Monday, August 31, 2015


The Loneliness of the ... Walker

I didn't realize it until yesterday afternoon when in rapid succession, "Raffish" arrived from San Diego and gave me a chaste peck on the cheek.  We usually greet each other like a pair of lunatic soccer players whose team just scored a goal - massive bear hugs and pounding on each other's backs.

Right after that, we arrived at John and Angie's for a bbq lunch.  John waved from across the room.  Angie and I managed a ladylike hug and exchanged air kisses.  Their 5 yr. old daughter pointed at the walker and said, "What's that?"  I said, "it's my cage - I'm a wild animal!" and growled.  She laughed and ran away.

Maybe some of this stand-offishness is my own fault?

An Extremely Easy Pasta Recipe

And I love it.  Cook up as much spaghetti as you think you'll eat - drain and put in a bowl.  Liberally douse with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, toss and eat.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Modest Proposals

I enjoy reading (admittedly GOP-slanted) not only for the articles themselves but most especially for the readers comments.  I read the Letters to the Editor in both of our daily papers -- to see what people are thinking. 

Of late Hillary Clinton has been under attack including various references to her personally such as "Shrillery" and the like. 

I propose yet another -- Hil-LIAR-ee.

Readers have told me that it is difficult to comment on this site so despite the fact that has obligingly let me write 2,282 blogs (for 69,009 page views) for free,  if you would like your comment to appear, please send it to me at   and I will print it in that space.  To avoid being treated like spam suggest you use the subject line with some kind of tip-off.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cooking an Oxymoron

"Das Cookbook" by Hans Rockenwagner   Prospect Park Books  207 pages  $29.95

This book caught my eye because we were going to eat "German" and I wanted to be able to pass along the recipe for anything that we might have eaten.  It seems I drove my ducks to a rather poor market.


Softboil the eggs - for 5 minutes; take out of hot water and plunge them into an ice water bath.

Prepare three little bowls - one each  of beaten egg, flour and bread crumbs.

Carefully peel eggs and run them through the bowls in that order.  Deep fat fry.

This strikes me as a vegetarian version of Scotch eggs and not worth all of the trouble for breakfast.

Rosti Potatoes are easy.  Instead of using fresh-grated "real" potatoes, buy a bag of loose hash browns and proceed to fry them up, adding butter to the edges, just before taking them out and serving.   

You can buy jars of red cabbage at the supermarket. 

Don't kill yourself is what I'm saying.  Don't give the Nazis the satisfaction.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Adventures - After

No insult intended to adventures available at Alpine Village.  Having a good meal and shopping for exotic food products at their grocery store are pleasant experiences as opposed to a lone gunman showing up and spraying the diners with an AK47.   Unlikely," you say.  "Quite mad," murmur others.

Be that as it may ... their lunch menu (not surprisingly) is different from the dinner menu.  I had to substitute "Stroganoff Roti" which is steak tips in Stroganoff sauce served over potato pancakes.  Sides include red cabbage so naturally that's what I ordered.  It looked good to Richie so he ordered the same thing.  "D" had his beloved brats with sauerkraut and fresh vegetables.  We ate well and the portions are so large, that I will be eating well again tonight.

As promised, we hit the grocery store next where we got a half pound of Belgium bacon ($6)
and four boxes of pralines with cherry brandy, on sale for $2 a box of 12.  Richie hit the bakery for an immense slice of Black Forest cake and I chimed in for something called a Nusserbaun, if memory serves.  It looked like a balaclava that had been dipped in chocolate..  Alas, it was yellow cake with a crumbled top dipped in chocolate.

All in all, we had a lovely time.  I recommend the Stroganoff Roti, in case you are planning a visit.  Wait till the Christmas season for the boxes of candy with a variety of liqueurs.  All cherry gets boring.  You'll pay more - I seem to remember $12/box - but they're more interesting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Adventure - Before and After

BEFORE  Richie saw an illustration of various German sausages on the back cover of Cook's magazine (which carries no advertising nor photos.)  Apparently his taste buds -- and dare I say greed? went into overdrive.  Nothing must do until we got ourselves over to Alpine Village (off Torrance, in Torrance) for some with, of course, a beer to wash the salt, fat and gristle down.  I do not like/eat sausages.

However, I do love sauerbraten, red cabbage and potato pancakes.  Do not fear that I will waste away.  Not by a long shot.   Their portions are large and I will have it again tomorrow night and not complain.

To make sure that we were in sync with all of the rituals, we invited our friend "D" to go with us because he and two other friends actually went to Oktoberfest and He Will Know.  

After lunch - sure to be not only hearty but filling, we will waddle over to the small grocery store that sells German goods.  I will go to the meat counter to see if they have speck, a tastier version of prosciutto, and to the candy aisle for  boxes of liqueur-filled chocolates which are wonderful to take to a host/hostess or as "Thank you!" gifts. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

"Psst - Wanna Buy A Rolex?"

The physical therapist suggested I look into obtaining a single-point cane as the quad cane is difficult for me.   I think the reason for that is that I look down and it seems as if I have three feet.  Like a sack race, kind of.  Difficult to explain...

So I e'd our informal personal hospital supply provider (Barbra and Jay) and asked if they had one, and if so, was prepared to trade them a hospital bed and wheelchair. *

They didn't want them. thus the cane - of which they have rather a collection-  was available for my inspection.  There being no urgency in this matter, we agreed that an inspection of their goods could wait until Thursday when we all meet for the South Bay Writer's aka Thurs. Writers at Veterans' Park, Redondo.

The plan is that after our meeting, we will go to their car, Jay will open the trunk lid and I will finger the merch.   It strikes all of us as hysterically funny to be doing this at a senior center facility.

Jay said he thought trunk sales could become a regular event and it certainly makes sense -- they've got "senior goods" and the audience/market is a plentiful and  rich one.

As a money-spinner for Jay (and Barbra) I suggested he invest in a dozen or so faux Rolexes and in the grand tradition of New York hucksters, pin them inside a raincoat.

He wrote back he is not allowed to wear a raincoat any more.  I suggested a fishing vest (it IS an expedition after all, ) but he declined rather forcefully by responding "NEVER." 

The cane supply for the trunk sale has become rather truncated though - Jay wrote that upon closer inspection, half his stock was umbrellas.  I say, "Bring'em along.  It's bound to rain sooner or later here." 

After all, most senior citizens who wanted a Rolex already have one by their ages anyhow. 

* The hospital bed and wheelchair are still in stock.  If you need either or both, please contact me.  A friend's husband died (in a hospital not in this bed) and they are taking up much-needed space at her house.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Warring Cats

"Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of my enemies" was a quote that popped into my head this morning when Richie put Fred and Minuit's food bowls down for them.  Suspicious eyeballs and slit eyes...

 We don't know what triggered it but yesterday afternoon the two of them went into nuclear war.  You (and we) never hears such yowling - at peak decibels - and running up and down the stairs interspersed with gusting hisses of hate.

They were so noisy that next door neighbor Ann teased Richie about it when they ran into each other outside. 

Despite the fact that both slept on the foot of our bed last night seems not to have dissipated the bad feelings.  Both are downstairs now and the silence is deep.  And the food bowls are empty.  Maybe they can't summon up the energy to go at it with full bellies?

Let us pray!

Friday, August 21, 2015

The 12 lb. Contenduh!

Fred the cat had his first annual visit to the vet the other day.  We were told that he has reached his full adult size and weighs 12 lbs. which is borderline fat except it seems to be largely muscle. 

The vet gave two pills and dosed him then and there; handed us two more, and said to give them to him in 10 days.

Yesterday was Day 10.  We girded ourselves for the ensuing battle.  It takes two.  Richie caught him and I dispensed pills.  Rather I tried to pill him.  Immediate departure with a disgusted look at me. 

I held him, and noticed that though he was wriggling like mad, his claws were carefully  sheathed. 

He knows we're the bosses and, more importantly,  dispensers of food. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Variety of Transporation Modes

I'm pleased to report that I have graduated to cane lessons.  It is, of course, a beginner's cane - the aluminum kind with four little "feet" on the business end.

It involves thinking on my part as I am very used to my walker which uses both arms.  Today I pretend that the walker is a cane (stay with me here) and put weight solidly on the left side of the walker when leading with the bad leg.   

My practice run is the upstairs hall from living room to bathroom.  I do well when my right (dominant) hand rests an inch about the wrought-iron railing, but heading back in the other direction requires great care.

Obviously I require practice and I think I've found my arena - a nearby  "parkette" that has  smoothly-paved patio floor.  Advantage?  No bannisters at all!

Richie can push the walker in case of a system failure.  And the transporter wheelchair is always in the car trunk.  Most systems are go - the weak link is ME.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Books, continued

"The Theft of Memory;  Losing My Father One Day at a Time by Jonathon Kozol  Penguin   302 pages   $26

Jonathon's father Harry was a remarkably intuitive clinician who specialized in researching brain reactions.

At age 88, he was formally diagnosed as having Alzheimer's.  He died age 102; s wife at age 103.  She predeceased him and it was believed by staff  and his son that on one level he knew, but did not acknowledge it.

The book is a mix of "saving my father" and a proud list of his achievements.  Being a medical junky I naturally flipped through that part and went straight to the nuts and bolts which consisted of a more or less permanent staff of three and their reactions to his health crisis.  . 

At the end of the book, the father is in the hospital, gravely ill, when his son decides it is time to let him go.  Post-funeral, he laments that he kept him alive so long but admits that he just couldn't lose his Dad. 

This struck me as remarkably selfish considering old Dads was unable to communicate, subject to recurring bladder infections and the other vicissitudes of extreme old age.   

Sunday, August 16, 2015


"Americans on a Klong" by Madonna Rosenfield   638 pages   $25

Set in the late '60s this is a memoir and guide book and vivid recall of scenes in Bangkok mainly although taking advantage of the proximity to Nepal and India she and her girlfriends toured them, too.  Her husband, a pilot for Air America (CIA,) encouraged her.  To say the bloom was off of the rose is rather more than true.  

Her son from a previous marriage and their son and the couple lived together in a spacious home with three servants - the housekeeper, her assistant and a gardener/handyman in a house overlooking the canal (klong) that ran alongside the house. 

They socialized with other Air America personnel. 

She and her husband had a passion for animals and housed three gibbons of varying ages, a duck, a  cat and two chickens. 

Madonna has a gift for taking the reader along with her with vivid descriptions of the natives, the colorful markets, modes of transportation (rickety airplanes and  over-stuffed trains) and the scenery.

It's a very interesting book made no less so by the fact that I and fellow members of the South Bay Writers at the time heard this book as she wrote it.  I think the ending may surprise you.

"Driving Hungry" by Layne Mosler  Pantheon Books   306 pages $24.95

I rarely cease to be surprised at the number of bloggers who turn their works into a book.  This is as bizarre as I've ever heard.

Mosler spends three years in Buenos Aires to learn to dance the tango.  One day she asks her cab driver his favorite restaurant and the blog is off, fork in hand.

She returns to Manhattan and becomes a cabbie herself.  Quickly stressed, she goes to visit Berlin because she hears that the cabbies there are as knowledgeable about Nietzsche as the streets.   This isn't anything I'd go looking for, but she soon meets a cab driver who adores his writings.  They fall in love.

It's an improbable story and a good source for restaurants in all three countries.

Tomorrow we will tackle the tale of a man who fights to keep his 102 year old father alive. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

An Interesting Juxtaposition

Front page LA Times:

A palatial fixer-upper in London - Buckingham Palace and Westminster are in dire straits - asbestos removal is needed along with better plumbing and pest control. 

Living beside lockups - Canon City, CO, where schools don't have fire drills.  Instead, they have escaped prisoner drills.  "Prison Valley" hosts 11 state and federal lockups which house more than 7,500 inmates.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

O Boo Hoo, So Sorry for You

The Gist:

Shiloh Quine, 56, was convicted in 1980 of 1st degree murder, kidnapping and robbery and in 1981 he entered the California penal system, to serve out his life sentence.  In 2008, he was diagnosed as having gender confusion and he successfully sued for the State of California to pay for his sex change surgery.  Citing their fact that it was "medically necessary" those that needed to approve it did.  The State will make a contract with the agency that performs the surgery.*

Editorial part:

That the State would pay for this is of no particular surprise to me as this is California, one of the if not the, leading liberal/politically correct states in the Union.  That this surgery is labeled a "medical necessity" to prevent him/her from committing suicide isn't either.

The line I asterisked in the first paragraph has got me wondering - make a contract with the agency that performs the surgery, specifically - is there a full-time, fully set-up surgical compound that does nothing but surgically alter California state prisoners?  That's the question!

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Pole Dancing Championships - Right Here in Redondo Beach!

(Regular readers already know I am not nearly inventive enough to make up this stuff.) 

Next weekend the Redondo Beach Performing Arts will host the above.  There are four categories of competition - women's professional, men's professional, artistic professional and lyra which is "movement inside an aerial hoop."

I am familiar with female pole dancers in as much as Richie and I have occasionally ventured into the now-gone Golden Goose, which featured them.  We amused ourselves by watching and rating them while slurping beer in large paper cups.  I once interviewed a pair of rocket scientists (TRW or equivalent) there for the sole reason that distracted by the ladies, they answered unhesitatingly all of the questions I was doing for an article.

What I have never seen is a male pole dancer.  In fact, it never occurred to me that they even existed.  Taking a major leap of faith here, I now assume that they would be for the delectation of other males.  We have only ever been in the Dolphin (straight friendly) locally or the Crest, Long Beach, where it is prudent to take a male friend in with you.  Neither has a pole. 

I am now curious, but loathe to pay $25 for the dubious pleasure of attending the guys' championships when I can undoubtedly Google "male pole dancing, South Bay" and get a couple or three beers for my $25.   for the details

Saturday, August 8, 2015

"Oh - I wear a D," She Said

Ladies!  Cease and desist on the hissing - retract those well-manicured claws back into your paws.  Gentlemen (I'm talking to you, Cousin Marvin) quite drooling.

The "D" referenced about is apparently my size in a compression stocking.  Not nearly so impressive, is it.  And by no means glamorous.   

The podiatrist issued it yesterday and since it took the doctor and the nurse to put it on (and Himself and me to take it off last night) the rodeo starts this morning when I try to put it back on.  But, it'll be more exercise!  Push!  Pull!  Tug!  Cuss!

Front page - Surfing wars up in Palos Verdes continue.  Historically by the way non-PV surfers are not welcomed by the locals.  Today's reported incident involves a visiting surfer who called the law afraid that his car would be vandalized by the locals.  When the officer came, he was told by the local that the visitor had behaved aggressively.  This is what makes it of interest to me:  the visitor who called the police is 56;  the accused is 66.

I guess old surfers don't fade away; they just go to turf wars.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Shoot Your TV

The next Presidential Election is 15 months away - meaning we have to celebrate Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years on up past Valentine's day 2016.

I mention this because excitement (whether manufactured or real) is going to be with us for a long, long time.  Thus it  doesn't make sense to get heavily involved in any one candidate now.  Just eyeballing the candidates tells me that Christie's extreme weight could give him a massive coronary any minute, Trump's hair could successfully battle the hair spray and whisk him off to a Macao casino; any of the right wing conservatives could suffer a sea change and espouse free love,  cocktail hours from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m.   You do see what I mean ...

Meanwhile the misquotes, deliberate omissions and pure hogwash will continue to stream across our TV screens.  For 15 seemingly endless months.  By the time the actual election takes place voters will be so bored that many of them will just stay wearily at home, all enthusiasm killed months ago.

An early example:  I saw Donald Trump say on a bit from the debate:   (this is words to that effect, not actual quotes)  Build a wall between Mexico and America, a great high wall -- with a great big beautiful door to admit legal immigrants.     The BBC saw fit to use only "Build a wall between Mexico and America."

Shoot your TV and get it over with.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Absurdly Early

Tonight's political debates are largely for entertainment purposes only.  I defy anyone to predict the outcome of tonight's debates on an election so far in the future.  As the Bard remarked (I think it was the Bard) "There's many a slip twixt cup and lip."

Consider - the candidate may change their mind about running.  Or the candidate's previous actions may force him/her to change their mind.  Or when leaving  after tonight's broadcast, a runaway bus runs over all of them.

Sit back, relax and have a few laughs.  Or watch something else which is what we plan to do.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kidding Around

Marketing Idea for Las Vegas:  We and four of our friends are planning to meet there for Labor  Day.  Since all six of us are 70+ this is something of a feat as Vegas always involves running around a lot.

After Barbara and I finished commiserating about our ailments (currently hip replacement and a bad back) it occurred to me that what we need is to find an Old Folks Home in Las Vegas with a casino.

Physical Therapy

At yesterday's visit from my physical rehab lady, she looked around our living room and remarked that it's more of an obstacle course than a walk in the park in the way of exercise.  So she recommended that we drive to any one of our pretty  little parks and get out and walk.  This sounded like a very good idea to both of us.

This morning though I had a disquieting vision... well ensconced in the recliner, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, I had a sudden vision of Richie, looming over me, holding out a leash and asking, "Walkies?"

Monday, August 3, 2015

Final Proof?

That I am genuinely bat shit crazy?  Judge for yourself.

It would not surprise me to wake up some fine morning to read a headline that says Hillary Clinton Dead at (age)

There's just too much "wrong" with her -- the falls, the hospitalizations, the rumors of alcohol dependence, her weird way of politicking - invite the press and take away their means of communication....  it's all too strange to me, but I am not a political major; I don't live and breathe that stuff. 

And it is not ill-will on my part, I assure you.  Long may she flourish, dandling grandkids on her knee.  Just have someone with her so she doesn't drop the poor tyke.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Us and the Po-lice

Late last night (12:45 a.m. - I checked with Richie) we were awakened by massive thuds on the steel security screen at the front door.   Richie stumbled and fumbled himself out of bed and I blearily came  up on my elbows.

It was a policeman asking if Richie knew a woman out front, sitting on the curb..  He didn't.  A confusing story emerged about a station wagon parked two houses north of us, a 14 year old boy on a cell phone and I don't know what all.

Richie left them all to it - neighbors across the street waved from their balcony - and came back to bed.

We may never know what it was all about (and frankly, I don't care) but what struck me is the seeming fondness of the police for a steel security door screen.  A disturbance can be three houses away and we get the BLAM BLAM BLAM.  I wonder, do they think, "Ah, security door!  They're hiding something!  Let's see what it is!" WHAM!