Monday, February 29, 2016

The Oscars - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I settled in to watch with much less than my usual enthusiasm.  La! I miss the days when actors would come reeling out of the wings, slurring their words and looking lost ... the ones that ran out on the stage, manic in their glee, brushing ineffectively at the dusting of white powder around their noses... ah, bygone glory ...

But we must all move with the times.  I thought MC Chris Rock was largely funny and I can tell you, I much appreciate humor as opposed to bitter sulks re this race matter.  Richie pointed out to the Daily Breeze this morning that the only color Hollywood recognizes is green.

The items that made me wrinkle my brow ...

Given what was shown from The Revenent, I thought the bear should at least get a mention.  Leonard could have ridden up to the stage on his back or something...

Oscar winner (female) Brie Larson.  What the hell were her parents thinking?   "Brie" is a French cheese.  Should we be calling her French Cheese Larson?  It's way too late now, but "Bree" is more the accepted way to spell it.  I mention this in case anyone out there is pregnant and considering names.  It should work equally well for male babies. 

Clearly he named himself, but the singer (?) entitled "The Weekend" amused me for quite some time speculating on exactly which kind of animal had crawled up and died on his head.  Possums are largely hairless... it wasn't the right body configuration for a squirrel ... raccoon?  Coati mundi?  I'll have to have my people call his and ask. 

What the women were wearing was also always a matter of great hilarity to me and my posse back in the day when we'd all watch together.  This year I was stunned by a woman wearing a long, strapless, black dress made out of ?  Pleather?  Nope, too shiny.  Rubber?  No 'cause I don't think you could find rubber that shiny.  I finally decided it must be black patent leather.  Then my thoughts turned to why?  Golden Shower damage control?  Rubber fetishist?  Since I can't remember her name (and wasn't trying to either) I may never know.  If you are a fashionista and do know what that stuff was, please write. 

I am still confused as to why Joe Biden made an appearance asking us to pledge something or other.  "Pledge" goes back to the days of Prohibition when the public was asked to "take the pledge" and renounce alcohol.  Any college woman would tell you that "pledge" means to join a sorority in the event you are asked.  So Biden was asking us all to pledge Kappa Alpha and quit drinking? 

"Uncle Joe" as he is sometimes called has earned something of a reputation for being either uncensored or off the wall in many of his remarks.  Still, I think asking us to pledge a sorority and quit drinking on international television is a  step too far.

I did (mostly) enjoy this year's presentation.  The "thank you O grateful Academy members, my parents, my kids" speeches went on far too long in most cases, but they gave me a chance to get up, refill my champagne flute and sit back down.  Here's to you Joe!  Good luck on The Pledge!

Sunday, February 28, 2016


The most interesting cat in the world - "I don't always drink tap, but when I do, I prefer Redondo ..."

Photos from Hop Saint's

Hop Saint bar from the dining room
Smoked Ribs with Fennel Caramel Sauce

Richie's Roast Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya with Grits

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A New Disorder - AND the Treatment For It!

The disorder first.

Do you wish you lived where there is (multiple choice) less snow?  More rain?  More sunshine?  Warmer temperatures?  Do you feel frustrated when you look out the window at another day that is clearly going to be just like yesterday?  Do you find yourself staring gloomily at back-to-back Rick Steves Travelogues?  Sighing nostalgically for Huell Howser?  Checking out travel books on exotic destinations, a world away? 

Do you suffer from the distinct desire to just turn over and scooch down a little deeper in the bed covers?  Is the alarm clock now your sworn enemy?   Are you indifferent to the morning papers or Drudge Report headlines? 

This disorder has not been formally named because the scientists that treat it can't come to any agreement on what it should be called!  "Reluctant Life" was turned down as was "Weather-related Disappointment Days."  The latter was felt to be a little too closely related to Seasonal Afflictive Disorder (SAD) and "Cousin of SAD" didn't exactly ring out and reminded some of the infamous Son of Sam killer..  The other scientists involved were unable to contribute anything useful as they were all scooched down in their beds, eyes tightly shut.

What ever you choose to call it - modest suggestion here "The Don't Want to Do Its" - there is therapeutic relief and it is called "Geographical Therapy."  Which is in itself a cousin of "Retail Therapy" which involves shopping 'til you drop.  And if you don't drop, the end of the month bills will put you on the floor, eyeballs bleeding.

What is Geographical Therapy you ask?  Getting out of town for as long as you can manage it.  Your destination does not have to  be distant (requiring expensive plane tickets and nice hotels) it can be as close as a mere 125 miles (LA area to Palm Springs.)   Touring Orange County which shouldn't take much of a day, if you think about it.  Once you've seen Newport Beach and Balboa Island, you've pretty much seen anything interesting.  Especially recommended for those who live inland  - such as Pasadena or Antelope Valley dwellers. 

I would like to be bombing down to Palm Springs right about now, but the fog outside the balcony door has swallowed up the back yard.  Exiting the driveway could be even more hazardous to our health than The Don't Want to Do Its.  Grin and bear it ... summer will come.  Someday.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Unexpected Benefits
Teriyaki-glazed mushrooms aren't just for nibbling with drinks ...

I went to make a Daube Provencale the other night and discovered I'd forgotten to get mushrooms for it.  Then I remembered we had a container of teriyaki-marinated mushrooms (olive bar, Ralph's Supermarket.)  I studied them carefully, then rinsed off a handful, chopped them and threw them in.  Viola - I had the texture and a modified taste.

Since I had them, I made Spaghetti Bolognese (or as the Brits genially call this dish "spag bog") the next night and I didn't rinse them off.  Teriyaki blends beautifully with mushrooms; it seems to emphasize their earthy (but good) taste. 

A Husband's Surprise
I'd heard about Italian gigante beans, but never eaten one.  When I ran across them at the olive bar, I bought some.  Richie tasted one, chewed and said, "They're like lima beans, aren't they?" and I thought "Well, so much for gigante beans; he hates limas."

But wait!  Because they are seasoned with olive oil and Italian seasonings, he likes them!  It must be the New Yorker in him - the love of Italian food.

Hop, Hop - Here Comes Easter
Easter is in March this year - 3/ 27 to be specific - and my thoughts instantly turned gladly toward HAM.  I love ham and the only time we have a sizeable amount of it IS Easter.  And that only because we usually have company.

Having assured myself that the main ingredient was coming soon, my thoughts turned to the traditional dishes, such as candied yams.  Bon Appetit plopped into our mailbox about then and this intrigued me.

Bake the number of yams you need, skin on. 
Let them cool
Smash them with a hand (or rolling  pin or empty wine bottle) and put them skin down on a baking sheet.

1 Fresno chili (or jalapeno) thin sliced
1/4 cup honey
4 T sweet butter in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer - splash it over the yams and bake until the tops are browned and crisp around the edges.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Well-Meant Warning to "Evangalists"

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true; by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful."

Seneca the Younger
4 BC - AD 65

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Snarky Sunday

Note:  am well aware that we are adjured to be particularly nice on Sunday, but I feel we should at least make an attempt at being nice every day of the week.  And Snarky Saturday just doesn't cut it somehow. 

The 776 Nastiest Things Ever Said quoted by Ross and Kathryn Petras   193 pages   $7.95

Bob Feller on Michael Jordan's bid to play baseball - "He couldn't hit a curve ball with an ironing board."

Noel Coward on Mary Renault:  "I'm sure the poor woman meant well, but I wish she's stick to recreating the glory that was Greece and not muck about with dear old modern homos."

A critic writes of Daryl Hannah "...looks like a linebacker in a Lorelei wig."

"I think the last book Nancy Reagan read was Black Beauty."  Democratic critic

"Bill Clinton's foreign policy experience stems mainly from having breakfast at the Int'l House of Pancakes."  Republican critic

France:  D.H. Laurence - "I would have loved it - without the French."

Germans:  "One thing I will say for the Germans, they are always perfectly willing to give someone else's land to somebody else." Will Rogers

Australia:  "In America only the successful writer is important, in France, all writers are important, in England, no writer is important and in Australia, you have to explain what a writer is."  Geoffrey Cottrell, writer (wouldn't you know it?)

I roared at this, but now I can't find it (hidden among 775 other quotes) but it goes like this:

Young starlet to older, well-established star:
Starlet - I loved your book!  Who wrote it for you?
Star - I did.  Who read it to you, dear?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

How Come?

Every painting (they didn't have cameras then) shows Adam and Eve with a belly button each?

"Oh, no ... another chicken/egg dilemma" wrote Sheila, in Netanya, Israel. 


When we sneeze we automatically say, "Excuse me!" and the audience (worldwide) then responds "Bless you!" or "Salute!" or "Gesundheit!"?

Sneezing is an involuntary response - so are belching and farting, but they are rarely remarked upon. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Letters To The Editor

Daily Breeze Opinion, 2/19/16

As it is now, not much point to the death penalty

Re:  "Is it time to put an end to the death penalty in California"  (Question of the Week, Feb. 9)

The California death penalty is pointless as no one has been executed since 2006.  The last one to be put to death was 76 years old and had been there since 1982.

At the moment, there are 746 people on death row.  The oldest is 83.

Our judicial system has allowed for these killers to be on death row for as much as 30 years!  More have died of illness than the gas chamber.

What's the point of the death penalty?

Taxpayers are supporting them either way.  And with 746 of them enjoying their days, it clearly isn't much of a deterrent.

Nina Murphy

Let me add to you that I should have thought of this before I sent it -- If the victim's families pay taxes, then they are paying to keep the murderous criminals who killed their loved one alive with a roof over their heads, food in their bellies and free medical care..   That's the sickest thought possible. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Taking the Cat's Blood Pressure

Animals are now getting much of the specialized care humans do.  I've known for a long time that cats and dogs can be given chemotherapy for cancer, but it should also be noted that it's roaringly expensive and rarely effective as anything more than a fatal attempt to cure what can't be cured.  Yet another reason for the greatest gift owners can give their pets - euthanasia.

Our cat Minuit (French for midnight) had a routine annual exam the day before yesterday and yesterday her vet, Dr. McDonald, called to report on her blood tests.  Her kidney values have been a little high and special kibbles, while helpful, are not the be all and end all.  He wanted us to bring her in for the day to have her blood pressure measured every three hours.

It turns out that an elevated BP can be a sign of kidney disease.  He wants to rule out disease before heading into hydration treatment down the road.  IF she has high blood pressure - 150/95 is normal - treatment can start using either a calcium or beta blocker med.  Just like many of us take a BP pill every morning.

But I was bemused by the idea of taking a cat's BP so I asked where the cuff goes?  "On a paw or the tail," he said, matter-of-factly.

"The tail?!" I shrieked with laughter and will pause for a moment to let you laugh at your own visual of this.  Bear in mind that all cats hate the vet and are not going to be co-operative (to say the least.) 

After Googling images, I saw that the cuff is applied very near the base of the tail.  Because of the trauma for the cat - caged, vet, something around the tail - the first reading is discarded.    The whole process reminds me (unpleasantly, you may be sure) of hospitalization for 24 hours observation.  Minuit, believe me, I feel for you.  We'll call, okay?

The ZsaZsa Report
Admittedly I have been slack about this, but she hasn't been doing anything but lying in a hospital anyhow.  On Monday she was discharged to apparently go quietly home and pop her clogs.  The lung surgery that proposed to kill the infection she got from her feeding tube (please explain how surgery can cure a lung infection?) was cancelled.

The headline said that her family was gathering to say goodbye and I can't see Paris Hilton pulling on a black dress and grieving at the bedside unless she thought it would get her some ink and two paragraphs later I read that this surgery has been postponed for a week.  ZsaZsa, you've got seven days - run for it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Into the World of Women - With Trepidation

I am not a "girly girl."  To go shopping just to finger the merch is not my thing at all.  If I need (or want) an item of clothing, I find out where it's hiding, go to the store, try on my size and buy it, then and there.  No sidling through bedding or cosmetics with a little side jaunt into home furnishings or sporting goods.

Thus, it will come to no surprise to find that I have never had a professional manicure or pedicure.   Until yesterday.

I really needed a pedicure due to the fact that post-hip problems, I couldn't get to my feet and pre-and post elbow surgery I didn't have the grip necessary to force the clipper blades shut.   A pedicure seemed more practical than buying several pairs of open-toed shoes.  And most likely cheaper.

A friend recommended a place across the ally from his tonsorial parlor so I made an appointment.  The first thing I noticed was that the place was huge and apparently all they did was nails, upper and lower.  I'm accustomed to seeing one lorn, little table in a quiet corner of a hair salon where one's nails are treated.  Manicurist and client sit in little roll-away chairs.  A powerful lamp spotlights the fingers. 

Here I was faced with a row of six pedicure stations and I want you to see them, too.  Look to your left - see the big, grey leather chair that looks like it was removed from 1st class on a plane?  Good.  Now look slightly to your right and drop your eyes.  You should be seeing what looks like a bidet, lined with a blue plastic sack (for the soaking water sanitation.)  Keep looking right - a shiny plastic foot rest with two spaces for your calves.  Facing all of this is a small, roll-around stool with a short back for the pedicurist.  Now look down the row to the back wall.  All of the stations are different colors (and the little stools match.)

I had to wait for a moment so I busied myself by oh-so-casually noting what the woman next to me was having done.  It was, quite frankly, scary.  I didn't see the clip and file part; it must have been done before I got there.  What I did see was little wads of cotton between each toe; said toes being given a coat of polish.  After that, the toes, wads and all were stuck in an electrified box which gave off a blue light.  Apparently this helps dry the polish sooner than plain old air?

Okay, I wasn't getting a color job so I didn't care.  I just wanted my nails cut; least fuss the best.  But then!  The manicurist squirts a healthy splash of some kind of skin cream and begins massaging the woman's feet up the legs to the knee. 

No!  Don't do that to me!  I hate having strangers touch me!  My "Keep your distance" circle is about three feet.  Don't get any closer.  Packed elevators make me scowl. 

The lady was very nice, clipped and filed my nails and was sweet about it when I declined all of the rest.  I was charged $10, tipped $5 (it was worth it to escape all of the horrible rest) and fled as fast as my gimpy little legs could carry me away.   

For the women who like this sort of thing - God bless you.  I'm not one of you.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Don't Order a Martini at a Brewery

Of course I didn't!  Just whoofin' ya. 

Hop Saint, 5160 W. 190th Street, Torrance  310-241-4677   This site has held a lot of restaurants, most recently Cimarron CafĂ© and Billy's Deli.  The interior has morphed from a typical deli (plastic padded booths, waitresses with a handkerchief floating from a breast pocket and a free dish of pickles when you sit down) to a stark, modern, with it!  Hip, baby! interior. 

This translates to:  the faux ceiling was ripped out to expose the pipes and to accommodate the height of the beer brewing towers.  The booths (sadly) went from well-upholstered to plain wood.  Bring a cushion if you intend to be there awhile, but not long enough to get knee-walking drunk when you don't feel any pain anyhow.  The noise level is incendiary. 

But the drink and vittles are awfully good.  Our appetizer with the beers was to split an order of grilled cornbread with persimmon butter and chives ($7) which was very good and lavishly persimmon buttered - with a nice crust and an unusually creamy (for cornbread) interior.  Cornbread = crumbly to me and this wasn't.  More of a polenta texture. 

Richie ordered the roasted chicken-grilled shrimp  with grits ($15) which came in a huge, vaguely Japanese-style porcelain bowl.  I would bet that roasting the chicken and grilling the shrimp and then putting them in the soup varied the flavor in a positive way.

I can't resist pork ribs and the rack with fennel caramel sauce was great, but different and not just the taste.  They were Paul Prud'homme blackened (probably due to the sugar in the caramel.)  We're talking jet black here.  Crisp, chewy with undoubtedly all of the fat gone.    A medium serving of house slaw accompanied the ribs and it had a nice little tang to it. ($13)

Now to the point of Hop Saint.  Richie ordered a Vienna Lager, Batch #1 ($6)and, since I like lagers and India Pale Ales, I ordered the Cacophony Ale  ($7) - equally as a lager and because $1 of the pint price is donated to  ALS research.  Here's to a worthy charity!  However:  if one donated just a little bit too much to charity and gets pulled over, am not sure the officer would laud your charitable attempt.

All tastes are subject to the taster's tongue so all I can tell you about my IPA was that it was the most beer- tasting brew I can remember tasting.  But not in an offensive way.  Just matter-of-fact.  You ordered a beer; I am one.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Various on Valentine's Day


Today the jazz club carries on as usual, just as they will for Mother's Day in May.

RIP Antonin Scalia

When I first read that he'd been found dead "at the Cibola Creek Ranch," I immediately Googled it to see if it was the kind of "ranch" located outside of Las Vegas.  I didn't think they had that kind of thing in Texas, but ... better safe than embarrassed, right?

Today the media is portraying him as the only Justice that did anything;  that most if not all of his decisions were The Right Ones, leaving the rest of the Supremes more or less as back-up singers.  Little did I know ...

I wish these "Presidential candidate debates" would come to a screeching halt.  They prove nothing except the fact that grown men can carry on like little kids in a sand box.  Pointless.

Yeah, and if wishes were kings, beggars would ride. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fried Pickles

What did you think when you saw Fried Pickles listed on a menu (most likely in a bar)?  Did you say, "Oh, wow!  What a great idea!"  or "Hmmm... might be good..."  I laughed.  Why would anyone want to bread a hamburger dill pickle and fry it up?  Especially when you could be breading rings of onion and frying them!

Last Thursday a group of like-minded souls rendezvous-ed after Thurs. Writers at The Pitcher House Upper Deck, 409 PCH in the Redondo Shores Shopping Center (across the street from the back entrance to the RB Main Library.) 

A bar in a shopping mall is a great idea, especially in the beach cities, because there is unlimited free parking.  And there are elevators up to the bar which is on the second floor.  One conveniently opens on the Pitcher House deck.

Half of the group didn't drink, but the other half did and I believe you can easily grasp which group Richie and I were in.  One of Richie's Rules for Safe & Sane Behavior is that if you're going to drink, you need something in your stomach. When I saw Fried Pickles, I was in.

The non-drinkers ate anyhow - the chicken tortilla soup got raves.  Half of the Fried Foods Platter which was generously passed around the table went home with the woman who'd ordered it - it was that bountiful. 

Contrary to my vision of flimsy hamburger dill slices, the Pitcher House's are thick slices, cut on the diagonal, and well breaded with a seasoned, crust.  Little paper cups of  Ranch dressing and a mystery sauce - faintly pink and perky - came with them.  It was a generous portion (probably a whole, fat cucumber's worth) for $6.50.

If you're not puckered up for pickles, the kitchen also offers up fried zucchini and, in fact, a host of bar foods as well as Mexican foods and sandwiches.  French fries are $2.50 and Tater Tots (very rarely seen which is a pity) are $3.

The bar has a huge patio with plenty of seating as well as a lovely dark interior with more seating, signs, banners and TVs. Automatic bathrooms; they flush and spout the water to wash your hands.    I think I've found my new go-to bar. 

For the particular, foods arrive on china platters with real metal silverware and stacks of  paper napkins. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

True Life

Yesterday we popped into Fran's Hallmark, Hermosa Beach*, to buy the late February-early March birthday cards.  I sent Richie off to the Birthday aisle and began looking through the Valentine's aisle along with another woman.

I spotted cards for your cat to give you and laughing, held it up to the other woman and said, "Can you believe this?" and she laughed and said, "I'm looking for one for dogs!"

ZsaZsa Watch - today's news is that she may not survive planned lung surgery.  Reportedly she got a lung infection from her feeding tube.  As she just celebrated her 99th birthday and has reportedly been in a vegetative state for some time, why would  surgeon even contemplate surgery?  Not to wish the poor thing anything bad, but ...

And since a surgeon's ego is paramount, I can't see one setting off to captain the Ship of Fools. 

Ah, show're clearly never too old...

* Yes, this is a minor plug for Fran's Hallmark where we've been buying cards for yonk's years.  Everyone there is friendly and anxious to help.  She (Fran) doesn't even know I write this column so she will never see the plug.  I do NOTHING for payback. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Something to Think About

Author Unknown

It is better to be color indifferent than to be color blind.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


The half cast* I wore for three weeks, 24/7, is gone!  It came off for good today.

What this means to me is - among other things - that I can resume eating with my dominant right hand - "Sorry, cats, no more floor treats" - I can change clothes with a great deal more ease... it's all good, despite the arm being a bit sore today but I expect it will be normal tomorrow morning.

*  half cast is not to be confused with "half caste" which is a more-or-less insulting description of anyone of mixed race.  Most specifically, a European father and an Indian mother.  I didn't want anyone running around thinking that I spent the last three weeks with a smallish Euro-Indian twined around my  forearm. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Superbowl Halftime

"Who were those people?"  Clearly I've passed my sell date on current musicians. 

Isn't Lady Gaga English or something?

Beyoncé has fat legs.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Superbowl Sunday Supermarket

Take a cart and roam the aisles with me ...

Vegetables:  Any avocados left?  Because 139 million pounds of guacamole will be eaten today.

Meats:  Oh, the poor chickens - 1.3 billion (billion) wings will be stilled forever.

Don't feel like cooking?  Even though 43.3 million of us will be  hosting a get-together?  Call Dominos - they expect to sell 12 million slices or five times more than a normal Sunday.  In fact, $48 million will be spent on take out and delivered food today.  Unknown -  how many pizza slices will be free due to delivery in over 30 minutes.

Sad Statistics/Cost of Living Aisle - this is near the checkout counters in case you're still back in Chips and Snacks.

1967 tickets - $10-$12    Today:  $500 to $3,000 and that's the price on the ticket itself.

Average cost for a 30-second commercial was $40,000 in 1967 and today it's an eye-watering $4.8 million.  For 30 seconds!

Oddly though, attendance figures are reasonably static - 61,946 people sitting there in 1967 vs. 68,500 expected today.

I mused as we drove home from the supermarket (back end of the cargo hold suspiciously closer to the ground than on the way over there.)

"You know, Richie - this game - I've never even heard of the Tennessee Rat-catchers or whoever they are."

He said, "What are you talking about?"

Me: (impatiently) You know!  The Superbowl with the Green Bay Packers and that team I never heard of!"

He shot me a quick, unbelieving look; the light changed and we drove on.  "Oh, you mean the DENVER BRONCOS and the CAROLINA PANTHERS?"

I hunched in my seat, in a surly mood.  And thought, "At least I've got a couple of good books to read."  And then my thoughts turned to the heavily loaded back end and I pondered what to eat first.   The fresh-made guacamole from the guy who only sells it weekends outside of Sam's International Market?  How about a nice chunk of sourdough baguette with a streak of brie?  For dessert I can have a Carrot Cake Inside Out Cookie (300 calories) and of course the Toffee Chips should be close by... but when should we eat the Boar's Head hotdogs and buns?  Lunch or dinner... hmmm... depends on how much we eat during the game - which should be a lot!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spanish Lessons

Today we went to our first class in Spanish, held at the RB Main Library from 2 to 3:30 taught by our good friend Olga. who recently earned and got US citizenship, liberation from Caracas.

It is a small class - 12 plus us = 14 so there is plenty of personalized teaching.  We each took turns reading one of the three cards given to us at the start of class.  You read the card to the class and then, in Spanish, answer it.   

My first card asked:  Who is a good political leader?  Who is a bad political leader?  Why?

I said "This card is a little hot (grin) and then read it.  For comment, I said, that it didn't matter today but it would on the Day of the Dead. (11/2/16.)  Which was how I dodged a bullet.
In Spanish.

The second card I read asked what I liked to cook so I rattled off quesadillas, machacas and the class and Olga are all "No, no - what utensils do you use in the kitchen?"

I thought for a flash - I have no idea whatsoever how to say fork, spoon, spatula - so I said, "Mi lengua!" and stuck out my tongue. 

The Serkin I Never Knew

To my rage I find that the rest of the Serkin story got eaten by the computer despite the fact that I "saved" it.

Serkin has performed surgery five times on my feet.  Two Morton's neuromas, two hammertoes and a bilateral bunionectomy,   He was extremely fussy after each procedure and forced Richie to make me stay in the car while he came up to the office, got a wheelchair and went back to the car to get me then take me back and return the wheelchair.  He always called  the next day and several days after  any surgery and I told Richie that if we didn't look out, he'd be over here making me chicken soup!  After checking to make sure that I was sleeping with the injured foot/feet in a cardboard box in the bed. 

But he really outdid himself in July, 1993, when my mother died, aged 87, of Parkinson's in Manhattan, KS, four days post-op on the bunionectomy.

I called his office to cancel an appointment and told the receptionist why.  Five minutes later, our phone rang and it was Serkin, half hysterical.

"No, no - you can't go to your mother's funeral - flying!  You could get a blood clot and die!  No, no!"

I pointed out that IT WAS MY MOTHER mildly enough, but he reiterated, "No - your mother wouldn't want you to come!  She wouldn't want anything should happen to you!" 

Privately I thought this was somewhat debatable, but ... after protracted negotiations that made Israel-Palestine peace deals look like sandbox squabbling, he very reluctantly agreed to let me go on condition that I use a wheelchair at all three airports and make sure I got a seat where I could put my feet up against the wall. 

As I stood (the wheelchair would have dumped me out on my butt) graveside in the rough ground of the little country cemetery, amidst leftover clods of dirt from the hole,  I grinned to myself; delighted that Serkin would never know, 

99 Bottles of Champagne on the Wall

Today's Birthdays

Zsa Zsa Gabor - 99

But I believe she's 101 because years ago she lopped off two years from her birth certificate.  Wikipedia says 1917 is the most-used birth date.  (snort)

I guess her husband Prince whatever is saving up the Big Celebration of the First Kardashian Ever for 2017.  There (so far) hasn't been a word from him. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Possibilities for Superbowl Grazing

Archer Farms potato chips are a brand I came across on a recent visit to Target.  The following is not an endorsement of either one.

I like a bit of "crunch" with a sandwich and Lays potato chips or Fritos - a handful - satisfy that desire.  We were out of chips and we were in Target, so I wheeled the cart (my chic walker*) over to the food department. 

My eye fell upon Archer Farms Habanero and Ranch Dressing and I saw no more.  They were good even though I've never been a fan of Ranch Dressing - too fattening on a salad and rather dull in a chip, but as a tongue smoother to habanero (Scoville rating 300,000 vs. jalapeno 16,000) it works well.

Yesterday I saw Wasabi and Soy chips and thought that sounded interesting.  Into the cart.  Then I saw - and I was cold sober (drunk in Target is the same as underdressed in Wal-Mart) - Dill Pickle Chips.  I blinked.  The sacks of Dill Pickle were still there.  Next time.

Possible pairings for our third Eat-a-Thon of the year (Superbowl) :

Sriracha or Habanero Ranch with guacamole
Dill Pickle and corned beef sandwiches or Reuben's.
Sweet and Spicy BBQ with deviled eggs
Parmesan Garlic with slices of pepperoni or salami
Wasabi and Soy - drew a blank.  Any suggestions gratefully accepted.

*Target carts are bad choices as walker replacements because they are heavy plastic on indoor/outdoor carpet.  One lap around the place with a few side jaunts and the pusher will be knackered.  Much more preferable are small wire carts on linoleum.  Zoom!  Now that I have discarded the walker AND the cane (today) this is just a well-meant word to others.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Few Thoughts of My Own

The following thoughts/opinions/snarks are my own and not to be considered as reflections of any other living person's thoughts/objectives or goals.  That said, let us proceed.

"Caucus" - a meeting of members of a legislative body who are members of a particular party to select candidates or select policy.

Iowa voters, as obliging as they may be, are NOT members of "a legislative body."  They are rank and file voters supporting a candidate.

Essentially the caucuses in the states that promote them are composed of voters who care enough about their party to get off of their languid asses, bundle up and drive to a polling place and vote.  The "caucus" in this instance is nothing but a poll.  Since poll numbers can be (and often are) manipulated outrageously, the "results" should not be taken as gospel.

And speaking of gospel, I find myself laughing at the hypocrisy of one of the GOP candidates.  Professing to be "a Christian" and indeed saying, "To God be the glory!" on news of his win and including the line "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" as a direct reference to his third place win is the same man whose campaign sent out a threatening mailer to voters telling them that the campaign knows how often and for whom they voted as well as their neighbors! Their guise?  Getting out the vote.  Ben Carter is accusing them of telling  voters that he was quitting the race - prior to voting.  Cruz has since apologized to Carter.  As they say in courtroom dramas however, "You can't unring the bell."

Such wonderful Christian values!  Perhaps it is now more understandable why I feel that "evangelistic" candidates are the biggest hypocrites of all. 

And, on a lesser note, congratulations to the PR department of the caucus states - you really earn your ink every national presidential election.  Do actual voters on the day get a slight tax break or something?  Or do you just know who voted and how often?

Aside - the media reported, tongue in cheek I am sure," that among our voting choices are a "Cubanadian."

Monday, February 1, 2016

Still Chasing the Elusive Caesar Salad

Admittedly this is not a hunt that requires extensive physical activity.  You will be doing this work seated and only moving your eyes to see if it's listed.  In my case, I will be moving my mouth, too.  When Charlie's - A NY Joint upped it's Caesar from $6 to $10, Richie declared a ban on ordering one there.  And, in truth, he had a point.    A head of romaine lettuce at your local supermarket is (probably) less than $2 and a bottle of Gerard's Caesar dressing is ? $3?  $4?  And lasts through several if not many heads of romaine.  And Charlie uses it; he used to make their own and it was great!

We were on Richie's quest at Scardino's, 4803 Torrance, in Torrance, for Chicken Cacciatori.  He loves it and Charlie's only serves it now and then as a special.  He has even given the servers there our phone number and e address in the event it's going to be in the rotation.

But enough about that.  Scardino's Caesar was listed at $6 and I was allowed to go 'head on which I did.  The portion was huge!  I'd ordered a small and asked our server, "This is a small?" and she nodded brightly and said, "Yeah."

Unfortunately the "romaine" was a dark green and I suspected it was kale.  Romaine should be a lovely pale green with ruffled leaves and long, prominent main veins.  The dressing was more parmesan than anything else and was billed as their own concoction.

So much for Scardno's Caesar.

Next we went to El Torito, 600 S. Sepulveda, Manhattan Beach, where the menu promised a "Mexican Caesar" with tomatoes ("Must you?") and pepitos for crunch and their own dressing.  And what again looked like kale. 

My bacon-wrapped shrimp were good and I bet you could make them at home:  Take one mild chili pepper, "butter" it with cojito cheese, stuff in a good-sized shrimp, wrap it in bacon and deep fry it. 

And get a head of romaine and a bottle of Gerard's.