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Ruminations - A Cornucopia of Items

Ruminations - A Cornucopia of Items

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Oh, where to start this week? How about, here! Michael Fry and T Lewis are always good for a laugh with "Over The Hedge"...

Is it just me or have Vanilla and Lemon Diet Coke headed off to join New Coke in the great retail beyond? They don't seem to be obvious on the shelf out here in the Bay Area. All I can find is Lime Diet Coke. Anyone care to remember back when your diet choices from Coca Cola were limited to either Tab or Fresca?

Where did it all go?

While I haven't had the chance to see it for myself yet, the buzz I've been hearing about the new Trader Vic's in San Francisco isn't complimentary. I did enjoy a good dinner (ummm, Hawaiian Pork Chop with Maui Onions) at the Emeryville location a few weeks ago. And the original hand-made Mai Tai was as good as ever.

Michel and I spent the night at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Wow! Let me say that again. Wow! From the moment we arrived until the moment we left, it was impressive. As their web pages proudly announce, this "is the only hotel in North America to capture Mobil Travel Guide's Five Stars and AAA's Five Diamonds for the hotel, as well as its renowned Dining Room." Our room was on the northeast corner of the hotel on California Street with a view of the Bay and Chinatown. At one point, Michele asked what a particular noise was. Without missing a beat, I replied, "Cable Cars". Not something most people hear every day.   

As difficult to leave as it was on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, we went off and enjoyed a nice drive around San Francisco in our new 2002 Mercury Sable. A visit to Seacliff and the ancestral home led down to China Beach for a spectacular view of the Golden Gate, bridge and all. Another place we need to visit for an epicurean adventure is the newly restored Cliff House. Past visits included a memorable wedding and reception as well as visits with good friends from out of town. Ocean Beach was full of folks out and about enjoying the sun, and a mild breeze while the Bay Area enjoyed a bit of seasonably unusual warm weather. This last week found me wishing for a bit of that as the rain returned to the winter pattern.

Cruiser inspects the new beast in the family.

Boy, things sure are busy at the Oakland Paramount! Along with the Movie Classics (which is doing an interesting mini-festival of how a picture gets remade over the decades), there is something for everyone. Bill Cosby, Journey, the Pat Metheny Group, Bob Dylan, Alicia Keyes and Elvis Costello? Talk about your culture clash...

Well, some fans of Star Trek: Enterprise won't give up on the show, even if UPN, Viacom and Paramount have. Check out this ad they ran on February 15th in the Los Angeles Times. As much as they hope it will continue on elsewhere, Scott Bakula pretty well described the final resolution for the show in a chat on startrek.com on Friday, February 11 th.

" Well, I'm disappointed, and everyone involved with the show is disappointed. Obviously we're all very emotionally attached to the show and we're all having a great time making the show. So you would like that kind of a situation to continue.

Unfortunately we don't fit into UPN's business plan and really haven't for the last two and a half years. So that's a situation that's out of our control and ultimately has no reflection on our show or the quality of our show. Or the commitment of all of our fans.

It's hard not to take it personally, but in the end we got one more season than UPN wanted to give us, thanks to Garry Hart [President, Paramount Television Production], so we feel lucky about that."

Just ask David Letterman how flexible his buddy Les Moonves is. And it's worth noting this isn't the first time Les has done in a Scott Bakula show. Anyone remember a show called "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"? That was a mid-season casualty on CBS in 1996.

Nice to see Central Park getting the "Christo" touch for a few weeks. Something about orange... We got ours out here in both northern and southern California. I missed the running fence, but did see the umbrellas on the Grapevine before their unfortunate end. Thanks to Jerry Beck and his Cartoon Brew crew for reminding me of the Charles Schulz Peanuts strip with Snoopy from 1978. A good one to bookmark, the Brew. And the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa remains one of those places I really need to visit. Maybe some place to take the new beast, or the "Silver Payment" for a road trip one afternoon.

Oh, those wacky Grammys! The SF Chronicle got it right when they said "Bad fashion, bad music, tributes to dead people. Ray Charles was lucky to miss it". Nice to see these categories, however:

Musical Show Album: "Wicked."

Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: " Garden State," Various Artists.

Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Howard Shore, composer.

Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Into the West," Annie Lennox, Howard Shore and Fran Walsh, songwriters, track from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."

On the subject of music, how about another find from the Cartoon Brew pages? "Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys" offer selections from the 1910's, 20's and 30's along with some wonderful art in the style and spirit of the same period. Check out a few MP3 previews on the mail order page!

As if I don't have enough reasons to make a trip back to Oahu, there's a new book on the Oahu Railway and Land Company. "Next Stop Honolulu" fills in more of the gaps with all kinds wonderful information. It's kind of a continuing chapter in the transportation history of the island after the authors previous work "Streetcar Days in Honolulu" - now available for only $10! Also on the horizon is the second volume of Hawaiian Railway Album with more views of the Oahu Railway. I'm gonna need more than a couple of days to explore using all of this reference material on my next visit to Honolulu...

Disney Home Video is releasing a few titles on DVD that definitely take me back to the Saturday matinees from the Seventies. Look for "The Barefoot Executive", "The Million Dollar Duck", "The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffith" and *** Van *** in "Lt. Robin Crusoe U.S.N." to appear in stores on April 12 th. The last one was a particular favorite of mine that I haven't seen in probably twenty five years. No clues yet as to what we can expect later this year to continue the extremely popular Walt Disney Treasures series...

Set sail for a little bit of nostalgia?

Last Sunday was a fun day here in Livermore as Cindy Russell had her Valentine's Day event at Where The Magic Begins. The featured guests were Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor - the voices of Mickey and Minnie. While I arrived later in the afternoon, it seems that there were a lot of happy folks all day long. Kudo's to Wayne and Russi for meeting all of their fans, and for being, well... just so plain nice! There were plenty of items autographed and lots of fun for everyone. And lots of Mouse voices making people happy, too!

Wayne and Russi signing for a trio of their fans...

After the successful day's festivities there was time to enjoy a quiet dinner.
From left to right: Russi Taylor, Rick Russell, Wayne Allwine and Cindy Russell.

Checking the social calendar, it seems I'll be departing Anaheim the day before Jim comes to town for the next round of Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure tours. If you haven't taken one of these adventures in sunburn with Jim, I heartily recommend making your reservation! The folks who have enjoyed these can relate their own tales, but let me assure you that you won't regret taking the plunge and experience one for yourself. And it's nice to meet some of the folks who drop in now and then on our message boards!

Speaking of the message boards... It's that time again. We need to ante up and pay for another six months from EZBoard. Our Gold membership expires on March 15.

It's all of $44.00 to cover the cost of hosting them for that amount of time. You can make a donation or take advantage of one of the many offers to help offset the cost. Your generosity will help keep them free of advertisements. With over 200 folks registered for the boards, even a small amount can add up. Do what you can, and know it is appreciated. But also know that if we don't raise the bucks, the advertisements will. In the words of Robert Heinlein, "TANSTAAFL" (which translates to "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)!

That's all for this week from me. Now it's off to go be abused by the cat...

Next up? A good question! Only the deadline knows for sure, so stay tuned until then!

Your continuing support of the Red Cross and other Tsunami Relief organizations does make the difference. Just because the story is gone from the headlines doesn't mean the need has ceased. Perhaps it is more important now than ever to do what you can.

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