (aka South Bay Writers ) and all five of them were interested in Amy Bloom's book White Houses, a real tribute to Bloom and nothing to do with me.  I ran the obit info on two of FDR's squeezes (Lucy Mercer and Missy LeHand) and clearly they also wanted  Eleanor and Hick's information.

Very well.

From one of the last scenes in the book.  Eleanor is visiting Hick in her New York apartment and they are reminiscing.

Hick relates what Eleanor said to her during this last visit ever.  They are sitting in Hick's kitchen, chairs pulled close together.    "Do not make me cry.  Do not come to visit me.  …  I am going to think of us under this tree.  ...and under that beautiful tree in Maryland.  Those cherry blossoms all over us?  That's what I'll be thinking of."

Eleanor Roosevelt  born October 11, 1884
Died November 7, 1962 of cardiac failure complicated by tuberculosis and aplastic anemia,  in New York with family around her.  She is buried in the Rose Garden in Hyde Park.

Lorena Hickock was born March 7, 1893
Died March 1, 1968, of diabetes, blind in one eye and plagued by arthritis.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

More History Lite - and a Very Good Read

"The White Houses" by Amy Bloom  218 pages, $27

Bloom has done a thorough research job on the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt during the White House years with Lorena Hickok, a newspaper reporter.  Publicly, they were good friends; "Hick" as she was nicknamed, was on the WH payroll as an assistant to "the man behind FDR" Louis Howe who lived in the White House as did Missy LeHand FDR's private secretary (and so much more, ahem.)  "Hick had the connecting bedroom with Eleanor.

The White House was a seething hotbed of people misbehaving sexually and who'd a thunk it in the late '30s and early '40s there!  The press knew all about all of it, but kept their mouths shut.  Shades of Kennedy to come … 

I must admit to a certain prurient curiosity about FDR's sexual abilities in as much as he had to be helped into and out of bed.  Er, might prove a bit awkward, don't you think, too?  I mean if you can't get onto the playground without help...and rather limiting for athleticism in the sack.  Reverse missionary?  

For years Eleanor and Hick were believed to be "just friends" in that peculiar way that the world in those years rarely recognized "lesbians" but merely assumed that they were what they said they were:  good friends.  

And for years Franklin knew all about Eleanor and Hick; just as they knew about Missy and Lucy Mercer.  (And so did the White House staff."  Omerta ruled. 

This story is largely Hick talking about this relationship (again based we are assured by her letters)  which included their favorite places (weeks on end at Val-Kil, Eleanor's cabin) and their trip to report back to FDR on the state of the poor people which was something of a honeymoon for the pair as Eleanor refused  Secret Servicemen on it.

Hick clearly was a toughie and reading of her childhood - horrible - father molested her, mother died badly of cancer when Hick was 13; she'd already been caring for her two younger sisters since their births.  She was sent out to work at 16, instead escaped with a traveling circus where she was the secretary,  then when it got close enough to Chicago, decamped and looked up a sympathetic  cousin and got through high school.  Instead of college, she became a reporter.         

These words may not actively portray how fascinating it is to read actual quotes - leaving Missy Le Hand's burial, Hick remarked, "He (FDR) ate her.  (gesture at the descending coffin) Those are just bones."  Eleanor said, "Really, Hick."  

Missy Le hand was his private secretary for 21 years.  Stress-induced strokes laid her low and #3 killed her when she was only 48 years old.

Lucy Mercer ran with FDR, then married, and then went back to a limited relationship with him.  She died age 57 of leukemia.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Travel Dept. - New Views and Opinions

You might think as I did that there's really nothing much more to say about "travel" than the fact that we do it; that when things go south on us while traveling, we write about it in various newspaper Travel sections or blog the horror stories (guilty) and throw in some word of mouth to warn others off of dangers in (fill in location.)  Certainly useful information in most cases.

But to my surprise, here comes a new one and to my even greater surprise, it's actually quite interesting!  It is:  blog.the  

To give you some examples.  Glamping has given birth to Poshtels which is to hostels as glamping is to camping out (hardly with bathrooms, servants, etc. )  What a poshtel has retained from a hostel -think backpacking youths on a limited budget and a remarkable ability to bunk with total strangers who also share a communal bathroom.  Not glamorous in any way shape or form.  Not here at any rate.   In rather Spartan quarters at that.  Pictures of bunk beds float through my mind.

But now comes poshtels which began originally in Europe and today have search sites like Generator which lists temporary abodes available in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Madrid - and getting an edge in - Miami.  Poshtels have private rooms with a bath, sometimes even a penthouse or a terrace with a wonderful view along with free wi-fi, a palatable free breakfast for up to $200 a night which would be considered "budget" in such burgs as Manhattan.

Another article was titled Totally Under-Rated U.S. Cities.  Such as Camden, Maine, north of Kennebunkport.  Beaufort, SC, looked so appealing that I would like to go back and actually stay there.  We have been there - for lunch on our way from Savanah to Charleston - but based on the article merits a second, closer look.  Another redheaded orphan listed was Hilo, Hawaii.

Everybody loves a bargain or something better than the heavily-advertised darling.  Such was the feature on comparison attractions.  The London Eye (expensive, long waits, shortish ride) vs.  the Sky Garden which is the world's highest public garden.  It, too, is located in London and has free admittance, a restaurant and several pubs.  And sensational views, presumably surrounded by attractive vegetation.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa vs. the Towers of Bologna - there are two and the taller is 318 ft. tall.

The Eiffel Tower vs. what looks like an office building, the Maine-Montparnasse Tower.  It has a terrace which is flooded during the winter so that visitors can get in a little ice skating - with a sensational view.

The Cliffs of Moher, 700 ft. vs. Slieve Cliffs, 1,900 ft. near Donegal.

All in all, I found this sort of travel magazine entertaining, and informative.  In short, Armchair Traveler - here's your seat!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Oscar's Outlandish Outfits

Richie and I have not seen any of the movies presented; heard any of the songs or have heard of more than such as Glenn Close, Lady Gaga or Bradley Cooper (of whom I know only that he's considered quite handsome by such as People magazine.)  Name familiarity extends to Spike Lee, but none of his films either.

Speaking of the Spikester, I thought he was wearing a French train conductors' outfit, complete to pill box hat.   Train conductors all over France may be looking for their work clothes...

Melissa McCarthy's gown with a 40 ft. train, littered with what looked like casually tossed stuffed animals across it's breadth, and the handheld bunny puppet that tried to steal the show were amusing for a second, but no more than that.  It was the kind of sight gag that doesn't have any shelf life at all.
Several presenters treated us to long, long trains.  If this is a fashion trend, God help the ladies.  But wait!  Men have entered this doomed train effort.  How did you like Billy Porter in a wasp-waisted tuxedo with a skirted train?!  Was that something?  First glimpse I didn't know whether it was a man of a woman.  In a later interview, he said that he thought The Oscars deserved "a minute."

Jason Momoa's pink tuxedo looked as if he'd bought it off the rack  in the Boys Department with no time for alterations.

Kacey Musgroves at first sight - "What's that pile of pink cotton candy doing dumped in the aisle?"

All in all it was a beautiful display of full tilt boogie bad taste.  And hard work - Fasten an old sheet around your waist for a train and kick your way around the house for awhile.  You could add weights to the train to emulate Glenn Close, whose beaded dress was said to weigh 42 lbs.  

Something different for the mailman if you take your coutume out for a spin.  Just explain that you'll be doing the Oscars next year.

ADD:  The Vanity Fair Oscar Party dinner started with Black Truffle Lasagna and ended with carts of Inn 'n Out Burgers wending their way through the venue.   Lunch at Inn 'n Out and feel like a star? is the Vanity Fair Website where they have photos of the stars and which designer they're wearing.  Go, Label Hounds!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A New Deviled Egg Recipe!

Admittedly, this is a crowded field - off-hand I can think of three people who all have their fans and followers.  Spicy vs. sweet (pickle relish) baby shrimp, yolks rendered goopy by too generous use of mayonnaise …

This caught my eye while perusing Bon Appetit yesterday afternoon.  Untasted, I imagine it would taste basically of salt and heat.  See what you think -


Hard boil 6 large eggs, for 7 minutes, then put them in an ice bath and set aside.

2 cups of water
5 peeled garlic cloves
3 dried chiles de arbol OR 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup soy sauce
3 T mirin
2 T unseasoned rice vinegar.

Mix together in a sauce pan and boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Peel the eggs and put them in the "broth" and let marinate for a minimum of 1 hour.  Quarter and serve.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Overcrowded Urn

The recent thoroughly-covered (and then some) death of French designer (but you knew that; how could you not in the past couple of days) of Karl Lagerfeld, 85, of pancreatic cancer has left me with conflicting information.  At first, I read that he would be cremated and his ashes joined with his previous love interest.  In the fullness of time, Choupette the cat would join them.  All well and good.

And then I read that his mother and lover's ashes have already been mingled and that Karl and the cat would be joining them!  And I started thinking, "That's going to have to be a mighty big urn …"

Other disquieting news filtered in.  Both mother and lover's ashes had been dispersed in the garden of the Crematorium du Mont Valerien where the cremations took place.

And the media ran shots of his fashion friends "at the funeral in the crematorium" despite his frequent admonitions that he did not want a funeral as such.  Apparently his feelings were not considered as these noteworthies would tell him "Au voir" whether he liked it or not!  Consequently there was a shot of the plain black coffin being carried up a shallow flight of stairs to a room specifically set aside for remembering the deceased.  Choice of videos - three featuring the countryside, the mountains or the sea.   Ditto music.

So typically French … the prices (and my estimated cost accounting.)

 (The French use a comma rather than a decimal point but it's confusing so am going with what you see.)

Adult - 528.12  (includes one barrel of fuel; small blowtorch rental and fuel for it.)
Infant - age 1 to 12 years - 264.04 Euros  (check for braces to avoid shrapnel.)
Baby less than one year old - 132.01 Euros.  (one pint fuel; one book of matches

To rent the Goodbye Room - 132.01
To rent urn space for a year, 155.97
For dispersal in their designated garden, 49.72 Euros

For those of you that enjoy math, today's conversion rate is:  $1.13 buys one Euro.   Since we're used to seeing U S dollars, the above all looks tremendously cheap.  Hollow laugh.  The Euro is a deceptive booger.  When you get home and your credit card bills appear?  You may get a shock that will kill you!  Better to die in America.  I believe the Neptune Society is something like - or used to be - $900 good old American dollars.


Friday, February 22, 2019

My Goodness! Things Are Tougher Than I Thought in California!

I read in today's Sacramento Bee that a new bill is pending on the floor of the California Senate.  Known rather informally as "You kill, you grill" this new statute would allow drivers who accidentally hit and kill a deer on our vast wandering highways and byways can keep the carcass and dine on it.  So, too,  may people walking along the road who come across a dead, edible animal.  Elk was mentioned but I can't remember any reports of vehicle vs. elk.  Be that as it may.

One Sen. Bob J. Archileta, Dem.-Montebello is the proud sponsor of Senate Bill 395.  He said in an interview that an estimated 20,000 deer alone are slain annually.  That's a lot of potential deerskin jackets or moccasins.  Post banquet, that is.

If we're driving down to Palm Springs, say, and we see groups of raggedy ass people combing through the roadside brush, we will know what they're doing -  if SB395 passes.

Only in California, right?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

O You Punsters!

I have been reliably informed that the following is an old John Lemon play list.  With no further ado about provenance or anything else -

#1 - Here comes the sunkist

#2 - I sour standing there

#3 - Strawberry lemonade fields forever

#4 - Lemon twist and shout!

#5 - I wanna hold your rind

Squeeze on, mates! (my modest addition)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Petsitting Can Bring In the Big Bucks!

Yesterday's announcement of the death of Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, 85,of  pancreatic cancer, came as a surprise, especially the amount of coverage his cat Choupette (Cupcake) received in the ensuing headlines.

Lagerfeld had stated that he wanted his ashes mingled with Choupette's for disposal.  Whichever - man or cat - died first the ashes were to be set aside, waiting for the other. When Lagerfeld, Choupette have all gone to their maker, their ashes will be mixed with those of Lagerfeld's previous most adored lover.  (Aside:  he much preferred hired services, remarking that affection was more important and averred that he and the dead (of AIDs) lover never engaged in sex.)

It is expected that she will inherit some of Lagerfeld's estimated fortune of $150 million.  She already has two personal maids and routinely went everywhere that Karl did.  But she wasn't a dead beat (as most cats are) as she "earned" (used dubiously) $3.3 million doing commercials for Vauxhall (cars) and Shu Uemura, a Japanese line of beauty products.

What is it with fashion designers and their pets?  Alexander McQueen, British fashion genius, left $82,000 to his three English bull terriers plus an additional $164,000 to a pair of animal shelters.

Leona Helmsley, the owner of the soubriquet "The Queen of Mean" clearly felt that animals understood her better than people and left her Maltese "Trouble" $12 million.  Who promptly got so many death threats that part of this inheritance had to go for round the clock security.

Oprah Winfrey has earmarked $30 million to her five dogs.

Reportedly, beloved Betty White, 96, set aside $5 million mostly for her pet golden Lab.

Miles Blackwell, a publisher, left $15 million to his pet chicken hen Gigoo but only because his wife to whom he had previously  left the $15 mil died before he did.  It is not true that in return and respect, Gigoo now turns out solid gold eggs.

When Gene Roddenberry, of Star Trek's widow died,  she left $4 million for their pets and $1 million for their caretaker to stay on in the mansion.

In fact, most of the insanely rich people also specified that the caretaker at the time of their demise should move into the mansion(s) to take care of the pets as they are accustomed to being there.

For our part, in a much more modest fashion, we have it in our wills that if we have cats at the time of our death, the Hermosa Animal Hospital - clients for 30 years now - will receive $1,000 to be used as they wish if they will make every effort to find a new good owner.  If none is found, that they live on as blood donors at the hospital.  (Of note, HAH always have a couple of blood donor cats roaming around and they are spoiled by everyone on staff.)  If they're older cats with the beginnings of the disease(s) that will kill them, euthanize them now.

This is an easy enough thing to do and I recommend it.  Especially if every one of your heirs cannot (or will not) take them. And at our ages, (late '70s) with previous cats that lived an average 15.6 years we have no business getting any replacement cats.  Streak is 16 and Fred is five so, Fred, you're it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Back Story Behind a Famous Photograph

The photo?  A sailor has grabbed a woman in a nurse's garb and planted a big kiss on her lips.  The occasion shot on August 14, 1945, was the day that Japan surrendered to the U.S.  Alfred Eisenstaedt, the photog who got one of the best grab shots in photo history went on to a glorious career.  The couple went on to lead their lives unidentified for many years, until the '60s.

After the photo became famous, he was asked if he'd ever followed up with Greta - asked for her phone number or anything?  "No," he replied,  "I had a date with me."

Today's paper ran a very small obit on George Mendonsa, the sailor.  Two days before his 96th birthday, he fell and quickly died of his injuries.  He and his wife of 70 years dwelt in an assisted-living facility, their daughter disclosed.

His prey (thinking about today's rage at this sexual assault!) died in 2016, aged 92.   Greta Zimmer Friedman was not a nurse, but a dental assistant.

Born in Austria to Jewish parents,  at age 15, she and her sisters immigrated to the United States.  Their parents, unfortunately could not escape and died in a concentration camp.  Greta continued her interest in fashion by attending fashion schools using the dental tech salary to pay her way.

She married, they had two children.  Due to his work as a scientist, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery where she lies with him today.

I know for a fact that she occasionally dabbled in posing for art classes because I sketched her in one.  My drawing teacher the late George Gardiner and she were friends and a couple of times, when an expected model had cancelled, she posed for our class wearing the complete nurse's uniform of the day - opaque white stockings, low-heeled white shoes, the uniform and the cap.  She and George talked during the breaks so she didn't mingle with us, the students.  My sketches of her were included in a very small showing of student's works.  It was a big deal at the time my class had her for a model, but these many years later I'd never thought about it until I read this morning's notice of his death. My sketches are "somewhere in this house" but I'm not tempted to dig around and find them.  Done is done.  They both had apparently good lives, certainly lived on into ripe old ages and God bless them both.

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Presidential Quiz

Because I am not a history major, but instead should be considered History Lite, the human side of people interests me more than "What date/year did such-and-such happen?"  After all, people do have a human side - born, did this and that, died.  The statistical stuff.  So - here we go!

How many former presidents were Generals in the U.S. Army? (This is redundant as I don't think generals in the Red Army ever happened …)  Four.

Who was the only president to never marry?  (Leading to all kinds of juicy speculation about his private life … loved and spurned?  Gay?  Married woman?)  James Buchanan.   Conversely Grover Cleveland was the only president (so far) to get married in the White House.  I understand quite a few divorces have been considered there though …

How many States have produced presidents?  32.  Virginia gave eight of them a shot.  Ohio provided seven more.  Move to either if you're thinking about a run.

The Republicans have had the most presidents to be elected - 19of them to date.  Millard Fillmore, a Whig,  was the last president who was not  either a Democrat or a Republican - in 1850.

Getting more personal … who was our shortest president?  James Madison, a not-so-lofty 5 ft. 4 in.  The tallest?  A tie between Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson at 6 ft. 4 in.  (Which I personally don't believe because men lie about their height as women do their age.)

My own contribution:  something I think they all learn right after being sworn in if they  haven't already been secretly practicing in the shower or while shaving which is:  "Muh fellow Amurricans…"

Sunday, February 17, 2019

President's Day

Tomorrow we'll chew on some of the interesting (and downright strange) events surrounding our current and past Presidents.

Here's something to mull over in the meantime.  Current President Donald Trump is labeled #45, but in reality, he is #44 (and Obama was #43.)  How come?  Grover Cleveland was a sworn President twice -  # 22 and when re-elected, became #24!  Double shot.

Short quiz tomorrow!

Saturday, February 16, 2019


The update refers back to the great Santa Barbara Search for Mickey D recently.  He wasn't in town, but I got my heart's (to say nothing of stomach - and you really can't say "nothing" about my stomach ... vision alone gives you an idea) - where was I?  Oh.

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment at 10:30 a.m. which limped along until 12 noon when we got out of there.  I was starving (a half a cup of cereal and a couple of chopped strawberries doesn't go far,)  I said to Himself - "Let's go to MacDonald's - my treat."

Accordingly, off we went.  Only to find that Artesia, a main route, had been rendered useless by a sinkhole sometime in the night?  Time enough anyhow to get a max force of road workers with equipment out anyhow.  Great long detour around this mess.  Shades of SB flickered through my mind.

Finally I was looking tenderly at a Quarter Pounder with fries.  That didn't last long.  I tore into it like Grant took Richmond.

Moral?  If you wait long enough you can usually get what you want.  Never give up the dream!  Chew on!

Thursday, February 14, 2019


May your hearts always be entwined.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Reader's Digest:: I Do So You Don't Have To!

Nothing says, "I mean business" than using a shopping cart at the liquor store."  Next time you're in Bev Mo, look around you...

Punster Alert - Anagrams

Dormitory = Dirty Room

The Morse Code = Here come dots

Slot machines = cash lost in them

Snooze alarms = Alas!  No more z's

Eleven plus two = Twelve plus one

Huh!  The joke is on you kids who put shaving cream all over my car:  I was gonna shave it this afternoon anyhow.

Moses was technically the first person to download files to his tablet from the cloud.

And this is at least possibly helpful:  Stop cookies:  Go to  Click on "Consumer Opt-Out button and follow the prompts given.

A wife accidentally took her husband's prostate medicine.  So he called the pharmacist and asked if there was any cause for alarm?  And the pharmacist said, "Only if she starts hanging out at hardware stores and buys a lot of power tools."

And I ask the question:  Does that sum up men in a nutshell?


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bar Hopping... Electronics...Santa Barbara!

We saw something new at our hotel, the Quality Inn (a pleasant little place.)  There is clearly a sensor between the main room and the dressing/bathroom area.  Walk through the doorway and the lights turn on in them.  Somewhat disconcerting in the middle of the night.

Bottoms Up!  We went to a nearby bar called the Uptown Lounge at 3126 State Street.  They serve a limited menu of hot dogs, hamburgers and made-there pizza.   Which is why we came here rather than the late-afternoon bar up the street - the Tiburon Tavern at 3116 State Street which is very much a home bar to locals.  We were hungry.  And the only food was items from a snack machine.

While we sat at the Uptown Lounge bar, waiting for our food we noticed something very new (to us anyhow.)  It was a row of about eight draft beer dispensers.  "Big deal" you say.  The glasses were filled from the bottom of the glass up!

How could this be?  There was no visible opening in the bottom of the glass to let the beer in!  The bartender explained to us that the glass had a round, flat magnet inside the bottom of it.  When the glass was set on a slightly-raised ring below it, the magnet inside it moved aside or lifted - no idea) and the beer came roaring in.  

She went on to explain that the Uptown had the only one in all of Santa Barbara.  The brand name is Bottoms Up beer dispenser, made in Indiana.  It can pour 44 pints a minute or, if really pushed, 56 pints a minute.  At those speeds would be tempted to not sit at the bar, but at some distance to avoid flying foam.  

My only quibbles with Santa Barbara - all of the street names are designated by Mexican names.  No numbered streets - 11th, 21st Street - to help you get oriented. 

I mentioned the No Parking on the main drag yesterday.  But I haven't forgotten it. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Funeral In Santa Barbara

Last Friday, we drove up to Santa Barbara to attend a family funeral.  We weren't even out of town when the adventures began.  To get on the 405, we took the Century Boulevard on-ramp to it.  And what should appear to my wandering eye but a homeless camp that stretched all the way underneath the freeway itself.  The camp was not visible as it was hidden behind drapes of a blue and white striped fabric stuck into the chain link fence separating camp from street.  It was cold and dark there,  But when the rains came later in the day, they at least had a shot at staying dry.

The media has provided us with frequent photos of these encampments, but this was my first personal view.  And this is America...

We lasted until Oxnard before thinking that a Quarter Pounder, small fries would be welcome.  There were no MacDonald's anywhere.  We were amazed.  On we drove, fruitlessly examining the  future scenery.

When we exited on Los Posas IN Santa Barbara we thought, "Well, surely they'll have a MacDonald's.  They didn't.  So we checked in to the hotel and asked.  "Oh, take State to the end and up the hill, you'll see the sign. You can't miss it"  Famous last phrase.  There it wasn't.

By now, ravenous, we turned around and trolled State Street where there is no street parking for a restaurant.  Plenty of those!  Little tables and chairs in front of each establishment.  When we spotted Carlitos with it's own parking lot out front, we whipped smartly in.

As you would guess by the name, it is a Mexican restaurant, all very white stucco and red tiled roof with an outdoor patio paved in red tile and an inside restaurant.  We opted for "inside" because the sun was moving away from a lovely front patio.

We opened the bidding with two Pacificos ($6 each) and an order of guacamole ($12) which came beautifully plated with a roasted red chili and chunked tomatoes with something new - a sort of wooden paddle to put a serving on your bread plate.

It's an extensive menu and we took our time going through it.  We settled on shrimp for me; chicken for Richie empanadas. ($14 each) It was our first ever empanada.  Wonderful crust - corn flour which gave a hint of texture and full flavor.
Carlito's, 1324 State Street, Santa Barbara. 

I later asked a bartender about MacDonald's and he explained that Santa Barbara really frowns on chain restaurants.  They want to maintain a quaint, old Mexico with real restaurants and none of this trashy American stuff.  "SO not Santa Barbara, dahling."  To which I might reply, "Well, lah di dah."

More tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Road Trip! Santa Barbara, CA!

My cousin's ex-husband has died after a long illness in the Santa Barbara, Summerland part of Southern California.  The memorial is tomorrow at 11 a.m. but we're going up today to see family and to visit the Santa Barbara Z00 which boasts 500 animals!  30 acres!

After riding in a car for 2 1/2 hours to travel 103 miles, I was relieved to learn that there is a Zoo Train which gives you an overview of everything on display. And usually a knowledgeable guide driving it.  We'll work out the kinks by the walk from the car to the train station.   The schedule for feeding a giraffe is quite complicated and we will probably have to miss it.

I found an appealing-sounding place for breakfast tomorrow, Cajun Kitchen, but now have to find an agreeable place for  tonight for dinner.  Suggestions welcomed, table of five.

The reception for the people honoring the deceased takes place at 1 p.m. following the full-tilt boogie Catholic funeral mass.

We come home directly after it.  Both times we will be taking the freeway, not the scenic route.  We want to get there not gape out the windows going "Oooh" and "Ahh"  And equally to come home.

Details to come.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

AOL Has a Communicable Disease...

I cannot get to my email account.  Not just the cell phone which was first to blow out, but the PC hurried to get in line.  The laptop (ancient anyhow) then got it …

I am going to need a truck to get it all down to the fixer.

And we leave tomorrow morning to go to a memorial in Santa Barbara.  This is not starting out as a really good morning.  Onward anyhow!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Writers at Play

From the annual Christmas lunch

Writers at Work

The view  from the workshop 

Selling the fruits of our labors...

Monday, February 4, 2019

So Then ...

A brief overview of the Meet the Authors - pictures to follow when the four downstairs doors are changed out and Himself can download the pictures he shot.  He likes to busy himself "helping" the workers.

Traditionally (and it's a bad one) these events are poorly attended unless the author is John Grisham or a movie star and his/her autobiography.  We didn't have any of those so we had to make-do with what we had.

Our audience (again with the tradition) was about 14 people and most of them were the rest of us South Bay Writers Workshop  not in the show and spouses.  We did have a number of them.  There was one big surprise for me.  I'd had a routine doctor's appointment Friday and,  of course, mentioned it.  She said she would like to come!  And she did!  I was so flabbergasted that I forced one of my books on her and then she surprised me further by asking me to autograph it!

This is a doctor, people!  Doctors are gods!  They can fix whatever went wrong with you!  You think a poor old writer, slogging away at a computer can do that?  Nun-huh.

And all of this despite roaring in and out again rain cells.  The library's underground garage really saved our bacon.  Thank you taxpayers!


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Too Tired to Type

I picked up a cough that would not quit throughout the night.  Midnight, 2, 3, 4 a.m.  Certainly breaks up any sleep pattern.

But there's a bright side to most everything and tomorrow (having finally read the Rx on the anti-coughing med) I should be able to download Richie's photos of the great "Meet the Authors" event.
Not to keep you in suspense - it went off very well.  And surprisingly enough, we all enjoyed ourselves.  We're writers, not actors!  But even with that handicap … we did good!

Hello, sofa - it's me.  

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Not Exactly the Best Weather for an Event

Today from noon to 1 p.m. is the much-awaited "Meet the Authors" show featuring eight of the members with published books.   The idea is that each writer will be asked to tell a little bit about their book and then the audience is invited to ask questions of us.

How do we get ideas?  Do we have regular "office hours" - a part of the day set aside for writing.  And whatever else they come up with to ask.  I've got money on "How do I get published?

As for the weather - it's cold, very windy with occasional bursts of intense rain.  As I type this, the avocado tree branches are lashing the window, leaves dripping with rain.   Not auspicious to say the least.

But:  parking at the Redondo Beach Main Library is underground!  No puddle jumping across a parking lot!  If you can get from your house to your car without getting drenched or beaten to death by a flapping umbrella,  you'll be safe and dry!  Hop on the elevator and up you'll go to us on the second floor.   Look forward to seeing you - wet or not!  Bring $$$!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Our Correspondents In the Midwest

I always like reports "from the horse's mouth" so to speak.  Yesterday,  our correspondents in Libertyville, IL, 20 miles north of Chicago - and we all know how ghastly things are in Chicago and Anderson, IN. where it is marginally warmer.  Although comparing -49 to -21 is hardly a heat wave warning

Libertyville: " It was -23 here with a wind chill of -49 this morning.  Now it's up to -20 though.  Sometime today I'm going outside just so I can say I've experienced near 50 below. "

Anderson, IN:  "The power went out about 7:30 this morning.  During the 90 minutes we were without power, the house temperature dropped from 68.6 to 61.7.  As our home is well-insulated, that reflects how cold the outside air was due to the winds.

We are thankful that our city maintains its own utilities so we can get fast service in situations like this.  The politicians know that voters can be had by prompt services."

 Libertyville:  "Snow expected tonight but warmer by Monday - it's forecast to be in the 50s!"

Anderson:  "It is -1 at 11:15 a.m. with a wind chill of -12.  Temperatures will be rising through the day to about +13."

O/T  The LA Times Weather page said that Dublin, Ireland, will get snow today.  But:  the temp there is 38 degrees.  Does Dublin know something the rest of us don't?  Irish snow is possible at above freezing?  Their weatherman was so full of Guinness that he erred?    Mysteries...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A New Place To Go - Visit the Wireless Planet!

One bad thing about computers is that they go wrong - right when you might need them the most.  In the past, I have had to:  pack up the PC, lug it into such as Best Buy or pay a substantial sum to get a visit from The Geek Squad which at least comes to the house.   Next came laptops - easy enough to transport.  Now cell phones that are even easier than the laptop.

Ours developed a tick in that it would not allow me to see my own e-mail.  So as any right-thinking person would, I took it into a shop new to me called "Drop-Smash-Fix" on PCH in Hermosa.  We've driven past it a multitude of times.  Come to find out this group has quite a few locations.

But this one couldn't fix our phone and recommended just buying a new one.

Right about then, one of the members of the Anarchy Club (a group of males whose meeting place is on the front porch of the Redondo Tobacco store) counseled us to pay a visit to Wireless Planet, explaining their satisfaction with their work.

So we took it there and were quickly reassured that it could be repaired.  And it was.  Chris Olson who fixed it understood and didn't laugh at me for massive ignorance in computer science.  Many others have.  But that was yesterday.

Anyhow, not only is the firm honest - "I only charged you $80 because I didn't have to download your photos on a memory stick.  But it's like new now - I upgraded the 6 by putting in the newest app.  It's very like what you had here" taps it," so you shouldn't have any trouble with it."

And I haven't.  A good thing requires telling others.

Wireless Planet, 
1316 Aviation Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
310-318-9595 ext. 3 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Richie Has Choice Words About Stadium Practices

At Tropicana Field, Tampa, no cash is needed in the ballpark.

At Dodger Stadium, they do it another way.  They take all of your money when you reach the parking lot.  

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Next Weekend!

Saturday, February 2nd - Meet the Authors!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Irish Sweater

In 2006 when we took a tour of Ireland (Dublin to Shannon) I fell in love with Irish knitted sweaters and bought a zip, hoodie example in cream color.  Since it was knitted, the wind blew in and what looked warming wasn't.  So I went to the fabric store and got them to line it in heavy white satin.  Problem solved.

Then, still in love, I went to and bought a crew neck pullover.  Toasty warm; more tightly woven.

The Irish Store took to sending me catalogs.  I had to have the white sweater with a high neck and a zipper.  Reasonably priced as well.  

I ordered it October 17th of last year.  Promptly enough, I got a sweater from them.  It was the clone of the crew neck, folded in a drawer.  I availed my self of the free return - except that their Website was screwed up and I couldn't get the return section to work.  Numerous es flew back and forth between Norah, in Customer Relations and me.  Not getting any satisfaction, I took it all down to A.I.M, the UPS of our neighborhood.  The guy there solved their Website on my computer.   Away the package went.

I gave it two weeks to get there, be counted as returned and start all over again.  I re-ordered the one I really wanted when all of this began.  That order was dated January 2, 2019.  The sweater finally arrived Jan. 25, 2019.  Exactly what I'd ordered - and I promise you, sweating bullets when I opened the package.  

This whole deal has aged me more than the sweater will over the years.  But do admit that I'm stubborn.

Friday, January 25, 2019

95 Years Ago Today + Killing Cockroaches Dead (Thinking of you, Floridians)

January 25, 2019.  So - special for what? you say?  The first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France.

16 nations took part in it; using 258 athletes who competed in 16 events (one per nation?)  in six events which included bobsled, ice hockey, speed skating, ski jumping, cross country skiing, figure skating  and curling.

How did the USA fare?  We (I use that a country designator as you must, too.  We were all hardly born in 1924!) got one gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze.  Not surprisingly, Norway (17) and Finland (11) beat the sox off of us.

Die! Cockroaches, die! 
Heloise, as is not surprising, tackled this subject today.  When I looked this up I found that there are a number of store-bought concoctions with boric acid  to spray around their habitats and, if you can get them walk across this, they will die.

"Yeah," me, too.  I've heard too many times that cockroaches will survive long after mankind is extinct.  Nuclear bombs, floods, fires, global warming - you name it and the cockroaches will be grinning up at your spirit.  Since you'll be dead but they won't.

Back to the killing field.  Spread boric acid in a well-trafficked area and sit back and wait.  I read that cocka-roaches (as is pronounced in New York) have a slick, greasy skin; the boric acid clings, they ingest it and thus commit suicide!  Warning - it's not an instantaneous event.  Plenty of time to nuke a bowl of popcorn and settle in watch old footage of a Winter Olympic that's only 50 years old.  Am not sure if they had movie cameras in 1924...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Snow Shoveling Made Easier

We can all thank Heloise for these which she ran in Hints From Heloise today (1/24/10) in the Daily Breeze.

I don't know how many of you are facing Great Drifts, but her readers wrote in with the following suggestions.

Use a garden rake to bust up packed snow which will then make it easier to shovel.

Spray the shovel with non-stick vegetable spray - snow should slide right off and you don't have to damage your shovel by banging it on the concrete below.

"I wear kitchen mittens while out there shoveling and my hands stay toasty warm." wrote one devoted reader.

Me?  I'd say that if you're 50+ and not in top shape, hire someone!  Heart attacks cost more than a hired hand.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Well, Yes and No"...

This was my reply to a fellow writer who asked if I'd sold any copies of my book at Richie's annual American Airlines Retirees Lunch Monday 1/21/19   held at the Number #1 Buffet, Hawthorne in Lawndale.

To be truthful, three years ago, I got severe food poisoning there and in between trips to the Ladies vowed I would never go there again.  And I didn't.

But three years ago, I didn't have a book to push.  Anything for a buck.  I put 10 books in a smart little gift bag and set up my display at my place in the booth.  And gingerly went scouting for something to eat that wouldn't put me in the hospital.  In for a penny; in for a pound.

Many of Richie's old mates asked me if I was still writing? and I gestured to my mini-book table more or less as a reply and they said, "That's nice...Richie did you hear from so-and-so?" and away they would go.

When I noticed that there would be a raffle, I volunteered a copy of my book.  And when the raffle rolled out, Richie won my book.  He promptly gave it back.

Still and all it was good publicity exposure for it to an unlikely at best audience.  The organizer said there 45 in attendance.

Lunch, back slapping greetings, earnest expressions to be there next year all concluded, we headed home or so I thought.  Instead Himself pulled up at the front door of Suzy's, more or less our home pub, and went in for a beer.  

The only other customers were three or four people at a table across the room and a guy at the bar where we pulled up stools.  Richie is partial to sitting at the bar.  As civilized people do, we fell into conversation with that guy.  Come to find out he is a local artist, born in Ireland, barely any brogue left.  I said I was a writer and so Richie went out to the car and brought one in while he went to his car and brought in his portfolio which was  very interesting.  He's good.  His first name is Brian and I forgot his last which also begins with a B.

He said he wanted to buy a copy of the book but upon checking his pockets said that he didn't have $10 on him.  And I don't carry around a credit card machine.  But he really wanted it.  So I handed it over saying we would run into each other at Suzy's and he could pay me then.

So - in answer to "Did you sell any books?"  I'd have to reply, "Yes and no."

Monday, January 21, 2019

I.Don't. Think. So.

The headline is what I am objecting - this arbitrary assignment of precincts that MUST vote by mail, was never voted on by the voters, never discussed anywhere and reeks of a scam to me.

Proceed with caution.  Incidentally, it doesn't apply, apparently, to me as I didn't get one of these notifications.  It is from the party not my own.  Which is reason enough to be wary.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Random Laughter

Reader's Digest came yesterday .. you know what's coming...

When You're Down By The Sea
and an Eel Bites Your Knee,
That's A Moray...

To the guy who stole my antidepressants:  I hope you're happy now!

I went to the doctor and he said, "You've got hypochondria."  I said, "Not that as well!"

A few literal translations:
Arabic:  Saratan el bahr
translates to "cancer of the sea" or lobster in English.

Finnnish:  Joulupukki or Christmas billy goat or
Santa Claus in English

You can which inmates were involved in organized crime - their cells are much neater than the other prisoners.

Dieter:  Just burned 2,000 calories.  That's the last time I leave brownies in the oven while I nap.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Dibs and Dabs...

Business first.  I was led to believe that if you plugged your cell phone (iMac) into your PC, the photos would automatically download.  Not so here.  If you know how to do this, please advise.

I want to put up what I think is a really funny picture.  I am having swimming pool physical therapy which requires a bathing suit.  Mine is a swirl of black and white just like Shamu.  The other session I noticed two orca pool toys - which are huge - parked on the roof of a "beach shack" inside by the pool.

What better than a family portrait - Mommy on the left, Daddy on the right and me in the middle.

Yesterday, Natacha, the adult daughter of the late French teacher Arlette Nelson, wrote announcing the publication of her book!  She had mentioned this project at Arlette's memorial and again at a French class monthly luncheon.   Naturally we all wished her well.  That was all last August so it was a fairly quick thing for Natacha.

More formally, Natacha is Dr. Natacha D. Nelson, and her book is "Finding the Courage to Let You Out."  available at

The Sweet Home Café is located inside of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.  As a fundraiser, no doubt, the Smithsonian has published a cookbook - the Sweet Home Café - which is 215 pages, $29.95  I liked the idea of this first recipe because it sounded like it could be a first cousin to the dressing used on the house salad (romaine with baby shrimp and hard-boiled, grated egg) at Old Tony's on the Pier.  I like it almost better than the entrees.  So the following appealed because Tony uses a "white dressing" that I just  know is half-and-half buttermilk and mayo.  But maybe not. Which is why I read this recipe carefully.

3/4 cup buttermilk
2 T mayonnaise
1 teas. Dijon mustard
1 teas. cider vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
1 small garlic clove, chopped and made into a paste
freshly ground pepper.
Mix it up and it will keep in the refrigerator for three days.

4 quarts cold water
1 lemon, halved
2 T kosher salt (I'd use 1 T sea salt myself)
3 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teas. whole allspice berries
1 teas. celery seeds
2 garlic cloves, chopped and mashed
1/2 teas. red pepper flakes
2 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Vidalia or sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 fresh bay leaves
3 vine-ripened tomatoes sliced serve with 2 ripe avocadoes, thinly sliced.  Think garnish, if you will.
Cook the shrimp, mix up everything else.  Pack the hot shrimp in a glass container that will hold them, pour over the sauce, close the lid and let it "rest" in the refrigerator all night.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

RSVP-ing an Invitation

I have been invited to be one of the readers at the South Bay Stories Show which is a chance for writers to tell a story to an audience who will have actually paid money to sit there and hear them!  Do you believe this (expletive deleted)  This isn't until the end of March - I will keep you informed.

The publicity hand-outs require each of us to include a photo and a brief biography (50 words or less.)

Here is my copy:

Always the only female  freelance photojournalist on the track, Nina covered NASCAR, NHRA, Grand Prix racing and today writes a near-daily blog.  Based on his ancestor (a Huguenot) her father stressed learning French.  So she did and a totally unexpected life style began.   "And the Best Blog Is:  Word of Mouth"

Suck on that #MeToo.

To readers - didn't list them all but add off-road, sprint cars, motorcycles and whatever else had wheels at the time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Oheka Castle, Cold Spring Harbor, Foreclosure!

No more lunches like below - the Charlie Chapin Bar?  Shuttered!  The lobster salad kills no more  lobsters?  Did PETA forclose???  And, and the pastry chef's masterful take on pecan pie?  Tell me noes!

Come to find out Gary Melius, owner, has been tardy with his $3.1 annual payment to his backers since 2016 and retaliation is clearly swift and semi-deadly.  The backers named a Suffolk Co. judge as the one who is now running the receivership'

Melius, bluffster to the end, swears that nothing has changed; he's 100% in charge; business as usual.  Oheka Castle was once the largest private home on Long Island.  The story of it was interesting enough for me to write a chapter on it in my book "And the Best Blog Is:  Word of Mouth."

Insanely rich builder; sold, became a vacation spot for the Sanitary Engineers of Manhattan and then a military academy for boys and now a hotel, with restaurant and bar and tons of wedding celebrations over the years.  Long live Oheka's restaurant!  

H/T to Sonny Nogiewich, the friend there (he and Richie were clammers back in the day) who brought this appalling matter to our attention. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sunday, January 13, 2019

January 13th - Saint Nina's Day

The Catholic Church, over time, has nominated a great number of saints.  I don't know how they recruited them as most of them came to a Very Bad End.

In any event, there was a widely-acknowledged St. Nina.  Piecing together - or rather trying to piece together her story, I ran across a variety of sources?  Opinions?  Oral reports handed down? and finally settled for the following.

Born 296 AD; died 335 AD, age 39, in Georgia or ancient Iberia.  She came there from Cappadocia only to die of torture and beheading with 50 other virgins.  What her and the other 50's offense had been wasn't included in any of this.  Tyrannius Rufinus was the King who ordered the slaughter.

The Queen readily accepted Christianity, but not until a situation appeared (dark fell rapidly and the King's hunting party was thrust into darkness)  and, in his case he thought he was blind.  So he decided to pray to Nina's God - viola!  Light immediately followed by his conversion.

None of this was what I would call conclusive evidence, but for gentle amusement Google "Saint (your name)" and see what pops up.

I only know about St. Nina because Michelle told me that there was one.  When I finally quit laughing, she sternly admonished me saying rather haughtily, "In France we celebrate our saint's day more than our own birthdays."    I started marking my yearly candle on September 29th and have congratulated her every year since.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Pool Therapy

You probably guessed yesterday that I'd be writing about it.  First what the PT doctor was wearing vis a vix my thought about his wearing a pair of board shorts to work.  He doesn't.  He was neatly clad
in from bottom up (so to speak) trainers and socks, jeans and a dress shirt, tails out.  You've seen this 30-something style (or may even dress in it) all over the place.

What was I doing in the water for 40 minutes?  In order - at about the 4 ft. deep part of the pool, put the closest hand on the pool rim and walk down the pool to the drop off spot and stop!  Or you'll get your hair wet.  Turn around and walk back to your starting point and do this 10 times.

Then same place, turn around and walk backwards, as above.  It feels funny.

Walk across the pool at the 3 ft. level and, hanging onto the rim with both hands, raise and lower yourself on the balls of your feet.

When you've done that for 30 seconds, lift your hands off of the trim and balance on one leg for as long as you can (not very in my case.)

Finally, march in place, and get those knees up!

I left there exhausted.  Shows you what kind of shape my legs are in, but after the fatigue faded a little bit, I could feel that it was doing them good.  it was the "good sore" you feel after playing a sport or running a long distance.  Not painful, but beneficial and you can sense it.  I could even feel a little easing of stiff, tight muscles.

I look forward to Monday's session at 11 a.m.

Update:  I forgot how exercise goes:  Day 3 I woke up as stiff as a board. Undeterred; will be there Monday.  

Friday, January 11, 2019

Goodie! A Learning Day!

I love learning something new - and today's knowledge will be covering swimming pool therapy for the lower back and right hip.

It's been years since I've been in a pool.  Even though I try to book us into hotels with a pool so that we can do aquarobics we rarely use them any more.   Our favorite spot for this is probably the pool at the Vagabond Inn, Palm Springs.  We get into about 3 ft. deep water and run back and forth across the pool.  Then jumping jacks, arms to propel is forward; reverse and go backwards and get out feeling quite virtuous.

I think this first session at the South Bay Aquatics in Torrance will be a little more "directed."  Every session is booked for 40 minutes, then 50 and finally the full hour.

Packing a carry-on bag with a big fat towel, my bathing suit, thong sandals felt very strange, but there's no hotel room for changing.

I look forward to this.  A stray thought - I wonder if the PT instructor gives his wife a kiss, hikes up his board shorts and goes out the door for another day at work.  I'll have to ask.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Yes, We're Eating Again

If you are getting a bit underwhelmed of late reading this, a reassurance:  we do more in our lives than eat.  Very little, mind you but other things.  For example I am about to be getting some much needed exercise when I go to pool physical therapy tomorrow (Friday) and Monday for six weeks (I think it is.)   Reassuringly the South Bay Aquatics facility, Torrance, mentions in passing that air temp there is 80; water temp is 90.   This is certainly bearable so I can cancel my search for a mink-lined bathing suit.  

Meanwhile, we did lunch with "D" at his find yesterday.  It's called Angel City Grill and catering and pick-up.  it's located behind a handkerchief-sized parking lot at 1505 Aviation, Redondo Beach.  We've passed it a thousand times as it's on the righthand side of Aviation, if you're going west.  Because all of the big windows are reflective, I just figured it was totally catering and the kitchen was behind the glass.

Not so.  The interior is a glistening white - walls, picnic-style tables and chairs, counter - you walk over and order and they bring it to the table.   It's also picnic-like- in that paper plates with a blue and white check napkin hold the food and plastic silverware is used exclusively.

What did we have?  Since it was "D"'s idea, he ordered first.  A USDA flank steak taco, grilled medium with onion, cilantro, guacamole and tomatillo salsa - $4.99    He said it was good.

Richie ordered the grilled chicken taco with tomato and cucumber chop and garlic sauce.  $4.99  He felt there might have been a bit more chicken involved in this matter.  

Never having had one, but usually considering one, I had the grilled chipotle Portobello taco with guacamole, pickled red onions (and I suspect a bit of habanero salsa) and jalapenos with citrus-infused kale.  $4.99  I ordered the kale on the side which they did and Richie and "D" ate it.  I liked the citrus sauce the sliced Portobello rested on, but next time I am going to order two, possibly three Portobellos because it was just one rather smallish one.  Runt of the litter so to speak   $4.99 - do you see a trend here?

As we'd had a light lunch I proposed that we go to the new French pastry place in Riviera Village (aka south Redondo) for dessert.  "D" begged off; other fish to fry so we sallied forth. 

Desserts by Patrick is located at 1820 South Catalina and is difficult to spot from Catalina, since it is tucked away with other buildings and a small parking lot.  

The chef/owner Patrick Mogodin and his daughter Estelle moved his patisserie in Paris here.  Somewhere over the Atlantic, he added gelatos to the menu.  We went for pastries instead and I fell madly in love with one called a Canales which is chewy-tough on the exterior and custardy soft cake for the interior.  Richie's pastry - an éclair - and my canales were $4 each.      Only $8 for a trip to Paradise.  I recommend it.  


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

"I Think of It as 'Research' For Readers"

I justify my lamentable sneak attack on a meal out by the above rationalization …

Friday's Haircuts - El Gringo, 422 Main St., El Segundo   We both liked it here - Richie for the enormous machaca burrito  ($14) and my beef taco ($4)and cheese enchilada ($4)  were sizeable enough, but happily were  not as big as the 5 lb. doorstop his burrito looked to be.  The small guacamole ($5) had the chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, and a heap of cilantro along the sides of the avocado mix and you composed your own based on what you like.  
Lunch was $36.14  which included a Pacifico ($6) for Richie; water for me.  

Tuesday (yesterday's) 10:30 a.m. with "Tom" a physical therapist who will be treating leftover limping from the total hip replacement four years ago using in-pool exercises.    The first is this Friday.  I look forward to it.  Amusingly enough considering my lamentable habit of making sure I get good behavior food rewards out of almost any excursion … the map of how to get there details all of the fast food and sit-down restaurants in what looks like a wide-ranging area!  How did they know?

But, I get ahead of myself.  Yesterday post-appointment, we  went to Elephant Bar in the cluster of restaurants at Hawthorne and Torrance Boulevards.   It used to be good.  

I'd forgotten how languid the service is and since it was 11:45 a.m., surrounded by offices and medical outposts and, farther afield, Little Co. of Mary Hospital (immense) I was surprised to see the place so sparsely peopled and the same slow service.  

Richie ordered a regular Stella d'Artois beer ($7) and the Irish Pot Roast ($16.95.)  I asked what made it "Irish"? and he said succinctly "Guinness."  Generous portion and the carrots were most assured "al dente" big time.   Richie mentioned it to our server.  She volunteered to replace them, but he declined.  

My Bloody Mary ($8) came garnished with a bamboo skewer through a (had to be) foot-long stalk of celery, a mozzarella-wrapped strip of cooked bacon and a pimento-stuffed olive.    
I ordered French fries to go with our drinks.  ($2.95).  They were the little pieces that are left when the potato is cut for length.  They were cool.  They were left behind when we left.  

The coconut skewered shrimp  ($12.95)  I ordered were tasty, but they came with a wild mixture of green leaves, sliced red cabbage and no dressing.  I asked her about this and she said, "Oh, no, that doesn't come with dressing, but I'd be happy to get you a serving of salad dressing..." and rattled off about five.  The only one I heard that lingered was the first one she named - ranch - so I asked for that.  When it came, Richie used it as a dip for the French fries and I just dipped fork tines in it and ate a few bites of who knows what? greens.   Won't be dropping in there anytime soon even if this PT pool would be the next building over. Especially not to spend $47.85 for lunch

Today no appointments, but "D" wants to try a place he read about in a local paper  today at noon - Angel City Grill, Aviation, Redondo Beach.  Keep Eating!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Joan Rivers: Still Talking

Which is the sequel to the book "Joan Rivers:  Enter Talking."

My Parents Hated Me

My earliest childhood memory was watching my parents loosen the wheels on my stroller …

I'll never forget the first time my father took me swimming.  It must have taken an hour to saw that hole in the ice...

For bath toys they gave me a toaster and a radio...

My parents hated me.  My present for my first birthday was luggage...

On San Francisco
In San Francisco purse snatchers throw down the money and run off with the purse...

In San Francisco the banks are closed on Liberace's birthday

The leader of the Hell's Angel's nickname is Debbie...


How old am I?  At the Last Supper, I ran the hat check.

When someone asks my age, I say, "Bronze"

I can't remember my mid-life crisis - it was some time between the Civil War and Woodstock...

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Joan Rivers Was A Hoarder

And lucky for us.  Her daughter Melissa said that she saved everything - jokes in file cabinets labeled as to content - "Elizabeth Taylor" - so much material that she had a whole file cabinet to herself.  

Some samples:

"I suggested that Elizabeth Taylor's wedding be a private ceremony because of what happened last time.  After people threw rice, she demanded gravy."

"She's the only person I know who looks at a picture of 'The Last Supper' and asks 'Who got the leftovers?'"

"Liz isn't fat?  The woman puts mayo on an aspirin!"

She created a character named Heidi Abromovitz -

"She was the only girl in high school whose yearbook picture was a fold-out."

"Her motto is "Two is company, three is $50 more.  Tramp/"

The National Enquirer headlines - "Hitler Alive, says Amelia Earhart"

"The only article the Enquirer hasn't run is "Liberace is the father of my child"

On intellectually challenged - "I hear she uses a coke fork."

"Joan Rivers Confidential by Melissa Rivers with Scott Currie"   336 pages (it's a big fat cocktail table book)  $40 but amazon it to me for $20.