Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cocktail Party Update

A number of readers expressed an interest in hearing about Friday night's "Welcome to the Sticks" cocktail party. 

Well, it wasn't so bad. 

It was pretty fun, actually.

As you may recall, The Bride and LG had a dispute over whether people would bring their "ankle biters" (as one commentator on The LG Report called them), a.k.a. kids, to the party. 

LG thought that nobody would and The Bride insisted that babysitters were used only sparingly in the 'burbs and that children would be on hand.





LG is happy to report that no children were in attendance, save for the hosts' 14-year old son who showed up very late in the game, and, thus, LG was right (yet again.)   

Two semi-highlights of the party [Editor's Note: There were about 15 - 18 people in attendance, all very cool]:

  • At one point, LG was speaking to a gentleman who is a native of Spain and speaks fluent Spanish. LG asked him what the difference was between Spanish and Catalan (click here for more info).     The new neighbor replied "Italian?  That's a separate language spoken by people from Italy."   If he wasn't such a nice guy, we'd give him a major "Duuuuuuuuuuuuuh dude!"   So we won't.
  • One neighbor, a middle-aged male, said of LG: "I like this guy, he makes me look good!"  Now, just to set the record straight for those of you who know LG, there was no fake snot, rubber dog poo or plastic roaches involved when this gentleman said that.  He was merely referring to the fact that when the idea of a new neighbor cocktail party was originally proposed, LG offered to have it as his house. That, apparently, was a no-no in the minds of all women present, as LG's Bride had not yet primped up the new pad to her satisfaction.   Judging by the looks on the other wives faces, you'd think that LG had suggested that we skewer their children and cook them on the new Weber Grill.  LG always reserves that suggestion for the second cocktail party.  
So overall, it was quite the enjoyable evening, with no major incidents of which to speak.

Please come back again soon, as The LG Report's Interview Series will soon sit down with perhaps the most provocative guest yet....

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Welcome Wagon


LG recently moved to The Sticks, as you may know.  One positive thing about The Sticks (of many positive things, no doubt) is that people are nicer, generally, than in The Big City. LG's neighbor recently stopped by with a bottle of wine and a directory listing everyone who lives in the neighborhood along with their e-mail addresses, cell phone numbers, family members' names, etc. 

The Waltons, if they had had cell phone numbers, would've given them out freely to new neighbors, no doubt.  In fact, they could've texted each other good night at the end of each episode, thereby saving viewers about two minutes worth of annoying "Good night John Boy" comments...

But LG digresses.

When LG's friend TCH moved to NYC in the late 1980s, TCH's brother Bob, from Upstate New York (where people are renowned for being nice) noticed that the door to the apartment directly across from TCH's was open.  Bob was carrying a box when he saw the elderly lady peering out.

"Hi, I'm Bob _______________ (The LG Report does not use last names) from Utica.  Nice to meet you," he cheerfully said. 

The old lady's response:  She slammed the door in Bob's face without saying a word.

Welcome to New York City.  Here's our official Welcome Wagon symbol:







Anyway, tonight the neighbors are throwing a little "Welcome to the 'Hood" cocktail party for LG and The Bride [LG may be depersonalizing her with that reference, but at least he's capitalizing it; she's made it clear that she doesn't want to be referred to by name in The LG Report.] 

Many years ago, when LG was about to start his first "real world" job after graduating, his mother told him "Don't let your personality show for a few weeks Sonny."   LG's friend TCH was there to witness that comment, coincidentally, and he reminds LG of it from time to time.  LG is wondering if he needs to keep his personality under wraps tonight with the new neighbors, make a good impression and all.  Probably he won't, but at least the thought occurred to him.   That's gotta be some kind of progress. 

So The Bride thinks that people will be bringing their kids to the cocktail party.  LG doesn't agree.  It's starting at 7 pm on a Friday, who brings their kids to a cocktail party?  But The Bride, with far more suburban experience than LG, says that in the 'burbs, people don't get babysitters unless absolutely necessary, and a neighborhood cocktail party is a family event.  In The Big City, where most of LG's cocktail party experience comes from, kids do not attend.  Do you see any children in this photo:
 


No.  Neither does LG.  But who knows, maybe some people will bring their rugrats tonight.  If they do, LG may try to slip the little buggers a can of beer wrapped in a napkin to look like a Coke. 

There goes LG's personality showing again...


 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"It Comes In A Tube:" A Father's Day Tribute

[Editor's Note: This is mostly a re-post from January of 2010, when The LG Report had far fewer readers.  There are some minor changes from the original.  This is a tribute to all fathers, and their unique quirks, which make them the special people that they are, on Father's Day 2011.  Feel free to leave a comment about your dad's unique characteristics below.]

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LG is sure that his sister, MIG, will know exactly what this post is about merely by the title. 

LG's dad is on the right, circa 1958.
LG's father emigrated to the United States from Greece in the 1950s.  His first job was working for his uncle, also a Greek immigrant, who owned a diner/coffee shop on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.  LG's dad started out washing dishes but, over time, he learned the diner business inside-out and went on to own at least seven diners of his own (LG may have missed one or two in his count.) 

Being a blue collar worker, you'd think LG's dad was pretty handy with tools. 

He wasn't.  Not in the least.

He was, however, very talented at running diners.  He had all the requisite skills.  He picked good locations.  He knew shrewd strategies for negotiating with suppliers, hiring and retaining help, and hiding cash income from the IRS.  In short, he had a special aptitude for the diner business.  LG's father could also cook up a storm.  But, for all of his blue collar-ness, LG's dad wasn't handy.  Whenever he assembled something pursuant to a set of directions, vital parts would, without fail, be left over. 

Who really needs handlebars and a second wheel on a bike anyway?  It's now a unicycle, enjoy!     

LG's father's lack of handyman skills must've been especially vexing to him in light of the fact that his younger brother, LG's Uncle Leo, became a highly-skilled carpenter after arriving in America.  Uncle Leo owned a successful contracting business in the United States for about 40 years.  He was a perfectionist and everything he built reflected that.

Now, switching gears for just a second, here are some everyday products that come in tubes:


Whenever LG's father came to an impasse during a repair or assembly project around the house, usually caused by his lack of expertise, his fallback remedy was to send LG to the hardware store for some magical, yet-to-be-invented item that, invariably, "Comes in a tube" according to what he'd tell LG. 

If you saw the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," you know that Nia Vardalos's dad used Windex as a panacea for all the world's ills.  LG wishes it was that simple with his father.  Keeping an ample supply of Windex on hand would've been easy.  But, no, that's not how it was in LG's house.

Here are some examples of how LG's father would invoke the Miracle of the Magic Tube.  The heavy Greek accent is hard to replicate in writing, so you'll have to use your imagination:

"Boy! Boy! [He usually called LG "Boy!" reserving his real name, Lazarus, for times of anger.]

Boy! Gee Gee Christ, this window won't open.  Go to de hardware store, they have a new thing to loosen windows, it comes in a tube." 


So, off LG would go, in search of the Magic Tube.  

Believe it or not, the hardware store never specifically had "Window Loosener" in a tube, but they did have some type of oil.  But that was an easy one, LG is just warming up.  Moving on to the next level....

"Boy! Boy! The boat won't start.  Go to de hardware store, they have boat starter.  It comes in a tube."


That's not actually a picture of one of LG's father's boats, but it's not too far off.  His last boat was bigger than this, but, of course, that only meant it caused bigger headaches.  And, if you're wondering, there is no such thing as "Boat Starter" in a tube.  LG could write an entire book on his father and boating, but that will have to wait [If you're interested, you can read a tale about LG's father and boating by clicking HERE]

It was, of course, embarrassing to ask for these tubes of crazy products that LG knew didn't exist, but he had little choice. His father had sent him on a mission.  LG eventually developed a method of asking the clerk for these items that furtively included a denial in the question.

"You don't carry a tube of anything that will repair a broken lawn mower engine, do you?  No?  I didn't think so, I was just checking, thanks..."      

LG's father's cure-all Tube Mania seemed to grow stronger as time went on.  He was never discouraged by the fact that there was never a product "In a tube" to fix his latest repair problem.  He persevered because he always believed in his heart of hearts that there was "A New Thing In A Tube" to handle the latest task at hand.  What perplexed LG most, in that pre-internet era, was where his father was reading about these supposedly new miracle products In A Tube.  LG was pretty sure that advances in technology weren't discussed in the only periodical that his father regularly read, The Daily Racing Form.     

Eventually, LG's father was sending him to pick up Miracle Tubes that could repair home appliances, fix transistor radios, fill driveway potholes, replace leaky plumbing and, even, regenerate limbs.


Add caption
The mechanical arm pictured here, LG believes, came from a tube. Or, rather, it would have if his father had his way.  In a perfect world, LG's father would've worked for General Electric. or NASA in the Innovation Department.


Whenever LG would return from the hardware store empty handed  -- his father never went himself, as you've probably gathered -- the failure would be attributed to LG's poor search skills.  It never occurred to LG's father that this product didn't actually exist.  And, of course, the lazy American stock clerk's own incompetence was a contributing factor. 

That's the abbreviated story of LG's father and the Magic Tubes. All of this bending over the keyboard has stiffened LG's back quite a bit.  He's going out to buy some Ben Gay for his muscles. 

LG thinks it comes in a tube.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fixing Things In The Sticks

[Editor's Note: Moving from New York City to The Sticks will probably be good blog fodder.  We'll see.  Here's another look at one of the differences between the two lifestyles.]

A fact of life in a Big City which LG took for granted is that he had a building superintendent (known as "the Super") living on premises.  The Super was a phone call away whenever a plumbing, electrical or other household problem arose.  Leaking sink?  He could handle it.  Need an electrical outlet changed?  No problem.  When it came to home repairs, The Super was, indeed, super.

Now LG is responsible for those tasks himself (or, when need be, responsible for hiring people to do those tasks.)  Here's a look at LG's toolbox:     



That's all you really need in LG's world.  If something is stuck, spray WD-40 on it.  If it won't stay together, duct tape it up.  Pretty much covers all situations.

OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration -- LG does, in fact, possess an actual toolbox -- but he's a far cry from a professional carpenter, plumber or electrician.  He can do the basic stuff himself, despite the fact that both his sister, MIG, and his wife, IMG, publicly belittle LG's handyman skills.  Yet they'll be the first to ask him to do something when a need arises.  Hypocrisy?  Certainly, but LG deals with it.  He's gracious like that.   In fact, mentioning how gracious he is happens to be the least gracious thing he's ever done. 

When you're doing your own home repairs and improvements, you find yourself in Home Depot and Lowe's quite a bit.  You quickly learn that: a) each visit will cost you at least $100; and b) the salespeople don't know jackshiite about most things. 

LG asked the Home Depot clerk the other day where latex primer was located.  His helpful response (this is 100% true): "There are only three paint aisles, I know it's in one of them, just check them all." 

Then there was the cashier at Lowe's.  LG had ordered a barbecue grill that was to be assembled and delivered a week later.  The cashier asked "When would you like the grill assembled?" 

LG replied, "I don't really care, as long as it is delivered to my house assembled, I don't care when you actually assemble it, as long as it's before the delivery date."

"But sir, I have to indicate an assembly date in the computer before I can check you out, so I need you to choose a date. "

"OK, fine, assemble it tomorrow, " LG said, giving in.

"That's too soon sir.  You'll need to pick another date." she said.

This was when LG picked up a nearby shovel and bashed his own head in.  No assembly required. 

Welcome to The Sticks, LG hopes you're enjoying it!

 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Green Acres 2011


LG recently moved, which mostly explains why he's been so negligent lately with his blogging.  His computer isn't fully set up and his home office is far from unpacked. 

That's not LG and his new wife pictured above us (you probably recognize the "Green Acres" characters), but, in a way, it's a good representation. 

For the vast majority of the last 25 years, LG has lived in New York, Boston or San Francisco.  He's now living in The Sticks.  Well, not exactly The Sticks, but only a stone's throw from The Sticks. 

Let's play a little game.  See if you can spot the differences in the two photos below.  It will be tough, so get your thinking cap on and look for every subtle nuance. Feel free to use a magnifying glass if need be.

Here's LG's old neighborhood in Manhattan, the one he just left:

 
And here's the scene just down the road from his house in his new neighborhood:

Can you see any differences?  Look again, more closely.  Many people fail to see the discrepancies until studying the photos for a while.  

OK, OK, LG will tell you:  The tavern, cars, people, buildings and most signs of civilization are missing from the second photo.  Takes you a while to pick up on that, no?  The location of the first photo actually looked EXACTLY like the location of the second photo at one time.  That was in the year 1524. 

But, of course, LG moved here to be with his True Love, and that makes it all worthwhile.

Whereas LG used to walk out his front door and see a row of neatly-kept brownstone buildings and a plethora of pedestrians, here's his new front door view:

Let's hope those neighbors in the far distance don't throw any loud and wild parties.  Actually, let's hope they do...

So be forewarned readers:  Some of the blog's postings will now change from the viewpoint of a single, sophisticated and cosmopolitan city dweller (the old LG) to the married, displaced urbanite making his way in suburbia (the new and improved LG.)  Should be fun.  And LG is looking forward to it, of course, otherwise he wouldn't have made the big move.

Well, that's it for today, LG needs to run, he hears the phone ringing.  We hope to see you back here again soon!

 








 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Massachusetts

[Editor's Note: LG is still unpacking at his new home and getting used to the rigors of married life, thus another re-post appears today.  An oldie but a goodie from May 2010...Enjoy!]

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FSIS (50-State Interview Series) Makes It In Massachusetts with Chris!

Our interviewee today, representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is Christopher, a married attorney who lives and works in Boston. Christopher is originally from Upstate New York (thereby continuing our string of interviewees who weren’t born in the state they represent), but has lived in Massachusetts since attending law school there in the 1980s.


We have nothing to say of interest in this space, we just need to fill the awkward blank spot.  The entertaining stuff begins below....






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The LG Report: Chris, welcome to The LG Report's 50-State Interview Series. Let’s start with an easy one: give us three words to describe Boston in the summer and three words to describe Boston in the winter. Please make these English words for both seasons.

Christopher: Summer: Drinks, Hot + Fun.   Winter: Florida on Jetblue

The LG Report: Why do you choose to live in Boston rather than your native Upstate New York? And is the word “Upstate” really supposed to be capitalized? We know it’s called the “Capital Region,” perhaps that has something to do with it?

Christopher: Upstate, It’s Great!®

I like both places very much but there were more opportunities here for me. Also, I had to keep in my mind secondary education for Doc and Herbie. [Editor’s Note: Doc and Herbie are Chris’s dogs.]

The LG Report: You’re widely perceived to be a politico. Here at The LG Report, we’re journos. If you could have a very nice 6-course dinner with Bill Clinton, or a light breakfast, buffet style, with President Obama, which would you choose and why?

Christopher: I think I would do the dinner with Clinton. First off, he would likely be more open about things because he is not the sitting president. Not to mention the fact that he knows how to have a good time.

The LG Report: Massachusetts, sometimes derogatorily referred to as “The People’s Republic of Massachusetts,” is traditionally a very liberal state. Why do you think this is?

Christopher: I do not think it is a “very liberal state.” I think it is just that our “conservatives” are not that conservative [which is true of New England as a whole] – so, it averages out to be more liberal than other states nationwide.

The LG Report: If a visitor had only one night in Boston, what would you advise them to do? It’s their first time in your fair city. And please don’t mug them.

Christopher: Has to be the duck boat tour! You get to see it all in one sweep and you get to quack at people on the street. When they do that, it quacks me up!



The LG Report: A lot of people don’t believe that Tony Conigliaro was the “Boston Strangler.” Do you have any theories on this?

Christopher: Yes. My theory is you were drunk when you wrote this question. Albert DaSalvo was the Boston Strangler. Tony C was a baseball player whose career was marred by getting hit in the eye with a pitch.

The LG Report: Bostonians typically hate the New York Yankees. You are a Mets fan. Who do you hate? And your answer need not be baseball related.

Christopher: Mean people suck. I hate mean people. I really hate bigots. I hate bigots that are mean people.

The LG Report: Speaking of the Mets, Mr. Met has a very large head with baseball stitching all around it. He is seldom seen outside a baseball field and appears to have no friends. What’s the story on him?

Christopher: First off, I love Mr. Met – that big baseball headed son of a B! He is, without a doubt, the best mascot. When the Mets played the Sox at Fenway, I kept trying to get my picture with Mr. Met but it kept coming out wrong. So, I kept trying. Finally, his handler (yes, Mr. Met has handlers) said: “Mr. Met has to go now, sir.” I think I am the only person Mr. Met has had to get a restraining order against.


ONE OF THE NICEST GUYS WE'VE MET:  "Mr. X," pictured above, asked us not to use his real name or address when told that we'd be publishing his picture in conjunction with an interview of Chris.  We didn't expect this -- he threw us a curve ball -- but we are honoring his wishes.  


The LG Report: Which of the Boston mascots would you rather spend a night in a bar with, the Celtic or the Patriot? We’re assuming that the Sox wouldn’t get served, nor would the Bruin. Plus, PETA would protest against you for taking a bear (bruin) to a bar. If we haven’t confused you yet, please answer the question.

Christopher: I want to amend an earlier answer. I HATE the Celtic mascot – Lucky the Leprechaun. He thinks he is sooo cool, but he is a jerk. So, it has to be the Patriot – by default.

The LG Report: Both U.S. Senators from Massachusetts went to your law school. When are you going to become a U.S. Senator? Did you not take that class?

Christopher: After I pose for Cosmo. [Editor’s note: Current Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown posed for a centerfold in Cosmopolitan Magazine long ago.]

The LG Report: Opposites attract, they say (you know who “they” are, don’t make us say it…) Your wife is funny, intelligent and good-looking. Please explain what that makes you.

Christopher: A lucky man (but not a leprechaun.)

The LG Report: Hypothetical question. Geo and his wife come to Salem, Massachusetts on vacation, where you are working as a tour guide at a witch museum for the summer, while the Chinese drywall is being removed from your law offices. When it comes time to re-enact the “Burning a Witch at the Stake” ritual, Geo volunteers. Do you secretly use real gasoline in place of water, in order to actually burn him at the stake, or do you merely scream “Witch! Witch in the house!” and stab him through the heart with a sharp piece of wood?


Please note: When it’s later discovered by the police that there is in fact no “Burning a Witch at the Stake” segment on the standard tour, you simply say, “Well, there should have been,” and resign from your job, liability-free.

Christopher: Either version would be a hit on the tour.




The LG Report: What is the weirdest or funniest town name in Massachusetts?

Christopher: Quincy. Although, if you are going to name a town after a Jack Klugman character, it really should be “Oscar.”

The LG Report: What’s your guilty pleasure?

Christopher: That's easy: The LG Report – 24/7!

The LG Report: Please explain the whole “Champagne Room” concept.

Christopher: If you have to ask, you would never understand.

The LG Report: Why do you think the WNBA is still in business?

Christopher: Is it?

The LG Report: What are your three favorite websites in order of preference, starting with The LG Report, first, of course, and then what two after that?

Christopher: The LG Report; NY Daily News (Mets news) and Talking Points Memo.

The LG Report: Do you consider yourself a “Masshole?” Can you explain the term for our readers who are unfamiliar with it?

Christopher: I think it pertains to the inability of some drivers to use their directional which, as you may know, was engineered to be very easy to use. It only takes a slight hand motion and a click of the lever – done!

The LG Report: What’s the most important quality in a good lawyer?

Christopher: Being able to see both sides of an issue.

The LG Report: Do you think Bart Simpson is a real person?

Christopher: Yes, he writes The LG Report.

The LG Report: If you were to jump up and down on Oprah’s couch on national TV, what would you be yelling?

Christopher: I love Doc and Herbie, I love Doc and Herbie --- oh, and Kelley too…. [Third, Or So, Editor’s Note: Kelley is the wife.]

The LG Report: What’s your favorite movie of the last five years and why?

Christopher: Dark Knight. Love Batman and it is the definitive Batman movie.

The LG Report: Boston’s mayor speaks and looks like Fred Flintstone. Any explanation?

Christopher: I reject the premise of the question. [I want my trash to continue to be picked up, thank you….]

The LG Report: Do you ever “paak your caaaa?”

Christopher: Boy, that one never gets tired…. [sarcasm]

The LG Report: What will your last meal be when you go to the electric chair?

Christopher: Presumably, for killing Geo in the earlier question. Lobster would be the entrĂ©e with some oysters too. Dessert would be a .44 – so I could escape! Nice!

The LG Report: Ever cheat at Scrabble?

Christopher: Nope. [Wait, not enough points]. Negatory…

Thanks for your time Chris, everyone here at your favorite blog appreciates it.  Don’t let the fame and fortune that’s sure to ensue from this captivating interview swell your head too much – we don’t need another Mr. Met-sized melon around here.  Err, we mean "Mr. X."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The World's Best Cheesecake Recipe

Editor's Note: LG got married last week, as many of you know.  As a result, he hasn't had time to create an original post.  So he's re-posting a favorite from June of 2010...we hope you enjoy!

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My girlfriend and I [Editor's Note: now wife in 2011] played miniature golf recently. We have a bit of a "spirited" rivalry (read: bitter) going, and neither of us likes to lose. We were tied, about halfway through the round, when she mentioned that she was making a cheesecake for an upcoming party.


"You know, my dad used to make the world's best cheesecake," I said.  "It was his own special recipe.  I remember busing tables at his diners as a kid and hearing customers beg him for the secret.  Really, they begged.  He would charge $100 for a typewritten copy of the recipe -- and he had a fair number of takersAnd this was in the 1970s, when $100 was a lot of money."

"Oh my God, you have to get me that recipe, I have to have it! Is it still in the family?" she asked.

"Not that I'm aware, although there are a bunch of old boxes at my sister's house, it might be in one of them. I'm not really sure."

I wouldn't say that the cheesecake distraction was 100% responsible, but I won the match by five strokes. My girlfriend was not happy.  She doesn't like to lose.  Did I mention that? 

She also loves to cook and bake, and she became obsessed with me finding that recipe. "Did you look? Have you checked your sister's house yet?" she asked repeatedly. "Is there anywhere else it might be?"



Last week, I e-mailed her a .pdf attachment labeled "Cheesecake Recipe." My cover note simply said, "Guess what I found?!"

Later, she told me that she could hardly contain her excitement in her rush to open the attachment.

This is what she saw (you'll have to scroll down a bit, great cheesecake recipes are worth it):





















It was the mini-golf scorecard showing my 5-stroke victory. Cruel, I know.  That's just the way I roll sometimes.  I thought it was funny anyway...

PS I still haven't found the recipe, so don't bother asking.