my new favorite comic

When we were in Gilroy we subscribed to the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle. Here in Hemet we get the Inland Empire newspaper, the Press-Enterprise, and the Los Angeles Times.

The Times has a comic strip I haven’t seen elsewhere. It’s called  Prickly City, and it certainly comes from the left wing of the political spectrum. It is so on and gets things so right so often. The author loves to go after politicians and presidential candidates in general, and he certainly has no love for Hillary. Here’s Saturday’s cartoon.


Now don’t get me wrong. I like Hillary. I support Hillary. I am voting for Hillary in the primary next year. And in the general election, barring any unforeseen upsets. I want to see Hillary elected president in November 2016 and I want to enjoy her inauguration ceremony in January 2017.

But two things can be equally true, and Hillary, as much as I like her and support her, is far from perfect. So I enjoy Prickly City, which does a great job of getting it right so consistently.

our marvelous, amazing berm

One of the things that attracted us to our new home was the berm in our back yard. It is an amazing mixture of foliage that has surprised us with new, unexpected blooms on a regular basis. It needs some effort and cleanup work, but it keeps our attention and hummingbirds enjoy it.


On Friday we bought solar lights and installed them along the retaining wall. It was amazing that evening to watch the lights turn on one at a time. Rather magical. It made me think of the firefly scene in the Woody Allen film Hannah and her Sisters.

We’ve completed the process of covering the rocks in back with bark, and with the lights on the berm and the sound of the crickets in the evening it makes our back yard in summer an enchanted, special place.


Sacred Music Friday: Dona Nobis Pacem

Chicago Chamber Choir & Milwaukee Choral Artists

spice racks

We loved our spice rack in Gilroy. It was custom-made to our specifications. When we got to Hemet we didn’t have anything like it. We put our spices in a drawer, but it was quite a jumble with the jars falling all over the place. So we asked my dad if he could SpiceRackmake us a set of dividers to help us organize the drawer. He was happy to do that and brought it over last week. It fit perfectly and made a huge difference.

On Saturday I arranged the jars in a way that is intuitive probably only to me. Terry, however,spicerack seemed to be able to make some sense of a similar scheme I used in the old rack. On Sunday I made labels for those few lids that did not have them.

In some ways this is an improvement, as in the old rack we had to lean over and peer under the top rack to find something on the bottom rack. Here everything is all visible in one place.

I believe this is going to work out well.

filtered water

We were spoiled in Gilroy with our reverse osmosis filtered water system. We had that both pre and post kitchen remodel. We had a tap on the sink that gave us pure, clear filtered water whenever we wanted it.

Here in Hemet we don’t have that. We bought a Brita system which involves pouring tap water into a pitcher with a filter. It’s not as convenient, but it works. The water it produces is quite tasty, even if the ice cubes it makes are not the pure, clear crystalline ice cubes we got from our reverse osmosis system.

But there is an ugly secret that is not much discussed when it comes to reverse osmosis systems. For every gallon of water you consume a gallon of water is thrown away. Not good right now in the Western United States. We had briefly thought about having a reverse osmosis system installed, but aside from cost that fact alone dissuaded us in these days of drought.

We can live with filling up our Brita pitcher.

still spelling it out

Our realtor here in Hemet pointed out the similarity in the name of the street we moved from and the street we moved to. We moved from Arbor Street to Armour Drive. Both straightforward enough in print, but not necessarily so clear on the phone.

For eighteen years I spelled out Arbor on the phone when talking to a company, utility, or service person. And I am doing exactly the same thing for Armour Drive.

Some things don’t change.

which media market?

Hemet has been part of the Los Angeles media market since the earliest days of television. If you look at a map, you’ll see that Hemet is much closer to San Diego than to L.A. (If you doubt that, just make the two separate drives.) But Hemet is part of Riverside County, and Riverside, the largest city in the county and the county seat, is on the western edge of the county. Hence, it is very much in the greater Los Angeles orbit.

Before the days of cable, and before digital television signals, it was perfectly possible to point your television antenna south and get the San Diego stations. And the antenna didn’t need to be on a mast anywhere near as high as was necessary for the Los Angeles stations. But nobody did that. Everyone had a high mast and pointed west to get the L.A. stations. Well, everyone except our next door neighbors, and later us. And in those cases the San Diego antenna was a secondary one to the Los Angeles antenna, and was accessed via an A/B switch (remember those?). Our primary television was from Los Angeles.

When Hemet got cable in the 1970’s the stations were strictly from the Los Angeles market. That is unchanged today.

Geography accounts for a lot, but in this case other considerations held sway.

ADDENDUM: A high school classmate pointed out to me on Facebook that Hemet is equidistant from Los Angeles and San Diego, with Los Angeles being perhaps two miles further away, depending on the source you use. All I can say is that Los Angeles feels much further away due to the misery of the L.A. area freeways.

Sacred Music Friday: Here I am Lord

Here I am Lord , Choir of Hexham Abbey. This really applies to last Sunday’s Old Testament lectionary reading for Trinity Sunday, Isaiah 6:1-8.

Brief Encounters

BriefEncountersBrief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks
Dick Cavett
Henry Holt and Co. (October 28, 2014), 286 pages
Kindle Edition $12.99, Amazon Hardcover $19.71

This is a book for Dick Cavett fans. Others might find it mildly interesting or perhaps be somewhat put off by the narcissism that shows through at times. It is also, the potential buyer should be aware, recycled material. All of the essays come from Cavett’s New York Times blog.

I myself am a dedicated Cavett fan. I only caught his late-night show on ABC in its very last days. However, I was a committed viewer of his PBS program in the early 1980’s. I found this book a most enjoyable diversion.

Cavett writes about the people he knew in his heyday. He writes about his encounters with Groucho Marx and Muhammad Ali. He describes the time he spent visiting Stan Laurel in Stan’s later years. He writes about writing for Jack Paar and the guest hosts filling in after Jack and before Johnny Carson. Surprisingly, his mentions of Carson are few and passing, even though he wrote for Johnny for some time.

He also write about Yale, returning home to Nebraska, and class reunions. (Did you know that the men and women of Ivy league schools, before those schools went co-ed, had to pose for nude posture shots each year? How humiliating.)

Brief Encounters is pleasant, enjoyable reading for the Cavett fan.

hitting hot buttons

You never know when you are going to hit someone’s hot button, or when they might hit yours.

Our Verizon Fios television service went wonky over the weekend and we weren’t able to resolve the problem with the agent by phone. They had to sent a technician out on Sunday, and he had to replace our set-top box.

There was a lot of down time waiting for the system to load and come up in the move from the old box to the new. We talked with the tech about a lot of things, including Star Trek, the reasons for our move, and how Terry and I got (back) together.

Then he asked about me and the draft.

That is a hot button if there ever was one.

I was nineteen the last year of the draft. I was absolutely vulnerable. I was in college, but student deferments had been done away with. In fact most deferments had for the most part been done away with.

I was at home the day of the draft lottery, as it was during semester break. The year was 1972. No Internet back then. I turned on the earliest television newscast available in the Los Angeles market. At that time Chanel 7, the ABC affiliate, had a 4:30 newscast. They rightly assumed that there would be considerable interest in all of the draft numbers. They showed a calendar for each month of the year with the corresponding draft lottery numbers for each day. I sat on pins and needles as they scrolled though the months until they got to August.

205. My draft lottery number was 205. Safe. Relief.

It still evokes a gut reaction in me today.

You never know when someone is going to hit one of your hot buttons.