Friday, April 30, 2010


The ACLU and other liberal parties are clawing their faces and screaming "Profiling!"

Um, what is a "registered sex offender" if not someone who has been profiled?

Why CAN'T illegal aliens be identified as such? Why do so many eyes seem not register the "illegal" part?

In other news, my dear sister has informed me that I ran the wrong brisket recipe. She said if I behaved, she'd send the right one. Based on the above... don't go out and buy the beef now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life's Oddities/Improbabilities

Oddity: Today's news reports that Al and Tipper Gore have added to their real estate portfolio, buying an $8.8 million mansion in Montecito, CA (Oprah will be a neighbor.) The house is said to contain six fireplaces (air quality, anyone?) five bedrooms and NINE bathrooms plus an outdoor pool, spa and fountains. Southern California is nearly always in drought conditions; we are urged daily to conserve water.

But Gore who has yelled about global warming the way Henny Penny screamed that the sky was falling seems only to have done that and NOT joined in the Go Green Movement. Hey! Nobelist wants a nice house? What's wrong with that?

Improbable, But Actually Happened

Around 1985, we visited my cousins in Lafayette, LA. During the course of their showing us around, they stopped at a cemetery to explain how bodies must be buried in high water table areas (a concrete box above ground.) One "box lid" had a nearly life-sized engraving of a rider on a motorcycle, limned in turquoise stone. The resident, a young man, had died in a motorcycle crash.

But lo! Yesterday I heard on the car radio that David Morales Colon, 22, was waked wearing his racing leathers, helmet and dark glasses atop his motorcycle in the viewing room of a funeral home in Puerta Rico. Prior to being shot to death, he had requested this (most) unusual gesture.

He may have been taking a clue from Angel Pantoja Medina, age 24, who was waked standing up, propped in a corner of his mother's living room, on August 19, 2008, in Puerta Rico.

C'mon, mainland America! We're getting out-created!

For ideas, visit the National Museum of Funeral History ( located in Houston. Currently they are featuring fantasy coffins of arist Kane Quaye, of Accra, Ghana, whose works include coffins shaped and painted to resemble: a Mercedes car, a KLM plane, a Yamaha outboard motor. Ghanans consider the deceased still a (living) part of the family and want to reflect that person's status/importance in that family.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not Where We Thought We Were

My sister and bro-in-law (in from Chicago) decided to follow Richie's suggestion and have lunch at Creme de la Crepe (previously reviewed) in Manhattan Beach. Off we went. We followed Richie down the sidewalk, talking away. When he turned in at a red-painted doorway, we followed. Briefly, the thought flickered through my mind that the other Creme de la Crepes were painted yellow...

We chose a window table, sat down and the waitress brought menus. They all said, "Mr. Cecil's Ribs" in bright, red letters. Our server said, "Oh, the crepe place isn't here any more." We all love bbq, so we shrugged and ordered drinks at Mr. Cecil's Ribs, 1209 Highland Ave., MB, 310-546-5400

Richie had the BBQ pork with baked beans ($9.95) Jane had the BBQ Brisket with cole slaw ($9.95) and I can't remember what Jim had - something healthy; either chicken or salmon. I ordered the hush puppies with butter and honey (8 for $5.95) to share and a Cajun shrimp dish, four huge prawns with a dipping sauce composed of (I'm pretty sure) melted butter, habanero chili powder and SALT. $13.

The hush puppies were crispy brown (and go better with the "hot" bbq sauce on the table than with butter and honey.) Richie's beans were thick, smoky and flavorful. The cole slaw was praised for not being "too mayonnaise-y." My prawns were tough and then chewy; perhaps due to their size. Even though I knew it was loaded with salt, I couldn't resist the prawn sauce...

Jane, however, was less than pleased with hr brisket flavoring. She said, calmly, "My recipe is much better. Leslie (my niece) and her friends love it and ask for it." So here's her recipe, good for pork, chicken and beef:

1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
2 T rosemary
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Combine, pour over the meat and marinate for 24 hours. Roast or grill the meat and heat the remaining marinade and serve over the meat.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Signs of the Approaching Armageddon

Possible or Probable Scam?
Stephen Baldwin, age 43, on of the infamous Baldwin brothers is being helped by a Web stie called Restore him to what? you wonder. It seems that Mr. Baldwin has discovered Jesus and become a born-again Christian. As such, he has refused to work in movies with sex or violence and is going broke, having "lost 70% of his income" for that reason.

Keeping It In the Family
Michael Jackson's mother Katherine is moving four of the seven children in her house to a condo, saying that at her age, she take care of them all. The children belong to one Alejandra Oaziaz and include her two with Randy Jackson, age 38, and her two with Randy's brother, Jermaine, age 55. She is not married (nor has she been) to either of the brothers.

Armagedden draws nigh...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Not Exactly Pearl Mesta...

Yesterday afternoon, we celebrated my birthday with a small party at Las Brisas, Redondo.

The restaurant staff took the half-sheet cake and put it in the refrigerator. Guests began arriving in a timely fashion and I enjoyed greeting and seating them. The party began to gain momentum; everyone had a beverage of their choice.

What they didn't have was any appetizers! I forgot to order them when the first guests began showing up. Las Bisas stepped in with alacrity and soon each of the three tables had nachos supreme or ole grande quesadillas.

Menus were given out, dinners were ordered and eaten. Guests continued to visit and enjoy libations. Right after the first wave of them had left, I remembered: The Birthday Cake!

Quickly it was brought out, photographed, admired and some small slices taken. We left with about 2/3ds of it and this was after restaurant staff had had a crack at it.

It was a carrot cake with a pineapple layer and cream cheese frosting. A more apt label would have been: IDIOT!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Food and Photography

This blog was triggered by a full page article in the Food section, LA Times, on the Getty Museum's new exhibit of same. "Tasteful Pictures" covers the last 150 years in food photography.

"None of these pictures were made by a digital camera," crows Virginia Heckert, curator of the exhibit. The earliest photo was shot by Roger Fenton in 1860.

I thought about today and the way so many find it necessary to whip out a cell phone or digital camera and record what was put in front of us. (Yes, I'm guilty because I ask Richie to do it.) And then I wondered what restaurants/chefs thought about it. Are there rules?

What I discovered is a virtual mania for food photos! Shooters put them on MySpace, YouTube and God only knows what all else. So much so that some chefs and front-of-the-house staff will tell you not to do it as the flash annoys other guests; there is an expectation of privacy (of sorts) in a restaurant and that they (resto staff) don't want you taking pictures of other guests.

Here are the rules that I learned:

1. Don't make a big deal of taking the photo. Don't kneel on the banquette, stand on a chair or move everything around on the table (which delays service and, more importantly, your food gets cold.)

2. No flash! It irritates others and, if you're really banging away, I'd remind that a flash every seven seconds can cause seizures in people prone to having them. Use the "candlelight" setting on your digital camera. I doubt that cell phone cameras have that setting (mine at least is Bang Flash Picture Taken) so perhaps if you feel you absolutely must have this picture, very carefully study the subject and then take one (and only one) shot of it with the flash.

3. If you're told "No!" tell them you're writing a blog on the place (and love it) or want to recommend it to friends and ask if you might come back at a less busy time and shoot them.

Sidebar: A University of Wisconsin program studied 43 people who were told to take a picture of everything they ate -- and those people lost weight! Something about having to think about what you were about to put in your stomach. Photos of your food also lets physicians know portion sizes which can often be the problem.

This public service announcement was brought to you by Furious Chefs, Inc.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Sally Fields Moment

Yesterday the Thurs. Writers stunned me with a bang-up birthday party! (I'll be 70 on Sunday.) I couldn't have been more surprised at the sheer lavishness of it -- a big cake with plenty of icing roses (a particular favorite,) a dozen long-stemmed, red roses from Emma, who owns and runs ELP Books and whose first imprimatur "Portia's Incredible Journey" is selling ike hot cakes in only the first two weeks of issuance! There were cool birthday cards plus Bob and Joyce both wrote odes to me! Joyce's card is an original painting entitled "Our Ocean" and it's above.
Since I am known most often as "The Rules Nazi" you can only imagine my surprise. That's what should have been on the cake!

Talk about a really appropriate card: "It is better to be 70 years young than 40 years old." Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Bob's poem notes that it is "to be read with proper bathos and a certain amount of sincerity."

Ode to Nina, on the occasion of her 70th birthday
They say, these days, that 70 is the new 50
Notwithstanding she says that it is
NOT so nifty to age, even if gracefully.
She recalls the day, when 50
She could slip around swiftly and
Now she is slowed up and thrifty
and wishes she could revert to 30.
But Happy Birthday
You've achieved a milestone
Your friends still love you, and
Throw you a bone
We like you old -- to have and to hold!
And, please remember --
Some of your friends are even older
And you're a long way from starting to molder!

(Ed. note: Probably won't be set to music any time soon.)

Joyce wrote this and you will notice the immediate reference to the Rules Nazi:
Our Nina is a critic; she tells us what is wrong.
She sees that every word is right, that no sentence is too long.
Our Nina writes a blog about the places best to eat,
Fun places we can play, what happens on the street.
Our Nina is a friend, to both the young and old,
We know that her good deeds are always left untold.
So Happy Birthday; may 70 be the start
Of many more years of happiness of which we'll be a part.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This Just In

Alert Readers will remember that last week I failed the written exam for the California driver's test. I went back this morning, around 9 a.m., and this time the line stretched all the way around to the back of the building. It reassured me that I got to go in the side door to the tester. Since no one had made it that far yet -- it's the last thing you do -- the guy wasn't busy.

He handed me the test and said, "Just take all the questions on the front of the test."

"I don't have to do the back?"

"No, just the front." I thought that since this was my second go at it, that I was being excused from the back. I did it, handed it in and he graded it. I passed!

So then I asked, "Why didn't I have to do the back?" and he said, "We only use the test on the front."

I didn't ask why the back was printed, too. Granted it's my tax dollars, but there are times to leave well enough alone.

Clearly Not On The Same Page Nor Even the Same Book

From this morning's Letters To The Editor section, Los Angeles Times:

"If we really are commited to 'saving the earth' and passing a global cap-and-trade agreement, how do we handle the egregious crimes committed this week by Iceland?

"Shouldn't Icelanders take responsibility for the filth they are belching into our atmosphere?"

(signed) Konrad Lau, of Sedro-Woolley, Washington

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Carrots are in season and they are very good for us. They're full of beta carotene (antioxident) and vitamin A, essential for good eye health. So eat your nice carrots! Here are a few ways...

Use the baby carrots instead of taco chips with salsa (my favorite.)

4 or 5 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
5 or 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
1/4 cup olive oil, pepper to taste

Saute the carrots in the olive oil and then add the garlic. After they've browned, use a slotted spoon to remove them. They should have a carmelized appearance and not stick together.

1 lb. carrots, sliced into rounds and gently cooked to soften them.
1 small can green chiles
1 small yellow onion, minced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 can cream of tomato soup

Put the vegetables in a bowl and mix well. Put the brown sugar, vinegar, oil and soup in a pan and bring it to a boil. Pour over the carrot mixture and let cool.

6 carrots, peeled and cied
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T horseradish
2 T grated onion
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup buttered bread crumbs.

Cook the carrots until tender, drain and put in a baking dish. Combine the mayo, horseradish, onion and pepper together and stir into the carrots. Top with breadcrumbs, bake at 300 for 15-20 minutes.

1/2 oz. corn oil
2/3 stick of butter
6 medium carrots, cut in 2 in. lengths
2 teas. tarragon

Heat the oil and butter together, put the carrots in the pot and cover, cooking low for minutes. Turn carrots, add tarragon and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

4 large carrots, cut in rounds
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, sliced and ringed
big pinch of ground oregano
Pepper to taste

Saute the onions, then briefly cook the carrots and seasonings. Cook until the vegetables are tinged with brown.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vegetarian Tex-Mex Recipes

Is this even possible? My mind's eye sees a bowl of chili -- browned meat redolent with chilis, onions, garlic... (no beans; no tomatoes.) The vegetarians also make a version of what meat eaters know as tamale pie.

From "The New American Vegetarian Menu Cookbook" by Paulette Mitchell

3 T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups cooked kidney beans, drained
1/1/2 cups (2 8.oz cans) tomato sauce
2 cups cooked corn
2 cups whole tomatoes (1 8 oz. can)
2 or 3 T chili powder
3 drops hot pepper sauce
1 teas. ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teas. dried basil
1 teas. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teas. pepper
1 cup raisins
1 cup whole raw cashews
Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, grated as garnish

Melt the butter in a big pot and sautee the onion, green pepper and celery until crisp tender
Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the raisins and cashews and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir in the raisins and cashews and continue to simmer until the raisins plump out.
Ladle in bowls and top with the cheese

1 cup cornmeal
6 T oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 medium-size green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 cups cooked kidney beans, drained
1 cup cooked corn, drained
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
2 teas. chili powder
1/2 teas. dried oregano
1/2 teas. pepper
2 drops hot pepper sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Set the oven at 350. Oil a pie pan. Combine the cornmeal, 4 T oil and 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Mix thoroughly and press into the pie pan. That's the crust.
Heat 2 T oil and saute the onion, celery, green pepper and garlic. Stire in remaining vegetable stock and all other ingredients EXCEPT the cheeses which you will mix together.
Press half of the cheese mixture into the pie pan, add the vegetable mix and bake about 30 minutes. Then take the pan out and cover with the rest of the cheese. Put the pan back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve. Can be prepared the day before.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Very Good Read

"In The President's Secret Service; Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect" by Ronald Kessler Crown Publishers 273 pages $26

Kessler has written more than a dozen books on various aspects of our federal government. It amazes me that he was able to write this one as the Secret Service agents are a notoriously close-mouthed society.

Naturally, I loved the gossipy bits -- Richard and Pat Nixon never inter-acted nor showed any affection privately and she really, really liked her martinis. (And who could blame her?)

Jimmy Carter made a big show of going into his office at 5 a.m. to impress the media -- and then promptly took a nap. The carry-on bag he famously carried when boarding Air Force 1 was empty and used as a prop for this "man of the people." Daughter Any was a total brat and enjoyed being mean to agents and stewards on the plane. Carter won "Most Disliked President" from his agents.

Lyndon B. Johnson was well-equipped to, er... conduct personal business and was very proud of that fact, routinely calling people into the bathroom to discuss matters as he showered or sat on the toilet. (Talk about vulgar!)

Nancy Reagan disliked going to the ranch. While there, she spent almost all of her time inside on the phone to her four best friends. Ronnie rang the bell for her to come one day; the horses were saddled and ready to go. She ignored him. He went to the house and a bit later, one of the techs reported trouble on a line. He was allowed in to see about it and came out carrying a smashed phone. Reagan had a temper.

But underlying these gauzy bits of fluff is the author's insistence that the Secret Service management is a group of dinosauers who still believe only in the one assassin attack; completely ignoring reports of well-heeled terrorist groups. Kessler contends (from agent reports) that the agents are spread too thin, worked too hard -- 18 hour days are not unusual -- and angry about it. The Old Boys refuse to up requests for more funding, preferring a blind "can do" attitude to reality. At a time when (according to the author) threats against Obama are up 400% over those to former President George W. Bush... this seems an invitation to disaster.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Maybe That's Why I Flunked

Our friend "D" came over for dinner last night and teased me unmercifully about flunking the written driver's test at the DMV. I protested that DMV-speak is illegible and to prove it, got the test out.

Where, I discovered, I hadn't filled out the back page of the exam! And my question is: why didn't the exam lady TELL me; she did take the time to mark big red lines throough it...

Any road, we went to Triple A, got the exam and now I am studying.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Expectations vs. Reality

Richie and his lovely and charming dental tech got to talking about food during a recent appointment and she gave him a brochure for a grocery store that imports Spanish delicacies.

La Espanola Meats, Inc., 25020 Doble Avenue, Harbor City 310-539-0455

From a visit to their Web site, I expected a big, beautifully decorated store-- (gleaming jars of goodies in charming woven baskets, Italian flags hanging from ceiling beams, pretty/handsome clerks, Spanish words floating gently through the air.

Reality is: it's located in an industrial area. Doble Avenue was hard to find and when we did, we almost missed the "grocery store" because it's set off of the street, surrounded by a tall chain-link fence. We parked in their small lot and walked into "the store."

Sweets on our left, wines on our right. Steel shelves held a great variety of goods -- marmalads, box mixes for paella, custards, canned goods, a meat counter, a refrigerated wall filled with cheeses. Boullions in beef, chicken and fish flavor...

We browsed and bought: a marzipan fruit bar which is flat chunks of pineapple/ apple? surrounded by marzipan. It's good, but a little bit goes a looong way. $5.79 Praline Tiramisu which is a bar of strips of solid tiramisu between rows of chocolate was $5.79 Both of these desserts are the size of a huge chocolate bar. We got a bag of "mini artisan tapas bread sticks" for $3.49

They do carry the fabled Iberian ham, but we just looked at it. It's $45 for 4 oz. It's also marbled with wide bands of fat. By the time you separated fat from meat, you'd have maybe $15 worth of meat.

Some of the labels on the canned goods made me wonder if they were bought on the cheap in Spain and shipped over. A can of lentil soup was $3.49! Reminds me of a souvenir shop in Charleston. Their can of she-crab soup was $4. So we went to a supermarket and bought the exact same thing for $1.79.

In summation: if you are longing for Spain and rich as Croesus, this is the store for you! Mangia buon!(I think)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Busted. Again.

Bob and I had allowed the Thurs. Writers to bask once again in our presence and were headed to Truck. Which had an envelope under the driver's side windshield wiper.

Ticket was $35 "Meter Expired." The officer's comment was "Permit Not Properly Displayed." Since that meant he'd seen it, the ticket was invalid, no?

Thurs. Writers join the center where we meet weekly for $6/year and are issued parking permits to park at meters without paying.

So I dropped him off and went straight to the Police Department. The lady clerk who handled my statement was very, very nice. She listened carefully and said, determindly, "I'll take care of this!"

I had to fill out a form and explain myself on the bottom of it.

"Parking pass slipped off of rearview mirror; fell face up and readable on front seat. (Probably when shut the door.)

"Thus, since my pass was visible (and not in my purse) I was entitled to park and not pay the meter."

She had my write out a self-addressed envelope and said that it will probably come back to me empty and that means Do Nothing Further.

Yesterday I flunked the driving test; today a ticket. I expect to get shot in a hold-up gone wrong tomorrow...might spend the day in bed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Dept. of Motor Vehicles

I'm going there today; should be back by Tuesday. I have to renew my license before 4/25 and the first appointment I could have gotten was for 5/5/10.

More later, perhaps...

Going to the DMV is like going to the dentist, only worse.
Arrive 11 a.m.
Was given my number at 11:39 a.m. The line to get this at the Information desk stretched out of the building, down the front of it and around the corner.
Did the eye chart, had my picture taken and was sent to do to the written test.

Leaving at 1:40 p.m. was told I'd flunked the written test and would have to come back, BUT I can sidle in the side door, hand my old test to the lady, get a new one and do it then and there.

Question 15 A pedestrian who is blind or visually impaired uses traffic sounds before deciding to cross the street. If you see a pedestrian with a guide dog or white cane, you should:
A. Stop at the cross walk and honk your horn ____
B. Drive into the crosswalk so the person can hear your engine.______
C. Pull up to the crosswalk so the person can hear your engine__

I answered A with "honk" meaning "toot" to me. The right answer, according to the DMV, is C. How sinister is that? You're blind and you hear ... a car ... sneaking up on you! Will it pounce? Will it wait? Did no one at the DMV think about a friendly shout -- "You're okay on this side!"

Since all our streets with pedestrian lights MAKE a sound, I think this is kind of irrevelant.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Richie and the Cheese Souffle

For the record: I've never made one; I've never eaten one. Souffles are just too iffy. Thus, when Richie announced that he was going to make a cheese souffle for dinner the next night, I feared for him. Calmly, I said, "That's nice" and turned the page in my book.
He got the recipe from a book by Jacques Pepin, his new hero. It's from "The Apprentice, My Life in the Kitchen."
Pepin writes that when his mother, age 17, married his father, age 22, she could cook bsic dishes but that was about all. But his father loved cheese souffles, so she asked around, got a recipe and made one. No one had bothered to tell her to separate the eggs, but -- the souffle rose beautifully and has been a family favorite ever since.
MAMAN'S CHEESE SOUFFLE (Richie halved the recipe)
6 T sweet butter plus butter to grease the gratin dish.
6 T all-purpose flour
2 cups cold milk
1/2 teas. ground black pepper
5 extra-large eggs (Richie used two)
2 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
3 T minced chives - he used green onions
Preheat the oven to 400. Butter your dish and set it aside.
Melt the butter, add the flour and whisk well. Cook for 10 seconds and then add the milk, whisking until it comes to a full boil. (It will get very thick; that's okay) Add the pepper and let it cool.
Break the eggs into a bowl and beat. Add the eggs, cheese and chives to the sauce and mix well.
Pour it into the buttered gratin dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until it's puffy and brown on top.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


"A Year of Fedstivals - A Guide to Having the Time of Your Life" by the editors at Lonely Planet books (total pages not numbered) $24.99

The editors have included a "Level of Participation" from 1 to 5. Running the bulls at Pamplona would be a 5 (or an 11 in my book.)

The writing is witty -- "The Spring Festival, China, offers lotus seeds and sticky rice to the Kitchen God to sweeten his mood and glue his mouth shut so that he can't report on the state of the giver's kitchen."

Some festivals picked at random:

Battle of the Wines - particpiation level 5 because the people of Spain's Rioja wine country load water pistols, supersoakers, gourds, buckets and old boots to drench each other with wine. Sounds a bit wasteful to me...

Hemingway Days Festival, Key West, July 17th - 20th Do not take a mood-altering drug before your visit as you will believe you are hallucinating the more than 150 Hemingway look-alikes.

The Beer Can Regatta of Mindhi Beach, Darwin, Australia Contestants drink the beer and construct "boats" from the empties.

Burning Man, Gerlach,Nevada before and after Labor Day weekend. Warning: "Inhibitions are left at the gates." Apparently many goers seek an all-over tan.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Much Married

I read with interest this morning in Page Six that Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky is considering marriage to one Jason Winters. If the marriage does take place, it would be a Cougar Coup as she is 78 and he's 49. (29 years' difference)

Taylor's first marriage took place when she was 18. Subtracting 18 from 78 -- her current age -- gives us a total of 60 years married, divided by 8 (number of marriages) for a grand total of an average of A New Husband every 7.5 years. The Seven Year Itch? If she marries for the 9th time, that lowers her marriage frquencies to one every 6.66 years. I thought you needed to know that...

Which set me to wondering about this: If the first marriage is properly the white gown, big reception to-do, then what happens for Number 4? How do the men feel? How "fresh and new" can the bride be the 5th or 6th time around?

Miss Manners, Emily Post et al would tell us that the white gown is fine for a first wedding, but absolutely not for the second (let alone the 7th or 8th!) For any marraige after the first, the bride wears a tailored suit. Taylor's suit closet must be bursting at the hinges...

At the moment, sports fans, Taylor is one marriage behind Zsa Zsa Gabor who clocks in with nine. The most-married males of note are Artie Shaw and Mickey Rooney, tied with eight each.

Still, each cougar to its own. A 29-year-age difference? Pshaw! You're only as young as who you're feeling up, right?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Get Your Weekend Thinking Cap On!

"The amount of satisfaction you get from life depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction usually find boredom instead." William C. Menninger, American scientist, physician and engineer. (1899 - 1966)

Now go and out and party like Kennedys! It's Spring!

blog #505

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rich People Behaving Badly

"Dead End Gene Pool, A Memoir" by Wendy Burden Gotham Books 279 pages $26

Burden's great x four grandfather was Cornelius Vanderbilt, but the Burdens on their own made fortunes. Her grandparents owned a 5th Avenue Mansion, homes in Virginia, Maine and Florida.

In all of their establishments, Edwardian rigidity ruled the servants. Burden was born in 1955 and this rule still held. Alcohol and drugs marred the later years of: the grandparents, Burden's mother and both brothers. She has an ... interesting... resume: illustrator, zookeeper, taxidermist, bistro owner and chef.

She and her grandparents were in Paris; all went out to dinner at a famous,but not very accessible restaurant near Neuilly. At the end of the meal, Grandpa realized he'd not taken his checkbook, his wife didn't have one and Burden had only $102 or so in her account. He demanded that she write out a check for $200,000 (saying his secretary would replace it in the morning.) Befuddled, she did. He took the check, handed it to the proprietor and told him it was the best meal he'd ever eaten in his life, but the stairs had nearly killed him and the check was to put in an elevator! Madcap adventures abound in this book.

"True Compass, A Memoir" by Edward M. Kennedy Twelve Books 332 pages $35

Kennedy proves his Catholic faith over and over again. He is a true believer that you can do anything, go to confession (when you've been undeniably caught, that is,) be absolved of your sin and go on your merry way. His stance is: Circumstances/Other Guy made me do it, but (chest thump) I confess: it was entirely my fault and I am heartily sorry (because I did get caught and now I have to man out of it.)

I found myself laughing out loud on page 465: Clinton has just been nailed for Lewinski and Ted is all solicitous and "What can I do to help?"

Kennedy felt that impeachment was the "kind of attempt to delegitimize a President (that) was dangerous for our democracy"! He adds gratuitiously that our sins don't define the whole picture of who we are.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Quite possibly I'm not being fair. You be the judge...

Juicy Meatloaf from "Another Taste of Aloha; recipes from the Junior League of Hawaii"
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 egg
1 cup carrots, grated
1 cup potatoes, grated
1/2 cup cooked white rice
1/4 cup onions, chopped
2 T steak sauce
1 teas. ground pepper
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350, mix everything together but the tomato sauce which is to be spread out over the top of the meatloaf. Bake for 60 minutes and cut into 1 in. slices.

I have noted that Hawaiian restaurants like to serve their starches... rice AND macaroni salad with a sandwichor meat course. Maybe it makes sense to put the potatoes in the meatloaf; saves having to make mashed for a side?

Mediterranean Carrot Salad from "Relish" a Daily Breeze Wednesday supplement
1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and grated
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 T chopped fresh mint

Combine and toss, chill before serving. Serves four.

Okay, olive oil is better for you than mayonnaise, but

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On The Waterfront

Easter Sunday, San Pedro

Monday, April 5, 2010

Earthquake! or Did The Earth Move for You, Too?

Yesterday's earthquake arrived at 3:38 .m. which is what the face on our grandfather clock read an hour later. Must have been an east/west rather than north/south because the latter would have kept the pendulum moving.

I was downstairs in the office, typing away. It was so mild that I didn't even catch on for a second or two. "Perhaps I'm imagining this?" I thought. Then I got it and shouted to Richie, upstairs, "Earthquake! Roller! Turn on the radio and see where the epicenter is!" (Standard Operating Policy in So. Calif.)

Rollers vs. shakers: Rollers used to make all of the secretaries on the 18th floor of the Century City building feel slightly ... nauseous. Shakers: Northridge! That one was so fierce and so long running that I broke my own rule and got out of bed (earthquakes generally last 25 to 30 seconds) -- I'd remembered the light fixture overhead. Earthquakes here most often come in the wee hours of the morning -- 4 a.m. comes to mind.

"My first earthquake?" she asked coyly. It was in 1964. I'd moved here from Kansas City (Tornadoes A Specialty!) and New York (fanny pinches in crowded elevators R Us!) I was about to get into the tub when I decided to have a last-minute pee. That's when the earthquake hit. I thought, "Great! They'll find me here, buck naked, butt down, stuck in the toilet. Why did I move here again?" Happily that didn't happen.

My brother-in-law, Charlie, has a theory about earthquakes and their prevalance right now. He believes that our Earth was once a solid-core ball. But digging for coal and other minerals plus all the oil that's been sucked out have left only a brittle shell -- which is breaking up.

What the hell; he may well be right. Someone (not me) should go ask Al Gore, inventor of the internet and now, he may think, God's vice president in charge of nature aka global warming.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Holiday Wishes

Joyous Easter!
Triumphant Passover!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


When we visited Michelle at her summer house in Bretagne, we went to the next town over's Farmers Market. What an array of stuff! Clothing, shoes, odds and ends, catering trucks -- and the macaroon maker. We bought a bag to enjoy with our coffee and enjoy we did!

Next day in Quimper, Richie spotted a "formal" macaroon maker in the big town square. This patisserie was devoted to them. Racks and racks... Of course we did!

Last Thursday, he clipped an article on macaroons and how to make them from the LA Times; Friday he bought a container of them at the Hermosa Beach Farmers Market. He has vowed to make his own.

I always encourage "French cooking" (unless it calls for offal; the French have an unfortunate affinity for such as kidneys, liver.)

On a whim I looked up "macaroons" and found to my shock that they really aren't French after all! The originals were made with ground almonds, were called "maccarone" and are Italian! However they're spelled they are treats for the English, Irish, Spanish, Indian and Turkish peoples. Since they don't contain wheat, they're kosher and often served at Passover. The St. Moritz Bakery, of Lomita (which I think is funny) bills theirs as "gluten free!" Theirs are dense, crumbly and sticky. What we ate in France are thin, light and flavored - cherry anyone? So common are they there that you can get them as dessert at McDonald's!

For a recipe, go to

OF NOTE: If your first name is Richard, today is Saint Richard's Day in the French Catholic calendar. Go out for dinner! Celebrate! And have a plate of macaroons for dessert!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Despite A Mother's Lessons...

Growing up in Kansas City, Mo., I was told repeatedly by my mother that there are three topics of conversation that are, or should be, forbidden. They are: politics, religion and how-to-raise children. Today we'd probably say, "Just don't go there!"

Last night the BBC was speculating about the Pope's possible speeches on Good Friday and then Easter regarding the Catholic church's massive child molestation scandal.

As I went downstairs to bed, I called up to Richie, "Are you still a Catholic after all of this?"
He said, "Yes. Are you still an American after Obama?"
I said, "Of course!"

I thought a moment and then yelled back up the stairs, "Wrong analogy - religion is a choice; citizenship is not. Even though both can be changed at a later date." Silence reigned from upstairs.

It's a rare ... discussion... when both parties win. Mother would have been proud.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


This is our friend "Ratty," a Norwegian Roof Rat. Try saying that quickly! It always comes out "Norwegian Woof Watt" when I do.
Ratty is not an inside pet. We first encountered him one summer dusk when he scampered out of the avocado tree and onto our balcony railing. He'd come to eat the peanuts we leave out for the blue jays.
We were startled to see An Actual Rat on OUR balcony, but since Ratty ran away at the slightest noise, we weren't afraid of him.
Even our two cats grew accustomed to the sight of him; if they smelled him in their sleep, they never even twitched.
He would make his entrance when it was coming dark, hesitantly come out... wait, sniff the air for danger and then scuttle quickly over to the nearest peanut and drag it away. This was fine, FREE entertainment.
We looked forward to this nightly small drama. Now we are without it, for Ratty has left us for parts unknown.
We don't ask for his safe return, just to know that Somewhere he is slipping out, sniffing the air and making off with something. It would be reassuring.