Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Peaceful Weekend

Wish you one, too.  If anything comes up, will write about it... but as for now - Happy 4th and - later!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Obituaries at Random

Based on the number of Websites on this subject, I am not alone in my interest in how obituaries are written and what they emphasis and the give-aways about the individual readily apparent to the reader.

Religious people:  Jack Spratt went to the Lord's house (date)  Mrs. Jack Spratt went to meet Jesus/Jesus arms  (date, etc.)

Suicide alert:  So-and-so died suddenly.  I find this ominous indeed, as in you are minding your business and Boom!  You're dead.  Even if you were planning to go to Jesus, you weren't given time to pack.

I thought we were being a little daring when my Fa-in-Law died and we wrote "In lieu of flowers, donations to the Halsite Fire Department paramedics would be appreciated."  Instead, I read today you can leave instructions!  For example, "In lieu of flowers, tune up your car and check the air pressure in your tires.  He would have wanted that."  All of which begs the question, was he a retired mechanic (he was in his 80s) or killed in a freeway crash?  Unsatisfactory.

And then there is thrifty to the end and beyond - A request for any interested party to ask the cremation firm for a refund because he knew he weighed at least 20 per cent less than when he paid for cremation."

This is one way to insure that everyone has a rollicking good time at your funeral "No mourners dressed in black will be admitted to this funeral."  The People of Walmart are going to make for an interesting audience.

For further amusement, I recommend Googling "funny obituaries."  You will be entertained for an entire morning (which is when I should have been doing housework, but didn't.  It's not going anywhere.)  

Todays Daily Breeze

Darlene File went to be with her Lord and Savior on June 23, 2018"

Our patriarch, Daniel Miranda, age 95, was called to his heavenly home on May 30, 3018.   This should make us all uneasy if the phone rings and there's no one there.  Start being cautious when you turn 90 would be my advice...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I Don't Feel So Good ...

Note:  It is now officially Summer, as of 6/21/18.

If you have a "summer cold"  you are showing these symptoms:  sneezing, nasal congestion and discharge, sore throat, cough and a low-grade fever; headache and "general malaise" may be present.

If you're exhibiting all of those symptoms, "malaise" comes as no surprise.

In contrast, a "winter" cold has all of the above plus (bonus!) slight body aches.  Richie is particularly prone to body aches.  He will moan plaintively, "My bones ache …"  This strikes me as unlikely as there are some 206 bones in the human body and at our ages (upper 70s) it is not surprising that things are beginning to go awry.   Just another day at the Pain Factory.

While the medical symptoms are clearly defined, the psychological factors are not (as far as I know.)

Winter - cold weather, into and out of nice warm buildings  presenting a shock to our nervous systems.  We have been conditioned since toddlers that snow equals cold.  Of course, to a kid, this is a good thing - "Mommieee, I want my sled!"   For the rest of us, clad as we are in layers of clothing, it is not fun at all.

But wait! you say.  What about warm states - they don't get "cold."  I would remind you of winter headlines - "Florida orange crop doomed; freezing temperatures destroying orchards!"  And on the Business pages, "orange futures dismal; costs per half-gallon higher than $10 a container expected."

Having sneezed and wheezed ourselves through another winter, it is a distinct shock to our mental health to have the same symptoms in Summer!  Summer is - beaches, scanty suits, sand, tans, restaurant patio dining. convertibles with the top down all season … good stuff.  And we aren't ready for it mentally.

Just remind yourself that the average cold lasts seven to 10 days.  You're going to be fine.  It just doesn't feel like it now.  Get your beach gear together, put it in a visible spot and tell it every day, "We're gonna get there!"  Trust me, you'll feel much better.  

Sunday, June 24, 2018

To Live and Die In A ... Walmart Parking Lot

Surprising news.  According to the news, finding dead bodies in Walmart parking lots is not that unusual.  God knows there are enough parking lots.  Walmart has 4,177 US stores and employs 1.4 million people.  It is said that 90 percent of Americans live within 15 miles of a Walmart.  Going further, I read that if Walmart were a country, it would rank #26 in worldwide standings.

That's a hella lot of Walmarts.  In a community-minded  contribution, Walmart management allows overnight parking in their lots, if this policy is agreeable to local law enforcement.   Said parking lots are host to the homeless, truckers, immigrants - legal or otherwise presumably, druggies, the suicidal and the very ill.  What causes these unfortunates to be discovered (as often as not rigor mortis has come and gone) is the smell.  Even so, one woman was discovered dead after three months in her vehicle.  The people at that location may not be the most observant there and most certainly are olfactory challenged.

Despite their parking lot hospitality, the stores do not hire and use night security personnel.  And in the daylight hours, it must be assumed that incoming shoppers are so anxious to get to the bargains and the outbounds are so eager to get their spoils home, that no one really notices the reek.

If I were the County Coroner and had to deal with bits and pieces of decomposing bodies because all deaths unattended by a doctor/medical staff are suspect and thus autopsied,  I would ask Walmart to augment rolling night shift cops in tagging vehicles by date observed - and subsequent dates.  After three nights when the vehicle has clearly not been touched, it's time to bust a window.    Fresh is better than not, if you follow my thinking.

Living in a vehicle in a parking lot is one thing, but reports of a 14 year old boy living in a Walmart attic are inaccurate.  Snopes derailed it.

Keep an eye and a nose working after you park at Walmart.  Happy and productive shopping. Oh, wasn't that old VW van just there last week?  Hmmm... "Thank you for welcoming me to Walmart; now an I see the manager?"

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Get Out! Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops? Spicy Dill Pickle Potato Chips?

Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops
CVS sells them as an "own brand."  Out of sheer curiosity I bought a smallish bag of 30 individually-wrapped lozenges.  Just unwrapped one and inserted it into my curious mouth.  I am disheartened to report that it is strongly flavored of menthol with no hint of spice, pumpkin or kumquat or whatever.

So I read the list of ingredients which is a bunch of chemicals including but not limited to:  natural and artificial flavors, medium chain triglycerides, propylene glycol, soy bean oil, sucrose and water.

No mention of pumpkins spiced or not.

When I think of all of the traditional flavors - cherry, honey-lemon and honey licorice, known to all of us since childhood … I have to wonder why?  Especially honey-licorice when licorice was absolutely forbidden if one was taking an antibiotic.  Minute amounts... must have been.  Licorice is a strong flavor and a little goes a very long way.  But pumpkin spice?  Nothin' but menthol, darlin'.

Spicy Dill Pickle Potato Chips
A proud product of Deep River Snacks which donates 10 per cent net of profits to charity.  They also use the back of their bags to promote other charities that have personally affected employees and families.  The charity is featured on the back of the bag and changes.  This bag features Caroline's Miracle Foundation for children with inoperable brain tumors.  I like their motto which really expresses their charitable philosophy - "Because We Give a Chip!"

They are located in Deep River, CT. and I bought this 2 oz. bag at Ralph's by the deli counter.    The whole bag is only 290 calories and I like that part.  I would report on taste, flavoring and so forth but it's right before dinner.  Richie is making Beef Fillet Tips a la Eugene and if it all works out will give you the recipe.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

"Nature, Red of Tooth and Claw"

Charles Darwin on his treatise of natural selection/evolution.  We had a peak at Nature just last night.

We were sitting in the living room, contently watching an episode of "Law & Order" when from out on the balcony came a thundering CRASH!

"What the hell was that?" howled Richie.  "Squirrel must have over-weighted one of the hanging flower baskets..." I replied.  "But did his weight uncurl the hanger-style hook that holds it up?  Is that even possible?"

Richie, with some difficulty - Streak, our lap junky cat, was rudely disturbed and, of course, protested mightily - got up and flipped on the balcony light and the flower baskets were safe, but the hummingbird feeder lay, smashed, on the balcony floor.  

Apparently a local squirrel had an attack of sweet tooth.  I would bet the horrendous CRASH startled him/her as much as it did us.

This is more than likely the squirrel that loves to torment Fred the cat by climbing up the avocado tree next to the office window.   From his vantage point (freedom) he does the equivalent of flashing Fred who, frustrated, twitches the very end of his tail and crouches on the window sill, eyes mere slits.  Not for the first time, am I glad that we switched out the old single pane windows in the house and installed doubles.  After all, Fred weighs 20 lbs.  And is motivated.  Bad combination.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Run, Chickens! Richie's Got A New Recipe!

Bon Appetit thoughtfully includes calories per serving - 270; fat 12 grams and fiber - 0.

Chicken with Tarragon and Quick-Roasted Garlic

Richie had to go out and buy the tarragon.  He remarked that none of his other recipes called for it and I replied that tarragon is considered kind of exotic in most circles.  In fact, the only other tarragon dish I can think of is Béarnaise Sauce.  Quickly followed by the thought that this dish could use a little of it on the table.  So -

3 large, unpeeled garlic cloves
4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 T butter
1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay in his case)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 T tarragon
2 T heavy whipping cream (omitted)

Roast the garlic cloves in a small saucepan.  When it's brown in spots and you can easily pierce it, take it out of the skillet and set it aside to cool.

Next sprinkle each breast with pepper and sauté it in the butter until browned.  Set aside

Peel the garlic (slit it and squeeze is easiest) put it in the now-empty small skillet and add the wine and mash them around together and cook until this sauce is reduced.  Then add the broth and tarragon and simmer a bit.  Put the chicken in the sauce to re-heat and serve.

1/3 cup white vinegar
2 T tarragon
2 egg yolks
4 oz. cubed butter

Boil the vinegar and tarragon together, reducing by half.  Set aside to cool 'way down because next you're going to beat in the egg yolks and they will scramble if the sauce is hot.  That accomplished start beating in the butter cube by cube.  When it looks glossy or creamy, it's done.  Serve on the side in a little pitcher or a bowl and spoon.

Merci, Bon Appetit 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Soccer, Vuvuzelas, Baseball and Sports In General

Sheila, Netanya, Israel:

I have always felt that the fact that America finds it hard to accept football is that they have to take the game as it is.

At school, I played (badly) net ball.  America took it, changed the rules 300% and called it "basketball."

Rugby … into American football.  Again 300%.

Rounders into baseball.  Again 300%.  Rounders is a game played by kids.

To my knowledge, not a professional game in all these games - the base is there.

I remember when Americans couldn't sell soccer to TV … no space for commercials.  The American crowd couldn't live with "nil - nil" so they tried a penalty shoot-out to end a tied game.

Okay in America, but not on the world stage.  And this is a world stage.  Look which teams are there world-wide.  Americans have qualified before and done very well.  This year they missed out, as did Holland, Italy - not exactly little teams.

In the past, England failed to get there as has France. In the US because you are not there this year, you are like the rest, didn't make it.

America was slow to take to football, but you are there now.  You will have good years and bad and because this is a worldwide sport; you may have to settle for not being THE GREATEST TEAM OF ALL TIME.  Sorry, Mr. Trump."

Doug V., Anderson, IN.

"I read McIntyre's article and your blog on the World Cup and vuvuzelas.  I approve of your position, and I would go a little further.

I hate soccer!  I could be more entertained drinking a beer while watching grass grow or paint dry, especially since there are no throngs of fanatics blowing vuvuzelas in my ears.

I tried to play soccer as a youth; even jointed a league for a short time, but I was so disgruntled by the coach (a former college soccer player) when he basically told us there wasn't much strategy playing the game; rather, it was mostly athleticism and endurance that produced winners.

Modern-day athletics has become that way, thus the less athletic among us are destined to be shut out of athletic competition and the opportunity to not only learn to love a sport, but to maintain fitness through participating.

I likened soccer to hockey when I was a youngster, but after playing both sports I found that hockey has far more strategy and requires, by far, a broader degree of physical endurance.  I was too short and slow to play competitive basketball, but I participated in football and played baseball and I ran distance races in track for a short while in prep school.  I found the games with the most strategic depth to be football and baseball - athleticism and endurance were good traits to possess, but everyone with skill had a chance to win.  Being too short and too slow, I found it tough to sit the bench in football, but baseball offered me the chance to play every day because I was willing to don the  "tools of ignorance" and sit behind home played in torrid temperatures as the "general" on the field.

Many complain that baseball is as boring as soccer and to those who do not think about the strategic options between every pitch, I am sure it is.  But to me, baseball is excitingly cerebral and there are no nut cases blowing vuvuzelas in my ears.

Soccer … I hate soccer!

Thank you Sheila and Doug for giving me permission to add your comments.  Much appreciated.  A new slant or a different opinion is always welcome here.

Monday, June 18, 2018

NOooooooo! Not the Vuvuzela!!!!!

The use of the vuvuzela at sporting events began in 2009 so we have only been annoyed by them at World Cup events every four years or 2009, 2012, 2016.  I think.  Am not good at math.  Save your scathing comments on it; have already heard them all.  "And, yet she persists …"

Wondering what corner of hell they had been sent to torture us, I looked them up.  They go far back to South Africa where they were used to summon far-flung villages to a meeting.  Since the advent of teleconferencing and Skype, I see no reason to keep them for any use whatsoever.  Moreover they disrupt the game since the players can't hear the coaches and the players are just as annoyed at them as the audience.

Did you know that their 120dB(A) is also the pain threshold for our ears and can cause permanent hearing loss if used less than 3 ft. 3 in. from our ears?  One vuvuzela manufacturer did have the class to sell a pair of ear plugs with each horn sold.

At least we only have to put up with them every four years whereas the wheezing 6-note fanfare of the  baseball organ is every game throughout the too long season.  If I didn't already find baseball as boring as doing the laundry, I think it's a pussy bunch of players.  "Ooo!  Ooo! He broke the little finger of his non-dominant hand!  OMG!" being an example.   I suspect that they all secretly wear bubble gum pink underpants or lacy thongs under those uniforms.  It would be appropriate.

World Cup at least has some interest in watching the players tear up and down an enormous field at full speed.  They do very little else, but at least there's an impression on the viewers that they're trying to do something.   Baseball?  Not so much.  They're rather sit on a folding chair in the outfield and count their money.

Still and all, it takes all kinds and good for those that love their sport.  Just - could you please leave the vuvuzela at home to scare midnight burglars or something?   Thank you.  Much appreciated.


Sunday, June 17, 2018


Hoping you have an enjoyable day and are properly worshipped as is proper.

This is a Website that made me laugh and then consider how much parenting has changed and especially for stay-at-home Dads which didn't exist in many of our days.  It's

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Himself is 77 today.  He is a disappointing "birthday boy" in spades.  Year after year, he says, "It's just another day."  This is an attitude that is totally foreign to me.  If the celebrations don't run for at least one week, I consider that a non-birthday.  I was 27 in April.

Not any sort of celebration, but we had Double Bacon Scallops for dinner last night.  Richie liked it and since I invented it, so did I.

However many sea scallops seem appropriate.  Sauté them in olive oil and set them aside to seep  out some, at least, of the juice.
1 T butter
2 T Trader Joe Bacon Jam
1 strip pre-cooked bacon, cut in 1-in. pieces
Mix the butter and jam in a little skillet, heat and pour gracefully over the scallops.  Insert a piece of bacon on each scallop in a decorative way and serve.  Bon appetite!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Barbecue That Delights the Taste Buds and An Engineer's Heart

Last night we went to a restaurant and ordered take-out.  Reason?  We were at that end of town when Writer's Workshop finished at 2 p.m. and the new barbecue had gotten very good reviews.  It was closed the Monday we went there for lunch.  We love barbecue as does any right-thinking American citizen.  Take-out because we dine around 6 or 6:30 p.m.

Willingham's World Champion BBQ is at 443 S. PCH, #A, Redondo Beach  This is a short strip mall between Pearl and Ruby Streets.  The street-facing end is a liquor store.

The reviewer - the inimitable Richard Foss of the Easy Reader, paid particular attention to the brisket, remarking that it comes in two styles - lean or "juicy" meaning the meat wasn't trimmed as much as the lean was of the fat.

We took home 1/2 lb. of lean brisket $9.95, one pint of cole slaw $5 and one pint of beans $5.  The beans were amazing because they were thick enough to stand a spoon upright in the middle of the container and what was making them that way was the meat included with the beans!   Both were good.

The brisket was beautifully plated, spread out like a fan, displaying the lean slices of meat and their traditional crust.  They were as tasty as they looked and really didn't need sauce.  We asked for a sample of their trademarked W'ham BBQ sauce and were given "sweet" - modestly so - and "hot" which wasn't except for a little heat at the back of the mouthful.

Now barbecue-loving engineers:  The W'ham turbo cooker which slow cooks and uses the smoke to cook the meat, a lengthy process as it takes an hour to smoke 528 hotdogs.  John Willingham, the inventor, was proud that the meat never touched fire.

The illustration of it looks like a Rube Goldberg creation - it is not small either.  It is 77 in. tall, 35 in. deep and 60 in. wide.  It will cook 32 slabs of ribs via hooks attaching the ribs to a carousel giving each rib a blast of smoke.  It will take 100 lbs. of butts or brisket and 16 burgers at a time.  The chef's version of this smoker will accept 100 lbs. of ribs.

We ate all of the brisket (with gusto) and still have 2/3rds each of the cole slaw and beans.  This dinner was $20 and with the addition of another half-pound of ribs and another half-pound … fat city!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Bewildering Array of Choices - June 14th

Flag Day is the oldest celebrated event as the Second Continental Congress signed the legislature necessary to make what we see today.  That was June 14, 1777.  I read up on this and nowhere did I see any mention of Betsy Ross who sewed, tis said, the first example.  Well, 1777, women were considered mainly the opprobrious term "housewives."

The celebrations seem to be limited to flying the flag and a parade.

There are, however, other events we can sink our teeth into … today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day as well as National Bourbon Day.

This day celebrates National Family History Day; the US Army's Birthday, National Nursing Assistants and World Blood Donors Days.

Put up the flag, have a restorative shot of bourbon, dig into strawberry shortcake and mentally praise the fact that you have a family history - weren't a foundling left in a doorway - the fact that you don't need a blood donation (I sincerely hope this) and that nursing assistants are available if you did.

(Spat of hands)  There.  Have a great day!  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Wretched Excess

Among yesterday's errands was "buy more wet cat food."  We sauntered in to Petco and went to eyeball the goods.  Certainly they enough different brands and tastes to satisfy the pickiest cat.  We have one.  She will lap up the "gravy" and leave the meat alone.  Even though I mash the two together.  She will turn up her nose, stalk away and lash her tail.  When she thinks I am no longer paying attention, she will sidle back in and eat it.

In an effort to tempt her, I have tried a variety of flavors.  Duck seems to be popular, more than chicken which puzzles me.  There are a lot more chickens in this world (and their food cans) than there are ducks.

But yesterday's selection caused me to tell the helpful roving clerk, "Just shoot me.  This is too over the top."

I was referring to three wet foods - Purrfect brand - Grammy's Pot Pies,  Thanksgiving Day Dinner and the one that nearly put me in the local institute for the overly nervous:  ready?


Yes.  A turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken.  To feed a cat.  To make sure I had this right, I googled it and discovered an all-new horror:  CTHURKEY.  This a crab-stuffed turkey wrapped in a good-sized octopus.  

Whatever these inventors are smoking, they better cut it out.  Some of us can't take it.

Monday, June 11, 2018

An Honesty Bar - Here?

Yesterday afternoon was the monthly South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club do.  We went earlier than we usually do because I was going to be The Hot Dog Lady's assistant.  The club refreshments include them along with bakery goods ($1 a slice) and hot coffee $1 a cup)  It should be noted that all profits go to the club's coffers.

What doesn't go to the club is the Knights of Columbus bar take.  Except … the bar was closed.  Puzzling … the club president told me that the bartender was coming, just not now.  He would be there around 3:00 or so.  He was attending a family event.

"Meanwhile," said the Prez, "we'll be on the honor system.  Richie, I know you usually get a pitcher of beer, so go ahead and then just pay him when he shows up."  Richie demurred that the taps were faulty and belched gouts of beer and air accompanied by what would be very rude noises in a human.

Instead they settled on Budweiser in the bottle, empties to be carefully saved as an informal scoreboard and then handed over to the bartender along with the money and a tip.

This news - the help yourself bar - spread rapidly and several people did.  Since none of us had ever worked that bar, we had a merry time rummaging through the refrigerators.  "Who wanted a Coke?  Diet or not?"  I didn't get to see any more of the hilarity because I had to go back to the hot dog stand.  It was doing a good business.   As I rose from my barstool, I glanced at my watch and announced, "It's 3:15 and he's going to be here at 3:30 so you've got 15 minutes to empty the bar!"  I heard horrified gasps at the very idea and only a giggle or two from a couple of musicians who clearly were considering it.  They eyed the bar with a certain … predatory look.

I was surprised to see so many people reluctant to employ what seemed to be a very good system - keep the evidence and pay up.

I also have to report that when it was announced that the bartender was in, there was a veritable stampede to the bar!

I hadn't thought of an honesty bar since the last English manor house mystery, where guests gathered and drank from a measured bottle.  So I looked up honesty things and here are some of them.

Grocery self-checks.  It's so easy to slip in a small container of an exotic (and costly) spice or four bananas when it's three for a dollar (or whatever bananas go for) and so forth.

Loose goods such as dried mangos, apricots, peanuts where the buyer puts them in a plastic sack and labels it with the number item it is in the store records.

Roadside seasonal stands of fruits (cherries and strawberries come to mind) or vegetables and there is a jar for the money and the farmer is off somewhere else.

Prisons where trusted inmates are allowed into the fields on work jobs.

Education - that you won't page peek at another's work and the teacher leaves for lunch or a quick smoke break.

All the things you are morally required to be honest about.  Who knew?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Summer Quaffs

Do you remember a long time ago when Boone's Apple Wine was derided as the homelesses beverage of choice?  It was frequently mentioned in old detective novels.   And with some scorn.

To my amazement, it still exists, is a subsidiary of Gallo and has added new flavors.  Instead of being limited to the humble apple only, one can now sample Boone's Wild Cherry or Strawberry Hill or - brace yourself - Watermelon.  Yeah.  Watermelon Wine.  Paging Willie Nelson.

For a quick and dirty drunk though, the alcohol content of 7.5 % ABV, would be hard to beat.  Kansas beer is a modest 3% or basically beer-flavored water.  I know because all through junior college a select group of us would pile into my civilian '49 Jeep, cross the line from Missouri into Kansas and hole up at The Key for afternoon libations.

For fun, I throw this in - liquor store window  near a rather downtrodden and beat-up trailer park:

"We have White Trashfinder   Grape Expectations   NASCARbernet   I Can't Believe It Isn't Vinegar and Chateau Ghetto ON SALE!

For our discerning drinkers we have all four Boone's Apple Farm selections.  Not on sale.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Today's Race - Belmont Stakes

Another chance for inglorious defeat!  Because there are no grey horses in the field, because my going with a name of the horse that appeals rarely wins, this time I am trying something different.  I looked at each horse's record!  Amazing information!

I picked the hardest name on the track today to say properly without thinking about - meet Gronkowski!  Of six races, he has won four, came in second once and never got a third.  He's going off at 8 to 1 which sounds reasonable.  Others have spotted him, too …

However:  if the rain predicted for Long Island today takes place, go back to your betting sheets and look for a "mudder", i.e. a horse that runs well in slop and glop.

Because Belmont is not the Kentucky Derby, long of legend and crazy ass hats, plus possible rain, the ladies may all be wearing yellow slicker hoods.  A veritable sea of yellow!  Look for it!

Watching these beautiful horses.  I always get a lump in my throat when they are brought out and shown off prior to the race.  Such grace!  Such dainty legs  that look incapable of holding them up never mind galloping which is a pounding gait at best.  But they also have the huge, muscled haunches that provide the power.   The graceful arch of the horse's neck, the large curiously moist - looking eyes …

A horse race is a feast for our eyes.  Even if there aren't any grey horses entered.

Notes on a Horse Race
I'd never seen this, but at the Belmont they take a group portrait of the jockeys.  It reminded me of high school.  Six of them sat on white wrought-iron garden chairs and the other four stood behind them.  I'm looking at this and I burst out laughing - remember, "All of you short ones in the front, please."  Hell's afire they're all short ones!

Another new thing - evidently a dignitary is chosen to give what would be, in Indy racing, the go sign.  Instead the coach of the NY Giants yelled, "Go Giants! Gentlemen up!"  In the same breath.

I wonder if the Athlete(s) of the Year in various magazines will be Jockey Mike Smith - and horse Justify.

On a more personal matter, I bet $2 on Gronkowski 2nd. He went off at 22 to 1.   Bless his heart, he did it!  I won $13.80 on a $2 investment!  Unfortunately it was a fantasy bet. Hmmm... Is Santa Anita open?

Friday, June 8, 2018

"Satan needs a line cook" - A comment on

The line cook referenced here was the late Anthony Bourdain.  Mixed emotions in the Comments section.  Apparently Bourdain's remark that if asked to cook for President Trump, he would poison him did not go down well with many readers.

I would question Satan's necessity for a line cook, surrounded as he reportedly is by the flickering, roaring fires of hell.  He might need a sauce pan manufacturer more.

Be that as it may.  Anthony Bourdain was found in a  hotel room in France during filming for an upcoming show.  He was born June 25, 1956 and died 17 days before his 62nd birthday on June 25, 2018.

He leaves behind his first wife and high school sweetheart Nancy Putkoski with whom he had a daughter, Ariane, now 11.  They were married in 1985 and divorced in 2005.  His second venture down the aisle was with Ottavia Busia in 2007; they divorced in 2016.  In 2017 he and Asia Argento began a relationship, but she may not be mourning too deeply - while he was in France shooting this week, she was scooting around Rome with a photographer quite visibly.

Professional chefs are apparently a bitchy bunch.  Another chef - any other chef - is often singled out for disparaging remarks.  Despite fame and a presumably adequate paycheck, Bourdain really had no reason for jealousy, but that never stopped a good line.

Guy Fieri was considered by many as his #1 target.  "(He's) still rolling around in the flame outfit?"  Paula Dean was called out for her nondisclosure of diabetic status while promoting lashings of sugar, butter and cream in many if not most of her recipes.

Conversely, Ines Garten was praised as "One of the few people on Food Network who can actually cook" a nice sideswipe at all of the other chefs on that channel.

Speculation as to the "why?" of his suicide by hanging will probably be rampant for at least two more news days, but my own theory is that the driving force behind his personality - curiosity - died … and he followed it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

And The Last Thing They Said ... Celebrity Last Words

But maybe not -
Joe DiMaggio  "I'll finally get to see Marilyn again."

Just prior to killing himself, Hemingway's fourth wife Mary said he told her, "Goodnight, my kitten."  Which begs the question of whether Mary had six toes like his Key West cats.

Steve Jobs reportedly said, "O wow, o wow, o wow."  What  was wowing him was not explained.

James Brown "the hardest workin' man in show business" told his manager, "I'm going away tonight."  and did.

Frank Sinatra's wife, Barbara, a real piece of work in my estimation, says he told her "I'm losing it."
However, he had hopes for the future.  His tombstone reads "The best is yet to come" which might be a reference to the widely-held belief that it was a tribute to his favorite love, Ava Gardner.

Sigmund Freud decided to hurry the process along after a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment so he asked his friend to give him a massive dose of morphine (apparently they didn't have fenatyl-oxycontin in those days) and as he lay there, he was heard to murmur, "This is absurd.  This is absurd."

Charlie Chaplan's priest said to him, "May the Lord have mercy on your soul," and Chaplin replied, "Why not?  After all, it belongs to Him."  Who knew he was Catholic?

Speaking of Catholics, Alfred Hitchcock had this to say.  "One never knows the ending.  One has to die to know exactly what happens after death.  Although Catholics have hopes."

Wrong!  James Dean and his mechanic Rudy Wutherich were test driving his new car.  "Slow down!" howled Wutherich to which Dean said, "That guy's got to stop when he sees us."  We all know how that ended.

Famed Down Under animal lover and pursuer Steve Irwin began to die when a sting ray sank it's barb into his heart.  Presciently, he remarked, "I'm dying."

Eleanor Roosevelt told the nurse attending her, "Utter nonsense (that she was dying) I will only die when I have fulfilled everything God wants me to do," which certainly implies a certain trust in God vis-à-vis her relationship.

Legendary couturiere Coco Chanel was always an example if only in her own mind.  She said, "You see?  This is how you die."

Winston Churchill, well into his dotage, said, "O I am bored with it all," slipped into a coma that lasted nine days and died.  It was believed he was referring to the 10 strokes that had previously waylaid him.

Marie Antoinette was not concerned about bread vs. cake - her last words were "Pardonnez-moi" (pardon me) to the hangman whose foot she had stepped on during the walk to the guillotine.  That was manners!


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

And Eight Days Later We Vote

Eight days ago it was Memorial Day and many of us saluted our fallen US. military members.

Today, eight States hold Primaries.

When our freedoms cost lives, the least we can do to in some way repay these people is VOTE!

I have heard real, actual people whine thusly:  "Oh, my vote doesn't count."   or "Well, my husband/wife is an X and I'm a Y so our votes cancel each other out."

Specious reasoning.  I call bullshit on both excuses for not voting.  In my mind, there IS no excuse for not voting unless you are physically unable to get out of bed or legally mentally deranged.

Wrapped up (rightfully) in our own lives, this is about the only thing we can do to express ourselves.

Do it!  Trow da bums out!  Either party!

And thank a veteran.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Good Night for a Movie

Tomorrow - June 5th - the following states vote their Primaries:

New Mexico
South Dakota

Tonight, all of those states will be featuring back-to-back-to back political commercials.  Avoid a BP of 200/100 and spend a tranquil, commercial-free evening with a movie right in your own castle.  Chill the wine, make a treats platter and settle back for entertainment.  Not that political ads can't be entertaining.  But they're equally enraging.  The doctor is in and plans to stay in all evening long.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


During our "winter" I advised that gently lining your nose with Vaseline would prevent dry nose.

I was wrong.  In this morning's Daily Breeze column "The People's Pharmacy"  two  people wrote in to say Don't Do It. "Inhaling  small particles of petroleum jelly can result in chemical pneumonitis."

Another wrote that "The oil goes to your lungs and they have no way to get rid of it."

The label says "for external use only" and because Vaseline is such a useful tool for a variety of minor stuff - give your legs and elbows a slather post-shower during cold weather to keep skin moist-ish, I erred.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Observing the Beach Homeless - 30 Years Ago

These sightings, reluctant interactions, all took place circa mid-1983 - early '84.  Richie and I married in '83 and lived for a couple of years at the Peppertree Apartments, PCH, Hermosa Beach, until the rent went up on our two bedroom place and Richie elected to buy a house.  We've lived in it ever since.  This preamble is to give you a sense of where we were at the time of these sightings.

I had a ride-along assignment for a local paper with the HBPD.  As the officer drove us up and down the streets around the beach, I said, "There's a guy - I think he's nuts - wears a Speedo - bright green - and nothing else and is always on the beach.  He walks funny, as if he didn't have any toes ..."

"Oh, yeah, that's 'Thumper' we call him - likes to, uh, hump car fenders for his, er, gratification.  When he gets too obnoxious - y'know - around little kids 'n stuff, we pick him up and give him a ride over to Torrance (inland by several miles) and turn him loose.  He always comes back.  But (with some satisfaction) it takes him awhile!" and laughed, clearly pleased at that situation.  I don't think anyone at the station would have grieved excessively if Thumper'd gotten hitten by a car while perhaps molesting another one.

The Cowboy
The Peppertree is in easy walking distance of the Hermosa Library and so I went there a lot.  Very often I'd see the same guy - beat-up cowboy hat, faded shirt and jeans and beat-up cowboy boots, sitting quietly in a chair in the sitting area of this library.  He was as quiet as a mouse, I never saw him talking to anyone.  The only sounds emanating from him were the hushed flick of a turning page from the Western he was reading.  Louis L'Amour, Zane Grey - all Western writers -had a devoted fan.

I described him to the officer and he said, enthusiastically, "Oh, he's a great guy!  Never causes a lick of trouble - great guy.  (Confidingly)  On rainy or cold nights we bring him in from under the Pier to the station for the night - give him a warm cell and a hot dinner and breakfast.  (Encouragingly) Totally harmless," which had been my impression, too.

The Lady in White
She was a familiar site on Ardmore Street, walking along by the curb in the street, pushing a shopping cart/baby buggy with God knows what inside it - no one wanted to know because inspecting it would perforce require an interchange with her and she was one angry woman.  No one ever saw her in anything but what looked very like a nun's outfit, only instead of black it was snow white, from her nurse's shoes (?) to the wimple/veil on her head.

As she pushed her cart, she shook a fist and yelled at passing drivers.  She was a familiar sight to local police who couldn't really legally bust her  and who also didn't want to simply because she was such poison to try to deal with - fists didn't only get waved, they hit.  This irritates policemen.

The One Who Punched Me
Richie and I had walked down to the supermarket and were carrying groceries home to the Peppertree one nice afternoon.  As we walked, we noticed a woman, 30-ish, from a distance of about half a block walking towards us, clearly angry about something, gesticulating, talking angrily and animatedly to herself.  She was wearing jeans, a sweatshirt (80 degrees; we had on shorts and t-shirts) As we neared each other, I passed Richie and stepped closer to the street side of the sidewalk to give her plenty of room.  When she got even with me, she spun, and socked me good one on my left bicep.  I yelled, "OW!  THAT HURT!" but she had continued blithely on her merry way, still talking animatedly and angrily to no one at all.

In rapid succession - shock!  horror!  pain!  anger! revenge! flitted by, but a well-founded caution held me back from putting the bag of groceries on the sidewalk and taking off after her.   "Punch me, bitch!"  I really was shaken by this incident.  How often do we get attacked for no reason at all and we're NOT in a bar?

Back at the apartment, I called the police, described what had happened and gave them a description and that she was headed South.  They were gracious enough to go on the hunt - assault charges which I was perfectly ready to sign off on - but reported back that she had vanished.

The Raging SWAT Guy
This incident took place in the Redondo Beach Library - Who knew libraries were such dangerous places?

A Saturday afternoon, in 2005 or so.   I am walking toward the check-out desk when a man who had been walking behind me suddenly came to life and passed me with speed.  He already looked scary, clad as he was in storm trooper boots, all black pants, wife beater undershirt - black -  which showed off his impressively  muscled arms and chest to advantage.  As he strode (no other word) past me, he cracked the big, black leather belt he had ripped from his pants like a whip and muttered furiously.  He was clearly in a massive rage and I was glad he was so focused inwardly that he didn't see either the customers or the clerks.

He blasted through the Exit and was gone.   I asked  the library check out personnel why they hadn't called the police - "They're right next door!"

"Oh," one of them replied, "he's been here before - hasn't hit anyone yet."

As I, in my own turn, stomped away - that belt had been heavy, studded and lashed about with vigor - I thought "Well, easy for you - you've got a nice high counter to hide behind and a locked entryway."

I have seen him since then - same outfit, but a calm demeanor.  Must be on his meds.  In fairness, he was neatly and cleanly garbed, his black leather SWAT boots were polished to a glitter and he had a haircut and looked clean.  It's unlikely he was homeless so I shouldn't have included him.

But he was an unlikely sight in a library, let me tell you.  What looked exactly like a SWAT guy in a bad movie freaking out?  That'll get your attention, trust me on this.