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Sunday, November 19, 2017


“Uncommon Type,” A collection of 17 short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor has just been released by Penguin/Random House.

His first fiction is a collection of short stories that run the gamut from:
--A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war.
--A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves.
--An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life.

For an excerpt from Penguin/Random House click here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


GUEST BLOG / By Union of Concerned Scientists--If you plan on being around in 2050 here’s a look at what changes to expect in the contents of your coffee cup.

Climate change is threatening coffee crops in virtually every major coffee producing region of the world.

Higher temperatures, long droughts punctuated by intense rainfall, more resilient pests and plant diseases—all of which are associated with climate change—have reduced coffee supplies dramatically in recent years.

Dramatic declines.  Because coffee varieties have adapted to specific climate zones, a temperature rise of even half a degree can make a big difference. A long-term increase in the number of extreme and unseasonal rainfall events has contributed to lower crop yields that are threatening the livelihood of coffee growers. For example, between 2002 and 2011, Indian coffee production declined by nearly 30 percent.

Additionally, warming has expanded the habitat and thus the range and damage of the coffee berry borer, a grazing predator of coffee plants. This pest is placing additional stresses on all coffee crops, as is coffee rust, a devastating fungus that previously did not survive the cool mountain weather. Costa Rica, India, and Ethiopia, three of the top fifteen coffee-producing nations in the world, have all seen a dramatic decline in yields.

The declining supply of popular Arabica coffee beans—grown in East and Central Africa, Latin America, India, and Indonesia—is being felt in the pockets of suburban supermarket shoppers and denizens of city sidewalk cafés.

Brands like Maxwell House, Yuban, and Folgers have increased the retail prices of many grinds by 25 percent or more between 2010 and 2011, in light of tight supply and higher wholesale prices.

If you’re one of those people who needs a cup of coffee to get going in the morning, your world may be changing. In fact, it already is. The dwindling supply of coffee is but one example of the many impacts to come due to climate change, and should be a wake-up call for us all.

And really, who wants to be around coffee drinkers who can’t get their morning fix? The time is now to reduce global warming emissions. 

Take action.  There is no single solution to climate change, but there are technologies and approaches available now that can reduce global warming emissions by at least 80 percent by mid-century. Visit our Climate Hot Map to see how these methods are best deployed in each region of the world, and see what you can do to help.

For more than 20 years, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has worked with leading experts to educate U.S. decision makers and the public about global warming and implement practical solutions at an international, national, regional, and state level. You can help support this work. We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change—but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.  Click here to donate:

Friday, November 17, 2017


Every year about this time, I end up in Ft. Myers, FL to compete in the annual Roy Hobbs World Series, a national amateur adult/senior baseball (hard ball not softball) tournament.  Teams play all over the Ft. Myers area (sorry, we missed a lot of great breweries in Cape Coral).  But we stick close to the ball fields.

As a member of a senior mens team called the San Diego Padres, we’re very proud to have won our division twice: 2015 and 2016.  As defending champions, we’re looking for a Three-peat and we’re confident we’ll emerge victorious, again.

And, a baseball game only takes three hours so that leaves a lot of time to explore the Ft. Myers area in search of outstanding craft beer breweries.

From past experience we’ve had good times and good fresh craft beer at the following places:

Beer hearse from Bury Me Brewing, Ft. Myers, FL
Near Downtown Ft. Myers ballparks:
--Millennial Brewing Company, 1811 Royal Palm Ave., 239.271.2255.
--Bury Me Brewing, 4224 S. Cleveland Ave., 239.332.2337
--Old Soul Brewing, 10970 S. Cleveland Ave., 239. 334.4334,

Toward the Beaches
--Point Ybel Brewing Co., 16120 San Carlos Ave., 239.603.6535

Near Jet Blue Stadium

--Ft. Myers Brewing Company, 12811 Commerce Lakes Dr.,  239.313.6576
Roy Hobbs annual World Series, senior adult mens baseball at Jet Blue Stadium, Ft. Myers, FL. Batter  is Tom Shess with the defending champion San Diego Padres team from San Diego, November 2016.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Southern Californians are lucky when it comes to avocados.  They grow locally and nearby in Mexico.  Guacamole (the topic of this blog) is a popular and delicious dish made with fresh avocados and a host of other ingredients.  “Guac” is a popular party dip, which is served with fresh non-greasy tortilla chips.
Making good Guacamole is akin to those regions who pride themselves on making the best homemade BBQ.  Guacamole aficionados all believe they have the “perfect” Guac recipe.  Maybe so.   But one group of Guacamole makers missing the calling—generally—are restaurateurs.  Shame on those cafes, who concoct Guacamole that arrives at the table like a pot of green paint.
Having endured the bad stuff, it came as a huge surprise when we ordered a side dish of Guacamole from Jalisco Restaurant in El Centro, California.

No reason to be surprised.  Jalisco needs to satisfy the taste buds of its near the border clientele and when it comes to Guacamole this restaurant gets this blog’s nod for excellence.

Jalisco’s Guacamole arrived at the table within minutes of our drink order.  The chips were average but the Guacamole amazing!  It was served in a medium-sized bowl ($6.95) and arrived with huge chunks of avocado mixed in with fresh lime juice, mashed and chopped avocado, chopped tomato, red onion and finely diced cilantro.  The big difference was they did not skimp on the avocado and served it both mashed and very chunky.
When you see chunky Guacamole come to your table—quickly order another bowl.

Jalisco Restaurant (big and roomy) is our new oasis between drives to Phoenix from San Diego.  Many Yelpers say this is the best Mexican Restaurant on the West Coast.  Can’t say that at this time—one visit isn’t a quorum.  But so far we can report the Guacamole is world class!

Jalisco’s Bar & Grill
844 North Imperial Avenue
El Centro CA 92243



Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Star of Puebla (Mexico) is a 256 ft. tall giant observation wheel located in Puebla’s Linear Park.  It was opened on July 22, 2013.  Seating capacity is 432 and carries 8 persons per its 54 cabins.  The design of the huge wheel makes it possible to be moved to another location making it the world’s first transportable giant Ferris wheel.

The Star of Puebla is the first Bussink Design. It was designed by Bussink Design founder and CEO Ronald Bussink, and is manufactured under license from Bussink Design GmbH of Switzerland by Maurer German Wheels and Chance American Wheels. It is offered in transportable (SP) and fixed (SV) versions, both with a height of approximately 78 metres (256 ft). The R80XL SP is currently the world's tallest-ever transportable Ferris wheel.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Image by Bruce Henderson, San Diego based travel photographer, 2017