Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I saw this image of the 'tops' a few days ago and I was reminded of school days. Elementary school days; that was long ago. At our school, Pacific Elementary in Manhattan Beach, there were seasons for our playground fun. There was a time for marbles and a time for yo-yo's. Time for tetherball and time for dodgeball. And then time for tops. Tops and and marbles were the most competitive and personal of games. Marbles were easily lost to a deadly accurate shooter. And tops were easily destroyed in a game where the sharpened spike at the end of the top hit your spinning top. You would take turns with one spinning first and then the other attempting to 'Spike' the spinning top by spinning it directly on top of the hapless top, breaking it in two. I remember being devastated when my brand new top was destroyed by the school bully.

Everything I know about violence in human nature I learned in kindergarten...and elementary school. Well, maybe not all. Some of it I am still learning.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Your Show of Shows

Saturday night with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. I watched this show regularly along with everyone else in the family. I wasn't quite a teenager at the time, though I was one when the show went off the air in 1954.

Imagine 90 minutes of laughs. All on live television! Sid, Imogene and the cast were simply genius! Even now; how many years later? Yes, 60 years has gone by and I still laugh just thinking about some of their skits. Most of the skits. All of the skits! Can you think of anyone alive today that would even consider doing 90 minutes of live comedy before a television audience of millions?

I wish that there were more shows like this available. The Bachelor? You must be kidding! The Biggest Loser? Not even close! I really miss the comedy and there is no show on TV that comes close to the Show of Shows. Saturday night TV is simply boring. Thank goodness for our Amazon account. We're just into the third season of Downton Abbey followed by an hour of Foyle's War. Amazon plus the DVR saves the day...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Stormy weather

Our storm? is over. And we added almost 4" to the season rain total. That means that we are only 20" behind where we should be.

A personal storm story; we had gone to bed about 10 after listening to the thunder and watching the heavy rainfall. With my head on the pillow I was all set for sleep...but what was that noise? Was it the dishwasher? My CPAP machine? The freezer? I listened for close to half an hour before I got up to investigate. I looked out the living room window and saw that the back patio was covered in water and it was getting dangerously close to the door. Where was my flashlight? After locating the flashlight, I rolled up the cuffs of my pajamas and stepped out onto the patio; I was looking to see if the drain had become plugged. I shuffled along, trying to stay on the unseen stepping stones. The drain was fine but right next to it was a river of water coming from the land behind us. The river had created a small waterfall and that was the noise I had heard. Well, nothing to be done about it so I went back in and just kept a watch on the water level. About 15 minutes later the water began to creep away from our door. Back to bed.

Okay, I know it's not much of a story. People east of the Rockies have far more dangerous stories to tell. I know, I've been there. Went through a hurricane in 1961. That was in North Carolina and I remember it as being very impressive; watching small trees being uprooted and flying off vertically. Then there was Nor'easter in Connecticut in 1965. Loads of snow! We couldn't get out of our rooms for 3 days. (we were staying in a small inn at Bantam Lake while I worked a construction job in Waterbury) From 1977 to 1987 we lived in Janesville, CA at an altitude of 4,500'. I worked in Reno and drove there every day; 75 miles each way. And I did that summer and winter. I learned to tuck my truck in close behind the 18 wheelers so that they could create a path through the snow. I would use my CB and let them know where I was and I would keep an eye on their rear tires for them...if they weren't spraying water, we were both driving on ice.

Being 73 years old, I could keep telling winter weather stories forever, but I won't. I'm quite content to have a heavy rainfall as my 'big story'.

Now, have you heard about the earthquakes?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Auto Industry

Big news from the Detroit area...

"Thanks to record North American profits, the Detroit automakers plan to hand out checks totaling more than $750 million to about 122,000 workers. Besides Ford’s $8,300, the most ever by a Detroit automaker, Chrysler Group LLC is paying hourly workers $2,250. For new Ford hires, who are paid about half what senior workers make, $8,300 adds 23 percent to their annual compensation of $36,000.
If General Motors Co.’s payout surpasses $7,325 when it reports year-end earnings Feb. 14, that would top the cumulative record of $17,875 set in 1999, when Detroit was awash in sport- utility vehicle profits, said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the Center for Automotive Research."
These are Union jobs. Why wouldn't you want to be in a Union? Partners with the industry

Happy, happy, happy!

This is why I am so happy... RAIN

And some forecaster said Tahoe and north from there would/could see 4' of snow!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Finally! It hasn't been a big storm but it is a beginning. The next storm is expected tomorrow and that one will hang around for 3 or 4 days, dumping 1" to 3" of rain in the valley and ? inches of snow above 5,000'. I just checked the CalTrans cameras around us and I see snow at 4.500'. True, it's not a lot of snow but it's better than no snow. I'm sure my fellow citizens to the east of us would not agree with that last statement.

 I had to include a photo of the the moisture on the street. Big Whoopee!

I went out for coffee and conversation with my daughter; something we try and do every Thursday. After that, my wife and I did some birthday shopping for various family members. Everywhere we went we heard people exclaiming over the rain. Smile everywhere!

Back home and with my shoes off, I have been searching the web for news...nothing specific, just news. Sochi seems to be big news. Surprise? And just like every Olympics since 19??, the naysayers have horror stories to tell. Those who follow the Olympics seem to have selective memories. Beijing, Athens, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, etc, etc. All were predicted to be failures. For myself, it doesn't matter. I stopped being interested in Olympic 'Sports' once I attained an age of reason. I will be watching Season 3 of Downton Abbey. Now there is some entertainment!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My ordinary life

As I reported earlier, my sister has departed and is making her way, slowly, back to Cave Creek, AZ. They are visiting family in SoCal before making their way across the desert. I already miss her. We had some great conversations while she was here and I know we had lots more to talk about.

I have been watching the evening news and it's all about the storms that are hammering the country east of the Rockies. Here we are about to make weather news of our own. The Pineapple Express is in view! This is a series of moist, tropical, storms that will come ashore Wednesday followed by another on Saturday and Sunday. The snow level will be 2,000 feet and hopefully we will see Mt. Lassen cloaked in white when the storm passes. Perhaps there will be even more of these storms on tap...hopes and prayers abound.

With our visitors gone, I had no more excuses and made my way to the gym early yesterday morning. It wasn't as painful as I thought it might be. I spent more time than usual in the pool doing water aerobics. I really enjoy it. I can go back and forth across the pool, doing the various exercises while I let my mind drift to a comfortable place. Soon, I'm not aware of anything but the feel of the warm water flowing past me. Very Zen!

Have I mentioned our Kindle use? Well, both of us have one and my sister and brother-in-law have one. Some evening would find us all engrossed in a book. Four different books. The television would be off and we might spend a few hours this way before the silence would be broken. Our Kindles have become indispensable.

We did put away the Kindle's to watch the Super Bowl. We were fans of the Sea Hawks only because of family history. My mother was born in Seattle. The only football team that I care for at all is the Green Bay Packers. And that is because it's the only team that is owned by ordinary citizens...of Green Bay, WI. Plus, Aaron Rodgers is a native of Chico, CA, the town where I sit typing at this very moment. I guess that's a good a reason as any to be a 'fan'.

It's getting close to our 51st Anniversary and we will probably give each other...a 'Smart' phone. I already have an older one, a Samsung with an Android operating system. My wife wants to give up her clam,shell and buy an Apple 5s and although the thought of buying an Apple product is repugnant to me, I probably will do it. It makes sense, as the rest of the family has already fallen into the Apple trap and they will be able to help her through the first few months of the novice smart phone users trial and tribulations.

Truth be told, I am tempted to join her, just to see what all the Apple hype is about. But that would be surrendering to the enemy?! I'm going to have to look long and hard at the new Android models before making that decision.

When I type up the next post I hope to be looking through a rain streaked window at a fierce rain storm.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


A beautiful day. Sunny and mild. A little frost this morning but I'm already in my shorts here at 10 AM. And of course there are no clouds in sight. Drought has us all scared. I know a lot of the country has been suffering from it for quite awhile and now we join them. I read this morning that Lake Oroville is only a 100 feet away from 'dead pool'; that's the point where water can no longer flow out of the lake and would have to be pumped. Lake Shasta is in the same condition, with old towns popping up every day as the water level drops. People with metal detectors are scouring the bottoms of dry streams, rivers and lakes. Low water at Folsom lake now reveals the town of Mormon Island and a full sized, all original, two lane concrete highway bridge. A bridge to nowhere.

My sister and brother-in-law just left after a 5 day visit. Very enjoyable! Yesterday, we toured the Sierra Nevada Brewery. That is something to see! We have lived here for 9+ years and never got around to taking the tour. At the end of the tour you are invited to sample 8, 2 oz servings of their different brews. Once again I regretted not being able to partake...they looked so good! But I didn't dare.

The day before our trip to Sierra Nevada, we went to the Abbey of New Clairevaux, just a 20 minute drive from here. A fascinating place, even though we were unable to have a close up view the Sacred Stones project. It was closed; darn it! If you watch PBS you might have seen a special on the great cathedrals of Europe and part of the filming included the reconstruction of the 800 year old Chapter House. It was truly amazing that they were able to find a stone mason with the expertise to 'see' the Chapter House in the pile of ancient stones that had been delivered from their last resting place; Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. William R. Hearst had given the stones to San Francisco when he abandoned his plans to rebuild the structure. And he had bought the entire building in Spain and had it shipped to him. A fascinating story!

The arrival of a dear relative gave us the impetus to explore our own neighborhood. We need her to come back more often. And to bring water... The long range forecast says, said, that February would be stormy. We need it! The snow pack is at 12% of normal and the whole state depends on that snow pack. True story; the state of California was primarily desert until the 'white man' came along and captured the snow melt and channeled it to towns and fields. We could easily see that desert again.