Monthly Archives: May 2017

nerve

This one’s a little late for Mother’s Day , but here it is anyway .

 

Harry Truman’s mother during the Depression offered a hobo some food and coffee . The guy complained that the coffee was not hot enough . She said , ” Oh , give me the cup ,” and took it  into the house . She returned with a shotgun and told the guy to get the hell out .

truman,senator

I once was reading  about  the WWII aid that the USA was giving to the Soviet Union when the two countries were allies fighting Nazis . . An American cargo ship  skipper was being bullied by an ever-present  Soviet commissar on the Atlantic crossing . The freighter was full of American -made  airplane engines . The commisar may have been whining that the engines were not adequate , so the American skipper had his crew ostentatiously toss one engine overboard and prepare to dump another .  ” If you don’t want ’em , you don’t need to take ’em , ” the skipper  may have  told the  arrogant Russian . The commisar backed off and was quiet for the rest of the journey  .russian bear

 

During the Battle of the Bulge in WWII , American Brigadier  General Anthony McAullife  and the 101st Airborne were surrounded in the town of Bastogne , Belgium . The Germans  issued  a surrender ultimatum .   McAuliffe sent a one word response :  ” N U T S ! “.101st bastogne 101st emblem

 

Success is the child of audacity ——–Benjamin Disraeli

disreali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

party with jim 005

My mother and Ada .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ada in bed 005Possible caption  : ” You should see the other guy ! “

Excerpt from a college letter of Mom’s , after she’d been offered a university job : ” The university doesn’t have enough money to get me to work for that old scarecrow .” 

 

So ,  please have a wonderful ( and feisty ) Mothers’ Day !

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I Could Have Been Newsworthy

This is a good one . It made me laugh , remembering all the stupid things we did as kids and how different the world is now . ( That neighbor would be open to a lawsuit ! ) Oh , and I was mentioned too .

No Facilities

“Careful – You can put an eye out!”

I was going to reblog Dan’s post today – the other Dan – the Dan that ran with a fast crowd of kids who lived close to the edge out there in the canyons of southern California in the time when ships were wood and men were steel. That Dan.

Anyway, Dan was talking about things that “could put an eye out” and, well that was just about anything when we were kids. A few comments were exchanged and then he asked a question that I’ve answered before. So, easy-peasy for me, I’m repackaging an older post. Ironically, Dan had already read it. Dan and I have been connected for a long time.

This post started a few years ago when a news story came on about a kid getting shot with a BB gun, Me and a guy at…

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May 22, 2017 · 8:26 am

VinFiz

On April 3, 1912 , Cal Rogers was flying his aeroplane over Long Beach , CA . Crowds on the beach were watching . Cal flew right into a flock of birds and , as a result , crashed into the ocean and died . His was the first aircraft downed by a flock of birds .orville wright in flight

1911 cal rogers on phoneCal Rogers crash

Of course , CA wasn’t CA back then . 1912 was too long ago . People , at least in this country , still spoke not only in complete sentences but also in complete words . CA was California back then .

Then it became Cal . That got a little confusing since one of our great state universities was also called Cal . I have a nephew who attends Cal . They call it  ” Berkeley” now , I think . I guess you could call it  ” UCB ” , too . I haven’t heard that one much . Maybe never heard that one .(But , of course , I’m a southern Cal guy .)  Not like “UCSB” , and ” UCLA “. Those are all over the place .

I never herd [ intentional misspelling ] anyone talking about UCLA as ” The University of California at Los Angeles ” . Well , I’ve heard that once or twice in my lifetime , but I can’t remember when or where or why or who -( m ). Doesn’t matter , does it ?  Anyhow , I am an alum- (nae ? na ? nus ? ) of LA , so’s I should know  [ Na ! Nobody says  “LA” when they mean UCLA . Leastways , not in my neck of the woods . Could be they’re saying it behind my back , I suppose .I just put that in there to see if your [ intentional misspelling ] still paying attention . (Attention spans have gone down in this country , you know , from an average 16 seconds to an average 12 seconds . )[ type of script unintentional ].phone old

I should know grammar ’cause I took lots and lots of English classes at  LA  UCLA . I imagine they must still be teaching English classes over there . I haven’t been back lately to check . Probably their [ i. m. ] all on computer now , though  . Well , maybe not computers , as such . Maybe it’s all on Smart Phone , or iPhone , or clone phone , or whatever they got nowadays . I’m a little behind on the new tech stuff . I’m just now learning how to add friends’ names to the contact list on my flip phone . Keep learning ! They say it’s important !phone old (2)

Going back a bit :

one : Where you going to school ?

two :Berkeley . 

one :Wow ! Tough to get in there these days .

two : I guess . 

NOT :

one : Where you going to school ?

two : LA

one : Wow ………

Well, back to Cal Rogers and Long Beach , California , and pigeons . Maybe sea gulls .  After California became Cal it quickly switched over  to Calif . It was kind of a perpetual question : Cal – if . If only ! No one  [ that I know of ] said  “Calif.” It was strictly a written thing . Businesses did business in Calif . People at the other end of cards and letters lived in Calif.oil field 1930 playa del rey

Calif. was a pretty good place to live [That’s ! a generalization . Kind of depended on who you were , when it comes right down to it , wouldn’t you think  ! ]  during the Calif. days . Lots of water , anyway , and green lawns for kids to play on . Little League Baseball . Pancake breakfasts . Prop planes scooting people around and letting them out on the tarmac . Disneyland . Davy Crockett hats . Smog.  Restricted neighborhoods, etc.   Etc. [  see Kevin Starr volumes ]

I’ve been working with old post cards over at the Arcadia History Museum . It’s no longer the History Museum , though . It’s the Arcadia Museum of Cultural Heritage . The thoughtful people in the city bureaucracy got rid of the history moniker . Too threatening , I guess . Not inclusive enough . ” Heritage ” sounds more  suave and  debonair , I’m sure .

Anyhow .

Some of the cards in the collection have  Calif . , some have  CA , and some have California addresses . Often that’s about the only clue I have to the date of the card .( If the ” Heritage” museum has a carbon-dating machine , I have found it yet .)  And , of course , there’s the zip code /or not , or  the  ” L.A. 46 ” , or ” Los Angeles 6 ” , and the occasional phone numbers , eg. ” Gladstone 4117 ” . Not to mention the stamps on some of the cards , too , as clues : the one cent stamps ; 2 cents foreign .

So , you may wonder , what does all of this have to do with Cal Rogers ? (or , with anything ?) Who remembers Carl Rogers , anyway ! Brought down by a flock of birds . All I can say is : Let that be a lesson to you !  (Or , maybe you weren’t paying attention ? )

Some heritage history : William Randolph Hearst offered a $50,000 prize to anyone who could fly across the country in less that thirty days . Cal Rogers took the challenge . He bought a Wright Bros. plane , took 90 minutes of instruction from Orville , and took off from New York . Cal landed in Pasadena 49 days later . No prize money , too late ;  but , he gave a demonstration over Long Beach for the interested crowds a few days later . His plane he called Vin Fiz , which was the name of a soft drink made by his main financial supporter of the cross-country flight.poster-vinfiz

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be on time for dinner

I got to thinking about playing in the street when I was a kid , not to mention running around in the canyons that at that time were still unroaded and undeveloped wilderness. There was one rule : BE ON TIME FOR DINNER , and beyond that we kids seem to have been pretty much totally unsupervised from the time we got home from school until dinner time . Them was the old days .

Not that we didn’t get in some scrapes from time to time . For example , the younger brother of a friend of mine ( my “best friend” ) stuck pebbles up his nose and then couldn’t get them out . Don’t ask me why he stuck rocks up his nose . I don’t remember . I probably didn’t know why  way back then when it happened , either . Why did we kids do certain things like that ? It probably seemed like fun at the moment . As a friend of mine recently said : To be old and wise you had to have been young and stupid .

So we took this kid over to Dr. Martini’s office . Dr. Martini was the local pediatrician and the local neighborhood stupid- kid emergency room .

One day my best friend was hit just above the eye with the brass end of a garden hose . That incident , in the end , took a few stitches . We all walked the guy over to Dr. Martini’s office . Dr. Martini had us all line up for a bird’s eye view when he poked the needle into the boy’s flesh and sewed up the kid’s face . He didn’t ask us why we had been recklessly  swinging a garden hose around . He simply required us all to witness the awful consequence of our foolhardy behavior .

My friend Bobby D. got mad at me one day and threw a hammer at me from the opposite side of the street . We were , maybe , ten or eleven years old at the time . It hit me on my shin and hurt like crazy . My mother got mad enough about that one to have a word with Bobby’s mother .  My shin survived , but it could have been worse . Bobby D. was known for being a bit harebrained . I didn’t talk to him for at least a  couple of days over that hammer incident  .

And then , of course , there is the getting our eyes poked out theme . Watch out , you’ll poke your eye out with that !  I never got my eye poked out , but the warning was entirely appropriate , I think now . Most of us were just plain lucky not to have gotten our eyes poked out at one time or another  .

Once , a kid named Armstrong jumped out of a tree  and broke both of his arms . No , not Neil Armstrong . The kid wanted to fly like a bird , I heard , so he set out to do that and he jumped .  But it didn’t work out quite as he might have wished .alligator and snake

There was another neighborhood  kid , a friend of my younger brother’s , who picked up a rattle snake in one of the canyons and held it by the rattle end and swung the creature around at high speed a couple of times . The rattler didn’t appreciate the humiliation , or so it seems , and it twisted it’s body around and sank its fangs into  the poor snake swinger , injecting its poisoned  venom. Both rattler and boy managed to survive , just barely , but the boy nearly died .

Let that be a lesson to you ! We all , I think , let that be a lesson to us . Poland kids and vikings 050

I never did anything stupid , though , of course .  I was always consistently rational , careful , and reasonable . Ask anyone .  Better not ask my former best friend , though . We had a falling -out at some point and we went our separate ways . He might not want to admit that it was always the other kids who did the stupid stuff . It was his magnetic tape , for example , that we some kids strung across the street on two trees about windshield level and then waited behind bushes for a car to come by .

Okay , I’ll admit that I was behind those bushes with the other neighborhood kids when that old man slammed on his brakes and jumped out of his car to yell at us . There were a dozen or so of us and we split off running in several directions .

My mother would ask us at dinner what we had been up to that afternoon . I suppose that we’d give the usual pre-adolescent- phenomena answer : ” Nothing .”  My father would want to know what was new at school that day . Same answer .100_4793

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cut up

I was trying desperately to reblog a past post of mine , but only after I tried desperately to reblog a post from one of my favorite blogs , from Thom over at The Immortal Jukebox , with no success whatsoever . I don’t know what the problem might be . I can tell you what an anti-macassar is , if that helps to place me in my mental-historical context , but  I don’t know computer stuff from  Shinola  .  So what else is new !

I did get a smart phone last week , however . Ada upgraded hers and passed her previous one down to me . I wonder if that kind of thing goes on with kids these days , hand-me-downs  to the younger siblings of old electronic equipment as we used to hand down old clothes when I was a kid . Anyway , here I am with an iPhone . First one ever ! My friends will be surprised that I may have finally joined the 20th Century !  Only one more century to go !photo camera old

So I’ve been experimenting a bit with the thing — taking pictures , asking Siri who the first President was , trying to use the maps . Ada had to show me how to turn the thing off when I’m not using it . “But don’t turn it all the way off ! “, she warned . I’ve got a lot to learn .

I finally buckled under , and now I have to tie myself to this iPhone , I guess , and thus no doubt to the various government agencies interested in my activities ; and , of course , to all of the many spying corporations as well as that fat guy in the basement in New Jersey and also to the eastern European hackers , etc .  Oh , and North Korea , of course .  China’s a given , too .

Holy mackerel ! What have I got myself into ?  I’ll be walking around , next , with my nose in my phone , tapping away texts to whomever and reading the stock market ups and downs and in moments of boredom asking Siri obscure questions to try to trip her up .

I sent for a cheap phone cover . It came in the mail a couple of days ago , but it was packaged with a book I’d ordered and  the small  transparent thing got lost in the bottom of the bubble wrap . By the time I saw it I had cut through it with a scissors . Yeah —- don’t ask me . These things happen .poor man

The seller asked me over the internet for a review , so I mentioned the mishap . I may be sent a replacement , despite the damage having been my fault . I told them that , too . Honesty is the best policy . They requested photographic evidence of my trouble , so I sent a couple of shots taken with my newly-acquired iPhone .

I picture fashionably dressed young  people somewhere  in a room  right now either laughing derisively at my scissors caper screw-up  and/or addressing and sealing-up  the replacement package and sticking -on a brightly -colored  warning label about not cutting this one up . We’ll see what happens .

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pickup on south street

This morning I was wandering through the rich neighborhood  north of Foothill on the other side of Santa Anita Ave. My mind was wandering , too , a little faster than I walk . I was looking at the mansions , listening to the latino  gardeners neaten up the large yards with their noisy mowers and trimmers  and blowers , wondering where the house owners are . I never see them and , so , I always wonder where they are .

I saw a little piece of metal on the road as I walked . It brought back memories from childhood . Funny how that happens .  Memories swarmed . I passed the little piece of metal but I decided to go back  and  pick it up . I brought it home . street finding - street cleaner bristle 003

I picked it up because , when I was a kid , I would have picked it up .   These things  were  treasures  for us kids back in those days .

It’s a slender steel bristle from a street-cleaning brush . The street cleaner has  a large rotating cylindrical metal-bristled brush noisily slapping the crud on the asphalt as the vehicle drives  slowly along .  I haven’t seen one of those vehicles in several years . I wondered if maybe the city  discontinued the service; but now I think :  except in the rich neighborhood . The rotating brush never seemed to ever clean anything anyway . Maybe the sweeper sloosh , sloosh , slooshes around the rich neighborhood still , bothering nobody , cleaning nothing , but nevertheless going through the motions , putting in time , feeling useful  .  The rich guys’ properties are shaped and shorn and organized carefully  into yards of  polished pulchritude .  But , despite the evident appearances of the elusive and endangered street sweeper , the roads in the rich neighborhood look like those in my neighborhood , looking remarkably like my road’s asphalt ,  sandy and scraped , with a lived-on look .

My father used to detest these little flexible metal toys we’d find on the road . They were dangerous . They’re flexible with somewhat sharp edges . A kid could bend one of these , then  maliciously let it go , and it would spring out and fly recklessly through the air at high speed .  I can hear my dad : ” You could lose an eye like that !”  None of my friends ever did , but  my dad was right ; you could lose an eye like that . We did fling those things hazardously  at one another , aggressively , causing various other injuries to each other  besides losing an eye .

I think that  cities must have swept the streets more often in those days . It seems to me that those little metal shards were lying around all the time , on every street ,  when I was a kid . Maybe they are still lying all around . Maybe  kids still  find them  when , to adults , they are unseen .  Could it be ?  And , maybe kids are no longer interested , these days ,  in picking some discarded scrap of junk off the street to make it a toy , to test it for potential uses ,  inventing   low-tech ,  perhaps foolish , forms of simple entertainment . We were so unsophisticated back then , I suppose , but easily entertained .Julian Pete 001

I suppose I have had rich guys on my mind recently . I’ve been reading a book titled THE GREAT LOS ANGELES SWINDLE  written by a man named Jules Tygiel and published in 1994 .  In the 1920s  many of the L.A. elite traded stocks and made money , legally and otherwise   , investing in what was called Julian Pete stock . A self-promoter named C.C. Julian started an oil company when oil wells in the L.A. area became a big deal ,  and  later , a mining company , and he roped in the big money men who made quick money questionably on Julian Pete stock deals until the whole scam fell apart . Old man Flint was one of the investors . Motley  Flint was the guy who started the upscale city of Flintridge ,  just north of L.A.  My thoughts were wandering ,  as I’ve said , while I was walking this morning ,  toward  Motley  Flint , Julian Pete , the 1920s L.A. underworld , and wealth in general .

Wealth is a relative concept , after all . Some of these guys involved in the Julian Pete swindle had , and admitted that they did, more money already than they could spend . But , they wanted more . C.C. Julian and others were there to promise them more , to promise easy profits on sure-thing  investments .   The investments seemed so good and paid off so well that they never seemed honest . But nobody asked many questions .  Just bask in your incredible luck and  don’t ask too many questions ! And they did . And they didn’t .  And they counted their money .  And they all must have lived in big houses , as big as these ,  surrounded by their rose gardens and iron gates  and manicured acres of lawn ,  in places more exclusive ,  yet similar ,  to where I am this morning  , in  Beverly Hills and in  Pasadena  and in Flintridge .

The subtitle of the  book I’m reading  is  OIL , STOCKS , AND SCANDAL DURING THE ROARING TWENTIES .  These shenanigans  didn’t end in the twenties , though .  Does the name Bernie Madoff ring a bell ?  But , I’m just talking through my hat .  I don’t comprehend money matters , especially at the rich guy level . I just wonder . I wonder where all the people who live in these huge houses are . Are they in there , I wonder , or  are they out in the world doing business , making profitable deals as , simultaneously , I wander along their streets, making no deals ,  gaping often impertinently at their front facades ?  I walk along , treading the asphalt of their streets , because there are no sidewalks . The unwritten , needless , invisible signs in a place like this clearly say PRIVATE . KEEP  OUT .

Kids could play softball or kickball on these streets . It’d be great ; the roadways stretch  wide and are almost  deserted . Windows are so far from the curbs in this neighborhood that no ball would threaten them .  But , no one plays in the streets here and never have , I suspect.walk in rich oaks neighborhood 041.

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slices of death valley

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