Breitling – Huntington Beach Airshow — 2017 – Day 3 a

Well, we went back. Charlie decided that we should again get tickets — so I did.

About 10:30 am, we left home, stopped to get her another carton of cigs and drove to the beach. We had to wait an extra signal to get across PCH at Beach Blvd to get into the Huntington Beach City Beach parking lot. People were paying $30 to park and most were using credit/debit cards, making the wait longer than if they were using cash.

I, however, had a parking sticker on our car and we breezed in.

There were plenty of parking spaces and I selected a pull-through, took Di’s scooter out of the trunk, unfolded it and put the battery on and off we went.

Good thing we got there when we did. A half hour later, after Di’d bought some shirts, etc., I walked the bag back to the car and people were searching for the few remaining open spots.

We entered the Breitling tent; we were remembered by those who had been there on Friday. We found a nice table reserved for those with physical difficulties and sat down. We met more good people; we ate more good food and enjoyed more good drinks.

I took more than 500 photographs and will break them into several posts over the next few days. Today’s pictures will be of the Black Daggers, who made two drops about an hour and a half apart.

The first drop was a show the flag opening ceremony jump and the second was a simulated combat drop.

First, however, a word on light conditions. Most of the airshow was out over the water — to the south. Huntington Beach is a south facing beach. This means that for most of the show cameras were pointing in the general direction of the sun. Not the best direction to shoot in for good color pictures. Ah well, we all tried.

A wave from the Black Dagger Blackhawk.
A wave from the Black Dagger Blackhawk.

Bust: Breitling – Huntington Beach Airshow — 2017 – Day 1

Well, Charlie and I arrived at Huntington Beach a bit before noon today for the airshow. And it was a complete bust. We saw not a single plane (no Blue Angels; no Snowbirds; no F-16 Viper; no F-35 ) the entire afternoon. Fog, overcast, call it what you will; today there was no show.

And, worst of all, I had bought tickets for the Breitling show. $288 down the drain, or mostly down the drain.

No planes, no demonstrations. But I had a couple of plastics of wine; Charlie had part of a beer and we shared a meal.

But the airshow: no, nothing, nil, nada.

Hey, Breitling: how about a refund or a ticket for a second day?

However, things were not all black, bleak, out of focus or foggy, we met some very nice and interesting people.

Charlie actually got to meet the mounted police and their horses this year. She spoke with a fellow Canadian representing the Snowbirds. And, she met, spoke with and hugged members of the Black Daggers.

So, things weren’t a complete bust.


DACA Dreamers — A Few Thoughts

Let’s throw away $7,855,100,000.

That’s the amount of money, on average, we’ve invested in the DACA Dreamers’ public education for each year they have spent in the United States.

If we deport them, we will, essentially, have thrown that money away and invested it in Mexico or whatever country they are deported to.

How long have they been here? How many years have they spent in public schools? How much of our tax money has been invested in their education?

Every day they have attended school has educated them in being Americans. Everyday they Pledge Allegiance to the American flag. Everyday they learn more American English. Everyday they learn American history. Everyday they play American sports.

Every day they become more and more American — until most have forgotten what it is not to be an American.

Dreamers aspire to become doctors and nurses, soldiers and sailors, chefs and vintners, police and firefighters, reporters and politicians.

Dreamers want good jobs, to live in good neighborhoods with good schools. They want these things for themselves, their children and grandchildren. Sort of what our parents and grandparents wanted for us.

All they want is to be Americans.

Maybe their skin is a different shade than ours. Maybe their religion is different than ours. Maybe their first language was not English, but, then again, odds are quite good that our grandparents and great-grandparents spoke a language other than English also. Maybe their favorite foods are not ours, but their first food was milk — the same as ours.

Their DNA is the same and their blood is red no matter their “racial” or national origin.

America is changing, evolving, but it is still America. Our ideals are still the same as those of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Hamilton — “all men are created equal.” Although it seems as though some of us believe that some are more equal than others.

Attempting to rid America of the Dreamers will not halt or reverse this evolution of our country. It is progressing as it has for the last several centuries.

Don’t believe me?

Look at those you pass in the supermarket.

Wander through your child’s school — its classrooms and lunchrooms and playgrounds.

Look at those who sit next to you at football and baseball and basketball games. Yes, and at your children’s teammates at their soccer practices.

And, for many of us, our worst fears are being realized in our children’s choices of study partners, best friends, dates.

They don’t have our preconceptions — and haven’t paid much attention to our prejudices or have decided to defy them as we chose to defy those of our own parents.

I taught in Orange County classrooms for some forty years and learned a few things. One of them is that children who go to school with children of different colors will have friends of different colors. They will be in study groups with them; they will eat lunch with them; they will be on the same teams and in the same clubs.

They will date — they will have sex. They will live together; they will marry; they will have children — our grandchildren.

Our grandchildren may not have the same skin or eye color (or shape) as we do but they will be just as loving, and lovable, as our children were. We may — will — find it quite hard, if not impossible not to love them back.

The DACA Dreamers? They’re as American as you and I, and maybe more so except in legal name.

Let us find a way to change that. Let us eliminate the uncertainty and fear in their lives. Let us find a way to make them American in name as well as in fact.

Let us reap the investment we’ve already made in these hardworking, taxpaying Americans.

740,000 registered Dreamers as of January 2017.

$10,615 the average cost per pupil in a public school per year.

Total investment per year: $7,855,100,000

Plumbing Problems — Grrrrr . . .

Yesterday afternoon I was starting to wash a few dishes when I felt water dripping on my feet. I turned off the water and looked around and saw that I had spilled nothing on the sink area — backed up and looked to see water pouring from the cabinet doors under the sink.


Opened the doors and water came pouring out. Got a towel from the bathroom to mop up the water and prevent it from spreading out all over the kitchen and got a flashlight.

Hmmmmm . . . nothing dripping and none of the fittings was wet.

Turned the water back on — just a little bit. Water began to drip from the drain pipe going into the back wall of the cabinet . . .

Bent down to get a good look at the problem and felt around. There was a hole in the bottom of the pipe. Pressed around the hole  . . . and it enlarged as the area was paper-thin.

This was not a small problem — like the under-sink problem last summer in Corfu.

Called Phill ( and actually got him and not an answering machine or voicemail. I described the problem and, as he was in the middle of another job, he asked if the problem could wait until the morning. Of course, I just couldn’t wash dishes for a while — darn. Said he’d call me in the morning about 7:30 am on his way over.

At 7:30 am Joe, from Phill’s Plumbing, rang the doorbell — clean shirt, clean pants, putting booties on his shoes — and said Phill was working on the other job. Showed him the problem and a toilet that would not shut off (had closed the valve most of the way so there would be little water leakage — hadn’t seemed a big enough problem to get the plumber for until I needed him for something else).

Joe’s estimate came in at $236.75 if he could get in and replace the pipe under the sink, i.e., if the pipe was solid enough to get out and replace without having to open the wall — couldn’t tell until he tried.

Meanwhile, I’d gotten Charlie up: into her sunroom with tea, meds, vitamins and raisin toast for breakfast. I finished my coffee and went to sit on the exercise bike — to read and watch the news on my iPad. Less than two hours later, Joe was done with both the kitchen and toilet — everything cleaned up nice and neat.

The new plumbing seems to work properly — wrote a check for $236.75 and Joe went on to another job — installing a custom-made shower.

Note: I found Phill several years ago on Angies List and he’s been over for several different problems (our house was built back in the 60s) including the installation of a new waterheater. I also prefer to deal with small, locally-owned companies where possible. Both our sunroom and Heating/AC system were put in by family-owned OC businesses and we dealt directly with the owners.

Christmas Reflections on Boxing Day 2016

Diana (Charlie) and I spent a quiet Christmas Day at home with Mist and Smoke. We hope you all had a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or, at least, a trouble-free day if you weren’t celebrating a holiday.

I picked up a Noble Fir last Monday and left it in the rain before moving it into the sunroom. Instead of decorating it with multi-colored strings of twenty-plus year old lights we used three strings of white, blue and pink LEDs this year — looks good. We then added the usual Christmas ornaments and Di’s British decorations. No tinsel, as we learned with Magic and Merlin that cats eat tinsel and I really didn’t want to . . .

After a morning of tea, coffee, exercise bicycle and then breakfast, the day unwound: opening presents; Skyping relatives in Britain; basketball, football and Dr. Who on my TV; movies and Bewitched (B&W) episodes on Di’s.

And, of course, fixing a turkey dinner.

Because Di’s ailments prevent her from standing for any considerable length of time, most of the cooking has become my responsibility — with some directions from her. Before Thanksgiving I picked up four Butterball turkeys from Aldi and Target (99¢/lb) — Di mandates a Butterball. Fifteen-pounds is just about perfect for us — fits in the oven, plenty of room for stuffing/dressing, a lot of meat for dinner and seconds and two large tubs of leftovers.

Christmas dinner would consist of turkey, mashed potatoes, peas and stuffing/dressing.

We made three different stuffings: Trader Joe’s Cornbread with added giblets and clams — cooked separately as Di is allergic to all types of shellfish; seasoned bread and onion stuffing which went into the turkey and under its skin; and bread and onion stuffing with diced British sausage added, which will be cooked this afternoon. All of this means that I’ll be able to snack on stuffing for several days without eating all of it before Di gets her fill.

About 1:30 pm I placed the turkey into a 400° (F) oven for thirty minutes — for browning — then put some aluminum foil over it to prevent burning and turned the oven down to 325° for the rest of the cooking cycle. Every thirty minutes or so, I basted it with melted butter. As there was still some ice in the turkey when I opened the package before stuffing it, I allowed it to cook until 6:oo pm — yes, I tested the internal temperature with a digital meat thermometer before taking the turkey out of the oven, and allowed it to sit for a while before carving and dismembering it.

Di came in to make her gravy, and I dished out turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes (Gold with melted butter, garlic and pepper) and peas for each of us. Yum. Everything was tasty; Di had one helping, and I had two. Following dinner, I put the leftover potatoes, peas, dressing (Di’s) and some of the turkey into a plastic tub and finished dismembering the turkey and putting its meat into another large tub — a week’s worth of leftovers for the two of us.

David, Di’s brother, gave me a bottle of whisky for Christmas — a 20-year-old Speyside Single Malt from the Un-Chillfiltered Collection (92 proof). I had one glass for dinner and two after — of course, I also missed the ending of the Laker game and the Dr. Who Christmas episode.

All in all it was a very pleasant day.


Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace to people of good will — so why were several of the commercials for new movies, to me at least, ultra-violent? Maybe, because they were coming to theaters after Christmas? Hmmm . . .

There seemed to be a lot of discussion around Thanksgiving and Black Friday about people working in department stores on Thanksgiving Day. It seems that some people feel it is unjust to ask people to work on Thanksgiving just so we can shop for cheap(er) things before Christmas. Hmmmm . . .

How many of these clerking and stocking jobs are held by at, or near, minimum wage employees who can use every hour they get to support themselves and their families?

And why no outcry for those who work everyday regardless of holiday?

Police, Fire and other emergency workers are always on the job. Hospitals don’t close. People still go to work at our water and sewage departments. Electricity and gas employees still work as these utilities won’t run themselves. Gas stations and convenience stores stay open. Some restaurants, theaters, and recreational attractions (think Disneyland and ski resorts) run all day long. Airports, airlines, trains, buses, taxis, Uber and Lyft continue to move us from place to place.

Did you listen to the radio or watch TV or surf the Internet yesterday or on Thanksgiving — they don’t function without people working.

We’ve become — if we really haven’t always been — a 24-7-365¼ society. So how about we just thank those who have jobs that require they work on holidays rather than make ourselves feel better by complaining about it?

To those of you who work on those days most of us don’t have to (Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) — Thank-You. I, for one, greatly appreciate the work you do to keep my world running.