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Thursday, August 31, 2023


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DIANA’S LAST WORDS /French fireman on the scene reveals. 

From Daily Mail via L’Officiel magazine: “…Sergeant Xavier Gourmelon was on duty at dawn on August 31, 1997. On that day, he did not know that Princess Diana was the one involved in the accident. 

In testimony via the newspaper Daily Mail, Gourmelon said he knew it was something serious when he arrived at the scene which was surrounded by many doctors. The team first removed Fayed and then tried to remove Diana. 

He said: “After [Fayed] was removed, I was left with the passenger. She spoke in English and asked 'My God, what happened?' I understood that, so I tried to calm her down. I held her hand.” 

According to Gourmelon, those were her last words. She didn't say anything else until she went to the hospital. 

 Xavier said she was apparently fine, with steady breathing and a strong pulse, with only an exposed shoulder wound but no other visible bruises. However, after arriving at Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital, she succumbed to internal injuries…”  

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


Views like this are harder to find as McMansions with elaborate
entries have been walled off as family compounds.

North Tahoe’s walled-off hysteria is not a hotel anyone should visit soon 

GUEST BLOG / By Eric Peterson, Matters of Taste Editor-- In his travelogue “Roughing It,” Mark Twain describes Lake Tahoe as “a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks …” He added: “I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” 

Today, the jewel in the crown of Twain’s cherished Lake Tahoe is a town called Incline Village. It sits on the lake’s north shore and has a population of roughly ten thousand. 

Incline Village residents have included Oracle’s Larry Ellison, casino mogul Steve Wynn, junk-bond kingpin Michael Milken, the Beach Boys’s lead singer Mike Love, and golfer Annika Sörenstam. 

The blue water and snow-clad mountain peaks alone aren’t enough to encourage the uberwealthy to settle here. Incline Village is in Nevada, and Nevada is a tax haven. It has no state income tax. 

For pretention and recognition of achievement, the ne plus ultra Incline Village address is Lakeshore Boulevard, where the real estate market is perpetually hot. A teardown starts at $4 million. 

Taking a summer stroll along the three-mile Lakeshore Boulevard walking trail, I stared with bug-eyed disbelief and my jaw dropped. The newer homes were like palaces. In this stretch of elite residential real estate, a car elevator leading down to a yawning subterranean garage might be considered a quaint feature, but among this crowd, it’ll hardly raise an eyebrow. 

At one construction site, I was told that the cavernous, rebar-striped hole fronting the enormous residence-in-progress was a swimming pool. It was being built for a game called underwater hockey, in which two teams, everyone holding their breath and diving to the bottom of the deep pool, left, compete to guide a heavy puck into the opponent’s goal, but I refused to believe human beings can be this stupid. 

On that same walk, I saw imposing gated entries, and I encountered armies of gardeners tending elaborate flower beds, thick hedges, and lush green lawns. Each estate, it seemed, had its own legion of workers. If Incline Village has a civic anthem, it must be the sound of a gas-powered leaf blower. 

Incline Village was established in 1882 as a logging operation. The town was reborn in 1961 when Washoe County created the Incline Village General Improvement District, or IVGID, as it’s known today. Five elected trustee positions were established and charged with planning the district’s improvements and running its operations. 

Picture a giant, all-powerful homeowner’s association and a population of millionaire and billionaire alpha-lion overachievers, and you can begin to understand the ecology of Incline Village politics. Trustee candidates compete in cutthroat elections and are recalled on a regular basis. 

And no detail is too small to avoid scrutiny of the IVGID Trustees, who presume godlike authority. Fireworks at the beach; boat-launch pricing; tee-time intervals and changes to the cart path at the golf course; what kitchen equipment to buy; what point-of-sale system to use—these were all agenda items at board meetings of the IVGID Trustees. These plutocrats rule with a tight hand. 

The closest thing Incline Village has to a homeless encampment is Pacaso, a company that forms LLCs to purchase single-family luxury homes and then sells shares of those LLCs to multiple owners (a maximum of eight). When Pacaso set its sights on acquiring homes around Incline Village—and specifically along Lakeshore Boulevard—the carriage trade pushed back hard. From the vantage of the Lakeshore walking trail, it seemed every other yard had posted a stop-Pacaso sign. 

Imagine the horror: Eight low-level millionaires taking possession of a Lakeshore trophy and treating it like a vacation rental. The next thing you know they’ll be changing the oil in their Hummers on the concrete driveway and blasting Toby Keith from the lumber-and-stone loggia of their Pacaso luxury co-op. 

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Incline Village was a humble place, an isolated getaway spot for serious snow skiers, persevering nature lovers, and summer vacationers. There were few year-round residents. The architectural style of the first wave of single-family homes mirrored the modest ranch houses of the flourishing Bay Area suburbs. A single-story with a long low-pitch roofline, big windows along the front, an attached garage, and sliding glass doors leading to a dedicated patio in back—was there any other way to design a house? 


In those early years, higher up the mountain, on the cheaper lots above the snowline, A-frame cabins became popular. They were affordable and conjured up a distinct ‘60s Swiss-chalet après-ski panache—cheese fondue and Mateus Rosé served in a snow-encircled hot tub full of bikini-clad ski bunnies, above, while Herb Alpert’s “A Taste of Honey” played on the hi-fi. 

Then came the midnineties. With the dotcom bubble, personal wealth in the San Francisco Bay Area soared. Many of these new Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires set their sights on Incline Village. The town locals watched flat-footed and stupefied as lakefront summer homes and rustic cabins were scooped up by land-grabbing, real-life Monopoly Men, who amassed contiguous lots, completed the required paperwork with the governing agencies, and renovated the properties as Mountain Modern monstrosities (see below). 

 The homes they built were as big as hotels. The favored architecture style expressed a decidedly mountain-oriented vocabulary: thick beams, gable roofs, oversize windows, stone facades, rock fireplaces, rugged textures with copper accents. The Monopoly Men went deep underground, too—those car elevators and subterranean garages were commonly incorporated into the grandiose homes that were under construction along Lakeshore Boulevard. Car collecting, it seems, is a popular side interest with billionaires. Elaborate entries were constructed, and cameras went up. The properties were walled off as family compounds. Armed guards secured the perimeters. 

From Lakeshore Boulevard, most of the lake views are now concealed by high walls and thick vegetation. You can see blue water from the entrances to three Incline Village beaches, but unless you’re a resident or the guest of a resident, you can’t set foot on the sand. The beaches of Incline Village are private (see above). 

Disappearing lake views aren’t my only quibble with the new construction along Lakeshore Boulevard. Within the past few years, a disturbing architectural trend has descended on Incline Village. The new deep pockets arrivistes—internet entrepreneurs, heirs to fortunes, dissident investors—are now constructing massive concrete homes in the minimalist style of architecture (see above), and the trend is sowing the neighborhoods of Incline Village with a rash of cubist-architecture eyesores. 

These atrocities look like fallout shelters—flat roofs, rigid lines, and excessive use of concrete and glass. They’re as out of place at Lake Tahoe as an *oompah band at a debutante ball. 

Today Incline Village serves as a cautionary tale for the country. 

Most middle-class workers—the teachers, the postal workers, the security consultants, the nurses, the tax accountants—have been priced out of Incline’s housing market. Every evening there’s an exodus down the mountain as these commuters make their way to homes in more affordable cities like Reno, Sparks, and Carson City. 

The forewarning: Incline Village is a community without a middle class. The delta between the haves and have-nots makes this chic mountain town feel increasingly like a Third World country. 


About the Author:

Eric Peterson’s debut novel, Life as a Sandwich, was a finalist in the San Diego Book Awards. His second novel, The Dining Car, won the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Popular Fiction, the San Diego Book Award Gold Medal for Contemporary Fiction, and the Readers’ Favorite Book Award Silver Medal for Literary Fiction. His third novel, Sunshine Chief, won the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for General Fiction. 

Peterson's, left, most recent book, titled Museum of the Unknown Writer, is a collection of essays penned exclusively for Pillar to Post. In his spare time, he is’s arbiter of all matters of taste from architecture to artichokes. 


* German-American Oompah Band from YouBetcha, Wisconsin (maybe).

Tuesday, August 29, 2023


GUEST BLOG / By Sande Lollis, Music at the Marston Curator
--For the second year in a row, the Marston House Gardens plays host to an unforgettable end-of-summer music experience.

On September 1, from 3 to 5pm, SOHO presents the first in the series of three outdoor concerts featuring Americana, folk, country, and blues music in a festival of extraordinary women singer-songwriters. 

 Attendees from last year know how magical the experience was, and because they asked us to, we’re doing it again! Set in the welcoming historic rose garden on three Fridays in September, from 3 to 5pm, this concert series offers a unique and intimate setting. There are so many great women artists in San Diego and beyond, and yet women are extremely underrepresented in the music industry, both as songwriters and as producers. 

Marston House is highlighting some of that talent here, to give support where support is needed. Tickets for each show are $10 for SOHO members and $12 for non-members. Space is limited; we encourage the public to get their tickets now to secure their spot. CLICK HERE.

Concertgoers will bring their own lawn chair or blanket for ultimate comfort. We'll have light refreshments available, and guests may bring their own snacks and drinks as well. 

FIRST NIGHT TALENT. L-R: Lisa Sanders, Annie Bethancourt, Suzanne Panza. 

Annie Bethancourt is a writer and folk musician from Portland, Oregon who honed her chops in San Diego in the early 2000's at spots like Java Jones, Twiggs, and Lestat's. After receiving a Sociology degree from the University of California, San Diego, Annie independently released her first folk album The Garage Sessions in 2003. 

Suzanne Panza is a professional vocalist and musician recently relocated from Nashville to Phoenix. She grew up in San Diego, performing with her band Talk Like June. She has opened for many artists, most notably Journey at BYU Stadium. She has performed at iconic venues such as the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. 

 Lisa Sanders is an artist is a multi-award-winning singer-songwriter with nearly three decades of experience. Her level of entertainment ranges from major stages and projects to venues as intimate as house concerts. Sanders has nine full-length studio albums and a tenth album, Daughters of the Rising Tide due to be released in 2023. 

 Marston House Museum & Gardens September Concert Series 

Where: 3525 Seventh Avenue, San Diego 92103 

 Purchase Tickets $10 SOHO Members · $12 Non members 

By Phone (619) 297-9327 

Day of the Event At the Museum Shop 

 Future dates for the 3-part series September 15 - Micah Justice, Ashley E Norton, and Julia Sage September 29 - Cathryn Beeks, Lauren Leigh, and Eve Selis 

 There is no parking on this residential street. Utilize the ample free parking all along Balboa Drive, Sixth Avenue, Upas and Thorn Streets. Parking for disabled or elderly: Friends or family should deliver disabled or elderly guests to the front of the Museum Shop and assist them in their arrival. 

Sunday, August 27, 2023


More than an artifact of classical music gone pop, Ravel’s most famous work is a masterclass in orchestration.

GUEST BLOG / By Melissa Dunphy, writing for Van Magazine, 2021--If you remember the 1980s, you remember Ravel’s “Boléro.” Although the work became a fixture on orchestral programs shortly after its premiere in 1928, the ’80s was arguably the decade of peak “Boléro” saturation, bookended by the soundtrack for the 1979 Dudley Moore comedy, “10,” and Frank Zappa’s 1991 album, “The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life.” At the zenith between these two points, British ice-dancing superstars Torvill and Dean won a gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics with a routine that became the highest-scoring figure-skating program of all time. Its music? “Boléro.” At the time, I was three years old and lived in Australia, but I remember the mania for both the performance and the music. That endless melody triple-lutzed in my head from a young age. 

Valentin Serov: “Portrait of Ida Rubinstein” ballet company impresario, who commissioned Maurice Ravel to compose “Bolero” in 1928.

Whenever any work of art achieves pop culture ubiquity, a backlash is sure to follow. Criticisms of “Boléro” began much earlier, originating with several of the composer’s own self-deprecating comments. Commissioned by dancer Ida Rubinstein to write a Spanish-themed ballet, Ravel was initially tasked with orchestrating “Iberia” by Albéniz. Unable to immediately secure permission, Ravel set out to write his own original composition: a melody less than a minute long, backed by Spanish dance rhythms, repeated eighteen times in a slow crescendo. The melody receives little if any, development as defined by centuries of practice: It is not fragmented, sequenced, treated contrapuntally, nor turned upside down or inside out, nor reharmonized, nor stated in a different key (other than an abrupt modulation near the climax). 

In a 1931 interview with the London Daily Telegraph, Ravel described “Boléro” as “an experiment in a very special and limited direction… There are no contrasts, and there is practically no invention except in the plan and the manner of the execution.” The result of his experiment was polarizing: Audiences cheered at its premiere and have continued to do so for nearly a century. Yet some listeners and performers are horrified by the lack of melodic invention. A woman at the first performance screamed that Ravel was a madman. (When Ravel was told of this, he reportedly quipped: “She understands!”) 

Maurice Ravel
By 1931, Ravel had also identified a pattern in the criticism: “It is perhaps because of these peculiarities that no single composer likes the “Boléro”—and from their point of view they are quite right.” I, a composer who likes—even loves—“Boléro,” can’t help but smile to read this. I understand why Ravel came to this conclusion 90 years ago: Any composer who has been indoctrinated with the idea that melodic and harmonic development are inextricable from good compositional practice cannot process “Boléro” as a “good composition.” But this raises the question: Why do so many composers trained in Western European Classical Music™ accept as truth that melodic and harmonic development are, and should always be, our primary concerns.

In most music composition major undergraduate degree programs, students take at least four semesters of music theory—by which we mean Western European music theory. This begins with plainchant and usually peters out with serialism or perhaps minimalism, along with one or two semesters of counterpoint. We spend an enormous amount of time analyzing melody and harmony, and music theory provides us with the tools to do this. Such tools have been forged with rigorous German precision, so they appear mathematically, even scientifically sound. Yet we take only one semester (two at most) of orchestration, and much of that is spent rote-memorizing the ranges and idiosyncrasies of standard orchestral instruments. 

Our tools for analyzing timbre are nowhere near as robust as those for analyzing harmony, at least at the undergraduate level, so less attention is paid to it. Generations of young composers have been convinced by theorists that timbre is less worthy of study than melody and harmony because there exists no equivalent of Roman numeral analysis for timbre, and its application doesn’t adhere to any set of easily teachable rules. Even for those who’ve never studied music, the enduring image of the composer is someone who plays and writes music at the piano, feeding into our pedagogical impulse to strip timbre from the act of composition. Indeed, composition and arrangement are often considered two entirely different skills: Orchestrators and arrangers are placed on a lower rung in our industry than composers who supposedly trade in purely melodic/harmonic ideas. 

If I may offer a personal opinion: This is bullshit. 

Timbre is just as important as melody and harmony in our experience of music. Familiar tonal qualities are imbued with meaning for listeners, ultimately serving as emotional and conceptual shorthand that goes beyond the notes on a staff. After decades of spectralism, minimalism, electroacoustic music, and film soundtracks which center timbre, you’d think that today’s musicians and listeners would have grown past the Romantic idea that a composition is worthless without melodic or harmonic development. Yet that old-fashioned idea persists, and—perhaps because it was an experiment ahead of its time—“Boléro” bears the brunt of it in orchestral literature. 

Orchestration is also a true skill and was, in my estimation, the greatest of Ravel’s talents. While my familiarity with “Boléro” was well-established in my ’80s childhood, it wasn’t until I was playing viola in a college orchestra rehearsal of the work that my admiration for this skill caught fire. 

Violists and cellists are notorious for despising “Boléro” because of its monotony; our pizzicato notes are so repetitive and unrelenting that we leave our bows on the music stand for the first three-quarters of the work. But this unexciting part is perfect for observing orchestration from inside the belly of the beast: Ravel passes the melody through the woodwinds first, from the simple timbre of a low-register flute to the more complex and insistent waveforms of the saxophones. At one point he combines the flute and trumpet, a tried-and-true combination used by countless composers, giving the trumpet a softer, brighter sound. Then, in the eighth repetition of the melody featuring the first horn, celesta, and piccolos, he does something remarkable. 

Although I had, by that time, heard many recordings of “Boléro,” I hadn’t, until this day, investigated what was making this sound. I looked behind me, but I couldn’t understand why the combination was scrambling my ears. It didn’t sound like the sum of its parts, but like a completely new instrument, some type of organ perhaps. I snuck a look at the piccolo players’ music and saw that, although “Boléro” is in C major, they were playing in G major and E major respectively, with key signatures to match. Was this polytonality? 

It took a moment for me to understand, and then I was thunderstruck: Ravel hacks the timbre of the horn by having the piccolos play the fourth and fifth overtones above. On the harmonics, the piccolos change the sound of the fundamental. Taken as a combination, the horn’s attack now sounds more like a flute. But the celesta also adds a slight sharpness to the attack. Ravel was treating the instruments like a synth player adjusting ADSR envelopes and oscillator frequencies to create new sounds. And it worked perfectly. It was such a stunning realization that I started crying. I had so much to learn. 

“Boléro” is more than an artifact of classical music gone pop; it is a masterclass in orchestration. Ravel takes the listener—or the composition student—from simple concepts like balancing a solo woodwind or brass instrument against other sections of the orchestra to experimental combinations that shed new light on what is possible with traditional instruments played using standard techniques. By removing typical variables like melody and harmony, he makes the orchestration the star and demonstrates how it alone can hold attention, control form, and manipulate the listener’s emotions just as effectively as chromatic harmony and unendliche Melodie. The brash trombone glissandi in the explosive final repetition are deliberately hilarious, a joyful celebration of the success of Ravel’s intentions. 

In recent years, despite Ravel’s clearly stated intentions with this work, some musicologists, neurologists, and psychologists have taken criticism of “Boléro” a step further by pathologizing it, suggesting that the work was the result of neurological disease causing a form of musical obsession and amusia. Some authors have put forth theories that dementia, affecting one hemisphere of Ravel’s brain, caused him to avoid using a “complex structured theme” in favor of focusing on timbres and rhythmically pulsating styles. This speculation has always struck me as bizarre and borderline offensive: Should we investigate a similar diagnosis for every composer who experiments with repetition and pulsating rhythms, or focuses on timbre? Did Ravel only write a popular work that prefigured whole new styles of music because there was something medically wrong with him? 

If only his brain were healthy, this research seems to imply, he would have focused on melodic development like a “proper” European genius. Perhaps the most poignant comment Ravel made about “Boléro” was his insistence that “once the idea of using only one theme was discovered, any conservatory student could have done as well.” I wonder if this were ever true, but given this line of analysis and the shape of our current music theory training, I doubt it’s true now. One consolation is that my students, born in the 21st century, are not as familiar with “Boléro” as my generation. Some of them hear it for the first time in my orchestration class, coming to it unburdened with the idea that they’re supposed to hate it. 

It’s the ideal controlled condition for them to watch Ravel’s experiment play out to its powerful conclusion, full of sly intrigue, humor, and possibility. ¶ 

CLICK HERE for YouTube BOLERO by WDR Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alondra de la Parra. 

Alondra de la Parra.

Saturday, August 26, 2023


GONE. In an aerial view, burned cars and homes are seen in a neighborhood
that was destroyed by a wildfire on August 18, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii. 

 GUEST BLOG—By CNN Reporter Alisha Ebrahimj
i--With nearly 400 people still unaccounted for after catastrophic wildfires ravaged most of Maui earlier this month, Hawaii officials released a list of names, hoping the public can help identify any of the missing individuals. 

 The “validated list” – curated by the FBI – includes 388 names and was released on Thursday, Maui County said. At least 115 others are confirmed to be deceased in the deadliest US wildfire disaster in over a century. 

 “We’re releasing this list of names today because we know that it will help with the investigation,” Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier said in the news release. “We also know that once those names come out, it can and will cause pain for folks whose loved ones are listed.” 

 “This is not an easy thing to do, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible.” 

 With the help of cell phone data being used to track down where victims may have been when the wildfires began and search crews and cadaver dogs searching single-story, multistory homes and commercial properties in the disaster area, officials believe this list will help lower the number of unaccounted for. 

As of late Thursday afternoon, an additional 1,732 individuals who had originally been reported as missing were found safe and well, they said in the release. If you recognize a name on the list and know that person is safe or have information about them that could lead to locating them, the FBI is urging you to get in touch at (808) 566-4300 or as soon as possible. 

Here are all 388 names of those still missing

 Louise Abihai 

 John Aeohuhu 

 Seth Alberico 

 Kalia Alberico Jennifer Alviar 

 Generosa Amakata (aka Chun) 

 June Anbe 

 Christoper Anderson 

 John (aka Juan) Arquero 

 Adelina Arquero 

 Rolando Avincula 

 Samuel Back 

 Angelica Baclig 

 Ellen Bassford 

 Revelina Baybayan 

 Ken Beebe 

 Julian Bellin 

 Johanna (aka Jopie) Bergman 

 Luz Bernabe 

 Julie Bernades 

 Dorothy Best 

 Larry Botelho 

 Charlie Boy;  Karrol Britton;  Akili Bryant;  Jennifer Buaser;t Angelica Buasert;  Maurice Buen;  Travis (aka Kawai) Bulawan;  Bob Burgelhams;  Donald Burgess;  Dove Burgmen;  Andy Burnt;  Haden Burt;  Florina Cabales;  Adelino Carbae;  Caresse Carson;  Buddy Joe Carter;  Mark Wayne Carvalho;  Joel Case;  Rene Castillo;  Ediomede Castillo;  Poerava Cemigh;  Cedrick Ching;  Lani Chow;  Lilian Christe;  Liz Chun;  Jayson Clarke;  Chris Clayton;  Patricia (aka Patsy) Clifford;  William K. Collins;  Christine Delora Collins;  Lydia Coloma;  Sarah Connelly;  Allen Constantino;  Stephen Cooper;  Riley Copeland;  Vance Corpuz;  Jordan Cortinez;  Randy Costa;  

Dorothy Costa 

 Liliana Coundrey 

 Rosemary Cummings 

 Stéphane Cuvelette 

 Chris (aka CJ) Delacruz Jr. 

 Krystal Delapinia (or Delapina) 

 Juan DeLion 

 Jerry Beth Demelo 

 Ruth Deodna 

 Dave DeProsse 

 Kacie Dias 

 Marilou Dias 

 Mitchell Dombek 

 Moises Domingdil 

 Busaba Douglas 

 Maurice Duen 

 Robbie Dunn 

 Joseph M. (aka Lil Joe) Durante Jr. 

 Herman Edlao 

 Jean (aka Jeanne) Eliason 

 Robbie Elliott 

 James Kimo Elliott 

Barbara Essman;  Timothy Esty;  Timmy Ferguson;  Bob Fields;  William Fink;  David Flading;  Kalani Frey;  Kenyero Fuentes;  Tante Galang;  Phyliss (aka Penny) Garett;  Mark Garnaas ;Charles Garrett;  Michael Ray Garvin;  Michael Craig Gatlin;  Junmark Geovanie Villegas;  Gary Gillette;  David González;  Michael Gordon;  Rebecca Gordon;

Sidney Greene 

 Robin Gross 

 Michael Hammerschmidt 

 Adam Hanson 

 Chase Daniel Hanson 

 Morris Haole 

 Remy Selim Hart 

 Jay Vaughn Hartman 

 Allen Hashimoto 

 Zach Hawley 

 Billie Hazel 

 Chris Hazel 

 Yazmine Heermance 

 Arturo Gonzalez Hernandez 

 Maureen Ho 

 Larry Hogan 

 Mark Hoshino 

 Haydn Huntley 

 Stephen Hyun 

 Pacita Ibanez;  Fallen Ildefonso;  Rafael Imperial;  Richard Iona;  Wade Jacobsen;  Via Jay Vogt;  Kai John;  Don Johnson;  Jason Josefovicz;  Lehua Kaahane;  Jon Kaaihue Jr.;  Virginia Ka’al;  Charlene Kaiama Kahoe;  Norman Kaiaokamalie;  Morris Kaita;  Crystal Kalalau;  Elizabeth Kalalealea Shaw-Reyes;  Sharon Kalani;  Patlynn KalauliIto;  Gordon Kamahika;  Norman Kamaka;  

James Kanekoa 

 Jason Kaneshiro 

 John Kaniho 

 Marsha Kaoni 

 Anne Marie Karlsen 

 Paul Kasprzycki 

 Michael Kearns 

 Conrad Kekoa Johnson 

 Leana Kekoa Johnson 

 Lynda Kenney 

 Barnaby Kenney 

 John Keohuhu 

 Barbara Kerrbox 

 Jason Khanna 

 Sue Kidney 

 Michael Kidney 

 Gary (aka Duffy) Kiel 

 Mark King 

 Lulu King 

 Sabree Koch

Imee Koike;  Hannah Koltz;  Ronald Kristy;  Mike Kushner;  Joyce Kushner;  Theresa Kuzianik;  Aliavu La;  Margie Laborte;  Jarend Lacuesta;  Patricia Lanphar;  Rick Laoonetti ;Joseph Lara;  Ric Larsen;  Joseph Laura;  Rich Ha (Nina) Thi Le;  Bich Ha (Nina) Thi Le;  Tim Lee;  Jimi Lee;  Gail Leiby;  

Jay Lein 

 Tony Leon-Guerrero 

 David Lewis 

 Colleen Liggett 

 Sky Liggett 

 Mora Lohaina 

 Ned Loomis 

 Sabree Lopez 

 Eduardo Lopez 

 Wendy Lou Rose 

 Sharon Loveland 

 Kenneth Loveland 

 James Lusk 

 Bibiana Lutrania 

 Michael Mahnesmith 

 Sabina Makaiwi 

 Malou Mallison 

 Barry Maloy (aka Malloy) 

 Alex Manno 

 María Mansur La Valva 

 Vaughn Mariani 

 Brad Marquez;  Leroy (aka Le) Marsolek;  Eliza Martinez Cota;  

Joel Martinez Cota;  Carlos Martinez Cota;  Emilia Martinez Cota;  

Brian Masano;  Tevita (aka Noa) Mataele;  Douglas (aka Doug) Matsuda Boucher;  Heidi Mazur;  John McCarthy;  Michael Francis McCartin;  Michael McCartney;  James McDonald;  Joseph (aka Joe) McKibben;  Gerald (aka Jerry) McLain;  Brandon Chase McLaughlin;  Harry McMeen;  Kelly McMullen;  Eileen Medcev; Carter Mejia;  Visitacion Mercado;  Anna Merva-Driscoll;  Fallen Miles;  Michael Misaka;  Dwayne Jose Moore;  Jordan Moore;  Donald Moral; Christopher Moral;  

Michael Morinho 

 John Mosley 

 Sean Musko 

 Kevin Nacua 

 Timmy Nakamoto 

 Edyngton Naki 

 Ben Namoa-Hanusa 

 Anaya Nand 

 Angela Nee Thompson 

 Tammy Jo Nelson 

 Lianna Nespor 

 Paterna (aka Patti) Neuse 

 David Nuesca 

 Johnny (aka J.O.) Olson 

 Matsuyuki (aka Matsu) Osato 

 Barbara Osurman 

 Joseph Owens 

 Leticia (aka Letty or Lety) Padagas Constantino 

 K Pagan 

 Albert Pagdilao 

 Valencia Paige 

 Damon Parrillo 

 Nick Pasion 

 Petie Paul 

 Pablo Perez 

 Alisa Perez 

 Michael Perreira 

 Mark Peterson 

 Herbert Phillips 

 Victor Polcano Robert Lynne (aka Hank) Potter 

 Bobby Powers 

 Beverly Powers 

 Jaimie Profetta 

 Farrah Pu 

 Gwendolyn (aka Kanani) Puou 

 Glenz Q Sabay 

 Junmark Quijano 

 Felimon Quijano 

 Kathy (aka Cathy) Racela 

 Richard (aka Rick) Rashon 

 Alfred (aka Alfie) Rawlings 

 Santa Maria Raymond 

 Justin Recolizado 

 Victoria Recolizado 

 Eugene Recolizado 

 Ken Redstone 

 Kawika Regidor 

 Elisha Joy Remi Elloui 

 Sandra Keiko Reyes 

 James Richardson 

 Catherine Richardson 

 Trevor Richmond 

 Dale Ritcher Jose Luis Roa 

 Raúl Alfonso 

Mancera Rodriguez 

 Colin Rogers 

 Sundance Roman 

 Midira Rosado 

 Reuben Rosado 

 Cathy Russell 

 Kimberly Russell (or Russel) 

 Mike Ryan

 Jay-are Sabalo 

 Dan Saenz

 Israel Sagabaen 

 Elvis Saint Hilaire 

 Hoku Sanchez 

 Ruben Sanchez 

 Terrance Santiago 

 Edward Sato (aka Katsumi) 

 Ivan Saturno;  Judy Savage;  Venus Schlauch;  Susan Schow;  Sandy Schultz;  Nora Semillano;  Fredrick Shaw;  Carole Shaw;  Joe Shilling;s Kevin Siemon;  Anthony (aka Tony) Simpson;  Natalie Smith;  Michael Smith;  Sarina Smith;  Derek Smithson;  Phil Sneed;  Tiffany Solorzano-Nutter;  Ninoska Somers;  Rebecca Spague;  Laura Sparkman;  Gracie Sparkman;  Lynn Speakes;  Gabi Spetler;  Janet St. Claire;  Floyd A. St. Claire;  Alia Steinbeck;  Keith Sternberg;  Sherry Stevens;  Elmer Lee Stevens;  Jeff Sullivan;  Melissa Sumeme;  Matthew Swift;;  Virginia Talacio;  Holly Tasin;  Summer Taylor;  Annie Taylor Vance;  Henry Telles;  Terri Thomas;  Mai Thuy;  Evangeline Tiu;  Talati Tofa;  Mick Toko;  Terry Tomas;  Rebeng (aka Revelina) Tomboc;  Bibiana Tomboc Acosta;  Richard Joseph Trevino;  Jayzen Tumamao;  Tongo Tupou;  Nick Turbin;  Dax Underwood;  Kaimana (last name unknown);  Renee Vachow;  Linda Vaikeli;  Soni Vainikolo;  Patrick Vasquez;  Adela Vellejas;  Rossel Ventura;  Corey Vierra;  Adela Villegas;  Joel Villegas;  Angelica Villegas;  Alexander Villiarimo;  Leroy Wagner;  Andrew Wagner;  Robyn Walters;  Annette Ward;  Malama K. Watson;  Warren Waukee;  Brian Weiss;  Connor Wentworth;  Rebecca Wentworth;  Sandra Wert;  Jerry Wert;  T.K. White;  Dee Wilke;  Michelle Winkler;  Josephine Wittenburg;  Peter Wood;  Inca Wood;  Wayne Worthington Jr.;  Donna Wright;  Dylan James Xander;  Glenda Yabes;  Darin Young;  Jayson Young;  Rhonda Young Holde and Mari Younger. 

Friday, August 25, 2023


Kyiv's Stolychny Produce Market

The neighborhoods in the Ukrainian capital come alive every weekend as hundreds of people flock to its famous flea market, looking for finds. The markets have survived the Russia-Ukraine war, even with the disappearance of tourists and the decreasing purchasing power of most Ukrainians. 

Despite more and more buyers having to tighten their belts, the market still offers a large and eclectic variety of goods to those with any money to spend. Vendors may sell items including almost-vintage VHS tapes, World War II dishware, manicure scissors, brand-name sneaker knockoffs, decades-old lingerie, broken multimedia players and cracked guitars. 

Antique hunters, collectors and many others look over seemingly endless rows of trinkets and time-worn wares. It’s a dizzying array that includes Soviet-era relics such as decorative medals, ceramics with communist leaders’ portraits, Cold War-era gas masks and military uniform items. 

Despite Ukraine’s ban on Soviet and Nazi symbols adopted in 2015 as a part of the country’s effort to distance itself from its totalitarian past, vendors, buyers and law enforcement all seem undisturbed by such historic relics being openly sold. “It’s purely business, there are no (USSR) sympathizers around here. Items like this are in high demand,” says Kristian Zander, a 49-year-old market vendor, pointing at the “Buying USSR relics” sign at his stand. Also on display are kitchenware and utensils, hunting knives, Soviet badges and bottle openers.—The Associated Press from Kiev, Ukraine.

Thursday, August 24, 2023


—Arrested, again.  Our national embarrassment (center) aka Ex-Prez DJT surrendered this week to face charges in the fourth indictment this year. He was released on $200,000 bail. 



—The DC superhero film “Blue Beetle” (photo, above) led ticket sales this week dethroning “Barbie” from the top spot. Barbie, however, has logged and eye-popping $1.28 billion in ticket sales globally since its debut in late July. 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA—A Man surveys debris following heavy rains from tropical storm Hilary (last Sunday) at the Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage. 

—Spain’s Ivana Andres (top) celebrates with goalkeeper Cata Coll at the end of the Women’s World Cup soccer final between Spain and England at Stadium Australia in Sydney. Spain won 1-0. 

—President Joe Biden greets Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol during the trilateral summit at Camp David near Thurmont, Maryland. 

Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group who staged a brief mutiny against Russia’s military leadership in June, was listed as a passenger on a plane that crashed Wednesday, killing all 10 people aboard, according to Russian aviation authorities. “An investigation of the Embraer plane crash that happened in the Tver Region this evening was initiated,” the Federal Agency for Air Transport of Russia said in a statement, according to the state news agency Tass. “According to the passenger list, first and last name of Yevgeny Prigozhin was included in this list.”


—Aftermath of last week’s wildfire devastation in Lahaina, Hawaii. 

, India—Space critter celebrates India’s successful space program landing on the moon this week. He hold a model of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft that sped a lunar lander to the moon’s previously unexplored south pole. It landed successfully on Wednesday making India the fourth nation in history to achieve a soft landing on the moon. 

 Photos and text compiled by Voice of America. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023


HOW GOES TECHNOPTIMISM? Predictions about the potential impacts of generative AI may be overblown due to "many serious, unsolved problems" with the technology according to Gary Marcus, one of the field's leading voices. 

Lest we forget the collapse? 

GUEST BLOG / By Nat Barker, a recent blog post, scientist and entrepreneur Gary Marcus said generative artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT "probably isn't going to have the impact people seem to be expecting". 

The New York University professor and Center for the Advancement of Trustworthy AI co-founder warned that governments could be making a mistake by gambling on "the premise that generative AI will be world-changing". 

Issues with no imminent solution Generative AI refers to systems that can create different types of content, including text, images and code, by extrapolating from patterns learned from being trained on vast swathes of data. 

Interest in the technology has rocketed over the past year following rapid advances in the capabilities of models including ChatGPT and image generator Midjourney. 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently said that major economies are on the brink of an "AI revolution which could fundamentally change the workplace". 

Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicted that adoption of generative AI could increase annual global GDP by seven per cent but also replace 300 million jobs, with architecture and engineering among the most-exposed industries. 

But Marcus warned that "the whole generative AI field, at least at current valuations, could come to a fairly swift end", used only to produce code and marketing copy. 

He argued that generative AI faces major, potentially insurmountable technological issues that could end up limiting its usefulness. "We have not one, but many, serious, unsolved problems at the core of generative AI — ranging from their tendency to confabulate (hallucinate) false information, to their inability to reliably interface with external tools like Wolfram Alpha, to the instability from month to month (which makes them poor candidates for engineering use in larger systems)," he wrote. 

"And, reality check, we have no concrete reason, other than sheer technoptimism, for thinking that solutions to any of these problems is imminent." 

 These shortcomings not only mean that the generative AI economy "could see a massive, gut-wrenching correction", but also "that we are building our entire global and national policy on the premise that generative AI will be world-changing in ways that may in hindsight turn out to have been unrealistic", Marcus added. 

Governments taking risks over AI "mirage" He suggested that the US is risking heightening tensions with China and failing to introduce important AI regulation on privacy, bias, data transparency and misinformation in a bid to encourage rapid development "over a mirage". 

"If hallucinations aren't fixable, generative AI probably isn't going to make a trillion dollars a year," he said. "And if it probably isn't going to make a trillion dollars a year, it probably isn't going to have the impact people seem to be expecting," he continued. "And if it isn't going to have that impact, maybe we should not be building our world around the premise that it is, " insists Prof. Marcus.

 This article is from's AItopia series has explored the potential impact of AI on architecture and design, including whether it could take architects' jobs and the most significant AI models for the creative industries. 

 Blog photo is by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Web Summit via Sportsfile via 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


Although the New York Central railroad ran its 20th Century Limited service between Chicago and New York City from 1902, the post "Hickory Creek" luxury service began in 1948 (above).

Now through November, a New York state tour group is offering 48 or so vintage railroad round trips thru November 2023 aboard two historic rail cars. 

For the third year in a row, Hudson River Rail Excursions has organized rides from Manhattan to Albany New York on restored [AMTRAK worthy) luxury trains that were in service from 1948 to 1967. 

The newly buffed-out train called “the Hickory Creek” operated as the 20th Century Limited, which in it day was advertised as “the most famous train in the world.” Those running the famed Orient Express from London to Istanbul might disagree but that’s not our story today. 

If you thought the term “red-carpet treatment” came from Hollywood, think again. The phrase actually began with railroads in the early 1900s, when the New York Central used crimson carpets to direct people boarding its posh 20th Century Limited. The likes of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Walt Disney and Marilyn Monroe were passengers on original 20th Century Limited trains. 

“Our train runs on the very same tracks on which the train ran in the 1940s,” Kevin Phalon, executive director of the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey, told Travel + Leisure: “Folks in 1948 looked out the very same windows at the very same view that we see 75 years later. It really is as close to time travel as you can get.” 

The 20th Century Limited stars for 25 minutes in "North by Northwest."

The 20th Century Limited, which operated between 1902 and 1967, is a “bucket list item” for “train buffs,” Phalon said. The train has had an indelible effect on pop culture, featured prominently in films like The Sting (1973) and Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959) pictured above starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. 

The 20th Century Limited traveled between Grand Central Terminal and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, Illinois from 1902 to 1967. This 958-mile, 16-hour trip was known as the “Water Level Route.” 

WHAT'S AVAILABLE. This summer, the two types of cars passengers will be able to ride on a Hudson River Rail Excursion are the Hickory Creek and the Tavern-Lounge No. 43. The original Hickory Creek car debuted in 1948. It is a Pullman-style observation-sleeper-lounge car designed by Henry Dreyfuss. 

The URHS acquired the car in 1991 and restored it to its original appearance. 

 Tavern-Lounge No. 43 cars are another product of the 1940s. No. 43 is one of 13 tavern-lounge-style cars made by the Budd Company for New York Central. The tavern-lounge cars operated on daytime long-distance passenger runs. The car features “comfortable lounge chairs and cozy tavern booths” that “offered passengers a reprieve from their coach seats, where they could drink, eat, and socialize with other passengers.” 

After New York Central was done with No. 43, it went to the Penn Central Railroad where it often ran on trains between New York and Washington. In 1976 it passed to Conrail then NJ Transit. The car was retired in 1987 and donated to URHS in 1991. 

Current trips, offered through November 5, will begin at Penn Station’s Moynihan Train Hall. Then, passengers will board one of two historic cars: the Hickory Creek ($349 per traveler) or the Tavern-Lounge No. 43. ($149 per traveler). The luxury package includes a four-course meal and alcoholic beverages, while the BYOB lounge class includes a buffet. 

After stopping at the Albany-Rensselaer station, the train will resume its journey along the Hudson as the sun sets. 

Modern day re-enactors on the Hickory Creek observation rail car.

. Love birds looking for a romantic escape can sign up for the all-inclusive Valentine’s Special, offered between February 10 and 14. For a hefty price ($399 for luxury and $299 for lounge), passengers in both cars will receive a series of small plates and wine pairings in a tasting menu format. 

The New York to Chicago corridor was one of the most hotly contested passenger markets east of the Mississippi and New York Central’s 20th Century Limited competed with Pennsylvania Railroad's Broadway Limited for top honors, a rivalry which persisted for decades (based from historic traffic figures the Century did have a slight edge over the Broadway). 

The final westbound run left Track #34 from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan a 6 PM on the evening of December 2, 1967. –From various Internet sources. 

More information is available at URHS’s new excursions webside: 


Monday, August 21, 2023


GUEST BLOG—By Erika Kinetz, Oleksandr Stashevskyl and Vasilisa Stephanenko, Reporters, The Associated Press
—It was a cold, gray morning, March 4 in Bucha, Ukraine. Crows cawed. By nightfall, at least nine men would walk to their deaths at 144 Yablunska street, a building complex that Russians turned into a headquarters and the nerve center of violence that would shock the world. 

In this image, above, from March 4, 2022, surveillance video provided by the Ukrainian government, Russian troops lead nine men at gunpoint to their headquarters on Yablunska Street in Bucha, where they would be tortured and executed. 

The men were picked up as part of what Russian soldiers called “zachistka” – cleansing. 

The soldiers hunted people on lists prepared by their intelligence services and went door to door to identify and neutralize potential threats. Later, when all the bodies were found strewn along the streets and packed in hasty graves, it would be easy to think the carnage was random. 

Residents asking how this happened would be told to make their peace, because some questions just don’t have answers. Yet there was a method to the violence. What happened that day in Bucha was what Russian soldiers on intercepted phone conversations called “zachistka” — cleansing. 

The Russians hunted people on lists prepared by their intelligence services and went door to door to identify potential threats. Those who didn’t pass this filtration, including volunteer fighters and civilians suspected of assisting Ukrainian troops, were tortured and executed, surveillance video, audio intercepts and interviews show. 

 The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” obtained surveillance camera footage from Bucha that shows, for the first time, what a cleansing operation in Ukraine looks like. This was organized brutality that would be repeated at scale in Russian-occupied territories across Ukraine — a strategy to neutralize resistance and terrorize locals into submission that Russian troops have used in past conflicts, notably Chechnya.

  Click here for the remainder of the AP/Frontline article. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023


GUEST BLOG /By Jim Foley via
—Greetings from and the world of storytelling and imagination! I hope this email finds you well, brimming with inspiration, and ready to take the next leap on your writing journey. 

Today, I want to address a common challenge that many writers face: overcoming fears. Whether it’s fear of rejection, self-doubt, or the daunting blank page, conquering these fears is the key to unlocking your full creative potential. 

 Embrace Vulnerability: Writing is an act of courage, as it requires baring your soul to the world while sharing your words and ideas. The greatest works of literature were born from moments of vulnerability. 

 Accept Imperfection: Striving for perfection can paralyze your creative flow. Embrace the beauty of imperfection and allow yourself to make mistakes. Writing is a process of evolution and refinement. The first draft doesn’t have to be flawless. 

 Emphasize Progress, Not Perfection: Celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Set achievable goals. By focusing on the journey rather than the destination, you’ll find joy in the process and build momentum. 

Understand Rejection: Rejection is inevitable, but it doesn’t define your worth or talent. Instead of letting it discourage you, use rejection as an opportunity for growth. Every rejection brings you closer to finding the right fit. 

 Build a Supportive Network: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Join writing communities, attend workshops, and seek mentorship. Sharing experiences will help you face your fears head-on. 

 Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself during moments of self-doubt. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer a fellow writer. Self-doubt is common, but it doesn’t have to define you. Acknowledge your fears and keep moving forward. 

 Welcome the Joy of Creation: Rediscover the joy and love you have for writing. Connect with the essence of why you started this journey. Allow your passion to guide you and remind you of the magic that unfolds when words come to life. Your words have the power to inspire, provoke thought, and change lives. Face your fears, step out of your comfort zone, and unleash your creative brilliance. Embrace the unknown and find the courage to write your unique story.

Saturday, August 19, 2023



Hey big spender next time you’re in London’s first-rate Tate Modern Gallery [Bankside, SE1 9TG] check out the newly designed café/bar located on the first floor. 

You and Princess "X" have just ordered flutes of Coates & Seely Brut Reserve English Sparkling wine and placed it on the new cafe/bar tables.  Now, take note that the cabaret tables (pictured above) were made from repurposed coffee grounds from the gallery's trash bins. 


Tate Modern in London recently unveiled its refurbished all-day ground-floor corner café and bar. Added is an opening onto an outdoor summer terrace and for the first time, the Corner Café will offer visitors a place for an evening drink overlooking the Thames. 

London-based architecture studio Holland Harvey handled the redesign, which included a clever use of recycled “spent” coffee grounds to create bespoke table tops by Spared, a London design firm specializing in furnishings and products from recycled materials.

Originally roasted by Tate Britain’s roastery, the coffee grounds redux were baked at a low temperature to remove any moisture before being mixed with oyster shells and a water-based gypsum binder. More on Spared’s recycle products: @SPARED.ECO