27 May 2012

Happy 75th Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

I lived in San Francisco for just under ten years, so I have many happy memories of the Golden Gate Bridge. While I was not there for opening day (pictured), I was for the 50th anniversary. Wish I was there for the 75th.

19 May 2012

Meet Me at Clifton's!

As I have written before, I love cafeterias -- not school cafeterias (ick), rather adult cafeterias, the kind where you go in, grab a tray, push it along gleeming steel rails past whole roasts, whole hams, big steaming pans of mashed potatoes and lots of little plates each bearing its own piece of cherry pie. Can life get any better than that?  Really?

I have written before of my love of one of the best and most famous cafeterias in all of history: Clifton's on Broadway in downtown L.A. which opened in 1935. We love it so much we made a special trip there on our L.A. adventure in 2009.

I have also written about how it was under new management and people had a lot of high hopes that it would be restored to its former glory.

Well, I am VERY happy to report that the renovation is going well. Workers have removed the international-style facade installed in the 1960s and revealed the building's original face (see photograph).

Will we be going back to Clifton's once it reopens?  You can bet on it!

You can read my original post on Clifton's here.

You can read about our visit in 2009 here.

You can read about the renovation here.

You can enjoy a great site with lots of photographs of the interior just prior to the start of renovation here.

10 May 2012

1930s Lunch Wagon

You know I'm a huge fan of vintage radio drama and comedy. I love it because it's funny, smarter than you might imagine, and filled with all kinds of bits of tid that can be fascinating and informative.

Last week I was listening to a 1937 episode of the Fred Allen Show. On it he interviewed a man named Willie King* about King's lunch wagon concession outside the Warner Brothers lot. Of course, this intrigued me for so many different reasons: the 1930s, Warner Brothers, a lunch wagon where Bette Davis ordered fried potatoes.  Really?  Can anything BE more interesting than that?  Of course not.

In the interview, King mentions that one of his lunch wagons appeared in the 1932 film "I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang." So, we rented the movie from Netflix, watched it last night (very good, BTW) and found a clip of what we think is King's lunch wagon (see photograph).

In Allen's interview, he mentions patronizing the lunch wagon "in back of this radio studio [where he is doing his show] on the Warner Brothers lot." At first, I thought this referred to the Burbank studio which is near-ish the NBC studio on the corner of Sunset and Vine. However, that fancy Art Deco NBC location did not open until 1938 -- a year after this show.  Hmmm.  That would mean Allen was still broadcasting from the original NBC studio at 5515 Melrose (at Plymouth Blvd) -- which is even further away from Burbank.  However, there was the original Warner Brothers studio at 5800 Sunset Blvd which is much closer to Melrose but that location had basically closed in 1930 -- seven years earlier.  How to explain it?  Well, it turns out that the Warner Brothers Burbank studio had a really bad fire in 1934, and they had to re-open their Sunset Blvd studio for filming. That would seem to confirm it as the location referred to by Allen -- especially as it is only one mile away from the NBC studio. Still not "in back of" but much closer.

You can hear King's interview here (it runs about seven minutes).

*William "Willie" King worked in Hollywood in the silent era as an assistant director. According to this interview, the last film he worked on was the 1925 silent "Wizard of Oz."  He quit the film business in approximately 1927 to run the lunch wagon concession at Warner Brothers.

06 May 2012

Do You Remember DDT?

Do you remember the halcyon days when trucks drove up and down streets (filled with kids!) spraying DDT to stop insects and other pests? Me neither, but you might enjoy this chilling radio commercial for the use of DDT in the home. Yikes!

03 May 2012

Free Summer Reading: My New Book!

Just in time for summer reading, I have published my third book: a collection of short stories called "Forever -- and other stories."  It's a pretty interesting collection of eleven short stories -- many of which are based on events that actually happened.  Included are:

The Little Books That Ran Away a story for children about what happens to books that are not appreciated

A Walk in the Evening Fog about a man blinded in an automobile accident many years before

An Untitled Life about the secret family history a grandmother reveals to her grandson

Reflections in a Broken Mirror which takes place in the last second of the life of a man who has just cut open a vein in his arm

The Thickness of Blood about a young man who has to make a painful decision

Forever a story of two souls that continue meeting in one life after another.

Plus five more! (Several stories include adult content.)

And I am offering this collection of short stories as an ebook free during the month of May!

Go to "Forever -- and other stories" at Smashwords:

Click to add this book to your cart (you'll need to create a free account if you do not already have one).

When you get to checkout, enter this coupon code:  NZ83R

This should let you acquire a copy free.  Feel free to pass on this coupon to anyone you think might enjoy some interesting summer reading (or, for my friends in the southern hemisphere, some nice winter reading!).

Once again, the fab cover is by my spouse Matt -- who is just too talented for his own good.  :-)

02 May 2012

Differing Definitions of "Sexy"

Click on the photo. This is an item I recently saw on that auction site (you know which I mean). Leo is not aging quite as well as we had hoped. Sad.