Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You say potato...

I say Kartoffel!

Yikes, I got into a fight at the Kinky Friedman show at the Sportsmen's. (That link will take you to my insightful interview with the man.)

The fight was about potatoes!

Kinky Friedman started it. He was reciting some story, or reading some story, I don't know what he was doing because I was in the back where I could not see him very well. He did a lot of talking, Kinky did. Anyway, he was telling some story involving Poland and he made a big deal out of the word "Kartoffel," which he said was Polish for "potato."

"It's German," I said to my brother George, sitting next to me.

And this huge guy next to George turned around and looked at me. "It's Polish," he said.

"It's a German word," I squeaked up at this guy. "Kartoffel is German for potato."

I did not retain much in high school German class but I did retain that! You know me and food. Kartoffelsalat is German potato salad. I did not forget that word Kartoffel.

Then the guy got really mad. He must have been Polish and this was important to him.

"It's Polish!" he yelled.

"It's German," I repeated. "I know. My family comes from Baden-Wurttemberg."

I do not think he heard the part about Baden-Wurttemberg which is probably just as well. Well, no probably about it. I am sure it was just as well.

"Mary," my brother said quietly. As in, stop it.

I know because it was exactly how I said, "Leonard," softly, to Leonard Pennario when he started fighting with someone when we were at "Tannhauser."

Drop the argument, it means.

So I dropped it. When I got home I got on the Internet to check, to make sure I was not dreaming. Sure enough, Kartoffel is German. If you want to go back a little further, it has Italian roots.

The Kartoffel has Italian roots, hahaha.

Well, last night this was no laughing matter.

It was not small potatoes!

I wonder what I will get into a fight about tomorrow.

Meanwhile there is this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Linens 'n things

When I did my rundown yesterday of my exciting weekend, I forgot the garage sale I went to.

How could I forget that?

I remembered it when my friend Marta asked me  if I had gone to garage sales and the answer is, yes, I did!

I went with my mother to this garage sale in Snyder. My mom and I are always the stragglers. We do not come in until the afternoon, sometimes while the sellers are taking the sales down. It is just the way it works out. My mom likes to have lunch first and I like to go to my killer Pilates class downtown.

We walk up this woman's driveway and there is this huge table of linens. I began picking them up and looking at them. Napkins, tablecloths, runners, everything piled high, for a dollar a napkin on up.

"Oh, Mom," I called over. "Look at these beautiful napkins and tablecloths!"

I was trying to figure out what to get. There was too big a choice. I was picking things up and admiring them. They were beautiful, the kind of old lace and embroidery you do not see anymore, and the loveliest fabrics.

Suddenly the woman holding the sale walked up to me.

"I'll give you all of it for $25," she said.

I thought at first she was not serious, or that I had misunderstood. But no!

"All right," I said.

It was kind of overwhelming!

The woman scooped up all the linens into the red tablecloth they were sitting on and then placed it all in a white laundry basket. That is how much there is of these linens!

Then she told me that the linens had belonged to her husband's mother.

She said, "I didn't want to sell them to just anyone. I wanted them to go to someone who appreciated them." Her husband's mother, she told me, was a live-in housekeeper at a mansion on Linwood Avenue. I thought she said it was the Rich family, of Rich Products fame. But now I am thinking perhaps I misunderstood and she just said "rich family."

Hahaha! At Park School there is the Rich Family Activity Center. I love that name! You think of rich families engaging in activities there.

But back to my linens. They are piled here now and they feel like a hope chest or something. My dowry! All these beautiful antique napkins and tablecloths and damask this and that. I keep looking at them. I am so grateful to this woman for selling them to me. Oh, another thing, she told me the number on Linwood but as I am unable to memorize anything that does not relate to Leonard Pennario, it went in one ear and out the other. It was a low number, 204, something like that.

Perhaps it is the house pictured above! That is 440 Linwood.

I do not think the number is that high up. Mayhap it was this one.

Or this one? It was once used as a tuberculosis treatment center. That is what my friend Becky writes on her Web log.

Zut alors, I will be up all night looking at pictures of grand houses on Linwood!

There is only one way to figure this out. I will have to drive down a few blocks and see if I get a feeling.

Meanwhile I love coming into possession of things this beautiful.

They have a way of finding me!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another manic Monday

Aiiiieee, I hate it when I miss a couple of days on the Web log. Whenever that happens, it just gets worse!

Because all of a sudden nothing seems consequential enough to write about.

I have been full of things to discuss. I have never understood when people who call themselves writers say they have nothing to write about, you know? Writing is like talking. You never run out of stuff to talk about! Well, I never do, anyway. Yak, yak, yak.


Skip a couple of days and suddenly I am embarrassed by the banality of things I want to bring up.

I keep thinking I have to come up with something Important. Otherwise I am afraid people will look at what I write and say, What in the world?

She broke her silence for this??

So I kept thinking of things I wanted to divulge. Such as a new ad for Leonard Pennario I turned up in an old Saturday Review. Or the amazing fact that I was able to nail the 10,000 steps on my pedometer for two days in a row.

Or the lasagna with Swiss chard I made in the Crock Pot, that is another thing. Or cleaning up the house to have my brother and mother and niece and nephew and my friend Larry over for dinner. Or going over to my friend Gary's for a jam session on Saturday night.

What else did I do over the weekend? There was also the Pilates class that almost killed me. And I went to the Clinton-Bailey Market. And I did get work done among all these activities.

All exciting, to me! And ordinarily there would be no problem.

But if you skip a day or two, ah, then it is different.

You get this feeling you must strive for greatness. You must turn out something monumental.

And we all know what happens next.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Walk down memory lane

Yesterday I went out walking in the park after going out electronics shopping. Electronics shopping, looking for my new voice recorder I mean, was as bad as I feared it would be. Slugs and oiks, everywhere and unhelpful!

Forbid it, Almighty God!

But anyway. In the park afterward I calmed down. Walking in the park does that to you. Round and round, round and round, you walk.

I went over my 10,000 steps!!

It is the first day I was able to do that.

While I was somewhere around step 8,000 the pedometer app did something funny and without warning it kicked into music. There is a way it hooks up with the iPod and I must have hit some button by mistake because it did that.

There were all these fragments of piano music, as if a deejay were wildly flipping through stuff I had in my iPod library. Then it settled on Pennario playing "Carnaval," by Schumann.

Which was nice! But then it was funny, after that it kind of skipped around. It must have set itself on Shuffle. Shuffle is something I never do but when I tried to fix it, I couldn't. So I just listened.

It played Pennario playing the theme from "Kings Row."

Then it selected, in its wisdom, the "Credo" from the Mass of the Angels. I had forgotten I had uploaded that way back when, when I was learning to sing that in church.

After that there was silence and then I was surprised to hear my own voice. I was reading out loud the words that Leopold Stokowski wrote to Leonard Pennario, about how moving he thought Pennario's performance was of Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini."

 They had just performed the piece together. Stokowski writes that it was so moving, it reminded him of Rachmaninoff's own performance.

Sometimes I read things into a recording so I can type it out, take dictation from myself. I figured that was what I was doing.

But then I heard Leonard's voice.

And I realized it was a recording I had made in California. We were talking about this letter and then we talked about these other letters and pictures he had.

What was that doing in my iPod? The system must have grabbed it up somehow. Computers have a way of doing things without you knowing. When I was first in California I had a digital recorder and that was how I had made this recording, before it broke.

I couldn't get over how much laughing there was. I hardly ever listen to any of my old tapes. I transcribed them all and I always thought it would be kind of too emotional to listen to them. But now I just walked and listened, fascinated, with the sun going down on what I guess was the longest day of the year. He sounded older than I remembered. I think I tend to remember him as younger because I am writing about him mostly when he was younger. But I could not get over how much he joked around. How funny he was.

It cheered me up, after the slugs and oiks.

Along with my 10,000 steps!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Electronics SOS

Could anyone out in Blog-O-Land speak to me of a good and reliable and easy to use electronic 'phone recorder?

I have been lacking, for some time, such a machine. It has begun to hamper my progress.

What with my preoccupation with my pedometer app you would think I was this techie. But alas, that is not true!

When I was in California with Pennario it was the twilight of the minicassette recorder and the dawn of the digital recorder. I took both out to California on Howard's advice. I would set them both next to Leonard. And Leonard was a charmer, and he would say things like, "You're so clever. Those machines are so tough to figure out."

And I would laugh and say, oh, Leonard, you can play "La Valse," this is easy next to that. And we would laugh because just the comparison was so ridiculous.

Then I learned better.

He was right!

It did not take long for the digital recorder to quit, or I did something wrong with it, who knows. Long story short, sometimes it did seem like a toss-up, what is more difficult to do, master "La Valse," or master one of these digital recorders.

However I must needs do this, get one of these recorders and master it. Howard says I have to practice it like the piano and learn it. He is right.

All suggestions appreciated.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Walkin' blues

Today I tried logging my steps and I made it up to 5,225 steps.

Objection! This is not counting going upstairs to write this. Make that 5,235 steps!

Also the thing cut out while I was walking across the parking lot this morning, easily cheating me out of 600 steps. I have learned you have to wake up the app. You have to shake it.

But still.

How in the world to make it to 10,000?

It is like the book on Pennario, I feel like an ant crawling up a mountain.

However there are some reasons to be optimistic in the walk department.

Getting up from my desk at work to get tea is 350 steps.

Crossing the parking lot from where I park in East Jahunga, it is 620 steps.

From my desk to the gym is 1,000 steps. Isn't that weird? It is such a round number. It was exactly 1,000 steps when I reached my locker.

Today on my way to my mom's I stopped at Tops just so I could walk around a little and rack up a few more steps. That is how I got the last thousand. Of course that is also how I got this yummy Mineo and Sapio sausage that I ate up with my mom and my little niece and nephew. Well, that is another story for another day.

Sausage or no sausage the point is:

I can reach 10,000 steps.

I can make it work!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The mystery of the 10,000 steps

I am making my Monday extra onerous by attempting to log 10,000 steps.

Has anyone else heard about this, that if you take 10,000 steps a day you can waive your aerobics? That is what my Pilates teacher told me on Saturday.

I love my Zumba classes but sometimes I cannot fit them in. So I thought about this, about this 10,000 steps business.

Yesterday I went walking in the park with this pedometer app I have. This app needed constant supervision, was the trouble, so, no listening to Leonard Pennario or to the radio or anything.

And here is the worst part: Even with all the supervision I gave it it clocked me at only 1,200 steps for one round around the Delaware Park Ring Road. And 50 calories. What in the world? I had just drunk a glass of milk and it would take me two times around to work off that innocent treat. No only that, but it was hopeless, the idea of racking up 10,000 steps over the course of a day. I would have to walk the Ring what, eight times?

When I got home I wised up and sought a second opinion. I found this geek site that says a mile is about 2,000 steps.

One round around the Ring Road is 1.7 miles.

My app was ripping me off!

While I was walking my app was napping!

This is the Footsteps App and it gets good reviews online. I paid a couple of bucks for it, too, which I never do. I guess I just do not get the hang of it.

I will have to get another one! I will have to go to Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree is the answer to everything in my life. Look! They have them! A Dollar Tree pedometer is on today's shopping list.

Meanwhile, I am afraid I am off to a slow start. I am afraid that is my life, you know?

10,000 steps forward, 9,999 steps back!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's about thyme

This week I finally broke the bank for my little vegetable garden. I spent $12 for herbs!

I got six plants at the Clinton-Bailey Market. Let me see if I can name them. I got thyme and rosemary and marjoram which are your basics, and perennials so I am getting my money's worth. And dill, because I love fresh dill. I had planted some seeds but I could not remember where I had planted them and I figured the bishop's weed had come back and smothered them.

Then I got lavender because sometimes I like to make soap and I can put the lavender in the soap.

I already had a few basil plants. Oh, there was one more thing I bought: apple mint. It just smelled so fresh and delicious.

I have a few rules that govern this garden. One is that I have to tend to it or I am not allowed to buy anything more for it. Another rule is that nothing can be too time-consuming. Otherwise before you knew it this would be me:

... and I cannot let that happen. I have Leonard Pennario to think about and I cannot take on any other project too extensive or complicated.

Pursuant to both these rules is a third rule, that when I buy something I have 24 hours to get it in the ground. This is in contrast to last year when I bought a few plants and refused to plant them. They died slow deaths in the front hallway. Every once in a while on my way out the door I would look at them and think, oh, how about that, that basil plant is still alive.

One of these days, mark my words, you will be able to be arrested for this kind of behavior. Cruelty to plants. It is coming!

But this year I am different. I have turned over a new leaf (of thyme).

I planted the herbs quickly but thoughtfully. Whether did it right or not, at least I did think! Then I did a little more clearing away of the bishop's weed.

And I got a reward! Pulling up the bishop's weed I found a half-dozen nasturtia I had planted. Other people write nasturtiums but being just back from Latin Mass it sounds better to me to say nasturtia.

Whatever you want to call them they grow up, with luck, to look something like this.

That was a thrill, finding them. Here I had thought they were not growing. Now I see these big, round leaves about a half-inch across.

Not only that but I found the dill I had planted!

There were these grassy plants with fronds, still pretty small and delicate. I was thrilled! Of course had I not gone and bought a dill plant, I never would have found them. But still.

Congratulatimi mihi! That was in the Gospel this morning. I have written about it before, but in case you do not remember it means:

Congratulate me!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vegging out

Today I went to the Clinton-Bailey Market for the first time this season. It was like a medieval town square with everyone talking about the Wallenda wire-walk yesterday.

Everyone loved him! And there were a lot of people saying that like me they were not into it at first, but then they tuned in and were hooked.

Among other people I ran into my friend Airborne Eddy who said, "What's the big deal about the tether? A lot of guys I know have been tethered to a ball and chain for years."

Hahahahaaaa! Good one, Eddy!

The farmers were laughing too.

Anyway, it was funny, this feeling of community, strangers all discussing this event, and it gave me a sense of being back in time. Tightrope walking must go back to the ancient Egyptians, you know?

It was warm in the sun and everyone was talking kind of slowly and lazily. People liked Nik Wallenda for praying. That was one thing I determined at the Clinton-Bailey Market. Everyone thought he was a darling man and that was what won them over, more so than being impressed by his stunt.

Although we were agreeing that it was amazing, the thought of him walking with the wind and the mist. Not being able to see, not knowing where anything was. Imagine that. And here you are trying to put one foot in front of another.

We also agreed that there was a moment when we thought he was going to fall and it seemed as if he were a little bit worried.

Heavy conversation, over the strawberries and Swiss chard!

Tomorrow in addition to my normal Leonard Pennario challenges I face a new challenge: what to do with the vegetables, the many many vegetables, I bought at the Clinton-Bailey Market including a big, big bag of peas. Not the sugar-snap kind, the kind that you have to shell and then do God knows what with. I bargained like a Moroccan and got them at a good rate and now, the question is what is next.

What to do with those peas?

What to do? What to do?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Who gives a flying Wallenda?

I do!

I did not think I would but I did.

Howard and I watched Nik Wallenda walk the walk over Niagara Falls on the television at the Hyatt along with Jackie Jocko the great lounge pianist. At first we were all scornful but then we got caught up in it.

You could not help it! Wallenda was so likeable for one thing. The praying was what won Jocko over. Before the walk Jocko was saying, "I hope he falls in the Falls." But then Jocko was totally won over. "Did you hear that?" he said to us. "He thanked Jesus!"

That is a very daring thing to do, in front of thousands! Well, Wallenda is a daredevil.

That is a great old word, daredevil. And a great name, Wallenda. I had no desire to join the huge crowds in Niagara Falls but even when I was scorning this whole thing, I liked the thought that the name Wallenda was once again on everyone's lips.

"Who gives a Flying Wallenda?" I had a long-ago roommate who used to say that.

That name was once legend and it is nice to think it might be again.

If you have never read up on the Flying Wallendas, they are a great old German circus family and their name in German, "Die Fliegende Wallendas," was a play on Wagner's opera "Der Fliegende Hollander," "The Flying Dutchman." A fine excuse to listen to the wonderful overture for this haunting and atmospheric opera.

Karl Wallenda was born in Magdeburg, Germany in 1905. They talked on the television last night about how he fell to his death from a wire. So sad. I do not remember hearing that he was 73 when he made that last walk. Perhaps at 73 you are tempting fate more than normally on a high wire, but that is the kind of family this is.

Last night at the Hyatt it was fun to watch the walk because the staff was lined up behind the bar, watching, and at the table where I was watching were Howard and our friend Jim Corbran the automotive columnist at Artvoice, and the magician Bob Davis. We kept expecting Bob Davis to materialize on the wire behind Wallenda! All of us as we watched were nervously eating Jocko's trademark jelly beans.

Bob Davis who knows about thins like this said that with the tether Wallenda probably would not die if he fell, but he could be hurt. It occurred to me that he also stood to make a big fool of himself, so there is a big risk there too.

I really did want him tethered, I have to say that. The thought of a man dying like that, I could not stand to watch it. I did not turn toward the TV when they ran footage of Karl Wallenda falling. I did not want to see that.

As we watched we reminisced about Kirk Jones who threw himself over the falls trying to kill himself and lived. He told Howard that he had really been trying to kill himself so that is how we know. He said that to Howard the night after it happened, when we were at the Hyatt together. He was a sweet man, Kirk Jones. We liked him. Well, that is a whole other story.

For now, kudos to Nik Wallenda, the Leonard Pennario of high wire artists.

He walked the line!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

City sidewalks

What a beautiful night tonight is/was. I met a friend from work and her husband for drinks at Mes Que. It is a new soccer bar on Hertel. You can just about see it in the picture up above! It is right next to the North Park Theater.

Yes, we do have soccer bars in Buffalo, what is the big deal?

Hertel Avenue is turning into the spiffiest street. It was fun walking down the street with all the people on the patios. Kevin Gaughan, lawyer around town, was on the patio of the Empire Grill and we said hello. If I start talking to Kevin Gaughan I just keep talking to him forever, there is no stopping me! So I said hello and continued on my way.

Also getting my exercise today, I went walking in Delaware Park. And this gentleman came running up to me.

"Remember me?" he said.

He and I were on the grand jury together!

His name is Fred and I remember getting him excused from one jury session, I forget what his excuse was, I think a dentist appointment. Anyway, today we talked about the jury and how it makes us see trials differently. We have the insider information. If you want to know how the system works, ask us!

It is strange to think that my jury duty was, yikes, a year and a half ago. I remember it was January and bitterly cold. The first day I was there I caught a chill and had to buy a scarf at Payless Shoes and wrap myself in it, zut alors.

Ha, ha! Remember the woman with plumber's ass? Zounds, this is the second Web log post in a row where I have used the word ass. I used it yesterday too.

But it got fun to have this other life on the jury where -- I do not know if I ever talked about this -- it was my job to sign people in and out. Cops, lawyers, defendants, everyone was under my jurisdiction. And I sat there pompously in the front of the room under an American flag.

Being the biographer of Leonard Pennario I had the presence.

I wonder what point I was at in the book then.

It is amazing how time flies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You bet your ass

Today it is the Feast of St. Anthony and so I went to church. There is no way I can miss Mass on the Feast of St. Anthony because him being the patron saint of lost objects, and me being the world's most disorganized person, he is always doing me so many favors.

I am always losing things and he is always finding them for me!

We could not quite get our act together for the singing so we had a Low Mass and not a High Mass. But it was beautiful and quiet and reverent and surely St. Anthony was there among us. I can say that for sure because he as long as he was there when I lost my checkbook, and the sapphire from my engagement ring, and all my missing tax papers, I am sure he was there for this Mass.

There is a story about St. Anthony that I heard yesterday on Catholic Radio. I had never heard this story before. I have told the story about the fishes, here told eloquently by Gustav Mahler and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau ...

...but not this story.

This one man was a merchant and while I get the idea he was a good man, he did not believe the truths of what St. Anthony was telling him. So St. Anthony made a deal with him.

The merchant had a donkey and St. Anthony told him to make the donkey go without food for three days, so the donkey would be absolutely starving. At that point, the man was supposed to bring the donkey back to St. Anthony, who would be ready with the Blessed Sacrament.

There would be the Blessed Sacrament on one hand, and on the other hand, all kinds of hay, which the donkey loved. St. Anthony told the man that the donkey would not eat but would instead adore the Blessed Sacrament. And if that happened, the man would have to become a Catholic. This was in the 13th century. St. Anthony was born at the end of the 12th century.

The merchant said, "OK, sure."

And lo.

The hungry, hungry donkey was brought back and, instead of eating the hay, went over to the Blessed Sacrament and dropped to its donkey knees.

In Ellicott City, Md., there is a statue of the event. Isn't this beautiful? I want to go to Maryland and see it.

And here is a stained glass rendition.

I have already given away all the surprises but you may read about it here.

My missal has the best description of St. Anthony. It says that he was always able to convert nonbelievers "through the supernatural forces which seemed to be always at his command."

Because Leonard Pennario was baptized at St. Anthony's I sometimes think that is where he got his supernatural powers at the piano.

And so we honor St. Anthony today.

St. Anthony, pray for us!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I have added to my garden! I was at Budwey's earlier and they had four-pack vegetables for sale, three for five bucks. So I got four cherry tomato plants and four cucumber plants.

Since I have taken care of the garden that I have and been responsible I thought I would allow myself a reward. I am like the servant in the Bible parable, where the master says, You have been responsible in the small affairs so I will put you in charge of larger affairs. Only I am my own master.

The cherry tomato plants are Sweet 100s. A few years ago when I did my one attempt at vegetable gardening I grew a couple of Sweet 100 plants and I remember how beautiful they were. You got these showers of tomatoes. With luck that will happen to me this year.

The cucumbers are called Marketmore. I actually meant to get another kind because I loved the name. It is Burpless! But suddenly you know how it is, you have to get out of the store, and so I ended up grabbing one that was Marketmore. The plants are not Burpless! Perhaps they will burp.

I went home and planted my new plants immediately. After I harvested the small leaves of Bishop's Weed that were encroaching on the garden territory. The Bishop's Weed no longer stresses me out now that I know that I can eat it. It is a part of my salad garden. And a well-loved and appreciated part! I cherish the Bishop's Weed now as a generous and giving plant.

Another exciting thing, all the seeds I planted the day of my niece Rosie's confirmation, they are beginning to come up. Some of the seedlings are pretty big now. I mean they are almost half an inch. Those are the Arugula. I know, because I pulled one up by mistake, and I tasted it.

Arugula, also hilariously known as rocket, is almost a weed. It will grow anywhere, in any kind of soil or sun. That is why I planted it. Plus, I had the seed packet kicking around from a couple of years ago.

You tell me why arugula is so snobby and expensive, seeing that it grows so easily!

Another kind of shoot is coming up too but I do not know what it is. They are tiny, tiny seedlings in the shape of a T. Perhaps they are collards. Or spinach. I think I may have thrown some lettuce seeds into the garden too. Who knows.

This will add excitement to my summer as I work on finishing up my book on Leonard Pennario.

Pennario always loved good food so he would understand.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Paging the prince

Aiiieee, last night my mother asked me again how Prince Philip, pictured above, was doing. And again I had to fib.

"I read he's much better," I said confidently.

Only just now did I get around to Googling around and seeing what the situation is.

Thank heavens, lo and behold it seems I am right.

Yay Prince Philip!

My mom and I were discussing if perhaps Philip might have played sick to have avoided that crummy pop concert. Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John. I mean really.

Give me Sir Edward Elgar, back from when knights were knights and mustaches were mustaches.

Isn't that amazing? I love that video and have been posting it everywhere including on my other Web log and on the Gusto Web log at The Buffalo News. And I made Howard watch it. Last night past midnight Howard wants to go to bed and I am sitting there making him watch Sir Edward Elgar.

"Look, Howard. He wrote this thing. Look how they help him off with his coat. Listen to what he says to the orchestra."

Ha, ha! It is no picnic being married to me!

If it is not Leonard Pennario it is something else!

But still. This is fascinating. If you are interested in more time travel, do check out my other Web log today, in which we get to glimpse Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and Kaiser Wilhelm II, among other long-dead people, living and breathing and walking around, along with more Elgar, of course.

When royalty was royalty.

And music was music.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hats and flowers

My mother was preoccupied today, as were other people I know including me, with Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee.

It was fun to see all the hats pictured on the Internet in the gossip columns!

The only trouble was, my mom was worried about Prince Philip who was in the hospital with some kind of infection.

I said: "Oh, Mom, I read that Prince Philip is going to be fine."

Which, I have not exactly read that, I just hope it. But I like to shield my mother from bad news and from worries so I kind of fibbed.

I hope I was right!

We are fans of Prince Philip here at the Leonard Pennario Web log. We like smart stylish old men with opinions.

We ran down Prince Philip's one-liners, remember? They call them gaffes but we call them one-liners.

Then there was that island on which Prince Philip is a god. My friend Stephanie sent me that story.

Among the few things that bother me about the Jubilee, one of the others being the music, is that the Queen must have missed Prince Philip. On the other hand as Howard said, perhaps the Queen was relieved that Philip was not there to open his mouth.

When this is over and done with though I hope Philip is back in the saddle.

Pray that His Royal Highness recovers.

Long life to Prince Philip!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Planet Crockpot

Who cares if it's cold out? I've got my Crock Pot to keep me warm.

You remember, the Crock Pot with a timer that I found for $15. It is my friend!

Today I did a lamb roast in it. This is one of those leg of lamb roasts I got at Albrecht Discount at Easter time and froze. I got it out of the freezer and cooked it in the crock in zinfandel wine, as per Cooking Light. I did this recipe once before. I wrote, "Mom liked this."

So tomorrow I am going to bring some over to my mom.

I browned the lamb as the recipe suggested, and I deglazed the pot. But still, it was easy. More time to spend on Leonard Pennario. 

And this is just the opening act for tomorrow which will be Crockpot Squid!

After that ... hmmm. I have some eggplant so mayhap I will do Eggplant Lasagna. That is a good Crock Pot item. If anyone has any good recipes please send them along.

Perhaps I can keep this going all week!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Adventure on Hertel Avenue

Today I had an unusual Sunday because I went to see the first Mass of a priest who was just ordained yesterday. He is the godson of my friend Josephine who is the organist at St. Anthony's, the church I go to.

The priest is Father Andrew Lauricella and his first Mass was at St. Margaret's. That is a painting of him up above! OK, I could not find a picture of him and so I used St. John of the Cross.

I have never seen the first Mass of a brand-new priest! It was kind of exciting. At Communion time, I have to be honest, I got tears in my eyes. Just watching Father Lauricella distributing Communion, you could feel his joy. You could see it. It was really moving.

The Mass was of course in English, and you know me and English masses. But I got through it. Just a few things bugged me. One was that this old guy, a monsignor or someone, just had to take a jab at the Tridentine Mass. He was saying "a few words" after Communion, you know how that goes, and he said, "When I became a priest my first Mass was in Latin."

And I sit there dreamily imagining how beautiful that must have been. There is a beautiful high altar at St. Margaret's and I could not help imagining a Tridentine Mass there.

But then this monsignor, or whatever he was, he said: "It was almost as incomprehensible as the new translation."

He means the new Liturgy translation. Where, instead of saying "And also with you," you say, "And with your spirit." And they made other changes that made things more musical and dignified.

This guy had to say something, you know? When any time I have gone to a non-Tridentine Mass, people seem enthusiastic about these changes. They say, "And with your spirit" with gusto.

Why try to poison them against it?

Another thing, why have these reminiscences at this point in the Mass? Isn't that what receptions are for?

It's funny, I read the story yesterday in The Buffalo News about three priests, of whom Father Lauricella is one, being ordained. Right away you read that the ceremony "featured laughter." What is with all this laughter? What happened to, ahem, solemnity? At this Mass this morning I got the sense people expect it. The sermon has to be funny. Everything has to be funny. You know me, I am not a frowning person. Neither was the great Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc who, even though he was sort of frowning here...

... was very accurate when he wrote the immortal poem:

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine
There's lots of laughter and good red wine.

But to everything there is a time, and there is also a beauty, you could say even a delight, in something thrilling and powerful and serious. We have really lost that in the Catholic Church, I mean to the extent that people like that old priest at church today actually ridicule what is sacred.

Then they take a survey and wonder why nobody believes in the Resurrection.

Oh well.

It was neat to see St. Margaret's because although I believe I have been in it before, I did not remember it, so maybe I was not ever in it, who knows. They have beautiful windows.

A few weeks ago I got to do a story on a former music director at St. Margaret's, John Surra. He was a bandleader who taught hundreds of kids in Buffalo. Like "The Music Man," only of course he was not a con man like Harold Hill. That was a story I loved writing. And I thought of him today at St. Margaret's.

Another person who crossed my mind was, you guessed it, Leonard Pennario. He paid at least one visit to St. Margaret's. He went to a baptism there when he was standing godfather. Pennario flew in from his concert tour to do that, to go to Hertel Avenue for this baptism.

He was the greatest!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The June 1 Club

Today is my birthday! Several other illustrious personages share it.

The very gifted pianist Richard Goode.

The great 17th century Jesuit explorer Father Marquette. Father Jacques Marquette introduced the Indians to Roman Catholicism. A very politically incorrect thing to talk about now.

The actress Marilyn Monroe.

Pennario never met Marilyn Monroe but he said, "I always wanted to." Ha, ha! Instead of meeting her he met me. Sorry, you take what life hands you.

Who else was born on June 1? The big Mormon Brigham Young.

The mezzo soprano Frederika von Stade.

We are a diverse and multitalented group!

It would be fun for all of us to sit down and have a drink together.