SmithInteriors

SmithInteriors

Charles Finn


People will come and go, but theatrical memorabilia will never let you down –as long as you keep it in clear plastic.

–Sylvia Miles

Not A Day Goes By...

Monday, June 3, 2013


Well, not a year goes by without my updating my website and making a blog entry. So, what’s been happing around here? Mostly the same old stuff.


A couple of weeks ago I lost my Great-Aunt Bea. She had just turned 102! I really thought she would outlive all of us. She was an indomitable old lady, full of piss and vinegar –and stories. She loved to tell stories. Maybe that’s where I get it from. Her life was a full one. Read her obituary and see for yourself:




It’s Been Almost A Year…

Saturday, March 10, 2012


The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I was doing well there for awhile, at least. So, what’s been going on lately? Nothing you really want to hear about. Suffice to say, like the song says, I’m still here. MobileMe is going under soon, so I’ll need to find a new home for this blog and all my websites. I’ll keep you posted (eventually).

 



Another Vital, Life-Saving Recipe

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Today I’m going to share a secret with you. Promise you won’t spread it around. No pun intended. It’s a cookie recipe that a very dear, old friend went through hell to get for me. I won’t embarrass anyone with the details, lest I damage a young lady’s reputation. Anyway, here is a recipe for the crack cocaine of cookies:


Cream Cheese Cookies


      1 4-oz package of cream cheese         1 stick of butter

      1 cup all-purpose flour                       9 tablespoons of sugar

             chopped walnuts or pecans (the more, the better)


Soften the cream cheese and butter. Cream together, then add sugar and nuts. Add flour and mix well. Drop one teaspoonful at a time onto a baking sheet, then press is flat, making it as thin as you can. Thinner, even. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cookies are done when browned around the edges. Cool completely before eating. I know, I know. But trust me. The flavor gets better as they cool. These are thin, crunchy, and horribly addictive. You’ll thank me.




On The Eve Of The Government Shutdown

Friday, April 8, 2011


I didn't write this. The actual author is unknown but he/she certainly called it correctly.  In anticipation of the failure of the House to achieve a reasonable compromise, and the shutdown of the federal government, I offer:


Message to the Tea Party:

What took you so long to get angry?


You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq .

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.  

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.  

You didn't get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.  

You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.    

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq .    

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.     

You didn't get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.     

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.    

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.  

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.   

You didn't get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks. 

You didn't get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.   

You didn't get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.  

You didn't get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.   


No.....You finally got mad

When a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.


Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick...Oh, Hell No!!




Spring Break

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


For the last three weeks I have answered the same two questions over and over again: “Are you looking forward to spring break?” and “What are you doing for spring break?” The former question needs no answer from a sane person. The latter question, sadly, doesn’t get the answer I would most like to give. Oh, I’d love to be in London right now. Or New York. Or on a ship at sea. But the reality is I’m sitting in my chair at home with George demanding more attention, Heidi snoozing, and the TV blaring. But I have finally gotten around to a few chores that have been put off for too long. Changed the oil in the car. Did major housework and minor yard work. Got the laundry caught up and new sheets on the bed. I’ve even restocked the freezer. I still have a few things on the list, but I’m spreading out the fun so I don’t over-excite myself. Gotta make the fun last...


At least George is happy.




Fear: It’s not just monsters and ghosts anymore…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I had to attend a funeral on Friday for a very old friend. Driving out of the mortuary parking lot I noticed the car in front of me had one of those “I miss my America” stickers. It set me to thinking -Just what was it that this guy missed? What were those good old days he was pining for that made it “his” America? The days when “colored people” knew their place? When English was the only language in use? When queers were beaten up and fired from their jobs? Or maybe he missed the good old days when women were paid a third of a man’s salary for doing the same job. No, wait. That’s today. Still!


It occurs to me that few people really want those days to come back -at least, not for the reasons I listed above. But so many people today are living in fear -fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of those who are different from them. They look out at the people on the streets and in the malls and they no longer see themselves. And for baby-boomers who are used to the world revolving around their every whim, that’s a scary sight indeed! They cling to their position as the center of the universe and, like the Catholic Church, they want Galileo to just go away. Or Mexicans.


The point is, this fear is taking over people’s lives. They feed on it with Fox News and the Tea Party. Washington has embraced the fear. And so have nice normal people who went to that funeral last Friday. They proudly wear their fear on their bumpers and in their windows. They donate money to fear faster than Stephen King fans lining up for a new book. But what will come from all of this fear mongering?




Anniversary

Monday, March 21, 2011


    Today is the ninth anniversary of my mother’s death. Can it really be so long ago now? It seems like it only just happened... I guess time has a way of slipping away from you while you aren’t paying attention. To mark the day, I want to share a very happy childhood memory:

    Do you remember Kathryn Kuhlman? She was a faith healer who used to have a TV show in the late sixties called I Believe In Miracles. I remember seeing her from time to time, and listening to her drawn-out catchphrase, “Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii belieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve in MIRacles!” Well, one day my mother and I were walking to the grocery store. I remember I was in kindergarten, and so my mom and I would have a part of the day where it was just us two, as Dad was at work and Wrenn was in school. We walked to the store because Dad had the car. Sometimes we’d carry bags of bottles, hoping to get enough money from the deposit refunds to buy something fun at the store.

    On this particular day I don’t think we carried anything with us, but we were on a mission. Mom wanted to get a cardboard box -one that was clean a still had the flaps to be able to close it up. I don’t remember why she wanted it, but I do recall that it was a high priority. The store used to keep the empty boxes on the side of the building during the day, and then flatten them out in the evening before putting them in the dumpster. When we got to the side of the store we began sifting through the boxes, looking for just the right one. All of a sudden, I heard Mom scream! I shouted, “What’s the matter?” and maybe even began to cry. But my mother emerged from the boxes holding something green in hand. She was waving it like a flag. A twenty-dollar bill!

    Now, back in those days before second cars and no-refund bottles twenty dollars was nearly enough to buy the week’s groceries for the entire family. It would be like finding a hundred today. So there we were, shouting and dancing over the new-found treasure, when we both said at the same time, “Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii belieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve in MIRacles!” It was one of those special moments -just the two of us - that I’ll never forget. I can’t recall for sure how the money got spent. She was too practical to fritter it away, but I know we must have had something fun from it -maybe dessert with dinner, or cookies -something sweet. What’s really important is the joy that we shared that day. I really miss that.




Doing Lines...

Friday, March 11, 2011


What prompts a person to sit or stand in a line for hours for the privilege of spending a ton of money? Better yet, what prompts thousands of people to do it in front of their local Apple Store? Today it was the iPad 2. At my local store the first person in line had been camped out for more than 24 hours. As the 5:00 pm opening time drew near, the line stretched around the building, and beyond, for hundreds of people. A store employee came out issuing white cards designating the model and color each person wanted to purchase. And it turns out that if you weren’t one of the first two people in line your choices were limited.


Between the two models, three sizes, two colors, and two carriers there were 24 different purchasing options. But not all of them were available at the Apple Store today. Six options were DOA -most of them white and linked to Verizon. There were only two white 64 GB AT&T iPads available, and they went fast. Likewise there were only two or three black 32 GB models. A lot of people spent hours in line, only to find they had to wait three more weeks, or buy up to the 64 GB model. To be fair, the employees at the Apple Store were diligent in getting the word out and letting people know what their options were. But there you have, in a nutshell, the reason why the Apple Faithful line up time after time. If you don’t line up -and early, you don’t get. And, of course, the most important words in an Apple Store line: “I got mine.”



Friday Night Is Pizza Night

Friday, March 4, 2011


Not every Friday night is pizza night -But I wish it were. I love pizza. Especially double-mushroom pizza. But more important than the pizza itself is my personal pizza history.


When I was a kid, pizza meant Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. In those days that meant picnic tables with benches, loud honkey-tonk music from a battered player piano, and two entrances -one for the bar side and one for the family side. Yep. When I was very small my mother wasn’t yet 21, and so my dad could take my sister and me to the bar side (where he could have a beer with his pizza), but he couldn’t take my mom in. So we’d go to the family side, and then Dad would go over to the other side of the building to nurse his beer before joining us for another slice. And poor Mom didn’t even like pizza. Later, we’d all be together on the bar side. I don’t like beer, but the smell of it always makes me think of pizza.


As the years have gone by I still love going to a pizzeria. Luckily, there are some good ones near my house. Most of the chains leave me cold. We have a Shakey’s in the area again (the chain has been resurrected), but the food isn’t as good as I remember it (nothing ever could be). Round Table isn’t bad, but the ones near my house are hit or miss. And a miss isn’t what you want on a Friday night. My standby is That Pizza Place in Carlsbad, across from the mall. They have the sort of atmosphere that the old Shakey’s inspired, and they make a very good pizza. I love their crust, and they don’t skimp on the mushrooms. (I hate places that skimp on the mushrooms, or worse use canned mushrooms!) Another local favorite is New York Pizza on Roosevelt in Carlsbad. It’s actually right behind Pizza Port (which isn’t bad, but their pizza are a bit too bread-y for me). New York Pizza is a tiny place with no atmosphere, but outstanding food. Their eggplant is to die for. Their pizzas are incredible. Most people just pick up food to go, but I kind of enjoy the lack of atmosphere -if that makes any sense at all.


So, here we are -another Friday night. Eating pizza and reliving memories. Good memories go well with good pizza.




iPad 2 At Last!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Steve Jobs introduced the iPad 2 this morning. Great news for Apple fans on two fronts. First and foremost, it was good to see Mr. Jobs up and around, and in good spirits. The recent media has been grim, to say the least. I can’t say he looked healthy, but he didn’t look like he was at death’s door. I wish him well.


As for the new iPad -Wow! I was skeptical that I’d want a new iPad so soon, but I have to say it looks very, very tempting. Too tempting. Faster, thinner, lighter, cameras, smart covers, and HDMI out with full mirroring? I think I need one...




Classic Mac Shortcuts (for my OMUG friends)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Command + s = save the file

Command + c = copy the selected text

Command + v = paste (velcro) from clipboard

Command + x = cut the selected text

Command + p = print

Command + n = open new window

Command + n + Shift = make a new folder

Command + a = select all items

Command + d = duplicate the selected item

Command + e = eject disc

Command + i = open the Get Info window

Command + j = show view options

Command + l = make an alias of the selected item

Command + o = open the selected item


For more information and additional keyboard shortcuts visit:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1343




Let’s Talk About Something Important

Monday, February 21, 2011


What could be more important than chocolate? And you never know when you might need some seriously chocolate brownies in an emergency... So, here’s the best recipe I’ve found:


Ingredients

                            1 stick of butter                 1/3 cup of cocoa

                            1 cup of sugar                    1/2 cup of flour

                            1 tsp. vanilla                       1/4 tsp. of baking powder

                            2 large eggs                        1/4 tsp. of salt

                                   1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (not optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line with foil a 9x9 inch baking pan. In a mixing bowl mix the softened butter, sugar, and vanilla well. Beat in eggs. Add the remaining (dry) ingredients, blending well. Pour batter into baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the brownie begins to pull away from the edges of the pan. Allow to cool until you just can’t stand it anymore.


Be sure to use real butter, high-quality vanilla extract, and the best unsweetened cocoa you can find. I highly recommend Cadbury’s Bournville Cocoa.


Trust me on this. You’ll thank me.



Collective Bargaining

Saturday, February 19, 2011



I suppose you’ve read about the mess in Wisconsin. Or maybe you glanced at the headlines and decided it didn’t impact you, so you skipped on to happier news. But this story DOES matter to you -It matters to all of us. All of us, no matter what we do for a living, have benefitted from the results of collective bargaining by labor unions. Forty-hour work weeks, eight-hour days, overtime, sick leave, vacations, child labor laws, safety laws... Remember, none of those things were granted to us without a struggle. And today there are those who want to take away our right to bargain collectively. We must, all of us, stand up to them and shout a resounding NO! Salaries and benefits are negotiable -the right to bargain is not.



Colitis: Not Recommended

Friday, February 18, 2011


I’m home recovering from a bout of colitis. I can’t recommend it.


Having a temperature pushing 105 leaves you feeling like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck. Repeatedly. And, trust me, you don’t want to deal with even the side effects of the drugs they give you for it. Let’s just say it’s... unpleasant. Fortunately I received good care from my doctor and the hospital -otherwise I might not be here typing this. I just got off the phone with the doctor’s office, telling me the infection is responding well to the antibiotics. So, grey and rainy as it is, it’s a good day. It’s a great day. Go enjoy it.




I HATE YARD WORK

Monday, February 7, 2011


And, yes, the all-caps header is on purpose. I HATE yard work!!! Hate it! Hate, hate, hate! Lord, how I hate it. Yech!




Barefoot In The Park

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I’ve just come home from a wonderful night in the theatre. Neil Simon’s Barefoot In The Park, always a favorite. In this case it was a superb production at the Avo Theatre in Vista -part of the Moonlight’s winter season. The entire production was a delight -cast, direction, design... A well-executed, well-crafted play. You don’t find that too often anymore. Of course I had a few friends in the cast, so I might be a shade biased, but I think this was as fine a production of the show as you’re going to see. It runs through February 6 -Catch it if you can.




Family Matters

Saturday, January 29, 2011


My Aunt Cathy sent me a collection of photos of Garrett to post. Funny how family pictures always evoke (provoke?) memories. Not to mention regret over unflattering angles...

    The G-Man is growing up so fast! My sister turns 50 on Monday. Where does the time go? I’m starting to feel ancient. It doesn’t help that the other day at work a colleague was talking about her husband getting injured at his “old-man soccer league” game. I know –I was a fool to ask, but she explained that the guys on his team were all “pushing forty!” Uh-huh. Hope no one tells Garrett that it’s all downhill after four…




A New Beginning...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Okay, so why am I starting another blog? Mainly because I’m sitting at a Mac User Group meeting, and the presenter is showing everyone how to use Apple’s iWeb software, and I realized my own site was horribly outdated. So I’ve been tidying things up a bit, and I thought I’d add a news blog so friends and family can keep up with whatever is going on in my life. At the moment, not much is happening beyond the usual routine of work and gym, with a little cooking on the side. If you’re actually reading this, and there’s something you’d like to hear about, please let me know.