Archive for April 2013

West, Texas

April 23, 2013

The explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas didn’t get the headlines that it deserved due to the Boston Marathon bombings. Now that the Boston situation has calmed down a bit, time to look at West, Texas.

It certainly was a nasty situation, but should it have ever happened? Texas has billed itself as a place that is business friendly where the government will stay out of the way. Perhaps, the government stayed too far out of the way.

Two things that government is useful is insuring a safe working environment. The questions that keep coming to my mind are:

1. Why wasn’t the plant inspected for safety violations? According to the news, the last time the place was inspected was 1985.

2. Zoning. I don’t know whether the schools or the plant came first, but why were they allowed to be so close?

Here is the satellite image before and after the explosion. Note how close the homes and schools are to the plant site. This is the sort of thing that good zoning practices should prevent. Luckily, the schools weren’t in session. Otherwise, fatality counts might have been a lot higher.

And one more thing, Gov. Rick Perry is asking the federal government for disaster aid. Whatever happened to his plans to secede from the union? Idiot.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Pedro, CA

Boston Strong

April 22, 2013

It’s been almost a week since the bombing. I still keep thinking about the events of the last few days. News out here in LA is beginning to quiet down. News of the bombing still is in the local news, but not as much as a few days ago. The pieces on the bombing doesn’t lead the news. More stories of fires in Monrovia.

Before long, we’ll be back to KTLA running pictures from news choppers watching LAPD chasing cars along the freeway or news that it is raining. I really can’t stand watching the local news here.

I had to make a choice this morning whether to watch baseball or go to church. Going to church won. Paula would kill me. Besides we meet up with Mike and family and have lunch at the Pacific Diner. People out here don’t understand what it’s like to be from Boston.

I didn’t get to watch the game on Saturday, but I did see the highlights including the clip of Neil Diamond singing “Sweet Caroline”. It made me feel so good, plus the clip of Big Papi with his expletive deleted was wicked awesome.

We watched the “60 Minutes” episode that consisted of a piece on the bombing investigation (interview with Ed Davis, Boston Police Commish), training of bomb sniffing dogs, and a piece on the 9/11 museum, (Scheduled to open at ground zero next year.) Here’s the pointer to the “60 Minutes” video.

One of the things that makes my life out here in LA bearable is my (besides my sweet wife Paula) is the news media that I get to read every morning on my iPad. Typically, I read the NY Times and the Boston Globe. Sometimes, I look at the LA Times (not very often though). Most of the time I would read the Times first and Globe second. This week it’s been the other way round. Globe first.

BTW, I’m going to have to get one of those “Boston Strong” T’s or caps. I wear my dirty green Red Sox hat with a feeling of pride for Boston and all of the wonderful people that still live there. I wish I could be there to be at Fenway.

Enough for now.

Joshua Tree National Park

April 19, 2013

On Friday, Paula and I decided that we needed a day off of the grid. So we decided to take a day trip out to Joshua Tree, CA. Joshua Tree is about 150 miles east of Los Angeles in the middle of the Mojave desert. We left San Pedro around 0930. Light to medium traffic out the 91 freeway. Most people were heading in the other direction. We stopped for lunch at a Carrow’s in Yucca. I checked my iPhone for any updates on the Boston Marathon bombers. Not much new news. It was a beautiful day. Clear skies and about 75 degrees.

Twenty minutes later we arrived at the Joshua Tree information center. We talked to a very nice park ranger who gave us a map. We paid $10 for a lifetime National Park service pass. This was the first time that I have ever been carded for my status of being over 65. Then off we went to the park. So here are the pictures taken by my trusty iPhone 4S.

This my friends is a Joshua tree. We had hoped that the trees would be in bloom, but we think that we were a little bit early or perhaps not enough rain over the winter.

Lots of boulders.

This is a Yucca plant. Much of the flora in the desert has evolved to that it can survive in the desert with little or no water.

Some of the plants were blooming.

Cactus flowers.

It is amazing how a plant can survive in the cracks between the boulders.

Big boulders.

Yucca with a bloom.

This is view from Keyes View. The view is towards the San Rosa mountains and the San Andreas fault.

This picture was taken using the iPhone’s panorama mode.

So it was getting on to be 4:30pm and we wanted to be back to San Pedro by 7:30pm. So we hit the road back west towards LA. Next time we might try to stay a little longer.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Joshua Tree, CA

Point Fermin Park

April 19, 2013

Another thing to distract us from the horror of the bombings in Boston.

There is a lovely park in San Pedro at Point Fermin. It is on the southern tip of San Pedro with scenic views toward Long Beach (aka LA Harbor) and Santa Catalina. Paula wanted to go down there yesterday to get out of the house and take a ride on her bike. We were almost there already for her dentist appt.

So we loaded up the bike into the back of the jeep and headed to the park. We do need to get a bike rack if we are to continue with this. Had to stop and get air in the front tire. While she was attempting to ride, I walked around the park and took some pictures.

The views were spectacular. Here are the pictures.

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View towards Long Beach

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Point Fermin Light house. Not operational any longer. Houses a museum.

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Santa Catalina. Back in the eighties when Harold and Mary had a condo with a view of the Pacific. They kept telling me that Catalina was out there. I told them that they were pulling my leg. Most of the time, fog prevented one from seeing the island. Clearly in view yesterday.

Twenty-six miles across the sea
Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me
Santa Catalina, the island of romance
Romance, romance, romance.

I could have sworn that it was the Beach Boys that sang it. But Google says “Four Preps”.


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Nice view of the park.

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Another view of the light house.

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Last but not least. Flowers. BTW, for those that care. All of the pictures were taken with my iPhone 4S. I’ll  likely be upgrading as soon as Apple announces there new iPhone in June?

We’re thinking of heading out to Joshua Tree tomorrow. Spring time in the desert.




Red Sox vs Indians 4-18-2013

April 19, 2013

Well this concludes the sweep of Terry Francona’s Cleveland Indians. Three good solid games. Good solid pitching. Red Sox were just better. This is the first game that i have had the time to score. I didn’t get the actual pitch counts on the last inning and half. Internet performance was getting to suck. MLBTV was dropping in and out.

I scored the game on Patriots’ Day but decided not to post due the bombing.

Good to hear that other teams including Yankees were playing “Sweet Caroline”. Very cool.

So here is the score card.

Bos vs Cle 04-18-2013


April 17, 2013

Well this evening I had a choice. Watch the Red Sox play the Indians, go to see the new movie “42” or watch more news about the Boston Marathon bombing.

Normally on Tuesday evenings we have Mike, Theresa and little Jonathan over for dinner. But Mike & family were off to Los Vegas for a three day mini-vacation. Aunt Georgia provided them with a couple of hotel passes for a non weekend stay. So no Jonathan this evening.

Well one of the local theaters has $4 admission on Tuesday, so off we went to see 42. It was good to forget all of the sadness with regard to the events in Boston. I figured there would be more Red Sox games to watch. Glad to here that the Sox won again tonight.

So this is the story of Jackie Robinson being hired by Branch Rickey to play for then very white Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Jackie Robinson is played by Chadwick Boseman and Branch Rickey by Harrison Ford. How did Harrison get to be looking so old? Must be the makeup, right? It seems like just yesterday that he was starring in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, right?

Chadwick Boseman does a decent job of playing Robinson. How do they cast for someone who can act AND play baseball?

Generally the film is well done. You feel the pain when Jackie gets hit in the head. I thought to myself how does anyone survive getting hit in the head. Tony Conigliaro certainly survived, but never really was able to play major league baseball.

The baby that was born in the film to Jackie and his wife seemed to be about 9 months old or maybe that was a twenty pound newborn?

It’s worth seeing, especially if you love baseball. Here’s the pointer to the trailer.

Boston Marathon

April 15, 2013

I know what the finish line of the marathon is like. I’ve never run the marathon and most likely never will. But, I’ve been at the finish line many times. Most recently ten years ago when our son Mike ran Boston for the third and final time.

The New York Times wrote an editorial this afternoon that captures a part of how I feel.

A marathon is the most unifying of sporting events. The city that shows up to cheer on thousands of runners doesn’t really know or care much about who wins; there are no sides to root for or against. Those who stand on the sidelines — as they have done in Boston since 1897 — come to celebrate runners from around the world. The country or neighborhood of origin of the competitors matters far less than their stamina.

Click here for the entire piece.

I live on the west coast, but Boston is in my DNA. I can’t feel anything but hurt when I read about this tragedy. All of my extended family and friends in the Boston area are safe. But I have trouble getting the picture of the 8 year old boy from Dorchester or the 29 year old woman from Medford out of my mind. May they rest in peace.

Here’s hoping the the police find the perp and put him away for a long long time. BTW, the New York Yankees will be playing “Sweet Caroline” after the third inning. Class act. [Note: for folks not from Boston: “Sweet Caroline” is always played in the eighth inning at Fenway.]

Rays vs Red Sox 4-14-2013

April 14, 2013

Great game by Clay Bucholz. 8 innings pitched. 2 hits, no runs. Here’s the score card.

I will score tomorrow’s game. Will have to be up early. Starts at 0800 PDT.

Rays vs Red Sox 4-14-2-2013

Beatles Go Baroque

April 14, 2013

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled out of the garage and was waiting for Paula and Mary K come down and load up. The radio was tuned as per usual to SiriusXM channel 75 which is the classical Pops channel.

One of the nice things about Sirius satellite radio is the availability of classical and jazz channels all without commercials. This is one of my favorite channels. So they were playing a “Hey Jude” in the style of a concerto grosso.

From there they segued into a baroque version of “Yellow Submarine”. Mary K says nice violin. Of course, Mary K wouldn’t recognize a Beatles tune if it hit her over the head. Okay, that’s not fair, I wouldn’t recognize a Justin Bieber tune if it hit me over the head.

So I got out my trusty iPhone and loaded the “Shazam” app. This is a truly amazing app. It “listens” to a recording and instantly tells you the title and performer. Here’s the link to the app on iTunes.

So next thing I do is go to the iTunes app and search for the album. $7.99 what a bargain. Apple doesn’t make a lot of money from me on music, but once in a while there is an album that I just have to have.  Here’s the link to the album on iTunes.

Here is a sample cut I found on of “Lady Madonna” . There are plenty more cuts on youtube. Just search on “Beatles Go Baroque”

Finally downloaded and burnt a CD for playing on the car CD player. Enjoy.

Baseball Red Sox vs Orioles 4-8-2013

April 10, 2013

As many of you know, the Major League Baseball season has started. Many of you also know that I am fervent Boston Red Sox fan. I like to keep score of the games that I have time to watch. It keeps me in to the game. I learned baseball scoring methods as a young boy from my father and brothers. Back in the day, we didn’t have any fancy scoring tools that exist today. We just had a score sheet drawn on a white lined piece of paper. I use an app on my iPad called Pointstreak.

I thought I would explain basic scoring but I found a site that does a good job of explaining scoring. See

So here is the score card for Monday’s home opener for the Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles.

Sox v Bal 4-8-2013