Saturday, February 28, 2015


That's shorthand for recipes so simple that a somewhat gifted four-year-old child could put them together. 

"A Mouthful of Stars" by Kim Sunee   Andrews McMeel Publishing 226 pages  $27.99

I read it through looking for appealing dishes with a lay down easy attitude.  The first to catch my eye was a cilantro-jalapeno margarita.  No, I do not have
 a drinking problem.  Put it down in front of me and I'll probably drink it.

The idea is that the following simple syrup is used as an flavor accent; otherwise it's just your regular old margarita.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 or 3 jalapenos, split the long way
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
a couple of drops of lemon juice.

Put all of the above in a pot and cook at a simmer until the sugar has dissolved.   Strain it, bottle it and keep in the refrigerator

Charentais melons per number of guests - every one gets a half melon. 
Halve them, scoop out the seeds and fill the now-empty half with a shot or so of port or a dry sherry to your taste.  Serve with slices of prosciutto di Parma, chunks of Mancheto or Parigrano-Reggiano and a handful of almonds. 

Am saving this one for summer as a change-up from appetizers like the above. 

Quarter the peaches, wrap each quarter in prosciutto and grill till the prosciutto is lightly crisp which has never happened with prosciutto for me.  Pancetta, yes.  Finish with fresh black pepper. 

 How easy are these?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Communication Confusion

Minutes ago, Richie popped his head into the office, carefully keeping his body  outside in the hall - it is heart-warming to see him obeying my rule:  If I am sitting here typing, go away.  He knows well that he can interrupt me only for a fire or any accident that renders him lying on the floor actively bleeding.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  He wanted to tell me that "Doctor Spock" was dead.  "Doctor Spock" means to me Benjamin Spock, MD, the expert on all things re baby care.

I said, mildly, that he'd surely had a good run for his money - "How old was he anyhow?"  and Richie said "Eighty-three." 

It wasn't until I came upstairs and opened AOL that I realized Richie meant the Star Wars character.  Making sure of my previous statement I googled "my" Dr. Spock.  He died March 15, 1998.

A picture is worth a great many words. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Picking Olives

And getting picky about it.  Westways, the AAA magazine, in an article entitled "Local Flavor" goes into great detail on the subject.  I read it because olives are a favorite mid-afternoon snack along with a chunk of cheese and a cracker or three.  I follow the French habit of serving something salty with an aperitif before dinner.  Remember to set out a little bowl for the pits next to them. 

"Local Flavor" set me straight on a number of interesting facts about olives - they are a fruit (who knew?) and as such need a little body to them.  If your oil tastes excessively bitter, that's a sign the olives are loaded with polyphenols which are an antioxident-rich compound that could help reduce cholesterol levels.  But "Eat an olive; beat a heart attack" is unlikely to catch on 

Even though their containers label them as "green" or "black" there's no such animal.  All olives start out green.  Then they turn red and then deepen to purple and, at the very end, will be a kind of black-purple. 

Many of the olives grown in California are interchangeable with Mediterranean olives in Greece, Italy and Spain. 

Greek olives are small ovals with a distinctive pointy end.  Drizze it over a salad of arugula and ripe tomatoes (Romas work well.)

Puglia region of Italy.  Medium-sized, egg-shaped and liable to ripen faster than Tuscan olives.  (If that isn't splitting hairs, I don't know what would be) - use it on boiled shrimp, corn on the cob (!) or add garlic and tomatoes and have yourself a nice bruschetta.

Spanish olives are small, symmetrical and ripen early.  Use them in mashed potatoes (! again) or make a sauce of olive oil, garlic, capers and anchovies to spoon over bread. 

Giuliani's, an Italian deli sells a fat, pale green olive - Calvecchi? that I love.  They are plump, meaty and the color - pale green - is very inviting.  Even if you can't pronounce the name, all you have to do is run your gaze along the piles of olives behind the display case window and their pale green color will pop out at you almost if they were shouting, "Boo!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Another Reason for Family Planning

Today's gave me new material to ponder and it's this - the Tooth Fairy is now paying on average $13.25 per tooth in New York.  Assuming that each child loses 10 teeth (I have no idea whatsoever how many baby teeth a typical child loses) then one child will cost the Tooth Fairy - that's you, by the way - the Tooth Fairy is much like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny in that it (your choice, female or male) doesn't exist.  One child = a total expenditure of $132.50 times four kids = $530.  That's New York prices.

Across the country we see these statistics.  Chicago - $5.85 per tooth. Dallas and Houston $5.28; Boston $5.02  The grand total last year was $225 MILLION spent by Tooth Fairies across our fair land.  Here in Los Angeles, it's $9.69 per tooth. 

The average tooth price by region:
Midwest $2.83
Northeast $4.16
West $4.68
South $5.16

The only even partial way to save money is to teach your children that for the first five teeth, they get umgots (nothing.)  The sixth tooth brings money and they get to keep the tooth.  I would suggest that if you have an uncannily smart kid, that you grab your nail polish and make a mark on it so that ... payment doesn't... somehow get duplicated. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

After the Oscars

Nothing to see there; move along.  We already saw Lady Gaga out on the red carpet in a fluttery-looking oddly cut white dress.  Her accessories were a pair of red rubber kitchen gloves and from the glimpse I got of the back of her head, a faux lobster stuck in her hair.

Still, that's a chic-er look than Neal Patrick Harris standing on stage in his underpants, sox and shoes. I' m sure his husband and their two kids think he's a scream, but I'm still wondering why a grown man felt it necessary to do that.  Now if his tighty whities  had been something with a little dash! to them - like a scarlet thong style ... that would have been funny.

To see just how foolish women can get just for attention, I direct your attention to the headline and photos top of the page at  I can only hope they all were wearing at least (and that's the very least) a Tampax.

The other thing that gets my scrutiny is Hair.  One of the TV announcers had a better coif than most of the guests.  And when did Brylcreme make a come back, pray?  Several of the stars (sarc) were wearing enough oil on their hair to lube my Truck.  And that was the men! 

I only knew of 14 of the people who died last year.  This morning great outrage because Joan Rivers' passing was ignored. 

Hollywood - what can you expect?  Not much of anything anymore.  I can remember when this tedious ceremony was fun.  That's when we had performers with some wit.  David Niven on streakers; one-arm push-ups ...

This was the 87th presentation and at 87, perhaps it's time to turn off the support systems. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"The Ladies of the Westchester Elks"

Or why old fund-raising cookbooks are such fun.  Apparently this compilation of members' recipes comes after previous projects to raise money for the Elks various programs -- parking lot sales, dinner dances, the ever-popular luau and soup mix gift jars. 

Each segment starts with a page of "Helpful Hints."  Sample:  "For a big improvement in calves liver - after saute-ing it, add a little white vinegar and cook one additional minute."  My personal belief is that you can improve the hell out of it by never cooking it in the first place, but that's me.

On page 30, the good ladies roam rather far afield from cooking with advice on how to bring up Baby.  In case you have one of them sitting around your house, help yourself.

Keeping the Baby's bottle warm while traveling - put the warm bottle in a wide-mouthed thermos and put the lid on.

To teach Baby how to put on shoes - put a mark in the right shoe (but not the left) and presumably a mark on Baby's right foot - and before you know it, the Baby will be thudding across the floor in shoes.

Birthday party with lots of kids?  Put Baby in a brightly-colored outfit so Baby is easily findable. 

This does touch upon cooking and recipes somewhat - use cornstarch instead of baby powder.  Just don't pour milk on Baby and start whipping it.

Who Knew?
Fundraising Cookbooks by Morris Press.  Your group wants to make money?  So does theirs.  Collect the recipes and they'll print it.  I am thinking that perhaps the Thurs. Writers might have a cookbook in them ... none of us look like we've missed many meals.  Food for thought, eh?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Being Saucy

The Banh Mi Handbook" by Andrea Nguyen  Tenspeed Press  125 pages   $16.95

Banh Mi is pronounced  "bun me" and I needed to learn that because have been saying "Ban-me" which most restaurants are happy to do. 

In addition to all kinds of fillings for these Thai sandwiches, Nguyen also gives recipes for pickling the carrots and daikon found in one. 

As well as this:  the first egg-less home made mayonnaise recipe I'd ever seen.  Silken tofu substitutes for the egg.  A bottled sauce called "Maggi" can be made at home by your own loving little  fingers.

1/2 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 T sugar. 

I'd rather go with - SPICY HOISIN SAUCE
6 T Thai sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 T unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 T regular soy sauce

Mix, pour into a container and store in the refrigerator.  I'd also use this sauce on shrimp gyozo.  I like Thai signature spices - garlic, chili, lemongrass, ginger...

And now I'm hungry.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Brace Yourselves Pisces

Open season on you starts tomorrow - 2/20 and the ordeal will be over on 3/20.


Creative and artistic, careless about the future, Pisces go through life bland and uncaring, just following the flow.  Often drunk because they love anything liquid, they have no real grasp on reality.  (Ed. note drunks are rarely alert.)

A Pisces was the first to say, "Someday my ship will come in!" and he has been at the pier ever since.  Often too sensitive to live, they commit suicide.  (Ed. note  remember the drunk thing.)

They have slow metabolisms, poor eating habits and are accident prone.  They do enjoy sex - anyone, anytime, any where. 

They are born actors and can switch from tears as big as golf balls to smiles as wide as a billboard in a nanosecond.

Famous Pisces - Elizabeth Taylor and Ted Kennedy (proving the sex thing to be absolutely true.) 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

At the Naziville Supermarket

As a Francophile (blood and choice) I haven't forgotten Germany's treatment of the Jews.  I have an extremely long memory.  Thus, a German equals "a Nazi" to me.  

Which brings us to yesterday's excursion to Alpine Village which is a long-standing complex of restaurant, café, supermarket, chapel, beer hall, antiques, and a swap meet.   We took Richie's brother and his wife for a sauerbraten lunch and then toured the supermarket.

It is largely imports from Germany as well as Alpine Village-created sausages and hot dogs and other meat products.  Richie bought six hotdogs ($9.78) and a pound of German potato salad ($8.76.)  After a taste, I was amazed at the amount of vinegar that must have been lavished on when the potatoes emerged and drained.  I tasted two things - vinegar and the mealy texture of the potatoes themselves. 

Previously, we'd purchased liqueur-filled chocolates but they'd switched out that brand and I had to content myself with pralines and Teacher's Scotch chocolates.  Instead of the thin liquid usually found inside, they are stockier with a heavy, creamy interior.  ($4.99)

Richie was browsing in the wine department which was heavy on the Riesling.  He found a bottle of Sour Cherry Wine ($6.95) which we bought just to see what it tasted like.  Studying the label at home, the cherries and the wine are products of Ukraine!

Funniest of all to me was a box of German Pretzel Mix - just like any box cake, you add oil and water and follow the instructions.  ($4.99)  Kathi, the brand, was founded in 1951 and the third generation has continued the business. 

Germans are often thought to have a certain precision in their products/inventions and pretzel mix is no different.  The raw dough that has risen for 30 minutes is then given a food-grade lye wash AND THE LYE IS INCLUDED IN THE MIX.   

I expect to be vending pretzels at Dodger Stadium when the season opens.  $4.99 buys the mix that makes 10 pretzels, so $4 per finished pretzel .. Lord, how the money rolls in!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Riddle - Why Are Kentucky and Korea Cousins?

"Smoke & Pickles" by Edward Lee   Artisan Press   292 pages   $29.95

Answer:  Because they both love barbecue and pickling.  Lee writes in his opening pages that both use marinades or bbq rubs and their foods reflect each other to Lee.  Soft grits remind him of an Asian breakfast dish called "congee;" beef jerky of cuttlefish.  Southern chowchow is a more upscale take on kimchi.  He said that buttermilk (of all things) has replaced miso in his recipes.

He gives pickling its own chapter and reminds us that he uses vinegar to speed up the process.  "Real" pickles are canned; hisbare not meaning they have a short shelf life (in the refrigerator, of course.)  But he goes on to say, they'll be gone before they get a chance to rot. 

I like oddities for consideration and here are two --

1 lb. jalapeno peppers
1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup of bourbon
1/2 cup honey
2 teas. coriander seeds
1 teas. yellow mustard seeds
2 bay leaves

Put on kitchen gloves and slice the jalapenos into 1/4 in. rounds and put them in a clean glass jar.  Put everything else in a saucepan and bring the heat up to a boil, then simmer it for five minutes.  Pour the mixture over the jalapenos and tighten the jar lid.  They will be ready to eat in three days so plan accordingly.

4 heads of garlic, cloves separated so that you can peel them and rinse them off.  Put them in a clean glass jar.  Pour distilled white vinegar over them until they are submerged. 

Mix together in a sauce pan (you're going to be heating it up)
2 cups soy sauce
2 cups water
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
one whole jalapeno

Bring this to a boil, then turn off the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Pour this liquid over the cloves of garlic in their little glass jar and tighten the lid.  Come back in six days when they'll be "done."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Urban Chickens

Saturday late afternoon - we were invited for a Valentine's Day dinner with Family.  The chickens you will see here were most entertaining.  A running chicken will make you smile because you just can't help it. 

The ladies pictured here are all females and all named for female C & W singers.  They were in such a hurry to peck at the lawn that I only caught one name - "Patsy."

The  Ladies

"Let's see if there are any eggs - we got three this morning..."

They enjoy visiting the Mother Ship.  White to brown, "I think this is where they keep our food "

"Salad first"

"Nice Chicken!  Thank  you!"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Strawberry Ketchup

In this concoction, from chef Edward Lee, the tomatoes are replaced by strawberries to give you the gist of what's going on here.  More Chef Lee soon.  His is an interesting story. 

But I'm lazy today and the crosswords await.

1 lb. fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegard
1/2 cup brown sugard
2 teas. soy sauce
1 T distilled white vinegar
1 teas. ground ginger
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teas. white pepper
1/2 teas.smoked paprika
1/2 teas. cumin
1/4 teas. ground cloves

Put the strawberries, onion, cider vinegar, brown sugar and soy sauce in a small pot and bring it to a simmer.  Let it cook for 14 minutes until the strawberries are soft and broken down.

Transfer this "soup" to a blender and puree it.  Then strain it through a fine mesh sieve.  Discard the solids.

Add all the other seasonings and whisk it all together.  Divide your ketchup in two containers and put it in the refrigerator.  Will keep for up to a month there.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Dud

Rather than facing the Valentine's Day dinner crowds or having to reject a 10 p.m. reservation, we decided to celebrate last night (Friday.)  Reservations, of course, but at least we had a much better chance of eating dinner the same day we phoned it in. 

Now where?  I suggested Chez Melange, an old favorite of mine and we hadn't been there in ages.  But the morning's paper carried a story on how both co-owners had had search warrants served on their houses the night before for tax fraud.  One of them was so shocked that he had a minor, thank God, heart attack in his own front doorway.  So much for Chez.  The staff would be too upset to give their all to the kitchen. 

Dominique's Kitchen?  Nah, wasn't in the mood for escargots.  Then - inspiration!  The Proud Bird!  We'd eaten some good stuff there.

The Proud Bird is situated very near the end of the LAX south runway.  At night it is particularly dramatic to see incoming plane lights get bigger and bigger and then - whoosh!  Side view and gone.  Parked all around the lawns are WW2 fighter planes.  The rooms are paneled in a warm-looking wood with several hundred framed photos of famous pilots and planes. 

A cute gimmick - there are head sets to listen to the tower giving instructions.  They are ancient, made of brown and cream Bak-lite.  Our set didn't work and I doubt that any of the others in the room did either. 

We ordered drinks and a shrimp cocktail to share.  He ordered a filet mignon ($35) which came with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables (carrots and green beans.  I went for something called a Tuskegee rib eye which is served with béarnaise sauce, French fries and the vegetables ($30.)

When it arrived, the steak was draped over the French fries, pushed back against the vegetables.  An interesting tableau, if somewhat impractical.  The steak did keep the fries warm, but it leaked pepper sauce down the steak and onto the plate in a little lake. 

If the kitchen's goal was to present a steak as tough as the Tuskegee airmen had been, they succeeded admirably.  It was virtually inedible to a picky person (me) and despite whittling optimistically at various parts of it, seeking a bite that wasn't either fat or gristle or both, I failed.  I turned to dipping fries in the little cup of béarnaise sauce, but since it had all of the deep, toothsome flavor of mayonnaise, abandoned that project and resignedly turned back to my Caesar salad which was heavily over-dressed.  There is a reason I rarely order steak when we're out and I was forcibly reminded of it last night.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Do You Remember Cleans and Dirtys?

Once upon a time, a long time ago (the '50s) there was a comedian named Shelley Berman.  The comedic style back then was "cool with a touch of sophistication. "  It addressed people who could still think on their feet.

Berman's schtick was his own invention.  An assigned value was given to any everyday word.  Example:  Tarzan walking with Jane was a "clean."  Tarzan swinging with Jane was a "dirty." 

When Richie found this slim book "Cleans & Dirtys" in the garage, he dutifully brought it into the house.  Amusedly remembering these, however vaguely, I Googled to see when Berman had died.  To my intense surprise I discovered that he is although he's 90 years old, he isn't dead.  He and his wife were married in 1947 and are still married 67 years later. 

The book has 92 pages, was published by Price, Stern and cost $2.50 (!)

From a random leafing through ...
(Nude statues)  Fig leaf is clean; fly leaf is dirty.
Terrain is a clean; lay of the land is a dirty.
Telephone operator (what're those?) is a clean; call girl is a dirty.
Dining room is clean; bedroom is a dirty.

I bet you can come up with just as many examples.  I say, "Give it a try!" NOT "Give 'er a go!"  (dirty and tsk, tsk.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New on the Menu

It's become a nice tradition.  Periodically Richie's brother and his wife fly out from Long Island to see their daughter and her family.  They come in to LAX, we pick them up and we scamper over to Tin Roof Bistro, Manhattan Beach Shopping Mall, for lunch.  They are especially fond of the soup and half a sandwich deal.   I was particularly fond of the Fig and Pig pizza.  Yesterday I was disappointed momentarily when I saw it was gone.

But:  taking its place was something equally good in the pizza line.  The Date Pizza is:  mozzarella around the rim area of the pizza, with a center of mascarpone dotted with chunks of Nueskes bacon and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to finish the dish.  If there were diced dates in this concoction, I never found them.   Big enough to cut into eight slices, I had two for lunch, two more for dinner and have three left over for lunch today.  Yes, I know that's seven but one was a very large slice.   Clearly I'm not high maintenance.

Oddly enough the fact that Trader Joe is now offering 8 oz. bags of trimmed radishes, ready to eat strikes me as "high maintenance."  Trimming a bunch of radishes is child's play.  Save
your 99 cents. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Everything's Up-to-Date in Palos Verdes Estates

Daily Breeze, 2/10/15, "Palos Verdes Estates
Council to consider body cameras for police"
Meeting at 7:30 p.m. City Hall

PVE, as it's known locally, is the Beverly Hills area of the beach cities.  Consider these statistics: 
Population (2010)  13,438
Ethnicities:  77% white, 17.4% Asian, 1.2% black

It is the only "city" up there to have its own police department with 25 policemen and a jail. 

How crime-ridden is it?  Zero murders. 
1 rape
5 assaults (there are a couple of high schools)
48 burglaries
80 thefts
8 stolen cars
1 arson  in all of 2012

Palos Verdes Estates is ranked the 81st richest place to live in the United States.

What the hell are they going to do with body cams on the police?  Endless selfies?  No good can come of this, she said darkly.

Monday, February 9, 2015

"The Wife Did It!" "But Which Wife?"

"A Circle of Wives" by Alice LaPlante   Atlantic Monthly Press   310 pages   $25

After the characters introduce themselves, the next thing to happen is the death of a prominent pediatric surgeon in a hotel room.  He is alone; it looks like he might have had a heart attack and in falling to the floor, hit his head on an end table.  His wife is notified; she is in their Palo Alto mansion. 

But imagine the surprise of MJ, a former hippy turned accountant, when she reads about his demise in the newspaper.  She's been married to him for nearly eight years!  They own a house with a beautiful garden that both have worked hard on to make it beautiful and serene.

Helen is a pediatric oncologist at a hospital in Los Angeles.  They've only been married for six months and work keeps them separated much of the time.

Detective Samantha Adams - she's heard all of the Sam Adams jokes, thank you - isn't so sure that it was "just" a heart attack and it turns out she's right.     

I found this to be a very interesting tale.  How did he get away with polygamy? 
Wife #1 won't give him a divorce; I get that, but in this day and age, I don't think you can be held hostage to a marriage.

This is LaPlante's second book and I will be seeking out her first - "Turn of Mind."

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Welcome to Our World, Baby Girl Mason!

Glad you could join us on Saturday, February 7th ay 1:39 p.m.  The sun rose at 6:51 a.m. and set at 5:05 p.m.  We had morning fog to explain why the sun was being so lazy.  The moon came out at 7:55 p.m. but I imagine you were sleeping then.

On this date, these events:
1877 -  the American Guernsey Cattle Club was founded in NYC
1935 - the game Monopoly was invented
1940 - Disney premiered "Pinocchio"
1962 - Goodbye, Cuba as America bans all Cuban exports
1964 - Hello, Beatles!
2009 - brushfires in Victoria are the worst natural disaster in Australian history

Who shares February 7th  -  but not the year with you?
1812 - Charles Dickens
1935 - Cliff Jones, Welsh footballer
1978 - Ashton Kutcher

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac your astrological sign is Aquarius. 
"Aquarius is ruled by the ankles. Aquarians can benefit by making circles with their toes, preferably upon wakening. 

These individuals are intuitive humanitarians, tolerant of everything but intolerance, incapable of taking advantage of others.  Freedom is important; they will not stay at a job where they cannot do things their way."  (This is not exactly good news for your parents)

Friday, February 6, 2015

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Okay, let's be fair here - I can't make this stuff up.  Who knows how creative you could be?  You could be absolutely brilliant at off-beat inventions.  But today I'm reduced to the role of a scavenger raven, picking through the corn field in search of nourishment. 

What am I babbling about?  The "Chocolate Shooter," invented by Dominique Persoone, of Bruges, Belgium.  The device delivers a shot of a mix of cocoa powder and mint and ginger or raspberry up your nose.  

Patroone created the device, modeling it from a snuff shooter that his grandfather favored, in  2007 for some kind of a Rolling Stones party making it the first ever item inhaled by a Stone with no illegal additives whatsoever.  Patroone didn't think it would take off; it was intended as a one-time deal.  To date he has sold 25,000 of them at $50 each. 

Who could make up this kind of silliness?  Answer:  Clearly Patroone did.

Source:  2/6/15

Thursday, February 5, 2015

An Unlikely Moralizer

"Power Forward - My Presidential Education" by Reggie Love   Simon and Schuster   212 pages   $26

Love was President Obama's "bodyman."  He is a 6 ft. 5 in. former Duke basketball star who graduated from Wharton in 2013.  He writes that he was good at football, but that basketball was his true love. 

His writing links sports to behavior - "Every Lay Up Isn't Easy" or "Never Get Too Comfortable on the Bench" or "Own Your Mistakes" which probably should be "Own up to your mistakes." 

There is also 'way more than we need to know about Love's childhood, school years, what his parents taught him, and what he was thinking during various points in his life.  (yawn)

The book title is misleading.  Whatever bits of scandal or real information shedding light on the Obama personality were pretty much not there.  I did glean that he dislikes M & Ms in trail mix and that he gets up at 5:30 a.m. to work out for an hour.

He is willful.  During a car trip between two cities to make campaign speeches, he suddenly shouted, "Stop the car!"  They were passing by a Sombrero Fest and the candidate said, "They've probably got some great food there" and he was out of the car and into the crowd.  His Secret Service detail was not pleased.  Nor were the people waiting for him at his destination. 

If this book were a textbook at a black high school, it might be a powerful tool for good.  As "history" it's the story of Reggie Love.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Funny the Things You Forget ... Until You're Reminded of Them

A case in point would be Reinwald's Bakery, Huntington, NY (  Yesterday Richie was foraging around in his masses of paper and when he came upstairs to watch the Super Bowl, he left the bakery's business card on the dining room table.

And I remembered ...(cue soft music) when we were first married.  We flew to Long Island for me to meet the rest of the family which was scattered.  One in Virginia ... another in Manhattan.. so I decided to throw a Murphy Family Reunion out of our hotel room.  The motel was laid out in a shallow V shape and at the point of the V there was a big patio table with an umbrella and plenty of chairs.  Our room opened on to it.

Acceptances fluttered in; the relatives seemed to be excited about it.  We got in appetizers and bozze and I made a pot of room coffee.  To reinforce "family reunion" we went to Reinwalds because I wanted to serve cupcakes with green frosting (Irish) with a decorative white "M" on top.  I was quite specific in my description of these cupcakes and was assured that all would be as I had asked.  

The day of the party, Richie and his brother Charlie, went to get them.  We weren't quite ready for them - people were still nibbling crackers and Brie or prosciutto wrapped melon ball lollypops (mounted on a stick of grissini.)  Finally it was time to address my designer cupcakes.  I cut the string and lifted the box lid.  There, staring up at me insouciantly, were a couple of dozen cupcakes with BRIGHT ORANGE FROSTING!  Orange denotes Northern Ireland; the Murphys came from Wexford, south of Dublin.  There is no greater insult to a Dubliner than to be called an Orangeman.  

To say that I was "angry" is untrue.  I was incandescent with rage.  I was shaking.  I wanted to go Reinwalds then and there to raise 60 kinds of hell as well as to call them everything but Christians.  I was dissuaded.  But I swore that I would never go back there again, "Family bakery, my ..." I bellowed in rage.  And I didn't.

But during our last trip back (2014) we hungered for a pastry, so we went in.  Nothing had changed -- the displays were in the same places showing off the same things 23 years later.  I don't kid around when I say I will (or won't) do something.     

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fiction and Non-Fiction )

"Wayfaring Stranger" by James Lee Burke   Simon & Schuster   434 pages   $27.99

This is  Burke's latest of the 34 books he has now written.  The plot is a different direction for him in that it  introduces a new male and female equal protagonists.  I thought it omitted a lot of Burke's trademark insertions of the flora and fauna of Louisiana wherein the land and climate become characters in the cast.  Or so I thought. 

The entire last third of the book is his usual mix of dream sequences and landscapes.  But until you get there, it's a good read.

"Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis - The Untold Story" by Barbara Leaming   St. Martin's Press   358 pages   $27.99  (What?  Is $27.99 for a book the new Little Black Dress?)

The only tidbits new to me were that The Widow suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the moment Kennedy was shot until her own death in 1994. 

Not surprisingly culturally, Christine Onassis believed that Jackie brought a curse with her -- a curse that killed her brother and her father.  Much muttering behind hands at the funerals.

This book dwells more on her friendships (intellectual) with such as Bob McNamara, Harold Macmillan and David Harlech than the frivolity of designers and decorators, the flirty, foamy froth which often marked her encounters with others. 

It was an okay read, but Kitty Kelley did the job much better.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Introducing A New Feature

I came across an old piece of work of mine and was so amused that I decided to use it again.  Writers are not wasteful of original material.

AQUARIUS THE WATER BEARER  1-21 - 2-19, 2015

Genuinely crazy or just light-hearted, these people are the experimenters -- in bizarre combinations of drugs, alcohol and experimental living arrangements such as the extended harem.  First to try anything new, they find everything interesting.  The men look like women and vice versa, that's how mixed up this sign is.  They are not fussy about their sexual preferences - anything still living.  They have an instinctive ability to get along with patients in mental hospitals.  They are airheads, totally unaware of responsbility or duty.  An Aquarius would rather give you money than to loan it to you.  But good luck getting the money out of these cheapskates.  Examples are Ronald Reagan and Jack Lemmon.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Rome ... Bread ... Circuses

Floated idly through my mind as I gaped at the half-time show.  It was mindless and I may have lost at least 20 IQ points staring steadily at the screen of ... nothing at all that made sense.

Oh! I'm Not Here Today

Instead I'm in today's Daily Breeze - just Google  nina murphy + my turn.  I'm pleased to have gotten the Sunday paper because it's a bigger readership than a Tuesday, say.  A lot of people subscribe to "Weekends Only."