Monday, August 27, 2012

Republican Ruminations


Charlie Pierce wrote the other day about the Interstate Highway System. It got me thinking. The system was championed and built by Dwight Eisenhower, a twice elected Republican President. Setting aside the fact that 50's Republicans were more liberal than today's Democrats (if you don't believe me read the 1956 Republican party platform) does anybody think we could get the Interstate System build today? I sure the hell don't.

First off you'd hear bullshit like: "The Fed-ral Gubmint can't be tellin the graht state of Mizza-sippee how tah be buildin ah roads, this ain't nuttin but an utha tak ovah from dah bee-row-crats in uh Washin-ton.

"The good pee-pul of 'Bama dont need the gub-mint tellin us what kind o signs we need on the high way"

..and so on.

The US Chamber of Commerce would be lobbying on behalf of the trucking industry about the minimal increase in the federal gas tax and how it would put the trucking industry out of business.

You'd have deficit hawks crying about how we couldn't afford it.

You'd have the Koch Brothers working behind the scenes trying to privatize the whole damn scheme.

We wouldn't have an Interstate Highway System, would we?

The Republicans are gathering in Tampa this week for their convention, the delegates consist of the following groups of people:

1. Folks who believe the world is 6,000 years old and people rode dinosaurs as did Jesus.

2. Other folks who believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.

3. A large group who believe Global Warming and Climate Change is a hoax promoted by evil scientists who just want to get rich.

4. People who learn biology from people with degrees from theological seminaries.

5. People who want the government out of their Medicare.

6. Morons who still believe the "Tea Party" is a grass roots organization.

7. Christianists who believe tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes are "god's" punishment for bad behavior will be hard pressed trying to explain why Hurricane Isaac is threatening Tampa.

8. Delegates from Texas who have rewritten the states school books to make Newt Gingrich more important than FDR and rank Reagan with the Founding Fathers.

9. People who don't believe in Evolution or any kind of science.

10. People who believe the "market" is the answer for everything as long as there is no competition or any rules to govern it.

I could go on, but I know one thing for sure, the only thing Mitt Romney has going for him with this group of flat earthers is, he is not Obama.

Republican Donor Sheldon Adelson explaining how big your dick gets when you have a billion or two dollars to throw around. Mitt is going to have a hell of a time getting his mouth around that one, isn't he?

One last thing, why doesn't Sheldon Adelson move to Israel or Macao? His heart is in Israel and he makes 90% of his income in China. Sheldon, just pack your shit and get and by the way human hair doesn't come in 'shit brindle brown" does it? You'd think billions could buy you better hair color, wouldn't you?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sports Highlights

A visit to Chavez Ravine:

Tuesday night Ray and I went to Chavez Ravine to see the Dodgers-Giants game. I left the office at 5, got to Ray's house in Woodland Hills at 5:38. We switched to Ray's car and we headed for the stadium. The traffic was okay and when we got off the Freeway it was 6:30. From the exit to the parking lot it was bumper to bumper. The road into the ballpark goes through Elysian Park so the scenery is nice. Ray had his company's tickets and "Preferred Parking Pass". By the time we parked it was 7:35 and the game was into the bottom of 2nd inning. By the time we sat down in our excellent seats, just to the left of homeplate in the Loge section after getting a couple of beers and Dodger Dogs the game was in the 3rd. The beers and dogs cost $38.50. The Dodgers lost 4-1 and dropped a game and half behind the Giants in the NL West! Dodger Stadium is 50 years old and it is kind of a grand old place. It was a revelation when it opened because it didn't have any obstructed view seats!

Fenway Pahk:

I sat in a seat in Fenway Park's right field grand stand that had a steel beam in front of it. If you sat upright in the seat you had 10 inches of steel 24 inches from your face!

The summer I turned 50, old friends, Gary, Don and John spent an afternoon at Fenway and an even longer evening on Landsdowne Street after the game. Good thing I lived on Newbury Street at the time and we didn't have to walk very 'Fah".

The Gahden:

The old Boston Garden had plenty of obstructed view seats, there were seats in the third level that had I beams directly in front of them and the beams were so close to the seat you had to spread you legs to sit in them. No AC either, I went to a Bruins Stanley Cup semi final, it was 97 degrees outside and foggy in the "Gahden". The Ringling Bros circus used to play the building every year, in the 30's some monkeys managed to escape and they lived in the rafters of the old Garden for many years. They lived on popcorn, pizza crusts, old hot dogs and anything else they could scrounge up. Legend has it they used to drop a nice monkey turd or two on the ice during Bruins games and they targeted the Celtic's parquet floor, too.

The first concert in the New Boston Garden was Plante and Paige. Saw the show, it was good and no, they didn't play "Stairway to Heaven". 

Wrigley Field:

Years ago, Doug James and I went to a Reds-Cubs game at Wrigley Field. There was a pitcher's dual that afternoon and Pete Rose was up in the late innings. We were seated in a box right behind home plate. The crowd was really quiet while waiting for the pitch. Sitting in the box next to us was a guy who was so drunk it seemed impossible he was still conscious. The call was 3 and 2, the park deathly quiet, Rose was ready and then the drunk threw up. Not only did he throw up gallons of whatever he had drank before and during the game it was the loudest barf I've ever heard. It seemed like it echoed through Wrigley. Rose stepped out of the batter's box, the catcher stood up and they both, along with the umpire stared back into the seats behind home plate. Years later, when Rose had his restaurant in Delray Beach, I had a chance to ask him if he remembered the "Guy Barfing at Wrigley"? He said he did. Pete struck out on the next pitch and the Cubbies defeated the Big Red Machine that afternoon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Elvis or as they say down south "Evis"

My girlfriend in the 9th grade Ann Young, was an Air Force Colonel's kid from Crystal Springs Mississippi. Cathy Ann and her older sister Billie Jean were Elvis fans. Big fans. From all the afternoons and nights I spent in Young's family room listening to 'Evis" over and over again I've taken away three things in my life. One: I can damn near quote the lyrics to every song Elvis recorded up until I was a sophomore in high school. Two: I began to hate Elvis from over exposure and those terrible damn movies. Three: Cathy Ann and I taught each other to kiss while listening to "Evis".

Don't get me wrong, I actually liked Elvis until being force fed a steady diet of his music along with Ann's mother's banana cream pie. Mrs Young always called down the stairs, "Keeds, y'all need tah hav sum of this paah." She'd always time it just as Ann and I were working our way through the 2nd chapter of French Kissing 101. Annie would climb off me, straighten her Bobby Brooks skirt and sweater and run upstairs to get our "Paah". We'd wash it down with "Co-cola" and then get back to "kissin" as little Annie called it. Things would really heat up when this 'Evis" tune or one like it would drop down on the turntable on the Young sister's 45 rpm record player.


Elvis died on the toilet at Graceland 35 years ago today. I heard the news driving home from Cape Cod in our '74 Cadillac Coupe De Ville. With us in the car was the Howard Nelson family, Howard, Linda, Bryce and Blair....Linda was about 8 months 29 days pregnant with Brandy. We'd had a great week with the Nelsons in Boston, we were all sunburned and pleasantly tired from a weekend on the cape and all 8 and 8/9ths of us fit comfortably in the big old caddy. We were all a little shocked by the news.
By that time Elvis was the jump suited Fat Elvis and sang fucking "My Way"!

I like this 'Evis" much better.

From the '68 Come Back Special, Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do"

I'm glad my memories of "Evis" go to the beginning of his career and stopped before he made a complete fool of himself, fat, wasted and going through the motions. He had the single worst manager in the history of music, Col. Tom Parker. Every wonder why Elvis never toured outside of the US? Col Tom was an illegal Dutch immigrant and couldn't leave the country. Elvis never made any money to speak of during his lifetime (the Col did) and it wasn't until Priscilla straightened things out financially that Elvis got his due on the financial side, by that time it was too late for him.

So Cathy Ann, honey, thanks for all that practice 'kissin" to "them Evis records" it did for me, as I hope it has for you, become a source of great satisfaction over all these years. And Sugar, thank yo Momma for all that paah, 'cause between you and Junior Hockey I needed all the energy I could get!

I last spoke to Catherine Ann Young in '96, she was teaching physics at Louisiana Tech and had become a Metallica fan. And yes, she remains to this day, ambidextrous.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Vacation Workshops

                                                       Westport Sunsets Workshop

This was a difficult workshop as it required sitting in a comfy chair on the deck, drink in hand, waiting for exactly the right moment to pick up an automatic Canon digital camera, lift to eye, push the shutter, place the camera on table and resume cocktail hour. To get the perfect shot this process would require almost endless, precise repetition.

                  How to love and care for your Geriatric German Shepherd Workshop

This workshop concentrated on proper food, water, treats, petting, hugging and plenty of "doggie talk"!
           Both students passed with flying colors and the old boy is a tough taskmaster!

Dory tried to get this cat to join the workshop. "No way" said young Mr. Cat, that dog is not my kind!

                                                  Manly Cooking Workshop

The first dish is an extremely manly breakfast (women like it too!) Heritage white, red and blue potatoes with salami, red onions, eggs and a butt load of cheese! All plates were cleaned.

A workshop supper favorite, a spin on coq au vin. Full head of garlic inside the chicken along with a half of red onion. The organic bird (it tastes like chicken) is rubbed with olive oil, salted, peppered and some lemon is squeezed on it. Pour about a 1/3 of an inch of white wine in the pan. Roast with breast side down until nicely browned then flip it over and roast until nicely browned. Time depends on the oven. Let it sit while you make the mashed potatoes, broccoli and carrots to go on the side.

Another workshop project was making bread using Tom Micklin's recipe. I couldn't get the oven hot enough to make the "steam injection" work but we ended up with a nice, hearty, rustic, dense bread that was wonderful. Jan made brownies, they were gone so fast I couldn't snap a picture. We also had rib eyes, Kobe beef hot dogs with mac 'n cheese, fish that were swimming only hours before they hit the pan, pancakes, chicken apple sausage...the mind and belly boggles!

                                                         The Reading Workshop

                                                              Grandpa sets example

                                                          Grandson follows suite

                                                Synchronized reading, more difficult than it looks!

                                                              Model Airplane Workshop

This is an incredibly complicated Legos plane. Unlike his grandfather, D-Man reads the instructions!

                                                         The Private Art Studio

Perched on the edge of the cliff at the back of the property is a tiny little art studio. It has huge west facing windows and a small deck hanging in the air about 50 feet over the beach.

                                                              Various and Sundry Shots

This Ninja climbed the cliff at the Point Arena Lighthouse, appropriate because this is the closest spot on the coast to Japan.

Sharing dinner with the locals from across the street. The guy's name is Picasso, his parents were hippies from Topanga Canyon. Picasso's significant other Jennifer grew up in Westport with Bill Brazil's, the owner of the house, daughter Erin who is a musician in San Francisco. We had surf and turf, rib eyes and ling cod. Lots of wine and whiskey. here is Erin and her band, the Brazilionaires.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vacation Activities

IED Workshop.

Much to the consternation of the little woman, Dory and I opened an IED workshop on the front porch. We created a lot of flame, no major explosions. (Dory found a cache of little kid's fireworks in the house and they completely disappointed us both so we tried to step it up by building our own.)

                                                     Fishing out of Fort Bragg:

With a 12 foot swell working the boat over, here is D-Man through the door of Titan ll's cabin.

Dory caught the boat's first fish of the day and bagged his limit of 10!

Captain Tim's crew were great with Dory, the guy behind Dory is a retired mill hand named Bill, he handled the net for our fisherman.

Captain Tim, his crew of 3 and I were the only ones on the boat who didn't get seasick!

It's a good thing he only had toast and juice for breakfast! He bounced right back after a short session of the "heaves". We were on the water from 7am to almost one. The crew fileted D's fish and we were both napping by 3. Earlier that day, Cakes was so worried her drugged out hubby was going to be late, she snapped awake and without looking at the clock or or the watch on my arm woke me up. It was 2:30AM!

We had ling cod breaded in corn meal for! I served it with the bread we baked in the old wood cook stove.

                                                          Rainbow Workshop

Dory built this rainbow for Jan.

It made her very happy!

A trip to the ER, Vacation part 1

We got home at 5 this morning, we were going to stay overnight in Santa Cruz, then after dinner with my daughter and the kids, we looked at each other and said to hell with it and drove home. Jan went to bed at 5:30 and I was so wired I hit the rack at shortly after 7. We slept until 12:30. Jan is back in bed. I may join her. If Jan hadn't taken over the wheel after Camp Roberts I would have had us upside down and in flames.

I had a tinge of pain in a tooth on the way up to Westport on Sunday, by Tuesday morning I looked like Chuckie Chipmunk. We went to the emergency room at Mendocino County Med Center, the doc took a look and prescribed penicillin and percocet. After listening to my heart, he hooked me up to an EKG machine, then asked how long I had known about my irregular heart beat. I didn't know I had one! I spent the next 4 and half hours hooked up to a heart monitor, had my heart x-rayed and of course, the irregular beat never showed up again. I have an appointment at Kaiser Permanente tomorrow at 10. I did have a nice nap in the ER.

When we got back to the delightful little house on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, I medicated myself with percocet and penicillin, washed it down with 4 fingers of single batch bourbon. Before I collapsed I roasted a chicken for dinner. Dory built a nice fire in the wood stove and I spent the rest of the evening with a full stomach, lying on the love seat reading surrounded by the ones I love. We had a reservation to go fishing on Wednesday, I changed it to Thursday as I needed to recover from my aching jaw and contemplate my new "condition". Wednesday, Cakes and Dory went to Glass Beach to collect sea glass, on the way they dropped me off at Starbucks in Fort Bragg. I sat there in a drug induced revery, cancelled 100's of e-mails, read the news while drinking a very large, ultra-grande Cafe Americano. I called the office, stumbled over to Albertsons. I had a conversation with a terrible woman my age. I was finally able to shut her up when Dory came into Starbucks to get me and the nosy old bag asked if that was my grandson, I said "No, he's my son and he's got a sister who is 42!" That put a lid on her! By Wednesday night I dropped from Defcon 10 swelling to simply looking like I was chewing a wad of plug tobacco. I medicated early in the evening, went to bed at ten so we could go fishing in the morning. We were on the road to the boat at 5:30 and that's a story for later.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Vacation Time!

Other than a week just after New Years, I've been doing 6 and 7 day weeks at DRIVE! for the past 7 months. The Cakes routinely works 55 plus hour weeks, believe me we are ready for a week off.

We were going to do another Airstream trip but passed because of the scarcity of good campsites this time of year in California. If you want to go to Yosemite and stay in the park, reserve now for next August! We thought about Shasta, Mammoth Lakes, Crater Lake even trailering all the way to Colorado. I said to hell with it and because we've had good luck with VRBO, I started scouring their website.

We found this little saltbox house built in 1872 in Westport, California. Westport with a permanent population of 66 is about a half hour north of Fort Bragg. The little house is right on the ocean and has a trail to the beach. It has 2 bedrooms, a bath and a half, a deck with a Weber. It has the original wood cookstove (and a modern gas stove too) a wood burning stove for heat. No cell, no cable, no web, but it does have a land line. It will be hard to be unplugged for a week, even harder to be away from my baby business.

Wesport has a little combo store-gas station-beer depot, word is, it's open when the guy who owns wants it to be open. So the kitchen with this incredible view must be stocked with food we bring from home. We have our menus planned, roast chicken one night, kobe beef hot dogs and mac 'n cheese another, tri-tip on the grill and much more. We are bringing plenty of wine, Martini supplies, some good old Knob Creek bourbon, too.

We decided to take our youngest grandson with us. His sister left for Copenhagen and his older bro spent 10 days at Shasta Headwaters camp, so this is Dory's vacation. He is a cool little dude of 9, he likes to cook like I do. Thanks to old pal Tom Micklin we have a fantastic receipe for French Bread and we are going to bake bread in the original wood burning cookstove. His great, great granma baked bread for years and years in a wood stove on the farm. I can remember her telling me, "Get me a piece of wood about the size of your thumb." knowing exactly just how much that stick of wood would raise the temperature in the oven. How did she know? Practice, I suspect.

I've downloaded 3 new books in my Kindle, Jan loaded up her IPad, we've got cards, a chess set and dominos. And 5 movies on DVD. I can listen to the last week of the Olympics on sat radio, NPR for news, too. We're going hiking, see the sights and sit on our butts at the beach, on the deck and probably on a rock or two. The old dog is coming along as well.

The weather this time of year on the North Coast; 80 in the daytime and 50 at night. August is the driest month of the year. We'll sleep with the windows open at night and listen to the crashing waves.

              I think this vacation may rank with the ones we took on our boat, maybe?

                   See you when we get back. Be safe, smile and dammit be happy!

(I think the guy who owns the little store that's only open when he feels like opening it, may just have life by the ass.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Sophia

A 5:45 Flight to Berlin, a 5 hour layover and she'll be in her home for the next 10 months, the University of Copenhagen.

My role: pick her up in Hollywood, take her to the bank and then to LAX. In Hollywood she was waiting with a duffel bag on wheels and an expedition back pack. Both loaded to the point where you couldn't have slipped an extra piece of paper in either of them! In addition to the pack and duffel, Ms S had taken her new bike apart and along with her tools it was loaded a box that fit in the back of the Jeep. She paid $100 to ship the bike.

At the bank, we converted her US account to one she could access in Copenhagen without incurring massive transaction fees. When she gets to Copenhagen she'll have to buy a European sim card for her phone. Since she is officially still a student at UCLA she will still be connected via the UCLA ISP. The banking took for ever and killed our chance to have lunch together. I dropped her and the  luggage at BerlinAir. I unloaded her things on the sidewalk and offered to get her a cart. Sophia looked at me like I was nuts. She hoisted her back pack on, slung her purse around her shoulder, took her wheeled duffel and the bike box and looked ready to rock and roll. More than ready.

It was weird to see her go. I was happy for her, sad to see her go and so proud. She looked great, her attitude was great and she (like always) had her shit together. Passport, school paperwork, banking paperwork and everything else she needed plus copies! She had a book and her IPad for the plane ride. I gave her a 100 dollar bill to put in her shoe and money for the lunch we didn't get to have.

She should be in Copenhagen about now. I hope she gets some sleep, but I have a sneaking suspicion she put her bike together and is out taking a long ride. Sophia has a couple of weeks of orientation and then its down to work. Ten months from now, she'll be home, she'll graduate from UCLA and will probably go to grad school. Whatever she decides, I won't 2nd guess her.

Cakes and I are going to miss her. I'll miss going to Costco with her and dividing up "supplies" when we finished shopping. We'll miss meeting her for breakfast in Santa Monica and cooking with her. Miss having her spend a weekend with us. I have the desk, dresser and rug we bought her stored in the garage at the office waiting for her return.

When we hugged and kissed at LAX, I said to her, "Don't do anything I wouldn't have done at your age, then realized my mistake and told her to forget it." She gave me another hug, smiled and went in the terminal. We are going to see her in Europe this winter.

Be safe, have fun and dammit study! We love you with all our hearts, Ms S.