Archive for November, 2010

Who Was That Woman?

November 23, 2010

So, yeah, we saw a play on Saturday afternoon at Playwright’s Horizons right there on 42nd Street, across from that huge parking deck as you come out of the Lincoln Tunnel. It was called After The Revolution. It centers around a young woman, Emma Joseph who is headlong in carrying on her family’s Marxist beliefs and the conflict she faces when she learns a long silenced truth about her grandfather, who was a spy for Stalin’s Russia. It was a little political for me to follow with any great accuracy, but I do have a quote from Ariel, who asked me to share it with you, as his reaction to the performance.

The play was an absolute winner. I lived under the communist yoke under Castro and at least, while I sat in that seat, I was almost buying into their spiel–that speaks volumes of the pathos the characters portrayed as they brought to life an unbelievable play. The dialogue and its direction alone were a thing of beauty.

Like I said, it’s political undertones were lost on me, but from the opening scene I was mesmerized with the naturalness of the cast, interacting with each other. It was refreshing to not see something overacted for the sake of making a point; the point was made in the words they spoke. And it was a minimalist set, which I appreciate, because the play doesn’t have to rely on flash to distract from a non-existent story, like a movie overrun with special effects.

The Playwright’s Horizon is like a workshop theater–it’s where we saw that rather ridiculous Me, Myself and I, about twins OTTO and otto whose mother was played by Elizabeth Ashley. In this play, After The Revolution, the draw was Mare Winningham, who played Emma’s stepmother and whose role was rather small. And standing outside the theater, waiting to go in,looking at the lobby cards (for lack of a better term) there was another woman in the cast who we both recognized, but could not definitively place. It was Lois Smith and she played the half-deaf, widowed grandmother. I could see her in my mind’s eye, in a recent role where she had a look of inner torment and sadness. Turns out, after looking her up in the Playbill, we knew; she played Tom Scavo’s mother on Desperate Housewives.

All in all I enjoyed the show and gave it a 7.

Okay, So, What Do We Have?

November 22, 2010

Well, what we don’t have is any more trees falling apart, not since the last batch, anyway, so that’s a good thing.

What we do have is heat! Yes! We also have a new spigot! We also have a incorrectly outlined patio outline which we’ll have to address–it’s marked off too small. And we have new gutters. Funny, and frustrating story… yesterday morning, unbeknownst to us, Grizzly Adams showed up to install the gutters, though no price had been agreed upon. While making several panicky phone calls and waiting to find out what was going on, Mr. Adams kept himself busy straightening out his truck and then he took actual accurate measurements, since that would have to be done anyway. Two hours later, we got the go ahead phone call to start and then he hoped he wouldn’t run out of daylight.

We also have new towels for the bathroom. We got a set of nice deep plum and set of baby blue, both of which go great with the new bathroom tiles. One does not live on olive green or burgundy alone. However, when we got home, we discovered one of the blue bath towels was actually a sheet so it’ll have to be returned. Ugh. And we got home from doing that, it was dark, Grizzly was gone, but he had indeed finished all the gutters.

Then, from the three strikes you’re out but four strikes means you suck department, we have stricken a restaurant off our list of places to go in the city. Fortunately, we have been there only once before so it’s not like we’re totally invested in the place. We got a table right away (this is in Chelsea, by the way, Friday night, the place is called Lasagna—there, I dropped the name!) and within a few minutes our waiter sauntered over to the table and we ordered our drinks, but they didn’t “have Budweiser right now”, so I ordered a Manhattan and Ariel’s Beefeater gin martini, very dirty, with extra olives ended up being a Ketel One vodka martini. I’ve been around long enough to know when I go into a restaurant to have a back up selection ready and I did, because my first choice was a turkey and dried cranberry lasagna, (the odder the dish, the better–for me). Not available. Okay, I’ll have the mushroom lasagna, portabello (for an extra 1.50) please. Appetizer came, great, tasty. Mmm, can’t wait to dig into the steaming hunk of lasagna placed before me and at first, I all I could taste was cheese and sauce. Subsequent bites were getting saltier and saltier and less and less mushroom tasting. I lifted up the top layer only to find a mound of prosciutto. The waiter was complacently apologetic but offered to bring me a serving of sauteed portabellos, which were delicious, but kind of anticlimactic at that point. So, two drinks wrong, not having my initial choice, and then serving me something I could only half eat (the ham was too salty) equals 4 strikes and it’s unlikely we’ll return there. But fortunately, Chelsea, like the rest of Manhattan is chock full of eateries to choose from, so we’ll never go hungry in the city.

I’ve been going on and on and never mentioned the play we saw on Saturday, so, I’ll do that tomorrow.

Was There A Sound?

November 19, 2010

Not much today, being Friday and all. There was supposed to be a plumber coming today to install a spigot in place of the one that was removed when the addition went on. Apparently it’s needed for the CO because it was on the plan. But I think the plumber got canceled in favor of the HVAC guy for whenever he can get back here to finish up the heating situation. Then, late yesterday afternoon, I heard somebody walking around the outside of my house and it was Gutter-man, who, in reality was Grizzly Adams and he was measuring for new gutters all around the house. Not a surprise, we asked for an estimate and there he was but it was momentarily alarming to see people walking around my house. And I love this one, he said to me, when I met them outside, I didnt’ think anyone was home so I didn’t bother to knock, and in the same breath asked me if I was the neighbor. HUH?

And last night we met with Patio-man (Lou’s nephew) who was here surveying the area on Wednesday and who brought us a different, more effective and sensible version of our design. We agreed to it and picked out a great complimentary paver to both the original brick on the house and the stone on the addition. If all the stars line up in retrograde and in the right houses and nothing is cross-cusping on anything else, the patio could be done by Christmas.  And,  from the sounds of it, it’s going to be a longer timeframe to get that addition done; he’s doubtful Lou will be returning and we are personally saddened by that.

We got the new gaming/breakfast nook table in yesterday, but the delivery guys wouldn’t bring it into the house, but they thought nothing of swarming  around the back of the house, even so much as knocking on the slider in the addition. Who delivers things to the back of a house? Isn’t the customary place to go the front door?  So for now, since we really don’t have a place to put it anyway, it’s in the garage and the porch light we ordered back in August finally came in yesterday as well.  Now we can get rid of that jelly jar we got to use to pass inspection. 

In a complete and utter failure to compete against the big bad tree, the little tree tried with all his might to show what he could do, all the while channeling his inner Annie Oakley with Anything you can do I can do better….  The big tree was correct when he replied, through a haughty laugh, No you cahn’t, no you cahn’t, no you cahn’t! The little tree is now in therapy. What I’m wondering is, if no one was out there, did either one of them make a sound?

Night And Day

November 18, 2010

There’s an epidemic breaking out around these parts. Steakhouses are closing left and right. There’s another one of those phrases. But just over the weekend I saw that Lone Star was closed and heard they actually went out of business and now Charlie Brown’s is closing a bunch of locations, one of which is the one we go to. Whatever will become of this tragedy? I guess we’ll have to start cooking more.

Dolly Parton just received a Liseberg Applause Award for her Dollywood, which was deemed the friendliest park in the world. She is also working on a new album for release next summer and she will also tour the U.S. in the summer of 2011.

Why is it always forever and a day? Why can’t it be forever and a night? What about people who live in Alaska? Wouldn’t they be waiting forever and a night for the sun to come out? Conversely, they must wait for forever and a day for night to fall again. Think about it.

I hope no one was sitting under my apple tree the other night. Well, that would have been trespassing, which has happened before….long story, but we discovered the trespasser, who simply walked off our property, with us following him, as nonchalantly as he walked onto it, from across the street, down past the side of the house to a pine tree almost near the canal’s edge. At a safe distance, of course, we followed him as he retreated through the yard and we watched him cross the street and get into a waiting van that just sat for quite a while. We called the cops. We think he may (or may not have been) shooting up, but we found no physical evidence, but we saw him rolling up the sleeves of his sweatshirt. That was a creepy event. Ah, that wasn’t such a long story.

And it’s that time once again for me to start mentioning my friend, Jim’s yearly toy drive for his children’s foundation, Dare To Care. You can click here to be taken to his site and click on Christmas Toy Drive 2010.

I think that’s all I got for you. Class dismissed.

A Little Night Blog

November 17, 2010

Why do things happen “overnight”? You always hear things like, “it was like that new shopping mall went up overnight” or “your nephew shot up 6 inches overnight”. WOW! How come things like that never happen in the daytime? Imagine little Johnny sitting at his desk in school and all of a sudden…oh, wait, never mind….I think most boys do grow  during the day, and it’s usually at that point that the teacher calls panicky Johnny to come up to the blackboard…but that’s getting away from my point.  It’s a right of passage, boys. You’ll look back at that one day and laugh.

Back to  my point– and how come things don’t happen “overday”? Kids apparently don’t grow (seriously now) in the daytime and shopping malls (and Heaven knows roads) don’t get built then either—come on, you’ve driven past construction sites amply marked with flourescent orange “men working” warning signs. Okay, that’s not fair, maybe they work where you are, but around here, I could pass a group of workers at 8:17 AM and they’d be on a lunch break. And the moon, it only comes out at night. It doesn’t ,or rather, the sun doesn’t come out at day. And really the sun doesn’t come out, unless it’s been cloudy, but then of course it’s assumed it’s in the daytime. Things can happen during the day AND during the night, but nothing really ever happens overday. Nothing ever goes bump in the day, either, unless it’s me, bumping into the wall, usually with full cup of hot coffee but that doesn’t normally happen until after I’ve washed the floors. So, give up walking around with coffee or washing the floors? You decide.

Happy birthday Danny DeVito. You, too, Flavius Claudius Julianus.

Speaking of going bump (and clang, and clatter and grunt and groan) in the night, Lou’s son and HVAC Man (with his superhero cape on) were here until well past 10 last night working on that heating situation. They got here somewhere between 4 and 5 and they broke and had a couple of slices of pizza with us. We decided to call out instead of having the fish we intended to have so we wouldn’t be eating in front of them and could also offer them something as well. And, drum roll please…..rat a tat a tat…. We STILL have no heat in the addition. The new electrical board he got was faulty and by the grace of fate, hadn’t destroyed the one he was replacing and he put that one back in so at least the rest of the house would have heat. And so it goes.

Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2010 is the Sarah Palin humdinger, refudiate. They say there is evidence of its use way long before her Twitter postings while she was running as a vice presidential nominee and that’s why they decided to give it such an honorary position. It’s used as a verb loosely meaning ‘to reject’. Well, I think that’s utterly stupiotic, which is my sister’s word from years and years ago. I blogged about it  on the 30th anniversary of its coinage just over a year ago. Here it is.

A Story For Halloween

October 30, 2009

Because I won’t have a blog running tomorrow, I won’t be able to refer to one of the “anniversaries” I had mentioned that I ran across in my old journal while I was writing my Florida Tan story. Tomorrow is the 31st anniversary of my sister’s coining her fabulous word, “STUPIOTIC”. I think it speaks for itself. And I still use it, in quite a few instances.

Just as an FYI, I had marked that day down in an old journal I used to keep. That’s how I know it was the anniversary of when my sister first uttered that little gem. I came across that while I researching my Florida Tan Story, which I  serialized in my blog and you can get to it by clicking “Florida Tan Tuesday” under the categories list over here in the right hand margin.

I should start campaigning for Oxford t0 put STUPIOTIC in the list of considerations for word of the year for 2011. At least, thank the powers that be, they didn’t make “amazing” the word of the year.

The Answer Is….

November 16, 2010

For a while now, I’ve had this idea stuck in my craw and up until last night Ariel has kind of poo-pooed it. I’ll tell you about that in a second, so…read fast!

First, though, this past weekend, while we were staying at the Crowne Plaza in Manhattan, I had the opportunity to take stock of my surroundings in the water closet and it occurred to me I have been lax in my “bottle openers in hotel rooms usually found in the bathroom” pictorial essay and to my chagrin, there wasn’t one in room 2619. But I’ve filed that thought away and will be more alert in the future.

I also had the opportunity to watch countless cooking shows on the Food Network, which, over the weekend featured “can’t do without” Thanksgiving recipes. Besides all the “y’all’s” (and you know who I mean, y’all!) and the “go ahead and add your…”, “go ahead and stir that…”, “go ahead and set that aside” (I’ve blogged about going ahead before), it struck me odd that we’re meant to be enticed by that ‘mmm-mmm’ testimonial and sudden look of enjoyment, that borders on ecstacy, along with a “now that’s what I call turkey stuffing (or pheasant under glass, or a ham and cheese sandwich) when each chef tastes his or her own creation. It’s kind of like how I feel at the end of each blog entry. Hey, someone has to!’

It’s so light you can cut it with a feather.

So, last night, during the fantastic pasta dish I put together…mmm-mmm…we were watching Jeopardy, as we always do and simultaneously we looked at each other in disbelief over one contestant’s “question” about which state was named after a British King, or worded closely to that. Later in the game another question/answer was played in reference to a title by Mark Twain and the response was “A Connecticut Yankee King Arthur’s Court”. And this was where Ariel admitted that what I’ve said for a long, long time may have some credence. Let me explain.

I’ve always thought the contestants were given the answers somehow, or in some way had them at hand, perhaps on a huge board of possible responses because frequently Alex Trebek will follow up a an answer with, “Now’s the time for ‘such and such’” when that answer would have been incorrectly given at a previous point in the game So, last night, when the contestant guessed Connecticut as the state that was named after a British King (when we synchronously agreed that was one thing he’ll have to live with for a very long time) and then later, there was the “Connecticut Yankee” response…that’s when Ariel said I might got somethin’ thar! Okay, fine, maybe he didn’t say it quite like that but you get the idea. So, do they have the answers at their disposal or is all really a coincidence? But, really, King Connecticut?

Now, now this is what I call a blog!

Still Short A Million

November 15, 2010

Update: I still haven’t come up with that million dollars and change…. Just thought I’d keep you apprised as to how that’s going.

Oh man, where to begin with this weekend? Well, let’s see, Friday after work, I set out to go to Costco and ended up at the good Stop & Shop (not the one by my house, the one I haven’t stepped foot in for approximately the last 4 years) and figured I’d be home in plenty of time to put the groceries away and make my cream of mushroom soup. But, as with all best laid plans, everything takes almost double the time you imagine, especially when you’re out, pretty much at the start of rush hour traffic. On my way home, Ariel called and said when he got to a certain point in his trip he’d call me back and I could head out to the car dealer where I was to drop off my car for service scheduled for Saturday and then we’d stop for dinner and then come home. I thought, maybe best to just go there while I was on the road anyway, but he was far enough away, allegedly I could till unload my purchases. Of course, the second I stepped in the house, he called, so I did what I needed to do and took off and still got there before he did.

I took my car Friday night because I heard from Lou he’d be at the house by 7:30 Saturday morning, the time we’d have left to drop off our cars. This way my car would already be there and I wouldn’t have to leave the house open for the Crew to get in.

I have pictures! The Lou Crew.2.1…infinity, at this point…showed up and the grading got done and we have gutters.

   

We still have no heat because the HVAC guy seemed to have gone AWOL but is rumored to be slated for at least one day this coming week, which is all he probably needs. Then we just need the top step, the platform, if you will, cemented and then some refinements in the room itself; finish the spackling and painting, moldings and the like and we should be done and hopefully get our CO. And as we hear it, Lou’s nephew, who did the grading on Saturday is going to mark off the patio area and he will take over that project, possibly in early Spring.

When our cars were ready and got back home (Ariel has loaner due to other work they found that had to be done) we hustled ourselves out of here to get to the city. We met our friends Tim and Shane, had a great dinner at Frankie and Johnny’s, then they went off to see their show, La Cage Aux Folles and, like us, they raved about it when we got together again later afterwards. We went to meet some other friends in the meantime for a little while, had a couple of beers, hung out and chit-chatted until they needed to hit the road and then we went to our post show destination to meet up again with Tim and Shane for to cap off the evening and the next thing we knew it was going on 4am. Oh yeah, and did I mention that we walked from 45th Street to 13th and then some? I won’t mention the emrgency stop at a pizza joint and the incident that involved me, a malfunctioning and ill-equipt lavatory and an angry door busting lesbian. But I will say we taxied back to our room. Yes, again we had a hotel room, this time with no offensive lobby music but a rather chic setting where soft music played and cocktails were served and where women wore very stylish shoes and that always catches my attention.   Since Spiderman had been canceled, we met  with Canada yesterday morning for a late breakfast, then we parted company while they went to finish off their stay in New York and then left for home.

And, here it is, Monday and it starts all over again. Oh, and by the way….(so much for our Broadway diet) we have another show next weekend and as far as we know this one isn’t postponed.

It All Comes Back….

November 12, 2010

…except one tablespoon.

“It’s charming that you think of [Title Unimportant] as your magazine, and I suppose for $1-million and change, you could acquire a controlling interest and call the shots. Until that happens….”

You may be asking yourself, “Brian! For Heaven’s sake, what is that quote, seemingly laden with condescension, all about?” It’s Friday and I’d hate for you to remain in suspense over the entire weekend, so I’ll tell you. That, dear reader, is the opening line of a email I received in response to one I sent.

I recently received the latest issue of a magazine to which I subscribe and it was different; they had obviously changed its format and I was displeased with it. Being a paying customer, I decided to write them to express my opinion of the change, hence the email that began with the above and followed up by a few facts to “straighten me out” about the magazine.

Ariel found the response rather refreshing, eschewing political correctness and I have to say I kind of agree with him, but I also think a more tactful and professional approach might have been a little more conducive to keeping me as a customer. Frankly, the way I see it, they need my subscription dollars more than I need their trashy over-priced publication. Save a tree!

So, tomorrow, we’re supposed to have the Lou Crew, in whichever incarnation is available. And later in the afternoon, we’re meeting with our friends, Tim and Shane from Canada in the city. Months ago, we got tickets to go with them to see “Spiderman” on Broadway, but we found out the show has been delayed by three weeks due to technical issues with the production. We’re not sure what we’ll do in place of it, but I can guarantee it won’t be boring.

Today is National Pizza With The Works Except Anchovies Day, but I’d settle with a mushroom and sausage pie…just sayin’. And here’s an interesting tidbit, on this day in history, the Holland Tunnel, named after the chief engineer of the project, Clifford Milburn Holland, which connects New York and New Jersey, the first underwater tunnel, opened in 1927, after seven years of construction. In 1993, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

That’s it. Go enjoy your weekend!

Encore Un Jour Avec Un Titre Francais

November 11, 2010

Things come in threes, hence a third French title.

We are the proud owners of a brand spanking new, bright and shiny, bouncy…, uh, maybe skip the bouncy…mailbox. Lou came yesterday with his brother-in-law and a member of his original crew, Manuel. While he remained in the truck the other two went to work and in no time at all they were done. I just have to put my house number on it. I’ll do that later on today. Isn’t she a beaut?…all black and all!  And I think I had to run to the post office for the last time yesterday. According to the clerk that took care of me, I was all caught up with my held mail since the driver made a note to not deliver. Now I have to wait until Friday to see how my new box works.

Chuck, Chuck bo Buck, bonana fanna fo f….. Uh, uh, uh!

Oh, great! There’s going to be a chocolate shortage soon. A Western African drought, unrest in the Ivory Coast and the ever-increasing popularity of dark chocolate (because of health benefits such as being high in flavonoid antioxidants–whatever they are; not to mention it’s just plain yummy) have contributed to the raised concerns of an oncoming shortage and the costs for a fix could skyrocket. Dark chocolate is outselling milk chocolate and is far surpassing the trend from two years ago; white chocolate, which, really, is just silly. Three million tons of cocoa worth $5.1 billion are produced each year around the world, and a substantial chunk is in my freezer.

And now it’s time to put my feet up after our walk  and get pecking out some more of Chapter 3.

 

Le Jour Suivant

November 10, 2010

I have to make this quick because I’m running out of time and I want to get to some of Chapter 3 before I have to start working.

We walked again this morning, that’s point one.

Point two is that we had the Lou Crew.2.1.1 last night. They–Lou, his son, the HVAC guy and his helper. They came around 4 in the afternoon and were here until about 7. Lou spent time spackling the entryways from his wheelchair and his son made himself available to either him or the guys working in the basement who were installing the new pipes for the dedicated heat line into the addition.

As it happens, the police report won’t be ready for at least 10 days to two weeks; we were misinformed. Apparently it has to go through a series of proofreading, I assume to safeguard against any inappropriate description that might cause confusion in this awkwardly and over-litigious society.

And most likely, I’ll have to finish out the week picking up my mail, even though someone is supposed to come today to put in the new mailbox, because it’s each prior day’s mail I’m getting. I know tomorrow is a postal holiday but I don’t know whether he’ll have today’s mail on Friday with him as well as what would come tomorrow and Friday. Whatever it is, it’s annoying but it’s on its way to being rectified. I hate disruption. It’s so inconvenient. Oh, and yesterday, I stopped for my soup and I got the last of their country mushroom. So yummy. So, I have soup to look forward to all week.  Soup. Funny word, the more you say it.

I have no answer as to why I’ve lapsed into French the last two days.