Monday, December 31, 2018

Twas the Night Before the New Year

And all through the house, Richie was bidding a 2018 farewell to all.

To the cockatiel "Lady Bird:   This is the last morning I'll uncover you in 2018 …

To Fred the cat:   "This is the last morning I'll let you out on the balcony in 2018 …

To me, the wife:  "Ahhh,  this is the last cup of coffee I'll have in 2018."

And mildly irritated because I know this is just the start of a very long day, I said, "Honest to Gawd Richie, if you stepped on an ant, you'd want to have a funeral for it!"

I left him upstairs and came down to the office, knowing full well that he was looking for an ant to honor.   I doubt if he could find it in his heart to step on it though.  

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Green-ifying Cremation and the Mafia

In yet another thing we can do to (presumably) save the earth is commit to a water cremation while we're still around to do the paperwork.

The Mafia has been doing a sort of unofficial water cremation since the '20s.  It consists of committing the deceased as is to an endless dip in an ocean, river, lake or other suitable body of water. For variety they also practice letting Mother Nature have her way with the deceased in any handy forest or woods.

But the Greenies have refined the process - the deceased is contained in a steel pod with liquids for  alkaline hydrosis which destroys all flesh.   In as little as four hours the body is reduced to nice, clean bones which are then  ground into powder  which is then returned to the relatives.  The substance left is described as looking like ivory-colored powdered sugar.

The Mafia, having few chemists among themselves instead put the body not in a fancy steel pod but in an empty oil barrel or similar and fill up the spaces left with concrete.  Let set and get out the boat

I mention the above because in the news was the fact that outbound California Governor Moonbeam signed AB957 to do it.   Several other states have already okayed it.

Check out the 1973 movie "Soylent Green" if you want a real horror movie.   You may want to invest in a couple of oil barrels...

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Headline: Parachute Fails - Victor Vermillion Survives a 750-Foot Leap

Who is Victor Vermillion and why should you care?  He was my Dad.  My younger sister was going through old papers - a kind of New Year's thing to do - and she came across this news item.  I quote it below in it's entirety.

"Many folks around Yates Center, KS, will remember Victor Vermillion and his 750 ft. leap when his parachute failed to open.  Victor pulled off this thriller at Moline, KS, 14 years ago.   He is now employed at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Corp., Kansas City, and the story leaked out at the plant through a friend.

The Wasp Nest, a magazine published by the Pratt and Whitney Co., published this story concerning Victor. (Ed. note - my Dad was always called Vic or Dick - his sisters used to make him crazy by calling him "Dicky Bird")

"The way Victor Vermillion of our Production Engineering staff looks at life, nothing can happen to him, no matter how painful or joyous, to destroy the inner tranquility of his soul.  This is no passing mood with him, either.  He's felt that way since June 29, 1930.  (So he was 26 and this article was written in 1944.)

A friend of his came around to see us the other day and said Vermillion went his way among his associate operation sheet writers, quiet and composed.  "Why," said the friend, "they didn't have an inkling that here was a man - the first man in history, so records say - who survived a 750 ft. leap when his parachute failed to open."

We looked up Vermillion, and sure enough, he is as placid as a cornfield in July.  He lost all tendency toward excitability, he said, at Moline, KS, 14 years ago when he pinch-jumped for a parachutist who failed to appear in the air circus he was serving as a pilot.  Vermillion began his jump at 1,500 ft. but he couldn't extricate until the 750 ft. mark.  Then his 'chute failed him.  We asked how it felt to fall that far?  "Just like you were falling 750 ft." Vermillion said reasonably.

"Had he hit in a lake or a feather bed?"
"In a cornfield," Vermillion said calmly.
"My God, man," we said, with considerable agitation.  "Weren't you hurt?"
"Broke every bone in my body," he replied thoughtfully. He pondered a minute and went on, "Of course later some bird out in California survived a malfunctioning parachute, too.  He fell into some telephone wires.  I imagine he's like me.  Nothing much exciting can ever happen to him again."  End of article.

Daddy like most males was never loathe to make a story just a leetle bit more interesting by embroidering a few of the details.  Such as:  He didn't break every bone in his body.  He did turn his rt. ankle and heel into "scrambled eggs" and a rt. thigh break in several places.  The doctors wanted to amputate, but I wouldn't let them.  Only my tailor knows that leg is 3/4 in. (me) " "a foot and a half" my sister.

He was in the hospital for a couple of months and "when I got out I weighed 120 lbs.  But I was still 6 ft. 1 in. tall - on the left leg."

"Placid as a cornfield in July"?  Hah!  He had a hair trigger quick temper, and five minutes later he wondered aloud what was wrong with you?  He'd made his complaint (vociferously), everything was clear; let's get on with it.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


Is Vladimar Putin Gay?

I'm beginning to believe he is (and there's  nothing wrong with that.)  In fact, I think an "openly gay" (stupid phrase) President of any country you want to claim would be perfectly fine.

As for my own suspicions ...we rarely get to see him wearing a shirt.  Granted that age 66, he does look to be in shape, Putsie, you might want to look into some quick breast removal surgery.  The arms look fine; cannot report on the state of whether he has legs or not; never seen them

And then today - the issuance of the Vladimir Putin Calendar of 2019!  Surely as happy a day in Russia as the Nouvelle Beaujolais arrival is in France.  O/T I've never understood why - it's a really shitty wine.  Acid, sour … Rise up Pinot Grigio!

Scenes from actual 2019 calendar photos show him: on a dock, gingerly holding up a biggish dead fish, the fish-holding arm holding it shows off his well turned arms.  The expression on his face defines repulsion.

In a swank ornate room, holding up a treat for a blond and white dog that is (on his back legs as tall as Putin.)  He owns three great big dogs.  Apparently the most photogenic got the photo opp.  

His annual private polar bear swim is faithfully documented.   He appears to be standing inside a sort of cattle pen with in the background  a trio of men in floor-length winter coats in case you miss the point  that IT'S COLD! out here!

The most entertaining shot was Putin riding a bear (yes, you read that right) in a forest with another bear in the somewhat distant tree line.  The bear looks comfortable and, of course, Putin is giving his usual stern expression.  As in, "Where I spit, no grass ever grows."

Curious as to what a normal day would be for him, I discovered that he stays up very, very late and doesn't get up until noon when he is served breakfast - varies from porridge or omelet with quail eggs and juice on the side.  His favorite ice cream flavor is pistachio.  Because it's a hard nut to crack just like him?  When he's finished, he has his coffee.

And then he might workout in his private gym (his workout clothing being a plain white t-shirt and a pair of track pants said to have cost $3,200 - clearly Target has not gone to Russia yet ) or swim for two hours (an aide says he gets his best ideas while swimming)  or he might schedule an ice hockey game with his bodyguards.  You think they give him as good as they get?  Not on your tintype.  Beat Putin and spend the rest of your life bragging about it from prison would be my guess.

What made me write this column was a shot of Putin and a younger (probably mid-30s) man toasting each other with raised coffee cups.  The look they're giving each other tells it all or did to me.  But Putin married Ludmilla in 1983 when he was 31 and divorced in 2014.  He has two or three daughters (no one has ever penetrated the steel curtain of privacy that he demands) to find out for sure.  Thus the guy in the photo of the toasting gents is NOT a son of his.     But clearly on very good terms indeed.  Good for Putsie!  Score for the home team!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Post-Christmas Report

In this morning's news:

Woman throws Christmas ham at dinner at home of woman in argument over dinner.

Woman throws Christmas tree at another one during argument Christmas Day dinner.

California marijuana sales five times greater over Christmas holiday say retailers.

It occurred to me that if ever marijuana was "needed" it would be at these two women's houses.  And no doubt other homes on Christmas Day.  Make a note for next year - be prepared!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Today - December 25th!

From a Couple who may
have lived in Southern California a leetle too long … 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A New Discovery

And that would be a Website called   which sells t-shirts with witty sayings.

A sample:

Life is short; smile while you still have teeth.

In my defense, I was left unsupervised.

My billfold is like an onion, open it and I cry.

Three out of two people have trouble with fractions.

I've reached by sleep number - 6 - glasses of wine, that is.   

Saturday, December 22, 2018

"Oh, Er, No Thank You!"

That was me turning down an invitation to join Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and on down to Kate and Williams' sprogs.  Nothing against the pleasure of their company, but, uh, the dinner is, uh, less than appealing.

Post church lunch - starters of a shrimp or lobster salad, followed by roast turkey carved table side - no mention of stuffing or gravy - parsnips, carrots, Brussel sprouts topped off with a Christmas pudding and brandy butter.

With drinks though there is something of interest - Potted Shrimp, said to be a Royal favorite which is quietly amusing because it was Wallis Simpson's favorite cocktail tidbit.  I think we all know what the then royal family though of Wally.  Strumpet being the least of it …

This is her recipe - equal amounts butter and little bay shrimp mashed into a paste with a nutmeg sprinkle over and into the pot.  Chill until ready to be eaten on warm toast points.  In theory this melts the butter in the pot and adds richness to the whole thing.

But I don't fancy having to make an entire meal of an appetizer.  And if upon being welcomed it was noted that you had McDonald breath … heads might roll in this day and age again.  

Friday, December 21, 2018

Ah, the Mandatory Rites of Winter Are Here!

Some things happen every year … you can almost set your watch by them.  In no particular order …

Dire Weather Prognostications - Going to Florida?  There is a hurricane brewing in in Outer Mongolia and it will arrive on Christmas Eve!

Beddy Bys at the Airport of Your Choice!  Don't buy hard shell luggage!  You need a duffle for this.

Traffic Reporters - "We're expecting 17 trillion people, driving to Grandmas and another 32,000 driving from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas - bring plenty of water!  And snacks for the little ones.  Figure at least 10 days to get back across the border into the U.S.

And another old favorite - Henny Penny the sky is falling!  And the government will be shut down!  In 2013 to date has taken $24 billion out of the economy and 0.6 per cent off of the annualized 4th quarter of 2013 GDP growth.  That's not all a shutdown  shuts down.  Bill Clinton and The Intern Event That Will Not Die was one of them.

What I cannot understand is the poor financial planning that causes all of this fanfarod about the budget.  Graphic verbal pictures of starving babies, Santa, sleigh and reindeer sitting mournfully by the side of the road somewhere in Arkansas surrounded by sobbing toy manufacturers ... all because the government is or is going to be shutdown.

If we ran our personal finances in this slipshod manner … we would be in bankruptcy court or debtor's prison.

I vote that we shut down the idiots who keep passing unworkable finances the previous year. Yes, this removal of a counted-upon annual event will cause grief in certain circles, but it's time to do it.  

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Calendars For Dinosauers

In this case, "dinosaurs" are those of us who depend on paper and ink calendars for appointments, events and a list of the new year's upcoming birthdays.  Yes, I am well aware that these listings are easily posted to an app on your phone.  But what if the batteries die?.  Then what?


One of the great seasonal amusements to me is buying the next year's calendar in, say, November, but not touching it until January 1st of the new year.  Then I go through it, marking birthdays, doctor appointments made in the old year for the new year and using a fluorescent pink pen to mark the dates when I have to be somewhere.  At a glance, the pinked items pop out at you.  No excuses, Mabel.

The brick and board bookstores have always had a very good selection of calendar themes - not only dogs, but specific breeds of dogs!  Destinations - Paris, Tokyo - on and on.  You can pass ("waste" some say)  a half an hour poking through the selections on offer.

Some time ago, a movie came out called "Calendar Girls" about a village in England whose gardening club put out a calendar to raise money for medical treatments for a member's husband.  It became a sensation; the movie of the calendar (possible?) spawned  a play.  The ladies raked it in.

Richie who always pays attention when money is involved proposed that the South Bay Writers make a calendar of us!  The writers.  This is not a really good idea due largely to our ages and girth (yes, that was deliberate.)   I said, "Bless your heart" and turned my attention elsewhere.

Today is running Irish Farmer Calendars and they are delightfully whimsical.  This shot stands out in memory - an Irish farmer (their word; not mine) is on one knee in the middle of a rural road, fully clad, (note to the ladies - shirtless is as good as it gets.  Pity, too.  Some of them are quite fit looking.)  wearing a bright yellow-green vest, holding up a sign that reads "Stop" to assist a fat red hen picking it's way delicately across the road.

Proceeds from this 10 year long calendar event go to aid rural farmers.  Useful eye candy.  Rare in this old world.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Hey, Lucille! How Ya Been?

We haven't seen Lucille since somewhere in the '90s.  For one thing she moved farther south on Hawthorne Boulevard and got a face lift.  (She looks very nice with it, too.)

Back then, we'd heard about her and so we made her acquaintance with dinner one evening.  Somebody in her kitchen was not entirely "kosher" and during the night of that tasty dinner, we both displayed the signs of food poisoning. (you don't want to know) and consequently, we haven't seen her since until yesterday (12/18/2018) when we had lunch.

Richie hadn't wanted to do this; he has a long memory when it comes to food turning on him.  I pointed out that since the '90s, they'd probably had quite a few chefs and servers pass through her doors.

We were given a choice open-ended booth and the first thing to happen there was the delivery of a complimentary basket of buttermilk biscuits with a little cup of honey-Dijon mustard butter.   The biscuits were excellent - a hard exterior, covered lightly with sugar.  Honey-mustard butter was a new and very welcome addition.

Lucille's bar was open so I ordered a Bloody Mary and Richie a huge schooner of Lucille's Blond Draft.  $6 and $7.75 respectively.  I ordered a half order ($6.99) of onion straws to go with them which were not only as good as I remembered them, but must have been the harvest from several fields of onions.  In short a huge pile of them.  The three fat bottles of different bbq sauces of Lucille's design made great dipping sauces for them.

Richie ordered the Tri-Tip Plate with barbecue beans as his side ($15.75) and I the pulled pork sandwich on a potato bread bun ($10.99.)  Richie loves barbecue beans so I ordered that as my side to give him as, based on the plates, we would have dinner of the above as well.

His tri-tip was lean and thrifty looking - slices, no bun.  My pulled pork was a huge pile of it topped with her signature cole slaw.  Both of us were too full to do much more than ask for take-home boxes.  The price for all of this largesse?  $47.48.  Lunch for two and dinner for two - $12 per person per meal.

If you'd like to make Lucille's acquaintance, she's at 21540 Hawthorne Boulevard, Torrance  310-370-7427   Google for her extensive menu.  And tell her "Hi" for us.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Best Christmas Present!

This column got Comments!    Wheee!   Sometimes I feel as if I am in a gopher field, shouting down a hole.

Re:  Puns  "The one about puns was spot on!"

Re:  Hammacher Schlemer  "I get the H-S catalog every Christmas season and flip through it in awe at the products and prices.  I ask myself, 'Who buys that stuff?'  But then I realize someone must be buying it because they have been in business since James K. Polk was President."

Re:  Sinatra's Palm Springs Home  "So, why haven't you made an offer on the Sinatra property?  As a joke, my wife and I once made a ridiculous offer on a local mansion (named White Hall) advertised at $3 million and the owner actually countered.  We offered $92,000; the counter was $2.6 million!  We rejected it and had a great laugh. I'm sure the owner did, too."

Thank you, Indiana Doug Vermillion

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Frank Sinatra's Palm Springs House For Sale - Again

I laughed to myself to see that it is now listed for $4.5 million, up from $3.95 million back in 2015.

Back in 2009 it was "only" $2.5 million.  I know this because one of my favorite P.S. treats is grabbing a couple of the real estate magazines that list Properties For Sale to leaf through while waiting for our breakfasts to be brought to the table.

It was very pleasant to sit outside on the enormous patio surrounding the Rock Garden Café, sipping coffee, listening to the gentle hiss of the misters in warmer weather and turn pages and laugh.  There was never an issue that didn't have a home from a dead movie star among the listings.  The cheapest houses were something like $15,000 for a mobile home out in the desert.

When I came across A Genuine Frank Sinatra former home for $2.5 million, I immediately began scheming to at least get up the down payment (to no avail, I must add.)   Richie cocked an eyebrow skeptically at me and turned another page in the Sports section of the Desert Sun.  Breakfast was served.

One of the great attractions to me was the amenities - Parking for 20 or 30 cars, swimming pool (Ava Gardner loved to swim nekkid in it,) , lighted tennis court, and a helipad.  It was his habit to fly into the PS airport on his private jet and then take a waiting chopper up the mountain to his lair.  Five bedrooms and a 1,690 sq.ft. 3-bedroom guest house and a pool house with his'n her saunas.  It was rightfully called "a compound."  

Further, the house itself has all hardwood floors, five local stone fireplaces, with several viewing decks (the "view" being rocks set into dirt reminiscent of a moonscape - and an outdoor dance floor.

Deal killer:  Bright orange tile counters and backsplash.  Orange was said to be his favorite color and used somewhere in all of his houses.  BTW you can rent the Malibu house for $110,000 per month in the summer months.  Just in case you don't want to be tied down by ownership.  The décor which was totally inappropriate to a mountain log cabin style home  was fussy and fancy with candlestick chandeliers and a painting of some religious figure over the living room fireplace.  The late Barbara Sinatra's taste was all in her mouth.

The other real estate deal I missed out on was the offer of a 6-bedroom motel for $200,000 which would have been perfect for family and friends visits.  And everyone in the East Coast would have been on a plane headed for Palm Springs starting in November.

I wasn't meant to live in compounds.   But I will always have the comfort of reading Real Estate For Sale over breakfast there.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Who ARE These People?

Hammacher Schlemmer has been peddling goodies to the rich for 170 years.  Proof,  if any needed, that P.T. Barnum was right.  Or: that a fool and his money are soon parted.    

I clearly made a big mistake when I ordered something recently for Richie for Christmas.  The minute the deal went down, I was (literally) bombarded with online offers to buy OTHER stuff from them.  No kidding.  All through every day since I placed the order, H-S has sent other offers to separate me and any cash I might have.  The following are from the Website, not the catalog that came in the mailbox.  Apparently my credit rating told them that they'd be wasting paper sending it to me.  Perhaps they decide these matters by zip code?  If so, I'd hate to live in Bel Air.  But then those people have servants to deal with unwanted solicitations.  Some of them are armed I've been told.    

On the other hand, you may be the perfect pigeon for such as:

A self-propelled aquanaut suit - $825,000.  

A 7 passenger tricycle - $20,000  Rig it out with a bar, sell tickets to peddle around imbibing and get your money back?  

An authentic New York hot dog cart - $,5,500 - Apparently you provide the dirty water to make it a truly authentic NY hot dog cart.  

A genuine Irish Telefon booth - $6,000.  I did read that the Celtic Tiger was in deep do-do, but if they sell all of the phone booths how's anyone going to find a job?

A dunk tank (liven up that cocktail party!) - $2,800

A hot tub boat - $75,000  It looks like a smallish flat boat that some deranged engineer rigged to carry a spa/jacuzzi, sized for six people.  

A golf cart hover craft - $58,000 - if you can't legitimately beat them, terrorize them by swooping down as they tee off.    

A London Black Cab - $40,000  For use in those countries that drive on the left only.  

A personal submarine that seats 6 (I think) ((too lazy to go look it up)) - $2 million.  

A life-sized Tyrannosaurus - $185,000 For the six year old that still loves dinosaurs.  

A very realistic race car simulator - $185,000  Better in a simulator than on the road … 

I would love to see the H-S customer  list of hot prospects to buy this nonsense among their customers .  I have girlfriends who are still single… 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sharing the Pain - of Puns

I count a number of Punsters (their word, not mine) among my friends and sister.  This morning my younger (and only)  sister submitted the following:

Writers Sunbathing
While Any Tans, George Mackay Browns, Robert Burns.  

Yes.  I feel your pain - I suffered it first and am lonely.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Fooding ...

Library Paste for Dinner - Two Nights in a Row!

 Last Sunday, we attended the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club monthly gala,  We attend every Sunday that we're in town and go out for an early dinner afterward (around 5 p.m.)  Off we went to Charlie's, a NY Joint, on PCH in Redondo.  The new addition to their menu is Shrimp Scampi, six or seven big fat shrimp in the traditional olive oil, crushed garlic, panko crumbs scampi combo.  They are delicious!

I ordered Pasta Alfredo and there I found the above-mentioned library paste.   The cheese sauce was not rich, but gummy.  Any flavor to be found was too elusive TO be found.  I ate a bite or two and asked for it to be boxed.  I will give it a pat of butter, a shot of milk to thin out the paste a bit, add some chopped cooked bacon, a handful of green peas, lashings of Parmesan and a garlic clove or three, minced.  I believe these measures will get it banished from the library.

Last Monday we met with "D" and Mouton for our monthly dinner together.  The venue of choice was Jackson's Food + Wine, 2041 Rosecrans, El Segundo.  When I saw "D" had brought a bottle of champagne, I was appalled - "D" they won't let you do that!" and he smiled evilly and said, "Corkage."

Sure enough, out came flutes and the usual flutter that attends champagne.

I ordered a Caesar salad (well dressed and tossed - every leaf had dressing) to be followed by their macaroni and cheese with bacon and jalapenos and  roasted garlic.  Presented in a wee iron kettle, this dish looked quite appealing with an au gratin crust of bacon, flecks of jalapeño and invisible roasted garlic.  Once under this crust was "normal" macaroni and cheese and both were gooey.  The crust had all of the good stuff.  I asked for it to be boxed after digging around for awhile and last night I slapped some butter in the pan to heat it and dropped a thin slice of Velveeta on top, heated, stirred and finally had "Macaroni and Cheese."

It was quite tasty.  But I don't plan on ordering Alfredo or Mac and Cheese again at either and will be wary of it on other menus, other places.  

Whole Foods 
Just got busted for cancer-linked packaging chemicals.  The items were deli and pastry packaging.  Trader Joe (no deli) had zero!  Yay, TJ!  And a big fat "Ha ha!" to you Whole Foods (Healthy my sweet patootie!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Kwanzaa or Ignorance Showing

Having very little information about this holiday I googled it and discovered that it begins December 26th - the day after Christmas - and not quitting until January 1, 2019, I thought it ight be more timely to write about it then.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Chanukah Today Because of Christmas Post - WW2

Israel was granted statehood in 1948.  That year was well into post-WW2 when the military returned and moved into American suburbs.   There they faced a new upset - most of these little communities were Christian and with post-war jubilation at the return of  available goods including toys, and the fact that they had the money to buy things, they celebrated Santa with gusto - and made fun of the Jews among them who, of course, do not celebrate Christmas.

No parent likes to see their kid humiliated and made fun of so the rabbis and others decided they needed a holiday of their own and it needed to take place around the same time.  Chanukah fit the bill.  It's the story of the Maccabean Revolt, an action against the Jews Greek and Syrian oppressors. Oddly enough Chanukah was never that big a deal in Israel.

For Christmas lights decorating trees and homes, the eight days of the Festival of Light substituted menorahs, the 8-day candle holder, used blue and white decorations, such as outdoor lights which were the colors of the newly-created Israel flag.

The flag colors of blue and white in turn came from the colors of the tallit or prayer shawl which were white with black stripes and a single blue thread which was dyed blue using blue snail dye which was frequently mentioned in the Torah.

And so from a meanspirited bunch of little kids, Chanukah was upgraded and is celebrated with great gusto today.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Why Red and Green for Christmas?

For no good reason yesterday, a tiny (Christmas) light went off in my brain and I asked myself so why red and green?  Whose decision was this?  And, if known who, why?

It wasn't anyone we know.  These colors come to us from the Middle Ages, from the Romans who traded holly branches in January for good luck in the coming year and the Egyptians who did the same.

In the Middle Ages, very few people could read.  Thus the church held a yearly holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ and the learned one would read it to all of the other parishioners.  There were no apples on the trees in Europe in the dead of winter, so a branch of a pine tree with presumably home made "apples" tied to it, doubled as the tree to represent Adam and Eve.  No word as to whether or not a snake was used to give full historical gravity.

They were serious about their religion back in those days - but think of it - few could read - so there was no necessity for printing a lot of books.  There was little entertainment other than the occasional torture and banishment of someone in the village … so going to church was a great chance to see others, gossip, court and in general, get crazy.  Crazy for those days which were as we see quite limited.

The red color of the holly berries was meant to be Jesus blood - their sharp, pointy leaves made up Jesus crown of thorns.  That color - red - was later adopted by the Catholic Bishops' robes.

Green came from the holly, ivy and pine - evergreens.

So, one thought logically leading to another (somewhere, not in this house) why blue and white for Chanukah and red/green/black/yellow for Kwanza?  Tune in tomorrow.  The Google Hound is ON IT.

Friday, December 7, 2018

"Bring It!"

A new cookbook's title - "Bring It! Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining" by Ali Rosen  $25  237 pages

Some of it I would leave at home … flavored popcorns  such as Spicy Smoked Paprika or Orange and Vanilla or Chocolate and finally, Lemon Lime Popcorn - drunk with 7-Up?

Her guacamole - one version - calls for the addition of  "one orange, peeled, seeded and diced" and throw in some chopped mint, too.

"Did nothing appeal to you O picky eater?" anxious readers want to know.  Yes, oddly enough this sounds good -

4 or 5 large ripe plums, diced to make 4 cups +/-
2 large English cucumbers ((I think this means hothouse grown) sliced into 1/4 in. thick disks.
3 T fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 T dried chili flakes.
Combine everything and save cooled until ready to eat it.

This rework of melon and prosciutto with extra virgin olive oil and a few grains of sea salt becomes
4 ripe peaches, halved, pit removed and chopped into 1/2 in. chunks
8 slices good prosciutto (what?  You can buy bad?) cut in small pieces
1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2  T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
Pepper to taste
Toss and serve.

I think we're all smart enough to figure out ways to transport the above - Yo, Tupperware!  Gitcher butt outta the cabinet here.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

O Sister! Update

This morning's paper gave fuller details on Sister Theotine and her partner in crime.  It seems that over a 10 year period, they embezzled some $500,000 (as in half a million) from tuitions, various fees and donations to go traveling and casino gambling.  Civilians, it appears, are not the only ones who cannot resist the siren sound of clanks, whistles, off-key music at the $1 - $5 slots.

Parents of students during this 10 year spree are up in arms, microwaves are full of little sacks of tar and the Dads have gone bird hunting for a ready supply of feathers.  They are particularly riled because these two perpetrators in their in their wimples and gowns are not to do any jail time.  They are so very, very sorry.  Another branch of Catholicism is picking up the tab.    Providing a great lesson to children.  Not.  Which is part of the anger from the parents.  "We raised them right!  And when we send them to school, this is what they learn?" with much (justifiable) gnashing of teeth.  Lawyers in this group are gearing up for lawsuits.  So the parents are temporarily calmed apparently.  But they didn't take the tar out of the microwave .. not just yet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

It Never Rains But What It Pours?

For several days I have been hunting about for something to write about.  Nothing piqued my interest.  In desperation I picked up a new cookbook at the library and leafed desultorily through it.  Eureka!  Some material!  That was day before yesterday.  Then Richie gave me a brief lesson in Economics 101 which made me laugh so much I had to let others in on this real money saver.

And then yesterday's mail brought something so funny that I laughed out loud for an honest five minutes.  I'm grinning as I type this.

Some of you may remember that last summer, in a fit of being kind to the executors of our estate, I ordered and paid for our tombstone.  See below.
I then gave the matter no further interest.  Until … yesterday when the mail woman brought an offer from St. Patrick's Cemetery Office.  It is 4/c shots of various GRAVE BLANKETS and PILLOWS for Christmas!  All are what looks to be fir; all six offerings have Big Bright Red Bows.  Prices range from $29 to $48.  An offer I'm going to refuse inasmuch as we aren't dead yet.   And for future reference, I don't want one when I'm dead either.  Waste of perfectly good money.  Further it's stupid - when did a bunch of fir branches with a big red bow ever keep anyone warm - dead OR alive?                              

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

In Which Richie Offers a Short Course in Economizing

Yesterday in the course of running various errands of no import here, Richie chose to drive up and down Hermosa Avenue, which with Pier Avenue are the main drags in Hermosa Beach.  Hermosa Avenue before Pier Avenue is a lesser point of interest (gyms, clothing boutiques, manicures) but continuing on Hermosa will lead you past various restaurants.

Now that you are geographically located...  He said, "Look and see if the parking meters are covered for the holidays."  I reported back, "They are."  "Good," he replied - let's take a look at the restaurants we've never eaten in and look them up.  Free parking!" with some glee.

Dutifully I pulled out my little tablet and a ballpoint and began writing.  Steak and Whisky...Dia Campo... Chelsea Pub … Standing Room … Chef Melba's which was kind of cheating because we had eaten there with "D" who loves it but I didn't particularly like it.

The results of casual poking around …  I present these (opionated) brief reviews in the event that you, too, want to go spend $75 or $100 for dinner but the parking is free.    And you can gloat and mentally give the universal "Hah!"  gesture to the City of Hermosa Beach.

Dia Campo - a taco $11.  Group seating.   No thanks.

Steak and Whiskey - No menu listed but as the sister to Abigaile and Little Sister, I know it is roaringly expensive.  Abigaile was when we went there for "D"'s birthday.

Chef Melba's - "If you and "D" want to go there and eat lamb, have at it," sez I.

Chelsea Pub and Lounge -  Purports to be an English style bistro.  This appealed (kind of)  Scotch Eggs - a hardboiled egg rolled in pork sausage with sourdough crumbs and deep fried with a curry Hollandaise.  $7.95.

Standing Room - this hits it right out of the ball park - Deviled Eggs with kimchi, scallions and bacon $5.  Of note:  happy hours are Monday, Tuesday 2:30 to 7 p.m.  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 3 to 6 p.m.

Tell'em Richie sent you.

Monday, December 3, 2018

It's In the Air

The Sovereign State of California has long been the butt of jokes from other States.  For some time, it has been fashionable to make cruel slurs and insults as to the residents sanity.  Frankly, it stings.  I may live here but:  I didn't pass the following laws and had they been on the ballot, I would not have voted for them as I believe Common Sense (rumors of his/her/gender neutral demise are false) would take care of the following:

It is no longer legal for prison guards to have sex with the inmates.  A spurned lover could set fire to the whole place which is hardly fair on the non-sexually involved residents.

You cannot throw a Frisbee on any LA County beach without the permission of the Life Guard.  I see a wonderful chance here for said guards to make a little extra over their salary…

Women driving your kids to school, do not wear a housecoat.  It's against the law.  I think this would require information on what constitutes a "housecoat" as they vanished circa 1954.

Animals are not allowed to have sex within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school or place of worship.  I can understand that a school yard tryst between two dogs could raise some awkward questions from children, but taverns?  Is it believed that the sight of animal copulations would make the alcohol-impaired grab the nearest opposite sex (or not, this being California) and have at it?

Speaking of dogs, in San Francisco, all dogs must have their owners on a leash.  Which raised the question from a commentator as to whether the dogs must be required to clean up owner's poop?

Today I heard a possible explanation for all of the above.  It's in the air.  The weatherman advised us this morning that on Wednesday "unstable air"  may cause thunderstorms.  Unstable air … yup.  That explains a lot.  You're welcome.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Thought ...

As we head into the Season of Great Joy and Greed, ponder this:

                     "Comparison is the thief of joy."
                            Theodore Roosevelt.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Good For George Herbert Walker Bush!

He got to go Home and to Barbara, his wife of 73 years.   It's a joyful thing - to be celebrated with cheers and laughter! (And lots and lots of champagne.)   Godspeed, George Herbert Walker Bush!

I always like a happy ending.

Especially when it requires champagne.