Category Archives: Entertainment

Trump’s Lap Dogs

Based on the activities of these six senators (at least these ones) I worked this up a while ago, then forgot about it. Just want to put it out there. These six are, in my estimation, particularly egregious in their subservience and sycophancy, though we all know it’s based on naked ambition. If there is a better argument against allowing these kinds of people to run for any office of public trust, I don’t know where it’s to be found.


Manzanar & Toyo Miyatake

In the Spring of 2018, my wife’s niece arranged for a few members of the family to take some portrait photos. She chose the studio of Toyo Miyatake, a photographer who was imprisoned in the Manzanar concentration camp, during World War II. My wife is Sansei (3rd generation Japanese-American) and grew up on Monterey Park, CA, where most of her family continues to reside. The studio is currently being run by his son, Archie, who took some wonderful pictures of my wife, our daughters, and her mother, sister, and niece.

Caption on photo reads “War Relocation Center – Manzanar, California”

The studio is in San Gabriel and it’s filled with lots of photos taken by Toyo and Archie and I snapped some pics with my phone to share. I didn’t get around to doing anything until now, for reasons I’m incapable of reciting. Nevertheless, here they are. In looking for information on Toyo and Manzanar, I came across the Densho Encyclopedia, which has this to say about their work:

From the Densho Encyclopedia’s website:

The Densho Encyclopedia is a free and publicly accessible website that provides concise, accurate, and balanced information on many aspects of the Japanese American story during World War II. It is designed and written for a non-specialist audience that includes high school and college students and instructors, multiple generations of Nikkei community members, confinement sites preservation groups, amateur and professional historians, librarians, journalists, documentarians, and the general public.

The Encyclopedia is thoroughly cross indexed and articles are linked to relevant primary and secondary materials from the Densho archive and from other websites that include still and moving images, documents, databases, and oral history interview excerpts as well as standard bibliographical sources.

https://encyclopedia.densho.org/about/
Caption on left reads, “Manzanar Spring 1944”

The history of America’s treatment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII is a stain on everything this country is “supposed” to stand for, yet rarely seems to be able to provide. It was the result of racism and chauvinism, of nationalism and white supremacy. It set the Japanese-American community back years, if not decades, especially for those families whose property was stolen by white citizens who remained behind. Some were able to reclaim their homes and farms, but many didn’t. Toyo Miyatake was imprisoned here in California, at Manzanar. Here is what the Densho Encyclopedia has to say about his time there.

From the Densho Encyclopedia’s website:

The exclusion order forced Miyatake, his wife and four children, to the concentration camp at Manzanar. He was able to store his photographic equipment but managed to smuggle a camera lens and film plate holder into the camp against government orders. Miyatake told his son Archie that he felt it was his duty to document camp life. An Issei carpenter in camp constructed a box to house the lens, and Miyatake was able to get film into camp by way of a hardware salesman and former client. The photographer eventually asked camp director Ralph Merritt if he could set up a photo studio, and Merritt, who learned about Miyatake from Edward Weston, consented with the provision that Miyatake only load and set the camera, and a Caucasian assistant snap the shutter. Eventually, that restriction was lifted, and Miyatake was designated official camp photographer, and granted the freedom to take photos of everyday life at Manzanar. While there, Miyatake met and began a longtime collaboration with Ansel Adams, who wanted to capture candid photos of people there; the two men later published their work together in the book Two Views of Manzanar. Miyatake’s groundbreaking Manzanar photographs have also been featured in a 2012 exhibition at the Eastern California Museum called “Personal Responsibility: The Camp Photos of Toyo Miyatake.”

https://encyclopedia.densho.org/Toyo_Miyatake/

The collage I’m sharing, below, is of Archie recreating one of his father’s more iconic photos. He was able to find the now grown men who were originally pictured in Manzanar and bring them to the site for the shoot. I think the photos are pretty self explanatory, but the second row has the money shots, IMO.

Manzanar then and now!

I’ll share three more photos I took while we were there. The photo on the left is of a portion of the front of the studio, where much of Archie’s work is displayed. It was there I saw large photos of people like Condoleezza Rice and Vin Scully, in addition to many others. The center photo is of Archie shooting photos of my family, which consisted of my wife, my MIL and SIL, along with My SIL’s daughter (our niece), her grand daughter by her other daughter (deceased) and our two daughters. The photo on the right is a collage of photos Archie took at the wedding of “Uncle” George Takei and Brad Altman. Click on any of the pics to see a larger version.

Aaaand . . . since I’ve mentioned George and Brad, I have one more photo to share, below these three. On September 19, 2019, Linda and I attended a talk at The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre, in Hollywood, where George was discussing his newest book, “They Called Us Enemy.” We purchased a copy and, while waiting in line to get it autographed, Brad walked through the line greeting everybody. We got a nice photo with him. Here’s how George’s book has been described:

George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s-and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon-and America itself-in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12579768

Linda, Brad, & Moi

Thanks For Nothing, SCE!

Listen!
You can hear the wind howl
And feel it shaking the house
As the dog's quick to growl
And is shushed by my spouse.
Patience!
SCE proactively turned off our power
Last night at 7 was when it went dead
Hoping now in the kitchen the milk doesn't sour
Yet the butter I've found is so easily spread.
Worry!
It's not just the reefer I worry about
It's more than the food that might spoil
It's my iPhone's ability to let me shout out
When its battery gets low on oil.
Resignation.
So I sit here and wait for my phone to go dead
And try to ignore angry thoughts in my head
Cause they told us the power won't be back 'til tomorrow
And I've little to do save to drown in my sorrow.

Thankfully, the power came on an hour or so after I finished writing this and nothing spoiled. We got lucky, IMO.


The 1984 Olympics

I don’t think I’ve ever shared this photo before; at least not here in Systems Savvy. In 1984 I had a friend whose parents had purchased tickets to the opening ceremonies of the Los Angeles Olympics and to a day of track and field events. This friend’s mother got very sick and they knew they would not be able to attend, so they offered the tickets for sale at face value. That was $200 per ticket for the opening ceremonies. According to this site, in today’s dollars each ticket would have gone for slightly more than $500.00.

So, I was thirty-seven years old and making really good money at the time, and I purchased those tickets and invited my brother to attend on opening day. We headed over to the Memorial Coliseum early, found a place to park and, since we were there early, we managed to find a nice dive bar in which to have a drink prior to entering and finding our seats.

The picture was taken as the final participants, the “home team” as it were, the United States had pretty much entered the venue but was not yet off the track and in place in the field. The Coliseum itself was impressive, as it had been renovated and freshly painted. I believe the Olympic Torch was brought into the Coliseum by Rafer Johnson, who ascended the steps with it to light the flame that burned at the top of that column you can see above the portion in between the two Jumbotrons, one of which showed the name of the nation that was currently entered the field and the other of which showed its flag.

In writing the above paragraph I had to look up and make sure I had spelled Rafer’s name correctly. In doing so I discovered he died four days ago. I don’t recall hearing anything about it. How sad. He was an Olympic Champion. I can’t help but think this is at least in part because a certain someone is constantly sucking up all the oxygen in the country, and the media (for the most part) just keep salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. It causes me to wonder two things: 1. Will they ever learn? 2. Will I live long enough to see it? My suspicion is the answer to both questions is “No.”


A Little Love For The Eagles

Glen Frey and Joe Walsh

My first memory of The Eagles is from 1972, the year they released their debut album, Eagles. I can remember the first time I actually listened to the words of “Peaceful, Easy Feeling.” I was living with my brother, my best friend, two close family friends, and the brother of one of those friends in two small, suburban houses in North Hollywood, California.

I had returned to SoCal from a year or so living mostly in the Bay Area; Berzerkeley to be exact . . . for most of the time, and I had been healing from the damage a licentious lifestyle can do to one’s body. I had a used VW Bug and, at the time, my brakes were shot and I had to drive slowly and with a great deal of forethought to what was occurring ahead of me (my parking brake worked OK, so a combination of paying close attention, down-shifting, and parking brake application did the trick for a couple of weeks, until I could afford to get the brakes fixed.

Eagles – Debut Album Cover 1972

I had already become a committed Feminist and was deep into educating myself and the five young men I was living with of the righteousness of supporting women’s equality (along with other forms of combating injustice.)

I was driving my VDub when the song came on the air. Given my precarious brake situation, I always attempted to drive down streets I knew were quiet and seldom had much traffic, so I was driving lazily down a mostly empty street and enjoying the music on my radio. It was the second verse that caught my attention:

“I found out a long time ago, what a woman can do to your soul. Aw, but she can’t take you any way you don’t already know how to go.”

Peaceful Easy Feeling – Eagles 1972

When I heard the first sentence I remember thinking, “Shit! Here we go again. Men blaming women for their troubles. Crap!” Then I heard the second sentence and was relieved to learn they had inserted a bit of honesty into the observation. I felt much better about how much I enjoyed their music.

One of those friend/roommates of mine went on to become the road accountant for the Eagles for a few of their world tours. He and I were living together in Van Nuys and I recall him being out on the road quite a bit with them. He also toured with Boz Scaggs, Toto, and later on became part of Billy Joel’s entourage for perhaps a decade. He did well, retired young. He also ended up getting sued by Billy at the behest of (as I was told) Christie Brinkley, who believe he had been taken advantage of by his management company, of which my friend was a member.

He was very hurt by the accusations and, fortunately, the case never went anywhere because if was based on the same kind of evidence we’ve lately seen being used by Rudy Giuliani in his epoch attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 General Election.

I’ve long been a fan of the Eagles’ music, but I’m not a “fan” of anyone. I’ve been around fame a bit. Growing up near Hollywood has that effect on most of us; we run into celebrities just going about our lives. I learned early to leave them alone and to respect their privacy.

I have friends who follow the careers of several people they admire and whose work they enjoy . . . closely. I don’t do that with anyone. However, music is something I enjoy and I found the music and lyrics of The Eagles deeply compelling. Since I’ve not paid much attention to their lives, other than listening to their music, I was completely unaware that Glen Frey’s son, Deacon, as well as Vince Gill, had joined the band. Below is a link to a video of a show they did in Atlanta.

It’s a little over two hours and I haven’t listened to all of it yet, but I’m familiar with every one of the songs with the possible exception of “Those Shoes” and “Walk Away.” This is kind of a way for me to save the video for any time I feel like listening to one or more of my fave tunes.

I have to add that seeing Glen’s son, Deke, perform in his place brought a tear or three to my eyes. I’ve always been somewhat of a softie (even wrote about it here, and here) and, it seems, as I am getting older and contemplating the end (which I’ve also written somewhat extensively about) I find myself feeling the loss of people who have entertained and/or enlightened me—especially if they’re younger than me—more painfully than I used to experience such things.

The video also has links below which will take you directly to whatever song you wish to watch/listen to. Keep in mind, as well, this was clearly recorded by a fan and the quality is not what you would expect from a well-produced, high quality production. It’s quite serviceable, however. Enjoy! I sure do/did.


A Love Poem

It’s been a while since I’ve written much poetry, but I do have some old poems I’ve saved over the years. This one is probably at least 25 years old. It was written to a woman I was absolutely smitten with. Unfortunately, she was struggling with alcoholism and was also (ultimately) afraid of commitment. I was ready, but it wasn’t to be. Someone familiar with the work of Kahlil Gibran may notice his influence on this particular piece.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

What wonders have I known since first I met you
I have tasted of your lips
Yet it is the thoughts they have expressed
Which ring in my ears
I have suckled at your breasts
Not nearly as a babe
Yet it is the aroma of your flesh which haunts me in my reverie
And the sound of your sweet sighs which fills my memories

To taste of the flesh is a simple thing
Too easily exalted
Too frequently abused
To taste of the soul is a wondrous thing
Too seldom found
Too seldom used

It is not just your eyes I see
But the depth which lies behind them
It is not merely your lips I crave
But the ideas which they convey
These. remain with me during the days
And calm my evenings
That I may lie
With images of you to lull me
Softly as I drift to sleep

Your smile floats before me even now
Your laugh softly fills my mind
And I crave your presence
Even as its memory fills me with joy

I have found in you a person worth cherishing
A woman whose value I deem boundless
And whose soul I have already partaken of
I ask for little more
Than to entrust my desires
My hopes and dreams
With one
As sharing
As giving
As you


More Zoomey Tunes

Here are a few more photos I took around the house. Just looking for interesting patterns, especially when zoomed in real close. I’m also experimenting a bit with WordPress’s various blocks for presenting photos. Here I’m using the slideshow block.


Another Change of Pace

In my last couple of years in High School I took a lot of photography classes. Back then (this was in 1964 – 1966) there was no such thing as digital photos. Everything was film and darkroom work. I remember enjoying taking pictures at football games, using Kodak Tri-X 400 black & white negative film.

I had to take it into the darkroom and develop both the film and then use the negatives obtained from the film strip to project onto photographic paper, which we then developed ourselves in the darkroom. It involved a lot of banging around in the dark, getting used to working by dim red light, and lots of chemicals to develop, set, and finish the work.

I’ve long enjoyed photography and still enjoy using tools like Photoshop to tweak and improve photos; sometimes to create political memes from them as well. I recently started using the magnification app that came with my iPhone XR and I’ve realized I can produce some interesting photos by zooming way in on subjects that have intricate or visually remarkable patterns.

Several of the ones I’m publishing here should be fairly easily recognizable to most people. At least one of them requires a bit of engineering knowledge and, perhaps, familiarity with space hardware. A couple of them should be easy to discern. Two of them relate to cooking in one way or another. What do you see?


A Surprise!

As I’ve noted previously, I am working on a couple of memoirs and my autobiography. In doing so, I’ve been conducting a bit of archaeological research on my two current computers’ contents. I have a PC laptop and an iMac. The laptop is going on three years old and the Mac was purchased around June of 2010, right after I retired from Rocketdyne, though it crapped out while it was still under warranty, and the CPU and most of the other components were replaced with those of a newer model.

Something I hadn’t been thinking about much was that I had moved all of my personal files from my years at Rocketdyne, as well as a lot of writing I did while I was there that isn’t worth their energy to call protected IP. At any rate, I’m encountering things I had long forgotten existed and I’d like to share some of them.

This is a press release I’m pretty sure I wrote tongue-in-cheek, but I’m not sure what happened with it. It was, if the file metadata is correct, written in early February of 2006, a little over 14.5 years ago. I can’t recall the last time I read a physical copy of the L.A. Times.

For Immediate Release

In an amazing display of ineptness and communications failure, and for the third time in almost as many weeks, the Los Angeles Times’ home delivery department, Ventura County division, on Sunday, February 5, completely mismanaged the delivery of the Times Sunday edition to the home of a Simi Valley family.

For years, this weekend edition, complete with both the opinion section and numerous advertisements and coupons, has been delivered to the Ladd family double wrapped in plastic and sealed to protect it from being soaked by the sprinkler system which, unfortunately, drains water in the exact location where the paper seems to be most conveniently placed by the L.A. Times’ intrepid delivery person.

Approximately four to five weeks ago, and without any explanation or reason which would be immediately apparent to the Ladds, the paper started being delivered with one, unsealed plastic bag. This difference, however, was not matched by a change in location used to place the paper and, the laws of physics and water being what they are, the paper wicked up enough liquid to add several pounds to its weight. As a side effect, it made reading the articles and advertisements contained in the Times virtually impossible.

Up until the 5th of February, subsequent to calls to the Times’ Customer Service automated telephone number, a new paper has twice been delivered within the promised 90 minutes. The last time brought an apology and a promise to see the paper was sufficiently wrapped and it was, in fact, delivered dry on January 29th. However, the following week, on February 5, the paper was once again single wrapped, and soaking wet by the time it was retrieved.

Richard Ladd immediately called the Times’ Customer Service automated telephone number, once again pressing the button to inform the electronic system that there was, indeed, a delivery problem involving an automatic sprinkler system and a wet newspaper. He then entered his phone number and street address, and was informed a new paper would be delivered within 90 minutes.

As of midnight, at the beginning of a new week, the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times had not been delivered to the Ladd family, causing them to wonder if they shouldn’t just throw in the towel and cancel their subscription, opting instead to read the paper (assuming they even care any longer) on the Internet, and either celebrating or bemoaning (they are currently not quite sure which it should be) the continuing slide of print media into oblivion.

– END –


“Corona Virus Blues” | Don McAlister’s Blogsite

Written by my former (and last) manager at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, these are contemporary blues lyrics. The tune is up to you. If you know 12 bar blues, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to gin something up.

Written by Don McAlister, 6/28/20 as a standard 12 bar blues song.

When this all got started
We didn’t have a clue
‘Bout how crazy things would get
And change everything we knew.

At first it didn’t seem that bad
The danger wasn’t clear
Then cases started popping up
West and East, and then right here.

And now it was a crisis
Affecting me and you
We got it bad
Corona Virus Blues!

CHORUS: We got a virus out to kill us
And it don’t care ‘bout who
And the only way to slow it down
Is to change the things we do.

We gotta stay six feet apart
And cover up our faces
Stay away from bars
Only eat at takeout places.

We’ve been hunkered down for months now
Watchin’ movies and the news
Yeah we got it bad
Corona Virus Blues!

Some folks got tired of hearing
What they should and shouldn’t do
And they protested and said
It was time to loosen rules.

Gov’nors felt the pressure
And opened up some places
But still asked us to distance
And cover up our faces

But it got out of hand again
Careless gatherings and booze
Infections started spiking up and
And now we’ve still got Corona Virus Blues!

(Repeat CHORUS and end)

Source: “Corona Virus Blues” | Don McAlister’s Blogsite


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