Friday, December 16, 2011

Old Coot's Crackin' Christmas Collection

Old Coot Hat & Camera
The Old Coot with a  Camera presents his Top Five Great Christmas Presents to give to friends and loved ones. Here's a hint: Number Two is "booze." He also unveils a hitherto undisclosed talent--music. Accompanying himself on his Mighty Organ, OC-WAC presents bold interpretations of Holiday Classics. Look for an album soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our Maine Hurrication (with videos)—Summer, 2011






Where we Went: Kennebunkport, ME.
Why we went there: Because we so admire George H.W. Bush, who Summers there.
Real reason we went there: Relatives, lobstuhs, and the ceaseless need to observe Yuppies in their natural habitat.
Our Habitat: Rented home near water—too near water at times.
Uninvited Guest: Hurricane Irene  

Method of Transport to Site: Aircraft, Car, Gossamer Wings.
Favorite Meal on Plane: Animal Crackers.
Favorite Marx Brothers Movie: Ditto
Least Popular Sound on Plane: Unhappy infant wailing I pagliacci vesti la giubba as performed by a herniated Luciano Pavarotti with tacks in his eyes and while being water-boarded.
Question Angrilly Asked of me in the terminal: “Was that your baby?”
What I said: “No.”
What I wish I’d said: “Yes, that’s why we left him on the plane.”
What I felt: Sorry for the kid, sorrier for the parents.
Aviation note: Virgin America charges $25 a bag for checked luggage.
Advice: Wear all your clothing when you fly Virgin America.

Was the Weather Good? Ayup. Except for the Hurricane.
Lobstuhs & Hurricanes: Shortly after Irene blew by, a Lobstuhman friend of my wife’s cousin, Tracey, hauled in 798 pounds of Lobstuh in a single day, a personal best.
Footnote:  He had pulled up half his traps before the storm and set the others deep.
Anecdotal Conclusion: Hurricanes are good for Lobstuh fishing.                                                                                                         
Good News about Lobstuhman: Generous soul. Gave said cousin free Lobstuhs.
Good News about Cousin: She shares.
Karmic Payback: Later, we took Tracey to the airport for her flight home--leaving the same time as ours. Well into the drive, she realized she’d forgotten her wallet.
Something You May Not Know about Me: I never get mad at someone who regifts Lobstuhs to me.
Long Story Too Long Already: We retrieved the wallet and made both flights with mere hours to spare.  

Who I saw in Maine I hadn’t seen in years: Legendary Boston Golden Throat, raconteur, and erstwhile Junket Best Buddy, Dana Hersey.
Where: At a saloon in Portland.
Why Portland? Dana has a pied a terre on an island in nearby Casco Bay.
How he looked: Tanned, rested and not the least bit dissipated.
How I looked: None of the above.
What I watched waiting for Dana’s ferry to arrive: A Dude with a silver-wrapped box on his head playing guitar while a woman played a musical saw. 
You’re making that up, right? I’m not. Never accuse me of deception until you know if I have video evidence.
Video Evidence: It’s for moments like these I always carry my Flip Camera.

video


Who we did not see in New England: A good high school friend and wife, who Summer in New Hampshire.
Why not: Rain, wind, floods, destruction, locusts, fire ants, rabid Sea Lions.
You’re making that up, right? Yes. Video too hard to fake.
Side Note: My friend, a successful and award-winning vintner, had to leave for his vintner place to harvest his Topo Gigio grapes. Excuse me, his Pinot Grigio grapes.
What You May Conclude: All I know about wine is this--The quality of the box a wine comes in does not relate directly to the quality of the wine contained therein.

Guests who visited and stayed with us: My Cousin and her boyfriend, plus one of my wife’s best friends and her husband.
And: They arrived bearing wine and food.
Furthermore: Neither was served from a box.
Further Furthermore: My cousin bought me a belated birthday present, a “Wayfarer Inn: Cape Porpoise” ball cap. I now wear it on the Left Coast to make Republicans jealous.
MVP: Salaan, Hostess/relative. Salaan is a Dotty Cousin, in her seventies, and had open-heart bypass surgery two months prior to family gathering. She drove up from Virginia, cooked, washed, shopped and cleaned everything in sight.
Runner-Up: Barbara, her 82-year-old sister, and a tweeting maniac.
Second Runner-up: William, One-plus year old toddler who is learning to walk and likes Peek-a-boo.
Third Runner-up: William’s exhausted Mom & Dad, Tricia & Fabrice.

Biggest effect of Hurricane Irene on us: 24-hours without power.
Unexpected Feeling: I felt sorry for President Obama.
Why? Powerlessness sucks.

My Ailment on Trip: What I thought was a pimple on my back was actually a festering, puss-filled, grotesque, infected thingy needing medical attention.
How I found out: It burst and left a dark stain on my old KCAL News T-shirt.
Status of shirt: I still wear it. If people ask, I tell them stain is where the knife went in.
Status of You: Went to great Urgent Care place. Got urgent pills. Took pills urgently. Wife and cousin cleaned and dressed wound. Grimaced for sympathy.
Prognosis: I’ll be ready for the playoffs.
What did I learn? Pimples sometimes aren’t.

Summer Summary

Upside of Vacation: Saw remnants of Hurricane. Had Lobstuh. Avoided 105 heat in Calabasas. Chatted up relatives. Ate good food. Drank good wine. Met good people.

Downside of Vacation: Not creative for two weeks. Gained too much weight. Car battery died while gone.  Missed seeing some people I wanted to see. Too many tourists.

Miscellaneous Knowledge Gained:  The Red Sox won’t be in the World Series. Weathercasters in New England know their stuff. If your Barista is talking to her boyfriend, come back later, or accept that your latte will be all but undrinkable. Maine brewed Frye’s Leap IPA is superb. Maine has bugs, including No-see-ums and EEE-carrying mosquitoes. You can get tired of Vanilla ice cream w/blueberries. And Lobstuhs.  Add meat to vegetarian lasagna, and it is delicious. Tofu should be re-categorized as Industrial Waste. In a pinch, a decent Cab works as a breakfast wine. Bring mud shoes to Maine. On, the last full day we were there, the weather was glorious. We will return. Why? Let's go to the video...

video
    






Sunday, September 4, 2011

You Must Be THIS Tall to Fly




I hate to fly. I love flying mind you, but in this day and age, the physical act of taking an airliner from point A to Point B is nerve-wracking, expensive, frustrating, and if you don’t keep a handle on your emotions, may introduce you to the American Penal Code, Felony division. One such passenger on our flight from Boston to LAX did so yesterday.

You must understand Flight Attendants now hold power somewhere between a Fire Marshall a,d a County High Sheriff. There is no court of appeal—except to the Captain—if he‘s back from the bar by then. (We kid the Captain). Recently Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong gave new meaning to the term “front man.” He was invited off a Southwest jet for allegedly wearing his pants too low. Apparently, it’s above the pee-pee or out the door on SW. He got on the next flight, with an apology—his pants flew coach.

I feel Dude’s pain. Try walking thru security with your wallet, your must-start computer, your book, your sammich and your boarding passes in hand while tying to hold up your beltless pants with only a prayer and your expanded gut.

Not that I’m complaining. Next week is the tenth Anniversary of 9/11—TSA is necessary. A radiated Wazoo is the price we pay for freedom. We doff our footgear because some moron in tennis shoes tried to blow us up. We pay for baggage and get only free animal crackers on a 6-hour flight because airlines are greedy. Airlines have adapted the philosophy of those airport parking structures that doubled fees after 9/11 claimning terrorists are too cheap to pay extra.

                                                              Stooges, Stooges, Everywhere

 I like to joke, but I know the boundaries. When a TSA agent bantered something mildly insulting, I replied in best Stooge fashion “Oh, wise guy, eh?” Had I hit the wrong inflection, I’d have gotten a prostate exam by Floyd “Clawhammer” Zbswekski, Cavity Search and Rescue Specialist, TSA.  Instead I got a “Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk” in return.

As I bolted for freedom, another  TSA agent blocked my path. “Welcoming committee?” I asked. He smiled and said “I’d love to have a peek at that watch of yours.”  Say what? Guys walk in with Rolexes the size of a canned ham and he wants to look at my ancient and honorable Casio Telememo?  Easily dealt with—I just go into salesman mode.

“This is an old-fashioned Casio multifunction beauty,” I reply laying the watch across my wrist. “It has local time and time in LA.” “Got phone numbers here, got a stop-watch, an alarm, and a gizmo that connects my computer directly to Al Qaeda.” (Made that up).

By then, my pants were on the floor and my new TSA buddy was ready to order his own Casio.    

                                                               Got No Reason to Live

Once onboard, the plane was ready to push back when a miniature woman slowed us down. Here is the Microfiche Missy’s story:

Okay, she may have had a valid argument, but Karma may have helped her earn a criminal record. She was so nasty, I think Randy Newman was writing about her. Lady had reserved a seat in the front row. Before she boarded, the woman adjacent asked a flight attendant if her daughter could move next to her, and have Short Stuff sit in the “same seat” but across the aisle. The sympathetic male agent—who sported a double looped ponytail--said yes.     

Enter the midget. Shorty Temper-Tantrum was about 4’1” in pumps. She was displeased. She told Blond FA and the rest in no uncertain terms she wanted her reserved seat. She bellowed at the poor daughter “This is my seat! You know that!” The FAs advised her to stand up and move--”oh sorry, you are standing.”

Ms. Agita lady continued to bellow her case and used her finger for emphasis.  The overhead bin was opened, and dudette and her duds were shown the door. There she was greeted by marshals, TSA cops, and veteran character actor M. Emmett Walsh. She pointed again, making contact with a Marshall. The next sound was her making contact with the jetway. She was cuffed with Joe Friday Action Figure Handcuffs.

At this point, she might get off with a warning. But: “Want, some more, Ms. Munchkin?" 

“Sure.  I’ll take spit on an air marshal for $600, Alex.” Buh-bye airport, hello Riker’s Island.

All this excitement so tuckered the flight attendants, they decided to sit out most of the flight. Fortunately, D and I were able to wrest away our mid-flight meals --a Coke and free Animal Crackers for me, and Madam will have the bottled water and chocolate chip cookies.”  The Coke was moist, the crackers slightly dry and overdone. Dotty fell back into her coma before I could get her review.

I told her the ejection story when we were home, and again this morning.  She takes enough preflight Xanax to fell a Musk Ox, so I may get to tell the story several more times.