Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Doctor Stuff

The Daily Breeze is a regular fount of information.  Regular columns include "Ask Dr. Roach" a dubious choice for a doctor's name somehow, but …  this morning he carried forth about the efficacy of ingesting sour cherries - whole, juice, dried, whatever, to alleviate gout symptoms.  Apparently sour cherries have a lot of magnesium.  And that is a good thing re gout. Don't ask me.

The other day he proposed putting a fresh bar of soap under the bottom sheet of the bed to halt nighttime leg cramps.  This didn't make much sense to me - rolling around on a bar of soap all night?  So I moistened a bar and rubbed it on my calves.  Tonight is #3 for this treatment and so far, so good.

Heloise had a contributor who wrote that after handling a restaurant menu, she immediately goes to the bathroom and washes her hands.  I carry a little bottle of hand sterilizer and pass it around the table when we've finished with menus.  This was my own idea some years ago because while everything else on the able gets cleaned, no one seems to think of swabbing down a menu.  Even "Raffish" MD didn't know that one!  I love the (very) rare chances I've had to teach him, a medical doctor! something.  Another example - stick your nose in a cup of coffee and inhale.  Steam clears the sinuses which is a good thing.  He was amazed. Equally so at "milking" the sinuses - run your thumb forcefully along under the brow bone from nose to cheek.

This same menu lady also said she carries her own pen and never uses the pen attached to the clipboard for questionnaires.

O/T  it's medical but it won't cure anything.  Medicare demands patients fill out a questionnaire re family history, your current medical status, any changes since last year and so forth.  Frankly I think cause of parent's death year in and year out is more than a little redundant myself, but …

The appointment to go over this with your doctor will take 45 minutes.  I find this excessive.  So I wrote my GP as follows:

"I did the survey for the annual Medicare thing.  I was told it takes  45 minutes going over it.  This might take eight minutes from to start to finish, so I propose we do that and then go out for a beer.  We'd have time."

He replied, (somewhat icily, I thought)  "I will also address your other medical issues during the clinic visit."

Humorless bastard. I would have treated, too.

Monday, July 30, 2018

If You Can't Get There, Cook Hawaiian!

Avoid the hassle of actually flying to Hawaii, let alone the cost.  You can fake it right here at home.  An excellent cookbook is Honolulu Cooking by Betty Evans.  Not only are there relatively easy dishes to make, the book is illustrated by her husband Gordon's clever sketches of everyday life there.  Betty died of liver cancer; Gordon lingered on for a couple of years and happily joined her in God's Kitchen. They married out of high school and were in their 80s at their deaths.

They were a wonderful couple, full of intelligence, talent and wit.  They had a great looong backyard that at the back held a shed with his kiln (a sculpture of talent) and closer to the house, a grape arbor with a table and chairs underneath for al fresco dining.  I think back wistfully on some great times underneath it.

This was a surprise as I had thought that papaya was only eaten fresh.

2 firm ripe papayas
4 T butter
2 T fresh lime or orange juice
1 T freshly-grated ginger
Sprinkle of cayenne (optional)

Cut the papayas in half, remove seeds.  Melt the butter, add the lime or orange juice and ginger and fill up the "holes" in the papaya with it.   Bake at 300 for 20 minutes, sprinkle  the cayenne on and serve.


3/4 cup chopped papaya
3/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup chopped jicama (for crunch)
3 T chopped red onion
1 de-seeded chopped jalapeno
1 minced garlic cloves
2 teas. lime zest
2 teas. lime juice
1 T chopped cilantro

WebMD points out that half of a small papaya provides 150% of one's daily vitamin C requirement and they are also very good sources of vitamin A, folate, fiber and potassium.

At the start of every summer, we've learned to wait patiently for the melons to come in.  Charlie's, a NY Joint, introduced us to prosciutto-wrapped melon slices with EVOO and sea salt as an appetizer.

So here's a new and interesting variation on a theme - prosciutto-wrapped papaya with a sprinkle of black pepper.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Cranky About Word Usage

There are a couple of phrases that I wince at every time I hear them.

"Born and Bred"  Um, according to Mother Nature, your parents had to breed and then you were born.

"We're pregnant!"  hetero couple.  The man is not pregnant.  His wife is pregnant.  They  are happy to be having a baby.  "We're having a baby!" is just as joyful and won't make Miss Manners, Jr.'s eyes roll.  The only couple who can yell, "We're pregnant!" would be a lesbian couple, inseminated at the same time and both resulted in pregnancies.

Adjacent to these baby thoughts, ponder something called "a push present" which seems to be an extremely expensive gift from husband to wife on the occasion of the birth of their child.  It seems to have been started by celebrities engaging in a competition  to give The Most Lavish Present - aapphire and diamond necklace, new Rolls Royce... Interestingly, 30,000 pregnant women were asked if they wanted a push present.  Thirty-eight per cent actually got one; 55 per cent wanted one and 40 per cent of both groups said the baby was present enough.  Heroines, dammit!  Respect them!

And I've been wrong about this - "Lock and load."  Frankly this never made any kind of sense because even if you have only a cursory knowledge of guns, one would presumably insert the bullets (load) and then lock the mechanism that keeps them in there until being used..

No, I was wrong.  Lock and load refers to refilling an M1 Garand rifle.  The bolt must be pulled back and locked into place so that a new clip can be inserted to complete a re-load.

Live and learn.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Focussed on the Tater Tots, I Forgot About the Post Meal (Gratis) Cream Puffs

Yesterday, we both had haircuts at our cutter (Tonsorial Parlor) in El Segundo.  Cleverly I made appointments at 11:30 and 12 noon so that I could inveigle Himself into buying lunch in El Segundo.  My other ploy, in nice weather, is to schedule us for 4 and 4:30 so that we can re-hydrate with a beer out on the spacious patio of the Old Town Bar and Grill, on Richmond.

Yesterday post-haircut (he hates them.  He is a life-support system for a head of hair)   he was fretful.  He turned down Main Street Café and Rock'n Brew and Old Town Patio in rapid succession.  And then we passed Britt's BBQ, 408 Main Street - 310-640-0408.

We looked at each other.  I said, "Do you know it's the only restaurant I can remember being in that serves Tater Tots?  I looove Tater Tots and theirs are so crispy that they are virtually fat-free!  Yes, let's go there!" my mind firmly fixed on the red plastic basket brimming with them.    So we did.  He had the beef brisket sandwich which he turned into a "combo" for $4 more which included a drink and a side, beans in his case.  $$13.95  I ordered a la carte and opted for the pulled pork sandwich $8.95, Tater Tots $3.95 and an iced tea $2.50.

We ate with gusto.  The sandwiches are generous and both meats are smoked for 14 hours (out back they have a bunch of smokers) so I saved half for dinner.  Richie cleaned up his plate.  His is a more robust appetite.  Replete, I asked for the check but instead, here came a little plate with four powdered sugar-covered cream puffs!  I'd completely forgotten about them!  They used to call these cream puffs "beignets" which they aren't as the real deal has no cream filling.

All-in-all a lovely day.  Good haircuts which was no surprise; Dale's being our cutter for some 32 years; and not only Tator Tots but free cream puffs!  Bliss...  I recommend it. 

Later - Our friend "D" said the Tater Tots inspired him to get in his car and go eat some.  That is the power of Tater Tots - approach them with care...

Friday, July 27, 2018

Attn: Ladies - New Game Watering Hole Discovered

To be a successful hunter, it is helpful to know where the game are.  Briefed on the habits of the particular game you are seeking, you will discover the times of the day they are most likely to be relatively inattentive and one of them is their watering hole.

Purely by accident, we stumbled on to one.  As we have been happily together for 37 years, I had no need for this information, but some of you, girls, may find it useful.  Disclaimer:  in passing along this information, Management (me) is not responsible for any detrimental possible outcomes of actually trapping one, such as a social disease, unwanted pregnancy, a future stalker or escapee from a home for the greatly disturbed.  

Grab a pencil - Sports Harbour, 5150 W. 190th Street, Torrance  424-383-1286.

It's not a big space, being about 2/3rds bar and 1/3 dining area which consists of low tables and lower benches, with bar stools and tall tables running down the back wall.  Contained game is good game.

We looked around and I was surprised at the large number of hetero males in clumps having a great time.  Richie estimated the ratio as one female per 8 to 10 males.  If those aren't good odds, I don't know what are.

The food isn't bad either.  We split an order of onion rings with our drinks which were a marvelous blend (somehow) of beer-batter puffy (despise) and  crunchy.  Richie had a grilled burrito with chicken ($9) and I the Reuben ($11) which came with skinny fries and two quarters of dill pickle.  The sandwich was barely buttered so grilling it didn't turn it into a greasy mess.  The thin slices of corned beef were fried and piled high and were amazingly tender.  Mine could have used more sauerkraut but otherwise was just fine.  

Considering the generous portions, it's an inexpensive and more than adequate meal.   With drinks (dirty gin martini and three beers) the tab was $51.44.

Happy Hunting!  And remember, you read it here so a wedding invite would not be totally out-of-order.  But I don't have to bring a gift.  You're walking down the aisle with it.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

When Some Husbands Go Clothes Shopping With Their Wife

What can go wrong you ask?  Hah!  The wife can discover unexpected personality disorders in some cases.

And I just happen to have two examples.  Both took place in the same store so there's no variable there.  Such as while you clothes shop at Target, he can browse the Automotive Dept. and both of you are happy.  But, when it is not a store with diversions for males, it's a whole new ballgame.

First Incident:  This was several years ago.  Richie was with me because I was still gimping on a walker from hip surgery.  The sales lady helpfully pointed out the several deep couches for the non-participants waiting pleasure.  He sat, I shopped and when I felt I had taken enough advantage of the store sales, I went to the cashier.  Faster than a speeding bullet, he was there, pulling out his wallet.  "Let me get this," he said in best Daddy Warbucks accents.  So I did.  When he looked at the receipt, he gasped and it was obvious that he'd wished he'd kept his mouth shut.

He clutched his chest, grimacing mightily to amuse the cashier and paid.  As we walked away, him toting the clothing bag, I looked at him and said, "I told you, you can't afford me!"

Second Incident:  yesterday, after the monthly French class luncheon at El Torito this time, I told him that I had business at The Store.  He eagerly acquiesced and away we went.  He was in a restless mood and kept dragging hangars of clothes over to me, asking, "Do you like this?  What about that?" which is annoying because I knew exactly what I wanted and he is gifted at finding abominations I would never wear.  .

So, to get rid of him,  I said, "See if you can find the Perfect Shorts, size 10.  Eagerly he hared off and I went back to browsing the sale racks.  Sooner than I would have liked, he was back with a pair of shorts - one navy blue, the other snow white.  "Here's all of them I could find."  I looked at him and I said, "Richie, what color shorts am I wearing? (answer snow white size 10 Perfect Shorts)"

He said, defensively, "You said size 10 shorts."

Richie is too literal to take shopping.  Even if he pays when I can't sneak my card out fast enough and beat him to the register.  So what if peace and harmony while shopping come at a price?  It's worth it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls, Lawyer-Client Expectation of Confidentiality

It tolls for you.

There are some things we can take for granted vis-à-vis TV cop shows.  An example is Law and Order.  How many times have we seen a lawyer claim that privilege and refuse to answer questions citing it?  Even if  the client is now deceased.  Confidentiality is the one thing the Catholic confessional, medical personnel and the lawyer-client privilege share.

This confidentiality (for lawyers) is one of  "the oldest recognized privileges for confidential communications.  The US Supreme Court has stated that by assuring confidentiality, the privilege encourages clients to make 'full and frank' disclosures to their attorneys, who are then better able to provide candid advice and effective representation."  source Wikipedia

In my digging around, I came across numerous references to Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information.  It goes like this, according to no lesser party than the American Bar Association. I quote:  (a) a lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly  (Ed. This is a word?) authorized to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b)

(b)  A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial harm."  As in a client tells his lawyer, "I'm going to kill my wife's lover and this is how I'm going to do it."

I bring all of this up to mark the seeming end of lawyer-client privilege in the matter of Michael Cohen, who secretly (alleged) taped his client then Donald Trump.  Cohen in turn is now represented by another attorney by the name of Lanny Davis who released Cohen's tapes to the general population.  Cohen had to have given Davis said tapes.  Both should be disbarred.

Incidentally, let me stress that this particular column is not "O poor Donald Trump."  Instead it is meant as a head's up as to what can happen to you, me and the rest of America.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Hysteria of the Internet

How often have we seen headlines most on AOL News (it isn't; often two days after an event they get on it) where "Internet Goes Wild"  or "Internet Raves about" etc.  Hysterical headlines.  If you believed these headlines, one would almost have to conclude that many if not all internet users are in a perpetual state of shock and awe.  The Mom's Basement Dwellers are no doubt pacing up and down, wringing their pizza and Coke laden hands.

One of the most famous Twitter Tweeters is the President of our United Sates.  Many argue that by issuing his own remarks, it's the only way he can make sure what he's saying is accurately reported.

Now Trump critics (their number is Legion) have something new to stand their hair on end.  Trump twittered and HE USED ALL CAPS!  OMG!

Let me speculate about something.  Trump could Twitter the following in a normal font along these lines..."I'm going to make myself a sundae  and eat it in glee while I give the signal to the Air Force, Army, Marines, Coast Gard. Navy and five first grade teachers (believe me they're battle hardened) to totally wipe out Kim Jung Un and all of North Korea.  Fire up the nukes! So whatya think of that?"

I am positive no one would bat an eye.     BUT BECAUSE HE WROTE IN ALL CAPS, ordering the White House lawn mowed forthwith, for example would make international headlines.    "Trump abuses White House Staff" would be the least of it.

My apologies for shocking your nervous systems by using all caps twice.  No harm intended.  

Monday, July 23, 2018

Excitement - Or At Least What Passes For It, On Our Street

The house next door - on the kitchen side of ours - is being re-painted today.  This was after it being tented to kill termites, replacing a couple of boards on their deck, and pre-paint high pressure wash.

Today most of the windows visible to us have been covered and taped.  We are listening raptly for the power brush(es) to be turned on because we want to see WHAT COLOR?

This is a matter of some interest solely because the rest of the houses on our street range from an almost black gray; another is an unapologetic brown … a pale blue …a light yellow... plenty of room for variety.  Our own house is bright-ish yellow with a deep turquoise trim and so far we're the most colorful.

The new paint job could be anything!  The trim is cream right now; they did it first.

Time will tell and we'll be waiting to see it.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Trader Joe's

Wasn't that hostage situation at Trader Joe's yesterday afternoon wild?  I told Richie if that we are ever in a gun situation at one of ours (we have four nearby) that when we're rescued (no one would want to keep me) and the cameras are rolling, to say something like "Can you believe this happened at Trader Joe's?  Trader Joe is always so serene!"

Why?  Free groceries for the rest of our lives.

PR, baby …

Saturday, July 21, 2018

This'n That, None of It Important

Inquiring Minds
The scratch site, generously donated by our cat Streak, has begun to itch.  One more day of noticeable bandage and free again!  I really recommend the elastic web final layer of bandage for holding gauze, etc. in place.  Their final layer of padding also guards against inadvertent bumps to the wound site.

Weight Loss Made Real
I was thrilled to learn during the most recent doctor visit that I had lost three (3) pounds.  Yes.  The temptation to roar with laugh is undeniable, but make it real for yourself, if you lose weight, if no one else.  Next time you're in the supermarket, sidle over to the packaged meats section and lift out the number of pounds lost to the corresponding number of one pound packets of hamburger.  They represent your loss.   Makes it real for me!

Entertaining Again!  Yippee!
Having people over for dinner has always been a great treat for me!  I love to sit around our dining room table, exchanging quips, teasing, drinking wine, and eating (last but hardly least we all agree.)   Unfortunately the people we entertained have beat feet.  Bob and Pat had the insolence to both die within 24 hours of each other.  In fairness Bob was 90 and Pat 83.  John and Angie moved to New Zealand.  Raffish now lives in San Diego.   All beloved and all missed.

But:  all is not lost!  "T" and his partner Michael are available for joining us which they will do at 2 p.m. tomorrow for a late Sunday brunch.  Great company!

It's going to be hot so we stopped by the new barbecue place and got lean brisket and a pint of their beans which are very "meaty" and could almost be a meal in themselves.  I'll fill in the gaps with a potato salad, and cole slaw.  Nice summer dinner.  Macaroons and fresh melon for dessert.

We have the makings for Kir Royales and Pastis and the aperitifs will be mixed olives, pepperoni, and green peppers, recipe previously printed.

A Preemptive Strike
I read that Trump is going after the Federal Reserve - he believes they should stop raising interest rates.  The Democrats, who hate him anyhow, are expected to go nuts.  However, keep this in mind:  "Our Constitution has seven Articles and 27 Amendments and none  of them mention anything about an unelected body called the Federal Reserve."   So said Richard Bove, Equity research manager at Hilton Capital Management.  Food for thought - which reminds me we have to go to the supermarket.

Friday, July 20, 2018

"Duckies" - Use in Bathtub Only

The death toll mounts on the latest duck boat sinking, near Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, I wasn't surprised - saddened, of course, for those poor people - but not surprised.  The first Duck Boats we ever saw were in Dublin, Ireland, May 2006.  I looked at them rumbling along the main streets and vowed to myself - the mechanical engineer's daughter - that you would never be able to lure me on board.   Too many chances for design flaws such as springing a leak where the tires come down to make it amphibious …  naw, I'd do a rowboat on the Liffey, where the rower controls the boat, but not "contained" on something that might very well sink.

And it turns out that the canopy shielding the passengers from the sun (or rain in Dublin's case) are death traps.  Why?  The life jackets propel you right straight in to the canopy and it's mechanisms  and you can't get loose. Wriggle out of your life jacket and drown.  Keep it on and drown.  Bad idea.

Some of the design flaws of these duck boats are the fact that on dry land, they are wider than the city lanes.  The driver is so far up in the air with a 6 ft. or 8 ft. prow, that pedestrians are  difficult to see before it's too late.  A duck boat killed a woman on a scooter and a couple have run into land-based city buses.

The first duck boat fatalities occurred May 1, 1999, in Arkansas, killing 21 after the pump on it malfunctioned. .  In 2010 one collided with a tugboat.  Tugboat won.

And I'd be wary of amusement park rides, too.  Cal-OSHA has an Amusement Ride section that inspects all of them once a year and California standards for safety are said to be more demanding than for national standards.  In addition to Cal-OSHA, insurance companies send out inspectors and some ride owners also call in independent contractors.  This is not a guarantee of the safety in California rides.  "Many a slip twixt cup and lip."

I would bet a considerable sum (75 cents max) that OSHA does not exist in the coastal areas of Baja and Mexico in general where operators offer parasailing rides.  Lunching in Puerta Vallarta  while on a cruise, we saw a woman and sail nearly splat! into a 6-story building.  If the harness has a single flaw or bit of metal fatigue … you're in biiig trouble.

Stay on the ground, sip a hydrating beer and leave the "fun" to others more foolhardy than you are. There are more vacations coming up than this one.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

It's Summer! Who Cares?

The practice of this column is to be amusing and educational - the latter if at all possible.  Every day that we all learn something new is a bonus day and should be appreciated.  Or so I believe.

Unfortunately, nothing has magically appeared in the various newspapers and oddities columns that I glean daily looking for something, anything to amuse others.  The sound of laughter is one of the nicest ones to me.

Can't write about life in this house because I don't think anyone would really give a rat's ass that the two club chairs sent out for reupholstering came back yesterday and I love them or that Streak the cat really objected to taking her oral drug and hooked her claws into my left fore arm and ripped about 1.5 sq. in. of skin open  down my arm.  As the blood began to swell, I looked with interest.  "So that's what under the skin looks like!"  For those who do not want to peel back a layer of skin to see for themselves, it's small white knobblies (fat?) on a pink background.

For a professional bandage and a look-see at the damage, ambled over  to Urgent Care where the doctor freaked about a wound due to a cat's claw and prescribed a anti-bacterial drug 3X a day for seven days.

Assessing yesterday's events - good:  chairs!  Bad:  cat scratch.  Since the chairs will last considerably longer than the healing, I'd say it was a profitable day.   And (thankfully) a dull one.

Monday, July 16, 2018

We're Both Fine - Why Do You Ask?

Oh - you mean this?  Just another example of my legendary efficiency.  Pre-planning and execution were designed to take one more burden off of getting us in the ground for our Executors.  And it's also a chance for me to give One Last Order!  

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Very Short Read and Some Unusual Obituaries

Where to begin …

Midnight Confessions by Stephen Colbert  $19.95
This is the brief book by a comedian who admits that what he's done is basically turned a bunch of one-liners into two pages per joke.  I quote:  "When I put together this book, I asked God for inspiration.  When that didn't work, I used a large font and wide margins."  He wasn't kidding.

Selected travel tidbits:

"I've never joined the Mile-High Club, but I am in the Greyhound Bus Terminal Utility Closet Guild."

"I think income inequality is one of America's greatest problems … until they bring me that little hot towel in First Class."

"You know how on airplanes they have that Secure your oxygen mask before helping others rule?  I don't need to be told that."

Eye-catching Obituaries
Daily Breeze, 7-15-18
Delores Skjervern 8/17/1934 - 6/29/2018
Born a farm girl in Petersburg, ND, ...passed away while on safari in Tanzania with family.  Reading further "She died after a long but rewarding day in the Ngorongoro Crater."

James F, Scasserra Jimmy "Jet"
Hearts are breaking everywhere with the shocking news and unexpected death of the man, the myth, the legend - Jimmy Jet, 67, at home in Tucson, AZ.

Born May 6, 1951, Jimmy was blessed with a handsome façade, ice-blue eyes, big heart, superior intelligence and wit and a memory like no other and a wicked sense of humor.  (here follows a long list of presumably relatives complete with nicknames)  He will be missed by all.  This is not a ploy to avoid creditors, bookies or old girlfriends."  
   Please sign the guestbook at dailybreeze.com/obits or Scasserra-Family@gmail.com

Saturday, July 14, 2018

July 14,2018


If you don't have a French restaurant within 20 miles, make up your own menu!

Aperitifs - such as a Kir or Kir Royal, champagne or a pastis  Pass around slices of melon wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with EVOO and sea salt

Steak and French fries


Cheese course  Carambazola is a favorite here … Brie is always good


                                                Bon Appetit !

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Big Yellow Inflatable

A lot of hyperbole in the media about the Trump-image baby that is to be flown from Parliament Square, London, today from 9 to 11 a.m.  But none of these accounts answered my questions:  Who made this and who paid for it?

Diligent gleaning through the shards of glass and fragments of information that are the internet I found the below.

The man tethered to it, so to speak, is one Leo Murray, 41, a grandson of the late Labor politician Anthony Greenwood.  He is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Art.  Murray and wife live in a 1.8 million dollar town house in Hammersmith, West London.  They rent out two of its flats.

Appeals to the public for money came via crowd funding sites.  The original plea was for $2,000.  Some $13,000 from 718 people came tumbling in.  The crowdfunder.co.uk amounted to $26,696  Because this was two different sites' information am unsure as to which figure is correct - $13,000 or $26,000 or both.

When asked about leftover funds (after putting $1,050 worth of helium into The Donald) Murray said they would probably be used to take it to the United States.  Which is a bad idea almost anywhere in the Midwest where many have rifles, hunt for the table and are excellent marksmen. And are mainly avidly pro-Trump.

Okay, now we know who activated this project, what it cost and probably use of leftover funds.  Who made this thing?

Graphic Designer Matt Bonner, of Imagine Inflatables in Leicestershire.  I read that Bonner had never made one (odd, considering the firm name).  He specializes in protest materials and used Adobe Illustrator.   Face:  Panton 715C; body Panton 1375C and charged 3,500 pounds for this work.

Details like this should have been included.  I spent some time this morning just compiling the tidbits above.  So if you are planning a duplicate effort, let me know all about it!  It's hard enough to write almost daily; having to winkle pick every detail is time-consuming.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Redondo Beach? Murder Capital of the World?

Richie has been wandering around the house murmuring this statement ever since the 7 a.m.. news.  Except he uses an exclamation point instead of a question mark.  The news that put him quite a bit closer to "around the bend" which is, I am assured by those in the know, a standard medical opinion in psychiatric circles.  Next ranking down is "bat-shit crazy."

Here are the scant details as reported:  at around 10:15 p.m. 7/11/18, a call to report shots fired resulted in the RB police arriving at a condo among the many at 700 The Esplanade.  There it is reported they found three dead bodies.  Of gunshot wounds one presumes.  No identities were given; Esplanade was blocked off through the night and as of the 7 a.m. news.

Based on the fact that the police statement said no one outside of that condo is a suspect; the police said that the general population is safe.

I didn't catch this part of the news but someone called or messaged out to say that they loved the recipient which would lead one to assume some ghastly murder/suicide pact.  With no other information than the above, I have to wonder if it is four teenagers for two reasons.  Suicides are up in that age group.  Redondo Union High would be the school of choice for families with teens on Esplanade or Catalina Streets.

To refute Richie (and maybe get him to STFU) I found the following.

The current population of Redondo Beach is 67,867 souls

The chance that any of us in Redondo will be the victim of an armed robbery or aggravated assault or rape or murder is one in 141 people or two per 1,000 people.  Good enough for me.

Update  3 p.m.  
Victims were:  Ivana Waz, 49; Makani Wz, 13.  Shooter was Marc Waz, 48, a Senior Project Manager at Forensic Analytical, Las Vegas.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

In Which the Author Gently Explains NATO

Currently much of the world is engrossed in the World Cup giving little if any thought to the NATO conference also in session today.    Both are equally as feisty.  Even though, so far, no NATO members have collapsed writhing in agony in an aisle unlike some of the more diva-like soccer players on the field.  Watching the grimaces of pain, the writhing bodies one wonders if the players actually have a secret contest going - something like the Oscars - with an award  awarded at a dinner at the end of the season.

Translating what the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) does makes more sense to me looking at it as a club that is devoted to defending members from enemies for a fee.  Mafia and protection racquets come to mind for some reason.

Some 28 or 29 countries - big and small - have banded together to provide personnel from their own military forces in the defense of smaller, more defenseless countries.  Their dues to be included in this program are an annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2 per cent (2%).

Obviously the bigger countries are going to give the most and the little ones - Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria , Slovenia are getting a bargain for their comparatively meager input.

At issue this go-around is the fact that only five (5) countries are in good stead with their dues.  The US (overly generous say some) pays in 3.61 percent.  Greece, Britain, Estonia and Poland all give just a little bit more than 2 per cent.  What surprised me was that Canada pays 0.99 per cent  and clearly relies on America to keep an eye out for them if Kim John Un miscalculates and takes out half of Western Canada.  Clearly they need a brick through a window to get their attention and then cause them to pony up with a threat of a veritable rain of bricks through windows.   During office hours.

So far, in some 40 years of US participation in "Mercenaries R Us" no US President  has gone after the low and slow payers until now.  Lo these many years, the Little-ies have lolled in deck chairs in the sand, and waved an idle hand at the Payment Due notices.

I say make'em pay.  Make them deposit what they owe for 2017 to start and deposit it in the NATO Receipts box and go back to active status.  Clearly it hasn't occurred to these countrys' bosses that slow payments may well result in slow service.

"Sorry to hear that, Spain (0.91) Belgium (0.85) Luxembourg (0.44) (aside to aide de camp "Such and such was attacked by a troop of Girl Scouts and needs bulldozers to move all of the boxes of cookies off of the roads - oh?  what's that?  (country)  hasn't paid in since 1946?"  Back to phone, "Sorry I think we have a bad connection.  Good luck with whatever it was you wanted.  Call back when you are free and clear of your debt to NATO.  Until then - good luck."  Seems reasonable to me.  Fair is fair - they are in breach of contract as they stand now which should make any "contract" null and void.   Mercenaries all over the world would rejoice.  "We're working again!"

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Pepper Spray - for Bears!

Brown bears, Grizzly bears, black bears - pepper spray with capsaicin is a proven deterrent to a bear attack.  Yeah, I know.  Bears do not roam our urban streets unless you are reading this from somewhere in Alaska.  There bears are apparently considered something of a nuisance.

My cousin Doug Vermillion, MD, an orthopod/burn specialist in Anchorage sent me a first person account from a colleague who was attacked by a bear and survived!  It is a harrowing tale and you can read this first-person account by Googling Chris Zerger, MD, Anchorage Bear Attack.  I must say that for a doctor (masters of the illegible) it is well written.  

/The story begins after setting up camp. he and companion decided to explore a little completely forgetting to carry their cannisters of bear spray.

Bear spray?  WTF.  Turns out that capsaicin-loaded spray will deter a bear or a dog or a human.  PETA will be happy to learn that it doesn't kill bears which most of the rest of us might not believe  is a good thing.  I don't.  In fairness to the bear though, a mother defending her cubs should not be blamed for acting protectively.  We wouldn't want a bear to attack our offspring.  But gangs of teenage bears, roaming around looking for some fun is an entirely different matter.    I wonder if they bet on which bear can scare a human the highest up a tree?

Anti-bear Spray is available on amazon (to no one's surprise) and prices range depending on size of cannister.    Jot a note to yourself if you are planning an Alaskan cruise, to send for one well before your departure date.  They do take you off of the ship from time to time.  Be prepared!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Brief Paper on the Efficacy of Protest Marches

Condensed:  they don't work and change nothing.

General philosophy:  a good showing of sign waving protestors is nice, but sustained action more than the 15 minutes of media fame are what is needed.

October 2017 The Pussy Hat protestors refused to pick up their trash.  Better still - 400,000 environmentalists in NY left tons of trash.  Environmentalists.

Richmond, VA, hosted some kind of protest about Confederacy statues - "Pull'em all down!" and the City paid:
$570,000 for security
$84,280 for body cameras
$14,982 chain link to enclose and safeguard the statue
$822.50 for 250 Chick-fil-A sandwiches for the on-duty police.

A Berkeley official noted that protest costs to the city in 2017 topped $1 million which this notable said, "Meant we didn't get that money for housing, medical care of indigents, etc."

The only things useful about a protest march (ed. writer's opinion) is if you can get close enough to a TV camera, some of your blood lust to be on camera will be satisfied, however temporarily; and/or your doctor has prescribed longish walks for you.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mar-A-Lago Proudly Serves... Meatloaf!

This meatloaf was created by Donald Trump's mother - Mary Anne McLeod Trump - when he was a little boy and he loves it to this day!  Naturally, according to The Donald, it is the best in the world.  

With no further ado - 

s lbs. hamburger
1 Spanish onion *
1 red bell pepper *
1 green bell pepper*
2 cloves of garlic*
1 Beefsteak tomato *

* = mince each and then sauté them together in olive oil 

2 large eggs
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup parsley, minced
2/3 cup tomato puree.

Hand mix it all together and bake for an hour at 350.  

I have no idea if meatloaf could be considered a "health food" (doubtful) but in its favor, a meatloaf does contain protein, vegetables and starch.  I know not with what frequency the family ate this meatloaf, but I do know that Mary Anne died age 88 and husband Fred at 93.  Lesson picked up - better to eat than cook.  

Maybe a Typo ...

Today's (7-7-18) Letters column, LA Times

"I am an English teacher who overseas my school's popular ukulele club..."

She commutes?

Friday, July 6, 2018

World Cup, White Folks and Beer - Country by Country

Richie is watching France vs. Uruguay, but at 9 a.m. it is a leetle early for a brewski.  In this household, at least.  If you set your alarm for 3:30 a.m. so as not to miss a golden moment, by God, you're entitled to one now!

For myself, I didn't know there was anything funny about this sport, until I fell into an old favorite Website of yore.  It is   stuffwhitefolkslike.com   It has always totally made fun of Caucasians in a gentle - and all too often true - way.  Middle income and up are skewered mercilessly.  Much to my delight as one.  I have roared with laughter - and recognition.  I recommend it for ALL races.

Today one of the featured articles is us and the World Cup.  Hilarious.  White Americans are usually not all that up on soccer.  And it shows.

This article led in turn to another Website   independent.co.uk   about drinking the beers of the country playing.  This is tremendously scholarly and the descriptions of the various offerings could have been written by a wine connoisseur, writing for the wines onboard your flight.  Only more so.

Richie reports in a bellow down the stairs from the living room that France beat Uruguay 2-nil.  I am glad, not only for our French family, but more than that, the gratitude that we don't have to explain a loss from a place called "Uruguay."  Too, too tempting to try something cute with "urinating" or worse.  

The articles cited above are not just me being lazy (always a possibility, admittedly) but the fact that they are so good that they deserve a deeper read rather than just the foam I could produce mentioning it.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Well, So Much For the 4th of July

Done and gone.  Let us move forward anyhow.

Richie's continued perusal of cook books has brought me at least a lovely surprise.  An edible meat loaf.  When we first married, Richie apparently missed his mother's version of meat loaf which, to be honest about this, was terrible.  It was tough, chewy (in the wrong way) and her "sauce" was a lavish spread of catsup across the top of the ready-for-the oven meat loaf.  After enduring this torture for at least a year (and refusing to eat it) he finally relented and quit making it.

When he waved the following in my face, I said, "Go for it" and am glad I did.  it is excellent!

He's modified it somewhat and I will present both versions for you to do as you will.  It's from a book called "Celebrate Chicago - A Taste of Our Town."


1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms soaking in 1.4 cup hot water.  The hell with this; he used 1/4 cup of sliced white mushrooms.  The liquid in the loaf will easily cook them.

1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion but you could use red.  A white onion will give you more than you want of "onion."
1 teas. minced garlic
1 T olive oil for sautéing
1 egg
1/2 cup catsup - we don't keep ketchup so he used La Victoria Salsa Brava.  Marked "hot" on the label, but isn't.
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teas. hot pepper sauce (Hah!  beat'cha to it, recipe)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs (Panko!)
1 teas. thyme
1 teas. sage
1/2 teas. marjoram
1 teas. pepper

Saute the carrots, mushrooms, onion and garlic in the olive oil.  Set aside.

Beat up the egg with the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and dried seasonings and put this in with the raw beef beef in a bowl.  Then stir in the sautéed vegetables to the meat, mix well, put it in a meatloaf pan and bake at 375 for one hour.

It's excellent - moist and flavorful.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


               HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

You've Loved His Music! Gone to His Concerts! Now You Can Buy Willie Weed!

Willie Nelson Reserve is a cannabis outlet with Willie's imprimatur.  The Reserve product line includes -

Hard Edibles - Strawberry Lemonade
Honeysuckle Hot ( a reference to the Honeysuckle Rose, his tour bus.)
Northwest Berry
Fresh Maple Blossom
Sour Tangie (tangerine?)

Dosage is 10 mg THC per serving.    Singer Margo Price swears by the strawberry-flavored indica gummie for back pain and insomnia.

An article in High Times referred to the horrendous prices to join Willie in a puff or two.
1 gram - $15   $45 for 1/8 oz.  $85 for 1/4 oz.   $340 for a full ounce.  All in child-proof bottles.

Willie also offers a superior vaporizer?  vaper? with a battery, battery charge but I couldn't find a price on it.

And I'm not bustin' my butt to find them.  Marijuana is a real nothing drug to me and I discovered this back in the '60s when I worked rock'n roll (The Seeds, the Lollipop Shop for Lord Tim Hudson.)   The only thing smokin' dope did for me was 1) personally eat everything in the refrigerator/kitchen cabinets or 2) lie on the floor, gaze at the ceiling and listen to music.  Neither is particularly profitable.  After about three times when the doobie made the rounds, I just held up my can of beer and said, "Thanks, got it covered."

Willie, by his own admittance and preference, claims to have been smokin' dope most (if not all) of his adulthood.  He's 85 (4/29/33) and will be appearing in a 4th of July extravaganza, the next Farm Aid (September I believe) and otherwise keeping himself occupied.   Good for him, but I wouldn't want to smoke that much dope to get there.  To each his own.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Wedding Anniversary Dinner

Richie and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary Monday, July 2nd.  We dated for two years so it's actually 37 years of a relationship.  When Richie made dinner reservations, he answered "102" to the receptionist's query as to how long married?  I shot him A Certain Look.  So he amended himself, "But it only feels like a hundred."

My sister (eight years younger, but married before me) and I were talking about anniversaries and she remarked that she and Jim quit on the cards to each other when they ran into each other at their local Hallmark.  Made perfect sense to both of us.  She went on to say that today they go out for a grand dinner and that's that.  We do, too.

Last night's dining emporium choice was made remembering the ocean view straight ahead and the many masts of the sailboats to the left in the King Harbor marina.  It's an elegant room with polished service and quite a pleasant place to be.  Not many people on the sand - three - and two of them had their dogs (on leashes.)  Clearly the dogs love the beach - they ran out to the length of their spinning reel leashes and back again.    And again.  And again.  Lovely to see dogs having such a great time.

Critiquing the evening …
Our fellow diners looked to be yacht owners, springing for a more social evening than alone on their ships.  One table intrigued me - a burly man of a certain age and bulk and his three lady companions, any one of whom could have been thought to be a daughter.  But I don't think many Daddies absent-mindedly caressed a daughters butt while being seated.

As we so often do, we ordered a shrimp cocktail  ($17) with our drinks - gin and tonic $9 and a split of Korbel Brut $9.  We gasped when the shrimp cocktail came out.  It looked like a huge fog that had somehow come into the restaurant and attached itself to something in the waiter's hands.   Of course, it was a double shallow bowl with dry ice in the lower bowl.  But for a dramatic presentation the likes of which we'd never seen - fuggedabout any "Flambé Tableside" dishes you've ever seen.  Fire shooting up to the ceiling is as nothing compared to this.   Go order a drink and the shrimp cocktail if you don't believe a reputable restaurant would use dry ice in a food presentation …

Onward into the serious food.  Richie had a 14 oz. NY strip steak ($39.50) which came with Yukon Gold garlic mashed potatoes and a side of creamed spinach ($9).  The creamed spinach arrived in what could have been a vat; it was a very generous serving.  Several fields of spinach died in any event.

I ordered the Sugar Cane Shrimp Satay ($13) which came with sesame ginger soba noodles (inedible - mushy, nasty-looking, flavorless) and a coconut dipping sauce and a chili sauce.  The skewers were thin slats of sugar cane and due to the fact that the sticks were burned on both ends and the shrimp were kind of dried out, un-skewering them was a challenge.  The shrimp were dusted with a sort of chili-lime powder.

My Coconut Crunch Shrimp ($12.50) were very good and came with a trio of sauces - soy (straight out of the bottle is my guess) and coconut cream (thin and dripped off of the spiky coconut and had very little coconut flavor.  Would suggest they add a little coconut extract next time they make it)  and a chili sweet sauce that I swear came from Trader Joe's because we have a bottle of it at home.  Exact same color, texture, taste.

All or most of the above was forgotten when the Lava Cake with strawberry-flecked vanilla ice cream appeared.  $12.50 for a very generous and good serving.  Richie ate the ice cream, we each had a few bites and asked for a box.  Today whoever can get to the refrigerator first gets to finish it off.

He's doing laundry out in the garage - here's my chance.  later.

The Charthouse, 231 Yacht Club Way, Redondo Beach 310-372 3464  Of note, AAA membership gets you a discount.  $10 in our case.