Sunday, July 21, 2013

For my friend Beth.

I haven't paid much attention to Blogger the last couple of weeks due various reason including a very finicky clothes dryer, and a very uneven work schedule ( one day a 5 a.m. start, then a 1 p.m. start) etc. However I have been thinking about Beth. Her surgery is on the 23nd of this month. That is tomorrow. As you know, if you know Beth, she is a wonderful person, and speaking personally, she has been so kind to me. All I really want to say is please keep Beth in your mind, heart and prayers. We all want her to have a speedy recovery. So hurry back Beth. You are missed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Just some things

There are things going on 'round these here parts. There's the marathon bombing trial about to begin soon and who knows what that will entail. An old case has been re-opened after 49 years. I don't know how well known this was across the country, but in the early 60's Boston was terrorized by the "Boston Strangler". The final murder was in 1964. Albert De Salvo admitted to the police that he was the strangler and later recanted. He was never brought to trial. There were 11 victims over a two year period. He was arrested and tried for other crimes and was killed in Prison in 1974. Well back then they didn't have DNA testing but they did save some DNA from the last victim in 1964, on a blanket. Back then they didn't have a definitive way of examining DNA. For all I know DNA was unknown back in the early 60's. Well a few days ago, the police were watching a relative of De Salvo. They waited until he finished drinking some bottled water and disposed of it. This was all in public and it was disposed in a public trash bin. They took the water bottle and found the De Salvo DNA. It was a match to the old sample (taken from the saved blanket). Now they have exhumed De Salvo's body for confirmation. I do remember those days. I also remember the awful movie they made with Tony Curtis. 

Then there's the Whitey Bulger trial. The headquarters for the Irish Mob was across the street from where I worked back in the 70's. It was a bar/lounge. I was in there once. It was Christmas Eve and one of the guys said, "Let's go have a drink before we go home." And that's all that happened that night. I had no idea who owned the bar. I worked in the supermarket across the street. Well back before the market was built the land was the location of a movie theater. The previous gang boss was gunned down right in front of the movie theater across from his "headquarters". The guy who took over was in charge when I worked in that neighborhood. I even had a dealing with him in the store only I didn't know who he was. He wanted a party platter with an assortment of cold cuts. It was near closing time so I politely refused saying we were going to close in 15 minutes. He was very soft spoken and polite. He then said, "I'll be right back."

Within a minute the night manager rushed down the aisle like his pants were on fire and said, "Whatever he wants OK!"
Well OK. I later learned who he was. Whitey Bulger ran this guys operation in South Boston. When the big guy was arrested for trying to fix horse races and racketeering in 1979, Whitey Bulger took over. He ended up being a snitch for the FBI and so did some of his former associates who in turn started snitching on Whitey. I'll tell you there's never a dull moment.

Problems with my dryer has made it a real pain the last two weeks. Sometimes it will work properly and other times it will run for about 3 minutes. It's only 6 years old. Other than that, IT'S FRIKIN' HOT! Not to mention the humidity. We have a chance to hit 100 this week. What else have I been doing? My misfiring dryer lead me to go looking for the owners manual, which led me to find documents and papers that were just taking up room. This led to the rearranging a couple of file cabinets...and so on. What have I started?

Enough blather,
I'm outta here.   

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I dare you not to laugh.

Listen a good laugh never killed anyone but this clip from the Carol Burnett Show might come close. It seems they were trying to get through a Mama's Family sketch and Tim Conway begins to tell a ridiculous story about a circus elephant and it goes on and on and becomes more silly and convoluted. Carol Burnett was always stressing how you should never break character and she, well you'll see. They are trying to play Pass Word and Carol's character is supposed to say, "Go on Mama."  Stick with it to the end. Vikki Lawrence nails it.

I'm outta here.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Late night but a good night.

First of all Beth, you never need to apologize to me for missing a blog I have posted. No one has been more loyal to me than you. So please don't worry about it.

Alrighty then, lets see...hmm... I almost hit two people with my car a couple of days ago. Of course it was not intentional. It seems that people are just so distracted these days. Walking about staring at the little screen in their hands, oblivious to the outside world. Stepping out into traffic from behind a parked car (pahked cah). What's more I get the dirty look as if I should have known instinctively  that they were going to step into traffic without even looking where they were going. The sidewalks are full of these screen staring zombies. I'm not knocking all these fantastic electronic devices but c'mon people, when you're walking down a busy street and then you want to cross, try and remember what you were taught when you were a kid. Look both ways before you cross the street! Of course if you do get hit by a car and you're still conscious or alive for that matter, you could text your friends,
"Just got hit by a car and am in great pain. LOL!"

Last night (Saturday) Arlene and I went out to dinner at our favorite local restaurant, Raso's Bar and Grille. Reasonably priced and wonderful fresh food with an Italian flavor. I wouldn't say it's strictly an Italian restaurant, but the predominance of the food is Italian. Now I may be prejudice, but there's not much wrong with that! No matter what we have for a main course we always start the meal with the antipasto. Here it is right from the menu.

Antipasto $12 (great to share)

Roasted red peppers, marinated mushrooms, grilled asparagus, caponata, fresh mozzarella,

prosciutto di Parma and soppressata

All of this is served on a bed of greens including basil, chicory and something else I couldn't identify with bread and seasoned olive oil with calamata olives. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's fresh and I just love it. This is some of the stuff that is served in Italy. You could almost call it peasant food and that's not a knock it's just an example of what you might be served at someones home. It's not all spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, pizza or ravioli. Though I love that stuff too.
And speaking of pizza, that's what we ordered. I just had a hankering for pizza with pepperoni and green peppers and Arlene was amenable with that. I wasn't in the mood for any of the other dishes. Here's a bit more of the menu.

~ Raso’ s Grille ~
Shrimp Scampi $18
Sautéed and served with toasted garlic, basil, white wine butter sauce over angel hair pasta
Linguine Julia $14
Pancetta, fresh tomatoes, sweet peas, basil, toasted garlic, parmesan cheese and a touch of cream,
tossed with linguine with grilled chicken $16.5 with grilled shrimp $18.5

Mafalda Bolognese $16
Ground pork, veal, beef, roasted tomatoes, porcini mushroom cream tossed with fresh mafalda pasta
Sausage Piculini $16
Seared sweet sausage, broccoli rabe, garlic, cannellini beans, sun dried

tomatoes with bow tie pasta
Penne Chicken & Broccoli $15.5
Chicken sautéed with toasted garlic, chicken broth, parmesan cheese and broccoli tossed with penne
Baked Penne $13
Roasted tomato cream, fontina cheese served with seared spinach
with grilled chicken $16

Grilled NY Sirloin $24 One of the best around…….certified black angus
Served with a red wine demi glaze, red bliss mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus
Pan Roasted Pork Loin $16.5
Served with an apple glaze, red bliss mashed potatoes and roasted green beans
Eggplant Parmesan
Served over pasta $14

Marsala chicken $17 veal $19

Pan seared medallions with sautéed mushrooms and choice of penne or linguine

Parmigiana chicken $16 veal $19

Mozzarella cheese, roasted tomato sauce, topped with fresh basil and choice of penne or linguine

Baked Haddock $18
Topped with herbed and buttery crumbs served with marinated tomatoes and house made rice pilaf
Wood Grilled Salmon $19
Served with buttered pea tendrils and white rice with garlic aioli
Eggplant & Zucchini Terrine $14
Layered with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, baked and topped with roasted tomatoes & grilled asparagus

Barbecue from the Grille

* Sirloin Tips $15.5 Turkey Tips $13 * Lamb Tips $16

Vinnie the Sausage Guy $10
Grilled Italian sweet sausage smothered with grilled peppers & onions
Baby Back Ribs half rack $14 full rack $20
Slow roasted with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce
Double Combo $15 Triple Combo $16
Any two ( 2 ) barbecue items Any three ( 3 ) barbecue items
For combos with baby back ribs or lamb tips ~ please add $1.5 for each item

Served with a house salad and your choice of red bliss mashed potatoes, french fries or rice pilaf

Arlene was not real happy when we left for the restaurant. She lives (conveniently) next door with her twin daughters on the third floor in a relatively old house built in 1890. It's been her families home since 1920 when her grandfather came here from Italy. As you may or may not know it has been in the 90's around here and humid for about a week now. The third floor is not the coolest place to be during a heat wave. Especially with a flat roof. With 3 air conditioners going it was still 80 degrees up there. Any who, Arlene was angry at her daughters because they decided to make a pizza, heating the oven to 400 degrees. But after a martini and some of the antipasto she got over it.

When we left it was getting dark and Arlene suggested, after seeing that it had cooled off a bit, that we sit in her backyard It's a rather large yard with an above ground pool. From a distance it may look cluttered but actually her brother, who lives on the first floor, set it up nicely, with six different seating areas, an enclosed mesh tent with a large table and the mandatory grill and bug light. We were joined by the new tenants on the second floor. A very nice young couple in there early 30's and a friend of theirs. Before you know it the beer started to flow. I had a six pack at home (conveniently next door) and Arlene called her daughter to bring down 4 beers that she had upstairs. And the couple had beer as well. It was warm and the air was dead but it was nothing like the day time. To make a long story not that much longer, Finally the young couple and their friend went in and Arlene and I called it a night. Even though I had a watch on I never looked at it. I walked home and discovered it was 1:45 a.m. It was a late night but a good night.
I'm outta here.    



Thursday, July 4, 2013

I am so grateful...

...that my forbearers and all the assembled relatives from that little town in Italy came to America. Some went to New York, some to Connecticut and most here to Eastern Massachusetts, specifically the Boston area. More importantly they came to America. I was born here though I suppose I could have been born in Italy which wouldn't have been all that bad. My dad was a barber and by being in America in the late 40's early 50's he was able to get work right away and within 3 years we had a house and a new car. Only in America. I never appreciated living in the Boston area because in the 50's and 60's the city was in decline. The city proper population dropped from about 800,000 to 590,000. It was just an old American city getting older. Fortunately it began a rebound in the mid to late 60's and has done very well, overall since. Most of the big buildings you see in some of my pictures of the skyline were built since 1965.

At this point I have just finished watching The end of the Boston Pops and the fireworks display. It was gorgeous. I could hear the muted booms in the distance. The music was a little more somber in light of recent events. They played a segment of President Obama's speech when he was here after the bombings. It was quite moving combined with the music and pyrotechnics.

There were some wonderful aerial shots. At one point, as they circled, you could see Fenway Park all lit up as there was a game going on.

Today was hot and humid again with temps around 94. I stayed in though I will admit to having  two hot dogs and some potato salad. Those are the first hot dogs I've had since 2007. I could have eaten a third but I didn't want push it. The sodium in the hot dogs, not to mention even more in the salad, were over the daily limit in that meal alone. That's not counting whatever salt was in the mustard and in the rolls. It's everywhere. But it was just one day and boy did I enjoy it all.

OK 5 a.m. comes quick so it's time for bed.
I'm outta here.    

Monday, July 1, 2013

Oy it's so humid!

I began this blog on Saturday night. Then I fell asleep. I fell asleep watching the Boston Strong concert which took place a few weeks ago. The last performers I remember were  Carole King and James Taylor. Also on Saturday they started to distribute the money from the Boston Strong fund. They raised 61 million so far and contrary to what I read on an English newspapers site, this money is not coming from the government but from donations made by people in the area, the U.S. and from different parts of the world. The bombings are  all still fresh on every one's mind and there's still much sadness and anger. Just as these senseless acts that occurred here and in other places and around the world we will not forget this. The Fourth Of July is right around the corner and there will be another large gathering here in Boston with the concert and fireworks on the Charles River. There will be roughly a half a million people in front of the Hatch Shell and along the river in a few days. Due to recent events I'm sure security will be even tighter than last year but it is a scary thought with such a large crowd. I've been to one concert back in 1976.  It was a different era and it certainly was the biggest crowd I had ever been in. There were 400,000 people, which at the time, was the largest crowd to see a concert. It was the 3rd 4th of July concert held. I was a good distance from the shell but I could hear the music and had a nice vantage point to view the fireworks. I was on a walking overpass over a main street that runs parallel to the river. There were people everywhere, around me, below me, and as far as the eye could see. We had walked in from Charlestown, where I had parked my car. Oh wait, "where I had pahked my cah."

Driving in was just impossible and public transportation was a nightmare at best. Besides it was only about a two mile walk. Of course I was a lot younger 40 years ago. Who wasn't? Even though mile wise, the Hatch Shell is not very far from here, I have no desire to deal with a half a million people these days. I see enough of humanity during the course of my week. Still it was neat to be a part of something so big, that has become a tradition around here. In lieu of recent events I'm sure everyone is thinking about security with such a large crowd. Let's hope the worse thing that happens is rain.

A few nights ago I had the pleasure of speaking to my oldest (in terms of blogging of course) friend Beth. She has just been so wonderful to me. My blog does not get many visitors but I can always count on Beth to show up with a kind word or two. Beth I really appreciate my friendship with you. I hope we remain friends even if this blog disappears. And all your friends are in your corner as you contend with your medical issues.

We just finished a week or so of 90 degree heat. The temperature has dropped about 10 degrees but the humidity is quite heavy. It looks to remain hot the rest of the week going back to the 90's. Then again I should stop whining about the heat because compared to what's going on out west this is pretty normal around this time of year.

OK that's enough.
I'm outta here.