Thursday, May 31, 2018

Local Homeless

Much is being made here in LA County about the great numbers of homeless.  And the reluctance of some neighborhoods to accept housing for them or the rage of those who have homeless in their areas.  Here are some statistics:

LA City and County - 57,749  homeless out of a total area population of 10 million.  Thus .0057 are homeless.  If this isn't a drop in the ocean, my math is worse than I thought.

The most liked cities for these unfortunates are:

1.  New York - 76,501
2.  Los Angeles - 55,188 - yes I see the discrepancy from above - different years explains it
3.  Seattle - 11,643

The US total is 553,742   Of those, it estimated that 25 per cent of them are mentally ill while only six per cent of the rest of us are.  Reassuring to me.  A quiet but well-meant "so, hah!" to various of my critics.

The predominate mental illness is bipolarity.  It used to be called schizophrenia.  There is a shred of good news though in that it has recently been discovered that persons presenting with this mental illness at the ages of 18 to 25, often "grow out of it" by age 30.  I would assume this remarkable
event includes treatment and medication.

"Well, what about where you live?" many might ask.  "The beach is pretty sweet living - look at the home prices in Palos Verdes!"

Our "beach cities" (and I'm flattering them here) are Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beaches.  Combined we are hosts to 216 homeless, 146 of whom live on the street with another 70 in living in their cars.

Some 30 years ago, I encountered five of them.  And I will tell you about them in grisly detail tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dinner In An Industrial Park

Last night was the monthly dinner meeting of the Three Dodger Amigos and me.  Mouton chose Eatalian on South Broadway, Gardena.  If you are inspired to go dine there, be aware that there are three Eatalians - two in Gardena and one in Culver City.

The South Broadway location is in the middle of an industrial part of Gardena.  The restaurant itself looks more than bland from the street except for a big splashy neon sign above the double entrance doors.

The interior space is huge, the ceilings must be 30 ft. high, a gelato and pastries refrigerated counter runs for quite a distance.  A large counter/cabinet holds soft drinks, beer and wine on the opposite side of the gelato/pastries.

The plain wood chairs didn't make a sound as we scooted on the polished concrete floor closer to the square table, hiding under a starched dark red tablecloth.   Lovely white napkins.  The server handed out menus, asked what we wanted to drink, vanished and came back with a basket of fresh, still-warm bread slices.  The center of the table held a wire rack with a bottle each of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chili oil along with the salt and pepper.

We ate bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic mixed in a puddle on our bread plates so quickly that the crumbs flew.  An Italian "baguette" has a much softer crust and much gooey-er (?) insides.  Excellent for sopping purposes.

What did you eat? you ask with some impatience.

Richie and Dee - linguini with little neck clams  $21.50 each  They both thought the pasta was a little too al dente, but praised the clams.

Mouton - chicken or veal scaloppini $15.50   Handed his polished clean dinner plate to the waiter when he was clearing the table and said, "That was terrible!" and server laughed and laughed.

I shared my Sicilia salad which was cole slaw-chopped fresh cabbage, with sweet white onion chunks,  tangerine orange slices and black, salty Kalamata olives.   The dressing was more oil than vinegar, but I pepped it up a little with a dash of balsamic vinegar.  $7.75 for a small which wasn't by any means.  Dee and Richie helped themselves, so did I and we still  had a third a bowl left.

I made delicate forays into my order of pasta carbonado which was flavorful - they didn't stint on the bacon - but the sauce was rather too thick.  When I heat it up for my dinner tonight am going to do it in a skillet with a knob of butter.  $15.50

For once, we each had our own dessert - usually we share one big thing.  The gelato was very, very good and it appears that they have just as many flavors as Baskin-Robbins.  Dee was the only non-gelato consumer, opting instead for the Italian version of a cream puff.

And the "industrial park" setting was for real.  It is the three restaurants' source for fresh cheese, gelato, pasta in a variety of shapes and bread.

The fact that they make their own of the above might explain the generous portions - no chance of running out of ingredients - the factory is right there!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Set the Table! Summer's Coming!

Mother Nature is being her usual bitchy self - it is mid-60s here with "overcast" or "marine layer" or ?  It's May Gray leading into June Gloom.  Yo, Ma,you get too fat to wear a bikini?   We can take it.  You do this every year.

But:  undaunted we have hope that it will warm up and toward those happy days - when we don't have to stand around a barbecue pretending to be interested in what's on the grill (but secretly just getting warm at the fire) here are some dishes.  Richie made this last night:

HUNGARIAN CUCUMBER SALAD - New York Cookbook by Molly O'NeilI
6 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
1/4 cup salt (Horrors!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 T red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 cup plus 2 T vegetable oil (olive is fine)
1 large red onion, diced
2 T fresh dill, minced - we didn't have any and didn't miss it.
2 teas. sweet paprika - enter the "Hungarian" part.

Mix it all up, chill and serve.

1 can tuna - oil or water-packed, your choice - drained and dumped in a bowl and flaked
1 medium red onion, diced
8 to 10 pimento-stuffed olives, chopped
Stir together and add enough mayonnaise to coat all of the macaroni - how much macaroni you cook depends on the number of people you plan to serve this dish to.  Warm macaroni "eats" or sops up mayonnaise like Grant took Richmond.  Make it the day before you're going to serve it and add mayo as needed when you do.

Summer kitchens are hot.  Avoid some of the heat by buying pre-cooked bacon.  This is something of a misnomer because you have to give it 20 seconds in the microwave before it's usable and the bacon we're used to seeing.

I made scallops with orange marmalade sauce and chopped bacon last night.  Sauté the sea scallops in butter, remove them and let them exude their juice in a plate.  Add more butter to the pan, take about 1 T orange marmalade and swirl it around, mixing well, Arrange scallops and sauce over toasted bread quarters and garnish with bacon.

Pre-cooked bacon also makes a quick bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado sandwich.

Or my current favorite - a chipotle chicken and bacon with chipotle mayonnaise sandwich.

You're bringing the deviled eggs?  Mainstay of many a summer buffet?  Here's how to pack them if you don't have a dedicated deviled egg platter. BTW, deviled egg platters don't travel well.  The plastic wrap over them to keep them from sliding off of said platter smears up the pretty eggs.  

Open an empty egg carton, line it with a loose sheaf of plastic wrap, making sure you have enough to cover the egg tops and nestle each egg half in the holes.  Close the lid and shut with a rubber band on either end of the carton.  When the eggs are gone (nanoseconds usually) toss the egg carton and plastic wrap.   H/T to Hints from Heloise.  ,

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Wishing a "Happy Memorial Day" is not a real good way to remember the 2,852,901 Americans killed in wars.  I doubt they found anything "happy" about that honor.

For a good visual of how many service men and women have died for us, the living, Google Arlington National Cemetery Images.  And as you look at the rows and rows of plain white crosses, thank them in your own way.  Simple appreciation for their sacrifices - not just dying on strange ground; boot camp was no day at the beach either - quietly think of them in your mind.

One of the most poignant pictures was a winter shot with Christmas wreathes,  each carefully placed evenly  with  the cross - nearly covered with snow.   Not much of a Christmas for them.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Saturday - National Do-It-Yourself Day

But ... if you don't want to do it yourself and are considering farming the job out to a contractor, here is some good advice from a contractor himself.  Dave Silva, of Silva Construction, sent out this bulletin.  We have been using Silva Construction for various projects of varying-size jobs for 30 years so a lot of this no longer applies to us.  But you may find it useful.

1.  Don't be sold on the very first one.  Take your time, audition at least three different firms and get references for all three.  And ask to see a second piece of identification with a photo.

2.  Most importantly - Get the Contractor's License number and go to and look for it.  By law, any firm or person doing work that costs $500 and up has to be licensed by the Contractors State License Board.  This site has information on the contractor's license bond, workers compensation insurance status (if any,) pending or prior lawsuits/legal actions.

3.  Don't pay cash unless it's some piddling little $20 job.

4.  Don't pay more than 10 per cent of the job or $1,000 as a down payment on the job - whichever is less.  Make sure any contract made has the payment schedule written into it.

5.  Don't let payments get ahead of the work as in, for example, "I'm going to have to ask for another payment on the contract because of your change order to upgrade the kitchen counters."

And I would add, as a customer, be absolutely sure that you know exactly what you want; don't get all caught up in the latest issue of Architectural Digest and decide you can't live another moment longer without a glass-bottom swimming pool - instead of tile - that, you know, after thinking about it, you want the master bedroom on the other side of the house ... Unless, of course, you are extremely wealthy and in that case just buy a new house and leave this one for the servants.  They don't need a glass-bottom pool.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Picnics: The Hard Way and the Easy Way

Not surprisingly to long-time readers here (and thank you very much) I would opt for "hard."   Every time.  Today's example of my foolishness is this:

I proposed a picnic to our dear friend Olga.  I told her that Veteran's Park, Redondo, had a sensational view of the open Pacific, with the point of Palos Verdes descending into the sea on the left and on the right a good view of the Redondo Beach Pier.  The park itself is lovely with green lawns, clusters of pretty trees and friendly squirrels (you can hand feed many of them.) 

We cooed with pleasure at the idea, did Olga and me.  I told her that Richie would make a macaroni salad and I'd do deviled eggs with which out one cannot do.  

Olga immediately wrote back that she would make salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, a flan (!) for dessert and lemonade.  I don't like fish so I'm bring three bacon and tomato sandwiches.  

Richie dug out the infrequently used picnic back pack with it's cunning little plates, silverware for two, a pair of plastic (shudder) wine glasses, a wine opener and green and white checked napkins.   Very stylish.  For two.  So they can have the "good stuff" and I'll bring my own fork for the salad and flan.  People familiar with my "style" are undoubtedly surprised that I didn't elect to just eat with my hands. 

Richie, after considering the probable tonnage to be moved from vehicle to picnic table, reminded me that my old wheelchair (walking solo now) could serve as transport.   "Excellent!" I replied.

Happily the sun is out after gloomy projections of "overcast and drizzle" slated to clear at about 2 or 3 this afternoon.    

We'll see how this goes.  If it doesn't work there's always the Easy Way:

Whip into Guiliano's and get a sandwich of your choice, a little sack of potato chips, make a pass at the pastries, and pay and head out.

After Our Picnic
It was a literally picturesque day - bright sunlight, not a cloud in the hard blue sky and the grass looked all the greener for that light.  Think a kid's box of Crayolas.  We only had four bags among us so didn't bother with the wheelchair.  Olga complimented Himself on his macaroni salad and we savored Olga's flan.  She can really make a good one.

Still we did agree as we packed up to get back in the car that perhaps a scoop of ice cream would really finish it all off with a bang and motored stately over to Baskin and Robbins for the flavors of our choice.

At home, as the dinner hour approached, we agreed that we couldn't do better than the rest of the sandwiches and some more macaroni salad.  A profitable day.  No gulls or pigeons attacked and some cawing black birds in a nearby tree amused.   We agreed that since Redondo Beach has 27 parks and parkettes, we would do this again.  Twenty-six to go!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Rrrrriveting Read

Jackie, Janet and Lee, The Secret Lives of Janet Auchinsloss and Her Daughters, Jacqueline Kennedy, Onassis and Lee Radziwell by J. Randy Taraborrelli  516 pages   $29.95

It should be noted that Taraborrelli has made himself a nice little income writing about such as the Kennedys and show biz types such as Diana Ross, Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor,

I would have thought that leftover Kennedys were rather sparse on the ground of biography myself.  There is only one "original" Kennedy left out of the original nine and that is Jean Kennedy Smith and she is 90.  Another 90 year old, but not a blood Kennedy (although she would probably dispute that) is Ethel Skakal Kennedy.  Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg is the last of the Camelot days and she's 60.  

Jackie, Janet and Lee are covered in great depth, given the reticence of two of them to speak  in public..  Janet was a bitch; Jackie suffered from PTSD for many more years than was visible in their public lives.  Lee would talk to anyone that would listen.

Much of this book is devoted to Jackie's younger sister by three years, Lee Bouvier Canfield Radziwell Ross.  She is 85.  She is a failed actress (terrible reviews,) writer, film producer and interior decorator with her own firm that never made a profit.  

Her relations with her sister were alternately a love fest when they were kids to the end of the story when they pretty much ignored the other.  Why makes for interesting reading.

Tidbits - after JFK  was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Jackie called Janet in the middle of the night and told her to go get Arabella, her first miscarriage, out of her grave and bring the coffin to Washington to be re-interred with Kennedy.  Janet dutifully got the private plane and took off for the site.  When the coffin was dug up, the bottom of the casket fell off shocking all present.  

Lee had first dibs on Onassis attention - until Miss Jackie, widow, swooped in and stole him away.  Mind you the Lee/Ari relationship had been going on for some six years despite the fact that Lee was still married.

Janet died from Alzheimer's while married to her third husband whom Jackie referred to as "Jed Clampett" for his country ways and battered straw hats.  

All in all, a good gossipy reveal.  Because it consisted of actual conversations and not the writer's suppositions about dialogue, it was very interesting.

One caveat, having read it, I would not recommend taking it to the beach or a pool as you will become so engrossed in it, that you'll fail to turn over and will get a rousing sunburn.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In Praise of an Independent Book Store

A fellow writer - Laura Hines-Jurgens, "Hopes and Dreams Dating Journal: Booklet" - alerted me to the independent book store Pipe and Thimble at 24830 Narbonne, Lomita.

I have never been in a place equally as interested in supplying readers for self-published authors as Pipe and Thimble.  And as devoted to coddling them - with guest appearances, publicized signings, specialized discussion panels on such topics of interest to readers and the writers such as sci fi, kids' books, romance... and more.  A great deal more.  In addition to books, their shelves are crammed with such as sachets, scented candles, framed illustrations, jokey things.  I can see why they only will accept five books at a time from any given author.  No shelf space!

But they also have a very pleasant looking outdoor patio with comfy-looking cushioned outdoor chairs, potted plants full of blossoms (it being Spring now) all of which looks inviting to people wanting to meet an author or discuss a point in a specific book ... a sort of al fresco Town Hall, if you will.

Their marketing is genius - when you buy a book, you're also given a small white card with a small roll of Smarty candies taped to it.  The copy reads, "Be a smartie ... and leave a review.  Please go to and submit a review for any books you purchase from our store.  If you begin the review with, 'I purchased this book at a local indie bookstore...' it is more likely to be accepted.  And we don't mind if you mention our store (wink.)  Pipe and Thimble Bookstore, 24830 Narbonne Ave., Lomita, CA"

And they have their own free parking lot!  All the bases are covered and ready for a visit from you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

C'mon - You Know You Want It

This humor collection of 196 pages is $12US and Kindl is $1.99US

Would I steer you wrong?  (humpf)  Not gonna happen.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Dear GoFundMe, Please Get Me $9.7 Million, Abe (Lincoln)

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is seeking $9.7 million as part of a payback on a $25 million loan with $23 million due in October, 2019.

To show sincerity and keep a credit rating, the Foundation is holding a sale in Las Vegas of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia on June 23, 2018.  It turns out that Marilyn Monroe (here is where you might say, "Of all people!") was a great fan of all things Lincoln.

Who knew?

The Lincoln Library was opened October 14, 2004; the Museum followed on April 19, 2005, and attendance figures have been robust since then.  It is a State-controlled Presidential Museum which begs the question - is the State out of money?  This is Illinois, keep in mind, where finances are somewhat whimsical, depending on the greed level of elected officials.

I consulted to learn about these three buildings that contain the Lincoln items in a kind of complex in downtown Springfield and what is on exhibit looked damned interesting - the gloves he was carrying and the top hat he was wearing as he traveled to his doom at the Theatre.

The Mary Todd Lincoln White House china set (196 [pieces) is on display along with depictions of his boyhood home and more - letters, household items, and who knows what else?

As a sort of final flourish, GoFundMe for $9 million dollars???? I wonder what a request for a more modest sum could get us ... ya want in on a million?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

At A French Teacher's Funeral

Arlette Nelson  May 17, 1945    April 24, 2018  of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Arlette began her decline in mid-August.  Medical testing did not define her illness until mid-November.  Nina months later, dating from mid-August, she was dead,  And she wanted to go.  "Every morning I wake up and there is a little more gone," she said, during our visit to her on Thursday, March 29, 2017, in a hospice facility.

I mention this because most funerals are filled with tears of sorrow; her audience cried cheers of joy that she was free at last.  Speakers remembering her said some of these things. 

Arlette wore her hair short with as often as not, a spiky little piece poking up from the top/back of her hair.  In person I would tease her, "I see you got a hair cut " and at her puzzled look, would lift a strand of my hair in the same spot.  And we both guffawed.

At the funeral, a member of the French class who also had short hair, said that as she was preparing to go to the funeral, her husband indicated that she had some stick-up hair in the same spot.  She said, "No, no - let it be - it's my tribute to Arlette!"

Another woman remarked that she had heard Arlette speaking to granddaughter Jasmine in French at the dog park, so she introduced herself as a fellow French émigré and introduced her to a lot of other dog owners, all of whom remained fast friends and clustered in a knot in the back row.

A man remembered fondly that at about the mid-point of her class at the Hermosa Beach Community Center, unbidden, a man would appear with a steaming hot cup of coffee for her.  In mid-lesson, she would stop and thank him.  This speaker finished by saying, "If he'd asked her, I bet she would have married him!" so happy was she at the arrival of her coffee.

But the best anecdote was the true story her daughter told.  "We had finally got a house big enough to entertain in and she was in heaven - now she could entertain again as she loved nothing better than cooking for friends and family and using a lot of her and her mother's recipes for various French delectables.

"It was Easter and Mom was making the Easter dinner.  Whatever it was smelled so delicious that I wandered in with some of our guests and asked what it was?  "Ah," she purred - "it's rabbit with a lovely white wine cream sauce!"  She didn't understand why we all were screaming with laughter and looked a little affronted until it was explained to her that one of the American Easter rites was the Easter Bunny and then she laughed the hardest of all of us.  And we ate every bite, it was so good!"

The musical selections were:  a male member of the church singing and accompanying himself on guitar; the lyrics so the audience could sing, too, were flashed on big screens -  one on each side of the audience for easy visibility.  The second song was something no one in our row recognized but confirmed my suspicion that it was in Italian.  And the "it's over, you can get up now" song was -- wait for it, "Coming to America"!  As she did at age 23 and loved us ever since.

RIP Arlette, you've earned it.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

So Much for the Wedding - Onward to the Preakness

This could be a summation (of sorts) about The Wedding.  When Richie uncovered our cockatiel Lady Bird this morning I heard him say to her, "Okay to put away the wedding gown..."  The bird had no discernible response.

In an endless quest to find something entertaining, I noted that the second race of the Triple Crown known as the Preakness takes place outside of Baltimore today.  The weather for the race is not promising - 80 per cent chance of precipitation, 94 per cent humidity (look for lathered up horses at the finish) and a gentle wind at 10 mph.

It's what I would call a "small race" with only eight horses competing -- of note, all of them are brown.  Not a grey one in the bunch.  This means my bet requires me to work at it a little instead of just saying, "The grey one - here's the mortgage payment."  I'm forced into a default position that has me just picking a name I like.

I'm not the only one to question the scarcity of grey horses on the racing circuit.  It turns out that grey horses carry a gene that changes the original color of the horse by lightening it.  A dappled grey horse will eventually turn white.

But the sad fact remains:  there are not enough grey horses who are good enough to be bred.  Sting!

Disappointing news indeed.  So my bet is the horse named Quip.  Seems appropriate for a writer.

Friday, May 18, 2018


Me either.  Not even going to tape it.  If the planners had made it more exciting, put a little show biz in it ... might then tape it.

I am referring to an ancient Chinese custom of all of the bridesmaids being dressed exactly like the bride.  Huh? you ask?  It was also customary in those wild days of hooligans and no-goodniks to try to rob the bride and if the robbers had to stand around and try to establish the true bride, help could come.   If so inclined.

In Victoria's time, both the bride and her bridesmaids wore white as did the groom and his ushers.  A veritable sea of white bobbing around ...

All-white and all alike ... that would certainly add some pizazz to this event.  Alas.  Ain't gonna happen.  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Four Customers and a Waiter - at the Movies!

The Daily Breeze front page this morning had a huge article on "dinner and a movie" IN the theatre.  Yes, extra wide recliners, little tray tables, an armrest button to summon a waiter for another drink or dessert ... all at the movies.  It was illustrated with two pictures - two women giggling in their recliners and a kneeling waiter, taking their order.  Frankly as they were the size of small houses, I didn't think they needed nourishment, but why be a spoilsport?  And on an inside page, the back of the heads of two customers, otherwise concealed in their recliners and a waiter kneeling beside them.  Otherwise all of the rest of the seats in the theatre appeared to be empty.

The enjoyment of a movie - any of them - in a theatre was never something I understood.  My parents were not cine fans; I was not allowed to go to the movies (or read comic books) so I didn't grow up in the back of a movie theatre.  

I didn't miss it and I won't go to a theatre today.  IT'S TOO FRICKIN' LOUD!  Granted I worked rock'n roll and often spent time in a recording studio but that was business and I was being paid to do it whereas movie goers are stripped of the mortgage payment just to sit in a seat with gum underneath it and stray popcorn sticking out of the seats.

Still, I wondered what was being served at these pavilions of profit.  Take a look - for further info.

Nibbles ...
Loaded Brisket Fries with pulled brisket, sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese sauce, sweet jalapenos and ranch dressing $10.29  1,370 calories

Ultimate Nachos with spicy queso (Mexican cheese) jalapenos, black beans, pico de gallo, cilantro, guacamole and cool lime cream.  $10.99  1,640 calories

Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan, chili salt, and a house spice blend.  $7.99  230 calories

Dessert - Chocolate filled churros with whipped cream.  $8.99  1,050 calories.  I remember buying churros, three for 25 cents at the border crossing from Ensenada to the U.S.

Clearly the dishes above are easily executed in your own kitchen.  You can control the sound volume from your very own recliner.  There is never a line for the bathroom.  Easy enough to pour another glass of wine or open a beer.  And - bonus points - you can do all of the above in your ratty underwear (if any).  And if you don't like the movie, hit the button and take it back to the library the next day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

RIP Tom Wolfe, age 88

Wolfe was hailed in his time for his nearly electric prose, his long paragraphs filled with nothing but adjectives and a satiric eye at Society.  He nailed it nearly every time as far as good writing and controversy were concerned.

In addition to being a gifted linguist (in his adjective strings) he coined phrases that were absolutely de riguer in their day - remember ...
The Me Decade
Radical Chic (used more on the East Coast than West)
The Right Stuff - I think he might have lifted this one from old pilots.
Social X-rays - the aged trophy wives of New York, all of whom looked youthful and bright due to excessive use of Botox or face lifts.  He pointed out that they really aren't fooling anyone by reminding his audience to look at the back of their hands - age and liver spots.
Master of the Universe came out when the market and the dot.coms were going nuts.

Wolfe believed early in the logo presentation of a writer.  His habitual garb, visible across the busiest street in Manhattan, was a white "ice cream suit" with vest, striped shirt and spats with a straw fedora on top.  Once asked what he would call this habit/style he responded, "Neo-pretentious."  That alone would rank him tops with me.  Neo-pretentious.  I love it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Drink Your Nice Garlic

Richie has been exploring  his vast collection of books.  Down into the depths of Richie's Room, up with a selection of paperbacks for me to read or give to the Redondo Beach main library.  Among the gleanings yesterday was a cookbook - "International Garlic Festival Cookbook" by Caryl Simpson.

To say Ms. Simpson is a fan of garlic is understatement.  In addition to an unmistakable taste and scent, she believes it has medicinal qualities as well and who knows?  She might be right.  For your good health -

28 oz. chicken broth
1 whole bulb of garlic
5 sprigs minced parsley
6 sprigs cilantro
1 teas. each:  lemon pepper, minced mint leaves, minced basil leaves and curry powder.

Peel the cloves, throw everything in a pot and heat'er up.  Get well quick!

My recipe is easier - 1 can chicken broth, one T garlic powder, 1 T cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic, minced
3 capfuls of vinegar (apparently any will do)
water to fill the glass
Chaser - 1 T honey.    This is just a play on the old vinegar and honey and water elixir thought to promote good health.  The theory apparently being that if you reek of garlic, people will avoid you and you will be exposed to far fewer germs.

If you want to clear out a bar because you're feeling cranky or an old boyfriend is flaunting a new g'friend and it isn't you ...

2 jiggers gin
1/2 teas. dry vermouth
1 garlic-stuffed olive

1 clove garlic per person
couple of squirts of lemon juice
  Chop the garlic and put it in a shot glass.  Give the garlic a squeeze or two of lemon
add 1 to 2 T of water.  Swirl in shot glass and bolt it down in one big swig.

Now - anyone up for Savory Garlic Cheesecake?  I didn't think so!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Adult to Screaming 2 Year Old: No, Honey, This Is Mommie's Adult Lollipop

The Sun, a Brit newspaper that reminds me of our, has something on offer that I had never heard of (Yes, need to get out more.)

Both of the main supermarkets there - Sainsburys and Aldi - sell alcoholic lollipops as adult beverages with an alcohol content of 4.5 ABV.  New entries being touted in The Sun are Gin and Tonic or Raspberry Bellinis which substitute Prosecco for Champagne and Raspberry slush for the original's white peaches.  Sainsbury's four-pack goes for 2.50 Lbs and Aldi's four-pack for 2.99 Lbs.

In noodling around looking to see if these are the only adult lolls around, I discovered that the following are also available: 

Bourbon and Ancho Chilis
Pina Colado
Tequila Not (no alcohol in them) with a mescal worm frozen into each lollipop.  If HotLix thinks they can get away with not including tequila in something they expect you to eat the worm out of ... hello, Frat Boys!

Veering away from lollipops,  may I introduce Prosecco Gummy Bears?  $7 lb. and recommended for such as wedding receptions, bridal showers, and so forth.  One contributor to the gaiety that is sure to ensue remarked at how lovely they look floating in a champagne flute.

For myself (aka Champagne Ho) I do not need gummy bears (or any other kind) taking space in a flute when the champagne would be much more welcome.  As we know no one at a marriageable age at this point in time, just one less thing to worry about - getting stiffed on the champagne at a gala of any type.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mothers' Day`

Happy Mothers' Day to you all.

May they take you out for breakfast and not make it for you at home as a surprise.  The surprise is often what the kitchen looks like afterward.  Or so I am told.  

The mother part is you have to suck it up and say, "Oh, darling(s)!  It doesn't matter!  This is such a good breakfast!  Thank you so much!"

Apparently lying through your teeth is a Mother's Gift.  Give it a workout today.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Moms Say the Damnedest Things

Here I have liberated (better image than "stolen") some remarks from  This after I culled through 181 of them on 19 pages.  Stealing isn't easy.

So - Mom Sez:

(Disapprovingly)  If those shorts were any shorter, we could see her ovaries!

Adult Son to Mom:  "My Christmas present to myself this year is to get a vasectomy!"
Mom drily, "A gift to the world."

"Close the door - you're letting all of the WiFi out!"

"If you kids didn't cost so much, I could drink wine out of a bottle."

Retired nurse Mom to kids, "Be patient before I make you a patient."

But my all-time favorite, bar none, Oscars galore is:  "I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it."

Friday, May 11, 2018

New Definition

"So dumb she thought Taco Bell was a Mexican phone company."

You're welcome.

Take Mom to a Sumo Wrestling Match - For Something Different!

Every year, choice restaurants are booked solid.  We found ourselves at Ports one time and I asked the bathroom attendant (an old friend) how many they were expecting on this Mother's Day and she said, succinctly, "3,000."

Well, this event is the day before Mother's Day so you could go to the sumo match and then saunter into a nice restaurant and be seated rather immediately.

The match will be held tomorrow (Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid at Cal State Long Beach, 1250 N. Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach.  Tickets are $25 - $150.  Visit for more information.

As I read up on sumo, I discovered a couple things about it that will appeal to your mother because they will take her right back to the days when her Precious Baby  (you) was just a kid.

This is what sumo is:  a contest inside of a large ring with two sumo contestants inside of it.  The object of the sport is to push, shove, grapple the other guy out of this ring or make him touch the floor of the ring.  Only the soles of the feet are allowed to touch the mat.  She will sigh and think fondly of your days as King of the Hill and the ensuing rough housing.

The average sumo is 330 pounds.  They eat only two meals a day, for a total of 20,000 calories.  The average calorie consumption for an active male is 2,500 per day.  She may gaze fondly at you and murmur, "Clean up your plate!  There are children in (pick a country) starving to death!"

This appetite is not a good thing to emulate.  Here are some of the afflictions that visit the average sumo wrestler - their lifespan on average is 60 to 65 years.  Diabetes, hypertension and cirrhosis of the liver (beer is the quaff of choice.)

They are paid huge salaries though (the better to never run out of food and beer?)  A primo contestant makes $30,000 a MONTH.  Not year.  The juniors who are just gaining a rep get (in contrast) a miserable $11,000 a MONTH.

And if she likes to see fat men in loincloths - you are in like Flynn!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Guest Columnist - STEVE SWITZER

To give you the background.  Recently Surf Ranch, Lemore CA, south of Fresno, in Central California debuted a machine-driven surf machine.  A 70-ton hydrofoil on a track creates  700 yard long "perfect" waves in a former pond.

Steve Comments: (and he is not one to hide his feelings)

"So this is what the sport of my youth has come to?  Perfect conditions, perfect wave shape, perfect water temp, yet ... total artificiality, total banality, total predictability, total boredom, totally unexciting.  Every move perfectly choreographed, scripted, planned in advance - probably written out the night before like a menu in a restaurant, a roster of food to be cooked by a group of competing chefs.  No bothersome GWSs or Tiger Sharks to worry about, no jelly fish stings to put calamine lotion on later, no porpoises to share waves with, no pelicans to dive bomb next to you and scare the crap out of you.

No, this is just the latest cultural tragedy to befall us Old Guys who had the great good fortune to know surfing in the 40's, 50's and early 60's when boards were made of wood and real surfers didn't wear wetsuits; when the line-up between the Manhattan Pier and El Porto on a warm spring morning had maybe 30 surfers in it; when the surf report was two woodies full of guys and boards stopped in the middle of PCH, one pointing north and one pointed south, exchanging information.

We gave our girlfriends St. Christopher medallions and they dutifully sat on the beach and watched their bronzed Adonis' walk the nose and do reverse kick-outs.  We had it so good then that we wouldn't know how good we had it till the advent of short board thrashers, leashes and hollow boards made in China and sold at Costco.  

I surfed when surfing was great fun.  I enjoyed the sport when most didn't consider it a sport, but a lifestyle and a bad one at that - a rebellion.  But I - we - knew that wasn't so.  It wasn't a rebellion.  It was just the free-est, most exciting thing we could do.  I surely never thought about it then, but if I had, I never would have believed that technology could ever take that - a boy, a board and a wave - and dump it in a contest in the middle of cow country.   

Tempus fugit.  Time flees.  It marches on and the farther it goes, the farther behind I fall, not so much unable as unwilling to keep up.  I come from a far better place than the place time wants to take me."  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tah Dah!

This notification is not being delivered to you courtesy of a mental hospital which permits inmates to correspond and make Websites.  But it was a damned close thing.

This morning I made myself do it and called GoDaddy's Help line for guidance.  It is not that I am so proud that I refuse help until all is lost, it is that whoever I'm talking to very often speaks computerese with instructions and I have to say, "Where's that?" or "What's that?"

I spoke with a very professional, but friendly tech named Jermaine.  Pooints for flawless English.

Come to find out, I had three different Websites.  This one had this; that one didn't have it, but did have that.  The possibilities for error numbered in the dozens and I hit every one of them.

During our discussion I mentioned that I wanted to replace Daddy's locator map with a better one I had gleaned and learned something.  "You have to use ours," Jermaine, said, softly.   When the dust settles,  I will quietly try to slip in "my" map in the photographs section.

I did get Recently Published in the print section, but was not able to get the ads for each book in a photo section.  More work ahead, but for right now, what's there is going to have to be good enough.

Keep scrolling down - I can't figure out how to get rid of all of the space between book jackets and map.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

All Patients Are Not Treated Equally

This morning I have the yearly  Clamps of Death Exam, more professionally referred to as a mammogram.  Women's lot is not an easy one.  Our grandmothers could have told us that.  Probably did and we weren't listening.

Anyhow I began to wonder why after 28 mammograms I had never gotten a male technician.  In fact, there was never a male in that entire area of the medical offices.

So I looked it up and found some statistics unrelated to this matter and quite a few Comments, the gist of which were:  "It's bad enough for another woman to see this body"  "Legally speaking, refusing to hire a qualified male technician is grounds for a discrimination suit."  Several women admitted that if they arrived, disrobed and were then greeted by a male tech they would gather their inadequate gowns around themselves and flee into the darkest recesses of the dressing room and tremble at a narrow escape.

Deep into my search, I found the following statistics.  In 2010 the male doctor graduates numbered 69.9 per cent of all med school graduates.  Further hair splitting on another site broke that percentage into specialties chosen.

This was a surprise - plastic surgeons:  Male 5,993  Female 886.  Since men are notoriously bad at applying make-up (drag queens excepted) I can't think a woman would want a man messing around with their face.  I mean faces are forever; you can always wash make-up off.

The only near tie I saw was for child and adolescent psychiatrists - Men:  51.8 per cent; Women 48.2 per cent.

Moving more into current statistics, in 2015 there were 9,798 male medical school graduates and 8,907 females.

My preference, you ask?  I really don't care what sex squashes my tits into near pancakes.  All I want is to get in there, git'ter done and get the hell out.  I'm easy.  No girlish shrieks, just a tightening of the jaw during the exam.  Number 29 is not going to kill me just as the previous 28 didn't either.

Monday, May 7, 2018

"Yew Cain't Alwus Git Whut You Wanted"

With cordial thanks to that bouncing, prancing rock 'n roll icon Mick Jagger!

I have been wrestling (if one can with a object deep in cyberspace) to  design and implement a new South Bay Writers Workshop Website .  The original was pretty bare bones and anyhow I was tired of it.

GoDaddy offered me a deal I couldn't resist - to make the Writers Workshop Website available to smart phone users and other social media.  Which makes me wonder - why not sooner?  Smart phones have been around now for quite some time.  

So I created one.  Then GoDaddy snarls that one has to use their templates.  And I snarled back in a remarkable re-creation of my inner two year old.  Essential gist:  If I can't have what I want, then I don't want any part of you so you can just go ... away.  Language refined.

After several days of frustration (I don't speak computer-ese) and a dangerously high blood pressure, I got over myself.  I deflected into "Who cares but me anyhow?  Frisby it on outta here."

Now I am about to X3 all of the above.  I have to ask how to link their book ads (four of us are newly-published and it's just an additional plug for those books) into the writer's Website.

I have about as much business trying to do a Website on a computer as a dog to drive a trash truck.  None at all.

Better days.  I will get this done.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Cinco de Mayo, You Ask?

Las Brisas, 1969 Artesia, Redondo Beach's new attraction

A pair of revelers

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Post Derby Observations

In no particular order ... observations are random anyhow ...

Millionaire owners wearing clear plastic ponchos over their bespoke London or Italian suits ...

The ladies' hats must have been made of plastic - not a one suffered from the rain.

A female  announcer sounded quite horse knowledgeable.  She remarked that No. such-and-such had never raced in mud; watch to see how he reacts to mud on his belly.  No, he never raced on mud, which is not to say at his home stable, he hadn't run on it.  A bit unclear there.

I am a fool for a grey race horse.  I swear I would bet on a grey with three legs and the blinders wrong side out, facing his tail.  There were no grey competitors, but there were four gray horses on the track.  The go-with horses or "escorts."   Disappointing.  I half-hoped that one of them, filled with an adventurous spirit would sidle in amongst them and run, too.  Alas.

And none of our picks won which is nothing new.  I think I last won sometime back in the '90s.

Next year I win big on a grey horse, dammit!

Mint Juleps and Guacamole

Two  reasons to party today -  it's a double so bring them on!  The Kentucky Derby will feature bizarre women's hats, fulsome announcers discussing all 144 previous races, innumerable commercials,  the swigging down of The Official Drink of the Derby - the time-honored drink of Southern Colonels - and there was something else ... Oh, yes!  a horse race which gives us (after all of the above) "the fastest two minutes in racing!"

As always at any public event, there is a show off  and in this case, it is the $1,000 per drink Mint Julep. (I think for most of us, we would expect a six-pack of the damned things for that kind of money.)   Spoiler alert for those reaching for their MasterCard.  It is not the ingredients used.  It is a  sterling silver-etched commemorative cup with such as the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs or a horse and rider depicted on it.  It is presented to the cooing buyer in a wooden box lined with the same silk as the jockey's shirts.

Too plebian? "Darling!  Every other Tom, Dick and Harry will have one!"  Upgrade to the $2,500 cup which is gold-plated.  Comparison shopping tells us that this Derby is expected to sell 120,000 mint juleps at the house price of $11 each.  Estimated number of sips to drain your glass - 22.

Humph.  Let us turn our attention to a more personable celebration which is Cinco de Mayo, erstwhile competitor with St. Patrick's Day for most drunks ejected from a bar.  Ignoring the mandatory tequila shots, triple power margaritas and other brain deadeners, let's have some guacamole to pad our stomachs, shall we?

California claims that in California alone, 87.3 million pounds of avocados or 175 million individual avocados will be used to make 349 servings of guacamole.  Chew on that one!  And drive carefully.  

Feliz dia de le  Cinco de Mayo!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

When Cats Get High

Cats love to be above it all as they are preying animals.  A vertical descent onto said prey is a definite advantage.

Clearly our Fred is rehearsing ...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Rudy is a fellow member of the South Bay Writers Workshop where we enjoyed hearing and critiquing his four novels so it was a surprise to us when he added "Actor" to his resume.  He was doing quite well as an "Author"!

Arguably, it was even more of a surprise when acting turned into a lucrative amusement for him!  Traditionally, actors live in cardboard boxes, work when they can at coffee shops, car washes while waiting for their big break.  Not our Rudy.  He hasn't been "at leisure" since he started!

Here he quietly opens the door backstage and lets us in to study a Call Sheet.  Shhh!  The red light is on - they're filming!  Don't make a sound!

10 a.m.  Be sure to eat breakfast (and lunch if you're not skeleton crew) before arriving.  Snacks will be provided throughout the day.

Production notes:  Wear closed-toe shoes to set.  Keep your phone on silent during the set.  Stay hydrated.  Drink water continuously throughout the day.  Please keep talking to a minimum and, when able, please use the specified cast/crew rest areas.

Lunch - 1 p.m.  Wrap 9 p.m.

Nearest hospital: St. Joseph Mission
Weather 60 a.m., 67 noon   Humidity 57%, sunny.

Visit him at and buy a book! (or three)
"Six Months In Spain"
"The Man In the Ice Cream Suit"
"The Old Kirkham Farm"
"Don't Play with Those Kids Down the Street"