Need a little God? Come sit on my patio and watch the finches flutter in the bird bath, three feet away. Little mystics, unafraid.
Birds seem to dig me. Dogs too. It’s my own kids I have problems with.
By the way, are you astounded almost daily at how unaware our leaders are of nuance, irony, empathy and struggle? One side seems obsessed with the needy, the other seems obsessed with greed. And the working stiffs – the loin, the muscle of the whole operation — sit by watching the finches in the bird bath, as decades of hard work flutter away.
Don’t get me started.
On the menu the other night: a $12 milkshake. Couldn’t swing that, so I brought my granddaughter a single scoop of vanilla, with rainbow sprinkles. Set me back a mere $8.32.
OK, in my day, you could buy an entire cow for 7 bucks. So you can imagine my unease. A big mystic, totally afraid.
Look, weird times call for weird people, and none are weirder than me. My buddy Charlie, who made billions in petroleum, is off to Amsterdam, then Dublin, hitting all the morally dubious places in one swing.
Rapunzel is in the Dominican for a wedding. Finn and fam are heading to New Jersey for a wedding as well. Mitch and Teresa are off to Iceland, a place Suzanne hopes to visit one day.
To me, Iceland seems like a suburb of the North Pole. All the seafood is probably frozen. All the beef comes in blocks of ice.
So, here I’ll stay, watching the finches sip from my bird bath, once in a while taking my granddaughter out for ice cream at 8 bucks a scoop. It’s not a great life, but it’s a life.
Our eager little army was on the move the other night, again on LA’s west side, which entertains me no end. I love The Galley there, the old nautical dive bar where the Christmas lights stay up all year. They still have a solid Happy Hour there, unlike many places.
If America requires one thing right now, it’s solid Happy Hours.
Last week, I went to a bar that had an Unhappy Hour. Folks sat at the dim bar gazing at their phones. I finally leaned over to the dude next to me, “So, can you believe the bartender never heard of the Indy 500?”
Minutes earlier, the dude had told the bartender that he’d just finished a commemorative illustration for the Indy 500, and the young barkeep shook his head in puzzlement. Indy 500? Never heard of it.
Tell me, did I get off the wrong spaceship? As it is, I don’t understand this June weather… cold, like Iceland. The other day, after a short jog, I crawled back into bed just to warm up.
Meanwhile, Garrison Keillor pens a short and wonderful essay about eating a bratwurst in the rain in New York City, which I think he secretly loathes but has learned to make amends with. Speaking of gods, he might be one.
Despite the chill, I know it’s summer because I’m wholly – or holy – obsessed with grilled food. Not just the seared and skewered meats, but the veggies too. Pretty much anything I could scorch.
We grilled sweet corn the other night, in a golden gown of butter. By the time it was done, it was an Oscar statue.
And the Oscar for best side dish goes to…
What I do is smear the corn in butter and salt, plus a splash of milk, then throw it on the grill for 10 minutes, turning it as you would a foul ball that landed somehow in your lap.
There may be nothing better than this. Eating grilled corn is like kissing someone on a rowboat — a certain blonde with buck teeth whose gum-scented sigh still resides in the deep cushions of my mind, even if I can’t recall her last name. That was some piece of corn, let me tell ya.
Meanwhile II: Never let me wander about without a chance at fresh friendships.
“Just saw you at Ashland & Hill on Main St. (Santa Monica),” a reader wrote the other day. “You were saying hi to a good friend and you were with family so I really didn’t want to interrupt or impose in the hope that I could say something endearing, witty, and cool and that would go over big with you. You know maybe mention how much I liked your column in The Times and so on….”
That’s so stupid. No one liked my column in The Times, especially the editors.
But, yeah, that was me at the restaurant — trying to push a 3-foot-wide baby stroller down a 2-foot-wide aisle as people leaned into their dinners. One of my finest performances. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, to all the toes involved.
For the record, I like meeting people who’ve managed to latch on to my silly ramblings over the years. Random public encounters drive Smartacus nuts, and make Suzanne a little uneasy as well. But Cakes and I really, really dig those jazzy little moments.
Buttery as corn.
Thirsty? The Gin & Tonic Society of Los Angeles is planning another blast, on June 24, at that hilltop hideaway overlooking the Rose Bowl. It’s a perch we’ve tried before, and Lynn Knox has been gracious enough to invite us back. There’ll be blind gin tastings, and some examinations of mixers, plus a sunset over the San Gabriels. Will LA’s sassiest bartenders be back? Possibly. Probably not. But if you’re interested, please mark your calendar. More info on time, place and how to RSVP coming soon. Cheers!