Friday, September 30, 2016

O California, You So Crazy! Convicts To Get to Vote - from Their Jail Cells

A new law, recently okayed in California by Governor Moonbeam aka Jerry Brown will allow felons in County jails to vote in 2017. 

Some voices on this subject - a Sheriff,  "We believe that there have to be consequences to your action, and the consequences of being a convicted felon are that you can't vote."  And as far as I know, part of a criminal punishment is that you lose the right to vote.  Ever.  Period. 

A vice president of some nut group who said, "California is  stronger and healthier when more people participate in the electoral process.  (ed. note - Aha, this is why so many of our voters are coming out of their graves to do so.)

"Mass disenfranchisement for minor offenses is a tragic legacy of the Jim Crow era that disproportionately affects and diminishes the power of communities of color."  (Ed. note - the Jim Crow laws in Kansas at least, were that a black person was not allowed to spend a night there.  Blacks had to plan routes that got them out of state before sundown.  Clearly this "law" had nothing whatsoever to do with voting.  It was racist pure and simple.

Shirley Weber, D. San Diego:  "It (jail house voting) would reduce the likelihood of convicts committing new crimes.  Civic participation can be a critical component of reentry and has been linked  to reduced recidivism."    It might be if one were not dealing with illiterate thugs.  I did wonder fleetingly if she doesn't get tired of the same view every day of her own tonsils though.

Source:  LA Times California section, 9/30/16

  Aside:  a new bumper sticker - I wish Hillary had married OJ

Thursday, September 29, 2016

An Utterly Charming Book

And I've rarely said that about any book reviewed.  "The Road to Little Dribbling" by Bill Bryson   Doubleday   380 pages   $28.95

Bryson is an American ex-pat living in England.  He is acutely aware of the differences and, in fact, revels in them.  He is not particularly pro either one of them, recognizing easily that both have their pros and cons, but he can be funny about both.  He wrote, apparently in explanation,  "I came from Des Moines; someone had to."

This is his 19th travel book and I was delighted to see that because it means there is more of him to laugh at and learn from.  He is 64 and he and wife Cynthia have been married since 1975.  As he has spent the last 20 years traveling and writing about it, they may not have seen each other that often which is frequently the reason for long and affectionate marriages.

History is an important part of his narrative and he is knowledgeable indeed about it.  But more than that, he's funny.  On the construction of Stonehenge, with tons of rock having to be moved 18 miles from A to B, plus the additional work of erecting them to the vertical and adding blue stone from another site, he remarks that the guy who thought it all up and got workers to do it must have been a helluva motivator.

In another book, he wrote this:  "To my mind, the only possible pet is a cow.  They love you.  They'll listen to your problems and never ask a thing in return.  They will be friends forever.  And when you get tired of them, you can kill and eat them.  Perfect."

Get over yourselves, PETA - he was joking which you may not have grasped being the humorless drones that you are. 

Before we get into it, PETA, let me say that I would love this book for no other reason than he calls a surly shopkeeper in it a "cheerless prick."  If that doesn't totally describe some humans, nothing ever will.  .Carry on, old chap.  Doing splendidly so far.  And regards to the wife next time you see her.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Town & Country Celebrates 170 YEARS of Snobbery and Pretension

Shall we carp and make fun of them?  (snigger)  Why, yes, of course!

This does not bode well for noted legal fiction writer Scott Turow.  In May of 2016, he married Adrienne Glazer, a senior advisor for non-profits at Wells Fargo.

They met in 1987 when she interviewed with him for a job as a lawyer.  Both went their separate ways, meeting and marrying other persons.  Both divorced, ran into each other in 2012 and love apparently blossomed.

"What's sinister about that?" you ask in bewilderment.  Turow is 67, Glazer is 51 and she said of their nuptials, "We thought the next time our loved ones came together would likely be when one of us died."

Announced intent in my book.

A Terrible Condition Your May Have, But  Take Heart!  It Can Be Fixed!

This just in regarding the further evils of electronics...Tech Neck.  (shudder)  Their statistics say that the average person looks down at their phone 221 times a day.  Neck skin is even more fragile that that on your face and these lines can become permanent!  (Insert OMG! here)

What to do?  What to do? 
1.  Keep your chin up - hold your phone up to eye level.
2. Set aside a no phone zone and enforce it. "It's a great way to interact with the world around you."  (Insert "OMG, I never thought of that" here)
3.  Buy vats of TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream.  Cost presumably less (but not by much) of the services of a skilled plastic surgeon.. 

Are Your Dinner Plates Giving You Away?  Talking Behind Your Back? 
And this is all 12 of them.  It is absolutely mandatory to have a dozen dinner plates.  Not six, nor eight or 10 - 12. 

The diner will glance at any one of them and know if these plates were inherited or are they new?  Will the food be fresh or -- (gasp) frozen?

My advice?  If your dinner plates are enjoying ratting you out behind your back, put them in storage and buy a helluva a lot of paper plates.  The manufacturing process of paper plates renders them unable to see or communicate. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Quiet Movie vs. a Raucous Debate

I had stated publicly (comment on that I would prefer to go Under-the-House, sit in the dirt and eat raw Brussels sprouts while reading the collected works of Alfred E. Neuman rather than watch last night's debates.

Happily I didn't have to do that.  Instead, we watched the movie of Richie's choice, called "Carol" adapted from the Joyce Carol Oates novel "The Price of Salt."  This dubious bit of the film makers art starred Cate Blanchett as "Carol," a woman trapped in a loveless (on her side) marriage to "Hart" Kyle Chandler and young Tereza played by Rooney Mara who becomes involved with the (much) older Carol.

I was amazed to see how little acting the two women could do for 118 tediously long minutes.  Blanchett limited herself to an icy aloofness (except when she went nuts and beat up her husband - several times) and Mara clearly has only two expressions - doe-eyed and not.  The "not" is indistinguishable from the doe-eyed.  Clearly Mara was a star student at the Olsen Twins School of the Dramatic (and Not-So) Arts.

Anyhow Cates and Mara embark on a mini Thelma and Louise run after spending 'way too much time exchanging hot-eyed "Meaningful" looks.  I think someone pointed them at the camera and said, "Visualize a hot fudge sundae." 

Her husband finally begins to smell a rat "She and best friend Abby sure spend a lot of time together"  and takes her to court for a divorce and sole custody of their 10 year old daughter named "Rindy" which I finally figured out must be the diminutive for Miranda. 

It's during these scenes in the lawyer's offices where we actually get to see Chandler, the husband.  Black hair, dark blue eyes...trim, tall body...majorly hot.  If this were real life, I would deeply and seriously consider the womens' mental abilities, arrange for a nice restful time in an undisclosed location and take off with him posthaste.  I mean, I do have a taser in my purse and I could always make it up to him later ...

But, alas, it was only a movie.  Still (eternally rosy here) it did beat watching the debate.   

Monday, September 26, 2016

Trash Talkin' The Debate

Back in the day, when boxing was more of a popular spectator sport, there was a ritual called "the weigh-in" which was largely a PR opportunity to give opposing fighters the opportunity to insult each other with impunity as they were weighed to make sure that they were the proper weight to fight that class.

A weigh-in for heavyweights was largely pointless because they only had to weigh 201 lbs.  Anything over that was irrelevant.  There were 14 categories for ranking from Heavyweight down to something called "Pin Weight" where participants had to weigh 97 to 101 pounds.  The size of the average 8th grader, I would imagine.

This trash talk over the years was also a chance for the boxer to display his wit (if any) against his opponent. has a compilation of these if you wish to pursue the humor further.

In the meantime, I lifted some quotes ...

Mohammed Ali to Floyd Patterson:  I will beat this guy so bad he'll need a shoe horn to put on his hat.

Mike Tyson:  My main objective is to be professional, but to kill him.

Willy Pep to a former opponent:  Lie down so I can recognize you.

And all of the above brings us to The Debate!  Tonight!  The Debate of the Century!  100 Million Expected to Watch! 

I  will not be one of them.  I would rather spend the evening Under-the-House, sitting in the dirt eating raw Brussel Sprouts while reading the Collected Works of Alfred E. Newman instead. 

In Which Richie is Published

Times have changed in banking institutions
Re "Wells Fargo cheating indicts management" 

Dear Sirs:

Remember when bad people robbed banks?  Now banks rob good people.

Richie Murphy,
Redondo Beach, CA

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Some US Police Department Statistics and Opinions

Forgive an old white woman some confusion here -- Charlotte:  a black Police Chief, a black police officer and a black miscreant.  These are all black lives mattering, but the BLM is still not satisfied!  What the hell do they want?  Perhaps they aren't quite sure?  Wouldn't it be prudent to leave the field of fire (so to speak) and have a nice sit-down and finalize their objectives?  And then let the rest of us in on what those objectives might be?  I think it would be helpful for a lot of people who are as confused as I am.

In 2013, 27 per cent of U S peace officers were black.  That was 130,000 minority officers, up from 78,000 in 1987.  (Source DOJ survey)

Alex S. Vitale, assistant professor, Brooklyn University said, "black officers are more likely to make arrests of black suspects than white in the same circumstances."  (Source Newsweek magazine article)

Given the fact that if you obey a police officer's orders, you are 100 per cent less likely to get shot by a cop, wouldn't you think a wise person would consider this before going for a cop-assisted suicide? 

Maybe if you adopted the Nike slogan "Just Do It" you'd have fewer casualties?  Mingle something like Just Do It If a Cop Says So Because Black Lives Matter? 

Just a thought.  Carry on.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Inadvertant Headline Humor

Today's local paper (I'm talkin' bout you, Daily Breeze)

Front page, sorta below the fold:  Crime is up (but is Prop. 47 to blame?)

Front page, Spotlight Section  "Safe at Home - Many homeowners are opting for panic rooms, security systems to protect themselves from burglaries"

I'm still grinning.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"...the right of the people to assemble PEACEFULLY" - 1st Amendment

This was later reinforced with the passage of the 14th Amendment - that there shall be no legislation that takes away from this amendment.

Casting my eye backward over time ... there have been far too many events when the participants either forgot or never knew about this stricture:  "peacefully."

I would respectfully direct your attention to the sudden popularity of a singular group calling themselves Black Lives Matter, most usually addressed as the BLM.  There are many who would argue (and I would be among them) that all lives matter - one way or another.  There is no need nor logic in elevating any segment of the population as "the ones that matter most."  In fact it strikes me as vaguely communist or something. 

If the BLM supporters genuinely believe that their race is being picked on or subjected to treatment that threatens their lives, then why does management (so to speak) encourage their members to risk their lives in rioting, looting and burning up their own businesses?  Any one of those activities could get you shot in many areas of our country. 

Moreover, it could be argued that the last prominent black to die at the hands of another was Martin Luther King, a pacifist, in 1968!  Today the best defending of black rights the BLM can do are assorted ex-cons, drug dealers, gang members and wanna-be gangsters.  They really should be ashamed if that's the best they can do.     

Of note:  In the most recent craziness in Charlotte, 70 per cent of the participants had out-of-state identification.  Clearly the BLM dudes are ,recruiting - a good thing; provides jobs for the unemployable - for traveling trouble-makers.  I wonder if the job pays money or only travel and per diem expenses? 

In an effort to find out I visited the BLM site where I was directed to the sign-up sheet - Stay  Disguising myself, I went through the survey which explores talents that might be  helpful to the organization.  There was no mention of the nuts and bolts ("gimme me $$$ dammit!")

What did amuse me was the absolutely incorrect grammatical use of "Woke" which is the past tense of the verb  wake.  Stay Awake would have a great deal more meaning for their cause.  Perhaps one of you, more skilled in parsing and grammar, would take up a small collection and send their leaders a basic grammar guide?   It seems like the least that we could donate ...

He wonders why major stars in football and basketball are not publicly speaking out against the discontent and actions of BLM members?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Would You Order a $43 Martini?

Despite being a great fan of the martini, I wouldn't unless it came in a solid gold classic glass that the drinker gets to keep.  And I'd bring a goldsmith with me to assay it right then and there at the bar.

Trust no one.  Especially bartenders.

Epic Steak, San Francisco, is getting a lot of publicity for their new offering - the Fog Point martini, said to made from distilled San Francisco fog.  The fog is not wisps escaping from the glass, but instead it is "distilled" fog captured by filters mounted in trees at higher altitudes which drip, drip, drip into containers.  Only about two cups per day are gathered which goes to jack up the price. 

The "distilled" fog is then "filtered through premium wine" and turned in to Fog Point vodka which, frankly, I think is a great big bait and switch.  You think you are getting potable fog; what you got was the shaft. 

In fact, even more insulting is the fact that what you are drinking (for $43) is fog sweat!

If this idea takes off -- and it certainly seems unlikely; the bartender admitted that he only sells one or two a week - what's next?  More distilled city specialties from rainy or foggy locations?  Seattle Dew martini?  Dublin Down! martini?  London Fog - and wear your raincoat?  We shall just have to wait and see.  Just don't expect much ... you won't be disappointed. 

COMMENT:  "What the fog drink is - not for people that think like you so left them have the shaft. "  Richie's Cousin, Cape Coral, FL

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What We Learned in French Conversation Class - and It Wasn't French

As usual, when a class is about to end, the students get restless.  We'd had a spirited discussion about Georges Pompidou who was Charles DeGaulle's chosen successor.  During the politicking that went on, DeGaulle told Pompidou he really should change his name.  People were making fun of it and making ... detrimental puns about it.  Pompidou declined.

I suggested that perhaps now (presumably) in Heaven, Pompidou looked down at the massive Pompidou Center and said, "Tant pis."  (A sort of combination phrase that can mean "So much for you/that!" or "Hah!)  and it's fairly snide.   

Somehow, and I don't know how this subject came up, our teacher, Arlette, told us she'd recently seen an old friend of hers, now living in Michigan.  I believe the ladies lunched.  Her friend is a charity worker whether private or government either wasn't explained or it was and I forget which it was. 

Point of all of this:  the friend told Arlette that Muslim immigrants (illegal) are eligible for US government aid and assistance.  She said that a Muslim man and his wife and children are given a house - and so are his second, third and fourth wives and their children!  Plus food stamps, etc.  One man and his "family" can equal a village.

Now curious, I went looking and found that Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, is the eighth largest city in Michigan with a 2010 population of 98,153 people, of which - in 2010 - 30 per cent were Muslim.

In 2015 with a 4 - 3 vote, the city counsel voted to adopt Sharia law in all of it's unpleasantries - such as amputation of the hand that stole something; public floggings for drinking alcohol or foolin' around. 

Most recently, an Arab fair of some sort became irritated at the presence of Christians holding up placards promoting their faith.  Accounts of this incidence say that the Christians were mum, just holding up their signs.   Admittedly this was a stupid thing to do - never protest when you're outnumbered - and at the end, the Muslims began stoning the Christians who quite probably ran for their lives.  The police chief told the media they weren't able to protect the Christians because there were too many people attending this event.  So they arrested them instead.

And you wonder why I am such a cynic.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cleared to Lift Away

It wasn't the cops, silly goose!  Jest funnin' with yas.

Clearly it was much later when I remembered that the Reader's Digest is a compendium of lifted material!  The whole idea of the magazine is to turn lengthy stuff into a digest of quickly read stuff!

1 - 2 - 3 DOH.

"Unlike most people I'm not afraid of..." (fill in) 

Asking anyone I've not seen in a while their name.  Usually they've forgotten mine, too."  Tracey Mikel

"Being different.  Normal people don't make (the) history books."  Carley Lindsay

Rim Shots
Owner of a 6 lb. Chihuahua who is barking it's head off at an enormous Rottweiler "Oh, please.  The only way you could hurt that dog would be if you got caught in its throat!"

"When my wife and I argue, we're like a band in concert; we start with some new stuff and then we roll out our greatest hits." 

I can't see how this would be practical, but 16 pennies laid out in a line on a flat surface, equals a 12 in. ruler.  So says Reader's Digest.  Good enough for me - you, too?  Good!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

So That You Can Laugh (While I Get Put in Jail)

For reasons not explained to the reading public, the Reader's Digest has clearly labeled October "Laugh Month."  Much like putting a slice of birthday cake in front of a glutton, I decided to, uh, help them with their mission - creating laughter.

Olivia Wilde, actress, said, "In a thousand years, archaeologists will dig up tanning beds and think we fried people as punishment."

Robert Benchley, humorist:  "A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance and to turn around three times before lying down."

Producer Jeff Valdez argues"  "Cats are smarter than dogs.  You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow."   

Political writer (and a personal favorite) P.J. O'Rourke covers both sides:  "The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer and remove crab grass on your lawn."

"The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and proves it."

"Brexit" for British exit may have spawned the following ... 
Farewales     credit:

Continuing an unfortunate theme - What if the person who named little radios Walkie Talkies was turned loose on such as ...

Forks:  stabby-grabbies
Socks:  feety-heaties
Defibrillators:  hearty-starties

One Offs
The only pig in the country of Afghanistan is in the Kabul zoo. 
The only ship in the Mongolian Navy is a tugboat. 
The only kosher McDonald's outside of Israel is in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Hold that thought - there's someone at the front door.  For some reason they're yelling, "Cops - open up!"  On a Sunday morning???  I need to investigate this ...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Today's Absurdities - and It Was Only 6:30 a.m.! More To Come; Bet to It

Daily Breeze devoted an entire page to the promotion of something called a She Shed.  Upon further examination, it proved to be a separate "little room" on the homeowner's property devoted exclusively for the Lady of the House to decorate and use at her leisure as retreat to pursue her interests. 

The She Shed was re-purposed from an old garden shed presumably in the back yard.  I could have told the writer that grounds big enough to hold a garden shed really don't exist out here where land is so very expensive.  A So. Cal. dweller would literally have to use one of those tiny storage sheds that doesn't have room enough to swing a mouse by the tail.

Good luck on decorating something like that despite the inventory on hand of such as fainting couches with coverlets for reading on rainy days or merely listening to classical music or embroidering or whatever "ladylike" pursuit she (of the She Shed) might enjoy.

It is, however,  fodder for the Social Justice Warriors (SJW used frequently.  Which I thought was Single Jewish something or other.  A dating and mating thing.)  They will point out to you that Wikipedia designates spaces for men as Man Caves and their location -- garage, spare bedroom,   media room, den or basement, all of which the alert will realize is inside the house.         

Inside the house which is climate controlled.  Not out in the back yard on a dank day with no heat at all.  You'd have to really want your solitude for that.  And the cup of hot cocoa carried out to ward of chilblains would be stone cold before you got across the backyard TO your She Shed.

This is unacceptable, Ladies.  We own half of that toasty, warm beckoning house.  Regain our rights to exactly same degree of comfort arbitrarily assigned to our mates.  March fearlessly in to that Man Cave and usurp half of the space.  Decorate to your tastes!  Invited all of your girlfriends to bring a bottle of wine and convene in your space -- on his poker night.  I guarantee you, he will soon be back at the neighborhood bar, bewilderedly discussing the matter with his mates, all of whom will have been similarly evicted. 

Feels good, doesn't it?

Another splash in the media.  Clinton supporters are calling out Donald Trump for calling for her assassination in a recent speech.  I am surprised that the former New York Senator's people didn't
hear was clearly being said:  She wants to curtail gun use; strengthen anti-gun laws (this is not a bad thing if you have sufficient police to enforce them) and declare America iron-free.   The Donald who is pro gun (Thanks, NRA for the do re mi) challenged her to put up or shut up and dismiss her armed Secret Service guards.  Nothing more, nothing less.

But all of her supporters who are howling "Wanna-be Assasin" at Trump make me wonder - why are they so afraid someone would take a pot shot at her?  What do they know that the general public doesn't?  Is this something that we have to worry about?  Or did they just misinterpret New York talk.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Paraphrasing ...

There is an old saying "A Day without Wine Is Like a Day Without Sunshine."  That's all well and good (especially for the wine industry) but my day of sunshine would be No Politics At All.

Every single day we are pelted with suppositions, allegations, finger pointing and possibly - just possibly - some truths.

The Donald finally backed down on his birther stance re Obama - wow!
Hillary's entourage includes an ambulance - Oh. My.  It's standard in Secret Service protection.
Hillary, as Sec. of State, sold big donors prime seats at WH dinners - oh, and she also did other favors for big and foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation.  Politics have always been dirty like that which in no way exonerates it; it is simply a sad fact of life and deplorable as well. 

I am beginning to browse through destination site travel offerings.  If the news was in Urdu or Mandarin, I wouldn't be bothered.  That's if, of course, I could refrain from checking out the Drudge Report or White House Dossier or Weasel Zippers ... 

Thursday, September 15, 2016


To get over my distress at the poor Dubliners who live in an abysmal climate, I went menu looking for some new places to eat.

What about the Dubliners? you ask?  Here is the weather for the month of July, 2016:  it rained for 23 days and the chance of a sunny day was 20% but the chance of rain was 60%.  Had they gotten a sunny day, it would have lasted only 5.6 hours.  This was July  This goes far to explain why most of the Irish have pale, lovely skins. 

Not that So. Cal. is far behind - we have May Gray; June Gloom - a week of humidity in July and September Embers.  Thus the necessity for something pleasant gastronomically to contemplate.

The Salt Creek Grill, El Segundo offers Stuffed Shrimp - horseradish-stuffed, bacon-wrapped shrimp with a chipotle-honey dipping sauce.  $17

McCormick & Schmick, El Segundo offers Shrimp Kisses - pepper jack cheese, bacon-wrapped shrimp.  $14

Both sounded passably edible, but rather pricey.  So, since I am cheaper than a free grocery bag, I put my mind to work to duplicate these dishes for considerably less in my own kitchen.  Very possibly you will have better ideas, so don't be shy. 

Anytime you eat a bacon-wrapped shrimp, the odds are that it was cooked in deep fat, like a French fry.  It's the only way (that I know) to work with limp bacon that cooks slowly and shrimp that cook quickly.  And they've probably got a freezer full of them.  "Gimme six shrimp pigs!"  "Yes, chef."

I think it would work if you pre-cooked the bacon to "limp" while you split the cleaned shrimp and painted a line of horseradish in the groove left.  Wrap'em in the bacon, put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 until the bacon looks edible.  I think we're all capable of mixing equal parts honey and Boar's Head chipotle mayonnaise together?

Shrimp Kisses are even easier - saute the shrimp in butter, while you nuke a passel of pepper jack cheese to pour over the cooked shrimp.  Crunch up the strip of bacon you cooked and garnish the sauce.

Mix together orange marmalade and horseradish to taste and serve. 

Given the fact that a pound of shrimp is $11 or $12 a pound, and that you may have to spring for a jar of marmalade, it is still much cheaper than the restaurant's version.  Now, send me all of the money you saved each time you made either of these. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Passing Encounters - the V-J Day Nurse Kiss and Vin Scully and the Missus

Both are in today's newspapers - one because she died and the other for a final retirement coincidence.

Nurse Greta Zimmer Friedman, age 92, was the woman photographed in her nurse's whites being ardently kissed by a sailor in full uniform on V-J Day in Times Square.  That photo became so well known that by 1980 there were 11 men and three women claiming to be the persons photographed. 

When, years later, it was determined that Friedman and George Mendosa were the ones photographed, Friedman was quoted, "It wasn't that much of a kiss.  It was just somebody celebrating.  It wasn't a romantic event."

I never saw her kissing anyone in her years as an artist's model at the late George Gardiner sketch classes.  George knew her (I swear he knew the damndest people) and   prevailed upon her to pick up some cash as the model. 

She wore that uniform - it still fitted just fine! She was beginning to be "up there" in age and I remember one particular pose because my drawing of it put me in a (very) local art show where I had absolutely no business being.

She was seated in a wooden rocker, ostensibly reading a book.  I sketched that and then grinning to myself, put in the background a hospital bed with a patient prone, IV in one arm, waving the other for help (very cartoonish.)   I captioned it "And nurse thought she'd never read a better book."

George laughed, but made me fold the paper away from the background so the finished drawing was just her and the rocker and the book.

Vin Scully and his wife were guests on Tom Brown's yacht.  At that time, early '80s, he was a Vice President for TOSCO (The Oil Shale COrporation) and I was his Executive Assistant.   The outing was a benefit for children.  At that same time, I was trying to get started as photographer and Tom hire me to document the event (and paid me $200 to do it.)

After the ceremony with speakers and so forth ended, I found the Scullys sitting quietly on a bench that ran across the forward end of the yacht, all by themselves.  They were quietly enjoying the scenery, but affably smiled for my shots of them.   It was immediately noticeable that they were also quite content out there all by themselves.  There was a sort of childish awe on their faces at their being on a yacht out on the ocean.    

Today Richie insisted on reading the Sports section to me - the part where his career will end October 2nd in San Francisco.  Scully said, "As things turn out, the last game of the season, and my last broadcast, will be against the Giants in San Francisco, Oct. 2, 2016, exactly 80 years to the day I saw that Giant-Yankee scorecard.  That is a fitting conclusion, I think, to my career."  He saw this scorecard age 8 in New York. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Who Knew What the Phrase "To Ginger Up" Really Meant?

To say that the phrase has changed considerably from its then meaning to now is understatement.

What I'm used to hearing and have said myself to others - ginger it up! - originally had a very different application and I used "application" meaningfully. 

The 1785 issue of "A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" advises "to put ginger up a horse's fundament to make him lively and carry his tail well."  I trust that we all now know where the "fundament" is located on a horse? 

Moving on rather more rapidly than is our normal pace, ginger - powdered or dried or liquefied - has long been used to treat such as nausea, loss of appetite (a gin martini works for me) motion sickness or pain. 

Remembering the attractiveness of an icy cold drink in a contents-frosted copper mug during a May  visit to Peohe's, Coronado Island, compelled me to order a Hudson Mule before dinner at Hudson House here.  The listed contents were:  vodka, ginger liquor, lime and ginger beer.  It had a refreshing appearance.  It tasted cool and slightly spicy - more sweet than "gingery."  It was good, and I could see a summer patio party with the guests leisurely sipping them. Ah, the civilized table, dontchew know. 

Aside from drinking ginger, eating ginger is pleasurable, too.  The Chimes brand of chewy ginger-mango candies hits it out of the park.  The contents (according to the label) are fresh ginger, tapioca starch, and cane sugar.  only 3G sugar/Piece.  They have a real kick to them.  Chimes is a firm that had an interesting start as so many other food products have had.

A young couple opened a café in Java.  A dear friend, an herbalist, dropped by with the chews that he had made himself.  This was in 1935 and Chimes Chews have flourished ever since.  Visit them at for other flavors of chews and store locations if you don't have a pet Trader Joe's.

When Trader Joe introduced Ginger Chunk cookies, a new product for them and sadly sold under their own label so we can't make a vertical descent on our favorite grocery store to buy them, I bought a bag and fell in love.  Think chocolate chips in a brown sugar cookies, substituting chunks of sweetened ginger for the chocolate.  Since two of them will only cost 130 calories, while it isn't "diet," they are at least a lot less fattening than chocolate chip cookies. 

Unless you eat the entire bag of 14 in two days.  I seem to remember someone in this house who did exactly that ...who the hell was it - name's on the tip of my tongue - oh, no!  That's a ginger chunk!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Read All About It!

"32 Yolks - From my mother's table to working the line" by Eric Ripert  247 pages   $28

Noted chef and current owner of famed Le Bernardin in Manhattan, Ripert writes of his childhood and rise in culinary circles.  It's an interesting book and given the routine insults and bad manners (pot throwing, relentless dependence on perfect cooking - a plate rejected because the sauce dots were not exactly one inch apart on the plate rim) that seem to take place in a restaurant kitchen, a career that wouldn't appeal to a lot of us.

However, it's interesting to read about the absolute murder that chefs get away with.  Communication in a professional kitchen is rather limited.  The only response from everyone below the Exalted's level is:  "Yes, chef."  Free speech seems not to have reached the kitchen stoves yet.

"A Change of Heart" by Claire Silvia with William Novak   238 pages   $23.95 

Claire had a heart-lung transplant surgery.  The donor was an 18 year old male who died in a motorcycle accident.    Claire theorizes that the subsequent changes in her tastes and behaviors that quickly ensue are the result of the donor's heart intruding.  Now this is an interesting theory and that's what made me pick up this book. 

Unfortunately, Claire is one of those woo woo women who believes she has clairvoyance; that her dreams are interpretive of the future and none of which do I believe.  The biggest hole (to me) in her story (and "story" it has to be) is that she just sort of got this call one day to come to the XYZ Hospital - they had fresh-killed organs for her.  C'mon - when you're that sick, it's not that casual.  She had to have been schooled about what to expect, post-surgery treatment and expectations and all of the possible concerns after such a radical treatment.

Because I believe she had to have been given this information, it is entirely possible that she pre-programmed herself to believe such as:  waking up from surgery and wanting a beer - and she never drank beer before (gasp!  cue ominous music)!   

Unfortunately, we can't ask her.  She died in 2009, aged 69.  At the time she was waiting for a kidney transplant.  Still, that was 21 years after the heart-lung transplant.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Good 911 Wallow? Oh, No Thank You

Going back in published columns I found this that ran in 2009 on 9/11.  "Remembering is not the problem - being able to diminish the horror is."

When we were past the 10 year mark, I thought, "Well, next year it won't be as bad..." projecting my hope that I won't be reliving some of the horror.  Unfortunately, such has not been the case.

We were in Montauk, recovering from a family wedding with the father and mother of the groom, Richie's brother and his wife.  At breakfast, we noticed a group of people around the big screen TV.  Finished at the table, I wandered over to see what was going on.  I saw a small plane crash into a tall building.  I walked back to the table and said, "Some inept private plane pilot ran into a building," shaking my head at the stupidity.

Moments:  Long Island is on the flight path to JFK, LaGuardia and Newark.  For days the skies were an empty, brilliant blue.

The list of known dead that grew daily posted on the door of St. Patrick's Church. 

The shell shock of everyone around us.

And then some probably well-meaning idiot got up a group to create The 911 Memorial and Museum, to be located on the site.  It did open and it does offend me that anyone would pay money to visit burned up fire trucks, personal items of the doomed passengers, and charred, twisted steel. 

I understand that it may well be of great interest to foreign tourists.  But I think that for us - American citizens who actually lived through this event it would be a case of paying through the nose for deja vu.

Museum Admission: 
Adults - $24
Seniors, veterans, college students - $18

Admission and a 60 min. tour before the museum opens:
Adults - $44
Seniors, vets, etc - $38

Admission and a 45 min. tour:
Adults - $39
Seniors et al $33
Ages 7 to 17 - $15

In 2003 we finally got up nerve enough to visit "The Hole" the floor of which was populated by small, bright yellow bulldozers, shoving dirt this way and that.  The fence surrounding the site had a section with the names of the known dead listed in alphabetical order.  There was a mock-up of the photos and pleas for information originally posted on the chain link fence.

But more than anything else, despite the bright Fall day, the merry rumblings and grumbling of the engines on the land-clearing equipment, there was an overwhelming air of sadness and grief emanating from The Hole. 

                                                      "NEVER FORGET"

Friday, September 9, 2016

We've Got the Book - Let's Cook!

The Black Family Reunion Cookbook" Simon & Schuster   212 pages   $12

The copyright is dated 1991 by the National Council of Negro Women.  I think it's important to note that because it refers to a slightly more quiet time among the races. 

And certainly a different time in cooking.  I think the good folks at Crisco may have contributed to publishing costs as more than several recipes call for the use of Crisco or Butter-flavored Crisco.  I even saw one that had MSG!  So, with no further ado ...

Politically Correct Deviled Eggs
This is the usual deal, but in this case the deviled eggs were used as an ingredient to for Edible Rag Dolls with a chicken salad body, lengths of asparagus for legs and arms and carrot curls for hair. 

Halve the hard-boiled eggs
Combine red and yellow food dye "to make a warm brown color."  Paint the whites brown.

Pink Cole Slaw

1 medium head of cabbage, thinly sliced and stored for the moment in a bowl of ice water
1 small beet, peeled and finely shredded
1 small onion, finely grated (optional)
2 - 3 carrots, coarsely shredded
Drain cabbage and toss all of the above together
1 teas. sugar
dash of salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup  sour cream
Pinch of pepper
Mix well and toss with vegetables.   

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Some Reading Material for the Thugs in #BLM

Until someone wised me up, I thought BLM was Bureau of Land Management.  However, now on track ...

What follows was written by Dr. Maya Angelou specifically for the National Council of Negro Women, founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune.  It was used in this instance as a part of The Black Family Reunion Cookbook - Recipes and Food Memories.


Because we have forgotten our ancestors, our children no longer give us honor.
Because we have lost the path our ancestors cleared, kneeling in perilous undergrowth, our children cannot find their way.
Because we have banished the God of our ancestors, our children cannot pray.
Because the old wails of our ancestors have faded beyond our hearing, our children cannot hear us crying.
Because we have abandoned our wisdom of mothering and fathering, our befuddled children give birth to children they neither want nor understand.
Because we have forgotten how to love, the adversary is within our gates and holds us up to the mirror of the world, shouting, "Regard the loveless."
     Therefore, we pledge to bind ourselves to one another:

To embrace our lowliest,
To keep company with our loneliest,
To educate our illiterate,
To feed our starving,
To clothe our ragged.
To do all good things, knowing that we are more than keepers of our brothers and sisters.  We are our brothers and sisters.
     In honor of those who toiled and implored God with golden tongues, and in gratitude to the same God who brought us out of hopeless desolation.
     We make this pledge.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Let's Read the Paper Newspaper, Not the Online Edition

Pro:  it is quite relaxing to lean back in one's chair and sip the hot beverage of choice in the mornings.  Little things will catch your eye - such as ...

Jamaica Bay, New York (I think it's on the flight path into and out of JFK) will shortly be the gratified recipient of 5,000 recycled porcelain toilets.  Then  - the toilets get 50,000 oysters dumped into them.   Both are said to be cleansing agents.  Bonus points:  the recycled toilet-oyster mix is believed to be able to buffer New York from storms, clean the water and create a wildlife habitat.

Remember what our mothers collectively said?  "Don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been!"

The great My Turn competition.  The Daily Breeze runs a two or three times a week column called "My Turn" wherein the local writers and wanna be's submit a column to that editor.  Mandates (not spelled out) are that it has to be of interest locally which covers a lot of ground.  

The Thurs. Writers ( have long encouraged a gentle competition to get this column.  Back in the day, the Breeze used to pay the writer $25 and it was a generous winner who would spend the $25 on a cake or other treats for the rest of us. 

A win led back to us indirectly because the writer almost always read it to the group for critique before submitting it.  We earned our cake, dammit!

Today our proud member is Christine Lynch whose My Turn today is:  "Buying shoes has come a long way"  When I saw this, I burst out in pleased laughter.  Four days ago, I'd submitted a piece and had been expecting to see me in that space.  And it was Chris who was smiling out at the passers-by!

This is great!  The tagline for "our" writers most frequently includes the fact that the writer is a member of the Thurs. Writers.  Which in turn leads to new members for us.  God bless the Daily Breeze, sez I.

Alzheimer's Hope - the LA Times Science File story is headed "Alzheimer's drug shows promise" and reports on a drug called "aducanumab"  which has shown some promise in trials.  I know four people at risk for this dreadful disease and quickly forwarded it on to them.

Yes, all of the above could have been found online, but you had to know to look for them.  Print rules!

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Not Very Scholarly Look at the Origins of Labor Day

Labor exclusivity began all the way back in the 1030s with the formation of specialist guilds.  As in all of the shoe makers got together and said, "This is how we're going to make shoes and this is how much we're going to charge.  The lace makers thought this was a good idea and so did the silversmiths.  As more and more specialists in the arts of living popped up, guilds became a heady mix of professional association, trade unions, cartels and secret societies.

Realizing that the King/Queen's favor could make them, getting an  "Appointments to HM the Queen" sign affixed to their place of business became a sort of cottage industry among them.  This snobbery still exists today.  In London you can patronize Fortnum and Mason (groceries and food imports,) Henry Poole & Co. (tailors and bespoke,)  James Locke & Co. (hats,) Garrard (jewelry,) or James Purdey & Sons (guns.) 

Meanwhile, across the Pond (to Brits; Atlantic Ocean to us) a parade was being held on September 5, 1882, to honor workers.  But earlier than that - 1880 - an entrepreneur named George Pullman began churning out passenger rail cars.  He set up his own feudal (no other word) town.  Workers were assigned dwellings in his "village" according to the skill of the job they performed.  They paid rent for this privilege and said rent was lifted before they got the paycheck. 

But a nationwide recession struck in 1893.  May 11, 1894, 4,000 Pullman workers went on strike, but their rent was deducted just the same.  On June 26, 150,000 sympathetic souls in 27 other States said, "We're witcha yas!" and went on strike, too.

Furiously backpedaling, President Grover Cleveland and the Congress decided to pacify the screaming hordes with a parade to honor workers.  I think all of us who might be clinging to the jambs around our own front doors to avoid eviction might find this rather too little, too late. 

But June 28, 1894 was the first official Labor Day.  Six days later, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act made it a federal crime to strike and President Cleveland sent in 12,000 federal offices to quell the strikers.

I go into all of this because it is a very far cry indeed from being forced in to the street to live and the usual Labor Day barbecue celebrated by us today in backyards and parks across this fine land.    If you want to honor the guilds that in a way created the unions of the USA, go to London and buy something from the Queen's approved list.  Do me a favor, okay?  Drop into Purdey's and see if my over and under shotgun is ready - it's paid for, just bring it back for me, okay? 

COMMENT - "Very informative - thanks" Matthew Mayfield

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Two Most Terrifying Words if You Live Next Door

Our next door neighbors christened (so to speak) their new backyard patio with a smallish crowd of guests.  It may have also been a kick-off to Labor Day weekend.  We don't know; we weren't invited but due to the proximity of our houses (72 in. between our walls) you could say we were there anyhow.

Richie who is as nosy as any old lady at her window overlooking the street, walked out on to our balcony (width of house, narrow with redwood lattice fencing (including the patio ends for privacy) and reported back.  Young Gen X-ers milling around their yard.  They seemed benign.

Fine with me, live it up, go crazy.  Just turn it all off no later than 9:30 p.m. please.

The noise grew, piquing even my curiosity so I sidled out to look down and check out the action.

My gaze fell on the newly-installed red or grey pavers and I thought "That looks nice" and then a couple of people moved and I saw It.  Terror flooded my heart.  I very nearly gasped, but didn't want to give away my embarrassing position - that of neighborhood spy.

What did I see that affected me so much?  A long folding table with a neat row of red go cups and a keg of beer.  The dreaded, feared, guaranteed noise maker all set up to go?  Beer Pong.

I came back in to the living room, leaning on the doorway for support and said, "Richie - brace yourself!  I've got two words for you - beer pong!" Was he frightened?  Did the newspaper he was holding start to flutter like a debutante with her first fan?  No.  He laughed.

His response calmed me and after a moment's thought, I asked, "Wanna start book on what time we hear the first vomiting?"  He declined. 

In fairness to the party goers, other than waves of loud, hysterical laughter periodically, they were quiet enough (I suspect the food was being served) and they all went into the house around 10 p.m. and nothing more was heard from them. 

This morning, Richie stepped out on the balcony and looked down at the backyard for a long moment and then came back in.  "No dead bodies" he reported.   Take that, beer pong!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Cardiologist's Nightmare - County Fair Foods

"Fair season" is a great treat for those of us that maintain a (fairly) healthy body.  We eat nothing this disgusting to our refined sensibilities and the great care given our precious bodies - I'm telling you!  So, this annual sneer is well-earned.  And we do enjoy it so...

The LA County Fair just opened and one area - the food court - is getting tremendous coverage.  Every year I think, "Well  that's as far as any right-thinking cholesterol-craver can go" and every year I am topped again.

Some of this year's entries ... you will note that bacon-on-or-in-everything isn't "so over" yet.  Apparently they get messages late out on the farm.  Or else bacon producers have got a lock on the market ...

Here to delect you - or not ...

Bacon S'mores - Graham cracker, topped with fudge sauce topped by a toasted marshmallow crowned with a quarter slice  of crispy bacon decoratively arranged over the marshmallow.

Deep-fried Hot Sauce which is 'way misleading.  Mix up a batter, dump a bunch of hot sauce into it, make balls and deep fry the balls.  I spent more than 10 minutes trying to work out how one could deep fry a liquid like Tabasco sauce.  Cheaters!

Another cheater - "Deep-fried Butter Balls"  (snort) Fritters is what I'd call them ... have  a shot at them anyhow.

2 sticks butter
4 T cream cheese
1 cup flour
1 beaten egg
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Cream the butter and cream cheese together, roll into balls and freeze.  Meanwhile put out three dishes big enough to accept rolling the balls around and put flour in one, the beaten egg into another and lastly the seasoned bread crumbs.  Roll your frozen balls into them in that order - flour, egg, crumbs - and deep fry.  Paula Dean has a recipe for this along with a lot of other, lesser people. Paula Dean does not have a sylph-like body.  One too many butter balls methinks. 

Double Bacon - wrap an 8 oz. pork belly with a 24 in. long strip of bacon and deep fat fry.  That should be enough grease to hold you for awhile.  Your arteries will thank you!

There was one healthy food offered - a vegetarian taco made with a main ingredient of something called jackfruit. says it is a ground fruit in that you harvest after they have dropped to the ground; don't rip them off of the tree and good luck with that anyhow - they routinely weigh up to 80 lbs.  The flavor is said to be a mix of apple, pineapple, mango and banana and is very popular in Asia and India where it is eaten as a dish ingredient or raw. 

One article mentioned "washing it all down with a bacon beer!" but I was too disheartened to look it up.  You're on your own on that one.   

Friday, September 2, 2016

Beer Coaster Art

What the hell is that?  An artist doodling on a new and small canvas - 4 in. x 4 in. -- as in  "beer coaster."  Now we all know that it is not unusual to sketch or doodle on a bar napkin but this coaster stuff is new to me simply because they are not blank stock, but have a beer brand logo or other advertising on them.  And they're thick, often wet, cardboard.  This is not sketch-friendly.

This is the story told by Matt Kennedy, gallery director for La Luz de Jesus Gallery.  An artist who was about to be exhibited suddenly backed out.  As he was hanging up the phone from this distressing news, a friend and artist walked in the front door representing L.A. Beer Week to ask for some space to exhibit the various brands to be represented by designer beer mats.

Kennedy got his hands on a bunch of (presumably) blank beer mats, handed them out to artists for inclusion in this pop-up show and it took off like mad.

Now the show is entering its fourth year.  There will be 900 to 1,000 mats on display, walled by artist's name alphabetically and all are priced at $250 or less.  Many of the exhibitors are newbies, but a lot of them are also well-known in their fields and getting anything of theirs for less than $250 is a steal.  Especially since gallery attendance is free.  All in all, this is a good deal.

To read more --  It's an interesting concept and it should inspire all of us to spend our time in a bar more productively.  Don't forget a pocketful of marking pens and pencils next time you drop in for a beer at your favorite brewery. 


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Brooklyn - A New Foodie Mecca

"Brooklyn Rustic - Simple Food for  Sophisticated Palates" by Bryan Calvert   Little Brown   304 pages   $30 

Calvert is the owner chef of a restaurant called "James" after his great-grandfather who was a chef at about the time the current building was constructed.  Soon after they opened, Lehman Bros. had a meltdown and James was losing money.  The intrepid chef decided that "simpler food means fewer cooks, fewer ingredients and lower costs."  What applies to a restaurant also applies to the home. 

One of his recipes reminded me of another one.

The Chef's Heirloom Tomatoes with Gin, Feta and Dill
2 lbs. mixed Heirloom tomatoes, stems removed
pinch of sea salt and pepper
2 T fruity, young olive oil
2 teas. gin (ed. note: chintzy)
1/4 cup coarsely-chopped dill
1 large shallot finely chopped (about 2T)
4 oz. sheep's milk feta, crumbled

Core the tomatoes and slice in 1.4 in. rounds -- salt and pepper them then lay them out in a bowl.
Drizzle all of the ingredients except the cheese over the layers, one by one.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes, gently tossing it once after 15 minutes.  Serve with crumbled feta strewn all over the tomatoes.

A Cut Out Recipe from God knows how long ago - Bloody Mary Tomatoes
bowl of cherry tomatoes, washed and stemmed, if any.
A packet of dry Italian salad dressing in a dish big enough to roll the tomatoes around in it.
1/2 cup vodka to dunk the tomatoes prior to rolling in the dry salad mix.  Serve with toothpicks at the ready.

This recipe appealed to me as am a big fan of dulce de leche, but I can't recommend the way the sweetened evaporated milk is turned into caramel.  It involves cooking the UNopened can in simmering water for THREE hours.  I think that has to be a surefire way to blow up the can and shower your entire kitchen with the contents.  Use your own judgement!  And be prudent.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Sea Salt and Carmelized Apple slices

1 8oz. can sweetened evaporated milk - bring a pot of water to a simmer and add the can, making sure that the top of the can is covered at all times and cook for three hours.
12 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened (no mention if it's okay to nuke it.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12oz. whole milk ricotta
4 1/2oz. crème fraiche  (once rare, now stocked at the supermarket)
3 large eggs
1 store-bought Graham cracker pie crust (or if you're into that kind of thing, make one.  I think you can duplicate "homemade" with dabs of butter and a quiet drift of cinnamon across the purchased crust, but am also almost too lazy to live.)

Start beating the sugar and cream cheese together, then beat in ricotta and crème fraise and then beat in the eggs one by one.  Time this so that your condensed milk is done and cooled so you won't burn your fingers - open the can and beat the contents into the other mix.  Set aside some of the caramel for the apples though. 

Now stick your "pie" in the oven at 325 for about 45 minutes, using a chopstick or skewer to check for doneness in the middle.

Saute apple slices dusted with powdered sugar in butter, place prettily on the pie and drizzle reserved caramel sauce over them.  Two quick grinds of sea salt and you're done. 

This just occurred to me - substitution:  beat together cubes of cream cheese and butterscotch sauce for ice cream,  add a bit of crème fraise, being careful not to get it too liquidy, slap it into a Graham cracker crust, treated as above, and top with the apples and leftover butterscotch sauce.