Wednesday’s column recaps highlights of my vacation, the Midwest part, and addresses the question of whether St. Louis is worth a visit. While you may be as unlikely to book a flight there as you would to Des Moines or Enid, the unsung city has more to offer than you might think: free museums, a giant park, a great baseball team and more. Plus water, and plenty of it.
While in New York, I made a pilgrimage to — because the Empire State Building is passe — the intersection at which the cover for the Beastie Boys’ “Paul’s Boutique” album cover was shot circa 1989, Rivington and Ludlow on the Lower East Side.
Admittedly, it was a letdown, and I’d have had to have the album itself with me to compare then and now. Even then, the corner was somewhat fictional, as the Paul’s Boutique sign was added for the photo shoot.
Instead of a downscale sportswear shop, the corner now has a wraps place. One nice touch today is a street art mural of the boys on the side of the building, commissioned by a man who lobbied unsuccessfully to have the intersection honored as Beastie Boys Square.
Here’s my 2014 column on the album’s 25th anniversary and its Claremont connection.
I brought a newspaper on my travels for the requisite Daily Bulletin on Vacation photo. Here’s the first of two that were taken in meaningful locations. In this case, at the Manhattan restaurant Upland, where I dined with Rancho Cucamonga expatriate Lesley Tellez and met chef Justin Smillie. Column to come.
By the way, the headline across the top of this Dec. 16, 2014 edition reads “Dave Allen picked for president.” Of the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, but who’s counting?
On a visit to Windy C’s Chicago Hot Dogs in Upland last year, owner Freddy Johnson insisted on taking my photo and adding it to his wall of celebrities, many of them Chicago-based. He printed out the photo and had me sign it on the spot.
Faced with a photo of myself that would be framed on a wall for all to see for some time to come, I was put in mind of the “Seinfeld” episode in which a coffee shop waitress asked Jerry to sign a photo of himself and he wrote “Nothing could be finer than eating in your diner”; after Elaine mocked him, he tried to grab the photo back. With trepidation, I wrote “Hot dog! This Illinois boy loves the Wrigley,” the name of the menu item I was eating: a dog with sauerkraut and cheese (pictured below).
I returned for lunch recently, the first time since the photo. Eyeballing the inscription, I didn’t feel the urge to grab it back or hide my head. But then, Elaine wasn’t there to shame me.
(My Restaurant of the Week post from 2011 on Windy C’s has particularly entertaining comments, by the way.)
On March 10, 1997 I walked in the doors of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin to start my first day of work. Hey, that’s 18 years ago today!
I wasn’t new to journalism — I’d put in a decade at papers in Victorville and Sonoma County — yet Ontario and the Inland Valley seemed vast and mysterious, not to mention smoggy. Now it’s all like a small town to me.
There’s been a lot of changes in 18 years. The landscape is somewhat different, what with Victoria Gardens, the Colonies, the Shoppes and the 210 Freeway. Newspapers, including this one, are very different. At this point I can count my lucky stars to be among the dwindling number of people employed by a newspaper.
Thank you for your support. Onward to 19 years!
Sunday’s column is my second on my visit to Washington, D.C., this one focusing on the site of President Lincoln’s assassination and the place where he died. Have you been to either?
Anyone making our national pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., has a long list of sites they want to see, or feel pressured to see. I wasn’t immune during my visit there earlier this month, but knowing I couldn’t see the proverbial “everything,” especially in four days, I tried to relax and focus on what I liked most. You can read about that in Wednesday’s column.
Larry Fox had me on his “All That Jazz” program on KSPC-FM on Saturday afternoon, where we played a few jazz songs that I brought in and talked about my columns, this blog, restaurants and my book “Pomona A to Z.” It was a lot of fun and, I’m sure, revealing of my thought processes and style. If you tuned in, how did I do?
* The interview, as well as my 2010 visit, can be heard on the KSPC website.
I bring a notebook along on assignments, but what about when I’m not on assignment?
We journalists do carry special notebooks, long and thin, but they can’t routinely be carried around unless you’re a woman with a purse or don’t mind sitting on a notebook in your back pocket (I do). Sometimes I remember to bring along a pocket-sized notebook, but not often. Frequently when I see a funny sign or want to remember something, I’ll scribble a quick note to myself on a random piece of paper at hand, maybe an ATM slip or even a straw wrapper.
One morning last week I ended up conducting a short interview, semi-impromptu, at the Claremont library with the Friends of the Library president, but I hadn’t thought to bring a notebook home from work the night before. I made do with two receipts in my pocket. Had to turn one over to finish up. Good thing I’d made a couple of purchases or I’d have had to ask for a piece of paper.