Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tin Roof Blues

Players on the bocce court by the veranda of the restaurant - gardener is clearly stunned by the brilliance of play...

This is an appetizer of toasted baguette slices, prosciutto, fresh peach and the squiggles are balsamic vinegar sauce.
Tin Roof Bistro, Manhattan Beach Shopping Mall

Friday, July 30, 2010

America Is Upside Down

The Drudge Report has a story (legitimate newspaper) on the antics going on in Arizona. Volunteers with police scanners and video cameras are out on the streets, hoping to catch deputies making legitimate arrests of illegal immigrants! They want to "document" these atrocities. What part of "illegal" can't they understand?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Archeological Dig

Our house is actually more intricate than the real estate guy ever figured it could be when he sold it to us in 1985. This is a three bedroom house and what was once a sitting room/guest bedroom has, over the years, become The Repository For Stuff. To return it to its former state, Richie has been going through the stuff. Which is only fair because 95% of it is his.

Yesterday's dig turned up:

The National Enquirer of January 29, 1985. The cover headlines: "I Can't Live On $44,600 A Month - Joanna Asks Court for More Money From Johnny (Carson.)" "Christina Onassis Is Spending $6 Million to Have Her Baby" (Nurseries in various countries and a private obstetrician.) Inside we read that Tatum O'Neal is going to marry John McEnroe.

The Bluejacket Manual, 4th printing, 1962. This is the Navy manual Richie was issued when he joined the Navy in 1962. The first chapter is entitled "The Importance of the Navy" which, since the recipient has already enlisted, is a bit tardy to say the least. One of his old uniforms turned up some months ago. No, he can't get into it any more.

He turned up photos of my sister and her husband at their wedding. They are having a wine tasting dinner to celebrate their 40th anniversary August 8th.

I tell you, every day is Christmas around here. What will turn up next? (It never seems to be money...)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


You see what happens when they call the lawyers in ... the teeth have been pulled from the jaw of the law that was supposed to isolate illegal immigrants.

Still, it's an ill wind that blows no one well -- "uncounted" illegal immigrants have fled the country!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Not for the Squeamish

"The Bizarre Truth - How I Walked Out the Door Mouth First - and Came Back Shaking My Head" by Andrew Zimmern Broadway Books 271 pages $24.00

Zimmern ran and starred in the Travel Channel series "Bizarre Foods" and "Bizarre Worlds." I'm sensing a trend here ... He is an author, dining critic and lives in Minneapolis with his wife and son. But the man gets around...

The opening chapter is set in Iceland where he and his crew are hunting (and eating) puffins. Yes, those cute little birds. Clearly they are Iceland's version of our chicken. I managed to make it through shooting and cooking giant fruit bats in Samoa. The bats there have 6 ft. wing spans; totally different item from the ones that fly out toward evening from under the Austin bridge. Zimmern tells us (a little too enthusiastically for my taste) that the entire torso of the bat is edible because these bats eat ONLY breadfruit! "A very pure animal." Yes, well ...

Certainly I have no problem with the "lobster goes from sea to pot to my plate" concept; in fact, I heartily endorse it.

He seems to enjoy danger - there are a lot of "almosts" in this book. The meal that nearly killed me; how I almost lost my life, etc.

Zimmern's philosophy is: Be a traveler, not a tourist. Take the subway (metaphorically) to the end of the line, get off and explore! Readers: This is NOT a good idea on some lines in Paris. You will wonder for some moments how you got from Paris to downtown Tangiers.

But, if you have a strong stomach, great curiosity about places in the the world that only the locals have heard about -- Zimmern's your man.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Signs of the Times

They aren't promising... Here are two articles that ran on the front page of today's Daily Breeze, our local paper. I'm including the headlines so that if you're so inclined, you can pull up the whole story and read it for yourself.

"Jobless get by as medical guinea pigs"
Jeramy Bonano, 25, was paid $3,000 for: fasting for two days, spending 35 hours in a hospital bed and then having a battery of blood draws. He said, "Luckily for me, there is a need for young, healthy adults like myself."

Er, not so fast, sonny boy. Later in the article we discover that in 2006, a London clinic was testing an anti-inflammatory drug when six of their volunteers had to be rushed to the ICU -- they were suffering from multiple organ failure!

Long ago, I myself was a guinea pig, down at Harbor UCLA. Some mad scientist wanted to find out if there is a link between clinical depression and kidney disease. Yes, I wonder what he was smoking myself... Anyhow, I was a "control" (meaning a normal person; stifle yourself) and all they did to me was stick me in MRI machine and bong away at me. It paid $200 for about four hours of my time, so not a bad pay check.

"New parking meters will let you charge it"
Manhattan Beach, our ritzy neighbor to the north, just got 440 new parking meters that accept credit/debit cars as well as coins. These machines, made by IPS Group Inc. of San Diego, cost $500 apiece or $220,000.

Manhattan Beach receives some $2.37 million a year from their parking meters. The meters are expected to bring in an additional 15% per year.

Sinisterly, the parking meters have the capability to know (by sensor) when a car leaves its space and will re-set the meter to zero OR send a signal to the police when you've overstayed your money. Parking tickets are $45. Bruce Moe, the City's finance director, said those technologies are not being used.

Yeah, right. I believe that Manhattan Beach is also running a special on a bridge in New York -- buy it today and save 10 percent.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Colonel Mustard

Once Richie discovered a world new to him - cooking - he began to look for recipes. His finds come from newspapers (Wednesday food editions,) from cookbooks - Jacques Pepin is the current go-to-guy - and from recipes attached to the product.

On Michelle's last visit, she brought him an enormous jar of Maille's mustard a L'Ancienne (old style.) It was what he wanted. This is the dark, tan-colored mustard with bits of seed in it. It came with a tiny folder of recipes and Richie made this.

2 T old-style mustard
12 fresh shrimp
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T vegetable oil

Cook the onion, green pepper and garlic together for about 5 minutes. Add the mustard and stir well, cooking an additional 2 minutes. Putin the shrimp and cook all together for about 5 minutes.

It was good, but it definitely could have used more mustard. On the other hand, the shrimp flavor really came out. Old-style mustard is clearly a lot sweeter than vinegary old Dijon.

Ditto Day
I picked up my shoe ($5) and found Richie hunched over the bar at Bogey's. We split a pitcher at a much more reasonable hour -- 4:30 p.m. The bar lady was much nicer, too. Yesterday's was a bleached blonde with a substantial rack and the habit of saying, "Duck" a lot.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Peculiar Kind of Logic

Yesterday we pursued our normal Friday activities -- gym, and then errands. I ran a birthday card for Michelle in France into the post office; we hit the library and then on to the Hermosa Beach Farmer's market. Onward to the supermarket for shrimp; Richie wanted to make a new dish for dinner.

For once, we were having such glorious weather (SUN!) that I finally had to reach up and close the sun roof shade.

I needed to take one of my new shoes in to be stretched -- it pinched a little just at the widest part of my foot. (Note: never buy a pair of shoes online.) Ivy's down on Pier Avenue, HB, was gone, but Richie remembered another place up on Artesia.

He dropped me off in front of a modest doorway, gestured farther down the street and said, "I'll meet you there" and took off.

I opened the shoe man's door and waited patiently as the customer before me was treated. When it was my turn, I put the shoe on the counter, explained the problem and asked that it be stretched, "Just a quarter of an inch - that would be good."

Shoe guy (indeterminate age/nationality) looked up at me after examing the shoe and asked me something I've never been asked before -- "How much is it worth to you?"

I was dumbfounded. I stuttered, thinking out loud, "Well, I paid $80 for them and I can't wear them ... I tried to stretch it using my own foot; that didn't work ..." and trailed off into silence.

Shoe guy nodded to himself, and explained that the area to be stretched had to moistened, the stretcher slipped in, its setting adjusted and then the shoe had to "rest" in the stretcher for 36 hours. He never mentioned a price and I didn't volunteer one because I had no idea whatsoever how much shoe stretching should or could cost.

He scribbled my name and phone number on a slip, gave me a slip with the store name on it and said, "After 4 p.m. tomorrow." I grinned, said, "Great," and made my exit.

I could see Richie's car, parked at the curb down the block, but the car was empty and I knew why. Two doors down from the shoe shop is Bogey's Bar, a favorite watering hole of his. Sure enough, there he sat, pitcher of Stella in front of him and two glasses. I slid onto the bar stool next to him, we clinked mugs and I said, "Could you tell me why the hell we are having a beer at (quick glance at watch) 1:37 in the afternoon?"

He grinned and said, "Because you don't get a shoe stretched every day!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Back In Time

My sister was cleaning out her office and sent me a letter I'd written back in September, 1983. In it I detail my first trip with Richie to New York to meet my new in-laws. (Ill health prevented them from coming to the wedding out here.)

The contrast between how we used to fly with a Major American Airline (MAA) was stunning. Go back in time with me for a look at What Used To Be...

"We load everything into his car, drive the guarded MAA lot (free parking!), hop on the tram and go directly to the plane area which is below the main terminal. Richie takes our luggage and personally tags it for JFK. We then take a secure elevator up to the gate area. He presented a ticket blank; we were issued first class boarding passes and we board theplane.

First class on MAA is incredible -- before you're halfway onto the plane, looking for your seat, a Pretty Lady is enquiring if you would prefer champagne or orange juice?

They do something else that I love -- you can listen (Channel 11) to the plane pilots talking to the controllers and that is very reassuring to certain persons who hate to fly. Our Flight 2 was taking place on a 747 or "heavy" aircraft,and our designator was "2 heavy." Frankly I was a bit insulted until I figured it out.

After we all got settled in and orange juiced, etc. we took off. Next came offers of more drinks, then croissants (not very good,) jam and coffee. Then more drinks, then hot, steamy face cloths before lunch. Lunch began with crab and lobster won tons, followed by salad with a choice of dressing put on it by the Pretty Lady. Richie had a chateaubriand and I had "plum" pork chops, potatoes and broccoli. Wine throughout, of course. Richie had a hot fudge sundae for dessert and I had an Amaretto de Serrano to sip.

We landed on time; got the Long Island shuttle and were off."

I forgot to mention in this letter that as I sipped my Amaretto, we were flying over Manhattan at about sunset; lights were coming on all over the city. I was listening to a Bach sonata and the entire thing -- visual and audio -- is still etched in my mind. It was wonderful.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Recipes

The August issue of Bon Appetit is in and I spent a cheery half hour perusing it.

This is a different take on the Italian custom of taking a piece of bread and dipping it into a dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It might be quite tasty served along side of a platter of cheeses -- I'm thinking brie or equivalent.

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teas. unflavored pectin
6 T honey

Pour the vinegar into a saucepan and sprinkle the pectin over it. When the pectin has softened (about 10 minutes) put some heat under the pan and stir it until it's hot. Don't let it boil! Stir in the honey, put it in a suitable container and into the refrigerator so the pectin sets - about 8 hours.

I don't like pesto, because I don't like That Much Basil. But this looked like a good escape route from basil...

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 in. slices; sauted, drained and set aside.
4 cups fresh corn kernels (if using frozen, blanch first)
1 large clove garlic, minced
Pepper to taste
1/c up freshly-grated Parmesan
1/3 cup toasted pinenuts (optional for me)
1/3 cup olive oil.

Pour off all but 1 T of your bacon fat and saute the corn, garlic and pepper. Let the corn soften a bit - about 4 minutes - then set aside 1 1/2 cups of the corn. Take the rest and blend it in a blender along with the parmesan. With the machine running, add in the olive oil. Put it in a bowl, add the bacon chips and saved corn and toss, adding torn fresh basil as garnish.

Monday, July 19, 2010

On Dinners...

"At a dinner party, a man should eat wisely, but not too well and talk well, but not too wisely." Oscar Wilde

Yesterday's meal with Bob, Pat and Raffish was a great success from that point of view. We laughed our heads off (possibly due to the Italian Lemonade -- a shot of limoncello in a champagne flute which is then filled with prosecco.) Another thing that may have contributed to the joyous spirit of our guests is that I wasn't screaming, "Get to the table! It's going to get cold!" The Thai-type noodles with langostines and grilled pineapple and the BLT wedge salads were already cold!

Blog #600 Whew!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


To my fellow lazy back yard workers... "Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." Sam Keen

To all the poor souls in Palm Springs -- "Heat, ma'am! I found there was nothing for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones." Sydney Smith

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guy Humor

"The Bad Idea Catalog" by Chris Bittler and Dave Markov 100 pages $12.95 (25 cents at the PV Library book sale.)

This is a soft-cover book with a banner running across the front cover: "10 to 100% off everything you'll NEVER want and NEVER need."

Such as: one-ounce cans of soda for kids who demand one, take one sip and run off. Roof skis - turn your own house roof into an Alp - never pay chalet rent again! A rain gauge hat -- a vertical tube on top measures rainfall - while you're out in it. Threadless bolts (99 cents a bag) Vice Presidential trading cards...

More "guy humor:" "3 Ton Metal Thing - We don't know what it is. We don't know what it can do. If you want it, come and get it. It's blocking the elevators. Free"

"Stuffed Grapes - Fine Italian red grapes stuffed with pimientos, bottled in olive oil. An acquired taste. $12."

Women's Humor (or at least this woman's) "I'm Not a Lawyer, But ..." by Gabby Jiggs. "The kind of legal advice you'd expect from a temporary legal secretary with over 20 months experience at 14 different law firms. Jiggs has typed and filed some of the most important briefs in North Dakota history..."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Fashion Trend?

Leaving the gym this morning, we had to wait at a light to turn left. Standing on the corner was an Asian woman of uncertain age wearing sweat pants, a striped t-shirt and a sports bra over the t-shirt!

If this is a new trend, count me out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wretched, But Interesting, Excess

Interesting as in: It's a train wreck! Don't look!

A man named Guy Fieri stars on a television show that travels around America visiting Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. His new book guides us to "50 of the best places you never heard of."

I'm not so sure I'd say "best places." Recipes from various establishments are included and my eyes boggled from my head at Fried Potato Salad. Bake a potato, cut it in cubes, deep-fat fry it and toss with mayo and mustard and pepper to taste. If you are hell-bent on eating this, oven-bake frozen French fries, cut them in chunks and toss with mayo and mustard. This dish reminds of mayo and mustard sandwiches and not pleasantly.

A recipe for jalapeno poppers from the BBQ Shack calls for you to marinate water chestnuts in a cup of soy sauce, cover with brown sugar and let it sit all night. Next day, cut and stem jalapenos and put two whole water chestnuts in each jalapeno. Now in my mind, I can see thse items and thre's no way in hell you could stuff two "adult" water chestnuts into a single jalapeno even with minimal cream cheese piped in and the whole thing wrapped in bacon and grilled.

There are some things that just defy good sense in putting them in your mouth. County Fairs have a ton of them -- deep-fried Snickers? Frosted, baked potatoes? (Made that one up, but it wouldn't surprise me...)

It's not that I spend my days sipping pink champagne and nibbling caviar. I can put together some really trashy stuff -- world's easiest dip -- small contianer of sour cream, add one-half red onion, chopped and sea salt. Eat with potato chips! Yeah, your cardiologist would love that one!

Nothing is more heart-warming (to me) on a winter's morning than creamed chipped beef over scrambled eggs. That's a hearty breakfast!

So clearly I'm not in a position to sneer at such as Blue Cornmeal Waffles or Cheddar Cheese Burgers with Jezebel Sauce (Southern classic; sweet and hot) or Smoked Barbecue Meatloaf.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Of Men and Their Mid-Life Crises

"The Saucier's Apprentice" by Bob Spitz W.W. Norton & Co. 323 pages $24.95 (50 cents, PV Library book sale)

Ah, poor Spitz, you murmur. Turned 50, had a nasty divorce from his wife of 14 years, took up with a really cold bitch (alternating warmth and disinterest)... What to do? What to do? Spitz did what any right-thinking American male would do -- he set off for Europe and a diverse group of cooking schools!

Treating cooking like therapy, he tried to learn as much as he could. He "cooked" (trimmed green beans, brushed mushrooms) in the kitchens of two great French chefs; he attended various schools ("The Club Meds of the '90s!") and discovered if that he could relax, quit trying to be a perfectionist, that he could actually enjoy cooking!

It's an amusing enough account of his travails, but I could have done with a lot less angst, soul searching and similar moody issues.

I did learn a few things though -- the test for a French chef is: Make me an omelet. "How simple!" you cry in astonishment. Er, not exactly. You have to use enough butter that the eggs don't stick to the pan but slide easily; you have to develop a wrist technique that allows the omelet to fold over on itself (three folds.)

To peel a tomato, you don't have to make an X top and bottom, immerse it in boiling water for 20 seconds, whip it out, skin it and then put the tomato in an ice-water bath. All you have to do is dunk the whole tomato, pull it out, run cold water over it and it will peel easily. No need for the ice-water bath because only the skin gets hot; not the core.

He concludes that French cooking is detailed, intricate and that Italian cooking is much more casual. Some of this, a little of that -- as long as it tastes good! And isn't that true for all of us?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chef Suzanne Hyde

We didn't get to shake hands with her at our friends' open house, but we sure did enjoy the work of her hands! Plump dates, wrapped beguilingly in crisp bacon... mini-cushions of a delicious, chewy bread topped with caramelized onions, small, salty black olives, topped off with a thin slice of Parmesan cheese. Her quiche (Lorraine?) had been cut literally into slivers so it was easy to be greedy (and more or less unnoticed wolfing them down.) Her lemon squares were half of the height normally seen and much denser in flavor.

Hyde is a personal chef - a chef that hires out privately to individuals or families -- who also teaches cooking classes. She's done six years as the chef for LucasFilm at Skywalker Ranch, backpacked western Europe, tasting and learning cuisines and has an associate degree in the culinary arts, San Francisco.

Her Web site -- -- is an informative read (you'll drool over the photos of food.) I liked her idea of being asked to teach a family in their own kitchen how to prepare various

Expanding on that theme -- what about gifting a new mother with a personal chef's services for a couple of days? Or easing the sole caretaker's days with perhaps a chef-cooked meal every other day for a week? If you're planning the funeral "afters" for the deceased's house (or your own) why not call in a professional? Boss coming for dinner? Dazzle'em!

A chef's wages are not all that intimidating at $35/hour or $35/50 for private cooking lessons; costs based on number of students and degree of difficulty of the dishes. Food costs are, of course, extra.

Hyde is licensed by the State of California and a member of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Eat really well -- without leaving your house! No parking problems, no running back and forth with quarters for the meter!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup Soccer Today!

Spain vs. Netherlands!
Who ya gonna bet?
Blonds or Brunettes?

Saturday, July 10, 2010


"Turning The Tables: Restaurants From the Inside Out" by Steven A. Shaw Harper Collins, 2005 216 pages $24.95 (PV Library book sale - 50 cents)

The title sums up the book's contents, but despite it being all about "food" I felt oddly hungry after I closed it. Shaw either glosses over the good stuff (creative bad language by kitchen staffs) or tells me what I already knew -- be nice to wait staff and they'll be nice to you. His advice on getting a table at a hot! new! restuarant? Be persistent, keep calling them, work with them - if they can't seat you on Tuesday, how about Wednesday? This is the sort of New York pushiness that I really don't like.

Never having wanted a seat at the newest, hottest, this was well beyond my experience. The only local resto that had lines out the door (due to great PR) was ... Chronic Taco! Life here at the beach is very, very different than what evidently is the norm in New York City. Our "fine' dining rooms are: Union Cattle Co. and Chez Melange. And both are fine due to the quality of the food and, in Chez Melange's case, the service.

Shaw does scut work in a couple of kitchens, went to the fresh vegetable and fish markets with the restaurant buyers, visited a veal farm, a cheese-maker and a commercial herb grower.

He examines the business side of a restaurant - location, rent, maximum and minimum number of staff needed, linens, china, glassware - the restaurant's "look" and uses as an example a place under construction - Cafe Gray in the Time-Warner Center, under the direction of chef Gray Kunz.* Kunz is working with kitchen architect Jimi Yui. To say the chef is demanding is understatement. He doesn't like the chrome finish on the pipe (because it will dull and scratch after repeated cleanings.) He wants a pipe to be square, not round( so that it will sit flush against the far wall of the cooking island.) Not surprisingly, construction costs soar.

A problem with books like this is that in a nanosecond, material can go out-of-date. Shaw adores Tavern on the Green (for example) and it's closed and has been for some time. In its heyday, it was nothing more than a gigantic tourist trap. Any kitchen that turns out some 3,000 plates for a Sunday brunch is not going to be that good. You're much better off at the local Mom'n Pop cafe where service is individualized. You can ask for "really dry scrambled eggs" and sit back with confidence that you're going to get exactly what you ordered. Not that we here at the beach are all that picky....

* Kunz and his restaurant are gone with the wind. Another problem with writing about "hot! new!" places ... they can fold like a fan and be gone before you really knew they were there.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Write It Down!

What's she on about now? Make your final wishes known. Don't just tell your spouse/best friend/closest relative, "I want (such-and-such) when I die," - write it down.

You wouldn't get on a plane to Paris without your passport; you wouldn't take off on a long car trip without having your vehicle checked ... well, we're all going to be dead a long time and there's no make goods. You've got to get it right the first time.

These are documents you need to have in envelopes, clearly marked as to contents: Will, Funeral Instructions (be as detailed as you like! New Orleans marching band? Why the hell not?!) and a Do Not Resuscitate order.

Will: I wrote my first at 21. Granted, "my estate" (said grandly, in rolling tones) was a pot, a pan and about $100 in the checking account. Today, I have enjoyed the great pleasure of willfully crossing people out of My Will! Such a vindictive thrill... and all codicils have been notarized, in case you were hoping for an error...

Funeral Instructions: across the grass (cremation) or under it (burial)? Religious service? Memorial service, funeral home only? Graveside service?

Pick the music! This is your last big party, after all. This is what you'll hear when I croak. I picked it because I like the message and because when it comes on, people will reel in shock:

"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 just like you always do
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.
So will you pleas say "Hello" to the folks that I know
Tell them I won't be long
They'll be happy to know that as you saw me go, I was singing this song" (repeat chorus)

I think most people fear a Do Not Resuscitate order, feeling that you're signing your own death warrant. Not necessarily so!

It depends on what you want! If you want to be hauled back from the brink with CPR, ventilator, feeding tube -- say so! If not, say that -- via the Natural Death Act, California Health and Safety Code, Section 7188. (Check your own state regulations) You will need two witnesses to your signing, but the document does not have to be notarized.

The shock of your demise is going to be bad enough; don't force your survivors to make decisions in their stunned state. Write it down! It's the last graceful thing that you can do for them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Be of Good Cheer!

Yes, the last wisps of smoke from the fireworks are gone... it continues to be grey and overcast in Southern California... but: the new What On Earth catalog came in yesterday! ( I am now too old to wear t-shirts with letters on them, but hopefully you aren't.

I Like Cats
I Just Can't Eat
A Whole One
By Myself

In Dog Beers
I've Only Had One

The other white meat

Drinks Well With Others

Guns don't kill people,
Drivers with cell phones do

Heavily medicated for your safety

I'll have a cafe, mocha,
vodka, valium latte to go

A new item - Vampire Bite Temporary Tattoos The classic neck puncture or bite marks around the wrist
Special Effects Fangs - plastic and dental putty.

Not as lean
Not as mean
Still a marine

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dragon Eggs

If someone had told me that Komodo dragons come from eggs, I would have squinted my eyes and looked disbelieving. But since a photo of a Komodo and six eggs in an incubator ran in the august L.A. Times, I have to believe it (especially as it isn't April Fool's Day.)

The article states that in January, Lima, a female, laid 23 eggs (now in an incubator) that are expected to hatch sometime in September. Nine months, just like a human! It is frightening to have learned that the ensuing reptiles can grow to 10 ft. long and live for 50 years.

But now that I reflect on it, sea turtles are born from eggs and some of them make it to 150 years. Man, also born of an egg (so to speak,) doesn't do nearly as well ... and no one seems to grow to be 10 ft. either.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Blues Can Save Your Life

"The blues" is the distinct knowledge that all is not well in your world and you know who/what is causing them. But - there's nothing you can do about the who/what. And that makes you feel defeated and ... blue.

There are, however, varying depths to the blues. Bob Brodsky's book "The World In a Jug" addresses this subject. He got a tremendously funny Do & Don't List off the Internet and with apologies to and kudos for the unknown writer...

Expressing the blues ... It is not generally considered smart to start a blues refrain with anything positive, such as "I got a good woman" ... you need to add a detriment, such as "with the meanest face in town." Then embroider this theme -- "got teeth like Margarate Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound."

Good places for the blues: a lonesome highway; a jailhouse; an empty bed; bottom of a glass of whiskey.

Unacceptable places for the blues: Nordstrom's, wine tastings, Ivy League colleges, golf courses (although many would disagree with that last.)

The right to sing the blues is given to: people who are older than dirt; the blind; if you shot a man in Memphis or you cain't be satisfied.

But not if: you have all of your own teeth; you were once blind, but now you can see; the man in Memphis lived or you have a trust fund. Persons named Amber, Jennifer, Tiffany, Bambi or Heather can't sing the blues no matter how many men they shot in Memphis.

The blues remind us all that "You think you got it bad? Well, huh!" For that reason, nothing cheers me up like hearing a blues singer goin' at it. In fact, my doctors have been told that if I'm ever in a "persistent vegatative state," to play some blues. If I don't get up and dance, pull the plug.

And if Microsoft Windows doesn't take take the extremely annoying pop-up Indexed Locations Search. exe has stopped working signs, I am going to go to Memphis and shoot me someone.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Timely Reminder

Thank you, cousin Wayne! He wrote that while the below was written on July 4, 1776, it was not signed until August 2, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America:

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to perfect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday, July 3rd

Soccer Today --
Germany vs. Argentina! Which set of Nazis are you rooting for?

Ominous Omen of Things To Come?
We had dinner at The Bull Pen, RB (previously reviewed) last night. I noticed a new sticker over an old price. The sticker read "Market Price" and the item was deep-fried shrimp (normally $21.50) But: their shrimp cocktail (six huge prawns) was the normal $12.50. Say whut?

Fiery 4th Ice Cream
This appeals to my taste buds... grill slices of pineapple (fresh or canned; give the canned a swipe with a paper towel) and top with minced, fresh jalapenos -- then chop the jalapeno-topped pineapple and serve over vanilla ice cream...

Friday, July 2, 2010


Ronald Reagan was President.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day became a federal holiday, to be celebrated the third Monday in January.

Sally Ride rode into space, the first woman to do so.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, professional racist, announced his intention to run as the 1984 Democrat candidate for President.

A suicide bomber in Beirut killed 241 U.S. personnel, 58 French and six Lebanese.

Richard Noble set the land speed record of 633.468.

Vanessa Williams became the first African-American Miss America.

Ameria West began flying, with routes between Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Disneyland, Tokyo, opened.

Using front and back seat belts became mandatory in the United Kingdom.

Bjorn Borg retired after five consecutive Wimbledon championships.

Richie and I got married July 2, 1983, 27 years ago.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eat, Pray, RUN!

Chronic Tacos, corner of PCH and Torrance, Redondo Beach 310-316-TACO

Much was the hype when above's doors swung open maybe a month ago. Two of the three local papers ran feature stoies on the owners and their surfer backgrounds. Every time we passed this heavily trafficked corner, there was a line out of the door. Finally, last Saturday at nearly 2 p.m. there wasn't any line and we ventured in.

The menu is posted on the back wall, behind busy line cooks who fill your order and pass it on. These young guys were gustily friendly and wildly enthusiastic which I put down to surfer dude-ism and not unwise jalapeno-sniffing in a back room. Incidentally, if you are a sworn officer or named "Steve" that was "literary license" and not meant to order up a drug bust.

Our quesadillas (pollo asado - $5.79 and cheese - $4.99) came with chips and salsa "made fresh daily" and which had a gravy-like texture -- sugar mixed in with tomato paste? Sweet and not hot at all (and everything could have used a layer of "hot.") Final grade: Eh...

"Take GoodCare of the Garden and Dogs; Family, Friendships and Faith in Small-town Alaska" by Heathr Lende Algonquin Books 287 pages $22.95

Lende is a citizen of Haines, Alaska, and writes the obituary column in the local paper. As I have cousins living in Anchorage; and as Sarah Palin's "jes' up here huntin', 'n fishin'" bio seemed a bit simplistic, I picked this up. I should have run.

Clearly, my brain was out having an iced tea when it read the title. Lende is one of those ghastly chummy Christians -- all, "I'm so dang Christian that it hurts, but gol'dang it, I'm human, too. Look at this, I'm gonna say 'shit!'"

What startled me considerably (other than my own stupidity in picking this book up) was the fact that Lende is an Episcopalian! I thought that leading/shoving others to Jesus was the exclusive provence of Baptists and Born-Agains.

I believe strongtly that one's religion is between that person and their deity. It is none of my business, nor do I want to know, let alone -- and most especially -- be led to it. I don't care if you date Lassie; just don't expect me to double with RinTinTin.