Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Relationship of Physics to Karate

Guest Editor - Raphael Gutierrez, MD

Many people argue about the best way to get power into a punch, but they fail to use any rational thought, relying instead on their dogmatic beliefs.  If you are an acolyte of these peoples thinking then just enjoy your Kool-aid -- but don't try to pass it off as "scientific"  because you'll be called on it.

To understand the hoM2V2w to get power from any punch you may have to look at high-school levels of collision physics because without it your explanation is merely pseudo-science and no more than that.

The first thing that has to be understood is the conservation of momentum which means that the mass times velocity of one body is equal to the mass times velocity of another or in equation format:  M1V1=M2V2

This equation does not look at the loss of energy to entropy measured via heat and sound can be neglected in our circumstances.

No, we must ze that there two types of collisions - an elastic one where the force is lessened due  to deformations caused by the impact or ineleastic  where no deformation occurs.  In layman's terms, a perfect elastic  collision would be like a punch that breaks something but does not lead to much movement.

What will cause the damage is the transfer of Kinetic Energy (KE) MV^MV^of the punch and how fast that energy is transferred.  As Kinetic Energy is defineD by:  KE=1/2MV * 2.

Let/s say we have  three very different objects of energy.  Let's take a Smart Car with 1,000kg, a human weighing 165 lbs. and a baseball with a mass of 1.45kg.  If all three are  moving at the same speed, the car would have more KE but what if all three  had .the same KE? 

Calculating that a ball moving 40m/s (about 90 mph) and will have KE of 116.  For a 1,000kg car to have the same KE it would have to be moving at 0.48 m/s or one mph.  The human would be moving at 1.76m/or 4 mph.

What would cause more damage to you?  A Smart Car going 1 mph, being bumped into by an average-sized man or a fastball from someone like Nolan Ryan?  Unless you are glued to the ground, a fastball would do more damage.  The reason has to do with how fast the force is transferred, the faster it is, the more  deformity will be seen due to the initial transfer of energy or the impulse.

It all has to do with the speed at which the energy is transferred. f

(Editor's note to guest editor.  RHG - never again!  My brain is knotted just typing this.  It could have been Urdu for all I know.)


Monday, March 30, 2015

Giving You Lead Time for April Fool's Day

I wrote last year that April Fools Day is common in a lot of cultures for a variety of reasons, but all involve a fool - whether it's one you've created or yourself. 

Curious as to what might be out that's that's amusing, easy to do or benign I went online.   I had forgotten how destructive and downright vicious some 'jokesters" can be.  This might narrow the field down a little, but if it destroys property ( especially someone else's) or costs a lot of money-  don't do it. For example, stapling paper cups to each other, filling each cup with water and leaving it on someone's desk is potentially dangerous - do you really want to buy the company a new computer?  Anything involving air horns is distinctly a very bad idea.

In no particular order ...
Lift the other guy's Smart phone or cell phone and switch English to Chinese or French - Spanish is too risky out here; we all speak baby Spanish anyhow. 

Go around their office before they come in and snap digital photos of their photos of loved ones and then download the camera, print, scan and Photoshop your heart out!  Wife suddenly looks like a giraffe! 

Take all of the paper clips on a cubicle- neighbor's desk and turn them into one very long chain.

Scan their business card, and Photoshop a funny faux title for that person. James Brown, Lord of the Rings.  Judy Smith,  She Who Must Be Obeyed. 

This is so far  out of the past that I nearly blush to add it.  You'll need a needle and a spool of thread in a contrast color to what you're wearing - white blouse? Navy thread.

Secrete the spool on your body - thread the needle and stick it straight though the fabric of your top.  Pull out a long thread, take the needle off of it and  simply wait for the solicitous soul who will dart forward, grasp it and start pulling  while saying "You've got a thread here" and pulling and pulling as the thread spools on.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Eagle Has Hatched!

This is the first of the 2015 Decorah eagles to go from egg to living chick.  Since 2007 it's a yearly event with cameras rolling all through the light times of the day. 
A pair of eagles fly in and out to tend to them and it's fascinating to watch them wriggle around on the floor of the nest and to check their nearly-daily growth.

There are several sites and I couldn't pick the best.  Google "Decorah eagles" and take your pick.   

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Birthday Music

A friend sent us a link to what was the #1 song the day you were born Website.  For me, it was Glenn Miller's "In the Mood"  - which is appropriate now that I think about it - clearly my parents had been "in the mood.

 The site is bobborst/popculter/numberonesong or just Google "#1 song the day you were born - there are a lot of them from which to choose.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Corned Beef Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, March 24th, is our annual tax trip to Beverly Hills wherein dwells our tax accountant and, more importantly, Factor's Famous Deli!

Over the years it has become habit to make an appointment around lunch time and to waddle over after giving him our various papers and receipts.  Richie likes hot pastrami; I would (almost) wash windows for the corned beef.  But first an order of onion rings to start.  Factor's are crispy/gritty not beer batter puffy and all the better for it.  Sandwiches come with a variety of sides, but we stick to cole slaw.

We've followed this routine for at least 20 years and probably longer.  It is good to have routine in your life and to schedule your corned beef lunches! 

Don't let me forget to get an order of chopped chicken livers to go - along with the other half of our sandwiches and leftover sides. 

Later that afternoon ...

When Richie ordered a pastrami sandwich, the waitress asked him, "Hand cut or machine cut?" a question we'd never been asked before.  I asked for the difference and she said, "Hand cut is thicker; the machine slices thinner" so, of course, you know what he asked for - "Hand cut, please"...

And the chopped liver is in the refrigerator, awaiting it's cruel fate.

Detecting in Rome in the First Century A.D.

"Enemies at Home" by Lindsay Davis   Minotaur Books   342 pages   $25.99

The Romans had an interesting system of justice - if a home owner was murdered at home and the guilty party was not immediately apprehended, , it was assumed that one of the servants (which easily outnumbered family members) had done it and ALL of the slaves were promptly put to death. 

A number of citizens worked as "private informers" and one of them was a young woman named Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didus Falco, a former private informer.   She has assumed his old job.

It is an unusual enough thing today - let alone 1st century A.D. - to find a female investigator but Albia is called in to see who killed a rich couple, found strangled in the marital bed.  Meanwhile, the terrified slaves have fled to the Temple of Ceres which is a recognized haven for refuges.

Flavia is an interesting heroine, believable with a good sense of humor.  It's an interesting book and I recommend it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


We are very pleased to welcome Don who lives in Temple, TX, - he was bred and born in Texas which in 2014 led the nation with 87.73 million heads of cattle.  Nebraska and Kansas are right behind Texas.  His wife Suzanne has always raved about how good a steak he puts out.

So I asked him.  This is his reply:

"Buy the best you can afford.  Beef is graded with "Select" being the least desirable and "Prime"  the best.  If you are astute and knowledgeable a good "Select" can be found.  This requires patience and sometimes even that fails.

Get a steak at least 1 in. thick and preferably 2 in. thick with plenty of marbling; I prefer bone-in cuts.  Butcher cuts are not normally graded accordingly and if you know your butcher, he may show you the right path.

I take the steak out of the fridge well before cooking it.  Tonight it will  be  out about five hours.  I also salt and pepper at this point.  I am not a salt fan but beef should be liberally salted.  Do not pierce  meat.  The only seasoning I have had that was acceptable was chili pepper or coffee (dry, unused.)

I cook on a gas grill.  I wish I had a Jenn-Aire in the house, but, alas, I am impoverished.   I prefer a wood fire  but for ease I use a gas grill.  Cooking in an iron skillet is acceptable if you get the skillet hot enough, but you had better have the windows open, fans going  and be prepared for grease residue.

I cook the steak on the hottest fire I can.  I put it on the grill, let it sit for one or two minutes, depending on the thickness and do the other side the same.  I cook only "rare" or medium rare steaks.  I only cook them for others' sakes as I would sit down and eat the salted burger raw and warm .  If someone at my house wants a steak well  done or some such foolishness, I tell them to stop at McDonald's and get a burger on the way here.

Last note:  NO steak sauce is allowed

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Almost as Expensive as Caviar

I'm referring to Trader Joe's Sweet Sriracha (uncured) Bacon Jerky which retails for $5.49 for a 2-ounce packet.  To snack 10 people would set you back  $54.90 which is rather steep.  Especially if you're drinking beer and watching a sporting event. 

Because I was curious about making bacon (!) into jerky I bought a packet.  It is good and I ate 2/3rds of the bag.  It's a much softer chew than other meat jerkies.  Because it goes into the drying oven with the addition of sugar, honey and Sriracha coating it, it comes out sweeter.  Sriracha is not that hot a taste; don't fear it. 

I bet you could make your own for a lot less money than that.   But it still would be an expensive snack - you'd have to buy a drying oven and run it for 12 to 16 hours.

There are other bacon  treats you can make at home -- go see cookingwithbacon.com

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Changing Face of Medicine (It's Got Pimples)

When I was a little girl in the Days of the Dinosaurs, medically we were served by "family doctors"!  Yes!  Phone call, doorbell and Doctor was there, black bag in hand.  Unimaginable today unless you subscribe to (and pay mightily for) concierge doctors, found in  areas such as Beverly Hills or Palos Verdes. 

And back then, doctors went beyond the call of duty.  I was diagnosed with appendicitis and Dr. Meyers told my parents, "Put her in the backseat of your car (no seatbelts then) and bring her to the hospital - I'll meet you there."  I still remember feeling cheated because no dramatic exit via a siren-screaming ambulance.  Just an anonymous-looking family sedan.  A bitter pill, I can assure you!

Time passed and for the most part, I never needed a doctor.  And then I moved to Beverly Hills.  If there were "family doctors" I never found them.  Instead I was initiated into 902`0-land with the news that I would have to see a specialist.  When I left 14 years later, I left behind an ENT, Ob-gym, urologist and I can't remember the rest of them.  If I raced horses, I had a more-than-adequate stable.

Today we have a very different situation.  I go to Dr. Maher, the eye surgeon for local recommendations.  He always gives me a choice of three names.  This time, Richie needed a cardiologist.  Maher to the rescue.  At one of the names, he said, "This is my mother-in-law's cardio" and I immediately asked, "But do you like her?"  When we could quit laughing, I chose that doctor.

And then my ob-gyn said, in shock, "Don't  you have a General Practitioner?"
"What's  that?" I asked.  He told me and gave me a recommendation - a doctor Gee (am now searching for a doctor Haw.)  Today's GP is more of a traffic cop than anything else.  "I'm going to refer you to Doctor XYZ - he's a specialist" is frequently heard in his office. 

This afternoon I have an appointment with a pain specialist to whom I was sent by my orthopod who in turn was recommended by my neurologist  This is called "turf-ing a patient out" and I suspect is the short phrase for "putting a patient out to grass."
My roster includes an ob-gyn, an orthopod, neurologist and my very favorite an Urgent Care physician  named Dr. Wynn.  He is aggressive in treating patients.  At our very first meeting (dog bite into cellulitis )he studied my swollen, maroon-colored forearm and muttered to himself, "I'm going kill this s--t!" and then realized I'd heard him.  His face flushed so to make him feel better, I grinned and said, F--- Ay!" and we've been tight ever since. 

That's the kind of doctor I like.   He reminds me of our family doctor, Meyers.  He'd hand you a prescription and say, "Take two of these to start and then one every four hours  and if you aren't better, by noon tomorrow, call me."  No ailment or disease ever failed to beat the noon deadline. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Brace Yourselves!

It's two days until open season on Aries - 3/21 to 4/20

The Ram will butt heads with anyone from God on down over anything!  Pushy, selfish and fearless; they yell until people give in just for peace.  Belligerent to all and charitable toward none, their movements are quick, capable and they are credit card abusers.  They will cheerfully pay -- but you have to catch them first. 

They prefer glory to money but manage to spend abundant amounts of it anyhow.   They only have friends or enemies and the latter outnumber the former by the millions.   Gifted in gab and daubed in bullshit, they can talk for hours on subjects they know nothing about.  They are blind, deaf and dumb to anything they don't want to know and fail to recognize defeat when it is staring them in the face. 

They forget the past, have no interest in the future and are only interested in today.
Famous Aries include Bette Davis and Nikita Khrushchev.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

An Odd Bit of Ad History

We've all seen the Nike sneaker ads with the catch-phrase "Just do it!"  But what I didn't know is that it first appeared in TV ads in 1988, long after the guy that said it had faced a firing squad in Utah.  Gary Gilmore, 37 was executed January 17, 1977, for murdering two men, smoking gun literally in his left hand.

Dan Wieden of Wieden + Kennedy Advertising was asked by Nike to give them a tagline for five very different 30-second spots.   And it popped into his mind.  Gilmore's actual words were  "Let's do it" and he changed it to "Just do it."

Gilmore was a man of my heart (except for the murdering thing.)  After the ACLU got him two (unwanted) stays of execution, he said, "They always want to get in on the act.  I don't they have ever done anything effective in their lives.  I would like them all to just butt out.  This is my life and my death."  The ACLU's two stays did affect Gilmore.  After both of them he attempted suicide.  A man that liked his own way.

Jay Simpson, a South Bay Writer's Workshop member, has a new past time - writing clever and funny "Ramblings."  Here two recent ones.

Never borrow money from a leprechaun; they always come up a little short.

I don't like bookkeeping so you could say I have no taste for accounting.

act.  I don't think

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Many a time I have been in love with easeful death" Keats

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty   WW Norton   254 pages   $24.95

Doughty was eight years old when an incident at the local mall traumatized her for life.  She saw a little girl fall to her death two floors down and never forgot the "thud."  She was not treated for trauma as in 1993 Hawaiin kids weren't routinely taken to a doctor.
Today she is a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice.  Her Websites are The Order of the Good Death and (co-founded) Death Salon.  This book was based on her experiences learning the trade. 

There are tidbits from 'way behind the scenes - a person who dies in hospital requires a special gurney to take the body to the van headed to the mortuary.  The gurney looks empty, sheets flat on the bed, the body concealed underneath in a tub.

How many corpses can you carry in a Dodge van?  Eleven, stacked like cordwood. 

She knowledgably discusses curious funeral practices of old.  Even today in Japan, it is customary for the family members to gather around the bones and, using chopsticks, put the bones in urns - starting first with the bones of the feet so that the deceased can walk upright. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Old-fashioned Journalism

If you're younger than 50 you're not going to know what I'm talking about because today's news is no longer a cold, impersonal recital of the facts, but offered up to us by blatantly biased "news" reporters. 

Some time ago I ran across a copy of This Week in a doctor's waiting room.  What struck me immediately was the fairness of their presentations.  Every political article also had three columnists from three different periodicals with their take on the subject.  Example:

What Happened - a factual report
And then editorials from such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist to name a few. 

This is not a totally serious magazine.  There are a number of "make you smile" tidbits such as the Ithaca, NY, Chamber of Commerce throwing in the towel with this sign "Winter, you win.  Take a trip to the Florida Keys instead"

Books, Art, Television are reviewed.  Leisure covers food and drink as well as travel.  We were invited to Surf Nicaragua! or take your dog "skijoring" as it's called in Scandinavia and Alaska. You don't need to run out and buy a sled dog - if your pooch weighs more than 35 lbs.  you're good to go.

A feature I much enjoyed was Best Properties.  Consumer featured the best of beauty products as well as uses for toothpaste you may never have considered.  Soothe a bug bite.  Odor remover when the garlic smell on your hands just won't go away - take a damp paper towel with a daub on it and scrub away.  Clean your jewelry with toothpaste and a soft brush.  Never put tooth paste on pearls.

Lastly are the Obituaries which is certainly an appropriate place for them

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg celebrates her 82nd birthday.  (If I'd had to guess, I would have said, "100." )  But to be fair, perhaps she is so intelligent and consequently busy that she didn't take the time to also fluff up her beauty.

In other news, the dailymail.co.uk is running the news that Valerie Jarrett outed Hillary and her e-mails.  Could party politics get any scummier?    Myself, I think Hillary is a very stupid woman because she never deviates from the pattern - get caught.  Deny.  Deny.  Blame someone else.  Finally cop to it.  Over and over again.  Most of us manage to learn from our mistakes; not her.  Nor her husband. 

And the article states that there are an additional five new scandals coming down the pipeline.  O Joy.

Richie is happy though.  Burnley beat Manchester City in a hard-fought soccer match yesterday.  And this is significant because "Man City" is on top and Burnley's on the bottom.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

If I asked you to describe Queen Victoria, I would bet that "a fat old lady, sitting in a chair, looking cranky" might be your response.    You'd be right - that is the most descriptive of her in her old age.  But in "Victoria" by A.N. Wilson the inside flap reads "But in truth, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, was one of the most passionate, expressive, humorous and unconventional women who ever lived."  Strong words, certainly.

I for one believe it about "passionate" - a woman who gives birth to nine (nine) children is no stranger to the marital (or other) bed.  Sadly for her she not only buried her beloved Albert (sire of the nine children)((sometimes doubts and aspersions of the exact father were voiced.))

She also buried four of their  children.  And this brings me to some alarm because two died of cancer (spine and larynx respectively)  hemophilia and diphtheria.  Cancer runs in the royal line .. King George the 6th (Queen Elizabeth's father) and Princess Marguerite , both of lung cancer.

When John Brown died, Victoria spoke so much about him, that people were disgusted.  Rumor said that she'd married him and that they lived at Sandringham as man and wife.  When Victoria herself died, the bouquet of flowers on her tummy concealed a miniature of Brown.  She had insisted on this when she planned the event. 

Yeah I guess you could say "passionate."     

Friday, March 13, 2015

Ooo (shudder) Friday the 13th!

"I think all of my superstitions are finally gone!  Knock on wood."  credit Jay Simpson, a member of the South Bay Writer's Workshop

We in the West are the most likely to "fear" Friday the 13th (shudder)  but in the Hispanic and Greek cultures be afraid on Tuesday the 13th.  In Italy?  Friday the 17th.  Probably any way you cut it, there is a superstitious belief in one day or another of the calendar.  After all we have 365 of them. 

It is said that from 17 to 21 million people have an acute case of the Friday the 13ths and it costs retailers, restaurants, offices and travel some $800 to $900 million dollars per Friday.  Some people (extremely afflicted) refuse to even get out of bed!  (Insert earthquake story here)

But Friday the 13th is earning some money for the people who created Jason in the Friday the 13th movies, books and comics. 

We may laugh at this dinner table custom which is:  when the 13th guest invited arrives,  everyone must sit down as one and when dinner is over, rise as one.  This strikes me as unlikely.  At our house; we couldn't seat 9 let alone 13. 

I think we've all noticed - from years ago - that some hotels completely omit any 13th floor.  Study the elevator buttons next time  11 - 12 - 14 --not TOO obvious.  This is particularly prevalent in Las Vegas, Reno, New Jersey casino hotels.

Conversely (and possibly perversely) I have always considered Friday the 13th a lucky day for me.    Which reminds me, "Buy a lottery ticket for tonight."  Baby needs a new hat for Easter.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Corned Beef and Cabbage Season

I won!  One of the prizes at the jazz club raffle!  Tickets are five for $1 and one of mine got me "Homegrown Louisiana Cookin'" by Justin Wilson with over 300 new recipes for real home cookin'. 

We love Cajun and Creole food and have enjoyed a lot of meals in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette.  At one time, New Orleans was our favorite destination and we'd gone there at least eight times (and probably more) until Katrina ruined it all.  Haven't been back since, but now ... with this book ...

And the perfect time has come now.  Corned beef and cabbage season is upon us.  Neither one of us likes boiled cabbage; the only reason it can palatable at all is when it's cooked in with the corned beef which gives it at least some flavor (mainly salt.) 

Jewish delis get it right because they sub in cole slaw for the "cabbage."   And so does Justin Wilson in his recipe.  Wilson was an interesting character - in addition to cooking, he wrote music, had television cooking shows and four wives. He divorced them all  This indicates a certain interest in the fairer sex.  He was born in 1914 and died, aged 87, in 2001.  He's buried next to Wife #3.
Which is neither here nor there.

1 large head of cabbage, shredded
4 medium-sized bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 medium-size onions, thinly sliced
Mix together in a large bowl.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 T olive oil
1 T wine vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Louisiana hot sauce or ground cayenne pepper
1 teas. minced garlic
Juice of 1 lemon

Whisk thoroughly and dump it on the cabbage et al and toss well.

Richie made this the other day and it was good.  My only carp would be that he cut the cabbage thinner than he did.  Which is not Justin Wilson's fault.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

When Reading Leads to Eating

During our recent rains, I devoted myself to reading - after I got over my shock that it was, in fact, raining and not a plane dropping bbs on the living room skylight.

The "Rumpole Omnibus" is a collection of the works of John Mortimer and they all center around a London barrister by the name of Rumpole.  Presumably he has a first name, but it is rarely used in these pages and off-hand I can't remember it, so little was it used. 

Very well, Rumpole is dispatched to a case outside of London and takes the Great Western train to it.  His British Railways train serves lunch and he longs for Brown Windsor soup, formerly a staple on this and other routes.  Alas, the railroad has discontinued it.  Rumpole's mournful sobs triggered me to investigate this soup, so dearly mourned.  Maybe I was missing out on something good? 

Research said that it was very popular in the Victorian and Edwardian days.  It was a particular favorite of Queen Victoria's and frequently served at state banquets.  "Windsor" has nothing to do with either the castle or the royals.  They didn't change their names until 1917 or so and we have seen the soup predates that by a wide margin. 

The soup was a restaurant favorite until a canned version appeared and cheaper bistros served that rather than making it from scratch.  According to all accounts, it was terrible and restaurants quit serving it altogether. 

Here are two versions - Jamie Oliver makes his like this:
Butter and olive oil for frying the stewing beef
1 T Marmite
1 splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 medium red onion - chopped
2 carrots - chopped
3 sticks of celery - chopped
1 bay leaf
sprig of fresh rosemary
1 T flour
2 litres beef stock

The Windsor Castle recipe says add 1/4 lb. of lamb steak to the beef, 1 chopped parsnip.  Forget the Marmite and Worcestershire sauce and use a bouquet garni instead.

I say, take a can of Dinty Moore beef stew, put it in a pot.  Put a chopped parsnip and chopped onion in water and heat until tender.  Drain and put the vegetables in with the Dinty.  Splash with Worcestershire sauce and maybe 1/4 teas. of Better Than Beef Bouillon,  heat and serve.   

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Barney Is 95 - and Still Serving Food

I'm referring to the newish Barney's Beanery on the Redondo Pier. 

Me and I and my posse used to frequent the original in West Hollywood  for it's cheap food and accepting attitude toward hippies, rock'n roll performers, writers and generally speaking, the flotsam and jetsam of the younger generation. 

We were shabby-looking and so was Barney's.  No surprise, we were hippies so it was mandatory to look weird and Barney's was opened in 1920 and didn't look appreciably re-decorated since then.

We didn't know it then but the antique-looking porch light was actually a radio receiver for the convenience of customers.  If their car had a "Barney's Beam" they could confirm number of guests, generally what they'd order and how close they were to arrival. 

The founder and owner was a man named John "Barney" Anthony.  He joined the Navy in WW2 and got into cooking his hamburgers and onion soup for his mates.  When he got out of the Navy he tried to be a boxing manager, but didn't have the punch.  He decided to own his beanery, relying heavily on his hamburgers and onion soup in a Men Only setting.  Apparently that didn't work out too well because in 1958, Barney was forced to remove the sign that hung over the bar - "Fagots (sic) Stay Out."

Now there are six outlets, the newest being "ours" in Redondo.  We lunched there yesterday.  It's a huge space which you will see if you visit barneysbeanery.com.  Ocean and beach views out of every window and there are many windows.  The interior is broken up by partitions and there is a spacious patio out on the ocean-facing side. 

The menu amuses - for example Champagne Breakfast  chili-cheese hotdog and a bottle of Dom Perignon - $300. 

I ordered two grilled shrimp tacos ($8) and an order of onion rings (4.95)  The taco column offered roasted pineapple as an addition and I took them up on it.
The grilled shrimp looked as though they'd been boiled and then a kitchen torch was used to give them judiciously applied grill marks.   The onion rings were foolers - they looked crispy crunchy but were ... mushy? inside.

Richie ordered a medium bowl of chili ($4.95) which had something done to it to make it "Texas chili" ($1.00)

All of it was eminently edible, but ... indifferent somehow.  The old Barney's was just the same.  Cheapish food (no Kobe beef) indifferently cooked over the years. 

The ideal Barney's visit would be you and a group of friends to sit out on the patio and drink beer (Stella $3.50) and the hell with eating anything. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

At the Jazz Club, Sunday, March 8, 2015

By the time we got there, the first set of pick-up musicians was ending.  They finished and Paul, the club president, came out to address the audience as the next band began setting up.

He said that he was sorry to have to tell us this, but he'd just gotten word that So-and-So, a long time member and supporter, had died.  Brief moment while we all thought about that.  Then Paul held up a hand and said, "As a farewell gesture," turning to the musicians now ready to roll on the bandstand, "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" and gave a downbeat, and the band set off in a mournful, slow-beat dirge.

For the first time ever, I really "got it" about the New Orleans custom of following the coffin through the streets with sad solemnity and then, after the graveyard honors, to speed it up and prance back to the city.  It all made sense as the first made tears in my eyes and the second made me want to dance.  Not a bad way to go, eh?

The featured band was a group that had appeared previously called Nannette and Her Hotsy Totsy Boys.  But hold!  What's this?  An obviously new banner that read simply "Hotsy Totsy Band."  No mention of poor Nannette, who nevertheless was shaking and shimmying for all she was worth in her silver flapper outfit complete with miles of dangling beads and she tilted her silver cloche hat saucily at us and winked. 

The boys (hotsy or totsy or not) wore black slacks and black t-shirts printed to resemble a tuxedo.  They upped instruments and away they went on that great classic "All That Jazz"  Nannette belting out the lyrics with great enthusiasm.

Later on, Nannette issued parasols (eight in all) to audience members and got them all up, parading in a circle around the room, twirling their parasols.  It was all rather mindless but Richie, whom she had tagged, marched around and around with grim determination. 

Nannette's next interaction with her audience was this - she roamed the room with a big handkerchief and a silver flask.  When she spotted a bald man (not difficult with this group) she's stop, talk and then "pour" a drop from her flask on his bald head and then polish it with the handkerchief..  This was all supposed to be lighthearted, mad cap even! fun, but it wasn't particularly. 

All in all it was what would have been a real treat on a third-rate cruise ship, but bless their hearts anyhow!  They were having fun and so did we.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Richie Upstages Me - Again

More than 30 years ago, my sister and I made the rather awkward discovery that our mother prefers her sons-in-law..  "Oh, Richie - let me get you some jam for that."  "Jim this is the most tender cut of the roast - and let me give you another potato, too." (Jane and I exchanged looks - we were both waiting to hear, "Shall I cut it for you?")

  This I didn't mind.  Only a fool would want a mother-in-law who hates their spouse.  Jane and I  muttered, "Bring it on!"

For many more years, I have lived contentedly on the fact that all of our friends prefer him.  That's fair enough, he is a lovely man.  And, being generous as well as  funny, they have room in their hearts for me.  At least if I don't overstay my welcome.

But this latest has. gone. too. far.  Richie has a groupie!  In my field - writing!  His letter about Netanyahu ran recently and the next day the phone rang and he answered it and talked for 30 or 40 seconds.  And I couldn't figure out with whom he was speaking.  When he hung up, I asked curiously, "Who was that?"

He said, "Oh, it's this lady that read my letter and liked it."

Me:  "Ohhh?  (eyes narrow) Which lady?"

Richie, innocent as a baby frog, says, "I think her name's Kay Bailey; retired schoolteacher?  I think...  That's what she told me the last time she called."

The last time she called, indeed.   I'll have you to know that I have written three times the number of Letters to the Editor (published) and no one has called yet.  How unfair is that?  I ask because it's inconceivable that he's a better writer than am I.

Or is it?  NO!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Henny Penny - Look up! Look up!

Today's Daily Breeze advises us in a banner headline that registered sex offenders will be marching on Carson City Hall in protest of the stringent law that keeps them well away from such as fast-food restaurants (use the drive-through window) and parks(you've been talking about making your backyard up-to-date) and libraries (buy a Kindl and go on line) and other denied admission sites. thus violating the rights of more than 100,000 offenders and their families.

I was surprised to hear that pedophiles had families or that said families have any interest at all in them.  We had a child molester in my family - my father's sister's husband.  His name was UncleGrantthe ChildMolester said in one breath.  He was not popular and if my father had ever learned of his proclivities, he would have shot him.  Which is pretty much why no one told him. 

There are 100,000 registered in California and 8,000 of them are on parole. 


The family of Bobby Kristina Brown, who is on life support and not expected to survive is filming a reality show starring her and this event - found face down in her bathtub like her mother Whitney Houston three years earlier in her hotel room. 

Now no one looks their best with tubes running into and out of their bodies and the squeals and beeps of the equipment would distract from the actor's words.  It would beyond cruel to subject any woman to this kind of voyeurism, where she can't defend herself but on their freakin' death bed?  Are they going to run side bets on when she's declared as an extra earning attraction? 

East Jerusalem  A Palestinian male drove his car into a group of four soldiers and a pedestrian at a border crossing and then grabbed a knife and lunged at security guards who shot and wounded him.  His Mom was quoted as saying his violence was "natural" due to the tensions with Israel.  These people are animals and medieval ones at that. 

It seems all of the above may have begun with Trayvon.  Before his body was cold, his mother called up the US Patent Office and got the copyright on his name.

STOP THE PRESSES - This was a spoof and the hotelicopter doesn't exist except in the mind of the Photo Shop guy  So was the map of destinations for it. 

In a much lighter note the world's first "hotelicopter" was launched from Dubai airport.  It is a huge helicopter laid out like a hotel.  I counted four vertical rows of windows meaning four floors?  A friend commented that a lack of room balconies was an oversight.   

Friday, March 6, 2015

From Class to Trash in Three Generations

"The Hiltons - the True Story of an American Dynasty" by J. Randy Taraborrelli   Grand Central Publishing   450 pages   $30
The title is a spin on "from rags to riches and back again" generally used to refer to one's wealth but I think the two go together in some strange cosmic equation.  Think about the Kennedy family...But this is not about them.

Conrad Hilton, the first generation was generally believed to be a shrewd business man with a strong penchant for handshake deals.  And he became extremely wealthy.  As a deeply devout Catholic, he donated generously to various charities involving the Church. 

2nd generation - he and his first wife had three sons and then Conrad divorced Mary to wed Zsa Zsa Gabor.  During the course of their relationship, she presented him with a daughter but whether it was his is still unknown.  They were in the middle of  a divorce at the time she became pregnant. 

The three sons continued on in the business.  Their reputation started it's first slip when Nicky (Conrad II) married 18 year old Elizabeth Taylor.  They were divorced in less than a year (physical and mental cruelty) and he died an alcoholic at 43. 

In contrast, Barron and his wife had nine kids which in turn provided four great-grandchildren of the original Conrad.   They are:

Conrad III who made the papers a few days ago.  He terrorized the crew and passengers of a BA flight from London to Los Angeles.  Among the less tasteful rants he made were that everyone on the plane was a peasant; that no matter what kind of trouble he got into that his father could buy his way out of it.  He was arrested on arrival after having been handcuffed by the crew. 

Barron Hilton is currently acting badly - which is as usual - in Miami.  Drink and drugs make him hyper-sensitive to insults and thence into fights.  I wonder if he used to run with Ted and Patrick Kennedy?

Nicky Hilton hasn't done much of anything; she seems to be capable of avoiding press coverage.  She did have a three-month marriage after a Vegas wedding, but nothing else jumped out at me.

Paris Hilton has faded from the spotlight (and it's more than high time) and apparently spends more time in Europe than the US.  Just as well -- in her early days it was believed that she might be suffering from pre-Alzheimer's as she could not seem to remember to wear underpants.  Her entrances and exits from cars were photographed on a near daily basis.  One on-looker stared at one of these photos and muttered, "I'll never look at a roast beef sandwich in the same way again." 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Richie Scores Again

March 5, 2015
Daily Breeze

Where will Netanyahu speak next?

Dear Sirs:

Netanyahu's visit to Congress is over.  Think of it what you will. 

Will his next stop be at the United Nations?  After that, perhaps Great Britain, France and Germany?  We are all in this.

Richard W. Murphy
Redondo Beach

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Voting Results

"Too close to call" headlined the Daily Breeze.  Eight of the 13 precincts having reported, the figures were 50.3 per cent for and 49.7 per cent against. 

You recall, I was against because we don't need another "waterfront hotel" - we have five already and I would suggest a serious study of their occupancy rates.  The only time I ever see a tour bus at the Crown Plaza is during seasonal events such as the Rose Bowl Parade.

There was mention of turning most of it into a park.  Redondo Beach already has 27 different parks, varying in size from 10 acres on down to tiny "parkettes."  All well-maintained I might add.

What we don't have is any parking.    A better idea - instead of 600 condos and hotels adding to the problem - is to  turn at least half of that space into a parking lot.  It could go right by the desalination plant and provide parking for those workers and all the rest of us who say, "Nah, I don't want to go out - there's no parking."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Well ... That Didn't Take Long...

I'm referring to the fact that we had a local election of sorts and we finished at the gym and went to vote. 

I should explain that while our area is called "the beach cities" in fact, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo all have their own officials - mayor, council members and proposals separate from each other.  We think nothing  of us all   going to a specific polling place and then going to the red table for Redondo or the blue table for Hermosa voting. 

This morning the vote lady handed me a ballot and said, "Don't forget to vote for Proposition B" and I looked down at her and said, "You aren't supposed to proselytize" rather sternly.

Quickly she back peddled and  flustered she said, "No, no!  I didn't say that!  The measure on B (holding out the ballot) is on the back page!  That's all!  I got my pronouns wrong!"

I still think she was trying to get my vote.  Useless as I am utterly opposed to Proposition B. 

On the other hand, she was genuinely embarrassed.

It was a very brief ballot - two people for Treasurer; 3 or 4 school board wannabes and Proposition B.  We were outta there in no time.  And for once the polling place was doing a brisk business.  For here.  Our usual voter turnout  is meager to say the least.  I look forward to tomorrow's newspaper to see just how many people did get off of their languid asses and vote. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fashion Upended

The Daily Mail ran an article yesterday on "Hoodies That Help You Get High"

I like my own hoodies just to stay warm;  "hoodies" being nothing more than a sweat suit with a built-in, part of the shirt, hood.  Young men of a certain life-style persuasion are favorite customers. 

But back to business here.  Two firms are now manufacturing hoodies with the drawstring ends turned into smoke accessories.

VapRwear's drawstrings are actually thin rubber pipe with access to the drug of choice on one end and an inhaler on the other.  Hood Horkez have a glass bowl on one end and an inhaler on the other.   Originally $125; now on sale for $99.

One owner remarked, "2015 New York Fashion Week?  On the runways? If you don't have a smokable line, you're out of business."  Big talk indeed.

However the "Comments" from readers pointed out that glass bowls and rubber tubing and such are hand wash items. If you can get through a wearing without setting yourself on fire, that is.