Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ah, November or Bring Out Your Dead!

The Mesoamerica period was a period of different ethnic groups, but all of them believed in an afterlife.  Though all different, all believed that the afterlife was a many layered thing.  There were 13 heavens and 9 underworlds each in it's place with a separate god ruling it all.  The most favored final destinations were held aside for soldiers, mothers who died giving birth and the unfortunates who had been sacrificed to various other gods. This celebration ran for the entire month of August.

And then came the Catholic missionaries.    They hijacked this gala celebration of death and declared November 1st All Saints Day.  November 2nd was celebrated as All Souls Day.  A previous belief was kept  - that at midnight on October 31, dead children came back.  They weren't there to trick or treat, but for family to see that they were happy.

To remember their dead with love and grace, families and friends went out to the burial place, bringing food and drink (tequila without doubt) to spend the day with the spirits of their dead.  They tidied the burial plot, decorated it with such as spun sugar skulls, articulated skeletons, flowers, banners and ribbons.  There were special dishes, prepared primarily for these days.   All in all, it was a great fiesta and one eagerly anticipated as the days grew near to celebrate it once again.

Perhaps this celebration of death  results in the absolute fearlessness I have observed in Hispanic men.  Best example:  Puerta Vallarta - an Army pick-up truck in front of us with 8 soldiers perched on the sidewalls of the back of the pick-up on a road that was lavish with pot holes rocks, what have you and they were doing 60 mph.  Fearing an unlucky bounce and a soldier across our hood, we gave them plenty of room.  

Pan de Muertes is one such tradition - the recipe made me think of the Italian Christmas bread Panettone but without the dried fruits Italian chefs throw in.  It is also mildly seasoned with anise, cinnamon and sugar.

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
1 egg - the recipe called for two but never used the 2nd egg in the recipe - use your own judgement
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teas, anise seed
1/4 teas. cinnamon
2 teas. sugar

Bring the milk to a boil, take it off the heat and add the butter, spices and sugar
Mix the yeast with warm water and let sit 5 minutes.  Add the milk mixture to it.  Separate the egg and put the yolk with the yeast mix and save the white to glaze.
Knead this into 4 "ropes" and braid three of them.  Take the 4th and halve it making a ball on each end for "bones" Drape them in a cross, beat up the egg white and glaze and then bake the whole thing for 35  minutes at 350.

Please accept my best wishes for your dead.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Air Force 1 Always Flies with Body Bags Stored Onboard

This was about the most riveting thing I read in "First Women, The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies" by Kate Anderson Brower  $28.99  380 pages.

Brower covered much of what's here in her two previous books both covering the period from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama.

Mamie Eisenhower was practically hauled kicking and screaming away from the White House as Bower claims she loved it the best (aside from Hillary Clinton.)  Hillary idolized Jackie Kennedy and being invited to a trip on the Remolar, Maurice Templeman's yacht, totally blew her out of the water. (Ha ha - couldn't resist.)

Pat Nixon kept to herself, as did Rosalyn Carter.  Given party issues, I found it surprising that Laura Bush and Michelle Obama are quite mate-y.

There are only four living former First Ladies - Rosalyn Carter, now 91, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

I can see that this would have been a wonderful source of both gossip and information had I not already read the preceding ("Next in Line") and first (The Residence") books.  

Still and all … body bags onboard?  Thought provoking.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Re-Visiting Laughlin or Pictures At Last

We are somewhat indolent when it comes to getting photos of a trip developed.  Richie will wait until we're going somewhere else and I will say, "Oh, well, might as well dump the phone shots, too.

With no further adieu...The Don Laughlin Car Collection - $2 per person.  The view from our room of the river.  It was mesmerizing.  Next are happy boaters (read: tourists) aboard the USS Riverside fan deck.
The fried deviled eggs with remoulade sauce.  Deviled my sweet patootie!

Our waiter explained the Gump signs - if you want something flip so the red shows - "Any server in the area will immediately come to your table to see what you need.  The blue side tells the server, Go on about your bidness; we're fine here'."  River views...

Sunday, October 28, 2018

I Was Right - A Dish of Pure Delish!

The Residence:  Inside the Private World of The White House by Kate Anderson Brower  $27.99  309 pages  It's so interesting that I read all afternoon - chores having been done - and through the Dodger game - to finish it.

First of all, the White House is a great deal larger than imagined from photos.  Outsiders only see the top three floors but there are six floors with two mezzanine levels and two belowground floors.
The Ground Floor is home to the main kitchen, the flower shop and the carpenters' shop which got a real workout from some of the first ladies - among their carpentry chores is moving furniture, hanging art works and creating custom picture frames for Presidential gifts.

Resident staff are not forgotten and they have a cafeteria, dining room, lounge and storage areas.  They have their own kitchen, separate from the main kitchen above.  There is a "family kitchen" in the private quarters of the President and First Lady.

And speaking of staff - there are +/- 96 full-time and 250 part time staff.  They are:  ushers, chefs, florists, maids, butlers, doormen, painters, carpenters, electricians, plumbers (one of whom had to spend several days in a mental hospital after five years of trying to get Lyndon Johnson's shower head they way he wanted it - boiling hot with the water pressure of a fire hose) engineers and calligraphers.  Some 24 National Park Service staff take care of the grounds - Jackie Kennedy's rose garden, Michelle Obama's vegetable plot and so on.

As they are humans as the families they serve, staff has an opinion about them.  One woman took a five year leave of absence thanks to Nancy Regan's impossible demands.  Nancy once wanted an elaborate spun sugar dessert of her design for a State dinner.  When the chef said (probably plaintively)" but I have only two days to create X number of them!" and she retorted, coldly, "Yes.  You have six days and six nights," and walked out of the room.

The Bushes - H.W. and Barbara were genuinely loved by staff and vice versa.  One butler was such a favorite that when his presidency was over, they invited him  to visit them at home.

Richard Nixon used to bowl on the two lanes under the White House with kitchen worker Frankie Blair.  Once they finally quit at 2 a.m. and it was believed by staff that a bottle of Scotch might have been involved.

Loyalty is paramount, but all agreed that this can go too far after Doorman Freddie Mayfield put off bypass surgery "until after his trip" (Johnson)  and died of a heart attack, age 58.

I recommend it and I'd say more but now I'm deep in First Women.  Promising - Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush shared a profound dislike - of each other.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Betting, Seeing and What Happens Next in the World Series

Friday Night's game:  18 innings, 7 hours, 20 minutes.  That is a helluva lot of beer, hot dogs and peanuts just to sustain life for this marathon.  

But hark!  If you are a glutton for punishment, there are still tickets available for tonight's game.  The odds are that it won't be as long lasting as last night, but here are some ticket prices.

Top deck row F  $615.
Infield loge $1,009
Top deck 4, row L $1163

Speaking of odds, I can't figure out "the book" in Vegas or anywhere else.  All I wanted to know was a straight bet:  Dodgers vs. Red Sox; Dodgers 5, Red Sox 3 or equivalent.  

You're on your own on this one.  And I would welcome your input if you already know how to bet and are laughing at me or are just as confused as I am - what was Red Sox +135 Dodgers -145 about?  

All I can say about all of this is:  thank God for a good book and a full bottle of wine.  If tonight is anything like last, I Will Need Them. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Washington Gossiper

A gossiper is considered as one who relishes talk about other people's private lives.  Sign me up!

Particularly in matters historical.  I like the details.  An example:  Abraham Lincoln was wearing a pair of polka-dot long johns, a gift from his wife who had winked and said, "Don't forget to stop by and thank me, Abe-y, when you get home from the theatre."    Much more interesting.

First in Line by Kate Andersen Brower    336 pages   $28.99  is an example of detailed gossip concerning itself with the relationships between US Presidents and their Vice Presidents.

Sample chapter headings - From Senator to Subordinate - The Story of Nixon,/Eisenhower, Johnson/Kennedy (Bobby Kennedy hated Johnson, Jack was more forgiving) and Humphrey/Johnson.

Getting to Know You … or Not:  Mondale/Carter, Carter, Bush/Reagan and Quayle/Bush.

From Friendship to Betrayal:  the Breakup of Al Gore and Bill Clinton

Her style is engaging, she admits to no bias and, indeed, seems fair in her reporting.  If this was just a one-party rant, (either one)  I wouldn't be suggesting it as a good read.

Brower has written two previous books of similar nature, "First Woman; the Grace and Power of America's First Ladies - Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama"

The one I am going to try to get while we're  at tomorrow's Redondo Beach Library Book sale is "The Residence" which promises to be a dish of pure delight because staff at the White House Tell All.  Delish!  .Hurry Saturday!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Doggy Bag Dinners Can Be Rather Exotic

A case in point - yesterday I was quietly humming to myself because I'd pulled off a double and neither involved either of us being in the kitchen. 

The monthly French class luncheon at Scotty's on the Strand.  They know us there "Reservation for 12 for lunch 12 noon" and so far they haven't thrown us out.  Richie had his favorite - huevos ranchero - and cleaned his plate.  Thinking ahead, I ordered and ate two slices of pepperoni pizza, "Yes, a box please," visions of laziness drifting through my conscious.  

The monthly conference re the Dodgers, chances of resurgence, most recent game played discussed in excruciating detail with Mouton, "D" and us.  I pay no attention to any of it.  I am decidedly not a fan of this Great American Pastime(as others call it.) Tonight's exploration was to Long Beach and Mouton's recommendation - Panxa Cocino, 3937 E. Broadway, Long Beach ( which bills itself as Southwestern.

It's a sophisticated room with rather dim lighting which does give off the light found in a cathedral in Spain possibly coming from the setting sun shining through a stained glass window in the bar area.  Comfortable roomy booths with a scattering of wooden tables and chairs.  And the furniture is set out for maximum privacy and as a result, it is a quiet place!  Even in the bar with a World Series game going on!  

As always we started with drinks - a beer, two wines - one red, one white and a split of sparkling wine from Spain.  To go with them I ordered house chips with three "seasonal" salsas - black bean with a sprinkle of chopped tomato and onion, a green tomatillo and the usual thick-ish red salsa. $5 and our server had to go get us more chips.  Which he happily did.  Food and cheerful service here by all concerned.  

The green chile honey cornbread was more like a dessert and it arrived at the table as a round loaf, huddled in its own little pot with a glaze on top.  $6 and that's for dinner tonight.    

For dinner itself … Southern-style breaded, honey chile lime with morita aoli.  $14 and there were at least a dozen (or a few more) shrimp.  And they weren't bay shrimp either!  They will be on the table tonight.  

Richie's leftover Burrato and Pork Adovada with black beans, pickled vegetables and salsa will be joining the cornbread and shrimp.  $22

Mouton loves him some lamb and he cleaned up his plate of chile, honey lamb shanks. $24 

 I'm pretty sure that Dee ordered the braised short ribs because they are a dish I know he is partial to - Dominique's Kitchen (previously reviewed) puts one out that he raved about. These came with soft polenta, salsa verde, tomato and bleu-cheese stuffed shishito peppers.  No leftovers for him. $24

The total tab for the four of us came to a modest $139.92 Given the high quality of the food to say nothing of how good it all was, that's mild enough for anyone.  

And it also provides dinner tonight for two people so six people for $140 is not bad at all!  You can economize by eating out!  


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

World Class World Series Betting

Friends of ours are great Dodger fans.  Their friends, on Nantucket Island, are equally as great Red Sox fans.  In a challenge that proves both their faithful fandoms, they have decided that the below will be awarded to the winners.    

In this corner, we have the Boston Red Sox represented by a crate of New England Clams, to be shipped special food express, to the winners.  

Representing the Los Angeles Dodgers - 

10 in. tall Oscar statue
Felt baseball hat
See's Candy
Angel City Gourmet Coffee
City Lights skyline tote bag - presumably to carry it all 
Route 66 In and Out Burger t-shirts
The Napa Valley Wine is not possible as it is not permitted to ship Alcohol into Massachusetts.   

This sounds like a fun thing to do rather than cold cash.  Not that there's anything wrong with that … 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sweet Potatoes and Those Wild and Crazy Kids at Bon Appetit

As Thanksgiving is coming, they seem to have turned their attention to ways to "ramp up" (surely their phrase) traditional foods by lifting them up, shaking them up, dusting them off and putting something no one ever thought of doing on the festive table.  

Amazing uses for mayo:  Cut a sweet potato or three into wedges, toss in olive oil and sea salt and roast in a single layer at 425, for 40 - 45 minutes.  When done here are their suggestions for dipping sauces:

  Mayo and lemon juice and chopped cilantro
    Mayo and sriracha and grated garlic  
       Mayo and curry powder and lemon juice  

Several  people seem to believe that a baked potato with various toppings constitute wooonderful appetizers and in extreme cases, dinner itself.  Their suggestions for using sweet potatoes instead of dinner  - 

Bake a foil-wrapped sweet potato at 425 for 60 minutes.  Crack them open and fill with - your choice - 

Chickpeas, roasted broccoli, crumbled Feta

Black beans, cheddar, scallions (aka green onions) avocado

Cooked sausage, lentils, and crème fraiche

For myself, I would make sweet potatoes as God intended them to be made - chunks out of the can, drained except for just enough "juice" to heat the potatoes with allspice, cinnamon and ginger to season it and lashings of butter to ease them down your throat.  

I snip my fingers at you, Bon Appetit.  Some dishes are classics and meant to be that way.  Classics because 95 per cent of the population likes them that way!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Hail! Hail! The Eating Holidays Are Coming!

All hail Halloween - also known as Candies Unlimited.  Not that there are children in many neighborhoods who actually put down their iPods and so forth, to stir off of the couch and then go in search of candy.   The day some smart PTA president or school superintendent decided that it would be better to hold a party in the school and bring the candy there was a grim one for those of us that 1.  enjoyed the kids' costumes and waving to the hovering mothers at the end of the driveway and 2. the surfeit of candy with which we could legitimately claim we were serving to "the darling little chirren" as we approached - the checkout counter for once, not shamefully, with a cart full of bagged favorites such as Hershey Kisses, and more.   Much more.  Since there are now only about enough kids for one small packet of M&Ms, buy big anyhow!  "Well," you say ruefully, "We'll be all set for next year … it's not going to go bad."  No, it's not, cozily ensconced in your very own stomach!

All Hail Thanksgiving! aka Turkey Day
This is a biggie - unlimited T-Day dinner, blessed by all about the table.  This is the holiday that we all are expected to eat ourselves into comas and are praised for doing so!   A female wrote, "I count my blessings on Thanksgiving Day - and the silverware Thanksgiving evening."

All Hail Christmas Day
Traditionally, Christmas morning leads the parade of day-long goodies with a splendid brunch with mimosas and Eggs Benedict and ornate pastries … and a great deal more.  Let the nibbling begin!  Aunt Rose's homemade fudge?  The neighbors annual pfefferness cookies - Ooo and look at all of the gift bottles of wine!  Check it out - the goody basket from Bristol Farms!  Can you believe he gifted us with an ounce of caviar?

All Hail New Year's Eve
This holiday's eating plan is first cousin to Valentine's Day with it's emphasis on champagne, a veddy, veddy fawncy dinner with lead-off iced oysters, steak au jus (for strength to stay up until midnight)

Ah, yes.  The blessed eating holidays of which America seems to have quite a few - Valentine's, (previously mentioned,)  St. Patrick's corned beef and cabbage, 4th of July's barbecues.  From fruited plains indeed.  God Bless America!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four......

I was idly thumbing through a cookbook fetchingly titled "Chef Bubba and Friends" published by Walmart. when I came across this strange (to me) recipe.  Quite possibly it was a Depression money spinner.

5 T flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 teas. vanilla

Cook flour and water to make paste.  (This is essentially white gravy)  Set the pan in cold water.  In a separate bowl beat the sugar, and butter together until fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and flour paste and beat it some more.  Apply to your cake.

An old friend from Oklahoma, Lucille gave me a taste and the recipe for

POTATO CANDY  She called it Potato Fudge.  There is no chocolate in it so I guess "fudge" refers to texture and the finished squares of candy.

1/4 cup mashed potatoes
2 T milk
1 teas. vanilla
dash of sea salt
1 whole box of powdered sugar.  That ought to sweeten'er up!

Mix up together and put it in a buttered square pan, cut squares and enjoy.  I couldn't, but I complimented Lucille on it anyhow.  Another trick is to roll your batter out, "butter" it with peanut butter, roll it up like a jelly roll and then cut discs of it.  

I tell you, I've seen a number of Depression-era recipes and they had it a whole lot worse than this generation could have imagined.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Marfa, Texas, The Ever-So-Snotty Art Town

Marfa is an isolated town in southwest Texas.  It is on the artists wanna-go list big time as it is an example of minimalist art, which, as far as I can figure, is minimal in the extreme.  I'm thinking of one exhibit called (I believe) "Pink Cadillacs" - a row of old Cadillacs buried in the desert so that just the tail light fins are visible.  It would be worth seeing if they lit up at night.

How did we get to Marfa in the first place?  John Sandford's "Golden Prey" grand finale takes place in Marfa and I became intrigued by the descriptions of installations there and so I finished the book and tackled Marfa this morning.

It became useful in 1881 as a water stop for the Texas and New Orleans railroad.  It is said that Marfa was the name given it after a heroine in "Brothers Karamazov" by the wife of the town founder.  Later, during WW2 it became a pilot training center (there's a lot of air over Texas and a hella lot of desert to land on.)

The art part didn't take off (sorry, couldn't resist) until one Donald Judd, a minimalist artist from New York happened upon it by accident, spending several vacations in this barren place.  He bought (with help) the old training center as well as a pair of ranches as his residences.

Born in 1928, he died, age 66, in 1994 of non-Hodgkin's disease.  His legend lived on and as of 2010 the Marfa populations was 1,981.

Having read rather thoroughly about Marfa I have to say that other than the snob appeal of being able to say that you've been there, there is very little to attract.

First of all is simply getting there in the first place.  The closest point from which to drive is Midland airport 182 miles.  El Paso is 190 miles; Houston 597 miles or a seven hour ride.  Austin, 429; Dallas 521; San Antonio 404.

And what do you find when you finally get there?  Indifferent to Bad food, the good hotels are in Alpine some 22 miles from Marfa and the crowing insult:  many of the exhibits require reservations to see them and even if you have one, you are likely to be greeted by the news that it's closed.  "We're Open When We're Open" is actually on one of these exhibits.  All in all, I think you're better off eating a burned Hungry Man TV dinner with warm beer at home and going through the photos of the exhibits that Google is showing you.  Really the same if you think about it … inconvenience, food, no ice for supposedly iced drinks and surly store/gallery owners.  Who needs it?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Dahling, Those Are SO post-WW1!

I see you looking at your new watch - Patek Phillippe?  Did you know they used to be called "wristlets"?  And they weren't popular until after the War?  Pocket watches weren't very handy for the generals who had to be on top of the time for coordinating attacks in the field.  When the war ended, there were a lot of guys who wanted one, too.  And they've reigned ever since.

Is that a Burberry trench coat?  I thought so.  Studying to be a spy?  I see.  They were developed to keep soldiers warm and dry in their trenches hence the name.

Your zipper is undone … and before WW1 they were called "slide fasteners" but the military requested they be used (and called zippers) on flight suits and money belts - of particular importance because Navy uniforms didn't come with pockets!  

Everything old is new again...ain't it the truth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Why I Can Laugh With Impunity at #Me, Too

From the first Long Beach Grand Prix in April, 1975 to 1995 when I dropped everything to write my first book, "SPONSORS:  How to Get One; How to Keep One," published in 1996, you would have found me - the only female photojournalist there - trackside at any of the following venues:

Grand Prix - Formula 1, Bandol, France
Indy Cars - Ontario Motor Speedway
Off-Road at Riverside International Raceway or Baja, California
Sprint cars - Ascot
Motocross - Coliseum -  and Baja where they went off the line first
Flat track motorcycles
Motorcycle road racing, Laguna

The only exceptions were the infrequent times that Judy Smith, "Dusty Times" was covering a Riverside off-road, but 90 per cent of the time, she was competing and getting a real firsthand look at it all.  We used to wave to each other as she flashed past.

Not a track, but the LA Rams stadium; hired me to shoot their new cheerleader costumes.  I was, again, the only female shooter on the field.  I was a source of great curiosity to the guys covering it.  They stayed clumped together until one bravely approached and asked me how I was doing?  When I replied, "Oh, fine - but I'm still trying to figure out how they get the bowling ball over those funny sticks down at the end there."  He roared, I was accepted and they became friendly.  I decided to stay and shoot the game since I was there and had done my assigned job.  For my pains I was almost put through a wall by about 500 lbs. of player heading for a touchdown.

The shot I took?  The backs of the ladies, lined up for the tunnel formation to the players coming onto the field.  Their little buns winked in the sun, they tossed their hair with abandon, their pompoms glistened - and I laugh every time I see that shot.  

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Business Side of Writing

If you are contemplating publishing a work of great art, limpid prose and side-splittingly funny anecdotes, know the following.

In my case does not publicize your book.  They apparently feel that printing the thing is as far as they care to go.  And for that they take a royalty every time one is ordered.  They use Print on Demand or POD.   They don't stock pile anything but the copy you sent them in a file.  They get an order, punch a couple of buttons on their computer and - viola your book (and all of's, too) is in the mail.

Can you expect to quit your day job and live on royalties.  No.

Here is what I have found.

List on "And the Best Blog Is:  Word of Mouth" $12. takes $8 of that and the humble author (me) gets $4!  For a work of breathtaking wit!

However:  I can buy my book from them for $3.20 per book.  I then hustle it and charge $12 and, deducting the $3.20 per copy make $8.80 per book.

So, I don't travel around with a copy or two in my purse.  Yesterday I sold one "off the back of the truck," so to speak, at the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club and as a club member, generously put the book price at $10.  He needed change for the $20 he was handing me so I gave him the $10 I had.  When he had walked away (eagerly scanning the pages) I waved the $20 in Richie's face, crowing, "Beer money!  Order a pitcher!"  And at that, I made more $$$ than CreateSpace was willing to give me.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Vignettes from Laughlin

While we waited for their flight to come, we followed their orders and got something to eat.  The choices at McCallen Int'l Airport, baggage area were Jack in the Box or Wendys, home of the square hamburgers.  While I sat on the smokers bench, puffing away, surrounded by our luggage - one roll-on (checked) and two carry ons, he went to Wendy's and foraged.  We haven't "had Wendy's" for ages and my first bite was something of a shock.  Pure salt.  However, by the last bite, I was thinking, "You know, Wendy's isn't all bad."  Since we still had an hour and a half wait for their flight, we repaired to a bar on the next flight up.  It was marked by a blue neon sign that read "Smoking" first time we've ever seen that!  And welcome it was, too.  A beer each, an interesting chat with Sean, former bartender heading home from a girls' weekend out.   Airport bars are expensive.  Her normal-sized bloody mary was $17.

Getting anywhere involving a plane is complicated - weather delays (theirs) getting the bus to the centralized rental car place.  Consolidating all of the rental firms in one building means that you stand in line and the line is long out in the shadeless  the sun.  The bus a/c would put paid to that.  With dispatch.

Got the car, piled our stuff in and off we went to Laughlin.  A two hour drive in black darkness down the twisty, turn-y desolate road.  Very few other cars, desert on both sides with no towns, gas stations - totally isolated.  I couldn't help wondering how the rescue helicopter would find us and how long it would take to get there if one of us had a heart attack or similar.  The return to MCarran was bright sunshine and a lot more traffic.   Reassuring.

At the hotel (Golden Nugget) we checked in, agree to cart our luggage up to our rooms and meet again in the lobby.  Red reported that they had two queen beds and not the king I had ordered.  I volunteered to get it changed, but Red said, "Nah, I'll find some nice looking couple in the casino and sell them the empty bed for $50/night."  It was 8 p.m.

Next morning, waiting for Himself to complete his toilette I sat and stared at the river - mesmerizing.

We breakfasted at Claim Jumpers and Barbara won $24 on her first Keno hand.  We agreed this was a good omen and indeed it proved to be - Richie and Red, team betting, won a grand total each of $1,100.

For lunch we walked along the river walkway next door to the Pioneer and their Bumbleberry Flats restaurant American Comfort Food" .  Never having heard of Fried Deviled Eggs, I ordered them.  The egg halves were battered and then fried.  Not a real good idea … Red said his was the best hamburger he'd ever had.

Something else I think they pioneered - four of the booths had beer taps set in the wall and you served yourself from them.  The beers are sold by the ounce.  I remember Budweiser was 28 cents an ounce.

We had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. which is so kitschy it is hard to take it all in.  Each table has a flip sign for service,  Red means "Stop! I want/need" whatever, but the blue side means, "We're fine."  (go away)   Our server was from South Africa and quite the card.  Leaving I asked him if he's considered stand-up comedian and he laughed and said, "By the time I got a career going I'd be in a wheelchair!"

We did the USS Riverside boat cruise up and down the river ($12 each for a 90 minute ride.) another afternoon, toured the Don Laughlin Car Museum ($2)and in addition to various cars, motorcycles and scooters. they have a black/white tow truck (1937) for the exclusive use of the Los Angeles Police Department.   Didja ever?  We have visited a number of car museums and that was definitely a first.

Friday morning we breakfasted again at Claim Jumper and Barbara pointed this out to me:  French Toast Carrot Cake:  Two carrot cake wedges, with mandarin oranges, toffee pecan and cream cheese frosting ($10.99 - you're on your own for the paramedics.

Photos to follow when I download the phone.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hello Laughlin!

We're here.  There was a Texas-sized rain storm with fog so all flights out of DFW were two hours late.  Dinner at 8 and it was in Laughlin not Mon Amie Gaby.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Midweek Long Weekend

Tomorrow we fly to Las Vegas, meet dear friends (and fellow rowdies) Red and Barbara in Baggage Claim - they're coming in from DFW, pick up the rental car and drive over to Paris Casino for lunch out on the patio at Mon Amie Gaby, which is, I think Barbara's favorite restaurant in the world.

Lunch lolled over, back into the rental car and off the 90 miles to Laughlin.  Can't check in to the Golden Nugget (river view rooms $70/night) until 4 p.m. so this should all work out very well.

We all like Laughlin these days because Vegas has gone insane with fees, charges, costs and a great deal more.  Such as no free casino parking anymore???  What's up with that?

Laughlin, with it's pleasant stroll along the Colorado River, admiring the fish which crowd to the bank to get the fish food one buys at little wood vending machines to give them … so densely packed are these carp that I once saw a river rat run across their jammed-together backs to get at the food, too!

You do trade off in some areas - no Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay, and other hot names; instead you get such as the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.   On the other hand, Willie Nelson comes in the day after we leave so it's not all Tribute bands and singers.

There are water taxis to get from Don Laughlin's Riverside to Aquarius at the other end of the modest Strip.  Boat tours up to Hoover Dam and down to the London Bridge.  There's stables for horseback rides, a miniature golf thing for laughs and insults, and of course, accusations of cheating, and more ... all suitable for the 50+ crowd.  And in our case, older.

The weather is projected to be mid-80s, so the outdoor pool will be usable.  The sun isn't strong enough to burn, but sunscreen anyhow.

YAY for midweek long weekends!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Henry David Thoreau

Apropos of not much at all other than a certain seasonal link, here is what the erstwhile poet, philosopher, tax resister, had to say - "I'd rather sit on a pumpkin and have it to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion."  Well, now's your chance Henry David!  Happy Halloween!

He spent two years+ in the woods near "Waldon Pond."  He wanted to live the true life, pumpkin-sitting aside.  Or perhaps the only seating readily available were pumpkins?

He was only 45 when he died.  When he counseled, "It's not what you look at, it's what you see," perhaps he had had a hint of his early demise?

It's worth a Google to pull up The Quotes of Henry David Thoreau.  He clearly had a great deal to say.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pierpont's, Union Station

The Cactus Bud soup - chopped cactus garnish and the bright color is due to the beets and pomegranates from which it is made.  

Dessert! below is Chocolate Mousse with cocoa nibs and coconut crisp cookies 

WW1 War Memorial, Kansas City, Mo

Friday, October 5, 2018

A Different Cuisine To Try ...

The food critic at the Easy Reader, Richard Foss, touted this in yesterday's weekly paper.

Australian cooking of which this area is not rife.  Fork-In-Pie is a mini-chain and "ours" is located at 11918 Aviation, Inglewood.  Web site is which contains a menu as well.

The big thing is apparently meat and vegetable "pies" or:  the goods are encased in pie shell material - like a chicken pot pie.  These "pies" are not Cornish Pasties which originally were pocket warmers for Cornish miners.

The ingredients of some of these pies struck me as somewhat dubious as to taste.  Chicken legs with curry; a vegetarian samosa-type … and this is what they do with barbecued pulled pork - into the shell with a topping of Three Mac and Cheese - bleu, cheddar and Parmesan with a dollop of truffle oil to finish.  They were doing well with me until I saw the bleu cheese.

But quite possibly we can all agree on the efficacy of Lamington Cake which is squares of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and then rolled gently in dried coconut.  The origins of this cake are largely credited to a Lord Lamington who was the governor general of Australia back in the day.  It was actually his chef who did the heavy lifting.  Faced with unexpected guests with nothing much for dessert, he created the above.  Lady Lamington credited her Lord in her biography.  Sympathy for the chef...

Thursday, October 4, 2018


 Peas and Pods 
Thursday, October 4th, 1941
Ann Rice, born in New Orleans and Roy Blount, Jr. born in Indianapolis, IN and then transported to Decatur, GA, where he grew up.
Occupation  of both:  Writers

She - Gothic fiction, erotica and Christian literature.  Go figure
He - Sports Illustrator columnist, reporter, humorist

Dubious moral:  astrological twins, sure; same profession, exactly; differences, 365.

Upside Down French Toast
This comes to us from the "Celebrate Chicago!" cookbook by the Junior League of Chicago.  They bill it as "Healthy Brunch French Toast but I think you'll agree "upside down" works better.  I will include the "healthy ingredients," but I think we all know what can be done with that naïve idea.  French Toast is a breakfast dessert!  So, somewhat defiantly, we present  Upside Down French Toast.  Comments are my own and were not included in the recipe.

1 cup maple syrup
1 loaf French bread cut into 8 slices.  Visualize a 12 in. baguette cut into only 8 slices.  Yes.  "Healthy" indeed.
egg substitute (basically chemicals) equal to three real eggs
1 1/2 cups skim milk - the blue stuff
2 teas. vanilla extract
1/2 teas. cinnamon
3/4 teas. nutmeg

Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (more chemicals)

Pour the maple syrup into the pan and arrange the bread over it.
Mix the other ingredients up and pour the whole mess over the bread.  Add nutmeg to garnish.  A faint mist of smoke may rise from your pan as the chemicals mix.

Chill for 8 to 10 hours and then bake it at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.  Serve with extra maple syrup.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

SURPRISE! Our Godson Fabien!

Tony's on the Pier - Mom Michelle - we fed them; don't worry!
This our godson Fabien.

Yesterday afternoon, someone banged on our security door and Richie went down to see who or what it could be and there was … FABIEN!  He wanted to surprise me and he succeeded!  Fabien is normally at his house in Loctudy, Bretagne, France, which is not exactly around the corner … 

He and best friend Fred, both video artists, were in town - Fred was doing a video and Fabien had some vacation time.  They were in Joshua Tree day before yesterday and today back to Venice Beach - Fabien wanted to surf a little and both wanted to film the denizens of Venice.  The water is too cold so photography only.  

Fabien is holding an album from our visit there in 2016.

On the way to Tony's on the Pier for dinner.    Am trying to pull up a picture of Fred.  Other than his left arm. They look very much alike possibly because being friends from age 8 to 10?  Fred got the front because he is slightly taller than Fabien.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Beating Medical Red Tape and Protocols

My GP refused to renew my prescription for the cough syrup, relaying word that he would have to  see me before allowing it because codeine is a Class 5 opiate.  The first opening was WEDNESDAY! Yesterday was Monday.  Unacceptable.

So I screwed up my brain and did this.  Because a doctor had to see me, I went to Urgent Care, RX in hand, waited my turn - incidentally 3:30/4 p.m. is a good time to show up there - too early for the 5 o'clockers; and kids that were treated when school got out around 2:30 had been treated and were gone.

Dr. Hana Kim saw me, a very congenial lady, wrote the RX, I took it to the in-house pharmacy; got it filled and we went home and I had my first dose.   And spent the rest of the evening blowing my nose which however annoying, is a positive sign as the guana - something -  dissolves mucus  and it had stepped right up to the plate.    Guana-something sounds like guana to me and that is bat shit.  So I refer to it as "the batshit cough medicine."  It could be real bat shit if it worked! Dissolve it in water and belt 'er down!

So, happily, all's well that ends well.  Incidentally a major cough and laryngitis are the symptoms of a virus that it going around now out here.  Wash your hands!  I don't care if you're in Hawaii, reading this and laughing at me.  Germs travel with no regard for destination. (ahem)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Rumors of Murphy Divorce Unfounded

I only slept upstairs in Himself's Recliner last night because I discovered that I cannot sleep in our bed due to coughing and laryngitis pain.  At midnight, I had to remove myself from the marital bed and slip upstairs to get any sleep at all.

Showing an unexpected (by us) interest, both cats wandered by to see if by chance I was resting up to feed them all over again.  Alas.

If I'm not significantly better by 2 p.m., going to pop in on Urgent Care for that great cough syrup made largely out of codeine.  Or was it "cocaine"?  It could be rat poison if it would remove my symptoms.  Come to think of it, rat poison would pretty much take care of this abysmal situation altogether.