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I've had the good fortune to have had breakfast with my kids nearly every day of their lives. I am the short order breakfast cook and I'm just the guy to hammer on them about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. It is, and if dad is the breakfast chef, then he knows that the kids are eating before school.
The Boy always has enjoyed a Cup of Joe in the morning. It had an especially soothing effect on him in elementary school.
You'd think with the thousands of pictures I have there might be one or two of the kids eating. And you'd be wrong. LOL.
TWC is grateful that it's windy, chilly, and clear in the aftermath of a passing storm, which left a little snow behind in the Southern California mountains. Might be a little snowboarding going on over Thanksgiving weekend as we settle into our normal winter weather pattern.
A few days of yucky, soupy, dripping fog, courtesy of Coastal Eddie and Onshore Flo. Hate those two, especially that Flo chick.
The fog then gives way to cold storms sweeping down from Alaska bringing blessed rain.
The storms clear off leaving us with cool, clear days and views to the horizon
After which gale winds descend upon us from the Great Basin, cold at first, then warming as the friction of air moving through mountain passes heats the Santa Ana Winds, leaving us with us with balmy, shirt sleeve weather for a few days.
The entire cycle takes two to three weeks to run its course and repeat.
That's Mt Baldy across Lake Mathews at sunrise this morning, just one of many things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving.
There are a very few defining cultural moments that every generation shares. As a rule they almost always include the question: Where were you?........What were you doing?..... Our parents could recall in indelible clarity the events of December 7, 1941. For older Baby Boomers, whose coming of age included Viet Nam and summertime cities in flame, a watershed event was the assasination of JFK. And most everyone of us can tell you where we were and what we were doing when the news came.
TWC had math class immediately after lunch. Mrs Lush's English class. Mrs Lush, who pointed out on the first day of seventh grade that her husband was a trumpet player, not a drunk. The point was lost on me because, unbeknown to Mrs Lush, the term had become archaic when she wasn't looking.
We knew something was very wrong as we filed into the classroom. Her eyes were red and swollen and she got right to it. The president has been killed in Dallas. I was pretty sure she wasn't a Kennedy supporter, being a fundie and all, but the idea that someone had killed the president threw her around. As it did us all. Life was pre-empted for three days.
My good friend, Chuck, was a cinematography major at Long Beach State. Somehow, he got hold of bootleg copy of the Zapruder film, which was illegal to posess in those days. We watched that film, frame by frame, a zillion times in his bedroom. You can't see what, exactly, was happening on the grassy knoll, but something interested Zapruder, and there is just a sense of what it was, almost visible, like a specter and gone.
I am not a conspiracy theory true believer, but the evidence I saw in that film doesn't support a shot from the Texas School Book Depository building, which would have come from above and behind the motorcade. Graphic as it may be, JFK was shot in the head and a piece of his skull flew backwards out of the car. Backwards. Backwards over the trunk, after the car had passed Oswald's sixth floor lair. I'm not an expert on gunshots, but it stands to reason that if JFK was shot from the TBD, that piece of his skull would have flown into the front seat or onto the hood, not the exact opposite direction, onto the trunk of the limo. Backwards. Toward the TBD from which the shot was fired. See for yourself.
As a sidebar: 11-22-63 is a wonderful book, give it a read.
Tun Tavern, perhaps the first brewhouse on the waterfront in the City of Brotherly Love, is where Uncle Sam's Misguided Children came squalling into this world. Most Americans don't realize that the entire American Revolution was born in taverns, all across the land.
TWC is an extremely reluctant warrior, but if a man must go to war, or if a bar fight breaks out around you, these boys is who you want to have your back. Them or IDF. But it ain't their birthday.
Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery
So, pop a cork on a bottle of Jarhead Red and wish the Corps a happy birthday. I'm wondering if they'll be serving Jarhead Red at the Marine Corps Ball.
Jarhead Red is a red wine, a manly wine, as all wine would be if it could choose its destiny. Benito reviews it here.
For the guys out there that still think of wine as a girly drink, get over it. The Norwegian version of 'cheers!' is skål, which means 'skull'. This goes back to the practice of Vikings drinking wine* out of the hollowed-out skulls of their enemies.
Sidebar: If Harry Truman had his way, there would be no Marine Corps. After Iwo and the war in the Pacific? Who does that?
TWC spent a little time hanging with Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. However, I
didn't do much for This Man's Marine Corps except get me a back seat
flying license, a Firewatch Ribbon, and a pair of Captain's bars. The Captain's bars were for fun, to see how the other half lived. Get a salute instead of offering one up. In retrospect, I 'spose the Marine Corps might have taken impersonation of an officer a bit more serious than I did.
I never went
to war, but I was called a Baby Killer anyway. Got run off the road
once. Well, they tried, anyway. Never rode my murdercycle to El Toro in uniform after that. Got flipped the bird by long haired, drug crazed, hippie
freaks every so often. There are those with a revisionist
bent who'll say it wasn't like that. I've heard it before. I just shrug.
The Viet Nam vets had a
cross to bear and a lot of them were draftees, not volunteers.The people who sent them turned their backs and the people who reviled the war blamed them for making the war happen.
One of the perks of dragging my sorry self outta bed is being blessed with a pink sunrise.
That's the narrow, southern end of Lake Mathews where Cajalco Creek empties into the lake. The inflow from the Colorado River Aqueduct, which transports water across 200 miles of desert and mountains from Lake Havasu, is off camera to the right.
TWC is thankful that daylight savings time expired last night.
I'm no fan of DST, but It was pointless for the CONgress to stick us with another four weeks of DST in 2005. That dumb ass move cost the airline industry almost 150 million dollars and resulted in energy savings of pretty much zero. DST disrupts our sleep cycles, is hard on our hearts, and is linked to an uptick in car accidents.
The lack of energy savings is intuitive. If it's still pitch black at 6:30 in the morning in late October, you're not saving any juice, you're just shifting the usage from evening to morning. And if it's pitch black at 6:30 here in the southland, what time does the sun come up in Seattle?
Americans don't use electricity in the same way we used to. In July 1951 the family gathered around the Philco radio in the living room while a fan circulated hot, sultry air, providing the illusion of cooling. In July 2013 flat screens blare day and night, often competing for attention from several different rooms. The air conditioning might be set at an eco-friendly 70-something, but it still runs when it's hot outside. In 1951, an air conditioned home was virtually unheard of.
Incandescent bulbs, radio tubes, and electric fans are orders of magnitude less energy intensive than a/c and plasma screens and whatever time the sun sets is only nominally related to energy consumption.
TWC changed all the clocks in the house except this one ^. It's twelve feet up on the wall. I gotta shove the couch outta the way, then stand tippie-toed on the top of the step stool to reach the knob on the bottom that moves the hands. Show of hands: Is manually setting a mechanical clock a lost art?
I have several soft drink advertisement clocks, which were manufactured by the PAM Clock Company between 1950 and 1965. Each is a remnant of something that once was and cannot ever be again. I doubt I coined the term, but the clocks are a part of what I call Roadside Americana, the zenith of which lasted from the end of the Big War until the smog engine killed the muscle car.
All my mechanical clocks keep time better than the digital clock on the stove or the one in my truck. Go figure.
On All Saints Day, in the year of our Declaration of Independence, Father Junipero Serra officially founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, ushering in the dawn of California's wine culture. It wasn't Napa, Lodi, or Cucamonga that witnessed the first cultivation of the vine in the Las Californias Province of New Spain. Nor were the Padres planting California's storied Zinfandel grape, which wouldn't arrive in the New World for another seventy years.
150 Year Old Mission Grapes
Besides posole, citrus, pigs, and figs, the Franciscan missionaries brought the Criolla grape (Listan Prieta) to Las Californias. Today, Criolla, the Mission Grape, is largely extinct in its native Spain, and there are less than one thousand acres of Mission Grapes under cultivation in California. Although the Mission grapevine is a heavy producer, by the mid-1800's it had been supplanted by Zindandel.
Mission Grapes were crushed in an adobe vat (above) by young Juaneno
(Acagchemem) Indian men. Once crushed, the
juice flowed into a covered, adobe fermentation vat (below), located in an adjacent room.
The Padres made dry and sweet wines, both red and white, as well as brandy and a fortified dessert wine called Angelica. Apparently, the Men in Frocks were pretty good at their trade. Anchored off San Juan Capistrano in 1825, Captain John Hall recorded in the ship's log that.....
Good wine can be procured from the Friars, both white wine and red, the latter being of fine flavor.
I'm thinkin' that we handed out red wine, in red Solo cups, one year at Karla's house. Maybe more than once that Jim and I sat in the driveway in river chairs, grape juice in hand, while we waited on the kids to get back with their hard-earned loot. We had some grateful takers.
The Boy is off with his friends to Diz West for some Halloween revelry and The House Blond has plans for the spookiest day of the year as well. It's been almost two decades since Mrs TWC and I have had no parental obligations on Halloween. That's a disquieting feeling that almost borders on relief.
Disney allows costumes that are in good taste, which means a nay if the House Blond showed up as Pyscho Bride, a role she played a couple of years ago at the ASB haunted house.
Keeping that admonition in mind, The Boy is going as.....
What makes this a great costume is that the second he puts it on, he's in character. And he's awesome. The Boy stood silently in The House Blond's bedroom, lights out, patiently waiting for her to open the door and step inside. Never said a word, he didn't have to. She about dropped to the floor in a dead feint.
As the Summer of Love faded into the warm clear days that mark Southern California in October, the stork assigned to the Fullerton run showed up at St Jude Hospital a little early. In his bundle of swaddled cotton were a couple of teeny preemie twin girls. Nobody had thought up ultrasound yet and consequently Mrs TWC wasn't expected and gave them all a bit of a startle.
She's my pride and joy.....
The plan was to get out of town yesterday evening. Enjoy a little soak in the hot tub, and then segue into a sumptious repast at Morgan's in the Desert, followed by a leisurely morning breakfast in the garden with Eggs Benedict at Twenty6.
In Hannibal fashion (Smith not Lector), everything was going according to plan until work reared its ugly head (hers not mine). Big sigh.
On the up side, I was a Boy Scout and I was an awesome patrol food guy. While the other kids were eating cold ceral with chunky milk, our patrol tortured them with the aroma of bacon frying in the morning. Other than that, though, I was the worst Boy Scout ever. I was in it for the camping trips, but somehow, the Be Prepared stuff stuck. Which is why I was compelled to pick me up a couple of lovely New York Strip Steaks to stash. Just in case. They'll do nicely with the bottle of 2004 Silverado Cabernet I just opened.