Tuesday, January 23, 2018


“If I Am Still Alive in July,
I Plan On Being There”

This week we are having our semi-annual, mini-reunion lunch in San Jose with four Japanese-American friends, whose ages range from 86 to 95.

 I just wished one friend here in Santa Cruz a Happy 90th, another has a 93rd coming up, and two more long-term friends just “celebrated” their 90th birthdays.

When we speak nowadays, we jokingly talk about the Golden Years being mainly filled with rust.

But at least we are all still talking, although it seems that each week I learn of further woes that have noticeably slowed down contemporaries of mine. One long-time friend was in ICU for three weeks after a heart attack, someone else was having yet another operation, and another from high-school days in Detroit is barely alive with necessary tubes protruding from various areas of his body.
I just turned eighty-two, and most of my high-school friends are now eighty-three. Somehow, I jumped from grade 5A at Brady Elementary School in Detroit to grade 6A, and don’t remember earning that promotion. However, because of it, I have friends that are mainly six months older than I.  

When we get together in Detroit this July for the 65th anniversary of our high school graduation, among other topics, we may reminisce about the “good olde days,” some of which never occurred. We may learn about who had died, when and how, what our compatriot’s children had accomplished, how their grandchildren are doing, and in some instances, what’s doing with great-grandchildren.

If you live miles away or an ocean apart as I do, you can stay in touch via email, telephone, Skype, Face Time, and with typed or handwritten letters. I am the only person I know who still uses pen and ink to connect, and I don’t know if I know myself that well. I also help the U.S. Post Office; each time I affix another “Forever” stamp on an envelope.

Although we are on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, we are fortunate to have old Central High friends like Bernie Portnoy and his wife Chris from Naples, Florida stop by when they are in the neighborhood. Even a short reunion, helps keep a sixty-eight year friendship flourishing.

There were more than five hundred others who graduated from Central High School in the 1952-53 class along with me. At the 50th reunion in 2003, there were eighty-seven names of former classmates listed in the class booklet on the “In Memorium” page. In the 2013 booklet, there was no such page, for it was agreed upon that such an expanded listing would be too depressing.

The physical get together, including the dinner, was spread over many hours, and there were one-hundred forty-five alums at the last reunion in 2013. I was there for four hours, and if I had been able to talk with every classmate, I would have had just a few minutes with each. I have been living away from the Detroit area since 1986 (this time), and at other times from 1960-1962, and 1969-1973. I have not been in close contact with most of the CHS class of 1953. Although I searched for certain friends at that reunion, afterwards, I found to my dismay, that some of those whom I sought were there, but because of the years in-between, I had not recognized them, or they me. Perhaps, they had recognized me, but didn’t want to be recognized.

When it comes to connecting with others at the actual, physical reunion at the Glen Oaks Country Club in West Bloomfield, Michigan this July, even with a reduced number of attendees, visiting with one another for more than a few minutes, becomes a daunting task.

If you do recognize “an old friend,” that does not necessarily mean that a scintillating conversation will take place. With our memories fading by chance and by choice, many tend to deliberately forget or revise the stories we actually lived way back when.

When I first drove to California in 1960 with a Detroit friend, we ended up in Long Beach where there was a fishing boat accident. Our timing was right, and we photographed the injured captain being taken away by rescuers. We drove down to the Los Angeles Times, and they bought our shots and paid us for them. On my second day in LA, our photograph appeared on page two. Years later, my friend and I were at a party, and after I told this story, my friend bragged about the $250 we were paid. That sum didn’t seem right, and when I returned home, I went through my freelance file and found the duplicate of the Times check in the amount of $25.

I realize that inflation may have occurred, but at gatherings we all may have a tendency to elaborate and enhance the details of what has happened to us in the past.

I expect that to happen to some degree next July.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

THIS & THAT #32 1/2


The President may not be able to do anything about influencing the elimination or modification of Obamacare, nor revising any aspect of the tax situation to benefit his true base of wealthy individuals and giant corporations, or even be able to dissuade his fellow headstrong counterpart in North Korea.

Double Dribble
However, today he did achieve a major victory, regarding the three UCLA basketball players who were detained in China after they were caught shop-lifting sunglasses while on a goodwill tour in that foreign land.

At a made-for-television news conference, the players read from their own scripts, like Donald does. In both cases, others may have authored the scripts. The players (unlike Trump) apologized for their actions, which caused the American media to find another juicy, non-story to push.

Live and Learn, Perhaps
They each mentioned that this experience would help them in life, by learning from it. The President immediately tweeted that his intervention while in China, probably save these three teenagers from ten years ensconced in prison. Their main unsaid lesson would be, “If you are going to steal, especially in a less-tolerant foreign land, don’t get caught.” Their coach Steve Alford looked on.

The President wanted to make sure that he received maximum credit for his outstanding work on their behalf, the sole, positive result on his prolonged trip to Asia. Donald tweeted that he wants the UCLA players to thank him for intervening, and they did so in their staged media showing, with no questions asked.

Credit for Donald Since
No Bomb Was Dropped
Trump must be given credit for not starting a war with North Korea, and with his limited worldly knowledge, for not starting a war with South Korea.

The three UCLA freshman players were LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, and all have been suspended indefinitely. Their coach Steve Alford said, “They will have to earn their way back.” What he means is if UCLA is not winning when the Pac-10 Conference Season begins, UCLA will find room for the three as long as they aren’t “caught” doing any other unacceptable deeds.

The Young at Heart
The 6’5” Ball will turn nineteen on November 24th, the 6’7” Riley will be twenty on December 12th, and the 6’10”Hill will be eighteen on December 17th.

Perhaps the youngsters have learned their lesson, and will be sure that they don’t get caught the next time. UCLA basketball needs to hire chaperones for their kiddies, to go along with their other nine “coaches,” including twenty-five-year-old Kory Alford, their Video Coordinator. His last name seems familiar.

Thursday, November 9, 2017



While the NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, are an exuberant group, under the astute leadership of coach Steve Kerr, they mainly act like menschen.
This is unlike the Detroit Pistons of 1989 and 1990, also a championship team. However, they were known as “The Bad Boys” for their roughhouse play and very physically ferocious fouling, specially by 6’11” Bill Lambeer.

The Warriors newly acquired 6’7” forward Nick Young enjoyed entertaining himself, and had an undeniable swagger that he loved to display. In the opening game of the 2017-18 season against the Houston Rockets, Young made six of seven shots beyond the three-point circle, while amassing a total of twenty-three points.

After each three-pointer made, he reacted with a “Swaggy 3” celebration, holding out three fingers on each hand as he swaggered down the floor. The fans shouted back “Swaggy P,” in encouragement.

Perhaps Young needs to show a bit more swag since that October 17th game, for his twenty-three point scoring average after one game, has drastically shrunken to 5.6 points after twelve games.


When the Warriors won the 2016-17 NBA Championship, many fanatics (fans) had been patiently rooting for them for years. As an Oakland-based team, they had experienced the mismanagement of sports teams by Oakland’s various government entities. Those entities have helped to give incentives for their teams to seek better venues elsewhere.

The Oakland Raiders professional football team is moving to Las Vegas. The Oakland Athletics professional baseball team is looking to build a new stadium somewhere, and leave the failing Oakland Coliseum, built in 1966. Unfortunately the San Francisco Giants won’t release their territorial rights to the potentially lucrative Silicon Valley market, which was bestowed upon them by the powers that be.
The Golden State Warriors are following the dot.com billionaires, and within a few years will be leaving Oakland’s Oracle Arena, to seek their fortunes playing in San Francisco at the now being built Chase Center. They have been playing to loyal, sell-out crowds of 19,596 at Oracle for years, and will be moving within two seasons to the Chase, with 18,064 seats. Perhaps the ultra-wealthy co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber would rather wine and dine celebrities in San Francisco, than in Oakland, believing it’s a more impressive city. They purchased the Warriors in 2010 for a mere $450 million, and the team is currently valued at $2.6 billion.

After winning the basketball championship this year, a gigantic parade was held in Oakland, with an estimated one million in attendance. It was a feel-good, public relations event, but apparently the inept Oakland government entities and the Warriors were equally guilty in not agreeing to the “who pays for this?” After messy, ineffectual negotiations made through the media, the Warriors sent a check for $787,000 for this year’s title parade and rally.
I wager that the Golden State Warriors will once again become the San Francisco Warriors, which they were from 1962 to 1971. They played most of their home games at the start at the Cow Palace in Daly City, which sat 15,000 for basketball, and 11,089 for ice hockey.

The Cow Palace opened in 1941, and was originally called the California State Livestock Pavilion, and hosted the Grand National Livestock Expo, Horse Show and Rodeo. A local newspaper asked, “Why are we spending money on a palace for cows? Thus, “The Cow Palace.”

What could be more important that a story with the headline, “Rapper Keak da Sneak drops new album,” Hope he didn’t break it.

As we all well know, Keak is really Oakland native Charles Williams, who was recently wounded multiple times and found in front of a shuttered 76 Gas Station.

When he was shot, a local paper noted the happening but guess he wasn’t that well known, for they misspelled his name as Keek.

He takes creative credit for coining the word ‘hyphy” in his 2006 hit single “Super Hyphy.” The somewhat reliable Wikipedia gives Keak the Sneak credit, and calls it Oakland slang for “hyperactive,” describing both the music and “the urban culture associated with that area.”