Sunday, June 30, 2019

They Came Out In Droves!

It was a fond farewell and the attendees no doubt closed the place at 2 a.m.  We weren't among them.

Suzy's Bar and Grill is our local pub and we have faithfully popped in to re-hydrate over the years and numerous changes of personnel.  I remember the real Suzy's, followed by a father from New Jersey who bought it for his daughters to run (and you thought a car for high school graduation was excessive) and then Sal Longo who fought unsuccessfully with the City of Hermosa Beach to a have a full liquor license back in 2016.

Suzy's gave up the battle and that's when Sal decided to sell.  The new owners are Adnen and Lenore Marouani who also own Barsha Wines and Spirits.  They said they want to fluff the place up a little, change the bar menu to reflect a "Mediterranean  diet" which only means one thing to me:  little bowls of hummus with pita chips on every table - a twist on chips and salsa.  I'm against!  Even after I checked to see exactly of what it consists.  Foods from Greece, Italy and Spain with lashings of olive oil.

The feature that kept Suzy's going for a long time is live music every night which has given tremendous breaks to aspiring local musicians.  The new owners have stated publicly and often that the music stays.

We wanted to pay our respects and we arrived at 5:30 p.m. to a packed house.  Every possible seat inside had a butt on it.  The crowd surged out onto the patio.  Our friend "D" found us at the patio doorway and the three of us huddled half in and half out of the door.  Richie and "D" were deep in Dodgerville and paid no attention to me.

One of the guys on the patio had secured a table and two chairs, one occupied by a friendly lady and he asked me if I'd like to sit down?  I was grateful and did.  "Amy" engaged me in conversation about her ancestral tree.  She was part Finnish, Danish and I think I heard "a dash of French."  The noise was continuous and L O U D.

The gent who gave up his seat was hailed by a tall, tanned, blue-eyed man, and they fell into conversation.  During their chat they turned to the ladies (me and Amy) and the newcomer remarked that back in the day, he dated a 16 year old and he was 22!  Interested, I asked, "So how long were you in prison?" and two the  guys erupted into truly great roars of laughter.  You could easily hear them over the crowd.  

Blue eyes was so delighted that he began praising my beauty (non-existent) and indicated he wanted to run away with me as I was a rare specimen of beauty and brains.  He was lit up like the Christmas display at Rockefeller Center, of course.  But affable.

Always leave''em laughing so  I made my adieus and escaped to the car.  Richie and "D" promised to just "finish our drinks."  We went home; "D" had spotted three of his friends and was happily engaged with them.  God knows what time they did leave.

Suzy's is to re-open at the end of August.  I think we'll trundle past three days after it does, based on the farewell.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Breakfasts of Champions? You Be the Judge

I don't know where I was in cyberspace (a not infrequent situation) when I ran across an article about what Melania Trump eats for breakfast.  Got a pencil?  A "Green Smoothie" consists of:
Olive oil
Flax seeds
Omega 3
Vitamin D

I'd think it would take most of the morning to compose this (I can't call it a dish.)  Vegetable prep would be extensive unless you kept bags of the various ingredients in the refrigerator ready to whip the hell out of them.   I believe the White House provides the help to do it.

So then I got to wondering about the other First Wives and set off exploring.

Hillary Clinton - scrambled eggs.  The version pictured looked like they'd been scrambled in pure butter and quite a bit of it to see them.

Michelle Obama - scrambled egg, turkey sausage and fresh grapefruit; it wasn't said whether it was whole pieces or juice.

Laura Bush's famous love of privacy extended to what the hell she might eat for her breakfasts in or out of the WH. Even with extensive Googling nothing came up.

You can also find President's breakfasts; more First Ladies, the menus for State dinners at the White House and who was being honored and a great deal more regarding food - recipes such as George Washington's Corn Pancakes, so-and-so's muffins and on and on.  Will close now as getting hungry and a nice pair of scrambled eggs cooked in butter sounds appealing.  Butter being one of my favorites.  Another dish for winter system starters … scrambled eggs with creamed chipped beef poured lavishly over it .. beats the shit out of oatmeal.   I recommend it.

But as for what Laura Bush ate for breakfast or not, you're on your own.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The 2,000 Year Old Man Isn't a Newborn AnyMore

Mel Brooks, writer, producer is 93 years old today.

 He seems to be in fine fettle despite having been a widower since 2005.  He and Anne Bancroft were married in 1964 when she was 33.  She died age 73 of uterine cancer which she kept a secret until the obituary notices.  She was said to be intensely private and, indeed, who would want to upstage Mel Brooks!?

Especially since his brilliant career began when he was 9 years old!  His uncle, a cab driver, traded some free rides in return to a popular at the time production at a Broadway theatre.  Apparently or possibly at his bar mitzvah, he told his parents he was going into show business and promptly got a summer job at a Jewish resort in the Catskills as a "tummler" a comedian who specializes in bizarre actions to amuse a largely Jewish audience.

He worked the swimming pool and one of the examples of crazy humor was:  he would put a big, oversized overcoat on over his swim suit, pick up a pair of pails filled with rocks and stroll out to the end of the diving board.  There, he would declaim "Business is  terrible - I can't go on!" and jump.

2,000 Year Old Man should be good for amusing us for years to come - at 93, he's just about to learn to walk.  Jumping into pools will have to wait a while.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

And The Crowd Disperses

My sister and bro-in-law flew back to the North of Chicago home last Monday;  Richie's brother and my sister-in-law fly back to Long Island this Saturday.

Here's why I need to look into a short diet.  Meals taken out …

With my sister and bro-in-law:

Wednesday - drinks at the Crow's Nest, atop Old Tony's RB Pier
followed by dinner at Kincaid's, RB Pier

Thurs. - lunch at the Cheesecake Factory for the South Bay Writers annual Summer Solstice celebration.  After that we took them over to our local pub (Suzy's on Aviation and Prospect)  for a gentle libation
Then dinner at Bluewater Grill and we all had lobster bisque (best in the South Bay) before wearily waddling back to the car and hotel and home.

.Richie's brother and sister-in-law had flown in the previous Saturday and, following a well-established family tradition, their daughter picked them up at LAX and met us at Tin Roof Bistro, long a favorite.

Friday we went to them out in Studio City for dinner at another favorite - Maria's Italian Kitchen.
We were eight at table as the sons joined us.  Maria's has the best Spaghetti Carbonara this writer has encountered.

The Family (Both) Dinner
All of the above met for dinner at Las Brisas, 1969 Artesia RB which was a great success.  My side had only met the Other Side once and that was at our wedding 36 years ago on 7/2/2019.

Yesterday we took them (Richie's brother and sis-in-law) to Kincaid's for lunch.  I was delighted to see that bacon-wrapped prawns are on the lunch menu, too, and practically yelled out my order them as the waiter approached the table.

See what I mean about a small diet?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Of Anorexia and And The South Bay Salad Dressing

I ran across a novel way of addressing the genre "Four girls meet in college/girls' school"...chick lit.

Put your heroines in an anorexia treatment live-in rehab facility.  Just as if they were all various drug addicts.  And continue with Life in Rehab (and, in this case, a lot more about anorexia, bulimia, side bar for cutting and similar than I ever wanted to learn) and carry on.

Of note, chefs hate vegetarians or vegans.  They're a real pain inna ass with "No eggs, cheese, dairy, butter" and more.  More, much more. Thank you Anthony Bourdin.

"The Girls at 17 Swann Street" by Yara Zgheib   370 pages   $27.99

If you are contemplating adopting anorexia, here are some of the side effects that ought to shut down that little whim quite quickly.  Because of the loss of any meaningful nutrients, the body's chemistry is thrown off, leaving you wide open to a failing heart, constantly being cold and wearing an overcoat to the beach, your entire body will sprout very fine hair in an effort to retains some heat; your skin breaks down behind being so dry that a dirty look can make a bruise … Read the book by all means - a loved one may someday have this problem which is a listed psychiatric disease.  Just read, don't do.

I Thought So!

Pier Salad Dressing is not called that but is served at Old Tony's and Kincaids as the house dressing, only the other items in the salads differ.

Basic dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
Lashings of white pepper

Old Tony's -  iceberg lettuce, tossed with grated, hard-boiled egg, little baby shrimp   I loved that salad!  When Tony's Fish Market sold to another, my biggest fear was that sister restaurant Old Tony's would abandon it.  Happily not.

Kincaid's Broadway Pea Salad - butter lettuce used as cups for:

 a bag of frozen baby peas - defrosted and dried.  Add sliced water chestnuts,  bacon crumblets and toss.

Interestingly enough, frozen baby peas are actually good as somehow they retain a spring-like freshness.

Bon appetite!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

At A Loss For Words

Hard to believe by anyone who knows me, but I am.  I go back and forth in my mind about this book's context, meaning out in the greater world highlighted by "Th brutality!  The ignorance!  The peasants!"

A friend extolled it to me, saying that it was the best book he'd ever read.

In it's time (1965) it was praised and/or attacked nearly evenly.  The writer was similarly praised and attacked.

"The Painted Bird," by Jerzy Kosinski  234 pages   $7.05 (!)

The incidents in this volume sounded positively medieval.  The peasants (apparently the rich, educated had other things to do)  in their superstitions, fables and morals.  As brutal as animals during their respective mating seasons.

The narrator is a 6 year old boy whose parents sent him to strangers in a small Slav village, to avoid the gathering drum sounds of WW2 in 1939.  Misadventures propel him forward from one to another.

Over and over, as I made it to page 110, I marveled at the brutality of their lives - horse and cart - carrying around a tin container of moss and a banked fire to use as a weapon and as a necessary item of survival, ready to be used as a portable oven/stove.  Woe betide the person who let his die.  

The writing is matter-of-fact; such as:  descriptions of eyes rolling on the dirt floor after being forcefully enucleated from the owner who was ogling the peasant's wife.  The boy speculates on their future possible uses - supplement his own eyes by putting them (somehow) on the back of his head.  Such is Kosinski's  realistic portrait of a boy that age.

And what appalled me after nearly every page was the thought, "OMG this actually happened!  No one could make these up."

 I wanted to see the boy in adulthood, living happily in America but from a quick cheat at a page at The End, I know this isn't going to happen.    Back to the library with my best wishes for a less horrifying experience for another.

Monday, June 24, 2019

"Riddle Me, Riddle Me, Ree"

Heads up, fellow writers!

Who is the author that didn't venture into writing fiction until she was 50 years old?
She described herself in the Wellesley graduating class of 19 umpty-ump, as the "Youngest, Smartest and Shortest" in the class.

Her English professor liked her work, but she couldn't spell (! - pretty much a requisite in this field) so she gave Krantz a B telling her, "I hope this makes you think about your writing!"  She said in a later interview, "It did alright - I didn't write again for 31 years!"

Determined to show her husband, a film and TV producer who insisted that she was "a natural-born storyteller"- that she couldn't write fiction, dammit, she wrote her first book "Scruples" which became a best seller.  Today she's sold 80 million copies of her books in 50 languages.    

She was besties with a great number of famous people in show biz.  In fact Barbara Walters, a fellow high school friend introduced her to her future husband at a 4th of July barbecue.  A year later, they married (1954) and by all accounts were insanely in love for 43 years, prior to his death from pneumonia, age 83.  She was then a widow for next 12 years, prior to her own demise at her Bel Air, CA, home age 91, on Sunday, June 23, 2019

Wish Godspeed to Judith Krantz

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Stolen Goods

Sheila and I have been friends since 1964, ever since we lived in the same apartment building.  She met, married an Israeli who whisked her off to live in a suburb of Tel Aviv where they have resided ever since.  Their three kids are now adults.

One thing that has kept us close for 55 years is her wonderful sense of humor.  Richie is semi-famous for his ability to sniff out a dive bar or Hells Angels lounge at the city limits of any town we've ever been in.  Sheila has a great fan following here in North America because she always gets the very best jokes.

To give an example - here are some beauties that arrived today.

Sometimes I'm surprised at my own brilliance.  Other times I try to get out of the car with my seatbelt still on.

Sometimes someone unexpected comes into your life out of nowhere that makes your heart race and changes you forever.  We call these people "the police"

If you'll be my friend, you can be "the normal one."  Rah ha ha!

Friday, June 21, 2019

"Oh, This? Got It At Amazon".

According to this person is referring to a mail-order house ordered from Amazon.

Plans, wood (but usually not concrete, stone, bricks) for an extremely low-priced domicile.   I seem to remember the most expensive was $149,000 and the cheapest, $11,000.

My first thought was,, "What is this world coming to?!"  my second is an empty farmer's field would make an excellent site for a whole village of these places designated for the homeless.  In fact, I don't doubt that Amazon could afford to donate a dozen or so of these places.

On the other hand, if you are a very small adult, check out's selection of  kids' playhouses.  The most expensive I saw there was $409, all cedar, ready to assemble.

I'm sure that the ACLU would object with great fanfare to any attempt to put up little signs in the yard that read:  You Must Be 3 ft. 6 in. Tall to Live Here.

In today's PC World you don't know what's what anyhow.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Move Over, Kid - They Make Them for Adults Now

Ever since I first saw a little kid wearing light-up shoes, I have gazed enviously at their darling little feet watching  their every move as they run from Mommy  with a handful of candy or danced with Daddy and just in general, had a hella good time.  How much of this bliss can be attributed to light-up shoes and how much to the natural enjoyment of life by a kid?  Your guess is as good as mine.

But, every time I saw a pair, I wanted me some!  Little kids get spoiled on a daily basis by doting family.  My motive is not that selfish (or warranted) I just wanted to see what they looked like on my feet.   I would finally have something of interest on a casual basis.

Comes now the LA Times Sunday Travel Section.  On the back page they often run three or four "aids for travelers" compromising mostly various types of luggage, neck pillows, etc.

That day it was Power Spurz which are horseshoe-shaped glow-in-the-dark neon-looking lights which clip around the heels of your running/training shoes.  The ankles - where they clip on - are thoughtfully padded.

My has arrived!  Admittedly, sort of.  The Power Spurz emit a steady beam; they didn't appear to flash.  I'm easy to please; fine with me.  They're close enough for hand grenades and horseshoes (which they closely resemble.)

They come in orange, green, blue, and maroon-ish.  Prices range from $8 to $17 and they all look identical as to shape, manner of fastening, etc.  The manufacturers have thoughtfully included extras - a dog leash, arm band … you could get all lit up like Santa at Christmas in his favorite stop-hydration station.  ("Bar" to us.)

Also useful - I saw a female bicyclist on a dark street wearing a double row of those little Christmas light necklaces that you can set to flash or not.  Make a note for December - or probably Halloween when Christmas goods begin their annual surge for sales.

But for the moment, hie yourself to  It also occurs that a party store might have Glo-Sticks which could be wrapped around your wrists or ankles.  Why didn't I think of that much, much sooner.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Various ...

Insulted by a librarian
Richie and I were checking out books and movies and our clerk looked us both over and said, "Did you know we're doing a new program? (without waiting for an answer from either of us,) she went on, "It's for proficiency in English for adults!"

I must have stepped back a pace as I feverishly tried to think how to respond to this.  Hercule Poirot's little gray cells were whirling in the empty space between my ears. I didn't want to offend her, but on the other hand, I am a professional writer!  (Meaning I get paid for writing!) ((sometimes)).

So I smiled (non-lethally) and murmured, "I'm not sure I need it - I'm working on my fourth book right now.  I'm a writer."

Undaunted, unashamed and with what I consider to be brazen nerve, she said, "Well, it's a very interesting program, as she continued checking our choices out.  Safely outside of her hearing, I expressed my indignation to Richie as we headed for the parking lot.  And his reaction?  He laughed.

Mistaken identity and then some
A man wrote the following exchange to the Reader's Digest.  He and his wife stopped in to a restaurant for lunch after working at their flea market booth.  He said that he and his wife have to have a lot of dollar bills in their business, so when the check came, they paid it in dollar bills.

Their waitress looked at the tab, looked at all of the bills and said to his 70 year old wife, "You had a good night dancing last night, huh?"

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Gathering of the Clan

Richie's brother and wife fly out from Long Island every June to celebrate:
Richie's birthday, Father's Day, and their two grandsons' birthdays respectively on June 18 and 28th and their umpty-ump anniversary.

Meanwhile, on my side, my younger sister has traditionally served my bro-in-law a steak dinner with all of the trimmings.  (She's an awesome cook) and this year it was their sons' first Father's Day after the birth of his and his bride's baby girl's arrival.  She was born April 26, 2019, and is the first grandchild. 

"Avril" is French for April so she picked out a bottle of Domaine Juliette AVRIL  chateauneuf-du-pape.  How clever is that?  

And they all (except the baby) had steak for dinner.  

Meanwhile out here, there were eight of us around a long table (it had to be) at Maria's Italian Kitchen, 13353 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks.   

I can honestly say that they serve the best Spaghetti Carbonara I've ever eaten.   Exactly creamy enough, but not thick and cloying.  Perfect balance between ingredients and seasoning.  Smoked bacon, egg yolk, cream garlic sauce, peas, Parmesan cheese on linguini.  Delicious!

When we all go back there - and we will; it's their favorite restaurant - I am going to order a Muffaletta, famous throughout New Orleans (recommend the ones at Central Market)  It could be labeled deli meats of Italy as it contains salami, pepperoni, mortadella, capicola, provolone, olive an Giardini relish on toasted focaccia bread. 

Meanwhile I can hardly wait for dinner and leftover Spaghetti Carbonara.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Father's Day!

Hope you are having a lovely time and that you can look around a room filled with off-spring, their spouses and children and nod appreciatively at your wife(ves) for the way the kids turned out.

May they never disappoint you and may they know the bliss you have had as their father(s) when they have kids.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Now This Is A Real Senior Prom!

"How so?" you ask with a quizzical facial expression.

These are "senior proms" with a formal dinner, dancing, live music (somebody's cousin's band who is just starting out) and King and Queen of the Senior Prom - and all of it is just for senior citizens.

The difference between high school seniors and an adult (very adult) senior prom is that you can have a cocktail before dinner.  Having a shot before dinner, someone remarked, really gets our guests out on the floor - even if wheelchair confined!  Rubber positively squeaks during their elaborate turns on the dance floor.

Very often volunteers - from the immediate neighborhood or high school seniors - help by serving food or partnering a senior on the floor or simply sit in the "wallflower corner" and chat with those that prefer not to hit the floor (literally in some cases.)  

I think it sounds like a dynamite entertainment for those who didn't live where it was a custom, or a war separated them from participating  and have consequently never been to one.

No dress, ladies of Staten Island?  Visit which offers more than 350 formal outfits, free of charge.   You can make a sartorial donation at any of the four Applebee's bar and restaurants there.  Interestingly enough Applebee's caters these events.

I like the mixing of teens and nots.  Both have much to learn from one another.  And that's always a good thing.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Of Thomas Jefferson and Ice Cream; Puns and Groans

The July issue of A Taste of Home contains a recipe for what is purportedly (by them) to be Jefferson's own for Vanilla Ice Cream.

The 4th of July is striding into view and a truly American dessert to celebrate our history might include it.

2 quarts heavy whipping cream (invite your cardiologist to your party)
1 cup sugar (ditto dentist)
1 vanilla bean (banker for a loan)  or 1 Tbsp. of extract.
6 large egg yolks

Combine the cream and sugar and add a split vanilla bean to that.  Heat until bubbles form around the pan sides.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Put the 6 egg yoks in a separate pan and gradually beat the hot mixture into them.  Then when all is blended mix together with remaining hot cream and sugar.  Cook over low heat until it's thick enough to coat your spoon.   Pour whole thing into a bowl and set it on a larger container full of ice.  Cover this dish and put in the freezer overnight.

Next morning, put it into an ice cream maker and whir away.   Serve with pride and a tip of your baseball hat to Thomas Jefferson!

Puns and Groans

Will glass coffins be a success?  Remains to be seen.

I have renamed my iPod  The Titanic so that when I plug it in, it says The Titanic Is Syncing

I was wondering why the ball kept getting bigger when it hit me in the face

"I have a split personality," said Tom; "I'm being frank."

Kleptomaniacs take everything literally.

I have a few jokes about unemployment, but none of them work …

I lost my job at the bank on my first day.  A woman asked about her balance, so I pushed her over.

Note to readers: please don't hate me because I did the above. did 100 of them!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Song of the Nail Gun

Is not a pretty melody.  We know.  The hard way.  I include Fred the cat in the audience … he heard the rattle of a tool box on the way up the walkway  to the front door and faster than the eye can move, he was under the stair well in his Clubhouse, a nest of paper packages of paper towels and toilet paper.   And he stayed there for an hour after they left.  It has one of those bump it doors so in his mad flight from DANGER he just bangs a paw on it, the door swings open and in he goes.  It closes by itself, but a bump from inside and it opens up to freedom.

I was kidding one of them and said, "So - do you have Saturday night nail gun fights?" and he looked horrified and then … a certain flicker of something glittered for an instant in his eyes.  His name is Matt and if he invites you out for a beer on a Saturday night; don't go.

Just a thought …

The job is very nearly done - when the next box of flooring comes in (special order) it will go down, the white painted baseboards will be installed, they will pull up the paper protecting the regular floors and we will all say, "Bye - thank you!"

And I will purr in delight at my new upstairs bathroom and crack a beer.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

More Floor

A helpful hint for those contemplating a bathroom re-do.  Never drink beer upstairs in the living room, when the only functioning toilet is downstairs.  Just sayin' ...

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Home Construction

The upstairs bathroom floor began peeling off of the floor.  The laminate gave up the ghost.

So one thing led to another and I have changed the whole "look" there.   New vanity, mirror, vanity wall re-painted, and more.  Today the guy that does demo (demolition) is coming at 8:30 a.m. and Fred the cat who will help by secreting himself in the storage under the stairs and not come out until an hour or more after the guys are gone.  Streaky the cat will only nap on her chair cozily ensconced in her special cushion.  She's 17 and doesn't freak out in construction.

To remove a floor, it has to be absolutely bare naked.  Our upstairs is now tore up from the floor up literally.  The streamlined scales (for weighing the cats - we have one that needs to gain weight and the other to lose a pound or so) is resting against the living room divan to give but one example.  The vacuum cleaner is now on the balcony.

It is said to be a two day job and then we get the joy of discarding that which is useless and then filling up the new vanity.

You've been there and quite possibly with worse horror stories than one small upstairs half-bath.  The saying of which just jinxed the whole damned project.

Onward, anyhow.  It will be a stunner - soft grey and white like a Cape Cod beach cottage.

If I'm right.

Monday, June 10, 2019

If Catios, Why Not Doggios?

There is so often something new … today springs the "catio" on us.  This is, essentially, a Florida Room or large screened-in outdoor room.  The purpose of it is to keep your cats (notoriously curious about the world around them) in a safe environment.  Walled-off from predators (So. Calif. coyotes, for example), poisons set out for pest riddance...a good idea and timely, too.

If you don't have unlimited sums of money to make it big enough for you and your cats, just create an interesting space for the cat(s).    They are useful for keeping your neighbors calm - you know, the ones who rant and rave, "Your cat is destroying my yard!"  It should also be a form of natural population control.  If you put enough "stuff" in this addition, the cat(s) should be amused and getting in a cat's amount of needed exercise.  Kittens bounce around; a 17 year old cat does not.

Okay, all good things for all concerned.  Why can't this be done for the so-easily-preyed upon small dogs?  Their yapping isn't really a good defense system.  Coyotes are truly a major threat to them.

And you could go nuts on Dog Décor - strings of lights shaped like dog bones... space for a fake fireplug … it seems only fair to protect them, too.

Fair play for our animals!  Visit Lowe's or Home Depot today!


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Semi-Surly Vacationers Get Home; Complain

A Brit complains:  It took nine hours for us to fly home from Jamaica; for Americans only three - This seemed unfair.

At a Game Lodge I saw a visibly aroused elephant - this sight ruined my honeymoon!  It made me feel inadequate!

A side bar - his wife saw it, too, and left him for the elephant.

The beach was too sandy!  When we returned to the room, we had to clean everything.

They went to Goa and complained thusly:  there was curry in every restaurant and I hate spicy foods!

I wanted twin beds, but they gave us a king instead.  I got pregnant which would not have happened if I'd gotten the room I wanted.

The brochure for the BNB said everything provided, but there was no egg slicer in the utensils drawer.

The pictures in the brochure showed white sand but it was really yellowish.

The convenience store next door did have proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.

And the best - a sign on a beach in Bali:
We don't have wi-fi.
Talk to each other
Pretend it's 1995

Friday, June 7, 2019

When Posh Goes Semi-Plebian ...

That's the time to look alert.  In this case I'm referring to a veddy fancy and normally expensive restaurant.  Add in a wonderful ocean, and Redondo Beach Pier view for even more value for the money.  Such is Kincaid's, situated at 500 Fisherman's Wharf.    It's a big restaurant with a summertime outdoor patio.

And very expensive.  Last night was our third visit (and they didn't know it, but their third shot at keeping us as customers.)  What was wrong? you ask?  Outrageous prices and snotty servers.  In fairness, we knew it was pricy before we ever walked in the door.  But Waiters With Attitude was not on the menu I looked up online.   Being snubbed by the help was a new experience and certainly not what I did during my brief foray as a waitress at The Mermaid, Hermosa Beach (six weeks.)

But for the opportunity to eat a three-course Kincaid's Dinner for $29, it was very worthy of a look-see.  So Jay and Barbra and we met up there.  No waiting, right to a comfortable window booth with a friendly waiter (!)  A promising start which continued.  Look for the Early Dining Menu which is 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Pull up a chair and see what appeals to you - Appetizers
Clam Chowder

Broadway Pea Salad composed of peas, water chestnut slivers, crumbled bacon in a creamy pepper dressing served on a couple of leaves of butter lettuce that had they been any fresher, I would have had to slap them.

Iceberg lettuce wedge; choice of dressings

Wagyu Meat Loaf with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes* roasted rainbow carrots, smoked mushroom and a cabernet demi-glace.

Aged 40 days Wagyu Sirloin with crispy Green onion potato cakes*  Roasted green and  cannelli beans with slivered almonds and a mustard aioli. and  $3 extra for Wagyu

Beer Battered Cod with Chips, house artichoke caper tartar sauce.

Key Lime pie or Burned Cream fresh fruit.  The French major here asked what "burned cream" might be and was told by our still-friendly server, "Crème Brulee."  Yeah.

All four of us asked what "Wagyu" was?  Meant? and were told it's the same meat as Kobe, but bred and raised here; Kobe comes from Japan.  The cattle there are pampered beyond belief - offered beer to drink and cow masseuses.  Wagyu is just raised like .. well, a cow.  Both are believed to be extra flavorful as they are well-marbled.  I remarked to no one in particular that I didn't think I'd want to eat cow that had been messed with (massage parlors are unappealing somehow.)    My meat loaf was juicy, much more so than a non-Wagyu slice - this was a square portion as if it had been made in a very large, very deep sheet cake pan and then cut into squares, sauced and served.  Richie said his steak didn't live up to the tenderness touted by the waiter who implied it could be cut with a butter knife.

* I asked if I could trade Yukon for green onion crispy cakes?  "No problem!  Of course!"  I think that management has somehow bred (or beat) the snottiness out of the servers.

Our tab:  Bombay Sapphire dirty gin martini, up. $13
Beefeater Gin and Tonic $10
Cabernet  $12
Valdo Sparkling Prosecco  $11
Sirloin $32
Meatloaf $29
$107 before tax, $120 after.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

A Weakness for French Lunches

And - bonus points:
  Classique with Ham and Swiss Cheese
   Nordique with salmon, cream cheese, capers, onion and dill

Savory Specialties
   French Onion Soup
   Croque Madame composed of ham, bechemal sauce (cream gravy essentially) Swiss chese and a sunny-side up egg.  Richie had this with a starter of vegetable soup.

The lunch special was Quiche Lorraine ($9) which pleased me as it is an old favorite.  The side orders include mixed greens, fruits and "potato waffles" which I seized upon never having heard of such a thing.  I had visions of hash browns only to be presented with a waffle made out of - Mashed potatoes.  Now if had come with a little pitcher of brown gravy … but it didn't.  I tried filling the pockets with some of Richie's soup, but no improvement whatsoever - for both.

The menu ranges on through a French ham sandwich ( baguette, butter and piles of ham.)  paninis, croissants

But the first thing that caught my eye were baskets of vertical baguettes (normal) and ficelles which are best-described as a baguette after a diet - ficelle means "string" in French.  GRAB!  Here in the South Bay it's rare enough to find a "real" baguette never mind a ficelle.

Pinwheel French Café and Bakery
2553 PCH, Torrance 90505

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Yesterday and Today - Trivia, More or Less

Five students and our professor of French Conversation went on an excursion to the Getty Museum ( to tour and lunch.

To get there, Caroline, Notre Professeur, booked an Uber SUV/Mini van and we met it in the parking lot of the classroom (Hermosa Beach Community Center.)  We were milling about minimally when a large black SUV came rolling up.  "My God!" I said to another passenger, "People will think we're the Russian Mafia!"

When Richie and I were apprised that it would be a Uber set of wheels, I was somewhat dismayed.  I remembered (vaguely) horrible stories of sexual assault by drives on comely (or perhaps not so) female pax, the odd robbery and so forth.  And to be fair, drivers killed while working.  Still and all, our party was composed of three men (could defend if necessary) and three women, one of whom was wearing heavy-heeled boots quite adequate for head bonking.  Most of all though the reassuring factor was the driver himself.  Middle aged, no visible tattoos or facial jewelry and a professional mien.

We enjoyed our ride; me especially because the seating was:  Male at shotgun, male behind driver (could garotte with one of the lady's scarves) and me.  The three other women filled the very last row and twittered and peeped accordingly.  I was in the second row with the guys which I liked.  I much prefer the company of men.  Ladies make me nervous.  The driver and shotgun discovered commonalities - both very familiar with Rhode Island and my contribution was "Did you know that Rhode Island has more professional hitmen than any other?" and that launched them into a discussion that was highly-entertaining to me.

The Getty Museum does not charge admission to the facility, but when you park your car - $20, please!  With a ride share deal, they just roll up to a designated space, the Uber/Flyt /pax crawl out and proceed on to the museum proper.   And the ride goes wherever.   When it was first opened, one had to make a reservation, just to get in.  "I'm sorry, we're completely booked until (six months later.)

The headphones with explanations of what you are seeing are free - but you have to leave your Driver's License or other form of ID to use them.

When we began to feel a little peckish - it was lunch time - we ankled over to the formal dining room - white tablecloths which serves fancy lunch and then later fancy dinner.  A couple of us read the menu, looked at each other and promptly left to apprehend the others, now walking toward us and report.  I remember Octopus something with a shudder of horror.

We immediately traveled further to the much more informal grab and go café and bought what each taste dictated.  We sat out on the vast patio on French parc chairs and ate and chatted.  It wasn't until later, when I asked R to see the check that I was shocked to read:  1 small bag of Doritos $2.50, 1 small bag Lay's potato chips $2.50   1 white chocolate chip and cranberry cookie $3.25.  Worse than trying to buy something to nibble at an airport!  We did each get an Italian Deli sub half and the whole one was $13, so that was reasonable.  

We all enjoyed the visiting over lunch and I for one could have spent the afternoon right there, under a shade tree, admiring the park-like views.

Our Uber driver back to our cars was thoroughly professional, the 405 was heavily trafficked and he paid attention to that and not us which was fine. Uber Sidebar  Don't stand on the street waiting for your ride; stay inside and then when a car stops, approach and ask who he is waiting for? - Always made them say your name.  You will have told someone where you are going, color of the car (women are usually no good at describing vehicles) and driver's name. Sit in the back - see garotting above.

All in all an enjoyable day but if I ever have occasion to go back (doubtful - the Getty is large spaces, beautiful building design, dynamite views and very little art.) I'm carrying a large purse with lunch inside it.

The morning radio news had a line that instantly made me sad.  It was that 9,388 American military were buried there - all facing home - the United States."  

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Why Birthdays Are Happy

Dr. Ruth (Westheimer) the self-proclaiming sex expert is 91 today.  Wonder if she's still gittin' any (elbow jab) heh heh 

Born in 1928, she has led an exciting life - successfully fled the Holocaust, escaped first to New Palestine and then to the United States. 

She forged ahead with an MA in Sociology at the New School in 1959 and went on to an Ed.D in 1970.  She also blew through three husbands, but stated that #3 Manfred (Fred) Westheimer was "the real marriage."   They were married from 1961 to his death in 1997.  
They met skiing in the Catskills which struck me as funny as Dr. Ruth isn't as long as a ski was back in the day.  This tiny little figure on gigantic skis schussing down a slope … amuses me.  

Undoubtedly she is happy to be having a birthday even if it is her 91st.  

I am happy because it looks like I may have at least another one.  A recent mammogram prompted a call from the mammogram people; could I please make an appt. for a re-take of my left breast.  Something about breast density and photo could be better, all said matter-of-factly.  

Having had a recall on the equipment previously, I shrugged.  The mammogram this time had been customized for this procedure and had something I had never seen in a machine.  Instead of two flat plates that meet, this time the top flat plate had been enriched with what looked like a handle, ending in an upside-down plastic cup (to capture just one part?)  The tech said, "This is a little more painful than the regular," and she was not kidding.  YeOWWW!

The sonogram that followed was downright relaxing - warmed  gel, while lying flat on your back and feeling it trace soft curves around here and over there.  Even a little towel to wipe off when she was done.  She left me to pull my sweater back on and retuned to hand me a paper and asked me to sign it.  It was the report on findings and the box marked "Normal/Negative - no evidence of cancer" was the only marked box on it.

I am happy because unless I do something stupid, I'll have another birthday next year.  If you're lucky, so will you.  Let's all have a drink together and toast our good fortune and have a another happy birthday again!   

Monday, June 3, 2019

Walt Disney Would Have Merchandised His Grandma - and Probably Did!

Comes a new volume from Disney.  It's titled "Eat Like Walt - The Wonderful World of Disney Food" compiled by Marcy Carrihur Smothers.  $35 for 171 pages.

However:  you don't come to the actual recipes! until page 148.  Which are comprised of basically a combo Great and Glorious World of Walt Disney His Own Self! and the Wonderful History of Disneyland Through the Years!

It is basically an info ad and the book should have been free because that's all it is.

Under a general heading of "So you want to drink like Walt?"    Here's his tipple

Crushed ice
2-3 oz. Canadian Club or Black and White Scotch (I believe it's the one with a little black and a little white terrier of some sort on the label,  haven't seen it in a donkey's years.)
Twist of lemon peel or slice of orange (get those vitamins in!) and a long silver spoon to mix them.

Out of a kindness in my heart, will spare you Mickey Mouse Macaroni and Cheese.  It involves boiling the yellow cheese in milk.  In today's world, we have Velveeta as God intended for mac and cheese  and whatever-and-cheese omelets.

It is a big book and probably tips the scales at 8 lbs.  Awkward to lug, so why bother?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Go Away! Unless You're a Computer Wiz

And if you are, come in!  Come in!  Here's the computer and new printer; may I bring you anything while you're working?  A little champagne to keep the gears meshing smoothly?  Perhaps an ounce of Beluga for protein aka brain food …

Otherwise, beat it!  I've wrestled worse (and no doubt will again.)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Marine One - Treated Like a Redheaded Stepchild

To point out the contrasts between Air Force 1 and even "The Beast" (schematics of either easily looked up)  about the only thing we, the general public, know about this helicopter is that it lands on the South Lawn of the White House.   Countless photos of it being used somewhat like Uber - sitting President strides across the lawn towards it; halts at the boarding steps for some last minute quotes, reporters and cameras move on, President gets on and show's over.  Or reverse.

The second moment with Marine One is the outgoing president waving (he with a hand; she with a tear-stained lace handkerchief) as they are transported to Edwards AFB for their last ride in what was once AF1 but is now designated AF2 for their ride home.  

In an effort to be fair, this is what I discovered of interest to us.  The first President to use a helicopter was Dwight Eisenhower in 1957.  Why a helicopter instead of AF1 to flit back and forth to his Pennsylvania home?  No landing strip at the house or near enough to make it practical so AF1 stayed in the hangar.  Ike was quite used to a helicopter for transport.  In 1958 the South Lawn went into service.

In March, 2009, for the first time a crew of women only flew off with then-President Obama.  It was the final flight for Major Jennifer Griever who moved in rank to Lt. Col. when she was downgraded due to a domestic disturbance, fined $500, and left age 45 after 28 years' service.

In 2008 $6.1 billion was earmarked for 28 new helicopters, but the price quickly went up to $11.2 billion.  One was the "civilian" version with bathroom, executive suite and galley.  The military version stepped up defense and communication systems.

Today the pilots wear Marine Blue Dress Bravo uniforms; not the flight suits previously used.  The flight crew includes pilot, co-pilot and two flight engineers.

If  Marine One is going farther than Andrews or Camp David, it has a five helicopter escort and all six of them rotate around in flight so that no one on the ground knows which one the President's butt is sitting on.

That's quite an entourage - and Marine One, you've earned it!  Hope this little salute makes you feel better.