Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Rosary App

With my new iPhone I have been able to acquire the Rosary App pictured above. It is free and I chose it over other Rosary apps because supposedly it has Latin prayers on it. I have not yet explored the Latin prayers, though. I am taking it on faith they are there.

For now I have been using the app to pray the rosary in plain old English, mostly at the gym. It has these two women reciting the Rosary. There are no men on the Rosary App! These women, you have to love the sound of their voices. They appear to be English or Irish or Scottish, it is hard to tell. One answers the other. They sound like sleepwalkers.

I keep picturing "The Somnambulist," by John Everett Millais.

Or two Celtic women sitting in a castle somewhere.

Because of this atmosphere, this app gives you a neat experience in the middle of the day, in the middle of the noisy gym or the hectic kitchen or whatever. You suddenly feel like this.

Why didn't they use this picture, you know, instead of the kitschy picture they put on the app, the one at the top of the post?

Oh well. The app is not perfect but it is a kick and it gets the job done. I am required to get in a rosary daily due to a strange and medieval set of circumstances I will have to explain another day. These two sleepwalking women really help with that.

Could I please have apps to help me get done other things I have to do every day?

An app mayhap to help me clean the kitchen? iClean.

Or an app to help me edit chapters of my book? iPennario.

I will say my prayers!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Ice Cream Smackdown

It is the Ice Cream Smackdown! This is an ongoing event in which my friends Ryan and Zach and I, in addition to other friends who express interest in getting involved, make ice cream for each other and keep trying to top what was done before.

With which, yesterday we made Coffee Gelato.

Actually it took two days. On Thursday around midnight at Big Blue, I mixed up the heavenly soupy mixture of sugar, milk and egg yolks that gets turned into ice cream. It was incredibly labor intensive involving infusing heated whole milk with ground coffee beans and then straining it. But it is worth it!

The ice cream mixture chilled over night and so did I.

Then on Friday it was time to whip a cup of cream and fold it into the mixture and pour it all into the ice cream machine and let it rip. That could not have been accomplished without the help of Zach who whipped the cream and also stood over me offering guidance.

Big surprise, but I found myself thinking of Leonard Pennario. He loved ice cream and we would go to Coldstone Creamery where he had a favorite sundae he would order. The exact sundae will be revealed in my book. Wait for it!

Meanwhile, back to the Coffee Gelato. It turned out yummy, a feat considering that Zach and Ryan had set the bar extremely high last week with sesame ice cream. One thing we agreed on is that when you make ice cream you have to have a gathering. There must be people around to eat all that ice cream because you do not want it to be you eating all that ice cream, and in my experience it is always best the day it is made.

Should you wish to try making your own Coffee Gelato first go out to your nearest garage sale and purchase an ice cream maker. Mine is a made-in-Buffalo Deni Scoop.

Would that it were a vintage ice cream maker with a crank!

But a woman has to know her limitations.

After procuring your ice cream maker try this recipe. It is pretty close to the recipe I used.

Then ....

.... enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The stolen night

This feels like a stolen night. In the middle of all these nights that are cool and rainy and unseasonable, there have been a couple of nights that feel the way August is supposed to feel. And this is one of them!

It makes me uncomfortable because I feel I should be out enjoying it, the warmth and the loud crickets. Which, I was, before. But comes a time you have to go inside to go to bed. And now I do not want to.

I like the kind of summer that is consistently warm and sunny. Because that way if you want to sit inside on a beautiful day and work on your book about a certain, ahem, concert pianist, you do not have to worry that you will never again get another day like that one.

When that summer day is rare, you figure you have to go out. And so the book suffers.

And so do the ...

... tomatoes!

I have heard that tomatoes might be red and hearty outside but they are unripe inside because they need the sun and the warmth and they have not been getting that.

What if the tomatoes never warm up? What if we have no hot tomatoes?

Where is global warming when you need it?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend blowout

I got behind over the weekend because I got a flat tyre. I never tire of writing tyre, not tire! It cost me $5 to get it fixed.

When I was a kid we played Mille Bornes and Flat Tyre was "Creve."

We used to say it with a terrible inflection. Now that I look at it there seems to be a slash over the final "e." Crev-EH, might be the way to say it. Either way, that is a dandy picture of a tire blowing out, you know? A tyre I mean.

To fix a flat tire in Mille Bornes you needed a Spare Tire card. Or Puncture Proof ...

... which would protect you against all future flat tires. Tyres. That is actually a painting above. can you believe it? Yes, because of all the time I spent playing Mille Bornes!

They should do different versions of Mille Bornes for other situations in life. I should design one for writers and biographers. Having written reams about Leonard Pennario I could be the Milton Bradley of this game operation. There would be smooth sailing and you would get 75, 100 pages done. But then your opponent could stop you with things like, oh, Work Commitment. Or Birthday Party. Or, I don't know, Leaky Roof. Anything to get you off your game.

Then you get the Leonard Pennario card and there you go for another 100 pages. Only to be stopped again by another disaster card.

This is a good idea for a game, you know? All because of my flat tire.



Friday, August 15, 2014

The ultimate earworm

What's worse than having a song on your brain?

Having a song on your brain that you don't know!

My niece Rosie is going to Paraguay. She is the oldest of the nieces and nephews and it is amazing that she is old enough to do such a thing, but she is. And she is having a going away party today, a party I am not at because I woke up to a flat tire on my car and things just went from there. That is another story for another day.

For now, my point is that I had been planning for weeks on going to this party. And every time I so much as thought about it, I got this silly song on my brain called "Going Away Party."

It goes: "Going away ... going away party. Going away ... going away party..."

And that is all I know of it.

You can read this without worrying you will catch it. Nobody knows this song. It was done by some Buffalo band a thousand years ago. One of the bands I used to go here, maybe the Steam Donkeys, maybe John and Mary, maybe Gretchen Schulz, who knows.

And this was an original of theirs. As band originals go it was not the worst but it is not as if it is some song by Mahler or someone you would not mind having on your brain.

"Going away... going away party... going away .... going away party..."

Of all dumb things.

I should never have written about this. Now there it is on my brain again. Easily leapfrogging over all the beautiful piano pieces as performed by Leonard Pennario that are also stored away in there. It is like bishop's weed. Except that you cannot eat it. There is no redeeming value.

Going away .... going away party ...

Imagine if I were actually at the party!

Imagine how bad it would be then!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The wine from Transylvania

It is Dreambird!

Or Dreamfish, if you are drinking the Sauvignon Blanc. I am more a red wine person but friends of mine like white and so I picked up some Dreamfish for them.

Dreambird was an extremely good deal in Kaisertown where I was not too long ago. I had never seen the label and it was, ahem, inexpensive, and so I bought some. It was from Romania. From Transylvania, I have since learned.

I have also learned how right my instincts were.

This wine was highly recommended!

Once again the Lord rewards me for my wine buying strategy, which is: First, look for an attractive label. The packaging matters more than anything. Because what if you are going to bring the bottle to a party? It can be the best tasting wine in the world but that is of no moment if the label is ugly.

So that is the first consideration. The second is ... what is the second? Oh yes. Low alcohol content.

I do not like wine that hits me between the eyes! And the Dreambird checks in at I believe 12.5 percent. You are often lucky in this way with European wines.

Here is the Dreamfish label in case you were curious.

What about Dream Water?

Remember that? It worked that one time I needed it to.

With luck the Dreambird will, too.

As the song (admittedly not by Leonard Pennario) goes, in this very funny video ...

Wine, wine, wine ... do your stuff!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Lauren Bacall mix-up

One thing makes a celebrity death easier to take and that is if you thought the person was already dead.

It sort of cushions the blow, you know?

Such was the case with me and Lauren Bacall, pictured above. What must it have been like to have your hair like that, is all I can think, looking at that picture. Those shining curls, just so. Imagine the team of people it took.

But anyway. To return to my story, I somehow had it in my head that Lauren Bacall had died years ago.

I could have sworn that she had!

When Howard tried to tell me last night that Miss Bacall had passed on I said with confidence, "Oh, she died a long time ago."

How little we know!

(With the great Hoagy Carmichael on piano.)

There is this picture that Lauren Bacall signed to Leonard Pennario and it has something very affectionate written on it.

I will have to go look for it, now that she really is dead.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Watershed weekend

I worked all weekend! Typing away while the sun shone outside. And I got a lot done! But better still...

I paid my water bill.

Remember the old game of how much satisfaction you get from various accomplishments? The water bill ranks right up there.

When it comes to Pennario I am pretty organized but I am not organized when it comes to my accounts payable. That woman in the picture above? It is not me!

With the water bill though I have learned the hard way. Last week, scouring this Web log for I forget what, I found what I wrote about when I let the water bill slide because of too much attention paid to Leonard Pennario, and I had to go in person to pay it. What a horror story that was!

And so:

Just about finished book over weekend of intense work: 50 satisfaction points.

Paid water bill: 150,000 satisfaction points.

Well, OK, I also stopped by the new Savers on Saturday and scored a new maxi-dress. Before going back home and getting to work.

It was a most satisfying weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Get on up!

Howard and I went to see the new movie about James Brown, "Get On Up."

What with my Leonard Pennario project I am always interested in how movies like this organize things. This movie had interesting ideas. They would flash a year on the screen, and a kind of chapter title, like, "1971: The Godfather of Soul," something like that. And they flashed back and forth.

It was not perfect. I got kind of confused as far as where we were in James Brown's life and how famous he was at a given point. But it was a promising idea.

There were about 18 previews before the movie started and I have to say one thing about them.

Ow ow ow ow ow!

As opposed to Owwwwww, as James Brown would say.

Such hideous violence! I do not go to that many movies and now I see why. I do not want these images in my head! I actually closed my eyes through something like three different previews because I could not stand it. In one, somebody's hand got cut off. In another, this guy was punched over and over, brutally. The people next to me seemed to take it in stride. "Oh boy," they kept saying, casually, as another punch came in.

We are not allowed to use common sense and say that bombarding people with images like this, along with deafening noise, contributes in any way to crime, you know. But it cannot be good.

Later I had to kind of laugh at my own idea that my story about Pennario would make a great movie.

Nobody shoots anybody!

Nobody punches anybody!

I mean, we had our arguments, but at no time did anybody cut anybody's hand off.

Oh well, that is me.

Stuck in the 19th century!

Friday, August 1, 2014

The last Ladies' Home Journal

It is fun to have an excuse to read magazines. And so when I was at the chiro I picked up the new issue of Ladies' Home Journal that was lying around, and when they told me I could go into the chiro room and lie down, I took the magazine with me. God forbid I have two minutes, you know, without something to read. I opened it up and --

Oh, no!

Another one bites the dust!

They had a page titled "Portrait of a Lady" and it was all about how Ladies' Home Journal was ceasing publication after 133 years.

And I felt bad. I love these old magazines, their quaint titles. We have lost Redbook and I forget what other ones, and now we are losing sweet Ladies' Home Journal. I feel guilty too because it was not as if I read it or subscribed. Magazines like Ladies' Home Journal are not exactly my bag. Not smart enough for me, I want to say, although I should hesitate before being so arrogant. Because I have to admit, I have a lot to learn in the home department.


Reviewing the situation I see there are a few bright sides to the situation.

One, fewer magazines means fewer distractions as I strive to tie up my writing on Leonard Pennario.

Two, it does appear that Redbook has an online presence so the name lives on. I believe Ladies' Home Journal is going to do the same thing. At least we get to keep the names.

And finally ... excuse to take out more magazine subscriptions! Someone has to support these magazines, right? I do not know if I can justify Good Housekeeping. It is kind of like Ladies' Home Journal, not my speed. But perhaps Better Homes and Gardens. There is another title I love. I remember my mother getting Better Homes when I was little.

I got Better Homes for a few years because they drop the price so low you cannot resist it. Last time they sent me that almost-too-good-to-refuse offer, I stood firm. I heard in my head the voice of my friend Melinda: It's clutter. It's all clutter.

Now I have an excuse to say yes.

Next time, I will!