The Great Plotnik

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Pizza is Hot!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

That's it For Me

Baseball is nothing to blog about. No one cares. It's silly. What's the point? It doesn't matter. Why would it? It's just a game. Players make too much money. They take drugs. It is silly to get excited about it. Wouldn't make sense. It's a waste of time. Why bother? There is no value to the game. Respect is nonexistent. Players spit. They chew tobacco. Grown men playing a boy's game. Silly. Hmmmph.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Rant Idea

Have to get my Rant ready for the Tiapos Christmas Party in ten days. The bar was raised excedingly high last year, though the 2013 topic was "Christmas Rant." This year it's "Generalized Rant About Anything that Pisses You Off."

I've been ranting for several days about Stevie Wonder, but I secretly loved that show so this won't do. Christmas is too easy a target, same with politics, cell phone and cable companies, pop culture,  bland, crappy food, and...wait. PEDESTRIANS! I HATE PEDESTRIANS!

EsPECially the ones who talk on their cell phones while crossing a street in the middle of the block at night wearing black clothing. Hmmm, I am on to something here.

Friday, December 05, 2014


The Mother Ship touched down last night.  Earlier that morning, the scout craft had appeared.

Now, both alien pods have taken up residence in the mint. They are sending out signals for anyone dumb enough to try slicing them up and putting them in the spaghetti.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Guess Who Got Her Birthday Lunch?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Day of Red Tail Lights

It is very nice to be home, though it took a lot longer than we'd expected. Since we were in Thousand Oaks already we figured we'd just jaunt straight up the 101. Nah. You don't 'jaunt' on the 101, not on a holiday weekend.

It was the Day of Red Tail Lights. After sitting twenty minutes without moving, the first time, we got off the freeway somewhere near Santa Paula and drove blindly down streets of auto repair shops and taco stands, all named "Taco Mexico," until a sweet and gracious Indian family operating a 7-11 pointed us back to the 101. We had outflanked the blockage but I made the mistake of exulting at our tactical brilliance. Five minutes later: More red tail lights.

It was stop-and-stop until Santa Barbara, and then it was clear until Prunedale-San Juan Bautista-Gilroy-Castroville. Since every one of those towns is mentioned in my song "Watsonville," I think it is proof of God's cackle. Clearly, I deserved to sit on that highway awhile. Call it my royalty to the region, even though I TOOK OUT this wonderful rhyme:

Gilroy is known for its garlic
Castroville, baked artichoke
And San Juan Bautista's
Where Jeee-eee-sus
appeared in a bottle of coke. 

But I didn't notify the Karma Department. How were they to know? So we sat out on the 101 for awhile. My bad.

DS is my niece-once-removed-by-marriage. It was her bat-mitzvah that had brought us to Thousand Oaks. She has grown up so beautifully and her ceremony was lovely. Thankfully, the synagogue where her brothers had had their barmitzvahs has gone out of business and this new synagogue has a more ecumenical vibe. In the old place we had to listen to the old rabbi who was intent on using a barmitzvah to lecture about Middle East politics -- we still talk about the man's statement that Gazans deserved to die because their government didn't build bomb shelters for them. The new synagogue features a cantor with a guitar and a rabbi who is not only female but completely deaf. It is astonishing to imagine what courage it must have taken this woman to learn to speak and preach in front of a congregation.

Our no-longer-little DS made us teary with pride. And they even included us in the ceremony, which was quite gracious of them. They didn't have to do that.

Step- and by-marriage- families have fragile links. They fracture easily, once the person who has united them is gone. This is what holidays are for. But you have to make the effort.


NEVER order a frapuccino at a Starbucks. I tried my first and last outside of King City. It tastes like a marshmallow dissolved in liquid glucose.

The Great PD, The Great BZWZ and The Great We all started driving home yesterday, PD from Washington DC to Brooklyn, BZ from LA to Boulder and we from Stiletto to Saint Plotniko. BZ and Chris are still out there somewhere.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Business schools around the country ought to study the guy at the Carnitas Michoacán stand inside Grand Central Market. Everybody who walks in off still-Latino Broadway today, on the day after Thanksgiving, is handed two hot tortillas filled with carnitas from an enormous pile of meat in front of the best businessman in town. After you find the lady at the spice kiosk back by the stairs where you can buy six different kinds of spice pastes for mole, and you buy some avocadoes and a few bags of white beans, you head back to the front and order more carnitas tacos for lunch. Students, when you have the best product give some of it away. You'll sell a bunch more.

BZ and Chris, and their friends Marissa and Joe, and Ducknik and me, that's twelve tacos, two horchatas and one jamaica. Green salsa on one, red on the other, a handful of onions and cilantro on both. Downtown is spiffying up for sure, but thankfully not too badly around here.

How old am I? My grandmother took me downtown on the Santa Monica Boulevard red car when I was around eight to buy me my first baseball mitt, right around the corner from where we're sitting. We got it at the Broadway, when there was only one Broadway and it, like every other department store in LA was right here, downtown. All the buses and streetcars came here. They still do.

The 44 ran on Beverly and the 35 was the Freeway Flyer out to the West Valley and the 81 ran down Ventura and Hollywood Boulevards and I can't remember so many simple words and people's names today but I can still tell you about the 44 Beverly.

Mom struggles with the ends of most thoughts. She starts off sentences but doesn't finish most of them. Names really trouble her. I've been "Ric," my older brother, a lot this trip. She seems to be frightened easily, but mostly I think she's scared to be alone. 

Driving home last night from Ricky's, she was squirming around a lot in the front passenger's seat. I asked her "do you need something, Mom?" and she said "I don't know." So I put my hand on hers and she immediately relaxed. We drove the 50 miles back home that way, my one hand on the wheel, the other on hers. She fell asleep and didn't wake up until we were almost all the way up the hill.

Today BZ and Chris came back to grandma's to say good-bye, they are driving back to Boulder tomorrow and we are driving home tomorrow too. 

Things seem well here. Mom's four caretaker ladies seem to have formed a little team. That can fall apart at the smell of an insult, but at least now everyone is smiling. So I am too.