Back from vacation, I visit Germany, see segments of the Berlin Wall and muse about the week’s news in hate, all in Friday’s column.
Update: Our page designers, er, forgot to run my column in Friday’s newspaper — hello, Quality Control? — and so Friday’s column is also Sunday’s column.
I’ll be off until Aug. 16. My Restaurant of the Week posts should resume Aug. 17 and my column will be in the paper again Aug. 18. Enjoy my time away! I know I will.
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.
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.
How was my vacation? Where did I go? It was my annual visit to St. Louis, but also something new: a road trip to Memphis. The latter is the subject of Sunday’s column. If you’ve ever been, or think you may go, feel free to chime in. Above, just like it says on the wall, Sun Studio in Memphis.
I’m back at my desk — sob! — and reorienting myself. At least I remembered all my computer log-ins, a good sign. Over the weekend I caught up on all my newspapers, another part of the reorientation process. First off I’ll write a Restaurant of the Week for Thursday, to ease back in, and then after lunch will start on Wednesday’s column. My vacation, or at least the portion in Memphis, will probably end up as a column soon. But, in short, it went well.
Just a reminder that I’m off all week. My column will return June 21 and this blog will resume around that time.
Photo: Lisa McPheron
In Chino Hills last Wednesday, 21 people gave up an evening to listen to a newspaper guy blab, a pretty good showing in the scheme of things. I talked about my career, read selections from “Pomona A to Z” and “Getting Started,” and fielded questions on all manner of subjects, from social media and libel to restaurants, politics and music. It was fun.
My friend Lisa McPheron of the Chino Hills Arts Committee, the host, introduced me and gave me a swag bag from the city. It’s almost unheard of that an actual friend as opposed to a complete stranger introduces me, so that was neat. And unprecedented was what happened at the sales table afterward, where my Pomona book outsold my new one, by a single copy. I’m happy it’s still selling.
As you can see below, from a photo I shot as I was being introduced, they were a little optimistic when they set out chairs, bless their hearts.
A speaking engagement on my birthday was accepted with misgivings, but the University Club treated me right: with a treat, namely, a cake. That kicks off Friday’s column. Under an equal-time statute, an item is given to the Claremont Pie Festival. Then there’s a Culture Corner and a Valley Vignette about an Upland figure.
Above, club member Anne Sonner, who baked the cake, poses with me after Al McCombs of the Chino Champion, another club member, found the cake’s headline free of typographical errors, if perhaps not free of hyperbole. Below, details of the award remain maddeningly vague.
Today’s my birthday: I entered this world 53 years ago today. Last December, walking past a tavern in Pasadena, I saw this motto, figured it worked for me as well and took a selfie.