Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guess What? Flight Attendants Hate Us!

Behind that "Welcome aboard!" smile (and farther down the body) beats a heart filled with black hatred.  That's right.  Unless you get on a flight with minimum intrusion on them.  Don't press the call button for anything - it makes an unpleasant "ring" in the galley.  Don't let your mate order say a rum and Coke and when he/she brings it, say "You know, I' d like one of those, too."  Don't complain about the food; they already know.  Don't complain about NO food; they didn't make that decision. 

Ordered to sit with my leg elevated, I have had a lot of time to read.  By happy coincidence Richie, after one of his periodic snoops through the garage, returned with  three flight attendant memoirs.  They were leftovers from research done in the late '80s  for a book on their history and purchased as they were published (all in the early 2000s)  Clearly I missed the boat on beating them to publication. 

"Air Travel Tales from the Flight Crew - The Plane Truth" by A. Frank Steward   Impact Productions   29
4 pages   $14,95

A. Frank (real name James Wysong) writes useful, helping flying tips along with amusing stories.  His tone is gentle and can be wry.  He's a former Brit.

"Plane Insanity" by Elliott Hester   St. Martins Griffin   236 pages   $13.95

Hester is funny and his tone is often a sort of benign bewilderment.  He covers (among others) the passenger from Hell; a smuggled python, prostitutes working the Steerage lavatories and more about overnights and antics.

"Around the World In a Bad Mood" by Rene Foxx   Hyperion   200
pages   $12.95s

She didn't lie.  She wanted to crack the New York stage and thought she'd just fly for six months to get a nest egg and see a little of the world.  She did get hired and proceeded to bitch all the way through training and on to a plane. 

Seniority was her chief gripe because the newcomers got the scut work seniors avoided.  She had a germ phobia and complains all through the book about collecting the trash.  Her attitude is:  the Queen doesn't collect trash.

I am grateful to Go that we never had to fly with her.  We have flown with outstanding F/S and it's because we consider them fellow human beings and conduct any business with them as we would like to be treated. 

Works well except on British Air.  If you gave them a gold piece every time they did something they'd still be the same snotty way. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Born NEAR a waiting room; and apparently going to die IN one

Briefly.  The night of 7/12 - in the middle of the night - I got out of bed to pee, cut it a little fine around the corner of the bed and damned near ripped my little toe right off of the foot.  Muffling my screams, I accomplished what I'd set out and went back to bed.

The next day I was babying the foot on the stairs, slipped and barked my shin, removing a top layer of skin about the size of a silver dollar.  Naturally, that became infected.

And since then,

July 14th - Dr. Wynn, Urgent Care - two broken bones in foot
7/16  Dr. Maher, eye surgeon, to discuss up-coming cataract surgery
7/17  Dr. Kuo, podiatrist
7/22  Dr. Wynn
7/23  Dr. Gee
7/24  Dr. Wong for pre-up okay for cataract
7/28  Dr. Wong - recall on the blood test.  He refused to give Maher surgery permission, citing a low sodium count.
7/30  Aoki, physical therapist, wound care

Coming up -
8/4  Aoki
8/18  Dr. Kuo for x-rays to check bone progress.

I am grateful to God for the very good medical care that I get as well as the chance to comparison shop waiting rooms.   

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sights Around Town

This afternoon after mailing various birthday cards to such destinations as Loctudy, France; Hawthorne and Tarzana, we pulled out of the lot at the main post office and found three people (two men, one woman) setting up a table with  big Impeach Obama! posters.  I stuck my hand out the window and gave them a thumb's up.  Apparently the GOP has taken up community organization.  Who says we can't learn?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Very Slow News Day ...

When Richie retired 11 years ago, he got into liking to cook breakfast on Sunday mornings.  My sister gave him a two-burner griddle one Christmas and he's been going strong ever since. 

This morning he decided on French toast, bacon and cut up strawberries.  Incidentally, cut up strawberries are a staple around here.  Much like milk and eggs. 

I thought to myself, "If the morning repast is going to be a piece of fried eggy bread, I want all of the "butter" and maple syrup I can load onto it." 

When my plate landed in front of me, it suddenly dawned on me that if I used my fork tines to make tiny holes all over it, the butter would sink in and so would lashings of syrup.

And I was right!  I recommend this small step...

(signed) Getting Fat in Southern California. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Two Things That I Don't Understand and One That I Do

The August version of Bon Appetit landed here yesterday.  As always, I read it avidly.  And I noticed that in at least five recipes, one of the ingredients was "tomato water."  M.y goodness, you mutter to yourself - "What's tomato water?  Tomatoes don't pee - or do they?" 

It's a real no-brainer, despite the exotic name.  Put a colander in a bowl big enough to hold it.  Put chopped tomatoes in the colander and let them drain.  The subsequent fluid is "tomato water." 

The other thing I don't get is:  grilling half a head of lettuce - any kind.  The editors raved about how it brings out and deepens the flavor of the lettuce.  As most lettuces are tasteless anyhow (being composed of something like 90 per cent water) I fail to share their enthusiasm. 

But (finally) here is something I do know about!  Pickled watermelon rinds.  My mother made them every summer.  Watermelons were plentiful in Kansas City, MO. in summer and it is a Midwestern habit not to waste food.  Plus:  there were no watermelons in the Midwest in winter. 

Bon Appetit's recipe didn't look right to me - my mother used cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice and most importantly - pickling spices. 

1 four lb. watermelon.  Halve it and use a peeler to remove the tough green outer shell.  Remove the pulp for another purpose and set aside.

Now slice the rind in 1 in. wide pieces and trim the pieces so that you have  neat- looking small cubes..  Now you're ready to -
Take 1 Serrano chili, thinly sliced
1 One-inch piece of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
2 star anise pods
1 teas. black peppercorns
1 cup sugar
1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
and the watermelon rind
Put a 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan and start boiling to a simmer.  Let it simmer for about five minutes and then remove from the heat and let it cool.   

Transfer the whole mess into airtight containers and let them chill for 12 hours.  They should keep for two weeks. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Double Whammy Recipes

Here in Southern California where we live, we do a lot of seasonal cooking - roasts in the winter - or cooler months - because our climate is (generally) so mild that older houses don't have heat or air conditioning.

Thus in summer we stove top or crock pot.  But Food & Wine promotes this recipe as No-Cook. 

2 lbs. golden or orange cherry tomatoes.
1 small garlic clove, crushed - I'd use three or four
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced - I'd use two
pepper to taste
1 avocado diced and tortilla chips for garnish

Put everything but the garnish in a blender and whir.

Then under a tag line "Genius Idea" they say to use this soup as a cocktail base with 1 cup soup, 3 T vodka and 2 T lemon juice.  This does not appeal to me.  Have a drink AND something to eat.  Do not mix them up; you'll only confuse your stomach.

This - Fried Shrimp Toasts - reminded me of eating them in what was probably Kansas City, Missouri's only Asian restaurant.  Kansas City at that time more or less had AN Italian restaurant or THE fried chicken restaurant ...  I still remember the "crisp" and "greasy" (two of my favorites) taste.

But this is an updated version with a Thai slant and for that reason it appeals...

1 lb. shelled and deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
1 large egg
1 T tapioca flour
3 small Thai chilies, stemmed and chopped
2 teas. Asian fish sauce (would omit)
1 T sliced scallions
2 teas. minced garlic
2 teas. finely grated fresh ginger
24 baguette slices 
6 T canola oil for frying these now-loaded bread slices FACE DOWN and flipping to  lightly brown the backside of the bread.
Garnish with cilantro

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Fresh off of the drawing board --

Former Uptown Girl    for the ladies

Former Metrosexual    for the slobs

Am happy to report that Former Pop Tart has sold out. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


As my bedtime approached last night, I realized that I had to allow more time for the nightly rituals.  First, a full two minutes of mechanical brushing, followed by a stint with the "mouse brush" - that tiny little brush you use between each tooth - and then to scrape my tongue thoroughly (without arousing the dread vomit urge) and finally, a shot of whitening mouth wash.

And I came to the conclusion that older people are not physically slower than their juniors, it's just that we have so much more to do than they do!


That there is an unexpected side benefit with Richie's new hearing aids.  I can talk to him!  Previously any asides regarding what was on the television screen or sneering at some idiot's Letter to the Editor passed unnoticed.  He's learning to cook fish and we discussed that over dinner -- all of the above taking place in normal tones.  I didn't have to make sure I was looking (and speaking) fully in his face.

He's having to get used to hearing more than he has for years and I'm having to get used to being heard!  Wonderful investment! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Attention: All People Watchers

Some quality people watching can be done in airport departure areas.  You will see the restless pacing of those who arrived in good time "When're we gonna goooo?"  You can see it in their eyes if not hear the actual words from their lips.

Then since we are generally among the last to board when we're fly on passes, we are treated to the sound of the running footsteps of a last minute arrival at the gate - hair (if any) streaming out behind them as they gasp and pant up to the jet bridge, ticket thrust out impatiently in a sweaty paw.   

DFW is one of the best.  Where else will you see a big-haired, big-busted blonde in a tight t-shirt and short shorts -- and cowboy boots?  Additional points if she's wearing  Cowboys insignia anywhere on her person.

But airport parking is expensive and our time is limited so is there an alternative?  I'm pleased to be able to say, "Yes!  And you won't even have to leave your cozy, comfortable home!"

Brandon Stanton, originally out of Chicago, was a bond trader when he got his first camera.  Intrigued, he began shooting downtown Chicago.  These treks inspired him to plan a photo tour starting in Pittsburg, moving to Philadelphia and finally to New York where he began his blog "Humans of New York."  From blog to book was the next step.

:Humans of New York' by Brandon Stanton   St. Martin's Press   400 pages   $29.99

Because it's pictures with captions - many being what models said to Stanton - it's a quick read and very interesting.  Stanton takes the position that no matter how weirdly some of the people pictured themselves and their statements to the world, they are humans and entitled to be that way.  There is no hint of condescension or snobbery in his pages. 

But wait!  You've read the book and want more?  You can get a daily fix of his works at

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Recipe for Nostalgia

A chef in North Carolina - Katie Button - offers diners Crackersnacks which we know more familiarly as Cracker Jacks.  Remember them?  Frit0-Lay owns it now but the initial mention of this "first junk food" was in 1869 when it was registered  by a German immigrant named Frederick "Fritz" Rueckheim.

Sailor Jack, the boy on the front of the box, and his dog Bingo were real.  Jack was a son of one of the partners; he died of pneumonia at just eight years of age.  Bingo was a stray, adopted into the family. 

In 1908 Cracker Jack's got national notice when the song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was introduced and became popular.

Conversely a reference to the prize found in each box became something of an insult because people would say about something new and/or cheap - "Oh, it came in a Cracker Jack box."  Ouch.

The recipe says that they will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.  This means you could ship them as Christmas snacks...

1/4 cup plus 2 T canola oil
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup salted, roasted peanuts (go upscale and use almonds or pistachios for Cadillac Jacks)
1/4 teas. ground cumin
1/4 teas. ground cinnamon
 1/8 teas. sweet, smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne
1 cup plus 2 T sugar
1 1/2 teas. kosher salt

Heat 2 T of the canola oil and pop the corn.  Put it in a large bowl and add the peanuts, cumin, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne and toss well. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.  Put the rest of the oil in a saucepan and add the sugar, salt and 1/4 cup of water.  Bring it to a boil and then stir until it's a light amber color.  Pour it over the popcorn and use spoons to toss until it's well mixed.  Let it sit in the baking sheet until it's set and then break it into clumps. 

You'll be saying, "This is crackerjack!" (meaning good.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Technology Has Gone Too Far...

And I think you would agree that a ceiling fan that:  turns itself on and off  when you walk into or out of the room is more than a little over the top until one learns that there is no pull chain to choose a speed, but that the ceiling fan" monitors" the room temperature and the humidity and adjusts itself.   And the fan doesn't stop there - it "remembers" the settings that you like. 

This is a case of a ceiling fan being a lot more intrusive than a nosy next door neighbor.

The fan described above is called the Haiku model with SenseMe.  The Isis model has an 8 or 10 ft. diameter and weighs less than 100 lbs.  I have no idea what these Super Fans cost as their manufacturer is quite coy on the subject. 

But I do remember from years ago when we first bought a dining room ceiling fan that they were roaringly expensive.  More than $1,500.  Lowe's sells a  perfectly adequate fan for less than $50. 

If you're into engineering and/or architecture,  visit their Website -
Not being vulgar, the company is the Big Ass Fan Company, of Lexington, KY. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

You Have To Know Where It Is ...

I'm referring to a brewery, set deep in a posh industrial park (Translation:  no guard dogs or barbed wire, no blowing trash.)  Absolution Brewing Co. signs and directional arrows are all of the help you're going to get inside this industrial park -- the kicker is:  which industrial park?  There are acres of them!

Our friend John, a Brit, discovered it and shared his information with Richie and "Raffish" at a lad's night out the other week.  And, yes, they cabbed to and from; no one drove. 

Richie knew that a visit there would show up here so after an appointment in Torrance, he said, "Are you up for a little adventure?"

"Does it involve food?" I asked.  "I'm starving."

"Dunno - I didn't see any there." hence this recommendation from me.  Take a bag of chips or pretzels in with you.  Not peanuts which make  a mess and lead to eviction. 

As you would expect in a warehouse, the space is vast with five brewing kettles?  Beer vats? across the back wall.  The wall opposite the bar was lined with shiny steel kegs on pallets stacked two high.  The bar is L-shaped and stand up only.  If you want to sit 'n sip there are wooden church pews with short Irish pub tables at an easy reach. 

The big deal about this place (besides the various tastes) is that they have a two beers "hand - pulled" dispenser.  Theirs was imported from England.  That day the two beers were "Trespasser" with your choice of  strawberry or orange-tinged beer.  We each had an orange.  The alcohol content is posted beside each beer and Trespasser was 6.6% and $7 each. 

There is no "Restroom" sign - instead a doorway is labeled "Used Beer."  There were eight other customers at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday.  With 30 ft. high ceilings, it was a hushed, almost church-like atmosphere.

Check their Website  because the hours open are:
Closed Mon. and Tues.
Wed. and Thurs. 3 p.m. to 9
Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sun. noon to 6 p.m.

2878 Columbia Street, Torrance, 90503

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Moment of Silence

For the passengers and crew of the downed Malaysian flights.  Past and current. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tidying Up the House

Our correspondent in Israel sent a follow-up  to yesterday's skunk story.  This is the link --  Palestine-news-network-confuses -idfs-harmless-slunk-spray- for-bio-warfare.   She had said the Palestinians were a bit slow on the uptick and I never doubted it for a moment.

Richie and Pierre Franey cooked dinner last night - pork chops with a caper sauce.  I really liked the sauce and am thinking you don't have to confine it to pork usage.  Ladled  over pasta and served cold, it might make a light, summer lunch.

1 T vegetable or peanut oil
1/2 cup finely-chopped onion
1 teas. finely chopped garlic
1/3 cup drained capers
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chicken both
1 T tomato paste (Richie used Pico Pico)
2 T butter (optional)
2 T finely chopped parsley (optional in my book)

Saute the onion, garlic and capers.  Add everything else and stir, reducing it until you have about 3/4 of a cup of sauce.  Add the butter, if you're using it, and serve.  If you did make pork chops, put them back in and let both simmer together for a moment.  

As a bit of trivia, yesterday was my 1,940th blog (coincidentally the year I was born)  and I'm  only four away from receiving 47,000 page views. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Israeli "Skunk"

Our  correspondent in Israel writes,  "We have come up with a new form of crowd control called skunk.  It's a spray that is a cross between shit and dead animal."

Off to Wikipedia!  It's a mist, fired from a water cannon, first used in September, 2008, and very frequently thereafter.  It doesn't wash off easily and is said to linger in clothing for up to five years.

A BBC reporter described it as "an over-powering mix of rotting meat, old socks, topped off with the pungent waft of an  open sewer."  No matter what you do, it lasts on you for at least three days.  The mist is based entirely on natural organic ingredients such as yeast and baking powder.  If you swallow some, it won't hurt you.

Our correspondent continued.  "Our Palestinian friends feel this is degrading and is treating them like sub-humans.  They throw stones and seem to prefer a bit of tear gas or rubber bullets rather than (the smell of ) shit and dead animals."   

This is a great  invention!  I'd buy some this afternoon if it were available here.  Bad guy approaches you - blast!   Bad guy denies any wrong-doing, but HAH!  You can smell the evidence!  A further punishment might be making the villain wear those clothes for specific periods of time...

I like this idea of getting some more and more -- maybe our Israeli correspondent can be convinced of the ripe market here and to become a skunk dealer...  I'll look into it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Test Driving the New Navy Dress

The Jazz Club was not necessarily my venue of choice, I would have preferred Ports O Call's Sunday champagne brunch, because I wanted bigger audience to dazzle.  I wanted more people whispering, "Who is that mysterious siren? in discreet tones as I swanked past

Work with what you got, right?  I donned my 4th of July flashing light necklaces to celebrate Bastille Day (today) and no one noticed the navy dress upon which they rested. 

But that was okay; that audience was just fine and I did get out the message on the necessity of celebrating Bastille Day.

And I also discovered something I had forgotten - it is easier to pee in a dress.  Hike up, pull down (business) reverse and repeat.  The last time I wore a dress was August, 2012, at the wedding in France so understandable how I could forget.

We decided to have a bite at Hudson House and accordingly, off we went.  We'd ordered drinks, gotten them and put in our orders - brown sugar ribs, French fries and, "Oh, could we have the mixed nuts and olives with our drinks?"

We sipped and chewed contentedly.  Then here came the French fries, courtesy of a male runner.  He never even saw me. I was too far below on his radar.   

He was 'way too busy talking to Richie!  "Hey, you haven't been in for a while - where ya been?" and other such pleasantries.    Richie in shorts and a rugby shirt attracted more sexual interest than I did! 

Am thinking about taking the dress back ...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Oprah Is Stalking Me!

And it's a pretty damned scary thing.  I wrote about the sudden and uninvited delivery of Oprah, the magazine, on July 7, 2014. ("Selfie")

Friday, July 11th, here came the June issue.  It, too, was just another load of clobber which included bathing suits that flatter; tidbits of advice from the regulars.  Dr. Phil is a loudmouth; Dr. Oz should have his license revoked and Suze Orman is probably broke.  "Don't do what they say" sums it up. 

While Oprah personally may be quite charming, there are many in Online World that hate her -- more than 4,000 Face Book sites or fans or whatever - that say they do. 

An article entitled "Why Black People Hate Oprah" was rather a surprise, but it turns out that those in that population regard her as an Uncle Tom.  There were mentions of the many guest celebrities who are white..  One astute person wrote, "C'mon, y'awl - we always hatin' on each other!" which amused me. 

Others were disapproving that she advocates "Spending money will make you happy!" and backs it up with a section in the magazine where she exhibits personal choices - and has the chutzpah to run a store in Chicago that sells them!  It's closed now but The Oprah Store was at 37 N. Carpenter Street, Chicago.  Another critic said that she should not let celebrity guests present themselves as medical experts such as the one that believed the childhood vaccination shots gave her kid autism.  There was a growing group who agreed and this celeb only added fuel to their fire.  Suzanne Somers sent a lot of women to their doctors for some crazy hormone theory she was promoting.. 

Some say that Oprah put the O in ego.  Featuring yourself on the cover of your own magazine every month is certainly not against the law and could be considered good branding, but it is way off of the charts as ego-driven. 

Worst of all, she "fat shames" people.  She makes a great deal of noise about her own not-to-slight frame.  When she hit 200 pounds (the number given publicly - could have been more) she said she felt ashamed.  She's yo-yo dieted for most of the 25 years she's been visible. 

She features the A-list freaks such as "the pregnant man" not to help them, but to help herself to bigger ratings.

So, go away, Oprah - I don't want any navel-gazing, mirror-staring advice on how to improve my life (or me.)


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Stolen Goods

We went to Charlie's (PCH, RB) for dinner last night.  Richie is hunting their elusive chicken cacciatori (hunter's chicken.)  He had it once and clearly has never forgotten it.

Among the specials was this appetizer: 
Cantaloupe and Honeydew melon quarters with slices of prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and a dash of sea salt. 

It was very, very good and I normally will not eat cantaloupe.  Am going to, uh, "borrow" this dish for a barbecue coming up.  It's a lovely summer dish ...

A Great Idea

I have always wanted to buy a bullhorn for "traffic moments."  To be able to bellow, "Hang up the friggin' phone!" would delight me to no end.  Unfortunately I believe it is illegal here.  (Radio Shack,  $25 if it's not illegal where you are.)

But then yesterday someone sent me a joke that seems imminently do-able:  "I changed my car horn to the sound of gunfire - you should see them scatter!"

There's a market there...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ear Trumpets To Electronics

Richie and I paid a visit to the audiologist yesterday afternoon to see just how deaf we actually are.  There have been some heated discussions of late...

Admittedly some loss was expected - Richie spent 36 years on the tarmacs of LaGuardia, DFW and LAX.  I worked for a rock'n roll radio station and then rock management where I attended recording sessions with speakers the size of the old sidewalk phone booths.  So our "Huh?"s were legit. 

Our hearing test concluded that he has lost more than I have (but he was gainfully employed for 36 years.)   There's no point in fooling myself; my day is coming, too.

To show us one and let us test drive it, the audiologist pulled out a model.  I was amazed that it was so tiny and that you can have the loop up and over your ear color-matched to the color of your hair.  No more flesh-colored which doesn't fool many people anyhow.  This is not an issue with Himself; he told the audiologist flatly, "I don't care."  If I were being a bitch, I'd add, "He doesn't need to!  With all of that hair?  No one's seen his ears since 1963!"

Hearing aids have been in existence, primitive to be sure, since the 17th century.  The King of Portugal had a special hearing aid throne made for him in 1819.  The throne arms had gaping lions' mouths.  The sound was to go into the mouths,  into a tube up the throne's back and up to a final tube near the King's ears. 

All the men I know who have them hate them.  Richie did have a pair and quit using them.  "All I can hear is a whistle."  "Aw, the battery's dead again!"  "They don't fit right which caused subsequent visits to the audiologist who had sold them to him.

There are a number of sites urging usage of them.  To hear TV better was probably the number one reason, followed by socializing and family life. 

As hearing loss and old age are practically synonymous and both mean lost powers it's no wonder men hate them so much.  The male ego is ... interesting.

One exercise offered was to count the number of devices you see on people in the supermarket, restaurant, bar - you will be quite surprised. 

Word to the Boomers and the iPod zombies - don't make fun of what you yourself will become.  Just wait for it ...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Our Israeli Correspondent Weighs In

There are a lot of people that feel that the Arab that was murdered by Israelis was actually gay and his family took advantage of the situation, killed him and there were Israelis dumb enough to say, "We did it."

"Who knows what the hell is going on.

When asked about  conditions in Netanya, a suburb of Tel Aviv, our correspondent stated with typical British understatement, "We will have a few worrying days, then they stop and take time to build up their supply."
Worrying days"!?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Summer Lazies

(Not to be confused with a selfie.) 

It's a very slow news day so since I have nothing to say, I won't say it. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Now Known as "Selfie" Magazine

You may know it as "O, The Oprah Magazine."

Saturday, Richie brought up the mail and handed me mine.  And there was "Selfie."    "That's not mine," I told him.  "Look at the label," he replied. 

Sure enough it was for Murf Ink, my California dba.    The cover gave me the first hint that it was now "Selfie" magazine- Let It Go - a four-step plan for managing your stress!  Upgrade Your Life - 54 easy ways to live better - without spending a penny more!   Oh, Sugar - simple ways to cut your cravings  The Other Woman - Making peace with a new husband's old wife.  The Best Books of Summer - 77 great reads for bed, beach and beyond!

Dr. Phil has his own column as does Dr. O and a woman named Iyanla touted under the banner of "Iyanla! Fix my life!"

Notice all of the list-making being offered - a four-step plan, 77 new books, 54 recommendations - Oprah must be really anally fixated.

I did read the article on being a second wife and the billing was a little off the mark.  The second wife in question was competing with a first wife who died of cancer.  There's not a lot of conflict possible with this situation.  If she's dead, she isn't coming back and is, thus, no threat at all.  The problem?  The husband refused to throw First's favorite chair out.  Second finds happiness when she sits down in it to nurse the now-couple's first child. 

I wonder about the intellectual growth of the readers - calling on a perfect stranger (Iyanla) to fix personal situations you may be in (or think you are) and then publish it in a national magazine is a little too dicey for me. 

"Oh, Sugar" described as "cravings"  Well doesn't  just that make you the victim, poor little  thang.  It's a craving!  Nothing to do with your personal will power!

In summation, the entire issue is devoted to the message "Think of yourself first because, yes, you are the most important person in the world!!" 

Toss me that copy of Vanity Fair, would you? 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Yeah, But Look at the Bigger Picture

Drudge is running an  "Oooh, eeek!" headline: " 300,000 illegals to homes in USA"  You can add the exclamation point.

Meanwhile I Googled the number of  people on welfare in the US.  In 2012, there were 100 million of us on some form of government help.   300,000 vs. 100 million?  No contest!  Next!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Spirit of the 4th

Yesterday's block party was a real return to the original values and ways of the American people.  "Howzat?" you say?  This particular block is centered be a "parkette" meaning about one-half of a house lot wide, running from the sidewalk to the back fence of the house behind it.  Money has been put into it; the slide and swings are smoothly painted and solidly constructed.  Any areas where a kid could fall have been covered in rubber chunks to pad their little behinds.

For last year's event, guests were invited to bring a potluck dish while the neighborhood men took turns working the barbecue grill.  This year we didn't have to bring anything; there was a tent which represented the "taco cart" we'd been told to expect.  The chef and a helper were cranking 'em out - chicken, beef or pork (very good) tacos with beans, rice and trimmings on the side.  There was no set fee; we were told to put our money in a sealed up cardboard box with a slit cut in the top.  The suggested price was $10 per person. 

There was a really big bouncy house set up in the street in front of the park.  Little kids ran around, shrieking and screaming; clutching quesadillas in rather grubby hands.  There were a number of babies.  One was so funny that I just kept watching her and grinning.  She was the first baby I've ever seen with skinny legs!  Visualize a baby and you will probably see a plump morsel, lying on its back waving dimpled legs and fat thighs.  She had a stiff-legged gait - sort of a lurch into a near fall; recovery - repeat. 

The whole block appears to be populated by 30-somethings and their toddlers.  The adults gathered in their beach chairs in a wide ring around the only tree there and amiably chatted; other groups gathered around the picnic tables in the roaring sun.  Everyone seemed to have at least a nodding acquaintance with their neighbors.  We had to explain ourselves thusly, "Angie and John used to be our next door neighbors and the friendship has continued" got us quite off of the hook. 

I tried to get a bocce (lawn bowling) tournament going, but everyone was much too content to make the effort to get up out of their beach chair and go out into the hot sun.  So I sat back and had another beer. 

It was readily apparent that there were committees - catering, decorating (bunting all over the fences,)  placement organization (coolers under extra tables, a dessert table) and music from speakers mounted along a fence.  The music guy even made a DJ tape especially for this event! 

All in all, the feeling I walked away with was:  community.  And it was an endearing sight, I promise you. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July!

Great excitement - tomorrow is the  much-awaited Block Party!  Because you all would want to crash it, the location is a closely-guarded secret.  And, if you go to the expense of hiring a helicopter to scout Redondo, you will be dazed by the number of events taking place in various streets.  Which one?  Which one to go to? 

Your intrepid reporter will take careful notes; don't worry.  Have a great 4th and remember:  no fireworks.  Go to the public events and watch them; it's unlikely there will be any frantic paramedic calls as a result. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Quiet Revolt

The non-beer drinkers objected to the very idea of "beer cocktails."  "Beer is NOT a cocktail under any circumstances," one huffed.

So to placate them, here are some adult beverage slushies that Bon Appetit thinks are just the cat's pajamas. 

2 cups frozen blackberries + 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries + 6 oz. light rum and 4 oz. simple syrup and 1 1/2 fresh lime juice and 2 cups of ice.  Blend and drink.

3 cups hulled and halved strawberries, frozen plus 6 oz. vodka, 4 oz. simple syrup, 1 1/2 oz. lime juice and 2 cups ice.  Garnish with tarragon sprigs.

3 1/2 cups frozen watermelon pieces and 1/2 in. thick jalapeno slice with seeds, 6 oz. tequila blanco, 4 oz. simple syrup 2 oz. lime juice and 3 cups of ice.

3 cups frozen peeled and sliced peaches plus 2 T finely grated peeled ginger with 6 oz. bourbon and 3 oz. simple syrup - add 2 oz. lemon juice and 2 cups of ice.  Garnish with sage sprigs.

3 cups frozen pineapple pieces and 6 oz. gin with 2 oz. simple syrup, 1 oz. lime juice and 1 oz. pineapple juice. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Upgrading the Old Shot & a Beer

Bon Appetit is certainly are some of their food editors' picks.

Combine  2 oz. fresh orange juice and 1 oz. gin in a pint glass filled with ice.  Top off with an American lager - Miller High Life is the recommendation.  Garnish with a slice of orange.

(and I had to look up "aperol" - turns out it's an Italian aperitif, similar to Campari which makes it.  Said to contain bitter orange and rhubarb.) 
1 oz. Aperol and 1 oz. fresh lemon juice in a pint glass, filled with ice.
Top off with a Hefeweizen-style beer, such as Hoegaarden and garnish with a lemon twist. 

1 oz. crème de cassis in the usual glass and ice combo
Top off with raspberry lambic beer - such as Lindemans Framboise.  Garnish with a sprig of mint. 

SRIRACHA-LADA  (My choice)
Combine 1 oz. fresh lime juice with 2 teas. sriracha and 1/2 teas. Worcestershire sauce.  Top off with Pacifico.  Garnish with a chunk of lime. 

Let Summer Begin!