Saturday, September 5, 2009

Go State! First college football Saturday

For my Spartan fans these little gems from the 2008 season.

Or this one:

Charlie Rangel: Tax cheat and House Ways and Means Chairman

Now I get it, Democrat Charlie Rangel wants all of us to pay more taxes, but that doesn't apply to him.

Last year at this time Mr. Rangel was saying that he "might" owe the feds just a little money.

Pay as I say, not as I do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rick Monday just became my all-time favorite baseball player

Thanks to Reporting Michigan for posting a link to this You Tube video of an incident that I had long forgotten about. Great moment for Chicago Cub Rick Monday and baseball. Just a little something for a holiday weekend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The story of 'Diamond Lil'

Long time readers of this blog may recall that one of my all-time favorite assignments was flying aboard a B-24 named 'Diamond Lil.'

To keep my father from calling me on a technicality, I will have to allow that the B-24 I flew in was actually a C-87. As I recall, it left the factory in 1941 (the 25th out of 18,000 that would be built) in San Diego as a B-24, but crash landed (something about the landing gear not coming down) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Because it was headed to England as part of the lend-lease program, the government simply flew another new B-24 over to England in its place. The Diamond Lil aircraft was severely damaged on its belly (that happens when you land without wheels) so a decision was made to weld it back together and use it as a transport, which technically makes it a C-87.

After the war, the plane had a new life as an executive aircraft until it was purchased (or obtained) and restored to its appearance as a B-24 (it still does not have the bomb doors). It now is reportedly only one of two flying B-24s.

During World War II it was used, among other things, to transport movie stars on USO tours and was outfitted with relatively luxurious seats and interior. That duty probably helped it survive the war and on into today.

While searching I located this clip of Diamond Lil, the very same one I flew on so many years ago. Again, to my old editor - Roger - my thanks for the best assignment I ever had.

My favorite Facebook status so far

A California buddy, a guy I served on a California police department with for five years in the 1970s, put this up as his Facebook status today:

"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."

"Reporting Michigan" a new online news experiment

Over on Inside Out there are several new posts this morning, one on some reflections on and another about a former Ann Arbor News reporter's new "Reporting Michigan" online business.

The reporter, Tom, has been a sometime contributor on this blog and I'm going to put up a link on my list to watch his new venture.

At least it has the look of a news site. And a pretty good story up this morning on how some State employees take a furlough day on Friday and then work for overtime the next day on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An online newspaper paid subscription that worked

A loyal FFE reader sent along this link to a Newsweek article about a newspaper that made the online model pay.

This can't be possible, all those Internet news gurus said this wouldn't work.

Check out this post at Inside Out

For those starved for Booth/Advance news, Inside Out has a few reflections today.

I continue to get e-mails about a pending Booth September surprise. To be honest, I have no direct knowledge of any changing publication plans, downsizing, upsizing or any kind of sizing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dramatic photos of the Los Angeles fires

For my friends and family in and from California the Los Angeles Times has a series of 143 photos, many from the La Crescenta and La Canada area where we were all from. For my friend Drew there are several photos taken right on Ocean View Boulevard where he used to live.

One photo was taken at the intersection of Rockdell and Rosemont which is less than a mile from my former home. The fire did not threaten Rosemont Junior High School, my former school.

The evacuation orders have been lifted for La Crescenta and La Canada where the fire has burned itself out and moved on north. Structural damage was minimal, but a few miles away in Tujunga, they were not so lucky.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I know what I want for Christmas

If you're not a fan of radio-controlled model aircraft, skip this post. But this is an amazing display of flying skills and a pretty cool, jet-powered model aircraft.

Mainly I posting this here because my father, a former pilot and a docent at the Air and Space Museum in Virginia will get a big kick out of this now that he has a high-speed Internet connection.

More fires, more family to worry about

My sister-in-law Barbara lives in a beautiful spot called Lake of the Pines in Auburn, California. Barbara has been following my coverage of the fires in Southern California and alerted me to a serious fire that came within several miles of her home. My late brother Michael loved his home in the gated community at LOP.

It is where I stayed when I flew out after my brother's death earlier this year.

Barbara said she had the car packed and was ready to go because the fire quickly spread through nearby subdivisions destroying 60 homes and businesses as it went. Fortunately for her, LOP's was spared.

You can see the Sacramenta television station's coverage here. There are several videos available on the station's website if you are interested.

Another California fire picture

A friend of my sister Pam, Dianne Adams, who lives in the area of the fire sent this photo taken from Crescenta Valley High School, the high school my sister Pam, brother Mike and I attended. This is the closest I can ever recall a fire coming to our area in La Crescenta.
Sorry to hear this morning two firefighters were killed trying to escape the flames when their fire truck went off a road and crashed.
Overnight, my old high school, along with nearby La Canada High School and Verdugo Hills High School were opened as shelters.

Red Uleskey: 'I wish I did what I didn't do'

As mentioned before many of my father-in-law Red’s sayings grew a little darker as his health deteriorated. Not having faced my own imminent approaching death it is hard for me to understand some of them.

One thing Red began urging us to do a few years ago was to retire as soon as you could and then once retired front load your retirement with travel, fun and adventure. He expressed regret that he spent the first years, his healthy retirement years, staying too close to home believing there would always be time for the adventure. "There will be plenty of time to sit at home," he would advise us.

When his body failed him, the time and chance for adventure was over. In June 2008, when we took a cruise to Alaska, Red was very disappointed that his health prevented him from joining us. Especially since all three daughters and sons-in-law and two granddaughters were on the trip.

There also seemed to be a wistfulness about what his life had meant and what good he had done. So here are the latest installments of Red’s sayings.

I wish I did what I didn’t do.

Age is a huge boulder it’s going to crush you.

Sing when you can, you never know when you’ll lose your voice.

Life’s all about what’s happening this very moment.

It’s nice to get older, you don’t have to remember.

It’s tough to get to 72 it’s a lot tougher if you don’t. (He was 85 when he died)

God let me live long enough to get tired of life.

Death is the only solution to life.

If you never lived, you’re already dead.

I don’t expect much out of life, but I get less.

I didn’t think it was important until it hurt.

There’s little in life that’s real.

I don’t get headaches, I have them.

I guess I’m reasonably unhappy.

You’re only young once, but can be insipient forever.

You learn something every day but you don’t get smarter.

Misstakes make you feel imperfect. (Misstakes misspelled incorrectly on purpose)

Thing built today should last for an eternity.

We have everything, but we have nothing.

Life without love is an empty grave.

One of the worst things about life is that some people are dead and don’t know it.

(Red, a married man for 61 years to Joan, often wrote of love):

It is very difficult to love someone without loving them.

If you want somebody to love you, it better be yourself.

I love more than I despise.

Love is giving.

Then just a few quips for good measure:

He is about as handy as a left-handed snake.

I’m going to wake up sober in the morning but I hope wiser.

I don’t need money, I need some cents.

(There was much discussion in the last years of Red’s life about grave markers. Red wanted his free veteran’s marker for his grave, but his wife, Joan, insisted that she did not want any kind of a marker.
She became known in the family as: “No stone Joan” because of that decision. So buried in Red’s book was this little gem):

Here lies ‘No Stone Joan’ and ‘Stoned John.”

More to come

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Photos from the fire

The fire truck (in the picture just above this note) is traveling on Foothill Boulevard towards La Crescenta. If you look just to the right of the fire truck in the far background in the foothills, that is roughly where I used to live. Click on the photos for a larger image.
Also, I know this may not be of major interest to folks back east, but many of my family and friends who check in here will be concerned. There is a pretty good 4-minute video from KTLA at this link. They are not providing an embed for this video.
From the KTLA story on the three injuries so far:
"Three civilians have been hurt, two in the Big Tujunga Canyon area and one off Highway 2 near Mount Wilson.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's official says the two people in Big Tujunga Canyon tried to ride out the firestorm n a backyard hot tub and were critically burned. They were airlifted out by a sheriff's rescue helicopter."
Now how California is that, riding out a firestorm in a hot tub.

Fire situation in Southern California worsens

The fire situation in my childhood neighborhood has worsened overnight and today. This attached map from the LA Times shows the expanded fire area. If you click on the man in the bed you will see that my high school, Crescenta Valley High School, had been designated as a shelter, but that people are now being sent to the next community and La Canada High School. According to the highs today in La Crescenta are expected to be 104, so no help there.

The evacuation area has spread and now seems to include my old neighborhood. My friend Drew's neighborhood on Ocean View Boulevard has been evacuated, although they have been allowing people to return to pick up some belongings.

View Los Angeles County fires north of La Canada Flintridge, Altadena in a larger map

Jim Carty checks in on the Michigan football story

Former Ann Arbor News sportswriter Jim Carty posted three items on the brewing Michigan football controversy over on his blog Paper Tiger No More. He also has some reasonable thoughts on and its strict moderation policy.

More wisdom and wit from Red Uleskey

More of my father-in-law Red’s private journal jottings as discovered by my sister-in-law Patty. Some of these are sooo good. We’re going to put them into a self-published book once we mine all the books that Red put them in. Again, some of them obviously deal with his declining health and advancing age, but others are just his own reflections. Each of them is a delight and a surprise to his family.

"He's as useless as a spare tire on the Goodyear Blimp.”

"I've lived long enough not to be remembered"

"The more you try to change, the more it stays the same"

"God only gives what he wants you to have"

"Life is over when you see the Dead End sign"

"The importance of being No one"

"No life is as full as it should have been"

"I like to worry, it makes me feel good"

"Love is an elusive commodity"

"Glaucoma is hardening of the eyeries"

"It seems as you age, you look forward to summer or death whichever comes first"

"Platonic relations are like a no thank you portion"

"Life is a lot of things but not easy"

"One of the worst things about life is that we take it too seriously"

"As you get older each day you learn a little, forget a lot."

"Death is Life's never happened" (I respectfully disagree with Red on this one)

"Life is the same old story with a different twist"

"Life is precious but short"

"I forgot what never was"

"There's only one perfect person in the world but you"

"Life is a puzzle we some time never figure out"

"History is never tomorrow for you"

"A little bit of life steps on everyone, Thank God its not a size 15EEE"

More to come.

President Obama didn't always say nice things about Sen. Kennedy

President Obama delivered the eulogy (a good one) at Sen. Ted Kennedy's funeral yesterday, but a few years ago the message he delivered to Sen. Kennedy was a little rougher.

The Boston Globe recounted the story of how then candidate Obama had to go to Sen. Kennedy and apologize for the remark in the video (below) on his way to getting the Kennedy endorsement.

At first, Obama denied making the remark, but when confronted with the video had to man up and go apologize in person, I believe.