A book talk in Chino

About 20 people showed up for my talk Saturday morning at the Chino Museum, 5493 B St., hosted by the Chino Valley Historical Society. I yakked about my career, read selections from my books “Pomona A to Z” and “Getting Started,” took questions, and sold and signed books. It was my first event in Chino and, one hopes, not my last. The museum is stuffed with objects to look at and merits a return visit.

The sign out on the sidewalk was a flattering touch.

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Column: So it goes: a Vonnegut tour of Dresden

In Sunday’s column, I wrap up my series about my trip to Germany by writing about Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” and my visit to the Dresden slaughterhouse where he was held as a POW.

Above, Donilo Hommel, center, shows us the renovated slaughterhouse at left where Vonnegut appears to have been held, across from the power building at right; below, I stand outside the entrance to Schlachthof 5/Slaughterhouse Five, marked by a sign put up by fans.

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Column: German visit provides food for thought, tastebuds

For Wednesday’s column, I write a little about the customs but mostly about the food and beverages from Germany and from my overnight jaunt to the Czech Republic. Above, three types of sausages, with sauerkraut and potatoes, in Dresden; below, a knuckle, sauerkraut and bread dumplings, also in Dresden; at bottom, the staff at a Prague shop prepare trdelniks.

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Column: An inexperienced traveler finds his way around Berlin, Prague

I don’t know how you stood the suspense, but Wednesday’s column, following up on last Wednesday’s, gives you the outline of my vacation to Europe, as well as explaining why this was a big deal for yours truly. Whether you’ve traveled more or less than I have, I hope you like it.

Above, a view of Lutherhaus, the former monastery in Wittenberg, Germany, where religious reformer Martin Luther and his wife lived.

In the next week or two, I hope to write a column on the foods and culture; It’s partly written but was set it aside in midstream for an overall column on the trip and its meaning first. Unless there’s a sense I’m running the topic into the ground, I may write one on Dresden, after I finish reading “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

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Column: How was his Ford F-150 rental? Bro-tastic

I’m hoping to write a fuller column on my vacation, but jumping ahead of that in line was the story of what happened to me when I got home. Namely, I’d somehow lost my house and car keys. I managed to rent a vehicle, and the only one available was kind of comical — but perfect for a humor columnist. I write about the experience in Wednesday’s column. Above, shot by Rick Sforza, I’m dwarfed by my temporary ride.

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A book talk in Ontario

Your humble scribe spoke July 16 in Ontario at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art downtown, jointly sponsored by the museum and Ontario Heritage. I didn’t know what to expect, especially after the Facebook invite said “0 going, 0 interested,” and settled in to my 90-minute book signing with some reading material close at hand.

But a steady stream of customers walked up, and I met some nice people, or renewed acquaintances with others. I sold 25 books, signed a 26th that someone brought in and didn’t have a break.

The talk followed, with 30 in the audience. I talked a little, read a column from each of my two books and took questions about my career (peaking), my early interest in writing (adorable) and the future of newspapers (dim). People responded to my reading with laughter, which was much-appreciated, and seemed to be paying attention and to be having a good time. I sure did.

Thanks to CCMA, Heritage and those who gave up an afternoon to listen to a newspaper guy for making this among my best-attended, and most enjoyable, book signings and talks. Photo above is by Petrina Delman of Heritage; that’s a John Svenson piece behind me, making me look good.

Below is a photo of the audience as CCMA’s Nancy DeDiemar speaks, to give you a sense of the room.

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Daily Bulletin on Vacation

One newspaper, two venues: Above, I’m in Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, the famed photo of the Million Dollar Quartet above and behind me; below, I’m in Chester, Illinois, birthplace of Popeye creator E.C. Segar, with one of the dozen character statues that dot the town, two murals visible in the background. If you can’t identify this figure as J. Wellington Wimpy, please eat your spinach.

I’m a big fan of Segar’s work and we happened to be passing through Chester, so this was a natural. The Popeye Museum next door had already closed, darn the luck.

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