Saturday, September 29, 2018

Richie's Happy Weekend

I woke up at 3 a.m. coughing, with raspy breathing and … laryngitis.  Richie loves it when every 15 or 20 years I have a short-lived case of it.

Let him enjoy his weekend, planted like a tulip bulb in front of the TV, watching one baseball game after another.  (shrug)  It's just grown men giggling like school girls on ESPN anyhow.  They get paid big bucks for that?  Oy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

War Cake - How Appropriate!

That Heloise is flat on it!  and that is the dessert called "War Cake."  One of her readers wrote in asking her to run the recipe again; her husband wanted one for his birthday. 

But him aside, since the Republicans and Democrats seem to BE at war, here is the recipe.   If you make one, please use it for love and not war.  "A peace offering" comes to mind …

WAR CAKE (which war was not specified)
Using a medium-to-large cooking pot/pan, mix together:
2 cups of brown sugar
2 cups hot water
2 teas. shortening - or butter
Add 1/2 to 3/4 cups raisins
1 teas. each of salt, cinnamon and cloves.
Boil for five minutes longer after it comes to a boil.  

When this is cold - and it must be cold - add 3 cups of flour and 1 teas. baking powder that was dissolved in a couple teaspoons of hot water.  Mix well.  (And good luck on that - it's going to be a very stiff batter - don't bother with the gym that day)
Pour into a greased tube and bake for about an hour at 350 - 375 degrees.  

Bon appetite and peace, brother!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Surfeited With Sex in the Media? Me, Too!

And not the #Me Too kind either.  A good laugh would benefit all of us because laughter is the best medicine and quite possibly an antidote to wallowing around in the cess pool Washington, DC and both political parties have created.

Yesterday afternoon, laughs were delivered to our front door in the guise of the Reader's Digest which I have long loved FOR the jokes.  With no further ado, some gentle humor.

Adam and Eve:  the first people not to read the Apple Terms and Conditions.

Breaking News! Scientists have discovered what may be the world's largest bed sheet - more on that as it unfolds.

Just got a job as senior director at Old McDonald's Farm - I'm the CIEIO.

If you attempt to rob a bank, you won't have any trouble with rent/food bills for the next 10 years, whether you're successful or not.

A trucker in Europe carrying 12 tons of liquid chocolate spilled his load across a highway.  A newspaper asked its readers if a confectioner were to scrape it up and sell it, what brand name should it have?

*  Mr. Goodtar
*  Literally 5th Avenue
*  3 Musketires
*  Gutterfinger
*  Pave-mint
*  Tobleroad
*  Autobahn-Bahns.

And last and sadly least because you never hear any limericks anymore -

There was once a lady named Ferris
Whom nothing could ever embarrass
Till the bath salts one day
In the tub where she lay
Turned out to be Plaster of Paris

A magazine writer named Bing
Could make copy from most anything
But the copy he wrote
Of a $10 note
Was so good he now lives in
Sing Sing

Monday, September 24, 2018

So You Want To Write a Movie...

Got a great story?  With twists on Life As It Is Lived Today?  Love (fill in genre here) and think you can easily write something better?

Professional screenwriter Guy K., a member of the South Bay Writers Workshop offers these very knowledgeable tips:  

One page (of script) equals one minute of screen time.  

You're going to want 90 to 120 pages for a dramatic movie.

With 80 or 90 pages that's a possible comedy or comedy/drama

And 20 to 30 pages for a sitcom.  

But 45 to 80 pages is sufficient for a pilot for a series.  

A walk-away deal wherein you sell the script and walk away - no interest in the director, producer, stars, just "Show me the money!" for $100,000 +. Or you can try for $25,000  to rewrite it.  

Guy stressed that movies are a visual effort - the actors faces and expressions "talk" for them.  He suggests writing three pages of script with no dialogue whatsoever to demonstrate that you're getting it.  

Give writing a movie some thought - tons of others have done it; why not you?  

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The End of Civilization As We Know It?

A detail the MSM forgot to cover -

Joanna Strober is hosting and promoting a GoFundMe for Christine Ford.  The money is earmarked to go ONLY to the Ford family and today totals $154,526,.

Heidi Feldman is hosting and promoting a GoFundMe for Christine Ford.  So far, $209,987 in four days by 6,658 people rests in the coffers.  Feldman claims that any "leftover funds" will go to  women's organizations or a slush fund for similar situations.  The fund is now closed according to

Take the money and run!  And I don't doubt for a moment that they will.

I told friends and family that this was a great opportunity for us and how could we run with it...

Cousin Doug - I think I was fondled as an infant by the doctor who performed my circumcision.  Will that work?
   reply  Doug, that doctor is long dead now.  Pick a more recent surgery ...

Nephew Steve - Oprah once assaulted me in Galena, IL (she has a house here)  I'm not sure where or when it happened but it did happen.  Fire up GoFundMe for my poor soul.  And how dare anyone question ...
    reply - Steve if you were assaulted by Oprah - who I might mention is bigger than you - you wouldn't forget a single detail until you're 100 years old.  What about someone else in show biz - Elton John?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

News of the Neighborhood or Another Way To Waste Time

The other day's mail brought us an envelope that contained this flyer:

"Hi (Street name) Neighbors!
Our neighborhood is now using a free private online network called Nextdoor Golden Triangle and you should join us.  On this website we share service provider recommendations, items for sale/free, lost pet notifications, safety updates, local events and much more.  it's 100 per cent free and private - just for our neighbors.

Please go to

P.S. There are already 13,976 posts on Nextdoor Golden Triangle including posts about Crime and Safety issues in the neighborhood."

"Golden Triangle" is a loathsome appellation given to our particular area (quiet, several good schools, lots of parkettes) and was created by real estate agents.  I have always loathed it as it smacks of some sort of WW2 ghetto or something.  I am still suspicious of "Germans" as a group and will never forget Nazis and their vile doings.  Golden Triangle just serves to remind me.

Some of the categories …
Lost & Found - a cute young pug running around in the old Nordstrom Mall

Household Help - a woman advertised for a combination nanny for a 2 yr old girl, light housekeeper ("We have a cleaning firm for the hard stuff") dinner prep, dog walking, child craft amusements, and the occasional date night out for us,"  and I thought "Why not just adopt the kid out?"

Crime and safety - there are currently five public masturbaters running around in our parks and school restrooms.  "Scott (last name) was spotted in the girls bathroom at (school name.)  Just a head's up."

For sale and free - tickets to the Beyoncé and Jay Z or a private suite at the concert for 16 for $5,000.

Job hunting?  A long list - and 80 per cent of them are in San Francisco which is not anywhere near the Golden Triangle.

I think this is a good idea and I like it so I joined up.  I've already touted in "Books"  the for aspiring writers and published and I responded to a query about "a good family-owned Mexican restaurant" with praise for Las Brisas, 1969 Artesia, Redondo Beach.  Maybe I can work from within (so to speak) to abolish the loathsome soubriquet "Golden Triangle"...

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Good Read For What Doesn't Happen

"A Different Place To Die" by Tracy E. Johnson   300 pages  $9.99
"A pulp fiction tour-de-force that takes self-destructive ex-Marine Jake Kowalski from the high-tech world of 2017 and puts him on the mean streets of 1947."

What doesn't happen is a space ship lands and abducts him or a mad scientist says, "Step into this machine I made … (steps in)  "Oh, forgot to tell you it's a time machine!  have a good trip!"

Kowalski gets drunk - he's bored, depressed … and a couple of guys in the bar take umbrage and a royal battle ensues, climaxing (so to speak) with Kowalski spending the night in jail, celled with "a little old man" an on-going character which is never mentioned by any other phrase.  When he wakes up, he's in a glass box wondering what it is.  It's a phone booth.  In 1947  and the little old man escorts him to a diner for a cup of coffee.

How did he  get there?  How did this happen?  Never explained because Johnson is clever enough to go right to the action.

The author didn't give me permission to quote this, the first paragraph of the first page of chapter 1, but we're friends (fellow Writers Workshop members from 19 years ago) so I'm going to risk it.

" It all started when I shot that guy's dick off.  No, I'm too far ahead, that came later and technically I didn't shoot it completely. ..that's beside the point and it started before that.  It started when I entered that dive bar. It was a nasty place where you could expect nasty things to happen."

Johnson has clearly done a lot of research on 1947 times and his amazement at what isn't there (television, cell phones, computers) with what is - radios that have to warm up; great lumbering cars, doctors that willingly make house calls (which comes in handy considering the outcome of some of his encounters)... and a thorough knowledge of WW2, what people wore - men wore hats!  That weren't backwards baseball caps and a great deal more and he does it all with a sense of awe and humor.

This is a really good read with believable characters, a true sense of "being there" and more than healthy doses of smart ass repartee.  Romantics will enjoy the love story of Kowalski and Esmerelda and - spoiler sort of - a happy ending for all of the major characters.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Letter to the Editor

Daily Breeze - Letters - sent 9/20/18 - now we'll see if they run it …

Dear Sirs:

Welcome to a new period in American politics - the rise of sexual (female) predators/blackmailers.


Nina Murphy

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

An Epic Battle Looms - Heloise and Her Beloved Vinegar vs. WD40!

In this corner wearing red and yellow trunks - WD40!  In that corner we have the slightly superior, but virginal household vinegar in white!

To get the odds on Heloise - simply Google "Heloise + Vinegar"  The stats on WD40 are from an article online.   And the first round bell sounds!

WD40 strikes first …yelling, " Use me to clean your silverware!" followed by "Winterproof your sneakers!" "Pesky squirrels robbing the bird feeder on a pole - spray the pole!"

Heloise fights back with the top 10 uses for vinegar!

WD40 ripostes with a right cross on your windshield in winter as a de-icer

Heloise ripostes with the top 20 best uses for vinegar and both head for their respective corners.

The bell sounds and WD40 comes out swinging - fixing a stuck zipper with the right and then a left cross for a too-tight ring.

Heloise fights back with 100 uses for white or apple vinegar.

Referee calls the fight a draw, but the real winner is us!  Best kind of outcome.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Book Convenience

For those of you that would prefer my book - "And the Best Blog Is - Word of Mouth" in Kindl version - $1.99 -  it is now available.  An alert reader and fellow author, told me about this glaring omission from the original deal for both paperback and Kindl and am much obliged to him.

I am looking forward to reading his book when Amazon thumps it on the front porch and will give you a head's up if it is as good as I think it's going to be.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Does This Intrigue You?

I ran across a very interesting story some time ago and turned it and my own additions into a screenplay.  Knowing nothing about writing these things, I turned for help to a pro who has submitted numerous outlines/treatments/log lines into finished works.

He explained to me that a log line is one long sentence describing the entire plot/story of said screenplay.  You have to include the place, time, characters.  Since I "write short" this took a few minutes.  Below my effort:

Romantic Comedy  The Swish Alps/Beverly Hills where Cliff, 44, has lived in great style with Harry, 65 for the past 25 years until … Harry starts showing signs of Alzheimer's which troubles Cliff who owes Harry big time for supporting them both for the past 25 years and now … should he pay largesse back or run for his life which is tough because Harry is getting crazier by the day.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Useful Information - 10 Tips for Working with Contractors

1.  Hire only state-licensed contractors - many have it painted on their trucks; if not, they should have it on bills and correspondence.  If not, ask for proof of existence.

2.  Check it at or you can call 800 321-2752.

3.  Always get at least three bids (and if you kids are going to sell the parental house to one of you, get it appraised by three appraisers and go with the average of the three figures.

4.  Get three references from each bidder and review their past work in person (if the home owner will let you.)

5.  Make sure that all project expectations are in writing and only sign the contract if you completely and truly understand all of the terms.

6.  Confirm that the contractor has workers' compensation insurance for employees.

7.  Never pay more than a 10 per cent down or $1,000 whichever is less.  Do NOT pay in cash.

8.  Don't let the payments "somehow" get ahead of the work.

9.  Keep a job file of all of the papers relating to your project including all payments.

And lastly, don't make the final payment until you're completely satisfied with the job done.

Thank you, Dave Silva Construction, San Pedro, for this very good advice.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The People Side of Reunions

Or:  our hotel bar tab was $176.50 for three nights.  Richie was drinking a cabernet - $12 a pop and I stuck to Lunetta sparkling prosecco at $11 per.  I mention our choices of beverage because I do not want to contemplate the amount of draft beer that would cover.  Or the person that could do it.

Friday night was the meet and greet in a hotel "guest suite" which as nearly as I could tell was the same as a hotel suite minus beds.  A living room, dining area, kitchen and bathroom.  It was not a spacious area, any of it, and with 45 people in the room, it was crowded.  The dining room had a big table that further ate into available room to breathe.

So warm was it from the crowd of yelling-to-be-heard people that one poor guy passed out.  He came to quickly, and did not want the paramedics, but the only medical person among us (an RN) reasoned that to pass out indicated something amiss.  So another class member stepped up and said, "Jack, here's the deal - one of the kitchen workers passed out from the heat there and as long as the paramedics are going to be here anyhow, let's let'em take a look at you."  which was an inventive lie from git-go to whoa.

They were coming in as we exited the elevator and I helpfully yelled, "He's awake and smiling."  Ah, the CERT instructors would have been proud …

But now perched at the bar, we looked around for other entertainment.  We had had dinner at Johnny's Italian Steakhouse which come to find out (bar tabs) also owns the hotel bar.  As one so frequently does, we got into a conversation with a man who turned out to be a retired police officer.  Having heard references to the high school reunion from passers-by he asked what graduation year?  "1958!" we promptly responded.

At that he perked up and yelled, "That's the year I was born!"  So I promptly invited him to the next morning's class brunch, saying that he could be our Poster Child!  He had to regret, but you could tell he really would have enjoyed it.

He's now a Private Investigator, working cold cases - previously I believe he was Internal Affairs as he said he investigated corrupt cops.  Or "dirty cops" as he referred to them.  He said that the police brutality on Law & Order is shocking and that it annoys him no end.  He went on to say that many of the cases he investigated were "she said; he said," but even some of them are rather bizarre.  He cited the case of three 14 year old girls in a foster home, who hated the house rules and regs so they put together a plot and accused an older girl there of sexually harassing all three of them.  Age 14!

Two classmen and a wife came in as he left and the five of us closed the bar.  This was not as foolhardy as it may sound.  The bar closes at 11 p.m.  We were in Kansas which has strict liquor rules.

The Saturday morning class brunch was given a private room with five tables of eight. Once again we were dropped into an apocalypse of conversation noise.  A great innovation of this brunch was silver chafing dishes - big deal, you snort - with a window in the lid!  None of this walking up and down, flipping lids!  A great idea!  

Dinner Saturday night was in a great reception area with the bar, a spacious outdoor patio with cushioned chairs and a separate dining room.  The program was innovative - a movie with photos of old haunts during out days and funny as hell due to old people cartoons that had been fitted into the DVD.  We were all given the DVD of the program which was incredibly generous on the part of the guy who made it.  .

Sunday the excitement was officially all over (after the same private room for the brunch) and we packed up and split for the airport.  I can safely say that a good time was had by all except for the guy who passed out Friday night.  Turns out after a night of observation in the hospital, he was just fine, thank you.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Reunion - Statistics

Compiled from various sources:
Southeast High School Class of 1958, Kansas City, Mo.

284 graduated
157 have died in the 60 years since then

That leaves a total today of 127.
 A final 82 were either un-findable or unable to attend.

Of the 45 at the reunion, there were 58 of us together with spouses or single guests.  The three events - Friday's meet and greet; Saturday's brunch and Saturday night's dinner - had a mix of people attending; some for one but not the other two.  The flight or long drive aways tended to hit all three.

From previous research at the 2008 reunion, I discovered that 50 per cent of this group had never lived farther than 50 miles away from Kansas City, Mo. and environs.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pull Up A Chair and Let's Eat!

Thursday -
Hereford House, one of the major reasons for flying in a day early.  Several reunions ago, we ate at the original on Main Street and made a point of doing so every time.  To accommodate friends who live not far from the airport, and even closer to a major shopping mall called Zona Rosa in North Kansas City,  the four of us went to the one there.  

The Hereford House is such a favorite because it is pure '80s steak house.  It hasn't changed even if it is in a different location.  Such was its fame that a guy who worked with Richie, loaded up his wife and parents; they all flew to Kansas City, had dinner there and got back on the plane and flew home!

We opened the bidding with an order of crab-stuffed mushrooms ($11) with our drinks - a dirty gin martini ($10) and a gin and tonic ($8).  We both ordered the  bacon-wrapped filet mignon with Béarnaise sauce ($28) with creamed spinach for Richie and a Caesar salad for me.  It was allll good.  The kitchen did forget the Béarnaise for the beef, but made up for it by sending out a gravy boat (practically) of the stuff.

Friday -
A quick breakfast of orange juice, Danish and coffee and off to sightsee.

My great friend Jim Newman (we've been friends since we both lived in KC) recommended Pierpont's in Union Station.  Jim is the retired Financial Analysis News announcer for KABC-TV, a member of the Overseas Press Club, President of the Economic Broadcasters Association. thus, he knows the posh places.    (

It was a late lunch due to the WW1 Museum and Money Museum that preceded our knees under a table at a booth there.

Our server told us that this site of Pierpont's (apparently there are others) was once the waiting room for women and children when it functioned as a train station.  Directly beneath our feet was their bathes.  Richie remarked, "Segregation of a different sort..." and the waiter said, "Think about war's ends; wives freshening up themselves and the kids to welcome Daddy home..." and that was a poignant thought.

Out of sheer curiosity, Richie ordered a cup of the Chilled Cactus Pear Soup due to his major infatuation with Las Brisas sopa nopales at home.  This version was a bright magenta, quite a change from the pea green version at home.  The color was due to the fact that ingredients included strawberries, pomegranate and honey dew melon and it all tasted like cough syrup to me. ($6)

I fared a great deal better with my corn and crab bisque (the kitchen ran out of lobster rolls).  There was very little crab or corn kernels to be found in it, but the flavor was extraordinary.  No mashed potato thickening and I would bet the "broth" used for it was fresh crushed corn kernels milk and boiled crab shells.   Excellent! ($8)

Richie's shrimp tacos arrived on a piece of slate instead of a plate which is passe here now.  ($12)

Light lunches mean, "Bring on the dessert!)  Mousse au chocolat ($8 each.)

Saturday -
The list of near-by restaurants for the reunion attendee's had two barbecue joints and being unable to find one of them (apparently Siri is a vegetarian) we settled for the other.  Smokin Joe's BBQ  We both had excellent pulled pork sandwiches with beans for him and onion rings for me.  The onion rings were outstanding!  Gritty coating and well done, baby!

Hereford House, 8661 N. Stoddard, Kansas City, Mo.
Pierpont's Union Station, 30 W. Pershing
Smokin Joe's BBQ, 519 E. Santa Fe, Olathe, Kansas

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Last Thursday, we flew to Kansas City, Mo., for my 60th high school reunion (more of which later) which began Friday at the cocktail hour for a meet and greet.  We flew in a day early solely to have dinner at Hereford House Thursday with friends and tour Friday until the cocktail hour.

What were we so hot to see?  The World War 1 Memorial and Museum which took three years to build and was completed in 1926.  It had to be closed in 1994 due to structural deterioration in the Memorial Courtyard.  But in 2004 all was well and it was designated as America's official WW1 museum by Congress. (No less.)

Today, despite all of the history presented in innovative ways - a diorama of a battle field with the crater that was once a French farmhouse, destroyed by a 17 in. shell, walls lined with pistols, guns, tanks, helmets, uniforms for everyone involved and this tidbit - 6,261 Brits refused to fight.  40,000 women tried to be nurses with only 3,000 spots available.

 I still liked the outside better than the inside.  On entering, there is a courtyard of 2 to 3 ft. wide red ceramic-finished poppies as if in a field.  It was especially poignant because it was raining.  There are pools, long walks approaching both the memorial tower ( 217 ft. tall) and the museum, all set on a grassy sward overlooking Union Station below.  

Also on the Memorial grounds is the Money Museum which is the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the regional headquarters of the central bank of the U.S.  Getting in is identical to airport security.  Photo i.d. (passports in our case) metal detector and finally into the exhibition space which is a big room with free-standing, square glass tops showcasing such as "Guess the counterfeit $20?"  Another contained a suspiciously shiny gold bar.  About 15 or 16 of these stands, tracing the flow of money from presses to streets.

The most interesting thing about this was the farewell plastic gift bag of minced money.  Each souvenir bag contains the remains of $165 +/-.

We finally saw humans (other than the uniformed police on entering) down a corridor to a glassed in room with robot carts hauling plastic boxes of bricks of money.  One man, closest to the viewing window, was bagging bricks of money in a second plastic bag and putting these bricks on the back of the mechanized cart.  He obligingly grabbed a sheet of paper and hastily scribbled something on it and held it up to the window - his homemade sign said, "$85,000."

Next we went to Union Station for lunch (covering food tomorrow) and then out a side door, across a courtyard and a ride (FREE!) on the KC Streetcar, a sleek, bullet-nosed streetcar that went down to the River Market (2.2 miles)  There are 16 stops and a fair number of people were hopping on and off, but nothing appealed because it wended it's way through the less salubrious parts of downtown KC - boarded up buildings, offices, bars of dubious reputation and finally the market contained in three-story brick buildings.  Nothing appealed so all we did was sit there which was entertaining enough.

Due to rather languid service at lunch, it was time to skedaddle to the reunion hotel so we had to pass up my last item for the day which was a beer or three at Kelly's, said to be the oldest building in Westport.

To Be Continued

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away. Sometimes, But Not Always

9/11  Never Forget.  9/11 Never Forgive.

I was in a great mood when I woke up this morning until the newspapers reminded me what this day is.  We were on Long Island when it happened, having breakfast at the hotel in Montauk we'd repaired to after Richie's brother and wife's youngest son's marriage on Sunday.

I was finished first and wandered over to see what so many guests were looking at on the giant TV screen.  It was footage of a small plane crashing into a skyscraper.  I shrugged and went back to our table.  "Just another small plane pilot that didn't know what he was doing, running into a skyscraper; they never learn," I reported and slipped back into my seat.

It rapidly got a great deal worse than that as we all know.

Now 17 years later, memorials continue to be made, the latest being the bell tower in Pennsylvania which is tremendously effective.  I'd never go to the 9/11 Museum in New York but the bell tower is worthy of positive mention.  The dead were individuals and they deserve their mention as such.

God bless the first responders who continue to die even now.  Never forgive; never forget.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Touching Display of Love

We were at the gate for our flight from DFW to LAX after attending my 60th high school reunion in Kansas City Mo.  The gate agent kept teasing us with calls to board and then coming back, apologizing and saying "it will be just five minutes."  Meanwhile MAA (a Major American Airline) was e-ing me, frantic with each new delay.  We watched the 5 minute segments fly backwards in time.

Finally we were herded to the gate and, as always, wheelchairs and families board first.  We had already noticed the guy in the really cool chair that can, at the touch of a button, hoist the sitter up, higher than anyone else is tall off to the side.  He was accompanied by a woman in a regular wheelchair and they had what looked like a coach with clipboard and i.d. on a lanyard.  to see to their needs.  Both were early 30s and the lad had a bit of a temper.  He had the chair set at skyline and after the second or third apologetic delay, he spun his rig away from the gate and took a rapid zip around the area.   The orderly stayed with the woman. NOTE:  Richie said that the man was solo with no one to help him and truth be told, he clearly didn't need any assistance and that the coach was with the woman and probably her husband.

When he returned, I noticed that he had lost both feet because dark blue stockings flapped below the hem of his jeans. I noticed because he used his remaining leg to flap them in irritation.  His right hand was a sort of melted fist.  She had no visible injuries until I spotted her left hand.  It had a perfectly symmetrical scar around the wrist and her "fingers" were toes.  She wore no bandage and had the use of that hand in a limited fashion.

Finally we were allowed to board and because I was in a wheelchair (used only at airports) I was among this group.  They went first and at the plane door, they were transferred to the regular airline skinny wheelchairs that fit a plane's narrow aisles.

This held up the line what with airport personnel, the orderly and the patients all arguing and moving around, but they were soon sorted and Richie and I bade farewell to my pusher and boarded.

They were put in First because they vanished. This aircraft has a boarding door behind First and they all turn left from the open door.  

It was an uneventful flight, we landed a la Captain Kangaroo, and then we taxied for quite a while until we found ourselves 'way down the runway at the solo gate where they pushed up a switchback-type ramp down to the runway and buses to take us in to Baggage Claim.  The bus accommodated their own wheelchairs by lowering the platform level with the ground and at the front of the bus, two sets of chairs flipped up into the wall to create an open space for the chairs.

But before this happened, I noticed out the window, the transfer they were making for him from the airline chair to his own. Floodlights provided what light there was and the bus headlights picked out more.  All around us jet engines screamed and whined and other motor traffic scooted along.   He sat, still in the other, and while waiting, he had reached out and was tenderly stroking the dangling socks with the air of someone greeting a much loved pet.  As it must have been to him - high above normal height, quick as a dart going where he wanted to go; relying on no one to push him … totally understandable.  That touched me so much that I couldn't not write about it.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Day 2 - rain all day

Memorial WW 1
Money museum
Streetcar ride

Friday, September 7, 2018

Day 1 Is done

Landed after a long day - ever noticed how flying will wear your butt out?   We did.

A leisurely dinner  with dear friends the bestkind- at - wait for it - I made it to Hereford House.

Its showering a little but we wil be checking out and going touring - WW1 Memorial Museum, the Money Museum and all of the rest.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Guest Columnist!

A hearty welcome to Anne Mason, of Lancashire, England, who is reporting on a recent vacation.  I have long known that most, if not all, British people loathe what they call "abroad" meaning anywhere outside of Great Britain.  I think you'll find that in this instance, they're right.

"We (husband Frank) went on holiday to the Loire Valley in France for one week in August staying in a lovely little "Gite" (holiday cottage) in a lovely, quiet village called Jarze, not far from Le Mans, the motor racing circuit, and Saumer, famous for Horses and Wine.

The main reason for our visit was to see our daughter Liz performing in the orchestra at the "Opera de Bauge" in a performance of Verdi's "Rigoletto."  She has been playing with this Orchestra for the last 12 years, but this was our first visit and meant to be a memorable trip, which is was - but for all of the wrong reasons!

The scenery was beautiful.  Castles, "Old World" cobbled streets, bridges, and fields and fields of sunflowers.  Maybe van Gogh took his inspiration from this area... We sat out in the sun at lunchtime; the French eat their main meal at midday.  We normally eat around 6:30 p.m. but "when in Rome." (Sorry, France.)  Delicious food, but very expensive.  We thought $5 for a litre of water - what!! Outrageous!  Costs less than that for a 12-pack in U.K. but what the heck, we're on holiday - forget it!

Sadly this little Gite in the lovely quiet village was targeted by thieves, one evening, and as a result I lost my handbag with all my possessions; cash, credit cards, cell phone.  Most of the week following was taken up by visits to Police, British Embassy in Paris (a 350 kilo round trip) which took 11 hours and phone calls to cancel everything official.  So … "Memorable" as I said.

The opera, on the other hand was "memorable" for all of the right reasons.  The singers, young professional opera singers from all over the world, were wonderful and over all, it was a good trip.

A word of warning:  the weather was very hot, especially for those of us who think 70 is plenty hot enough; this was continually in the 90s and over 100 one day and so we had the windows open.  BIG MISTAKE.  Ground floor apartment on a quiet little street, forgot to lock the shutters and the rest is history.

So, if you should go to a quiet little French village and stay in a lovely little ground floor apartment in the heat of summer, make sure the windows and shutters are locked even if it's too hot to sleep!"

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Apparently It's Never Too Late in Britain

Yesterday's media introduced us all to the Oldest Person In England To Have a Sex Change Operation.  

James Rose, a former RAF navigator, is now Ruth Rose, age 81.  She joined the RAF age 23 and married in 1961.  After a 42 year marriage resulting in three kids and four grandchildren, the couple divorced but remain on good terms to this day.  

Four years ago, age 77, she began taking the hormone drugs to affect this situation.  In July, 2018, she had the Final Surgery (and I think we all know what that was) and what is causing a certain amount of chat is the fact that the National Health Services (NHS) paid $4,000 for the surgery that made her longings reality.  

Perhaps in an effort to forestall criticism of a literally free sex change op, Rose remarked, "You get people who cannot keep slim or who smoke … but NHS will still treat them."   She made additional remarks about the number of want to change, but cannot suicides.  

We have very dear friends in England who have told us of friends medical rationing - six months for hip replacement surgery, for example.  A busted-up hip is extremely painful and I can actually understand if an 81 year old said, "The hell with this" and jumped off of Big Ben.

Better for the NHS to regard physical pain as more serious than clearly they do for the patient  twitching around, waving a lace-trimmed hanky whining about their psychic pain.  

Socialized medicine at it's finest and something that perhaps Bernie Sanders or the NY hyphenated young lady should consider for themselves.  Not to imply either is looking for a sex change.  But how about that septic appendicitis, guys?  Wanna wait around on that?   

Monday, September 3, 2018

Who Paid for McCain's Last Ride?

As usual, we the taxpayers did.  In addition to authorizing the use of Air Force 2, usually reserved for the Vice President and/or First Lady, to transport McCain's remains and family and friends from Arizona to Washington, DC, Trump twitted (or twitched, can never keep this stuff straight) as follows:

"At the request of the McCain family, I have also authorized military transportation of McCain's remains from Arizona to Washington, DC, military pall bearers and band support and a horse and caisson during the service at the Naval Academy." 

And in their gratitude, the McCains trashed him at the funerals. I like to think of them, lolling in the luxury of AF2, picking at the lunch buffet and rehearsing their slams at Trump while they are wafted along at taxpayer's expense.

 It could be argued that they showed their true colors.  Feces brown.  

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Idle Speculation

Will the McCain family now get frequent flyer miles on US government planes?

His funerals aka Let Us Now Glorify Saint John lasted longer than a Barbra Streisand Farewell Tour.

I really racked my brain on this, thinking senility had final snuck under my radar, but I researched thoroughly and John McCain was never a US President.  But do admit, it was confusing …

A commentator in the Daily Mail, UK, remarked on Meghan McCain's long, lush false eyelashes.  What I want to know is did she use surgical glue to keep them on through the gusts of tears?

Also of note, I never found any mention of a food service after any of them.  Someone should have told the family that if you have to sit through several hours of "funeral" it's only fair to reward the audience with a little something to nosh on!  Very cute clip of Bush, Jr. slipping Michelle Obama a handful of candy during a eulogy which was really bad taste.   Especially since they had a little giggle together.

For a contrast in styles, Aretha wins.  The people that attended her rites genuinely loved her and they showed it.  Showman to the end she also gave back to her fans with the three day wake and three different outfits.  It may be a Detroit burial custom, but I've never seen it in Kansas City, Huntington, NY, or California where the coffin lid is open all the way down and any holes in the soles of your shoes are going to be noticed (and discussed by viewers behind fanned out fingers on the way back down the aisle.)  

McCain's rites did establish however that it is in roaring bad taste to turn a solemn ritual of life  into a  political rally.  Beyond tacky.

To be fair, Bill Clinton ogling Ariana Grande's butt at Aretha's rites is hardly a good example.

Ah, well.  Life goes on and I close with a hearty, "Thank God you're finally in the dirt, John McCain.  The circus tent has been struck and put back in storage for the next display of utterly bad taste and worse manners."

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Look! Up In The Sky! It's a Bird - It's a Plane! No - It's London's Mayor! Fancy ...

Dateline: London
As a response to London Mayor Sadiq Kahn's having given permission to a group of anti-Trumps to fly a balloon of Trump, clad in a diaper and looking angry, another group of protestors are flying a balloon of the Mayor, but clad in a yellow bikini, over Parliament Park.

The balloon cost $104,000 in donated  funds.  Supporters said that they do not approve of making a laughingstock of a sitting president and this bikini-clad figure is meant to ask Kahn, "How do you like it?"

His only response seems to have been this, "If people want to spend their Saturday looking at me in a yellow bikini they are welcome to do so.  I don't really think that yellow is my color though."   

Further reading disclosed the fact that he's shown sporting a yellow bikini because Kahn banned an ad on London's Tube and buses of a young woman in a yellow bikini inquiring anxiously "Are you beach ready?"   It offended Muslims of which Kahn is one.  

And it reminds me of an old Jimmy Durante line, "Everybodies gotta get into da act."