Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Surf Music

I finally ordered a replacement copy tonight of Brian Wilson live at the Roxy.My copy vanished and I noticed a few weeks ago it is no longer available though it's not that old.I think it was Brimel records or something that put it out and though the DVD is around not the CD.So I bought a used copy since new ones are going for 45.00 and way above.It got me thinking about some of the older things I had lying about on LP so I dug out my copy of The Malibooz from 1981 with the great Surfin Ghost on it.The Malibooz are led by Walter Egan of Magnet and Steel fame and have put out several albums over the years.Surfin Ghost was a really cool song with the clever little"You'll never hear psychedelic music again" chanted at the end in a flip response to the old Hendrix line"You'll never hear surf music again".The other gem I pulled out was the 1978 Euclid Beach Band's"There's no Surf in Clevland" which is straight on Surf Pop but a catchy tune and produced I beleive by Eric Carmen from the Raspberries.


A comment in my Santa Monica Seafood post from I beleive a Wellfleetian today got me thinking about Oysters.Several years ago while back home in Rochester,NY I took the train down to NYCity to visit a friend and his wife.We went to the Grand Central oyster bar one night to meet up with a frat brother of mine who was living in NY.I ordered six oysters to start but you could mix and match so I picked two Wellfleets,two Prince Edward Islands and two from the Vancouver area.The difference between the oysters was amazing and not something I expected.I mean you think a raw oyster is a raw oyster but they aren't.You really should try it sometime with several different Oysters.In fact they were so good I ordered six more but all Wellfleets.When I was still at Northeastern some friends from Roch came up one fall weekend and with another Roch friend from Harvard we all went to the Legal Seafood across from The Copley Plaza on a fri night.Since Legal didn't take reservations and the place was packed we were at the bar for a long time and started ordering plates of oysters.My friend Russ loaded one up with horseradish and Tabasco being young and foolish and as he slurped it in the heat of it hit him and he coughed it out so hard it sailed a good five yards and landed in the bartenders tip glass behind the bar on a shelf.The whole bar broke into applause and the bartender rang his tip bell in appreciation.I'd also like to thank squid jigger for having a Chesterfield Kings song on one of his playlists I looked at.One of Rochester's great garage bands and a regular act at the old Scorgies,the now defunct haven of punk bar in downtown Rochester though there was a reunion show this winter at the German House of several of the bands that made Scorgies famous.

Mercy Mercy Me

Wed is of course April 1st and while it's known for pranks it is also the 25th anniv of the death of the greatest soul singer ever.Marvin Gaye was shot by his father in a domestic dispute with a gun Marvin had given him a few months earlier on April 1st,1984 the day before Marvin's 45th Birthday.

Monday, March 30, 2009


ABC news tonight had a story on a language school in Japan where the instructor uses Barack Obama speeches to teach his students English.It was pretty fascinating watching them repeat Obama lines in English or sometimes fractured English.The instructor has also used speeches of Martin Luher King and JFK to teach students.So I got to thinking it would be cool to go there and open up a Language school teaching English by using Three Stooges videos and some of Richard Pryor's live footage.I'd also throw in some Joe Pesci from"My Cousin Vinny" and of course tapes of Gilbert Gottfried. For the very good students I'd throw in some Leon Spinks to really challenge them or some Ozzy Osbourne. Maybe even a little Jedd Clampett and Granny just for giggles.Heck I might be able to franchise it around the non English speaking world.*If you know what 60's sitcom Fabersham came from and what it was give yourself an A plus plus and get outside and away from Nicks TV land for a few hours.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I was talking to Knuckle Sandwich tonight on the patio as I was grilling a steak.I didn't see him on Fri so I wished him a Happy Birthday and asked him about his little party which was in a nearby park with several boys and two girls from school.His female classmate and buddy from across the street couldn't make it so it wasn't three girls.I asked him how it was and he said it was lots of fun.I asked him if he had cake and he said we had pizza.You had pizza for cake?.No we had cupcakes.Guess what I had,A mocha.You mean Mocha frosting?,No a mocha cupcake.Now I'm not advanced past chocolate or yellow cupcakes so this was news to me.I haven't looked it up yet to see if there is such a thing or if it was the frosting.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Birthdays and a Senior Moment

So I was checking my email today and there was a message from the Genie site which is one of these family tree site things my oldest neice and nephew set us up on to recall Birthdays,weddings,Arrests etc. and it said my brother was 53 today.Now I looked at it and thought I was 53 and then since I went to college/university it dawned on me I was in fact 54.My brother has been stuck in Chicago for a trial for a month and probably won't be home to San Diego to the wife and kids till May so I felt sort of bad for him.Also Knuckle Sandwich turns 8 on Friday and I thought he was already 8 so chalk another one up to the ageing mind.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Santa Monica Seafood

I don't think I've mentioned that my favorite seafood market here Santa Monica Seafood has moved from 12th and Colorado to 10th and Wilshire after being at the Colorado location since I think the 60's.Originally they were on the Santa Monica pier but with increased vehicle traffic the city asked them to move so they did 12 blocks inland to Colorado and 12th.Now that was great especially after I sold my car then truck having had enough of driving in L.A..It was an easy bus trip to the store or sometimes I would have my brother pick me up something as he goes over from work most Fri afternoons.But a few weeks ago they moved up to 10th and Wilshire a much busier area both people wise and traffic wise. So now they are in a hip neighborhood instead of the light industrial area they left but it now will take a bus trip with one or two transfers each way to get there.But they do have a huge selection of fresh fish and now an indoor outdoor cafe.I love getting some Artic Char fillets there.They also have those great little Manila clams which are great for pasta and clams or the Pacific Butter Clams.They always have a bunch of different Oysters including on occasion my beloved Wellfleets and every so often in summer Blue Fish will show up from back east which now I look on fondly but not when we pretty much lived on it in the Cape days cause it was cheap if not literally given to us.They also have the big meaty stone crab in season as well as Shad Roe in spring.On an average day I'd say they have twenty or more varities of fresh fish as well as all the shellfish and some good prepared stuff especially their cold squid salad.They even sell one pound bags of frozen Smelt from Canada which growing up on a great lake was a real treat and something I still get a jones for once or twice a year.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eight IS enough

So I step off the bus across from my Trader Joe's a little after noon and as I am crossing the street and get to the curb who do I see giving me a LOOK but my old friend Dick Van Patten.He's in the TJ'S parking lot loading up the trunk of his red mercedes convertible and giving me the half stinkeye look he always gives me.Now I haven't seen him in over a year but I always wear my Red Sox cap and he seems to know who I am though I don't know him.This all started a few years ago when I would be waiting for my cab every morning in front of my building and for about a month Dick would drive by every day or so and see me standing there and give me a look lkie this guy looks like he's casing the cars or the houses on this street and maybe I should call the cops.Then about a month later I was on Pico and saw this guy from behind putting things in the back of his Red Mercedes convertible top down and I said as I walked by that the car looks really good in that color and as the guy says thanks he looks up and if it isn't Dick Van Patten and he registers a Oh it's you,I'm on to you look and jumps in the car and takes off.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

X-Mas according to Sarah Palin

More Black Helicopters

I was thinking early this morning when I have my best thoughts half awake that it might be more reasonable that the helicopter put down on the large ball/picnic fields next to the golf course right off Motor though there are Tennis courts there used all day but for the Pres I guess they could chase everyone off for a bit.I also assume the copter put down because I only saw it dropping low but if it didn't land it was twenty feet above ground level last I could see.It actually makes sense because it knocks off a good 3 to 4 miles of motorcade route disrupting more traffic.On a totally off the cuff note Moe Howard of the Three Stooges daughter lives right behind or did still afew years ago the golf course/rec area.You can make of that what you want.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Black Helicopters

So tonight around six I'm reading the end of "True North" the novel which has a very strange end but more on that later when I start hearing Big Choppers in the sky.I look out my window and see a Blackhawk UH-60 I beleive they are called going by low towards Santa Monica airport.Then I heard more and it dawned on me since the President was just in Orange County he must be coming into LA already.Next thing I saw was amazing because I watched a Blackhawk putting down on what looked like Motor Ave(Usually they fly the copters into nearby Santa Monica Airport) which runs dead end into Fox Studios.It was then I noticed traffic on my cross street Beverly Glen was very heavy so wandering outside I saw that Pico Blvd. was blocked both ways at Beverly Glen.Then I saw all the folks hanging out along Pico so I surmised that the helicopter put down on Motor to send the President into his motorcade to Century City where one hotel was popular with past Presidents for fund raisers and staying.But the motorcade unlike the Bush years did not come up Beverly Glen past me but went the other way down Pico back towards L.A..Then later tonight I hear that Obama is in fact staying at the Beverly Hilton which was so far off the radar the police said there wern't even any Lovers or Haters outside the hotel when the motorcade pulled up.I'll tell you though having several Blackhawks swooping around low over your building is a bit unnerving.Not only are they rather large and loud but sinister looking in that flat black.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Corned Beef and Cabbage

I did my Corned Beef last night so tonight it was easy leftovers.I put the corned beef on the stove for three and a half hours and the sucker was falling apart.I cooked the veggies seperate this year because I don't like the taste the corned beef liquid imparts into the taters.The odd thing is whenever I do a brisket for anything else it's on the Weber or in the oven.Because SweetPea left my Iris's alone I bought her a bunch at Trader Joes yesterday.She and her brother were outside in back so I took them down and she said Thank You and then asks right away"John could you take them upstairs and give them to my Mom or Dad to put in water"Then a few minutes later she asked me if I was going to bring out any snacks while I'm trying to read the NYTimes.So I went and got some pistachios and after awhile she says.Don't you have any apple slices.So it was back upstairs for apple slices.I told her mom she's only five and she's already wrapping men around her finger.Meanwhile her brother Knuckle Sandwich asks me if I'm going to smoke a cigar.I tell him no and he says when was the last time you smoked one.I say about ten days ago when I was out with you and he says man thats a long time to go.I want to see you smoke another one.I did get through the Monday NYTimes regardless.

Happy St. Patricks Day from Shane McGowan

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Moe

SweetPea and Knuckle Sandwich have discovered the Three Stooges.I've often mentioned them and have a Curly Doll in my bathroom window which they have asked about.A few weeks ago SweetPea says out of the blue I like Curly,he's funny and then as if on cue Knuckle Sandwich came outside and did a pretty good Curly imitation.They also love watching Spanky and our Gang(Little Rascals) so their parents are doing a fine job raising them.Yesterday I pointed out to Sweet Pea we have our first Iris blooming in a front bed just as the liitle daffodils are wilting though the big creamy ones are getting ready.I showed it to her and ask her if she likes flowers."I Like picking flowers" she says and indeed she does.Sometimes she picks herbs from our garden and mixes them into a "salad" as she calls it.She also likes to pluck the lavender and crumble it.I can tell when her and her brother have been outside just by the plant debris lying on the sidewalk in front of our building or on the patio.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


So I'm walking from the bus after Trader Joes today and right near my Apt. here comes the hat lady walking the other way.She was wearinf a red bangles type number I've seen before and as we chit chat I ask her if she has a St.Patricks day hat and she says yes.I then tell her I loved her Easter hat last year with the eggs I saw her wearing and she says I'll make your wife a hat.I tell her I'm not married and as I'm saying it I'm thinking I should have said that would be great so I could have sent it to someone.A few girls have expressed interest in what these hats look like.Maybe I'll ask her nice next time I see her.I have gotten to the point where she knows who I am.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Last night I was watching a rerun of Boston Legal which aren't reruns for me because I never watched the show before but anyhoo William Shatner and James Spader went fishing in Canada and on comes this really catchy tune about Welcome to Canada,it's the Maple Leaf State so I look it up and it's by some group called Five Iron Frenzy which appears to have been out of Denver in the late 80's.They were described as a Ska-Punk band and the song is out there downloadable for free.I guarantee you'll like it.They even mention Willian Shatner in the song as they do Milk in a bag,Venison Slurpie and the terms take off and Eh?.I started watching these on Ion tv which is over the air and in the later ones Shatner and Spader are on a terrace pretty much at the end of each show drinking scotch smoking stogies and talking life.I hadn't smoked a Cigar in a few years but that darn show caused me to order 25 by mail order from Thompsons Cigar in Tampa.Every ten days or so I smoke one on the patio and the last time SweetPea was out.She was fascinated by the whole thing then told me that smoking isn't good for me but at least I don't inhale the cigar she said.A smart little five year old she is.The song by the way is titled Oh,Canada but not that one though there is a horn hook in the middle of the real Oh,Canada my favorite of National Anthems by the way especially when sung by the late Roget Doucet at the old Montreal Forum before a Habs game.

True North times two

Last week I went over to Amazon to look at reader reviews of Jim Harrison's"True North" which I had started a few nights earlier and more on in a later post.Another"True North" caught my eye because the intro was by Lawrence Millman one of my favorite travel writers.His "Our Like will not be there again:Notes from the west of Ireland" is excellent as is his"Last Places,A Journey North" in which he follows the Viking route from Norway to Labrador.After I read that book I came across "The Lure of the Labrador Wild" by Dillon Wallace a harrowing account of a tragic canoe trip in Labrador in the early 1900's which Millman helped put back in print."True North" is another book on Labrador by Elliott Merrick who gave up an advertising career in the NY metro area during the depression to live amongst the natives and trappers in Labrador.It's quite a story so far and his description of the country is beautiful.The book was originally published by Scribners in 1933 and praised by Maxwell Perkins.This edition is a small press out of Vermont as is Merrick's later"Green Mountain Farm" which I also bought.In that one he and his Aussie wife who he met in Labrador buy a run down farm in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom some years later and the book is an account of their life on the farm.Millman writes the intro to this book also and both seem to be highly praised.I don't know why Labrador holds such a pull on me,maybe it's because to this day parts of it are still truly wild places but "True North" is the type of book I'm going to slow down on towards the end because I don't want it to end much like when I first read"The Lure of the Labrador Wild" years ago.This also marks the first time I have been reading two different books with the same title.So each night of late I talk to myself and ask do you want to read True North or True North tonight.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's a Miracle

The streetlight right past our bldg has been out since last X-Mas eve.I called it in on Dec 26th and tonight it was finally fixed!.It's never taken more than ten days before to replace a bulb but after eight years of neocons in control even basic services are the shits.A few more years of Republican rule and we'd be on a par with Albania.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Grazing at the Supermarket

So I took my usual saturday morning trip up to my Ralphs market and it was free treats all over!.Well not all free.As I walked up the Girlscouts(actually a Brownie Troop) were selling cookies.Now I recently ran out of my east coast haul from last fall of nieces and friends daughter which is when they sell them in Syracuse and Rochester.I bought a few boxes from the young ladies and then made my way into the store.When I reached seafood/meat there were some kind of garlic shrimp samples so I had a few.Then coming out of produce I hit a goldmine.A Boars Head lady was set up offering cocktail franks of which I had several and four different cheeses in cubes which I stabbed a few of with my toothpick.Then it was on to the actual Deli where I sampled a slice of the turkey breast I was buying.At the Deli counter was a tray of Kerri Gold Irish Cheddar cubes so I partook of those also.Reaching the checkout line with about fifteen toothpicks I was next to a table set up offering pieces of the bakery's glazed donuts so I had two for desert.A little wine or beer giveaway and I might not have left for a few hours.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Comanche Empire

Of all things watching "The Outlaw Josey Wales" got me interested on reading about the Comanche's and this book came out last year.It's by Pekka Hamalainen who is a Finn and there has been talk both good and bad about the book.I love reading Native Histories but the Southwest tribes are really the only ones I haven't read much on.Something about arid lands just doesn't grab me.So I went over to my History Book Club site and ordered this last night.One thing that stikes me about the cover is how almost Oriental the Comanche on the cover looks in that makeup.I have some other books to post in the near future.

Cover "The Comanche Empire"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Long Leg,Edward Hopper,1935,comment

I just read tonight that this Hopper painting is going to be a new US postage stamp.It's off Provincetown and at first I thought it was harbor side and the Wood End Light as the Long Point light farther out is just a tower but looking at it closer it must be the ocean side and Race Point Light.By the way one can stay at Race Point during the spring through fall season.It is off the grid but green powered.As for Wood End and Long Point they remain close to my heart.In 81 when we rented the cottage off Bay side North Truro from my loft bedroom I could lay awake at night/early morning and see across the bay to Provincetown.Many times I just watched the light shows from Thunderstorms on the bay with the lights of Provincetown inthe distance and the green and red flash of the light houses.Made me feel like I was in a Fitzgerald novel.By the way I've never really noticed this Hopper till now but what I find amazing is the way he's painted the currents into it.It almost looks like a photo in that part of the painting.

The Long Leg,Edward Hopper,1935