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Dispatches from (deep beneath)
Downtown California

Ok, so things have been a bit crazy of late, and don't appear to be approaching sanity at a noticable rate. So, let us just consider our fun Blog to be in stasis for a while.
It's not that we're not interested, but there are actually too many interesting things flying at us currently to keep up.

Do stay tuned, though, and please enjoy the historical aspects of what we have posted so far.........

July 18, 2016  
Just How Easy is The Big Easy.......?
Well, we're setting out to find out!
We are at the International Society of Glass Beadmakers' annual Gathering in New Orleans. The Ralph will be giving a presentation to the crowd about stuff that you might encounter 3-1/2 stories beneath Downtown California, and we will be selling our stuff at the Bead Bazaar on Saturday the 23rd.
Hope to see you there!
Note to Burglars: don't even think about it. Our ferocious house sitter and her dog are on duty all day and night

April 5, 2016  
(They're Not Just For All Fool's Day Anymore.....)

What makes for a good prank?
Let's face it: the events of a past few days (not to mention the entire political scene) have reminded us about the value of a good prank.

As a long-time veteran (and still-active member) of the Boy Scouts of America, I have certainly seen my share of pranks, and been the admiring object of more than a few. I have heard some leaders describe a well-executed prank as "un-Scout-like," but I'm afraid that I must remain in the camp of a different Scout leader who counters that claim with "I can't think of anything more Scout-like."
Seriously, a good prank will often include some of Scouting's most closely-held qualities: planning, preparation, teamwork and good leadership skills. {And, yes, I go back far enough in the program to remember when "Trailing, Tracking and Stalking" was an advancement requirement, altho t'would be a tough sell today, particularly in an urban environment. Good skills to have, tho!)

Now, let us get one thing straight here: I do have my standards.
A well-executed prank should adhere to the following:

No injury, property damage or expense can occur.
(like, no tipping over an outhouse, ok? Especially if someone is in it....)
Any property (temporarily) moved or removed must remain in plain sight.

(Example, stealing someone's underwear and hiding it doesn't work; running it up the flagpole - as long as no one is wearing them at the time - is preferable.)
Reponsibility (read: "taking credit") must be admitted if called on.
Undoing the prank - if called for - must be done cheerfully.

We'll cover some specific cases over time - stay tuned.

(No, seriously, we will........)




March 4, 2016  
The Most-Heard Unknown Composer
of Our Time

You've heard his work.
Oh, yeah, whether you know that or not, you are a fan of LeRoy Anderson. My guess would be that, for most people, if you to ask them if they ever listened to any classical music, it was more likely Anderson's work than any of the Three 'B's' (Beethoven,Brahms or Bach), and probably a version by the Boston Pops, at that.
"No Way," they might intone,impotently claiming that they don't even listen to "that classical stuff." But they would be wrong.
"Sleighride"...? "Er, well,yeah...."
"Blue Tango"..? "Um, sure..." *
"The Syncopated Clock"...? "Huh?"

How about "The Typewriter"...? "Well, of course! Everybody knows that one, right?"
Yes they do, particularly Jerry Lewis.

Anyone that ever watched You Asked For It knows Bugler's Holiday! It was the 'go to' instrumental for segments of things such as the 'Gas Station On Roller Skates' and similar fare. (YAFI also liked to use "Holiday For Strings", surprisingly not an Anderson effort. The Spike Jones version is pretty funny, too.)
(one of my favorites is "Sandpaper Ballet" - it never fails to bring a smile to my face.)

* Yeah, even The Ventures covered that one, wow!

February 14, 2016  
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sadie was visiting her friend Esther when the doorbell rang. Esther opened the door to find a florist deliveryman, who handed her a dozen long-stemmed roses, tipped his hat and went on his way.
Esther made a long, chagrined sigh.
"Whatsa matter?" asked Sadie.
"Ahhhh, every time that my husband sends me flowers I've got to spread my legs," complained Esther.
"What, you don't have a vase?" inquired Sadie.

February 6, 2016  


Yet Another Of The Greats Passes

Dan Hicks - he of Hot Licks fame - passed away today after a two-year bout with cancer. He was 74 years old.
Born in Little rock, AR, Hicks (pictured above at the 2005 Chet Helms Memorial Tribal Stomp drunkenly jiving with Yours Truly) was one of the founders of the seminal San Francisco psychedelic scene band The Charlatans.

Along with (from left George Hunter, Hicks, Mike Wilhelm, Mike Ferguson and Richie Olsen), the Charlatans actually laid the groundwork for the SF scene at the infamous Red Dog Saloon in Virgina City, NV in the early 1960's.
Hicks was very active in the local Bay Area scene throughout the years, appearing at such widely varied venues as KPIX television, the Berkeley Community Theater, the (now quite-defunct) Rio Theater in Rodeo and Contra Costa College in San Pablo. Yeah, ok, he played a lot of bigger gigs (including a broadly-reaching Indian casino circuit for many years), but those were just the places that I caught the act - And what an act t'was, too!

We owe a great debt of gratitude to Dan (and, of course, his Lickettes) for keeping alive the sound of the Hot Club of France, as well as his truly original style, which never seemed to take itself too seriously.
Some his earlier, best-remembered tunes would be I Scare Myself, Jukie's Ball and the unforgettable (and oft-quoted) How Can I Miss You When You won't Go Away?
Ol' Dan has a lot more material out there, just awaitin' your kind attentions.
Do check him out.

Also: be absolutely certain to check out a terrific documentary film Rockin' At The Red Dog, by Mary Works.

January 20, 2016  
What's Wrong With this Picture....?

January 10, 2016  
Irony Dept.

Dear Patrons,

We apologize for the short notice, however the Plunge is closed until further notice due to a flooding incident. We do not know exactly when the Plunge will reopen.
However, we will be moving most scheduled programs to the Richmond Swim Center. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and hope you continue to enjoy your swim at the Richmond Swim Center.

City of Richmond Aquatics

January 4, 2016  

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Remodel Almost Complete


Expected to open later this year, the SFMOMA has almost completed its remodel, revival and re-just about everything else.
We suspect that, judging by this recently released photo, that the first exhibition will have something to do with mummies.

December 15, 2015  

You Bet Your Life
(and ours, too!)


In this moment of GOP Circus debates, I would like to offer up this bit of clarity:

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies."

- Groucho Marx

NOTE: I would like to offer up a hearty "F*** You" to Comcast for eliminating the personal web pages that were formerly included as part of the service that we pay so dearly for, especially for doing it without warning.
This is why we were quiet for so long.
If there was a reasonable, workable alternative to their business in our area, we would surely cut the cord.
I encourage you to do so, if you can.

September 23, 2015  
Looks Like The Fat Lady Has Sung...

One of the most beloved people to ever squat in public, New York Yankee's catcher Yogi Berra died this week at the tender age of 90. Berra was an integral part of the famous Yankee lineup, garnering many World Series Championships.
Many do not realize that Berra served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he served as a gunner's mate on the attack transport USS Bayfield during the D-Day invasion of France. A Second Class Seaman, Berra was one of a six-man crew on a Navy rocket boat, firing machine guns and launching rockets at the German defenses at Omaha Beach. He was fired upon, but was not hit. Following his military service, Berra played minor league baseball with the Newark Bears. *
Controversy abounds as to how he got the nickname 'Yogi.'

Berra was one of the most quotable personalities of the 20th century, altho he could be rather puzzling at times.
A couple of my favorites:

When asked by one of his teachers - who was returning a test to Berra with a lower-than-passing grade - "Don't you know anything?" Berra replied "I don't even suspect anything"

Another time someone asked him what time it was. "Do you mean now?" replied Berra.

Once, Yogi's wife Carmen asked, "Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?" Yogi replied, "Surprise me."

I'll bet he's pretty surprised along about now.

* and, no, he wasn't known for stealing pic-a-nic baskets.

September 7, 2015  

That Darn Cat!


He was some cat, alright (but in the hipster sense - and this is likely the only time you will see 'Dean Jones' and 'hipster' in the same item....) Ok, so he played opposite the cat....
Probably best known for his roles in Disney movies - That Darn Cat and the Herbie series most notably - Jones appeared all over the silver screen, on Broadway and particularly the little screen.
Monkeys Go Home! was probably not the brightest moment in his career....
I remember him mostly from a television show from my youth, Ensign O'Toole. Click on the picture above to see the amazingly long list of guests on that show - he worked with just about everybody that was working at the time.
Jones died recently at age 84.

September 3, 2015  
Do You Believe In Reincarnation?
Separated At Birth?
Ok, so this topic has obviously been done before - but not here.
I can still recall the fuss from my earliest childhood.

Please do click on the image.

August 30, 2015  
One More....
"Colidiu be; it dos tale a fez houvesse for it to find the time zone it was in! "

August 27, 2015  
This was in response to The Deborah's post below:

"I just tried to send a message to my wife..
Auto-correct was going to send it as: "The moon from the sleeve of the Urals is in the barn."
Sounds like a password in a spy novel.
I caught it in time and re-wrote: "The money from the sale of the Opel is in the bank."

August 23, 2015

"Darn Autocorrect!"


The Deborah writes:

""The swallow that trots to Dubrovnik is on the steamboat."

My phone's been doing autocorrect like that when I try to type in English but have the Portuguese keyboard on."

Anybody else out there have any similar experiences....?

click here for a taste of the music

Peace, Love and.......


..... What?
One of the music-centric cable channels ran the Director's Cut of the film Woodstock t'other day, presumably because it was the anniversary of the legendary festival. Check out the poster: the real name of the wingding was the "Woodstock Music and Art Fair," but few remember the Art part. Hecksakes, the film barely showed any art, but, given the Olympian stature of the musical acts, it's not surprising.

One of the noteworthy aspects of the film was how half a million "hippie freaks" look less bizarre from today's distance.

Question: which one is the cowboy, and which is the freak?
(click on the thumbnails for the full image)

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