Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Did You Ever Think Dodgeball Could Be Worth $50,000?

If you are a certain age, the odds are great that you haven't given much, if any, thought to dodgeball since the 1st to 7th grade when you might have played it.  My younger sister and a friend my age both remarked on that.  My sister remembers that they played it inside the gym in bad weather - and Kansas City, Mo., could dole out bad weather with the best of them.  She also noted that the games were segregated - boys vs. boys.  She added that in spring, the boys played baseball; the girls played softball.  The dodgeball was smaller than a basketball, but made of soft rubber so no one got hurt.

Today, there is the Ultimate Dodgeball Championship, made up of winning teams across our great nation heading for a major confrontation in Chicago.  The prize is the championship and $50,000.

Dr. James Carlyle who brought it to Yale University in 1884 would be stunned.  He got it from a visit to Africa where he observed with great interest dodgeball between tribes for supremacy.  In today's world of suicide bombers, knife-wielding nut cases, a rousing game of dodgeball to settle something sounds downright pastoral.

There are only three rules - do not hit anyone with the ball.  Do not catch the ball.  Do not force an opponent out of the court.  If this sounds like a fun occupation, Target sells dodgeballs for from $9 to $20. 

Naturally, today the game has been banished from school fields and gyms because "some kids are not as athletic and can feel left out."   How athletic do you have to be fa chrissake?  Another reason it is banned is that it promotes "violence, exclusion and degradation." which would have sounded like tremendous good fun when I was a kid. 

And I wasn't considered particularly savage in high school when field hockey was the perfect game to bash hell out of your opponent's shins as pay back for slights and snubs.  All of us did it.  And we were all wearing shin guards so pretty much no harm, no foul. 

No this ban because a rousing game could hurt someone's feeeelings reminds me of a Rita Rudner tidbit - that she was an only child and therefore overprotected.  She said her tricycle had seven wheels - and a driver.

                                      Drones banned; helicopter parents welcome.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

Whoops - that was the Indy 500.  Forget I said anything.

Instead, eat nothing from today until the morning of the first Friday in June which will be National Donut Day. 

You will have plenty of opportunities here in California as we boast 680 donut shops.  New York has 476 and Chicago has 340.  We win!  We win!

Granted, it's a dubious honor, but, dammit, it's ours! 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Taking Umbrage at Nomenclature

A new home for indigent American veterans is opening.  This two-story facility provides 480 sq. ft. of  housing per tenant consisting of a bed, dresser, TV, dinette, easy chair, kitchen and closet constructed from shipping containers and is located in Midway City, CA.

The name of this effort is Potters Lane.  I read that and thought they were kidding.  Potters Lane as in Potters Field? 

Potters Field is not a good place to be buried.  They are, one and all, mass graves and have been for a very long time.  Potters used a specific area of land, rich in clay to dig for their works or they did until the high priests of Jerusalem purchased this land  to provide a mass  burial ground for unknown and/or poor people.   From those days to these "potters field" has been used to describe mass graves for the above, because the deceased was too poor to pay for a solitary grave as is customary.

Would you want to live in a development named "Potters Lane"?  As in, "Oh yes, to get to Potters Field, you take Potters Lane and ..."

The American Family Housing USA bunch clearly thinks that vets will just love it and is clucking with glee, shoulders stinging from all the pats on the back they are giving themselves.  The veterans pay $69/month and charities and others pay the remainder - $1,259 - of the monthly rent.  We're talking $1,328 total rent and I have to wonder why the rent for  480 sq. ft. in a town the majority of us has never heard  of prior to today is so high.  You can rent a 1,200 sq. ft. two-story, three bedroom house in Redondo Beach for $1,500. 

American Family Housing USA - I'm lookin' at you ... Non-profit? 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wedding Rings, Blown Clutches and Book Blurbs

I read that Gregg Allman had died and idly asked Richie if he thought that Cher (former wife #3) would go to the funeral.  I pointed out that if all of his previous wives (7) attended and his five kids, each from a different ex-wife,  the front pew would be a bit of a tight fit for all of them.

Number 7 was actually the resident wife (incumbent?) when Allman fell off of the perch.  They married in 2012 when he was 64 and she was 24.   

I wonder if they all go if the seating will be according to tenure, with Wife #1 on the aisle, Wife #2, second in and so forth. Or the reverse - with #7 on the aisle to better throw herself across the coffin.   This is not an etiquette problem many of us are familiar with as it's rare for a man to have had seven wives.  A woman, no.  You've only to consider the track records - or aisle records - of such as ZsaZsa Gabor and Elizabeth Taylor.  Such virtuous girls - clearly they wouldn't "do it! horror! without a wedding ring. 

There has been a change in scoring for the winner of right now's Indy 500, blasting from TVs near you.  From the LA Times:  Team Penske has four of the top five drivers in the IndyCar standings, has won the last three races of this season, and added two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya to today's line up. 

The thing to shoot for is clearly second.  Don't over-exert yourselves, drivers, a Penske something will win.  Make your best effort and go for it!  Second!  You can do it!  Money talks and bullshit sits by the side of the track with a blown engine.
Very often book publishers do a double by getting quotes from other authors, praising the brand-new book's author and run them on the back cover.  Supposedly, if you like XYZ's books, and XYZ says this is a good read (funny, they never, ever run pans) then you will hotfoot it in to your bookstore and buy a copy. 

Meanwhile XYZ is getting publicity for his/her book by praising yours.  Everybody wins!

My third book - a collection of these columns - will be coming out soon and I want distinguished authors praising it, too.  Trouble is, no one even vaguely well-known has ever heard of me.  So, forced to rely on my own  creativity, see what you think of these ...

"Girrrlll, we could have had some giggles!"  Oscar Wilde  1854-1900

"Kin we tawk?"  Joan Rivers  1933-2014

"You're too nice.  You have to let the rabid, feral you out!"  Rodney Dangerfield  1921-2004

"My writers want a copy of this - can I get a discount?"  Bob Hope  1903-2003

Who's gonna sue?  No one.  They're all dead!  ha ha ha ha

Saturday, May 27, 2017

What Is This "Bromance" ... Nonsense? *

The most recently named bromance partners are Emmanuel Macron, 39, and Justin Trudeau, 45.  The first is the President of France; the other runs Canada. 

Not quite sure what bromance-ville entailed, I looked it up and it is described as:  a close, platonic friendship of love, support and deep affection."  It was first coined in 1990 in a skateboard magazine so you can readily see the absolute relevance of such an expression.  Skateboarders are known far and wide for their compassion for their fellow skaters.  I think.

Unfortunately I am old and old-fashioned because a "romance" means only one thing to me.  It is the mutual admiration of two people interested in finding love that subsequently leads to events that include but are not limited to giving gifts of flowers, candy and jewelry, and  banging like a screen door in a tornado. 

Very well; so much for what I think.  Additionally  I think that older words used to describe friendships make more sense.  "Oh, we're great friends!"  Or "He/she is my best friend!" are much clearer in explaining the relationship. 

There seems to be no set similar expression for women's friendships.  "Womance" sounds wike you can't tawk stwait and "Homance" strikes unpleasantly close to "pimps and hos" in my lexicon. 

O Millenials, we look to you for an explanation.  Oh, that's right - you're too narcissistic to be bothered.  Sorry. 

*  This is not the word I would have used, but AP-style frowns on expletive use in a headline.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Small But Important Distinction

Memorial Day celebrates the lives of those who died in the military; Veterans Day celebrates those who have and are serving in the military. 

For automotive racing fans - no "double dip" this year.  None of the Indy 500 drivers (as of this writing) are going to run the Indy 500 and then chopper down to compete in the NASCAR Coca Cola 600.  Today, however, is Carburation Day, if you're into that kind of thing. 

Have a great holiday weekend.  Among other things, I am trying to work out the details of a new contest - the Construction Dudes Beauty Pageant.  Only construction workers can enter and am wrestling with should women be excluded?  The majority of dry wallers, plumbers, electricians, roofers are male.  Hmmm... should there be separate gender candidates?  Will the lunatics in the knit pink pussy hats descend on me if I don't?  If more women cared less about their manicures, would there be more female construction workers?  This is already tricky.  Perhaps a bacon-wrapped hot dog, a scoop of potato salad (Richie's is excellent) and a baked bean or two  will ease the trauma of creation.  

Richie's Potato Salad
3 or 4 red potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked.  Drain them and throw them in the serving bowl.  Add splashes of pickled jalapeno "juice" and stir well.  Add sliced black olives,  chopped red onion, chopped pickled jalapeno rings, chopped hot, sweet cherry peppers; mayonnaise to suit with a dot of English mustard optional.  Chill and serve.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Saying "Goodbye" -- Or Not

Yesterday's mention of "the Irish Goodbye" triggered curiosity in me.  I wondered why "French leave" is another way of saying or implying the same thing.  I looked it up and it originally referred to going without "taking leave" of your host.  This is also called "ghosting" and it is a popular way to describe another's quiet departure.

Back in the day ('70s and '80s) my friends and I used "Dixie" to explain that we were about to leave - "Dixie" comes from the old song, "I wish I was in Dixie..."   One of us would look at her watch (or empty glass) and say, "Gotta Dixie."

James Lee Burke, the writer, has a character named Clete Purcell and he is a pistol.  No filters on him at all.  He once filled someone he hated's convertible - the top was down - with a hefty pour of wet concrete.   And he frequently tells Dave Robicheaux, the series hero,  "Time to di di" which I get that it's a reference to an abrupt departure or a recognition that "we've done all we can to destroy this - let's go" I have never heard anyone say it so I have no idea how it's pronounced.  If you know, let me know!  Is it "die die" (as in the quick for diaper) or is it "Deedee" as in the shortened form of Diana or Dina? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

These Are Good Luck at a Wedding?

I saw a photo of the "glass tent" imported from Belgium for the reception to celebrate Pippa Middleton's marriage to some wealthy dude no one ever heard of except his social circle.  I found this glass tent more interesting, frankly.  In reality it's an over-sized greenhouse and is reported to have cost $130,000 and was shipped in from Belgium. 

To see more of the glassworker's art, visit  One variety has to be shipped from Shanghai so do plan ahead.  Or adopt much cheaper ways to celebrate.  There are a variety of  ways, based on the country that you live in.  So poke around in the stewpot and extract a morsel that might amuse and occupy your wedding guests.  You certainly don't have to actually be in that country.

Teasing Theft - in India, the bride's oldest unmarried sister steals the groom's shoes.  His family has to pay the ransom to get them back.  If it was my sister I would be suspicious that perhaps shoes weren't all she wanted from my husband.

In Kenya, the bride's father gives her a farewell "good luck!" by spitting on her head and chest.  This strikes me as passive aggressive to a fine degree.   

African-Americans jump over a broom and the one of the pair who leaps higher is believed to be the decision-maker in the following days and years.  Basketball courts do a good business before the wedding.  Or so 'tis said.

In Venezuela and Britain, the happy couple attempts to sneak away from the festivities and this is referred to as an "Irish Goodbye" which is gratuitous insult.  Insults have no place at a happy occasion.

As for German customs there was dissension in the ranks - one side holds that the wedding guests bring china and bash it on the floor at the reception so that the newly-married couple has to work together to clean it up.  Conversely, this is said to be a fun part of a pre-wedding bash.

In Ireland, a bell is rung after each half of the couple makes their vows so as to ward off evil spirits.

In Greece the best man shaves the groom for the ceremony and his ushers/friends help get him dressed in what is believed (there) to be a sign of trust.  But whose trust was not explained.  .  I find this interesting (and certainly odd) on several levels.  According to historical tomes, ancient Greeks weren't all that choosy about with whom they mated.   Any port in a storm, if you will. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Thought

In the wake of the Manchester slaughter, a number of people are fretful that audiences will flee venues that present live performances. 

What if attendees were screened as if they were boarding a plane?  Oh, you say that it would take too long?    Airports handle a great many people per day and the public has (finally) learned that if you want to go, get your butt to the airport well before your flight time.  Can not concert attendees learn the same thing?

Who's going to pay for all of those machines and personnel?  The artist performing.  If they want to rake in the big bucks, let them spend a little for the safety of their fans and pay a rental fee on the venue's investment in screening expenses. 

Too cheap to do it?  Let them Skype their performance to a paying audience who can remain in the relative safety of their homes with their friends.   Tough that a lot of people will see your star turn for free, but ... you didn't want to buy available security eat it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Elvis Is IN The Building

In an unusual effort to spiff this place up a little bit - very uncharacteristic - we decided to:

Have the wall heaters attended to and that includes removal of the downstairs heater - the heat only goes up the stairs and is useless for the office or more importantly, the bathroom after showering on a wintry day.  Especially the post shower bit.  My kingdom for a toasty bathroom? 

The upstairs wall heater is being replaced with a newer model.  This house was built in 1963 and I think the wall heaters (twins) were installed then.   Re this newer model, I was stunned to learn that they now come with thermostats!  Can you imagine?  You just twist a dial (or something) and the furnace stays at the designated temperature!  No more flying up the stairs to turn it on full blast on those mornings when it's 45 outdoors and 55 inside.  And don't forget to turn on the ceiling fan to blow the heat around. 

This is truly exciting - this automatic heat deal.  You may wonder at our timing though.  Naturally, yesterday it was 75, but today our familiar marine layer is back this morning  as it should be for Gray May and June Gloom when we rarely see the sun. 

Jaimie who runs things at Silva Construction, a firm we've used for 30+ years, called this morning at 7:40 a.m. to tell me that the heating guy will be at the house at 8 a.m. I nearly dropped the phone.  Neither one of us had showered yet.  She said, "You'll like this - his name is Elvis!"  and I replied, "Can't beat a pro football player I knew of - his name was "Elvis Peacock!"    We tittered over that until I noticed it was 15 minutes till touchdown for Elvis and made hasty adieus

As I can do bed-to-street in 15 minutes, I wasn't too worried.  Richie's toilet is considerably longer in its completion, but in this case it didn't matter.  Men can run around in their underwear in front of complete strangers (male, only) and neither ever bats an eyelash.   It's a guy thing - and they're welcome to it.

Elvis showed up promptly and is now removing the downstairs heater.  Much rustling through tool sounds.  And then the security door banged as he went out for more.  I took a peek from the office door and saw that the hall is piled with tool bags and there's a vertical hole in the wall. 

Elvis is a stocky, well-built man of probably early 30s, clearly good-natured and quite affable.  I looked down on his head as he worked from the floor and his black hair is neatly parted and slicked down from the shower-looking.  His mama would be proud.


In answer to yesterday's curiosity as to whether Cher  has adopted wearing underwear, the answer has to be a resounding "No!"  Shots of her in two very revealing costume's at Sunday's Billboard Music Awards clearly proved it beyond any doubt.  I never thought I would say this (okay, write it) but Cher has put on a few (much-needed) pounds!

YES!  Warmth!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sniggering at Those More Glamorous than Ourselves

Today, Cher celebrates her 71st birthday.  I wondered to Richie if she was finally wearing underwear?  He snorted and turned a page in the Sports section.  He's not big on gossip.

I turned instead to the Daily Mail's breathless coverage of the Pippa Middleton wedding.  She is the younger sister of Kate Middleton, wife to Prince Charles.  Mrs. Middleton can now relax, having gotten both daughters wed.  Son James Middleton while not marching down the aisle himself is said to be in a long-term but off and on relationship with a former child star, presenter and so forth named Donna Air, 37.  Air?  Airwaves?  If that's her real name,  I would be surprised.  Even though I looked to find her birth name and was unsuccessful.  

The other item mentioned but not dwelt on - a profusion of portable portaloos - will decorate grounds of the Middleton mansion for a reception this evening.    I think that while it is certainly accommodating for guests, it's all hysterically funny.  I wonder if they designated ... "Duchesses" or "Princesses" ..on the doors. It's good to know that the great British reverence for titles is flourishing.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Spin Your Wheels But Never Move an Inch

Normally this would be a bad thing.  Wasted effort, precious sweat.  In this case it's considered a good thing - the 5th annual Tour De Pier which is five hours on a stationery bike, parked along the Manhattan Beach Pier.  This is to benefit three anti-cancer establishments, the Hirshberg Foundation (pancreatic,) Uncle Kory (brain) and the Cancer Support Community for everyone. 

Imaginative, no?  There will be 350 stationery bikes holding pride of place on the Pier this Sunday, June 21st, first ride starts at 8:30 a.m. until the last ride at 12:30 p.m. 

"Just a bunch of bikes and people?" you say.  No, tots are invited to enjoy the Cardio Kids Zone where they can ride mini-bikes, enjoy a bounce or three in a Moon bounce.  For adults there is a health and fitness fair  and "healthy" foods.  Both of which sound utterly depressing to me.  I'm not desperate enough to want a kale smoothie, thank you, and I already know I'm fat.   

Foaming at the mouth to participate?   Five hours for $750 per 350 bikes.  It is suggested that groups of five "buy a bike" and divide the riding sessions.

This charity do also benefits Uber, Lyft and local cabs because participants are urged to avail themselves of these -  "Drop me off at the corner of ..."   Want to pedal down on a real bike that actually goes somewhere?  There will be a Bike Valet.

All in all it sounds like just  too much excitement as well as utterly depressing to see Young!  Fit! Hot! people in Spandex and yoga pants and miniscule bikinis pedaling dutifully away. 

If I wanted to be depressed, I'd look at my checking account.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kudos To A Fellow Writer!

Writers are among the most competitive groups going.  The South Bay Writers Workshop is no less so..  Unfortunately, our competitive-ness is rather limited.  The local newspaper, the Daily Breeze, runs a column called "My Turn" from reader submissions.  No offense, DB, but this is not exactly a Nobel for Fiction or Otherwise level. 

Today, Chris Lynch got it.  Her piece is entitled "Dirty coins and hope add up to big-time fun"

Chris has a great sense of humor, dry and sere as a bone, which often makes things twice as funny. 

What is great from a writer's point of view is that Stephanie Walton, editor, of the column lets writers have a dollop of advertising at the column close.  Chris' book, "Tender Points: a Fibromyalgia Memoir" got a plug and so did we - "and a member of the South Bay Writers Workshop." 

Everybody's happy!  Competition is forgotten in the aura of hope for all the rest of us.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Been to the Toilet Museum Yet?

Oh, no?  Well pull out your frequent flyer miles and see if you have enough to get to Kita-Kyushu, Japan, or Suwan, South Korea, or New Delhi or closer to home, but not the same:  the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum, of Watertown (get it? ha ha) Maine.

America first; I think we can all agree on that ... In the '50s Charles Manoog began collecting antique plumbing items - toilets, sinks, bathtubs and the plumbing required for them.   In 1979, his son Russell renovated an old ice house and turned it into a museum.   One of the pictured toilets particularly intrigued me as it look liked it had been constructed of gray-green Wedgewood.  How stylish is that?  Wedgewood is more commonly used as table china.  Well ... logically from plate to toilet... but ...

In New Delhi, Sulalh's toilets range from 2,500 BC (basically a stone chair with stone walls on three sides) to the present-day Asian babies with warmed seats and a great deal more. 

No less than M.K. Gandhi said, "Sanitation is more important than independence."  The force behind this museum was Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, whose efforts opened up new worlds for the caste previously known as "untouchables."  Apparently, this class was forced to clean the toilets; after his efforts prevailed, they could use them, too. 

The ToTo Museum in Kita-khyushu is a paean to the Toto Plumbing company which traces its history.  For example, their traveling salesmen carried briefcases or suitcases filled with tiny porcelain models of all that was currently on offer.  They had to weigh a ton.  Those salesmen were clearly not weaklings.  Toto today makes a model that uses "electrolyzed water" said to automatically clean and deodorize the bowl. 

Not surprisingly, the leading item of interest to tourists returning to their own homes is:  Japanese toilets.  It's not mandatory to have a degree in engineering to use one, but from what I read, it couldn't hurt.

Suwon, South Korea really took it over the top and here is how.  Former Mayor Sim was born in his mother's parents' toilet.  He lived in a normal house for 30 years, then had it torn down and re-built to look like a white porcelain toilet.  He was celebrating having created the World Toilet Association.  When this toilet house was completed, an overnight stay to raise money for bigger and better, was $50,000.  There were no takers. 

Today the aerial view of the  building shows the resemblance.  Dotted around the grounds are such as a bronze copy of Rodin's "The Thinker."  He is not sitting on a rock if you get my drift.  Other bronze figures include men in the squatting position but whether or not they are thinking is not determinable. 

Another featured exhibit is Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" which is a white porcelain urinal.  It was sold at auction for $1.2 million. 

All in all these museum sound like they would be a fun visit as they seem to be exceptionally well done.  Still, would it have occurred to you to go visit a toilet museum?  Me either.  We learn something every day if we're paying attention.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Thank You, Anna Jarvis!

Who the hell is Anna Jarvis?  She campaigned for the creation of a day to honor mothers, and she began her campaign in 1908.  She was successful when, in 1914, Mother's Day became an officially-recognized holiday. 

But by 1923, the holiday had become far too commercial for her.  She decried the laziness of the people who were too indolent to write a letter, but bought a greeting card instead.  That commercialization was not what she had had in mind.  So she campaigned against that! 

But clearly she was not successful.  Restaurants, FTD and Hallmark all rub their fingers together greedily when the second Sunday in May rolls around. 

Of note:  today's featured band at the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club is the ensemble Jazz America, a full orchestra of young people who are learning about New Orleans Jazz and playing it with skill and gusto.  They all do their mothers proud.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Answer This For Me If You Can ...

Today's online news is featuring a story of an eight year old boy who was apparently bullied at school and who two days later hanged himself at home with a man's tie.

Who told an eight year old about suicide?  Who let him see how to do it?    And the ever-popular in sad stories like this:  where were his parents?

"What Fresh Hell Is This?" Dorothy Parker 1893-1967

So often it seems that there are fad news stories.  Most recently airline passenger abuse stories were the rage.  The doctor on a United flight, whopped and dragged off spurred a great many laughs as the quick-witted among us invented airline "slogans" to amuse the rest of us. 

Next up at bat for system abuse was American with the woman who tried to board with something like four kids, an enormous back pack, various suitcases and a stroller the size of a Volkswagen.  The FA, the gate attendant had all told her that the stroller would have to be stowed in the hold.  She refused.  FA grabbed the stroller in anger and apparently nearly clipped the baby with it.  Woman goes batshit nuts and was heard telling another passenger that "I did this two months ago and it was okay!"    Once okay is not always okay.

United:  "Flight attendant made me pee in a cup in front of everyone!" an aggrieved female flyer.  What was left out of the story in most of the press was:  the woman boarded, knowing full well that she had an over-active bladder - in fact, she told the FA that she did.   The seat belt sign was on because the plane was experiencing turbulence.  Airplane toilets do not have seat belts and getting up to minister to this idiot in turbulence is not something FAs like to do despite great medical from AA.

Were she not intelligence-challenged, knowing her medical condition, she would have been wearing a pair of adult diapers. 

By accident, I found an old Website I'd mentioned in a column back in 2009 called  I checked it; still up and running!   You want to hear stories!  The selfish mother; the fat lady who ebbed in a tide of fat into your lap ...

Given the additional chance for sensationalism for poor passengers, tonight starts the major move at LAX for Delta and American and a host of other airlines, many of whom I have never heard.   This is predicted to go on for the next five nights as the entire ground-working staff is shifted  from one side to the other.  "Hundreds" of  volunteer green-jacketed guides are said to be employed to help travelers.  The media has been full of this story.

And we both know, some dingbat will get "confused," get into "a situation" with someone and headlines will trumpet their idiocy for all the rest of us to see.

Stay home and avoid flying in or out of LAX for two weeks if you can possibly do it.  Hell, fly Southwest, they're at the other end of the airport.  You may have to fly to another destination than planned, but factor in the delay and pick a springboard city that will get you to Japan or wherever.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

So Typically Cart Before the Horse

Longtime LA Times columnist Steve Lopez has made a career out of being a gadfly in the public's eye.  He has railed for the public's right to shoreline access vs. Malibu millionaires; followed a homeless man named Nat, a violinist down on his luck and meds and got him rehabilitated to the point where he is more or less self-sufficient.  All good and worthy things. 

Today Lopez took readers to Venice (California) where homelessness is rampant.  He detailed interviews with homeowners and groups seeking to stabilize the non-med-taking crazies who, due to a lack of public bathrooms, defecate and urinate on whatever is handy.  Their make-shift tents block the sidewalks making it difficult for tax-paying residents to make their way around their own neighborhood.

The last two paragraphs are so typically the do-gooder with a warm heart and ice cubes for brains that I feel compelled to quote them. 

"At 3rd and Sunset, team members wondered if this would be the day their persistence paid off and a delusional woman living in a tent would listen to their offer of help.

"She did.  Now the team is trying to line up the best  option and bring her in, as soon as possible, from the streets of Venice."

If this group stole a horse, they would have no idea where to then house it.  They are not real good at having a plan in place or thinking ahead.  Just rush out there and Do Something!  .

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cloud Eggs and Huntsville Prison

A new social media "thing" caught my eye.  It is a breakfast dish called "cloud eggs" and they make a very pretty presentation.  For that reason and probably simplicity of preparation, they had been greeted with roaring enthusiasm.  You know how online can go nuts. 

They were old hat to me.  When we visited my cousin James and his wife George Anne in Huntsville, easily 20 years ago, she made them one morning and I was blown away.  She, however, didn't even have a name for them!  They were just "eggs."

I brought the how-to home and served them as well. 

"Eggs GeorgeAnne"
A toasted, buttered English muffin half per egg per person.
Number of eggs to serve number of people - very carefully separate the eggs and put the yolks gently aside.
Beat the whites as if for a meringue but do not add sugar and carefully apportion on top of the muffins.  Then working very softly, use a spoon to make an indentation in the top of the whites and slide the yolk into it.  Bake at 450 for five minutes and serve.  It's show time!

While in Huntsville, we did a very interesting tour of the Huntsville Prison Museum.  It was then and I think still today a "working" prison.  The museum is, of course, not on the prison grounds. 

Among the exhibits ... "Old Sparky" the electric chair which was in use from 1924 to 1964 and had dispatched 361 death row residents.  Service was not restored (so to speak) until 1982 when lethal injections became the favored means of execution.

The exhibits show the inventiveness and creativity of some of the inmates.  Weapons fashioned from every-day  items included a rubber flip-flop with a swing-out knife concealed in the sole.  The handle of a toothbrush honed down to a formidable point, tableware ditto - until management wised up and used plastic utensils.

If they had applied the same ingenuity to something worthwhile - such as patents - they would never have found themselves in prison. 

The display of restraints used over the years includes a couple of ball and chains - the real deal, not a cartoon about a henpecked hubby.

One of the most poignant exhibits has to be a framed picture of the criminal with a small inset of the victim and the last statement of the condemned and one from the victim's family.  That was an outstanding idea on someone's part.  This exhibit was not in place when we were there.  I wish it had been.  But we did get the mandatory shots of each of us behind bars in a mock-up jail.  As close as I ever want to get to jail.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


Minuit (French for Midnight) died age 14 years, 9 months, Saturday, May 7, 2017.  She lost a gallant fight against feline kidney disease when it suddenly and abruptly accelerated to the point of no return. 

She was adopted from the Yukon Avenue branch of the SPCA along with her Shelter Sister, Streak, also 14 years, but 8 months.  Both were four months old when they came to their permanent home.

Co-owner Nina Murphy remarked, "Of all of our six cats over the years, Minuit was the most patient of them all.  She would sit quietly beside the water bowl or food dish and never make a sound.  She was willing to wait until one or the other of us noticed her.

She was never a vocal cat, unlike some I could mention - Streak, I'm talking to you - but purred readily despite not being a lap cat in no uncertain terms.  She looked down on Streak as a "lap junkie," in fact.

She was the most outgoing in that yes, a knock at the door sent her scurrying under the bed, but unlike them, she would emerge later.  She recognized the voices of two friends - "D" and "Raffish" and would come readily to say hello.   

As a gesture of her gratitude to the Hermosa Animal Hospital, she wanted any unused medicines and the new bag of Kidney Diet dry food returned to the hospital in the event they have less fortunate financially cats whose owners could use them. 

She will be cremated in a private ceremony and interred in a small cedar chest to be stored with the four others containing the remains of previous cats.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Does It Get Any Better Than This? (snicker)

An ex-wife goes after the current occupant on a dance floor at a benefit for a grade school.  Meh, exes get touchy.  That's not what makes this story singular.

The ex - who calls herself DR. Erin Foster - is a therapist who offers relationship advice on "Dating Naked,"  MTV's "Are You The One?" and Dr. Drew Pinsky's talk radio program.  She specializes in relationship advice.  She is the former wife,

The incident took place at a benefit for a local grade school.  Tiffany Barbara, the current wife told the police that she was happily frolicking on the dance floor with a couple of fellow Moms when Dr. Erin grabbed her by the arm and nearly yanked her down onto the dance floor. 

In her request for a restraining order, Tiffany stated that "I was caught completely off-guard.  In that moment, I was terrified that Erin was going to hit me with what she had in her hand."  What she had in her hand was a cell phone which she stuck in Tiffany's face and recorded her while vilifying her verbally.   "She appeared to be intoxicated," said poor Tiffany who was also celebrating her 48th birthday at this private home bash.  Clearly one she'll never forget.

The security guard evicted Erin after she became "belligerent" to him.

J. Peter Barbara, Sr. VP, City National Bank, was apparently unavailable for a quote.   

Dr. Erin Foster will be arraigned in Torrance Court on May 19th on a battery charge. 

And I never did straighten out how many children, if any, each woman had contributed to the marriages. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

From the Social Pages, May 5, 2017

This is Mrs. Moondoggie Climber, reporting to you from divine Redondo Beach, close to the sea but closer to your hearts!  Yes!

It's going to be a very social weekend simply packed with choices!  La, the excitement!

Today is Cinco de Mayo or as the Ragin Cajun slyly calls it "Cinco de Bayou"  - isn't that precious?
Well,  an A for Effort, Raging Person, at trying to lure away long-time residents who wouldn't dream of celebrating anywhere but a Mexican restaurant.  Merciful Heavens.  Or "chinga tu madre" as we say.  I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I hear our gardener using it and he's Mexican so ...

And the restaurant is Las Brisas, 1969 Artesia, Redondo Beach.  If their parking lot is full, we all know when the North Redondo library closes and use their parking lot.  My hubbie, Mr. Adorable and I have been celebrating there for at least 30 years so you know they have something good going on!

I'm just hoping that they cooked up a big batch of their new enticement on their specials menu.  It's been a special for awhile now, but the chef tells me it's so popular that it may come onto the menu!  It's Shrimp in a Chipotl Cream Sauce and it is good ...a mild heat that permeates the shrimp. Mmm mmm!

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the Kentucky Derby with all of its colorful details - the ladies in their finery - la! the hats!  Did you ever except for last year?  They just get more fanciful every year.  Those beautiful gleaming horses in brilliant owner's colors strutting arrogantly around!  "I'm going to win; look at ME!" you can almost hear them saying.   Except, tee hee, we all know horses can't talk!  Wouldn't that be funny if they could?  I'm just giggling to myself, aren't you?

Mr. Adorable and I usually don't go anywhere to watch the Derby; we have a perfectly good TV right here at home.  And anyhow, neither one of us likes those mint juleps.  Imagine a highball class with ice cubes and straight bourbon with a weedy-looking stalk or longish sprig (? what do you call it?) of mint sticking out.  Not very pretty - reminded me of trying to drink compost, you know? - and one will put you on your keister and we don't want that, do we? 

I'm just so mad -  spent 10 minutes this morning trying to find out the contesting horses colors.  And none of the racing sites had pictures!  I love grey horses.  So ghostly and very often so swift.  I think they become kind of invisible to the other horses - isn't that silly?  Oh my yes. 

Well, nothing famous that I know of happening on Sunday.  I guess we'll just have to rest up from all of the fun on Friday and Saturday!  Sounds like a plan, doesn't it?  Have a great Cinco de Mayo, win big at the Derby and just relish it all on Sunday! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Huh - Who Knew?

If you've had surgery in the past 10 years, you know that the OR is freezing, frozen, icy cold.  And you are wearing a "gown" with all the thick, incredible warming powers of a sheet of newspaper.  If you're still awake when they roll you in and if you're me (unlikely - who'd want to be?) you are going to complain.  Between teeth chatterings.

And then a heavenly being, wearing scrubs for some reason,  appears and covers you with a sheet of plastic.  As you start to bitch about the dubious warming capabilities of said plastic, she hits a switch and the "sheet" morphs into a cloud of bliss as it is inflated with hot air.  "Ahhhh,"you sigh.  "This is better than the first sip of champagne, the warm cozies as you thump your belly after a Thanksgiving dinner ... and quite possibly sex."

And as your muscles relax and your surgery fears dissipate, all is well.  Blissfully you drift off unaware and uncaring if they're going to remove your appendix or do a heart transplant.  You're warm.

What I didn't know until my cousin landed in Loma Linda, Murrietta, is that your hospital room is going to be just as cold as the OR was.  Germologists (?) believe there are fewer chances of infection in a cold temperature than a warm (and humid) one. 

So the "who knew?" is that the nurses bring hot blankets on request.  There is a hot blanket locker on every patient floor in most hospitals. 

There is, however, some sinister reasoning behind this "Oh, you're cold?  Let me get you a warm blanket" on the part of the nurses.  Warm patients don't get out of bed seeking warmth.  They stay there where they can't hurt themselves getting out of bed and stumbling around to find a warm place.  Much less work for the nurses who have to get the patient back to bed and the  housekeeping staff who has to mop up burst IVs and blood.  Every good deed does have a reason behind it.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Getting There - $$$$

It's amazing how one thing can trigger another.  Yesterday I read an article about the new Japanese super train.  It's called the Train Suite Shiki-Hokkaido and takes four days of unbearable passenger  luxury from Tokyo to Hokkaido with various stops.  It is only 10 cars long and the one-way ticket price is $10,000 per person.  There were 33 passengers on the first trip and this train is now sold out until March, 2018.

Yes, well.  The passenger spaces are all suites.  None of this "sit up all night" nonsense.  Each suite is lavishly appointed with glass skylights so that a passenger could stretch out on the bed and watch the clouds roll by after a soak in the suite's hot tub and following massage.   

This is rather dear as train tickets go.  But on the other hand, I once mapped out a trip on the Orient-Express from London to Venice to Paris with an overnighter in Venice which came to $11,000 for both of us.  Economically  much more feasible.  Two of us for one thing.  The long reputation of the Simplon Orient-Express for intrigue, romance, murder - Agatha Christie had a positively wonderful time killing passengers off in "Murder on the Orient-Express" - is very much a draw along with the stylish notes of the '20s and '30s - little lamps on dining tables with beaded fringe threatening your caviar ... incredible service - think it and it is on it's way to you via a beaming steward.  

Train too slow for you jet setters?  Comes now a new service at LAX to ease you onto the plane like a swaddled newborn.  It's called Private Suite LAX and costs $7,500 to become a member and another $$2,700 to bring up to four people with you.  You and your guests are entitled to an eight person crew just for you!  First comes the gate attendant at this secure facility.  He opens the gate and waves you on (assuming you're not wearing a suicide vest,) to another "host" who takes you to your suite where two more personnel are waiting your command - need or want a spa treatment, hair fluff-up, spilled something on yourself?  They will ask your size and roll out a rack of clothing, running shoes, a raincoat if the forecast at your destination has changed and so forth.  At no charge.

At flight time private TSA agents pass you on to the driver of a BMW Series 7 vehicle to drive you across the field to the jet bridge stairs and the door to the plane where the last person loads your bags for you.  Or possibly they double up and the driver brings the bags. 

With sadness in your heart,  you slide into your seat in First with the rest.

What are you mourning?  Your suite might have been a family room with pre-selected, custom toys for any tots traveling with you  or the dog suite with a patio potty.  Given the noise of any airport, I don't doubt the dog will quickly use it.   There is a suite for "mid-East travelers" ("Muslims" to many of us) which is equipped with prayer rugs and all of the booze has been removed. 

It's not over yet.  On arrival you are met and can go straight to the hairdressers or your clothing change is brought to you which is said to be useful for diplomats, people who go straight from plane to event and others who want to get their money's worth. 

Private Suites LAX is a very posh upgrade from similar services such as American's Concierge Key or the Windsor Suite at Heathrow.  Your limo is met curbside by an airline employee who will then whisk you to a door to private TSA for screening and then to this lounge where you can work, nap, shower, eat and drink gratis.  There are phone chargers, a person who has direct contact with your flight.  At the proper time you are escorted to the plane door. 

This no-see'um policy extends on to the plane itself.  Flying to JFK the last time, we got First on a new aircraft and we both hated the seats which were turned to face out of the window, sitter unseen by the Aisle People.   I mentioned this to an FA who said with a shrug, "Our celebrity passengers love it." 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Rules for Writers - Disregarded!

Richie and I attend a Monday morning French Conversation course.  I am fluent; he is learning to be fluent.  He can, of course, make himself understood.  We both enjoy the class and up until today have been there nearly every Monday at 10 a.m. for the class which ends at 11:15 a.m.

Until today.  The facility changed the time for this class and we are now to meet, starting today, at 9 a.m.!

Et moi, je suis grognant.  Je suis un ecrivain et aucun de nous se reveille tot.  C'est ne pas juste!

In the event you do not happen to speak French:  And me, I'm grumbling.  I'm a writer and we do not get up so early.  It's not fair!

I already know that this is a matter of supreme indifference to the facility managers.  (To myself, sotto vocci) Doesn't make it right...

                                                                   "Cinco de Bayou"
by the great people at the Ragin' Cajun, PCH, Redondo Beach

Monday, May 1, 2017

May 1st - Summer's A'Comin'

And here's something you might want to consider as a summer dish -

3 lbs. large tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
4 large green onions, thinly sliced
2 T chopped fresh parsley

Mix up in a bowl and set aside.

Dressing -
1 cup olive oil - virgin or ... experienced
3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 T packed brown sugar
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 T oregano - fresh or dried, but use less if dried
1 1/2 teas. thyme - fresh or dried, but use less if dried
1 teas. Tabasco or equivalent
1 teas. finely-grated lemon peel
1 teas. fresh ground black pepper

Put the dressing in a pot and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Stir the warm dressing over the fresh vegetables and chill for at least 4 hours.

Richie found this recipe and I have no idea where as he very carefully cuts out the food part, but never the source.  It would be time saving to use fewer tomatoes, etc. and keep the dressing in the refrigerator for next time. 

It's a little liquid-y for bruschetta, but if you used a slotted spoon to lift out the tomatoes, it might work very well indeed.

I had my doubts when I read the ingredients, but I like it (obviously as am recommending it to you.)

                                                      Happy May Day!