DJ's Detritus

A Creative Writing Class Dropout's Last Refuge

Sunday, November 11, 2018


When that’s the televised early game in your area, what are you going to do?  In my case, its blather on the blog as opposed to watching that likely blowout. Plus, SB2 has one TV tied up with Shrek and the wife is holding the master bedroom hostage.

It is tough to figure out where to start when life is as fascinating as mine is.  Let’s go back a couple weeks.  My godson, son of Wig, father of Franklin the Dachshund, recently had his 30th birthday.  His dad ordered some goodies from Total Wine in San Mateo, which I picked up and my wife delivered.  Included was a 30-year cognac, so we hopped on the bandwagon and gave the kid a 30-year port.  He was very appreciative and said we should get together soon.  I had to break it to him that I only hang with people in their 20s.

Oh, I kid.  Maybe I’ll take him and his distaff side to Saratoga, a new SF hot spot in the heart of the Tenderloin, the neighborhood I’m always the most comfortable in.  We went there last night with the Banker and his wife and another FC couple.  We had an 8:30 reservation.  Holy shit, that’s past my bedtime, but I made it work.  Beforehand, we were treated to cocktails and appetizers on the 42nd floor of the Banker’s SF abode.  They’ve been living in SF for several months while their house is being remodeled.  They had to wangle their way for access to the top, since only the uppermost floors are supposed to be able to hang there.  But they have pull.

We all enjoyed Saratoga.  Their drinks menu is much larger than their food menu, but in the day and age of the artisanal cocktail, that is to be expected.  I had the half chicken, which was deboned and roasted to perfection.  All the sides we shared were quite good as well.  Sated, we were swept back to the Banker’s apartment in a black Escalade from Uber.  My wife and I then took a short walk to Harrison and Main where we had parked.  That neighborhood is absolutely nothing like it was when I was living in the big city back in the 80s.  I don’t recall heading too far South of Market often in those days.

So, has Trump been up to anything?  His post-election news conference was a doozy and he was nasty as hell on his way out the door to Paris.  He could not make a WW1 memorial this weekend because of the rain.  That wimp just didn’t want his hairdo to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.  He does have a lot on his plate, but it is hard to plow through it when you have blocks of “executive time” to eat cheeseburgers in bed while watching Fox News.  Since Zinke is on his way out, they recently held a brainstorming session in the Oval Office to come up with some possible replacements.  Trump shouted out “How about the Birdman of Alcatraz”, but the staff had to inform him he wasn’t available.

So, Trump makes me want to puke but it was put in perspective for me when I was reading a recent Maureen Down column, in which she chatted with Adam McKay about his new movie Vice.  This is what he said:

“Here’s the question,” he said. “Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? I’d rather have a maniac with a meat cleaver after me, so I think Cheney is way worse.”

I would have to agree.

In closing, I’d like to take a quick poll of my readership.  Have any of you been gaslighted and doxxed in the same day?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Squirrels in The News

You may have seen a few weeks ago that some poor woman was kicked off a flight because of her emotional support squirrel.  How heartless!  I caught the link below about death from eating squirrel brains.  I implore all my upstate NY pals, which are legion, to stay away from squirrel meat entirely.  I was trying to find a Letterman clip on YouTube in which he talks about seeing a squirrel in Central Park salting his nuts, but I came up blank.  As my bud JS might say to all this, that’s nuts.

JS was featured for the first time in my last post, along with MT.  These are their initials, since whatever little creativity I once had in creating blog names is in the distant past. I’ve been at this since 3/1/06, when I was still in my hale and hearty 40s, so you will have to forgive me.

A headline last week from my favorite magazine, Cosmopolitan, was "Wait, Was Taylor Swift at Karlie Kloss' Wedding Yesterday?" Apparently not, since Taylor was in Australia.  But Karlie says, "Taylor and I are still really good friends.", which I am sure comes as a great relief to all of you.

Lady Gaga borrowed David Byrne’s big suit, which supposedly allowed her to “take the power back”. I guess so, if you can avoid tripping over those big cuffs. They say she was great in a recent re-make of a re-make of A Star Is Born.  As usual, I’ll consider it when it comes out on PPV.

OK, more recent hits from Highland Mills, NY. Stay away from the squirrels and keep them coming. FYI, this is what will be my emotional support animal going forward.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Hopped Up on Goofballs

That was the theme of our recent weekend in Kirkwood, because 4M and MT caught this particular episode of Perry Mason the night before our trip.

MT you say?  Yes, there will be two new characters in today’s blog post.  MT and JS were high school classmates, along with 4M, UK, TK and Dream.  This Magnificent Seven headed to the UK’s humble Kirkwood abode in a three-car caravan Friday morning for a weekend of reverie
MT, JS and Dream made the trek from the East Coast Thursday.  MT stayed at 4M’s house and I boarded the other two.  They were treated to one of my fantastic recipes, Coq Au Riesling, along with my wife’s tasty corn salad.  Their bill is in the mail. Fortunately for MT, 4M got take out.

We all met at my house Friday morning to start the trip.  We had a few stops for Starbucks, gas and a toothsome lunch at Rosebud’s Café in Jackson.  The last stop was for a beer pick up in Pine Grove.  4M and I arrived about a half hour after the rest of the crew.  We were gently ribbed about this a few times. I blame Waze. 

We arrived in Kirkwood much earlier in the day than on our usual jaunts there.  After a brief bible study session, we went out onto the deck.  I have previously mentioned that the UK keeps a meticulously groomed herb garden there.  Everybody felt the effects of the altitude, but we went through a case of water, so everyone was well hydrated.  I had better conversations with Dream this time (see 10/6/16 post).  There was a little busting of chops, which you should expect from this NY crowd.  4M and MT were born in the Bronx, The UK in Brooklyn, and JS in Queens.  I think TK and Dream were born upstate but they have spent a lot of time in the big city.  I’m the Philly outlier.  By the way, JS said he had to get out of Flushing when The Mets arrived.  That’s a joke son.

Dinner was a gustatory delight, a lasagna designed and implemented by TK.  4M provided several bottles of wine as usual.  We also had a little beer.  We cranked up The Last Waltz and some other music videos. Some of these chuckleheads raved on until 2am but I tucked myself in around 11:30.

Saturday morning was a slow one.  We noshed on the bagels and cream cheese 4M provided and sipped our coffee.  The big plan for Saturday was circumnavigating Lake Tahoe.  I threw out the idea of just driving around it instead, but that was voted down.  We took two of the three cars for this jaunt.  We ended up at Squaw Valley, which was featuring a Spartan race, but decided not to participate.  When we were chowing down our nachos at River Ranch, one of the guys pulled up an article that these extreme races sometimes lead to bloody diarrhea and even death. Whoa, sign me up!

We ended up at The Lake House just a few minutes before our designated reservation time.  The staff was hip to us and put us in a secluded spot. There was no hard alcohol, but we subsisted on beer and wine. The grub was good, and no fights broke out when it came time to split the bill.  Afterward we headed home to a somewhat sedate evening.  

The usual Kirkwood Sunday morning routine continued.  Everybody stripped their bed then watched the UK clean the place. We had a fine meal at Subway in Lockeford on the drive home.  That is the second time I have dined at a Subway and I’m quite impressed that I did not puke either time.  We converged on my manse in mid-afternoon to say our goodbyes.  Dream connected with a cousin while JS and I dropped MT at SFO then continued up to SF.  I gave him a brief tour, catching Land’s End, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Haight, the Castro, and downtown, while cursing out a few people that did not drive the way I liked.  JS helped me with breathing exercises.  We got stuck on 10th St. trying to get to the highway on the way back.  Unbeknownst to us, the Folsom St. Fair was on, which explained the interesting outfits we saw.

A big thanks to our host The UK and to Dream, MT and JS for making the flight out.  44 years have passed since our graduation, but the friendships have stood the test of time. There is one request I have for our East Coast contingent.  Can you help me figure out who the hell is responsible for those Highland Mills blog hits?

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Holy Shit

Regardless of what Merriam-Webster says, the word of the day is lodestar.  I can’t figure out if yesterday’s anonymous NYT op-ed writer is a brave patriot sounding the alarm or a moral coward.  Unless it was Mike Pence, then it's definitely the latter.  In any case, here’s Charlie Pierce’s take:

With this and the Woodward book, do we have enough evidence that Trump is not fit for office?  Actually, once Omarosa chimed in, I was convinced. As many pundits have already stated, all you had to do was look at his rally speeches in 2016 and you would have known he wasn’t fit to be a ward heeler. And there was that birther thing.

My TDS has kicked into high gear and may cause my head to blow up. I expect this would please Gina Loudon, who used “science” to determine that "it is quite possible that this president is the most sound minded person to ever occupy the White House."  I want to get her take on climate change, since she sounds like a very stable genius.

Friday, August 24, 2018

VMAs, Etc.

I forgot to tape the VMA Awards, so I missed lot. I understand that J Lo gave a hell of a performance on the night she won the coveted Video Vanguard award.  It was not all sweetness and light however, like the Nicki Minaj / Kylie Jenner contretemps and Madonna getting shit for cultural appropriation when she wore her North African garb.  I understand she celebrated her 60th birthday in Morocco.  The last time I was there I got a stomach bug.  The same thing happened when I watched Madonna’s Aretha Franklin tribute.  But I don’t want to focus on the negative.  Oh my, the outfits!  There were too many fantastic ones to comment on, but my favorite was this understated number.

Besides for being a pop culture maven, I do have a very interesting private life, of which I’ll share a few tidbits. The Binghamton triumvirate got together at The Wig’s Inverness compound last weekend.  I was supposed to pick up Dr. Joe and wife at SFO, but The Wig stepped in and took charge, since I had a critical work call.  Being a telecom magnate is not easy.

Friday night we had dinner in, featuring my brisket.  Everyone raved.  We did a lot of catching up as the three boys had not been all together for four years and the ladies even longer. We racked out at a reasonable hour.

Saturday, we headed to the beach.  The Wig and I stayed there while the other four took a rigorous hike.  I managed to trash Wig’s NYT crossword puzzle.  I fancy myself a wordsmith sometimes, but I was just making stuff up then.

We got back to the abode about mid-afternoon and waited for the younger generation to show up, along with Franklin the Dachshund, who is now my BFF.  We headed down to Saltwater Oyster Depot for dinner.  We got a prime spot outside.  They turned on the heaters and my wife renewed our discussion about getting one for our house.  I generally say if it is too chilly outside, go inside.  She disagrees.

OK, I’m not going to give you any more info on the weekend, but I do have a question for you. How the hell does Pandora put a Bon Jovi tune on my Jackson Browne channel?

Has anything much been going on with Trump this week?  I did see that Ainsley Earhardt really grilled him during an interview.  That woman is relentless. And I thought he only did softball interviews.

Lastly, if you are not my FB friend, you are missing all the fun.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Almost A Month

I need to be careful or people are going to refer to me as an ex-blogger.  I’ve been called worse.

What do you write when you got nothing to write?  The Kardashians are always doing something.  They were all dolled up for Kylie’s 21st birthday.  There was a nice pic of them giving the finger to the camera, mommy included.  Scary monsters all.  Fortune Magazine referred to Kylie as a “self-made billionaire”.  What horseshit!

I had a bit of scare recently.  There was some noise about mayonnaise being dead, killed by millennials.  Fortunately, it appears to have been a false alarm.  During my extensive research on this topic, I also discovered that there is a mayo ice cream.  Now they can kill that.

My active social life continues.  I’m having coffee with my bud The Exec tomorrow.  I have not been to the Starbucks by the PJCC, so I’ll be distracted from his dull conversation by the new surroundings.  And I am visiting The Wigs along with Dr. Joe and his bride this weekend.  More about that later.  And I just found out today that The Poughkeepsie Kid and wife will be staying with us come October.  Unc and Mashie will join us as well.  DJ and his distaff side are like the Bay Area restaurant scene.  You have to make a reservation a few months in advance.

I was pretty worn out from my Singapore vacation, so I took another vacation earlier this month.  We went to DC to buy our kids and their pals a couple meals and then take them up to the in-law’s NJ beach house.  Fun was had by all, but the place is now on the market, so it might be our last go round.  My nephew, their youngest, is heading off to UCLA in September. We plan to have him for some upcoming Thanksgivings.

I have to admit I’ve been suffering some lately.  No, not from travel constipation, although that is a thing.  As do most of my friends and family, I have Trump Derangement Syndrome. And Omarosa is not helping.  I did see that Fox and Friends said she outsmarted him.  Since Trump loves that show, I’m sure he went ballistic.  I’m awaiting the tweet.

I apologize if I gave celebrity news short shrift to discuss my quotidian existence.  There was another nugget I wanted to comment on.  I saw that Richard Gere is having another kid at 69.  I was thinking he could organize a play date with Billy Joel in about five years.  Just Gere and Joel and their kids, Gere and Joel’s nurses and the kids’ nannies. I think it is a little rude to send your kids off to college from your death bed.

As far as stupid trends are concerned, there was one about snorting condoms from a few months ago.  I would have brought it up sooner, but I am a lousy and infrequent blogger.  I guess they were trying to come up with something slightly less toxic than eating Tide pods.  It really is a tough choice between those two.  It suggests a question I asked on my 8/2/14 post.  "If you were up to you neck in puke and somebody threw a bucket of boogers at your head, would you duck?"

Though it may not be the best segue, let’s talk about my friend The Wig.  As I’ve mentioned, he is dwelling in Marin for the summer.  We have already been up to spend a night with The Wigs. There was also a fine dinner at Marlowe in SF with them and their offspring.  Friday our old Binghamton roomie Dr. Joe is flying in and we will take over their abode this weekend.  We all are on pins and needles for this reunion.  We were last together at Dr. Joe’s daughter’s wedding several years back. I plan to get a good post out of this.  I’ll be taking copious notes this weekend.

Our roomie moved out today, headed back to grad school in Indiana.  My wife and I can go back to yelling at each other.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Asiapalooza 2018

Yes, it has been more than a month, but I have a partial excuse.  We made our first trip to Asia recently.  As expected, it was quite warm the entire time, but nothing intolerable. I did not take any notes, so this may be a little disjointed, but you are used to that.

We took our 16-hour flight to Singapore on June 29 and checked into the Orchard Hotel.  #1 and his wife took care of every single detail of the trip, so we did not have to worry about ground transport, lodging etc.  They were super organized.  I heeded the warning to pee on the plane before landing so we did not piss away valuable time getting to the front of the immigration line.  As it turns out we did not have much of a wait in any of those lines throughout the trip.  We’re just lucky I guess.

There were eight of us flying in from SFO.  The Hotelier and his wife joined us on our flight while The TCGs, #2 and Mrs. Exec came in  about 12 hours earlier.  We split evenly between the hotel and the #1’s 29th floor condo and flipped the guest list at the end of the trip.  This allowed us all to spend quality family time with the #1s, which we have been desperately missing since they settled in Singapore for #1’s job.

Singapore is a lush city-state and we got the full tour with a great local guide, seeing some historic spots and learning a great deal about the culture. We went to a hawker center, which is a food court, but not the kind of food court you would find in the U.S. that sells fatty, salty, doughy crap.  These have an excellent array of Asian foods and very strict sanitation guidelines.  I got a ginger/apple/carrot juice and I’ll be buying a juicer soon to try to recreate that tasty treat. 

I also learned about the durian, which is a fruit so stinky they do not allow people to bring it on the subway.  TCG went to McDonald’s to try their durian McFlurry.  He does not always exhibit the best judgement.

One day the boys headed to TJ the tailor because #1 thought we would look good in some bespoke duds. I got a suit, jacket and shirt made.  Now all I must do is not gain any more weight and I’ll look like a dandy.  TJ put the hard sell on The Hotelier, trying to get him to buy a suit, but he held fast with jacket and slacks along with some cool shirts that had the interior of the collars and cuffs embroidered with a different pattern.  #2 and TCG got some stuff as well, but no amount of fabric is going to help those guys out.

After that we waited in Raffles Center for the ladies, so we could go out to dinner.  We were treated to a loop of commercials on the TV screen that covered about 25% of the side of a building.  My favorite was about the guy who went to the bathroom to take a leak and sprung a leak.  Get those home repair services lined up ahead of time.

We had some good group dinners in Singapore.  We went to Arab St. for a Lebanese feast.  We ordered way too much so brought that home for the next evening’s meal.  The chow was excellent, but the big downer was no beer.  Another evening we went to a different hawker center, La Pau Sat.  We ran into one of #1’s work mates and got some sage advice to grab our beers and be ready at 7pm when they closed the street.  We followed orders and got a big table and ordered meat skewers galore along with some vegetable and noodle dishes

After a few days in Singapore, we headed to Phuket, Thailand.  We had lined up a villa through an old SF friend.  He had been a partner in a large SF law firm at one time but packed it all in to start a new life in Thailand about 12 years ago.  The villa ended up being over the top and off the hook, you feel me?  It had seven bedrooms, a restaurant quality kitchen, dining room, library, game room, and infinity pool, along with 9 staff.  I tried to fit in, but I woke up each day and said, “this is not my beautiful home”.

We did a lot of drinking, eating and laying around during our time there, but did get in a few side trips.  We went out on a several hour boat tour, during which we snorkeled, and went to the island in Phang Nga Bay where they filmed the James Bond flick, The Man with The Golden Gun.  We also got a canoe tour through the nearby inlet and caves.  

Another day we headed to Patong Beach, a big-time tourist spot.  We avoided being taken out by the parasailers and warded off vendors that were selling all sorts of useless shit. A few went into the water while Mrs. #1 and I grabbed a beach chair and Singha beer with the help of Charlie.  I hoped I tipped him enough, but my bhat/dollar translation skills are minimal. Later, the street “masseuses” grabbed me by the arm when I tried to ignore their blandishments.

During the middle of the time in Thailand, I got nailed with some minor GI issues followed by a chest cold that put me out of commission for a few days.  My wife dropped everything and sat by my bedside the entire time mopping my brow. Or was that a fever dream?

We then headed to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.  I learned that most locals still refer to it as Saigon.  We stayed at the Hotel Majestic, built in 1925.  It was a beautiful building with elevators that could fit about three Americans, tops.

The #1s engaged Les Rives Authentic River Experience since they had used them on a prior tour.  We were led by a very cute married couple with excellent English.  We would usually have had one guide, but the husband was there to help his wife, who was intermittently suffering from morning sickness.  After an hour on the Saigon River, we landed at the Cu Chi Tunnels, where the Viet Cong hid from U.S. forces.  It was good tour, but I often thought about our needless intervention there.  The Huntley/Brinkley daily body counts came rushing back to me, and I wished we had learned from our mistakes.

The next day was a tour of the city but I was not up to snuff, so I stayed at the hotel.  I ventured out of my room only when they wanted to clean it.  Sitting in the lobby during that time, I espied a mysteriously alluring young women.  I believe part of that allure was from her full surgical mask.

We headed back to Singapore for some R and R before the interminable flights on Sunday.  The boys went back to TJ for the final fittings.  Afterwards, the numbers and TCG split off to Arab St., while The Hotelier and I hopped in a Grab, Singapore’s version of Uber.  We were in for quite a surprise as this is the first time either of us encountered a certifiably insane ride share driver.  The guy would not shup up.  “Ask me anything about Singapore. I want to be your friend”.  I tried to keep him slightly engaged so he would not keep repeating that, which he did ad infinitum. The Hotelier was completely occupied trying to suppress his laughter.  We did end up at our destination intact however.

We had our last dinner at the #1s abode Saturday night, a signature local dish called lasagna. Everyone’s flight was early Sunday, so we packed it in before 10.  This was one hell of a trip and we’ll never forget it.