Thursday, December 31, 2015

But Is It Gluten-Free?

Vireo Health, of New York, is promoting its line of kosher medical marijuana "to help serve the dietary needs of the largest Jewish population in the United States."


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

O Gawd! Not AGAIN!

For the 9th year in a row Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper will be "hosting" the ball drop in Times Square, Manhattan.

I say "hosting" because Griffin will merely pick up and flap the reins on the tired old horse that is the comedy routine for this abysmal use of prime time. 

Not knowing any better, we watched the 2012 excrement and I was shocked that the network didn't go to black when she groped Cooper's private  parts.  You know, the never let anyone see what's under your bathing suit area? 

I find making fun of another's sexual preferences to be in extremely bad taste and Griffin's take on  persuading Cooper to change and be her boyfriend absolutely appalling in that it promotes the ridiculous idea that anyone can willfully change their sexual orientation.  This is so 1840s as to be a veritable parade - marching bands, twirling majorettes, an elephant giving children rides - of complete and total ignorance.  This is a stereotype designed to appeal to the religious right and shrinks looking to make a buck.

Griffin - rattles off a series of pleading remarks segues into insulting Cooper's sexuality; audience cheers.  (Everyone in Times Square is probably drunk anyhow)
Cooper - giggles.

Whee!  Are we havin' fun yet? 

I am not without my own resources.  I will be watching the clock (not the atomic one although it is catching up) and at 8:58 p.m. we'll cut over to whatever channel is ignorant enough to be running them.  How much can they do in two minutes?

On second thought, don't answer that. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Firsthand Tornado Report

Back story:  Longtime readers will recognize the names Red and Barbara, our great friends in the DFW area.  Red and Richie transferred from AA NY to DFW when it had just been completed.  They had the idea that Texas would be infinitely more pleasant weather- wise than NY.  That's before they found out firsthand about the blue northers, 30-degree temperature changes in an hour and so forth.  Richie skedaddled for Southern California, but since Red and Barbara had three kids and good schools, they stayed.   Additionally, Barbara is a registered nurse and they were able to work out a schedule that had one of them with the kids 24/7.

Today:  Their daughter Kirin and her husband George live or lived in Rowlett, TX, some 19.6 miles NE of DFW.  It's a small community - the 2010 census listed a population of 56,000.  No further data is available; clearly it was felt that there wasn't going to be any noteworthy population surge. 

George and Kirin gave a full report. They had about 5 seconds to cram into the bathroom (her son and his son were visiting) and the five dogs were first into the bathtub.  There they sheltered, but meanwhile they were treated to what "sounded like a freight train" and the roof blew off, followed shortly by the rest of the house collapsing.  Somewhere during all of this, a tornado (of the nine reported)  flipped one of their cars into the swimming pool.   

They emerged from their shelter and none of them had so much as a scratch.  They are sheltering with one of George's brothers; he has extensive family in the area.

The latest report is that 446 homes there were hit; 101 utterly destroyed and 83 severely damaged.  The water tower very near to their former home has been drained and is being inspected for structural damage, but to be safe all of the homes still standing within a football field of the tower have been evacuated. 

Of note:  the figures noted above were gotten from reliable sources (the Dallas newspapers and Google) but the witness accounts may have been clouded by the reporters being in shock from the fact that their former home no longer exists.    

Monday, December 28, 2015

Let's Pop Into the Kitchen with Jacques Pepin, Shall We?

Richie is a great fan and when I saw Pepin's newest book - Heart & Soul in the Kitchen -  in the library, I grabbed it for him, read it in an afternoon and culled out the following:

1 small head red cabbage, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 T Tabasco
1 T cider vinegar
2 T peanut oil
1 T walnut oil
6 T crumbled blue cheese
3 T chopped chives

3T olive oil and 1 T hazelnut oil
Black pepper to taste
2 teas. chopped fresh garlic
head of cleaned and cut cauliflower sauteed  in the oils, dotted with the garlic till golden brown.

2 cups warm water
1/2 cup kosher salt or 1/3 cup table salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 teas. Tabasco
2 medium red onions sliced
3 cups diced radishes (in the photo, they've been sliced)

Mix the water, salt, sugar, Tabasco   and vinegar together, add vegetables and let sit for three hours, put it in jars and then into the refrigerator.  Will  keep 3 months there. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tinsel Ground Into the Rug

Sometimes Ya Gotta Be Tough to Live at the Beach

This morning it was 39 outdoors and 57 inside the living room.  Richie has one of those "atomic" clocks that operates on a radio signal or something out of Denver, I believe.  The indoor-outdoor temperature is a feature of it.

However, the clock also said 7:22 a.m. at 7:02.

Beating the Cold
We crank up the wall heater and turn on the dining room ceiling fan.  By 7:30 a.m. it was 62 inside.  Thank God it's a sunny day; overcast would really make us miserable.

I have lectured about this probably every winter but ... here's what insures a toasty warm bed:

Waffle weave thermal blanket
Bottom sheet
Top sheet
Polar fleece blanket
Heavy bedspread
Optional:  Make cats lie in the nooks and crannies the bedding doesn't seem to reach. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's An Insanely Small World After All

My nephew Steve is a professional sommelier.  For special occasions, he sends us a bottle of wine.  This Christmas was no exception and the wine is a Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  On the gift card, he wrote that this wine is one of his favorites. 

Meanwhile, here in Redondo, far, far from New Zealand, our friend and former neighbor, "D" came for what turned out to be a minor champagne tasting and app grazing.  Knowing he is a wine aficionado (no, this is not polite-speak for "roaring drunk") I showed Steve's bottle to him and asked, "Have you ever heard of this winery?" knowing nothing about NZ wines and very little about Sauvignon Blanc either. 

"Heard of it?" came the quick retort, "I've visited it!"  My eyes flew open in shock and then I recovered, belatedly remembering "D" had been to NZ.  He went on, "I OD-ed on the Sauvignon Blanc but came back on their Rieslings.  They're drier, not as sweet as here or in Europe." 

If that isn't proof that we do live in a small world, nothing would be. 

Champagne Tasting
"D" brought a bottle of 2011 Laetitia Brut Champagne (Methode Champenoise because made in
Arroyo Grande Valley, CA)  It was as crisp as a freshly-ironed linen sheet. 

We countered with an Almond Creek sparkling wine someone had given us (and I hope to God it wasn't Steve or "D") which lived up to its label which read "almond-flavored."   Perforce, it had a softer taste, due no doubt, to the almonds whose taste was definitely there. 

Finding that we still had an ample supply of anecdotes to share, we turned to my old favorite, Amour de Paris which has a champagne front taste and a peach back taste.  It can be legally labeled "champagne" as it is made in France (and quite possibly sent over to America by tanker ship.)  ((Trader Joe $4.99))

Friday, December 25, 2015


The cards-in-the-mail didn't happen, but considering the opprobrium that snail mail is regarded, this shouldn't have been a surprise and it wasn't.  Instead, this morning's e-mails included one from a friend updating me on his news.  Jimsie and I have been friends since I was 18 and he was 28 and we were both cutting vast swathes of deviltry in Kansas City, MO.  

He wrote of his recent back surgery and mentioned that he is beginning to enjoy 24 hour home nursing.  He mentioned something about being spoiled and that he is finding that this is not a bad thing. 

I immediately countered with this charming directive -- "Shift your lazy ass and listen to my tale of woe!" whereupon I updated him on my on-going miseries in the hip department and I am not using "hip" as it was used in the '60s.

What I learned for my own self is that yes, older people DO discuss their health, most recent surgeries, outcomes thereof and so forth and so on and I learned it at the Thurs. Writers annual Christmas luncheon!

La the merry confidences, the bravery-overcomes-all reports.  I was shocked frankly to hear Richie and Laura having a cozy chat about her arthritis and Richie's recital of my hip woes!  Good heavens, even I don't go on and on about it!  (Which has to be a shock to many longtime readers.)   

All of the above is to serve as a gentle reminder as we head into 2016:  NEVER ask anyone over 60 how they're feeling, because by God, they'll tell you!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Quiet Little Tingle of Anticipation

I woke up this morning smiling and couldn't figure out why until I remembered that today is Christmas Eve day.   While I am always delighted to see another sunrise (or somewhat later) it is not a daily smile-worthy event.  The only other one is my birthday.  You can't live as I have and not be glad about making it through another year. 

I'm gently excited about the possibility of more Christmas cards from people like me who got a late start on addressing, stamping and mailing them.  Fed-Ex was here yesterday and we weren't so there is yet another present coming our way.  I've also been informed that my nephew's gift and the gift I got Richie will both arrive next Tuesday which means a definite layover of "Christmas." 

Our friend "D" is coming over Christmas Day afternoon for champagne and appetizers.  These are the Trader Joe hors d'ouevres I wrote about recently and it has been a matter of considerable restraint on my part not to prize open a corner of the boxes and have a little, uh, pre-sample.  "Quality control testing" if you will.  Yes, my wiliness nearly surpasses my greed when it comes to food. 

I should make this point - Christmas presents - whatever they may be - are not avarice on my part but great curiosity about the creative humor often expressed in their choices.  I try to reciprocate in kind (to explain the rubber chicken I once gave a nephew which is still raising eyebrows in some circles.)

Yes, the day before Christmas can be just as fulfilling as Christmas Day.  To me at least.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL - and a great Christmas Eve day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Jack Daniels Front Done Moved In On TGIFridays

Yesterday I had a 10:30 doctor's appointment that ran until 12:15.  At noon I was thinking about poking my head out of the exam room and asking if I could order in a pizza.  Cooler heads prevailed (theirs) and we left at 12:15.

After a meeting of the executive committee (Richie and self) we decided to hold the annual office lunch at TGIFridays which is in the same office complex. 

On entering, we were told to "Sit anywhere" which always indicates the resto isn't that busy and they weren't.  As it was a celebratory event, he had a small Stella (choice of 14 or 20 ounces ) $4 and I had a Bloody Mary $7.09.   

Our food arrived promptly - a New York Cheddar Bacon Burger with cole slaw ($11.29) for him and a California Club ($10.99) for me.  California in a club sandwich name means avocado slices, too.  We usually know it as a  BLAT. 

Both sandwiches were enormous; mine was on ciabatta and his looked like it was, too.  I had the other half for dinner, but Richie manfully plowed through all of his.  Since I still had room (theoretically) I ordered the Jack Daniels Whiskey Cake ($4.79) because it is a reminder of the veddy, veddy English toffee pudding I loved in London (and anywhere else it was being served.)

I had noticed a great many dishes on the menu with Jack Daniels as an ingredient.  The grill items -- all eight of them -- all had it.  I began to wonder if the restaurant and the whisky makers had cut some kind of deal?  If Jack had bought TGIFridays? 

Extensive research ("Hello, Google!") didn't yield any insights other than the fact that TGIFridays is a franchise with 900 restaurants located in 60 different countries including such unlikely places as the UAE, Kazakhstan, Bangaladesh, Lebanon and Morocco.  Somehow I don't think there are any Jack items in the UAE.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Letters to the Editor - The Daily Breeze's Question of the Week

The question was:  What is Christianity's role in politics?

The opinionated old  woman who lives at this address wrote:

Religion and politics don't mix

None at all.  This opinion has nothing whatsoever to do with the supposed separation of church and state in this country.  Instead, it is  strong belief that if you do something nice for another, you do not go around advertising it.  Doing so questions the motives behind doing it and in a very negative way.

I distrust politicians who make a point of their religion when running for public office.  I don't care what they believe, just as they shouldn't give a fig what I believe.

Religion is for the place of worship of your faith; the voting booth is not. 

Sincerely,  Nina Murphy

Monday, December 21, 2015

Scurry, Scurry!

It's five (5) days until Christmas!  Got grain for the reindeer?  A nice cold dirty gin martini for Santa?  Put some hustle on - Friday will be here before you know it!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Paraphrasing Shakespeare - "Now is the Winter/Season of Our Discontent"

Richie flipped on the radio at 7 a.m. for the news.  After the first sentence or two of a report on a State building Somewhere that had a Christmas tree in the lobby and that some local people were raising hell about it, I mentally tuned out. 

I was pondering just when Christmas became the Hate-filled Season.  Two hours later, I still don't know for sure but I think Politically Correct has something to do with it.


On their way to their annual Hawaiian Christmas vacation, the Obamas stopped to console families and first responders of the recent massacre in San Bernardino.  The First Lady of the United States promised a family member that she would rap at the fundraiser. 


I would caution shopping in big box stores this weekend for the simple reason Target, Wal-Mart, etc. are prime "soft targets" for terrorists.  Use your eyes and if you see something, run like hell and then tell someone. 


Am beginning to believe our friend "D" is onto something.  He has long advocated Festivus as a substitute for all previously -seasonal events.  If Festivus includes drinking (and I believe it does) count me in. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Gentle Bit of Advice

I decided to make the candy in a recent dispatch - the really easy one.  I duly started melting the 72% cacao chocolate in a double boiler as suggested; then got impatient, transferred the chocolate to a plastic bowl and nuked it. 

I then laid down lines of melted chocolate and studded them with a candied cherry about every inch. 
When the chocolate hardened, I would then cut bite-sized squares.

All went well except for the fact that am not used to working with melted chocolate and got it all over my hands.  This is not a good thing.  With many foods, one can just stick the affected hand in running water and presto, clean-o.

Not 72% cacao.  You have to run really hot water and scrub hard with plenty of soap.  If it hardens under your nails, you are going to be licking your fingers for quite some time.  Probably about the time you get over the 1st degree burns on your hand from washing - trying to wash - it off of your hands.

If I ever do this again, am going to have a pair of purloined doctor's gloves ready to use. 

PS  The top half of the double boiler is still soaking.  Good thing it's rarely used.  Hot chocolate anyone?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Various Recent Events

Global Warming, My Sweet Patootie

This morning (12/16/15) it was 39 degrees outside and 56 inside the house. 

Fired like a Rock'n Roll Disc Jockey

My resume includes a stint at WHB Radio, KC, Mo.  Standard practice there was to fire a disc jockey one minute after he came off the air - this pre-empted any anti-station rants he might have come up with after diligent thought. 

Physical Therapy has nothing to do with disc jockeys, radio or rock'n roll, but being fired appears to be similar.  Case in point:  the surgeon Rxed PT for me and I duly followed orders.  My therapist was a beautiful woman of Asian descent - her cat eyes gave her away. 

Our first meeting went well; a minor exchange of "girl talk" - we both love dirty gin martinis, but subsequent meetings degenerated fairly quickly.  She was nothing loathe to yell at me.  Sample:  "Mees Murfee, I have to tell you EVERY TIME!"  (fill in sin of the moment.)   This is disconcerting - okay, it was to me, when I was trying to do three things and being railed at for missing the fourth.

Several times she reminded me that she had a Masters in PT and I didn't.  In my experience, a pro never mentions being a pro and someone should tell her that. 

It won't be me, however, as at the end of our session last Monday, she told me not to come today; that my last session would be next Monday and no Wednesday after that.  At home, I duly went to my calendar to log in these changes.  I had no further appointments.

Sacked like a fumbling quarterback.   Or a rock'n roll DJ. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hopes Dashed! Dashed, I Tell You!

I thought I'd come across a way for our cats to finally pay for themselves.  (snort)  A brief article in today's Daily Breeze revealed that a Japanese company is selling Fluffy Forehead Fragrance Fabric Water, to be used as a washing additive. 

This (dubious) scent was developed by Yamamoto Perfumery and testers' comments included "The smell of sunshine" and "sweet bread."  The perfumery CEO spent time sniffing cats foreheads at cat cafes (common in Japan) to make a match.  I can only imagine the comments -- picture it, a dapper, well-dressed Asian gentleman approaches you as a cat lolls on your lap, hoping for a treat.  "Pardon me, may I sniff this cat's forehead?"  Yanking the poor cat back in fear, the cat petter says, "No!  Manager!  Manager - over here!"

I Googled to see how one could obtain this scent and no one had an answer.  I did feel sure that no cats were harmed in scent reaping - why kill the golden goose, ya know?  Dreamily I visualized a little home industry where every three days I wiped our three cats foreheads with tissues, sealed them in ziplock bags and collected the money.

And then I realized.  This scent is an artificial one and created in a laboratory in Japan.   So much for finally having cats that could earn a living. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

On the 12th Day of Christmas...I Had a Panic Attack

Until I calmed down and realized that one can get a lot done in 12 days.

Today - get multiples of our Christmas shot.  Buzz briskly through Best Buy or Target for an inexpensive (read:  cheap ass) printer so that I can print out the labels and start on the Christmas cards. 

Yes, we still send snail mail cards.  I love seeing who wrote and reading the annual letters in my hands and not on a computer screen although they are great, too.  My schtick is hearing from people we ONLY hear from once a year.  Handwritten or online - either is wonderful for that. has one more delivery and I have a stop at Trader Joe's for gift cards and local treats.  Then I can ship to out-of-town family and it probably will get there in time. 

The Thurs. Writers annual potluck Christmas party is Thursday; Wednesday is set aside for Himself to make his famous pumpkin pie and Thurs. morning I will be making a composed salad (did anyone ever see a nervous salad?) and London tea cucumber sandwiches.  The champagne is already cold.

It'll all be done before I know it.  So I can slap my face and put the martini makings away. 

sandwich white bread - the sleazier the better.
Onion/chive whipped cream cheese
A cucumber - English if you can get one - Ralph's Manhattan Beach has them.
A Japanese spiral slicer which makes cucumber ribbons.

Stack 2 or 3 slices of bread, trim off the crusts (sandwich bread makes this a snap) line them up, run a rolling pin across them and butter them with the flavored cream cheese.  Cut the sandwiches in quarters and garnish with a cucumber ribbon. 

A thin round of cucumber is equally effective.  Serve open-faced in either case. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

All You Can Do Is Laugh

Last night's news was mainly about the triumph of the "Global warming - OH NO!" crew's pact in Paris. 

Some 194 or 195 nations (number varied) all signed on to minimize carbon emissions in the future. 

Clearly it never occurred to anyone to teleconference this grand event and everyone stay home.  Think about the carbon impact of 194 or 195 planes flying into Paris and the subsequent need for individual limos so that no one felt slighted. 

No wonder they want to enlist "for their children" - those kids will be adults by the time this blast of jet fuel and limo gas is gone.  And, with luck, the signers will all have gone to their (dubious) reward.  This is not Nobel Peace prize stuff.  But it is a prime example of "The rules are for everyone else."

Just snigger; it's all the power that we are left. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

And One Thing Leads to Another...

Let me introduce myself - Hi, I'm a Trader Joe Junky.  I love a great variety of flavor in the things I eat and because I eat slowly (as compared to a dog) I like hunting for say ... the marshmallow ribbon in Rocky Road ice cream - and they could dispense with the hazel nuts which give a faint hint of ... healthful?  This is ICE CREAM people!   Butterfat and sugar are not health foods. 

Today Richie handed me the every-now-and-then Trader Joe flyer and I dropped my book and seized my pink marker.  I had to flick away premature saliva as their writers are masters of making you want to go get some (whatever) right this minute!

Tour with me ...

Sriracha Potstickers with Shrimp and Crab - warning:  the wrappers have been dyed with beet juice or spinach making them noticeably red or green.  Previously I bought shrimp and crab something or other and when I got them home noticed that the principle ingredient was trout - back they went. 
Reassuringly crab is spelt crab all the way through and not "krab" which means fish.

Shrimp Toast - said to be a favorite of the late Duchess of Windsor - river shrimp and butter blended and compressed into a container and then spread on white bread and toasted.  Her recipe sounded greasy which didn't sound like her as she had all of the curves and roundings of a wire coat hangar.

Camembert and Cranberry filled Phyllo Bites - good flavor combination and if you are handy with phyllo dough, something you could make at home if you weren't bone idle lazy like this writer.

Shrimp and Grits Bites - a cornbread-lined muffin cup (size not mentioned) filled with sweet corn grits, shrimp. cheddar cheese, onion, jalapeno peppers and a dash of sriracha sauce. 

Sliced Truffle Ham - from Italy.  Also from Italy - "Nduja," a spreadable salami which is said to go well with fig and black olive small toasts. 

Chocolate Raspberry Tamales - the masa has cocoa and cinnamon; the filling is semisweet chocolate chips and raspberries which melt together when heated.  This is all very cute, but I think I'd prefer pork in red sauce myself. 

Got a Choco-maniac on your list?  Just wander through the store with your basket.  Normally all things chockie are found above the freezer cases, but seasonally they're all over the store. 

I read about all of the above; have made my choices and now we'll have to have people for drinks so that I can serve them and taste them.  A simple sit, reading, has evolved into a major house cleaning, setting up the dining room table attractively and buying more champagne.  The dark side of Trader Joe.

Note:  I am not affiliated with Trader Joe in any way, shape or form. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Not Even Minor Property Damage - Road Trip Report

I should have been more realistic in my glee about causing trouble in Claremont.  When one considers that our cumulative age is 322, which averages out to 80.5 per person ...not a lot of possibilities present themselves.

In fact, our biggest (and only) damage was to the lunch menu at Joey's Barbecue, Upland, which is right across the border from Claremont.  

La!  How we snuffled our way through baby back ribs, pulled pork, bbq pinto beans, cole slaw made of red cabbage with an apple cider dressing ... washed down with three IPAs and glass of chardonnay respectively ...

After the fact, I discovered that the yam fries come with a sauce that relies on melted marshmallow which one reviewer described as "Game over" I would have ordered that to go with our drinks.  Next time.  We're not even close to being tired of barbecue.  Or mayhem. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Road Trip!

Today we journey to Claremont, CA, to wreak whatever destruction and mayhem we can on the good citizens there. 

We will be visiting and lunching with excellent friends and cohorts in evil doings, Bob and Pat. 

Special warning to Joey's Barbecue - we eat a lot!  Be prepared! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

If It Doesn't Sound Right, Research What They Said

In today's cyber world, it's all too easy to find out what actually happened and who said what to whom.

Case in point:  last night's BBC News had a short segment with a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) campaigning against Trump's proposed ban on incoming Muslim immigrants. 

The man made a big point of all of the Muslims who had died or been first responders during 911. 

Since I was in Montauk at that time, and Muslims were never mentioned as victims -- although a helluva lot of Irish surnamed men were - this didn't sound right to me.  This morning I went to Google.

Number of Muslims killed in the towers - 28
Number of Muslims killed in the Pennsylvania and Pentagon attacks - 3
Number of Muslim first responders - 1 (and he later got a street named for himself.) 

(source Al Arabiyah)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Letter to the Editor

Sunday, December 6, 2015  - Daily Breeze

MB should tap sunscreen industry for dispensers

Re:  "MB idea has got everyone covered - Nov. 29.

I laughed out loud at the ineptitude of some Manhattan Beach city officials.  Commissioner Janet Krause Jones proposed free sunscreen dispensers as she has seen on other beaches.  Mayor Mark Burton said, "'s a matter of getting one of the hospitals or health care providers on board."

This is a perfect example of "leaders" whose only acts of business genius are to hold out their hands.  They don't have the business savvy to open bids to the sunscreen industry to provide the dispensers and the sunscreen  for exclusive rights to Manhattan Beach.  And yet, voters elected these incompetents!  They clearly couldn't run a lemonade stand.

Of course, when visitors find there is no parking and you can't smoke outdoors, all of the free sunscreen in the world isn't going to populate their beach. 


Nina Murphy, Redondo Beach

Saturday, December 5, 2015


*  This caught my eye at Trader Joe's - Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip.  As I like both flavors; as I assumed that yogurt is better for one than sour cream, I bought a container.  It's not bad!

It could be considered the grown-up, sophisticated cousin to French Onion Dip - aka "California dip" - which came out in the '60s?  '80s?   You know - a pint of sour cream and a package of Knorr French Onion Soup mixed together.

*  The Pregnant Pigeon is apparently back.  Egg-sitting not pregnant to be technically correct.  She has a hidey hole up in the peaked part of the garage roof.  This would be fine if she were unobtrusive and adopted the Madonna and child routine of quiet contemplation, but she insists on spending most of the morning making noises like a disposal run amuck.  Imagine a full-throated cooing while gargling a handful of glass marbles.

*  Sorting out the Muslims.   It would be extremely helpful if the media would print a primer for those of us who have no clue as to which sect?  off-shoot? does what.  One of them now permits a husband to text his wife "I divorce you" three times and the divorce is final then and there.  This would sure as hell put a lot of lawyers out of a job here in America. 

Right now it's like saying "The axe murderer was a Christian" without spelling out if he was a Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist ...To be determined if the LA Times responds to my gentle request.

*  Richie bought a copy of "Cuisine Rapide," the Pierre Franey and Brian Kelly  cookbook at yesterday's Palos Verdes Library book sale and mentioned in passing that he'd seen some good stuff in it.  Goodie - a dinner I won't be trusted to cook!  The next week is looking brighter already!

Friday, December 4, 2015

"I Grew Up With Guns"

The above is a phrase commonly used in the Flyover States from which I come.   It is shorthand for:   my Dad/brother(s) hunted, skeet shot or practiced target shooting or all of the foregoing.  Guns, in these contexts, were an everyday thing.  When Dad brought out his new rifle to show his brother-in-law, no family members screamed and ran from the room.

We didn't use guns on each other.   In fact, great care was taken to keep guns away from children - the hat shelf over the parental clothing closet was a favored place.

Why do I hate and fear guns?  Because I've seen first hand, up close and personal what a bullet can do.  

Example #1    My Dad and I were driving back from Yates Center, KS, to my Aunt Vera and Uncle Floyd's farm "Land's End" after running an errand "in town" (pop. maybe 1,000).  I was 8 or 10.  Dad spotted a chicken hawk (they exist outside of prisons) who had caught a live chicken which was struggling in the hawk's grasp. 

Daddy slammed on the brakes, whipped his new .240 Roberts (rifle) out of the back seat, aimed and fired.  Down came both birds.  Excited, we ran across a plowed field --and there we found a mess of gore, loose feathers and two birds whose species were now unclear.  I had to mentally count feet to know it was two birds. 

Example #2  Daddy decided to go for a walk across the road to the field and pond owned by a neighbor.  His sister, Aunt Vera, had told him to be careful as the pond was full of water moccasins.  So he took a pistol and me and over the road we went.

Walking around the perimeter of the pond, we spotted the triangular head of a large water moccasin swimming straight for us.  Daddy quickly shot it only for us to hear thrashing in the bushes some 20 feet away.  It was the snake's mate or squeeze - we'll never know - but it was clearly on the attack.  Daddy shot it several times as it was clearly vengeance minded.

When no more snakes threatened, we took at look at the dead snake in the grass.  The one in the pond had sunk.  It had been pregnant and had several - 6 probably - egg sacks now visible.  Daddy grabbed a branch, stuck one end through the snake's head and dragged the whole mess back across the county road and make me hold the stick (and snake) up while he took a picture   I have been terrified of snakes ever since. 

I would undoubtedly become nostalgic though if I caught a whiff of gun cleaning oil.  I used to visit with my Dad while he cleaned his guns after deer and elk hunting in Wyoming.   We ate what he shot, too.  I can tell you from personal experience that deer is inedible and elk burgers are very dry.

Based on all of the above, I get to despise the National Rifle Association. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

If? Then...

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has long supported private citizens owning assault rifles.  I am vehemently against this stance and always have been.  Privately I think some male NRA supporters have somehow confused penis size with caliber.   And that perhaps some of the women never got over idolizing such as Bonnie, of Bonnie and Clyde.

But my thoughts aside, why has the NRA not come out with a plan to provide schools and other vulnerable sites with gun-owning members to stand guard on a rotating basis at that facility?  Non-paid, of course; the joy of prancing around with a loaded gun and paranoid eyes should be reward enough. 

The US has a huge population so it stands to reason that the more of you there are, the more of you will be batshit crazy - and, in America, armed. 

If the NRA is so hell-bent on self defense, then why don't they put their money where their mouth is.  How to Shoot/Care for a Weapon programs for kids are not really a good idea.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Season of the Archer

Sagittarius  11-23 to 12-21

Too honest or too stupid for their own good, the Sag (pronounced "sadge") says the first thing that pops into mind.  Happy and gregarious - "Childlike" say many - the Sag has no knowledge of financial matters whatsoever.  A checking account is as good as a credit card to them.  They are gamblers with bad tempers.  The good news is that they will attack with a fist and not a gun.  (It would take too long to go find it; a fist is at the end of their arm.)  Unable to keep a secret, they are also unable to tell jokes.  Prone to ("ruled by" say knowledgeable others) momentary enthusiasms a Sag will deny loving words meant at the time as soon as they unpeel from the sheets by saying, "Huh?"

Examples are Frank Sinatra and William Buckley, Jr. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Today's News - Laugh a Little!

Speaking from Paris about the recent abortion clinic shootings, President Obama remarked that large-scale gun violence "doesn't happen in other countries."

The Climate Change (or whatever they're calling themselves this week) zealots are now linking terrorism to climate change which prompted a bit of research on my part. 

To wit:  one of the worst climate events in the United States was the Dust Bowl aka the Dirty '30s (a nickname I'd never heard, by the way.)   There were three waves of dust (so to speak) 1934, 1936 and 1939-40 when farmers and others who derived an income from farming fled. 

Our government sponsored a variety of programs to document this event and the people and paid  artists such as writer John Steinbeck, musician Woody Guthrie and photographer Dorothea Lange to do it.  Other programs paid farm workers to learn new skills. 

The crime rate?  There were 137 people incarcerated per 100,000 population.   Murderers?  Thieves?  Most were vagrants and many of them were reasonably happy to get three hots and a cot for a stated period of time. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Effortless Absurdist

"Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer Is Much Faster)" by Dave Barry   G.P.Putnam's   225 pages   $26.95

An absurdist (to me) is someone that can take ordinary items and quickly make you peal with laughter with their use/presentation in a sentence or paragraph.  Example:  Barry on women's bathing suits on Rio beaches -  the size of eye patches for mice. 

During a delve into why Americans hate soccer, he delivers the following:

"Despite the fact that nothing ever happens,  the fans spend the entire game jumping up and down like prairie dogs on cocaine..."

The players are foreign and "They sport haircuts that were apparently administered by a blind heroin addict in the mens' room of a Bulgarian disco in 1978."

Still laughing?  Me, too, and I had to type it!  There is no shortage of Barry books to amuse you - I think this one is number 26 or 27.  At the bookstore buy two - one to read now (such as this one) and one against a rainy winter day. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Would You Wish a Mother Like This On Your Own Worst Enemy?

"The Book of Joan" by Melissa Rivers   Crown Archtype   284 pages   $26

The title Joan is, of course, the late Joan Rivers.   I and my colleagues (Crazy Suzanne, Louise the Tease, Patty the Lawyer, Don the Lawyer, My Brother George and the Georgia Peach) all had a nodding acquaintance with her back in the day when she was trying out new routines at the Little Club (? - a small theatre) across Beverly Drive from our clubhouse Maison Gerard.  

We could only take short spells in the audience because the signature line she was using at the time irritated us greatly.  She would pipe in a voice so high-pitched that bats flew away in terror, using a heavy New Yawk accent, "Kin we tawk?" about every 3.5 seconds.  Wearing.

However she matured as most of the rest of us did and I became quite a fan.  Comes now a book about her from the insider of all time - her daughter.  Her dating advice to said daughter prompted my title.  

Never pick up the check.  You have the vagina, he has the wallet; he pays.

Let him open the door for you.  If he doesn't and leaves you standing in the street, get a cab and go home.  If he'll leave you in the street, he'll leave you for another woman.

Never carry condoms.  That's his responsibility.  You won't look like a Girl Scout but like a prostitute who's always at the Free Clinic.

A last tidbit of  tender motherly advice?  Pussy pulls the freight train.      

Saturday, November 28, 2015

"Fooding" - As If We Haven't Eaten Enough

Bon Appetit arrived yesterday and nothing really appealed other than their version of an Egg McMuffin which I re-christened: 

The Bacon Grease Special
Cook bacon in a large skillet.  Remove bacon and some of the bacon grease.  Take a slice of bread and using a water glass (diameter your choice) press out a hole in the bread.  Put the slice of bread in the bacon grease and start it browning.  Carefully break an egg into the hole and let both cook.

When you figure the egg is done on that side, carefully flip the whole mess over to cook the raw side.  When this has being accomplished, lay a slice of cheese across it - I'd use Velveeta as it melts quickest - and turn off the burner.  Let the cheese melt as the egg finishes, plate it and garnish with bacon strips across the top.  Eat.  And you know it's going to be good because it's got bacon grease!  I didn't say Good FOR you.  Pay attention here. 

"Picnic in Provence, A Memoir With Recipes" by Elizabeth Bard  368 pages  $26
A winsome little story with inedible recipes for foods I don't like.  However for sheer ease of accomplishment, I did like this and we are coming up on Christmas treats - as gifts or just house bounty. 

These are called "Mendiants" (beggars) and are easy enough that a dullard like myself can make them. 

1 lb. best possible chocolate - you want minimum 70% cacao and Trader Joe's carries it.  Carefully melt it and pour it on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in little rounds.  Only make a few little circles at a time as you are going to be sticking at least three of the following into the warm chocolate and it will harden or set quickly.


Traditional in France -
Chopped dried figs, dark or golden raisins, blanched almonds, whole hazelnuts.

Making it up as you go - chopped dried apricots
Chopped candied orange, lemon or grapefruit peel
Candied ginger
Dried cherries or cranberries

Making it is even easier.  After you've chosen your garnishes, put them in small piles so that you can run an assembly line of sorts.  This might be a good thing for a child to help you with - assign each kid a particular item to press into the chocolate.   Wash their hands yourself to make sure they are clean.  Little kids are ambulating germ factories.   

Friday, November 27, 2015

More Tidbits

Yesterday, Jay Simpson. a fellow Thurs. Writer, sent a very timely reminder to us all.  If you didn't see it (or forgot to do it) it's not too late to set your scales back 10 lbs. this morning. 

Ports Report
Many of you already know that one of my favorite outings is the Sunday all you can drink free champagne brunch at Ports O Call, on the water in San Pedro.  They also do it on Thanksgiving and that's where Richie and Raffish and self spent a good part of the afternoon (2 1/2 hours to be exact.) 

Despite having reservations, I was concerned that there would be so many people there that it would take half an hour just to get to the food layout.  Such was not the case.  Staff was expecting 600 guests yesterday, but apparently they all come in the late afternoon as there were several empty tables around us.   Thus we didn't feel guilty taking our time eating and going back for a little of this and perhaps a bite or two of that...

I debuted the transporter wheelchair as food tray with great success.  Open it, put your napkin on the seat with the plate on top and push it around, lifting the plate to serve yourself, then putting it back on the seat and going on to the next food station.    You're welcome!   

Black Friday seems to be something of a dud so far - no one trampled at the doors and subsequently hospitalized (or buried.)  No screaming, hair-pulling fights among the  women (and certain of the men) shopping...

Much is made of Feed the Homeless! on Thanksgiving Day but I have to wonder about two things:
1.  Is that the only nice meal they get all year round?
2.  Do they not get the treasured leftover sandwiches the rest of us love?

A good one is:  white "air bread" (aka WonderBread( slathered with mayonnaise, layered with white meat turkey, spread-out dressing with a grind of black pepper and a kiss of cranberry sauce (optional.)  Put the other slice of air bread on top and squish the whole thing down to one-third its height and eat.  Air bread is the critical factor in my estimation. 

They are seasonal and they are called Porch Package Thieves.  Apparently the season has started for them.  Local police are looking for a woman who was driving slowly, spotted a UPS box on a porch, stopped, approached the house and rang the doorbell.  No answer so she picked up the package, got back in her car and drove away.  

If you are waiting for a delivery and can't be home, ask a neighbor who can see your porch to bring it in to their house immediately.  

Our UPS guy is thoughtful enough to put anything for us (if we don't answer) on the back step below the porch level.  It's then invisible from the street.     

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Paraphrasing Another Author

Thanksgiving was lauded in Annie's Mailbox, an Aunt Agony column in the Daily Breeze, by this column which I propose to update?  Paraphrase?  a little.  I would credit the author, but it is that bestselling-writer Anonymous. 

"Things To Be Grateful For"  This is grammatically incorrect as we all know never to end a sentence with a preposition.

Be thankful for snug clothing; it means you are well-fed.  (snort) Nice try, Fatso.

Be thankful for the mess you pick up after a party at your house.  It means you have lots of friends.  None of whom have the decency or class to pick up after themselves.

Be thankful if your home needs repairs because it means you have a home.   Tell that to the Community Watchdogs who are NIMBY Nazis. 

Be thankful that you hear people complain about "the government"  because we all have free speech.    However all of the special little snowflakes protesting at universities and colleges about "being mistreated" are not exactly holding the ends of that banner as they all seem to feel they require (not need) special treatment.  Bitch slap it if it shows up for dinner.  That's the real world, a place they've clearly never visited.

Personally, our annual toast is:  We can't choose our families, but we can damned well choose our friends!  Bottoms up! 


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bits & Pieces as the Day Goes Along

President Obama has called for us to discuss guns and presumably gun laws over our plates at the Thanksgiving Eat-O-Rama.   This is not a good idea for any gathering of my family - they'd pull them out and show them!  And then go out in the yard for a target shooting contest.  As alcohol is always involved at these events, you do see my point. 

Unlikely Beauty Pageants
(source:  Talavera Bruce maximum security prison, Rio, is having their annual beauty pageant.  The purpose is said to be to "raise their self-esteem and humanize them."  Toward that end, a 31 year old drug trafficking prisoner remarked that it was her first opportunity to meet her 10 months' old grandchild.

On my own, I discovered that Recife, Brazil, has a similar contest and last year's winner was a 19 year old murderess.

Nairobi, Kenya offers as a prize the opportunity to learn how to apply make-up as a leg up for job hunting on release.  Unfortunately, the winner was a death row inmate. 

A Thanksgiving Toast
"We can't choose our families, but we can, by God, choose our friends!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Accidentally Beating Out Black Friday

Not that we ever "took advantage" of Black Friday anyhow.  Around here, if you need something (or think you do) you go out and buy it.  Which can make Christmas present shopping a real bear but that's another story for another season. 

Yesterday we happened to be in the neighborhood of the local La-Z-Boy showroom and since Richie needs a new recliner  - "Thanks, cats - having the same chair for 30 years wasn't good enough for you?" -  we went in.  There were acres of the damned things and Richie turned into Goldilocks and test sat in every one of them. 

He settled upon an oxblood leather that swivels and rocks like a porch swing as well as goes nearly flat.  Sensationally comfortable.  When we finally looked at the price, a little item we hadn't bothered with previously, we were somewhat confused.  The regular price was shown with a line through it and the sale price listed, but on top of all of this was additional information - take 25% off of the sale price - which explained the "cheat sheet" pricing info sheet the clerk had handed us, making mention of Black Friday.  

Since it was Monday, we grinned at each other.  There were only two other shoppers in the whole store!  No crowds!  And the price was considerably lower.  We snapped it up and one is being delivered on Saturday.  The day after Fred the Cat goes to the vet to have his nails clipped.    

But I got to wondering about the La-Z-Boy history since they seem to have been around all of my life (and I'm 75.) 

Back in 1928 a pair of cousins in Monroe, MI. got together - Ed the woodworker and Ed the farmer - and created the original out of orange crates designed to be a porch swing.  In time, they added upholstery making it a "year around chair."   The fledgling corporation had a contest to name it and La-Z-Boy won.   I couldn't find the winner's name so that part will linger in the mists of time. 

And in future mists of time, we'll have to replace it - but never on a Black Friday if we can get there on a Monday!

Monday, November 23, 2015

And the Mafia Gets Into It

Source:  the Drudge Report

Giovanni Gambiano, Jr. has warned IS that they are on guard to protect New Yorkers.  Gambiano noted that the Mafia neighborhoods with their Sicilian populations are protected because "We always take care of our families."  It was pointed out that there have, to date, been no terrorist attacks in Siciliy.

I tell you, every day is a sunny one for people who appreciate the funny side of life.  I can hardly wait to get to the news every morning.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

This'n That

I wrote Michelle, cancelling our visit until perhaps February.  Here is her reply:  You are right.  It's a good decision to delay your trip till February although I am missing you.  It worried me to know you were traveling in such a bad international situation.

H/T to Doug Vermillion, of Anderson, IN.

Six Arabic countries are making it very difficult for Syrian refugees to relocate to them.  They are:
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Jordan and Lebanon have about 2 million refugees between them. 

source:   Time magazine

A New and Useful Site
Checking to see if Air France flights from Paris into the US had been cancelled as was reported to me, I came across    which lists airlines I didn't even know existed as to cancellation and delays.   Based on information gathered here, the sky is full of airplanes!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Paris Cancelled and Other Tidbits

Paris - the world for that matter - is just too unsettled to be visiting at this moment. 

Two Air France flights were diverted in US air the other day for bomb scares; yesterday a flight from Paris to San Francisco made a U-turn over the English channel and landed safely back at Charles De Gaulle airport.  The word was that ALL US-bound flights were cancelled by Air France for that day.  

We're ticketed on Air France.   

As much as I love France, I don't want to live there  right now - we'd miss our cats and the bird.  Perhaps in February - the tix are good until March, 2o16.

Ivory Tower Assholes

Today's winner is one Bruce Ackerman, Yale professor of law and political science, who has gotten his knickers knotted up to his patrician little nose.  The cause of his disquiet?

First paragraph:  "In calling for a war against Islamic State, French President Francoise Hollande is engaging in a tragically counter-productive enterprise. Under international law "war" can only exist between sovereign states.   Hollande is rashly giving  Islamic State precisely what it wants - legal representation."

I printed this in full because I am just not creative enough to make up shit like the above.  


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Terror Tidbits

An online poster:  (blurred photo of Bataclan nightclub floor with bodies)

     Celebrating Diversity
  One Massacre at a Time


Michelle wrote that the First Minister advised residents that the terrorists have access to sarin, the deadly gas and not to be surprised if she meets us with green hair and no teeth.

I replied that here we have green, purple, orange  hair -- by choice!  And in contrast to sarin, our best counter offer would have to be anthrax in an envelope in the mail which is a very limited kill rate, at best.


Re Religion
Organized religion is responsible for more wars in world history than any other thing.

What kind of a "religion" asks you to kill every one else who doesn't believe in your religion?  This seems rather counter productive to me ...


Terrorists are not the crispest cookies in the box - when they try to blow up an airplane in mid-flight, they are expecting  a minimum of number of people on that particular aircraft.  Now, if they detonated the plane at the gate, think of the kill rate they could get.


Syrian "refugees"

Would you welcome a complete stranger into your home? 

America is OUR home; don't even think about it. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

See the Postcards Before We Even Leave Town!

Michelle suggested that we go north (from her house) to a variety of beach "jette une regarde" as the French say - "Throw a look to"-  these towns - Deauville - once the haunt of the chic during the Belle Epoch, the days of courtesans and their excesses (milk or champagne baths, for example) and rivalries as well as who was supporting whom and everyone knew all about all of the above. 

St. Malo has an aquarium that bears a look - we are both fascinated by them and since this is an area that specializes in seafood, we should get a look at dinner in the wild, so to speak.  Gambas (prawns or enormous shrimp) and lobsters won't be getting pre-condolences from me. 

Mont St. Michele hardly needs an introduction; the image of a walled town rising above the sea is etched on memories world-wide.   From what I've been reading though, it sounds like the journey is more interesting than the destination. 

This is the area that is also known for its production of cider (cidre) an alcoholic beverage that substitutes for a quick beer.  Calvados is a distillation and provides the dinner booster that, for example, Thanksgiving Day dinner makes useful.  Known as the "trou Normande" or Normandy hole, a shot of it at the end of dinner and the drinker can go back and eat dinner all over again.   Not particularly helpful to the dieter, but to the gourmand?  A lifesaver!

I had romantically thought I would like to explore the town of Giverney, Monet's village, to walk the cobblestoned streets and peer into shop windows that might have been there in his day but when I read "a commune of 400 people" and tourisme extraordinaire surrounding Monet, I said the hell with it.  There's a gift shop at his house (as well as a cafĂ©) and we've been there. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Under Construction

Inapired by information hitherto unknown about a dear friend, I decided to occasionally run a new feature to be called "Interesting People."

With this caveat:  everyone alive today has some kind of story that sets them apart and makes that story "something interesting."    Part of the story:  He is today and has been for a number of years my and then our financial planner.  Who also, incidentally drove one of the landing vehicles onto the beach on D-Day.

Unfortunately, my printer has gone on strike and the e's back and forth, telling these interesting stories are Just Sitting There in Saved Mail. 

But at least you have an idea what's coming down the road. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

From Our French Correspondent

Michelle and Bruno were in their homes in  Le Chesnay, a Paris suburb, next door to Versailles.  Their son, our godson, was in Bretagne.  All safe and accounted for and happily so were all of their friends.

Some of our correspondence this morning (11/14/15)

Michelle:  "It's hard to explain in English how we feel today.  KO like after a boxing fight.  Everybody seems in self communion.   It's quiet as if the time just stopped.  Just downcast by what happened. 

You probably are thinking:  "Are we going  or not to Paris?"  Well I won't be offended if you cancel your travel.

If you come we will not go shopping in Paris or go for a walk there.  We will stay in Versailles and the area which is safer.

I assured her that I've seen Paris and I don't want it to be the last thing I ever see and she wrote back,  "We can go to Deauville,  Mont St. Michele, St. Malo - no terrorists there."

Depending on events to come, we're going.  Rather pointless to take off if the airport is gone.  A thought that is doubtful at best.  Hollande isn't kidding around and neither is any airline that serves France. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Anticipation - A Little Quiver in the Air

The Sothern California climate has changed to what it should have been all of this month -- lower temperatures.  People almost everywhere else are already accustomed to cool days and even cooler (read:  cold) nights.

The other morning, it was 62 in the house and 48 out in the backyard (and probably elsewhere as well.)  ((Just whoofin'))

And what changes have I personally, seen with my very own eyes?  Our three cats are a lot livelier.  There is more of spring to their prance; they are staying awake longer than usually before starting their morning naps.  They seek out the living room chairs that get the morning sun - and bask.  

Lady Bird, the cockatiel, calls to be uncovered earlier and as it gets cooler, I'll be watching to see if this trend continues.  

Even I, cynic and desperado that I am, find that I'm generally in a very good mood these days and I put it down to this - having grown up in the midWest where they actually have four seasons - I know that cooler weather heralds THANKSGIVING, the annual gathering of like souls and some damned fine eating.  

As if that wasn't enough to put a spring in the old stride, CHRISTMAS PARTIES are right behind.   To get a "good" date (after 12/15) you need to be organized.   The South Bay Writers Workshop (better known as Thurs. Writers) Christmas potluck just got scheduled for Thurs. 12/17.   One of the members has passed out fliers to her 'do on the 12th. 

Yes!  Parties!  Bring it on!  We've all got warm clothes and in this season, warmer hearts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Breaking News

Wed., Nov. 11, 2015

We drove past the Target on Sepulveda, Manhattan Beach, at about 1:30 p.m. and were surprised to see:  cop cars parked slantwise across all of the driveways in to the store (even one from Hawthorne and we NEVER see Hawthorne over here) as well as fire trucks from El Segundo.   All blocking off the parking lot.

As we wondered, the light changed and we drove on to Ralph's the supermarket.  In the check out line at slightly after 2 p.m. the customer in front of us told the checkout clerk it was a bomb threat.

I immediately bet that the caller, who spoke to an employee, making the threat was a former disgruntled employee.  It only makes sense, right?  What has Target ever done to anyone?

We'll have to wait until tomorrow's morning paper to see. 

OUTCOME - nothing at all.  Sniffer dogs fouond nothing; store re-opened around 3:30 p.m. 

And in other news, what was the ending on the vehicular chase of a woman who was apparently winging right along, taking out parked cars here and there while talking on the phone!  Can you imagine the next Verizon or AT&T commercial?  (background audio - faint sound of sirens)    "Never lose your connection - no matter what!"  (siren sound rises; voice on bullhorn "Pull over to the side and stop.")

"Happy" Veterans' day?

Bluntly, this is a day we celebrate dead people.  I can't think that they are happy to be dead.

I think any "happiness" about this day is the fact that we live in a country where men and women choose to go to war for the rest of us. 

That is the thing we should be celebrating.  And in that spirit, HAPPY VETERANS DAY.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Meme Busting

I had to look up "meme" which is a word I've often heard used, but was never exactly sure what meaning was intended.  This morning I learned it is a form of passing information from one person to another which may or may not be true.  Urban legend comes to mind.

Very well.  Now we all know. 

The meme I've heard all my life is:  Republicans are just a bunch of fat cats, interested only in protecting themselves and their fellow rich cronies (love the word "cronies") but conversely, the Democrats are veritable saints on earth, protecting the rights and fortunes of the poor.

Now I have no objection whatsoever to protecting what is one's own, the things one might have sweated and strained to obtain.  Conversely, I rather resent the idea that someone else (Democrats) would try to usurp my ownership and use my money to aid in their saintliness.

Call me cranky.  But, comes now, this information (via the LA Times,  11/8/15.)
California sends 55people to Congress.  Of those 55,  20 are millionaires.  Of the 20, 16 are Democrats and four are Republicans. 

Hmmm - so much for the time-worn meme. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015


I read this morning that today is the Reverend Billy Graham's 97th birthday.  And mused for several minutes on why 97 seems really old to me whereas 100 doesn't.  Is it because in the 90s one is hoping to hit 100?  And once you get there, you don't have to try anymore?  You made it?

A (Minor) Discovery
You can pull a wheelchair like a mule pulls a wagon.  It was an incidental discovery in that I was using the wheelchair as a book cart at the library and wheeled into the elevator face first.   There were others on board, so at our floor, I turned me and pulled.  Worked a charm.

Friday, November 6, 2015

$100 Million - And Still No Takers!

Architectural Digest arrived yesterday and one of the full-page ads is offering "Sycamore Valley Ranch" formerly Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch for $100 million.  Sotheby's has the listing and they should be ashamed of themselves. 

Clearly no one is that interested in living in a pederast's home since it has been on the market since 2012.  Defiantly, the price has always been the same and you see what it's gotten Sotheby's - zip.

The sale price includes 2,600 acres, but, alas, Google as I might, I couldn't get the specs one usually does - number of bedrooms, baths, special attractions (fireplaces, solar-heated pool, etc.)

I can tell you that I wouldn't pay 100 pennies to even tour the place.  Jackson should have been buried upside down as an expression of DISrespect. 

During all the foo-foo-roo surrounding his death, we disembarked to visit Michelle in Paris and when the Custom's guy asked me the purpose of the trip - "Business or pleasure?" I replied, "To escape Michael Jackson!"  and he roared, stamped my passport and said, "Bonne chance!".

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Gadfly or Grump - You Decide!

Daily Breeze, 11/5/2015

Not many grocery options in some beach cities

Re:  "Grocers have it rough in Southern California" (Nov.. 2)

Dear Sirs:

Grocers have it rough in Southern California.  Maybe so, but the Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach shoppers have little choice.  Vons.  That's not much competition.

Richie W. Murphy

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Would You Make/Eat These?

Admittedly, one of the reasons I subscribe to Bon Appetite is to be awed and amused by some of the things the editors propose we eat.  Not every month's issue comes through for us but the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner issue did.

We all know not to put the snacks in the kitchen where we're working; most guests know to at least volunteer with clean up; how to make lump-less gravy (use a whisk.)  Further tidbits - ask first if you can bring a dish and if so, bring it in a serving dish - don't make the host/hostess have to scramble to find one.   Odds are their own dish cabinets are empty.

Thanksgiving doesn't change much as we can see from the above.  And thank God it hasn't - I'm still making my Mother's menu and one of the items is the ubiquitous Green Beans and Mushroom Soup and Durkee's Onion Rings, served on the side from the container.  They get soggy otherwise.   "Tacky" some say (including my sister)  but "home" to me.  And that's what the day should mean, no matter how far away one is from it.

However, this recipe has nothing to do with what came before it - CURED EGG YOLKS.

When you've made an angel food cake or over-served Ramos gin fizzes, here's an idea from chef Christopher Kostow, of  St. Helena, CA.

Make a bed of:    1 3/4 cups kosher salt and 1 1/4 cups sugar, mixed, and use the back of a big spoon to make indentations in it.

Carefully place 4 egg yolks in the indentations, sprinkle leftover mix across them, wrap dish in plastic and store in the refrigerator for 4 days.

Then take them out, rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towels and put them softly on a well greased rack in a larger pan.  Oven to 150  until the egg yolks dry to the consistency of a firm cheese and let cool.  If your oven won't go that low, leave them in the cold oven for two days.

Now you've got them - what to do with them?  Grate them as a finishing touch on asparagus, shave over white bean crostini, crumble over steamed vegetables or add to broth for more body. 

Overkill - shave over fried or boiled eggs. 


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Swiss Army Knife of Travel

No, you can't take knives on planes.   Don't get all giddy here.  The title was just a reference to something called "practicality."

And that would be the "transport wheelchair" we got at the onset of all of my troubles walking due to the hip surgeries. 

What is a transport wheelchair you ask?  Well, it is much lighter than a regular wheelchair as it is an aluminum frame with canvas slings for the seat and back.  The biggest difference is the wheel size.  It has (estimated) 6 in. vs. the 2 and 1/2  ft. found on a regular.  There is no way  you can propel yourself by wheeling it - someone else has to push you.  Yeah, I'm not as dumb as I look, hah!

However, you can fold up the foot rests and use your feet to propel you along in an emergency.  Your charred ashes will not be found due to whoever is pushing you taking off like a rat.

Why am I rambling on about this today?  Because we are (finally) going to Paris to see Michelle, my best friend.  Being more than slightly over-confident than I need to be, I thought I could do it all, using just my cane.   After all, half the time it's not touching the sidewalk as I walk and  rarely used  in the house. 

But then I got to remembering our other visits to Paris and the vast distances we covered.  Richie seems to have one gear for walking - start and just keep going.  This is unacceptable to me now.  About every three blocks, I know I would start whining, "I need to sit down!  Paris sidewalks are obstacle courses, dammit!" 

So I bit the bullet.  Advantages:   we don't have to bother Air France for a sidewalk to gate ride.  You get to the gate in your own and when it's time to board, they switch you to an aisle wheelchair ( very narrow one  - sort of like sliced wheelchair) and stow your own on board. 

This is a good thing as down in Baggage, the loaders would undoubtedly be gleefully trying to destroy the wheels.   

I am very comfortable pushing the empty chair.  I will also enjoy its supermarket cart aspect - shopping bags on the seat!  There are a great many things to buy in Paris.   Good gifts include various-sized tins of pate, wines,  perfumes --are clunky not to mention heavy. 

Empty chair = posh walker.
Empty chair = shopping cart.
Empty chair = weapon to part the hordes.
And I'll always have a place to sit down!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Proposing a New National Holiday

Admittedly this idea came from a long-standing tradition in another country.  That would be the British celebration on December 26th called "Boxing Day."  For years, I wondered why they all got up and put on boxing gloves and apparently spent the day duking it out.

Brits are different - madly eccentric say many.  "Eccentric" is the polite description of "barking mad"  over there and another example of the exquisite tact of our friends Across the Pond. 

Boxing Day is the day that envelopes of cash or treats were boxed up for the servants (for whom Christmas was just another working day.)

My idea has nothing to do with Christmas or boxing.  It comes much earlier in the calendar year; November 1st to be specific, the day after Halloween.

Trick or Treaters are an uncertain quantity around here -- several years ago, our street (three blocks long) had school buses bringing them in.  Yesterday we had one group of six kids and no one else. 

This kind of uncertainty means we either have to buy out Smart & Final Iris or Target bags of candy or turn off the porch light and hide in the backs of our own homes. 

Richie traditionally over buys because, "What if the school buses come back?"  (They haven't in nearly 20 years.)

Today we have a generous supply of individually-wrapped mini-bars.  I already have a generous supply of cellulite and really, I need no more. 

Thus was born the annual, national day event that I would call


Invite people - family, friends, neighbors in the same situation (candy glut) -  to an  Exchange Party and start the wheeling and dealing.  Any monies offered in bidding wars could be donated to a charity such as Put the Teeth Back in Our Kids Mouths.

Word:  to ADA members (dentists) we know what you look like - don't crash our GET THIS STUFF OUT OF MY HOUSE! DAY  We have ways of dealing with you. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Is Wierd Any Way You Look At It

This morning I was reading the Daily Breeze main section and page four made me exclaim, "Great Caesar's  ghost!"  Richie looked up from the sports section inquiringly. 

It was a photo layout of the results of a contest for Best Costume - Dogs.  I stared for several seconds at the picture of a dachshund "carrying" a black table-clothed tray with a number of airline-sized liquor bottles apparently glued onto it.  As the caption was "Cocktail wiener" and I am used to that meaning a small dog wearing a mustard-dressed hot dog bun you may understand my confusion.

To see other ghastly imaginings of our fellow Americans,

Meanwhile, fellow South Bay Writer's member Jay Simpson forwarded the following:

What is a Mummies' favorite kind of music?
Wrap, of course!

Why did the ghost walk into the bar?
For the BOOS, of course!

 My personal best wishes for a happy Halloween with the caveat - Don't let this happen to you!  One memorable year, several local grade schools bussed in trick or treaters.  As our street is only three blocks long and none of us were expecting that much company --it wasn't pretty.   You might want to consider road blocks and where best to put them...

Friday, October 30, 2015

How To Hit Someone and Make Them Feel It

Our friend "Raffish" is not only a medical doctor, a black belt in karate, but an anatomy professor  whose hobby is combining karate with anatomy.  His first book "Breaking Points" is a scholarly treatise on how to react when threatened physically.  If you want to know how to kill someone, with little danger of getting hurt yourself,  I recommend it.    "Self defense" rarely brings trouble to the defender, ahem, from a legal point of view.

His second book "Cereus and the Rarest Thing" is biographical in nature and takes readers on a beautifully described tour of Okinawa, arguably the first to practice the sport.   Both books are available through

His newest project is a You Tube video describing the anatomical side of karate.  You can see it (and "Raffish") by Googling  "anatomy of fist and skull - YouTube."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A letter to Old 41 and His Wife

Dear President Bush and Mrs. Bush:

Through God's and your own efforts, you have raised an extraordinarily good family.  They all seem close and loving on down to the great-grandchildren.

However, as there must be rain on any good parade, son Jeb - a fine man, I'm sure - is a disaster at politics. 

For your own reputation, I would most sincerely request that you remove him from national politics and what is sure to be a money-wasting campaign for President. 

Respectfully, Nina Murphy, registered (but not always obedient to the Party) Republican.