Sunday, May 31, 2020


I hardly know what to write since describing the relaxation of some Covid-19 virus restrictions in Los Angeles County where I live was among the items of my expected focus.  I intended to note I thought this re-opening businesses might be premature – that I expected to continue to observe “staying at home”, wearing my mask when I do go out only to drive-thrus or for pickups. 

Who knows now how the protest events of this weekend you probably have heard about will impact the virus spread.   Maybe the infection will primarily be spread among the criminal element.  We’ll see when the infection rate surfaces in a couple weeks after the incubation period.    

Across the U.S. there have been peaceful but angry protests over the death of an unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Three other officers stood by as the victim was saying “I can’t breathe”.   

These erupting protests have descended into violence, rioting and looting in at least 30 U.S. cities. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Ana, Portland, Miami, New York City, Washington D.C.,  Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Denver, Salt Lake City, Nashville among others with some having instituted curfews earlier, bracing for unrest.

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An NBC-TV News reporter said he was told an L.A. protest march was initiated by a 17-year-old
with the aid and support of his parents, including their plan to hand out water bottles, to peacefully bring attention to the death of George Floyd.  As the protest proceeded increasing groups joined their march which was also infiltrated by some motivated by other than peace who eventually subsumed the peaceful element.   

Professor Erroll Southers, a former FBI Agent interviewed on NBC-TV, described how extremist organizations have been reported to leverage Covid-19 to recruit others to their cause and into criminal acts just as they also use protest marches to incite civil violence.   

Los Angeles County Sheriff  Alex Villanueva describes them as “professional anarchists” – starting fires, vandalizing, creating havoc.  There are also the garden variety hoodlums, criminals and opportunists ready to create or take advantage of any situation.  Hundreds can be arrested though most are released the next day with only misdemeanor charges.  A few hard criminals are retained with felony charges, some including arson, burglary, vandalism.

The extremists often are the ones who may actually initiate breaking businesses windows and doors, then stepping back as the crowd mentality prompts others to invade the premises to steal all they can carry.  I feel so sorry for the violated businesses, most especially the small business owners who are struggling through the virus lock-down and some who were readying to open on a limited basis beginning today. 

TV news covered events as they were happening in Los Angeles Saturday – people scurrying in and out of businesses with their loot which they loaded into curbside cars, setting fires, some instances of throwing rocks other items at police.   There was an attempt to break into CBS studios which was finally thwarted by closing the gate.

LAPD and the Fire Department were stretched thin with over 1500 calls for firefighters.  Officers had to be assigned to accompany firefighters to ensure their safety.  Friday firefighters had one of their fire hoses put into the fire by the criminal element as attempts to extinguish a fire were being made.   

L.A. Mayor Garcetti’s ultimate request to California Governor Nusom resulted in a State of Emergency in Los Angeles being declared with a thousand National Guardspersons arriving Saturday at midnight.   A city-wide curfew was declared from 8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. this Sunday morning.  Anyone out is subject to arrest as a misdemeanor.

The concentration of TV news on Los Angeles events caused me to wonder what was happening in the multitude of surrounding L.A. county cities.  The decline of press and media available through local newspapers and especially free radio stations news shows can make citizens less informed about immediate events in their community.   I was able to find an area newspaper, Daily Bulletin, which has developed a website to carry timely local news, reporting protests that have been occurring nearby where I live. 

There was some reason for my concern since one of my town’s next-door city neighbors east of Los Angeles has often had some worrisome activities in year’s past before we moved here when there was a riot in L.A.    Years later there was an event causing significant unrest in response to a trial acquitting white officers of beating a black man stopped for arrest, Rodney King, who later made a simple plea in a press conference apropos today.

The neighbor city did, indeed, have a protest march involving 250 people organized by three high school students.  They reported people were reluctant to become involved because of violence that had erupted in other cities but said they were trying to make it safe as possible which it was for several hours.  

They did march north closer to our city but were blocked by the California Highway Patrol from entering a major freeway.  However, in the evening 40 marchers went south on to another freeway slowing traffic but followed by law enforcement that halted traffic behind them.  The marchers finally left the freeway and dispersed.  

As serious as this situation is let’s not give a true protest a bad name in the memory of George Floyd.   Let’s not allow the criminal actions of some across this country to end our right to have peaceful protests.

There are limits as to what more law and order can achieve though some will press for that alone.  Tougher laws are not and have not been the solution.  The issues that precipitate inequality in our great nation must be strongly addressed in addition to ensuring our safety if we genuinely desire to resolve these issues. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020


United States Navy Band plays taps – a 24 note melody, 150 years old – honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of freedom -- especially remembered Memorial Day. 

"This version of taps was recorded by the United States Navy Band at the following locations: Display Ship Barry, Washington Navy Yard U.S. Navy Memorial, Washington, D.C. Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.”

The first war in my lifetime, WWII which began when I was a child, is forever imbedded in my memory.   I believe that without a doubt the existence of this country, free, as we know it to be, depended entirely upon our forces prevailing in that war's outcome. Fortunately, allied forces did prevail. 

Our challenge is to safeguard those freedoms with balanced powers among the branches -- executive, legislative, judicial as described in our constitution -- needing to be monitored by public support of a dedicated to truth non-partisan Fourth Estate press.

My only still living cousin who served as a Wave is 96 years old.  My older brother who served in the U.S. Navy submarine service survived the war, but like increasing numbers of aging veterans died in recent years.   

My only brother and sibling focused his later years on Internet searches for reports of naval subs, ships and crews who had been lost at sea during the war.   Some vessels with their occupants had begun to be located in the ocean depths those many decades later and some yet  today. 

My brother was well aware he could easily have been one of those lost at sea.   The enemy fleet had been alarmingly spotted streaming through the Pacific Ocean in the direction of Australia.   At the last minute his commanding officer determined his communication skills were most needed ashore, so reassigned him from the submarine he had expected to be aboard.  That submarine with crew stealthily launched but was never heard from again.   

Regrettably, we have had more wars, more lives lost.    A PBS News Hour special report reveals by clicking on that link how many Americans have died in U.S. wars.  We pay tribute to them all.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


So many vital matters relative to sustaining life and freedom happening as our nation’s leader  creates chaos, allegedly fosters corruption and insanity with too many poorly qualified incompetent subordinates,  defies common sense, rejects scientific facts, appears to consider citizen lives expendable, mouths crocodile tears over health care workers for whom many believe he has not taken adequate actions to provide PPE, allows the travesty of inadequate Covid-19 tests lacking accuracy, promotes like a snake oil salesman a vaccine timeline if met could potentially have questionable reliability, is supported by politicians or legislators, not statespersons, who lack the courage to question him or their other leaders, but I will resist writing about all these matters this time. 

Some aspects of life in this day of the Covid-19 virus do seem like we’re going back to the future.  Remember that 1985 science fiction adventure comedy movie starring Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd?   Fox is a teenager, Marty McFly, who travels back in time from 1985 to 1955 where he meets his future parents.  

I recall my life in the eighties had been so harried and hectic there had been no time for my attending movies for several years.  My young son began prevailing upon me to see this film saying he just knew I would like this story.  So, we went to that movie which he was thoroughly enjoying seeing for the second time – he was so right – I delighted in the movie, too!  

Years later, in real life, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s which may have altered his acting career, but he has continued appearing admirably in a number of entertaining TV series roles and promotes finding a cure for this disease. 

My cousin’s husband, Walter Rothenbuhler, had his career -- University teaching and research in the genetics of bees for which he received international recognition -- cut short at his peak by Parkinson’s.   He once told me the first indication he had a problem occurred in his speech when he was lecturing one of his classes.  I still have a small piece of beeswax left that he gave my mother decades earlier when she bemoaned her sewing thread fraying and tangling during the WWII shortage due to the war effort.  Walter served in the military, but during WWII, beeswax was so much in demand for coating planes and weapons that some beekeepers were deferred from service. 

Walter died in 2002, his wife Claire died May 3 this year, age 95.  Family who ordinarily visited many times daily sadly were no longer able to do so her final days due to the Covid-19 quarantine.  I had last enjoyed a lengthy visit with her four years ago.  She was the last older family member I still had living with whom to reminisce.   She was warm, friendly, loving, a very accomplished person who treasured family, 4 children, and also taught chemistry when she and Walter were at Iowa State and Ohio State Universities.  Claire will be remembered by many.  She will be missed.   

Many years after Walter died, I recall one particular patient with Parkinson’s I provided swallowing therapy who had been the recipient of a brain stimulation implant which was new then.  Some benefits occurred for him and I couldn’t help wishing this had been available for my family member those years ago.  Fox has had some brain surgery, is said to want no more, but later he is reported to have had spinal surgery after a fall slowing his plans to return to planned television series. 

Today, some communities are going back to the future with the re-emergence of drive-in restaurants with car hops – usually young girls who deliver food and beverage orders to individual cars.  Some drive-ins years ago had car hop girls on roller skates though I was never served by any skaters.    

Drive-in movie theaters were once very popular, reported to number in 4000 with only about 300 remaining now.    Existing drive-ins, a few still here in Southern California, have taken on new life in these viral days with social distancing.  People must remain in their individual cars, thus easily maintaining the recommended distance from other patrons while enjoying a large screen movie much like the indoor experience.   

The sound quality has been improved since I last attended a drive-in movie.  They have done away with those boxes we hung on our windows for the sound.  We can still utilize our  individual car radio system now if we don’t mind draining our car battery.  Talkie Man describes a preferable alternative system: 

“Modern drive-in movies use FM transmitters to transmit the audio from the movie to the folks watching.”  Antenna on a quality portable FM radio “....can give you the full-on immersive audio with sound effects you’d expect from a cinema”.

The last drive-in movie I recall our family attended was nearby, but that screen and parking area has long since been replaced by a shopping center.   We saw the movie “Star Wars” so the nighttime outdoor setting was most fitting since the screen bled into a sky filled with stars – just a visual extension of many of the film’s space scenes.  Reminiscing with my now adult children recently I learned the movie made more of an impression on me than them.  They reclined on their tummies in our station wagon, peering through the windshield over the seat back, awake throughout the whole film, but not as impressed as I was apparently.  

Years later when my granddaughter was a teenager, I located one of the few drive-in theaters remaining in our area on one of their visits.   My daughter and I took her to the drive-in movie so she could have the experience before such venues became extinct.  I don’t recall now what movie we saw as it was quite unimpressive, but then that hadn’t been the point of our going there. 

Television home screens video and audio can be so large with such high quality now, I think most people might prefer the convenience of just staying at home to traipsing off to a drive-in unless the feature was one they couldn’t expect to see elsewhere any time soon.   

Would you want to go to a drive-in movie now in these shelter-at-home days?   
Do you have memories of any drive-in movie experiences 
     – at least any that you would want to share here?  
Are there any drive-in theaters remaining where you live, or do you even know

Sunday, May 10, 2020


As if we don’t have enough on our minds with the coronavirus, Murder Hornets seem now to have supplanted Killer Bees as some of the latest creatures with which we must contend.  I’ve also read that the number and variety of insects in our environment are diminishing so their demise may eventually deprive some creatures a food source.  

We humans aren’t the only ones having to adjust our lives to changes, including food availability, though we’re assured there is no shortage.   Such environmental issues impact all life on earth since we are connected.   Our world ecosystem is described by You Matter.    

Survival is the name of the game for all.   Like most of you, I care about the issues above, coupled with others with which we’re faced today, but I periodically must take a respite from thinking about the seriousness of living.  So, I racked my brain to come up with something to celebrate this week in addition to the many benefits and privileges for which I am personally thankful. 

V. E. Day – Victory in Europe, celebrated May 8th when World War II ended with a victory over fascism, was a momentous day in my young life 75 years ago.  Great Britain though subjected to devastating bombings, other hardships and sacrifices, was determined to never surrender.   Other assaults can threaten a nation's people in addition to war's violence and destruction. 

Dame Vera Lynn, a popular singer, also morale builder of that time, still living at 103 today, reminds us “hope remains in even the most difficult of times” as she is recently quoted by the BBC.  Here she reminds us "It's A Lovely Day Tomorrow".   I still tear up when I hear “White Cliffs of Dover” from those WWII days.  Another of her favored songs has taken on new appreciation and significance now in these days of Covid-19, when we are so separated from one another –“We’ll Meet Again".

Dame Vera Lynn, known as the "Forces Sweetheart", performing at age 77 during a concert aboard the QE 2 on 6 June 1984, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.  Walter Cronkite, veteran U.S. Broadcaster introduced her.

Further thought has provided me with no unique or original celebratory ideas, so I’ve resorted to referencing the National Day Calendar which provides a multitude of celebratory choices for every day in the month, every month and year. 

Today, of course, is Mother’s Day – the second Sunday in May.
This day honoring mothers has been special all the years of my life.  I’ve paid tribute to my mother in years past on this blog.  I still miss her, always will.

According to the calendar, the day is also National Clean Up Your Room Day – seems fitting, especially to anyone who has or had children. 

I decided to arbitrarily select a celebratory listing from the calendar for each day of this coming week. 

Monday, May 11th
National Twilight Zone Day

My favored identification to celebrate is the classic Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone television series first aired decades ago.  These stories have a unique twist with some plots eerily significant to our present lives.

There is another more bizarre connection that comes to mind for me.  This is a sense that we’re currently living in a twilight zone with the current U.S. federal government administration and coronavirus turning our lives upside down and inside out.

Tuesday, May 12th
National Limerick Day

Limerick’s are nonsense verse, simple, sometimes silly, humorous, often risque poems.   Nature Center Mag reminded me of Ogden Nash’s version of The Purple Cow:  

I never saw a purple cow
I hope I never see one,
But I can tell you this right now:
I'd rather see than be one.

Interesting Literature offers this:  

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I’ve seen
So seldom are clean  
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

Then there’s William Stone, M.D. who writes medical limericks like this about the Hantavirus:    

If you plan a trip to Yosemite
There’s a virus in that vicinity
It is carried by deer mice
Their excretions aerosolized
Can infect those in their proximity

Wednesday, May 13th   
National Apple Pie Day 

My mother made the best apple pie I ever ate.  Some of her secrets were the type apple she used, preparatory techniques and adding a teaspoon or so of brewed coffee in the center of the pie before baking.  I like to add a dollop of vanilla ice cream on a warmed slice of baked apple pie.   

Thursday, May 14th
National Decency Day

Vocabulary definition:    

decency. The personal quality of decency is one of honesty, good manners, and respect for other people. ... When a criminal or dictator does horrible things, people assume they have no sense of decency.”

Seems to have been a lot of decency lacking in our White House the past four years.  Fortunately, many Americans have retained their sense of decency which I celebrate.

Friday, May 15th
National Chocolate Chip Day

This is a tasty way to celebrate, with a good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie.  I don’t mind if macadamia or other kind of nut is added to the cookie dough. 

Saturday, May 16th
National Do Something Nice For Your Neighbor Day
National Love A Tree Day

I decided to have a dual celebration to wrap up my celebratory week.  I value my interconnectedness with others whether next door in my immediate neighborhood, or with those in the world community – including those in this virtual community.  Cherishing all life forms to which I'm also connected, I do love trees as symbolic of our planet’s environmental forces significant to my life.   

Do you have a favorite day celebration you would choose from my list above, or a special celebration of your own for this week?

Sunday, May 03, 2020



The first day of May brought to mind a term that probably could have been applied when the virus with which we’re now coping emerged to become a world pandemic.  “Mayday” is that term which is the international distress signal used mostly by aircraft and ships.  

The term’s adoption in English was in 1923 as described in Merriam-Webster’s Word History:

“Owing to the difficulty of distinguishing the letter “S” by telephone, the international distress signal “S.O.S” will give place to the words “May-day”, the phonetic equivalent of “M’aidez”, the French for “Help me.”
---“New Air Distress Signal, “The Times [London], 2 Feb. 1923”

Most of us likely became familiar with that Mayday term and meaning in dramatic story sequences we read in books or saw in movies.   We now contend with a different type of drama as dissension surfaces over whether or not we need to continue wearing masks and  sheltering-in-place.  Meanwhile, we each adapt and protect ourselves in our own way despite what others do.   I continue to mask and stay in my home though some may choose to do otherwise.


The other day thoughts came to mind causing me to recall some instances in my life when I’ve been sensitive to age differences.   I thought about some of my friends married to contemporaries with both still living and I admit to feeling a bit envious.   Perhaps, if I had married someone my age I wouldn’t be alone now.  Of course, I know that’s all fantasy thinking, that numerous other scenarios could have occurred. 
I recall in my mid-twenties dating a guy who was developing a widow’s peak hairline leading me to assume he was older than me, a belief he reinforced.  When he finally revealed that he was, in fact, several years my junior, I was not only surprised but bothered by that difference, partly because he had been less than honest with me.  I’m not sure now why our age difference concerned me, beyond the fact he mis-lead me in the first place, though I did wonder what else he might avoid the truth about.   But for some reason I do recall being bothered that he was younger which seems not to matter to me now.   In the long run it wasn’t an issue since we eventually mutually ended our relationship. 

Then, there was the occasion when I was in my seventh decade, continuing to work.  I periodically interacted at my work site with a much younger person that was especially enjoyable for several reasons, including we shared a similar sense of humor.   I was pleased when in time that person’s administrative skills and talents were recognized, resulting in their advancement to a responsible higher level position.  We continued to kibbitz as before on those generally less frequent occasions when we met. 

Then, one day our conversation somehow resulted in my incidentally, but casually, mentioning my age.  I’ll never forget the startled look on my friend’s face, who after a long pause, commented, ”I thought you were about the same age as me.”  I don’t know what significance this difference made to my friend as nothing was altered for me.  I had always had a variety of friends on the age range spectrum. 

I do know that from that day forward, whenever we came in contact the person became very formal, kept the interaction brief.   So, I respected the invisible line that was being drawn for whatever the reasons. 

Have you ever encountered an individual or situation when age difference had significance to you, them or both of you?