Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ready, Set, Go (Are you prepared for disaster?)

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.
-Abraham Lincoln

As native Californian I’ve experienced my share of earthquakes. Some I’ve slept through, others were over before I could even react, and one I thought must be a large truck rumbling by, only to feel the heart-stopping jolt seconds later. A few (thankfully only one or two) had me running for the door. I instinctively know this is wrong, but hey, we’re talking self-preservation here. Somehow a doorjamb or our dining room table with its half inch thick glass top doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in me as a life saver

It’s like the ol’ duck and cover (yes, I’m that old) drill I learned in elementary school. They obviously meant well, and were concerned for our safety, but although furniture in those days really was built like a tank, I’m dang sure my initial-scarred, solid wood third-grade desk wouldn’t have fared well against an atomic bomb.

Living in sunny, southern California, most of us choose to not think about earthquakes, or prepare for any sort of natural disaster. The closest we come to preparing is shopping at Costco where we can’t help but buy thirty rolls of toilet paper, a four-pound tub of Best Foods mayonnaise and a six pack of underarm deodorant. Because buying in bulk is cheaper, right? Even in an emergency we will not have to resort to leaves, or have body odor, and if you have the twenty pack of Chicken of the Sea tuna, we will sooner or later find each other.

Every time I see the news about a tornado or a flood, I wonder what’s wrong with those Midwest people. Get the heck outta there. You know it’s gonna happen. I know it’s gonna happen. For goodness sake, everybody knows it’s gonna happen. Yet they say earthquakes scare them. Are you kidding me?

Am I prepared for the big one? Well, eh… I have some peanut butter, a couple bags of ramen and two hundred paper plates, so, yeah.

That was obviously a joke. Not the supplies. That’s real. Actually I’m woefully unprepared. The real preppers are probably sitting in their concrete-lined bunkers right now, shaking their heads. Because if you’ve ever seen news reports f before a hurricane, you know the grocery store shelves look like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard and the dog definitely ain’t getting’ no bone. Imagine that in California where they eat their young. It would get ugly fast, so I’ve got a backup plan. I’ve downloaded a map to all the stars homes. Not to sight see, but so I know where all the food is.

In the event of a natural, or unnatural disaster, here’s some things you should have and know.

The Haves

H2O is the big number one. If you’ve ever watched the television program “Naked and Afraid,” between squinting at the blurry images, you’ll learn that thirst can take you down fast. You can live for weeks without barbecued lizard or a handful of grubs, but only days without water.

The average person needs one gallon of water per day. Oh, and don’t forget man’s best friend. Spot needs water too. Stash at least two weeks’ worth of unopened, bottled water.

Make sure to check periodically and replace when expired, or every six months. While you’re shopping, grab a bottle of unscented liquid chlorine bleach that’s safe for sanitizing and disinfecting water 

You can also purchase survivalist straws such as ones sold by They are designed to filter out contaminates like lead. E. Coli and the fungus that’s among us. They generally last six months or 200 gallons of water.

I realized this is a no-brainer, but how much non-perishable food do you have? This isn’t counting the two dusty cans of Campbell's “cream of what-the-heck” that the previous renters left behind and the packets of soy sauce that have a thousand-year shelf life.

Here’s what you might need according to an article at called 12 Tips for Stocking an Emergency Food Pantry

Cowboy Food
Jerky has been around since the 1500’s or forever, depending on who you believe. Jerky is cool. Clint Eastwood always chawed on it in his spaghetti westerns movies. It’s full of protein, and if sealed is edible for at least two years. Homemade… well it’s a disaster. Beggars can't be choosers. Can you say squirrel jerky? Oh, and its high in sodium, so you might need more water. Grab your survivalist straw and hit the toilet tank or the neighbor’s pool.

Peaches and Pears and Peas, Oh, My
Unless you or your neighbor (assuming he’s nice and not armed) have a fruit tree, you gotta go to the can. Fruit is full of vitamins and vital minerals. You can add beans, beans the magical fruit to this list. Hot or cold their delicious. Leave the tent flap open. You’re welcome.

Soup Is Good food
I like the chunky variety. It’s a hearty meal, even without water. Vegetable, chicken noodle, minestrone are my favs. Cream soups are suspicious. What’s hiding in there? Cream is milk. Milk goes bad, I don’t trust it. Cup-o-Noodles is good, but requires heat, a pan, and a trip to the toilet tank.

Nuts and Seeds
I love nuts and seeds. They are nutritional, tasty and great for attracting small, woodland creatures that would look good on a paper plate with some packaged soy sauce and a heap of cold pork and

Dehydrated Fruits
I’m not a raisin fan. Not in my cereal or in my trail mix. But dried fruit is chock full of good stuff, and you can put it in your pocket, so no one hits you over the head and steals it. Win, win.

Going Crackers
This healthy carb alternative will outlast bread, and unopened can stay reasonably fresh for six months. I prefer Ritz and Saltines. To each his own. So, if we run into each other in the abandoned grocery store, and all that is left is raisins whole-grain crackers, don’t shoot me.

Chicken of the Sea
Canned fish is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. I believe mayonnaise has this omega stuff, but I don’t recommend using it after the power goes out. They come in a variety of containers that can be McGyvered into drinking cups and foil pouches, and if sewn together, make a darn good acid rain-proof poncho. It’s all about re-purposing, folks. Lastly, sardines are awesome with crackers (saltines, please) and make great bait.

Well, that’s enough for now. I need to get to Costco before the big one hits.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Wandering Wendy

Wendy was born in a wonderland
Or a wander-land if you please
For she was often known to go wandering
In the midst of the willow trees

From just a wee lass she’d heard whispers
Of wizards and witches and such
Who waited for children to whisk them away
And feed them to werewolves for lunch

Not one to wilt from such long-winded tales
Or whine from the thorns that will prick
She waved off the warnings from well-meaning folks 
And wandered off into the thick

She followed a wheel-rutted path that led in
And soon heard a warble or trill
Perhaps just the wind or a trick of the mind
A wren or a whippoorwill

With strong-willed suspicion she continued her way
Walking as fast as she could
When she felt something wicked was watching
From the darkness so deep in the woods

Without any warning a witch did appear
Face withered and bleached white as snow 
Her thin wrinkled neck wore the teeth of a wolf
A wart graced the tip of her nose

She stared at young Wendy with black wrathful eyes
Winked and then gave her a sneer
I’ll grant you three wishes to test your desires
So you’d better wish wisely, my Dear
For if you are greedy or show weakness of will 
And wish for more wishes or gold
The test will be over and the wager you’ll lose
As the winner I’ll be taking your soul

Wendy wasn’t one to get worried or fraught
And was always well-mannered and nice
So she weighed all her options like a good Welshman will
For to wilt would be too high a price

Here are my wishes so please listen well
I’ll promise I won’t wax or wane
I wish you were a young child just ‘bout my age
With beauty all seek to attain

I wish for you wisdom in all of your ways
That you no more cause children to weep
Wherever you roam all will seek out your words
For the good you will sow you will reap

My last wish is selfish and wrong I suspect
Though wistful I must go ahead
I wish we would never remember this day
When we wake we’ll be sisters instead

A whirlwind of lights washed the darkness away
White heat from the flash warmed her face
When she opened her eyes the old witch was no more
A mere child stood there in her place

Wendy gave the young girl a wide smile 
Let’s be going was all she would say
Our mother will surely be worried by now
I think we should call it a day
-Kenneth Goorabian

Monday, September 25, 2017

‘til Death Do Us Part

Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.
-Groucho Marx

I don't believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.
-Woody Allen

A few days before our wedding I was dying.  Really.  Laugh away.  I was convinced I would never set foot on Italian soil for our business trip/honeymoon.  I would undoubtedly clutch my chest and crumble to the ground, all the while watching the wedding ring roll across the floor in a grainy, black-and-white, slow-motion like a scene from an Orson Wells movie before I could croak out, “I do.”

The phone call to future wife went something like this. Or at least how I choose to remember it.

Bonnie:  Hi, Babe.  What’s up?
Ken:  We need to talk.
Bonnie:  What?
Ken:  I’m dying.  I won’t live to see Milan.
Bonnie: (Crickets)
Ken:  Don’t weep for me.  Just start a home for abandoned hamsters in my name.

Well, it went something like that.  Bonnie agreed to meet me after work, (so much for compassion), picked me up and we went to the doctor.  Luckily, I was still alive by the time we arrived at the office. 
After checking my blood pressure and pulse, I was weighed and measured (for undertaker’s purposes, I surmised) and invited to spend some time alone in a cold drawer… er…room, waiting for the doctor.

Side Note: Doctor’s visits are like Disneyland, where you’re convinced you're near the ride until you reach the corner and discover something constructed by the same sadists that designed rat mazes.  Only at the doctor’s office they shuttle you from room to room and you don’t get cheese.

After a wait that seemed no shorter than showing up at DMV without an appointment, a female doctor (who could have played Gidget if they rebooted it today) entered.

Doctor Gidget:  What seems to be the problem?
Ken:  Holy minestrone, I’m dying. (All right, the Gidget quote wasn’t in there, but I wanted to say it.)
Bonnie:  He’s not dying.  We’re getting married.
Ken:  She’s an optimist, not a doctor.

Let’s cut to the chase.  She checked my heart and lungs (both still there) and then pronounced me fit, and free to get married.

Ken:  It’s not that I don’t believe you, but is there anything else you can check?
Bonnie:  Stop.  You’re not dying.  We already paid for the trip.
Ken:  You can carry me in one of those urns, but not a fancy one.  Something plain, in blue…  I’ve always looked good in blue.

Bonnie looks at the doctor and shakes her head.

Doctor Gidget:  We can do an EKG (My first thought was Electrocute Kenneth Goorabian, but that’s how my mind works) if you like.
Ken:  How much will that cost?

Okay, I was in for $80 so far and dying or not, I am a freelancer.

Doctor Gidget:  $60
Ken:  Let’s do it. If I’m dying who cares about the bill.
Bonnie: (Gives me a look that would scare a terrorist off a plane.)

After a few minutes, the doctor came back with the results.

Ken:  How much time do I have?
Bonnie:  Oh, my gosh.
Ken:  I just bought these shoes.  I want to get some wear out of them.

Funny how the mind works.  Apparently, it was a simple panic attack due to my already-existing generalized anxiety, the wedding, the trip abroad, moving, yada, yada, yada.  The doctor presented me with my first Xanax prescription.

Lesson I learned:
I’ve seen my share of doctor shows, so I knew what an EKG was, but was not so happy when I came out looking like a dog with mange after they hacked away my chest hairs to attach the electrodes.  My chest looked like a smiley face.  If I had to do it all over again, I would visit both a tanning and waxing salon before submitting myself to this procedure.  I really want to look better as a corpse.

Kenneth Goorabian

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Confessions of a Cereal Killer


“I like any cereal. I like the idea of eating and drinking with one hand without looking.”
-Jerry Seinfeld
“Four out of five doctors say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I guess the other guy sleeps in a lot.”
-Kenneth Goorabian

Honey Nut, oh, Honey Nut, how I love thee. Let me count the ways.
I won’t really list them, but… I will sing their praises.

For those who poo-poo America’s contributions to gourmet cuisine, consider this:  The very first breakfast cereal, granula, was invented in Dansville, NY, in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson. He was the owner/operator of Our Home on the Hillside, later renamed the Jackson Sanatorium. Whether this change from home sweet home to insane asylum was due to consuming vast quantities of sugary loveliness has never been proven, but rumors abound.

Before long, surgeon and health spa owner, John Harvey Kellogg, got wind of Jackson’s granula, and renamed it granola (I read that as a play on vowels and plagiarism – but who am I?). And to add another twist, Kellogg was then quickly bested by a former patient, C.W. Post. What did Post offer to the mix? His tooth-shattering creation, Grape-Nuts, championed by tree-huggers and dentists alike. Post was the first to offer a discount coupon in his cereal boxes. Not sure if this coupon was for the product or dental services.

Kellogg retaliated by adding prizes. Soon there were millions of baking-soda submarines, comics, and other fabulous toys that caused us to feverishly rip apart the box like a spoiled kid on Christmas morning. Pure genius.

After half a century gobbling down truckloads of sweet grainy goodness, drowned in gallons of milk, I’m still hooked. How could I not be? What’s better than dessert for breakfast?
I must confess that during the writing of this piece I mercilessly killed Cap’n Crunch. The whole box.  I feel nauseated and a bit remorseful, but it had to be done. Perhaps this is a cry for help.


Forget about the cavities and hyperactivity. Grab a bowl, a spoon, and cereal of your choice because…

Theeeeey’re alllll great.

Kenneth Goorabian

Monday, September 4, 2017

Less Talk-a-Lot, More Chocolate

“Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.”
-John Q. Tullius

“Chocolate’s a lot like sex. I always finish it too soon.”
-Kenneth Goorabian

If veggies were made of chocolate
I’d chew them up in bunches
Every meal would be filled with glee
Dinners, breakfasts and lunches

I wouldn’t hide from lima beans
Squash I’d gobble down
I’d roll in fields of broccoli
All covered in gooey brown

And if offered cauliflower
I’ll admit, I used to hate
If veggies were made of chocolate
I’d gladly fill my plate

Kenneth Goorabian

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sad Day in Mudville

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons
-T.S. Elliot
I could live without coffee… But I’d probably be a serial killer
-Kenneth Goorabian

The inevitable finally happened: the perfect storm of weekend overindulgence and
laissez faire attitude has culminated in a gut-wrenching awareness that I’ve run out
of coffee.

To some (who are you people?) this may seem rather silly, but I assure you, this is no
good ship lollipop to this Surly Temple. Without my morning cup ‘o joe, I tend to get a
wee bit anxious. But I’m no moodier than say… Jack the Ripper. Okay, slightly less. I
would only hurt someone if they were standing between me and the coffee pot.

I was a late bloomer to this miracle bean. In my younger years, I forsook coffee shops
for apartments wallpapered with tapestries and black-light posters; rooms pungent and hazy from cheap head-shop incense. With age comes wisdom though. I finally saw the light.
It was a glowing orange orb coming from my new best friend, Mr. Coffee.

And yes, Mr. C and I are still together. Oh, I was seduced over the years by newer, sleeker,
high-maintenance models, with their hourglass decanters and K-Cups, but always
returned to my first love. I’ve come to realize that relationships require hard work. Others promise increased satisfaction with less energy. I for one find no grounds for divorce.

Remember….  Death before Decaf

Kenneth Kona Goorabian

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Two All Beef Patties and a Side of Cheesy Thighs


"My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&M’s and a chocolate cake. I feel better already." 
-Dave Barry

"Carbs, oh carbs, how I love thee. Let me count the waist."
-Kenneth Goorabian

Dear Seventeen Magazine,

I have bad skin, I’m frustrated with chubbiness and can never decide what to wear. Oh, and I have too many shoes. What can I do? 

p.s. I’m a 63-year-old man who has a teenage girl living inside me.

Fat & Frumpy

Dear F&F,

I have three tips that are sure to help.

1. Clearasil
2. Get off the couch
3. That’s why God made leggings and over-sized t-shirts
4. Send me all unwanted footwear

Why do I go kicking and screaming into old age? When does the madness end?

Today, while my wife and I were walking complaining about age and desire to lose weight, a woman chugging up the hill the other way said to my wife, and I paraphrase, “Your legs look great. You’re my ideal.”

Considering all she sees in the mirror are cheesy thighs and crepey skin, you can imagine her reaction. Beaming is the word. She could live on that compliment for weeks.

So, when you’re feeling less than perfect, just remember: Your nightmare is someone else’s dream.