Friday, March 31, 2017

Fat Fred

Am not being mean or fat-shaming a fellow human being.  Fred is a three year old male cat.  At his most recent routine vet exam, he thundered in at 16 lbs., 32 in. long from nose tip to tail tip.  As the vet said then, "He's a big boy."  Today he weighed 19 (19) pounds.

Today's appointment was because Fred loves the red dot laser pen cat toy, and will chase it like a maniac for about 3 minutes and then just lie down on the floor.  Because he's fat, because this was a new behavior, we hauled him off to the vet for a cardiac exam.

She was polite about it, but was smiling as she told me that cats and dogs do not have heart attacks.

She went on to say that, yes, he is bigger than he needs to be and should be put on a diet (which is already in effect eight hours later) because in three years, at age 6,  he will be middle-aged and if he hasn't lost weight, a prime candidate for diabetes, just the same as Diabetes 2 in humans.   

This diet is going to be harder on Richie than Fred.  Richie feels that every living thing should have a full belly at all times.  He would feed the world if it could make its way to our front door.  Countless neighborhood cats who dropped by for a snack would tell you that. 

Having had a diabetic cat, I do not want to have another one (2x daily injections, carefully calibrated until the right amount is determined.  Frequent vet visits to determine right dose; daily urine strip testing and logging.)   So, Fred, want more kibbles?  Sorry, I'm going to have to Just Say No. 

"Don't Make Me Open Up a Can of Whoop Ass on You"

But:  if you like hot sauces, do open this container of Whoop Ass.  We had dinner at Coyote Cantina last night and there were five bottles of sauce on the table - old favorites Tabasco and the one with a round wooden ball for a lid and ... three bottles shaped to look like standing cowboys and the cap was a little plastic cowboy hat.  They were labeled Whoop Ass and included:  bacon, roasted garlic and chipotle which was billed as sizzling but wasn't, really. 

All three were good and the bacon was particularly tasty dotted on a swad of guacamole on a chip. 
Amazon sells a gift pack of all three in 6 oz. bottles for $18.55. 

Or, to get your fix, you could go to Coyote Cantina, 531 N. PCH, Redondo, or visit to see them. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An Amusement

On a day when you are feeling bored or irritated at some of life's little bear traps, hie yourself over to a site called 

it's a site with sight gags - bad architectural planning - a children's slide on the roof of a building; a cobra carrying a bucket to get a drink of water in a drought-stricken village ... optical illusions...that's not an underpass, it just looks like one ...

Something for everyone which is a very difficult thing to do. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2020 Is Going To Be Epic

There are a couple of things that have to happen before greatness overtakes us.

Las Vegas has to build and complete a football stadium.

The Raiders have to hold true to management's promise that the team will move to Las Vegas. 

If both of the above occur in a timely manner, then stand back! 

But only if today's players are as downright nasty as the old guys - Kenny Stabler, Fred Bilitnekoff, Lyle Alzado ... the guys who never took the field entirely sober or without a hangover or having a pretty girl driving the getaway car. 

A respectful suggestion to Raider management - cut a long-term deal now - before anything happens - with a local outfit called   They have a recovery bus that comes to your hotel and hydrates you or gives a B12 injection to put last night behind you and today in your face. 

Finally a match made in Heaven - in Sin City, no less.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

English Dating Slang

The Daily Mail was enlightening this morning, a rarity in their world where the whole rt.hand side of the page is pictures of young women wearing very little clothing.  Legs are described as "pins;" "flaunts" is used frequently to describe what the nearly nude lady is showing off, such as side boob, a muscled haunch,  a trim set of abs ... you get the picture, dismal as it is. 

But today they moved to the left and ran an actual article on the doughty subject of dating slang in England.    As we've been married 34 years, I was more than a bit clueless on this subject.  Some of these expressions were things I'd done but now with a new name.  Old:    "Home wrecker"  "terminal flirt" "slut"  Be that as it may. 

"Bread crumbing" as in Hansel and Gretel and the witch who lured the kids to doom.  This is flirting with no intent to follow through.  We have names for that, but it's Sunday morning and inappropriate but "tease" is part of the phrase.

"Benching"  This is a sports term deliberately and is a reference to having The Talk to Define The Relationship aka the four most feared words in the dating world:  we need to talk. 

"Cuffing Season" a winter relationship inspired largely by the really shitty weather anywhere but California or Florida. 

A sad (for one of the couple anyhow) sequence of behaviors is this:  The Slow Fade - slower and slower response to e-mail, phone messages until the person is gone; "Ghosting" is the same thing.  Once half of the couple has ghosted or faded from daily life and then re-thinks it and starts to try to make contact again, this is called "Zombie-ing" or coming back to life, albeit a half-life at that. 

Now you know how to sound like a native Brit dater.  Cheery bye!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

"Eternal rest, HAH!" said President James K. Polk

Polk and his wife are about to be dug up and moved for the fourth time.  This seems a bit excessive, don't you think?  Especially when perhaps as many as eight out of 20 people only know "James K. Polk, US President" and that's it. 

Presidents with libraries and museums seem to fare better as far as burial goes.  Right here in Southern California we have the Nixon and Reagan libraries and Reagan has an additional site in Santa Barbara to cover his old ranch.  All, I might add, are resting comfortable (although I can't really speak for Nixon - who knows with that one?) 

Polk only has a memorial building, built by his father, rather grandly called "The Ancestral Home" in Columbia, TN.    But then again, it could be argued that he's been moved around too often to be granted permanent status in any one building.    This Ancestral House is now the planned next spot for him and wife Sarah.

A brief history ... he was the oldest of 10 children.  His mother was a devout Presbyterian and his father was not.  When it came time to baptize Baby Polk, Daddy refused to affirm his religious faith so the minister refused to baptize the kid.  I would not have wanted to be a fly on the seat of the carriage trundling Mom and Dad home. 

Plagued by ill-health, Polk was home-schooled.  After some time, he was finally diagnosed with urinary tract stones and surgery was performed.  The anesthetic was copious lashings (one presumes) of brandy; nothing else was available let alone invented yet.  The surgery was a success.

On Andrew Jackson's prodding, Polk met and later married Sarah Childress who was 20 to his 28.  Their marriage would last only 25 years until he died of cholera at age 53.  She was a widow for the next 42 years, finally dying age 87.  It seems a pity that he did die "so young" because his last words to Sarah just before he died at 3:15 p.m. June 15, 1849, were, "I love you for all eternity, Sarah, I love you."

Love is strange because I can't see what's so lovable about her edicts in the White House during his one term (one term by his own choice.)  She decreed that there would be NO singing, nor dancing nor alcohol on the premises and refused to attend horse races or the theater. 

He was first buried in the Nashville City Cemetery.  He was then moved to a memorial site on the grounds of his old house Polk Place where Sarah joined him.  His next stop, along with the dour Sarah (she could only have been dour) on the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol. 

And now comes the vote that will or won't dig them up for the fourth time.  If they are moved again, I think the appropriate music to be played should be the Beach Boys "I Get Around."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Too Little, Too Late

I read that the perpetrator of the London attack had been discovered to be a rampant radical some years ago - but he was not arrested, merely left to his own nefarious pursuits.  To quote Shakespeare, "The law are an ass." (They talked funny back then.)  Same thing with the Bataclan nightclub in France.  The perpetrators came from Molenbeek, Belgium, "which has become notorious for radicalization."

Meanwhile ... Germany, Spain and Switzerland re the ban on electronic devices on board the plane have taken a contrary attitude which seems to be "Come in from any Middle Eastern or North African hot spots and bring your electronics!  We don't care!"

But before we get too smug ... Chicago gang funerals are fraught for everyone but the deceased in the coffin.  Funeral directors routinely hire security or off-duty police to attend and guard these funerals.

The funeral directors delivering the deceased to the church have to be careful not to be wearing any colors associated with any of the gangs and to take routes that keep them safely outside of gang areas. 

One funeral director reported that she watched the brother of the deceased step up to the coffin to pay his last respects.  Another man approached, threw an arm around him and the funeral director thought, "How nice - he is consoling him" when the guy whipped out a knife and stabbed the mourner. 

Gang members now make it a practice to attend the funeral of the person they killed for bragging rights with their gang.  Snickers from the back pews. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fake News? April Fool's Joke?

Giselle Fetterman and Cindy McCune, of Pittsburg and environs, have come up with the idea of selling hijabs for Barbie dolls.  Calling their product "Hello Hijab" they plan to start selling these after-market products for $6 each on APRIL 1st. 

The pair said that they pay the workers who actually make the hijabs $15/hour and that 100% of the profits will be given to the Islamic Center of Pittsburg, the ACLU and the Jewish Family and Childrens' Service. 

They are anxious to teach their daughters diversity and to promote understanding between Muslims and others.  Fetterman's daughter has an extensive collection of diversity (?) dolls including various races, ethnicities  and a doll in a wheelchair.   

Indoctrinating your daughter to accept some of the atrocities perpetrated against Muslim women in the guise of "diversity" strikes me as perhaps not the greatest idea in the world.  I can only hope that given the sell date that this is all an elaborate April Fool's joke.  Please, Allah.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Let's All Go Green - and Get e-Coli While We're at It

Plastic drinking straws are now on the No! No! List, a list kept carefully by such as a woman named Jackie Nunez who founded The Last Plastic Straw campaign to make restaurants (for example) make you ask if you want a straw with your drink.  Okay, do local residents remember the Great Drought when restaurant diners had to ask for a glass of water?  I do, and no one had a problem with it.

But this is where I do have a problem.  In 2010 Ms. Nunez was leading a kayaking tour in Belize when she came across a large mass of plastic debris.  "That's what really sent me over the edge," she said, "a literal river of trash was going by.  I really was beside myself."  This is the kind of 'tude that gives American tourists the "Ugly" when referenced by the locals. 

Notice the personalization - "I was beside myself ... sent me over the edge."  If I lived in Belize, I would have been tempted to offer to help her pack for her return trip to wherever she lives in the U.S.  Let her go kill plastic at home.

All of the above was triggered by the front page of today's Daily Breeze.  Manhattan Beach has banned plastic straws.  The City offers alternatives to (shudder! eeek!) plastic and suggests you use lengths of bamboo, surgical steel or glass instead. 

Here are a couple of the disadvantages...
Stainless steel - Williams Sonoma no longer carries them and didn't say why.  Since W-S has never turned down the possibility of a profit in living memory, there has to be something wrong with them.

Glass - give one to your kid!  You'll be picking glass shards out of his mouth before you know it!

Bamboo - cannot be put through the dishwasher (and I wouldn't want to try it with glass either - especially at $6 per straw -  I've got champagne flutes I paid less for and that have lasted 25 years)  It is suggested that the bamboo straws are immersed in hot soapy water instead.  Use a pipe cleaner to clean them.  Once a month boil up a batch of water and vinegar and soak them.

Cost and labor-free alternative.  Learn to drink out of a glass.  If you shriek that you need a straw for your milkshake?  You shouldn't be having one anyhow.  Do you have any idea how fattening they are?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

RIP Charles (Chuck) Edward Anderson Berry; James (Jimmy) Earl Breslin

Condolences to his survivors - Themetta (Toddy) Suggs, wife of 68 years;and their children, Darlin Ingrid Berry-Clay, 66; Melody Exes Berry, 64; Aloha Isa Lei Berry, 57 and Chuck Berry, Jr., 55.

Condolences to his survivors, wife Ronnie Eldridge Breslin, married 1982; after his first wife and mother of their six children, Rosemary Dattolico, died in 1981.  Breslin leaves Kevin, Christopher, James and Patrick.  Daughters Rosemary died of a rare blood disease in 2004 and Kelly died in 2009 of a cardiac arrhythmia.

This is not turning out to be a good day for those in the creative arts.  If things do come in threes, artists, you are advised  to be watchful into the night. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Finally! An All-Inclusive Holiday!

                                     EVERYONE'S IRISH ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

We toured Ireland from Dublin to Shannon in 2006 and prior to the trip friends were waxing nostalgic about the "craic" pronounced "crack."  I said, "Anyone who tries to get me to take drugs is going to be very sorry they did!"

When they quit laughing at me, they explained that craic merely means "fun" or a good time or merriment (all three taking place in a pub of which there are quite a few.)  

Craic translates easily to America, so have at it!  Erin Go Braless! 

THIS JUST IN -  from our Texas correspondent

May your horse never stumble
Your spurs never rust
May your guts never rumble
Your cinch never bust
May your boots never pinch
Your crops never fail
While you eat lots of beans
And stay out of jail

Thursday, March 16, 2017

1st Amendment vs. Sedition

Most U.S. citizens know and frequently quote the 1st Amendment's salient point which is we all have the right to "free speech" that being saying any damned fool thing that we want to on any occasion.

However, careless readers of the First seem to have skipped over this part:  The right of the people to peacefully assemble and to petition the government for redress.   I would add that "peacefully" would not seem to embrace looting, rioting, or bodily harm to those who dissent against the rioters, looters, etc. 

Conversely, "sedition" is defined by "conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the State."  Further, the seditionist is not supposed to just get a slap on the wrist for being naughty.  Practitioners are liable to a fine or no more than 20 years in prison or both.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

There's More to Eat In Ireland Than Corned Beef and Cabbage

An Irish Country Cookbook by Patrick Taylor, MD   368 pages   $28.99

Ireland, as based on this book if nothing else, is Big on Bread.  Soda bread, potato bread... probably because most of these breads are 1.  easy to make   2.  made from leftover potatoes; potatoes being a staple there as rice is to Asia. 

In the event you are having guests and want to amaze them with your knowledge ...

IRISH POTATO BREAD  aka  Potato Farls which are a round loaf cut into quarters, each quarter being 1/4th of the loaf.

1 lb. mashed potatoes
4 oz. all-purpose flour
1 oz. softened butter
pinch of sea salt

Bung it all together, knead it into a flat round, cut that into fours (farls) and fry them in a lightly-greased skillet until golden brown on both sides.

"Champ" is the name of a dish that is simply mashed potatoes, with cooked green onions stirred into them with lots of butter and, variation, dotted with cheese and run under the broiler.

COLCANNON or White-headed Cabbage  
It's eaten in Scotland, too, but there it's called "rumbledethumps"
1 3/4 lb. quartered potatoes
4 oz. curly kale or spring cabbage
1 bunch green onions
4 oz. butter
2 slices cooked and chopped bacon
salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the potatoes and leave them in the emptied pot to dry out, then mash them
blanch the kale for a minute, then drain and dry and chop.
Roughly chop the green onions
Mash everything together including the bacon, reheat, make a well in the middle and put the butter in.

If you're a guest, try for an overnighter so you that you can have an Ulster Fry for breakfast.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Thought For Today

And it is -- "Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not."  Henry James

I wish that all of the protestors, rioters, haters and malcontents read Henry James.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Oh, Go Fly A Kite!

Saturday night a thick fog moved in on the beach cities.  Sunday morning dawned, but we didn't see it (or much of anything else) because the fog had clearly decided to vacation here for a bit.

It is disconcerting, even though we're used to it, to look across the living room to the balcony with it's redwood fence/railing and to see absolutely nothing else beyond said railing except for ... a grey nothingness.

"It'll burn off," we reassured each other and went about our business.  At 1:30 p.m. we drove off to attend the monthly jazz club meeting.  But, what ho?!  There was a ton of traffic near the Redondo Pier; parking was non-existent and we wondered why?    Cars crowded the Esplanade in both directions.

Not like it was a good beach day when you can't see your feet for the fog ... the ocean was just a dim memory because it couldn't be seen from the sand; for that matter, you couldn't see the sand, blanketed as it was.

We speculated on the cause for all of the traffic that was really more expected on a sunny July day.
I joked that I sure hoped it wasn't the International Kite Day Contest and we both laughed.

At the jazz club, I asked around and ... it was the Festival of the Kite's 43rd celebration of our friend the joyous kite! 

And now, Monday morning, the fog is as implacably there as it was Saturday night.  But today we can easily see across the street.   Too bad we don't have a kite to fly.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Some Jokes That Were Hits in the late '20s and early '30s

Richie has been excavating in the storage room.  Periodically he brings me little treasures he has found.  The most recent is a thick book entitled "A Treasure of Laughter."  Note the choice of language throughout.  People spoke more clearly and politely back in the day and there are NO vulgarities in the entire book. 

Two men, just released from the lunatic asylum (ahem, see above) meet on the street.
First man:  "Bet you can't guess what I've got in my hand."
Second Man:  "A battleship?"
The first looks in his closed hand a minute and says, "Nope."
"An automobile?"
Looks again.  "No, try once more."
Second man shouts, "A horse!"
"Darn it! But wait, what color?"
Second man says, "Green."
First man says, "Ah hah!  You peeked!"

Two morons had  remarkably good luck on a fishing expedition.  Toward the end of the day, one of them said, "This is a good spot.  I wish we had some way of finding it tomorrow."
"Why don't you put a mark on the boat?" the other said.
"That sounds reasonable, but how do you know we'll get the same boat?"

Two good friends, Father Kelly and Rabbi Levy, sat opposite each other at a banquet where a ham was being served.  Father Kelly helps himself liberally, and turns to his friend and says, "When are you going to become liberal enough to eat ham, Rabbi Levi?"
Rabbi Levi said, "At your wedding."

A Virginian was boasting and said, "One of my ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence."
"Indeed," replied the Jew.  "One of mine signed the Ten Commandments."

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pony Up!

Richie's great niece is already a championship equestrian which is not really a surprise as her mother and grandmother are both champions.  The tack/feed room of their barn is very nearly wallpapered with blue ribbons.  She has a pony - her second, she outgrew the first - and her mother has a show jumper.  They have a barn, a corral and their own yard.

She recently celebrated her 12th birthday and Richie picked up a couple of books on horses, ponies, riding, and so forth for her.  I thought it was coals to Newcastle but then I got to leafing through them and ...

"Horse and Pony Fact File: An Essential Guide to the World of Horses and Ponies"  This really is  A to Z coverage on Our Friend the Horse/Pony starting with breed types - the Connemara is described as a strong, sturdy riding pony with good paces. and I liked it due to a dappled grey color.  I've been a grey horse sucker for as long as I can remember.  At the track, if a grey horse came stumbling to the gate, dragging a hind leg, I'd still bet it.   

The  practical side of horse/pony ownership is described - how to muck out a stable; what to feed the animal and when, picking out hooves, making sure the pasture is free of any poisonous plants; what the rider is to wear and where - show clothes are much fancier than hacking around outfits (jeans and a sweatshirt and a riding helmet).  Never get on a four-legged beast without a riding helmet.  Never. 
"Horse, the Essential Guide for Young Equestrians" has pop-ups, with additional facts including "run your own pony show" complete with an envelope of blue ribbons. 

If your little girl is begging to have her own pony, remind her that riding is not just saddling up and going where the wind takes her and her mount.  Tell her she will be expected - every day - to:

7 a.m.  feed and change water.  Muck out the stall
9:30 a.m. saddle and exercise the animal - if you have to be at school, can exercise when school is over for the day
11 a.m.  unsaddle, give water and hay, turn out to the pasture
12:30 noon - give a look out to the pasture
4:30 p.m. Pick the hooves, re-water, give second feeding
8 p.m.  Give the third feeding and close up for the night.

Who knew?  Horses often drink 12 gallons of water per day; the equivalent of 128 cans of soda.
Horses  have small stomachs and are considered "trickle feeders" eating all day; in fact, a horse will often graze for 22 out of 24 hours.  They need roughage (hay, grass,) concentrates of oats, barley, sugar beet cubes and succulents - apples and carrots, BUT:  cut the carrot in strips; coin-shaped can catch in their throats and choke them. 

Wanting a pony or a horse is a very common thing in young girls.  When I was 8 or 10, I started riding at a near-by stable as often as I could con a parent into taking me.  One of my birthdays was held at Benjamin Stables and everyone got to ride, followed by a barbecue.  It took some time for the parents of the other girls to forgive my parents for presenting this very expensive activity.

Why the enchantment of horseback riding to young girls?  Looking back I think it's the power of controlling some 1,200+  lbs. of horse with a flick of a rein or a gentle heel in the horse's side.  That's power, babee.    Learn it young and never forget it.   A girl that grows up riding is almost never going to need another person's help. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Marching Farther Down the Crazy Trail; City Limits of "You've Got To Be Kidding Me" Straight Ahead

Fix Your Lower Back; Become a Muslim!

"According to a new study" which is about as non-information laden as "news" can be ... Performing the prayer called Salat which requires male Muslims to bow, kneel and then stretch out their backs to knock their foreheads against the floor is supposed to be a good way to stretch L5.

Ah, you rarely disappoint. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

"You So Crazy!"

Buyer's Remorse

If you thought $43 for a "fog" martini in San Francisco was a bit pricey, sit'cher self down.  You're going to need support.

The Grand Velas Las Cabos Resort  is offering guests their $25,000 Taco. 

Of course it's a promotional stunt.  I seriously doubt that anyone would ever order one.  Especially since we don't have to go any further than 5th and PCH for a very good taco at Rosa's for $.2.50.

What on earth is in one you gasp, thumping your hand against your chest in shock?  Very well - start with a corn tortilla (which is about as low rent as you can get) and sprinkle it with 24k gold flakes.

Stuff this shell with Kobe beef, shrimp, beluga caviar, and black truffle Brie.  Pico Pica sauce?  Tsk! You fool!    The salsa is morita chiles and civet coffee made from fermented droppings of a civet that ate coffee beans. 

I can't imagine circumstances that would force ingestion of re-cycled civet shit - let alone pay $25,000 for it.

Cultural Appropriation - Take off those hoop earrings, Girl!

Pitzer College, of Claremont, CA, is fomenting fury at white women who wear big hoop earrings.  A wall on campus has been set aside to air and exhibit the grief and outrage of black females (presumably - but this is a liberal arts college) who feel this jewelry is strictly the property of black women. 

Despite the fact that it was a very popular item in Egypt in the days of Cleopatra. 

Ah, yes - the beauty of liberal thinking.  If you want to earmark Pritzer for your kid, annual tuition is $47,020 to learn how to riot about who gets to wear hoop earrings.   Ah, for the Golden Ages when telephone booth stuffing (how many adults in one booth?) and goldfish swallowing (self explanatory.)  Those truly were the good old days.  Except for the goldfish.   

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Woman's Day March!

Ladies - wriggle into your Spanx, tighten the ankle straps on your Louboutins and prepare to march in celebration of women's accomplishments!

But ... don't get too cocky.  Offered below is a Forbes list of the wealthiest women on the planet and of more interest how they got that way.

Christy Walton   $36.7 billion   Widow of one of Sam Walton's sons

Lillianne Bettancourt, France   $34.5 billion   Daddy founded L'OrĂ©al (OTC hair dye, guys)

Jacqueline Badger Mars  $20.3 billion   Grandpa founded Mars Candies as in Mars Bars and (high end) Ethel M boxed chocolates.

Gina Rinehart, Australia   $17.7   Daddy, an iron ore magnate.

Suzanne Klatter   $17.7 billion   Daddy is BMW

Abigail Johnson   $17.3 billion   Johnson and Johnson, the Band-Aids family

Lauren Powell Jobs   $14.1 billion  " That's 'Mrs. Jobs' to you."

Miucci Prada   $11.1 billion  Grandpa's knitting business

Charlene de Carvalho Heineken   $10.4 billion   Daddy Heineken

Elaine Marshall   $8.8 billion  Husband, who owned a great deal of Koch Industries

Every single one of them inherited from a husband or male relative.  These "accomplishments" you're bragging about?  What were they again?  Better you should fluff it up and go sit in a bar on an Oh so-casual manhunt. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Blips on the News;But Nothing Earthshaking

UPDATE:  The San Pedro day care that was trashed by four children ages 7 to 11 - three of the children were siblings; none attended the facility.  Damages went up to $30,000 not the estimated $25,000 previously mentioned.  The day care caters to six weeks to five years old kids.

It is expected that few will.  We only have three items on the ballot - a measure to spiffy up our waterfront by means of over development, more vehicular traffic; the 4th District candidates for City Council person and a new Mayor of all of the glory that is Redondo Beach.

You'll have to motor stately  up to Santa Barbara to see it, but the MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation is a 17,000 sq. ft., tri-floored facility with exhibits that include walking into a giant guitar to see how sound works, many inter-active displays including making a sound track to accompany short clips of films.     Visit them from home at

I am putting together a compilation of previous columns in book form and having a ball doing it.  The selection process has been somewhat marred in that I am rolling through, looking for a specific column and I run across all of the others and frequently say, ( to myself, I work alone;) "Oh, yeah!  Gotta have that one!  I'd forgotten about that!"  So far, I have the cover art, dedication, front-of-the-book quote, 22 chapters and some 13,000 words.

"The Adventures of Toni the Tampon" is a coloring book starring a tampon.  The author is Cass Clemmer, who says that menstruation is not gender specific and that men have periods, too.  She is referring to transgender men who went from male to female which I think is cheating. 

She said , "I'd rather help just one genderqueer or trans menstruator feel like they were seen than sell 1,000 copies."  That statement proves to me that the lady is batshit crazy.  One  writes a book for the money

But more especially this is what has me seeing red (deliberate) and that is this:  The trans population is estimated to be 1.4 million adults which is a minute 0.6 per cent of all of us straights put together.  In looking over old columns (going back to 2009) I was struck by the number of columns about gender transformation, unisex bathrooms, laws for and against and on and on.  How did the last half inch of the dog's tail come to wag all of the rest of the Great Dane? 

Marshall your arguments and we will debate this the 12th of Never.  It's not safe.  The Transgenders would arm themselves with their new spike heels and construction boots and clobber us unmercifully.  No thanks.  I do not want my obit to read "killed by a size 12 Manalo Blahnick."   

Article source:   The Comments are worth a read.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Red Alert, LA County Dwellers!

According to news reports, Harrison Ford is back in the air again.  He was seen pre-flight testing (chin-ups off of the tail rotor are pre-flight?) at Santa Monica airport on Saturday.  His eventual destination was either not known or not announced.  And "destination" may be a moot point given his recent flying history. 

It was an enormous helicopter or so it looked and it was clearly a two-pilot deal because there was ample cockpit room and two seats.  An apparently older photo showed him at the controls and a teen-aged looking woman in the copilot's chair for a charity appearance of some sort. 

The charity part might be that they evidently landed safely or never took off.  One or the other, it could be considered luck and the charity of God Himself to walk away from a Ford flight. 

While you're sitting around waiting for the inevitable plane crash, you could amuse yourself with a wonderful Website I came across that prints true (?) obituaries - "Jim Bob Jackson, dies at 74 - much longer than he deserved" or "Barbara Ellen Schnafftag - Sampled the entire Haagen-Daas line"  Ed. note:  "and promptly died of a sugar overdose?"  "unfortunate fall after slipping on a pile of empty ice cream cartons"?

What I cannot figure out and what I would welcome opinions on is:  did the deceased write these obits about themselves?  Did a family member write them?  Were said deceased actually dead or not?  Is this whole thing an exercise in writing? 

Something more to worry about ... while I rewrite my own obit.  It's a little cut and dried right now  It needs a flair of some sort ....  Toying ...

"Despite passing herself off as a writer, Murphy was anything but.  Her plagiarism and inability to write anything she hadn't sniffed out in another source was legendary."

"She was charged with intellectual property theft many times, but proudly boasted, "I never did time!  So hah!" 

"Her life's ambition was to have a champagne named for her; she never did despite numerous bribes to grape pickers in the French champagne region.  The pickers happily took her money but never understood a word she said." 

This is fun!  Write your obit today!  But keep an  eye on the window - especially if you live on a golf course.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

"The Danish Girl" Gets the Last Laugh

Book:  The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
The movie:  The Danish Girl, starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, directed by Tom Hooper

Both depict the lives of a husband and wife, a pair of artists in Denmark and what happens to their lives when the husband recognizes his dream of becoming a woman and what happened during the process to make him one.

"Mixed" couples are no longer as unusual as they were in the late '20s and early '30s, the time this book covers.  Today, switching gears, if you will,  is apparently as easy as having a hot appendix removed.  If not as frequently.

Einer (husband) and Gerda (wife) (This is set in Denmark; they aren't going to be Bob and Judy)  are doing well until the fateful day she asks him to pose in the clothing of the opera star she is painting who was unable to keep her appointment with Gerda.  The portrait is done except for the feet, legs and drape of the gown.  So Gerda asks Einer and he "reluctantly" complies.

Wearing the dress, his first pair of hose, a camisole, flips him out and over the statue of the Little Mermaid and he's never the same again.  Literally.

As the story progressed, I became intrigued by something.  Not the sex change stuff; many a CEO is wearing a thong under his bespoke business suit or so I have been led to believe.  What amazed me is this:  Einer's alter-ego, a "woman" named Lili is clearly seen by both husband and wife as a real person.  "Do you think Lili would like to go to the artists ball tonight?" she asks him.  "I'll ask her," he replies.

The wife is supportive; she taught him how to use make-up, lets him borrow clothing items and buys "her" more ... but nonetheless, Einer/Lili is now determined to have a physical sex change.  Previously he saw doctors who tried to x-ray "deviancy" out of him; others who analyzed him, dusted their hands and said, "Split personality."

Hearing of a doctor who would ease "her" of her burden (carried below the waist if you get my drift) Lili will finally emerge as the person she always thought she was.   The first surgery is reasonably successful, but only after a very long recuperation in an unwed mothers' home, if you please.

Her doctor advised him that the second surgery, to build the interior plumbing is much more complicated and perhaps least said, soonest mended would be prudent in his case.  He refuses.
The surgery takes place. Exploring the man's interior, the surgeon finds a pair of small, aged ovaries.   Lili was actually a female from birth. 

Sidebar:  Richie and I were driving down Catalina, admiring the ocean when I decided to tell him exactly what happens in a sex-change surgery.  He flinched visibly - if it had been a noise, he would have screamed - and barely missed clipping a bicyclist, two fat ladies with fatter dogs in the crosswalk and a herd of gulls on the roadway.  Proceed with caution if you decide you want a look-see.   But it is interesting.  Who knew you could that with that? 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rumors of War in Palm Springs!

Palm Springs has frequently been referred to with the modifying adjectives "sleepy, old" which I know to be true, having been a visitor for the past 50 years.  Of course, old houses get demolished to accommodate new ones; certainly restaurants flip owners and cuisines like a Japanese fan, but basically, PS or "the Springs" has remained largely unchanged in any major way. 

One of the biggest additions to the landscape was the Bob Hope house in 1973.  The uninitiated have to be shown where it is - atop a mountain on the northern side of Palm Canyon Drive as you head for Cat City (Cathedral City) - but once seen, it's not forgotten because it looks like a giant mushroom.  Only the swooping, mountain-colored roof is visible from down below where the peasants (us) congregate.

The house is reached by a private road that skips past a settlement of  hill-clinging beige houses, said to be the residences of the last 300 Agua Caliente Indians, the group that still owns every other acre there.  At the top are armed guards.  Or so I've been told. 

We took the Celebrity Tour once some time ago and were lucky enough to have a loquacious guide who had lived there most of his life.  He told us that the Hopes used the mountain top estate mainly for entertaining (300 dinner guests at a time out on the spacious patio.)  He went on to say, as he shifted gears, that the Hopes actually lived down on the flats.  And he showed us a pair of white cottage-y looking unassuming houses. " This is the Hope's house; this is the one they bought for their daughter."  The houses backyards adjoined.  "The Hopes wanted to be near their grandchildren," he said. 

The entertainment house has been on the market for quite some time and is being offered yet again.  If you bought it, you would get a 360 degree view of the Coachella Valley from a 22,000 sq.ft. house with six bedrooms, 10 baths and three half-baths.  Additional amenities include indoor and outdoor pools, tennis court, putting green and a immense outdoor fireplace.  $50 million. 

The Hope house sale is not what's got the residents up in arms.  AirBnB and others of that ilk have fired the opening salvos. 

The AirBnB renters often haven't been vetted by property owners sufficiently for the PS residents taste.  One woman reported that she's had to call the PSPD seven times for excessive noise.  Curses were also hurled at so-called Millennials who started buying back in '07 to prove to themselves that you could lose your job, but still have a house, a bit of logic that escapes this writer, but what the hey.  These people LOVE AirBnB and rent out their homes on a regular basis.  Snubbing the "real renters," who have the power and familiarity of long-time residence there.  There is a very real Power Group of the oldies there.  And they are wily.  En garde to the youngsters...

Meanwhile, when it finally gets warmer down there than here, we will motor stately down for a personal look-see.  We'll be at the Vagabond Inn though.  We have a house here.  I don't need to make beds, etc. down there.  Poolside with a good book is preferable.      

Friday, March 3, 2017

From Royals to Vandals

The Secret Language of British Royalty's Handbags

Queen Elizabeth does carry a purse despite having Ladies-in-Waiting to fetch and carry for her.   Perhaps it is meant to be more of a signaling device than merely a convenient sack to carry her glasses and case, the odd mint, a handkerchief in. The on dit is that when she shifts her purse from one hand to the other, she's saying,  "I'm ready to leave now."  When she is nearing the end of an event, she will put the bag down on the nearest piece of furniture for the lady-in-waiting to pick up as a signal that she's done here.  If she is in a conversation that is boring or annoying her or who knows what, she will give her wedding ring a slight twist.  This is interpreted to mean, "GET ME OUT OF HERE!"

What I want to know is this:  why are her stockings always wrinkled at the ankle?  Doesn't she have the strength to pull them up taut?    Are her maids as aged as she is?  Given the amount of money she is said to have ... someone brawny enough to haul hose up could easily be found.

Devil Spawn in San Pedro?

A daycare center in San Pedro, designed to cater to  children of Harbor Dept. personnel and to low-income area children has been vandalized to the tune of more than $25,000.  Damage came from ink toner and/or dry baby formula, dumped into drawers,  sprayed all over the walls, and rugs; obscenities written on the walls.  All of the fire extinguishers were emptied of their contents.   

The World Tots LA Day-Care Center will be closed for a week while a hazmat team goes in for the clean-up.  Teachers will have the week off as will all of the children which caused some concern to the parents of the kids who may have had to scramble to get alternative child care. 

The culprits have all been identified and arrested and will be dealt with in Juvenile Court. 

Five children were involved  - four boys and one girl - aged 7 to 11 years old.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bird Voyeurism

Today being March 1st I got curious about what else there might be to celebrate other than St. Patrick's Day as I am never loathe to party.  Here's what popped up -

Tuesday, 3/14  National Potato Chip Day  As they are not by any means an unknown food item here, will not bother to do anything fancy.  I already know to open a bag for guests from the bottom  and pour them into a dish - the big ones will be on top and chip dust on the bottom of the bowl. 

Wednesday, 3/15  Buzzards Day

Thurs. 3/16  Everything You Do Is Right Today - c'mon, we all know people who think this is a daily holiday; let's not encourage them.

Buzzards Day did intrigue me.  Research informed me that in 1810 a man and his nephew were traveling near the settlement (now, of course, a city) of Hinchley, Ohio, when in the distance they spied a flock of vultures lazily circling and then diving down to something presumably on the ground. 

Equally curious, they hied themselves to the Big Bend Rocky River where they found a gallows bearing the corpse of a Wyandote Indian squaw who had been hanged as a witch two years earlier.

Several conclusions popped into mind ... vultures are dainty eaters?  A nibble here, there ... or they eat so much that they are satiated and have to fly sluggishly back to their nest to digest... or that was one hella tough squaw. 

Now every year on March 15th locals and tourists gather, binoculars in one hand and a fork in the other - Hinchley offers a sausage and pancake breakfast and if you think about it, sausages are particularly appropriate, composed as they are of fat, salt and bone chips ... 

Meanwhile, another bird spectacular is taking place that we, here at home, can enjoy.   I am referring to the Decorah eagles which lay eggs that then hatch, all these activities carried live by a discreet video feed.  The eggs (three this time)  have just been laid and both parents take turns sitting on them.  In the fullness of time, the eggs begin to show movement and then a beak pops through ... all very dramatic and eagerly watched for by eagle enthusiasts.  The Website for all of this breathtaking activity - including the tedium of reports to others such as "She's still sitting on the eggs - Day 35"  to get in on the action.  Right now there are three eggs which were laid around 6 and 7 p.m. in the early evening  Darkness hides the eggs from predators? 

Don't let my blathering delay you - go "eagling" right now!  You might miss something!