My favorite golf venue of the year

You might ask how this is my favorite golf course, when I’ve never even been there, let alone ever attempted to play there? Fine, more shortly. In fact, in my life, I’ve only ever visited 2 famous golf courses, and played at both, though not on the famous courses. Yes, putting greens only, lol. Having said that, the 18 hole putting green course at St Andrews is definitely not your average dull course. Carnoustie is a more normal version, but playing on it, literally as people are walking down the 18th fairway, just a fence away from you, still quite special.

But no, the closest I’ve been to this course is on a number 2 bus, heading to, and from Pacific Palisades. Yes, the US tour is playing at Riviera Country Club this week. And yes, in truth, its not the golf course shots I love, its the location views, which the TV companies involved, deign to give us.

Its funny, if things had gone as planned that first time, I may never have visited, and fallen in love with Pacific Palisades. I was heading for Beverly Hills, assuming the bus heading in that direction went there, but it didnt. By the time, I realized I’d got it wrong, that we were well past that location, I decided to stay on the bus, and take my chance, until we arrived somewhere where I could get lunch, maybe a look around, and then, with my tail between my legs (proverbially), turn around, and head back to Hollywood. Yes, I ended up in Pacific Palisades, and fell in love with the place. I dont think it was just the reasonably priced massage parlor, that eased a few aching limbs that clinched it, though that may have helped. It was the laid back feel of the place, the wonderful views of the sea, down the canyon, and everything else that cracked it, I’m sure. Fine, a wonderful ice cream parlor might have helped too!

Since then, I’ve been back there on each of my trips, and if I get to LA again, its a certainty that PP will be visited on that trip too. Though fine, walking down, and definitely up the canyon might be less practical now, with my back!

Oh, and one other thing of golf at Riviera, long range shots of Santa Monica Pier! Not that I’ve ever ridden any ride there, but got plenty of other good memories of that pier! So fine, if they want to show a bit less of the golf this weekend, and a bit more of the locale, I for one, would appreciate it!

Right, video time. Let me say this was one of those You Tube searches, not a song thats my thing in the slightest. But given the video has lots of shots of PP, and Santa Monica, I’ll live with it!

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Whats in a name?

One of my pet hates with modern stadiums is that they dont have what I would call, a proper name, especially in the US, where seemingly nearly every team now plays in a stadium with no local name, just the name of whoever may be sponsoring it at the time. Thankfully, Dodgers Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park (to name a few) survive at present by their original name, but for how long?

Thankfully, there are some places that regardless of how many times the name changes, most people still know them by their old name. In truth, I suspect the tale of tonight’s rant will be one of those, despite the ghastly name change.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum started to be built in 1921, opening in 1923. In its time, as well as hosting numerous teams from the Los Angeles area (including for a few years, the Dodgers, more on that later), but also hosted 2 Olympics, and may well play a part in hosting another in 2028, when the event returns to town. I wont be there to see it, even if I’m still alive by then!

But now, or more strictly correctly, in August 2019, the name will change, it will be ‘The United Airlines Memorial Coliseum’. Yes, I know, money talks, and all that! In truth, beyond the whole matter of the name change, its who the sponsors are! Yes, United Airlines.

Thats right, the company who in the last few years have had a total customer services meltdown are putting $69 million towards repairs to the stadium, presumably in a desperate attempt to improve their standing in the community? And yes, they are still as bad as ever, only last week throwing a woman off a plane, due to a ticketing error, on the way to see her dying mother for the last time. No, thanks to their incompetence, she never made it! Of course, it wasnt their fault according to them, but seriously, given those circumstances, and the fact the ticket had been paid for, what a shambles!

The amusing thing of course, is the LA reaction to this. Most of that has involved comments about buying tickets for the stadium, then having someone coming up, throwing you out of your seat, and beating you up for good measure! That attitude might improve towards them over the next 18 months, but I wouldnt put good money on it! That is of course, given the amount of bad publicity they’ve had of late, that United Airlines are still around by then! Wouldnt that be ironic?

With luck, everyone will continue to call it The Coliseum, and nothing more for the rest of time!

What I didnt know, until I did a search, was that the Dodgers actually played 1 game there after their move to Dodgers Stadium. To celebrate 50 years in town, in 2008, they played a pre season game at their old home, against Boston Red Sox. No, the stadium was no longer designed for that, but anyway…

I found this. Yes, the Boston Red Sox song, sung in Coliseum. Official attendance was over 115,000, but certainly not that many there in this shot!

The perfect climate for a bad back?

Yes, as I’m sure all regulars know by now, my back has been damaged by old age, for want of a better term. Osteoporosis has caused a small fracture in my back, which I keep under control by using painkillers, both in the form of pills, and a gel, which make life sort of bearable, if nothing more. Its probably not going to improve unless I get a new cybernetic spine, or a full robot makeover, which lets face it, neither have got any chance of happening at present. Give it a few decades, and it might happen, but I’ll be long gone by then!

Apart from the general fragility of my body (my knees are a surgical disaster, leading to very poor circulation of blood to my legs), I have no desire to put up with this pain forever, so though I wouldnt mind a few more years, I dont want to talk in decades any more.

So if anyone reading this, for whatever reason wants to help with the ever increasing meds bills, and the reducing number of days that I can work per week (cut to 4, from 5), then feel free to donate here, or not, as the case may be?

http://www.ko-fi.com/merrybrooks

Thought not, but no harm in mentioning it?

One thing that the surgery did mention to me, was living somewhere warmer than here, especially during the winter, because the cold wrecks my back. Yes, would be wonderful, but no money to make it happen, and at my age, finding a job somewhere like that might be tricky too! But yes, if someone wants to set me up somewhere warm, with the funds to look after myself, wouldnt say no. Sadly, I’m not as cute as Marion Davies as a ‘supported’ lady, in case you were hoping I was!

This morning, on one of my Forums, I found out an interesting fact, in an area I love. One of the places in the world where there is very little temperature swing throughout the year, and in a nicely warm sense, is San Diego, in California. Yes, apparently it gets chilly there in winter when it drops to 48 (9C for Brits)! But generally, doesnt often hit 80 (27C) either! Yes, my back would just love that!

I know, Chargers have left town for Los Angeles, and the Padres definitely arent the Dodgers, but I can think of worse places to live, in truth. And lets face it, that idiot Trump wants nice, white Europeans to emigrate there, just needs to change the rules, or provide me with the paperwork at least. Or a wealthy partner, or my own personal ‘Hearst’. I know, I know, no harm in hoping!

The only other place that fits the bill better, Honolulu! But there is far more rain there, and rain is not good for my joints so…

Los Angeles, wouldnt say no, but it didnt meet this match because of the heat in summer. Not that I’d mind, but strictly…

OK, video time. What could be better than a song called San Diego being played in San Diego? I’m not a Blink 182 fan, but thats just far too much fun to miss out on!

Soon be living in a brand new state

When I first started trying to find out more about Clara Johnson, it was a case of being in the right place, at the right time. That place, of course was Los Angeles, and a chance to look at the historical 1930 census, or the Los Angeles section of it at least.

And there she was, a certain Miss Clara E Johnson, living in town of course, and even without her giving her occupation as an actress, I might have suspected it was her. It gave me some details which I’ve posted before, the fact that she was born in 1905, in the state of Oklahoma (though it wasnt a state back then, not until 1907, was a territory before then), and that she had moved to Los Angeles, from Texas, in 1925.

I’m delighted to say that last year, I actually managed to find a few pictures of her, firstly from about 1934, then on Christmas day, some more from 1929! It was probably the latter, and some spare time over the holidays that inspired me to try another hunt for details. Remarkably, yes, it worked. Though full birth records didnt start before Oklahoma was a state, basic records were kept, and on one of the State history sites, putting her name, and year of birth into the website, and…bingo!

I now know she was born on 6th September, 1905, and I know she was born in Pottawatomie County! Unfortunately, as to where in the county, no idea, they didnt keep full records there until 1908! I managed to discover the 1920 census, and found 11 Clara Johnson’s living in Oklahoma, and Texas at that time, born in 1905. I assume the others were either born outside of Oklahoma (quite possible for the Texas ones), or their births werent registered properly (or at all), equally possible back then, before officially a state. Snag, Ancestry.com want a fee to see the details, though there is a free option, which might do for me, but its time limited, so I might do something when I’m off in a fortnights time. Hopefully, a date of birth might help to work out which one is her, but no idea if thats recorded, until I try! It wont tell me much more, other than telling me whether she moved to Texas before, or after 1920, I suspect. Parent names might enable me to see if there were any other children, I guess?

Funnily enough, my dear friend Kate is from Oklahoma! She has told me I might be underwhelmed by modern day Pottawatomie County, and I suspect she’s right. I doubt Clara would recognize it either! But yes, a lot of it would be the chance to stand in her footsteps, just once. So maybe next year, I might yet do that, but not before then, for sure! I know, she’s not really an ancestor, but she’s just so special to me, because well, she was me, in one sense at least.

The video? The most obvious Oklahoma one possible, just maybe?

Sudden death with Buffalo

No, dont worry, its nothing serious thats happened, just the opposite in fact. But I had to do something to fit in with the video lol!

Yes, within the next hour or so, all the American Football left this season will be sudden death, knock out stuff. As I write this, the last ‘normal’ Bowls are being played, the last NFL season games were played yesterday, so after that…

Firstly, tonight, we get the 2 college football ‘semi finals’ for want of a better word, where Georgia take on Oklahoma, and Clemson take on Alabama. A week later, the two winners get to meet for their Championship. The most interesting thing for me has been the multiple shots of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, to be honest. Well, except that with a little more discovery work today, I now know where, and when a certain young lady was born in Oklahoma! Yes, on 6th September 1905, a baby girl was born somewhere in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. Thats right, a baby named Clara Elaine Johnson! Tried googling for Oklahoma birth and death records, tried her name on the site, then lo, and behold… Looking at a map, she wouldnt have been a million miles from where Oklahoma University would have been! Of course, given she left Texas for LA in 1925, how long she lived there, no idea?

Ah, the title of the blog? Yes, thats the NFL bit. For over 30 years, through thick and thin, I’ve supported the Buffalo Bills. The late 80’s, and most of the 90’s were pretty good times, but other than that, no! Until yesterday, they were the team with the longest interval since previously being in the play offs, 18 years. Not now!
It wasnt hard to see them winning before I went to bed last night, and Baltimore were losing, 2 facts which meant they would be in, but there was still about a half of football to go for each. Bills won, but until nearly the end, Baltimore were clinging on for a win seemingly, then Cincinnati scored, Baltimore lost, and Buffalo were in the play offs.

Oh fine, I found out when I opened my emails this morning (one was from team, mentioning they were in play offs), which made a nice way to start 2018! They now get to play Jacksonville, who were last in the play offs in 2007, and last played a home play off game in 1999, the last time Buffalo made the play offs! No, they didnt play each other then! Oh, and I’d better mention the Los Angeles Rams, who won their division, leading to the first play off game in LA since 1994, though for much of that time, no team was in town! By coincidence, leading to another Georgia team heading to LA!

Right, video time. For those of you who read both, I used this video on the other blog recently, so you’re not seeing things. For those who dont, enjoy a classic 30’s musical! And all those girls sharing sleeping berths, shocking stuff lol! 😛

Review Of The Year, Part one

Now, normally when you do a review of the year, and you’re splitting it in two, you’d do two spells of 6 months, right? But when I looked back on my year, it took me about 30 seconds (if that long) to work out that apart from one event in May, not much happened for the first 8 months, then a hell of a lot happened in the last 4! So to avoid a 500 word blog tonight, and a 3000 word one tomorrow, I’m doing this on an 8/4 basis this year.

In truth, the highlights of the first 2 months were getting the news I’d passed probation period at work, and getting a passport in my new name. Oh, and around the same time, my first moments of DWP fame, in an LGBT sense, with an interview from work, about life as a LGBT woman in the Department. Which of course led to something that will be mentioned in Part 2, but for now…

No, diplomacy means I’m not mentioning a certain event that happened in the US, in January, but you all know what I think of him, and his actions, so lets leave it there.

Of course, my first flight as Harlean Carpenter, was in May, going back to Hollywood, or more strictly, Los Angeles. Lets just say the whole apartment thing this time around wasnt the success of the previous trip, both in the sense of initially booking an apartment, and then the landlord deciding he wanted to decline the booking, because he hadnt put in his price rise for the New Year. Fine, I thought, until he told me it was done, and suddenly the price had risen by over 20%, nearly 25% in fact! So I started again, thought I’d found somewhere decent as a replacement, but it didnt live up to all its claims. Dont get me wrong, it was nice enough, just didnt have all the facilities it claimed it had.

The funniest moment was a delightful Thai takeaway I had found 18 months earlier, and the lady still remembered me the moment I walked in, despite that. Its sad to think that by the next time I visit, she will almost certainly be gone, as it will be a few years before I get there again (unless I get a role offer), and I doubt she was that young this year, so…but she was amazing!

The other big highlights that will stick with me, would be 2 Louise Brooks silent films, viewed at the historic Egyptian Theater, a guided Hollywood walk given by a wonderful lady that I like to see as a friend, a ‘better than I would buy’ seat at a Dodgers game, thanks to another friend, with the added bonus of it being a game that Kershaw pitched at! Lastly, there was a wonderful Harlow display at the Hollywood Museum, which was a delight to see. Oh, and thanks to the Metro, getting to Santa Monica far easier than ever before!

In truth, I have no idea when I’ll be back, unless I get an offer, which I would have to say is pretty unlikely. But never say never… Certainly, due to something that will be mentioned shortly, walking up the hill to where Harlow rests at Forest Lawn would probably be beyond me now, but anyway…

In July, 2 things happened, one good, one bad. The good one was, that knowing that Clara Johnson’s middle initial was E, and finding a few images of a chorus line dancer/Goldwyn Girl, and putting two and two together, when you find a dancing match, named Elaine Johnson, who has a career that seems to tie in to Clara’s, well I jumped on the issue, and joy, actually found 3 pictures of her from a credited movie promotion shoot. Of course I cant be 100% sure its one and the same, but enough coincidences for me to say it is. In fact, as you’ll find out tomorrow, this isnt the end of that story! Yes, a few new pictures, wow! I’d still love to find her married name, so I’d have a chance of paying my respects if, and when I get back to LA.

The bad thing, my back, after giving me support for about 59 years, decided it had had enough, and snapped. Quite literally, though not in too severe a way, fingers crossed. Yes, osteoporosis had taken its toll on me! Painkillers, and other meds (been tweaked a couple of times) keep it bearable, but yes, its fair to say old age is beginning to catch up with me. It eventually led to me cutting back to 4 days a week at work, with which I can just about get by financially, but holidays will need to be cut back on now, for sure.

August marked 1 year in the new job, and in truth, apart from a dream acting offer, I cant see me leaving before I get to retire in just over 6 years time. Yes, I really am that old lol! The rest of the year, and a few landmarks, tomorrow!

Right, the video. One of the few modern groups I have much time for, are The Killers. I now love them even more now I know that each Christmas, they record a song, and give all royalties to charity! This is the 2013 song, which is apt given where I was in May, and even more so when you see something I post tomorrow!

Praying for a miracle, and reaching for the stars

Regardless of what happens tonight, and it might be all over then, though I hope not, by the next time I get to post here, the baseball season will finally be over. Hopefully, it creeps over into November, because if it doesnt, it means the Dodgers have lost the World Series, and I will be a slightly less happy bunny. I mean, they could still lose it tomorrow, in November, but then at least the dream will have lasted one more day.

In all honesty, against any other team, I’d probably be hoping for a Houston win, because of all the problems they had with the hurricane, and everything there, it would be nice for them to have something to bring cheer. But, yes, its the Dodgers, so fine, I care, lol! No, I have no idea what I’d do if the Dodgers were playing the Royals, except that I probably wouldnt really care who won!

Technically, the Dodgers have a strong hand, given the last 2 games are at home. But the pressure of having to win both games, or else, must still play a part? Game 5 was an absolutely crazy game, 13-12, in what was supposed to be a game between 2 strong pitchers. But yes, whatever they’ve done to the balls this year, its certainly changed things in favor of the hitters, indeed, gone too far in my humble opinion. Yes, I like runs being scored, as much as others, but all tactics seem to have gone out of the game this year, beyond the hitters just trying to smash every ball out of the park! And the balls flying for miles, to help them!

Anyway, not a lot I can do, from here, I guess. I know what some think, but no, I’m not a witch, and cant fly at supersonic speed on a broomstick to get there, and change the history of the game lol! Even if I had a flying saucer spaceship (oh please!), still the same! But yes, in my sleep, I’ll be hoping for 2 Dodgers wins in the next 2 nights, and a World Series title.

My next game, all things permitting, will be next May, on the West Coast. But no, not Dodgers Stadium, but a long way north of there, in Seattle. Yes, another stadium to tick off my list of visited for a game, though I have done a tour of that stadium. But yes, definitely health permitting, but fingers crossed.

The video, well the title is a line from the lyrics. Cannot find an actual live performance of this one, sorry!