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Friday, November 30, 2012


San Diego's Blues Specters goin' full tilt 

NORTH PARK BLUES--Blues Specters, a San Diego based blues band playing a variety of blues standards with a focus on Chicago-style blues, will perform November 30, at the Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., from 6 to 8 pm

Blues Specters is comprised of six professional musicians and fronted by the full-throttle-high-energy vocalist/harp player, Lil' G. The Blues Specters play all the greatest blues classics including Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Paul Butterfield and more!

Escondido's own Steve Fritzenkotter wails on the Slide Guitar, and Blayne Marleaux, who has played Lead Guitar for more decades than he wants to remember, lays down the riffs only a highly accomplished blues player can deliver.

Saxophonist Alex Peterson is a local horn-playing-blues legend. Southern California blues veterans Bassist Doug Hartwig and Drummer Glen Maiden provide the hip shaking backbone that gets those wild women off their bar stools and onto the dance floor! This group brings the energy, the crowds and the power of blues to rock the house!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


1977 vintage Voyager spacecraft

GUEST BLOG--NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region at the far reaches of our solar system that scientists feel is the final area the spacecraft has to cross before reaching interstellar space.

Scientists refer to this new region as a magnetic highway for charged particles because our sun's magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines. This connection allows lower-energy charged particles that originate from inside our heliosphere -- or the bubble of charged particles the sun blows around itself -- to zoom out and allows higher-energy particles from outside to stream in. Before entering this region, the charged particles bounced around in all directions, as if trapped on local roads inside the heliosphere.

The Voyager team infers this region is still inside our solar bubble because the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed. The direction of these magnetic field lines is predicted to change when Voyager breaks through to interstellar space. The new results were described at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Monday.

"Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun's environment, we now can taste what it's like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway," said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it's likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn't what we expected, but we've come to expect the unexpected from Voyager."

Since December 2004, when Voyager 1 crossed a point in space called the termination shock, the spacecraft has been exploring the heliosphere's outer layer, called the heliosheath. In this region, the stream of charged particles from the sun, known as the solar wind, abruptly slowed down from supersonic speeds and became turbulent. Voyager 1's environment was consistent for about five and a half years. The spacecraft then detected that the outward speed of the solar wind slowed to zero.

The intensity of the magnetic field also began to increase at that time.

Voyager data from two onboard instruments that measure charged particles showed the spacecraft first entered this magnetic highway region on July 28, 2012. The region ebbed away and flowed toward Voyager 1 several times. The spacecraft entered the region again Aug. 25 and the environment has been stable since.

"If we were judging by the charged particle data alone, I would have thought we were outside the heliosphere," said Stamatios Krimigis, principal investigator of the low-energy charged particle instrument, based at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. "But we need to look at what all the instruments are telling us and only time will tell whether our interpretations about this frontier are correct."

Spacecraft data revealed the magnetic field became stronger each time Voyager entered the highway region; however, the direction of the magnetic field lines did not change.

"We are in a magnetic region unlike any we've been in before -- about 10 times more intense than before the termination shock -- but the magnetic field data show no indication we're in interstellar space," said Leonard Burlaga, a Voyager magnetometer team member based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The magnetic field data turned out to be the key to pinpointing when we crossed the termination shock. And we expect these data will tell us when we first reach interstellar space."

Voyager 1 and 2 were launched 16 days apart in 1977. At least one of the spacecraft has visited Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object, about 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) away from the sun. The signal from Voyager 1 takes approximately 17 hours to travel to Earth. Voyager 2, the longest continuously operated spacecraft, is about 9 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) away from our sun. While Voyager 2 has seen changes similar to those seen by Voyager 1, the changes are much more gradual. Scientists do not think Voyager 2 has reached the magnetic highway.

Voyager 2 became the longest-operating spacecraft on Aug. 13, 2012, surpassing Pioneer 6, which launched on Dec. 16, 1965, and sent its last signal back to NASA's Deep Space Network on Dec. 8, 2000. (It operated for 12,758 days.)

The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager missions are a part of NASA's Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

For more information about the Voyager spacecraft, visit: and .

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The Green Flash off of San Diego.  Photography by Martin Mann

SEEING IS BELIEVING--Green flashes are real (not illusory) phenomena seen at sunrise and sunset, when some part of the Sun suddenly changes color (at sunset, from red or orange to green or blue). The word “flash” refers to the sudden appearance and brief duration of this green color, which usually lasts only a second or two at moderate latitudes.

IMAGE:  Martin Mann, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


EXCELLENCE IN READAPTIVE—Often the temptation—especially among young architects—is to take an older building and remuddle it into modernism by destroying its vintage character.  Not so with Australia’s MPR Design Group, who achieved two main goals with a 2010 project in the City of Bondi.  First, they maintained a great looking retail façade and two, created a dramatic and wholly contemporary rooftop penthouse for the next millennium.  Pictures tell the 

Source: MPR Design Group, East Sydney, NSW 2010

Monday, November 26, 2012


What has NASA found in the five scoops?    Image:

BIG NEWS LOOMING—NASA scientists involved with Mars Curiosity Rover have indicated something is up.  They won’t tell us fearing it may be a false alarm. usually does a good job of updating its webpage with new Curiosity rover shots.  But for the past few weeks it has stopped posting new images.  The site has paused on the following photo, near five scoops of soil.

What was in the scoops?
The neighborhood hasn’t been this excited about scoops since Baskin-Robbins ice cream store shut down.

Did they find something here that could prove life exists on other planets?  Or, did they find a piece of other failed missions? 

Whatever it is NASA is mum but has promised to communicate sometime after the first of December.

They have said the new finding has the potential to rewrite the history books.

If so, what amazing good fortune to be alive at such a time.

Here’s what Curiosity image gallery has paused on:

Five Bites Into Mars
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used a mechanism on its robotic arm to dig up five scoopfuls of material from a patch of dusty sand called "Rocknest," producing the five bite-mark pits visible in this image from the rover's left Navigation Camera (Navcam). Each of the pits is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide.

The fifth scoopful at Rocknest -- leaving the upper middle bite mark -- was
collected during the mission's

93rd Martian day, or sol (Nov. 9, 2012). This image was taken later that same sol. A sample from that fifth scoop was analyzed over the next two sols by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments inside the rover. A second sample from the same scoopful of material was delivered to SAM for analysis on Sol 96 (Nov. 12). No further scooping of soil samples is planned at Rocknest.

The first Rocknest scoop was collected during Sol 61 (Oct. 7). Fine sand and dust from that scoopful and two subsequent ones were used for scrubbing the inside surfaces of chambers in the sample-handling mechanism on the arm. Samples from scoops three, four and five were analyzed by the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument inside the rover.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Sunday, November 25, 2012


SUNDAY REVIEW EXCERPT---“Fog and Darkness” takes readers through the final year of World War II by depicting the dramatic events in the lives of two Americans, one a journalist and one a young Marine Corps officer. Time and again in great danger, these two men experience the war in highly contrasting ways, but their lives intersect at crucial points and they come together to forge a close bond of friendship. Although a work of fiction, the novel describes this epic conflict’s major events with Conlee’s trademark historical accuracy. 

  “…Operation Stalemate finally ended, after three more bitter days and nights. Some well-placed aerial napalm, 75-millimeter hammer blows from the tanks, and a gallant charge by what was left of the Seventh Marines plus some GIs from the 81st, brought the death storm to an end.           

One ragged, emaciated scarecrow emerged from a cave with his arms up, bowed from the waist, and immediately flew into bloody pieces from bursts of machine-gun fire. Normally, Kenny would have jumped in and said, “No, don’t do that,” but he was just too tired to give a damn. He later learned that this had been the last of more than 10,300 Japanese to die on Peleliu, where the predicted three-day battle had taken forty-five days.

An unearthly silence fell over the island. Someone raised a tattered American flag on the top of Bloody Nose Ridge but no one cheered. The surviving Marines were too far around the bend for that. Some were so far beyond exhaustion they didn’t even look up and notice. Kenny hung his head and began to weep. 

Later, his only surviving second louie reported with the roster tally. Able Company was down to forty-two men. Sixty percent casualties! Kenny felt like a failure. More tears formed. “Thanks,” he said, putting the report down. “Now get out of here.” Didn’t want his men to see him crying.

He shambled to an aid station and got his arm stitched up. “Another fucking Purple Heart,” he murmured. “Nah, I’m not even gonna put in for it.” He saw a dead Marine being covered up and asked, “How did this poor guy get it?”

A corpsman shook his head sadly and said, “He wasn’t hit all that bad, but he bled to death over a period of eight or nine hours, just because we didn’t have any more goddamn blood or antihemorrhagic to give him. We ran out of everything.”


SUNDAY REVIEW is a literary review published weekly in

Saturday, November 24, 2012


LOCAL ORIGINALS—By Holden DeMayo.  I’ve lived in North Park, an urban neighborhood in San Diego that was founded in the early 1900s, since I attended Roosevelt Jr. High in the mid 1950s.  Makes me a veteran local.  And, I’ve seen the businesses come and go. 

Fortunately for North Park the good guys stick around.

For the sake of celebrating Small Business Saturday, I’ve added worthy newcomers to this list because they’re quality folks, too. A couple of noteworthy newbies just captured major culinary recognition.  San Diego Home Garden Lifestyles magazine in its current November 2012 edition added two North Park restaurateurs to its prestigious Chefs’ Hall of Fame: Hanis Cavin, Carnitas Snack Shack and Matt Gordon, Urban Solace. 

North Park is located north and west of Balboa Park, this community of 150,000 is home to many one of a kind small business.  Here are examples of classic originals (non-chain) located in historic North Park.  Those highlighted in red have been open in North Park for generations.  The folks on this list I’ve spent money with and they’ve never steered me wrong.

Note: This list is not affiliated with the North Park Community Assn. or North Park Main Street, but for a big NP Main Street promotional listing go to the following site:

Pillar to Post’s North Park Holiday Shopping Guide

Antique Refinishers
3815 Utah Street

ABC Lock Key & Lawnmower
4131 30th

A&B Sporting Goods
3027 University Ave
 (619) 295-2825

3391 30th St.

Art Produce Gallery
3139 University Ave.
 (619) 584-4448

Auntie Helen’s
4028 30th St
 (619) 584-8438

Café Calabria
3933 30th St
 (619) 291-1759

Carnitas Snack Shack
2632 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 294-7675

Cardamon Café
2977 Upas St.

Chester’s Furniture
2911 University Ave
 (619) 291-8551

Chito’s Shoe Repair
2911 University Ave
 (619) 298-2506

Claire de Lune Coffee House
2906 University Ave
 (619) 688-9845

Chicken Pie Shop
2633 El Cajon Blvd.

Dave’s Flower Box
2405 El Cajon Blvd.

Daily Scoop (ice cream)
3004 Juniper

El Take It Easy
4642 Park Blvd
 (619) 692-1652

George’s Camera
3837 30th St
 (619) 297-3544

Grace-Ful Living (furnishings)
2852 University Ave

Grove [Gifts]
3010 Juniper

Hell in a Handbag
3302 32nd St
 (858) 729-4786

Heaven Sent Desserts
3001 University Ave
 (619) 793-4758

Il Postino Restaurant
3959 30th St
 (619) 325-0809

L & A Tailor Shop
2917 University Ave
 (619) 299-7326

Lafayette Hotel (nee Imig Manor)
2223 El Cajon Blvd.

Live Wire Bar
2103 El Cajon Blvd.

Jaynes Gastropub
4677 30th St.

Linkery Restaurant
3794 30th St
 (619) 255-8778

Mazara Italian Deli
2302 30th St.

Mission [Restaurant]

2801 University Ave.           

North Park Carpet and Rug
University & Kansas
619) 296-3156

North Park Hardware
3090 University Ave
 (619) 295-2125

North Park Nursery by Mooch
3302 32nd St
 (619) 795-1855

North Park Cleaners
2928 Lincoln Ave.

New Life Chinese Cleaners & Laundry
3829 Granada Ave
 (619) 295-0460

Pigment [gifts]
3827 30th St.

Paras Newsstand
3911 30th St
 (619) 296-2859

Peking Restaurant
2877 University Ave
 (619) 295-2610

ProMec Optical/Eyeglass Repair
3786 30th St
 (619) 295-2221

Paesano’s Family Italian Restaurant
3647 30th St
 (619) 291-4090

Pacific Drapery
3801 30th St
 (619) 295-6031

Realtors, who know North Park
Ken Pecus, Robin Borrelli, Ron Oster
Ascent Realty
29th & North Park Way

Rancho's North Park (Mex. & Veg.)
3910 30th St.

Afton Miller, Realtor

Ripe North Park Organic Produce
3302 32nd St
 (619) 876-4647

Ritual Restaurant
4095 30th St
 (619) 283-1618

Rudford’s Diner
2900 El Cajon Blvd.

Saguaro’s Mexican (take out)
3753 30th St
 (619) 291-7746

Stern’s Gym
3831 Granada Ave
(619) 299-9853

Sea Rocket Bistro
3382 30th St.

Toronado San Diego [Craft Beer Tavern]
4026 30th Street
 (619) 282-0456

30th Street Café
3620 30th St
 (619) 269-7966

Urban Solace
3823 30th St.

Urbn Coal Fired Pizza
3085 University Ave

Vintage Religion
3821 32nd St
 (619) 280-8408

Veterinary: Dr. Robert Nagell. DVM
2646 University Avenue
 (619) 295-9025

2310 30th St.

Western Steakburger
2730 University Ave
 (619) 296-7058