Apr 30


Posted by Simon

Thanks to the alert reporting and cosmopolitan culinary interests of reader Stephanie M. we have been made aware of the Sconehenge Bakery and Cafe in Berkeley CA.

Good find.  Henges are everywhere.  It may be that there is a genetic instruction set for building them.

Apr 30

Lake Avenue is one of the major streets in Pasadena.  Before the revival of Old Pasadena it was also the main shopping district. Today’s question is: How did it come to be called Lake Avenue when a Google map of the area doesn’t show a lake within twenty miles?  A map from the 1920’s answers the question.

The map was made by the Automobile Club when their slogan was “Good Roads.”  Zooming in on the south end of Lake Avenue we find the answer to the puzzle.

At the south end of Lake Avenue down in San Marino is “Mission Lake.”  It is in what is now Lacey Park near the old mill “El Molino.”  It was probably the mill pond for the mill.  For added fun in the Arroyo, on the left hand side of the small map, are “Busch Gardens” and the Cawston Ostrich Farm.  See a more detailed version of the map on Flickr

Apr 29

Happy Birthday Israel

Posted by Simon

The State of Israel was 64 years old this week which makes it about middle aged as nations go.

Happy Birthday Israel

To add a little more historic perspective:

  • Israel was founded before the fax machine and outlived it.
  • Israel was founded before the cassette tape and has outlived it.
  • The same for the floppy disc, the princess phone and the pager.
  • Looking at some companies Israel has out lived WT Grant, Polaroid, Wang and Lehman Brothers
  • It looks like Israel will outlive Kodak and Sears.  Although both of them were founded when Zionism was only a dream.
  • My favorite: Israel was founded before the Boeing 707 flew and it still exists.  Boeing 707’s are not flying much anymore.
  • Israel outlasted the United Arab Republic, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the USSR and Tibet.
  • Since Israel was admitted to the UN somewhere near a hundred other countries have been admitted.

Did I miss any?

Apr 28


Posted by Simon

I was researching an immigration topic and came across this Census Bureau map showing the top ancestry by county in the US.

Two surprises to me were the large portion of the country that is dominated by people of German descent and the category “American” as distinct from “American Indian”  that is prevalent in many parts of the Southeast.

Apr 27

Political Email

Posted by Simon

I received an email yesterday from “The Consumer Watchdog Campaign.”  They apparently want the government to impose price controls on health insurance in California.  I was curious how they got my name, since I am clearly not the target market, so I followed the link and found that they had used the voter registration records.

Source Information for your Email Address


Optin Status:Opted InEmail Address:s*********w@m**.comEmail Type:not specified, defaulted to MIMEDate and time signed up:January 26, 2012 at 11:50:44 AM (PST)A description of how your email address was obtained:California Voter Registration Public Records

Political advocates and candidates have used lists of addresses compiled from the voter records for a long time but this was the first time that I have seen one where they used my email address.  Does the county registrar of voters have the right to do that?  What controls are in place.

Consumer Watchdog Campaign | Make Health Insurance Companies Justify Thier Rates

It feels to me like a divide has been crossed.


Apr 26

April 26, 2012 Maxim

Posted by Simon

“By teaching others we teach ourselves.”

Mexican Proverb

Courtesy of Oscar G.

Jessie Seiler in Senegal

Apr 25


Posted by Simon

“I always give my future self way to much credit when it comes to remembering passwords”

Every month in The Funny Times there is a column of one liners called Ruminations by Aaron Karos.  I finally took the time to look at his web site which is great.  http://ruminations.com/site/

To entice you to take a look here are few of my favorites with some art photos I took in Carpinteria last week.

“It’s extremely frustrating when you spell a word so incorrectly that even spell check isn’t able to help you out.”

“How is it possible that there is still no way to un-push a button in an elevator?”


Apr 24

If you’re lucky

enough to travel,

you’re lucky enough!”

Lilli Burrow

on the plane to the UK.

The London Canal Museum

Simon’s Weekly Maxim

Apr 21

Remembering When

Posted by Simon

“You despair when you recall how much you’ve forgotten.”

James Lileks

National Review Columist

The Hasting Drive-in circa 1970 at the corner of Halstead and Rosemead

Apr 20

The Matchbook Museum

Posted by Simon

The Matchbook Museum is not a place.  It is a website where the curator/owner James Lileks shows matchbooks from his extensive collection along with some witty and illuminating commentary.

The idea of a Matchbook Museum is interesting to me for a few reasons:

  • Online Museums are a new and very good idea that may earn some diligent curators an independent living.
  • Nurit and I have been collecting match books and boxes for a few decades.  We saw Carole B’s collection and started one of our own.  Carole gave me a Piggly Wiggly matchbook fron the 1960’s.
  • Matches are vanishing faster than cigarette smokers.  In the past I have pondered what will replace them as a giveaway

So we have bit of American history that illustrates a potential money making opportunity for someone enterprising who collects something.  It would have to be something that interests tens of thousands of people.  Like nail polish or lipstick.  Or maybe Disneyobelia.  Or postcards?  What about the International Bridge Museum?

The revenue stream is ads for resellers or tourism related companies on the museum site.