Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Dentist's Drill

I went for my annual dental check-up a couple of months back and was told that my teeth are aging right along with the rest of me. An old bridge was due to collapse, so that became a pricey priority, with $3500 due at the time service was provided. Now, after 4 weeks of various appointments, it's a nice-looking bridge and fits really well, but I had intended to us my annual dispersement from my retirement fund to replace the flooring in my master bedroom, not for a dental device.

Along with the new bridge came extreme sensitivity to both heat and cold, sensitivity to the point of screaming in pain when I took a big gulp of my favorite hot chai tea latte. A trip back into the dental chair determined that I could have a root problem flaring up, so we put some magical medicine on the teeth and gave it a week. It got worse; much worse. I went back again and we tried the magical medicine again, but it didn't work any better than it had the first go-round, so I stopped by the office Monday and waved the white flag of surrender to whatever it would take to make the pain go away.

What it took was a root canal, $900 due at the time of service. Of course. If you're doing Liza Logic, we're now up to spending $4400 on fixing aging teeth, rather than in running amok and having a great time somewhere doing something outrageous. Or replacing the bedroom carpeting with something the dog has not peed on. Yet.

As I sat in the chair today, I thought how much different my teaching experience would have been if I earned $900 an hour and had a full-time assistant right there, doing all the "grunt" work while I was merely the highly paid professional teaching star of the show.

The good news is, at the end of the hour, I was finished and yes, it looks really great; however, the test was hot chai tea latte -- which, I'm happy to say -- went into the mouth, swirled around, and was swallowed with absolutely no pain whatsoever. So, I guess in some ways it is worth whatever it cost to get rid of the pain and have one whole side of my mouth updated with new porcelain fillings. Right? I mean, who needs to go on another cruise? or go visit her children over the holidays? or buy holiday gifts for that matter? And, I still have another 24 or so teeth that probably will require advanced dental care in my future.

Ah, the joys of living longer and having all this discretionary income at my disposal.

Father and Son

The Judge is about a father, who is a judge, and his son, who is an attorney. Both father and son are strong-willed and pig-headed, but somewhere beneath all the public posturing are human beings who care about each other. Neither father nor son will back down from a conflict, but when push comes to shove, they have each other's backs. The movie centers around a trial over which the father presides and the son defends the accused, but the story is so much more than just that simple premise.

In the middle is a family story, three sons who are as completely dissimilar as most of our own families. The eldest son lost a potential professional career in baseball, the middle son is the beligerent lawyer, and the youngest son is developmentally disabled. Their interactions focus on a strong bond between them that isn't fully explained until toward the latter part of the film.

What's the best part of the movie is the ending, which is appropriate and completely right for what's come before. I'm not giving any other details about the film because in a coming of age film, it spoils the story to know too much before participating in the viewing. It's well worth the price of admission and reminds me of the long ago film with Jane Fonda and her father, the irascible Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond (1981).

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gone Girl

I read the book and saw the movie this past week. I enjoyed both treatments of the story, but favor the novel as it develops in a more chilling manner and the last 10 or so chapters provide a better conclusion than the film. If you haven't read the book, the movie works well in gathering you into the story and walking with you through the ending, but then I recommend you read the book for the rest of the story.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rave Restaurant Review

I love a good monte cristo sandwich, and I've ordered and eaten this sandwich in many different restaurants in many different places over the many years of my life. Sometimes, I've had a good sandwich, but more often I am served an okay monte cristo: good enough to eat, but not really great.

Melvyn's in Palm Springs is old-school fine dining. It comes with a history, including Frank Sinatra's wedding and reception, as well as the weddings of a couple of my friends. It's somewhat secluded so you don't see the people rushing by on the city streets, nor do you hear lots of traffic sounds. It's beautifully landscaped and the service is impeccible. The girls were looking forward to lunch at Mervyns as it was both of their birthdays within the past month, but this was the first time we've all been together at the same time and in the same place.

The monte cristo sandwich is the best I've ever eaten anywhere anytime at any price. The bread was perfectly deep-fried and lightly dusted with powdered sugar, crisp without being soggy from too much/old grease. The cheese was wonderfully gooey, the ham delicious, and having my own little jar of raspberry preserves was a nice touch. Believe me, I was going to finish my sandwich if I had to stay until dinner service began because it was too delicious not to enjoy totally.

Anyone who comes to PS can eat in the many restaurants on the main thoroughfare, but if you want special treatment and delicious food, one block south of Palm Canyon Drive, off Ramon Road is Melvyn's, still one of the finest Palm Springs restaurants. Open for lunch and dinner; reservations recommended.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Menu Item

So, I arrived at Applebee's hungry and perused the meno to find just the right meal to satisfy my appetite. There it was: 4-Cheese mac 'n cheese. Yummy. If there's one dish I absolutely love, it's a cheesey macaroni dish.

When my meal came, it looked off. The "cheese" part of the mac 'n cheese looked a lot like slightly orange milk. I dug my fork in and took a bite, and, sure enough, it didn't just look like slightly orange milk, but it tasted like it too. I picked up one of the chicken tenders and it was lukewarm and limp, rather than hot and crispy. No way was I going to eat the meal or pay for it, so I called the server over and told her I'd need a different meal.

Yep, my new order, fish 'n chips, arrived and it was fine. Not what I wanted, but an okay substitute. I asked the server how anyone could call what had been brought to me either "4 cheese" or "mac 'n cheese," and she cheerfully asked if my fish 'n chips were okay. Got the feeling the other topic was now off-limits, so I let it go.

It was nice for the server to respond to my request for a different meal with such positivity, but I'm still hungry for some 4-cheese mac 'n cheese. Guess I'll make my own.