Saturday, February 21, 2015


There is something to be said for pork ribs smoked to  perfection.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Year Gone By

A year ago, I remember the day well, sad, unpromising and tinged with melancholy, I took stock of the past few years.   Reminded of the lyrics in the Toto song, "time passes quickly and chances are few," I concluded that changes were needed.  I had too many rooms each with their own elephant, the subject one tries mightily to ignore.  Either I had to get rid of the elephants or find some new rooms, so decided to explore.


I spent the next month or so evaluating the rooms and the elephants.  Who would I cross an ocean for who wouldn't step across a puddle for me?  Who did I expend tons of life force for who didn't expend an ounce for me?  Who did I care for who did not care for me?

Well, the balance sheet was clear.  I couldn't hide it any more.  I was heavy on one side and very, very light on the other.

What to do?

Continue to subsidize the situation or clear the land and move on?

I chose to move on.  I packed up my stuff, out out a For Sale sign and took that step down the road.

Of course, there was always the chance the former tenant would cry foul, What? Could this be?  But that never happened.

I moved on in silence.

Still in silence.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's All About the Two Two!

It's all about that Twenty-two!

Keep your Twenty-one and Twenty-three!

Give me that Twenty-two!

December Twenty-two, that is.  The magical date and reason for the Twelve Two Two Fondue season.

Buckle up that seatbelt because this is the Tenth Anniversary of Twelve Two Two Fondue, founded in 2004.

Yes, Fondue XI is here in just a few short hours, so find some Swiss cheese, white wine, good French bread, more wine, some close friends and have a fondue party.  Good friends, good food, good drink - what's not to like?

If you crank back into the archives you'll find stories about previous events.  Internet friends tell me that Twelve Two Two Fondue has been held on every continent, yes, including Antarctica.

In addition to our famous cheese fondue we also whip up a triple batch of Cold Chicken Curry also known as Coronation Chicken, a dish created especially for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Here's the blueprint for Cold Chicken Curry, a single batch:

Roast a chicken, cool, strip the carcass and chop/shred the meat.

Cook the sauce very gently.
  2 Tbs. mango chutney
  2 Tbs. tomato chutney
  1 Tbs. honey
  1 Tbs. curry powder
  dash Worcestershire sauce

Cool the sauce and add
  6 oz double cream
  half pint mayonnaise
  cup of sherry

Mix well.  Add chicken and refrigerate overnight for flavors to mix.

Serve cold over rice.

Notes on the recipe:  we have used Major Grey's chutney which is a mango mix and it works just fine.  I think any chutney would work.  If the mixture looks too "dry" add more cream and mayo.  It would also work adding plain yogurt or sour cream.

Cold Chicken Curry is a very nice, pleasing sweet and different dish to serve to a crowd.  We have observed the skeptical taste a small spoonful then load up their plate having never had something quite like this.

Now for the cheese fondue.

Who needs proportions!  Just mix it up, but here's a general blueprint:

8 oz emmental
8 oz gruyere
tablespoon of corn starch
2 cups dry white wine.

Grate the cheeses and mix with corn starch.  Bring wine to a simmer and add the cheese slowly stirring.  If the mixture is too thick add more wine, too thin more cheese.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


It's bad enough driving around at this time of year, Christmas shopping season, amongst people who are "not from here."

No, not from here at all.

They are all in the wrong lanes, trying to turn the wrong directions, driving too slowly or too fast - it's just Nutso!  Why can't these people shop in their own neighborhoods.  I'm just trying to get to the grocery store for some orange juice.  Is it too much to ask for the person in front of me to put down his phone and pay attention to the green turn arrow?  Apparently, so.

Then there was That Guy.

Brand new Corvette Stingray.  Red.  Dealer plates.  Six hundred horses stuck in traffic.  Going my speed, which was nothing.  That Guy would wait for a gap to appear in front of him, rev his powerful engine and leap forward, maybe, ten feet.  Then stop.  Next to me putting along in a not-Corvette.

What a loser!  Hot car, stuck in traffic, going the same speed as me.

I wish I had a red Corvette.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Modern Christmas

Pandora streaming Christmas music to my iPad linked by home WiFi to an Airport Express connected to a Techniques 200 Watt receiver driving a pair of Klipschorn concert hall speakers.

Joy to the World!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A Word From Our Sponsor

And now a word from out sponsor.

To get started collecting antique maps I recommend highly the definitive book on the subject:

Collecting Antique Maps
Jonathan Potter

Now quite pricy on Amazon, but there you have it.

Jonathan Potter got interested in antique maps in the mid-seventies and bought maps and atlases at street markets in London.  Soon, he was able to open his own shop as an interest in antique maps grew.

I bought a copy of Potter's book in the early 90's and the first antique map I purchased was at his shop in London, Grosvenor Square.  Unfortunately, to this day, I regret NOT purchasing the Braun and Hogenberg map of London in original color for 1200 pounds sterling as it is worth much more today.

Alas, that's antique map shopping.

Anyway, back to the book.  Jonathan explores the many reasons to collect antique maps:  history, geographical interest, mapmaker and so on.

I started off collecting maps of London and the USA.  Later I branched out to collect representative maps from famous mapmakers and, thus, I ended up with a diverse collection.  My main focus, though, has been on London and most of the maps in my collection are on that subject.

What I liked about Potter's book was the no nonsense approach to map collecting.  Buy your maps from a reputable dealer or through a reputable auction. Avoid "knock offs."   Enjoy your hobby!

How can you tell a reputable vendor from a "knock off."  Fairly easily.  Knock offs can be purchased at gift shops.  Authentic antique maps, not so.