Monday, April 24, 2017

Important PASSPORT changes are here!!! If your passport expired or you do not have one, APPLY NOW.

2017 marked the beginning of a major policy shift for US passports. published a great article that every one should take the time to read:

Major changes to Passport(1)

This great article highlights these important changes:
  • Starting this year, there will be a delay in processing passports.  The article recommends you do them now.
  • Effective January 2018, there were be stringent information required for state driver's/ID.  You should get your passport, especially if you fall into one of these states that do not meet federal requirements.  Do not risk your ability to fly domestically by not having a passport.
  • As of 11/2006, glasses cannot be worn for your passport photo (there are certain exceptions).  The State Department has rejected many passport applications because they did not meet passport photo guidelines.
  • Passports are changing.  All new passports will include a chip on the information page.  In the future these chips may contain more personal information.  The State Department is advising that there will be more technological features on US passports.   Also, the number of pages in the book will be decreased.  I guess that's to discourage travel?   There will also be other changes to protect the passport from physical damage.
(1) Baumann, J."U.S. Passport Rules Are Changing – Here is What You Need to Know".  March 2017.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


I regret that I haven't seen this movie, Hidden Figures, sooner.  What a remarkable movie and timely a movie it is.  It is sad that the racial discrimination issues that the film depicts about from decades ago are forefront to our political environment theses days.

The movie is about 3 African American women working at NASA during the fledgling first of period of the space race between the US and USSR.  The film is a star-studded cast of actors which deserve kudos:   Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson.

The movie is brilliant.  I'm going to watch it again.  It is so hopeful in these days of terror we live in.  It tells the saga of three black woman who work at NASA and ultimately become the most part of NASA's early space missions, with their mathematical calculations and ability to master the new computer systems.  Talk about pioneering!

This film tells the true story and does so with a masterful team of actors also, including actors Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst.

I used to watch all Academy Award nominated films before the awards.  I failed miserably this last last award season.  

This movie is fantastic.   Please see it.  I seldom find movies to watch that are interesting and worth the effort.  This is definitely one of them.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Another SAD SIGN of our time. It looks as though THE QUEEN MARY ocean liner will be scrapped.

Don't confuse this with the newer cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2.  This is the original!

I love everything about transportation (both current and past).  But this news just breaks my heart.   The majestic and loyal ocean liner that transported British royals, celebrities and WW2 war troops is such a magical place.  I have stayed there and visited it since the late 80's when I moved from LA to Long Beach.  If you are interested in ocean liners and their illustrious past I'd suggest you go and visit the ship soon.

News reports suggest that The Queen Mary it is not long for this world.  I truly hope this is not so.. See this article which says that the beautiful piece of history needs $300million to renovate:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

It's been ages but I cooked last night: One-Pot Cheesy Italian Pasta and Chicken

A friend of mine on Facebook posted one of those short videos that show in quick motion the creation of a recipe.  I can't figure out how to put the video on here.   So I will refer you to the recipes creator and the website.  I've included the recipe below.  All rights are reserved for the photo and recipe with Donna Elick and her cookbook The Slow Roasted Italian copyright 2016.  Bon appetite!

First I'd suggest you watch the enticing video which is probably 30 seconds. Link:

The recipe is below.  My comments/suggestions are below the recipe.  Bravo! Ms. Elick.  I have to say this about this recipe:

  • It was incredible
  • It was simple
  • It was quick
  • It didn't require a lot of prep time
  • It didn't require a lot clean up
  • Oh, and it was delicious
One-Pot Cheesy Italian Pasta and Chicken
SERVES 6  |  ACTIVE TIME 20 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 30 Minutes

8 ounces baby spinach leaves, divided
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and Italian herbs, drained (about 7 ounces)
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1/2" bite size pieces)
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 pound dry linguine
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups (32 ounces) reduced sodium chicken stock
1 cup (8 ounces) chardonnay wine
4 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded

Combine 1/2 of the spinach with the tomatoes, onion, chicken, garlic, linguine, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pour chicken stock and wine over top. Cover and bring to a boil.

Cook 7-9 minutes until pasta is al dente (with a bite to it). Toss pasta with tongs occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. You will still have some liquid in the pan when the pasta is done cooking. This is going to make the base for our delicious cheese sauce.

Turn off the heat and add the cheese to the pasta. Toss pasta with tongs until the cheese melts into the pasta. Toss in remaining spinach. Serve and enjoy!

DONNA'S SIMPLE KITCHEN TIP: Dried Italian Seasoning is a fabulous convenience ingredient. If you do not keep it on hand, combine 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.

This dish is just spicy enough to make your tongue tingle. For a very mild sauce, reduce the red pepper flakes to 1/2 teaspoon.

I know some people are sensitive to alcohol. The wine adds a fabulous rich buttery flavor and a bright citrusiness to the pasta. If you can use the chardonnay, I highly recommend it. However, you can substitute with chicken stock, white grape juice, or lemon water (1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and 1/2 cup water).

Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian

Copyright ©2016 The Slow Roasted Italian – All rights reserved.

Here's my comments about my first time at trying this brilliant recipe.   There will be many more times that I make this.  But we made slight alterations:

  • We used boneless, skinless thighs--I do not like white meat. (I think that you might find boneless, skinless, white meat in prepared in 1/2" pieces--I was pleased that our grocery store had boneless, skinless dark meat).
  • We should have bought the pre-chopped onions that are available in produce. It would have saved a short bit of time.
  • I used garlic from the jar, which saved prep time. So sue saved time.
  • That was all the prep work that it took and it was very quick (like 10 minutes).  
  • My mother doesn't like heat, so I only added a dash of the red pepper flakes. This was not my preference, because I like things spicier.
  • The jar of sun dried tomatoes weren't cut. They we're large tomatoes. I'd suggest cutting these in half before you put them in the pot.
  • Next time I make this I'd like to try it with three cheeses sprinkled over the top for each plate. The parmesan that was in the dish was fabulous. But I love cheese. I'd like to see what those other would do. I might even try it with a little mushroom. But it is perfect as it it.
  • This is a perfect recipe. It took us at most 30 minutes from prep to finish. You only have one dish to clean, the pot that you dump everything and cook in, and a few prep utensil. I cannot wait to make this again! One of the best and easiest recipes I've ever made

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A NEW Super Tall Building is proposed in New York


A new "supertall" skyscraper has been proposed for New York.  The inverted "u-shaped" tower would be 4000 ft, the longest tower in the world and would stand at its curve approximatley 200 ft higher than One Trade Center, which is tallest tower in New York.  The design is by architect Ioannis Oikonomou. who was influenced by the technology of horizontal elevators.

“'If we manage to bend our structure instead of bending the zoning rules of New York we would be able to create one of the most prestigious buildings in Manhattan,'” he continued. “'The longest building in the world. The Big Bend can become a modest architectural solution to the height limitations of Manhattan.'”  The building is proposed to be built to the south of Central Park on 'billionaires row.'

I'm not sure that I like the design.  What do you think?

"The Big Bend: U-shaped New York Skyscraper seeks 'Longest in the World Title."  Moore, J. 2017.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NEW Train Technology that helps to drown out all of the bad news in our country

I love the subject of transportation.  I've always been particularly fascinated with airlines, but my curiosity has included trains and ocean liners.

In the U.S., we do not depend on rail travel as the rest of the developed (and non) countries around the world.  In fact, the fascist trump proposed a budget proposal that eliminates Amtrak's longer routes.  So much for his discussion while a candidate to build and improve the U.S. infrastructure.

Since a kid, I have lamented that railroad was rather an obsolete and rare form of travel in this declining country.

On a more positive note, there was an article in today's Daily Mail Online (3/21/17) that was very exciting developments in both the US are happening today regarding the advancement and deployment of train travel.  Shame on our government.  It looks like the US government, in the near future, will no longer be the leading driver of developing infrastructure and technology in any way.  If this is true, then the US is no longer the greatest country.

This article was an update on the previously announcement that a new high-speed product which is being developed by the maverick, Elon Musk.  The fast train is expected to travel at the speed of 760 miles per hour.  This article talks about the development of the first passenger capsule pod of the "Hyperloop" system, as it has been named.  The first test prototype of the pod is currently being built.  In addition, there is a "1.8 mile (3 km) full-scale and full speed enclosed prototype is taking shape in the desert in North Las Vegas in Nevada – and the company is expected to perform a public trial in the first half of 2017."

This technology miracle of train traveling train Pod vehicles "will carry a total of 164,000 passengers daily, departing every 40 seconds."  There are a number of routes that have been proposed for implementation of the Hyperloop, including LA-Las Vegas, SFO-Las Vegas, and in the middle east to Dubai, and other routes.

It is such a tragedy that our current country doesn't appear to care about technology and infrastructure development.  These are the investments that made us a great country through the last century.  In my opinion, this is creating a decline of America as a world power.  I don't know if I will live to see this amazing technology come to fruition.   I do know that the current US administration and legislation will do nothing to encourage technology.

Horray for Elon Musk and the other mavericks out there that are moving the world forward.  Shame on our government.

MacDonald, C. (2017). Hyperloop gets real: Work begins on first passenger pods for Elon Musk's futuristic transport system Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook. Retrieved from 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Thank You to the blogging community and the town that I live in

The world is so tenuous and doubtful these days.  I often feel that the sky is falling or has fallen.

I want to take time to thank all fellow bloggers/readers and all the people that are in my community.  These factors are what I can rely on in this frightening day and age.

I find that in the US, our future is very frightening and tenuous based upon this fascist president and legislative branch that we put in office.  I want to focus on things that are still in existence, before these people that are currently in office, eliminate all life as we knew it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Renovated GREY GARDENS goes up for sale

The famous Grey Gardens mansion in the Georgica Pond neighborhood of East Hampton has gone up for sale for $20M, according The Wall Street Journal. The home was featured in the 1975 documentary, "Grey Gardens" which featured its owner Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale, known as "Big Edie" and her daughter "Little Edie" (shown in the photo below in front of the house.  Bouvier Beale was an aunt to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Little Edie’ Beale at Grey Gardens. PHOTO: EVERETT COLLECTION

The documentary illustrates the tragic, ruined lives of these two ladies and their house.  There was also a 2009 great television film dramatizing the story which starred Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore as Big Edie and Little Edie, respectively.  A 2006 Broadway musical which continued to bring this tragic tale to the forefront. There was an LA production done of the musical at the Ahmanson Theater which starred Betty Buckley and Rachel York in the title roles which I saw in 2016.

Back to Grey Gardens the mansion which in the documentary was shown in complete ruin even though it was occupied.  The mansion eventually was bought by Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee, editor and journalist, respectively, of The Washington Post .   The property was restored by the couple.   According to Ms. Quinn, it was furnished with refurbished pieces that she found in the attic which belong to the Beales.

Interesting footnote, I thought, to a legendary story.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

GEORGE LUCAS selects LA as home to his $1B museum

George Lucas finally selects LA to build a museum to house his huge collection.   He's paying for the $1B structure as well which will be located in LA's Exposition Park, adjacent to his alma mater SCU.   This is after a decade of work.   Initially his choice was Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan, but the city wouldn't allow it.  So Mr. Lucas changed his shortlist to Los Angeles and San Francisco.  San Francisco offered Treasure Island as a location and LA offered Exposition Park which is central to LA and in close to the LA museums.  I think it's apropos that he chose LA since much of his collection that will be on display is movie related.

Monday, December 5, 2016


These photos are so vibrant and contemporary.  I hope this isn't just another big hoax thanks to photoshop.   I was always frightened by black & white photos of President Abe Lincoln.  There was something about his bone structure and the shadows that were scary.  This photo makes him handsome even.   Certainly accessible.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016

Beef with Port and Butter Pan Juices


3 C      Beef stock
1 C      Tawny Port
1          3 ½-4 lb boneless first-cut sirloin beef roast or fillet,    
            tied (room temp)
2 T      Minced Shallots
2 T      Tawny Port
2 T      Red Wine vinegar
8 T      Unsalted butter (1 stick)

Combine stock and 1 C port in 3-quart saucepan and boil until reduced to ¾ C (about 1 hr.).  Set mixture aside.

Preheat oven to 450.  Place roast on rack over shallow roasting pan.   Set in oven and immediately reduce temp to 375.  Roast until thermometer inserted in thickest part of meat registers 125 for rare, about 1 ½ hours.   Set meat aside on carving board.   ****

Drain off all but 1 T fat from roasting pan.  Add shallot, remaining Port and vinegar and bring to a boil over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits.   Let boil about 1 minute.   Transfer sauce to 9-10 in. skillet.  Add reserved stock and bring to a boil over medium heat.   Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes.   Whisk in 1T butter at a time, making sure each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next.  Add salt and pepper.   Taste and adjust seasoning.  Pour into sauceboat and keep warm.

Serves 8.

Port and Butter Pan Sauce
****Sliced Chateaubriand

Monday, December 7, 2015

FACIST icons

Follicle-wise, in the last hundred years.  As of today.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A new chapter for Mr. G's Postings

As long as I've been blogging here, I've always had an unwritten rule that the postings would be about hopeful and positive things.   That has been contrary to my nature.   But no longer.

Daily, I'm horrified by the news I read about the conditions of the world.  I have found it harder and harder to keep this rule because the things that interest me that I want to blog about have become contrary to my values.  The things I've written about, yachts and jets are about glutoney.

And yet so much of the world lives impoverished.  I am ashamed.

How many unspeakable acts do we read about every day?  How much horrifying rhetoric is made by GOP politicians in the press each day?  This is my first negative posting.  After countless days of horror, I really found this the the most frightening article today (next to Trump's calls for a database of Muslims):

The Top 20 Richest People in the Country have as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the US population. This article comes from a highly dubious source, DailyMail Online.   But what if it's only 10% true:   it is horrifying in every way.

I realize no one one reads this blog.  But based upon the world that I live in today I have to change my blogging rules.

As a human I am shamed.   Fuck the tallest buildings in the world when we cannot feed and house the majority of the human population.  Who care

Monday, November 30, 2015

UPDATE on the tallest building in the WORLD under construction

Known as Kingdom Tower this will be the world's tallest skyscraper will be 3,300 ft. and 170-stories.   The building is currently under construction in Jedda Saudi Arabia, at 26-floors.  When completed in 2018 the structure will supplant the Burj Khalifa (2722 ft), as the tallest building in the world.   Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture, a Chicago-based firm, created the design for the Kingdom Tower.

Of course this will all be dwarfed if the previous posting for a mega-tall tower is funded and ever moves beyond the stage of proposal.

We've been tracking this building for a while before construction began.  It has been interesting the varying height and design proposals along the way.

That's over 1k.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Another tallest SKYSCRAPER proposed for: BASRA???

This thing is monstrous.   If it is ever built, it it would be the world's tallest skyscraper. Assuming that another tower isn't erected which is mightier than Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Tower in Jeddah when is currently under construction and if it is finished in 2019, will be the world's tallest building.

It is fascinating that this tower is proposed for Basra, Iraq.  How audacious, is that.   The building and the locale both of which defy gravity in so many literal and figurative ways.  It is designed by British-Iraqi architecture firm AMBS.  The firm wants to create a 'virtual city.'

Here is an illustration of the proposed design:

The actual height of Kingdom Tower seems to be a moving target.  But the illustration below projects the three tallest buildings in the world, assuming Kingdom Tower (under construction) and this, "The Bride of the Gulf" are completed.

Illustrations and article:

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 26

A landmark day and a landmark week in this country.

'In his own dissent, Justice Scalia [said]... that the majority’s assertiveness represented a “threat to American democracy.”

But Justice [Anthony] Kennedy rejected that idea. “It is of no moment whether advocates of same-sex marriage now enjoy or lack momentum in the democratic process,” he wrote. “The issue before the court here is the legal question whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry.”'

Friday, June 12, 2015

Everybody who has lived and died on Earth and the number of people who are alive today.

I'm taking an Anthropology class.  Funny thing that I found this graphic online which answered several questions I've been compelled to ask by the class.  This sums everything up very concisely.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

PLATED.COM Eating Well Made Easy

I've subscribed to which is a service that "delivers everything you need to create chef-designed recipes, making it simpler and more fun to cook at home."  Each week I receive a well-packed, well-insulated box with three different meals (6 portions).

This has put the fun back into cooking for me.  No shopping needed.  Here's how it works:
A weekly box of fresh and seasonal ingredients, pre-portioned for the recipes you choose, so you can create great food with less effort.

You can select your menus for each shipment or let ship you a surprise.

Last night we had Sautéed Shrimp with Tomato-Bacon Gravy over Creamy Grits.  It was perfect.    Very quick and easy to make.

The meals range from $12/plate-$24/plate depending on what you order.

Other recent winners were Balsamic-Glazed Sirloin with Pesto Potatoes, Charred Leeks, and Mustard Aioli; Cedar-Wrapped Salmon with Shiitake Slaw and Graffiti Eggplant; Orecchiette with Spinach Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and edible flowers, to name a few.

Each meal arrives with all ingredients wrapped in a plastic bag.   Everything needed to make the dish is included with the exception of salt and pepper, olive oil and cooking utensils.  The recipes tend to be relatively easy considering they are unique with unusual sometime exotic ingredients.  The bulk of the time to prepare the meals is the preparation of the vegetables (dicing, mincing, etc). Each menu has a letter-size recipe card with color (see photo) photos and thorough preparation and cooking instructions.

There are at least two other online competitors but I haven't tried. literally and figuratively spices up your life.

For more information visit: or

Saturday, May 9, 2015

NEW Manhattan Residential SKYSCRAPER: 56 Leonard
Herzog & de Meuron have designed an iconic tower in the New York skyline. 56 Leonard is a 60-story vertical glass expression of sculpted surfaces, cantilevers and sparkling glass.

This “new generation” of glamorous sky high towers taking over the Manhattan skyline is a jenga-inspired building that will stand at approximately 821 feet tall.

It will be TriBeCa's tallest tower and the top ten floors are penthouses.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

GREAT NEW recipe. Italian Drunken Noodles with Pappardelle Pasta

This is one of the better recipes I've prepared in the last few years.    Quite delicious.  I found the recipe at  It was submitted by Emilie8643.

The pasta makes a fantastic foundation for an incredible sausage Italian sauce.

This recipe is copyright 2015 and is below:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

GREAT MOVIE: A Hundred-Foot Journey

Watched this fantastic movie last night and rewatched again twice today.  This film is utterly charming.  

The film stars Helen Mirren, the owner of a Michelin-starred restaurant in France.  A family from Mumbai buys the property across the street and opens up an Indian food restaurant.  The younger son, a food/cooking prodigy since a young age learns the fine art of French cuisine in the process of becoming a famous chef primarily by infusing his Indian roots into French classical cooking.  Two romances, wonderful food, spectacular setting make this one of my favorite films ever.

Also, the male lead, Manish Dayal (Hassan) is utterly gorgeous.   

And Dame Mirren is ever the perfect actor especially paired with Om Puri, who plays the father of Hassan.

Don't miss this.  It's out in DVD and cable.

Produced by Oprah and Steven Spielberg, the results are a magical wonderful film.  Direction Lasse Hallstrom.

Once you've watched the movie check out this interesting article on how they created, digitally, the village of St. Antonin-Noble-Val in France and the two restaurants in the movie.  Click here to read:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anthony Bourdain's PARTS UNKOWN starts new season

In 'Parts Unknown,' Anthony Bourdain is not a man on a mission

One of my favorite show on television is the erudite, evocative, mouth-watering, multi-dimensional Emmy-award winning CNN series, Parts Unknown, hosted by Anthony Bourdain.  Tonight, the series begins it's second season of focusing on Shanghai, a place that I long to visit because of the staggering amount of very tall skyscrapers.

This show is about food, but it transform each week to an amazing educational and informative sociology and anthropological documentary on cultures throughout the world.

Watch CNN trailer here for the Shanghai trailer:    click here.

It's difficult to watch the show because makes my mouth water.  And it makes me fill smarter for having watched it.  I am so amazed at the ability of a show which is essentially for "foodies" that is so talented it transcends to a remarkable social commentary and travelogue.

More, Mr. Bourdain!!!!
Chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain arrives at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 15, 2013.

Shanghai and Dubai are really becoming the most interesting cities in the world, architecturally and in other ways.   See more of my previous blog entries on Shanghai and Dubai by clicking here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

WORLD's deepest pool in Italy: Y-40--Deep Joy

I think I'll just admire this architectural wonder from the dryness of the tube.

A new swim centre, designed by renowned architect Emanuele Boaretto, is located within the four-star Hotel Terme Millepini in Montegrotto Terme, Italy. The pool is open for deep sea diving training, leisure dives and photoshoots.  It is 40meters (or 137 feet) at its deepest and the water temp is 32-34°C.  Read more at Daily Mail.

Friday, August 8, 2014

I LOVE elephants

This beautiful pachyderm sat on the car.  I think that was a good idea.  I think that the elephant has a crush on the little volkswagen.  Definite attraction in the air!  (

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A shipping container house. ME WANT!

I am obsessed with reusable materials in architecture.  This is an amazing example of shipping containers being used to create a very attractive, and large(6000 sq ft) contemporary home.  I found this beautiful home on one of my favorite blogsites.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

R.I.P. Elaine Stritch. A dame in the best and truest sense.

One of the most remarkable moments of my life was seeing Elaine Stritch in her show at the Cafe Carlyle a few years ago.  We sat literally at a table beneath this goddess's feet.  Every single second was pure magic.  Thank you, La Stritch.   

She gave us "Ladies Who Lunch".  She also gave us the best version of "I'm Still Here."  And so much more.

She may be gone, but she truly left an indelible impression on this world of moxy, humor, intelligence, fortitude and most of all originality.