World’s biggest, and dustiest, yard sale?


A construction fence has gone up around much of the 250-acre Meredith property in Ontario above the 10 Freeway — and, heh, someone in the neighborhood used the new real estate to post a “yard sale” sign Monday. Wherever it is, it’s probably not on the vacant land — although with all that dirt, you could put out an awful lot of blankets and card tables to display your wares.


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La Verne’s Unisphere



“Unisfera Flushing” by Flapane via Wikipedia

I’ve long been curious about the Unisphere-like metal globe at the La Verne Business Park on Fairplex Drive south of Arrow Highway (see top photo). Reminiscent of the Unisphere from the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York (see above), it’s such a striking feature for a small industrial park across the street from the NHRA speedway at Fairplex.

Finally I stopped to take photos. The stainless steel globe once had a fountain around it (see below), just as does the original, but ours has gone dry. (The original Unisphere is still in place, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and has been restored. It’s 12 stories high!)


Public art was a requirement of the industrial park’s development, according to the city planning department’s Eric Scherer. “Ironwork Globe,” as it’s titled, was designed by Penwal Industries of Rancho Cucamonga, manufactured overseas, shipped in parts (see photos below) and installed in 2005. At the time, owner and developer Tofasco Inc. was said to be the worldwide leader in sales of camping and fold-able chairs. (Its website has a silhouette of the globe.)

The globe is 20 feet in diameter, much smaller than the New York version’s 120 feet but still impressive.

From the La Verne public art brochure:

“‘Ironwork Globe’ is an elevated steel sculpture placed at the center of a water fountain meant to accompany Tofasco, Inc. and represent their defining characteristics: passion for the business in which they are involved and their ability to effectively and efficiently bridge the divide between an increasingly international marketplace.”

Penwal, according to Scherer’s research in city files, drew sketches of other concepts, “including an oversized folding chair which would open and close as it rotated.” Wow! He adds: “If we had approved that, I have a feeling you would have already written a column about it…”

Undoubtedly. It might resemble some of the other giant chairs — rocking, wooden, Duncan Phyfe — turned into oversized sculptures around the nation and overseas.


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Column: Ed Nelson was actor and dad, but never mayor


Sunday’s column marks the first-year anniversary of the death of actor Ed Nelson, who lived in Pomona and San Dimas for more than two decades. I wrote about him when he died, in part based on a lovely long email of a few years earlier from one of his sons, which I’d featured on this blog.

Some weeks later, it occurred to me that I’d forgotten to check our Progress-Bulletin files, which are housed in a back room in our office. (Our Daily Report files were, inconceivably, thrown out.) The little file envelopes, labeled by topic, appear to cover the ’40s into the ’80s. Their thoroughness probably depended on who had the thankless job of clipping and sorting articles; it’s hard for me to believe that the Prog never wrote about Donahoo’s Chicken, for instance, except a short item on the owners’ square-dancing activities.

Luckily, there was a fat file on Nelson, seen below. I sifted through it eventually and wrote a long item last December, figuring I’d use it during a slow period around Christmas. But I didn’t need it. Then maybe vacation? No. Actually, I kind of forgot about it. Recently finding it again, I struggled for a reason to run an Ed Nelson item some 10 months after his death — before realizing that if it appeared one year later, it might seem to have purpose. I expanded it into a full column.

So there you have it, the story behind the story. Hope you like the column.


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Restaurant of the Week: Luna


Luna Modern Mexican Kitchen, 7881 Monet Ave. in Victoria Gardens, Rancho Cucamonga

Luna opened in April in a long-vacant spot previously occupied by Candelas and Wapango. There’s only one other Luna, in Corona. Some friends and I checked out the VG version recently for lunch.

It’s very stylish, with high ceilings, long corded fixtures and a light display in the bar area. We were seated in a half-oval banquette.

I have to do this from memory because I can’t find my notes (!), but off the lunch menu, we ordered (pictured in descending order below) a chopped salad, a Cabo roll (prawns, cheese, avocado in a tortilla), mole poblano chicken enchiladas and, for me, the pipian de puerco (pork loin in chimichuri sauce). (None of the prices are online, but the plates were around $12 to $18.) One got a drink, Luna’s signature, named El Pepino (about $8), from the extensive tequila list, and two of us ordered dessert: warm butter cake and deep-fried ice cream.

We all liked our items, and the friend who got the salad couldn’t help but be impressed by the presentation, a hat-like oval. All the dishes were plated well. Service was attentive and helpful and felt genuine.

You can get tacos or burritos here, but Luna is more of a modern, upscale take on Mexican cooking that presents new or altered dishes. It’s worth a try.










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Let’s Roll: Brunswick Zone, Upland


Upland’s bowling alley is relatively modern and located on the busy commercial corridor of Foothill Boulevard, just west of Euclid and cater-corner from Upland High, a recipe for success. At 40 lanes, it’s about as large as they get.

I’ve bowled there a bunch of times, and while it doesn’t have the flair of Montclair’s Bowlium, it’s a little easier to get to for me. It’s my go-to bowling alley, and the place where I hit my high score, 200.

One user-friendly touch is that all balls of the same weight are the same color, making them easy to sort for the staff and to return after you’re done. Anyone who’s spent time poking around the shelves for a ball of their favored weight will appreciate the ease of finding a ball: Here are all the 7-pounds, next are all the 8-pounds, organized in order up to 16.

The lane furniture is a little uncomfortable, with swing-out swivel chairs, and as with most electronic scoring systems, entering your name or making changes is tricky, maybe more so here with colored pyramid keys that correspond to elements on the overhead screen, once you figure it out.

The graphics on the monitors are funny. For instance, anthropomorphic pins walk out of jail when you roll a gutter ball. The “turkey” graphic below memorializes my getting three strikes in a row, a rare feat for me.

Upland is probably due for an update; in 20 more years we might think it’s retro, but at this point it just seems a little behind the times, and the exterior is awfully bland too. But while the Dude, Walter and Donny from “The Big Lebowski” would probably find the place too anonymous, Brunswick Zone is a good place to bowl.

Address: 451 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Euclid), Upland

Number of lanes: 40

Owner: Brunswick

Year opened: 1985

Architect: somebody who thought a faux awning against a brown box really dressed the place up

Neighbors: Upland High, Kishi, Vons center

Games: Game room

Bar: Yes

Coffee shop: No, but Nathan’s hot dogs

Ambience: Families, teens (the future of bowling)

Deal: $2 Tuesdays, with games and shoe rental $2 each after 8 p.m.







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Reading Log: July 2015


Books acquired: “Why LA? Pourquois Paris?” Diane Ratican; “The Fourth Galaxy Reader,” H.L. Gold, ed.; “Still Room for Hope,” Alisa Kaplan.

Books read: “Again, Dangerous Visions, Vols. 1 and 2,” Harlan Ellison, ed.; “Still Room for Hope,” Alisa Kaplan.

July has as odd a pairing of books as I can remember: two split volumes of a 1972 science fiction anthology, and a 2015 memoir about sexual abuse from a Christian publisher. If I’d had more time, I might have read, say, a physics textbook, a Shakespeare play and a history of the Peloponnesian War, just to round things out.

Well, there’s a reason for reading “Still Room for Hope,” in that I expect it to result in a column in the near future, so I won’t say any more about it here, other than that it is very sad, while becoming lighter as Kaplan recovers her sense of herself.

The Ellison-edited anthology of cutting-edge SF, 900 pages split between two paperbacks, follows his 1967 “Dangerous Visions,” read here last September, and which I loved. The sequel is twice as long and with half the impact, I’m afraid, although it still had a lot of strong material by Bova, Le Guin, Vonnegut, Wilhelm, Gerrold and more. There were simply more so-so stories by newcomers, many of whom didn’t go on to make a mark but seemed to have been included just in case. A third anthology, “The Last Dangerous Visions,” was promised within six months, ha ha, and many of us know how that turned out: The author list expanded alarmingly and more than 40 years later it’s still unpublished, and maybe unpublishable. Ah well.

All three books acquired this month were free; the Gold book was a gift from reader Rich P., who got it from reader Doug Evans, Kaplan’s came from the author and Ratican’s simply was left on my desk, presumably having been mailed in.

The two Ellisons that I read this month were acquired back in the early 1980s and unread until now. One was bought new somewhere in the Midwest and the other was bought used from the Book Nook in Decatur, Georgia, a store that appears to still be in business three decades later. Good for them.

How was your July? Not to be uncaring, but all I want to know about are the books you read. Save your family worries, work problems and health issues for someone else’s blog.

Next month: I journey to the center of the Earth, among other places.


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