Thursday, December 31, 2015

But Is It Gluten-Free?

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


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

O Gawd! Not AGAIN!

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

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

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

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

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

Whee!  Are we havin' fun yet? 

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

On second thought, don't answer that. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Firsthand Tornado Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tinsel Ground Into the Rug

Sometimes Ya Gotta Be Tough to Live at the Beach

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's An Insanely Small World After All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 25, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Quiet Little Tingle of Anticipation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Jack Daniels Front Done Moved In On TGIFridays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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

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

The opinionated old  woman who lives at this address wrote:

Religion and politics don't mix

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

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

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

Sincerely,  Nina Murphy

Monday, December 21, 2015

Scurry, Scurry!

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

Saturday, December 19, 2015

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

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

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


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


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


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

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Gentle Bit of Advice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Various Recent Events

Global Warming, My Sweet Patootie

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

Fired like a Rock'n Roll Disc Jockey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hopes Dashed! Dashed, I Tell You!

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

All You Can Do Is Laugh

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 12, 2015

And One Thing Leads to Another...

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

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

Tour with me ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Not Even Minor Property Damage - Road Trip Report

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Road Trip!

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

(source Al Arabiyah)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Letter to the Editor

Sunday, December 6, 2015  - Daily Breeze

MB should tap sunscreen industry for dispensers

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

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

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

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


Nina Murphy, Redondo Beach

Saturday, December 5, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

"I Grew Up With Guns"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

If? Then...

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Season of the Archer

Sagittarius  11-23 to 12-21

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

Examples are Frank Sinatra and William Buckley, Jr. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Today's News - Laugh a Little!

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

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

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

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

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