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As I write this, the ball is dropping in Times Square and it's twelve minutes plus an unspecified number of years since this boy joined our world on a chilly Monday night at the Advent hospital in Loma Linda.
Life Magazine published a special New Year's Eve issue the year that TWC was born. The TWC archives contain an original copy of the magazine.
Japanese girls long ago traded their parasols and kimonos for Levis and laptops and our cover girl, if she is still living, is likely a great grandmother.
I'll leave you with a thought from T S Eliot.....
For last year's words belong to last year's language, And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
This is for later, when your celebration gets a little raucous.
As a wine heathen, TWC actually thinks this is a good idea. Yet another thing one can do with white wine. Extinguish kitchen grease fires. [ducks several thrown objects]
Interestingly, some of the best champagnes, and really, what I mean by that term is real champagne, is made from the Pinot Noir grape. Pinot Noir, literally translated from French, means black pine, in reference to the almost-black color of the grapes and the pine cone shape of the grape clusters.
But wait! Champagnes are mostly white and pink. Correct you are, Gentle Reader, it is the skins, actually the must, that gives us red wine. Draw off the juice early, and you have pale wine.
A good Pinot Noir, which is difficult to find, typically exhibits floral aromas on the nose (a wine snob term) and offers delightful fruity flavors of strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and red currant, with a pleasant almost-carbonated feeling on the tongue.
Pinot Noir champagne can be spicy and usually shows fruity aromas that can include apple or sassafras along with hints of pale red fruits. It is generally dry with good balance.
The Bubbles? They are introduced during the second fermentation process by adding a bit of sugar and yeast to the bottle. This creates carbon dioxide in the bottle at pressures approaching 80psi.
Legend has it that when Dom Perignon first tasted sparkling wine he shouted.....
Last weekend, the House Blond performed a very un-Christmasy rendition of Bill Bailey at her piano teacher's final recital. Ruth has been involved in the music scene in one way or another since childhood and at eight-six decided to call it a day. She spent many years in the Big Easy, writing and producing musicals in the French Quarter, all of which was lost to Katrina. Guess hard drives aren't the only thing that need backin' up.
Sidebar: Ruth the piano teacher's cousin, Stanley Ann Dunham, was President Obama's mother.
Being that this was Ruth's last show, all four of her kids were in attendance as well. Gotta love entertainers, they know how to, well, entertain. Might be learned behavior or genetic, but her daughter Laurie put together a delightful catered lunch for us proud parents that would have been right at home with a bottle of good wine.
As the crowd thinned, a dapper, familiar-looking, guy slipped in behind the keyboard and called out for Ruth. Someone wheeled her up front and her son-in-law smiled broadly and began to play an absolutely awesome rendition of the finest Christmas tune ever written.
As he finished, he smiled broadly again and said simply, Merry Christmas, Ruth. It was definitely a Kodak moment. That's Tiffany holding the mike for Dorian.
And this is the guy who started it all.....
TWC could have easily recorded Dorian's performance and therein lies the lesson. When you don't know what's coming, record it anyway. The delete key looms large, but opportunities don't knock twice. I think Laurie's husband recorded it (look in the upper left hand corner of the picture) and we could have a copy I'm sure. But you know how that goes. We'll forget to ask and time will slip away.
Oh, and lots of you know why Dorian Harewood is familiar looking. I think Tiffany referred to him as Mr. NBC.
The holidays aren't cheerful for everyone and for the gentleman in question, especially not. He's been off the sauce for a couple of years, put down the drugs, but none of that made him especially happy. His best girl won't celebrate Christmas with his family and ran off to the big city to be with her family until the 27th. His mother is on the far side of dementia and his dad has been gravely ill, in and out of the hospital for the last several weeks.
Most of us can cope with that but this man decided to end it with a phone call to his girlfriend and a revolver in the mouth. The 911 call went out and they sent a SWAT Team that was poised to break the door down. Fortunately a friend of the family had a spare key which spared the destruction of the entry door.
Flash. Bang. The SWAT cops were in. There he was, sitting on a stool with the barrel of the gun in his mouth. Surrounded by militaristic cops in full battle regalia, the commander demanded that he remove the gun from his mouth, uncock it, and toss it away from him or THE SWAT TEAM WOULD KILL HIM! That's fine for a movie starring Bruce Willis, but it strikes me as a less than ideal approach in reality. WTF?
Thankfully, there was no suicide by cop. They rushed him after he threw the revolver aside. Why they needed to wrestle him to the ground at this point is unclear to me.
It's been a couple of decades since I've dealt with the suicidal, but if it comes up again you can bet I'm not calling 911.
I meant to post this on the eighth day of Hanukkah, but it was early this year.
As a school kid, I was crazy for this cute little Jewish girl, except I didn't know she was Jewish or even what that meant. When we came back from Christmas Vacation, er, ah, I mean Winter Break that year I asked her about her Christmas gifts. A puzzled look crossed her face and she simply said that she didn't do Christmas. That confused more than enlightened. Kids don't always understand mad crushes or the subtle distinctions that delineate things in the real world.
I suppose that my parents meant well as they explained that Jan lit the Menorah and well, what if you grow up, fall in love, and have kids? What ever will you do? On the the bright side, they were relieved she wasn't Catholic.
Decades later, in a bit of irony, my cousin (Mr Macintosh) married a lovely Jewish girl, had kids, and they worked it out. Pretty sure they light the Menorah and the Christmas tree.
That said, for some inexplicable reason, this video brings my dear Mrs TWC a disproportionate amount of enjoyment. White Christmas? Meh. Run, Run, Reindeer? Just OK. Adam Sandler? Whole 'nother thing. Might be her favorite Christmas song.
Sometimes it's fun just to dazzle your own self with a little extravagance and prime rib is perfect for a candle light holiday dinner or a stay-at-home romantic New Year's Eve.
With all good food, fresh ingredients are a must. The Sage and Thyme were snipped from the gardens of Casa de las Rocas Grandes just moments before.
Coat the roast with olive oil, season to taste. I used sea salt, ground pepper, sage, and thyme. Don't skimp, this is the stuff that ensures the delectable crust.
Preheat the oven to 250 F (121 C).
In another life, TWC lived with a blond chick and her vintage 1930's Wedgewood match-light stove. Crank the knob, wait for the stench of raw gas, strike the stick match, wave the flame in the general vicinity of the burner, then yank your hand back in an attempt to avoid singed knuckles. Yes, that's why they're called Kitchen Matches.
The oven thermostat was erratic, wildly out of touch with reality, yet that girl could bake up a Christmas loaf of cherry walnut bread that'd knock your socks off. How? She used an oven thermometer and so should you. Even today's high-dollar modern appliances fail the thermostat test, so don't trust them. Get a good oven thermometer. Or Two.
Stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. Bake until the thermometer reads about 120 F (49 C). This is tricky, so test a couple of different places to be sure. It ain't rocket science, but unless you want a well done roast you really want the internal temperature below 125 F (52 C). At this point, crank the oven up to the Blast Furnace setting for about ten minutes or so. This will give you the desired crunchy finish on the outside of the prime rib. 135 F (57 C) should get you a medium rare roast.
Remove the roast to a suitable platter and let it rest for ten minutes before carving.
Any big red Meritage or Cabernet Sauvignon will do justice to a prime rib.