Archive for March 2018


March 15, 2018

So i have been watching the mini-series “The Crown” on Netflix. In the past few weeks I have watched all of season 1 and yesterday I started in on season 2. This is the story of Queen Elizabeth II from the time when she becomes the Queen of England back in the early 50’s It’s a great show and I love watching it.

But here’s the thing. They’ve done a great job of displaying what it was like to be in England in the 1950’s. What struck me was that everyone was smoking all the time. The first few episodes had Winston Churchill smoking a cigar all the time. There was hardly a time that he didn’t have a cigar in his hand. Winston was played by John Lithgow (he really did a great job, btw) and I read that he got quite sick from all the smoking that he had to do during the filming.

Princess Margaret was constantly smoking. There was hardly a time on screen when she didn’t have a butt in her fingers. However, Queen Elizabeth did not smoke. I kept expecting her to tell Margaret to put the butt down.

So the picture tells the story that even our doctors were selling tobacco. Amazing and it wasn’t that long ago.

We seem to have forgotten how it was like back in the day before smoking became so odious. I remember one of the engineers I worked with who constantly smoked at work. His computer terminal was a sickly yellow instead of the usual white.

There were cigarette vending machines at work and in bars and restaurants. It took a long time to get to where we are today. We had to suffer through smoking/non-smoking sections on airplanes. We now have smoke-free environments on aircraft, at work and anywhere else the public might visit.

We’ve come a long way, baby.



March 12, 2018

Okay, this is the last post about birthdays for a while. I promise. As many of you know, I turned 70 last week. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

70 is a big one. In one’s life there seem to be certain milestones. For me the milestones were 21, 30, 40 and 70. At 21, I could vote and buy beer. At 30, I met Paula, fell in love and got married. At 40, I felt like I had arrived. Secure in my space in my job and my family. 50 and 60 (I celebrated 60 by getting laid off from HP) didn’t feel all that important, but 70 does.

At 70, I feel like I have outlived many of my friends. I have outlived my father. (He died at the age of 65 or 66.) Perhaps, I have my mother’s genes. (She lived to be 89) And not my father’s. I think that if one can beat cancer, one can live for a long long time.

So looking back, here is a list of friends and co-workers that have passed away in the past 15 years (mostly due to cancer).

  • Betsy Burton
  • Richard Nicoll
  • David Eno
  • Karen Butland
  • Fred Marsh
  • Dean McGorrill


Note: If a friend who is younger than me dies, it was automatically before their time.

Mary (and other stuff)

March 12, 2018

2018-03-11 12.32.38It’s time for an update. Mary had a tough go of it a couple of weeks ago. She came down with an urinary tract infection on Monday 2/26. So Paula made an appt to see her primary care doc in Torrance. Her doc got a urine sample and wrote her a prescription for an antibiotic and sent her home. He had us give her ibuprofen for the pain. So Paula gets the Rx filled at the local CVS. She was feeling pretty miserable.

Two days go by and she’s still not getting much better. Paula takes her to urgent care and sees a different doctor. New doctor prescribes a new antibiotic and gives her an Rx for Tamaflu. He was thinking that maybe the flu was involved although she wasn’t running a fever.

She’s feeling much better today. She was feeling good enough to come to church with us. It didn’t hurt that our grandson Jonathan was singing in the kids’ choir. The picture above was taken this morning during brunch at the Pacific Diner in San Pedro. (One of our favorite places for brunch after church.)

2018-03-03 19.11.38In other news from San Pedro, I celebrated my 70th birthday on March 3. Paula and I got a sitter to watch Mary while we went out for dinner for just the two of us. It was so nice to get out without Mary. We went to a steak house called “The San Franciscan” in Torrance. I had a steak and shrimp, Paula had the prime rib. Very tasty.

We shared a piece of cheese cake for dessert. When Jonathan saw the picture of my “birthday” cake, he told us that wasn’t a proper birthday cake. Grownups, I try to teach them right. So we got a real chocolate devil’s food cake for last Friday when Jonathan was over for dinner. Much better he thought.

We’re finally getting some rain. It rained yesterday and today. Forecast for rain on and off for the next week or so. It’s been a light rain. No soaker like we had last time a couple of months ago that caused mud slides up in Santa Barbara. It’s finally beginning to feel like a typical San Pedro winter with temps in the 50’s and rain.

Caution: Rainy When Wet

March 6, 2018

2018-03-06 11.58.40I live in Los Angeles. It doesn’t rain very often here. in the past couple of days, we’ve had the first measurable rain in the better part of a year.

I even had to turn on my windshield wipers. Let’s see, where’s that knob? Wow, they still work.

So after seeing pictures of the flooding back in Mass. over the past few days, I was amused by this sign on the door to our local super market. I guess they felt the need to tell people that the floors get slippery when they get wet. Of course, today the sun was shining. It may of course rain again this year. Can’t be too careful.

Birthday Stories

March 3, 2018

Here are a couple of birthday stories.

I was born on March 3, 1948 which I knew was my parents’ wedding anniversary. When I was a child, I thought that was interesting. It wasn’t until I was much older did I learn that I was born C-section and the birth had been scheduled. When one is four or five years old, parents don’t explain how or why babies came to be.

Here’s the second story. Everyone knows the birthday song, right? Happy birthday to you…

It turns out that the “Birthday Song” is one of the most prolific song ever written. Click here for all you ever wanted to know about it. It has generally been attributed to be written by Patty and Mildred J Hill in 1893. It is considered to be one of the most recognized tunes of all time.

Apparently, a few years ago there was a big stink about the copyright status. So back in 2017 a federal court decided that the tune was in the public domain.

There were a couple of really notable performances of the song. First, was done by Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to President John F Kennedy. Another was Victor Borge playing the song in style of Bach, Brahms and Mozart.

Here’s the Victor Borge video:

And finally, some Minions birthday humor:



In Like a Lion

March 2, 2018

So it would seem that March is coming in like a lion, at least if you live in New England. Down here in LA, not so much. It was actually a bit warmer today than yesterday. Up in the 50’s.

Forecast here is for rain. Up in Santa Barbara along rte 101, they’re talking about heavy rains. That’s not a good thing. Back in January, they a real soaker that washed all of the mud down off of the hill sides.  So here is how this works. Last summer they had some nasty fires that removed all of the hillside vegetation and then there is nothing to hold the dirt in place.

Won’t be anything like that here in San Pedro.

They are just about got things cleaned up from the January storm and it looks like it will happen again. So they called a mandatory evacuation. this time I doubt that anyone will stay behind.

So my day today was spent seeing a Ear/Nose/Throat Doc about a cyst about the size of a quarter that has been growing  under my ear lobe. Scheduled blood work and a MRI scheduled for Sunday. The problem in cutting it out is that it’s right over the salivary gland. Also, many nerves that control facial muscles. Follow up in a couple of weeks.

Oh and by the way, I turn 70 on Saturday.