Monday, February 17, 2020

People on Pedestals --- Day 8/313

Walk: SF Guides Tour: American History in Golden Gate Park
Distance: 2 miles, small yoga

President James Garfield with Columbia mourning at the base

So, ha ha ha, Ciwt.   After writing yesterday about the lack of esteemed people on statues in San Francisco's history, her very next tour was filled with such luminaries right here in Golden Gate Park.  

The first statue placed in the park was of President James Garfield, who was never in San Francisco, but was nevertheless mourned nationwide after being asassinated in 1881, shortly after Golden Gate Park was created. After Garfield came a host of estimable personages, most on pedestals: 
President Ulysses S. Grant  (too loved by pidgeons)
General 'Black Jack" Pershing ,

John McLaren without whom basically no Golden Gate ParkNo pedestal for him because he hated all statues in 'his' park as well as anything they stood on.  The sculptor had to hide McLaren's statue in his studio and wait until he died before it could be installed because McLaren never would have allowed it in his lifetime.

Then if Ciwt wants to go international with her personages in the park there are many illustrious choices: Beethoven, Verdi, Robert Burns, Goethe, Buddha, a universal Baseball Player and Winemaker.  The list is extensive and entirely male, most on pedestals.  

So cheer up, Ciwt.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Training Day One; Still Here --- Day 8/312

Walk: SF City Guides Training (at SF Main Library)
Distance: 5 Miles, small yoga

Charles Fracchia, grand old man of San Francisco History (and Founder of Rolling Stone Magazine), at signing for latest of his many books: When the Water Came Up to Montgomery Street: San Francisco During the Gold Rush

So here's an indication to herself that Ciwt has undertaken a challenge: She becomes desperate to move...Where?  Anywhere but where she is presently living.

Now she has started this new San Francisco Guides Training.  Perhaps the main and most obvious challenge it entails is public speaking.  You know, the #1 fear they say.  But then there are things like the unknown, being criticized, making a fool of herself, bad hair days.  These are pretty universal aversions from what she reads, and they have already begun in spade. 

But her secret - and maybe uniqueish - reason that drives her to almost call Bekins is, well, her snobbism.  There it is.  To explain (justify), Ciwt loved history when she was growing up; she majored in it in college.  She loved all the grand personages - from the Pharoahs on to the Founding Fathers and into the present.  She admired the erudition, vast intelligence, fineness, grandeur - just elevated superhumanness of these historical personages. She loved learning about them on their pedestals and getting as close as she could to their exalted coattails.  

San Francisco history is none of this really.  No exalted personages and grand, still quoted speeches.  No patient, clever, admirable multi-year diplomatic skills here.  In fact, until 1776 San Francisco was undiscovered except by the indiginous Ohlones and maybe 50 others, and largely overlooked as barren and useless with terrible weather even after it had been.  Then came 1848 and the Gold Rush!  In a matter of months, every (mostly man) who wanted the promises instant riches offered got on a ship, or horse, or ox cart or just his own two feet and got himself to San Francisco.  Between January 1848 and December 1849 the now City's population went from @500 to @25,000.

Those who came weren't your intellectuals, religious pilgrims, lawyers, doctors.  Or, if they were, they became gold panners, shop and brothel keepers, magistrates of opium dens and gambling houses, brawlers, murderers. No time to climb onto pedestals.  But somehow this assortment of 'non-Founding Fathers and Mothers' used whatever ingenuity they possessed to fashion an utterly unique, inclusive and beautiful city that drew and has kept (snobby) Ciwt all these years. 

But maybe Ciwt isn't alone in her 'snobbiness.' Maybe most people want their (fore) fathers and mothers to be patently admirable.  Maybe this; maybe that.  Ciwt keeps trying but can't quite close the door on this topic.  So, she'll continue on into the challenge.  No calling Bekins to the rescue today.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Movin and Shakin --- Days 8/309, 310, 311

Walks: City Guides Tours: 
Distances: 4-5 Chilly Miles each

First Glass Fronted Building Ever Built in the 1800's
Downtown SF

Map of the Many New Parklets and Public Open Spaces in Downtown SF

Salesforce Park, SOMA

(Forlorn) Harvey Milk Plaza, The Castro

Roof Garden, Fairmont Hotel, Nob Hill
So Ciwt has been on the move and shaking up her decades old San Francisco patterns in anticipation of her San Francisco City Guides Training which begins tomorrow.  A bit nervewracking; wish her luck - and stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Ahoy --- Day 8/308

Walk:  SPCA, Trader Joe's 
Distance: 3 Miles

Generations of Ships and Gulls at Fisherman's Wharf

Monday, February 10, 2020

Ciwt and Friend Stumblin Into Greatness --- Days 8/305.306, 307

Walks: 1. Open Houses 2. Chinatown Tongs & Thomas Reynolds Gallery  3. Day of  Oscar Recovery
Distance: 1.  2 Miles  2. 3. Miles  3. 0 & Yoga

Bong Joon Ho
So, faced with the prospect of going down to 14th street in rainy New York weather to see a gloomy play in (probably incomprehensible) Irish brogue, Ciwt and her friend scouted for an alternative for their last day in the Big Apple.  Looking at Rotten Tomatoes we saw that a movie which had just opened had a 99% rating and was very near our hotel.  Why not go?  Sure.  So off we went in New York showers to be among the first to see Parasite, whatever that was.

Approximately 3 hours later we stumbled out of the theater, stunned.  Absolutely stunned by the most original, unpredictable, staggeringly intelligent, dark movie either of us had ever encountered.  This was going to take a Lot of debriefing, so we took our chances on a restaurant right near the theater.  It turned out to be excellent and also to have a couple at the next table to ours in the exact same condition we were in.  They, too, had just staggered out of Parasite and sort of didn't know what had hit them.  So the four of us new friends spent the better part of our Italian meals discussing the South Korean one-of-a-kind, impossible to describe masterpiece we had happened into.

Maybe one of the best movies ever made; certainly one they will be teaching in Film Schools for years, but, for exactly those reasons, very unlikely to be an Oscar contender.  Maybe Best Foreign Film if it was even nominated at all.  But, in spite of its miniscule chances, Ciwt chose Parasite and Bong Joon Ho for Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture in her entry: Top Time  ---   Day 8/259.  She doesn't have a great record choosing Oscar winners, but she had so much respect for the man and his film that she went ahead anyway. 

Well, you know the rest of the story.  Last evening Parasite won 4 of the most important Oscar categories: Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and BEST PICTURE.  The usually parochial and pretty predictable Oscars went with Excellence even when it was an international movie by a South Korean director.  Ciwt's heartfelt (but seemingly unrealistic) selections were right on!  Decades of loyalty to that marathon, usually bloated, often disappointing ceremony paid off!  So, Yay!!  And here's a Slate write up that captures the feeling in the Oscars room.

Extra touch: Nearly everyone involved in Parasite flew over for the Oscars Ceremony.  And they all spoke so highly of what a delight Bong Soon Ho, who has quietly become one of the most imporrtant filmmakers in the world,  is to work with.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Adjunct City --- Day 8/305

Walk: SOMA (South of Market)
Distance: 3 Miles

Remember quaint San Francisco? Where little cable cars climbed half way to the stars?  Well, it is still here.

And so is this!  If you go just a couple blocks south of the quaint pictures above, you come to an entirely new San Francisco.  Completely modern, completely young, completely happening and growing by the day.  It is New York(ish) attached to San Francisco, and it has all arrived in a matter of a few years.

Ciwt had been reading about it - like much of the country. And today she went to look and learn.  These towers are the homes or city homes of the giant tech names we all know: Salesforce, Twitter, Airbnb, Instagram, Yelp, Google, Lyft, Uber and others.  But there are also 50+ smaller tech companies here - with more on the way.* The average age in this new metropolis can't be older than 30, most with whopping salaries if not downright riches.  

This is just a report from the field. Ciwt has seen now, but it too much for her - or most people who live in 'old' San Francisco - to comprehend.  And the huge wealth, new population, and displacement that has accompanied this 'adjunct city' has been much more than 'old' San Francisco has been able to accommodate.  

* If you are interested in reading about and seeing pictures of these smaller companies, please read           this:

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Beyond Books --- Day 8/304

Walk: Marin Driving Day, Trader Joe's
Distance: 2 miles

Rose Main Reading Room at Main New York Library

So a friend asked Ciwt how the San Francisco Main Library compared with New York City's Main Branch.  The latter is stunningly beautiful in classic fashion, the second most visited tourist attraction in New York and Legendary.  In other words it is in a league of its own or with the most beautiful libraries anywhere.

Bridges and Light are the themes of the 1996 San Francisco Main Library. With bridges of stairs linking stacks of one type of knowledge to stacks of other types and the eye of its occulus (en)lightens the whole building.
But the San Francisco Public Library is becoming legendary in its own ways. The Library Journal awarded it Library of the Year in 2018 with the following statement: 

A MODEL AND INSPIRATION for public libraries worldwide, the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL)—with its committed staff, transformational leadership, amazing array of programs, partnerships, popularity, and community connections—is the 2018 Gale/LJ Library of the Year. ­SFPL’s aggressive yet compassionate approach and the resulting services, outreach, alliances, and innovation offer new directions public libraries everywhere can apply to their services.*

Four years ago the San Francisco Public Library set out to be the premiere urban library in the country, committed to being responsive to the full range of needs of the community.  To that end they have innovated or amped up an array of vital programs.  Just to name a few these include: Bridge at Main, an adult literacy and learning center; the Deaf Services Center; the Library for the Blind; Library on Wheels for the homebound; one-on-one tutoring for children in need of special help; Pop-Up Car Village (SFPL acts as host).  There are several art galleries, and special exhibitions and events, the list of innovations goes on an on.  They have taken many risks with some of their unique - and working! - programs in order to expand what libraries do.  The impact has been broad and deep.

To Ciwt though, all libraries - beautiful or ordinary, urban or rural - are always necessary and important beacons of growth, help, hope, inspiration, enlightenment and more in the lives of their community. And she's sure the New York and San Francisco Main Librarians would be the first to agree.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Fair or Foul? --- Days 8/302 & 303

Walk: 1. Main Library Tour  2. Fairmont Hotel Tour
Distance: 1. 5.5 miles, small stretch   2. 4 miles, yoga

Chandelier at Fairmont Hotel* San Francisco
A Little Closer

As Ciwt walks and listens to the San Francisco City Guides she encounters some questionable decisions made along the City's historical way.  For instance, here is the chandelier on the ceiling of one of the Fairmont Hotel's meeting rooms.  The glass is all Lalique**crystal so it must have cost a pretty penny even back then.  Today, $million$ maybe.  But, oh dear........

Luckily Julia Morgan, the famous and first California woman architect, was around when decisions were made about the look of the Grand Lobby.  It is tastefully and elegantly gorgeous

*There really was a Mr. Fair.  James Fair, a bartender who struck it rich in Gold Rush days, and built himself a home on Nob Hill that became a world famous when it was rebuilt as an elegant European hotel after the 1906 fire.

** Straight from Wiki: Lalique is a French glassmaker, founded by renowned glassmaker and jeweller René Lalique in 1888.[1] Lalique is best known for producing glass art, including perfume bottlesvases, and hood ornaments during the early twentieth century. Following the death of René, Lalique transitioned to producing lead glass (crystal) works during the 1950s while under the direction of René's son, Marc Lalique

Monday, February 3, 2020

Crab Etiquette --- Day 8/301

Walk: City Guides Tour: 1850's San Francisco: Paris of the Pacific
Distance: 3 miles, small stretch

Owner of the only woman-run crab business on Fisherman's Wharf informing us about crabs.  

So, certain professions - maybe especially if you are Italian - are exclusively male.  Or were, until Tom Lazio's daughters and granddaughters became the third generation to operate 70+ year old Alioto-Lazio Fish Company*.  Now Alioto-Lazio is exclusive in another way; it's the only woman-owned and operated fresh fish company on Fisherman's Wharf.  (Maybe anywhere)?

The women's education in the fish business wasn't easily achieved.  As girls they would dress up in their school attire until thir grandfather left for his daily rounds.  Then they would quickly change into aprons and apprentice in the intricacies of preparing fresh fish for restaurants and shipping.  When he returned to drive them home, they were back in their school uniforms and he was none the wiser.  

They thought!  Shortly before he died, he expressed his appreciation to his girls for carrying on his business with its excellent reputation for quality seafood and customer service, high standards and strong work ethic.

Here's one of Tom's Lazio's granddaughters above telling those of us on the City Guides Fisherman's Wharf Tour something about crabs - including how to avoid their mighty pincers.  The crab she's holding is a male.  In fact, every crab sold out of Alioto-Lazio - and every legitimate seafood company - is male.  What?  Not discrimination: female crabs need to be protected so they can reproduce.  And they are by Huge fines, jail sentences, business shut downs and more if a female is found in any commercial fish operation.  So the crab food you're enjoying?  That's an all male thing.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sitting Pretty, Please --- Day 8/300

Walk: Cinema Club (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)
Distance: 3 Miles, Yoga

Adele Haenel and Noemie Merlant in Portrait of a Lady on Fire

So, Ciwt was educated at all girl schools from second grade through college.  Every once in a while at these schools there would be an over the top (to Ciwt) Feminine event.  For instance, at her boarding school on May Day every one of her classmates were made to go outside, take hold of a long streaming ribbon and weave in and out from each other as we circled a Maypole.  She doesn't remember whether they had to wear special flowy gowns to do this but she does remember a wreath of flowers in everyone's hair.

It was awful.  Ciwt got and still gets upset encountering this level of, she guesses, Feminity or Womanhood, or something.  She remembers several of her classmates and teachers actually loving the Maypole dance, and this was even more upsetting and confusing to Ciwt.  How in the world could they - or anybody! - resonate to this stylized, contrived, 'girly' embarassment?  They did, and people do, and it all makes Ciwt feel strange about herself that she is completely, utterly removed from any feeling - except maybe aversion - from this type of behavior.   If this is Femininity, Ciwt will take Vanilla and always has.

So, when it came time to fill out her evaluation form for Portrait of a Lady on Fire at her Cinema Club preview today Ciwt had to write that the movie was so far from her sensibilities she couldn't evaluate it.  She did check the 'Excellent' box though because actually the movie is- if you are on its 2+ hours wavelength.  Like most Pre-Raphaelite paintings, it is very artfully executed but utterly foreign to whatever makes Ciwt tick.
John William Waterhouse, Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus, 1900, o/c


Saturday, February 1, 2020

History*#^ Stories --- Days 8/298 & 299

Walk: 1. SF Guides Fisherman's Wharf  2. SF Guides The Castro
Distance: 1. 3.5 Miles, small yoga   2. 5 Miles, small yoga

So, did Ciwt ever tell you she got her B.A. in History?  Actually it was love at first meeting between her and history, and she was considered odd by her middle and high school friends for that.  To them history was just a bunch of boring events and dates.  And Ciwt sympathized, but she was able to just automatically fill in the people, places, stories between those dates.   She tried to get her friends to do the same but to no avail. Finally writers started presenting history the way history buffs like Ciwt took it in it.  Ie, they told the stories of history, and history became Popular.

Many of these writers are scholarly and very accurate as they bring history alive. Erik Larsen, David McCullough and many others come to mind.  And then there are the Historical Fiction writers - Auel, Chevalier, Follett, Kingsolver, Mantel, the list is long and enjoyable - who tell marvelous historically based stories but sometimes go a bit over the top - putting actual thoughts and words into the long dead minds and mouths of their subjects.

Anyway, Ciwt is enjoying her re-involvement in learning some history.  Specifically the history of San Francisco in connection with becoming a San Francisco Walking Tour Guide.  Her training starts in two weeks  and lasts 6 months, so if you are one of those who still dreads history, maybe you'll want to take a CIWT break and check back in the Fall.  Or maybe Ciwt won't actually write much about history or will write it in a way that actually holds your interest or maybe you'll miss other topics she writes about.  So, she thinks...stay tuned.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Pink at Sunset --- Day 8/297

Walk: Hood
Distance: 2 Miles, Small Yoga

White Lamp and French Objects in Pink Sunset 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Speaking Softly --- Day 8/296

Walk: Golden Gate Park Japanese Tea Garden for City Guides Tour
Distance: 3.5 Miles, Yoga

The beauty and serenity of Golden Gate Park's Japanese Tea Garden speaks for itself.  But, like her guide on today's tour, soon Ciwt might be putting in a word herself.  She's been selected to become a San Francisco City Guide, or at least a Guide Trainee for now.  That actual training is coming up in a few weeks and lasts several months, so probably her readers will hear more about it.  Hopefully she'll make it interesting.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A California Nod to Real Winter --- Day 8/295

Walk: Hard Hat Tour of New SF Park, Hood
Distance: 3.5 Miles

Pieter Breugel (the Elder), Hunters in the Snow (January), 1565, oil on wood panel

Ciwt can do no better than Wikipedia in telling you about the iconic Hunters in the Snow (January), probably the most popular subject of all secular Christmas cards.

This painting is an example of the Northern Renaissance movement. The work is one in a series of six works, five of which still survive, that depict different times of the year. 

The painting shows a wintry scene in which three hunters are returning from a hunting expedition accompanied by their dogs. By appearances, the expedition was not successful: the hunters appear to trudge wearily, and the dogs appear downtrodden and miserable. One hunter carries the "meagre corpse of a fox" illustrating the paucity of the hunt. 

The whole visual impression is one of a calm, cold, overcast, day: the colours are muted whites and grays, the trees are bare of leaves, woodsmoke hangs in the air. The landscape itself is a flat-bottomed valley (a river meanders through it) with jagged peaks visible on the far side. A watermill is seen with its wheel frozen stiff*. In the distance, figures ice skate and curl on a freezing lake they appear as silhouetttes.

* Where is that windmill?  Ciwt doesn't see it.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Still January --- 8/293 & 294

Walk: 1. Presidio   2. SFSPCA
Distance: 4 Miles, Small Yoga   2. 1 mile (carrying 10 lb, yowling but fine-ish cat), small yoga stretch

Georgia O'Keefe (1887-1986), White Canadian Barn, 1932, o/c, 12" x 30"  (Metropolitan Museum)

Ciwt is still moving to January's subtle, two-faced and changing rhythms.  

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Just What the Doc Ordered --- Days 8/288, 289, 290, 291, 292

Walks: Back and Forth to/from SFSPCA
Distances: 3.5 miles average, small yogas here and there

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys for Life

After spending all week at the vet with her ailing cat Ciwt didn't think anything could make her
laugh and entertain her.  But luckily she was dead (ooops) wrong.  She thought Bad Boys for Life
was a hoot with an engaging, amusing story and great interaction between two even more engaging cop buddies.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Still Doing January --- Day 8/287

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 4 Miles, Wee Yoga

In other words, smelling the roses, that kind of January thing (in California where it's green already).

Sunday, January 19, 2020

What January is For --- Days 8/284, 285, 286

Walks: Hood
Distance: 3 x3; Yoga x 3

Contemplating, Laying Back, Reading, Staying in.   

Thursday, January 16, 2020

What We Do in the Storm --- Day 8/283

Walk: No, Storm
Distance: 0, Yoga

Ciwt and her cats particularly appreciate yoga on stormy days when they have to stay inside.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

GOAT Revealed --- Day 8/282

Walk: Hood
Distance: 1 mile, Yoga

Ken Jennings with his Jeopardy Greatest of All Time Trophy

So until June 2, 2004, Jeopardy was quietly watched by regulars like Ciwt.  Like Ciwt, many of those viewers starting watching when it became a nighttime show with the one and only Alex Trebek as host.  And slowly others joined.

Then on that June date, a new contestant came on to compete.  His name was Ken Jennings, and he won.  Nothing new with that.  Then he won a whole week and came back the next week to keep competing.  Now this was new because the Jeopardy producers had only recently eliminated the 5 game limit for contestants.  Ken actually got a little press because of that, and a few more viewers showed up at their TVs to watch him.

Then he won a third week and a fourth.  By then Jeopardy and Ken were beginning to get national attention.  The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other prestige publications took notice and wrote articles.  And the viewership grew and grew.

As the eyes of the world watched, Ken Jennings did the unheard of before or since by winning 74 consecutive games!  (Think of the number of times you've marched smartly into a room and forgotten completely why you are there, and you can imagine the brain power feat Jennings accomplished sometimes taping as many as three games in one day).  

And in the process he put Jeopardy on the map.

So it seems fitting and just right that he bested the other phenomenal trivia pros last evening to become Jeopardy's Greatest of All Time Champion.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Misty Puff and Tawny --- Day 8/281

Walk: West Portal
Distance:  2.5 Miles

Two years later Ciwt still can't tell them apart.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Updates --- 8/279 & 280

Walks:  Hood
Distances: 5 Miles x2, Yoga x 2

As  the song goes, the weather outside is frightful (for us San Francisco puffs). So Ciwt has been doing fun things like making donations and updating her will after 10 years. Needless to say, she isn't feeling too CIWT inspired.  That's done now, inspiration to follow.  (Unless she starts on her taxes...)

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Merce, Dancer --- Day 8/278

Walk: Clay Theater (Cunningham) (not the 3D version which must be even better)
Distance: 2 Miles
          “Cunningham,” by Alla Kovgan, succeeds in a way that most dance documentaries do not: as an art object in and of itself.  

The above caption taken from Marina Harss's* New Yorker review of Cunningham
says it best. 

Ciwt personally enjoyed Cunningham, the doc about the dancer Merce Cunningham, because it gave her an opportunity to see footage of his dances, his company and his close friends,partners and collaborators, John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg.   She knew they had all been together once upon a time, and she knows Rauschenberg's art, but Cage and Cunningham himself were artists she knew little about.  What a fine way to fill in her gaps.

*For the full review go to this link.

Friday, January 10, 2020

WWI Fantasia --- Day 8/277

Walk: AMC Kabuki
Distance: 2 miles, yoga

George MacKay in Sam Mendes' 1917

Imagine embodying the entire spectrum of World War I horror and grief in a young English Everyman on one day in April, 1917.  That seems to be what director Sam Mendes set out to do in his film 1917.  And, in several ways he succeeds, eg, excellent, understated acting and perfect cinematography.

But for Ciwt the rest of the movie is so contived, arty-farty and theatrical as to render 1917 dull, removed and, actually quite odd.

She hopes Oscar doesn't fall for it like the Globes did.

Old Winner, New Tricks --- Day 8/276

Walk: Park Meeting
Distance: 2 Miles

James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings

Well, since he excels at the Huge $howdowns, Ciwt thought Brad Rutter might be ahead at this point in the Jeopardy Greatest of All Time.  And after Brad, second she thought, would be James Holzhauer who revolutionized the way the game is played with his high-priced clues first and 'all in" betting strategy.  Last on her list was Ken Jennings who is the oldest and most conservative player.  He himself was quoted in articles during Holzhauer's regular season winning streak as doubting he could be fast enough on the buzzer or have the stomach for big, risky bets.

Well, again, Jennings is excelling!  Ringing in instantly, Winning enormous bets, Coming up with impossible 'trivial' answers.  As Holzhauer said "The guy knows his (stuff). He’s got an incredibly fast buzzer thumb and now he’s armed with this all-in wagering weapon. “That’s just the complete package right there. Add to that, and perhaps most impressive,  Jennings - and all of them - are keeping their senses of humor and fun throughout.  Championship stuff; Just watching on TV is nerve wracking enough.

Right now Jennings is in position to be the GOAT with one more win when The Match resumes Tuesday the 14th.  As Holzhauer also said "We'll have to see how next week shakes out."  Yes.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Greatest of All Time --- Day 8/275

Walk: Hood
Distance: 3 Miles

Along with Millions of other viewers Ciwt has adjusting her schedule to watch the Jeopardy Greatest of All Time. And, like all of them she's sure, her main intention is to pay tribute to one of the Greatest Broadcasters of All Time and her dinner partner for over 35 years, Alex Trebek.  The following are just the first four NYT Readers Comments from an article on the winner of Match 2.  (There are more then 150 along the same line).

* No matter how each competitor fares, the real winner will be Alex Trebek, who is facing a fearsome enemy with grace, dignity and courage.

* I just want Alex to win. I want him out of jeopardy and in Jeopardy for many more years.

* Can. Not. Wait. The buzzer strategy alone will be fascinating. This is exciting tv, and a much, much needed break from world chaos. Best of luck to all three - and three cheers, profound thanks and all good thoughts for Mr. Trebek, the epitome of class.

* Alex is the real champion, He has made the show a must see every evening.
I have spent years watching the show and actually learning from it. I don't care who wins because it is Alex and his fight against cancer that we all care about. When that contestant wrote that he loved Alex he spoke for all of us. Alex recent letter to John Lewis about being winners against cancer made me appreciate the fact that I have had the opportunity to watch him with my family all these years. He is more to us than a host, he is a man of character.

And from the contestants themselves:

In the spirit of the show, each champ was asked to describe what they admire most about Trebek in the "Jeopardy!" form of a question.
"What is his absolute professionalism?" Rutter replied. "I know how much work it takes to make it look effortless."
Jennings offered: "What is the way I see kids react to 'Jeopardy!' and Alex? Little kids who love the show and get excited when they know the answer. He symbolizes learning and knowledge to, now, a second and third generation of North Americans."
"What is goodness?" Holzhauer said. "Can you name someone who's been in Hollywood for 60 years and has never had even a minor scandal about them?"
"There's still time," Trebek joked, playing with his tie. What was that about being slow on the ad-libs?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Americana Lives --- Day 8/274

Walk: SPCA, Hood
Distance: 4 miles, Yoga

Besides Tom Hanks breaking down into tears when accepting the Cecil D. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, this is by far the most heart-warming story Ciwt has encountered in the year 2020.
She reprints it in its entirety.  (Just look at that picture!  Aaww).

Don Russell (left) is stepping down as publisher and editor of the Mountain Messenger. Carl Butz (right) is taking over on Jan. 20, 2019.  Established in 8153, the paper covering Sierra and Plumas counties is the oldest weekly newspaper in California.

California's oldest weekly newspaper, which once featured the writing of Mark Twain, has been saved.
A California man is taking over the Downieville-based Mountain Messenger, covering school board meetings, federal land use and other issues in rural Sierra and Plumas counties northeast of Sacramento.
Carl Butz, 71, said he canceled plans for a multi-month trek across Europe and Asia to step into the role of editor-publisher, beginning Jan. 20.
"I've been a widower for three years and this is a new chapter in my life," said Butz, who lives in an off-the-grid cabin in Downieville. "What am I going to do? Go on another trip around the world? Instead, I'm doing something good for the community, and I feel good about it.
Established in 1853, the Mountain Messenger publishes every Thursday with a circulation of about 2,400. Mark Twain famously wrote a handful of stories for the publication under his real name, Sam Clemens, while hiding out from the law.
"He'd accepted a challenge to a duel in Virginia City, and the State of Nevada had just outlawed dueling and so the governor said, 'Look I can hold this warrant for 24 hours, but you got to get out of here,'" said Don Russell, 70, the current publisher who is retiring.
Russell said he has tracked down two of Twain's old stories in the archives and said, "They were very short, one column by three or four inches. They were not particularly entertaining."
After 30 years of doing everything from selling ads to reporting stories, Russell is ready to step down. He has spent the past year trying to find a new publisher and said in recent years covering expenses has been challenging. His salary last year was $3,000.
"We found a pigeon to carry it on!" Russell said. "I'm very happy about it. He is now on the porch talking to the L.A. Times. He and I had been talking about it for a long time. I had pretty well talked him out of it. This is a losing business. But he's an old-timer, and well-connected to the community, related to half the county. It's a very easy and casual hand-off. The paper is in good hands."
A retired independent software consultant, Butz plans to do some writing and editing and will be recruiting new writers. The region is popular for outdoor recreation and he hopes to increase coverage on mountain bike and snowmobile trails and campground availability.
The paper currently doesn't have an online presence and he may explore making a digital version available, but he has no plans to turn off the presses.
"I got all these papers from the 1800s. They're wonderful to be reading now," he said. "Nobody is going to be doing that 100 years from now with the digital stuff. I'm not a Luddite but I think there are some things we shouldn't lose. The printed word being one of them."