Posted in Altadena, Friends, Uncategorized


You wrote that you were ill, but knowing how private you are I didn’t ask you to elaborate. Even asking a simple question would have felt like prying. So I didn’t ask. Nor did I offer help. But this post is not about beating myself up after the fact.


Cultured, well-read, well-travelled, funny and clever. You had your theories about life and people, and they always rang true. You had a command of words. Your writing was funny, wistful, charming…


I found this book on your desk, and it is a shame you are not in it. But you wrote about your own mother in this post. Brilliant.

— * * * —

Tim wrote a poem for you:

When walking on a hardwood floor,
she preferred to be bare-footed.
When sharing foodie wonders more
Green lipped mussels would be assure-ed.
Her sport ‘twixt equus and tennis soared
with blinding thought awareness.
Karin, your somber, elegant vibe
hiked out in blogger even-fairness.
To all such fancy we celebrate
the watchful eye you fathomed,
Whilst conjuring life’s circuitous course,
A leaping o’er the chasm.
Posted in Around Town, Uncategorized

Rose Parade 2016

On TV, the Rose Parade looks orderly. Polished. Once the parade gets past the network cameras, it’s real life and real people.


They say never to view the parade from the north side of Colorado Boulevard because the floats are built to look good for the cameras located on the south side. And, as the parade goes on, the sun rises right into your eyes. I stood on the north side anyway, because it was nice to feel the warmth of the sun.


Parades are like coconut or cilantro. You either like them or you don’t.


I like parades. Oh, I know the Rose Parade is corporate and blah blah blah. The floats are beautiful, and half the fun for me is being in a crowd of people who are having fun.

The Disney float was a crowd pleaser.




One need not watch The Batchelor to appreciate this float, and one need not include said Batchelor in the photo either.


Another hometown crowd pleaser. The two young women standing next to me made a point of staying to see this one.


I like it that flowers are fashioned into things terrifying and beautiful:


RB 2016 Dragon 2

And into things whimsical:


The parade had its usual fits and starts this year…big spaces between entries; traffic jams during which the parade stopped and dancers performed for 5 minutes straight – and bless their hearts they still had five miles to go; and floats that had to be towed.

Good-bye until next year–

RB 2016 Wave to Band

P.S. It was too beautiful to spend the rest of the day inside, so I watched the sunset from Chaney Trail. The lights in the center are the Rose Bowl.

1:1:2016 sunset 1


Posted in Uncategorized

The Ability (a quote from David Foster Wallace)

“If you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do it.”

(from “Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace” by David Lipsky)

Ft Murray Cloudy Sky

Posted in Uncategorized

Obituary for James C. Russell

James C. Russell (Jim), aged 82, of Hollywood, California, died on 17 September 2013, at his assisted living home in Eagle Rock, California. He was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania on April 1, 1931, to Allen Cunningham Russell and Gwendolyn Romaine Leber Russell, the second of eight children. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland and George Washington University. He is survived by his daughter, Kelly L.C. Russell of Pasadena, California and her husband Timothy Down; his son, Kenneth A.C. Russell of Portland, Oregon; and two grandsons, Russell Burton and Colin Burton; and also siblings Don Russell of New Castle, Indiana; Anita Russell Mower of Escondido, California; Esther Russell Hicks of Grand Junction, Colorado; Timothy Russell of San Diego, California; and Jonathan Russell of Fort Worth, Texas. He also leaves behind numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his siblings Allen Russell of Coral Gables, Florida; and Gwendolyn Russell Hicks of Parachute, Colorado.

During a long and varied working life, Jim shucked shrimp in a restaurant kitchen (and never ate shrimp again), and he was a teacher at Massenutten Military Academy and at LeConte Junior High School in Hollywood. He served in both the US Air Force during the Korean Conflict and the US Navy during the Vietnam Conflict. He spent many years as a teacher and guidance counselor with the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS) in Europe and in Korea, and he also held several positions in public affairs and in Army recruiting. A passionate Anglophile, he was fortunate enough to witness the procession for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. He was also in Berlin at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and he brought home a piece of it.

A life-long sports enthusiast, Jim enjoyed tennis, Washington Redskins football and Dodger baseball. He examined life with a writer’s mind, posting literary e-mails to nurture and entertain family and friends with an acerbic wit, always catching life in a humorous cross-hairs.

A funeral will be held at Church of the Angels, 1100 N. Ave 64, Pasadena, California, on Sunday, September 22 at 2:00 pm. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow.

Pop in yard

Posted in Around Town, Lakenheath, Uncategorized

Getting the Message Out…or IN

I’m in the midst of planning my high school reunion. It will start on Guy Fawkes Day – though I don’t anticipate that we will build a bonfire in the hotel lobby.

Among other e-outreach activities, I set up a Facebook page for the event. The FB page contains info about the date, the city, the hotel, etc. I think it is pretty clear. Yet people still leave comments or send me e-mails asking where and when the reunion will be.

This puzzles me. I think I’ve laid out the basic information very clearly, yet some people don’t seem to be able to grasp what it actually right there in front of them.

Come to think of it, the first time “Carolina Logue” (the nom de plume of a parody blog writer) left a comment here, I deleted it. I didn’t read it carefully—it was more like I got a whiff of skunk and my eyes were too busy rolling back in my head to focus on the words. Later, when I got another comment from “Carolina” I saw that “she” was on a computer in Philadelphia. Thank you,, for revealing the IP address of commenters! Feh on blogspot for not doing the same!

So in the plainest speak possible: Aaron Proctor was Carolina Logue, author of the Pasadena Newer Progressive. With no help from anyone but his girlfriend, Kat.  You can read my previous post explaining all this here. Continue reading “Getting the Message Out…or IN”

Posted in Uncategorized

Good for Nothin’ 5

So the wall at the corner of Fair Oaks and Montana? The one that I couldn’t decipher? I called the graffiti hotline on this one on Saturday evening. Here’s what the wall looked like on Sunday evening:


You can just make out the original deposit on the right.

So my take-away message of the weekend is that graffiti gets painted out faster if you call the police (626-744-4241) than if you call the graffiti hotline (626-744-7622).

In addition to the above, the wall facing this wall was also tagged. The quality of the picture I took is poor (too disgusted to get out of the car) so I’m not gonna post it.

Posted in Around Town, Current Events, Uncategorized

Ebony Huel

I was out late Friday night, and on the way home was diverted from my usual route because Lincoln Avenue was closed (steps around the corner from where this mess used to be). There were lots of police, and I knew something was wrong, really wrong.

The Pasadena Star News reports this morning that Ebony Huel, age 16, was fatally shot on Friday night.

From the article: (I have to put the text here because the PSN doesn’t maintain links.)

Police responded to a shots-fired call around 11 p.m. Friday and found the girl lying on a sidewalk in the 2000 block of Lincoln Avenue near Montana Street.

Pasadena police Detective Lt. John Dewar said the girl was not the intended victim. There was a party in a private building, he said, and the girl stepped outside just as a fight started.”Some guns came out and shots were fired,” Dewar said. “She was not the intended victim, but would have been in the way. That’s what we’re going with so far. But it’s preliminary. It was a private building, a business that had opened up in the evening,” he said. “It was a large gathering, couldn’t tell you how many. And we’re looking into the possibility of gang involvement.”

Alan Dyer, who owns Pasadena Rehearsal Studios next door to the business, said it has been the site of Friday and Saturday night parties for youths 18 and younger for the past 2 months. Dyer was in his office Friday night, but he said he didn’t hear any gunfire. “I was in my office and, through my video surveillance, I saw kids flying out the front door and back door, running,” he said.

“I came around, hear something about a gunshot, came outside and saw the girl lying on the ground over there.”

According to the lease, the business next door was a recording studio, he said, and also gave music lessons to students after school. “But what it turned into, the primary focus, was these Friday and Saturday night parties with fliers” he said. “Get ’em in for $5, $10 a head at the door. Pack ’em in, make their money and send them home at the end of the night.”

Police were constantly at the location, Dyer said, and would clear and close the overcrowded premises. It wasn’t a safe place for children, he said, even though he often saw parents drop children off at the location.

“I saw there was too many kids there, out of control, milling around, with cars squealing their tires,” he said. “One of my customers said they saw someone flash a gun out of a (car) window.” Dyer, who has been at the location almost three years, said two or three weeks ago another youth was shot while on his way to a party at the location.

Police have escalated gang- enforcement efforts following a surge of gang-related killings beginning early this year. There have been seven such shooting deaths in Pasadena during this period and another in Altadena. (City News Service contributed to this story

I drive past this part of Lincoln Avenue almost everyday, and I’ve seen these kids hanging out. What else is there to do in Pasadena if you are under 21 and don’t have a lot of money?

A few years back (around 2000), the City of Pasadena used CDBG funds to buy what is now called The CORAL Innovation Center in Northeast Pasadena. Using funds that are earmarked by the federal government to provide assistance for low-income areas, the city bought a piece of property across the street from Gerrish Swim and Tennis Club in Northeast Pasadena. Back then, it was widely recognized that there were no safe places for teenagers to hang out–this site was supposed to be that place. But just look how far this site is from where teenagers have actually been gathering this summer – LINK HERE. No wonder the programs that have evolved at CORAL don’t meet the original intent to provide a safe place for Northwest teens to socialize.

It’s not just CORAL. Coalition for a Non-Violent City, apparently suffering an identity crisis about whether it should actually run programs or be “coalition” (often a synonym for ‘another place for well-intentioned people to sit and talk’), is defunct. I wrote lots about it here (scroll down to “The Temptation to Start Something New). I recently learned from a former board member that the organization disbanded a few years ago.

Why is it that no local nonprofit has taken on creating a Youth Center? Because kids have weapons. Security would have to rival that of the TSA. Passing through a metal detector on the way to a social event–how ghetto is that? As the group War says, the World is a Ghetto (lyrics here).

I’d rather see a high security something operated by a nonprofit organization than an unlicensed, sleezy operation with no security. Who are these greaseballs offering “music lessons”?

My deepest condolences to Ebony’s family.