Books read, 2010

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A chronological list, January to December, of the 52 titles I read in 2010. A breakdown: six by Mark Twain, five by A. Conan Doyle, three each by Harlan Ellison, Samuel Beckett and Jonathan Lethem, two each by Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury and John D. MacDonald and lone books by a bunch of others.

1. “Waiting for Godot,” Samuel Beckett
2. “Happy Days,” Samuel Beckett
3. “A Study in Scarlet,” A. Conan Doyle
4. “Baghdad by the Bay,” Herb Caen
5. “Three Coins in the Birdbath,” Jack Smith
6. “The Thin Man,” Dashiell Hammett
7. “Pulp Culture,” Frank M. Robinson and Lawrence Davidson
8. “Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust,” Nathanael West
9. “The Sign of the Four,” A. Conan Doyle
10. “Da Capo Best Music Writing 2002,” Jonathan Lethem, ed.
11. “The Lottery and Other Stories,” Shirley Jackson
12. “What Mad Universe,” Fredric Brown
13. “The Quick Red Fox,” John D. MacDonald
14. “Dark Carnival,” Ray Bradbury
15. “Solar Lottery,” Philip K. Dick
16. “The October Country,” Ray Bradbury
17. “Roughing It,” Mark Twain
18. “Endgame,” Samuel Beckett
19. “The World Jones Made,” Philip K. Dick
20. “Just When You Thought It Was Safe: A Jaws Companion,” Patrick Jankiewicz
21. “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Robert Louis Stevenson
22. “Dancing Under the Moon,” Al Martinez
23. “Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell With the Rolling Stones,” Robert Greenfield
24. “Why Call Them Back From Heaven?” Clifford D. Simak
25. “The Diaries of Adam & Eve,” Mark Twain
26. “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” A. Conan Doyle
27. “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” Scott Plagenhoef
28. “The ‘Reel’ Benchley,” Robert Benchley
29. “Millard Sheets: The Early Years (1926-1944),” Gordon McClelland
30. “The Bob Dylan Scrapbook, 1956-1966,” Robert Santelli
31. “The Loved One,” Evelyn Waugh
32. “Let Me Count the Ways,” Peter DeVries
33. “City Lights,” Dan Barry
34. “The Lurking Fear,” H.P. Lovecraft
35. “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” James M. Cain
36. “No. 44, the Mysterious Stranger,” Mark Twain
37. “Selected Shorter Writings of Mark Twain,” Walter Blair, ed.
38. “The Best Short Stories of Mark Twain,” Lawrence Berkove, ed.
39. “The Good, the Bad and the Mad: Some Weird People in American History,” E. Randall Floyd
40. “The God of War,” Marisa Silver
41. “A Deadly Shade of Gold,” John D. MacDonald
42. “Gentleman Junkie,” Harlan Ellison
43. “Fahrenheit 451,” Ray Bradbury
44. “From the Land of Fear,” Harlan Ellison
45. “The Fortress of Solitude,” Jonathan Lethem
46. “Life on the Mississippi,” Mark Twain
47. “Marvel Comics in the 1960s: An Issue-By-Issue Field Guide…,” Pierre Comtois
48. “Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes,” A. Conan Doyle
49. “Memos From Purgatory,” Harlan Ellison
50. “Motherless Brooklyn,” Jonathan Lethem
51. “The Most of S.J. Perelman,” S.J. Perelman
52. “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” A. Conan Doyle

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Restaurant of the Week: Myung Dong Tofu House

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Myung Dong Tofu House, 9799 Base Line Road (at Archibald), Rancho Cucamonga

Korean restaurants are relatively rare in the Inland Valley, and the subset of Korean tofu restaurants is even smaller. The only ones I’m aware of are Young Dong in Chino Hills and Myung Dong in Rancho Cucamonga.

The latter is in the shopping center where the 99 Ranch market recently opened. Based on the pit area, Myung Dong appears to have taken over a Korean barbecue restaurant. The furnishings aren’t quite up to snuff; merely plopping into a booth rattled the booth back and the customer sitting behind me.

I ordered a bibimbap with beef paired with pork tofu soup ($12) and friend got mushroom tofu soup ($9). Bibimbap — assorted vegetables with a meat of your choice, rice on the side — is a basic Korean dish, albeit one I’d never had. The thick soup, spiked with chunks of tofu, comes in a hot pot and arrived at our table bubbling.

Service was helpful. The food was okay if unspectacular. Too much tofu and not enough of the main item (pork or mushroom, in our cases). The spice legend on the menu ranges from four peppers (extra spicy) past mild (one pepper) to white. (I joked that maybe white is for white people.) My friend’s spicy soup (three peppers) wasn’t very spicy; even I could eat it, and I’m sensitive to spiciness. So the food, at least in this one experience, was blander than it should have been.

Young Dong was a better experience. But if you’re closer to Rancho Cucamonga than to Chino Hills, and you’d like to try Korean tofu, Myung Dong is good enough.

I would advise against the combinations unless you’re a bigger eater than I am. Either the soup or the bibimbap would be enough for a decent meal, especially with the free appetizers you always get at a Korean restaurant, the small dishes of kimchi, bok choy, potato, cucumber and other items.

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The essentials of life


If memory serves, this shop at Base Line and Carnelian in Rancho Cucamonga used to be named Water and Ice. (* Or maybe it was only The Water Store.) The name upgraded a year or so back to Coffee and Water. (Next door, incidentally, is a smoke shop.)

Coffee and Water sounds like a good place to take a blind date, especially if you’re cheap (“two waters, please”).

But what will the next incarnation be? Perhaps the storefront will focus on catering to convicts, under the name Bread and Water.

While we’re being silly, anyone want to suggest other possible combinations/clientele?

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As a wage slave in a fabric-covered box myself, I knew I had to see “Cubicle,” an exhibit at Pomona’s dA Center for the Arts (on view through Feb. 1). The paintings and photos are cool, but even moreso are the two mock ceramic cubicles, each object within made from terra cotta by Jon Ginnaty. Each piece is for sale, from pens ($14.99) to computer ($599.99, a price that includes a “complimentary mouse pad”).

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New Year’s resolutions?

We’re 10 days into the new year, which means your resolutions have either taken hold or are abandoned already. Want to share any resolutions or plans still in play for 2011?

Mine include becoming more technologically connected, taking at least one trip outside the United States and again reading 50 books.

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Can we hear you now?

Many of you have found it difficult or impossible to post comments here in recent months. Then came the blog meltdown, which as noted here was throughout our newspaper chain and kept everyone from commenting. This was fixed when our IT people in Denver essentially flushed the entire system.

Want to try leaving a comment? We’re curious whether, as a side benefit, the reboot cured whatever glitch was blocking some of you. If you still get the “Text entered wrong” message when you know you’ve entered the captcha code correctly, send me an e-mail at david.allen (at)

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Blog problems

The computer server for all the blogs in our newspaper chain had a meltdown late last week that slowed down the posting of new entries by up to 48 hours (!). It’s all being worked on and entries are now said to be posting immediately.

More importantly, though, the commenting feature on all the blogs was taken down Monday. The meltdown related to a deluge of spam messages, so all comments on all blogs are blocked for now until the problem is dealt with.

Makes sense, but on top of the other issues many of you have been having with commenting here, it’s frustrating. Even in the short term, what’s a blog without reader comments?

So, I’m going to refrain from posting anything else here until the comment function is restored, other than updating this post.

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Favorite flicks of ’10

My moviegoing comes and goes, and this year it mostly went: I saw a total of 16 new movies. (Plus some oldies, but those don’t count.) Below are my 10 favorites, roughly in descending order of preference:

“Cairo Time,” “Toy Story 3,” “Mademoiselle Chambon,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “Inception,” “Catfish,” “127 Hours,” “The Social Network,” “Cyrus” and “The Secret in Their Eyes.”

The other six: “True Grit,” “Avatar: Special Edition,” “Crazy Heart,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1,” “The Art of the Steal” and No. 16 out of 16, the closest thing to a stinker on the list, “Iron Man 2.”

One or two of these may technically have come out in 2009, but I saw them in 2010, as did almost everyone else. I only saw “The Social Network” on New Year’s Eve, solely to sneak it onto my 2010 list, and undoubtedly numerous other movies I didn’t see were as good as anything on this list.

What were your favorites?

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