Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Gentlemen, Fluff up your Capricorns and Grab a Napkin - Dinner Is Served

I'm referring to yesterday's astrological challenge which appears to be "Find out his sign and cook accordingly."

Since this is no longer the '70s when "What's your sign?" echoed across bars all across our great nation, I find it hard to believe that food can be a determining  factor in "lurve" other than edible or not.  But that's just me.  

I did notice that all of the recipes given are extremely simple to make.  I also noted that 10 out of 12  desserts involved fruit.  It's summer and any one of these does sound appealing (if you like fruit).

Peggy Holt, the author, has helpfully prepared an index composed of sign: main, dessert.  Only two of them require oven heat which is undesirable in summer by a long shot.

The following were picked at random.

Leo:  Gingery Pineapple
1 small ripe pineapple, pared, cored and sliced
1 jar of preserved ginger in syrup
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Let the pineapple slices and ginger syrup marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, Serve over toasted store-bought sponge cake and toss on the walnuts.

Cancer:  Apricot Mousse
1 1/2 cup sweetened apricots, drained and chopped
1 T lime juice
1 teas. grated lime rind
1 cup whipping cream
2 teas. powdered sugar
1 T Strega (Ogen Nash paraphrased:  "Sweets are dandy, but liqueur is quicker.")

Put the apricots, lime juice and rind and Strega  together and refrigerate, put in a bowl and top with the powdered sugar and whipped cream folding it all together.

Pisces:  Fruit Melba aka Open Cans Dessert
1 small can pears
1 small can apricots
1 T Grand Marnier
1 small can pineapple wedges
1 package of frozen, sweetened strawberries
4 stale macaroons

Mix everything but the macaroons which is the crunchy topping and serve for two.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

And I Thought "What's Your Sign?" Died in the late '60s, early '70s!

Even today, all of these years later, it clearly is still of sufficient interest to make such as these on line.  "Wine By Your Sign"  Antique jewelry made up of brooches or pins such as the Crab, arrow for Sagittarius and wearing apparel (sweatshirts and tees) on Etsy and so forth.

I can remember my well-thumbed copy of "Linda Goodman's Sun Signs," and consulting with my posse (Crazy Suzanne, Louise the Tease, Patty the Lawyer all cherishing their equally well-worn copies) about details, guys and a great deal more.  We had them sorted into bed ability based on their sign!  Helped us avoid many a bum steer.  (Pun)  We blessed Linda Goodman

What brings this up? you ask quizzically. Yet another of Richie's laundry day forages in the garage junk after which, he often presents me proudly with a particular "find."  Yesterday brought me "The Way To A Man's Heart Is Through His Capricorn" by Peggy Holt.  Available at Amazon  It was published in 1970 and the paperback cost $1.95 (!)

But back to Linda's "Sun Signs" - new it is listed at $270 and was published in 1968.

Meanwhile Holt's book "Via the Capricorn" has been retitled- "The Lovers Astrology Cook Book"  and sells for $14

.The book contains a brief precis of the sign listed and a pair of recipes that will have him eating whatever from  the palm of your hand.  Or so it purports.

We shall see tomorrow when I will steal, er, liberate,  a sample or three for you.  In these days of PC Mania, the recipes should be gender free and not subject to sexism re male or female diners.

Monday, July 29, 2019

So - Do you Call It "The Pate of the South" or "Carolina Caviar" or What It Is - Pimento Cheese

I hate to deal one of the staples of the South by crediting a Northern (or Damn Yankees) invention.  Back in the 1870s, Northern farmers started making cream cheese and far across the seas, Spain began canning pimentos and shipping them to the united States.  The combination proved so irresistible to the natives here, that in 1908 Georgia farmers started trying to grow their own pimentos!  A market that grew to 10 million cans a year.

The cheese part eluded aficionados at first.  They used "hoop cheese" which is made entirely from milk.  No wheys.  Evidently that didn't prove to be all that tasty so the cooks switched to cheddar, using an equal amount of sharp and mild.  To tie the ingredients all together, a dollop of mayonnaise was added to the shredded cheese and minced pimentos.  Viola!  A staple that has starred at funeral receptions all over the South, year in and year out.  As a dish of honor, it sits right next to the deviled eggs, another perennial favorite there.

Here is the most likely recipe -
1 8oz. package of sharp cheddar, shredded
1 8oz. package of mild cheddar, shredded
1 8oz. package cream cheese - let it soften on its own as you can't shred cream cheese.  Don't even try.
1/4 cup minced, canned pimentos
2 - 3 T mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste.

Not yet ready for full immersion in Southern style?  Here are some additions - add them at your own risk if you're serving it to Southerners:
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Minced jalapeno (Mexican style?)

I googled to see where to buy Kraft Pimento Cheese - the one bottled in  a jar that becomes a juice glass when the cheese inside it is all gone.   First to pop up was amazon!  A 5 oz. jar for $15!!!  Highway robbery came to mind …

Especially since the recipe is so very simple.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

No Adventures Scheduled...

We join the rest of our glorious country in grumbling at the hot weather.  Not to be obnoxious about it, but we wouldn't have been whinging about it back in February!

But as the seasons change, there are modest celebrations called for:
The first time you turn on the ceiling fan …
Make yourself a big glass of iced tea …
Pull on a pair of shorts post-shower (and good luck on getting dry during the week we have humidity) and roll forward
Frozen fruit pops become irresistible …

You can't make dross look like gold, but you can take small satisfactions that we're all in the same position.  Suffering and groaning as we go steadily on, casting evil looks at Mother Nature .

Friday, July 26, 2019

On the Proper Use of Honey In a Mexican Restaurant

Last night we went for dinner at Maderos, (PCH, Redondo Beach which has been reviewed here.)  We had a yen for their bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with Cotillo cheese.  Very much a crowd pleaser.

During the usual service start, chips, three salsas, what to drink? our server addressed me as "honey" a couple times which I thought was funny because he said "honey" to rhyme with Hootie.  It sounded … awkward.  It also sounded funny because the usual server would use "darlin'" or "Hon" instead.  Male or female.  The ear is accustomed to that.  He took our orders and whisked himself away.  But I got to thinking about this honey business...and suddenly I wondered if maybe one of those #MeToo bimbos  might come in, be addressed as honey/hoooney and go ballistic.

Since we like everyone in the place because they are genuinely welcoming, I decided on a mission to save ours from a potential slap down.   I patted the banquette and when he had sat down, I asked, "How do you say "honey" in Spanish?"  He thought a moment and said, "Miel" which is honey in French, too.

I said, "Because of those #MeToo crazy women you might want to say it in Spanish and let them ask you.  He nodded thoughtfully, thanked me and went back to work.  "And," I continued, "You're mispronouncing it - it rhymes with Bunny like Honey Bunny." He nodded and tried it out.  Both of us satisfied, off he went again.

Then I started thinking, as I chewed thoughtfully, "I hope I didn't hurt his feelings..." so when he made another pass past us, I apologized, adding, "It's not for me - you could call me, 'Hey, puta!' and I'd just laugh; I don't care!"  He grinned and said, "I know."  .  You don't think that didn't give me pause.

It was my turn to treat and you better believe, he got the full 20%.

NOTE:  The restaurant had just opened and attendance hadn't perked up yet.  I was not taking him away from other people's dinners.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Secret Paris Parc - No Wonder, It Caters to Nudists!

Despite numerous trips to Paris, I'd never heard of the Bois de Vincennes, which is very near the Bois de Boulogne which is famed because it is a notorious spot to pick up prostitutes of various persuasions.  Bois means "woods" in French and having driven through it - well before dusk, let me add -  I could easily visualize amorous perverts scurrying off behind trees to enjoy whatever their version of sex  might be.  

But not until today did I ever hear of Parc de Vincennes which boasts hiking and biking trails, a velodrome, aquatic center, a zoo! (1,000 animals; 180 species and what is said to be a very good elephant breeding program.)  All of this park was developed between 1855 and 1866 by Napoleon Bonaparte 3rd.  It is three times bigger than Central Park, Manhattan.

And a portion set aside for "naturalists" which we pretty much know as "nudists."   Which is how I heard about this whole new park.  The naturalist/nudists are complaining about the perverts who lurk in the bushes watching them cavort.

The article about this was illustrated by the shot of a line of clearly naked backs, arms tossing up bits of clothing toward the sky.  I found the tan lines interesting.  Only a few had an all-over tan, i.e. no white buttocks gleaming in the sunlight.

But stark naked or layers of winter clothing, the French set about doing what they do best - complaining!  Which, it should be said, is when they are not on strike about something.  There never was such a cantankerous group.  And naked or not, that will never change.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Happy Birthday on your 91st, Dallas Frederick Burrows!

"Huh?" you say?  You may know him better; in fact, am sure you would know him better as Orson Bean, comedian, writer, producer and on and on.

He changed to Orson Bean while working in a nightclub in Boston.  The piano player who introduced him every night gave him a new name every night.  "Roger Duck" didn't get many laughs, but "Orson Bean" had'em rolling in the aisles.

Apparently he is alive and thriving, married to his third wife, Alley (Bean) 68 which makes her 23 years his junior.  She is an actress and Wife #3.  Bean and Wife #2 had a daughter named Susanna who was married to Andrew  Breitbart until he died in 2012.

Also listed in today's birthday column - Bob Dole who is now 96.  Wife Elizabeth is 82 (she's 14 years younger) but they have been married 45 years anyhow.

I saw an interview with the happy pair and Elizabeth told listeners that when she was all for vehicle air bags, she was appearing before Congress and vowed her determination to see every car in American equipped with them, gesturing at Bob, "After all I've been driving around with one for 44 years!"

Show me a wife who can't make the same statement …(Just kidding, Richie!)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Spoons In the Air? Ice Cream at the Ready? It's National Ice Cream Day!

If you are an ice cream aficionado  no matter your political party, you might raise a spoonful to former President Ronald Reagan who declared the third Sunday in July to celebrate this icy-cold treat in 1984.

This may startle other So. Calif. residents; it did me, the US city that eats the most ice cream annually is (drum roll)  Long Beach, CA!  Filling in second is Dallas, TX. except in Texas, they want a cone,  they just buy the whole store.  Texas motto is clearly, "Go Big, or Go Home."

For the Country winner in most consumed, we need to cast our eyes down yonder for New Zealand, followed by Italy for gelato (which is not "ice cream" to me and which nevertheless I like a lot anyhow.)

For the more studious reader, research has shown that it takes 50 licks to demolish a single coop.

What are some "unusual" to American eyes flavors?  From an indoor amusement park called Namja Town, Tokyo, we could sample Raw Horseflesh or Yakisoba, or Squid.  Just typing this made me start reconsidering my plan to have a scoop or so of salted caramel, a pint of which is lurking in the depths of our largely undiscovered collection in the freeze part of the refrigerator.

Let us calm ourselves with some American finds - Goat Cheese with Red Cherries or Corn On the Cob, or from Rehoboam Beach in Delaware,  Devil's Breath Reaper Pepper ice cream for which you have to sign a waiver that if anything happens in an untoward way (such as permanent mouth burn)  the maker is absolved of any guilt.

Elsewhere one might find Fig and Fresh Brown Turkey or Bourbon and Cornflakes or Cheeto which is a vivid o r a n g e   created by rolling the finished ball of cold in "Cheeto dust."

Ben and Jerry and Edye need the money - eat ice cream!  Probably unnecessary to add "and a lot of it!"

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Keeping Kansas City Kewl

I grew up there and I can reassure you that during my tenure there, I remember some very hot and worse - humid summers.  Both parents had weathered all kinds of "bad" from their days in Kansas where they were brought up.

They dealt with scorching summers (and humidity which is the real villain) using various techniques.  Here are a few - reverse day and night by doing this - when night falls (as late as nearly 9 p.m.) open up the house as much as you can and this is where a steel security door is a life saver.  You can leave the wood door wide open and sleep like a baby.  What is disconcerting re them is that they are mounted with reverse screws and if you can't get to it in an emergency the firemen (and women; not slighting you, ladies) have to get out the Jaws of Life and take it off. If you have good neighbors, see if you can leave a key with them and pray they're at home if necessary.

When morning comes, close every window, draw whatever is being used for curtains, bamboo drop-down blinds, but you want to seal all of the cool air that you can inside.

Have to take a car trip?  I found this useful as I rode shotgun from Laughlin back home - brought along a smallish hand towel, soaked it in water, and draped it across my bare legs (shorts) until it dried out and repeated, as needed.

Shooting off-road races at Riverside International Raceway in 110+ heat, I gratefully accepted Richie's loan of his old white cotton sailors hat.  Again, soaked it in water and wore it.  It is critical to keep one's head out of the sun.  A straw cowboy hat is effective and you don't have to wet it, but you can store a wet washcloth under it.  Any breeze going up against a roaring temperature will benefit from the combination of wet cloth and air passing over it.  Side note, you need to drink a lot of water when you are outdoors on a very hot day.  At Riverside, I carried a half-gallon of water, drank it all gone and never had to pee.  That should give you an idea of the need for hydration.

But, speaking of hydration, never drink alcohol (beer, wine chillers) in a pool or sauna.  You will get the Hangover from Hell.  I speak from experience so listen up.  And have a cool day.   Hey!  Where's that hat?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Pleasure of Seeing Where You've Been - and Relishing It All Over Again

That pleasure was last night's viewing of a travelogue visit by DVD to  "Bronte Country," Haworth, Yorkshire, Great Britain.

We have actually been there, while visiting great friends Frank and Anne, who graciously showed us all around the town despite the many times I don't doubt they have already done so for other visitors.  The video relates the family story and is properly rather gory - with lots of the ever-popular mournful Victorian line "he/she died early."  Such was the fate of Mrs. Bronte who bore Irish husband Patrick Bronte six children.  Five girls and one boy.  She lay on her deathbed, moaning, "O my poor children," repeatedly according to first person reports.

Though bearing the town no ill will, the cemetery Patrick had "planted" so to speak, rolled out from high to low and water running downward through it caused cholera nearly killing everyone in town until the cause was properly discovered.

Of especial interest was the Apothecary which has been kept in it's original state (1600-somthing if memory serves)  and is a real delight just to wander around and admire tall wooden cabinets with tiny little drawers one after another.  Today it sells postcards and bath salts and such as that.

What made it of particular interest is the fact that Anne's family owned it for a number of years and ran it as a newsstand and penny candy and such.  After our visit to the apothecary, we crossed Main Street to the Black Bull  Pub, seated ourselves at one of the picnic tables in the patio and basking in the sun enjoyed a libation and a lovely gossip about the ill-fated Brontes.

Yorkshire does have some beautiful if not rather scary sights throughout (pedestrian bridges with no handrails whatsoever)  and the moors make a fetching blanket over the rest of the area.

We enjoyed the memories so much that I now want to go back!  Run!  Anne and Frank!


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Summertime Fun - Laughing At and Cheering For a Pet Rock, a Worm ... it's All Here..

"The Contest Book - 299 unusual contests you can enter!" compiled by Ken Dollar, Ruth Reichel and Susan Subtle  190 pages  $7.95  published 1979

Since the pub date was 1979, I cautiously explored whether or not my selections have been heard of since then.  So - batter up!

The International Worm Fiddling Contest
Careyville, FL  Held since 1974
 It should be noted that this is not music lessons for worms.  "Fiddling" in this case is a means of  luring worms, comfy in their holes to emerge from them to see what's going on.  Here's how it's done.  You will need a 2" round stake, which you stick into a worm-fertile looking bit of ground, down about a foot.  Then take a brick or a piece of wood and scrape it back and forth shaking the ground.  The worm fearing for its life, will emerge.  If you didn't garner a large number, take a look at what you did lure up to see how long it is.  There's a prize for Longest Worm Captured.

National Condom Couplet Contest
San Francisco, held in February often on the 14th for Valentine's Day
First prize is a solid gold condom' 2nd is a silver wallet with the telltale ring extrusion; 3rd is a gross -or 144 -  regular condoms for "the night of your life."

Some past winners - "From using condoms you will learn.  No deposit means no return."
"Rubberizing copulation puts a cap on population."
"When you rise, condomize."

The Pet Rock Race
Sterling, CO

Residents here in Logan County became firmly convinced that a rock was the first "pet" of  primitive man, and from that these contests devolved.  Strict rules apply.  "All rocks must weight at least 2-oz. and no more than 5 lbs."
Dressing or costuming your pet rock is not allowed.
Pets shall compete from a standing start and maintain a true course that does not impede progress of other contestants.  The rock that travels the furthest wins.

Logan County as a whole says, "Rock on!"

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Must-Have Insult

Which is "You're a racist!  Things are getting kind of bad, so please be aware...

 The other day I overheard this exchange.  Two women of a certain age were discussing summer foods from their perch on a waiting-for-the-bus bench.

Purple dress: " Oh, I do like a nice tray of iced  crudites in the summer but they can just leave off the radishes and add more carrots instead!  I don't like radishes!" and gave a delicate shudder.

Woman in yoga pants and billowy top:  "Ohhh, you're a racist!"  and so saying, slid a little further away from Purple dress.

Both then ignored each other in favor of looking up the street for the bus.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Slave Reparations and Fairness

Just suppose that your great, great, great, great grandfather killed someone.  Are you going straight to the gallows in reparation for the victim's family?

There are other groups - for example,  I want reparation for the Huguenots who were forced to flee France, for one.   My ancestor  was one of them.  Oh!  I want Euros, not francs.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Stuff White People Like Is a Real Website

And it's great entertainment no matter what color you might be.  There's always that wonderful comparative ethnicity wherein yours is the best.  And the corollary is that you can feel superior especially to fellow white slobs.

What is this poor demented woman writing about now?  Is she trying to start a race riot?  Does she not know that any mention whatsoever of the fact that people do come in a great many shades is  rude?

Here are a couple I picked at random …

Art Appreciation
At the time this was written, the graffiti artist Banksy was a  big hit.  White People consider graffiti to be "art" when it looks like something other than squiggles which are considered vandalism.

The World Cup
It allows White People to pretend that they are European and that they get to match a country with the tipple of choice there.

They don't remember a single play in any of the games (or the games themselves)  but can remember with instant recall getting knee-walking drunk on Sangria during a Spain-Paraguay match at 5 a.m.

Roller Derbies (Women's Division)
Considered a whimsical event to watch, but not one in which to participate.  Skaters stage names provide additional glee.   For additional laughs, Google "female roller derby names" and see what comes up.   In fact that's such a good idea that I'm off to do it.  Happy hunting!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

My Printer Is Back!


I'm almost done celebrating Friday/s Big Event.  A representative of Wireless Planet, came to the house, waved magic fingers and Presto!  My new printer worked for the very first time!  When Columbus happened upon on what is now America, he couldn't have been happier than I was at hearing the roller rattle and a sheet of once pristine white paper emerged with  stuff on it! 

Also of note:  if any of your children show signs of interest in the technical side of computers, encourage them.  The guy that came to use was here 15 minutes and after a $75 cash payment wended his cheerful way onward.  When I was sure he was well away, I screamed up the stairs to Richie and the cats:  We've got a printer again! YESSSS!  None of them were impressed in any way. 

Let's do the math:  15 minutes $75
                                   30 minutes $150
                                   60 minutes  $300.  
Now you see why I urge computer sciences for your kids?  

And I'll say this for free.  Spend the money!  

Friday, July 12, 2019

Strozzapreti Pasta (priest strangler) at the New Neighbors

As savage as that might sound, it is a dish that emerged, more as wishful thinking than the actual murder of a clerical figure.  This pasta comes to the rest of the world via Tuscany and Umbria where the Church's greedy hands took everything they could get said hands on - land, buildings, tithing and inviting themselves to after-Mass dinners on Sundays.

Your house was penalized if the cook was particularly talented.  Then every Sunday you would find his knees shoved under your Sunday dinner table.  After a month or more of this rapacious priest stuffing his face with food meant for the immediate family, the wives (generally the chefs at that time) developed a certain … resentment.  To release some tension in their kitchens, they invented a new pasta shape and among themselves, they secretly referred to it as "priest strangler."    To this untutored eye, it look like three linguini squashed together, and cut into 1 1/2 in. strips and given a twist in the middle.   How the women must have enjoyed "strangling the priest."  

Who is this New Neighbor in the shopping mall, corner of Aviation and prospect?  Spumoni, 1101 Artesia, Hermosa Beach, 424-304-2421  it replaced an Indian restaurant named Akbar.

Richie, "D" and me, decided to try it last night.  The interior of the large dining room is very old-fashioned chic with banquettes against the long wall and chairs plus a large nook with group seating off to the right from the entrance.  White tablecloths, waiters in black pants and white shirts.

Here's what we ordered (and ate with some gusto.)

Richie:  Pollo Cacciatore - double chicken breasts, with roasted peppers, mushrooms, onions, in a light white wine tomato sauce.  $20

"D" Linguini Pescatore $19 but I couldn't find it in the online menu.  I know it had mussels because Richie "borrowed" three of them.

Me :  Strozzapreti Carbonara  $18  It was delicious and as they give large portions, it's my dinner tonight as Richie's leftovers are his.  Clearly he filled up on mussels...

Drinks:  two glasses Fantini Sangiovese - $26
One glass house pinot grigio  $9
Two glasses Carmenet Cabernet  $26
Two splits sparkling Prosecco  $28

Three people, food and wines' $170.45 without taxes.

And no priests were harmed during this dinner.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Er, The Dentist's Bad News

For me, not them.  X-rays (routine; it was time for them) showed that I need two root canals and two subsequent crowns.    These are expensive treatments and to say "sticker shock" is wild understatement.  ($7,000+)

Years ago I was offered dental insurance, but I turned it down since previous experiences were only routine teeth cleaning which insurance didn't pay for anyhow.

I can only speculate (spin) that the money I saved NOT having insurance will pay for this massive hit on the old assets.  Every cloud, silver lining …   and other relevant bullshit.

To quote that wise old philosopher Linda Ellerby, "And so it goes."

If you've had one, what did you think of it?


For seniors there really is not a great dental insurance plan but if you have dental issues like mine then having insurance can save you in the long run.
     Anderson's Own Doug.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Two Good Things About Going to the Dentist

Tsk!  And you didn't think there were any!  Behold!

You never get weighed at the dentist's.

If you request it politely (and we one is always polite) they will rub a numbing jelly across your gums and unless you have some kind of bottomless hole in a tooth, you will never feel getting your teeth cleaned.  

You have a choice of flavors (except a gin martini; have been lobbying for that for ages) such as a Margarita or a Pina colado.

Teeth cleaning?  Shrug.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Athletes Bite Hands That Clap For Them

First came Colin Kaopectate who relished his new found notoriety for, essentially, spitting on our flag.  The first couple of times he knelt, I joked it was in homage to the United States!  Nobody bought it.

He is 31 now; certainly old enough to behave much more maturely.   I don't think stopping a production line at Nike (Betsy Ross flag shoes) is helpful to those workers.  And I now totally disrespect Nike for bowing to this pipsqueak.  Have worn and advocated wearing them for many years.  No mas. 

The tattoos  he wears all (according to recent research) talk up his utter devotion and love for God.  One, notably, is "God Will Guide Me."

Interestingly enough, his partner Nessa Diab professes to be a Muslim and works as a TV commentator.  I would imagine that Christmas around their dwelling is rather interesting.

He was given the WAC Offensive Player of the Year Award 2008 and 2010.  Nothing could be truer.

But wait!  Is that the spotlight moving slowly but inexorably away from Kaopectate?

By a woman no less!  Megan Rapidtoe has burst into the headlines with her declaration of non-attendance at any sort of White House congratulations ceremony to the team.  In rather vulgar language at that.  My first thought was, "Get the invitation before you start shooting off your mouth.

Then trying to be more understanding I read that she was one of six children, of which was her fraternal twin Rachel, also a reasonably bright soccer star.    maybe this was simply an identity problem being one of six?  The man she gave a shout out to is her older brother Brian who has been in and out of prison and rehab for drug abuse since he was 15 years old, but now is reported to have kicked it.

She also has a chunk of the Nike cake as well as Samsung.  Both are sponsors.  But not really great role models for kids.  Quite the reverse.  He's looking for a job; she's 34 and will hopefully retire.  God Will Guide Them indeed...

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Mother Nature Tugs At Her Girdle, But We Roll On

Happily there have been no fatalities yet which, of course, could change by the time I finish typing this sentence.

Many of you apparently live where there are no earthquakes, but! don't get cocky; you have tornadoes, forest fires, hurricanes - there is no place that is absolutely safe from Ma Nature.

These recent events have so far been "rollers" not BAM!  CRASH! which will indeed get your attention.  These are the babies that will throw you across a room.   During the first one here -a roller as have been all subsequent events this time and Redondo Beach is 166.1 miles away - Richie was snaking out the downstairs bathtub; I was upstairs reading in his recliner.  He yelled up, "Did you feel that?" and I  yelled back, "What?!"  "We had an earthquake!"  So I said, "Oh." and turned a page.

I am not foolishly blasé about them.  My first experience follows... I moved out here in 1964 and we all lived a quiet life until 2-9-1971.  I was in my studio apartment, about to step into a hot bath, when I decided a quick pee would not be a bad idea.  As I sat, stark naked on the toilet, we had a roller and stricken, I thought "And this is how they'll find me - stark naked, jammed into a toilet bowl."  Talk about an ignomious demise...

The next of note occurred on 8-6-1979.  I lived in an apartment in Beverly Hills (yes, 90210 and you may be sure that I mentioned that little number on any possible occasion) overlooking an alley behind the building.  Somewhere in the dead of night I heard a noise that sounded like a train derailment careening up that alley.  I ran to the living room and looked out.  The power line and pole was swaying!  But there was nothing else notable going on so I went back to bed and next morning, got up, showered, dressed and headed off to work.  My job was within walking distance and during it, I passed the rather posh liquor store.  The floor was awash with busted liquor bottles to a depth of about two inches.  It reeked!  But the sidewalks were clear and everything else looked "normal."

Time flew and I was married, we'd bought a house and thoroughly enjoyed life.  Then, 1-17-1994 came Northridge.  Which has been - so far - the worst yet.  I'd already noted that the o nes that touched the South Bay generally took place around 4 a.m.  They were all gentle, low-powered rollers and I got used to them to the point that I didn't bother to get up,

But Northridge chased my lazy butt out of bed when the rattling and shaking and noise of a lot of things banging together - and most tellingly, the bedroom ceiling light was swaying - all of upstairs was right above my head.  I hung on the bedroom window sill and spotted what had to be the refinery in a roaring blaze.  The earthquake seemed to be going on and on and on!   It was later found to have lasted "10 to 20 seconds."  It's certainly not my place to sneer at scientists, but let me say, "It felt like three full minutes!"

Richie and I both took (and passed) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. Things to do:  grab a bottle of liquid detergent that you keep taped to the gas shut-off wrench, and go to your gas meter.  Rub the soap into it and look for any bubbles (gas leak).  Shut off gas.

If you and your house are okay, go next door and walk all the way around it looking for structural damage.  The rule at CERT is:  save yourself first, then go help others who in turn will help others.  CERT was designed to be a stop-gap while the real First Responders go the direst situations.  If your area has this program, go for it!  It's not just for earthquakes!

I forgot to mention that one effect of an earthquake is sounds.  Last night, getting out my toothbrush, I heard slow drops of rain.  Extremely puzzling this as no rain whatsoever mentioned anywhere.  I reached up to turn out the light and a picture was swinging gently back and forth!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Hot Dog Update

Richie's old friend Sonny - they used to clam together - sent us a link to yesterday's contest.

Joey Chestnut is very much the reigning king of hot dog scarfing with yesterday's score of 71.  Astute readers noted that his personal best was 74 in 10 minutes.  Not content with dominating the playing field this retired construction manager, San Jose, CA, also holds these titles:

Most gyozas - 381 in 10 minutes
Most hard-boiled eggs 151 in 10 minutes
Personal-size pizzas - 7.5 in 10 minutes.

A competitor in the past has been a woman called Sonya (the Black Widow) Thomas.  Newsday did not explain this soubriquet.

Miki Sudo, a pretty blonde, is gaining on Chestnut and apparently beat him to championships in short-form ice cream - 16.5 pints and Kimchi 8.5 lbs.!

KIMCHI!  Garlic-laden, salt driven, gas producing kimchi.  I love it and am to date the only person I know that will eat it.  I don't understand that, but more for me.  A glass pint jar is $8 so it's just as well. If only someone else like it, I could sell small dishes and get my money back.  Ah dreams of greed...

Thursday, July 4, 2019

I Think I Bit Off More Than I Can Chew...

Sometimes I run across story material that is too odd or funny or downright crazed than I can easily write about.   I want to go deeper and find out more!  Yes, I am a nosy bitch!  How did you guess?

Such is today's effort on over eating for $$$.  It was brought to my attention by publicity for the annual Coney Island Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.  Ring a distant bell?  Yeah, me, too.

One of the articles detailed perennial champion, Joey Chestnut with his wins.  In 2018 he ate 74 hotdogs in 10 minutes.  These were normal-sized dogs and buns.  His technique?  Eat the dog out of the bun, dip the bun in water, shove it at your face and open mouth.  The esophagus can't take  a ton of "dry" descending on it.  Chief rival Takeru Kobayashi breaks the dogs into twos and shoves them down his maw.

Hot dog eating contests are said to have begun in 1916 when Nathan's first opened.  A couple of PR guys concocted a contest - the person who could eat the most Nathan's hot dogs was the most "American."

As America has become diversified, so have eating contests and monetary prizes .  Some items and prizes when they were mentioned

Poutine (Canadian favorite; French Fries with cheese curds and brown gravy) 20 pounds in 10 minutes.  $6,000

Raw jalapenos 265 for $1,500

Shrimp 10 lbs.  $1,500

Peeps (Easter candy) 200 in five minutes

Gyoza dumplings  359 in 10 min.

bacon 1 lb. in 10 minutes

Joey Chestnut also vies for championships with deep-fried asparagus, Key lime pie, lobster and cheesecake as the items.

Surely this forced mass eating can't be good for one and it isn't.  Some if the bad things that can happen:  Liver damage what with massive hits of carbs and fat; so much so that (figuratively) the liver throws up it's hands and says, "I can't take it anymore.  I quit."  Too much of a load also can cause hypoxia or less oxygen to the brain and brain damage ensues.  Most obviously, of course, is choking.

Here are a few contestants and their sad fates.  You could say they died trying...  Cockroaches, hot dogs - a bun got lodged in a throat, paramedics couldn't get it out: plotz.  Ukrainian dumplings led to a heart attack.  Rice balls, pancakes for charity which is truly unfortunate, and KFC wings.  

I've only seen one contest and it was at the Long Island Oyster Bay annual fair.  Contestants are given metal pie pans with a specific number of ready-to-eat oysters and they slurp them down.  This is not a pretty sight.  As for myself, I can say that in high school, I could down a can of beer in 10 seconds.  The guys were impressed.  My secret?  Lock your throat open and pour straight down your gullet.

In any case regarding all of this foolish recklessness - DO NOT TRY ANY OF THESE AT HOME.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Anniversary in Florence, Italy

No, we did not board an Alitalia flight to Rome for dinner last night.  We did the next best thing; we had dinner at Aliotta's Via Firenze in next door Torrance!  

Beautifully and quaintly decorated the dining room features a faux balcony around two walls with wine storage below them.  Very, very much sparkling white tablecloths and impeccably groomed servers.  

To our mutual amazement, owner Mike Aliotta recognized us!  He cited our last visit (maybe 6 weeks ago), agreeing with me that this was the same table we'd had then; went on to say that I like sparkling prosecco and had two glasses of Muscato; asked to switch out the spinach for angel hair pasta in my order... 

It was early and staff wasn't that busy so Mike continued our conversation.  Born in Sicily, he came to America in 1984 and opened Aliotta's in 1999.  That when Toyota went elsewhere so did a lot of his business.  He pointed out a son, another relative and stressed that it is a family-owned and run business.

Richie then and tonight cleaned his plate, willingly foregoing next night's leftovers for dinner tomorrow night.  

We started with a Caesar salad and when they arrived - yes, "they" - had been neatly divided and served in twin square bowls.  ($10)  Our server was listening when I said we'd split it rather than two orders. 

What has enchanted him?  Saltimbocca - veal scaloppini topped with prosciutto and mozzarella cheese with a sage wine sauce.  ($29)

Scampi Don Mike - large shrimp, wrapped in bacon with a sambuca and Romano cream sauce over a bed of spinach which is willingly and pleasantly replaced for angel hair pasta.  ($30)

I had a half-bottle of sparkling prosecco ($21 - economical as a single glass is $11; him a glass of cabernet sauvignon Vista ($8.50.)

Food $69  Wine  $29.50  Tab $108.84 

And I get to have it again tonight!  4485 Torrance Boulevard (back corner of a small mall) corner of Anza and Torrance)  310-371-9555

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

On This Date: 36 Years Ago ...

July 2, 1983  Richie and I got married in the Methodist Church, 243 W. Broadway, Redondo Beach  Of note, their distinctive tower is still standing.

Richie and I dated for two years; never lived together and this was his proposal:  (talking to his parents on the usual Saturday night 5 p.m. here; 8 p.m. on Long Island where they lived  "Oh, I guess Neena ("The name's Nina!") I mentally snarled) and I will be getting married."

So we began discussing when this would occur.  I said, "August?"; he countered with, "No, July 4th weekend."  I said, "So you won't forget the anniversary?  Or you'll think that all of the fireworks are for you?"  He made no reply.  Draw your own conclusions...

Next came Religion.  Richie is a lapsed Catholic.  I am a lapsed Methodist (assuming there is such a thing.)  So I suggested a Justice of the Peace.  "No! No! I want a church!"  Since he didn't specify which church, I began to explore alternatives.  The first I visited had turned her living room into her office with two little church seats and a sort of podium.  It looked like the viewing room in a mortuary.

She kicked off with what she described as an old Indian prayer and off she went "I will walk in your moccasins..." I politely interrupted her and made my way to the door.  Got in my car, gunned the motor and peeled away.  I never tried another one.

I converted him to Methodism, telling him the truth - the Ms are very welcoming and would think nothing of marrying a former one to a Catholic.  The attitude is "Everyone is welcome." He went for it.

I sent out party invitations rather than a formal wedding invitation because at 43 and 42 the white dress and all seemed rather inappropriate.  However when they accepted the party invitation two-thirds of them wanted to come to the ceremony, too.  Happily I acquiesced after warning all and sundry that it would be a very brief event and probably boring.

May I say boldly, that it was anything but dull .. in no particular order...

*The morning of The Day, I am braced against the headboard staring gloomily at my feet, thinking, "What have I done? What have a done?" wild eyes looking at Richie  in front of the basin shaving and merrily singing, "I'm getting married in the morning..."  Loudly.  I scooched down deeper against the headboard.

*I  drove my parents and sister and her 18 month daughter to the church; Richie drove his brother and his wife and old family friend Dutch.  I got lost and had to beat my way back.  Despite the landmark tower rising above it all.

* I was so nervous that the minister gave me the license info to type up and distract myself.  I had told Richie that I have a nervous tic and tend to cry in church so he wrapped my small bouquet stems in half a box of Kleenex and glowed proudly.

* My sister preceded me down the aisle as did Richie's brother where they waited for my Dad to escort me down the aisle.  When asked "Who gives, etc?"  he replied, "Her mother and I do, I guess."

* I had stressed to the minister ( who BTW looked nicer than I did - he was wearing a white robe, a colorful stole with white patent leather loafers -he had a much bigger "do" down in Palm Springs after us) that I was outraged when, in his fervor (and haste - the PS thing) brought us another step on the dais.

*There he launched himself into an endless prayer and then began the taking of the vows.  Did anyone present have any information that would preclude this marriage? and Richie stepped forward, put his hand on his brow and looked searchingly out at the audience.  He got a big laugh

*By pre-design we omitted "obey."  When he (finally) pronounced us Man and Wife I turned and shook his hand!  He laughed indulgently and told Richie, "You may now kiss the bride," Richie grabbed me, threw me back as seen in old movies and planted one on.  Another big hand from all present.

* I had forgotten about being moved up another step and in my haste to get the hell out of there, took a great stride forward and went sailing out into the audience.  Happily I was co-ordinated enough to land on both feet.  A 10 for dismount, you might say.

*Known Catholics in that audience all reassured me that the service had been totally inoffensive to the Catholic faith.

With a final handshake for the minister (and my Dad slipping him a $50) we repaired to The Red Onion for an open bar, buffet, champagne for a toast, a live band and wedding cake (which I'd gotten at Ralph's supermarket.   A very good time was had by all.  Largely because Richie kept the bar open another hour.

And that's what happened July 2, 1983.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Of New Foods and Vacation Destinations

Ah, Summer.  Pack up the kids,  make sure you didn't leave anything on the stove, slam the doors (making sure the kids are still in the car.  All of them.) and whoosh!  Of you all go.

An unlikely destination for most families who are most often fixed on a water or amusement park, would be a US Presidential Library and Museum.  But I must say that we've so far hit seven of them and found them fascinating.

In no particular order just random like a lot of our travel destinations are.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Abilene, KS.  Among other things in Abilene of interest is the Greyhound Hall of Fame with a lovely statue of same out front.  This was not there when we were, so speculation is all I can offer.

Ronald Reagan: of note - there is no mention, no hint, not even so much as a framed shared billing poster tucked away in a remote bathroom that includes Jane Wyman, his first wife.  Nancy was a jealous bitch, wasn't she?

Richard Nixon's down in Orange County had a subdued air to me.  His boyhood home is included and it amazed me that such a small house could house five rambunctious brothers.  They must have slept stacked up like cordwood and taken shifts for meals.

Harry Truman - absolutely typical midwestern architecture  and interesting to me having grown up there.  The tour guide was enjoying himself and cheerfully told our group some not-so-well known tidbits about Truman family life.

Bess's mother owned the Independence house and charged him (but not Bess)  a modest rent, but she also made him mow the lawns and paint the house interior.  A former President of the United States had a shrew for a Ma-in-Law.  In a quiet act of rebellion, he put a cactus in a big pot in the dining room near his spot at the table.  I didn't admire it - all snaky, pointed blades - but when I heard the name of this particular cactus, I roared.  Mother-In-Law's Tongue.

Andrew Jackson - His wife was literally buried in the back yard and every single day that he was in residence, he would go visit her and discuss the events of the day.  Also in the backyard was a two-seat outhouse; no doors.  The Jacksons, their guests and the household staff routinely shared it.  Master and servants in the same outhouse at the same time.

Another striking feature of the house were the colors used on the interior walls.  A bright blue, a Kelly green, a sunbeam yellow come to mind.  They were 'way ahead of their times which was mostly wallpaper and "fussy" at that.

LBJ/s wife Lady Bird's natural habitat was of more interest than his museum.  One could tell it was really a labor of love.

The first one we ever toured was Teddy Roosevelt's in Oyster Bay, Long Island.   I admired the broad porches that were dotted with Adirondack-style chairs and rockers, overlooked a sweeping swath of lawn.

These museums can be quite interesting as I hope I've demonstrated here.

FOOD  I have a new fascination with Trader Joe's Mushroom and Company Multipurpose UMAMI Seasoning Blend.  It's on the dining room table to be used as we do salt and pepper.  I really can't put my finger on it to describe what it tastes like - here are the ingredients to speak for me.

Kosher salt, dried onions, ground mustard seed, porcini and button mushroom powders, crushed red pepper, black pepper dried thyme.   Bon chance (good luck)