Book Report.

Book Report.
Author of this memoir was born near Baltimore not far from Washington, DC. He co-authored with Bob Woodward the bestseller ‘All the President’s Men.’ This autobiography starts off with sixteen-year-old Carl Bernstein armed with the suggestion from his father, a local union leader that had encouraged Carl to apply for a reporter’s job. Young Bernstein was off to an interview with the Washington Star newspaper. Outfitted in his brand-new cream-colored corduroy suit with a new green pickle colored tie. None the less he still appeared as a freckle face kid. Presenting works to an editor he wrote for his high school paper; Bernstein was eventually and solely hired based on his 90-word per minute typing skills.
The title of the book, Chasing History: A kid in the newsroom. Memoir by Carl Bernstein bestseller 2022. An event filled timeline from high school up to his hiring by the Washington Post.
Here is the Library of Congress annotation:
“The Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of All the President’s Men, reflects on his formative years as a teenage newspaper reporter at the Washington Star and the subsequent trajectory of his career. He discusses covering grisly crimes, political rallies, the civil rights movement, and more.”

All of this in spite of not having a college degree in journalism. So, he was refused advancement by the Washington Star due to no degree. However, later Bernstein was hired on by the Washington Post and as they say, the rest was history. Read it! You just might like it.

This must be correct.

Public notice:

As you know I am not one to create confusion or controversy. Right? So with my Ernest attempt to be politically correct and gender neutral, I am requesting my grandchildren to no longer refer to me as Pops, Papa, dear grandfather, or revered grandpapa.

Instead I request them to refer to me as Old Family Curmudgeon with zipper pants and Jockey shorts. Or possibly just call me Elderly Fart. Or just grand-x with coffee breath. Thank you. I’ll let Sheba the co-occupant in this house speak for itself.

My star on the walk of fame?

My season in Hollywood.
My cousin Don lived on Cherokee Avenue in an apartment just off Hollywood Boulevard. He was a postal worker at the Hollywood branch of the Post Office. At that time, I was in high school. Some weekends I would take the bus from my home in East L A to the downtown bus station and transfer to the Hollywood bus. During one summer vacation I bussed to Hollywood and decided to see some TV shows. Using my cousin’s apartment as home base. So, one weekday morning I found the ABC television office on Vine Street and picked up some free tickets to a taping. I was really interested in seeing how they produced and videotaped a TV program. So, one set of tickets was for the old “Queen for a day.” A program where four women would emotionally describe their sad story. All in hopes that the jQFAD people would provide any number of things or services women were in desperate need for their families or themselves. But some might wonder why an eighteen-year-old boy would go to the trouble to see such a TV program live. The QFTD host was an old guy named Jack Bailey a shortish man with black swept back hair and had an interesting sense of humor and knew how to interview each Queen candidate. Each woman had about three minutes to relate her predicament and request. Hanging over the main stage was a neon lit APPLAUSE sign and flashed when applause was desired by the producer/director. There were intermittent breaks here and there where commercials would be inserted by the local TV stations when the program was aired.
But anyway, after the women were interviewed and made their tearful requests the audience would be asked to applaud for each woman as Bailey held his hand over her head. An applause meter was used to register the loudness or intensity of the applause. The woman that garnered the loudest applause was the winner or Queen for the Day. I could only conjecture that someone or someone’s did some book or phone research to see where goods or services could be found and awarded to the winner. But in addition, the winner would get a host of kitchen ware and appliances.
Then later in the early evening I had tickets for another pre-recorded TV program. My cousin came with me for this showing. It was a rehearsed drama of “Divorce Court.” Several of us were asked to come in and be part of the courtroom gallery. Others were asked to sit in bleachers behind the courtroom sound stage. We were told by a gentleman to never ever look at the camera. There was a camera trained on the gallery where we sat The older man playing the part of the divorce court judge was a gentleman often seen on the local Channel 7 KABC. After going through the drama, we were told the airing of this program would occur two days later in the afternoon. So, on that day I made a point to watch “Divorce Court.” Just to see if I could see myself. Unfortunately, I did see myself. I must confess I have a poor sense of ‘Wardrobe.’ I was wearing a brown V-neck sweater over a white crew neck T-shirt. The Okie look I often wore to school. So what image was I projecting on television? The poor brother of the husband? Or an escaped lunatic curious to see people get divorces?
All in all, it was an interesting experience. Now I know how it was done. Discovering that TV work was not for me.

Brothers Grimm! Kiss my butt.

`Story time rewrite.

The original version of the story just does not work. The rough edges need some buffing and sanding down in order to present it responsibly to your grandchildren. Kids today just could never go for guts and gore. So, sanitizing the original story is most necessary.
But all of this is dependent on today’s kids getting the story from you first. Otherwise, they will know the difference.
I had narrated a story of the three bears to my then four-year-old granddaughter and came to a spectacular ending (I thought). Giving her the all-new up-to-date version. Thinking she would surely love my version. However, she said after I finished the story, “That’s not the way it goes Papa.” Obviously having heard the story once before from another source. More likely hearing the Brothers Grimm version with its graphic descriptions of blood and guts. For example, the scene in the Little Red Riding Hood story where the wolf eats grandma and later is extricated from the wolf’s stomach with a mighty whack from the Woodsman’s razor-sharp ax. So out steps grandma as the wolf is disemboweled. Possibly dripping in stomach gook and blood. Are you following me?
My version first sets the focus on the recipe for the cookies and then how the wolf runs off with the cookies after being sat at grandma’s doorstep.
The story that is most gross is ‘Snow White.’

The evil queen asks the magic mirror who is the fairest of them all and the mirror responds ‘Snow White.’ So, the evil queen in response to this bad news has her woodsman go find Snow White and extract her heart and bring to the queen. But the woodsman finds a wild pig and rips out its heart and presents to the queen instead. Etc. etc. You know the story.
But anyway, my versions are more suitable for small children and possibly for older children as well. My re-written Brothers Grimm narratives are repackaged and Presented in a glossy early Hollywood sanitized sound stage presentation. Mine is not Silence of the Lamb but more like Leave it to Beaver.
So don’t give me that’s not the way it goes Papa! I know what I’m doing. I’m editor-in-chief. So there! Ha!

That was a close shave.

Just a close shave.
Darn! My electric shaver is broke. The head and foil has come apart. I thought I had another to replace it with but discovered I do not. This got me to thinking. What if I grew a beard? I tried it once or twice when in college. The miscellaneous scruff I grew back in college came out blondish and not dark brown. Dark brown like I HAD atop my head in a previous life. With my horribly white skin the blondish beard looked like someone hit me straight on with a cream pie. Then there was the itch. Itch accompanied with pimple blumples. Itchy! And in need of Oxy-10. Just a freaking mess of itch and pimples.
But anyway, my shaver is out of

order. Necessitating me to use a razor blade. I use Harry’.com. Receiving multibladed blades every month or so. It all works fine if I want to take the time to affect a wet shave. Wet shaves are troublesome and take too much time and shave cream. I guess I’m too lazy to do the entire wet-shave process.
But on the other hand, it will be about one week before I get a replacement foil for my shaver. The way shipping is slow today, it could easily be several weeks before arrival.
So, if you see a guy out walking with a scruffy pie-splattered looking beard, it might be me or a chimpanzee. None the less, say hi. However, I might be walking with my chin touching my chest Attempting to hide my wooly unshaven face. Darn! Technology fails me once again. If it it’s not my Wahl shaver then it’s my 20-year-old Windows XP PC. They just don’t make them like they used to. Do they huh?

My Book Report.

Book Report.

So here you have two parentless Irish immigrant kids arriving in a new country, a run-away slave seeking freedom, and a California gold mining man from China. All looking for a new life or hopefully new opportunities in the expanding land called America. Experiencing both success and hardship. Some traveling on, working for, or investing in the new steam engine driven transcontinental railroad. Newly laid wooden ties, spikes and iron rails spanning across America and ready for the great iron horse followed by the passenger car.
Then fast forward four or five generations to the present. Their descendants still experiencing successes and hardships. Eventually all the descendants riding separately and unknown to the other all aboard a modern express train to their new destiny.
The book: Small World by Jonathan Evison Historical Fiction

Here is the Library of Congress annotation:
In the 1850s, a group travels across the country via train, including a pair of Irish orphans, a runaway slave, and an immigrant from China. In 2019, descendants of those early travelers board another transcontinental train, seeking their own version of the American Dream.

Again, the book is ‘Small World’ by Jonathan Evison, historical fiction 2022
Individual’s stories covering the present then flashback to the early family ancestries. Leaving the reader thinking “It couldn’t get any worse than this.” However, some tragedies eventually turn into an unexpected celebration. Read it. You’ll like it.

Come on into my studio.

How to record music.

Back in the early 1980s and up in to the mid-1990s I owned and operated a recording studio. Recording all sort of virtuosos, song writers, small bands, big bands, country, Bluegrass, gospel, rock and you name it bands. I recorded harps and harpsichords. Choirs and even one woman laughing. I recorded them all. Then I once had to give a young lady the bad news of keeping her day-job and go try something else.
Never the less there is a certain technique in multitrack recording. It’s best to start with recording the rhythm section first. Drubs, bass, and rhythm guitar or something like that. Depending on the style of music and instruments used in the band. Sometimes just an upright bass fiddle and mandolin. Whatever.
The idea is to separate the sounds by padded sound baffles or by distance. Miking each instrument separately. Which gives more flexibility in equalization and level control all in the final mix. Then you overlay that with a lead guitar, keyboard, and/or voice. Then you are ready for the final mix down. All this gives the tune recorded clean and clear sounds of instrument and voice. Are you following me?
However, many of the local bands coming in I had in my studio had no clue how recording is done. Their thoughts were “just mic us up and let us go.” Not so disconcerted breath.
Almost half their arranged studio time was me instructing the band or individual how recording techniques work. Techniques that may lead to a brighter and clearer recording. Allowing the listener to distinguish one voice or instrument from the other. A good separation of sounds.
Then one day a Laotian gentleman came in and wanted to record his Laotian band. Obviously, there was language hoops to jump through. Again, the man and his band from Laos thought all one needed to do is mic us up and let us go. Again, not so. However, after attempting to explain the recording techniques over and over as best I could it was best just given in and mic them all up at once. what made it difficult was the drummer was their only singer. Making it most difficult to separate the drums from his low volume voice. So, we did what we could. Mixed it all down, took their money, and gave them the final mix on a cassette tape.
Now my favorite foreign language band was several Latinos from Joplin Missouri. And once again only one band member could half way speak English. This time I was successful in explaining the step-by-step process of separating sounds. Recording rhythm section first and so on. But what made this project fun was their music. They chose Oldies songs from the late 1950s and 1960s. We recorded an old tune often heard on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. “Let’s go to the Hop in Spanish. “Vamos al salto de salto. Just like Danny and the Juniors sang back in 1957. Right?
Later on, wife and I converted this business into an advertising specialty business. Recording messaging for business phone systems. Call directing answers and on-hold messages. We started off with over 3000 State Farm agents. This receipt of monies made up for all the premiums I had paid to State Farm in the past. And the business grew from there.

Write me a story.

Stepping lively in her new pink New Balance running shoes, Michael Anna was speeding between ancient class buildings. In a big freaking rush to get to her Third-World Economic class she was to lecture as an adjunct. Being a first semester senior, she had agreed to occasionally lecture with the agreement that the university would reduce her current semester tuition debt by 30-percent. It was agreed since Michael Anna grew up in Bolivia whose parents were American missionaries toiling in a small and mostly poor Villa about a hundred kilometers southeast of La Paz. And Michael Anna being a fluent speaker of Spanish, she could easily lecture in English and interpret for the few South American students in her class. Having good repour with the class she was often referred to as Chiquita Mikey, The Pickleball Princess.

It was like having cows in our front yard.

The dairy came to us.
The chilled paper carton I picked up from the dairy case read 2% MILK. Homogenized Fortified with vitamin-D. All printed on a half-gallon paper carton with a plastic screw off pouring spout.
As I held it in my left hand, I couldn’t help but remember Johnny the milkman. A neatly trimmed mustachioed handsome gentleman wearing an all-white delivery uniform with white cap. Johnny was a route salesman for Arden Milk and dairy in L. A.
Remembering back when I was in grade school, he delivered to our home our milk and other dairy products right to our front porch at about 5:30 or 6:00 some mornings. This would have been from the early 1950s to about 1960 one or two mornings a week. From my bedroom, I could hear him drive up in his milk delivery truck stopping in front of our little house on our street in East Los Angeles. Noticing him opening the rear door of his delivery truck, hoist out two half gallons of whole milk while always spilling out chunks of ice on the pavement, carry the full glass bottles and place them in a wooden milk crate sitting on our front porch. Then removing the empty bottles my mom washed and placed back in the wooden crate for Johnny to retrieve and return to be filled once again. Most of our neighbors did the same. Home milk delivery. So, what happened to that most convenient service? And as they say, “those were the days.”