Friday, August 31, 2007

Rock'n'Roll Bash at the Pinnacle Club

We joined the Pinnacle Club just in time to attend the Rock'n'Roll bash. Great entertainment from 2 Elvis impersonators. Unfortunately we won neither the slow dance nor the twist - surprise, surprise! Lisa made herself a "Great Dane" skirt, rather than a poodle skirt. Photos

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Save the Delta Queen

The Delta Queen is a traditional steamboat that's been operating for years under a special exemption to federal regulations. Now congress is refusing to renew its exemption and it looks like the old steamboat will have to retire. There's a web site that's trying to Save the Delta Queen.

Here's more info from an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

In June, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed its bill to renew the Coast Guard bill, but without the Delta Queen exemption - meaning that the boat must cease operating when its current exemption expires in November 2008.

The committee's chairman, Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., opposes the exemption because, he says, the boat's advanced age and wood construction present an unacceptable safety risk, according to spokeswoman Mary Kerr.

"The exemption for the Delta Queen is from fire protection standards that apply to all other passenger vessels operating in the United States. I can't imagine the number of lives that could be lost if a fire started on the Delta Queen when everyone is asleep," Oberstar said in a statement.

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, also opposes the exemption, mainly because the boat is not unionized.

He told Majestic that he would not support the exemption unless the Seafarers International Union gets behind it. Majestic spokeswoman Ann Marie Ricard said the company reached out to the union but didn't get an indication that it would be supportive of the exemption.

Many years ago, we enjoyed a steamboat ride on her sister ship, the American Queen, cruising out of New Orleans. We hope the old steamboat can be saved.

Chaos in Davis

John sent us this picture of his new kitty, called Chaos. She was adopted from the Humane Society and is now happily living in Davis, CA.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Remembering Yvonne Maddock

To commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Lisa's Mum, we went out for Indian food at The Taj of India. Yvonne died in 2003 of the effects of Alzheimer's disease. We're not sure Indian would have been Yvonne's first pick, but she did like onion bhajii. Indian food is the common ethnic food in England, sort of the way Mexican food is for Californians.

In her younger days, Yvonne had trained as a ballerina. I will always remember her dancing with Ken at a New Year's Eve party, probably a decade ago. Even though Alzheimer's had made daily life difficult for her, she was still able to waltz gracefully with her husband. I imagine that they must have looked splendid when they had their first dance as young adults in the late '40s.

My favorite family story is about our parents having dinner together. Ken and Yvonne had come over to visit from England and we were hosting a dinner party at our house in Sunnyvale with my parents as guests. I'm not sure the two sets of parents completely understood each other. As George Bernard Shaw wrote: England and America are two countries divided by a common language. My father was telling Yvonne about the Miner family's timber land in Oregon and how many board-feet they had cut a few years ago, and Yvonne was just going along with the flow as if she was completely fascinated by the tale of some great adventurer. I still laugh any time I hear the term "board-feet".

In closing, "I'd like something nice, but not common."

Monday, August 6, 2007

In memory of Mike

We went out to dinner at Locos Grill and Pub and had a couple of beers in memory of my brother, Mike, who was born on August 6, 1963. He died of leukemia in 1990 at the age of 27. Mike had a lively spirit and quick wit. He taught English at Bellarmine, and coached basketball. His life was too short, but he touched a lot of people.