Sunday, March 09, 2014
It’s baseball spring training time again, so we got up early Tuesday morning and drove to Arizona to watch the Angels play. We spent three days in Tempe. The Angels weren't in top form yet—it is, after all, still very early in the season—but the weather was perfect and we had a great time. One of the highlights was getting to go upstairs at the stadium to briefly tour the broadcast booths. Always nice to have friends in high places!
Checking the sound in the remote broadcast booth
Tim and coworkers
Angels broadcast booth
Visitors TV broadcast booth: Dodgers announcer
Orel Hershiser (center)
Angels spring training home
My favorite type of airplane: on the ground!
I may hate to fly, but I do love airplanes. So while we were in Arizona, we took a short side-trip to Tucson, home of the Pima Air & Space Museum and Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARG). The museum is great: 300 old airplanes and helicopters from the past 100 years of aviation history.
Vietnam War era helicopter—the famous Robert Duvall
beach scene from Apocalypse Now was on continuous
loop nearby—"Ride of the Valkyries," anyone?
Lockheed Electra—similar to the one Amelia Earhart
was flying when she disappeared
Various WWII aircraft
But it’s the some 4000 mothballed military planes, jets, etc., that really caught my imagination. Housed on the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AMARG uses the planes to replace parts on active aircraft—saving the military about $400 million a year in replacement costs. Since the planes are on the base, access to the “boneyard” is via tour bus only, offered through the Pima museum.
Bus tour through the boneyard
Tim was less enthused than I was about spending an entire morning looking at rusty old warplanes. He perked up considerably, though, when he noticed not one but three B-52 bombers parked in the back of the museum. Even we liberal anti-war pacifists were thrilled to see such magnificent aircraft.
NASA cargo plane
Three-fin tail of a TWA Constellation
We highly recommend visiting the museum, as well as the boneyard, the next time you’re in Tucson.
Actual pick-ax used to kill
Leon Trotsky (not his real skull)
As a kid growing up during the Cold War, I was completely fascinated by spies: James Bond, of course, but also the men from U.N.C.L.E., Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott from TV’s I Spy, and even Matt Helm. As adults, Tim and I have continued the tradition by seeing all the Bourne films, BBC’s MI5, and now The Americans, the TV show about 1980s Russian spies living a double life outside of Washington D.C. Strange how some fascinations never seem to grow old . . . or go out of date.
Last weekend, Karen and I drove all the way out to Simi Valley to see the “Spy: The Secret World of Espionage” exhibit at the Reagan library. Despite a disappointing lack of pop culture spy references—only a small display of James Bond memorabilia and nothing from my favorite TV shows—the exhibit was lots of fun, showing real-life gizmos that looked more like movie props than dangerous cloak-and-dagger stuff. Here’s just a fraction of some of the neat things we saw:
Communication equipment, etc.—the small "rock"
on the right is actually a bomb
"Enigma" machine used to decode encrypted messages
Example of mini-motorcyles parachuted into Europe,
during WWII, for American soldiers to use
Because Russian tourist maps
were often purposely deceptive,
the CIA started creating their
own maps in the 1950s
Ashtray on the left is actually a camera; the machine on
the right is a portable key-making device to replicate
hotel keys, etc.
Tape recorder the size of a cigarette case
More hidden cameras: lipstick, wristwatch, pack of cigarettes,
lighter, and Glu-Stik!
Real-life artifacts from the Iranian rescue depicted in
the 2012 film Argo
More real-life "Argo" artifects
Unfortunately, the exhibit ended today, but there’s always the International Spy Museum, which we’ll be sure to visit the next time we’re in Washington, D.C.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Last weekend was Dapper Day at Disneyland. We dressed up again and joined the hundreds of people all decked out in their finest. Our favorite "histo-tainer" Charles Phoenix showed slides of the park from the 1950s/60s—always fun—plus, for the first time, there was a fashion boutique, where I bought a stylish chapeau (ca. 1950s) to cover my hair. As you can see by the video below, a wonderful time was had by all! But, damn, how did mid-century women walk around in those petticoats all day?
Randomland (a fun video series about "hidden" Disneyland)
at Dapper Day
Full view of dress and sans hat
Next Dapper Day is September 12. See you there!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Some of the palms in Palm Springs
We don't go every year, but we couldn't resist this time around. We toured the area's most famous homes and buildings, attended a "jet set" fashion show, visited friends, ogled the prints in our fave artist Shag's gallery, saw a vintage car show, and ate breakfast at our favorite restaurants, Sherman's and Lulu. We also had dinner at the trendy Trio, which we loved. And all this over an extended President's Day weekend. Aren't we lucky that Palm Springs is only two hours from L.A.?
The Double-Decker Bus Tour
Taking photos from the back of the bus
Richard Neutra's Kaufmann house—the most
famous home in Palm Springs
Former home of Dinah Shore, rumored to be in
escrow for Leonardo DiCaprio
Liberace's final home, currently being renovated
into a boutique hotel
Mid-century modern home designed and landscaped
by Palm Springs architect William Krisel
Outdoor dining at Lulu
Welwood Murray library, being remodeled into a
downtown visitor's center
1961 bank building designed by E. Stewart Williams
Jet-Set Fashion Show
Vintage Car Show
Edsel wagon taillight
Tim admiring a woody station wagon
More fabulous tailfins
Postwar camper and BBQ
Krisel Homes Tour