Monday, August 31, 2009

Lloyd Conducts a Seminar on Door Surfing

Red continued his reminiscing. He asked Richie, "Do you remember the time we'd finished playing ball and were going to the bar for a drink?" (Richie nods.) "We hadda take the subway and Lloyd was so impatient, he put his arm through the exit door. Cut it open right along here (drawing a line down his left forearm.)"

"So I said, "Lloyd, we gotta get you to the emergency room; get some stitches in that ..." and he says, "Nah, c'mon -- I thought we were gonna go get a drink."

"We'll get a drink afterward! C'mon!"

"So, we get to Emergency and sure enough, the doc has to sew it up. Lloyd's in a hurry so he tells the doc, 'Don't bother to numb it up -- just sew it so I can get outta here.' The doc shakes his head, but he does it - doesn't even bother to wash his arm off. Looking at Lloyd in that mood ... well, I can unnerstand."

"So I tell Lloyd, 'Go inna restroom and get that thing cleaned up' so he does. While he's in there, couple of cops bring in this huge black guy -- they've got him in cuffs, but black guy says he needs to use the bathroom, so they take'em off. Black guy goes inna toilet and Lloyd's got his leg in the way. Black guy snarls, 'Move your leg, white boy' and Lloyd doesn't say anything, just moves his leg. Black guy goes inna stall, comes back out and says, 'sneering, 'Didn't I tell you to move that leg, white guy?'

"Lloyd hauls off and hits him into the door so hard that the hinges break and the door and the guy go sailing out onto the floor! Cops look down at the guy and up at Lloyd, make a shooing gesture with their hands and say, 'Go'wan -- get outta here!'

Lloyd said, 'Now can we go get a drink?'"

EDITOR'S NOTE: I would never condone mindless violence like this back then or today. But it should be remembered that a good story never loses anything in the telling no matter how many years ago the event took place. I believe that Red was so fascinated by all of the above simply because it must have been like being in a movie! Or back in the Old West.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Legend of Lloyd Black

Once upon a time, a long time ago (pre-1965) a Major American Airline (MAW) hired a man named Lloyd Black to work at La Guardia. He worked as a Fleet Service Clerk (bag buster) along with our dear friend Red and, later on, Richie.

Lloyd was a big guy, probably 6 ft. 6 in. with a v-shaped body like a body builder or a prize fighter. In fact, Lloyd was known as a brawler; it was not wise to get on the wrong side of him. Previous encounters (he won them all) had left him with souvenirs, namely a nose that lay parallel to his cheek bones. It had been broken so many times, it was a flat as a pancake.

When I met him, years later, in the South of France, he wore his graying hair in a crew cut and worked part-time as a body guard (Cannes film festival) and in the movies as a bad guy. Perhaps the flat nose was a career-enhancer? Lloyd was too smart to mess with the gravy train.

But, back in the day, none of them had yet married. They were very much young bucks or, as the Irish would say, "lads." It was their habit to stop after work or a league softball game for a drink. And in these regularly-scheduled meetings, Lloyd really made a name for himself. He would not deliberately provoke another man, but he did not suffer fools -- at all, gladly or not. It was considered prudent to use a civil tongue around him.

On the way home from South Texas, we spent the night with Red and Barbara. Red got to reminiscing about Lloyd with great fondness and not a little admiration. Lloyd and Red were an unlikely pair in that Red had a hot temper and I would never have figured him as a restraining influence on Lloyd, but, Red said, "He'd listen to me."

Red laughed and said to Richie, "You remember that time with Tim Connolly?" Richie grinned and Red went on.

"Time was a little guy, probably only about 130 pounds, but he had a bad habit when he got drunk--"

"Which was most of the time," Richie interjected.

"And he'd start mouthing off to guys he really shouldn't have. Well, one night, Lloyd and me and (another big guy) were sitting at the bar when Tim comes in and sits at the end of us. Now we tried to avoid him, because he was annoying, but that night there he was. Sure enough, he starts in on Lloyd. Lloyd takes it for a little whiule, but I'm thinking, 'Uh-oh' and sure enough! -- get this! -- Lloyd reaches around both of us, never gets up offa the bar stool, picks Tim up by the neck, throws him over our heads! (hand describes an arch over his own head) against the back wall. I was sure Lloyd had killed him this time-- he's all slumped on the floor -- knocked out or dead and I don't know which so I get down and go over there and whew! He's just knocked out. So I say to Lloyd, 'You can't leave him here like this!'

So Lloyd gets up, walksover, bends down, grabs him by the neck and seat of the pants and throws him into a booth.

"There," said Lloyd, "you happy now?"

Back in Business

Finally. New computer, new stuff to learn. I've been off-line so long I feel as though I'm starting out all over again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Notebook waiting for HP's system operating disc; downstairs PC I'm in, but barely. The deafening silence from this blog is probably preferable over my howls of anguish. Neighbors have already complained...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bad Moon Rising ...

Update: I spent 74 minutes on the phone with HP (the weather's fine in downtown Bombay) to get this: WXO 05801 which is the customer order for an operating system disc to reboot the notebook. I think this may be a record... let me know if you can beat it! Computers -- blessing and bane...

The notebook crashed; took it back to Best Buys, was told to buy a new external drive and call HP for a reboot disc. Can't find "reboot discs" on their Web site, will have to call them. No notebook until I get it. Not looking forward to "For support software, press 18"....

Downstairs PC is slower than molasses in January; have deleted a bunch of files, but something is better than nothing.

Meanwhile, here are what seem to be the final figures on the insurance I mentioned in a previous column. One thing that amazes me is that one procedure (echocardiogram) took place June 5th! and the nuclear treadmill on June 15th and they've only now sorted it out? No wonder doctors have to have more start-up money than a restaurant!

Procedure Orig. $$$ I paid
echocardiogram 945.00 62.72
nuclear treadmill 1,215.00 114.88
"technettiu" 500.00 46.12
cardiovascular stress 375.00 23.14
heart function 200.00 11.43
heart wall motion 200.00 13.55
normal saline 25.00 0.05 a nickle!

I paid them $271.89 this morning and mailed it from our main Post Office. This statement says that $295.00 is"pending" from the insurance. I'll be honest, I don't understand a whole helluva lot here, but I paid it. Considering all that I got, I think it would have been cheap at twice the price. Think again, Obama -- I'm quite satisfied.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Aloha, But, er, No-ah

I have tried to learn to like Hawaiian fast food, but I just can't do it. I've eaten at The Loft, Hawthorne, Torrance; Back Home in Lahaina, Sepulveda, Manhattan Beach, Maui Rose, PCH, Hermosa Beach and Ohana Hawaiian BBQ, Redondo Beach Blvd, Lawndale.

To a restaurant, the meats on offer are greasy. Most orders automatically come with a big ball of rice and another of macaroni salad (the double starch duo.) Portions are very, very generous.

Yesterday's Hawaiian barbecue pork was slices of unknown parts of the pig that had been stir-fried! Thrown in were the gristle and fat... no charge. Ahem! Barbecue is NOT a stir-fried dish.

All of the above restaurants are clean, nice decor (more or less - Maui Rose wasn't really trying) with friendly serving people. All of which is nice, but a decent plate of food would be, too. Alas,
I'm stuck with the occasional outing to Roy's Hawaiian Fusion. I say "occasional" because it's usually $50 per person...A Rockefeller I'm not!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Going to the Dogs...and Loving It!

The Vangaurds guest speakers today were from the Guide Dogs for the Blind training staff. OR

Guide Dogs for the Blind was established in 1942 to help WW2 veterans, blinded in the war. At the centers in San Rafael and near Portland, OR., the dogs (German Shepards, Golden Retrievers and Laboradors) are bred and born and registered with the AKC. They have their own vet facilities.

At 8 to 10 weeks, the puppies are placed in volunteer homes to begin training the dogs in basic commands - sit, stay - and to socialize them by taking them to all the places people are found. They're taught to maintain a reliable bathroom schedule, walk calmly on a leash, lie quietly at their handler's side in public. The dogs also accept a 3X a day physical exam -- paws, pads and nails, ears with a grande finale massage! (The dogs usually go to sleep!)

At 15 months, the termporary owners return the dogs for formal training and then assignment to a blind person. Incidentally 20/200 vision is "legally blind."

The dogs learn to stop at curbs, steps, to steer owners around obstacles, to slow for tripping hazards and to ignore the distractions of other dogs, people and food.

When the future owners arrive, they work for three days with a human trainer and an empty dog harness ("Oh, look! An invisible dog!") Dog and owner are then matched as to (among other things) size, activity level, personalities of both. Dog and new owner remain on campus for an additional 25 days of training.

We were reminded of the four things a blind person can do: stay home forever; accept a human guide; use a cane or apply for a guide dog.

Melissa, who gradually grew blind, and her dog Anya were on hand and Melissa's stories brought both tears (of sympathy) and laughter - "So - am I getting a black dog or a blonde one -- to go with my outfit!" She told us that she had never enjoyed as much freedom -- "We need to go? We get on the bus, the train, the plane -- and we go!"

These dogs are working dogs -- do not run up to one screaming, "Oooh! Look at the doggy woggy!" and attempt to pet it. For one thing it is a felony charge in California (and most other states) to interfere with a guide dog. Leave the dog alone!

And while you do, consider this: a guide dog walked his blind owner down 78 floors to safety during 911.

Guide Dogs for the Blind does not receive government funding, do visit their Website to see if you'd like to make a donation to any of the programs they are currently running.

Monday, August 10, 2009


If it wasn't right in front of my nose, I would never have dreamed it was a possibility -- Kimchi-flavored noodle soup! Put out by Nong Shim America, Rancho Cucamonga, it bears a purple seal saying "Endorsed by Professional Chefs 2003-2008."

Kimchi is an Asian side dish, composed of cabbage pickled in a brine with a sweet-sour-hot taste. It is as controversial as limburger cheese to many -- it has its admirers and its abhorrers. But to find it used as a flavoring for instant noodle soup ... stretches my imagination considerably.

Pat bought a case of it at Cosco as Bob likes it, but when Richie pointed out that each bowl is 43% salt, she had to re-think her purchase. In a move Marie Antoinette might have envied, she decided to donate them to the Salvation Army! If the recipients blow up like the Michelin Man, so what? It's food, isn't it?

Friday I got a haircut -- a really short hair cut. Think Mia Farrow around the time she married Frank Sinatra (who, incidentally wound up in later years, wearing a rug, cut very similar to what I now sport.)

I do have alternatives -- I can stay inside the house for the next two weeks; I can pretend I didn't know the person was addressing me, and gently say, "Oh, I'm sorry! I'm used to being addressed as Sister Perpetua.." I could toss it off with an airy, "Yeah, chemo's a bitch, ain't it?" or "My husband cut it -- isn't SHE good?"

Or I could do what I am doing -- brazening it out. It's not like it will never grow back in! Patience...which is doing nothing to soothe Richie's rage. He really hates it. In fact, he cut me dead at the gym this morning (Too late, pal! They know.)

Regarding Der Weinerschnitzel, I was informed by a Gentle Reader that "They make a better burger than McDonald's, too."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Who Knew?

Feeling hungry for something different, I popped into a Der Weinerschnitzel yesterday and discovered they sell jalapeno poppers! They go three for 99 cents or six for $1.49. I bought three - wary, as always. Quite good! Cheddar cheese mixed with bits of chopped, pickled jalapeno, deeply breaded and then (shudder) deep-fat fried.

I could see these being brought along to a friend's house (instead of a bottle of wine?) or as a really quick appetizer at your own home.

To my fellow Californians -- support Der Weinerschnitzels! They came into being in 1961 in Wilmington, CA.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Airline News

Reporting from the Vanguard's newsletter --

A JFK runway had to be closed for 35 minutes in July, causing 90-minute flight delays. Reason? This particular runway juts out into the bay and 78 diamondback terrapin turtles apparently decided to sunbathe on it. The turtles, weighing 2 to 3 lbs. were scooped up, taken away and released back into the sea -- far from JFK. En garde, La Guardia!

Asiana Airlines (of which I had never heard) is about to startle and amuse pax on 52 flights with staff dressed as pirates who will entertain with magic tricks, tarot card readings ("I see you on a full plane -- oops!") manicures, face painting, origami lessons and fashion shows.

Good news! Soon we'll be able to trace checked luggage at self-service kiosks by scanning the bar codes on luggage tags to see exactly where a bag might be. This means you can report a missing bag in TWO MINUTES not the average 45 minutes it now takes. Whee, I suppose.

Pet Airways is designed solely to transport pets. "Pawsengers" are flown in 50 individual crates (bring a blanket, toy, leash, water dish and your pet's specific food) in pressurized cabins with an FA checking them every 15 minutes. The aircraft, a Beech 1900, designated as a 19 pax turboprop, makes more stops for fuel, allowing the FA and ground personnel to give pets a walk/potty break. The first flights to five destinations are sold out for at least two months. Fare is $149 per pet, one way. Animals get "pet points" and owners can track flights online. For details:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reversing Karma

Later that same day ... we went for dinner to Cialuzzi's. Noting a police officer (in uniform) and his wife dining at the next table, when he got up to leave I gestured to get his attention and said, "Thank you for all you and your fellow officers do" and he said, "Thank you, darlin'!"

Richie had paid our tab and as I went out the door, I handed the owner my business card with the blog address and said, "Yesterday I wrote praising your excellent Caesar salad..." and he beamed, leaned forward, kissed my cheek and (after a hasty glance at the card) said, "Thank you Neena darlin'!" I smiled, didn't correct him and split. By the by, it's 9-ah as in Nine-ah clock.

No more messin' with karma for today. Bitch store is closed.

Bitch For a Day

I'm up two for the day! This morning at the gym I'd finished all but one machine in my routine. It's a device you sit on and push your legs back and forth, mainly to relax the back. A woman was sitting on it; another woman was talking to her and the two of them were just having a high old time, laughing and scratching. So I stalked over and stood at the end of the counter next to them. The standing visitor looks up, looks startled and said, "Oh! Are you waiting for this?" (No I heard the train stops here...) and the woman seated jumps and says, "Oh just one more rep and I'll be done" and starts pumping away. I smiled, turned and leafed through a newspaper on the counter. Seconds later, she jumped up, said "Thank you!" and hurried off.

This afternoon at Thurs. Writers, five of us were seated around the table, Joyce was reading her short story to us for critique and ... a woman at the computer went and got another woman and the two of them began loudly discussing what was wrong with it. (When there is someone who is quietly using a computer, we don't care.)

I got up, walked over and said, "Excuse me, we're having a meeting here?" Incomprehension on both faces. "This is the writers' workshop and we have this room until 3 p.m.?" (frown) "Oh, sorry! Sorry!" from both of them. And they ran away.

Sadly, I find this work quite uplifting and wish I could find more of it. Still, the day isn't over yet. We're going out to dinner.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Personal Favorites

A beef taco and a cheese enchilada? Rosa's, 322 PCH, Redondo This is a great place for a quick bite. The interior is beautifully painted to resemble a Mexican patio. The food is flavorful and served in small portions. A burrito as big as a watermelon makes me nervous. $ - Inexpensive.

Yellow Curry Shrimp - Phuket Thai, 190th and PCH. This sauce is a perfect blend of seasonings -- just enough warmth that I keep taking "one last bite" of rice so I can put sauce on it. $$ - Moderate

Pizza - Valentino's, 10th and Aviation, Manhattan Beach - It's a thin crust with chewy mozzarella and the tomato sauce is underwhelming. So often a pizza is awash in sauce and the cheese and other toppings are skimpy. $

Caesar Salad - Cialuzzi's, 601 N. PCH, Redondo - in the strip mall across from the main Post Office. I order it every time we're there -- there's something magical about the seasoning. I also like their Jersey (very thin crust) pizza with pepperoni and pineapple and those are what I order. The chef does at least eight specials per night, but having found what I like...

Heuvos Rancheros - Polly's on the Pier, 233 N. Harbor Dr., RB The menu warns that the sauce is hot, but it's a tempered hot. Polly's validates parking! $

Beef - any cut - Union Cattle Co., Manhattan and Pier, Hermosa You're going to get man-sized servings of tender beef and a variety of sides (massive servings, enough for four.) I hear that Thursday nights are half-price for drinks and hors d'oeuvres which is worth looking into. $$$ but you do get your money's worth.

Teriyaki Burgers - any of the three Hennessy's (Hermosa, Manhattan, Riviera Village) The beef is good, the teriyaki is subtle and with a ring or two of grilled pineapple and onion? Bliss! I just wish they automatically served fries with them and not potato chips.

Bloody Mary - Joe's Crab Shack, 230 Portofina Way, Redondo They use Demetrius mix and that makes all of the difference. You can order the heat dialed up or down "without the salad" which means "no garnish." $$

Dirty Gin Martini, Up - Chicago for Ribs, PCH, Riviera Village - across the street from Bristol Farms. Strictly for reporting purposes, I have had a lot of them (understatement) and this is simply the best. $$ Kudos to them, too, for their onion loaf. A half-loaf will feed four, so you've been warned.

All of the above are wheelchair or walker accessible except Hennessy's, Manhattan Beach; have never been there so don't know for sure.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Putting the Spin on Selling Culturally-Acceptable Sex

The Three Dodger fans reviewed the food at the Tilted Kilt last year so I had to change my line of attack. Tilted Kilt, 310 10th Avenue, San Diego 619-814-KILT.

Kilt servers (female) wear top to bottom (which is barely covered) a plaid bra with a white midriff tie shirt with a sleeve, a very short kilt, the waist of which is well below the navel, knee-high white socks and black, high-heeled Mary Jane pumps. Scottish schoolgirl gone bad..

At Hooters, the female servers wear orange satin, skin-tight shorts and a white tank top or short or long-sleeved t-shirts with white athletic sock and sneakers. writes that bras and pantyhose are mandatory wear.

The first Kilt opened in 2003 at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas, the brainchild of one Mark DiMartino.
The first Hooters opened on October 4, 1983 in Clearwater, Fl. Today the franchise owns 450 Hooters in 43 US locations plus whole countries! (see for the list.)

System wide, Hooters employs 25,000 people, 15,000+ of which are Hooter Girls. Reported income breaks out as follows: 69% food, 28% alcohol and 3% merchandise. Customers are mostly men (68%) from the ages of 25 to 54. Only 10% of all customers bring in their kids.

Hooters states that women have as much right to use their feminine appeal as a supermodel or a Dallas Cowgirls cheerleader (there's a career to aspire to!) Hooters strongly supports womens' lib saying they have the right to choose their own careers. Hooters has successfully fought off discrimination suits -- men who want the same right to wear the abbreviated costumes. Hey, c'mon -- guys have the Chippendale's franchises! Which, come to think of it, is just a spin on the old time burlesque stars.

Sex sells. Whatcha gonna do? If an attractive person wants to make a living fairly cleanly (Hooters, Kilt and Chippendales all have strong anti-harrassment systems in place) by flaunting their bodies, isn't that their business? But: every good-looking person has a sell date. You won't find any 50 year olds still in the business. That would be my only caution to The Ladies -- "Put your tip money in an annuity and live fat ever after."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beaches, Baseball and Beers

Error! "D" called to say that the game was played in Petco Park, not QualComm Stadium. Our apologies (but truthfully, he didn't have to use some of the adjectives he chose in pointing this error out. Since this is presumably a family-friendly blog I will forgo repeating any of them.)

Yesterday, Mouton, "D", Richie and self make it to the train station with time to spare; it arrived
on time and we scurried upstairs to the observation deck and grabbed four seats together in a middle car (Mouton and I rode facing the caboose.) After some industrial-type scenery (car and boat junk yards) we began to run along the Pacific Ocean. At times we were so close to the water that it seemed like being on a boat! We passed beaches, full of people, camping tents, RVs.

Our train was going to be late (it had to wait for a northbound train to pass) so I called "Raffish" to tell him. If asked if the train stopped at Old Town before going on to the San Diego main station? When I said it did, he suggested I get off there so I did.

He was on the platform and saw me descend, rushed over to shake Richie's hand and then the train moved off taking them (eventually) to QualComm Stadium where they would watch the Padres vs. Milwaukee Brewers game. As their beloved Dodgers play the Brewers tonight, this was felt to be a scouting expedition on their parts about the Brewers -- defense? Offense?

Leaving them to it, Raffish and I walked through Old Town to Rockin' Baja Lobster, sat down in the sunny patio off the bar and ordered a pair of Pacificos and an order of Tequila-Lime Shrimp sauteed in butter and olive oil with a sauce of cilantro, red pepper, lime and tequila which came with two slices of grilled garlic bread (the better to sop up the excellent sauce.) Rockin' Lobster has a help-yourself-salsa bar with a mountain of chips. Lunch was $32.61 before a 20% tip.

Waxing enthusiastic about the lingering, aged hippies, he drove us to Ocean Beach (usually fondly called "OB," Newport Avenue, the main drag and has lots of restos, bars, used clothing and antique shops lining it. We saw silver pony-tailed men and their ladies and a lot more 30-somethings, many with strollers and little kids.

The first place we went to was too packed to stay, so we crossed the street to Newport Pizza which boasts "No Crap From Our Taps" regarding their line of signature beers. Raffish pointed out that San Diego's dress code is pretty relaxed (men even wear flip flops with suits) gesturing to a trio of young men who had removed their shirts. In fairness, if one has spent that much money on tattoos, it only makes sense to display them when management permits. Newport Pizza, 5050 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach 619-224-4540

Back to the car and onward to Blind Lady's Ale House, 3416 Adams Avenue, San Diego 619-255-2491. Feeling a bit peckish by then, we ordered and shared house-cured olives and a Pizza Margarite (tomato sauce, cheese and fresh basil) along with a pair of their amber ales that were so good that we ordered two more. He insisted on treating, so I don't know what the tab was.

My cell phone rang, Richie and the others were at the Tilted Kilt in downtown San Diego. We saddled up and joined them. After some convivial conversation, Raffish gave us a very much appreciated ride to the station, we boarded the train and left. We did manage to stay awake until the beach scenes had flashed past and then I think they all went to sleep -- I know I did...

All in all, a very good day -- they got to see their beloved baseball LIVE! and I got to see people and neighborhoods with a very comfortable old friend who has a descriptive flair and feeling for both. Tomorrow: Live at the Tilted Kilt.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Road Trip

Sunday, 9 a.m. the train of Sure & Certain Death to San Diego. Remember.. middle cars... face the caboose... carry big purse with small axe in it for the window... drink heavily tonight...

Full report on Monday, I feel strong! If not particularly stoic.

The Vultures Slow Circling Has Begun

"The Kennedy Legacy - Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled" by Vincent Bzdek Palgrave Macmillan 254 pages (not including indexes) $26.95

The Acknowledgement (front of book) starts... Shortly after Kennedy collapsed from a seizure in May 2008, I hurred to several bookstores in search of something to read about Kennedy and his lifelong contributions to the Kennedy legacy. (italics by Ed)

Well! Quel horror! Nothing (!) had been written in the past 10 years about this star. And so, surprise! His editor suggested that he write a new book "that placed him in the center of the family narrative." I.e., massive spin on the acknowledged under-achiver of that family.

I would not have thought that there was any new ground to be ploughed about this family. About the only thing left is analization of why and how they succeeded which this book attempts to do.

I've always thought that the Kennedys were careless people -- careless about others' feelings, possessions and those of others -- Got drunk and wrecked the car? No worries! Here's a new one! Oh, someone got hurt? What's her name; I'll write a check. The kind of over-bearing arrogance that I find fascinating, frankly.

In their heyday (some 50 years running) the manner in which they extricated themselves from their own doings could madden me. But now that generation, save Ted, has all gone to their dubious rewards. RIP