"From the Desert to the Sea, to All of Southern California." - Jerry Dunphy

Search This Blog

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Valley Relics

While we are on hiatus please check out the website of Valley Relics:


Valley Relics also has a wonderful page on Facebook full of pictures and memories. Be prepared to spend hours looking through the collection.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Van Nuys Boomers on Hiatus

For the past five years I have been posting, albeit erratically, on Van Nuys Boomers. But for now I seem to have exhausted any really interesting items in our possession, which is clearly obvious in light of the last few posts. So for health and other reasons I am putting the blog on hiatus for the next few months. I do have a small back load of email to catch up on and I apologize for those and I will address them soon. Thank you to everyone for reading and contributing to our blog. Hopefully we will catch up again next year.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fried Egg Noodles

I'm not branching out into a cooking blog but the other day I made something I haven't had in quite a while, and it is very easy, fried egg noodles. You start with leftover noodles like the ones in the picture above. Melt some butter or in my case margarine is an appropriate size skillet. Then pour the noodles into the skillet, mixing enough to get all the noodles coated with butter or margarine. I add salt and a good amount of pepper to mine.

Heat the noodles over a medium high heat until they begin to get slightly crunchy. Mix them again one more time and then spread them out so they cover the bottom of the pan and continue to fry over a medium high heat with stirring them anymore. You want the one side to get brown and crunchy. You can vary this according to how you like them.

The amount of butter/margarine varies because the amount of noodles is never the same. I never measure them but I would guess you can start with about 2 tablespoons. You can add more if needed but too much butter/margarine is not good. When the noodles are done they usually stick together and almost lift out of the pan like a big pancake, if you cook them to the way I like them. You may want them a bit softer.

I slide them onto my plate and add a bit more salt since my doctor tells me not to use so much salt. I like the flavor of the noodles frying in the  butter/margarine. You could add a bit of oil with them if you like. I never have for noodles so I can't say how they would come out.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cords & Pipe Cleaners

I hate out of control power cords, phone charger, iPod cords and all those necessary cords in our lives. I had been using the little wire ties that come with the cord to wrap them up so I can keep my desk drawer neat but those ties are often to short and not durable. To the rescue one day I tried a pipe cleaner. Much more durable and easy to use. They have the added attraction of providing a bored mind something to do. I can't recall how many pipe people I have created and scattered around the house to surprise, and annoy my wife. I will confess as most writers know, sometimes your characters have a mind of their own. So I take no blame when a certain pipe person might to decide to get a little...let's say frisky, that's all I'm saying.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Christmas Story House

Radio Rat came to town the other day and we have been busy seeing the sights. Two days ago we went to the Rock Hall of Fame. While that was great the highlight for Radio Rat, a Christmas fanatic, was yesterdays visit to the house from the movie A Christmas Story. I've driven by it many times but this is the first time I had taken the tour. And of course I walked out of the house without my new camera so I had to use my cell phone camera which did okay. Below is a picture of Radio Rat at the front window with the infamous leg lamp.
Early this morning I took him to the airport and he is on his way home. He told me the first thing he is going to do is watch the movie. I wouldn't be surprised if he blew this picture up to poster size. The scenes where the leg lamp arrives were shot outside and inside the house, as were a couple other segments. Below are a few more shots.

For more information follow this link:
Happy Humbug

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1970's Photos

Me inside Hi-Lo Drugstore at Sherman way and Sepulveda circa 1972. I wish I had a clear picture and more pictures of the stuff inside the store.
My 1973 Ford Pinto (1600cc engine) on Lanark St. between Sepulveda Blvd and Langdon Ave. 
Looking at the courtyard of Jane Russel's Taos West Apartments on Woodman Ave., 1975. The building is still there and I believe has the same name but it is now condo's.

With scanners I now wish we had printed the photos on glossy paper. I still have the negatives so I could fix that if I wasn't so lazy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rock Star

Last night I dreamt Radio Rat and I were rock stars...wait...right

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

American Pie Flashback

Phone Rat recently went on one of his L.A. excursions and came across this Don McLean concert poster for an upcoming concert. Don McLean's song American Pie was released in the fall of 1971. I was in a band at the time (Phone rat was our roadie) and  the popularity of the song demanded we learn it and play it. It's an easy song to learn and play and everyone seemed to like it. I didn't have an acoustic guitar at the time so I muted the tone on my guitar and used a felt auto harp pick to further mute my electric guitar sound. Below is a picture (Me and Radio Rat) of our band, The Destinations  from December 1971. The vest and tie uniform is still a bit embarrassing but that's okay. Unfortunately this photo doesn't show the throngs of girls at the bottom of the stage or the underwear they threw on the stage...yeah.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Desk

A friend just uploaded a picture of his very messy desk to his website. I told him it was disgraceful and indicative of his disorganized thought process. He's a liberal and I'm a conservative so we always rag on each other, but in a friendly way. So he dared me to post a picture of my desk as it is today. He hasn't seen my office or desk so he must figure it is filled with hand grenades, rifles and voodoo dolls of Al Gore and Harry Reid. So here is my very small desk (I miss my two large desks). Do scissors count as a weapon?

The only weapon in sight is a ceremonial Knight Templar Masonic sword on the wall to the left of my desk which belonged to my Grandfather. Above my desk is a James Bond poster of him holding a girl and pointing a gun our way. I'll leave the psychological implications of that for my friend to figure out. My wife bought it for me and had it framed. The desk is otherwise fairly organized and clean. I tend to be "Monk" like with regard to organization and cleanliness, which makes me the most frustrating member of our too large household. So I determine I win on neatness and cleanliness just as I am always right and win with our political argument :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Larry Harnisch Reflects on Los Angeles History

I just logged on to Larry Harnisch's LA Times blog only to find out it is being discontinued. Larry's blog is one of our links on the right side of this page. Larry says the LA Times blog will continue to be available online as a wonderful resource for all us Los Angeles history buffs. The good news is Larry will continue a blog on his own personal website:


Be sure to check it out. It's almost poetic that right before I logged onto his LA Times blog I was listening to the album Black Dahlia by Bob Belden. Larry as you may know is the preeminent authority on the Black Dahlia murder. Larry also has a page on Facebook you should check out.

Friday, July 29, 2011

L.A. Film Noir Music

Tonight I got a bit homesick for L.A.. Not for the L.A. I remember but for the L.A. that predates me. For the L. A. of Raymond Chandler and those 1940's and 1950's film noir movies. The images and music is so powerful they create the sensation of nostalgia for a time and place you never lived in.

I was sitting at my desk working on a project which would not allow me to watch video. So I fired up iTunes and clicked on the two albums above by Charlie Haden & Quartet West. With these two albums Haden successfully evokes the music and feel of Los Angeles from those post war days. If you like Los Angeles film noir movies I think these albums will take you on an aural trip through those times. If you like more modern noir style movies such as L.A. Confidential and Chinatown I bet you will enjoy these.

I used to drive through the Hollywood Hills at night with these albums playing in my car. If it was late and beginning to rain I would throw on some clothes and drive the canyons to the top of Mulholland Drive. Some of us take our music and atmosphere seriously.

Before I left L.A. I visited Tower Records on Sunset. I bought two CD's, the first was Joe South's Greatest Hits and the other was another excellent film noir style album by Bob Belden called Black Dahlia. Granted it's a walk on the darker side of L.A. but the music is just as powerful as the Haden albums in evoking that post war period.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lake Erie Sunset

Tonight we travel to Rocky River Ohio for a nice sunset over Lake Erie. It may not be a west coast end iof the world looking sunset but I thought it was decent. We were driving home from dinner at a Chinese restaurant when we decide to pull into the park and walk on the pier. On our way out we caught this shot.
While on the pier I took this shot of some lake shore houses in Rocky River Ohio.
For you crime buffs here is a quick picture of what used to be a hospital in Bay Village Ohio. It is now condo units. In its past life it was the hospital started by the father of Dr. Sam Sheppard, who was convicted of murdering his wife Marilyn and then acquitted in 1966. The Dad lived in a house right across the parking lot from the hospital. Sam was arrested for the murder of his wife in this house. During the 1970's it became a doctors office where my Aunt Joanne Knight worked. I have been in the house but never ventured into the hospital.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Josuha Tree June 2011

Last week Phone Rat and his camera took a trip out to the Joshua tree area. He sent me a DVD full of images, a few of which I thought I would share. Above is an old trailer which looks like the kind of housing I could afford if I was back in California. Below is an old car that could be right out of the Bonnie & Clyde movie.

Below is an old bus. Perhaps it's the Partridge family on the lam.

And finally some sage advice

Wally George My Pal

Above is a picture of the infamous Los Angeles "Hot Seat" talk show host and former co-host to Mayor Sam Yorty, Wally George. Sometime back in the 1980's a friend sent in a request for a glossy picture of Wally addressed to me. It was quite a surprise when it arrived since I did not watch the show and was not a pal of Mr. George. But I recently came across the picture and was glad to have a small piece of Los Angeles history. I'm sure Mr. George now lives on through YouTube along with Sheriff John, Tom Hatten and Hobo Kelly.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Before Van Nuys There Was Detroit

Before my family moved to Van Nuys California in 1960 we lived in a suburb of Detroit Michigan named Wayne. Above is picture taken about a year and a half ago when my friend Phone Rat and I traveled to Detroit. The house is a duplex and we lived on the right side at 2562 Ackley Ct. The house looks as it did back in the late fifties. Below is a picture of my Dad and I sitting on the front steps for Easter of 1957. Behind the screen door next to us is my friend Dawny. After we moved to Van Nuys I only saw Dawny one more time when we stopped in Detroit on our way to Cleveland to visit family sometime in the sixties.

By the way Elvis Presley's All Shook Up was the number one song in the nation on this Easter Day.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day, A Curmudgeon's Perspective

I always thought Mothers Day was a time to honor Mom, make her breakfast and let her lounge around the house and enjoy the quiet. Not where I am. Currently there are two lawn mowers and one edger cranking out the decibels. Inside is a 9 year old practicing every annoying sound and squeal one can imagine while his Mom finds relief inside her headphones. In another room is the shrill of a relentless alarm clock trying to wake up a 24 year old slacker at 2pm in the afternoon. I was downstairs with the front door and a window open, smoking a cigar and trying to watch a movie. I gave up on that one and came up to my office where I now have my headphones on cranking out Live Bullet by Bob Seger. If I am going to have loud noise at least it will be my own.

As I waddle through time I have discovered that true riches are not found in a fat bank account or a stack of gold bars. True riches for this old curmudgeon are, privacy and quiet. I find it ironic that when I lived in a small two bedroom downstairs apartment I had more room and more quiet. Live in a house with empty rooms and people come knocking on your door looking for a place to live. My wife and I dream of the day when it is just us. That time is now sooner than later. An exit strategy is in the works.

My wife is at work so it is not much of a Mothers Day for her. I'm 2400 miles away from my Mom, but my good friend Arnold put flowers on her grave. Our parents are buried a few feet apart. So with that I guess I will stop bitching and moaning. If things get louder I just might jump in my truck, drive out to the airport and park next to a runway and enjoy the quiet. Happy Mothers Day.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mitchum Pot Bust House

8443 Ridpath Drive in the Hollywood Hills. The house where actor Robert Mitchum was busted for posession of marijuana in 1948.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


My Desktop computer finally lost its mind after about 7 years. It served me well so I can't complain. Being a neat freak I decided to get a laptop that would free up some desk space. Aside from getting used to a slightly smaller keyboard I like it. As is probably the norm now it came with a built in webcam. This was not a feature I needed or wanted but now I have it. Now all my friends want to Skype me. I hate cameras so naturally I'm not going to be fond of appearing on a camera. The other night I tested the webcam with my wife who was downstairs. It works as the snapshot above will attest. Next will be Phone Rat and Radio Rat and probably a bunch of my cousins who have webcams as well. I drive a truck so I am one of the first people someone calls when they have something large to move. Now I have a webcam and everyone wants to see me as they talk to me. I should be glad this is all I have to whine about, I'm done whining.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cigars & Arnold Schwarzenegger

One of my best friends just sent me a red leather travel humidor with 10 CAO brand cigars in it. All the cigars are rated very high with a couple being among the best of the year cigars. So the other night when my old Landlord Jane Russell passed away I decided to light up a CAO Cameroon in memory of her. I had one last Amstel Light in the refrigerator so I opened that and poured it in my special beer mug from Solvang California.

My Dad took up cigar smoking when the doctor made him give up cigarettes. Of course being a cigarette smoker for so long, he inhaled them. My Mom bought him a beautiful humidor for Christmas. After he died I kept the humidor but he was stolen from an apartment I was moving into. Over the years I had smoked a cigar now and then but never seriously until the mid nineties. Unfortunately I didn't have his humidor so my Mom bought me a nice small one which was more than adequate for my needs. It now sits on the mantle about the fireplace (which  doesn't work).

Back in the late nineties my wife worked at a company called CBO in Hollywood. They were a post production company who designed ads, media artwork and so on. One of the 3 owners was best friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger. CBO did the artwork for his movies, print ads and tapes and DVD's. Many of the guys at CBO smoked cigars and Arnold had bought each of them a high end cigar humidor made by Daniel Marshall. As I recall they were the model above but a lighter colored wood.

So it took me and hour and a half to smoke the CAO Camaroon and it was excellent. The Amstel Light beer wasn't bad either. RIP Jane Russell.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Roberto Alvarez of Van Nuys CA

My best friend back at Hazeltine Ave. Elementary School was Roberto Alvarez. Roberto lived in our apartment complex on Sherman Way. Whenever I think back on those days I always think of Roberto and wonder what happened to him after we lost touch. His family moved away from our apartment and we kept in touch for a little while but eventually we lost track of each other.

I'm wondering if any of my fellow Hazeltine Elementary classmates remember Roberto, or might still be in touch with him. I would love to hear from you if you are. That is Roberto and me in the photo above pointing out toys guns at the camera. In spite of my German helmet we were pretending we were soldiers from the TV show "Combat" and we were killing bad guys. I should add that Roberto was originally from Argentina.

Roberto Alvarez 1960's

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Model Shop, an L.A. Movie

Late last night...well actually 4am, so early this morning I woke up in my living room chair and saw a movie playing on the Turner Classic Movie channel called "Model Shop" (1969). I have the movie before and always try to include it on my list of L.A. movies when someone asks for suggestions. The film covers 24 hours in the day of George Matthews, played by actor Gary Lockwood.

Matthews spots a beautiful woman dressed in white at a car lot. He is intrigued and follows her around until they eventually have a brief encounter. One film writer called the movie "a road movie that doesn't go anywhere." Consequently the star of the movie is really the Los Angeles of the late 1960's. For me that was the appeal of the movie. The story, script and performances are not compelling so you end up not caring about any of these people. Nevertheless it is an interesting depiction of our city and for that worth a bit of your time. Here is a link to the movie review on TCM: