Sunday, October 25, 2020


Consider with me whatever these thoughts surfacing in my mind during this pandemic may prompt you to think about in your own lives.  I think I am blessed with a somewhat optimistic outlook on life as I consider my situation, that of the current world and especially in my own country, the U.S.   I don't know why I tend toward an optimistic perspective, whether it's genetic, environmental, or due to other unknown factors.  Maybe it's the water I drink.

My mother mostly modeled positivity with a considerable dose of stoicism through circumstances she experienced in her lifetime including during the previous 1918 flu pandemic.  Years later we shared some unexpected significant life changes beginning when I was only a child to which we adapted.  I was able to observe her demeanor, how she coped, acquiring increasing appreciation and understanding for how she managed as I became an adult.

In my mother's case, her religious faith coupled with the secure foundation of her farm family upbringing were strong influences for her coping mechanisms in a very different time from that of my own generation.  Her religious/spiritual beliefs were personal, private, non-extremist, devoid of politicization.  They were not the kind pressed on me or others, a practice which might be better for all today to clearly separate church from state.

My life has been presented with its share of complications of varied complexities beginning when I was very young, so I have had adversities to address before, a few of which, unfortunately, could even be characterized as traumatic.  Fortunately, without denying such, I still developed an overall outlook somewhat like this song's lyrics.  (Much to my surprise I discovered among name vocal artists recordings a version by actor/director Clint Eastwood, not known as  a singer.)

Particularly during this pandemic time as I hear and read about many having all sorts of difficulties adapting and coping, I am grateful to feel fairly comfortable with how I have been able to manage, at least to date.  I do know what exists today is no guarantee for what the future may hold.  Certainly, my circumstances have not been without challenges as I age, incur some unexpected medical issues, and practice living in place in my home with no family nearby and too many friends long since deceased.

Also, anyone reading this blog knows I have very real concerns about the state of our government, our nation and the world.  I have ample reasons to be emotionally depressed, negative in attitude, even feel overwhelmed with the future's uncertainty.  For whatever the reasons, generally speaking, I do not feel that way though I am acutely aware of the potential for worse case scenarios both personally and with our country, even the world.  I do not ignore any of them, but they generally do not press on me emotionally though I do have my moments.

I try to consider what my options are in order to be as prepared as possible mentally and otherwise for what might occur which I've attempted to do throughout my life with varying degrees of success.  Beyond all that, knowing there are factors over which I have no influence, I simply go on with my daily life much as most of you probably do, too.  Always, the unexpected may occur, does and has, which is just a given, but I'll not fret about it.

A board game I had growing up was called "Pollyanna", the glad game, though I don't recall that I ever read the book which prompted the games creation.  I do know the name has become associated with describing someone "excessively cheerful and optimistic who wants to pretend life is all sweetness and light" as defined in Oxford Languages.  I certainly know life is not "all sweetness and light" as I'm sure you do, too.

Though I've never been accused of being a "Pollyanna" and never thought of my outlook on life as being excessively optimistic, some might not differentiate the nuances in meaning.  But don't confuse my type of optimism with that version prostituted to the extreme by our nation's leader's prevarications -- bald-faced optimistic-like lies.  

I do think between this pandemic,  how it's been handled, the general state of the nation and the world with the creeping autocracies featuring fascism ideologies, racism, environmental planet preservation issues, other inequities that a whole lot of negativity has been created.  This negativity permanating our lives can be as contagious as a self-replicating virus and we know something about that now, don't we.  

So, when I express some potential optimism and hope for the future I do so fully cognizant of the immediate reality, possible implications in the present and time to come.  (Countermanding this "permanating negativity" here's Steven Wilson's tune "Permanating" he performs with the Bollywood Dancers to lighten the mood.)

Positive Psychology  discusses that Pollyanna Principle but also notes "A tendency to be optimistic and find a silver lining does impact health and well-being" in beneficial ways as I think we need to keep reminding ourselves.  I think science and we can readily conclude the degree to which one is optimistic does have some bearing on the quality of our lives, though I wonder how many people agree with that view in practice.

I think the ability to find and envision reasons to be optimistic, thus have hope for our future, is vital to our mental, emotional and physical health.  I also believe the language we choose to use describing situations to others and to tell ourselves, especially, has some bearing on the attitude we create, thus influencing how well we cope.  (I rather like this version of jazzy sentiments Paul McCartney sings with artist Diana Krall and her musical group to convey the message.)

There are various means we can use to best adapt to whatever our situation.  Resilience is a means defined by numerous dictionaries and psychologists as our being pragmatic, able to adapt, withstand and recover from significant stressful events, adversity, trauma, threats, to return back into shape.  We're all mustering our resilience to survive this pandemic, our governmental and world situation as well as our own challenges.

I find being resilient, even stoic for a limited period of time, beneficial.  Combined with a degree of humor, being realistically optimistic without rigidly specifying a specific time when all will be resolved or overcome, can be a healthy approach to survival.  

Critical, too, is having hope for the future, again without defined timelines given the uncertainty, optimizes my overall wellbeing to travel the adversity of any rough and rugged road ahead.

I wonder how others view the manner they approach what they do to effectively deal with life's adversities, be it this pandemic or other experiences including from the past -- if either optimism or hope are present in your life now and as compared to other times?

Sunday, October 18, 2020


This is the anniversary of my fourteenth year blogging though on a couple occasions I took a hiatus for periods of time, once thinking I might permanently stop writing here.  Starting my blog, coincided with a major life change following my husband's death in his sleep months earlier in 2006.

Launching my blog was accidental when I was experimenting with setting up a site unsure if, or when, I would even want my own blog.   Exploring the blog idea I unintentionally clicked in error a trial piece I was composing,  thus publishing my words onto the world-wide web.  I left my blog there because I was so digitally uneducated then, also just learning to use a computer, I didn't know how to remove it.  

Once my blog was started I was erroneously under the impression I must write daily which I came to recognize altered my everyday activities in less than positive ways for me, especially upsetting my sleep patterns.  This proved in time to be problematic since my body did not readily adapt at my age then to such an erratic sleep schedule unlike my experience when I was younger.

Writing proved to be very time consuming, requiring considerable editing, was not the dashing off in twenty minutes I expected.  Implementing ideas for a blog site involved a learning curve and more time.  Too long later I eventually realized the obvious, that the frequency of writing and publishing was solely at my discretion, regardless of what I thought were others expectations.

Prior to my blog's internet entry my husband's ashes distribution delays followed by my later travel east for a period of time to join friends and family for his life's celebration seemed to keep my life more unsettled than I realized.  After I returned home I eventually began to resume part time work, started the blog.   Only years later in retrospective reflection of my first couple of years as a widow did I realize how I was coping during that time.  Interesting to me is how a loved one's death can have such a profound effect over time in unexpected ways not initially recognized.  

My life has continued to evolve with each passing year as I've aged, with all that entails in terms of my lifestyle and physical well-being.  One of the most challenging aspects of these years has been the loss through death of increasing numbers of family and friends until very few remain living.

Fall has arrived -- autumn long my favorite season but now emblematic of my life's stage.  Living many years in a Great Lakes State when I was younger, I was treated to fall's magnificent leaves changing colors from green to golden yellow, shades of flaming reds to rust and rich browns embracing the trees before gently fluttering to the ground in preparation for winter's snows.

I looked forward to those years when late in the season we'd experience a period of cold temperatures, often the first frost, then unexpectedly a brief episode of unseasonably warm, dry weather would suddenly emerge ..... Indian Summer had arrived ..... in which I reveled but miss here in So Cal.'s foothills though may be experienced in the mountains higher elevations.

Music resonates for me in relation to so many aspects of life including nature.  Here's legendary trumpeter  Chet Baker's instrumental jazz version of composer Victor Herbert's "Indian Summer", the original tune to which romantic lyrics were added years later.  The song became a popular tune sung by several vocalists becoming a favorite of mine several decades ago.

Contemporary "Indian Summer" has become the title of quite a different romantic tune referring to the nation.  Here's today's popular exceptionally talented trumpeter Chris Botti I had the pleasure of hearing in person in recent years capturing this new melody for his instrumental version.


Life for each of us is somewhat like these two songs.  Each have variations as interpreted by different relationships to the music, though as the years go by other changes also occur.  One song may fade into obscurity, remembered by fewer people with each passing year, eventually disappearing from the consciousness of others.

A new song given the same title yet quite different from the other song is introduced to then current generations.  The new melody begins its inevitable journey to the years ahead probable oblivion, too.  So it is with our lives and may even be so with our blogs, eventually.  

While I'm keenly aware of the dwindling years, in the meantime I intend to keep enjoying autumn, winter, as well as each spring and summer.   Music, blogging will enhance living my life to the fullest and hope your life is filled with joy, too.

Sunday, October 11, 2020


Be forewarned that I am feeling compelled to express what weighs most heavily on my mind right now with thoughts on the future of our nation.   Of special interest presently, as I cast my ballot and others vote across the U.S.A.,  is my concern our current nation's leader seems to be continuing to betray our constitutional capitalistic democratic republic.  We would be wise to remember his words and actions the past four years have gradually, chaotically bit by bit seemed to be systematically designed to destroy our trust in our government.

His goal appears to have been to alter our governmental system into what could be described as a capitalistic theocratic autocracy.

Capitalistic because of his strong emphasis on money, but largely for the benefit of himself and an oligarchy of a select number of the most wealthy supporting him, but not the majority of our citizens.

Theocratic because he panders to a religious extremist minority-in-number dedicated to forcing their protestant social beliefs on everybody rather than living in a society tolerant of others that also permits them to practice their own views.

Autocracy because he chooses to dictate everything to everybody, diminishing or eliminating the power of our other branches of government -- legislative, judicial and condemning anyone questioning him including in the fourth estate -- our free press.

Our government system will cease to exist as will freedom for anyone who might think or speak differently from him given his intolerance.

We would be wise to ask ourselves if our President is betraying or violating his oath of office to defend the intent of the country's founders and our constitutional democratic republic.

Is he placing our nation's citizens at risk of losing our democratic republic as one of the founders, Benjamin Franklin cautioned -- "if we could keep it"?  When asked "And why not keep it?"  Franklin responded, "Because the people, on tasting the dish, are always disposed to eat more of it than does them good."  So it is we could lose the freedoms our founders gave us.

While our current leader claims to care about all of the people, quite obviously that is just one more of his documented thousands of lies.   What is really alarming to me is how many people supporting him apparently do not realize what he is doing or don't care.  

Our leader is aided by this backing of the political party he hijacked whose members have failed to learn any of the twenty lessons from the twentieth century Timothy Snyder describes in a few hours of easy-read layman's language in his small paperback book "On Tyranny":

"Timothy Snyder reasons with unparalleled clarity, throwing the past and future into sharp relief.  He has written the rare kind of book that can be read in one sitting but will keep you coming back to help regain your bearings."

This book description is by Masha Gessen who eloquently predicted four years ago what to expect from our new leader then -- it has and is occurring.   Gessen also described how to survive based on experience as a citizen reporter in Russia ultimately perilously dissenting with leadership there before needing to come here and having dual citizenship with the U.S. now.  

A recent Guardian interview includes this statement from Gessen, "I never thought I'd say it, but Trump is worse than Putin".   Gessen went on to say,  "in order to actually survive Trump's attempt at autocracy we have to give up the idea of some imaginary pre-Trumpian normalcy and commit to reinvention.  And that is really what these protests are about."

Trump defies a basic democratic tenet by refusing to state he may not relinquish the office of the President if he is determined not to have been reelected.  This from a person who is in office now having received less than the majority of popular votes in 2016.  He suggests resolution of the 2020 election winner may end up being decided by our Supreme Court, apparently in expectation they will decide in his favor.

I can't help wondering if an earlier election in 2000 with Florida's hanging chads was erroneously given to a Presidential candidate that actually lost the election when our Supreme Court was injected into that process, then chose to decide who would be our President.  The consequences of that decision in subsequent years have been profound in our country and the world.

Preventing a stolen election in 2020 is critical but may not be easy since the Republican Party with the U.S. Senate leader seem complicit in allowing the loss of our democracy as does the Attorney General.  They think they control their President who has seduced them by establishing several of their ideological goals, but when unable to prevent potential takeover if he is reelected, they will find in the following years they've given away our and their democracy and freedoms.

The Republicans have been taken over by a minority-in-number faction of their once proud political party backed by private ultra-wealthy forces but fronted by those claiming to be representative of ordinary people under the guise of the Tea Party nomenclature intended to misleadingly imply a connection to a historical American event.  Reference: Dark Money.

The Supreme Court may be a wild card presently but there is ample reason to be concerned their allegiance for constitutional interpretation will fall on the side of big money, just as it did when they basically concluded corporations were people, unleashing corrupting monies into political campaigns.  The pending appointment replacement for Associate Justice Ginsburg is another factor.   Reference: 'Corporations Are People' Is Built on an Incredible 19th-Century Lie -- "How a farcical series of events in the 1880s produced an enduring and controversial legal precedent."

We citizens must be ever vigilant in order to preserve our freedoms and rights best achieved with our current system of government, not an autocracy led by a dictator.  We must educate ourselves and vote at every election level.  We do need to continue progress toward healthcare as a human right, equality for all, and a more equitable distribution of wealth.  Along the way, we better take action to preserve this planet on which we live or eventually for future generations nothing else will matter.

Sunday, October 04, 2020


Ever-changing unexpected, unpredictable events continue to occur in our government about which we're all being informed by our news media, so I'll limit any review of most particulars here.  Suffice to say the pandemic continues to wreck havoc in the world to some degree from one country to another.  Here in the US. the inevitable viral spread keeps surfacing with varying intensity giving me concern as to how our lives are being affected, how our future will unfold.  

My previous post reveals how I discovered I use the British, not the American or French method to prepare my scrambled eggs.  I was intrigued with how some who commented described their own egg scrambling methods.  I don't think I'm overly picky about food but I do have some basic expectations when I eat out.   I recall a couple incidents unrelated to scrambled eggs that were quite objectionable.  

I was at an upscale restaurant with an old friend I hadn't seen for a while who had returned home for a short visit with her mother.  They lived in a small community whose local newspaper latched on to her visits as a social item worthy of note whenever she came to town.  She laughingly told me she had long since gotten use to her notoriety there which prompted headlines like "E (her name) is back in town!"  After all, girl/woman continuing to make good -- working in NYC television industry with celebrities was news during those years when TV was the prominent technology with only three major networks, long before cable and our digital world.

She took me to the most prominent of one of her small town's primo hotel's restaurants where we were practically the only people in the dining room.  I'm sure they were impressed and pleased to have her there.  Having placed our dinner orders my friend had my full attention as we caught up on our lives while waiting for our dinners to be served.  As I took a sip of my water I became vaguely aware of feeling something soft at the corner of my mouth.  Continuing to concentrate on what my friend was saying, I paid little attention as I just automatically reached with my fingers to remove what I felt on my lower lip.

Seeping into my consciousness then was the realization I was sipping water so there shouldn't have been anything of substance.  Glancing at the unknown as I laid it on the table after a few shocked seconds I incredulously recognized I was looking at a very large dead water-soaked cockroach/water-bug.  My friend was equally repulsed as was I.  The waiter we called over was mortified as he should have been since I think he surely would have noticed the creature when he brought our filled water glasses if he had been paying attention. 

Ever since that experience, I check all water glasses I'm served and hope that waiter learned to examine water-filled glasses, too.  As you might expect, the restaurant manager was quick to volunteer they were giving us complimentary dinners.   

Years later when having lunch at a different restaurant I suddenly realized the strawberry pie filling I was eating had a strange crunch on one chew.   Examining the remainder of the pie in front of me I discovered a rather large-sized neck piece of a broken glass bottle.  I was frozen for the moment, concerned I might have swallowed glass bits.  When I summoned the restaurant manager  he said they would pay for me to get an ER medical examination but I must sign a form first relieving them of any responsibility though I wasn't asked to pay for my lunch.   Of course I refused to sign the form.  

What I learned at the hospital was I must await the food to process through my body, then if bleeding symptoms appeared I would know there was a potential problem.    I was very alarmed for a day or so waiting to be certain my bodily system was unimpaired.   I did contact the attorney wife of my employer who counseled me to do nothing further at that time as I was concerned about future implications for myself and husband.  Those days were a different time since subsequent years lawsuits have become much more prevalent over every thing that happens.  Fortunately, I never exhibited any symptoms indicating interior body damage so no further action was taken.  

No doubt some of you may have had some dining experiences you hadn't expected, leaving a bad taste in your mouth.    

Sunday, September 27, 2020


We're getting to the scrambled eggs as I promised in my previous blog post,  but I want to review what else I wrote that was and still is on my mind .....

One of California's largest ever wildfires grown now to over 114,000 acres has threatened for the third time the billion dollars worth of vital communication towers on historic Los Angeles area Mount Wilson but again was repelled.  This Bobcat Wildfire is finally over 63% contained.  The area air quality in my city is slowly improving.

Issues pressing on my mind continue to be associated with the U. S. Presidential election, the Supreme Court Associate Judge replacement situation given the tragic death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the ongoing corona virus threat, perpetual increasing environmental and climate change concerns to name a few matters occupying my thoughts.

Our state's Governor Newsom's recent announcement:

"Executive order directs state to require that, by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles.  Transportation currently accounts for more than 50 percent of California's Greenhouse Gas Emissions."

I may well not be around then or driving a car.  Self-driving vehicles may be most prevalent in fifteen years, or perhaps we'll have combo car/plane vehicles by then a la The Jetsons.  I would be disappointed to miss all that which can be an ageing problem should the grim reaper pay me a visit inconsiderately causing me to miss everything.

The flying car that had intrigued me, the Terrafugia FX, ownership of which was acquired from the American inventors after the business was moved to China is no longer a U.S. option, unfortunately.  The prototype I had seen in a video featured a sleek design with folding wings so the car could easily park in the typical 2-car garage.

However, we may have a flying car sooner than we think as the Japanese have announced having one by 2023.

On a different note, I've encountered another issue for consideration that has come to my attention.  Who knew scrambled eggs were prepared differently by the French, British and Americans?  I didn't, but perhaps you did.  I assumed the way my Mom scrambled eggs as I have continued cooking them was the way everybody did.   So, when I've been displeased with some restaurant's eggs, I've learned it may just be because they used a different cooking method.

Little did I know that my method and tastes for scrambled eggs has been for the British style.  I thought those scrambled eggs I didn't like that I was served at restaurants were lazily prepared -- that they just dumped the egg into the skillet, when they actually were scrambling the eggs American style, but that doesn't make me like them any better.

The Insider article describes the British scrambled eggs as "dry", but I don't experience mine as dry at all.  The American style is really dry, especially by comparison with mine, I think.  As for the French style, I don't know if I've ever been served scrambled eggs cooked in that manner though they sound moist and tasty.  I've not tried cooking any in French style and am not likely to do so -- sounds like more work than I like to do now, plus I want the minimum of cooking utensils to have to clean afterward, so guess I'm lazy in that regard.  What system do you use for the basic scrambled eggs?

Meanwhile, in the White House, I wonder if our leader is coping with scrambled brain disorder that many of his appointees seem to have acquired also, given the thoroughly mixed-up approach to governmental administration to which we've been subjected for four years.  At least one department head with little or no experience in the area to which he was appointed to administer has bowed to the Peter Principle effects causing him to take a leave of absence from his position.  I can only wish his departure will become permanent and a few other unqualified department head appointees would join him, like the Postmaster General and the list goes on.

In reviewing the article about how efforts to overcome the PP issues in subsequent years evolved, the summary culminated in saying followers of such a leader must be "honest and credible" to compensate in order to help their leader overcome his shortcomings.  Unfortunately, honesty and credibility are lacking not only in our leader but he demands his subordinates do and think as he does, so most eventually abandon those qualities to meet his criteria as expected for accepting their appointment by him.  

As long as this federal government administration that makes no pretense about ignoring an ethical and moral, if not legal mandate, to represent all of our citizens, not just his supporters (cult?), remains in control of our U. S. government -- we can expect more of the same chaos and much worse.  Voters have the power to extricate our nation from this quagmire by draining the current controlling administrative cesspool despite our leaders threats of not leaving office if he loses the majority vote.  


Sunday, September 20, 2020


This was supposed to be about scrambled eggs but that will have to wait until next week ‘cause we had an earthquake, but first.....

Strong wind gusts have been picking up fanning the fires still raging east and west of where I live in Southern California, Los Angeles County.  Wildfires have expanded into some new areas resulting in more families and animals having to evacuate, homes lost.  

Think of all the wildlife including birds and other living creatures that are able, some much too slow moving,  those living below ground, all fleeing for their lives.  Smoke at higher altitudes cloud level has been moving  east across our entire country.  Lower altitude skies allow the sun’s rays to filter through here with air pollution lessening somewhat now.  

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Ray Conniff – a calming instrumental version.

Mount Wilson west of where I live sees the continued Bobcat Wildfire ebb and flow as more than 93,000 acres has burned in just the last thirteen days as of Saturday 9/19, fluctuating from 0% to 6%, then back down to 3% for several days and up to only 13% containment as I write this.   Fire moving northeast through the mountains toward new populated areas is causing evacuations, more homes lost. 

Fire has threatened the historic 116 year old astronomical Mount Wilson Observatory noted for the telescopes providing photographic plates Edwin Hubble used to discover the Andromeda Galaxy.  Flames came on two occasions, the last time within 100 feet of that area.  Additionally, Los Angeles broadcast towers for television, radio and government agencies are located on that mountain which are critical for enabling signal transmission throughout So Cal L.A. area including to my house.  

The Eldorado wildfire east of my town rages on, burning over 22,000 acres endangering new areas there, started originally by that gender reveal celebration which has now resulted in a firefighter’s death.  Palm Springs has also had a wildfire emerge causing evacuations. 

As if wildfires aren’t enough, at 11:38 p.m. Friday 9/18 as I was writing part of this, we had a 4.5 earthquake with an epicenter west of my town near El Monte – the first quake I’ve felt in several years.  Newscasters closer in toward L.A. reported feeling two large jolts.  

What I felt at a greater distance east were slight jolts with a slow rolling motion, for about 10 seconds that made me wonder if a truck was going by on my street or Route 66 a block away, but I quickly realized it was an earthquake.  I was given pause to wonder, as usual,  if this was a foreshock with an even bigger quake to come.  

As soon as quake shakes stop I usually immediately turn on the all-news L.A. radio station, KNX.  Tonight since my television was on I found KABC-TV was broadcasting live quake coverage as they continued to do until 1 a.m.   

They interviewed Dr Lucy Jones, Seismologist and public voice for earthquake science and safety in California whose reliable information and commentary is reassuring.  Dr. Jones providing the factual truthful data even with unknown elements, including the possibility of a worsening situation does not incite panic in our cities.  

Our actual non-panic experience contradicts the flimsy excuse our illustrious leader in the White House promotes trying to justify his lies and failure to tell us the truth about the corona virus beginning months ago when our having such knowledge could have allowed action to prevent thousands of deaths.  

There’s a 1 in 20 or 5% chance a foreshock is preceding a bigger quake to come, but with each passing minute the likelihood of that lessens over the following 24 hours.  We did have aftershocks of lower strength, but I didn’t feel any of them.  

ABC newspersons also reported text messages from viewers who described what they felt where they were located.  Because of the pandemic TV staff have had remote capability setup in their homes which allowed live audio/video interviews with many of them.   All of this interaction and sharing of information served to reassure viewers as I, too, experienced.      

We’ve had enough disasters here but consider this quake as a wakeup call reminding us that we do live in earthquake country and to be prepared.  The ABC-TV News helicopter reported fire and police departments established there was no damage noted in immediate surrounding epicenter communities that might be most likely to be at risk for such.  

We learned this quake has been felt all over Southern California as their TV coverage ended.  This quake is pretty much out of our conscious concern now as occurs after most we experience that cause little or no damage --  until the next one.

Given the pressing issues of the day including those associated with ...the U.S. Presidential election, 

...the Supreme Court Associate Judge replacement situation due to the tragic death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 

...the need to save our democracy from what begins to seem like an autocratic capitalistic theocracy of our current leader, 

...corona virus threat, 

...environmental and climate change issues, 

...the reminder of future earthquake potential, 

...concern for my younger dear friend living some distance away who unexpectedly texted me from the ER late Friday night, during all this but before the earthquake she would have felt, as she waited for a hospital bed.  They didn’t have a bed open, probably due to the virus, though her issues were other than covid-19.

All of this is just to name a few matters giving me quite enough to occupy my thoughts, many of which you probably share with me plus adding a few others of your own.   Despite all, my spirits are upbeat and I hope yours are, too.    

I am reminded it's critical to ...V O T E ! ! !

Sunday, September 13, 2020


Life in Southern California right now makes it impossible for me to ignore the wildfires that national and world news are also reporting.  Beginning this past weekend and daily now the sun has only rarely broken through the smoke blanket covering our skies at higher altitudes.   Earlier this week there was a darkness when I looked outside which was unusual.

Gazing out my windows in daytime now the air can seem clear at ground level but generally there’s a slight haze present.  Local news tells us microscopic lung-damaging particles permeate our air.  They are not filtered out when we breathe even with the masks we wear to protect us from Covid-19, so we’re told to stay indoors.   


Last week forest wildfires erupted in the mountains many miles east and west of where I live during our record setting high temperatures.   Fires causes are reported in one instance to be accidental as a consequence of an ill-advised gender reveal event; another due to arson.  At least one small town is gone, other homes have been incinerated and lives have been lost with threats of more losses continuing.


Some residents in our city, perhaps in fringe wooded areas, reported receiving alerts to prepare for possible evacuation though they were not threatened nor is our city.    Some local areas experienced a rain of ashes but I’ve seen none where I live below the foothills. 


We’re sandwiched between two only slightly partially or uncontained wildfires but great distances apart with no likelihood they will join together.   The San Bernardino Mountains wildfire named the El Dorado is many miles east of here with many cities in between.  West of here, but closer is the Bobcat wildfire in the Los Angeles National Forest, also separated by many cities.   Fortunately, the unpredictable treacherous Santa Ana winds have not whipped up in late afternoon, evening or night to completely alter the fire’s direction and volatility as can occur.  Regardless, my city and I remain quite safe.


News accounts and photos of Northern California, smoke-filled orange and blood-red darkened San Francisco fires are awesome to view in photos but are indicators of the devastation that is occurring  elsewhere.  Oregon is experiencing incredible losses with dangers continuing.  Smoke is coming our way from those areas and now heads east with reports of being present as far as midwest Great Lakes state Ohio.

This climate change so many choose to deny or even recognize as a need to address is only just getting started.  Future years will be no less better and are expected only to worsen. 


Will we humans accept our responsibility for how we’ve corrupted our environment, continue to do so, and undertake to correct our planet’s self-destruction – if not for ourselves, at least for our children, grandchildren and future generations?    May all reading this remain safe, staying healthy as I am.    


Sunday, September 06, 2020


Before ending this personal saga I’ve been writing .....

Here’s another dancin’ tune from the 70’s to briefly distract from politics!


Earth, Wind & Fire – "Boogie Wonderland"


All the records are playing

and my heart keeps saying

"boogie wonderland, wonderland"

dance boogie wonderland hah, hah

dance boogie wonderland hah, hah 




Earlier posts beginning the previous month may be of interest since they reveal the start of this tale in which I describe my strange on-the-job training experience you can click on in Parts 1 and 2.   I was employed in production for a TV station live talk show where I spent an interesting decade during which my personal life also went from single to married though that’s not part of this tale. 


My saga related here just seems to have taken on a life of its own, evolving by triggering one TV show-related memory after another.  Though there are other tales, some of which are best left unwritten, this is definitely the final unusual experience in this saga which has become an unexpected and unintended epistle that has taken on biblical proportions.


Continuing with an account of my friend, Jack Denton, the former TV show host’s career in the entertainment world, one of his acting roles I eventually learned was in a pilot for a new TV series years ago.    One night, I was just surfing the channels, was surprised to hear his voice and see him, so stopped to watch the show.  This was a detective story starring James McEachin.  


McEachin was a former police officer, also an award-winning author, the first black man to have his own series on NBC called “Tenafly” but was cancelled after four episodes aired. This series had it survived the ratings cut could have offered a potentially worthwhile actor’s career opportunity, possibly providing some regular financial security if Jack could become a regular character on a long-running series though he had so far appeared in only one episode.   


Coincidentally, shortly after the brief time “Tenafly” aired, early one evening my mother, my young children and I spontaneously stopped at a nearby local coffee shop as we were returning my mother to her home.  Once inside we discovered it was very crowded so rather than wait for a booth we sat down at the counter.  I looked up from perusing the menu and noticed at the opposite far end of the counter what seemed like a familiar face, but I couldn’t place it which drew me to periodically glance at him trying to trigger my memory. 


Apparently, he noticed my looking and soon the waitress informed me that gentleman wanted to pick up our bill.  I’d never had that happen quite like that before in a coffee shop, and didn’t exactly know how to react, concerned he might have thought I was flirting.   I decided I felt safe with my family present and at that locale, so I nodded, mouthed thank you, having decided to risk graciously accepting his generosity as his smile wasn’t lascivious. 


That experience periodically kept coming to mind the following days – who was that person and why did his face seem familiar?   Suddenly one day it hit me -- that was James McEachin who I had happened to see on my TV for what I thought was the first and only time not too long before in that one episode when I discovered my friend Jack had a bit part on his now defunct TV series.  In retrospect, after reading McEachin’s credits for this story I probably had seen his face at least once before in Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut movie, “Play Misty For Me”.


I wish I had made the connection then as I would have made an effort to speak to Mr. McEachin – could have laughed with him about the coincidence that Jack was on his show. Of course, he didn’t know that when he picked up our coffee shop check.   He must have thought I recognized him from his short-lived TV series, may have thought I might even be a fan.  Likely he was pleased to have found a viewer many miles east of L.A. in a coffee shop on famous old Route 66.  

I never happened to talk with Jack about that coincidental serendipitous happening with James McEachin either which he would have appreciated hearing.  A current internet search with links on his name earlier here reveals Mr. McEachin has led a very interesting life, had a close call with death in the military, is aged 90 years now.  


When Jack suddenly died years ago due to a massive heart attack, I was shocked, not believing it when I first received a written notice, since I had never before been the recipient of a reproduced form in the mail announcing a person’s death which is what I received.   


In fact, I thought it was one of his quirky humorous acts and the ‘death’ was of his professional name, Jack Denton, his way of saying he was retiring.   I rationalized that he was still alive under his birth name.  I learned I was wrong but only after phoning his number.  When he didn’t answer the rings I left a somewhat joking questioning message, then asked him to call me, a call which wasn’t returned.  As time passed and I didn’t hear from him I wondered if he was still angry I hadn’t attended his FDR appearance in “Annie”. 


I finally phoned Jack’s attorney I had never met, an old friend of his from another state where Jack had a radio show before coming to TV, though this was a Los Angeles area phone number on the notice I received.  He explained Jack had really died.   I schizophrenically began recounting my last memories of Jack to his old friend, in my effort to process the reality of his death.   The attorney then informed me Jack remembered me in his will.  He had willed me an item I realized had significance to both my husband and I who had met as a consequence of the TV show.


Jack’s attorney initially told me that he had in his possession the item willed to me, which was one of two trophy statues sitting on his desk, that he was looking at as we talked.   He wondered if I remembered what it looked like, which I didn’t exactly.   When I asked, he said I didn’t need to be present for any reading of the will, didn’t say when it would be read, but then I never heard anything further from him. Maybe it had already been read as I thought about it later. 


Finally, I called to make arrangements to take possession of the trophy, but the attorney declared he didn’t remember or even know what happened to it, so I never received it. Given their long-standing personal relationship I have found it hard to believe that the attorney didn’t remember or know what happened to the trophy.   I also think he should have made more of an effort to let me know I needed to arrange to retrieve the trophy before he disposed of it in some manner.  Knowing Jack, I think he would have been highly displeased his wishes weren’t respected.


I don’t think the attorney would have kept the trophy for possible monetary value, but I could only vaguely recall seeing it when it was presented to Jack on one of the shows – though on second thought, there could have been some valuable signatures on it.   Thinking the attorney might have just kept the trophy for himself, I called the state Bar Association to query what recourse I might have to obtain the item but they offered nothing, so no satisfaction there.   Decades later, recounting the story to another attorney friend who had known Jack, he commented he wasn’t surprised I didn’t get the trophy statue as he said that all attorneys are crooks.  That’s certainly reassuring. 


Perhaps the attorney took it upon himself to decide Jack would have changed his will to exclude me given his angry outburst that I had shared in my shock at learning Jack really was dead.  I don’t think Jack would have done that.  Had he lived, having gotten out of his system whatever prompted his extreme reaction toward me as I described in this saga’s Part 2,  I believe that eventually Jack would have resumed contact with me.   However, just knowing Jack sensitively remembered me in his will with a meaningful item both my husband and I could appreciate is emotionally touching and sufficient for me to hold in my memory bank.     


I wonder if others have had at work or in other settings experiences that they thought of  as unusual, strange or even bizarre as I described my week-long on-the-job training experience at the beginning of this saga, or maybe subsequently you’ve had other thoughts triggered.       


Sunday, August 30, 2020


The U.S. political party 2020 Presidential nominating conventions have officially selected their candidates in a unique somewhat virtual manner due to safety precautions deadly Covid-19 has necessitated.   Take a deep breath and prepare for the unpredictable onslaught of campaign rhetoric.   We must watch out for “truthiness” and those “alternative facts”, and be sure to verify statements presented as factual. 

Let’s digress with a little upbeat dancin’    

A youtube commenter wrote the founder of this 70’s Grammy award winning group’s description of this funky tune’s origins.   Fifty years later seems apropos now as we enter September.   

   According to Maurice White, he got the idea for this song in an unlikely place: a hotel room in Washington DC while there was some kind of protest going on below. Said White, "There's all these cats screaming and throwing things and going crazy and this tune just evolved."  


SEPTEMBER by Earth, Wind and Fire     



Hey, hey, hey!

Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember?

Ba-dee-ya, dancin' in September

Ba-dee-ya, never was a cloudy day 





This tale started some weeks ago with a simple idea of describing what a strange on-the-job training experience I had when I was hired in production for a live television talk show years ago that I described in this series first two blog posts.   Related memories incidental to the story’s point unexpectedly began emerging in my mind which I have kept adding here for better or worse.   I’ve also revealed recollections of our show’s host whose friendship was an interesting addition to my life for a number of years.


Writing in Part 3 about the previously described unglamorous meager comforts our TV station offered show guests triggered recollections of a few of those who graced our stage.   A favorite of mine was comedian, native Ohioan, Phyllis Diller at her performing and movie stardom’s height then who appeared each time she was in town.   She was performing at the area’s premiere night club, Danny Deeds Maramor, but always arrived for our TV show’s early morning hour by herself in a cab she asked to wait for her, then after her appearance she quietly and quickly left inconspicuously.   


Another significant guest then, was Gardner McKay, a sudden heart throb star in TV’s “Adventures in Paradise” series created by Pulitzer prize winner James Michener, author of Tales of the South Pacific, a quite admired book in those days.  The Broadway musical, then movie, “South Pacific”, also prompted by the book, were partially revered for a story line uniquely unheard of then with its frank treatment of racial prejudice -- still pertinent today.  


Here’s “A nostalgic look at Tahiti and the schooner TIKI ... built especially for the TV series.  Dorcas Cochran and Lionel Newman composed the beautiful theme music ... for a few episodes they collaborated with Henry Mancini.” 


Handsome 6 ft 5 inches tall McKay rejecting acting celebrity left show biz when his series ended, unwilling to renew his contract, turning down a role with Marilyn Monroe despite her personal pleas.  He chose to lead an unusual life you can read about in the McKay link above.   In contrast to Diller, McKay, though pleasant, came to our studio with a surprisingly large entourage which may have reflected a new star’s initial reaction to fame surrounding himself with supporters.  


The bigger the star, generally the nicer they seemed to be, the more likely to be alone or accompanied by only one other person. I recall then popular orchestra leader Vaughn Monroe, “Racing With The Moon”, who was exceptionally nice telling an aspiring young musician in our audience who unexpectedly approached him, to see him after the show when he then provided counseling as promised.    Internationally known blind jazz pianist George Shearing who did have an assistant for obvious reasons who cautioned me not to ask Shearing for his signature which I wouldn’t have.  


The Frank Sinatra impersonator whose name I now forget, but he could have fooled anybody and had our audience gasping when they first glimpsed him enter the studio, was another memorable guest; also entertaining trumpeter Wild Bill Davidson.  There was laughter for all with comedians such as Henny Youngman who came out of vaudeville, famous for his one liners like, “Take my wife .... please!”.   


Well remembered was good-looking popular singer Jack Jones who had women in the audience swooning; even the older ones who remembered his father actor, tenor Allan Jones.  On the night of son Jack’s birth this father recorded his hit “Donkey Serenade”.   Here are Jack Jones and Alan Jones on a “Love Boat” episode singing together many years later.

Jazz and pop song vocalist Nancy Wilson at her career’s peak was a local girl made good coming home to promote a friend opening a new club, The Sacred Mushroom,  near the Ohio State University campus.   Following world-renowned jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie’s appearance my husband and I enjoyed his night club performance though we were surprisingly part of only a very sparse audience in a small nondescript rough little place with unpainted wooden bleacher-type seating located in the city’s minority community.   

Then there was talented international stage and movie actor Walter Slezak who strained my talents by asking me to sew a button on his raincoat.  This necessitated my racing all over the station trying to find a needle and thread ... of any color ... anywhere ... we didn’t have a costume department!


I can’t forget blustery broadcaster Arthur Godfrey “the old redhead”, who successfully transitioned from radio stardom to become top of the nation’s television viewer popularity heap for several years until he instantly fell out of favor on the network and with the viewing public for unexpectedly firing much-loved singer Julius LaRosa on the live show.  (Read this Awkward Moments link describing TV’s vagaries.) 

On our show’s air Godfrey had accepted our host’s unthinking offer of a cup of hot tea  causing me to have to scour the station to finally come up with one old tea bag not even in a protective cover, stuck in a crevice at the back of somebody’s desk drawer – heaven only knows how long it had been there, or what it would taste like.  Then I had to find some office with a pot brewing hot water.


I finally had the brew, returned to the studio, was then gestured to present the hot tea – probably less hot by now -- to Godfrey on camera.   I named the decades long-associated tea brand he promoted when I handed him the cup.   Wouldn’t you know, seems he’d had a falling out with them, but he rose to the occasion, elaborating on that fact to all, then quickly promoting his new tea brand without chastising me for such a faux pas.    


Then there was Canadian Lorne Greene of TV’s  western “Bonanza” fame who was serious and appropriately all business.   Unassumingly quiet shy sweet tiny little Sylvia Sidney who successfully transitioned from the silent film era into early talkies leading lady stardom guested.  She continued to act for decades more to have an over 70 year career.  


Ms Sidney had reportedly come to town to visit an old friend who worked for her beginning in her early Hollywood movie days.  Loyalty and even affection runs strong, whatever the hierarchal professional relationship, once trust is established for most of those performers in the entertainment business has been my impression and experience. 


Currently popular at the time was the Four Freshmen vocal group, also a favorite of mine I’d seen perform several times prior to working the TV show, once with the then notable  Stan Kenton orchestra.   Meeting Freshmen leader Ross Barbour delighted me though he was more than a little disappointed we didn’t have their latest album.   Upon his learning this I could hear the tension and irritation building in his voice as he spoke to me but checked himself before berating me.   Unlike radio stations that received free promotional records TV stations didn’t, so we didn’t have a library of recordings or any albums.   

Instead The Freshmen were stuck with lip syncing one of their older but most popular tunes, “It’s A Blue World” from one of my personal albums our show’s producer/director had requested I bring to the studio.   Interestingly to me was that Ken Albers, one of the group’s various replacement vocalists from their original foursome was a personal friend of our director -- perhaps the two of them should have addressed the record issue.


 (My husband’s vocal group sang arrangements harmonizing in this same style patterned after The Hi Lo’s, forerunners to the Four Freshmen.  I have only two recorded songs of my husband’s group since making records in those days was so expensive and not routine.   Years later the Beach Boys Brian Wilson readily admitted he dissected the Four Freshmen’s music harmonies to create his group’s sound.)


Here are the Hi Lo's singing A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.



The TV show’s guest list continues with current at-the-time and older major stars of the day – but those are just a few personalities who immediately came to my mind, possibly not some of the major guests or individuals others would have vividly recalled.  Guests weren’t all professional entertainers, could be government officials, sports figures, politicians, persons of interest from any walk of life, including occasionally the musically talented trying to break into show business. 


We periodically promoted what might be considered public service interview segments for worthwhile groups such as one struggling to provide care for babies with spina bifida, for whom there was little treatment in those days, such babies were often expected to die, a neglected group.   Numerous artists, other interesting people were featured, both legitimate and otherwise, like Alan Abel who wanted to clothe animals because, he said, nude, they were immodest. Years later Abel finally revealed he was an international hoaxer but that’s another tale.   


Once the artist entered the live show studio they could at least monitor the on-air conversation and activity so when finally introduced they could enter into the show’s flow with dialogue having some continuity.  Unfortunately, the studio audience could see them off-camera, so most “star” guests had to be kept in the other barren studio and just go on the show “cold”, so to speak.


Well-known guests and star artists would be recognized immediately, once the studio audience saw them, and could become a distraction.  They could unintentionally cause a  studio audience massive collective “g-a-a-a-s-p,” or loud “Oh-h-h!” which would go out over the air confusing viewers at home since it would have nothing to do with what was happening on-camera that viewers were seeing.  That interruption then generally required the host to offer a brief explanation which wasn’t always convenient depending on what they were in the midst of doing. Viewers weren’t as tech savvy about TV operations behind the camera to know what was happening then as we’ve all become during the ensuing years.


My host friend, Jack Denton, toiled in the entertainment business as so many do, without national fame, but enjoying his work.  He never achieved making an appearance on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show which had been one of his goals.  He had been on the original Dating Game years prior to the subsequent versions before hosting our TV show.   The years after he left our show I didn’t see him in most of his film or TV appearances as listed on the imdb site, many roles quite brief, some non-speaking.  He hadn’t mentioned them or asked that I view them.  


Jack’s best known role in several different productions, like “Annie”, was as FDR (click to see photo link).  He especially relished the part because he was a major admirer and fan of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.   I first recall unexpectedly seeing his FDR  image in a limited non-speaking appearance on PBS TV’s 1987 American Playhouse “Eleanor: In Her Own Words” starring Lee Remick’s one-woman show speaking Eleanor Roosevelt’s words.   He recreated his FDR roll when he toured in a road company of the Broadway show “Annie” which had precipitated his becoming so angry with me for not attending which I described in this blog post series Part 2.


As most actors do, I’m sure many roles he took were to gain experience and to pay the bills with the hope he would make some connections leading to more work and bigger parts.  Of course, he had only entered into the acting scene when he was older.   He may have had scenes or lines in some shows that ended up on the cutting room floor.   Some movies may have turned out to be quite different from what he thought they would be when he took the role.  Perhaps some vehicles and roles he may have preferred to forget.   I recall thinking that about one film when I heard his voice as I was surfing TV channels and stopped to watch that movie which would have been better left unviewed.  Fortunately, he later had some more appealing vehicles.


I really thought this would be the end of my tale, but I’ve recalled an unusual serendipitous incident, somewhat related, which you might find of interest.  What’s one more final week to start the new month before ending this epistle!

Sunday, August 23, 2020


I continue to be quite attuned to governmental, political, health issues; am no less concerned than I have been, though I’ve presently spared you by refraining from writing about those matters here.   With President and Vice President candidates in both of our major political parties being officially nominated these weeks the campaigning will soon become intense.    

* * *

Continuing tale of incidental experiences to my unusual job training week  .....


The previous two posts explain the point of the story I’ve been telling about my strange on-the-job training experience in production for a TV station’s talk show with which I became associated.   Memories triggered prompts me to follow up by adding some subsequent experiences.  Despite the unusual introduction to my new position, my working relationship with the show’s host and the rest of the staff was quite positive.   Years after the show ended and we had all long-since scattered across the country most of us lost contact with one another.   


The program’s host and I had become friends, so after he left the show, he wrote me from wherever he traveled round the country, always remembered my birthday, years later had dinner with my husband and I in our home when we ended up moving here to Southern California.  My friend had also moved to Los Angeles pursuing his entertainment business career, adding acting and movies to his repertoire.  


He even taught a class at a local college on how to survive in the entertainment business world, stressing to aspiring novitiates the importance of accumulating a financial reserve to survive unexpected termination of employment and occasions of other inevitable time periods when there would be no work at all. 


He advised keeping possessions to a minimum since belongings moving costs could be expensive, especially if you were going coast to coast for periods of time as he sometimes did.  For example, he bought only paperback books (more lightweight for shipping) in a day when hardbacks were usually the most prevalent.   Unfortunately, in those days a couple years could pass before new published books were released in paperback form hampering getting the latest best sellers right away. 


His correspondence to me was often signed with a name other than his own.   Instead he signed what he considered unusual sounding names he liked to collect or those of former guests who had appeared on the show such as local Trudy Rella, an inside bit of memorabilia few others could appreciate as I did.  She had been a nationally treasured folk singer in her European home country of Austria or Czechoslovakia but was generally unappreciated in the U.S.   A rare unusual name he liked to hear the sound of rolling off his tongue that I recall was Duard Farquhar a talented professional dancer/teacher in the area.   


Earlier he had asked me to type copy (remember typewriters before computers?) for a book he wrote condemning the use of words with “wise” tacked on to the end – such as  “weather-wise”, “book-wise” that he would ridicule by saying “wise-wise....” -– for being grammatically incorrect.  He was determined to eliminate this “wise” usage but despite his efforts the idea never seemed to gain popular traction. In fact, “wise” being added to many words may have proliferated based on my listening to media folk and others talk today.  The book was never published as far as I know. 


That my host friend had begun acting was an interesting change in attitude since privately  he used to complain about the acting profession when name artists performed in our city.   When requests to appear were made to the actors they would plead they couldn’t get up that early to guest on our talk show which began at 9:30 a.m. despite the free promotion they and their show would receive.   


Our host’s rationale was that even internationally known musicians, playing sometimes until 2 a.m. or later in the morning at city night clubs, almost always would welcome appearing on the show, even singing at that early hour or performing a tune once they heard the high professional competence of our talented musicians playing.  


Actors performances ended hours before the musicians’ gigs, so our host didn’t view their plea of needing rest viable since they could go to bed earlier.   All the actors had to do was just come to the TV station the next morning and talk for a few minutes on the set to freely promote their play, themselves, or whatever, he would say.   He belittled them in private to staff, since how could they not want to be on his TV show?  


Our budget like most TV stations other than those at the major networks didn’t allow for a token fee to be paid artist guests or even pay for their transportation to the studio – no limousines here, just city cabs they had to hire for themselves.  

We had no Green or any other color Room where artists alone or with an entourage could wait in private.  There were no beverages, snacks, even water, hot coffee or tea, other than what some station departments brewed for themselves.  We had no budget for such luxury though in the early years a sales promotion contract allowed us to give away some expensive products like washing machines, refrigerators, dish washers and many other items to select studio and viewing audience members.


Instead, show guests had to wait in our other smaller studio with metal folding chairs, no TV monitor.   Staff periodically traipsed through that studio to the control room and other offices. I basically had to shepherd the guests with little or nothing to offer for their comfort.  I might add, all were very gracious considering, but they may have been used to such conditions.  So much for the glamour of TV.


We had no makeup and hair staff to enhance an artist’s appearance, either.  One of our setup boys (as these often Univ. college students were called) sometimes practiced his drama school makeup application skills on guests in some situations but he typically didn’t work during our show times.  Any other on-the-air talent had to apply their own makeup if they wanted or needed to use any.   As TV matured so has what is considered necessary staff and guest preparations for TV appearances.  


My friend usually had me or others apply different black substances he was trying for effectiveness to a bald circle on his hair-thinned scalp to prevent the glare that occurred on camera from the intense set lighting.   Artists were often secretive about such use in those days, but in more recent times most are open about hair loss issues, also wearing toupees, wigs.  Subsequent years such makeup has been refined for the ease of use and benefit of many males with a similar issue who appear on camera as other technical changes have also occurred.  Our current President seems to cope with his hair issue in a rather unique manner. 


I’ve managed to write on this topic much longer than I expected and still haven’t arrived at the end of my tale.   This is because I’ve triggered more memories, so contrary to what I expected I’ll be continuing this story for another week for any who may be brave enough to still be following this saga.