My day at the 1964 GOP convention.- Howard K Smith winked at me!

(Sorry for spacing problems)

I had a crazy aunt. Everyone needs a crazy aunt. Mine lived in Palo Alto, where my uncle had been transferred with his PacBell job. Palo Alto, in those days, revolved around Stanford University.  My aunt, who was a teacher anyway,  immediately became the biggest Stanford booster ever.  Her dream was that some of us untalented kids would somehow get into Stanford. One of her kids eventually got a Masters’ there and I married a Stanford grad student but all of this is by way of explaining my aunt’s behavior in July 1964.

My aunt read in the Chronicle that a bus of Scranton supporters was heading up from Stanford to the Cow Palace, where the Republican convention was taking place.  AND there spaces on the bus.  Bless her heart, my aunt drove me and my two cousins over to a pickup location on El Camino and deposited us onto the waiting bus.  This was the age of innocence and she was absolutely sure that NOTHING would happen to us because we were on a STANFORD bus. So off we went.

(Scranton was a moderate GOP governor who was the main opponent to Goldwater.)

The ’64 GOP convention, known to history as the Goldwater convention, was rife with intrigue and skullduggery but all we knew as the bus approached the Cow Palace was that the Stanford kids were not real happy that we were on their bus and they ditched us as soon as they could.

We didn’t care! There was no such thing as Security in those days so three kids         -I was the oldest, turning sixteen- could wander around 

to our hearts’ content. The Cow Palace didn’t seem as crowded as the venues shown in this years’ convention.  There were about a million folding chairs that were mostly empty.  We always found a place to sit and no one ever asked us to move.  I think they thought we were someone’s kids, which we were, but kids of someone who belonged there.

O the sights we saw!  We saw Scranton people being asked for their credentials,  which they dumbly handed over,  then being asked to leave because they didn

‘t have credentials.  We saw a couple of related fistfights. We saw hookers!  We knew they were hookers because we watched 77 Sunset Strip. We recognized the bling and the swinging purses. We saw Chet Huntley through the glass of an enclosed broadcast studio on the convention floor level.  We looked for Brinkley, didn’t find him.

There were speeches going on all during this time. One of the speakers was Bill Miller, the GOP nominee for Vice-President and father of radio’s Stephanie Miller.  He went on for what seemed like forever. We didn’t see Goldwater.  I don’t remember the bus ride back.  All I know is that we got safely back to PA and my aunt’s faith in Stanford and its institutions was reinforced.

But the real highlight was the next day.  We went into SF, with  my aunt, and were standing to the side of the steps going into the St Francis when a crowd of dignitaries swarmed down the steps. Among them I saw a familiar face- Howard K Smith, the debonair face of CBS News.  There I was, an awkward sixteen year-old with fuzzy hair and coke bottle glasses, gawking with my mouth open I’m sure, and that wonderful man, Howard K. Smith, WINKED at me. It was perfect. It was wonderful.  I’m sure he never knew how he made my day. Day, heck!  I’m still telling the story!    

So when my friends  in the HCDCC ask if I want to go to Sacramento or Long Beach or wherever for the State convention, I never go. In fact, I’ve never been to any kind of convention since then. It would seem so anti-climactic.



The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group will have its monthly luncheon Wednesday, July 27, at the Samoa Cookhouse.  The presentation will be by Richard Tippett, who will discuss the Upstate California Rail Connect Feasibility study grant. Fried chicken! Complete lunch for $15 or soup/salad for $11. RSVP to 441-1974 or to

See you there!


No, Bay Area Real Estate is Not Slowing Down, not even a little bit.

We keep hearing  that SF area values are plateauing, but where’s the evidence?? The San Jose Marriott just sold for almost DOUBLE  the price it sold for less tan three years ago.  This is a slowdown?  What the Bay Area needs, and what WE need is some stability down there. Houses in Sonoma have doubled in value in the last few years but this is not necessarily good news for us.

Read about it HERE.


The June Economic Index for the Co, thanks to to  Dr Eschker and the folks at HSU. 

As they summarize it, “The Composite Index fell 1.4 points from last month’s value of 107.9 to the current value of 106.5. The Hospitality Index climbed over the past month, while the Home Sales, Retail Sales, and Employment Indices declined. The median home price decreased to $270,000. Leading Indicators are mostly rising in May. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Humboldt County decreased from 4.6 percent to 4.4 percent. ”  

Read the whole report HERE.

EATING OUT: Brick, AA and Jack’s Revisited

One of the pleasures of having out-of -town guests is that you can get feedback on restaurants from people who haven’t been been there a thousand times.  We visited Brick & Fire on the Fourth of July and discovered you CAN get a seat without a reservation if you’re wiling to come in at an odd time, like 530. I had the Italian Mac’n’cheese, ended up taking most of it home. The chopped Caesar with fried egg couldn’t have been better. My friend had oysters and the duck confit. Another great meal at the Brick.

We also visited the AA Bar & Grill for the second time since they’re changed hands.  We are very protective of the AA and vigilant against any type of change. Last time everything was identical to the time -honored AA dinner. This time there were CHANGES!!  The salad was about half the size it used to be and the “house dressing’, a blend of ranch and blue cheese that tastes a lot better than it sounds, is no more.  Mr  Munson, the owner, has apparently  made these cutbacks- let’s hope he doesn’t have any more in mind.            

Mr Munson, you have a treasure here!  No more changes!!!

Finally , we had lunch at Jack’s Seafood  on July 2.   You recall all the fuss when Jack’s opened last August. If not, read about it HERE.  The space at the Fisherman’s Building had lain fallow for months.  Every local entrepreneur who expressed an interest in doing business in the space was deemed unqualified. Isn’t that interesting?  That left the field open for half -Councilman Chet Albin to plug his crony,  Jack Wu, into the process with lots of goodies from the City to help him get started. 

Anyway, Mr Wu’s subsidy (forgiveness of $4500 monthly rent) ran out recently and we were  curious to see what,  if any,  changes would be evident at Jack’s given the new necessity to pay rent. The only change obvious to the the public was that they took down their website for a few days but and, yes, some of the prices have increased, mostly for the higher ticket items.  The fried ‘shrooms went from $8 to $10.  Linguine with clams went from $18 to $20, saute´ed halibut from $20 to $24 and they’e added crab cakes for $14 as a regular item.  The whole menu is HERE.

Okay, here’s the good news:  The clam chowder has improved!  It’s not great, but it’s acceptable and not the weird thin effort that it was before. I could actually see getting a bowl of it for a relaxing lunch.  Not as good as Gill’s, not as good as the Waterfront’s but acceptable,  and you’ll be distracted by the setting anyway.

The bad news: the crab sandwich was meh.  There was an acceptable amount of crab, good crab,  but served on a roll of what tasted like a sweet form of ciabatta. It would have been SO much better on sourdough.  Jack’s has a problem with bread.  I was curioius to see if they’re still serving their fish sandwiches on toast , the kind of lapse we have come to expect from Jack’s, but they have now discovered grilled sourdough so that’s progress.

I’ll try them again- hate to give up on that location but next time may be the last. Think I’ll try the tacos.


Our Hip Chicks strike “West Texas” gold

I was pleased and surprised to see that the HipChicks,  who farm in Sebastopol (how can anyone afford to do that?) and sell their frozen organic chicken products at the Co-Op and ENF,  were featured on “The West Texas Investors Club”.  This is a yeehaw version of “Shark Tank “, corny and predictable but it grows on you. ( CNBC,  Ch 51 on Suddenlink, 7pm and 10pm Tuesdays.) The ladies of HipChicks are true Redwood Coast types and would fit right in here.

They had to do a store demo for the Club with a bunch of kids.  It was a success and everyone, especially old Gil, the one with the screechy voice, pronounced it the best chicken he’d had. I don’t usually buy organic but next time I’m at the Coop or ENF I’ll give them a try. Heck, they’re practically local.   Check out their site HERE.

And yes, they got an investment.