Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Modern Wedding

The last wedding Richie and I attended was in August, 2012, in Marseilles, France.  So when we went to my nephew's wedding a week ago, we had very little current knowledge about weddings.

You may not have been to a wedding for awhile, so ...
"Why, honey - I didn't know you could do that!"

"Anything you can do, I can do, too."

A New England Patriot's jersey lends pizazz, no?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Crafting with Wine Corks

No, I didn't empty the bottles first to get the corks and get confused with here and pinterest or something.  Although, as an idea, I can't totally dismiss it ...

These are the placement cards to show you where to sit.  The groom is a certified sommelier so the wedding was Napa-themed, so to speak. 

You will need per place setting:

one cork, vintage unimportant

four thumbtacks - look carefully at the base of the corks - you can barely see them.  The purpose, of course, is to keep the corks from rolling which could result in a wild scramble by the guests. 

one sharpish knife to cut the slit in the corks to hold the name signs. 

There was a bottle of Rutherford for each guest, with a silver ribbon tied around the neck holding a net bag of three wrapped chocolates and a utility cork embossed Steve and Gabby  10-22-17.  The tag reads, "Thank you"

Of note: in France, there is a separate dumpster for wine corks only.  Not the bottles.  Just the corks.  I believe they are recycled in some fashion.  You may never have the pleasure of drinking a Chateau-de- $1,000 a bottle, but you might get bits of the cork.   Something is better than nothing.  A votre sante!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Whatever Happened to Helen Reddy Anyhow?

You may remember her hit song, "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!"  That line was followed by, "in numbers too big to ignore."

Yes, well, according to Wikipedia (Google was busy, apparently totting up the numbers of women bleating about their own sexual harassment) says that:

She was born in 1941, making her 76 as of October something.  Forgot to jot it down, but the date has passed anyhow. 

In 1961, age 20, she married a much older man in order to flee from her parents. The marriage ended  shortly thereafter and she became a single mom to their daughter Traci.

In 1968, she married producer Jeff Wold and they had a son named Jordan.  In 1981, Wold entered rehab after an eight year romance with cocaine, a romance that was costing $100,000 a year.  She decided to divorce him, but after a month, she had changed her mind and took him back.  In 1983, Wold went back to cocaine and they were divorced in January, 1983, and she married the drummer in her band in June, 1983.

Hear me roar. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Why Do Environmentalists Always Get It Wrong?

Today the Redondo Beach Police Department teamed up with Behavioral Health Services, Inc. a non-profit organization funded by the LA County Dept. of Public Health under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Control Division to hold a drug drop-off. 

Gather up all of the Rx drugs you are not using, put them in a bag and drop them off at a designated place.  Today it was 200 N. PCH at Vincent an other department of the RBPD. 

We already had a metal box (formerly held cookies)  full of stuff we were no longer taking so it was an easy matter to chuck them all into a plastic bag and twist tie it shut.  Handing the bag over to one of several people standing around under a little blue tent,  we then motored stately on our way.   Personnel seemed very concerned that we hadn't included any needles which, of course, we hadn't. 

We were given a brochure on Safe Disposal Methods Do's and Don'ts

Take Rx drugs to events like this one today

Take them to a designated police station with drop-off boxes - locally that would be Redondo, Hermosa and Manhattan Beaches plus a Walgrens at 1344 W. Redondo Blvd, Gardena.

Take drugs back to the pharmacy and use their drop-off box.  I have never seen a drug return box in any pharmacy I have ever been in and that includes "ours," the CVS on Pier Avenue.  Our drop off is I march up to the Consultation booth, hand them over and say, "I can't take these - they (fill in symptom") and they take them back.  The first time I did this, I suggested that they give the pills to a poor person without insurance and they were still laughing as I wended my way to the store front door. 

Dump the pills in with a used box of cat litter or coffee grounds in a bag and seal the bag. Remove the label from the plastic pill box and toss them into regular trash. 

Flush drugs down the toilet.  Here is where I start to lose it ... "This pollutes our ocean and drinking water."

This is so patently absurd that it makes me want to drop kick whoever said it straight off of a cliff.  Palos Verdes isn't that much of a ride ... it could be done ... let them pollute the ocean as they rot away in it. 

Whatever is in the toilet is flushed to a sewer line which leads to a treatment facility that has standing tanks that filter waste from liquid, and put the dried waste in landfills.  Pills dissolve.  They are not going to be found in a landfill. 

The liquid left from this process is then filtered, cleaned and re-filtered again before going into the ocean. 

Tell me how a Rx drug - or even an aspirin for that matter - is going to harm any living thing!  Answer:  it isn't because it can't. 

And yet environmentalists make a big song and dance about polluting our oceans!  To hear them you would think your toilet flushes directly into the ocean! 

Which brings me to this gentle suggestion:  whenever one of these idiots tells you something like that, nod, smile pleasantly and go look it up.  They really are full of shit.

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Mixed Bag

Do you want the good news first or the bad?

Okay.  The bad.  My favorite happy place (outside of our house) is the San Pedro restaurant Ports O Call.  La! the merry times we have had there over the years with family and friends as guests as well as all by ourselves.  I put a lot of the gaiety down to the fact that the Sunday brunch includes unlimited champagne.  Champers is a real mood elevator.  I think of it as Rich Man's Alka-Seltzer post a lavish meal.  Or during one.  Or, in fact, as the drink of choice before dining. 

It is to be torn down this November.  Gentrification and wild dreams of avarice are turning the rather sleepy port into a "destination" site.  In a blatant effort to squeeze every nickel possible from people setting off on a cruise, as well as other tourists, the old Ports O Call (including the little stores) is being razed and replaced or homogenized.   This is not progress.  This is a  disaster in the making. 

The good news - to me, if no one else - is that "And the Best Blog Is: Word of Mouth" now has all five stars of the amazon.com's possible five stars.   I think the glowing positive comments given by many of you put it over the top.  I am most appreciative and I thank you profusely.

Now, if you can halt destruction of Ports O Call...

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Different Country

Wild Turkeys on Parade This is the tail end of a group of 12.  Don't get excited and reach for your shotgun.  They have a terrible gamey taste.

This is a woodpecker.  I wasn't used to them having a scarlet crest.  Do yours look like this?

The Mississippi in a serene mood

Winter skiing - summer zip line

Leaf season - they dance on the two-lane blacktop roads.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

We're Home!

A day not without certain frissons of annoyance.   But we are home and all is well.  Fred showed his annoyance at being Home Alone (despite having an excellent cat sitter) by snubbing us; Streak couldn't be bothered to come downstairs as we panted our luggage in.  But Lady Bird the cockatiel shrieked a gladsome welcome.  

It was a gala food fest every day and if I didn't go there fat (bite your tongue) I certainly came home that way.  (Now bite away.)

More tomorrow.  We also stayed up half the night visiting and both of us are tired. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hopping Like A Rabbit In Chicago

We are shortly going to a family wedding at a resort (Eagle Ridge) in Galena, IL, which is 13 miles from Dubuque, Iowa.  The wedding is Sunday afternoon; Monday we drive to Libertyville which is 20 miles north of Chicago.  Just to give you a feel for the trip. 

Tuesday morning is our only shot at touring Chicago as we fly home Wednesday.  One of the tour companies sounded good - a two hour land tour on a little shuttle bus, followed by an optional boat ride.  Both appealed, particularly the boat cruise.  We are fools for riding around on the water.

But then I remembered that part of the wedding festivities include a boat tour.  Happily Chicago has what we so enjoyed in London - the Hop On, Hop Off Big Red buses.  I loved sitting on my languid ass, atop a bus where there is a 360 view and a (with any luck at all) knowledgeable bus driver. 

In London, we hopped off at Harrods's to do some hostess gift shopping and, of course, to see the memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, product of a deranged father's dream.  Back to the Big Red Bus stop and off again at Kensington Palace to see an exhibit on Queen Victoria.  It was dull but we split a great shrimp sandwich in the café-gift shop. 

The Big Red Bus - Chicago - is the same thing.  we'll take the commuter train in to town and the closest bus stop is the enormously tall Willis Tower, billed as either a 3 minute walk or a 4 minute cab ride or a bus ride of uncertain duration. 

Richie likes going to the top of buildings (Sears Tower previously) and to look around.  As I am terrified of heights (once assumed the fetal position on the floor of the glass elevator at the Rio, Las Vegas, from the first to the 50th floor) I stay sensibly on the ground as God no doubt intended us and wait from him to return, babbling about how far you can see!  If I wanted to see farther, I'd buy a telescope.  (snort.) 

We are trying a new house sitting service for this trip.  It seems that the Jehovah's Witness have a sideline.   The live in your house while you're gone.  Their arranger, who assigns houses to their volunteers made only one request - did we have a couple of lawn chairs they could put out in the driveway so as to contact more possible converts? 

As a matter of fact, we do.  So, dear readers, a warning - if you drive past a house and see a pair of either sex sitting in lawn chairs out in a driveway - hit the gas - that's our house and they are Jehovah's Witnesses.  When the lawn chairs are gone, we're home.   

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Running of the Bulls - in New Orleans.

One of the contestants on "Jeopardy" last night told Alex and the audience his interesting experience.  He ran with the bulls - teams of female roller derby skaters - who wore horns glued to their helmets and whacked the runners with wiffle bats in New Orleans.   He admitted that it was, of course, much safer than the real deal in Pamplona, but added rather ruefully that a wiffle bat delivers quite a smack.

Never having heard of this quaint custom, I set off to find out more about it.  It's a three day event held in New Orleans and starts with a cocktail party Friday night; the running of the "bulls" Saturday morning and an afternoon event called the Festival of the Pants and finally Sunday's recap of the whole thing called "Poor Me."  Live bands, strippers, more food and drink mark this occasion.

Contestants must wear white clothing with red material (scarf, strip of cloth) at the waist and neck to mimic the outfits worn by contestants in Pamplona. 

Two team captains of the Big Easy Rollergirls (BERG):  Brutalicious, Rest N Peaces.

We missed it this year, but here are the dates for 2018:  July 13th to July 15th.  For more information visit nolabulls.com  It's safer than actually being there.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Spilled Birdseed

Santa Ana Winds and Your Sinuses
In addition to their starring role as a Fire Starter all through California, the Santa Anas cause daily grief to people with allergies plus, if you weren't allergic before you damn well will be after one.
In addition to stirred-up dust, bonus points for leaf bits, dried weeds, dust bunnies and more!  Wheee!

The advice given by a doctor in this morning's newspaper, plus scouting on Google is that you need to wash inside your nose via saline flushing it.  To keep your paper dry nose interior away, I've found that a swirl of Vaseline on a Q-tip works wonders.  The heavy, oily Vaseline blocks your nose interior from being able to receive allergens.    If you are a woman with long, dagger-like fingernails, the Q-tip is essential. 

Ah, the Irish are a resilient bunch, hurricane or no
And it should be added, a great sense of humor in the face of times of trouble.  I ran across these this morning - tweets?  Twitters?  Bird song? 

"My wife hasn't stopped staring through the window since the storm started.  If it gets any worse, I'm going to have to let her in."  

"I'm having a yard furniture contest - random winners."

"The North Council is out there raking leaves.  Raking. leaves. before. a. hurricane."

"All of the companies in Ireland are sending home staff.  All of the pubs are calling in staff."

"School's off tomorrow, too?  My kids have done more damage to the house today than a 10 hurricane ever could."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Just Because It Amused Me

Photo of a weird-looking gun - caption:  Gun.  Because I can't throw a rock  1,115 feet per second.

It was the visual of the rock throwing that amused me.  Maybe the guy could hold the rock in his dominant hand and then be shot out of a cannon?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Small Things

A Cortisone Shot
This is most definitely not a small thing if you are on the receiving end of a rather substantial-looking shot.  The barrel with the goodies was easily a twin to my little finger and the needle was no less substantial. 

 As he emptied the plunger into my knee, I said, through gritted teeth, "This is the coldest pain I've ever felt!" and he muttered, concentrating on plunger speed, "It's called "arctic pain" and I thought, "Damn!  I can believe that!"

If you have never had one, you, too, will feel icy cold pain which is such a contrast to "regular" pain, that you will be surprised.  The good news is twofold - when the needle comes out, the pain stops.  In my case, one shot will last about six or seven months.  Which is plenty of time to forget all about arctic pain as women are said to forget labor pain.  I wouldn't know, but the descriptions I've heard from mothers who vividly remember every detail makes it unlikely that women forget "in the bliss of a new little life to guide and direct."  Yeah, right.  But in fairness, a cortisone shot really does work and is considerably less trouble than birthin' and subsequent college expenses. 

UPS vs. FedEx
I finally got around to shipping my old high chair - later used by my younger sister - to her as she has prospects of grand children.

We took it down to the AIM place below us and I was amazed at the speed of the transaction.  The owner counseled us to which shipper to use.  "UPS may be a little cheaper, but they really bang packages around."  'Nuff said.  That high chair is 77 years old and while not fragile - being made of nice, solid wood, the tray does have a crack running through it. 

This was done on a Wednesday and Fed Ex said they'd have it there the following Saturday.  Whoa, Nellie!  From here to a town 20 miles north of Chicago?   That's taking it on down the road in anyone's book. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bimbos Unite! Cry In Unison!

In further proof that the media is desperate for something - anything - to write about and turn into "a cause" I give you Horny Harvey and His Adventures In Hollywood.  It is a  tale that illuminates a fact of life that has been observed since Time Immemorial (1956 in some cases) - those with power use it! Shocking!  Who knew?

Short answer:  everyone.

For years the "casting couch" has had to be periodically re-upholstered from the use it was getting in the offices of agents, producers, directors ... and off in a barn somewhere the president of the stuntmen's' union is probably sampling the wares of wanna-be cowgirls, flying spies and what not and has been enjoying the same droit de seigneur on a bale of hay. 

The formula for Hollywood success goes something like this:  take a woman with an amazing rack, pins up to her eyebrows and the brains of a dust bunny and make an appointment for her (hasn't mastered phones yet) with a mighty power figure in "the Industry" as movie makers call it.  I don't think "industry" when applied to making a movie compares with the assembly lines of GMC or Ford which at least produce a tangible item for sale rather than generating $15+ a seat in a cinema, but that's me.

And then sit back and wait - sometimes as long as 20 years, bring lunch - for the inevitable "He took advantage of me" wails from the poor and oppressed women who were clearly witless enough to balance a nebulous chance at stardom for a brief (they're all old guys) sexual encounter. 

I have no sympathy for them as is noticeable in this column.  Many of these women are on podiums and graduation diases urging other women to Fight Male Oppression.  They do this right after they get back from drinks in a hotel with a mogul who happens to be staying in said hotel where she willingly repaired to his room with him  to inventory the mini-bar drinks and exclaim over the ingenuity of a variety of  sex toys. 

One column referred to actress Streep as Moralizing Meryl.  The implication was that Ms. Streep was no stranger to "give to get" Hollywood style. 

By the way, ladies, how'd that Pink Pussy Hat thing work out for you? 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Small Concerns

Yesterday's recipe for blue corn quesadillas with pear salsa was in the front of  "South Bay Gourmet, a collection of Sandpiper Members' Recipes," and I kept plowing along to the end.  It wasn't until I finished the book that the something that had nagged at me all the way to the end became apparent.  The women up on The Hill are rampant, incipient alcoholics! 

To give you a sampling of recipes requiring alcohol, these were picked at random:  prime rib of beef with cabernet pan sauce; roast prime rib of beef with herbed crust and madeira sauce, steaks with green peppercorn, horseradish and cognac sauce, Irish cream macadamia nut pie,  champagne-poached pears,  Kahlua chocolate mousse... you get the picture - and it isn't a pretty one of the Sandpipers "testing the sauce" and, hey, long as the bottle is out, why not take a swig to make sure it hasn't gone off...

I wonder how many times the Hill paramedics have been called to fish a Sandpiper chef out of the oven??? Or off of the floor. 

Be that as it may - not our concern.  Moving along ...

3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12-oz. bag of  cranberries, picked over and rinsed
1/4 cup Tawny Port
1 large acorn squash about 1 1/2 lbs. halved, then quartered, seeds and strings discarded.

Mix the water and sugar together, bring it to a boil for 10 minutes to make a syrup; add the cranberries - set aside a cup of them for the topping add the Port and keep stirring.

Place the squash chunks skin-side down, on a rack over boiling water and steam them until done.
Put them on a platter, drizzle half of the cranberry sauce over them and put the leftover cranberry sauce in a pitcher and use with the turkey.   A double shot of port, if you will. 

Cut an acorn squash in half, scrape out seeds and strings, place squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake until easily pierced with a fork.  To serve, cut the pointy end off, flip it over, and put a pat of butter in the resulting "cup" of squash.  Serve. 

I can assure you she wasn't sitting looped at the kitchen able pounding down the port while the squash baked.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Fall Treat - Or Not

This dish is titled Blue Quesadilla with Fresh Pear Salsa

This dish is for pear lovers of whom I am not one.  Pears are deceptive - holding one in your hand, hmmm, the skin is fairly smooth, the heft is noticeable.  The "smooth" skin is a lie and the heft is due to the grit with which a pear has been constructed. 

Nevertheless, let us forge onward.  Shall we begin by making the quesadilla part, done in bulk rather than one on one?  I.e. individual Qs. 

Take four blue corn tortillas, brush with oil and put them oil side down on a cookie sheet.  Cut a Carambazola into half inch dice and put on top of Q's.  Spread pear salsa on top of cheese.  Put the "lid" tortilla on top and brush with oil.  Bake at 500 (whoa, mamma!) for 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top tortilla heading for brown. 

Now about this pear salsa...
2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2 in. cubes.  Put in a biggish bowl - you want room to flail around with a big spoon to mix together:
cubed fresh pears
2 dried pear halves, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro or both
1 lime, juice of and grate off some zest and throw that in, too.
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
pinch of crushed hot red pepper flakes.

Mix it all up and serve.  This recipe comes from a group called the Sandpipers who founded themselves back in 1931 as a charitable group to help victims of the Great Depression.  They have flourished and one of their charitable efforts these days is a house tour of their mansions up on The Hill (Palos Verdes.)  All visitors to all of the houses will be greeted by the sight of a basketful of surgical booties next to the front door as foot covering for your low rent shoes.  I find this less than welcoming somehow and only did the tour once with a friend who was dying to see inside their various homes.    In a more raucous mood I might add "Stick your booties in your 'blue corn' tortillas.  Plain white aren't good enough for you?"


Monday, October 9, 2017

Popcorn on the Circus Tent Floor

First let us dispose of the outcome of my proposed singing debut at the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club.  It didn't happen.  Mr. Tucker clearly had forgotten it and I wasn't about to remind him.  We did have some excitement in that it was the club president Paul Goldman's 81st birthday, and as such was celebrated by the invitation to have a slice of the birthday cake, a massive sheet of chocolate cake with lavish amounts of chocolate frosting. 

California, You So Crazy
In addition to the many crazy laws we have here in the not-so-sovereign State of California, comes a new one.  If you repeatedly address a denizen of a long-term care facility with their birth certificate sex and they have changed that, you are up for arrest and a $1,000 fine. 

Without any intention of  being unnecessarily cruel to the old and deranged, or "my peers," I think that a number of long-term health care providers would be happy to tell you that in the Alzheimer's Ward, many residents have no idea what sex is let alone which sex they think they are.   

I would like to jeer at Hollywood while I'm here - Raucous cries of "Racist sex offender!" cannot now be played.  Harvey Weinstein is white; Bill Cosby is black.  Equal opportunity offenders both.   

New (to me) in restaurant advertising.  We had dinner at Hudson House (previously reviewed) and along with the bill came a 4/c postcard with the name and logo on the front;  space to address it and write a message on the back.  Sending it will require a 20 cent postcard stamp. 

It's a handsome card, no doubt about it, but restaurants today have their Web site printed on the tab.  Seeing a post card used in this manner was ... interesting.  It is entirely possible that I'm missing something here (not for the first time either) and customers are meant to write a review/critique and mail it in? 

I think it will make a good bookmark. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It Appears That My Mouth Has Written a Check and There are Insufficient Funds in the Account

This afternoon (10-8-17) is the monthly Jazz Club afternoon concert.  Last month, spurred on by bonhomie I thought it would be fun to sing with the band - not just at our table, but a solo in front of the band.  Previous mentions had been warmly received by band members.  I can't claim that I was drunk - half a pint of Stella doesn't have that kind of effect on me.

Personally I put my good humor down to the fact that I was FINALLY done with "And the Best Blog is: Word of Mouth" and that it was listed on amazon.com and best of all:  I had $12 in royalties coming to me which grandiose sum would pay for a half-pitcher of Stella.  Bliss reigned.

Richard Tucker, trumpet, is a friend of ours and a fan of my writing.  He always has a pleasant look on his face - as if he's delighted to find that the interesting package underneath the Christmas tree is for him.  Sure enough he willingly said we could sing a duet - I didn't want to be the only target up there - safety in numbers - and we would sing "something easy - "My Blue Heaven." 

Except "My Blue Heaven" isn't easy.  I will italicize the trouble spots.

When whippoorwills call and evening is nigh, I hurry to my blue heaven.
You take a turn to the right; you'll find a little bright light that leads you to my blue heaven.
(Here you can belt it out) You'll find a cozy place, a fireplace, a cozy room - a little nest that nestles where the roses bloom ...
Just Molly and me and baby makes three, we're happy in my blue heaven.    

My blue heaven seems to require three octaves "my" normal voice, "blue" here's where the trouble starts - go up or down to bass?  "heaven" is more or less neutral, you're heading back to a normal singing voice for all of the rest of it. 

If I manage to goad myself into actually carrying off this mad idea, at this moment (no Stella yet) I think the best part of prudence would be to just shut the hell up on the "my blue heaven" parts. 

Singing with the band was a marginal bucket list item.  I think I'd rather kick the bucket than do this. Mr. Tucker will do just fine without me. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Gay Bingo Update, A New Mexican Restaurant and the Fire Hydrant

Following up on yesterday's column on Gay Bingo, we have an update.  T read the column and wrote back:  "Those sorry-assed Fruit Loops! LOL"  T is not the fan of drag queens that I am.  He went on, "There aren't many gay bars that offer it.  It's usually the regulars that get it started and then word of mouth."  Word of mouth!  Aren't you a clever boots, T!

Forced Patronization of Another Mexican Restaurant
Yesterday afternoon, we were lucky enough to get the plumber to come same day to fix a leak in the kitchen sink.  As this had involved removing everything under the sink,  after they had fixed it and left, I proposed dinner out.  I will take every chance opportunity to put my knees under a restaurant table rather than our own.

Richie said, "Las Brisas."  But - what's this?  The entrance to their parking lot was blocked by one of the waitresses waving her arms and yelling, "No! No! We have a private party downstairs, we are closed!"    Wishing them well - "Charge'm double!" I bellowed - we pulled back into traffic and away.

Richie said, "I know" and pointed the car toward Inglewood Avenue.  "It's called Leo's," he said. 

Leo's Mexican Food, 16006 Inglewood Avenue leosmexicanfood.com
While it was a new Mexican restaurant to us (ever-faithful to Las Brisas,) it was by no means "new" to a lot of other people.  Leo's opened in 1941 and now, four generations later, is thriving. 

It's a big restaurant, laid out in a line - from left to right - dining room, bar, dining room, enclosed patio.  They were doing a good business with locals; we were the only strangers in the joint.  I know this because everyone but us was waving greetings, pausing at other tables to admire comely babies and so forth. 

The drinks menu had a line re margaritas "Only served with dinner."  In other words, ya wanna marg?  Order dinner.  We're not gonna be responsible for you knee walkin' outta here.  I thought this was a thoughtful gesture and as we walked through their parking lot to the car, I thanked them for it.

Our traditional test of any Mexican restaurant is the salsa.  My hopes for a new find diminished  when I tried theirs.  I think it was the cooked variety and if I had to make up the recipe I would try a roux of flour and mild ground chilies, with water added to make a sort of gravy and toss in a couple of sprigs of cilantro which must have instantly turned into weeds.  A teaspoon of sugar to finish it and away to a table. 

Our food was good enough, but the total lack of any kind of heat - not even a cuddly warmth - disappointed.  Tex-Mex most closely describes it.  We would go back; it wasn't that kind of "bad" but quite probably without a lot of enthusiasm.  However, if you like mild rather than a ragin fire across your tonsils ... have we got a place for you!  

Fire Hydrant
Despite the cheery reassurances of various city officials, it remains exactly as it was - shrouded in a yellow plastic hoodie.   It does not block a handicapped parking space.  There are none on our residential street.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Poetic License

Our superb French language teacher, Arlette Nelson, has been introducing us to French songs in an effort to get us to translate as well as improve our vocabularies.  Well and good. 

What is not so good as far as neighboring ears are concerned, are our efforts to sing-along with such as Edith Piaf (pronounced Eeedit) or Jaques Brel, both mainstays of the French music appreciation crowd. 

Last week we did a job on Jackque Brel's classic "Ne me quitte pas" or "Don't leave me."  But:  wiser more duplicitous heads have translated that for the English-speaking audience as "If you go away." 

This is something you have to watch out for if you are going to listen to French songs with an English translation.  "Don't leave me" is considered "romantic" by French listeners and it catapults along with all of the dreadful things that would happen; memories of good things and promises by the singer to make the recipient a queen where love will reign.

Okay, all well and good.  Regret, begging (always a favorite of women all over the world) but it ends with the singer's desire to "be the shadow of your shadow" "your hand" and the very last line is "the shadow of your dog"!   I think this is carrying groveling just a little bit too far. 

I can hardly wait to see what we will be singing today.  I looked up a bouncy little pop song that was The Rage in France when I was first there in 1974 called Les Voisines (The Neighbors.)  A sample lyric:  I curse the technician among whom the Venetian blinds cut...(off interesting bits of anatomy.)

 "I always preferred the neighbors to the neighbors which dry their underwear/dainties on their balcony."  

Ah, France, you old romantic you. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bingo and Crochet - Not Just For Old Ladies Any Longer

Among the many clichés upon which we depend not to disappoint us - three on a match is unlucky; okay, when was the last time you saw a match?  1956? or if two famous people in a given field  die, there will a third so you start paying attention to the news.

Get a grip - these have just been abolished:  "bingo and crocheting are for old ladies in nursing homes."  Yes, it was a shock to me, too.  I am old and my future of throatily calling out "Bingo!" or whipping great big needles through nylon rope just died.  And I'll tell you who stole both. 

The other day we were having lunch with our great friend, T.  We hadn't seen each other for awhile and thus had a great deal of ground to cover.  T and I grabbed our phones and started trading looks.  He opened the bidding with shots of Michael, his new squeeze and I countered weakly with a shot of Fred, our cat.  Yes, well ... work with whatcha got. 

Photos over, we started talking.  When T told us of an incident at bingo, I held up a palm in "Stop right there. " T, bingo?!" I said in disbelief. 

"Oh, yeah.  Every Wednesday night at the Crest.  Tuesdays we bring our crocheting."  I nearly slid under our table so great was my disbelief that groups of handsome (mostly) middle aged gay guys were playing bingo.  My heart would have to deal with crocheting later on.  Bingo had been enough to nearly kill me.

Come to find out, Gay Bingo (its given name) began back in the 1990s when a group called the Chicken Soup Brigade, Seattle, was looking for a fund-raiser.  One of the group discovered that with bingo which was hosted and run by drag queens, one could get fun and make cash.  Today Gay Bingo is found in not only densely populated places (Los Angeles, New York, etc.) but in Utah and Alaska, too. 

Putting it in the capable hands of drag queens was a stroke of genius.  DQs (not Dairy Queen) will crucify anyone with a very well-chosen insult.  Even their names are funny - Anna Conda; Annie Depressant; Lauren Order; Mary K. Mart.  A scholar explained that these double-meaning names are  "Homophonic" and gave this example:  You can tune a guitar, but you can't tuna fish.

I think gay bingo sounds like terrific fun as I have always found DQ wit insanely funny.  I should live so long and be so funny.  But gotta pass on the crochet.  So not my thing.  Yo, gays, have at it - flash those needles!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

An English Lesson

I sent a copy of "And the Best Blog Is: Word of Mouth" to my friend Sheila, in Netanya, Israel.  She replied that my writing reminded her of a bloke named Jeremy Clarkson, whose style I shared she thought.  Terse and to the point.  I was equally flattered that someone else wrote as badly as I do and curious about this younger rival (57.) 

Amazon delivered with amazing speed and yesterday I got halfway through "The World According to Jeremy Clarkson" (371 pages) before I was able to tear myself away.  He is funny.  He is not afraid of upsetting apple carts or commenting negatively about such as the Brit version of OSHA, various Prime Ministers and similar matters that I rarely cover.  "Abroad" gets trashed as it always does when the traveler is a Brit.  Nothing outside the edges of Great Britain is any good.  Accommodations with noisy hotel room neighbors, strange and indigestible foods, rude fellow travelers and on and on.   

But all through the book, he gives delightful reminders of common slang in Great Britain. 

Keep schtum - to keep silent; believed to derive from the German "stumm" or "silent."

Grass - usually includes "out"  To tell on someone or (America) rat them out.

Shop - to sell  someone out, possibly or likely for personal gain.  "I could shop him to the coppers for the joint he smoked back in 1979." 

Incandescent with rage  This would be a fair description of my visage during all Presidential elections to date.

Drinking ourselves daft.   Also in use for being drunk is the colorful  "tits up"  My personal favorite, Jeremy, if I may be so bold as to first name you is:  knee-walking drunk.

Skint    I'm skint = I'm broke.  Speculation:  possibly from one sheep to another each Spring?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Las Vegas





Sunday, October 1, 2017

In Praise of Pimento (Cheese)

Pimento Cheese is a Southern staple that originated in New York state when farmers there began making a soft, unripened cheese that became cream cheese.  At the same time (or thereabouts) Spain began exporting canned red peppers or "pimiento" and some dolt, somewhere must have spilled one onto or into the other.  Viola!

Today most commercial pimento cheese containers are expensive ($4.50 average) but much less expensive when you make it yourself.  Put the box grater to use and shred a bunch of mild Cheddar cheese.  Mix in enough mayonnaise to make it less stiff and then toss in drained, diced canned red peppers.  Beat it up well.  Store in a plastic container in the refrigerator. 

The usual accompaniment is a cracker and there is no limit on what kind as long as it tastes good to you - wheat-thins - Melba toast - toasted pita bread pieces - let your taste buds be your guide.  I am going to try raw baby carrot sticks with it, too. 

In 24 hours I found these two items to be acceptable as a change from crackers.

Beat up the eggs, start them in the skillet and let that side cook thoroughly.  Flip the eggs and carefully spread the cheese on the cooked side.  Fold and serve.

Using the brad of your choice (I like air bread, crusts trimmed off) and spread the cheese - do not use mayo; you won't need it as it is in the pimento spread.  Quarter two slices of mortadella, put on top of the spread, squash and eat.    You're good to go with either of these.