Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Saturday Picture Show, December 3, 2016

I note the huge popularity of adult coloring books, and here is my gift to you. Just print this out and go to town! Then, when you get back from town, grab your colored pencils and color it in.
Test drive complete, this car shopper is ready to sign a four-year lease on a Lincoln.
The moon has a house, like all the rest of us.

I was never a fan of Dr Seuss but there is nothing dorky about black eyeglass frames, right, Buddy Holly?
Let's hope this is the one and only time we see a Hipster Manger.
This is the rare bear, offspring of the natural congress of a polar bear and a grizzly bear. They call him a "grolar."  I didn't even know there was a place for polar and grizzly bears to meet. Probably, it's one of those new apps that allowed them to hook up.
For extra holiday fun, print this picture and take it with you to your local McDonald's, order a Big Mac, and then compare what they slide across the countertop to you with what you have pictured.  Ask the manager why the two don't look much alike.
We all want to try on another's shoes now and then.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Chow down

Two big bits of news from the world of food, a world where we all dwell, this week...

On the upper end of the food spectrum was the news that America's Next Top President and his chief of staff, a man named Reince Preibus, dined in fine style with Mitt "Mitt" Romney, a man who derogated them both loudly for the past several years.  The hatchet was buried, along with garlic soup, frog legs, and diver scallops for appetizers, prime sirloin for Trump and Priebus, and lamb chops with a mushroom bolognese sauce for Romney's vittles. 

All three had chocolate cake for dessert.

(Does anyone else find it to be a little too cute to say "a" mushroom bolognese sauce?  When you're wiping your chin after wolfing down a Big Mac, do you say you're removing "a" special sauce?)

The deal at the joint where these three swells tied on the feedbag - Jean Georges - is, you choose from a selection of prix fixe (French for "way too expensive") menus. The cheapest way to get out of there is the three-course blue-plate special, ticketed at $138 a person. There are also two six-course tasting menus for $218 a person, and a two-course lunch for $58 each.

And that brings us to the sad passing of Michael "Jim" Delligatti, the inventor of the Big Mac (50 cents then, $3.99 today).  He was running a McDonald's in 1967 and one day, it came to him to pile two all-beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and special sauce on one colossal sesame-seed-bunned sandwich.

He only lived to be 98, and to the end, he had a Big Mac at least once per week.

TBH, would you rather have a Big Mac, or garlic soup and frog leg?

I knew it!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Love is a clean windshield

It's all because I was lucky enough to marry the most patient, lovely, wise, kind, patient, good-natured, patient, intelligent and patient woman in the world...but I have been married to that angel for 43 years almost, and I think I've learned a thing or two about being married.

Young people about to be married often  come to me for advice have to listen to me going on and on about marriage, how it works best, the little pitfalls to avoid, and so forth.  The fact of the matter is, no amount of advice from anyone really matters very much in an area like this. Advice is good for learning how to carve a turkey, change a tire, plant a tree, refinish that old dresser that Aunt Mabel left you.  Those things are sprints, one-time deals; marriage is a marathon, a series of a million days and all the events that make up those days.

As I so often do during my Speeches To The Young, I'll share a little story with you. I'm Facebook friends with a married couple who really seem to have things going well...both of them work, and his work at this time of year is very busy, so he has been burning both the midnight and the early-morning oil, working all sorts of crazy hours. 

It's also the time of year around here when it's still humid, but it gets chilly overnight, which means frosty windshields on the cars (readers in Southern California, just imagine a frosted beer mug) in the early mornings.  

And the wife goes on Facebook, saying that even as big a rush as he is in to get to the office, he still took time that morning to scrape her car windows so that she wouldn't have to do it herself.

And that's my point for today: marriage is not about giant diamonds and imported luxury cars and trips to the Gilligan Islands.  Not at all!  If that's all it took, the Kardashians would have no show, hot-shot divorce lawyers would be doing taxes and selling real estate from offices over top of beauty salons, and marriage counselors would be looking for other work.

Nope, marriage (or keeping any relationship together for a long time) is not about the grand gesture; it's all about the little things. It's emptying the dryer, it's bringing the other person a cup of tea now and then, it's remembering to put the seat down and keep the litterboxes clean.

It's taking five minutes to clean off the other's windshield, doing it quietly in the pre-dawn hours and going off to work.  

Do something like that every day, both of you, and the years will go by happily.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What's your name?

There was a time that a woman would marry a man (often against the best advice of her friends and his parents) and quit her job and change her name to his and become a full-fledged housewife and that was that.

All good, and it's still done, but there are options. If a woman wants to get married at all, she may change her last name to that of her partner, or not.  Or she may hyphenate the two ("Mrs Cecilia McDonald-Berger").

There used to be this weird thing in which married women were known by their husband's full name, as in "Mrs Drew P. Weiner," which made no sense to me.  "Mrs Otis Campbell"?  A woman named Otis?

I have seen married couples in which a man will take his wife's surname, and same-ex couples who exchange last names.  All cool with me.

I bring all this up to say that there is still mumbling going on about the woman formerly known as Amal Alamuddin, a 38-year-old British-Lebanese woman who is a lawyer, activist, and author, universally respected as a force for good and an expert in several fields.

She also happens to be a married woman, who married an American actor named George Clooney.

And people are losing their grips because she wishes to be known as Amal Clooney. That's how she is listed on the website for Doughty Street Chambers, the London-based law firm by which she is employed. 

"But she's a femininist!" came the cry, and I say that being a feminist is more about allowing women to choose to do what's best for them than following some vague list of rules and regulations.

Amal and Geo. were married in Venice, and own a 17th-century manor on the River Thames in the British countryside, so it's safe to say they know their ways around the world and did not just ride into Tulsa on a turnip truck.

George Clooney is most famous for his starring roles in "Ocean's 12", "Ocean's 13", and "Ocean's 127" (coming to theaters near you in 2028). No, seriously, he is a fine actor, with lots of good movies and even more worthwhile statements on the world as we know it.

Read the list of Amal Clooney's educational and professional accomplishments, her awards, honors and appointments here. By any measure, she is a woman of great stature in the world.

And here is the list of all the people in the world who should have any say in the matter of what Amal Clooney's name should be:

1. Amal Clooney

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

No shoes, no pants, no service (but maybe he'll serve time!)

Everyone loves pizza. Really!  I can't think of anyone who says they don't, since there are 382 varieties available, with vegan crusts and fake cheese and artichoke toppings for the health conscious, and with real crusts and saucy sauce and a veritable mountain of gooey cheese and pepperoni for us goo gourmands, and everything in between.  There's a new place near us where you proceed through a line and specify your type of crust and sauce and cheese and toppings and then by the time you find a seat, they're bringing your bubbly pie out to you.

And, if you're ever lucky enough to meet a person who has worked as a pizza delivery person for any length of time, just ask them if they ever met any interesting people in that endeavor. Then, look around for a chair, because you are going to hear some stories!

But the pizza story that has had our town abuzz of late has been the saga of Naked Pizza Guy.  A chain pizzeria called Slice of New York in Towson was recently burgled, and when the owner went through the surveillance video, he found that the thief had gained entrance through a roof vent.

As the bad man slid down the chimney (ho ho ho!) he snagged his sweatpants, and removed them when he got to work stealing. There he was on the videos, running around prying into the pizza shop's property without benefit of proper garmentry.  He took no money (there was none to take) so he did $3,000 in damage just to be a stinker.

The police and the pizza people put the still photos on line, hoping that someone would recognize the crook, but eventually, a look at the images from the outside surveillance camera picked up pictures of a vehicle and its tag number, and that seems to have led the police to a Rosedale man now charged with second-degree burglary and related charges, and free on $50,000 bail.

Right after the crime, the owner offered free eats for life to anyone who could come forward and ID the perpetrator, an offer now amended to sliding free slices of pizza to police for the month of December.  

The only hitch is, the police must be wearing clothes to receive their free lunch.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Looking back

It happened one day 20-some years ago in a supermarket now closed. I was talking to a high-school-aged cashier about how little use she would ever have for algebra for the rest of her life unless she became an algebra teacher, and she said that even more than math, she hated history.

"You know, boring old presidents, like Kennedy."

And I was transported back to that day in 1963, seventh grade at the now-demolished Towsontown Junior High School.  It was report card day, and we were being sent back to homeroom to get the cards, and before that could happen, the principal, Maynard B. Henry, came on the public address system and told us that the president had been shot in Dallas, and then he put the radio on so that we could hear the news unfolding.

John F. Kennedy, 1917 - 1963
We couldn't know in the instant moment that the events of that day/weekend would come to be known as the end of the 1950's, the end of our innocence, the end of Camelot.  We only knew that we didn't know much about Lyndon Baines Johnson, who suddenly was our president.  Over the next three days, we saw the slain president come back to Washington in a casket, his personal effects removed from the White House, and the arrest and assassination of his killer. On Monday, we saw a funeral live on TV, and we prepared to enter an unknown future.

Johnson, master politician, leveraged the mourning into passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which knocked down legal barriers at the state and local levels preventing African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment (1870) to the Constitution.  There is doubt among historians as to whether Kennedy could have gotten passage of these parts of his New Frontier program for the nation, but Johnson did it, and won re-election to his own term in '64, only to bow out of the race in 1968 - one of the most tumultuous years in our history. The Viet Nam War proved to be Johnson's undoing, but his early days in office gave us progress long overdue and still worthy of respect.

All this, we could never have predicted that gray Friday, 11/22/63, but looking back on it, one could never call those days "boring," unless one was not paying attention in History class.  I told the cashier that I was certain her teacher knew some ways to bring the 1960s alive for the Class of '96.  And I hope she asked.

If you are looking for some words to help bring those days in perspective, I can think of few better examples than those of columnist Jimmy Breslin. He knew that every other reporter 
would interview Johnson, DeGaulle, the other Kennedys, and other people of note. Breslin interviewed the man who dug Kennedy's grave, and wrote about it as only he can.  I urge all interested in looking back with me today to read his piece here.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Rerun: Things I Have Learned By Being Alive for 64 Years

1. Worrying about something never changes anything.

2. If I were being pursued by bad guys, I would want G. Gordon Liddy on my side.  If I were being pursued by good guys, I would want attorney Lenny Shapiro on my side.
3. Satchell Paige was right when he said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."  I don't look back and regret things I did, but I do regret some things I didn't do.
4. Clothing and shoe salespeople don't mean it when they say a pair of pants or shoes will fit really nice once you take it home and wear it a few times.  If it doesn't fit in the store, it won't fit at home.
4. Same thing with people.  If they don't seem like they will be nice or be your friend, they won't be.
5. Everything a person needs to know has been written about in The New Yorker magazine or depicted in The Simpsons.
6. People who have passed on are doing wonderful things for us every day. My angels protect me, guide me, comfort me, hear me.
7. No matter how much I whine about it, people are still going to use the adjective "everyday" as an adverb. This happens every day.
8. I will never ever ever get to read all that I want to read.
9. As much as people ask you to be honest in assessing their new hairdid/car/jacket/significant other, they really want affirmation. And I want them to have it.
10. A lot of people have achieved fame, fortune and riches, and yet they can't even look at themselves in the mirror because they cheated, lied and hurt others on the way up the ladder. Success is hollow without a firm foundation.
11. A kindness to an animal is always repaid, sometimes by the animal itself.

12. No matter the level of hostility they display, every person has a need to feel loved, to fit in, to have a certain status.
13. I've seen this written and it is true: you can tell everything you need to know about a person by seeing how they interact with "service" personnel: housekeepers, servers, cashiers.
14. In 64 years, I have yet to learn to act, so there goes any dream of starring in romantic comedies with Mila Kunis.
15. I wouldn't trade one second of my life for anything.  I've had the love of the most wonderful woman alive, my Peggy, and friendship and adventure with the whole world.  I just don't know how to say enough thanks, but I thank you all!