Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

‘We arrived at the Dam in tattered cut-off jeans — covered in sweat, sawdust, and dirt’

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The modern Matson Lumber Co. looks a lot more streamlined, automated, and efficient than in my day. But stacking lumber is still the name of the game. (Photo: Matson Lumber)

“What did you do on your summer vacation?” I bet the answers in 2020 are going to be a lot different from those in 1966. 

A newsletter for ex-newspaper folks (specifically those bred in the incubator known as The San Diego Union-Tribune) recently spooled out a thread on summer jobs. The question was neutral but the recollections quickly veered toward the worst, hardest, most humiliating.

Well, those are usually the most memorable, aren’t they? Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for May 27: A romance-comedy triple feature, origins of reality TV faux show ‘Dark Pastry,’ and the best crossword puzzle ever

IMG_1749Did you ever have one of those days when you wake up and a word or phrase is jammed into your brain sideways like a rusty shard of steel and you just can’t get it out?

Happened to me today. The phrase was “Dark Pastry.”

Now a normal person would have thought, “Yes! Substitute dark chocolate in all recipe instances in which chocolate is required.”

Me?

I thought, “that would be a great name for a baking/horror/reality TV show.” Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Read it first: Origins of ‘Dark Pastry,’ the most successful horror/baking reality TV show ever

imageedit_11_5838111086A lot of you have been asking me, “Bob” you say, “how did you come up with the award-winning and fabulously successful reality TV cooking show “Dark Pastry.”

To date, my natural gift for modesty has kept me from spilling the beans on the cooking/horror reality show but so many urban legends and out-and-out lies by a very jealous POTUS have forced my hand.

Is it my fault that my reality show has been so much more-fabulously successful than his ever was?

Yes.

Yes, it is my fault. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 19: Breath of Fresh Air, Trump’s purge, Moppit’s spa day, Tom Swifties, and Escher-cise

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Sorry about the bleeding ink. Won’t happen again!

GOOD READ:

Lesson learned: The first half of a New York Times headline sounded just great, “Air travel surges by 123 percent!” But read on: “(Beware of misleading data like that)”

Marking the rise and fall of events by using percentages is an old dodge in the misinformation game. Economist Neil Irwin explains why you have to look behind the headlines, at the raw numbers — especially in these unusual times. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Time to step up and raise at-home fitness training to new levels with M.C. Escher-cise

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Well, this is the inspiration for M.C. Escher-cise — and it kind of looks like our house. Kind of. But you can see the concept and how it might work, right? Except for the optical illusions. Escher’s houses have lots of optical illusions — like infinite staircases — and mine sort of doesn’t.

You know, stuck here inside as we are, during these days of self-isolation, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to exercise.

A lot of thought.

You might say, thinking about exercise is inescapable. Seriously, I can’t get away from it.

Everywhere I look, there is Rose … exercising. She takes long walks or runs just before sunrise. She comes home and rolls out her yoga mat for one, two, even three different sessions with cream-and-sugar-voiced online instructors. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 18: Magic mushrooms, John Malkovich, a Pulitzer Prize podcast, a crossword blitz, and fresh-baked cookies

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Pulitzer Podcast:  Last week, the radio program/podcast “This American Life” won a Pulitzer Prize. It is the first-ever awarded to a radio program. The honored program, called “The Out Crowd” is steeped on original reporting, boots on the ground, at the U.S. Mexican border. It first aired in November 2019 and is rebroadcast now with critical updates.

Most dispiriting update of all — the atrocities first reported here are largely going on unchanged and unchecked. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 17 –Hitchcock’s ‘The Lady Vanishes’ and supernatural TV show ‘One Step Beyond’

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Moppit has an opinion on a new statue erected in front of the new El Golpe de Vista, about a block off of the southwestern corner of Parque Juarez

Rose is off on her Sunday morning run (4.2 miles) so it is left for Moppit and me to walk the cobblestones streets of San Miguel. At 7 a.m. we feel like the only two creatures in the city.

Good time to catch up on podcasts.

The NYT Daily “A Bit of Relief: Reruns and Rituals”— NYT TV critic and California Food Writer talks about how they are filling their time during the self-isolation. Spoiler alert: Watching a lot of TV. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 16, 2020 — U2’s R&R Hall of Fame concert, the funniest TV sketch ever, and Barack Obama speaks to 2020 grads

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IT’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: Back when I wrote about rock ‘n’ roll for a living, I was sometimes able to take one or two of my sons “to work.”

As young high schoolers, Brendan and Ryan got to see Pink Floyd from the nosebleed seats at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm/San Diego stadium — but even up there, the band’s impact was powerful.

When U-2 played the same stadium, the experience was a bit different. A traffic jam made us miss the start of the show. Still, walking my sons down to 20th-row seats on the floor, next to the band’s runway proscenium — it was like landing in Oz. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 15: Deep dive into Muscle Shoals music and down the Rabbit Hole with Internet king ‘KewDiePie’

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Special birthday edition in honor of my first son, Brendan! All hot-linked for his special day!

#1   DEEP DIVE INTO MUSCLE SHOALS MUSIC:
A. Documentary: “Muscle Shoals” (Magnolia Pictures) 2013
Tucked into the northwest corner of Alabama, hard up against the Tennessee River, Colbert County is home to legendary musicians and recording studios known collectively under the name “Muscle Shoals.” Starting with Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Arthur Alexander, Etta James, Clarance Carter, and Wilson Pickett in the 1960s, a stunning list of musicians have trekked to the area to tap into the funky soul sound that has birthed scores of hit records. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 13: Hey, brother, can you loan me a dime for a ride into the mystic?

IMG_1672Oh, this day has begun all right — an All-Music Morning for Wednesday.

#1  “The Girl In Byakkoya,” Susumu Hirasawa,  from the animated film “Paprika.” This is the music that gets you up and moving. Check out the movie, too — anime magical surrealism at its finest. A mad enormously ballooning parade that absorbs everybody, everything — all energy  — as it progresses. Who can stop it? And how?

#2  Delbert McClinton channels his inner-Tony Bennett and sings about “San Miguel”! (Even mentions San Francisco in the first line … (Thanks for the tip, Robert Cooksey.) Continue reading

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