Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The other day I had to meet up with a young man for an article about his business.  It was early in the afternoon and as I sat waiting for him I thought that I only had a 50/50 chance that he would remember.
Have you noticed how difficult it is these days to make firm arrangements with anyone under the age of say, 40?  Almost impossible without them saying: "Oh, call me in the morning to check!"  No I don't want to check or firm up I want to make the apppointment now.  The problem is that young people rarely if ever write stuff down, and they don't use calendars (diaries to the Brits.)
This is my calendar which sits on my desk.  I've been using one since I went on the road.  How can you remember appontments if you don't have one?  The fact is you can't.  And on top of all this, there are more and more ways of capturing important dates and times with iPhones and other devices to do it on.  But you have to do it.  But if no-one can be bothered, then there will be mistakes.  But does that matter, if everyone is checking on the day to see if the appointee has something better to do than to meet up with you! Perhaps I should have saved this for the Trevor's Tirade section.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Video - Monroe and Einstein

I had major problems with physics at school. Perhaps that's why I've always been quite fascinated by it.  I have never understood Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and so maybe that's why this is one of my favorite outtakes from the movies.  It's a film called Insignificance.  Here Marilyn Monroe explains his famous theory to Albert Einstein himself.  It takes about 8:40, and I almost get it here.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS0n_fr1Fyo 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday's Column - Jensen Alvarado Ranch

The life of Cornelius Jensen was a very full one.  Born on the small Frisian island of Sylt, he took to the sea and became a captain.  Arriving in San Francisco at the start of the gold rush, his crew jumped ship and went mining.  Cornelius joined them and found he was no good at the art.  He therefore became a shopkeeper and was very good at that.
He was then 40 and one of his customers was called Ignacio Alvarado who had a sister of "a marrying age," she was 16.  Cornelius moved south and married the wench.  They had 10 children so something must have worked.  This is Mercedes above. You can read the entire column at www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I always liked windsurfing.  I tried it a few times before I came out here with disastrous results.  It's not easy.  Then in the Marina I met a German called Paul Kroll, and he had the instruction of the art down pat.  The trick is to learn with no wind and he would never start anyone off after eight in the morning.  It's hard enough standing on the board and balancing the rig without adding the wind as another force.  Well, the other day I took my old windboard out for a spin.  It had been five years since I tried and I was rather rusty.  But here are the basics.

Raising the Sail

Steadying the Mast

Ready to Go

Off We Go!

Unfortunately, my outing ended badly with a serious
dunking.  Ah well, I just need some more practice,
I think!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Music Track - Osibisa

Not too many people have heard of these guys - they're from Nigeria, I think - Osibisa.  This is one from about 1983.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtMUyvwejNA&feature=related

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cars - Eldorado

When I arrived out here in 1982, I was rather shocked to find everyone driving around in small import cars.  That didn't appeal to me, so I managed to find the biggest hunk of metal out there and acquired it.
1976 Cadillac Eldorado
We called it Big Bertha for obvious reasons, and I drove it for five years.  Sadly, like a lot of older females, leaks became an increasing problem and she had to go.  I've always rather regretted it as I was the last white man to drive that particular model in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bucket List - Alaska

For this item on the bucket list I've chosen a place I've already been to.  We never had any serious opportunities to vist Alaska in the business, and I only made it via a cruise ship three years ago.

Yet, it has always fascinated me since my father used to read the poems of Robert W. Service.  He was the one who wrote about Dangerous Dan McGraw and the rough life of the miners.

In order to really appreciate the state, I think you have to go there in winter time and certainly not from the luxury of a 100,000 ton floating hotel.

Principally, I would like to be able to spend a long winter weekend there and be able to see the Aurora Borielis - The Northern Lights, which have always interested me.  I think this photo is going to be the closest I'll get however.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Plastic Room Keys

I recently stayed at a wonderful resort.  Naturally as part of my check-in I was given a room key.  They used to be unusual little things at a time when the hotel industry still were changing out their old clunkly keys that were primarily designed so guests didn't walk off with them.
As we left the hotel, I did remember that it is best not to throw these little cards away in the trash, or leave them lying around.  I'm told the black metalic strip holds a lot of personal information you mght not want to be used by others.  So back home it came to be shredded.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Video - Au Revoir Le Tour

Yesterday the Tour de France ended as usual in Paris.  It was three weeks long and surely must be one of the greatest athletic events on Earth.  Close to 200 cyclists start the 2000 miles trek around France through some of the most beautiful countryside and some of the nastiest hills you could attempt on a bike.  I shall miss my daily "fix" of cycling, but here is a 7:26 video of one of the best in the business - Mark Cavendish the Manx Missile, the fastest man on two wheels.  But he'd better keep an eye over his shoulder for another young man on the rise, Peter Sagan. Many congratulations to the winner of the Yellow Jersey, Bradley Wiggins, who is the first Englishman to win the Tour in its 99 years history  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ36SRYLRvk&feature=related

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday's Column - Claremont

I was contacted some time ago by an executive responsible for the PR of the City of Claremont.  He suggested I might like to "do" a couple of pieces about the place which is to the west of S/Bernardino and just inside the LA county line.  I was given three sites and this was the second of them.  It was a very interesting visit to the Botanical Garden which has been going now for 85 years.  This is a statue of a giant preying mantis that is one of several large pieces around the gardens.  It's certainly a place well worth a visit.  You can read the entire column at www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels

Saturday, July 21, 2012

US Navy

You meet interesting people in bars.  Here is barman Bill in Del Mar, CA.

During a lull in service we got talking and he told us a little about the strength of the US Navy.  He'd spent four years in submarines and his longest stint under water was 78 days.  He told us that there are ten Trident nuclear driven subs in service at all times - Boomers. Each one is equipped with 32 nuclear missiles that can be launched from underwater. 

Each missile has ten warheads and they deploy to programmed targets.  Each Boomer has two crews - a blue and a gold.  Each team goes to sea for a month or two at a time then return for the boat to be serviced in a two-week period, then out goes the other team.  It's a lot of weaponery isn't it?  I'm rather glad about it.  I wonder how Mr. Ahmadinijad feels - I hope he knows the stats?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Music Track - Purcell

This track is a very famous piece of music, but not too many people know what it is.  It's by Purcell who lived in the 17th century and died at only 36.  It is the Rondeau from Abdelazar, which was a sort of Arabian opera. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrDypNgvHMI&feature=related
Here it is played in a very old Cornish church on a real organ - none of that nasty electronic stuff!  I used to hear such organs regularly during weekly family visits to church on Sunday mornings.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I was asked the other day what my favorite automobile was.  One I drove.  On thinking about it I came up with three and this was the first.
It's a second hand 1958 Hillman Minx Estate and I have to say that although this is in the same color scheme, it doesn't look much today.  However I was only 25 or so when I drove it and I thought it was the cat's meouw!  It had a shift on the steering column and brown leather upholstery.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bucket List - Skydiving

Number four on the list is to skydive.  Now I've done this five times back in 1993 from a skydiving center in the Mojave Desert called California City.  The system then was a lot of instruction followed by a jump at 5,000 feet from an Otter twin engined plane.  You were fixed to the plane with a line of about six feet and it pulled the 'chute out as you exited the doorway.  It's a really frightening thing to do.  But once you're out it's easy and not scary at all.  You just float down with a little loudspeaker attached to your belt, and the instructor on the ground talks you towards the circled landing zone.  Steering the 'chute with the ropes is also very easy.  I never got the landing quite right though.
After four jumps I did a free fall, where an instructor jumps out with you -  usually holding onto your clothing and making sure you pull the 'chute yourself at about 5,000 feet - you exit at about 12,000.
Quite honestly I never got used to the fear of it all, plus it was a heck of a long way to drive.  Skydiving is also one of those activites of "hurry up and wait!"  So I stopped.  However, I recently did an article on Perris which is one of the best places to jump in California and I have to say I would like to do it again.  However the fixed line system is not used any more and now you are strapped to an instructor doing a freefall.  Maybe for my 80th birthday, like George H. Bush.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Mostly Southern California has been good to me regarding hay fever, which used to plague me in the UK all my adult life.  The culprit was grass pollen and England has a lot of grass.  That is not to say people escape completely as we have other pollens in the air out here from time to time.

Here is one of the problems at 6750 feet above sea level.  We have a lot of pine trees and around late May early June they start to explode their seeds and spurt forth with new growth.

The result is this little cone which has just let loose.

It sends new shoots out and in the process lets loose its yellow pollen.

This stuff gets everywhere.

It covers all surfaces and lays on the roads and pathways around us.

Fortunately we had some serious winds the other day and I think the pollen has blown away.  Time to wash off the driveway, I think.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Video - British perspective on the death of Bin Laden

I'm grateful to my friend Geoffrey for this 4:19 minute video commentary on Bin Laden's death from a British perspective. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJCWajxymzo

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday's Column - Alf Museum of Paleontology

This week the column is about a museum of paleontology.  It's the Raymond Alf Museum located in the grounds of the Webb private school, where Alf was a teacher for 70 years.  He took to digging up fossils and became an expert in the field.
This is a photo of a photo of the man himself and the skull he found out in the desert was a rare find.  It is from a pig that was not known about before.  The museum located in Claremont is an interesting place to look at what was on the earth long before we arrived.  You can read the entire column at http://www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels/ci_21078416/museum-houses-creatures-eons-ago

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I try not to go on about the weather up here as we have a pretty good climate if you don't mind a little snow in the winter.  Similarly we have fairly mild summers with not too much heat.  It's been at least two years since I saw 100 F on the deck.  But this week we actually registered 101 F, which is not the air temperature as it's something of a sun trap.

Nonetheless, it's a hot day when that happens and we usually don't get the high temps for another few weeks.  Maybe it's time to stop toting groceries back from the market in plastic bags - save the planet!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Music Track - Marty Robbins

I always liked this - does that make me a Redneck?  If you scroll down on the little black arrow at the bottom of the screen you will see the words and you can sing along - all together now!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


One of my earliest possessions when I started out on my own a very long time ago was a small glass case with a couple of Brazilian butterflies in it.  I have no idea what ever happened to the case.  One of life's little mysteries, I guess.  Those butterflies were bright turquoise and quite large.
We don't get a lot of butterflies up here but the other day I saw one clinging to some flowers next door.  I didn't think I could capture it in time, but grabbed my camera anyway.  The butterfly kindly stayed for me.
If you know its name perhaps you could email me at trevorsummons@hotmail.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bucket List - Mine

Part of English life in my growing up was coal.  In the north of England coal mines were everywhere and you could see their derricks reaching up into the skies. If you were lucky you could see the big wheel turning, showing that the cage was on the move.

 In the late sixties and seventies we celebrated every winter with Joe Gormley coming out of the union headquarters and telling the press that "the lads weren't happy."  The prelude to their annual strike followed by the truck drivers, railway men et al.  I would really like to go down a coal mine to see exactly what it's like.  I suspect that out here in California, it's not going to be an easy wish.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sarcodes Sanguinea

A year ago I posted a picture of a plant that we regularly see up here.  I didn't know what it was and several people told me that it is called a snow flower.  It's real name is Sarcodes Sanguinea which means blood colored flesh like thing.
It is a parasite with no ability to photosynthesize and so it feeds on the fungus roots of trees, mostly firs. The plant provides fixed carbon to the fungus and in return, the fungus provides mineral nutrients, water and protection in return.
These plants are coming to the end of their growing season, but we always enjoy their sudden appearance out of the earth - always close to a big pine tree.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Video - Basketball

I'm not a big fan of basketball.  I think they need to put the net up another couple of feet to allow the smaller players a chance too.  But here is a great piece of video fun with Uncle Drew, sent to me by my friend Kevin.  Stick with it to the end. http://devour.com/video/uncle-drew/

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday's Column - Paddleboarding

You'd think that man by now would have thought up, all the ways possible to enjoy himself on water.  We've had row boats, sailing boats, boats with outboards, Hawain canoes, Indian canoes, windboards, surfboards; it's a pretty big list, but about five years ago, some surfer dude decided to stand up on his board and use a paddle.  Hey presto, paddleboarding was borne.  And today it's all the rage.

Johnny Cotta on his  Paddleboard

This week we looked at the sport - more of an activity really - with Johnny Cotta the proprietor of Johnnie's Boards in Big Bear.  He's been in on the start of it and it's getting more and more popular.  Hey, I might even get a paddle myself and use my windboard sans sail and mast - what could possibly go wrong?
You can read the article at www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Desires - Healey's

When I was about 15, I desired a "varsity" sweater.  It was not in the already stretched family budget, and my father tried to placate me by saying that I would go off the idea in a little time.  It took about a year.
Later on in my twenties I lusted after an Austin Healy sports car, which was even further out of the budget.  About the same chance as my buying a Lear jet today.

1965 Austin Healey

The other weekend we had a Healey club up here; there were about 30 of them and every one was quite beautiful.  It reawakened my old desires, but I feel it's past the moment and having gone so long, I can probably live without one.  The good news however is that should the yen return for a varsity sweater, I can certainly afford that item, assuming I could find one, of course.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Music Track - Sebben Crudele

Even after a lifetime of listening to music there are still jewels out there to listen to for the first time.  This is Sebben Crudele, which is by Antonio Caldara from an opera dating back to 1710.  It's sung by Cecelia Bartolli. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byUSlmTJKrU
I heard it for the first time sung at my grandson Evan's high school by a soprano who also sings for the state in competitions.  Soon after the concert at which Evan performed with the school choir, they departed for New York where they performed Mozart's Requiem at Carnegie Hall - quite an experience for a 16 year old!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ducks - Redux

Over the last few weeks, I've been telling you about the Mallard ducks that have been calling on us.  She Who Must Be Obeyed has been giving them seeds, and I've had to buy double the amount in order to keep pace.  Now I know that some of you are numerically challenged and so let me remind you that the first picture I posted was of one duck. The next week I showed you two; above you will see a recent shot, and if I'm not mistaken that's four of them.  How could this happen?????

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bucket List - Greek Islands

This week's Bucket List contender is a sail around the Greek Islands.

I have been there a couple of times in the past - to Crete and also to the northern Sporades Group of islands which includea Skiathos - the green island.

The islands are a rich mixture of types, such as barren cliffs, flat sandy ones and some with trees and lots of wild flowers.  All have an atmosphere which is totally Greek and there is always a lot of food and drink available. I'll never forget my first taste of Retsina - not your average white wine flavor.

Also beware of the dreadful Raki and it's after effects. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Lunch has always been an important meal for me - perhaps as I'm not much of a breakfast person.  Around 12, I start to get the cravings and by 12:30 it's best not to get between me and a food counter.

The other day I was on assignment and it reached the witching hour when I needed to get outside some calories.  Now one of the casualties of excessive regulation and over-concern with the environment is the loss of many small gas stations.  The EPA closed them down in the 70's and 80's and they're not much use for anything once they're gone.  This one however sits on the edge of the Riverside Historical district and has been converted to a great Mexican Restaurant - The Taco Station. 

The theme of a gas station is carried on inside with meals called the Octane and the Unleaded.  They also have an Axle, which is a five pound burrito.  The one I chose was a lot less than that.  Imagine - five pounds!

Here is the mural on the end of the building.

Monday, July 2, 2012

National Anthem

It's hard to believe but there seems to be some discussion about changing the National Anthem.  Naturally our friends on the left are the ones who suddenly don't like The Star Spangled Banner - too jingoistic; too God oriented; too military; and too difficult!  Well, here is a version that still gives me chills.  It is also so sad that this talent has left us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wupsPg5H6aE&feature=related

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday's Column - Vegas

This week we covered the recent trip to Las Vegas.  It's been about ten years since I last went there and it's changed in that time.  It's a lot more expensive!  Also it's a lot bigger in terms of hot concrete.  It's always hot in Vegas and you need very comfortable shoes as well.  But I have to say the quality of dining was superb.  The picture here is of Caesars's Palace, which is now about three times the size of what it was when we first visited back in about 1983.  You can read the entire column at www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels