With the milestone return of Ontario International Airport to local control, I contacted somebody who worked there in the “old days,” the early 1980s, as manager for Western Airlines. Doug Neely told me what the airport was like back then: low-key, struggling, friendly. That’s my Wednesday column.
Tuesday morning I was finishing a column related to Ontario International Airport and doing related Google searches. The official ONT page, I noticed, was still on LAWA.org, the parent LA site, with flyontario.com, the local page, said to be coming at noon (see above).
It took a little longer than that, but by mid-afternoon, the local site was live. And thus the transition of the airport to local ownership, effectuated Tuesday morning, was now official online.
Books acquired: none
Books read: “Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos Volume 2,” H.P. Lovecraft et al; “Another Side of Bob Dylan,” Victor and Jacob Maymudes; “Spend All Your Kisses, Mr. Smith,” Jack Smith.
Happy November, as we transition between scary holidays, Halloween and Election Day. For my monthly book report, I can report three books read: one horror (from 1973), one rock memoir (from 2014) and one newspaper columnist collection (from 1978).
The first is short stories based around Lovecraft’s mythos about elder gods who predate humanity and who may one day awaken from their slumber. Today we would call this a tribute book, because there’s one HPL story and then the rest are by later authors in his style.
The opening trio of linked stories — Robert Bloch’s tribute/send-up of HPL, followed by HPL’s he-has-a-sense-of-humor-after-all rejoinder, and then Bloch’s fond response after HPL’s death — is deservedly classic. It’s a mixed bag from there: I liked Bloch’s other contribution, Brian Lumley’s first (of two) and Colin Wilson’s, didn’t think much of J. Ramsey Campbell’s or James Wade’s. Unnecessary, but not bad for a tribute volume.
The memoir, by Dylan’s road manager of the early years, who rejoined him two decades later until a falling out, is occasionally insightful into Dylan’s life and character and the grind of touring. Based on taped memories, turned into a book after his death and padded out by his son with some extraneous comments, it’s inessential, but better than expected, or feared.
The book by the late L.A. Times columnist is a patch-up of various columns on a personal theme, as his two sons meet women (one from France, the other from Italy), marry and have children, and Smith adjusts. Essentially a book about middle age, it’s light on its feet, a gentle chronicle of life’s little moments, with deft and at times lovely writing, if not especially deep.
One favorite line: “I’ve heard it said that men first begin to realize their youth is over when policemen begin to look like college boys. That’s true. But there’s a much more alarming sign, and that’s when a man’s doctors begin to die.”
I’d give the edge to Smith this month, with the other two being for fans only. These three bring me to 33 books read this year. All three were acquired in the past decade, although I can’t remember where, other than the Dylan book being a birthday present (last year) and Lovecraft being purchased in 2011.
My last Reading Log promised “a little horror, a little history,” for anyone keeping track, because I had planned to read a California history book on Isaias Hellman and a second Mary Shelley study. The Hellman book was too daunting and after Dylan’s Nobel announcement I thought I’d move up my plan to read “Another Side.”
Doing so rekindled my interest in reading about him, as he’s my favorite musician and I have a dozen unread books about him. I’ll get back to Hellman and Shelley at a later date.
How was your month in reading? I hope it wasn’t frightful.
Next month: more Dylan.
There seems to be a spider problem at 1496 Bibiana Way in Upland, where some 200 of the insects, small and large, are crawling around and hanging from the exterior. It’s been a tradition for Don and Kathy Kane for about 15 years, starting with a single fake-spider purchase at Target at the urging of a 2-year-old grandson.
“It kind of expanded from that point,” Don told me in an understatement. Some have been purchases or gifts, and he’s made many of the spiders himself out of PVC pipe, using reflectors from Pep Boys for the eyes and in some cases styrofoam and even medicine balls for heads and bodies.
I learned about them from reader Susan Winderman, who was at a yard sale nearby and stopped to gape at the house, as others did.
I visited one afternoon and left my business card in the door after fighting my way through the spider-festooned porch to the door. Don called me back the next day, too late for a pre-Halloween column, but not too late for a blog post.
“Some people think they’re real,” he admitted, especially when the breeze makes them move.
He’s seen neighbors out for a walk on his side of the street who will get to the corner, cross to the other side for a half-block, then come back to his side of the street.
“A couple of years ago, we had a fellow work on our refrigerator. He was standing in the front yard when my wife answered the door. He said, ‘There’d better be another way into your house or I’m not coming in.’ Apparently he had arachnophobia.” Kathy let him in through the garage.
Most other people seem to like the spiders. The Kanes have been asked as early as August when the spiders would come out. “People thank us. People appreciate the effort,” Don said.
The spiders went up at the end of September and will come down probably Nov. 5 or so — unless they decide to crawl down on their own. Check ’em out on 15th Street (corner of Bibiana Way) halfway between Benson and Central avenues.
My colleague Imani Tate is retiring Tuesday. She’s been writing for us since before I was born. The milestone is the occasion for a farewell piece. I wrote one a year ago for Joe Blackstock and now it’s Imani’s turn, in my Sunday column.
We had a small party for her Thursday. Above is the cake and below, she cuts it.
Friday’s column starts with news that a car commercial’s filming earlier this week brought fake snow and a Christmas-y air to downtown Ontario, then follows with 12 other items about film screenings, lectures and more around the valley, ending with a people item.
Shoboo Kitchen, 3626 Grand Ave. (at the 71), Chino Hills; open daily until 11 p.m. except for Sunday, 9 p.m.
Chino Hills without a doubt is the best city for Japanese food from there to Rancho Cucamonga. I’ve tried three or four Japanese restaurants in Chino Hills over the years and all were good to excellent. (Ojiya was the best.) I’m quick to say I’m no expert on the cuisine.
Recently I met a friend at one of the others, Shoboo Kitchen, which is located off the 71 Freeway in a center with a Sprouts market, See’s Candies and a Chick-fil-A. Shoboo is relatively small, seating maybe 30, and while people talk about a line at lunch, there wasn’t one on the Monday we visited.
The menu is extensive, and even the number is lunch specials is large. There’s a Lunch Special A list of a dozen items (each $9.45) and a Lunch Special B list of another dozen or more (each $11.45). I was examining those when my friend pointed out the bento boxes on another page.
We each got bento boxes ($10), a segmented tray with rice and salad. He ordered hot items: pork ribs and chicken; I ordered cool items: sushi and sashimi. (Between us, did we have the McDLT of Japanese food?) Anyway, I would rate the lunch good, not great, but certainly worth the money. The atmosphere was on the low-key side, a plus from my perspective. Just a nice, homey place.
I tried something new by going out walking with the two candidates for mayor of Pomona as they went door to door asking for votes. It turned out to be fun and surprising. (And I have to say, campaigning seems like a lot of work.) Check the results in Wednesday’s column. There’s a theme, and it’s man’s best friend — which isn’t necessarily a candidate’s best friend.
Driving on an unfamiliar stretch of Pomona’s Orange Grove Avenue recently, I spotted this unusual feature on the south side of the street. On the way back, I pulled over for photos. The greenery is at the T-intersection with Casa Vista Drive. There are six arches, as seen above; from across the street, below, only five could be squeezed into one photo. I wonder what the story is on them and how they were formed.
This undated Progress-Bulletin clipping was scanned and sent to me by Ren. Actor Mike Connors was in Pomona one summer day to film a scene for a “Mannix” episode in which his private eye character Joe Mannix returns to his hometown, Sumner Grove, to help an old friend in trouble.
Filming was done in front of the old City Hall, since torn down. “Cries of ‘hey, there’s Mannix’ were common as secretaries left the office for an extended coffee break,” the story relates. The Prog office would have been only a block or two from the filming.
* Never mind: Microfilm research by the Pomona Public Library’s Allan Lagumbay pins the date of the article as June 16, 1971, which means the filming was for a fifth-season episode.
I don’t know that I ever watched the series; at one point it aired the same time as “The Night Gallery,” which I watched when allowed to. The AV Club wrote an appreciation of the series here.