It’s Very Catchy!

I first heard this little ditty well over 30 years ago (yes, during the original broadcast – I am old!). And still to this day, it pops into my head at random and I find myself singing it for the rest of the afternoon.

Sounds about right.

WordPress provides a variety of stats about this blog to me. Mostly I just look to see how many views I’ve had and whether any comments have been left. But I do sometimes look at “Top Searches” – these are the terms that people used in search engines that returned my blog in the results.

My current top searches are:

dopey, mr. luxury yacht, laxative vacation, tranny shoes

That seems to sum up both my blog and my life.

Why, Hoosiers?

Yes, it was delicious

Memorial Day and I had a craving for a carnitas burrito – specifically, a carnitas burrito from Gordo Taqueria. The sun was shining (though there was a stiff breeze), so onto my bike and off to the Sunset. I figure the 8-mile round trip ride would counteract a goodly portion of the pork-cooked-in-lard-which-therefore-makes-it-extra-delicious burrito.

Golden Gate Park was surprisingly quiet for a holiday, so I was somewhat displeased to find Gordo’s to be very crowded. But the line wasn’t too long and I managed to get the last little table.

But wait, what’s going on here? It finally became clear why the place was so crowded. Of the ten tables in the place, fully half were occupied by a group of 16 or so rubes tourists from Indiana (judging by the plethora of apparel emblazoned with their state’s name – I guess in case they get lost?).

Now, I get that tourism is a huge part of the SF economy. And I applaud these folks for finding there way to a really excellent taqueria rather than lining up at the Cheesecake Factory. But…

First of all, that’s too large of a party to take to such a small place. Imagine the poor schmuck behind them who has to wait in line while all 16 of them hem and haw and ask questions and panic over the salsa being too spicy and deciding who’s paying for whom. All he wanted was his usual “regular carnitas with cheese and guacamole, spicy”  and now he’ll have to wait 20 minutes just to order it.

Second of all, if you are going to show up at a tiny place like this with your inappropriately large party, you need to get that shit to go. You’re literally half a block from Golden Gate Park. Have a picnic! Eat and walk! Anything other than pushing tables together, moving chairs around and hogging up half the space in the tiny establishment!

Third of all, if you do selfishly decide to take up half the tables in the place, you need to eat those burritos stat and the get the fuck out. Don’t sit around, sipping your sodas and shootin’ the breeze, deciding where you ought to go next. You’re not in a cafe in Paris – you’re in a very small and busy taqueria that is frequented largely by couples and Mary Ann Singleton’s who just want to sit, wolf down a burrito and get on with their lives.

Fourth of all, when you do finally clear out, be sure to leave the tables and chairs that you’ve rearranged all willy-nilly all over the place and don’t bus your tables or throw away your trash. Let someone else take care of that for you…

Fifth of all, Jesus H. Christ!

But, to end on a happy note, here’s a photo of my sweet ride. Je t’aime, ma belle bicyclette!

Trois Jours à Nouvelle Orleans

WELL! I must say, New Orleans was pretty great. The word that I used to death while I was there? “Charming.” And it truly was – I find that very few things charm me, but here was a whole city that did. The neighborhoods. The architecture. The trees, plants and flowers. The streets. The street names. The wrought iron. Just a lovely place.

My friend Tim had just visited and mentioned that the city often seems desolate – and I agree. Clearly, this has something to do with losing a third of the population after Hurricane Katrina. But even in obviously well-maintained and populated neighborhoods, there seemed to be little activity. No one out tending the lawn, walking the dog – not even many cars driving around. It could be a bit eerie.

Anyway, I arrived Friday evening and checked into the Hotel Modern. Had a very nice, quiet room with a really comfortable bed. After unpacking, I went for dinner at Root. I’d read that they served dinner until 2AM and it was a ten-minute walk from my hotel. Since it was after 10PM, I didn’t want anything too much, so I ordered some Vietnamese-style vermicelli salad with grilled tofu. And, in the most unexpected twist of my visit, I am still raving about the tofu. Two large slabs, apparently marinated for 24 hours with soy, sesame and a bunch of other Asian flavors, grilled like steaks with an amazing char on the exterior. Absolutely the best tofu I’ve ever eaten.

Saturday morning, I took a guided walking tour through the Garden District and its cemetery. Saw many, many lovely houses – though toward the end of the tour it devolved into, “And here’s Sandra Bullock’s house. And that’s John Goodman’s house. And here’s where Nicholas Cage used to live…” And here’s me not giving a rat’s ass. But it was free…

Dinner that evening at Boucherie. I didn’t realize it was such a tiny place – small tables in an old house (yes, it was charming, of course). Four seats at the bar, so I grabbed the one on the end. Was served a Riverbend Martini (gin, orange liqueur, cucumber, orange & lemon juice) by the (charming, natch) bartender, Michael. Besides helping me navigate the menu, he steered me toward an amazing Achaval Ferrer Malbec to accompany the literally falling-off-the-bone tender and delicious St. Louis-style ribs I had for dinner. Dessert was a Thai chile chocolate chess pie. I tend to steer clear of chocolate desserts – they are typically the least inspired offering. But this one was great – mildly chocolate-y  enhanced with a sharp yet subtle bite from the chile. Topped with some perfectly sweetened cream, it all came together beautifully – reminded me a bit of a black & white milkshake, but for grownups.

Then, to Bourbon St. Wow – it is a hellmouth. Stinking of stale booze, puke and despair, drunken tourists stumbling every which way, touts barking the desirability of their particular establishment. Yeesh. Made it to Dumaine St., which is where a few gay bars are located. They were OK – crowded, lively, loud music, friendly bartenders, bachelorette parties (ugh). But I did stay and drink and dance,  so clearly it wasn’t too terrible.

Sunday breakfast in the French Quarter (a.k.a. Vieux Carré, apparently pronounced “Vook Array” in the local dialect. So much for getting to practice my French accent…). Did a bit of walking around, but not much. Had a nap, then met up with my friends Jacqui, Saunia and Oscar (the dog). They took me to Bacchanal, which was great. It’s sort of an odd place – a tiny little ramshackle wine store on a corner. But you take your bottle out to the very large garden, where there are tables and chairs, along with live music. Food served, but you order at a window and eat off paper plates. It was really great – we managed to score a table on the small upstairs balcony overlooking the scene while chowing down on pork shoulder, steak, salad and a dessert of sweet goat cheese in puff pastry. And maybe one or two glasses of wine…

Spent Monday on a more thorough walk through the Quarter. It’s really just lovely – and amazingly quiet once off of Bourbon St. Had a couple of Pimm’s Cups at Napoleon House, then took the streetcar back over to the Garden District for a walk down Magazine St. for a little shopping. Also explored some of the side streets I hadn’t seen on my walk on Saturday. Again, just absolutely charming…

Dinner that night at Cochon, just a couple blocks down from my hotel.  Started off with crawfish boulettes (heh) which were sensational. Then a really tasty pounded pork loin (heh), breaded and fried, served atop a German potato salad. Very schnitzel-y and delicious – though I could barely finish half (yes, I am dainty!) Plus, I had to hit the bars one more time, so I didn’t want to be too full…

Bourbon St. definitely less raucous, though still rancid. The gay bars were very quiet (granted it was only 9PM) and didn’t even have their balconies opened! Back home early-ish, packed, slept, then off to the airport at a leisurely 11AM. It was definitely a bon temp!

Another hiatus…

Well, I’m off to Atlanta on business, followed by a little side-trip to New Orleans for laissez-ing les bon temps rouler. Since I’ll be drunk on Pimm’s Cup getting a bit of much needed rest and relaxation, it’s unlikely I’ll be updating my blog while in the Big Easy. So, in the meantime, enjoy this cartoon. It has nothing to do with New Orleans, but it cracks me up.

Quelle langue!

Was having a discussion re. the names of the Seven Dwarves in French (as one does) and discovered that Dopey is called “Simplet” – which translates as “simple-minded” and seems rather close to “simpleton.” Doesn’t have quite the same adorable ring as “dopey,” does it? Pauvre Simplet!

“There’s a land that I see…”

“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” — Barack Obama

WELL! This is an amazing thing!

And, as an avowed cynic, it may surprise people to know that I’m not joining the critics on the left who are saying “Too little, too late” or that this was a calculated political move designed solely to (further) open up the pocketbooks of the gays. They may be right – but my eyes are open to the current political climate in this country.

There are millions who thump their bibles or shout about the sanctity of marriage or whatever other ridiculous and un-American arguments they can come up with to deny two people the right to enter into a legal contract together. I’m sorry, but no matter what excuse they come up with, the real reason they oppose same-sex marriage is because they hate gay people. That’s it. The only people who are affected by same-sex marriage are the two people who marry, no one else.

And some of these same bigots will be motivated to heave themselves off of the sofa on Election Day, specifically to vote against President Obama. And this worries me. It worries me enough that I’d’ve been OK with Obama’s continued “nudge-nudge-wink-wink” on this issue until after November. The specter of a President Romney (who supports amending the U.S. Constitution to make bigotry the law of the land) is frightening.

But the alea iacta est , the Rubicon crossed – so I’m just gonna say, “Thank you, Mr. President.” And get all misty-eyed as I listen to “Free to Be You and Me.”