Monday, December 31, 2012

Wishes for the New Year 2013

Instead of the usual lists about how fabulous this blogger has been over the past twelve months, and we know I have been fabulous, don't we, I'm going to list my top three wishes for 2013.

Now mind you, these are things that I know have a snowballs chance in Hell of happening, still they are my wishes:

1. Kim and Kanye need to go away.  They need to fade off into the pop culture boneyard and keep company with Paris Hilton.  Its time for something just as vapid to take their place.  I am sure that when you strip away all the hype, they are humans.  But they need to be replaced with something more entertaining or talented or BOTH.  Sadly, we all know that once the news media gets tired of Kim and Kanye, they are going to find something as equally vapid and tiresome to jam down our throats.

2. Someone with an interest in Wikipedia need to remove this image of Rosalind Russell from her biography and replace it with something that really shows her joy of life.  This picture was a still from her first movie, and no one, Save for Queen Elizabeth I looks good in a ruff neckline.

How about this, instead:

There, now, isn't that better?

3. I need to find one of these and make it my own.  It's a Philco Golden Anniversary refrigerator.  Pull the "V" on the left side down, and the door opens on the left.  Pull it down on the right, and the door opens on the right,  Stylish, and sensible.  Then I need the great room to house it in.

4. I wish for a black 1965 Impala Convertible like my mom had, down to the plain old hubcaps like this one has.  For sentimental reasons, I need this car.

Those are my wishes, what are yours?

Have a Happy New Years Eve, and be safe darlings!

Friday, December 28, 2012

RIP in peace, Gerry Anderson

If you were born in the last 60 years, you probably know who Gerry Anderson was. Anderson created many of the most untypical children's shows on TV, airing first in the United Kingdom and then slowly migrating to the States.

While Hannah-Barbera insulted your child like minds with the Banana Splits, Anderson thought the children of the world, and I was one of them, could handle shows shot in SUPER MARINATION that involved puppets doing adult things, like working and having adventures without any children around to make them cute.

And these weren't any puppets - these amazing marionettes (See the clip above) that held down important jobs and had inter-species love triangles and adult theme music.  Male and female role models for kids - that made kids feel like they were talking to them.  What more, in Stingray, Anderson had a physically challenged marionette with a cool mobility device.

Mind you, Anderson made all this happen in 1964, DECADES before government and watchdog groups made TV networks air bullshit crap like the Noodle and Doodle Bus (where children are encouraged to hop aboard (unescorted, mind you) a bus driven by "Joel", a man who's into cooking and crafts and plays with, get this, puppets. Look at this douchebag on the right.  WHAT PARENT WOULD LET THIS MAN, OR ANY MAN, HOST THEIR CHILD ALONE IN A BUS?

Anderson later went on to film the syndicated SPACE 1999 about a moon crashing through outer space with Martin Landau and Barbara Bain in charge.  Hot!

So here's to you Gerry Anderson, for widening our horizons and giving us that bizarre inter-species love triangle between the Captain, the Admiral's daughter and the mute Mermaid.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Did Santa Make You Happy?

Or did you make Santa happy this year?

Did you get anything really good?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Christmas Gift to You: Mother Goose A-Go-Go

With Christmas upon us, If I could give you all just one present it would be Mother Goose A-Go-Go (1966) for each of you.  For those of you who know about this salient work of cinema, which also goes by the name The Unkissed Bride,  enjoy the trailer and be refreshed.

For those of you who have never heard of this gem, Turner Classic Movies provides the most direct synopsis:

"Newlyweds Ted (Tommy Kirk) and Margie (Anne Helm) Hastings immediately begin to have marital problems on their honeymoon at the hotel of Margie's uncle, Jacques Phillipe.  Margie, to overcome her nervousness during lovemaking preliminaries, picks up a copy of Mother Goose and begins to read aloud from it, whereupon Ted faints. A secret visit to psychiatrist Dr. Marilyn Richards reveals that Ted has a "Mother Goose" complex. Hotel detective Ernest Sinclair complicates Dr. Richards' treatment (conducted for convenience's sake in the hotel) by his over-zealousness: he believes that Ted, like his employer, Jacques Phillipe, is being unfaithful to his wife. Dr. Richards solves Ted's problem by treating him with an LSD spray while he sleeps, causing him to hallucinate and thus incorporate into reality the fairy tale characters from his fantasies."

Midway through the film, Henny Youngman pops in for a visit and earns a screen credit. Tommy Kirk sang the title song. And because Hollywood loved putting bit players into drag, Robert Ball, who plays the hitel dick, shows up in the cocktail lounge in drag, go go dancing while he keeps tabs on Kirk.

Barbara McNair puts an appearance singing "The Queen of Soul".

The strangest person popping in the film is Joe Pyne, the first confrontational radio and television talk show host (and self appointed fitness nut) who was the Morton Downey Jr. of his day.  The chain smoking Pyne plays himself.

The film, which is truly campy, marked the beginning of a career spiral for Kirk, who was once part of the Disney stable of young clean cut talent. In 1964, Kirk was outted to studio executives when the mother of a 15 year old boy alerted Disney that the 24 year old Kirk and engaged in a sexual relationship with her son.  Walt Disney personally fired Kirk, only to have to ask him back to film the sequel (The Monkey's Uncle) to 1964's hugely successful Misadventures of Merlin Jones.

Towards the end of the 1960s, Kirk's life was in disarray   He was drinking and whoring around, which made his appeal less than desirable to major studios and television production companies.  Hollywood is great at finding child talent, but it does a lousy job at preparing those youths for real life and real life problems.

Kirk eventually sought treatment for his drug use, and he came to terms with his homosexuality.  He also established a carpet cleaning business that provided him with real continued success that he could control.

Don't look for this one on TV.  We've found this on Amazon (Under "The Unkissed Bride")if you would want to buy it, and you do.  Because its so bad, its good.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rocky and Kevin Meet Santa Paws

Rocky and Kevin have been very good dogs this year. They've been real troopers when its come down to all the upheaval in their lives. With the two of us been in a state of flux, the pups have been on their best behavior.  This includes leading up to the Husband starting his new job, living with me in Columbus, putting up with the open houses, the eight hour car trip to Baltimore, the moving and helping to establish a new routine.

Santa is bringing them toys and a new custom built fence (as soon as as the design is approved by the neighborhood association, too) for the back yard!  The fence will help keep them in and safe, and keep out the other dogs, cats and fox (yes, we have foxes) so we don't have to worry about them darting off into places unknown.  So they will finally get to be outside with us and play.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We interrupt this blog for a Kevin moment

Kevin (aka Kevin Kevin the Wonder Mutt, or KKWM to his peeps) approves of this message.  Now hold your face to the screen so he can lick it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This year, forget the Christmas cheer, and instead make someone matter to you

The thing about Christmas that I have grown to hate is that there is a very large, and getting larger everyday, contingent of people who demand, and belittle people into having a "perfect Merry Christmas" instead of a having a meaningful Christmas experience.

To them, every blasted household in the U.S. goes home on Christmas Eve, where they are warmly welcomed by their parents, brothers and sisters and children - oh my GOD, its always about the children - and they eat well, make fond memories, and if you are to believe Hollywood, they fall in love while Santa watches from afar.

In reality, its a nice thought. Unrealistic, but nice.

In the real world, people have to work through the Christmas Holiday.  Whether its plowing snow, unclogging sewers, flagging in planes to the air port or being a cashier at the WaWa, people work, and they work because this horde of true believers run out of cigarettes, get their cars stuck being on the road when they have been told to stay home because weather conditions are bad.

Well it sucks to be you in that car in the ditch, but in the olden days, they traveled to grandmother's house by sleigh, not by Honda Accords with All-Weather (HA!) Tires.

And then there are the personalities.  Someone is always detached, some one is always whiney and then there are the children, who have all had enough sugar to power them through the night.  Again, it's always about the children.

I feel bad for the people who sit alone, and want desperately to belong to someone.  I'm not talking about the people who really see Christmas as a day to be by their selves and look forward to that solitude.  No, I'm talking about the ones who want to be wanted, yet have no one even think of them.  They say that they want to spend the evening with their cat, or their iguana, but no one wants to be forgotten.

Yet all around them are people so wrapped up in their own worlds and needs that they insist that everyone be happy instead of wanting around them to feel secure and safe and wanted.

So, my challenge to you is to be kind to people this holiday week, and put those around you, especially the invisible people that are inconvenient to your own sense of perfection.  Don't just think that giving a homeless person a dollar gets you off the hook.  No. Make that person the center of your life for bit of time.

Thank the girl at WaWa for being there when you need a pack of Marlboro, or think that some TicTacs would be nice.  Compliment her on that festive pin.  Either she thinks it makes her festive, or she hopes it will make you feel festive, but don't be a total tool and throw the money at her and then think "What a total bitch." when she throws the change at you.

Thank the doorman.  Yes, tip him, because we all know what can go wrong when we fail to tip the doorman, but thank him genuinely.

And most importantly, if you have family that you are spending Christmas with, even its your mother who drives you crazy, thank your lucky stars that someone cares enough to make you crazy.

Why is Cookie like this?

This is my second Christmas without my mother, and for as much as I would kvetch about her, since she's been gone I am all alone in this world.  Yes, I have my adoring husband, a man that I am too lucky to have love me, and make me laugh and take care of me through these dark winter months, but when a parent or a brother or a sister that is all you have left leaves you, you're alone.

So this year, if you are one of those dreaded Christmas People, spend less time on insisting others be happy and merry, which only makes your mania seem reasonable, and be good to those who have no one else.

Your Christmas will be more in line with what is important, one and other, and less about material things, which no one really cares about.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn...

...MJ and Norma are in the bedroom, and they're acting in porn*. 

I'm a bit giddy from holiday merriment.  Please excuse the lapse.  But when you see it, you gotta use it. 

*please note that no sexual acts are depicted and no genitalia is displayed. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

All Over God's Green Acre

When we were planning our big move last winter, one of the reasons why Baltimore scored much higher than it would have (and that was just about damned near perfect) is because its close to my most favorite place in the whole wide world, Washington DC.  Cookie lived there 30 years ago and I came out of the closet there in January 1983, so this was like coming back home. There was also an added bonus that my eldest niece, her family and their children were there as well.

But, things being what they have been, a caprice to DC was not in the making, as getting accustomed to Baltimore was my number one job.  And while I don't know where everything thing is here, I'm made enough inroads that if stuck on a freeway, I can hop off and take back roads to get where I need to go without driving through a neighborhood that is a poster child for The Wire.

With that under my belt, today I made my first solo trip into Washington DC since the big move.  Like I said, its been 30 years since I lived there, and things change.  And my direction of approach to the city is drastically different then its been since those school days.  So my day was to stop by and see Niecy and the kids, and then make my way to some familiar turf.

In the car with me was was a Garmin GPS navigation unit that we have named "Garmin Miranda"

My thing with nav units is that they are handy if you don't know where you are going, and they came be aggravating as Hell IF you do know where you are going.

Niecy lives in Alexandria, and from Baltimore, you just can't take a freeway and get there unless you want to go 20 miles out of the way.  So Garmin Miranda did a good job at walking me through the steps of getting off at East Capital Street NE, hoping on South Carolina NE, and then South Carolina Street SE, onto Virginia Avenue SE and then across the river.

After the visit, I told it that I wanted to go to the Christ Child Opportunity Shop in Georgetown, which is one of my old haunts because everything there is fabulous, and I know Georgetown.  So I went there and shopped, and bought a wonderful Eikholt paperweight signed and dated 1983.

Traffic in DC get squirly around 3PM on a week day, and I left CCO at 2:45PM.  I thought about just shooting up Wisconsin Avenue to the beltway, but I made the mistake of asking Garmin Mirada to get me home.  And if you have ever driven in DC, it is second to driving in Boston (proper) for hair raising idiocy.

She not only chartered our course, but she took me on a wild goose chase as well as traveled through the heart of the city and into neighborhoods that I don't even recall from my college days.

The route she took me to get to the Beltway on is in blue, the route I would have taken is in red:

Now, from Georgetown, I would have hiked up Wisconsin Avenue, cut across to the Connecticut Avenue and then used that to get to the beltway. Minimum number of turns.

But Ms. Garmin Miranda took me through Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, Petworth, Fort Totten, Manor Park, Lamond Park, and at least seven other communities before she availed the beltway.  This whole escapade over Gods creation was an HOUR of travel.  An HOUR.

Suffice it to say, we've had a day.  It's good to be home.  But tomorrow is another adventure.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cookies Axiom: I'm never far from someone who knows someone I know

The husband claims that wherever we go, however far we travel, that during the time we are away, I am no further than arms reach from someone who knows someone that I know.

Baltimore challenged that.  I was feeling quite alone, though as I am an introvert, I've been quite fine with that.  I knew no one.  Yes, Niecey and her family were just down the road in DC, and so is my first love of my life (read that as beloved ex-husband), but still, that doesn't really count.  So I am alone in a city with few people to talk to or admit we know one and other.

Or so I thought.

It's been confirmed: Baltimore seems to be within my gravitational pull.  And surprise, surprise!  It's the Shaker Heights and Jewish connections at play:

1) Unbeknownst to us, the family a down the street is the brother and sister in law of one of my oldest and dearest friends from my college days.   We knew that Jess's wife had a brother in Baltimore, but we didn't find out where until early November.   We had dessert there on Thanksgiving evening and there we met...

2) A young Rabbi and her husband who had just relocated to Baltimore from Arizona.  She asks where we're from and we say Ohio.  She has cousins in Ohio - University Heights.  I tell her I'm from Shaker (next door to UH) and we start talking Temples.  Then she mentions their last name, and I say "The candy company family?"   She says its one and the same, and if I know them.  Know them?  "My mother dated Sol's brother Abe for years."  The husband rolls his eyes. She says "Abe the Freckle?" It's a Mitzvah!  And they live around the corner, too.

3) But back to my friend Jess.  Jess and his wife came over after Thanksgiving and we showed them the house and we kibitzed.   I knew she was from Buffalo, but she tells me that her mother was from Cleveland. What part? Taylor Road.  By the big toy store?  Yes!  She remembers the toy store.  It was really a hardware store but they had the huge room that was double the hardware store where they sold toys.  Turns out her grandfather was the Rabbi at Taylor Road Synagogue, better known to the old families like mine as Oheb Zedek. I gave her a book on the Cleveland Jews and she promised to return it.  I told her to keep it and share it.  "What good does it do anyone if it just sits on my shelf?"  My husband turned me and said "you just sounded like your father." OY!

4) We're in the grocery store this Sunday and we have to go to the service counter because we got overcharged for a Sunday Washington Post.  There I meet "Abbey".  Abbey refunds our our dollar and we start talking.  Again, we tell her our story and she says "I was just in Columbus and had a Tommy's Pizza, then we went to Aurora to meet my mother."  So we go through the "your from Shaker, I'm from Pepper Pike."  So I say "What Temple?" because the Shiksa and the Goyum are not residents of Pepper Pike.  She tells me, and I tell her I went there as a child. She starts getting a tear in her eye and says that her mother's cousin was married to the Cantor at the temple and how much her meant to her.  And I'm like "Your mother's cousin was Sylvia?"  You know them, she asks.  Know them, Sam was my father's twin brother.  Again, the husband rolls his eyes.  And we make dinner plans.

In the car he asks "In the past three weeks you've run into people who know people that you know.  How is this possible?"

It's gotta be the Jewish thing, right?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

There is an "I" in TEAM

Share this with the 'A' Holes that you work with.

Friday, December 7, 2012

She sells she-crab at the seashore...

If it were up to me, She-Crab Soup would have a prettier label.  After all, a lady wants to look her best, even when she's been canned and sitting on a shelf at almost $5 a pop.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

We're all winners on Infomaniac

I have just been notified that I have won the first annual Infomaniac Kitchen Queen Cook Off Contest.  If you were here with me now I would give you a great big smile and a cold, formulatic pageant wave!

Here's the thing with MJ at the Infomaniac: she gives and gives and gives, and then she gives some more because, that's the way she is.  And I think that any of her regular readers, and I mean this with all sincerity would say that not only is she loved by us all, but a day without MJ is really like a day without sunshine. So let us all lift a glass and toast the Mistress of the Infomaniac, for no matter how her life is going (save for Blogger deleting her blog by accident) she still makes time for us.   Think about that Bitches - she is always there for us.  And she can be there for you too, reader.  Just join in the fun, that's all!

Now onto what you are waiting for...THE RECIPE.

I won it with my mother's famous brisket recipe that is the BOMB.  Never fails to come out right.  Never fails to be a favorite, and never fails to get you compliments.  Here it is:

Momma Cookie's Sweet and Sour Brisket

1) 5-6 pound beef brisket with the fat. No one likes a dry brisket.
2) 1 cup brown sugar
3) 2 packages of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup
4) 1 TBS of white vinegar

You'll need heavy aluminum foil and a meat roaster, and this needs to be made a day before you need it. It has to mellow overnight.


Seam together two sheets of heavy duty foil (along the width) tightly and place on counter shiny side up.

In the middle of the foil, empty one of the Lipton Soup packages.

Place the meat, fat side up, on the dry soup mix.

Empty the second container onto the fat and rub it in

Carefully bring the sides of the foil up and neatly seal the meat completely up in the foil as air tight as possible.

Place this into a metal roaster lined with foil. Place the lid on the roaster and put this into the over at 325 degrees (F) for 4-5 hours.

After cooking is complete, remove from over, remove the roaster lid and CAREFULLY open the foil and dump the brown sugar onto the hot meat and quickly seal the foil back up. 

Let cool, then place in the fridge over night.


Remove from fridge, open the foil and pick off the cold white fat. Throw this loose fat away. 

Remove the meat, move the foil & pan drippings to a sauce pan and bring to a roiling simmer. Add in the vinegar stir and let cool.

Using an electric knife, slice the meat against the grain into thin slices. NEVER slice the meat with the grain.

Place the sliced meat, fat side up on a Pyrex dish, pour the liquid sauce from the pan over this meat, and then cover with foil. Reheat for an hour at 350.

Serve with Uncle Ben's Wild Rice, which has a nice counter point flavor to the meat and the sauce.

For leftovers (as if that would happen) build a sandwich on Challah with Swiss cheese. Throw some butter into a skillet and then toast (like you would a grilled cheese sandwich) the sandwich till the bread gets a nice brown color. Yummy!

NOTE: DO NOT Try this with a crockpot, or a tofukey. Jesus will cry if you do this. Trust me.

Christmas Gift Ideas For The Blogger in Your Life: Peenee in a Belted Sweater

Just think how great Mr. Peenee would look in a belted sweater.  I dare say that he would be dashing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An end to era, kinda of, the beginning of an era anew

This week I sold my share in the family farm that has been in the family since 1822.  My uncle bought my share.  The way the agreement was written up if I got hit by the bread truck tomorrow, the husband couldn't inherit my share because we aren't married in Ohio, it has to convey to family members.  Never mind Maryland, our home state, recognizes our marriage, Ohio does not.

Kinda sad, but it was a lot of headaches.  When my grandmother died it was divided between my mother and her three brothers and it lead to all sorts of bad feelings towards each other.  Then they drove a new freeway smack through the middle of it and it stopped being a "farm" and was just "land".

Anyhow, glad to be rid of it, and the cash in hand before the tax rate goes up. Now I'll invest it in something terribly droll, and boring, and safe until we know what happens when the nation falls over the "Fiscal Palisades", as I like to call it.

So that is the end.

This is the beginning anew:

My other project was that we got the love seat (actually, it's a real Federal era settee) out of the basement.  Now that we have room for it, it was time to remove it from storage and get it up and back to the living.

This poor piece of furniture has been resurrected so many times that I've started calling it "Jesus Christ".

My mother's great great great grandparents brought it with them in wagon when they crossed over the Cumberland Gap and headed to Ohio in 1804.  Somehow it made it to our branch, and it was used an abused for generations.  At some point, my great grandmother stored it in the old farm house at the farm that my mother grew up in.  Then in the 1960s, Mom drove down to Marion, and sick of seeing it and the house it was in crumbling before her eyes, she threw it in the back of the convertible Impala and transported it to Shaker Heights.

My father took it to one of his famous "friends", an upholsterer with a rap sheet, who ripped off the original fabric (mostly threadbare) ruined the finish, stripped the gold leaf from the carved arms and "antiqued" it baby shit brown.  And why did people "antique" antique furniture in the 1960s?

When Mom heard about that, she was p-i-s-s-e-d.  She drove that Impala down there, put the down the top in the dead of winter, and had them put in the back of car and she drove it home where the frame, complete with the horsehair stuffing, sat for years.  My father was mad too.  He sold the Impala and bought her a Riviera - a car with a fixed roof that she couldn't haul crap around in.

In the 1980s, she finally had it recovered, and used it for years, and when she and my step father married, the husband and I rented a van and schlepped it back down to Columbus and it lived in our basement because we didn't have any room for it. Then my friend Simina needed furniture for her home, so lent it to her.  She and I got in a fight (and we haven't spoken in years) and when I went to reclaim it, she had left her cats use it for a litter box and sharpening station for their claws.   So into our basement it went for 10 years until last week when we brought it up.

Here's the before and the after:



I thought the upholstery was cheeky.  Not the greatest job, but it works.  We'll sit on it for a few days, then I'll pull the staples out, re-stretch it and put on the French gimp.  Something nice to draw visitors into the Sun Room. 

So its the end of the old and beginning of the old made new again...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I've been thinking, and that can be dangerous...

...because my mind tends to wander.

I had a shrink appointment over the weekend and that meant driving back to Ohio, 16 hours round trip in a car. It's cheaper than flying and it would give me a chance to run some Columbus errands.  I had a whole list of them but somehow that was the one thing that I forgot when I left the house.  So when I hit the city that I had called home (with great annoyance) I was a bit like a butterfly wafting on the winds.

I was staying with two of our best friends - Mike and Mo, and I did remember to take them the case of Natty Boh and a couple bags of UTZ chips, but I forgot their Christmas present which I left on the Dining Room table with my list of things to do, so I guess it was two things that I forgot to take with me. Thank God I remembered by meds.

So Mike and Mo asked what I wanted to do for dinner and I opted for something that we don't have on the east coast - Der Dutchman.   Der Duchman (aka Der Starchfest) is a chain of vaguely Amish restaurants that serve home cooking.  You can either order off the menu, or you can go through the Buffet and engorge yourself on all manner of things that would appall David Zinczenko into a fit: homemade chicken and noodles, mashed potatos, gravy, sweet potatoes, chicken, beef, corn, cornbread...  You get the idea.  In fact we all ate so much (and the three Sidecars before dinner didn't help) that when we got back to Mike and Mo's, Mike ended up going into a starch coma and headed to bed at 7PM.

Is any of this making any sense?

My point is, and I do have one, is that the whole way out to Ohio gives you a lot of time to think about stuff. And I got to thinking about me because today, I am 50, and its an age that I never considered making.  And let's be realistic, I have, maybe, twenty really good years left the God Lord willing and the creek don't rise.  When you tell people that you are trying to plan for the end of your life they think you are going to do something to hurt yourself.

But when I hit the door at the shrink's office (and this man is very good at what he does) and I told him that I wanted to better plan out the next twenty years or so that the end of my life isn't filled with regret when I am old and feeble in human terms.  That he said, was a sign of maturity, and he said it was a sign of a man who has passed through a midlife crisis, which I thought was interesting, because I am still panicking over all the wasted time in my life and wonder if the mind I lost so many years ago was more lost than anyone thought.

 Back to my point, on the way back to Baltimore, it hit me.  I had forgotten to ask Joe if he thought I was ADD.  Damn.  AND I found my list, so I still am functioning within the maxim of always forgetting ONE thing before a trip. That made me feel better.

Now then, did I leave anything out?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A case of gratuitous flesh


You all know that I never post gratuitous flesh on DHTiSH, but as my birthday is Thursday  and I will be FIFTY, and how did this ever happen, I figured I was allowed ONE lapse in my policy.

But note, no nudity - not even a glance at naughty bits - and we all know how Mr. Peenee love him some naughty bits.  This blog is still PG.

Think of this just as a centerpiece for the moment. Never had anything like this on Thanksgiving. Usually it was carnations and greenery, sandwiched between two turkey candlestick holders that my aunt made "at Cermanics".

And frankly, I've looked all over the manscape and can't find one just like Mr. Yummy here.  If you are having him, the husband and I would love an invitation to seconds.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Massachusetts Caprice & A Game

And how does Cookie celebrate the end of election season?  An eight hour car ride to the greater Boston area to spend time with the in-laws.  Yay.

My in-laws are lovely, loving people.  But their health is declining - something that happens when you cross over into your 90s.  The difference between them since we last saw them in the spring and now and today is marked.  

My mother in law is now tentative, forgetful and has adopted a nervous chortal that she uses whenever she forgets what words to say. 

My father in law is profoundly deaf, unsteady on his feet and has gotten involved with telemarketers who try and rip him off on get rich quick schemes.   Its gotten so bad that he uses lulls in conversations to ask us "Who wants to be a millionaire - it can happen if you are willing to take the risk."

All of this is stressful.  It's hard to see people that you love in this state. 

When I was very young I used to think that people who would say "if you have your health, you have every thing that you would ever need to be happy," were out of their gourds.  Now that I approach a landmark birthday, I regret not heeding that advice sooner. 

These are the life lessons that you learn as you become a little older and a little wiser. 

And when you have these visits, your time is not your own. No real fun side trips.  Although I did steel away yesterday for an hour visit with a dear friend from my college days and his lovely wife who live about three minutes from the inlaws, where I learned that his brother in law lives, literally, around the block from us in Baltimore.  

Thats the beauty of life; you never know where you'll be when Kismet finds you.

Anyway, now its time to play the game of moldering decay run amuck  "What did Cookie find in the in laws fridge?"  

You each get to look at this picture and guess not what it is, but how old it is.  In this picture we have a mummified avocado.  It is in a stage of decay.  HOW OLD IS IT?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winners, Losers and Assholes

I am trying to enjoy today and savor it because it isn't often that the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, Homophobia, Misogyny and the Koch Brothers are dealt a great big FUCK YOU!

FIRST, while I am happy that our President has won another term, I am proud to say that Maryland (that's us), Maine and Washington citizens stood up against bigotry and fear to make US history by approving same sex marriage measures and make it an equality for all night.   In Minnesota they didn't go that far, but they did keep safe the language of the state constitution from language that would have forbidden same sex unions.   Instead of living in a state where progress is a bad word (Ohio) we are proud to call Maryland our home.

SECONDLY, the President won the election.  YAY!

THIRDLY, Mitt Romney conceded graciously.  Had the Mitt Romney who appeared last night in the concession speech been the Romney who was running for President, he would have been giving a victory speech. I wouldn't have voted for him, but he would have connected with so many other voters.

Brian WIlliams got the line of the night when he said "There's a whole lot of weed on the ballot."

In other matters, there was loads of good news...

Elizabeth Warren, WON

Marcy Kaptur, WON


Todd Akin, LOST

Allen West, LOST

Joe the Plumber, LOST

Linda McMahon, LOST

Koch Brothers, LOST

Tea Party, mortally wounded.  Seriously, the rage filled Tea Party was dealt what I think is a death blow.  Outrage can win mid-terms, but it can't carry national elections.

And then there was:

Rush Limbaugh, in SHOCK

Karl Rove, in SHOCK and begging FOXNews not to call Ohio for Obama

Brian Williams mocking Donald Trump for being irrational (Look for NBC to announce that the March 2013 season of Celebrity Apprentice is the last, or they move it to USANetwork.)

Ann Romney now has to go back to grocery shopping with "you people" when she isn't knitting the names of people people who turned on her husband Willard.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I have voted in the "Anything Goes Chapel"

Well, I got up with the chickens at half crack this morning and I went to vote.  If you have not voted by the time you read this, shame on you.

My first memories of voting came when I was very, very young.  I was with my father and went to Lomond School in Shaker Heights, where we went into the gym.  We were led to a wooden voting booth with a golden rod curtain around it.  I asked who he was voting for and he said "Shhhh."  I started rattling off name of the people I knew - I wanted him to vote for Mommy and Miss Frances, my nursery School teacher. When you are three, anything is possible.

Anyway, back to today.  We could have early voted, or mail voted, but as this is a first time in Maryland vote, the Husband and I decided to do it in the flesh.

We vote in a very nice, very posh United Methodist Church near our house.  At 7AM, I was 200th in line.  But I stood in the cold breeze and hoped to God that the line would start moving.  It took a half hour to get to the door, and then another half hour to snake our way through one memorial hallway after another.

Stops were made in the Carl and Alice Hunt Memorial Hallway, the Jack and Jen Phillips Fellowship Hallway and the Mary McCaskin-Wright Memorial Atrium.  We passed that William Mitchell Porte Cochere and Vestibule, and then went down some unnamed stairs; evidently no one wants to memorialize or sponsor staircases because you can't make them sound more important than they are.  They can never be a "Stairitorium", they are just "stairs."

At the bottom of the sad, unloved staircase, two lines formed, based on your precinct.  Precinct 40 was directed toward the "Art and Soul Hall" to vote, and our precinct, 41, voted in the "Anything Goes Chapel".

This of course led my mind off on all sorts of tangents as years of anti-depressents have pickled my attention span.

Was this a room where cabaret singers sang Cole Porter numbers, or was it really a room where any "thing" - like Quasimoto - could go for a moment of reflection?  Was it a room of debauchery, or a room where odd groups (Baltimore Washboard Philharmonic) could practice?  Even more perverse was the idea that this is where fine upstanding by-the-book Methodists would go to dance, or worse: play cards?   Since this is a welcoming church and courts the gay population, was this a room where Dykes On Bikes met? Or what about Gay Square Dancers and their dosy-doe's and and away we go, girrrl?

When I finally got into the Anything Goes Chapel, I was really disappointed to see that it was a blank multipurpose room suitable for anything, and not much more. It didn't even have an altar or any real purpose than to be anything to everybody.  It had all the charm of a white basement room with an off white tile floor. Nothing to note, and even less to offend, unless you can't stand bland neutral spaces, and then it would enrage you.  It seemed like the room where things were assigned when everything else with a purpose was in use.  It did have a fleck of color here and there: gray.  It was a room that could be anywhere. If it had been in a Harry Potter novel it would have been The Room of Flex Space.

I voted on a Diebold machine, which means I have a fifty fifty chance of having my vote count for who and what I voted for, or my vote being recorded as being straight line Republican.  I didn't vote for the judges because I had no idea who any of them are, and being her just sixty days meant I had no idea that they were going to be on the ballot.  My bad.  I pushed the "VOTE" button and got my "I Voted" sticker, which I am wearing because it makes me feel superior to everyone else.

As I left, I ran into another neighbor from south of the precinct line and he asked me how the "Anything Goes Chapel" was, and I imparted that it was probably underwritten by the "Bland Family".  He shared that the Art and Soul Room, as well, was neither.

"Typical Church basement room.  White ceiling, white walls and an off white floor.  But we had an unloved spinnet piano off in the corner." And I bet him it was hopelessly out of tune.  "It probably draws untalented children to who start playing their version of Heart and Soul," he added.

So it is done.

Now we wait.  And I still think the world would be a better place if Miss Francis Kochkowski were on the ballot.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ralph Giles, my hero

I would like to introduce you to Ralph Giles, my new hero.  If I still had rose bushes, I would cut the flowers, collect the rose petals and throw them at his feet.

Why do I love Ralph Giles?

Giles, who is head of product design for Chrysler has finally had enough of Donald Trump, and told Trump off.

After being ignored by President Obama (Trump proclaimed that "I will donate $5 million dollars to the charity of President Obama's choice blah, blah, blah..."), Trump had to get involved with Mitt Romney's false claim that Chrysler was getting ready to shift Jeep production out of Ohio and send it to China and that it was Obama who sold Chrysler out to the Italians who doing this dastardly deed, and said the following from his Twitter account:

"Obama is a terrible negotiator. He bails out Chrysler and now Chrysler wants to send all Jeep manufacturing to China--and will!"

Anyone with an ounce of brains and Google could look up and see that Chrysler has been building products, like Jeep, in China since the 1990s.  And we know that the Chinese love buying products with American names, and that China is a huge market.  But if one looks further, they would also see that Chrysler plants are now at full capacity in the U.S.

Giles, evidently was as sick and tired of Donald Trump as the rest of America - seriously, is there anyone who can even look at him scowling anymore without thinking that he's an asshat - and tweeted back:

@realdonaldtrump you are full of shit!

And that is why I think that Ralph Giles needs to be my hero.  Because he speaks the truth.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Did I miss something?

Well the other day I was all serious and prepared for a Hurricane Sandy.  Went to the store, got water for the dogs - they can't live on Diet Pepsi like we men can - bought batteries, charged up the lanterns, took out the air conditioning units and we waited.

And the barometer went down, down, down to 720mmHG (millimeters of Mercury) according to our 1800s Dutch made device, which in US units means we crashed through the 29.00 that you find on U.S. barometers.  I got a headache, the husband got a headache, and the dogs just became lethargic as the eye of Hurricane Sandy passed over us.  A lot of atmospheric pressure will do things to you.

And then at 8:30 last night the power went down, so I went to bed, and the husband joined me at 10:30PM and when we woke up, Pffft, she was done.

I mean, after the eye of that type of storm goes over you, you should get horrible winds.  But it never happened.   Seriously

Oh, don't get me wrong, things got very blowy outside last night, and we got some water in our basement and down the chimney - about two buckets full down the flue - but nothing that shook the house, or toppled trees.

And Hell's bells, even our power came back on at 3PM, just in time to watch a horrible 1960s WWII picture called from Hell to Eternity.  But it was worse waiting for the blasted thing than it was riding it out.

The talk on the street is that the gay couple who live in the Manor House (our neighborhood was once a country retreat, and the old place is still standing and totally boffo) said their windows on the north leaked.

Praise be to God, because this could have been a lot worse.

That said, Cookie knows that New York City, New Jersey and up the coast got slammed.  And God love those idiots who live on the beach and keep rebuilding and keep driving rescue personnel to go looking for them.  You think that they would learn.  

But here, things are almost back to normal, as normal can be.

I thank you for your thoughts.  And MJ got my recipe before the lights went out, so all is well with the world.

If any of you survived, let us know.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Weather: Hurricane

Well, unless you have been living under a rock (like Norma), then you know that Hurricane Sandy is getting ready to pay the Mid Atlantic and New England a visit.

Its a bit of the first for the Husband and I as it is the first Hurricane in our new house, in our new city of Baltimore.   And for once, dear Jason over at the Night Is Half Gone doesn't have to ride out a major storm!

Because husband works in the energy field, he gets hourly weather updates (or is it bi-hourly?) and he started getting a bit concerned earlier in the week.

On Tuesday, the models had it going every which way imaginable, but what got the husband concerned was the "European" model which looked as if it was taken dead aim at the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) region.  Later in that day the model came out that had Sandy coming on shore just to the south of Baltimore.

The latest that we have heard, as for tonight is that Sandy is slowing down, gathering strength and it now appears that she'll make landfall to the north of here - in the vicinity of Cape May, New Jersey, and the head for New York City.

Thats the good news, for us.  We've had plenty of time to get ready, and we're on high ground.  No need for sandbags.  We have plenty of batteries, bottled water, canned goods that can be heated easily and a couple logs that can be burned for heat, and a horde of Halloween candy meant for the neighborhood moppets.

If things get dire (and they won't), I suppose we could eat the dogs.  Or they could eat us.  

And we know not to throw our lot in with C. Aubry Smith by taking refuge in a masonry church with all sorts of high waves crashing into the shore.  At least Felix will get that obscure reference.

Now the bad news - the weather front to the west of us is going to combine with Sandy and it's going to send Stormzilla into Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and points north and east.  Weather forecasters are saying parts of West Virginia could be in for more than four feet of snow, with winds.

And that means power could be disrupted.  And going into the final few days before the election it could be disastrous if votes can be cast.

So, I am asking, over the next few nights before you get ready for bed, please think of the people in the path of storm.  If it isn't bad, well then, you can call me an alarmist.  And if it is bad, well, these folks will need all the good karma in the world.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Things lost and found: NBC's Red Movie Zipper

There are a lot of things that I miss about TV, and what it used to be.  I for one HATE reality TV because it has nothing to do with reality.  Just bitch fights and marginally entertaining people and HYPE.  Oh, my God, the hype.  And there are dozens and dozens and dozens of channels that carry all sorts of programming, and none of it has anything to do with what the channel was set up to do in the first place.  When was the last time you saw a music video on MTV or VH1?  And WWF on SciFi, which is now SyFy? WTF.

There used to be a time when TV networks were all you got when you flipped on the TV, if you were lucky AND had a good antenna.   The networks brought you escapism entertainment, which is what TV should be all about.

Cable?  We didn't have no stinking cable.  We had aerials and bunny ears, damnit.   If you were really lucky, your parents spent money on an Alliance Tene-Rotor, a device that allowed you to remotely turn your antenna to get better reception using a black box on the top of your TV.  You set the dial (N, W, S, E or degree in between) and the Tene-Rotor did the rest.  And to prove it was doing it, the box let out a horrific KERR-CHUNK noise for each degree that the antenna moved.  It was as loud as someone dropping a piano out of a third story window and hitting the pavement.  Oy!  And you had to be careful that you didn't

And color TV's? Oh, Pish!

We had two large RCA cabinet TV's in our house - one in the living room (back when people actually LIVED in that room) and one in my parents bedroom.  They were in blond wood cases, and you turned the channel by getting up and rotating a big meaty gray plastic dial on the side.  For the first six years of my life the Wizard of OZ was a black and white movie, period.   We got our first color TV when I was five and it was a "portable" model that took two men to carry around.  What made it portable wasn't a handle, it was that it didn't have a piece of furniture around it and indeed sat on a cart with casters.  But IT came with UHF!  We didn't get a TV with remote controls until my mother got the color TV that she had bought for her mother when Grandma was dying of cancer.  When grandma died, we got TV with a remote control.

And we knew who people like Shelia MacCrea were.  They were people we aspired to know.  And we watched shows like Password because they challenged us to think.

And then there was that great Password theme music, too!

Today you have this Snooky business. Who wanted to know anyone named Snooky?  Snooky is what your aunt called your uncle when she wanted to have sex, and it was always done in a secretive fashion.  "C'mon on here, Snookie," was your clue to get out of there.

And then there were the movies.  Each network gave over a night to movies because it was the Reality Programming of its era. Sunday night was a big night for movies.  So were Tuesday nights.  And in rerun season, Saturday night movies came around for people too cheap to take their wives out to see a show.

Major movies eventually made it to TV in the days before HBO, Showtime and movies on demand.  And because they were cheap to make, the networks started producing their own movies - a trend that came to the forefront in the early 1970s when ABC launched its "ABC Movie of the Week" franchise.  Some were great - like Steven Spielberg's "Duel" featuring Dennis Weaver V. a truck.   Some were creepy - like the Cloris Leachman drama "Someone I Touched" where Cloris' husband gives her VD and it ends up ruining everyones life.  Others - "Gidget Gets Married" were downright terrible.  Still, I think what people remember about the Movie of the Week was it's theme - a Bert Bacharach number called "Nikki" that was more popular in the 70's than it was in the 60s when he first wrote it.

And the movies came on TV with big splashy graphics, just like at the movie theatres so you knew it was an "event", not just another program.   At commercial breaks you would get something called a "bumper", which was a brief musical video thing that reminded you to come back to the TV, as the commercials were about to end.

You can find many of these sequences on YouTube that date to the "video" recorder era.  But the earlier ones are hard to find because owning video equipment in the 1960s was an expensive hobby.

This is one of the rare introductions - the NBC Red Zipper that ran from the mid 1960s until NBC hit rock bottom in the mid 1970s.

When you hear this music SOMETHING BIG is on its way.

I don't know much about the movie, Climb Angry An Moutain other than it was one of, if not the last film that Fess Parker did.   The fanfare music was written by Ray Lewis.  My father's cousin Arnold played oboe in numerous Hollywood Orchestras from the 1940s through the 1980s and was in on this number.  Anyway, this appeared on YouTube a number of years ago, then it was removed. Now it's back on. Gotta love YouTube.

Eventually, NBC retired the zipper theme and began relying a great deal on it's successful Sunday Night Mystery Movie franchise.  Its seemed at one point they were running on almost every night.

But then cable came along and that lead to the Premium movie channels with deep pockets and eventually, with the exception of ABC showing the Sound of Music or the Ten Commandments, drove network TV out of the movie showing business by the late 1990s.

I miss these things every now and then.  Technology is a marvellous thing, but sometimes I think there are so many advances that we forget how it used to be, and we forget the things that used to be special - like a movie on network TV on a rainy night when you just wanted to stay home and relax.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meanwhile, over at The Infomaniac...

...Mistress MJ is tapping her tiny, lady-like toe waiting for recipes for her Kitchen Queen contest.

Cookie has MANY recipes to tease the palate; the problem is cooking them in this wreck of a kitchen at the new Casa Del Cookie.   It's so bad (and how bad is it?) that Cookie and the husband are taking the drastic step of doing an intermediate remodel that will see us through the next five years until we can afford the kitchen of our dreams and start knocking down walls.

We'll post pictures as this stop gap measure comes into focus, best lest you think that we are throwing good money away at bad space, we are going to reuse someone else's kitchen at a fraction of the price.  How can this be, you ask.  Well Cookie found a place in Baltimore called Second Chance that trains people coming out of prison how to carefully dismantle unloved houses (and unloved rooms in houses) and salvage everything so it can be repurposed.  Some of these kitchens are ten years old and look like brand new.  And they cost about an eighth of what a new material would cost.

The challenge is that you may have to over buy to get what you want.  So we could end up spending a couple grand to buy a kitchen and only use half the cupboards.  AND because you take everything, it becomes a bit of a puzzle because our room is not the room that these were purchased new. But for storage and counterspace?  I'm all in.

People learn skills, this stuff stays out of landfills and Cookie gets a kitchen with only  the price of a new countertop to speak of.  What's not to love?

IN THE MEANWHILE we wonder if any of you have ever been to James Lileks wonderful web site, The Gallery of Regrettable Food.  The site pays homage to the illustrated cookbook books of yore, mostly from the post WWII era when our mothers and grandmothers thought adding a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup over a meatloaf dinner equaled fancy French Cooking.  To whet your appetite I give you this, with James Lileks comments, complete and unedited:

Sayeth Mr. Lileks: "One gets the impression of peas re-enacting the evacuation of Dunkirk."

If you have NEVER been to the Gallery of Regrettable Food, quick: click on the glowing Jell-O mold below and enjoy.

Friday, October 19, 2012


So, we made it through yesterday.  The inspection is done BUT hubby can't get his plates until the credit union sends out his Ohio title.  Auto Registratious Interuptus, you could say.

We learned this from "May I help you?  My Name Muriel" , who works at Tuggle's Tags.  In Maryland you can either wait it out at the MVA and have a state employee abuse you while they are inputting your information, or you can go to a tag agency and pay a "tax" of $50 and enjoy no waiting lines.

It was Murial who said "Well, I dunno...let me see...what state you from?  OH-Hya?  Yeah, let me see.  Let me see, let me see. Let. Me See.  Yes, we can do this. Uh huh?  Yes.

At the end of the "let me sees" and the "Yes we can do this" we discovered that no, we can't do it.

Muriel can't do it because she needs "I need the, hold on.  I need the actual... I need the actual... I need the actual ti- hold on here, yeah.  I can't do anything until you get the actual title from the lien holder."

So he pulls out his phone and starts to dial and "May I help you?  My Name Muriel" says "Sir.  Sir. Sir. Sir.  You can't use that he-year.  You got to go outside and use that there smart phone thingy.  No cellphones  no smart phones.  Only my phone."

Anyway we ordered the actual title, and that'll take a week.  Now what.

Husband announces that if can't get his plates, then we are going to buy a gas log for the fireplace.  Kinda random, but off we go.

So we go to Home Depot.  "Online only, sir."

So we go to Lowe's. They have crap.

And then we end up at Walker's "Patio and Hearth" and it looked expensive.

And it was.

Husband says we need a gas insert and "Debi" takes us over to the wall of fireplaces, sits us down in leather recliners that massage and vibrate and she starts the show.  Suddenly, the wall of fireplaces looks like Atlanta in the burning sequence from Gone with The Wind.

Debi does her spiel and I'm getting relaxed in the chair and the husband likes the one on the right.  When Debi tells me it comes with a remote, I'm good too.  Fire.  Remote. Leather massaging recliner, its all good.

And how much is this?

Four thousand dollars.

Say WHAT?  For ceramic logs?  I start to hyperventilate.

Oh, says Debi.  "You only want a gas fireplace?  These are fire place inserts.  Gas logs are a different department."

That's in a different room.  No recliners.  No multi-media presentation.  No jazzy names.

But the logs look nice.

And how much is this?



We left with a set - American Chestnut with the "Ambi-Burn" system.  Glowing embers are extra.

But seriously - $1,100???  And no vibrating chair?

These had better be some great ass logs.

The Stone's sang that you don't always get what you need, sometimes you get what you need.  And Mother Karma evidently thinks that gas logs are more important that license plates.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And we are once again waiting...

Today we are waiting yet again.  This time for the husband's Ford Escape to be inspected.  We tried to go to the dealership's "quiet room", but there is an old couple with an off putting odor around them.  The husband believes that one of them depended too much on their adult diapers.  AND THEY ARE SPEAKING VERY LOUD BECAUSE THEY FORGOT THEIR HEARING AIDS.

So we are sitting in the general waiting room area.   And the only seats available are by the door to the employee bathroom.  Charming.

In the kiddie waiting area, three blond moppets are playing away on the dealership's collection of broken toys.  We think this is good as it builds character in life, and a healthy imagination.

There are several people on their cell phones, yabbering away and the young man standing at the parts counter to the left of it all is relieving the latest episode of The Arrow to a dimwitted employee.

There is one good looking man, but that he acts like he knows that he is good looking negates that.

So while I type, the husband is happily reading back issues of People and Entertainment Weekly.

This is my life for the day.  Hooray!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fake Tan: Epic Fail

This is not a photoshopped image with some dork's head cut 'n pasted onto the body of a an African American body builder.  This actually happened at the Arnold Classic Europe Competition.

Evidently Contestant #49 was too fixated on looking good when he should have been focused on looking his best.

The "Ah-nold" was first set up in Columbus, Ohio where the U.S. Version of the competition still happens every March.  And if it isn't something to see, then parking yourself in the hotel dining rooms each morning is to see the men whose necks are bigger than my thighs choking down massive amounts of proteins is worth the trip.

As for the fake tan stuff...

Then they roll it on like Spread Satin?   Really?  I love to paint - sign me up!

More on this here

Bulova Watch Time, circa 1979

For some reason, this got dragged up from my memory bank.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Charm City Confidential: Let the latest shakedown begin

Living in Maryland you soon discover that everything is taxed.  Whereas nothing is taxed in the state of Delaware, save property, and clothes and food are free of tax in Pennsylvania, in Maryland you start feeling like you are going to have to start paying taxes on the taxes you are paying.

Not that Cookie is complaining, far from it, because you get stuff because people pay tax.  I don't mean that I, Cookie get anything personally, but the roads are good, the services are good and the arts are well funded.   And in general, except from that part of Baltimore where it really is like "The Wire", its a nice place to live.

The husband refers to these taxes as "The Shakedown" because they pop up in the usual places, but also in the more unusual places, too.

Today's Shakedown is taking place at a car dealership, where we are having my car inspected so we can get it registered in Maryland.

In Ohio an out of state car is registered via a trip to the DMV.  Show proof of ownership, they check it against the VIN number, and then you have to go to the Clerk of Courts to pay for your registration and get your title. THEN you have to go to a license bureau and get your plates.

In Maryland you do the same thing BUT a car repair place FIRST gets to combover your car and inspect everything - from ball joints to the click of your safety belts.  THEN they try and shake you down for the repairs of the things that fail.  Of course you can always take your car to another inspection place, but they are hoping that you let them "repair" your car.

So I did some homework and found a Toyota dealer that has a better than average rating on Angies List, so we are hoping that the Prius gets through on flying colors.

But it is the next step where Maryland, sweet Maryland fucks you raw.  You see, you have to pay them the difference in sales tax on the car that you paid when you bought the car.

Let's say that I, Cookie, bought the Prius in December, 2010, and used at that.   I paid 5.5% sales tax to Ohio on the sales price.  Baltimore County has a sales tax rate of 6%, making the net difference of .5% that I have to pay to Maryland on this car.

So it's annoying.  But what are you going to do?

So hear I sit in the quiet room at the dealer giving dirty looks to a woman who is on her cell phone.  I wouldn't really mind it if her conversation was interesting, but its mostly grunts, Mmmyeah's and Uh-huh's.

Luckily, when comes to my Merry Oldsmobile, I don't have to worry about it because that have no way of pegging its market value.   So it pays to be 50 years old, for once.

Still, I won't know when this opera is over until the Service Manager sings my name.   If you all hear a scream in the distance, it'll be Cookie, with a request to do any work over a $100 on a perfectly sound car.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Where were you in '62?

We just bought this album, original, MINT and unopened. 

PR Shot taken from the act they performed at the Stardust.

The DeCastro's* play the Stardust Lounge, 50 years ago this month. 

*Two DeCastro sisters and a cousin.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cookie v. Neighborhood Gorgon

Well, it's been a few days of general business and time really is flying by:

We had the roof over the "kitchen wing" replaced with like material and done by a very cute contractor and his buddies.  Cookie thanks God for contractor because he is very reasonable and pretty damn reliable.  Contractor is approaching 50, a former strawberry blond - which is Cookie's favorite hair color on a man - and he has the cutest freckles.  He is horribly straight.  I would have taken a picture of him, but we don't want to scare him off as there is much to do around Cookie Manor.

We had a interesting encounter with a new neighbor over the new kitchen roof.  However Cookie disarmed the new neighbor with my background: 30+ years of historical preservation, a statewide chairmanship within that field and lecturing credits, National Register Nominations and professional consulting under my belt.

And the last thing we want is a replay of Frigid and Frigda, right?

She's a real peach...

So husband and I are walking back from the store when the store with a bag of goodies when the Gorgon revealed herself.  Evidently she was laying in wait having seen us walk down the street one way.

Gorgon introduced herself and immediately started in on our new roof.  She was blathering away about how I needed to get a neighborhood sign off because we changed the color and materials. On and on she went, as if this self appointed gatekeeper can even see our virtually flat Kitchen Wing roof from her house.  "When I go up to my attic it ruins my view."


We explained that it was same color, same materials and according to the neighborhood residential association by laws, because the old roof was leaking, that we didn't need to jump through any hoops.  I also pointed out that because the roof can't be seen from the street, it was outside of the process anyway.

Gorgon told me that we misread the bylaws and she hauls out a 1996 copy and starts waving them in our face.  Cookie has played this game before.  So I excuse ourselves and said I wanted to review OUR copy of the bylaws, circa 2012.  And damn if Cookie wasn't right - a lot can change in civic associations in almost twenty years.

So I marched the bylaws down to Gorgon, and showed in print what our copy said.  She said it was a misprint.  I explained that these were what we given, and we are going by them.  I also explained my background in preservation and my love of preservation, so in that we are of a like mind. I thought she was looking for a pyrrhic victory, a graceful way out, and I gave it to her.

But she kept on going on about how I was wrong.  "These changes are not architecturally compatible with our neighborhood," she insisted.

I pointed out that unlike her Volvo SUV, which was viewable from the street, our roof was not.  I asked her that wouldn't it be more in tune with the times of her house if she had a more accurate automobile that went with the house. "Something circa 1920?"

She seemed a bit flustered.

"Not very practical, is it?  And you have a perfectly good car right here, so I cannot tell you need to go out and buy a 1930 Model A, can I?"

I explained that it was far more important to get a solid roof over that kitchen to protect the structure and preserve its integrity.  "The roofing material is mutable.  It can be upgraded at some point.  And we haven't changed the structure or the pitch or the slope, so all we did was place a covering on the roof.  And it isn't something that someone on the ground can see, is it?"

And I asked her if she agreed with that statement.

She could hardly argue with it.

Now when we have to replace our slate roof which is visible from the street, then we'll start the Kabuki theatre of jumping through the hoops, and trot out the dog on the back of the pony.

I did suggest that she get a revised copy of the bylaws, if not for our peace of mind, for hers.  However I fear this isn't the last we'll hear from the Gorgon.  The husband swears he can hear her snarling and fuming in the wee quiet hours before he drifts to off to sleep.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Big & Hulking, Small & Mighty

So, the boiler conversion was all set to get done.  They came in, abated the asbestos with all manner of tarps, and breathing apparati, and these big honking signs that read DANGER.  They were supposed to knock down the green monster (aka, the ToridHeet boiler), dismantle the outer casing, break up the boiler AND THEN, pump dry the oil (pronounced "EARL") tank and get it out.

But then we hit a wee teensy bump in the road.  The old boiler wasn't cast iron.  No, the builders of the house opted for the latest technology in terms of 1930 heating plants and had a one piece STEEL American  Standard unit dropped into the basement and then built the house around the steel boiler.

This thing is about 4.5 feet high, and WELDED together like the Queen Mary.  All that are missing are the staterooms and the propeller.  It weighs a freaking ton - seriously, if not more.  So the abatement guys threw up their hands and said "sorry" and left without even touching the earl tank.

Did that stop our plumber from installing the new boiler?  Nope.

But it does add in a THIRD day of work.  A man, with an Ayctylene torch has to come to Cookie Monor and cut the mother up.  He'll do this AFTER he drains the oil and the sludge from the 300 gallon tank in the basement, which he will cut up with his torch.  He'll do that AFTER he makes out with the 175 gallons of fuel oil in the tank at present.

Nothing in life is easy, is it.

However for your viewing pleasure, here is a before and after:

before - 40% efficient

"Toridheet" vintage 1960 following the coal to oil conversion.  Note the size of the water heater next to it. Toridheet is a big mother. 

after 80%-efficient

See that blue thingy.  That's the whole damn new boiler.  You see that BIG wet patch of concert on the floor?  That is where Toridheet's boiler (which you can see in the background) sat on a fire brick base. 

So now we are toasty warm.  But tomorrow, that guy with the torch shows up to cut that steel mother up and then get this:

earl tank

Out of the house.  THEN we can get out ducks, and boxes, in a row.

 But at least we are toasty warm as of now.