Oh west Pasadena Christmas trees


Not only are the 12 days of Christmas long past — we’re closing in on Valentine’s Day. And yet the sidewalks and gutters of west Pasadena are still lined with browning yuletide trees that, in theory, the city’s Public Works Department or its hired guns are going to pick up and mulch, as has been done for years.

So what gives? One neighborhood resident wrote to say that there are practically betting pools going on as to whether the pines are going to have to be taken back in by their hope-to-be-former owners and stuffed into the greeenwaste bins over the next few months.

Last days of The Countess


This past weekend was the last time to view Ingres’s painting “Comtesse d’Hausonville” at the Norton Simon in Pasadena before it heads back to the Frick Collection in New York City.

The crowded parking lot — I grabbed a spot across the street — seemed to indicate that lots of people had come to Pasadena to do just that. I dropped in while running errands because I hadn’t been to the Simon since the painting arrived in November and figured I better catch it. I don’t know from Ingres, really, or any early-19th-century painters; it was more as a kind of duty.

But when I walked down the Old Masters corridor, where I usually don’t tread in the museum, there were just a few people checking out the old girl, whose rendering has been described as a “rainbow of blues.” Beautiful.

There was a nice little tribute to the late Jennifer Jones Simon in the front hall.

I feel on a weekend visit the way foreigners used to tourism must feel in their own museums — in the minority. Most of the hundreds of people there were speaking a language other than English — Japanese, French, Arabic among them.

Starving, so we got some soup from the stand near the garden, which food, bless her heart, wouldn’t have been possible without Jennifer Jones — though she had to wait for Norton to die. He had locked up the auditorium and banned the notion of food or other frivolities when he took over the late, lamented Pasadena Art Museum. She finally was able to provide some sustenance.

Though the rains were long gone, and a walk down the garden path designed by Nancy Goslee Power would have been nice, a stern guard prevented that — as if the decomposed granite wasn’t quite ready for our shoes after the storms. Norton would have liked that restriction of access.

But his art — can’t fault that.

Floods close off The Meadows

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Christopher Nyerges forwards this photo from early this morning after the reopening of Canyon Crest, the only road into the farthest northwest neighborhood of Altadena, The Meadows. Monday afternoon and evening the road was closed down because those logs in the picture had blocked off the culverts that run under the road and black mud piled up on its surface, making it impassable to cars.

The commandment at Mary’s Market

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There are other 11th commandments. Perhaps there are others memorialized in mock-Gaelic script. But there is none more worth following, or posted in a more endearing location, than this one on the corner of Mary’s Market in Sierra Madre Canyon, where I did my Christmas shopping — E. Waldo Ward preserved fruit products galore! — and where I resisted the temptation to push the Cooper to zoom. It’s too idyllic a glade.

Last of the BCS

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At last week’s Texas Exes party on Brookside Golf Course outside the Rose Bowl before the BCS game, amid a sea of burnt orange, this father-daughter team included the only person wearing anything resembling crimson within hundreds of yards.

And this fellow below, name of John “No Relation We Know Of” Wilson, told my Longhorn cousin Susie O’Brien, who pulled him over toward my lens, that he had found this Hook ‘Em fabric and had these slacks custom-made:

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The burning bus

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There’s a Metro bus on fire across the street from the Star-News right now — that’s 4.20 Wednesday afternoon. Talk about your easy pickings for the journalistas! Walt’s better shots will be up soon.

One of those natural-gas buses — so Janette Williams noted the irony, considering all the smoke, in its motto: “Nation’s Largest Clean-Air Fleet.”

It stinks of burning plastic around here.

As for me, since all the passengers had been evacuated and no one was in any danger in the surrounding stores over by Taste of Bangkok, I was mostly worried those leaping flames were gonna catch that huge and magnificent ficus tree on fire, giving the city’s chainsaw-happy crew a chance to get rid of it, as they’d so like to …

But the FD came and knocked it down to save all concerned, including the arboreal.

Sully’s doppelganger


Pasadena bon vivant, financial advisor, Rose Bowl Operating Company board member and wearer of fine Jack Purcell products Ross Selvidge sends over the world’s most out-of-focus photo and this explainer:

One famous, one somewhat less famous… We are both pilots (with airplane and glider ratings) but I think he has more hours.

Taken at the Rose Bowl Kickoff Luncheon, 12-31-09. “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed the airliner in the Hudson River in January, is Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade for 2010.

While attending the luncheon more than a dozen groups of people asked me for my (Sully’s) autograph and to have their photo taken with me. Lots of fun

By the end of the luncheon I was expecting people would be asking Sully for my autograph

So, when I finally meet the guy the camera moves and the exposure is wrong!

These “Sully sightings” have been going on since the beginning of the year. At Parkway Grill in Pasadena on Easter Sunday, the day an article on Sully appeared in Parade Magazine, a fellow came up and sheepishly asked “Are you a commercial pilot?” Last month in the Oakland airport a woman approached me and asked “Are you a famous pilot?” At the Kickoff Luncheon three former Tournament of Roses presidents in their red jackets (one of whom is a neighbor!) waved me over so they could have their picture taken with me. This weekend I may prowl Old Pasadena sporting my best Sully smile and see if I can score a couple of free meals at some of our fine restaurants.