Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Gone to Phoenix, back Friday.


She was up for an Emmy for every stage role she ever played on Broadway.  She was married four times, the last being her high school sweetheart - they reconnected after he read her kind words in her memoir.  He died, age 92, in 2011.

She was also famous for bringing her own food to restaurants and other peoples homes; in fact, she bragged that she hadn't eaten "restaurant food" since 1949.  She accepted dinner invites, but brought her own food in plastic containers.  She ate seeds at the dessert course.   She never drank alcohol.    Maybe there is something good about organic only and no alcohol.  96 is a pretty good run ...

Starbucks has announced plans to hire 10,000 "immigrants" over the next five years.  This effectively takes away jobs from 10,000 American-born applicants. 

Phone rings.  You answer.  Caller says, "Can you hear me?"  You reply (if you can) "Yes."  That three-letter word just provided the okay for the caller to use a stolen credit card, phone number to okay purchases that you didn't make.  The kind where permission is asked before something unusual is purchased.   Just Say No and hang up. 

This applies to members of both of our political parties.  Today's example is Sally Yates, the former interim Attorney General who said her conscience would not let her carry out Presidential directives.  Did no one ever tell her that it isn't about her?  That a big part of the real world expects a hiree to follow instructions?  Is this the end result of "Every kid gets a medal" for showing up on the T-ball or Little League field?  And having to do nothing more?  Sally, honey, what you do in this kind of situation is quit. Prudence would dictate that you get another job before you quit, but that is up to your own discretion.  Handy tip - you cannot receive Unemployment if you quit.  You only get it for being fired which you just were.  Make sure they spell your name right on the check. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Of Note, Cupcake, Put Your Protest Sign Down and Read

2016 -
80 million international passengers entered the United States through various airports.

Of them, 325,00 arrived every day.

Of them only 1 per cent or 32 and a half passengers were inconvenienced per day.   ("Half passenger" - child under 10?)

source: Dept. Homeland Security, 1/29/16  weaselzippers.com which ran the full article and the DHS statement.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Goldfish Crackers

Buyers Remorse

A super fan of the late Judy Garland blew $15,000 to buy the crypt space next to hers.  In his quiet moments, listening to one of her albums, he may have felt a certain satisfaction that he has done this.  He may never (most certainly didn't) have lain next to her in life, but in death ...

And then Garland's daughter Liza swooped in, unstopped the crypt door and shipped her ass to California for re-burial. What will he do now?  Sell his crypt and buy a new one out here?  Sue Liza - on what I cannot imagine legally.  


Today starts the Chinese new year and according to that calendar, 2017 is the year of the Rooster.  There is a great site - chinahighlights.com - that explains what Roosters can expect in the way of luck, what are lucky foods and so on and so forth.

Fire  1957 - 2017
Earth  '09 - '69
Gold '21 - '81
Water '33 - '93

The Rise of a New Class of Elitists?

And that would be those people who can afford to buy and have installed an underground shelter in their back yard or back 40

The spokesman for Rising S Co.com - the manufacturer, said that demand has risen 700 per cent and that he relates it to "Trumpocalyse" or "Trumpnado" but added that the same thing happened when Barack Obama was elected.   The firm is located in Murchison, TX, where they have more than plenty of land under which to excavate. 

Curious, I went to see and a partial list is:
Mini-bunker - $39,500 (serves one)
The 10 x 20 version runs $58,500 to an up-graded $65,500.
The 10 x 30 is $74,500 to an upgraded $80,500
The 10 x 40 is $85,500 to an upgraded $95,500

The Ultimate In Protection (if not swank) is called The Fortress and the floor plan looks ready to be shipped to Idaho or Wyoming, states that seem to favor militia-type residents.  There are dorm rooms (I think I remember three) filled with bunk beds to accommodate more Soldiers of the Obliteration of American Politics or whatever.  They may be collecting money for awhile - $1,009,999.

Despite the fact that these bunkers all have modern conveniences (composting toilet, shelves capable of holding two years worth of canned food) the one thing that stopped me cold was this:

What if you are on a prescription that keeps your heart pumping, kills the cancer, etc., etc.  In the event of a disaster, pharmacies are going to be closed.  You're outta luck, dude.  Risk it and stay above ground where God put us. 

The $6 Restaurant Bliss

Normally I try not to review local restaurants for those readers who might have difficulty getting here to dine at them.  Il Fornaio has 21 restaurants in the US, so let's have at it.

They also have a Happy Hour that runs from 4 to 6 p.m.  Cutely, a specific menu of drinks and food are all $6!  Isn't that precious???   In the spirit of this sixy-ness, six of us gathered there last night. 

This really is a bargain - here are some of the things ordered with their "real" price next to them.  Do the mental arithmetic and re-price them at $6 and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Bruschetta (old bread, toasted with stuff on it) $10
Carpachio  (best shot at getting Mad Cow Disease in a Restaurant) $15
Pizzas from $14 to mostly $18 each,, but they are large. 

Best of all?  Bellini's!  $6!  I had two and quietly cooed to myself.  A Martini Fornaio is $12.
So hah!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fair Play and Corporate Smarts

Fearful of being crushed under a load of rage from those who find movie stars innately smarter than the rest of us, here is a list of Republicans in show biz and their ages.  The degree of craziness you want to assign to each of them is your bidness:

Dennis Rodman 55
Mike Tyson  50
Arnold Schwarzenegger 69
Bruce Willis  61
Sylvester Stallone 70
Clint Eastwood  86
Jon Voight  78
Wayne Newton  74
James Caan  76
Lindsay Lohan  30
Don King  89
Richard Petty  79
Alice Cooper  68

Corporate Smarts
Kraft Heinz (cheese and ketchup) are promoting the adoption of "Smunday" as a national holiday.  "What the hell is 'smunday'?" you ask?  It is the renaming of the Monday after Superbowl Sunday which will be devoted to staying home and either continuing the celebration or recovering from the indulgences of the day before.

It is a PAID HOLIDAY.   This will, of course, give business owners a frisson of horror, but many people don't show up on the Monday After, in retrospect, what else is new?

This is and it's a brilliant piece of PR.  Rather than pay $5 million for a 30-second commercial during the game, the wizards came up with something newsworthy which is FREE - "Gee, I wish I worked for Kraft Heinz" or just a simple, "Lucky bastards - Vera, where's my lunch box?" 

In an attempt to legitimize, so to speak, this idea, consumers are asked to sign a petition advocating smunday.  If more than 100,000 signatures are collected, then the petition will be presented to whoever it is that decides these weighty matters (Supreme Court?  Congress?)

Probable cost:  a new Kraft Heinz Website detailing the idea and asking for a signature.  BTW signing an online petition is useless because in real life you have to sign (handwrite) and then print your name for it to be legal.  Not do-able in cyberspace.  Online petitions are used mostly for a how's the wind blowing? check.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Save Your Sanity - Don't Watch the Oscars

The 2017 mess has been labeled the 89th Oscars!  WOW!  with much fanfare.  It has long been my habit to remind Himself that I will be watching it, drinking and commentating with some gusto.  This is the one night of the year that I consider "must see" TV.  No, not since the first broadcasts, silly - they didn't have TV then!  Or me.

My girlfriends back in the day would all gather at one or another's apartment and have a rip-roaring good time speculating on who was drunk (us after the first hour) who was high on something not prescribed by their doctor, social gaffes and outrageously bad taste outfits.  Believe me, we all looked forward to this night despite never remembering anything about it the next morning. 

Comes now the 89th.  And with it comes great division between our two great political parties.  Several "Hollywood stars" have taken it upon themselves to lecture the rest of us re voting choices not favorable to their party.

The last thing I need is for some know-nothing to lecture me on what I should do or think or both.  I don't take direction as they certainly seem to do..  Movie stars are graced with one talent - acting - and are largely unaware of anything outside their world.  This is fine.  Just don't have the audacity to stand up and deliver an opinion.  Yes, we are all entitled to them, but I wouldn't expect a brain surgeon to give me his thoughts on roller skating, if you will. 

I would say stick to what you do best (and that applies to every single one of us) and leave the politics out of it.  Boooring.   

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Latin Errors

A dear friend now residing in New Zealand closed off an e to us with the phrase "Ka Kite Ano" remarking that's a common phrase there.

Because it had "ano" in it and I had two years of high school Latin, I deduced that she was writing "Happy New Year."  As both NZ and Australia are commonly referred to as "Down Under" I just assumed they were on a different timetable and that Jan. 23rd was as nothing to them for best wishes.

But to make sure I was right, I Googled the phrase and ... drum roll ... it means "See you later" in Maori. 

Now teased by why ano there isn't year here, I turned to faithful Google. 

Back-up for my assumption:
Spanish:  Feliz Ano Nuevo
French:  Bonne Annee

Okay, dissecting further.  Maybe "ano" for later is a reference to "year" and if you didn't plan to see whomever you were addressing for a year or more, it was appropriate to use "year" for "later."

Still puzzled, but damned glad anyhow for two years of Latin.  Erred though I did.  Off to restore my amour-propre (self respect) with a few pages of Winnie Ille Pu (Winnie the Pooh, Latin edition.)

Monday, January 23, 2017

An Interesting Read

"Last Girl Before Freeway - The Life, Loves, Losses and Liberation of Joan Rivers" by Leslie Bennett   Little, Brown and Co.   419 pages   $28

Interesting in that Bennetts has done a lot of work at Vanity Fair a magazine that adores the dirt and clearly she has learned well how to print the inside stories, back bites and claw scratches. Sample:  Kathy Griffith is just as despicable as I always thought she was - Day 1 of River's fatal coma, she was on the phone begging for River's job.

Since I read the "death of" parts of any biography first (but they do have to be actually dead) this is an approach that is admirable to certain audiences.  Hers was so fully covered that visitors were detailed practically down to what flowers they brought.

Rivers' husband killed himself - as presented here - as a result of being manic-depressive with lashings of guilt - he didn't feel that he had done all that he could of for her in the negotiations for one of her own TV shows and worse still he got into Barry Diller's face in front of witnesses.  Diller did not appreciate being attacked and had the power to do something about it.  So he fired them both.

What amazes me today is that Rosenberg's wife (Joan) and all of their good friends knew he was prone to suicidal thoughts and while they delivered all kinds of ultimations to make him get help, nevertheless under their noses he promised to check himself in.  During a visit to New York to see his oldest friend, he was quietly putting all of the couple's affairs into order.  He left audio tapes for Joan, their daughter Melissa and said best friend and overdosed on pills.  What amazes me is that none of these people got him taken away for observation (a 5150 in California) for being a danger to himself.  When one gets to the point of promising, "No! No! I'm not going to do anything" to worried loved ones - they're lying. 

After a decent period of time, Rivers began an affair with Orin Lehman as in Lehman Brothers, NYSE, although he never pursued working in the markets.  He had his own money and Rivers treated him to bespoke London tailors and summer yacht cruises on a rented ship.  He was a rather unlikely type gigolo in that he was 12 years older than she (60-something) and had to use canes to get around, having lost a leg in some previous fracas (which I'm too lazy to look up.)  They enjoyed a blissful eight years together before he dumped Rivers and took up with Monique Van Vooren  who to Rivers' fury was six years older than herself. 

A male actor/tranny who used to buy make-up at a transgender store was flabbergasted to learn that the shop's entire stock of face-lifting tape had been bought by ... Monique Van Vooren.

I felt a momentary pang at reading that ... if Rivers had had better sense or met Van Vooren socially,  she could have saved a fortune on plastic surgery. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Double Standard Much?

Yesterday the deranged gathered in large numbers to protest President Trump's use of derogatory words for women.  It was mostly women with a pussy-whipped man or two among them. 

What they thought they were accomplishing is a mystery to this writer, but what was even more mysterious was their applause for Madonna - a "singer" whose Sell By date is so old the year is only three digits. 

She treated the crowd to a barrage of expletives, none of which were for general use in polite company and these idiots thought it was great!  I will  only mention that for a group of women who are looking for "equality" that her offer of blow jobs for Hillary votes wasn't exactly a leap forward for "independence from male domination."  When you have to use your body ... you lost.  The brain is a great deal more influential than your under-the-bathing-suit parts. 

It's a double standard that apparently soared over their little pink pussy hats with some velocity.

Poor things.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

In the Silence of the Rain

Yesterday we had rain most of the day.  It ran the gamut from wind-lashed fat drops to the most gentle pitter-patter that you very nearly didn't hear. 

Because we had business both south and north of us, we were out in it.  Richie didn't think there would be any vendors at the Friday Farmers' Market so we drove by just to see.  And what we did see was the rain-washed parking lot and two solitary, lonely-looking tents huddled side by side as if for protection from the rain.

Rather than going back to Pacific Coast Highway to go north, Richie elected to stay on residential streets to go to the supermarket.

If you don't live here and someone mentions "beach cities" and you think the houses rest on flat ground because beaches are flat ... nope.  We have a mix of flat and hilly and because it rarely rains here, the hilly drops sheets of rain down the streets to the low ground where they pool well out into the street.  The few cars that were out threw up 8 or 9 foot geysers of water as they drove through them.   The falling rain made no noise, but the "thunk" heard as cars plowed into the mini lakes was audible, if muted. 

Due to the "never rains here" situation, sewer drains get blocked with leaves, trash and what have you.  It is not remarkable to find a street with a puddle from one side to within a foot of the other caused by a blocked drain that is burbling like an old-fashioned water cooler. 

What impressed me was the quiet out there in the rain.  Traffic was sparse.  People on the sidewalks, walking their dogs or going or returning from an errand?  Non-existent. 

The rain alternately pitter-patted on the car's sunroof or stormed down with gusto.  When Richie had parked at the supermarket, a particularly heavy cell moved through - winds rocked his car (Toyota 4Runner - it is not potato-chip weight)  as the rain lashed the sparsely car'd parking lot and beat down upon the two or three people race pushing their carts to their cars. 

The windshield wipers made a comforting "thunk thunk" as we drove home. And that was it for "noise."  I love the quietness of our rare rains.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Should They Be Called "The Iron Curtain" or "Berlin Wall" Panties?

News of anti-rape underpants reached my shores yesterday... a German inventor has invented panties that have a combination lock attached to tight-fitting cords to an alarm that blasts out at 130 decibels.   The underwear fabric is non-tearable and is cut proof. 

I wondered how the user - after over serving herself - could go to the bathroom?  One fumble too many and the siren would go off emptying the venue in nanoseconds - "Police!" in addition to mortifying the wearer. 

Feminists flew straight up in arms and called the device "a modern day chastity belt" and they are adamantly against! 

The bathroom business made me curious and some research turned up the fact that the first anti-rape panties were developed back in 2013 by AR Wear.  Design specifications include:  a grate over the vagina and anus.  Thick bands fasten rightly around each thigh and below the waist.  These bands are attached to one another by a snap-together plastic lock.  What "tight-fitting" eventually did to the wearer's circulation was not stated. 

Critics of this means of discouraging a rapist pointed out that in the event the wearer was run over by a bus, the ER staff would have a helluva time getting them off of the victim.  I remembered the cut proof fabric and a mental picture flashed of a victim on a gurney with a surgeon waving a scalpel yelling, "Get the dynamite!" 

But as if the above wasn't enough to amuse, four young men from North Carolina have taken their chemistry classes to a new level.  They have developed a nail polish that detects the presence of roofies, Xanax and GHB in a drink.   Bye, bye date rape! 

However, there were some cavils from the ladies - "Doesn't it come in more colors than that?"

sources: dailymail.co.uk  weaselzippers.com

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Look Out, Candy! There's a New $250 Million House in Town!

A developer who specializes in building spec houses named Bruce Makowsky has finished and is offering his latest project.  He originally made his selling handbags on TV.  From bags to riches?

I couldn't figure out if the helicopter just next to the 85 ft. infinity pool with swim-up bar is workable or not, but the interior is said to have been customized to fit the house's décor.  The landing site for the helicopter looks to be about the size of a Kleenex so I'd spend the money for a damned good pilot!

The house is 38,000 sq. ft. on three levels which contain:
12 bedrooms

21 baths (presumably to accommodate visitors to the 2-lane bowling alley, the 40-seat leather recliner occupants in the movie theatre, swimmers and so on.)

3 kitchens

2 wine cellars (one with special attention to champagne)

artwork throughout valued at $300,000+ (can't remember; apologies)

a garage with 10 or 12 classic cars

the candy room which looks like a medium-sized store - at least 5 ft. tall glass "tubes"  full of treats half of which would have to grow stale unless entire grade schools trick or treated there - every week...construction and stocking it said to have cost $200,000.  For that kind of money it should be Godiva chocolates, not hard candies.

a billiard room (adjacent to the candy store)

 There are accommodations for seven live-in staff.

But - no gift wrapping room!

sources:  dailymail.co.uk and weaselzippers.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

But..But...What Happened to the Gift Wrapping Room?

"The Manor" is up for sale yet again.  It is the former residence of Aaron and Candy Spelling and was custom made to their specifications, one of which was Candy's desire for a separate room used solely to wrap gifts. 

Situated on 6 acres (abutting the LA Country Club) the 56,500 sq. ft. house is once again up for sale.  When Aaron died in 2006 due to the after effects of a stroke, Candy decided to sell it, saying it was too large.  She set the price at $150 million dollars.  Along came British heiress Paula Ecclestone who chipped the price down to $85 million dollars.  I keep typing "dollars" so no one will get confused and think I'm talking about tiddlywinks or donut holes or anything.

Candy removed herself to a penthouse in Century City which was under completion at the time of purchase.  When the building was done, she promptly sued the developers because they had not included the planned restaurant.  This from a woman whose former residence contained five (5) kitchens.

Meanwhile, the house - excuse me, "The Manor" - is now up for grabs for $200 million dollars.
The ad (in Town and Country) describes it lyrically - "A winding drive leads to a splendid circular motor court (you will notice it's far too grand to be labeled "driveway") with a fountain and space for 100 cars.  I don't think I even know 100 people with cars.  Hmm, something to puzzle out on a rainy afternoon ... more entertainment!

There are seven bedroom suites, seven staff quarters (how quickly we go from suites to quarters ...)

Additional drool factors -
Step-down living room under 30 ft. ceilings
projection room
family room (together with the bar?)
billiards room
game room
2-lane bowling alley
wine cellar and tasting room
catering kitchen - perhaps this is the site of five stoves; not five kitchens?
fully-equipped beauty salon. 

BUT NO MENTION OF THE FAMOUS GIFT WRAPPING ROOM.  If you are contemplating purchasing it, by God, demand to know what happened to it!  What's a mansion without a gift wrapping room?  Nothing.  Simply nothing at all ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tough Old Birds and Butter-Tender Beef Short Ribs

Betty White is celebrating (one assumes) her 95th birthday today.  In a world (Hollywood) when a female actor is a write-off around her 35th birthday, if not sooner, White has triumphed and good for her. 

She may be most familiar to most of us as a member of "The Golden Girls" a sit-com that ran for seven years that was wildly popular.  Her cast mates were nearly as durable as she, but this struck me as interesting:  Estelle Getty was first to leave, departing age 85 on July 22, 2008.  Next up to the batting cage was Bea Arthur, who died April 25, 2009, age 87.  Rue McLanahan said "Goodbah, y'awl" June  3, 2010, at 76.

2008, 2009, 2010 - bing, bing, bing.  Hang in there, Betty - you're lookin' great!


If you can get there between 4 and 6 p.m., you can rob Dominque's Kitchen, Redondo Beach, blind of their excellent appetizers.  During those hours, there is a menu of their very good apps, all priced at $3 each!  Four of us - old friends Mouton and "D" and we did just that.  Here's what we had (and which filled me sufficiently to make an entrée superfluous):   

Chicken liver pate with cornichons, arugula, red onion chutney and baguette chunks - $3
Two orders of escargot (3 each) again, $3 per.
A plate of cured meats and more bread  $3. 
A grand total of $12.

Entrees - "D" ordered that night's special - barundi with sautéed spinach; Mouton went for the beef short ribs and at the first bite a look of bliss crossed his face.  Richie ordered the roast half chicken which comes with a huge pile of very good French fries - we all poached - and I a very decent Caesar salad.

Okay, a relatively wide choice of dinners, but the one thing we all agreed upon was dessert.  Four orders of Dark Belgium chocolate mousse.  At first I thought it was Hershey chocolate because of the color, but the white pouf on the top was whipped cream and melted white chocolate.  Four very clean bowls went back to the kitchen.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Today Vacation; Tomorrow Back to Work

The Readers Digest cites The Week magazine's take on office workers which claims that the average office worker receives 122 e-mails per day.  How many of these e's are jokes, cartoons was apparently not delved into. 

In the spirit of fun that has enveloped offices for years (not) readers were asked to submit new names for this onrush of communication. 

Here are the eight by subscribers who arrive at work and blanch at the sound of "You've Got Mail."

Inboxication - but I think "inboxification" is funnier
Attn: Deficit Disorder
RE: RE: RE: Lapse - I didn't get this one and I still don't.
Pessimistic Outlook
Reaching the Point of No Reply

When you're retired, you can laugh, too.  Until that happy day ... relish three day weekends.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Send OUT the Clowns!

Ringling Bros. Barney & Bailey Circus (original name) is quitting show biz in May, 2017, after 146 years of terrifying little kids with their clowns.

Fear of clowns affects 12 per cent of the U.S. population. This fear even has its own name - "coulrophobia" and symptoms include sweating, nausea, rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, trembling and feelings of dread. 

"But wait!" you cry.  "Are you afraid of going into a MacDonald's?"  Not at all - Ronald MacDonald is kid friendly with a big, happy smile (as opposed to a grimaced, tooth-baring grin) and he wears minimal make-up and little kid clothes.  In fact his striped leggings and sweater sleeves may remind some of the very popular "Where's Waldo?" fascination of some time ago.  Non-threatening.  He looks genuinely friendly. 

Plus you can get fed there.  Speaking of which, Jim Delligatti, who created the first Big Mac in Pennsylvania as a franchise owner, has died, age 98.  His family remarked that he ate a Big Mac at least once a week.  Use your own judgement on Big Mac consumption.

I don't wish any retiring clowns bad luck, plagues or jail time, but I am glad to see them go.  They were menacing-looking, made sudden loud noises, looked sinister and never did anything nice to one another - swats with big foam (I hope) hammers, etc.  No, the world was long terrified, but the Big Scare is now vanquished.  Good.   

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Do They Call Them "Dronies"?

While leafing leisurely through Le Monde (lemonde.com) the French newspaper this morning, I came across a new way to be separated from our hard-earned funds.

Travel agents at a certain level ("Around the world in a customized AB380 for $225,000! ") and deluxe hotels are now offering drone selfies and the photographers to use them.  

Carrying this thought farther, I would imagine that lesser hotels and travel agents propose drone rentals at your destination of choice. 

If you are a dedicated DIYer, buy a drone.  Prices range from $93 to $2,000 and I would recommend the low end until you work out how not to crash it through a neighbor's window or take out a school bus.  Prudence. 

If you are a shooter, try to get a job with Flytographer - 60 min. shoot for $350 which given the number of hours in a day with good lighting, could be quite profitable.  Shoot My Travel is another, but no prices were listed.  If you really like travel on the other guy's dime, audition for El Camino Travel which sends a pro with the customer to shoot 500 photos of the client cavorting as he/she will per day and then present them with a carefully culled 30 shots the next morning, ready for exposure on social media.  "My Movie About My Vacation, a continuing series."

However, if you have mastered "droning" (?) check with local law enforcement wherever you land to make sure you aren't going to annoy them.  I've never been in one, but I understand that jails in other countries are not nearly as posh as some of ours.

To avoid taking down your flight, do not store lithium batteries in checked luggage.  Take it on board with you and when your hair catches fire (from the battery burning down through the bin) you can do something about it.   

Dronies.  This is a very weird generation, in case you hadn't noticed.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday the 13th, 2017

Now, now - don't be afraid although I understand that so many people are afraid that there's even a psychological label affixed to that fear - triska-something or other.  Not everything that happens on Friday the 13th is bad!

Have a laugh instead.  Richie and I were tooling south on PCH and as we passed the tattoo parlor (why are they always called "parlors"?)  we couldn't miss the fact that some 18 to 20 people were lined up outside it with two more crossing the side street to get to it.  And - coincidence or not? dum-te-dum-dum - this audience was 18 to 20 years old.

Richie said, "School outing?"  Redondo Union High School is just down the street, their ages corresponded to high school students (with several that clearly hadn't graduated with their class)

"Pre-med?  Going for an anatomy lesson on skin?" I contributed. 

Baffled, we went on when the light changed and would have been wondering for days but for the happy coincidence of Richie running into a friend at the Hermosa Beach Farmer's Market later.  He mentioned it to her and she told him that a friend had called her to tell her that in honor of Friday the 13th, all tattoos were 50 per cent off.  They were damned well doing a landslide business!

But then, on our way home, we passed Lovesick Tattoos on Aviation and they barely looked open.  Clearly they were not celebrating the day in any meaningful way.

*Parlors" usage.  Some customers believe the shop or studio (preferred descriptions) owners  don't want potential customers to be confused as to the difference between a massage parlor (happy ending) and a tattoo parlor (problematical ending.  As in you sober up and see it the next day or your mother sees it right away.)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

This Was A Bestseller How? Why?

"The Girl On The Train" by Paula Hawkins   Riverhead Books   323 pages   $26.95

My sister recommended it and I dutifully started looking for it at the library, but apparently  no one ever returned it.  Last week, Richie found it at the library book  store where he paid $1.50 for it.  Having finished it, am very glad he didn't pay list.  The price - rounded off to $27 - would have bought two dirty gin martinis and tip.  Guess which I'd rather have?

Very well, why didn't I like this book.  For starters, the heroine is an alcoholic brought on by desertion by her husband and a divorce.  I am well aware that alcoholism is considered a disease and my sincere sympathies to anyone who might have it.

That said, almost every time she was given a choice, she reached for the bottle, knowing full well that whatever ensued would be unpleasant.  Worse still was her enabling flat mate (it was her house) let her keep staying on even after multiple non-payments of rent.  She did, however, make the heroine clean up her own vomit (middle of the staircase) and never hid the booze, knowing full well what a temptation it was. 

She got fired for being drunk out of her mind at an office function, but rather than fess up to anyone, she pretends she is still going to work, taking the same train to and fro at the times she would have if still employed.

How this ever got to be a best-seller, I will never know.  The prose was unexceptional, the motivations repeated over and over again; the wallowing in bathos never ended.  The characters were two-dimensional at best.

Many women's book clubs espoused it, I am told, but I think the ladies might have been motivated to read it so that they could all slouch on sofas in the hostess' living room, swill down wine and discuss it.  It would have been more productive for them to stay home and drink their own booze.    And stay off of commuter trains.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I am always the last to figure out anything electronically based.. If Richie dies first, I will never be able to watch TV again.  This TV came with two remotes - both necessary - to use.  The Blu-Ray has a remote as does (talking about overkill) the disc/tape/radio player. 

Let us draw a curtain across the functions of the "smart phone" even though I did buy a very thick book on Smart Phones for Dummies which in my case is not rude at all.  To avoid having to deal with the damned thing, it is only used to call out; no one in my family or Richie's or any of our friends have been given the number so I know that any calls listed are from salesmen and of no interest.

I do like being able to read e-mail though as well as the Drudge Report, Daily Mail, etc. 

At the moment I am pursuing yet another way to trick the general reading public out of a buck or two and this project involves collecting 100 (or more depending on book's final thickness) of what I consider to be the best columns from 2009 until now and turning it into a book.  Have already designed the cover; written the columns and made a good start on choosing bits and pieces.   Except that ... I couldn't get the computer to print the columns I selected.

If you tell the new computer to "Print" the first thing it seems to do is go back about 10 columns and print one of them.  Not the one wanted.  Further, it doesn't print just that one; it defiantly will go on printing until you hit STOP and with slow reflexes, you're out a lot of paper and more importantly printer ink.  I have bought whole outfits (attire, shoes, purse) for less than printer ink. 

But today - breakthrough.  Tell the computer you want to edit this particular column and when it pops up, in edit mode, hit PRINT!   

I expect to be finished no later than Monday next week with the entire package. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Band Wit

Naw, um notta New Yawker tryin' to say "band width." 

The royalegardenjazzband.com was the featured band at yesterday afternoon's jazz club.  They are so classy that they put out a program (rarely done here.)  The back page spells out their Mission Statement which follows.

Correcting Composer Errors.  While the band's primary task is to entertain, it simultaneously makes a concerted effort to correct any errors made in the composition of the various songs played.  As a result, you hear the songs played as they should have been written in the first place.

Equal Opportunity Band.  The Royale Garden Jazz Band does not discriminate in the selection of its musicians on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, political affiliation or the lack of musical ability.

On a more personal note, they whaled hell out of "Back Home Again in Indiana." 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Our "Government" Swaddled in Red Tape Waddles On ...

Yesterday, many of us (I hope) gasped in horror at the life sentence, no possibility of parole inmate who is getting a free sex change surgery (he to she) for an estimated $100,000.  Post-surgery, s/he will be domiciled in a woman's prison. 

Today there are a couple of added insults to our collective intelligence.

Vets Don't Get the Privileges Prisoners Do

There have been 52,000 vets who were injured in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2013.  Of them, 1,400 were wounded in the groin area destroying all or some of their equipage (or an area of the body that lies between the belly button and the knees to be delicate.)  Of these poor bastards 75 per cent died of their wounds - land mines. 

Of the survivors (average age 24) who had hoped to eventually have children, in vitro fertilization is not covered by the government.  It is considered "an elective procedure."  The soldier has to be on active duty to receive it.
(source: drudgereport.com + add'l sites)

In Another Stunning Example of Not Planning Ahead -
The California minimum wage was raised with further raises as time marches on.  This now puts a family where both husband and wife work with one child over the wage limit for childcare benefits.  The original figures for subsidized child care today were based on what was apparently appropriate in 2007.    A family of three had to make $42,216 or less to qualify.  With the new pay raises, these families child care payments have risen from $167/month to $2,400 a month. 

Child care providers are losing customers and laying off workers.  California law requires these places to provide one aide to every four children.  If they cannot do it, they are breaking the law.
(source - latimes.com)

Way to go, California!  Give with one hand' take away with the other. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Go To Prison and Get That Sex Change Operation You've Longed For - FREE!

California's newest proof that the lawmakers out here are batshit crazy comes with this news - 57 year old Shiloh Heavenly Quine, doing a life sentence, no possibility of parole, who committed first degree murder, kidnap, robbery for ransom, has successfully obtained sex reassignment surgery while behind bars.

Quine, age 19, performed a do-it-yourself surgery to change he/r sexual identity. 

Apparently it was not successful because during he/r so far 35 years in prison, s/he has attempted suicide five times.  This indicates to me that old Quine isn't too focused on reality or else very inept at ways to commit suicide while doing time.  I can think of several ways and I'm not even in traffic court, let alone prison.  Annoy a group of fellow cons who are not your color or nationality or religious beliefs.  You'll be done for by breakfast call the next morning. 

Baiting guards would be a second way to depart this life. 

The California penal system has recognized that some sexual confusion exists behind the walls and toward making prisoners feel more comfortable, will issue nightgowns, scarves and necklaces to the guys who want them.  Guards are so unaware that if they aren't using pop-it beads (which unsnap in the twinkle of an eye) but favoring 20 lb. test line, they may be wondering "Whatever happened to Old #869503?  He was here for dinner last night ..."

Activists for our transgendered gents and ladies aver that "gender dysphoria" is a legitimate complaint and further, that if unfulfilled, life threatening.  Thus the surgery qualifies under Constitutional Rule #8 (or some such)  just the same as treating a patient with a physical complaint - broken leg, heart attack, etc. 

One commentator - REJC0100 - remarked, "What's next?  Heart transplants for Death Row inmates?"
It wouldn't surprise me in the least. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Would You Go Without Bathing for Three Months for Research?"

"How To Be A Tudor - A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Tudor Life" by Ruth Goodman   Liveright Publishing   320 pages   $29.95

So we're all together here (and I had to look it up, not being an English history scholar) the Tudor period existed from 1485 to 1603.  Henry the VIII reigned and killed wives with some frequency during these years.

The book starts with the rooster's crow awaking the sleeper.  There were only three cities; everyone else lived in the suburbs where they might keep a cow and certainly chickens.  The sleeper who was poor slept in masses of straw on the floor; the rich had canopied beds (to keep the heat in during winter.)  

One of today's first-thing-in-the-morning things is to shower.  Bathing in those days was considered extremely dangerous and rare was the person who bathed in hot water with soap.  And yet, personal hygiene was of primary concern.  Smelling sweet and fresh was very important to men and women of all classes. 

They used linen squares to scrub their dry bodies every morning. They did wash their hands and splash their faces with water. They also put on a clean pair of underpants every day.   As only the rich were well off enough to have a large supply of underpants, the poor had to make do with perhaps three pairs.  One being worn, one clean waiting and one in the laundry.  Underpants were often listed in the person's Last Will and Testament and given to survivors.   

 Goodman decided to try this and for three months did.  She remarked that while you might think the person would reek to high heaven, she didn't so, probably, they didn't either. 

She wrote that clean teeth were important as a part of personal hygiene.  Toothpicks were used at the table   Various powders (soot, or salt or ground cloves) were applied with vigor to the teeth with fingers or a small square of cloth.   

Frankly I was surprised to see this concern with personal hygiene as I had known people Back Then never or rarely bathed so I figured that everyone who couldn't afford perfume stank like the devil.

It's "refreshing" to learn I was wrong!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


When I reviewed the book Food in the City, I stated that there were no recipes.  I was wrong.  I  wrote the review having read as far as page  290 of  355.   

And there on page 291 was Rikers Island, a prison familiar to "Law and Order" fans, that as a rule has 12,000 prisoners, all of whom get three squares a day. 

Paulette Johnson who runs the food services directs the items purchased, the menus served  for a total of 47,000 meals a day or 17 million meals a year.  She also has to take into account special diets for the prisoners - Muslim, diabetics, cardiac patients and vegetarians ...who said prison wasn't any fun at all?  Get tired of one diet?  Declare your new allegiance to the vegetarians or diabetics and eat "new" food about every three months. 

Johnson said they serve three meals a day - a continental-type breakfast at 5 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m. and dinner at 4 p.m.  Rikers has 170 dining rooms; they are divided into "pantries" for 50 prisoners and "congregate" for 300.

Johnson says the prisoners do not hesitate to criticize the menu.  She said that in an effort to make prisoners eat a better diet, her kitchen has shifted from white to whole wheat bread and lowered the salt content of anything served.  There are NO fried foods due to the possibility that prisoners who are allowed to work in the kitchen might run amok and start tossing kettles of hot fat around. 

She said that the Riker Island Carrot Cake is a great hit.  It is served at Thanksgiving,  Christmas and Ramadan.  Each loaf weighs 9 1/2 lbs. and serves 25.  They make 2,500 loaves +/- per year.

With no further ado - RIKERS ISLAND CARROT CAKE
makes 25 loaves

25 lbs. sugar
25 lbs. flour
8 oz. cinnamon
6 oz. nutmeg
4 oz. clove powder
6 oz. allspice
1 lb. baking powder
8 oz. baking soda
8 oz. salt
20 lbs. raisins
25 lbs. carrots
8 lbs. walnuts
25 lbs. eggs
3 gallons vegetable oil
8 oz. vanilla extract

Mix together the dry ingredients
Add all of the rest and beat until well mixed
Pour into loaf pans and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. 

And that really is the only recipe in the book! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Rainy Afternoon + Good Book (and maybe some popcorn) = BLISS!

"Food and the City; New York's professional chefs, restaurateurs, line cooks, street vendors and purveyors talk about what they do and why they do it" by Ina Yalof   G.P. Putnam's   364 pages   $28

A glance at this writer would inform you that she likes food.  But also enjoyable are the stories that come out of the kitchens where it's made.  Apparently working in the kitchen is hell.  Except for the chef who is boss of all he sees.  There are two responses from everyone else in the kitchen and they are "Yes, chef" and "No, chef" - no other communication is permitted.  None.  This being a chef would be beyond great if ... one didn't have to go through hell before rising that far.

There are horror stories about peeling vegetables for two years - and nothing else - before working your way up the ladder to such as sauce maker, pastry chef, line cook, sous chef.  None of them sounded enticing and the hours really suck. 

These are brief interviews with the people who waiter-ed and catered, started a restaurant ... all very interesting because they are real people telling some engrossing stories.  I recommend it if for no other reason than to finish it and say to yourself, "Thank God, I never want to cook professionally."

"The Bonjour Effect - the secret codes of French conversation revealed" by Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau  St. Martin's Press   310 pages   $25.99

The basic rules for living in France are explored enthusiastically and go far to explain the national mentality - heated discussions over the dinner table are entertainment, not warfare and the better you can represent your point of view skillfully, the more you will be applauded.   The French love a good argument. 

Much like the American south and Midwest, never ask someone what they do for a living.  Always start a conversation with a friendly "Bonjour!" and - this is critical - wait for their "Bonjour" back.  This is a non-negotiable item. 

From personal experience, I can tell you that something simple - buying a pack of cigarettes, for example - can take as long as a three-act opera.  You open with the Bonjour! salvo, inquire about each other's health or the weather and then you begin to get down to business, using please and thank you.  Then you ask about the price and give the amount to the store keeper who thanks you and (finally) out the door you go. But not before wishing each other a good day.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day Housecleaning

Don't worry - nothing arduous!  (as if.)  It involves sitting at the computer and updating the lists of the following:

Phone numbers
E-mail addresses
Street addresses
The birthday list
And Call Out the Dead

That last lists the people and cats that have died over the years.  "I thought he/she died in ____" comes up in conversation more often than anyone would want. 

I really prefer paper to having to turn on the computer or cell phone to check appointments - another thing I use - a write-on calendar.  The day the computer's Calendar section goes bflst! Or the  battery dies in the phone ...None of the above information could be considered Top Secret in any way, but computers get hacked and that tends to erase a lot of stuff you'd rather have than have to do over again. 

The new version of all of the above looks so fresh on its bed of crisp white typing paper.  Pre-retyping, they are a mess of scrawled on additions,  deletions and ink smears.

The birthday list gets transposed into the months and written on the paper calendar.  At the beginning of each new month, I've got the list of cards to send as well as how many to buy. 

Granted, this is not an Excitement!  up-dating information rarely is, but when done, I feel a quiet glow of pride that I am finally, neatly organized!  At least for awhile.  Family and friends - stay where you are!  Don't move, don't get a new phone number, okay?