Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Boo!

If we get any kids, which is doubtful considering the population I see around me, it's either kids in strollers or the family down the block who appear to have two little girls around 5 and 7 (best guestimate.)

Our street - hardly a major throughway as it's only three blocks long - doesn't seem to have many kids.

But one of the Trick or Treat evenings in the pass, we got so many kids, that they were bussed in!
No kidding!  Granted they weren't 50+ passenger buses, but two or three shuttle buses can add up to a lot of kids.  Homeowners were going nuts!  The worst nightmare came true - we were all running out of candy!  We were all out on our driveways, screaming back and forth, "Have you got any left?"  "No!" would come back in an anguished wail.

Happily the majority of the kids were short as they were 5 to 8 years old and incapable of much in the way of damage.

Today, it seems that schools and churches have parties at their location which is a great deal safer anyhow.

What this means at our house is buy only what we like.  Richie is very much the Be Prepared Boy Scout so Thurs. Writers will all be diligently working for cavities post-Halloween!  We're all too old to slobber for sour gummy bears and such.  Mini-candy bars are a hit though.

As it happens that Halloween IS on a Thurs., we are planning a mini party of our own.  Sparkling cider (when we'd all prefer wine which the City which owns and runs the Veteran Park Senior Center has expressly forbidden.)

Instead, sticking to our writerly duties, we're all supposed to write a scary six word novel.  Yes, I scoffed, too.

The example given is:  For Sale
                                      Baby Shoes
                                       Never Worn
Does that give a chill or what?!

As Game 7 ran to the close, I came up with the following.  If you'd like to play, too, Comments is your spot or write me direct..

Rich grandma's walker - steep basement stairs.

Sister's husband beats her!
At Scrabble.

From my friend in French Conversation - "Ghoul screams!  What? No ice cream?"

Jay not Z contributed
Happy Halloweens have  haunting and howling

Manager South Bay Stories"Show -
It's morning blood on my pillow.

AND Miss Sweetheart of the Yacht Club contributed a whole poem!

Halloween Lament
THEN  All Hallow's Eve was a time to grieve
NOW  We see a witch fly and get a sugar high

THEN  Treats were homemade
NOW  Look for a razor blade

THEN Costumes were funny
NOW  Only dress as a bunny

THEN Kids giggled with joy
NOW  Not sure if girl or boy.
   By Janet White

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

What Could Go Wrong -

When you build a world-class art museum on the crest of a hill in brush country?  Next to a freeway so busy that if often resembles a parking lot? No smokers among them!  No nut case arsonists.  No faulty tailpipes.  Nahhh!

I am referring, of course, to the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; entrance off of the 405 freeway.   Given the number of times Malibu has burned (or swallowed mudslides) it is surprising they didn't put the art there.

The Getty (as it's most commonly known) opened on December 16, 1997, at a cost of $1.3 billion.  It hosts  1.8 million visitors per year.  Then and now, museum management brags that it is "fireproof" (which is just asking for it in my opinion) with a grass helipad, a one million gallon underwater reservoir for the internal, continual hosing down of the grounds.

Speaking of the grounds, all of the chaparral was ruthlessly ripped out (it will burn like a bastard) and replaced with "poverty weed" instead.  Like the famed kudzu of the American South it is very quick to reproduce and it is believed to be more fireproof than the chaparral it replaced.

Herds of goats are brought in periodically to further clean the surrounding area of weeds.

In addition to double, concrete or stone walls, the many rooves are made of stone as an ember discourager.  There is an air system that blows smoke away and sucks in fresh air.  It sounds like a chemistry/dangerous viruses lock system.

Fire fighters were consulted and the roads to and from were designed to accommodate fire trucks.  A cousin, a fire chief, told me that speed bumps on our city streets are hated because at speed, the bumps rip out the axles.    

I read today, speaking of firemen, that for this fire, the Getty restaurants are used as a rest station and that they particularly like being up in the air to see and then direct where the fire is at that moment and which areas need attention.  The $1.3 billion fire rest.  And worth every penny of it if keeps a fireman safe.

Yes I know females are firefighters, too.  It's unnecessary to type firemen/women as we've all been brainwashed to be Politically Correct.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Washington Post Somewhat Confused

Their headline for the story of Big Long Name, the Terrorist's Death described him as "an austere religious leader."

Outrage in cyberland reverberated.  These promptly popped up as obituaries for other well-known world names.

Mao Zedong who saved 20 to 45 million of his own people from the struggle for existence, died at 82.

Genghis Kahn, noted traveler, dies at 64.

Voldemort, 71, austere political reformer and aspiring teacher killed by teen terrorist.
(I had to look up "who was Voldemort?" since I had no clue who or what a Voldemort could be.  A bad guy in the Harry Potter series.)

This is too good not to play with - thanks to the contributors above.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

An Interesting Book - And How!

"My Lovely Wife," by Samantha Downing  374 pages   $26

This struck me as amazingly good for a debut novel.  But then again, author Downing lives in New Orleans and writers there are often … quirky.  Anne Rice anyone?

But this is not a vampire tome.  It is billed as "Dexter Meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith*" which was something of a giveaway to me to expect sudden deaths and perhaps a pair of serial killers.  As a team, no less.

I was not disappointed.  The story moves along briskly but without any sense of being hurried to get the two most blessed words in a writer's life:  The End.  Which was quite satisfactory.  If you like serial killers as I do, I think you'll enjoy it.

*Have never seen "Dexter" but got the drift from a book bout him that was so overblown  that I closed it and, of course, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is the movie that blew Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston (I think) apart in real life due to super vixen Angelina Jolie's machinations.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Celebrities - and What They Said today tackles (among many other things) celebrities and some of the rather stupid remarks they have made.  The article said they probably regret the remark, but (always the contradictorian) I say that if they said it in the first place, they're too dumb to recognize it.

Be that as it may.  Am unlikely to ever meet a celebrity and jot down any remarks on my handy little notebook, so let's go with statistics.

There are 27 people quoted.  The categories I assigned are:

Blonde females - 9
Brunet females - 4
For a grand total of 13 females

Male sports stars - 6
Male entertainers - 8
For a grand total of 13 males

The Dalai Lama makes #27  And was quoted as saying that if a female Dalai Lama came along, fine if she was very attractive. If not, no use.

What are some quotes?  Aha!  Glad you asked!

Jessica Simpson - "Is this chicken or fish?  I know it's tuna but it says "Chicken of the Sea!"

Christina Aguilar - "So where's the Cannes Film Festival this year?"

Kelly Pickler - "I thought Europe was a country!"

Three lovely and entertaining blondes.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Analogies for Writers

Writers try (or at least they should try) not to use "like" as in "like a bat out of hell."  Or "as" in a comparison.   Here are some examples of good analogies.

"I'd rather listen to a Styrofoam cooler squeaking in the back set of a car for five hours than:  listen to country western; talking on the phone with my mother-in-law."

"Cat nip is the Devil's lettuce."  Pure statement of fact.  Not, "Some consider cat nip as the devil's lettuce."

Sign in a bar window  "Gentlemen - no shirt, no service.  Ladies - no shirt, no charge."  This is not an analogies.  But it is funny.

Red as a beet.   Smelly as a pig sty.  As oily as a three card monte dealer.  (double points two uses.))

Thursday, October 24, 2019

All Hail the Newest Political Fad!

Choice of two - impeachment or recall.  Nationally, the biggie is impeachment!  And yesterday, dammit!

But locally - comes now recall.  Really local is the recall attempt to yank one Councilman John Gran out of Redondo Beach District 4 wherein dwell the Murphys.   The other day, bang, bang on the steel security door that permits us to leave the wood door wide open every summer night.  I was closest and there to greet me was a fire fighter in uniform shorts and shirt, offering a petiton for us to sign to get an official permission to petition to have him removed.  How confusing is that?  Evidently, the fire fighters got the required number because yesterday's mail brought a 4/c biiig brochure - 12 in. long and 8 1/2 in. wide which opens out to become four pages.

Since you didn't get one because you don't live here in District 4, permit me to quote the copy.  "Redondo Beach District 4 City Council Member admits he's "Not a very good politician."

That's because he's a dishonest one.

Dishonest John's self-dealing decision making is putting you and your family at risk.

Remove Dishonest John from office … before it's too late.

Sign the recall petition. Now."

This expensive effort (4/c glossy) is sponsored by the Redondo Beach Firefighters Association, Inglewood, CA.

Gist:  RB firefighters want to merge services with LA County Fire.

My shock stems from the fact that I never dreamed you could publicly and with much fanfare call a politician "dishonest."  A great many of them, of course, are, but to just baldly splash that opprobrium on one of them?  ALORS!

Nearly as shocking was the announcement of a local Recall Gavin Newcom!  (Governor of California.) meeting to recall him!  Given the overwhelming number of registered voters in California are Democrats, this came as quite the surprise.

There are at least four different sites pushing the bye bye agenda and the stated reasons are:
Mismanaged the State
Caused poor schools (where are the funds the lottery was supposed to hand over to schools?)
Deteriorating infra-structure - Oh, we live on Washboard Road, not far from  Pothole Street)
High costs for gas and utilities  "Summer gas" my bippy.
Increased homelessness
Supports Medicare For All and laws that aid immigrants here illegally.

What next?  God only knows in this suddenly alpha political country.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Funny Church Signs

'Tis said that it pays to advertise and I think that churches who put funny adages ("Do this; don't do that") are "advertising" that they are warm, friendly, funny and not shrieking maniacs exhorting the devil to die, etc.  Their doors do not conceal snake flailing around and people speaking gibberish.  If, however, you are a member of any of the foregoing, have at it!  I would imagine God is big enough to sense the worship beneath the snake's tail and the unintelligible words.

All of this to present several of the Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church, of Wantagh, New York.  For your delectation ...

Jesus had two Dads and he got along just fine.

A gay Christian is not an oxymoron; a hateful Christian most certainly is.

How do we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?

Live so fully that the Westbro Baptists will picket your funeral.

A long time ago in a Galilee far, far away ...

May all of your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions!  (Sure sounds Irish, doesn't it?)  

Monday, October 21, 2019

A New Fascination

And that would be the artist Christo and his wife Jean-Claude who were the first to put up elaborate outdoor sculptures for a limited time only.  One of their first was "Valley Curtain" in 1974.  "Running Fence" in 1990 and more, but locally we could visit "Umbrellas" up near Bakersfield.  They were all huge yellow umbrellas dotted about these rolling hills. Part of their appeal was knowing (via media coverage)  that if you drilled straight through the earth to a site in Japan, there would be an equal amount of blue umbrellas!  The sheer hugeness for temporary works of art - typically 14 days - intrigues.

Christo and Jean-Claude were born on the same day - June 13, 1935 at the same hour.  Jean-Claude in an interview said that was why she had become an artist.  She quipped, "If he'd become a dentist, I would probably have become a dentist, too."  The video we watched last night "The Gates" took place in Central Park in 2007.  Two years later, Jean-Claude would die in New York of complications from a brain aneurism.  She was 74 years old.  Christo is 84.

Their works call for a lot of engineering knowledge.  "Running Fence" in Sonoma and Marin Counties  used 2,152,780 sq. ft. of heavy, woven white nylon hung from a steel cable strung between 2,050 21 ft. 4 in steel poles.   There were 14,000 earth anchors into the ground, braced laterally by guy wires; no concrete.  The whole thing was designed to be deconstructed in a way that didn't even leave a hint that it had ever been there. "Running Fence" was 18 ft. high, 24.5 miles long, ending at the Pacific Ocean in Bodega Bay.

They did not accept sponsorship funds and in fact, paid all costs themselves from the sales of models, drawings and collages.  The "Running Fence" materials were donated to the 59 farmers whose lands  it had crossed.  

During the documentary "The Gates" the figure $20 million was bounced about. "The Gates" very nearly didn't happen at all and, in fact, it 24 years to git'er done.  The New Yorkers had a fit at the very thought that "their" Central Park would be fiddled with.  "It's like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa" they howled in outrage.  It wasn't until 2003 when art-loving mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed it through. Some 4 million visitors in mid-winter in only 14 days … I think that part appeals to NYers.  If they don't get there right this second it'll be gone.  

Christo is quoted:  "Do you know I don't have any art or that they exist.  They all go away when they're finished.  Only the prep drawings and collages are left, giving my works an almost legendary character.  I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain."

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Wherein I Steal To Make You Laugh

If you guessed that Reader's Digest arrived yesterday!  Sound the gong!  You won!

I sleep with a knife under my pillow because you never know when someone is going to break into the  house bringing you a cake!  Sweet dreams!

Speaking of food gifts. people camping out in sleeping bags are the soft tacos of the bear food group.

There are many theories on why humans even need to sleep (and see above; not recommended in a sleeping bag) but it's pretty sure that it's to charge up our phones...

A lawyer's advice from L. Scott Briscoe, of West Virginia.

After pleading guilty to transferring and receiving stolen property, do not ask your judge whether he's interested in seeing the collection of watches you have for sale.

If you're running from the scene of your crime, the law will find you if you leave behind your wallet.  And your car.  And your friends sitting in the car.

Do not plan your next felony over the pay phone in your jail pod next to the sign that reads:  All phone calls are monitored and recorded.

Calling a tow service to haul a broken-down ATV you are in the process of stealing creates a paper trail.  And a witness.

Don't ever take a fence down unless you know what caused it to be built in the first place.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Birthday Party New Best Thing

Birthdays - the more elaborate or expensive or both come with  bragging rights as to most outlandish, or expensive, or imaginative birthday gala.  This popped up this morning in some thing else (Shiloh Jolie-Pitts' 13th birthday if you must know  She says she is gender fluid.)  This new must do is The Escape Room Puzzle.

A small group of guests - seven to a dozen - are locked in a specially designed room such as a submarine or a bank or some Jurassic simulation.  There are puzzles to disclose clues to help the prisoners find the exit or the key to the exit.  A clock loudly ticks away 60 minutes which is all of the time allotted to escape.  

The sets are done by set designers or theme park engineers, and puzzle masters.  Escape Rooms are billed as live entertainment.  The fee per person runs from $28 to $32.  Under 14 years old must have a parent, relative or other approved adult in tow.  Invitees are advised to wear comfortable shoes and dress for air conditioning.

This is all well and good, but I don't think it's ideal entertainment for people with claustrophobia.  Just sayin'

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Favorite Pasttime of Many Americans - Self Absorption!

A new one!  Whee!

I came across this accidentally and it's good for at least an hour or more of self glorification.  And in my case much, much more.  It occurred to me to write something of an autobiography and I couldn't remember where I'd been or whom I'd been doing in great swaths of memory loss.  

Hmmm, who would know? I mused to myself.  I'll tell you who:  our federal government via Social Security payments!   

I went to the closest SS office and asked for and got a printed (in great detail) list of every job I've ever had, the company name, the amount paid me for every year since 1977.  From 1985 to 1977 was a bit of a puzzler - the year is listed, the amount earned  but instead of the corporate name it reads "Earned/no detail available."  

Realistically speaking, I could have been out robbing banks for 19 years and the amount earned was my heists.  I can assure you, I was working honestly because after a great deal of thought I determined that some of it was my  first job in a hotsy-totsy dress shop, age 18; then 19, PayWay Feed Mills - notable because I picked up a stray dog; who bit me which caused my mother to freak out and forced me to get rabies shots every day for 10 days.  I had to go to St. Luke's Hospital ER for said shots.

Interns administered each shot - which if you've never had them, are shot around the navel - left one day, top the next until you're done.  This is memorable to me because the interns loved to tease me by pulling my underpants down further while I frantically tried to pull them back up, providing great fun for all (but one) concerned.    

Naturally in remembering a job, I remembered the people I had worked with and this is where extensive research comes in.  Googling each and everyone of them to see if they are still alive.  In cases where an intimate relationship had taken place, I hope that they are out-of-the country and unlikely to read "Resume" or peacefully dead.  Lawsuits are such a bore. 

Go to your closest Social Security office, wait your turn - they are very well organized and staffed, tell them what you want and while you are paying them - $91 - they are printing out your personal, one nd only, information.  Mine ran to five pages and figuring it out took an afternoon and while I still don't understand RPYR or REO and so forth, clearly I'm legal because they didn't detain me.  Great entertainment!  Highly recommended!   

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Great Idea From Target - Kids Wheelchair Halloween Costumes

Someone remembered disabled kids - with gusto.  They seem to be cardboard, cut and colored to resemble such as a Cinderella-type carriage with ornate wheels or a pirate ship with globes printed for the wheels.  Utterly charming and only $34 each.  With care they can be used for several years, I would think.

Children with special sensory sensitivity can get a Unicorn or a Shark costume, which have super soft padding and flat seams.

It just occurred to me that these would be a good Halloween treat for the Childrens' ward in a hospital or available at a fire or police station after donations of them to either.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Pumpkins Still Coming On - Don't Slow Down! Keep Running!

4 eggs
1 large can pumpkin
2 cups of sugar
2 T pumpkin pie spice
1 large can evaporated milk
2 teas. vanilla
1 1/2 cubes of butter
1 box yellow cake mix
Pecans for garnish

3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon1
1 teas. baking soda
2/3 cup pumpkin
Beat all of the above up together, spread in one layer cross the whole cookie sheet or parchment over cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 15 minutes

Gently get it from the cookie sheet to a clean kitchen towel, dusted with powdered sugar.  Roll it up and let it cool then unroll it and add the frosting -

1 8oz. package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 T vanilla
1 T butter
walnuts to toss across the finished product.

Butter the roll as you would a slice of bread with the frosting and gently roll it all back up again.  And after a suitable "sit time" cut in slices and serve.  Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream optional.

If all of this sounds too arduous to fuss with, just betake yourself to a Trader Joe's or Gelsons or Whole Foods and limber up your billfold.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Got a Hideout Chosen? The Pumpkins Are Coming - RUN!

I've noted for several years now (not that I'm slow or anything) that Trader Joe is clearly entered in some kind of contest to see if they can have a bigger variety of pumpkin products on offer than any other market in America.  They have placed well but they have also challenged me (whether they know it or not and strongly suspect "not") to come up with more.  

The Soroptimists of Big Bear, CA, have come to my rescue with a created-by-members cookbook.  Let us quit adieu-ing and get with it.

24 gingersnaps lining a pie plate - just buy a gingersnap crust; let's not go nuts here
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/2 teas. ginger
1/4 teas. nutmeg
1 qt. vanilla ice cream
Beat all of the pumpkin, ice cream and spices together; spread smoothly over pie crust
Freeze.  Optional serving topping - garnish with whipped cream

1 large can pumpkin
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teas. cinnamon
1/2 teas. ginger
1 teas. nutmeg
1 13 oz. can evaporated milk
3 eggs beaten
1 box yellow cake mix (with pudding is okay to use)
1 cup chopped nuts - walnuts?  Pecans?  As your fancy flies you.
1 cup melted butter.
Mix the pumpkin, spices, evaporated milk and eggs until well blended.
Pour into a buttered 9x12 baking pan (sounds like a meatloaf pan to me)
Sprinkle the cake mix over the top, sprinkle nuts
Drizzle the melted butter and bake at 350 for one hour.
Prep time - 25 minutes, bake time 1 hour.

Two recipe down' three to go.

Monday, October 14, 2019


At the moment, our backyard is a'roar.  We have/had a blockage somewhere and so Richie called the plumber who is now doing the noisy part of the job.  First he sent a "tv camera" according to Richie down a main line, determined that there were tendrils of tree pushing their way along it and now the plumber and his helper are using a high-pressure roar of water down the affected line.  The plumber said it would cut up the foreign interlopers and flush them away!  How cool is that?

The plumber said it's probably the enormous tree (that I planted from a 4 in. seedling in a little pot some years ago.)  I have been after  Richie to get rid of it; to no avail.  Now it looks as though I might get it gone.  YAY!

Then when the plumber is done, paid, and off on other adventures, Richie gets to walk down to auto repair (only a couple of blocks away)and pick up Truck which, after the infusion of some $600 for a new carburetor, will  roll proudly once again.

A busy morning for him.  You do know that the plumber could not possibly do the job without Richie watching.  It's a guy thing.  Ladies, it's not ours to wonder about.  Least said, soonest mended.  And even though you have given up on tree removal, be of cheer - the plumbing may conspire with you!  Good luck!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Looking for Agita? I Found It For You!

The fall/winter holiday season is about to come crashing down upon us.  Halloween is relatively easy.  Buy out the candy shelf at your supermarket and ready, set, go!

Thanksgiving can involve airport pick-ups, a clean house, elaborate menus and more.  But to ensure that you make yourself as crazy as possible without actually being locked up in a very cozy room (the walls are all thickly padded) try this on for size.

Dave Silva, Silva Construction answers the question in his response to the hopeful little soul who wrote him:  "If I start a kitchen remodel on October 19th, will it be finished by November 25th so I can have Thanksgiving here in a new kitchen?"

Dave says, "Do you have plans and permits for the work to be done?  Do you already have all of the cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures?  Have you chosen and purchased flooring, countertops?  Are you moving any plumbing or electrical?  Okay, yes, it could be done.

And now Dave provides the first mizzle of rain - But if, on the other hand, you are changing the structure - such as opening. moving, or removing any walls?  Are they loadbearing walls?  Are you adding any windows or skylights? (Sky tubes are great; I recommend them.)   Probably can't be done by your target date.

In short it sounds like totally destroying the kitchen.  And then starting from scratch to replace it.  Meanwhile the kitchen is tore up from the floor up.  And then - builder's strike!  Tile company goes out of business.  An earthquake rumbles through just enough to make the Black Hole of Calcutta (formerly your kitchen) look impossible.  Which it is if you're shooting for T-Day.

To avoid agita, I recommend planning this year for next year.  You know you can always show guests and family what you're planning to do!  It doesn't have to be a done deal.  You can wave around the blueprints and promise the moon; the last words in a chic, sleek new kitchen next Thanksgiving !

Friday, October 11, 2019

Letters to the Editor - Opinion/Daily Breeze

Trump not cooperating

Regarding Trump's unwilliness to cooperate with his own impeachment:  would you like to be offered the chance to select the rope to be used in your hanging?

Sincerely, Nina Murphy 
Redondo Beach 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

You'll Never Look at an Egg Again Nevermind a Chicken

Mr. December favored us with this today ...

A chicken is the only animal we eat before birth and the only one we eat when it's dead.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Color Me Confused

There is little in the way of news; all of the press is yammering away about "impeachment."  All very well and good.  I understand that.  Where confusion comes in is that the Dems are all pissy because Trump won't participate and help them oust him!

Isn't this a bit like being given the chance to choose the  rope to be used at your hanging?  If not, please advise.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Oops! Error of Omission

Frequent reader Molokai Boys pointed out that I had omitted two astrological signs yesterday.  My only defense is .. er.. I didn't see the arrow pointing to Aquarius and Pisces.  Since one of those IS his sign, I can see his perturbation.

Aquarius - Easily pleased if it's something new.  They travel with their posse and love exploring the latest new thing.  "First to (fill in)" is their credo.

Pisces - "See that hammock, farther down the beach?  Yeah, that's Fishy.  He's reading and thinking.  Don't bother him. He may stir to body surf or snorkel - something in the water, but mainly daydreaming."

Unless a 13th zodiac sign was discovered overnight, I got'em all!   Thank you, Dee, for the head's up.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Vacationing According to Your Astrological Sign; It's the New Me Thing, Dahling.

You meant to go there, do that this summer, but life its own self got in the way.  So - spend a cozy winter (it does get cold in Southern California - 55/60 is not for a day at the beach) and plan your 2020 vacay.

To make it more interesting, base your activities on your fire sign.  There are four divided into three each in case you missed the '70s when you could walk into any amicable gathering and be asked - or ask - "So, what's your sign?"  Fire signs are going to be put out by Water signs to explain the curiosity.   One must Be Prepared!

Fire:  Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth:  Taurus, Virgin, Capricorn
Air:  Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water:  Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Readers Digest stole this from Vanity Fair (?) can't remember; was taking notes.  Beh, enough maundering; let us get to our onions.

Aries - requires lots of activities.  They want to be busy, busy and search out fun things like zipline rides, deep in a forest!  Whee!

Taurus - Must have fine amenities.  The old Bull is not going to go out and tour and NOT come back to a five-star hotel, thank you very much.  Is the jacuzzi heated yet?

Gemini - They are roamers and explorers.  They're the ones who stray away from the marked directions, get lost and cost themselves enormous  helicopter and rescue team payback monies.

Cancer - They like the thought of travel, but the actuality of packing, arranging for pet caregivers, shutting up the house, turning off the iron annoys them.   It's just easier to stay home.

Leo - Only the best will do.  Leo's know that their butts were designed by God above to fit into 1st on a plane and next to the champagne in a limo.  I think most of us share this opinion actually, no matter the sign.

Virgos - they have very active brains; they are thinking, scheming nd scamming every waking moment.  They require distractions.  Divert them by pointing and yelling, "See the monkey?"  (No monkey visible for 40 miles.)

Libra - gregarious, and love to people watch.  Easily found in sidewalk cafes, intimate bistros, chatting artlessly with all around them.  New Besties left and right!

Scorpio - They only go on Big Adventures, thank you.  The whole point of their adventures is bragging rights when they get home.  That is, if they get home,

Sagittarius - love the physically-demanding stuff - free diving, hiking, parachuting...if it curls your hair to even think about doing (fill in) don't worry.  The Sag will enthusiastically take your place.

Capricorn - these are serious people and their idea of fun is touring to learn about stuff.  A natural history museum or visiting a Civil War cemetery or a Southern  plantation …real turn-ons.

Bon vacance!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Little Did You Know That You Didn't Care Until You Read This!

And this is what you didn't care about (and neither does this writer):  (drum roll, similar to thunder before a storm)  There are no Taco Bell fast food restaurants in all of Mexico.  None.

There were though ,briefly, in 1992 when Taco Bell had 3,700 +/- in the United States.

Language was the problem.  TB ads remarked on "crunchy tacos" and Mexicans didn't know what the hell "crunchy" was as most of their taquerias featured soft tacos.  TB came back, calling them "tacostada" to point out the texture change and liken it to a tostado which is always crunchy and all the more welcome for that.

TB's management put in their first store next door to a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.  Boom - sound of a taco hitting the dust.  Daunted TB discontinued the idea.

In 2007 either management had changed significantly or decided, what the hell, let's try again.  This time this initial outpost was put next door to a Dairy Queen (for dessert purposes?)  it too failed.  One ad man  was quoted as saying that the idea of TB being in Mexico was like "bringing ice to the Arctic."

As a further explanation of  TB south of the border, another added, "It's like Mexicans coming here to sell hot dogs."

The Taco Bell slogan - Run for the border! - was abandoned as well.  It was felt to be a tad racist by the Politically Correct in the days of walls and immigration and so forth.

There is relief for Taco Mania Loss Grief in 22 other countries, 92 of which are in Europe in such places as Finland, Romania, Spain, Cypress and on and on but it's Sunday and the LA and NY Times crosswords beckon me back.  I'm doing remarkably well in the NY puzzle which rarely happens.  Much more interesting than Taco Bell and it's shenanigans or lack thereof.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

In Which Richie Plans an Excursion

He's good at this and yesterday was the perfect day for it.  To start at the beginning:

the monthly South Beach New Orleans Jazz Club quit the Knights of Columbus, Riviera Village, because they really jacked up the rent.  After undoubtedly frantic scurrying around to find a new venue, they discovered Alva's Showcase, 1417 W. 8th Street, San Pedro.

Neither one of us is that familiar with San Pedro so he proposed that we saddle up, ride down and find the place and O! incidentally, we could have lunch!  I never require extensive coaxing to go out to lunch.

The new site looks interesting but we can only hope there's no church nearby and that members didn't score all of the parking.

We remembered a place down by where Ports O Call was (pause for silent sob) which was really a local place - fire station personnel were throwing a retirement lunch when we were there last time some 20+ years ago.  Because it was on the water; because the view was a picturesque panorama of nets drying in the sun, a cat picking it's way across a pile of them; probably looking for a bit of shredded fish caught in said nets, we really enjoyed it.

Utros, Berth 73, San Pedro.  They don't have their own Website, but social media has taken care of that - plenty of comments and several with the menu. There is also a dog menu.  Four patties of beef.

First we had a beer.  Pabst Blue Ribbon, $4.50 pint; Stella (Artois) "Chalice $6.50 a pint and Big Eye IPA $8  pint.  We got an order of onion rings to go with our beers while we studied the menu.  They were from a medium onion, well coated and perfectly fine with a serving of Ranch on the side for dipping purposes.

He got a cup of clam chowder, $4.50 and when I asked, he said it was thinner than the thick, clam and potato-crammed product he is used to having.  He ate it all, of course.  He followed that up with a Tuna Melt on sourdough bread while I had the Patty Melt on sourdough, both were $7.50.

One bite and our heads came up from the trough and we unison-ed "Damn!  This is good!"  What made our sandwiches so enticing?  The sourdough was grilled perfectly.  The hamburger in my patty melt was top grade beef.  The tuna mix in his was plentiful along the lines of "my cup runneth over."

Best of all we were having a beautiful day - the sun was out; the light clear; the temperature hot in the sun, cool in the shade.  We could have eaten out of the spacious terrace, but elected for inside at a sunlit table.  Dessert never even entered our minds - we each had half a sandwich left over for dinner.  Lunch was $32 before tip (always 20% unless the server is seen to spit in the container.)

Utros will never equal Pors O Call, but I'm now hot to go back, sit outside, swill PBR to my heart's content and watch the gulls and boats and nets.  How does tomorrow sound?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Fall at the Beach! Winterize Your Wetsuits!

What winterizing a wetsuit would entail is unknown to this writer; just jot it down as an attempted red alert that our "cold weather" is approaching.  Southern California is not known for having cold much more than 55 degrees.  But, wait!  This morning it was 56 degrees out on the balcony.  I know this because when I let Fred out for his every morning property surveillance, I looked.

Naturally I take this as a sign that real Fall is here.  Fred agreed and trotted right back into the house having had a brief scan for traces of squirrel during the night.  We are not short of wildlife here.  Squirrel in the avocado tree from time to time; all year round for raccoons, skunks and possums.

Plenty of Fall to share.  Here - have a bowlful!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

When Department Stores Go Senile and Confused

Case in point today is the 171 years old New York landmark Hammacher Schlemmer.  The confusion that comes free of charge with their catalogs seems to be between whether they are a medical store, gadget purveyor or home yard decorations (Halloween and Christmas are covered in the issue I got the other day.  Let us examine the offerings, presented here randomly.

In just two pages - Medical:  back and joint pain reliever - which is only a cut -down rowing machine $169.95
Lady's Posture Improving Slippers Designed by an orthopod with a deep heel cup $79  And they are ugly ass.  An old woman's shapeless open heel mess - a picture of a Parisian concierge flashed into my mind.
The Biofeed Posture Trainer.  Composed of straps across the back (no front view) the straps either beep or vibrate to tell you to "Straighten up,, dammit!" which I would find greatly unnerving.  $79.95

Moving on to home décor - a 2-story tall inflatable Grinch for your front yard.  $399.95
The Colossal 16 ft. inflated Snoopy $399.95
The 16. ft. Glowing Inflatable Jack O-Lantern  $299.95  The open mouth with LED lights might prove a little tempting for neighborhood kids who think it's a bouncy house.  $299.95 plus any lawsuit charges.
The 2-story Inflatable Black Cat  To say it looks grotesque is understatement.  It is leering in a very unhealthy way.  $299.95 to get the nabe in an uproar.

Christmas décor - the ubiquitous Thomas Kinkade pops up with a 6' pop-up already-decorated Christmas tree.  His works are printed on the ribbons galumphing down the sides.  For storage it folds flat In a storage bag you can get for $29.95.  The tree is $199.95  Pop-up Christmas!  How modren, , dahling.  

The Thomas Kinkade Illuminated Teardrop-shaped front door sconce.  The center is a snowman holding a lamppost (what's that all about?) and the whole thing has LED lighting.  The color scheme is lavender (!) and white.  Go figure.

I omitted gadgets deliberately as I don't fancy reading the joys of owning the best nose and ear hair trimmer on the market, leave your barber forever with this handy little clipper set; the only 4 in. long pop-out umbrella and so on.  If interested just google  You're on your own, pal.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

When Strangers Discover That You're a Writer ...

You can expect to hear - nay, rely on hearing, "Oh, I wish I could write."  Followed by a wistful smile that clearly says, "Sucker. Wasting your time on that!"  To those others who clearly would like to write, I fix with a beady, squinted stare and reply, "Everyone has a story!  What's yours?  Write it down!"  For some reason people seem to drift away after that … still haven't figured it out.

Today I read an entry about stories that one could write on a postcard.  Here is the one that is appropriate albeit a little long to use in an actual conversation.  It's the thought that counts. And this column is mine to express any I might have, no matter how deranged.

"There's a secret library filled with all of the books people meant to write but never found the time.  No one has seen inside; no one knows if the shelves are full or empty, but they agree there's only one way to take out a book - WRITE!"

On a lighter note, see what you could do with this "postcard story."

"My mother was so proud when I joined up.  She told me, "Everyone wants to marry a man in uniform!" and I didn't have the heart to tell her, "So do I"

Let your imagination roam as it will.  Could you have written this?  Did he (clearly a he)  ever come out to his Mom?  What happened then?  Hit it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Happy 95th Birthday, Jimmy Carter!

The Democrats and Republicans have a great rivalry going on today.  Nothing is too small to be picked over like a buzzard over a steaming pile of roadkill.

Today's victory goes to the Dems.  Jimmy Carter will some day (hopefully quite far away)   become the longest-living President ever.  A rival, George Herbert Walker Bush, Republican, came in second at age 94 years and 117 days.

So happy birthday and quite a few more, Jimmy Carter!