Category Archives: California

L.A. Flashback III – Rod Carew’s 3000th Hit

One of the benefits of living in Los Angeles for 5+ years is that Twins’ games (when they were in town) were 3½ hours closer than where I lived in MN, so I was able to catch several of their games against the Angels. And one of the most memorable I attended at The Big A was on Sunday, August 4th, 1985.

Starting for the Twins that day was ace Frank Viola, against future Twins minor league pitching coach Stew Cliburn. Even though both teams were already several games back in the AL West, there was a definite buzz in the air in that crowd of 41,000+, and in the bottom of the 3rd inning, those fans were rewarded.

Rod Carew's 3000th hit
the moment is captured in brilliant 110mm

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CA Flashback II – “Dial ‘M’ for Murray”

Back in 1985, in the days of working at Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, I received a curious note from Rob Horton on the B-2 radar program’s mainframe.  It turned out to be the first paragraph of a “chain story”, and led to five chapters of entertainment for the nine of us who participated in “Dial ‘M’ for Murray“, an explosive bestseller of espionage and silliness in the 20th century, book one of the “Murray Schlemovich vs. the World” collection (of which there were 1½ books written).

The concept was good, but the story from one moment to the next took on the feel of Sam Spade, James Bond, Monty Python, Buckaroo Banzai, Airplane!, and everything in between.  It was a 14-page rollercoaster, but somehow Rob managed to tie up loose ends and bring it to a satisfying close.

The writing entailed some heavy grammar and spelling corrections at times.  The challenge became to reign in some contributor’s craziness and pull in the plot line to something more, well, serious.  More than once something mentioned casually in one paragraph became something literal in another, only to become a code word in a subsequent paragraph.  Mayhem.  But it was a blast.

Here is my first contribution to the story, paragraph two of the first chapter:

Dial “M” for Murray

Chapter 1: “…a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood…” – Proverbs 6:17

. . .

“Where the hell is Tarpo and The Wailer?”, he asked the small rat in the corner, who looked up from his meal of sausage skins Murray had thrown at him.  The sausage skins were quickly joined by an emptied V8 with a banana peal stuffed into it.

The rat didn’t answer, though, not knowing that at that very moment Tarpo was floating among the rotted wood and fish-heads in the fetid water between the support posts of the market’s loading dock, and The Wailer was lying face-down not six feet from the market’s back door, a wicked claw hammer protruding from the back of his rib cage.  Nor was the rat able to quell Murray’s anxious thoughts of Jenny, whom it had not met, but whom Murray knew very well.

. . .

L.A. flashback – “NO BUM”

While still on the baseball card kick, I decided I needed to dig through some of the boxes on the shelves downstairs and bring up some of the binders with more recent cards in them, and inventory which ones I need for my want list.  During my digging, I found this treasure:

no bum

Yes, Virginia, that was my CA license plate.  I knew it was squirrelled away somewhere, so it was nice to find it again, and relatively intact, too.  I’ve come a long way (thankfully) from living in a society where cars are like a second home, to telecommuting out of my home.

Also, thankfully, California apparently doesn’t enforce truth-in-advertising laws.