Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Let's get ready to rumble!"

Last week I was flipping through the channels when I came across “professional wrestling,” which is really a mixture of bad theater and gymnastics. It was amusing... for about three minutes.

It reminded me of the one and only time I went to a professional wrestling match. It was in the early 1970s at the Cow Palace.

It was my older brother’s birthday and he wanted to see some wrestling. Amazingly, my parents’ bought the tickets, loaded up the VW Bus with about a half dozen kids and drove to the Cow Palace.

I must have been six or seven years old at the time. That was the perfect age because I believed everything I saw – the savage beatings, the fake blood and the supposedly unconscious wrestlers being carried out on stretchers.

It was awesome.

Seated behind us was a group of drunk white guys and several rows below us was a group of drunk black guys. All night they yelled racial slurs at each other and used some of the most wonderful profanity my virgin ears had ever heard. The put-downs were magnificent and beyond what I had ever heard on the playground.

The star of the night was Pat Patterson – a legend in the world of fake wrestling. The crowd roared when Patterson entered the ring, but my favorite was Haystacks Calhoun. He was huge – maybe 600 pounds – and looked like he could crush everyone in the ring. Andre the Giant was also there that night, and even though my memory has faded, I vaguely recall his towering presence in the ring as he waved to the crowd.

When ate popcorn, drank sodas, stood on our chairs and screamed and yelled all night long.

At one point, we all went to use the bathroom. We were led down a corridor and then another and at some point a security guard pointed at a wall. Something must have been wrong with the bathrooms because everyone was pissing on a wall in a hallway. At the time I thought that was pretty neat.

The finale was the Battle Royal, in which all the wrestlers climbed in the ring and duked it out. I don’t remember who won, but it was great. At one point a wrestler was knocked out in the ring and his opponent was prancing around savoring his victory. There were cheers and boos and then the most unexpected thing happened – the unconscious wrestler suddenly came to, grabbed his opponent’s leg, knock him down andpummeled him nearly to death.

And so ended a great night of quality family entertainment.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Grab bag

• Believe it or not, it appears that the “policy debate” I wrote about before is over. The listserv comments are a matter of public record, as previously argued. Problem solved, or so it appears. (This is a dull topic, so I won’t repeat the details. See previous blog entries if you need to know more.)

• Speaking of open government, I’d like to see a slight adjustment in state law regarding closed sessions. There should be a requirement that all closed sessions be tape recorded and that those tapes be made available to county grand juries upon request. This would make it less likely that elected officials would discuss unauthorized items during closed sessions.

I vaguely recall such a proposal being made in the past. But when? And who made it?

• I try to watch at least one movie a week. This week’s flick – “Match Point” by Woody Allen. Even though he strayed from his typical New York turf, this is classic Woody Allen. In some ways, it reminded me of “Crimes and Misdeanors.” (The universe is indifferent. There is no divine justice. Or is there?)
(Scarlett Johansson stars in Match Point. Source:www.joblo.com)

Other great Allen movies include “Celebrity” 1998 (overlooked, but well worth renting), “Deconstructing Harry” 1997, “Mighty Aphrodite” 1995 (one of my favorites), “Manhattan Murder Mystery” 1993, “Husbands and Wives, 1992, “Shadows and Fog” 1992 (warning: includes lots of shadows and fog), “Crimes and Misdeameanors” 1989, “Hannah and Her Sisters” 1986 (Michael Caine at his best), “The Purple Rose of Cairo” 1985, “Stardust Memories” 1980, “Manhattan” 1979 (Another favorite. Very tragic.) “Annie Hall” 1977 (what’s not to like about this one?) “Sleeper” 1973, and “Take the Money and Run,” 1969.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Orick Theatre Showbill, 1962

Click on the image and it should open in a more readable format.

Friday, July 14, 2006

New toy, new blog

When gas prices increase, there are several ways to respond – you can bitch, you can whine, you can write a letter to your congressman, or you can adapt.

I decided to pursue the latter strategy and invested in an Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit from Wilderness Energy Research Systems.

I got it on Monday and I've been riding it all week, conducting most of my business on my new motorized bicycle.

Rather than bog down this blog with all the nitty gritty details, I decided to create a separate blog. I hope to eventually put enough material on the new blog so that it will become a valuable resource for anyone interested in the technology and considering such a purchase.

Right now the blog is in its infancy, but you can view it at:


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Three short movie reviews

National Treasure – I thought this movie would be good fun, with a bunch of treasure hunters using clues intertwined with American history to find their riches. The problem is that the plot goes from highly improbable to completely absurd, and it drags on and on – for nearly two and a half hours. It’s a complete waste of time.

Jiminy Glick in Lalawood – I could never, in good conscience, recommend this movie to anyone. That said, I thought it was hilarious and enjoyed almost every minute of it. Glick is a strange character created by Martin Short, who wears a fat suit and speaks in the most unusual fashion – his voice fluctuates from baritone to soprano and back, sometimes within the same sentence. He’s a low-grade movie reviewer/celebrity interviewer who asks really stupid questions and is completely ignorant about his subject matter. He’s weird, and his wife and kids are even weirder. They all go to the Toronto Film Festival and a plot unfolds. I thought it as hilarious, but I also enjoyed his show on Comedy Central before it was cancelled. I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

Friday Night Lights – This movie can be summed up in one word – Hoosiers. The only difference is that in Friday Night Lights they use a football, and the story is set in a depressed town in Texas. Even though this kind of movie has been made many times before, I thought Friday Night Lights was excellent. It’s about a bunch of poor kids who excel on their high school football team and work their way to the state championship. These kids really grow on you and you can’t help but root for them. Billy Bob Thornton plays the coach. It’s the first time in memory that I can recall Billy Bob playing a normal, respectable person. The ending is surprising. Two thumbs up.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pop quiz

I recently took the photo above in Humboldt County. Can you name the location?

Thursday, July 06, 2006


This afternoon I returned home after conducting some business in town and began to work on some extremely boring and tedious paperwork.

Suddenly I heard something on the scanner. The fire department was responding to some sort of emergency in the 4300 block of Central Avenue. The scanner was hopping from frequency to frequency and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Was it a grass fire? Or a medical aid call?

It didn’t matter. I was looking for any excuse to avoid the paperwork, so I grabbed the camera, jumped in the car and rushed to the scene.

On my way there I had one of those “awe” moments as I descended northbound Highway 101 just below the Vista Point. The view of Clam Beach was fantastic, with clear blue skies and a blue-green sea. Beautiful. I live in paradise.

I noticed what looked like giant kites hovering above the beach. But they seemed too big to be regular kites.

Interesting, but I had a fire or some other emergency to photograph.

I exited the freeway and drove southbound on Central Avenue up past Strawberry Creek.

No fire engines. No smoke.

Where the hell was the 4300 block of Central Avenue?

Up ahead was the Clam Beach Inn. As far as I know, it’s not really an inn. It’s just a bar. A band called PHIST plays there. I’m familiar with PHIST because somebody plastered a bunch of my newspaper racks with PHIST stickers. PHIST plays something resembling speed metal.

I didn’t see any fire trucks at the Clam Beach Inn, just a tough looking, busty blonde in tight pink sweater smoking a cigarette out front.

So up the road I went. At Grange and Central I turned around and headed back to the freeway. Maybe I had missed something.

Where were the fire trucks?

I never did figure out where they were, but then I remembered those giant kites.

I parked at Clam Beach and walked in the direction of the kites.

They were about a mile up the beach. I walked out to the waveslope and continued north. It was a nice stroll on the beach.

Turns out the giant kites were being used by kitesurfers. Basically, each person had a wetsuit, a surfboard with foot straps, and a harness connected to a giant kite.

They were flying, sometimes literally.

The kites were moving them up and down Clam Beach and far out beyond the surf. They appear to operate kind of like sails, giving them the ability to go both downwind and upwind.

They’re pretty spectacular and look like a lot of fun.

There were also some windsurfers blasting back and forth at rocket speeds.

The other notable thing on the beach today was the fact that the motorists were actually being polite and following the rules. I didn’t witness a single speeding truck.

That reminds me – I need to contact my supervisor and ask her to relax the proposed restrictions on vehicles at Clam Beach. Or maybe I'll write an editorial.

I don’t really care if they put a few restrictions in place, like requiring permits. The fact is, there are some real assholes who abuse the beach and intimidate pedestrians. They need to be dealt with.

But what if someday I decide to take up kitesurfing? Why should I be restricted from driving down to the beach with my equipment? And what about those people I saw today. They were polite and respectful.

I don't want my fellow townsfolk restricting what I do, so why should I restrict what they do?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Today's Complaint (In the form of a haiku)

My neighbor's wind chimes
clink and clang all through the night.
They're driving me nuts!

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