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Thursday, September 30, 2021


Back with Books & Brews at Second Chance Beer Company! 

Join the fun October 8th, 3-8 pm at Second Chance's brewery location off of Carmel Mountain Rd. There will be a variety of brew books, local San Diego reads and guides, the best kids books and more! 

Grab a book and a brew to settle into a nice October Friday night. 


Second Chance Beer Company 15378 Avenue of Science, #222 San Diego CA, an independent San Diego brewery producing award-winning craft beer. Taprooms in Carmel Mountain Ranch and North Park, San Diego and distribution throughout Southern California and all of Arizona. Grab your favorite, because #youdeserveone.   CLICK HERE. 

La Playa Books 1026 Rosecrans Street San Diego Used and New Books. Locally owned by Point Loma residents. See LPB's website for events and trade policies. We are happy to fulfill new book orders via email and phone with contact free pick up when requested. Our store inventory is online on our website so feel free to shop the store there and pick up when convenient.   CLICK HERE.



Wednesday, September 29, 2021



"Dauntless" dive bombers approach the burning Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma on June 6, 1942. National Archives

Worth a revisit, the WWII era film “Midway” [Lionsgate, 2019] tracks the pivotal WWII battle from the perspectives of pilots, codebreakers and naval officers on both sides of the conflict. 

GUEST BLOG / By Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, Associate Editor, history--“At the present time we have only enough water for two weeks. Please supply us immediately,” read the message sent by American sailors stationed at Midway, a tiny atoll located roughly halfway between North America and Asia, on May 20, 1942. 

The plea for help, however, was a giant ruse; the base was not, in fact, low on supplies. When Tokyo Naval Intelligence intercepted the dispatch and relayed the news onward, reporting that the “AF” air unit was in dire need of freshwater, their American counterparts finally confirmed what they had long suspected: Midway and “AF,” cited by the Japanese as the target of a major upcoming military operation, were one and the same. 

This codebreaking operation afforded the United States a crucial advantage at what would be the Battle of Midway, a multi-day naval and aerial engagement fought between June 3 and 7, 1942. 

Widely considered a turning point in World War II’s Pacific theater, Midway found the Imperial Japanese Navy’s offensive capabilities routed after six months of success against the Americans. 

As Frank Blazich, lead curator of military history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, explains, the battle leveled the playing field, giving U.S. forces “breathing room and time to go on the offensive” in campaigns such as Guadalcanal. 

Midway, a new movie from director Roland Emmerich, known best for disaster spectacles like The Day After Tomorrow, traces the trajectory of the early Pacific campaign from the December 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor to the Halsey-Doolittle Raid in April 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea in May of that same year, and, finally, Midway itself. 

Traditional military lore suggests a Japanese victory at Midway would have left the U.S. West Coast vulnerable to invasion, freeing the imperial fleet to strike at will. The movie’s trailer outlines this concern inapt, albeit highly dramatic, terms. Shots of Japanese pilots and their would-be American victims flash across the screen as a voiceover declares, “If we lose, then [the] Japanese own the West Coast. Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles will burn.” 

The alternative to this outcome, insisted US Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz is simple: “We need to throw a punch so they know what it feels like to be hit.” 


This photo shows Midway before the Pearl Harbor attack. Eastern Island is in the foreground with the somewhat larger Sand Island in the background.

According to the National WWII Museum, Japan targeted Midway in hopes of destroying the U.S. Pacific Fleet and using the atoll as a base for future military operations in the region. (Formally annexed in 1867, Midway had long been a strategic asset for the United States, and in 1940, it became a naval air base.) 

 Although the attack on Pearl Harbor had crippled the U.S. Navy, destroying three battleships, 18 assorted vessels and 118 aircraft, the Doolittle Raid—a bombing raid on the Japanese mainland—and the Battle of the Coral Sea—a four-day naval and aerial skirmish that left the Imperial Navy’s fleet weakened ahead of the upcoming clash at Midway—showed Japan the American carrier force was, in Blazich’s words, “still a potent threat.” 

Cryptanalysts and linguists led by Commander Joseph Rochefort (broke the Japanese Navy’s main operational code in March 1942), enabling the American intelligence unit—nicknamed Station Hypo—to track the enemy’s plans for an invasion of the still-unidentified “AF.” 

Rochefort was convinced “AF” stood for Midway, but his superiors in Washington disagreed. To prove his suspicions, Rochefort devised the “low supplies” ruse, confirming “AF”’s identity and spurring the Navy to take decisive counter-action. 

Per the Naval History and Heritage Command, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto commander of Japan’s imperial fleet, grounded his strategy in the assumption that an attack on Midway would force the U.S. to send reinforcements from Pearl Harbor, leaving the American fleet vulnerable to a joint strike by Japanese carrier and battleship forces lying in wait. “If successful, the plan would effectively eliminate the Pacific Fleet for at least a year,” the NHHC notes, “and provide a forward outpost from which ample warning of any future threat by the United States would come.” 

Midway, in other words, was a “magnet to draw the American forces out,” says Blazich. Japan’s plan had several fatal flaws, chief among them the fact that the U.S. was fully aware of how the invasion was supposed to unfold. 

As Blazich explains, “Yamamoto does all his planning on intentions of what he believes the Americans will do rather than on our capabilities”—a risky strategy made all the more damaging by the intelligence breach. 

The Japanese were also under the impression that the U.S.S. Yorktown, an aircraft carrier damaged at Coral Sea, was out of commission; in truth, the ship was patched up and ready for battle after just two days at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. 

Blazich emphasizes the fact that Japan’s fleet was built for offense, not defense, likening their Navy to a “boxer with a glass jaw that can throw a punch but not take a blow.” He also points out that the country’s top military officers tended to follow “tried and true” tactics rather than study and learn from previous battles. “The Japanese,” he says, “are kind of doomed from the start.” 


U.S. Army B-17s Pacific Theatre, 1942
The first military engagement of the Battle of Midway took place during the afternoon of June 3, when a group of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers launched an unsuccessful air attack on what a reconnaissance pilot had identified as the main Japanese fleet. 

The vessels—actually a separate invasion force targeting the nearby Aleutian Islands—escaped the encounter unscathed, and the actual fleet’s location remained hidden from the Americans until the following afternoon. In the early morning hours of June 4, Japan deployed 108 warplanes from four aircraft carriers in the vicinity: the Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu and Soryu. 

Although the Japanese inflicted serious damage on both the responding American fighters and the U.S. base at Midway, the island’s airfield and runways remained in play. The Americans counterattacked with 41 torpedo bombers flown directly toward the four Japanese carriers. “Those men went into this fight knowing that it was very likely they would never come home,” says Laura Lawfer Orr, a historian at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Norfolk, Virginia. 

“Their [Douglas TBD-1 Devastators] were obsolete. They had to fly incredibly slowly … [and] very close to the water. And they had torpedoes that, most of the time, did not work.” In just minutes, Japanese ships and warplanes had shot down 35 of the 41 Devastators. As writer Tom Powers explains for the Capital Gazette, the torpedo bombers were “sitting ducks for fierce, incessant fire from shipboard batteries and the attacks of the swift, agile defending aircraft.” 

None of the Devastators scored a hit on the Japanese. Ensign George Gay, a pilot in the U.S.S. Hornet’s Torpedo Squadron 8, was the sole survivor of his 30-man aircrew. According to an NHHC blog post written by Blazich in 2017, Gay (crash landed in the Pacific after a showdown with five Japanese fighters). “Wounded, alone and surrounded,” he endured 30 hours adrift before finally being rescued. 

Today, the khaki flying jacket Gay wore during his ordeal is on view in the American History Museum’s “Price of Freedom” exhibition in San Diego. 

The U.S.S. Yorktown was struck by Japanese torpedo bombers during a mid-afternoon attack on June 4. National Archives

Around the time of the Americans’ failed torpedo assault, Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo—operating under the erroneous assumption that no U.S. carriers were in the vicinity—rearmed the Japanese air fleet, swapping the planes’ torpedoes for land bombs needed to attack the base at Midway a second time. 

But in the midst of rearmament, Nagumo received an alarming report: A scout plane had spotted American ships just east of the atoll. The Japanese switched gears once again, readying torpedo bombers for an assault on the American naval units. In the ensuing confusion, sailors left unsecured ordnance, as well as fueled and armed aircraft, scattered across the four carriers’ decks. 

On the American side of the fray, 32 dive bombers stationed on the Enterprise and led by Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky pursued the Japanese fleet despite running perilously low on fuel. Dick Best, commander of Bombing Squadron 6, was among the pilots participating in the mission. 

Unlike torpedo bombers, who had to fly low and slow without any guarantee of scoring a hit or even delivering a working bomb, dive bombers plummeted down from heights of 20,000 feet, flying at speeds of around 275 miles per hour before aiming their bombs directly at targets. 

“Dive bombing was a death defying ride of terror,” says Orr in Battle of Midway: The True Story, a Smithsonian Channel documentary. “It’s basically like a game of chicken that a pilot is playing with the ocean itself. … A huge ship is going to appear about the size of a ladybug on the tip of a shoe, so it’s tiny.” 

The Enterprise bombers’ first wave of attack took out the Kaga and the Akagi, both of which exploded in flames from the excess ordnance and fuel onboard. Dive bombers with the Yorktown, meanwhile, struck the Soryu, leaving the Japanese fleet with just one carrier: the Hiryu. 

Close to noon, dive bombers from the Hiryu retaliated, hitting the Yorktown with three separate strikes that damaged the carrier but did not disable it. Later in the afternoon, however, a pair of torpedoes hit the partially repaired Yorktown, and at 2:55 p.m., Captain Elliott Buckmaster ordered his crew to abandon ship. 

Around 3:30 p.m., American dive bombers tracked down the Hiryu and struck the vessel with at least four bombs. Rather than continuing strikes on the remainder of the Japanese fleet, Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance opted to pull back. 

In doing so, Blazich explains, “He preserves his own force while really destroying Japanese offensive capability.” Over the next several days, U.S. troops continued their assault on the Japanese Navy, attacking the Mikuma and Mogami cruisers and the Asashio and Arashio destroyers. By the time hostilities ended on June 7, the Japanese had lost 3,057 men, four carriers, one cruiser and hundreds of aircraft. The U.S., comparatively, lost 362 men, one carrier, one destroyer and 144 aircraft. 

Best and Dusty Kleiss, a bomber from the Enterprise's Scouting Squadron Six, were the only pilots to score strikes on two different Japanese carriers at Midway. Kleiss—whose exploits are at the center of the Smithsonian Channel documentary—scored yet another hit on June 6, sinking the Japanese cruiser Mikuma and upping his total to three successful strikes. 

In Midway's movie trailer, Admiral Chester Nimitz says, "We need to throw a punch so they know what it feels like to be hit." 

George Gay, the downed torpedo bomber memorialized at the American History Museum, watched this decisive action from the water. He later recalled, “The carriers during the day resembled a very large oil-field fire. … Billowing big red flames belched out of this black smoke, ... and I was sitting in the water hollering hooray, hooray.” 


The U.S. victory significantly curbed Japan’s offensive capabilities, paving the way for American counteroffensive strikes like the Guadalcanal Campaign in August 1942—and shifting the tide of the war strictly in the Allies’ favor. Still, Blazich says, Midway was far from a “miracle” win ensured by plucky pilots fighting against all odds. 

“Midway is a really decisive battle,” the historian adds, “... an incredible victory. But the playing field was more level than most think: While historian Gordon W. Prange’s Miracle at Midway suggests the Americans’ naval forces were “inferior numerically to the Japanese,” Blazich argues that the combined number of American aircraft based on carriers and the atoll itself actually afforded the U.S. “a degree of numerical parity, if not slight superiority,” versus the divided ranks of the Imperial Japanese Navy. (Yamamoto, fearful of revealing the strength of his forces too early in the battle, had ordered his main fleet of battleships and cruisers to trail several hundred miles behind Nagumo’s carriers.) 

Naval historians Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully’s Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway deconstructs central myths surrounding the battle, including notions of Japan’s peerless strategic superiority. Crucially, Parshall and Tully write, “The imperial fleet committed a series of irretrievable strategic and operational mistakes that seem almost inexplicable. 

In so doing, it doomed its matchless carrier force to premature ruin.” Luck certainly played a part in the Americans’ victory, but as Orr says in an interview, attributing the win entirely to chance “doesn’t give agency to the people who fought” at Midway. 

 Ensign Leif Larsen and rear gunner John F. Gardener in their Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless bombers U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation 

The “training and perseverance” of U.S. pilots contributed significantly, she says, as did “individual initiative,” according to Blazich. Ultimately, the Americans’ intelligence coup, the intrinsic doctrinal and philosophical weaknesses of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and factors from spur-of-the-moment decision-making to circumstance and skill all contributed to the battle’s outcome. 

Orr says she hopes Midway, the movie reveals the “personal side” of the battle. “History is written from the top down,” she explains, “and so you see the stories of Admirals Nimitz, Fletcher and Spruance, but you don’t always see the stories of the men themselves, the pilots and the rear seat gunners who are doing the work.” 

Take, for instance, aviation machinist mate Bruno Gaido, portrayed by Nick Jonas: In February 1942, the rear gunner was promoted from third to first class after he singlehandedly saved the Enterprise from a Japanese bomber by jumping into a parked Dauntless dive bomber and aiming its machine gun at the enemy plane. 

During the Battle of Midway, Gaido served as a rear gunner in Scouting Squadron 6, working with pilot Frank O’Flaherty to attack the Japanese carriers. But the pair’s plane ran out of fuel, leaving Gaido and O’Flaherty stranded in the Pacific. Japanese troops later drowned both men after interrogating them for information on the U.S. fleet. 

Blazich cherishes the fact that the museum has George Gay’s khaki flying jacket on display. He identifies it as one of his favorite artifacts in the collection, saying, “To the uninformed you ignore it, and to the informed, you almost venerate it [as] the amazing witness to history it is.” 

More work by Meilan Soll, a prolific writer mainly on historical topics can be viewed: Website:

Tuesday, September 28, 2021



• The President of the United States must be ready to travel anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. Fortunately, modern presidents have access to a variety of transportation options — including flying aboard Air Force One. 

• Technically, “Air Force One” is used to designate any Air Force aircraft carrying the President, but it is now standard practice to use the term to refer to specific planes that are equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief. 

• Today, this name refers to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A. 

• Air Force One is one of the most recognizable symbols of the presidency, spawning countless references not just in American culture but across the world. Emblazoned with the words “United States of America,” the American flag, and the Seal of the President of the United States, it is an undeniable presence wherever it flies. 

• Capable of refueling midair, Air Force One has unlimited range and can carry the President wherever he or she needs to travel. The onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States. 

• Inside, the President and his or her travel companions enjoy 4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels, including an extensive suite for the President that features a large office, lavatory, and conference room. Air Force One includes a medical suite that can function as an operating room, and a doctor is permanently on board. The plane’s two food preparation galleys can feed 100 people at a time. 

• Air Force One also has quarters for those who accompany the President, including senior advisors, Secret Service officers, traveling press, and other guests. Several cargo planes typically fly ahead of Air Force One to provide the President with vehicles and services needed in remote locations. 

• Air Force One is maintained and operated by the Presidential Airlift Group, part of the White House Military Office. The Airlift Group was founded in 1944 as the Presidential Pilot Office at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. For the next 15 years, various propeller-driven aircraft served the President until President Dwight D. Eisenhower flew to Europe aboard VC-137A, a Boeing 707 Stratoliner, in August 1959. 

• In 1962, President John F. Kennedy became the first President to fly in a jet specifically built for presidential use — a modified Boeing 707. Over the years, several other jet aircraft have been used, with the first of the current aircraft being delivered in 1990 during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. 

Monday, September 27, 2021



CLICK HERE For an update on what one ex-FDA advisor called “probably the worst drug approval decision in recent US history for an Alzheimer’s treatment. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021


A stumbled upon photo of Ziegfield chorus girl Roxanne Milbank in 1925 (before she met her husband)  Oh, don't tell who told you--she's on the right.

for the free complete short story originally published in the "Chicago Tribune," and first published in book form in Tales of the Jazz Age in 1922. and now is in the public domain via Wikisource. 

First chapter. 

If you should look through the files of old magazines for the first years of the present century you would find, sandwiched in between the stories of Richard Harding Davis and Frank Norris and others long since dead, the work of one Jeffrey Curtain: a novel or two, and perhaps three or four dozen short stories. 

You could, if you were interested, follow them along until, say, 1908, when they suddenly disappeared. When you had read them all you would have been quite sure that here were no masterpieces—here were passably amusing stories, a bit out of date now, but doubtless the sort that would then have whiled away a dreary half hour in a dental office. 

Roxanne before she cut her
hair and shortened her 
skirts--flapper style

The man who did them was of good intelligence, talented, glib, probably young. In the samples of his work you found there would have been nothing to stir you to more than a faint interest in the whims of life—no deep interior laughs, no sense of futility or hint of tragedy. 

After reading them you would yawn and put the number back in the files, and perhaps, if you were in some library reading-room, you would decide that by way of variety you would look at a newspaper of the period and see whether the Japs had taken Port Arthur. 

But if by any chance the newspaper you had chosen was the right one and had crackled open at the theatrical page, your eyes would have been arrested and held, and for at least a minute you would have forgotten Port Arthur as quickly as you forgot Château Thierry. 

For you would, by this fortunate chance, be looking at the portrait of an exquisite woman. Those were tie days of "Florodora" and of sextets, of pinched-in waists and blown-out sleeves, of almost bustles and absolute ballet skirts, but here, without doubt, disguised as she might be by the unaccustomed stiffness and old fashion of her costume, was a butterfly of butterflies. Here was the gayety of the period—the soft wine of eyes, the songs that flurried hearts, the toasts and tie bouquets, the dances and the dinners. 

Here was a Venus of the hansom, cab, the Gibson girl in her glorious prime. Here Find by looking at the name beneath, one Roxanne Milbank, who had been chorus girl and understudy in "The Daisy Chain," but who, by reason of an excellent performance when the star was indisposed, had gained a leading part. 

You would look again—and wonder. Why you had never heard of her. Why did her name not linger in popular songs and vaudeville jokes and cigar bands, and the memory of that gay old uncle of yours along with Lillian Russell and Stella Mayhew and Anna Held? Roxanne Milbank-whither had she gone? 

What dark trap-door had opened suddenly and swallowed her up? Her name was certainly not in last Sunday's supplement on the list of actresses married to English noblemen. No doubt she was dead—poor beautiful young lady—and quite forgotten. I am hoping too much. I am having you stumble on Jeffrey Curtains's stories and Roxanne Milbank's picture. 

The Curtains out on a lark in Chicagoland (rumble seat)

It would be incredible that you should find a newspaper item six months later, a single item two inches by four, which informed the public of the marriage, very quietly, of Miss Roxanne Milbank, who had been on tour with "The Daisy Chain," to Mr. Jeffrey Curtain, the popular author. "Mrs. Curtain," it added dispassionately, "will retire from the stage." 

It was a marriage of love. He was sufficiently spoiled to be charming; she was ingenuous enough to be irresistible. Like two floating logs they met in a head-on rush, caught, and sped along together. Yet had Jeffrey Curtain kept at scrivening for twoscore years he could not have put a quirk into one of his stories weirder than the quirk that came into his own life. 

Had Roxanne Milbank played three dozen parts and filled five thousand houses she could never have had a role with more happiness and more despair than were in the fate prepared for Roxanne Curtain. 

For a year they lived in hotels, traveled to California, to Alaska, to Florida, to Mexico, loved and quarreled gently, and gloried in the golden triflings of his wit with her beauty—they were young and gravely passionate; they demanded everything and then yielded everything again in ecstasies of unselfishness and pride. She loved the swift tones of his voice and his frantic if unfounded jealousy. He loved her dark radiance, the white irises of her eyes, the warm, lustrous enthusiasm of her smile. 

"Don't you like her?" he would demand rather excitedly and shyly. 

"Isn't she wonderful? Did you ever see—" 

"Yes," they would answer, grinning. "She's a wonder. You're lucky." 

The year passed. They tired of hotels. They bought an old house and twenty acres near the town of Marlowe, half an hour from Chicago; bought a little car, and moved out riotously with a pioneering hallucination that would have confounded Balboa. 

 "Your room will be here!" they cried in turn. —And then: "And my room here!" 

 "And the nursery here when we have children." 

 "And we'll build a sleeping porch—oh, next year." 

They moved out in April. 

In July Jeffrey's closest friend, Harry Cromwell same to spend a week—they met him at the end of the long lawn and hurried him proudly to the house. Harry was married also. His wife had had a baby some six months before and was still recuperating at her mother's in New York. 

Roxanne had gathered from Jeffrey that Harry's wife was not as attractive as Harry—Jeffrey had met her once and considered her—"shallow." 

But Harry had been married nearly two years and was apparently happy, so Jeffrey guessed that she was probably all right. 

"I'm making biscuits," chattered Roxanne gravely. "Can you wife make biscuits? The cook is showing me how. I think every woman should know how to make biscuits. It sounds so utterly disarming. A woman who can make biscuits can surely do no——" 

 "You'll have to come out here and live," said Jeffrey. "Get a place out in the country like us, for you and Kitty." 

"You don't know Kitty. She hates the country. She's got to have her theatres and vaudevilles." 

"Bring her out," repeated Jeffrey. "We'll have a colony. There's an awfully nice crowd here already. Bring her out!" 

They were at the porch steps now and Roxanne made a brisk gesture toward a dilapidated structure on the right. 

"The garage," she announced. "It will also be Jeffrey's writing-room within the month. Meanwhile, dinner is at seven. Meanwhile, to that, I will mix a cocktail." 

The two men ascended to the second floor—that is, they ascended halfway, for at the first landing Jeffrey dropped his guest's suitcase and in a cross between a query and a cry exclaimed: "For God's sake, Harry, how do you like her?" 

"We will go upstairs," answered his guest, "and we will shut the door." Half an hour later as they were sitting together in the library Roxanne reissued from the kitchen, bearing before her a pan of biscuits. Jeffrey and Harry rose. "They're beautiful, dear," said the husband, intensely. 

"Exquisite," murmured Harry. 

Roxanne beamed. "Taste one. I couldn't bear to touch them before you'd seen them all and I can't bear to take them back until I find what they taste like." 

"Like manna, darling." 

Simultaneously the two men raised the biscuits to their lips, nibbled tentatively. 

Simultaneously they tried to change the subject. But Roxanne undeceived, set down the pan and seized a biscuit. After a second her comment rang out with lugubrious finality: "Absolutely bum!" 


"Why, I didn't notice——" 

Roxanne roared. "Oh, I'm useless," she cried laughing. "Turn me out, Jeffrey—I'm a parasite; I'm no goal——" 

Jeffrey put his arm around her. "Darling, I'll eat your biscuits." 

"They're beautiful, anyway," insisted Roxanne. 

"They're-they're decorative," suggested Harry. 

Jeffrey took him up wildly. "That's the word. They're decorative; they're masterpieces. We'll use them." 

He rushed to the kitchen and returned with a hammer and a handful of nails. "We'll use them, by golly, Roxanne! We'll make a frieze out of them." 

"Don't!" wailed Roxanne. "Our beautiful house." 

 "Never mind. We're going to have the library repapered in October. Don't you remember?" 

"Well——" Bang! The first biscuit was impaled to the wall, where it quivered for a moment like a live thing. 

Bang!... When Roxanne returned, with the second round of cocktails the biscuits were in a perpendicular row, twelve of them, like a collection of primitive spearheads. 

 "Roxanne," exclaimed Jeffrey, "you're an artist! Cook?—nonsense! You shall illustrate my books!" 

During dinner, the twilight faltered into dusk, and later it was a starry dark outside, filled and permeated with the frail gorgeousness of Roxanne's white dress and her tremulous, low laugh. 

—Such a little girl she is, thought Harry. Not as old as Kitty. He compared the two. Kitty—nervous without being sensitive, temperamental without temperament, a woman who seemed to flit and never light—and Roxanne, who was as young as spring night, and summed up in her own adolescent laughter. 

—A good match for Jeffrey, he thought again. Two very young people, the sort who'll stay very young until they suddenly find themselves old. Harry thought these things between his constant thoughts about Kitty, He was depressed about Kitty. It seemed to him that she was well enough to come back to Chicago and bring his little son. He was thinking vaguely of Kitty when he said good-night to his friend's wife and his friend at the foot of the stairs. 

"You're our first real house guest," called Roxanne after him. "Aren't you thrilled and proud?" When he was out of sight around the stair corner she turned to Jeffrey, who was standing beside her resting his hand on the end of the banister. "Are you tired, my dearest?" 

Jeffrey rubbed the center of his forehead with his fingers. "A little. How did you know?" 

"Oh, how could I help not knowing about you?" "It's a headache," he said moodily. "Splitting. I'll take some aspirin." 

She reached over and snapped out the light, and with his arm tight about her waist they walked up the stairs together. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021


US  ‘molecular coffee’ maker Atomo has launched a ready-to-drink cold brew product in the US –the world’s first synthetic coffee product to be brought to market. 

Atomo launches world’s first synthetic coffee product in the US. 

US molecular coffee maker Atomo has launched a ready-to-drink cold brew product in the US –the world’s first synthetic coffee product to be brought to market. Optimistically positioning itself as ‘the future of coffee’, Atomo’s marketing is heavily orientated towards pertinent environmental and sustainability issues currently facing the coffee industry. 


 Atomo says it has examined more than 1,000 compounds found in coffee at a molecular level to ‘reverse engineer’ the coffee bean, a process that avoids any deforestation related to coffee production. It says its new coffee product produces 93% fewer carbon emissions and uses 94% less water than conventional coffee production. According to Atomo, the new product is produced using sustainable, upcycled plant waste ingredients. 

The result, Atomo claims, is a beverage that has all the body, taste and mouthfeel of traditional coffee. The launch of the new cold brew product is the culmination of a three-year road to market for Atomo. 

In August 2019, the start-up secured $2.6m seed funding from a private investment firm, Horizon Ventures. The company received an additional $9m investment in 2020, which was co-led by Beyond Meat backer Horizon Ventures and sustainable food investment firm S2G Ventures. 

Although Atomo’s synthetic coffee is the first of its kind to be launched in the market, the brand looks set to face competition from San Francisco-based Compound Foods. In September 2021, the company raised $4.5m to develop its own synthetic coffee formula, with product launches planned for late 2021. 

Optimistically positioning itself as ‘the future of coffee’, Atomo’s marketing is heavily orientated towards pertinent environmental and sustainability issues currently facing the coffee industry. 

Atomo says it has examined more than 1,000 compounds found in coffee at a molecular level to ‘reverse engineer’ the coffee bean, a process that avoids any deforestation related to coffee production. 

It says its new coffee product produces 93% fewer carbon emissions and uses 94% less water than conventional coffee production. According to Atomo, the new product is produced using sustainable, upcycled plant waste ingredients. The result, Atomo promotes, is a beverage that has all the body, taste, and mouthfeel of traditional coffee. 

The launch of the new cold brew product is the culmination of a three-year road to market for Atomo. In August 2019, the start-up secured $2.6m seed funding from private investment firm, Horizon Ventures. The company received an additional $9m investment in 2020, which was co-led by Beyond Meat backer Horizon Ventures and sustainable food investment firm S2G Ventures. 

Although Atomo’s synthetic coffee is the first of its kind to be launched in the market, the brand faces competition from San Francisco-based Compound Foods. In 


Friday, September 24, 2021


or our one picture worth a 1000 words series here's an image from the Pacific Northwest taken on the last day of summer, 2021 by photographer Shirlene Romain.

Thursday, September 23, 2021



Exploring the village was a treat before and after the wedding. 
A few years back we attended a wedding of an adventurous neighbor who set her wedding in Sayulita, Mexico, a coastal village 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. 

 Getting to Sayulita from San Diego was a breeze landing in PV, where someone in the wedding party picked us up and delivered us to a very modern condo on the beach. Because of the mild climate and no bugs our flat had no windows. 

I remember having coffee by one of those non-windows and watching beach riders and their horses explore the tropical paradise. 

Sayulita (Sigh-U-lita) on horseback.

Because we didn’t take many photos or notes, we were delighted to run across a travel blog by a young couple named Fix: Scott and Cecilia. They produced a photo essay on Sayulita, which captures the food, fauna, and fun of this Mexican village. CLICK HERE 

TACOS IN TOWN. Calle Gaviotas Sur Street cart – Located next to Hostal del Centro on the corner of Calle Gaviotas Sur and Calle Jose Mariscal is a street cart selling grilled chicken tacos. For only a few pesos, you can pick up a giant plate, then walk over to the swings at Hostal del Centro’s bar to enjoy your lunch along with a fresh margarita. Thanks for the tip, Cecilia.

Mexico Tourism Video CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


On September 7, 2021, the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) opened to the public. Grand opening propaganda claims it is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the American Arts and Crafts movement that swept the world from the mid-19th century to 1930. 

The MAACM, says its website, was founded by local philanthropist and collector Rudy Ciccarello. MAACM is St. Petersburg’s newest museum, featuring period architecture, incredible works of decorative art, and is located in the downtown waterfront arts district. 

Ciccarello, along with Alfonso Architects, designed and oversaw the incredible task of creating the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg, Florida. Too bad the exterior of the building looks like a mid-century Edsel Ford dealership. 

Not a whit of the building’s outside face offers a hint of the amazing Arts & Crafts architectural era it is designed to champion. We digress. 

The five-story, 137,000 square-foot museum offers a grand atrium, skylights, and a spiral staircase—all adorned with period art, light fixtures, windows, fireplaces, and more. MAACM features more than 40,000 square feet of gallery space, as well as a destination restaurant with private dining rooms, a retail store, an upscale café, a children’s gallery, a reference library, a theater, a graphic studio, a beautiful event space for weddings and corporate events, and an outdoor green space enhanced by original period tiles and fountains. 

Emerging at the end of the Victorian era in England, the Arts and Crafts movement was fueled by anxieties about the quality of life in the industrial era and the rise of mass-produced goods. Arts and Crafts designers sought to reform both decorative design and daily life, creating objects that were beautiful and functional. In America, the Arts and Crafts movement spread across the country from approximately 1890-1930. 

The tenets of the movement – simplicity in design, honesty in materials, hand craftsmanship, and depicting the natural world – are still widely valued today. The most important artists and enterprises of the American Arts and Crafts movement are represented at MAACM. 

A&C aficionados will appreciate the works of Gustav Stickley, Charles Rohlfs, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Roycrofters, William Grueby, Newcomb Pottery, Margaret Patterson, Greene, and Greene, Louis Sullivan, and many other gifted craftsmen and women. We hope that will include works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, William Morris, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Robert Ashbee, Charles Voysey, and John Ruskin…not to mention the latter-day works of Dirk Van Erp and Florence Koehler. 

It is a delight that this museum exists to immerse oneself in an era of genuine craftsmanship and original European and American design, including the celebration of Arts & Crafts furniture, pottery, tiles, lighting, textiles, photography, fine arts, woodblocks, metalwork, period room installations, and more. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


Capitola Beach

Searching for small beach abodes in California from Eureka to San Diego would take you almost 800 miles by car. For you east coasters who might not fathom how much coastline there is in California figure a similar stretch would run from Coney Island , New York to Savannah, Georgia. Lots of beach. 

Remember true summer in California begins in August and runs through October.  It's prime time now.

For only one example local West Coaster color let’s start at the Venetian Casitas on the beach in Capitola, CA (north end of Monterey Bay near Santa Cruz). They’re small with one or two bedrooms on one or two levels. 

Colorful Casitas next to pier

The units are part of the Venetian Hotel (plan ahead) but you can’t get closer to the sand and sea than this colorful collection. Venetian Court is a residential seaside resort located in Capitola, California. Construction of Venetian Court, in the Mediterranean Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Mission Revival architecture styles, began in 1924 and continued for several years. 

On April 2, 1987, Venetian Court was listed as site 87000574 on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the first condominium seaside developments in California, and is in a United States Historic District. 

The two rows of colorful units nearest to the beach, as shown in the picture below, are privately owned condos (many of which are available as vacation rentals by owner). The large olive brown building in the back row (nearest to the street) is now operated as the "Capitola Venetian Hotel".

Restaurant row is just south of the Capitola Lagoon.  Margaritaville, shown, is one of the newer places serving indoor-outdoor dining.

Monday, September 20, 2021


Copenhagen scores highest on personal safety and environmental concerns

The Economist publication Intelligence Unit's 2021 Safe Cities Index (SCI) ranks 60 destinations across the world for digital security, health security, infrastructure, personal safety, as well as environmental security, a new category for this year. 

CLICK HERE to know where to find the world’s safest cities for 2021. 

FROM CNN: Safety has long been a paramount concern for travelers when it comes to deciding which destination to visit. But the world has been turned on its head in recent years due to the global pandemic and the notion of exactly what makes somewhere "safe" has changed significantly. 

This may help to explain the shakeup at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Safe Cities Index (SCI,) which ranks 60 international destinations on digital security, health security, infrastructure, personal security, as well as environmental security, a new category for this year. 

While Asian cities like Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka have continuously occupied the top spots year after year, it's a European destination that holds the number one position for 2021. 

Vaccinated Americans welcome to most coffee houses in Denmark

Copenhagen has been named the world's safest city for the first time, scoring 82.4 points out of 100 in the annual report. Denmark's capital jumped from joint eighth place in 2019 to the top of the list, largely thanks to the introduction of an environmental security section, which the city scored particularly well in, along with personal security. 

Copenhagen: beautiful and safe

Denmark's World Cup Women's Soccer Team
American Kevin Sumner plays professional basketball in Denmark and says he feels safer here than anywhere else he's lived.

Copenhagen: the Venice of Scandinavia

Sunday, September 19, 2021


Around the corner from the Broadway Cafe, North Beach, San Francisco

Fiction: Excerpt from Cantina Psalms, Short Stories, San Francisco Noir Dives To be published by Three Palms Press, Early 2022, Copyright 2021 By Thomas Shess


Southside of Broadway: Chinatown 

Li Wuan Lee, dressed in a flawless Asian style silk shirt that hung low to the knees of his tan trousers looked like a mirror store of older men in Chinatown and there was no telling by what they wore whether they had ten bucks to their name or couple billion. Old “Leon” liked it that way and dressed accordingly. 

Chinatown's top landlord, Li Wuan was born in Macao of Chinese-Portuguese parents. He spoke all the important local dialects: street English, society English, health department English and, best of all, no English. He understood or didn’t understand half a dozen Chinese tongues, depending on who was asking. If he knew it meant money, broads, or a deal in his favor, he could also speak Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Eskimo, Farsi and flap more hip hop than a rap convention. 

Sitting in the only front booth of his Broadway Café, a 150-year-old all-night diner, Leon worked his nightly ritual, jotting answers onto a crossword puzzle from a Chinese language newspaper. His ears were stuffed with iPod earplugs blasting Southern-style high-octane rock—ala ZZ Top, Creedence Clearwater or Led Zeppelin. In his 80 years, he had also become addicted to raucous rock that included acoustic piano or organ riffs. 

A new reflection interrupted his late-night zen. The first cloudburst of autumn began to streak the diner’s floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows. With the torrent, he knew the four lanes outside his window, would reflect the gaudy neon from all the strip joints along Broadway. And, when a customer would open the door to the café, he’d savor lungfuls of chilly air spiked with the aroma of wet asphalt. 

While Broadway is an upstanding citizen as it cuts east to west from the Embarcadero to Presidio Park, it’s that four-block swath from the east lip of Broadway tunnel to Montgomery that forever stamped its reputation as a tawdry venue for two-bit bars, strip joints, adult book emporiums, and low-end liquor stores. 

In its 150-plus years at the same North Beach location, the Broadway Cafe has had a United Nations of owners and all of them have managed to keep décor changes to a minimum. Broadway in later years became is the thin line separating Chinatown from North Beach. And, the boulevard at its Western terminus comes full circle as part of Pacific Heights, the City’s toniest neighborhood. It’s a paved contradiction serving as a metaphor for the gamut of high rent/ low rent, rags or riches lifestyles along its path. 

Squealing brakes grabbed his attention. 

Across the street in front of Clementine’s, Leon flinched as the Yellow Cab struck and flipped the large dark figure onto the asphalt. More brakes squealed. A sedan spun around on the rain-slicked roadway. The dark sedan stopped with its headlights shining directly into the tall, old-fashioned plate glass window of the art deco diner. 

 Leon calmly asked his niece, the young waitress at the counter. “Lyn, go help the man on the street,” Leon ordered knowing she was a trained paramedic, a New York Policewoman now on disability retirement. 

Unhesitating, the toned Asian woman rushed out into the rain; while Leon dialed 9-1-1 on his cellphone. 

Eventually, a patrol cop looking for witnesses to the accident entered the cafe. A wave of stove heat slapped him. It smelled of stale coffee and onions. The lack of air conditioning kept the place unbearably hot year-round. 

Like the waves out at Ocean Beach, the Broadway Cafe never shut down. The Cinderella trade was nowhere to be seen. Normally at this time of night, Gothic North Beach would be perched in the Cafe like ravens on a farmer’s fence. 

The first deluge of Fall was keeping everyone away. Two truck drivers seated at the counter and a black pimp occupying the front window booth with his white chattel made the crowd. 

Only half of the six fans overhead were circulating. Each spun with the speed of a glacier, and none contributed to anyone’s comfort. Leon’s booth was easily front row center; the best place to catch the action as full moon weirdness rises each night over North Beach. Leon made it clear to his staff that winos, drug freaks, and street whores and their pimps were not allowed to sit in his favorite window booth. 

Cops ate free.

Other beauties, the strippers on break from Clementine's from the other side of Broadway had to use the back booths near the cash register, where Leon could be sure they didn’t stick crack up their noses or shoot smack into their shopworn thighs. 

The Broadway Cafe wasn’t paradise, but the food was good and cheap. Here customers could smoke cigars and, if they nodded a certain way, a shot of after-hours cognac would find itself into the coffee. Leon’s joint was a cultural asset, even if it didn’t rate a mention in any of the city magazine restaurant listings. 

But as long as everyone behaved and paid cash, Leon didn’t care what his customers spoke, did or looked like. “This ain’t no beauty parlor,” Leon was quoted by one of the gossip columns. It was true. A guy wearing a corrugated cardboard box for a suit could find himself being served hash browns next to a Pacific Heights matron in a real mink stole. 

Democracy breathes through the heavy tobacco smoke and smells like barbecued spare ribs and dim sum pork.

The one sure bet in all of San Francisco is the Cafe. It will be the same-same tomorrow and the next day.

Saturday, September 18, 2021



Old fashioned close the main drag down block party in downtown North Park is set for October 9, 2021. That’s two weeks from today. The festivities start at 11 am until 3 pm 

Take a self guided tour of North Park and sample food from over 40 restaurants and sip beverages from over 14 breweries. Remember North Park is craft beer heaven in San Diego. Perfect gift for the foodie or brewsky in your life. Be there: 30th and University Avenues. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS 

Home to culinary innovation and award-winning brew-masters, kombucha brewers and other trendy beverages, North Park is a go-to San Diego destination for everything food and drink. On Saturday, October 9th, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Taste of North Park invites culinary enthusiasts to enjoy over 30 food tastes from San Diego's best restaurants. 

The Taste of North Park is for fun-seeking people who are looking to enjoy food from over 30 of the neighborhood's best restaurants, beverages from the region’s best brews, spirits, kombuchas, and boba. Embark on a self-guided tour with a ticket and map in hand as you explore this eclectic and vibrant neighborhood with its many unique shops and galleries. 

Included in the price of your ticket are street musicians and a self-guided tour of the murals to enjoy as you casually stroll along the colorful neighborhood and sample and sip along the way taking in the opportunity to support local boutiques, vintage clothing stores, and the popular creative universe that Pigment brings to North Park. 

From vegetarian curry to fried chicken and biscuits, brews from award-winning Original 40 Brewing Company and North Park Beer Co., Taste of North Park is sure to offer a great day of fun for the entire family. 

North Park Beer Company
the perfect craftsman brewery
in a historic Arts & Crafts 'hood.

Participating restaurants and breweries include an exciting lineup of neighborhood veterans and newbies alike. Taste Moroccan Spiced Lamb Loin from Verbena, sample soft-serve milkshakes from North Park Creamery and indulge in some Italian cuisine from award winner Siamo Napoli. Come hungry and leave happy after a day of food from one of San Diego's best dining and shopping destinations. 

Experience the best flavors San Diego has to offer in this one-of-a-kind October event. There’s no better way to spend a Saturday than supporting local businesses while enjoying the best of food, beverages, and shopping in historic, fun-centric North Park! 

Newest kid on the block.
Factoid: owner is a top sci-fi book publisher

Friday, September 17, 2021


California held a recall election Tuesday to keep or oust Gavin Newsom as Governor. 

Newsom won. GOP just flushed millions of dollars down the toilet. That’s what fiscal conservative hypocrites do these days. Cost estimates to hold this special election are running at $270 million.

Caitlin Jenner (pictured above) ran to be Governor. Voters of both parties gave ex-him a total sixth tenths of one percent of the vote on question 2. Holly Baade got more votes than Caitlin. What’s that tell you, Caitlin? It says you got slammed in a pitiful way. Now, take your act and go away, we’re tired of your sad ass in front of TV cameras. Go away. 

And, as for the recall about 67% voted to keep Newsom. That’s a lot of people who are sick and tired of the goons/buffoons/loonies. 

What do you say to the rest of us?  How about ignoring the GOP goons for a while.  Totally ignore them. 

And, while we’re at it now that there is a huge Democratic voter edge in California let’s pass some anti-goon legislation. How about we pass a law mandating that every law requiring a 2/3 vote to pass something has to be approved by 2/3 of the voters. Now that should scare the shit out of the goon leaning far right. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021


Image of the Long Bar with its iconic 19th century overhead butterfly wing fans. Today, the Raffles Hotel celebrates its 134th anniversary. It was the first hotel in Asia to have electricity and is the home of the Singapore Sling cocktail. 

The Long Bar in Singapore is No. 10 in’s visited bars and pubs Hall of Fame. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


The new entrance to the hotel delivers a much grander sense of arrival, harkening back to the early days of the Del when guests arrived via rail car. (Courtesy of the Hotel Del Coronado) 

Editor’s note. During the pandemic times, the San Diego Union-Tribune kindly allows responsible bloggers to repost articles that the newspaper has posted on the Internet. The following article appeared on September 10, 2021. daily magazine-style blog appreciates the professional courtesy. 

GUEST BLOG / By Lori Weissberg, Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune-- The passing decades took their toll on the much-visited lobby of Coronado’s grand dame. The stained-glass windows gradually disappeared, the white oak columns and beams were painted over with layers of stain, and generations of visitors left the carpeting in something of a drab state. But that’s no more. 

The latest phase of the $400 million renovation of the Hotel Del Coronado has delivered a light-filled lobby with a richly restored wood interior, new parquet floors, an elegant recreation of the original crystal chandelier, and the first of several new or restored stained glass windows. 

The hotel’s historic lobby reopens for the first time since it was closed a year and a half ago for a restoration that recalls the Del’s Victorian-era roots. There’s also a bonus — a new front porch. 

The restoration — along with an expansive new veranda not seen since a couple of years after Marilyn Monroe walked up the hotel’s front steps in “Some Like it Hot” — is well-timed. In just a few months, the traditional two-story Christmas tree will be making an appearance after an absence last year due to the pandemic. While much of the ongoing redo of the 28-acre resort is intended to upgrade and modernize the property, the goal of the lobby and front porch project was to return the centerpiece of the 133-year-old hotel to its late-19th century roots. 

“The lobby and front porch are probably the most exciting part of the master plan for our stakeholders and the community,” said Hotel Del Coronado General Manager Harold Rapoza. “You’ll see people sitting in rocking chairs on the porch all day long. It’s just a part of the history we haven’t had since the 1960s. And then you walk into the lobby, and it’s a big wow.” 

Much of the hotel’s master plan improvements already have opened to the public, among them an expansive, glass-enclosed rooftop bar and restaurant overlooking the hotel pool and beachfront; a complete redo of its 97 cabana guestrooms; a new signature restaurant, Serea; a revamp of the hotel’s outdoor meeting area, Vista Terrace; and the more than 700-space North Parking Garage. 

Rocking away on the new front porch From left, Michelangelo Marcial, Hilda Marcial, Jerry Reid, and Kay Browne sit on the new veranda, once a feature of the Hotel Del up until the early 1960s. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune) 

Currently under construction is the final piece of the master plan — Shore House at the Del that consists of already sold out 75 one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury units. The 75 limited occupancy condos, billed as second homes, should be completed by next year. While the Hotel Del Coronado has the unique advantage of being well recognized across the country, it cannot rest entirely on its laurels as it competes with other popular resort properties in Southern California, acknowledges Rapoza. 

Even though the hotel experienced a record-breaking summer, an important element of the master plan upgrades has been to create areas of the resort that will draw a variety of age groups over the coming years. “What our ownership is doing is creating not only a new Del but it’s also making it exciting,” Rapoza explained. “Our customers are changing and we want to put it on the map again and create those memories that have been going on for so long. That’s why we’re creating these new ‘neighborhoods.’ 

The younger customer will stay in The Views or cabanas but we also have the Victorian, which is the history of the Del.” Here’s a look at the more recently completed projects in what is by far the most costly upgrade of the hotel since it opened in 1888. 

As you make your way along the newly constructed, palm-tree-lined driveway, with the hotel’s imposing red-roofed turret coming into view, your first thought is, what took so long? While the new entry has long been included in the hotel’s master plan, the previous entrance, which Rapoza described as “very underwhelming,” had been in place for at least the last six decades. The new driveway, composed of decorative pavers, marks a return to its original location, where guests during the hotel’s early years would arrive by train. 

It’s believed that the earlier alignment was relocated to its current location sometime in the 1960s. As vehicles approach the main entrance, they will go around a landscaped circle that features a new seahorse fountain. A signal has been installed at Avenida del Sol, off Orange Avenue, where cars will now turn to enter the property. “You drive up this longer, grander driveway and see the money shot of the front porch and the Del,” Rapoza said. “Before, there was not really a big draw or sense of arrival. Here you’ll also drive past historic buildings on your right.” 

The new entrance is not quite ready to make its public debut. Because of staffing shortages that have afflicted the entire hospitality industry, Rapoza said the hotel is not able to open it up for properly greeting arriving guests, but he’s hopeful that will come within the next couple of weeks. 

Most times of the day, you can find visitors and guests relaxing in rocking chairs, spaced along the wood flooring of the wide veranda. The original porch was built over in 1961, but the hotel master plan revived it as yet another step in returning the Del to its original look. The hotel relied on historic photos to make sure the new addition accurately replicated the original front entry. The porch includes two sets of entry stairs. 

The Hotel Del Coronado's original front porch The veranda had something of a bit role in the 1959 film, “Some Like it Hot,” where in one scene several gentlemen are seen sitting on the porch quietly reading their papers. Above. They suddenly awake from their reverie and turn their heads as Marilyn Monroe’s character walks up the steps to the hotel. 

The refurbished lobby features a new chandelier, recreated to match the original one, although with some elegant embellishments. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune) 

The artisans and laborers who refurbished the lobby relied heavily on historic images to guide them in reproducing its visual feel. More than just a reception area for checking in, the lobby is a tourist destination that for decades has transported visitors back to the Victorian era. 

All of the woodwork from the late 1800s was stripped down to its original state and stained to match the color of what the lobby looked like when first built. The hotel also reviewed photos from the late 1800s and early 1900s to accurately reproduce light fixtures of that era, many of which are now affixed to the wood columns. The wall-to-wall carpeting is gone, replaced with decorative wood flooring, with some of the elements coming from as far away as Romania, Rapoza said. 

The lobby restoration has taken 18 months to complete, starting February of last year, when it was closed to the public. “A lot of work was done on this to make sure it was done right,” Rapoza said. That’s especially true for the repair and recreation of what were originally 25 stained glass windows. Just four of the original windows, including the 133-year-old coronation window, could be found. Craftsmen spent the last year and a half painstakingly restoring the coronation window, now hanging in the second level of the lobby. All but six of the window’s more than 700 pieces of glass were saved and restored. 

 The historic Ice House has been converted into a museum that includes a collection of images of famous former guests and memorabilia from the hotel curated over the years. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune) 

Over the next 30 to 60 days, all of the windows will be installed. Also recreated was the original chandelier — albeit with embellishments to enhance the hand-cut crystal pieces. It replaces the previous glass ceiling fixture that had lost its luster over the years. The Crown Room, a historic venue also located in the Victorian building and once a regular destination for brunch, has been closed since the start of the pandemic last year. 

However, the Del plans to reopen it for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays. Still under consideration is reopening it more regularly next year for brunch, Rapoza said. Just south of the cabanas building, the former Ocean Towers, now known as The Views, has been fully renovated inside, with all 217 rooms and suites refurbished. A notable enhancement are the all-glass balconies, which provide a clearer view of the beach. 

The ground floor rooms in the seven-story building have outdoor terraces, each with its own fire pit. Eventually, the hotel plans to offer bike, surfboard, and rollerblade rentals for The Views area. 

Windsor Lawn and the ice rink 

The longtime outdoor event space was spruced up with new turf, trees, and landscaping. Lighting was also added to the palm trees. The lawn area is where the ice rink is installed each year during the winter holidays, a tradition that was absent last year because of COVID-19. 

The hotel has created a new light show for the upcoming holidays that will be projected on the palm trees near Orange Avenue and synchronized to music every 15 minutes. 

At one time responsible for making ice for all of Coronado, the Ice House more recently served as a human resource office until it was reopened a month ago as a museum showcasing the hotel’s historical moments. 

Known long ago as a destination for the Hollywood elite and a few former presidents, the hotel has curated photographs of such famous visitors as Babe Ruth, President Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, and Walter Cronkite. Old-timey memorabilia on display include a telephone switchboard box from 1910, an 1891 guest register, and a set of Prince of Wales China that was used in the Crown Room during the April 7, 1920, visit by Edward, Prince of Wales. 

Also a historic building, the Power Plant was restored a couple of months ago and now houses meeting space on the second level and the hotel’s engineering department on the first level. There is also room for co-working space in the building. The Laundry Building, built in 1919, still houses temporary offices, but will eventually be repurposed as event space. 

Relegated to a dark, lower-level corridor, the retail area is getting an updated look. New flooring that resembles white marble has been added, and the area is considerably brighter and more contemporary looking. The first stores to reopen are Beach House, a specialty home goods store, and Weekends boutique that features a curated selection of casual apparel from a variety of well-known brands. The remaining retail additions are expected to be completed by January. 

Here’s Jack Lemmon skipping up the steps as Daphne, the double bass player of the band. You can see the Del’s famous Dragon Tree in the top right corner, still thriving today.

Cast in costume on Coronado Beach with Point Loma doing a cameo in distance, 1959