Saturday, February 18, 2006


Hi all! I'm posting this from Cleveland (more accurately, a suburb thereof), on a little weekend visit to my family. I'm on my brother's computer now, but back in the hotel room all I have is TV Internet. I probably could post from that, but it would be a challenge. Maybe I'll try later.

Not much to report, really, except it's cold. A couple days ago it was 60 degrees, both here and back and in New York. The last I looked it was 12 here now.

I did just reject a comment, from someone who said wearing women's clothes was against Allah, and we should die a thousand deaths. He also said he was from Iran. Funny, but there was no visitor from Iran on my log. Just one from an AOLer here in the U.S. at that time. Really, JS, you're going to have to do better than that.

We're just hanging out with my family now--don't even feel like doing any sightseeing. So I'm going back to watch the Olympics with them.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Jaime Salé just keeps looking better and better. She's been on the "Olympic Ice" one-hour Show that NBC runs at 6:00pm every day, that's devoted solely to figure skating. (BTW, I couldn't find a recent close-up of her--this one is from 2002, I'm pretty sure.) It's a fun show--lots of jokes, but still gives a lot of backgound to the skating. It's hosted by Mary Carillo, another favorite of mine, all the way back to when she was a world class tennis player. Mary is looking pretty good, too, with her new straight hair.


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If you like this sort of, er, inventiveness see my previous installments, starting with this one. I update them (and this one) continually, as more examples arrive.


"girls not tall but can still play basketball songs"
"what did the people in new france were 2 dinner partys"
'"gazelle running into" tree' plus another just looking for "gazelle filmclip"


Despite the problems has had today (or maybe yesterday, since I don't even know what day this post will actually be dated), this blog logged its 4,000th visit during the last few hours. It was just slightly over a month ago that it hit 3,000. It's good to know that there are some people interested in what I write. So I'm going to keep writing. The Olympics are taking up a lot of my time now, but I'll try to keep the articles coming, at least short ones.

So thanks, faithful readers. But please, do put in your comments. I don't mind criticism, if you explain where you think I'm wrong--and if you're not rude. You don't have to have a Blogger account--just type a name in the "other" box.

Thanks again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Somebody just visited my blog from Iran! It wasn't even by random chance: they were doing a search for "golden glob wallpaper" and found this.

So far I haven't had any visitors from Iraq that I can remember. None from Cuba or North Korea either. But China and Vietnam, yes, if I'm remembering correctly.


We're going on vacation to Spain at the end of April. This will actually be the first new country for me since my first visit to France in 1969!--assuming you don't count airports. If you do count airports, then Barbados and St. Lucia are the latest, which we hit on the way to Martinique a couple years ago. (Martinique doesn't count, as it's a full-fledged "department" (state) of France.)

Though my wife can speak some Spanish, I don't speak much at all, not beyond "por favor," "gracias," "hola," "adios," and, I think, "hasta la vista." I don't even know how to ask where the restroom is. I really need a traveler's phrase book.

Hopefully I'll be able to blog a bit when I get there. Hopefully it will be a better situation than when we were in Martinique. I was only able to get online once during the week or so we were there--the public computer in the lobby of our hotel was broken when I got around to trying it. I did once manage to find another one--in a laundromat of all places! But that kind of makes sense: get on the net while your clothes are washing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


My wife and I went out for a Valentine's Day dinner earlier this evening. This year we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Compass, instead of going to one of the hot new restaurants we've read about, as in previous years. Every year we'd be disappointed. Last year we tried going to a place we had been to a few times over the years, Terrace in the Sky up by Columbia University. But we were still disappointed--the food was about as good as it had been on previous visits, but the service was really poor.

So this year we went back to the tried and true. We got a booth as we had requested (OK, as my wife had requested--she's the one who makes restaurant reservations usually). It makes the largish room much more intimate--especially with the one we got, that had a pillar pretty much hiding us from view on the open end.

There was a very limited prix-fixe menu available, but that wasn't a problem--actually, what was a problem was choosing between the "Heirloom Beets" (with black truffles, goat cheese and pistachios) and the risotto (with foie gras, chestnuts and butternut squash) for the appetizer. I love foie gras, so I went with the risotto. For my main course I had sirloin steak and braised oxtail, which came with fingerling potatoes and a truffle Bernaise sauce. I don't have beef very often, but I was in the mood. For dessert, chocolate-hazelnut tart. My wife had the same appetizer and dessert, but chose the pan-seared red snapper for her entrée. We decided to get the wine pairing--a 3 oz. glass specially chosen to go with each dish.

But before the appetizers came (but after a great basket of rolls and bread), a little "amuse bouche" appeared. It consisted of three tiny things each: an oyster (very appropriate for Valentine's Day) with some sort of sauce, a little piece of foie gras on some sort of cracker, and a third, I can't remember what exactly, in a tiny pie crust. And to accompany all this was a small glass of a Spanish sparkling wine, Cava. It certainly was as good as most champagnes I've had.

The risotto was next, along with its wine, the 2001 Damilano Barolo from the Piedmont region of Italy. The wine was served by the sommelier, who gave an explanation of why he thought it was right for the dish. Most of what he said went right over my head. My wine vocabulary doesn't get too far beyond white and red. There are a few types (i.e. type of grape) that I recognize, e.g. merlot or riesling, and I can sort of understand and recognize sweet vs. dry, spicy and fruity, but when you get to oak, and waxy, and such terms, I'm lost. Anyhow, his choice worked well with the risotto--which was marvelous, with a generous portion of beautifully seared foie gras in it.

Next were the entrées. I was surprised that the sirloin was sliced. The portion seamed a bit skimpy. I had to search for the oxtail. It was shredded, and was hiding under the potatoes and a layer of braised watercress. The steak was superb. I ordered it medium-rare, and it came just the way I like it--pink on the inside, but still cooked (and hot) all the way through. What really surprised me was the sauce. Usually I find Bernaise sauce to be unnecessary, even distracting, for any good steak. But this example was the best I've ever had, and added to the wonderful taste of the meat. The oxtail was quite nice, too, though I think it would not have worked too well just on its own--but accompanying the steak it was fine.

This time the sommelier brought a California cabernet sauvignon, the 2001 Valentine "Echo Valley." Yes, he had a Valentine wine for Valentine's Day. How cute. He poured me a generous amount--quite a bit more than the 3 oz. we had been promised. And regardless of the name, it was a great pairing with the steak.

Of course, it turned out that the portion was not skimpy. Perhaps I was misled by the huge plate it was served on, but the amount was fine.

The chocolate-hazelnut "tarts" came, though it was more of a multilayer sandwich than a tart to my eyes. It was very good, though not quite up to the level of the previous courses. The sommelier came again, with some sweet dessert wine, the 2000 Banyuls "Vigne d'en Traginer" from the Roussillon region in southern France.

Were we done? No. We wanted coffee, which was not on the prix-fixe menu--nor was it offered by the waiter (I suspect it was not an oversight. I think the restaurant would prefer people not lingering over coffee on a very busy evening like Valentine's Day). And then more food came, a trio of tiny after-desserts: a tiny marshmallow heart, an equally tiny strawberry shortcake, and a chocolate "lollipop," some dribbled dark chocolate stuck to the end of a six inch stick--all very nice. Oh, yes, I almost forgot--they gave us a little box of chocolates to take home (on normal nights they give little scones).

After paying the bill (don't ask--but it was just a few dollars less than the monthly rent on my first apartment in New York, back in 1973) we went out to retrieve our coats. It was an excellent meal, certainly the best Valentine's Day dinner I've ever had, and it was worth the cost. (It is nice being able to afford such things.) My only complaints were about not being offered coffee, and about the up-tempo pop music they piped in. It certainly wasn't necessary once the place started really filling up.

On the way out one of the hostesses (not the one in the great, lacy black skirt with the asymmetrical hem) handed my wife a long-stemmed red rose--a nice touch. But I noticed that they did not give a rose to the gay couple leaving right behind us. How unfair. We need same-sex marriage!
ADDED AFTERTHOUGHT: I have realized that I may have judged Compass' actions concerning the roses too hastily. Perhaps it was just a gender thing--maybe if it were a lesbian couple both of them would have gotten roses. The more I think about it, that's probably the way it was. If a mixed group with an unequal number of men and women came in, I'm sure they would given all of the women roses.

Of course, this brings up the entirely different question of gender discrimination.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I didn't realize the Italians are so into bling. The medals being awarded at the Torino Olympics are the ugliest ones ever. About 4 inches across, with a big hole in the middle. They look like industrial-sized metal washers. The hole is supposed to represent the open space of an Italian piazza. I think it represents the open space between the designer's ears. Maybe it's a product placement for a donut company.

And you know what some of the medal winners, at least some of the male ones, are going to do with that hole.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter
Vice President Cheney has been known to go hunting with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Hmmmm....


We're in a major snowstorm here in NYC. I read that there was a foot of snow in Central Park by 8:00am--not that I'm going out to check the measurement. Maybe another 4 to 5 inches are on the way. This would get it close to the top ten snowfalls in the city's history.

As I said, I'm not going out in it. We got our grocery deliveries yesterday, so we're all set. I'll stay home and watch the Olympics.

Maybe it will clear up enough by tomorrow afternoon so I can make Lisa Jackson's performance. Otherwise, the only thing I need to go out for is to get some valentines for my wife.