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[sticky post] Meet the family!

Mar. 10th, 2012 | 01:11 am

Before we begin, some introductions are in order.


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All-Stars Blog

Jul. 20th, 2017 | 04:13 am

In the summer of 1957, my father was named manager of the All-Stars of the West Covina American Little League. The team was very successful; moreso, in fact, than any other in the history of the young city. In the coming days, I will be telling the story of the 1957 WCALL All-Stars as they progressed through post-season play to the California State Tournament, as it happened, day-by-day, 60 years ago.

You can read all about it here:



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My father, and my brother

Jun. 18th, 2017 | 01:47 am

A different kind of Fathers Day tribute...

Most people who knew Dad didn't know that he was married–and divorced–before he met my mom.

And most people who knew/know me didn't know I have a brother; a half-brother, Patrick Edward Shannon.

So, for this Fathers Day, here's a picture of Dad with his first son, two years before I was born. The second photo shows Pat and Me at Big Bear, when I was 3-1/2.

I loved my big brother, and he loved me, as you can see.

I mostly grew up without Pat, though. He stopped coming to visit after I started school, and I didn't see him again until after he joined the Army, fought in Vietnam, returned from his tour of duty, got married, and had his first child, almost 10 years later.

Pat and I have kept in touch since I moved away from home. We talk now and then over the phone, though I haven't seen him in person for almost 30 years now.

I know that's kind of a sad Fathers Day story, but it's one I thought should finally be told.

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34 years

Jun. 7th, 2017 | 03:03 pm

Thirty-four years ago yesterday, I saw a river otter at Trinidad Bay for the first time, so I went up there for a visit to mark the occasion. (Actually, I mostly went to treat Shadow to a nice outing, as this will likely be his last trip to the beach...)

Anyway, I didn't expect to see any otters, and I didn't, but I did run into the lady who has become Otter-Spotter #1 there since my departure, and she gave me a rundown on what she'd been seeing there the past couple of summers.

Also, an old commercial fisherman friend drove out onto the pier while I was there. When he saw me, he stopped, rolled down his window, smiled and said, "Where... have... you... BEEN?!" It was nice to know at least one of my old buddies noticed I'd been MIA all this time.

Only downer of the day was that I had the worst plate of fish and chips ever for dinner afterwards: an absolutely horrible mush of undercooked cod, and limp, greasy fries. It was expensive, too. Even Shadow didn't want a piece of the fish. I couldn't blame him. :p

It was nice to get out there again, though. I used to go to Trinidad every single evening. Kind of hard for me to grasp that all that has been over for 9 whole years now.

The awful new pier.


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Alpha and Omega

May. 3rd, 2017 | 03:37 pm

Remembering my father on the day of his birth, 102 years ago.

First portrait, c.1920.


Last portrait of him and me together, March, 1985.

I miss you so much, Dad–every single day–and I'll love you always...



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First computer desk

Apr. 20th, 2017 | 04:28 am
music: Muzio Clementi: Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1 (I: Allegro)

Inside my studio apartment at 754 5th St. #B in Arcata, 32 years ago.

(Sorry about the overexposure. I tried to improve it with Photoshop, but this was the best I could do.)

Anyway, this was my "workstation" at the time. Although my Macintosh 512K was retired in 1989, it actually still works! That's also the exact same computer table I use today, the exact same mouse pad, and I'm sitting in that exact same straight-back wooden chair right this second. The even-older chair in the foreground is at the work table in my present living room. The desktop organizer at right is also the same one I used in college. I can't think where that is at the moment, but I still have it somewhere.

In the background, I also still have my mom's blue Royal portable typewriter, and my Sony STR-6055 stereo receiver, although I don't actually use either of them anymore. The Dual turntable is still in active service, however, as are the black no-name speakers. The wooden in-box at upper right is from my dad's office, and is still in use in my home office today.

Man, that little place sure was cramped. Even then, I had WAY too much "stuff." ^^


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The old neighborhood

Apr. 19th, 2017 | 05:48 am

Got an oil change in my old home town of Arcata yesterday, and while they worked on my car, I took the opportunity to go for a little walk around the neighborhood where I had my first apartment 32 years ago. I was pleased to see that almost nothing had changed. A grand total of one new building had been built since I lived there, and only one torn down, so it wasn't difficult at all for me to imagine I was back in 1985 again. The only sight that jolted me into the present was seeing a 1870s Victorian that was newly-restored when I lived nearby which is now covered in peeled old paint and patches of thick green moss. Yikes. Made me feel a little moss-covered, myself.

However, my old apartment building (actually a converted 19th century carriage house), still looks exactly the same now as it did all those years ago. Even my former landlord's red 1967 VW beetle was parked in the same spot it used to be (obviously Monty still owns the place today).

754 5th St., Arcata, as it was in summer, 1985. My apartment was at upper left, and my Toyota truck out front.

Anyway, I had lunch at the local burger bar, where I treated myself to my usual de-luxe hamburger, and only my second order of french fries this year. Yum! Didn't have room left for my traditional chocolate malt, though. Oh well, maybe next time. If there is a next time. I've now reached that stage in life where there may not be a 'next time' for anything that's out of my daily routine. Which is exactly why I appreciate little trips down memory lane like the one I got to enjoy yesterday. :)


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The Coach

Feb. 11th, 2017 | 07:45 pm

Greatest man I ever knew.

Sixty years ago – in 1957 – my dad began his brief but highly successful career coaching youth baseball. Although I have many pictures of Dad standing alongside his boys in team photos, this is the only solo one I have of him from his coaching days (from his last year, 1964, when he was manager of the Covina Post 790 American Legion ballclub). It's a great portrait, too; probably the best close-up of him that I have.

Anyway, this past week, I scanned this tiny print and made an enlargement of it at one of those self-serve photo kiosks, and the result was definitely suitable for framing. So now, the portrait has taken its place in my family shrine in my living room, next to his trophy for the West Covina American All-Stars' third place finish in the California State Little League Championship Tournament in 1957. (More on that later this summer!)


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18 U.S.C. §241

Feb. 6th, 2017 | 03:53 pm

I said before that I should have been a lawyer. ;) I did a bit of legal research over the weekend, and I'd like to share some interesting findings with you.

You know, I can't recall ever posting on a political subject here, but as an old-school liberal who has staunchly supported personal liberty and freedom of expression all my adult life, I must say I was shocked and frankly appalled by the actions of the anti-free-speech demonstrators at U.C. Berkeley, who, last Wednesday, by means of concerted, collective intimidation, prevented gay conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from exercising his right to freely express his opinions under protection of the First Amendment.

What I've learned is, the protesters' aggressive and riotous behavior violated a specific Federal civil rights law: a seldom-invoked statute which, rather ironically, was originally enacted in response to numerous notorious acts of conspiratorial violence perpetrated against blacks by the Ku Klux Klan.

On June 25, 1948, Congress passed and President Harry S. Truman signed into law Title 18, United States Code, §241: "Conspiracy Against Rights" a/k/a "The Civil Rights Conspiracy Statute."

To wit (with my emphasis added): "If two or more persons conspire to injure, OPPRESS, THREATEN, or INTIMIDATE ANY PERSON in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of ANY right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same–

They shall be FINED under this title OR IMPRISONED not more than ten years, or both; and IF DEATH RESULTS from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, OR AN ATTEMPT TO KILL, they shall be fined under this title or IMPRISONED FOR ANY TERM OF YEARS or FOR LIFE, or both, or may be SENTENCED TO DEATH."

Subsequent amendments altered some of the original language in the statute, but the substance and intent of the law itself remain unchanged, and in my opinion, 18 U.S.C. §241 is fully applicable to the intimidation tactics currently being employed by the Hard Left to suppress dissident political speech.

Finally, let me say this from my heart. The Berkeley Anti-Free-Speech riots totally crossed my personal "red line." That was the absolute last straw for me. It is crystal clear to me now who the REAL perpetrators of hate and enemies of free speech are in our country today, and it is my fervent hope that the new Attorney General of the United States will use 18 U.S.C. §241 and other civil rights statutes to prosecute any and all organized political thuggery (INCLUDING internet threat-making) to the fullest extent of the law.

The KKK Night Riders of yesteryear wore white hoods to hide their identities. Today's Antifas wear black hoodies, balaclavas and bandanas. Despite the superficial differences in their disguises, however, I see no difference whatsoever in the aims or tactics of both groups: to intimidate, silence and deny fundamental civil rights to people whom they hate, and desire to oppress.



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The path not taken

Jan. 17th, 2017 | 02:48 pm

I really should have been a lawyer. I could have been, too, if I'd only taken the advice of an old college friend, 42 years ago.

One day, when we were both juniors at UC San Diego, an ex-roommate and I were walking from a biology lecture in the Humanities Building on the Revelle campus to a psychology class over at Muir College.

We'd just gotten our grades on the latest Genetics midterm. I got a C, but Jim got another D. That was hard to take for someone with a genius-level intellect, and Jim had had enough. We were crossing Revelle Plaza when suddenly he said something I've never forgotten.

"Fuck Genetics! Fuck biology! I'm changing my major to psych and pre-law. I want to go to Boalt Hall." (U.C. Berkeley School of Law)

I don't think I said anything in reply. I was too stunned by the stark tone and determination of his announcement.

"You should go into law, too, Scott. You've got the mind for it."

"Nah, I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"I can't talk. I mean I can't talk in front of people. There's no way I could stand up in a courtroom and argue a case in front of a judge and jury. No way in the world."

"Forget that 'Perry Mason' bullshit! You don't have to be a trial attorney. There are lawyers that never see the inside of a courtroom. You like doing literature searches, right?"

"You know I do."

"Yeah, well, then you could be a research lawyer. They get paid a hundred bucks an hour just to do case work in law libraries, looking up legal precedents and stuff like that. That would be easy money for someone like you."

"Yeah, I guess. I dunno. I really want to work with animals. I want to study animal behavior."

"How are you going to make money doing that?"

I can't remember my answer; probably because I didn't have one.


Jim did go on to get his law degree at Boalt Hall. After he passed the bar exam, he went back to his home town of Brawley and specialized in agricultural law, where he's still in practice today. In the years since, every chance he could, he bought stocks and rental properties. His net worth now is doubtless in the multiple millions of dollars.

Me, I never did figure out a way to make money studying animal behavior, and now I'm poor as a churchmouse.

Believe me, not a day goes by that I don't think about Jim's advice from all those years ago, and how my life could have been vastly more remunerative and comfortable than it turned out to be. They say the worst regrets we have aren't about things we did in the past, but the things we didn't do. I know firsthand how very true that is.


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Oct. 18th, 2016 | 05:15 am

On the first of this month, I managed to fall in my front yard and crack one of my ribs. It's only the second bone I've broken in my whole lifetime, and just like the first one, what caused it was a split-second moment of misjudging the position of one of my limbs in 3-dimensional space, a misapplication of muscle force to correct that misjudgment, and the gravitational pull of the Earth. In other words, clumsiness. Just plain, stupid clumsiness.

Consequently, I haven't felt like doing much for the last 2-1/2 weeks; at least nothing that requires the use of my upper body. Even breathing is painful. And sneezing, coughing, or hiccuping – OMG, it feels like I'm being stabbed in the chest with a knife.

So, trying to avoid exerting myself, I've been staying at home most of the time. In fact, my car's been in my garage since last Wednesday at 0930, so this morning will mark the beginning of my 7th day in a row that I haven't left home, or spoken with another human being.

I may not go into town today, either, since I have enough food in the house, at least for me, but I only have one can of dog food left, so for their sake, restocking before I run out would probably be a good idea. And thank goodness for my dogs. Without them to talk to and interact with, I would surely lose my mind living like this.

The genealogy part.Collapse )

I don't mind, though. It's been a lot of fun thus far. Anyway, I've always been more interested in the past than the future – I guess in large part because I don't have much future left to look forward to. :/


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Longest roots

Feb. 2nd, 2016 | 04:30 am

For 14 years, 9 months, and 2 days, I lived in this little (and I mean little) cottage in Arcata, California.

Until today, that was the longest contiguous period of time I'd ever lived in one place. That distinction now belongs to my present residence...

I know it doesn't look like much, but this is home sweet home to me, and is likely to remain so for the rest of my life.

It's a modest house, but it's all mine, free and clear. I love the town I live in, too. I think it's a testament to the quality of the people in my neighborhood that that long wood fence has never been 'tagged' in the 15 years since it was built.

Anyway, here's to my next 15 years here!


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