Wednesday, September 30, 2015


The morning newspapers are often a great source of amusement to me (as long-time readers already know.)  today's grins include...

A woman who convinced her boyfriend that it was a good idea to kill her husband, was finally executed last night after spending the past 18 years in prison.  Judging by her appearance, she spent the time eating potato chips and pork rinds.

And what did she request for her final repast on Earth?  Nachos and a DIET FROSTED LEMONADE.

Mind your own business - in Vatican City.  Not content by abusing his invitation to speak to our  Congress by lecturing the members, (by the way, water off of a duck's back) you also saw fit to praise Kim the Kentucky Klerk for her anti-gay stance and asked that the diet lemonade drinker (above) instead be sentenced to life in prison.

A reminder:  Vatican City and Catholics are your jurisdiction, not the United States.  Thank you for your co-operation in this matter.

This is hardly funny to serious bakers, but Whole Foods didn't have any; neither did Bristol Farms on its Website and Trader Joe's (Website) wouldn't say.  Apparently is the sole purveyor.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Buy Now Before They're Gone!

The Chestnut Cake recipe is from the French Kitchen book and it appealed to me because it asks for minimal flour and absolutely NO baking soda or yeast or whatever the hell you bake cakes using them.  I. Do. Not. Bake. 

Reason?  I can't stand to get flour on my hands (or beach sand on my body) and I don't understand the precise amounts called for - I do NOT run the flat side of a knife over a teaspoon of an ingredient.  That is for people who care how it turns out and I am not one of them.  We are surrounded by places to buy cakes.

2 17-oz. cans chestnut cream - Whole Foods, the author says, has them.*
4 large eggs separated
1 T honey
2 T melted sweet butter
1 teas. pure vanilla extract
Zest from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup ll-purpose flour
Pinch of sea salt

Oven:  350
Butter a 9-in. pan, line with parchment paper.
Whisk together the chestnut paste, egg yolks then whisk in the honey, butter, vanilla and zest - combine well

Sift in the flour and salt

Whisk the egg whites and add 1/3 of it into the cake batter and then fold in the rest.  Bake until the top is cracked, about 40 minutes.

*  But I read in this morning's paper that Whole Foods is closing shop.  This means that potential chestnut cake bakers need to strike now! 

Shopping there will be a new experience for me.  I once took an elderly friend shopping there and a can of tuna was $7.00.  Haven't been back since.  If it turns out this chestnut paste is $10 a jar, I would substitute with an equal amount of marzipan...

See why I don't bake?  I'm a living warning against oven use.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Quel Blague! Non, Quel Con! Sale Americains!*

"They Eat Horses, Don't They? the Truth About the French" by Piu Marie Eatwell   Thomas Dunne Books   342 pages   $26.99

Arguably the French have a very poor PR firm.  "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" was one I hadn't heard but I am all too familiar with:  they're all adulterers; they smell 'cause they never shower;  ALL French woman are thin and (as if that wasn't bad enough) they are all perfectly dressed and groomed (which doesn't exactly go along with the "never shower" bit, does it?)

With no further ado --

Today's classic, the very popular French sailor t-shirts, in 1858 were made an official uniform piece in the French Navy.  The stripes (21 to celebrate each of Napoleon's victories) were easier to see on a man overboard.

The Bidet is no longer a standard piece of equipment in a French bathroom.  The Italians use them with gusto though.

All of the French smoke and Paris is always covered by a cloud of smoke.  Not so.

World smokers:
Greeks 39%
French - 26%
British - 22%
U.S. - 16%

The Vatican drinks more wine than the French per capita, per year.

*  translation:  What nonsense, no?  What bullshit - dirty Americans!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Caption Contest! Prizes!

Photo #1


1st - A stay at the Doolittle Home for the Gently Deranged.  Unfortunately graffitti creeps have crossed out the original title and written in instead "for the batshit crazy."  Do not let this dissuade you from entering.  Winner will pay all transportation costs to this fine Bangor, ME, facility located in an abandoned granite quarry.  Length of stay to be determined by Staff.  Incidentally, the facility is not now and never has been associated with any AMA credentials.

2nd - For those inadvertantly thrust back into "bad habits" by the viewing of these photos, a three day stay at the Betty Ford Clinic, Palm Springs.  Winner to bring his/her own toilet scrub brush.

3rd - A generous supply (30 days) of Mind Bleach @ from Clorox.  Please apply ONLY as directed.

To submit your caption, please address it to:  with your photo number in the subject line. 

Samples in the bin for Photo #2 - My sister Jane:  "Are you growing a tail?"

Me:  "No I am not going to the pool and that's not my billfold, lipstick, cigarettes and cell phone in the back."   


"Tendentious anyone?"  Jay

:What the hip people are wearing in Southern California.   Jay

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Sad Surprise

 Yesterday - for no good reason - an old friend from 50 years ago popped into my mind and I determined to Google her and see how she was doing.  It was already late and we were going to bed so this morning, I went to Google.

Deanna Waulters' obituary was the first thing that popped up.  She died in 2003, age 63, with no cause of death listed nor donations requested.  She died at home, leaving a daughter (I never knew she'd had children) and another woman as her "companion."

Was the companion a longtime nurse of some sort?  Which asked again the question, "What did she die of?"  Or did she go to pitch for the other team and in the Midwest, newspapers use that instead of "partner"?  She was certainly straight when we ran around together.

And run we did.  We were as bad as a female could be without being "bad girls."  I remember ... we used to go to the drive-in in winter with a trunkful of cold beer and a grocery bag of buttered popcorn.  I fell totes in love with James Brown in some kind of documentary; it may have been one of those "Live from the Apollo" concerts.  Any road, when he did "Please Don't Go" and they kept dragging him off of the stage and he kept running back ... I wanted to BE James Brown, no kidding.

Another memory ... we were sitting at the bar and the bartender carded us.  I pulled out my legal but fake driver's license (and this is how I got it - I wrote to Jeff City and complained that an error had been made - I was born in '39 not '40 and sweated bullets for three weeks until the new one came.)  

When it was her turn to put up or get out, she said, "They didn't ask me how old I was when I taught school at (school that taught black children)" and we got away with it! 

Two salesmen types bought us a drink.  When they asked if we'd like to go somewhere else for another, we said "Yes" after grinning at each other.  We knew exactly where we would take them.  Deanna insisted on driving ("Never get in a car with a stranger") and off we tootled in her '58 blue and white Ford convertible.

We took them to the only transvestite show in the Midwest (it had to be, trannies being scarce on the ground there) and when at the end of the show and the performers pulled off their wigs and lifted the bird seed bags out of their bras, we thought these guys would die of shock.  Well worth the hours spent listening to them.

RIP Deanna, truly a boon companion. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Social vs. Practical

In A French Kitchen by Susan Herrmann Loomis   Gotham Books   303 pages   $26.95

Loomis lives in Louviers, a small town in Bretagne where she has apparently co-opted every woman of cooking age as a friend.  The book is a compilation of cooking tips and recipes of "the typical Frenchwoman."  It should be mentioned that in this book, the women personally cook at least one and often two four course meals per day.

It should also be mentioned that a four or five course dinner always includes these two items - a salad course followed by the cheese course and for a five course meal, add dessert.

Loomis and I were bopping along in sync until I read her recipe for something called Tartiflette and hissed in disapproval.  It's the family-style version of raclette, made quick and easy.

The raclette I know and serve is the social version with a raclette grill that melts the cheese from the heat under the grill above which is used for pepperoni or deli ham or turkey or Canadian bacon and it is accompanied by a bowl of boiled potatoes (use herbs in the cooking water for more flavor) cornichons and a baguette chunk or three.  Everyone is issued a small black skillet for the cheese and cooks to their own rhythm.  It's a lot of fun and makes for a great dinner party - leisurely with plenty of time for lively conversation.

Loomis takes away all of the fun - she boils the potatoes, puts them in a casserole dish, covers them with cheese and puts the whole thing in the oven until the cheese melts.  This travesty is served with the accoutrements above.

After some 24 hours of cogitation, I conceded that her way is better for serving your family quickly and easily -- but dammit, my way is more fun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

An Aside

Every time I hear the Pope speak, I am reminded of the godfather in "Prizzi's Honor."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Keep Meaning to Make This...

The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries by Ben Towell and Phil Winser  Rizzoli   222 pages   $39.95

The Fat Radish is a well-known restaurant in New York.  I read all 222 pages and can only say that if you are an avid kale and/or quinoa fan, get thee to a bookstore.

This is the only recipe that appealed to me and it is by no means a stranger in all the cook books I've read.  It just sounded the easiest.

4 red onions, thinly sliced
2 T balsamic  vinegar
2 T red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Put all of the above in a suitable sauce pan and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Will keep a week in the refrigerator.

Used in grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, or with steaks.  Probably not great as a salad dressing.

Monday, September 21, 2015



RIP Jackie Collins

At the beginning of her career, her writing style was criticized because she didn't use proper punctuation - quote marks and/or italics, but I think she pretty well put paid to the critics with her blazing success.  Her dialogues drove the plot line and often added insight to the characters with such simple motifs as jealousy, revenge, etc.

Muslim President Foo-Fa-Rah

I didn't know one was running?  Granted the GOP field is huge, but surely someone would have noticed if one of them bowed to the East five times a day?  Besides, don't we already have one in the White House? 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Like the Way He Thinks

"Food - A Love Story" by Jim Gaffigan   Crown Archtype   340 pages   $26

Gaffigan, in case you didn't know just like I didn't, earns a living as a stand-up comic.  (We will explore the sad dearth of lay-down comics in another column) to support his wife and five (5) children.

He also likes to eat.  In fact, he describes himself as an "eatie" not a "foodie,"  foodies being those who fly great distances to eat at the newest rave chef's place.  I am thinking of the one in Norway? that hand-gathers moss to serve with his reindeer meat concoctions.   

It is a perfect bathroom book with short chapters that rove hither and thither - The geography of American food - Seabugland (East Coast and lobsters; oysters which he describes as a  rock with snot on it).  Eating Mexicoland and so forth.

He is not a fan of vegetables and on kale says:  bitter spinach with hair.

Sushi?  A Japanese chef didn't pay his electric bill.

We would have disagreed on barbecue which he describes as the best - or worst -food you've ever eaten.  As a fan, all barbecue was good to me until I ran into really bad barbecue (Dickey's, Redondo Beach.  Their place in San Antonio wasn't bad.)

He describes prosciutto as for people who like to floss while eating meat. 

 Food trucks motto?  Poison and Run!

For fun in a restaurant, he suggests calling your female "Food Bitch" - I gotta try it (but only in places where we know the servers.)  The soft approach, "Hey, you ever been called a "food bitch"?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

After The Fact Warning...

In my rush to indiscretion and weirdness yesterday I forgot to caution any of you to consider seriously where you would put a new tattoo -- someday it may be framed and on a living room wall.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Saving a Loved One's Hide

This is not a reference to getting beloved (but alcoholic) Uncle Harum-Scarum's butt out of jail. 

It is an article I ran into in about a new way to save a remembrance of a deceased loved one.  It is a firm calling itself Save My Ink, dedicated to removing tattoos carefully from the deceased, preserving them and then tastefully framing them for the living room.

Many of you, like me, are tattoo virgins who would probably find the idea of peeling tattoos off of the pelt of family members appalling.  But tattoo artists and their subjects live in an alternative world that reveres them and, in fact, the more of you that is covered, the bigger a star you are.

To each his own.  But from a purely financial point of view, I wondered about the cost of, say, a full sleeve (shoulder to wrist) and whether this "keepstake" was worth preserving with future sales in mind.  "My brother left it to me, Darlene - I don't care if he was your father; it's mine -- unless you're willing to dig around in your purse and pay me for it ..."

So next I Googled tattoo costs (not with any tattooed family member in mind)  and discovered the following:

The tattoo artist generally charges between $75 to $150 per hour depending on the complexity of the design, the number of colors the projected piece requires and the quality of the skin to be tattooed. 

Other factors include the artist's degree of fame ("This is a Road Hog!") the amount of time he/she will require to create his/her masterpiece and the number of years the artist has been working.

I finally concluded that:  tattoo enthusiasts are "different" but they have every right to be.  If they want to spend their money on an Other art form, line up at the cash register!  They can have my spot in line and God bless'em.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


From this morning's Daily Breeze -

Political pundits look clueless on Trump

Re:  "The GOP-front runner is expected to draw a crowd for speech on USS Iowa"

Donna Littlejohn wrote:  "Mystifying many political pundits, Trump continues to ride a high tide of popularity."

Political pundits?
If they were, they'd know what to do about Trump.

They'd listen to his resonance among voters and act accordingly.

Nina Murphy

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ever Seen One of These?

Stay tuned - computer woes.  Wednesday

Thursday - I haven't given up, but to remain somewhat timely what I am trying to show you is a postcard we got from Slovenia from my sister who was touring the Balkans - she goes to places that I can't find on a map.  And she has a great time.

The postcard is the same size as a disc and it's round - it looks like a disc but no hole in the middle.  The front is a montage of photos of the area - Slovenia in this case - and the back is for the message and address.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rain, Glorious Rain!

It began raining last night, continued on through the night and this morning it promises more.

It is not enough to really saturate and prevent forest fires (but it's a start.)   "Rain" is a sensory experience for me - the fresh scent, the various sounds a rain can make -- pitter-patter  or thud, thud, thud!  Passing cells over the skylight and the drumming weather more peaceful to sleep in.  

I recommend it.  Go back to bed.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Jazz Club Makes the News!

Granted it WAS the weekly throw-away paper, but it was a very nice article that highlights the 53 year history of the club.

Google:  Easy Reader And the band played on

I thought this article would bring people out in droves, but alas many potential visitors must have collectively said, "It's too hot!  Let's go to the beach/stay home/ visit the neighbor's pool."

Ah, well.  Second Sunday in October....  See you there!

Friday, September 11, 2015


Fourteen years ago is a blink in time. 

 Nevertheless, never forget.        9/11/01

Succor to the families that suffered losses.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


What was the very first human cloning job?  Eve from Adam's rib!

Mention is often made in the media that Jeb Bush is fluent in Spanish.  Good for him; knowledge of more than one's birth language can't be a bad thing.  But nothing is ever said about his wife's  fluency in English.  A curious thing, no?

According to the Daily Breeze front page, pinatas made in Donald Trump's likeness are "selling like hotcakes" to quote one vender.  Great anti-Trump sentiments are said to be a result of his remarks about illegal immigrants.   Buried in the story however are these two direct quotes:

"In Los Angeles, where one in 10 residents are undocumented immigrants..."

"Many in Los Angeles County, home to more than a million undocumented immigrants..." 

Certain residents of San Pedro are objecting to a planned address from the USS Iowa by Trump.  Some say it degrades the Iowa to allow him access.  Iowa staff says he rented the private space fair and square and the program is ongoing.

Meanwhile, the Donald leans back in chair, puffs on a cigar and relishes the free publicity.

Monday, September 7, 2015

This IS For the Birds

A New York woman has left $100,000   in her Last Will and Testament for the care of her 32 cockatiels.    Each bird is named in this document. 

My first reaction was to look at our cockatiel, Lady Bird, and think, "In your dreams" but my second thought was, "We've provided for any cats we may own at the time we die, so why not the bird, too?"

We'll have to alter the arrangement a bit for a bird because the cats will have fared better:  $1,000 per cat to our vet of 32 years to find them good homes or barring that, keep them in in the vet hospital as blood donors.  If someone does want them, the deal includes two years of prepaid pet insurance to sweeten the deal. 

We may have had an audition for the largesse yesterday - a bird - what looked like a sparrow flew in through the open balcony door and promptly sought refuge in the skylight. 

I was first tipped to its presence when Fred the cat went nuts - racing across the living room floor, yowling his head off.  Richie got the poor thing to sit on the bristle end of a broom and escorted it back onto the balcony where it perched on the railing for a moment to collect itself and flew away.

Fred walked back underneath the skylight and looked longingly up.  I could see his thought process - perhaps another flew in while he was chasing the first?  Not a chance, Fred.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The French Have a Word for It.

In this instance, it is a phrase.  Back in the '80s when Donald Trump was building condos, apartments, casinos and slapping his name on all of it, even the French noticed.  They studied him and then they issued this judgement:  'Une bouche comme le cul d'une poule"  which translates to  "A mouth like a chicken's ass.'

I think we can all agree with that regardless of political stance.

What I can't agree with is the proliferation of N.W.A in the media with NEVER an explanation of what the letters stand for.  Since no one else will do it, N.W.A stands for "Niggers With Attitude.""  PC or not, that's what the group named themselves straight outta Compton.  Let's call a spade a spade, no double entendre.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Kentucky Showboat

A traditional entertainment in the South was attending a show boat which was a portable theatre that traveled the local waterways.  In a resumption of that old tradition, Kentucky is presenting  a drama with a County Clerk named Kim Davis.

It is a classic storyline --  intrepid heroine is beset by the law - O what to do, what to do?  Who will save her from the wicked government that asks her to betray her Jesus/God?

It now appears that our intrepid heroine has some shadows of her own.  According to sources, I have learned the following:

She has been married four times.  Five months after her first divorce, she gave birth to twins which were fathered by her third husband, but adopted by her second husband.  (And you thought TV soaps were complicated?)

Davis now claims that the death of her (current) mother-in-law propelled her into Christianity some four years ago.

   Nepotism - Davis the recipient of her mother's largesse as County Clerk "for decades" says the LA Times.  Of her six reporting clerks, five said they had no problem issuing marriages licenses to same-sex couples.  The lone holdout?  Davis' son Nathan. 

Kim Davis - to put it in country terms - is crazier than a shithouse mouse, if you ask me.  Her attempt to become a martyr is laughable in the extreme - she's just a latter-day Kentucky showboat.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

6 Weeks Post-Op

Gleaned from yesterday's appointment with the orthopedic surgeon -

He was delighted with the ex-rays of the new hip.  It seemed to me that having what looked like 6" to 8" of the base of it jammed into the bone below it would pretty much ensure that it's not going anywhere. 

Range of motion:  He was particularly pleased with the results of "Bring your knee to your chest."  So much so that I didn't have the heart to tell him that it's probably the result of spending a great deal of time lying in the fetal position on my half of the bed with the covers over my head, murmuring "Why me?  Why me?" followed by a saintly litany of good deeds performed for others.

"You  have a full range of motion for the hip,"  he said.  I heard, "The hip is fine" and resolved then and there that if this is so (and I see no reason not to believe it) then I no longer have to futz around with a walker and/or cane and just go back to walking normally.

We'll see how it works out but it's looking good for the dismissal of the cane so far. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"I Love Paris in the ... " Winter Time?

Michelle and I have been best friends for more than 40 years.  Oddly enough we are no longer 20 and 31 as we were when we first became friends.  Let me say here that I am of the older of the two of us, but Michelle is at least 11 years older than I am in maturity.   "She was born old" as the French would say.  She is also very, very good at math and speaks four languages - French, English, German and Japanese.  I gave up competing long, long ago.

We have been trying to set a date for us to go see her in Le Chesney, a planned suburb next to Versailles - in fact, Marie Antoinette's "farm" is a 2 1/2 block walk from her front door.   She has walking problems and has had surgeries - ditto me.  In fact, she has a surgery date in November or early December.

So we decided on January, 2016 - our purchased tickets on Air France are good until March, 2016.

Many of you may be asking, "Why on earth would you go to Paris then?"  For a first-timer, I would probably agree.  But we have been to France numerous times - lately on average of every three years - and having seen France at various times of the year,   we can assure you that it is beautiful at all of the seasons.  I want to see Monet's gardens at Giverney - snow-covered dead flower stalks ... a certain melancholy balanced by the sure knowledge that beauty lies sleeping just below that surface.