mdbluecrab.jpg I live in Los Angeles where you can get pretty much anything you want, except for one thing I covet: Chesapeake Bay steamed crabs. I grew up in Baltimore and I miss the crab feasts of my youth.  So, every year my thoughtful husband has a bushel Fed-x’ed out to Santa Monica in either May, June, July or August (because crabs are good only in months lacking an “r” ). And we invite nostalgic ex-pats and brave newcomers into our West Coast yard to indulge in the pagan ritual that is so cherished back in Maryland, officially The Land of Pleasant Living. 

However, if things continue the way they’re going, unfortunately even those still dwelling in the Land of Pleasant Living will be left with a raving craving. Last year, Maryland had the lowest blue crab harvest since 1945. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and apparently that may not be enough for a sustainable population. Overfishing, pollution, and yes, global warming are the causes.  There seems no end to George W. Bush’s pillage. So it is all the more fitting and important that I sing in praise of the joyful, toothsome oceanic bacchanalias of my childhood.

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charlene01.jpgMy husband’s last name is Einbinder.  We’ve always assumed the German translation (one binder) meant that it was the moniker for the trade of bookbinding. It’s a rare name. In fact the only other person we’ve ever met with any connection to that name is the movie director Mike Binder. One day, years ago, at the Pumpkin Patch in our neighborhood, we struck up a conversation with him.  Blank Man, a movie he directed, was absolutely the funniest movie that year.  It still holds up.  David Allen Grier kills in it.  Of course, he always kills. It turned out that Mike’s last name was shortened from Einbinder.  Since then, when we see him places, we exchange that twinkle of recognition of our ‘kinship’.

Recently I decided my copy of The Joy of Cooking deserved better than duct tape holding it together.  Months ago I’d read an article in Daily Candy about Charlene Matthews who practiced the lost art of bookbinding. I put it in my email archives under “of interest”. I’m actually getting things done on my list of long avoided tasks and this was one of them.  What an adventure. 

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phone.jpgWhen was it ok to just blithely accept that products are now engineered for obsolescence? Case in point: our stinkin’ Panasonic cordless phones!!!

We were perfectly happy with our KX-TGA650B Panasonic cordless phone when one day we found one of the handsets sprawled on the living room floor, like eviscerated lion prey. The antennae had been mangled by our dearly departed dog Satchmo. Here’s the evil part; not only had that model become obsolete, but once you’ve lost the use of one handset, you have to replace the whole effing system!

Now we have the Panasonic KX-TGA939T. We have 4 around the house and I hate it! The handset in my office, where I do all my work, is haunted. At first it was just an irritating quirk it had where if my ear was close enough to the receiver, my mouth wasn’t close enough for people to hear me and vice versa. So, my husband suggested I put all my calls on speaker. Personally, I think putting people on speaker makes everyone an automatic douche bag but what was I gonna do? And, it was no solution. The quality of the sound began to erode that way too!

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From the L.A. Times


There is nothing in this life to prepare a person to review “Heidi 4 Paws,” which premieres on KCET Sunday morning.

When my editor handed it to me with a gleam in her eye, she said: "It's Heidi. With dogs." I was confused. Did Heidi Klum have a new reality show involving dogs? Had Heidi Montag snagged a canine Christmas special?

"No, it's the story 'Heidi.' With dogs."

I began to feel bovine in my incomprehension. "Heidi" with dogs instead of goats?

"No, the dogs play all the characters."

Including, it must be added, the goats.

And there it is. "Heidi 4 Paws" is a live-action retelling of Johanna Spyri’s classic tale of an orphan sent to live with her cantankerous grandfather high in the Swiss Alps -- with dogs in all the roles. Dogs in kerchiefs and Swiss frocks, dogs in alpine hats and canine approximations of lederhosen, dogs in wigs and spectacles and, yes, little Clara's wheelchair.

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My husband Dave is a high-tech whore. He jumps on nearly every bandwagon that touts the latest and greatest computerized gadgets. So, it goes without saying that we’ve been waiting for the Wii Fit Balance Board, ever since it was announced. We were one of the first people to get the Wii and though we are currently more obsessed with Rock Band, our excitement for this new toy/fitness product was hard to contain. Until we started using it.

We aren’t exactly fitness freaks, but we’re not couch potatoes either. I’m trying to put on a happy face about turning 40 this year and I have to say this “game” is not making the transition any easier. We figured it couldn’t hurt to try and get into even better shape, since we’re fighting a losing battle with time. Little did we know this machine was not on our side. In fact, a British couple is already suing Nintendo for hurting their daughter’s feelings by telling her she’s overweight. Denying the truth doesn’t make it go away. You can’t hide your extra pounds on the Balance Board.

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