Blog Archives

March 26 – April 1, 2014

PACIFIC AND CHURCH STREETS. January 1952, 11:10 am. Good old Leask’s Department store, which they sold just before the 1989 earthquake. It’s now Urban Outfitters and Regal’s Cinema 9. And of course, it was before Pacific Avenue was beautified into The Abbott Garden Mall.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE…A VOCAL!!!! Apparently Michael Stamp, Charles Hilger and Nick Royal all found this You Tube very funny and/ or quirky.


CITY COUNCIL CAROUSEL CONTINUED. So Steve Pleich emailed wondering why his name wasn’t on the “Council Carousel” of candidates last week. It’s because no one talks much about Pleich, but he said he’s running. Bruce Van Allen confirmed that he indeed is “still mulling it over”. Van Allen and Leonie Sherman were at the California Sierra Club fundraiser at Katherine Beiers last Sunday. Assemblyman Mark Stone spoke and gave a ringing statement about how Jim Hart has the right kind of approach in his campaign for Sheriff. Mary Jo Walker who is our County Auditor-Controller and I had a fine talk. She told me she’s “running” for Fred Keeley’s old job of County Treasurer. Nobody’s running against her, so it’s not really a campaign per se. She said 11 other counties in California had voted to combine the treasurer and auditor’s offices. So that’s a good thing and so far no one knows or would guess just what Fred Keeley will do.


ON OUR BACKS BUT THEIR DIME. An involved reader says…”Always good to see who is taking our legislators out to dinner. Western States Petroleum Association took Assemblymember Luis Alejo out for a $323.25 dinner”. On the other hand amazingly good as well as so-so reports keep coming in about Alejo.

OIL WELLS IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY. Most folks seem pretty complacent about ever having to fight against oil drilling and fracking in our county.The ususal starement is let Aromas handle it, our section of Monterey Shale has no oil. I linked last week to Sandy Lydon’s website where he details the history of oil wells in this County. Lots of them. On Universal Grapevine last week he warned that just because the technology “back in the day” wasn’t as perfected as it is today, doesn’t mean that oil companies can’t or won’t go back to those deserted oil deposits and try again. Here’s urging you to check out his brief history of Oil in Santa Cruz County…and think again. Be sure to note the photo of the oil drilling derrick in De Laveaga Park c. 1926.

RT CHANNEL. It must have been me, but I just found out that channel 103 on our Comcast network is Russian Television !!! Wikipedia says, “RT, previously known as Russia Today, is an international multilingual Russian-based television network. It is registered as an autonomous nonprofit organization funded by the federal budget of Russia through the Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation. Then Wiki says, “RT presents round-the-clock news bulletins, documentaries, talk shows, and debates, as well as sports news and cultural programs on Russia aimed at the overseas news market. The network’s signal is carried by 22 satellites and over 230 operators, which allows some 644 million people to watch the channel in more than 100 countries. RT America is available to 85 million people in the United States. In 2011 it was the second most-watched foreign news channel in the U.S. after BBC World News, and the number one foreign station in five major U.S. urban areas in 2012. It is also very popular among younger American people, U.S. college students, and in U.S. inner city neighborhoods. In 2013 RT has become the first TV news channel in history to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. According to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board between 2.25–2.5 million Britons tuned their televisions to RT during the second half of 2012, making it the third-most watched rolling news channel in Britain, behind BBC News and Sky News. The channel is often criticized for its lack of impartiality and use of propaganda”. I wouldn’t recommend anyone switching to Comcast ever, but if you already have it, listen and watch RT Channel…it’s a different world.

SANTA CRUZ SHAKESPEARE IN THE GLEN!!! Lots of us were not sure about whether or not this resurrected season will actually be back in the Stanley-Sinsheimer Glen. Mike Ryan’s video clip now showing at the Nick Theatres said it would be. On Monday (3/24) I asked Bill Richter chair of the board of Santa Cruz Shakespeare, he said, “Thanks for seeking clarification. Important issue. UCSC and Shakespeare Play On have signed a term sheet that sets forth all of the key terms for the use of the Glen for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The term sheet is now being turned into a “lease” (which when signed is the binding legal contract). We expect to receive a draft of the lease for review in the next 24-48 hours. All is on track and I am not worried. We will be in the Glen.

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary opens this week’s broadcasts explaining LAFCO and why we need it. He talks about CONSENT AGENDAS mostly in Monterey County. If you have forgotten about the Santa Cruz County Commission on The Environment it meets on Wednesday (3/26) and will deal with the RTP and our future. Re-using Fort Ord or FORA (Fort Ord Reuse Authority) faces problems in saving their environment and open space. It’s all here, check it out. Read all of above scripts at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor, and an attorney who represents individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365?

CLASSICAL DE CINZO. From the mouths of babes…via DeCinzo. See downwards.

EAGANS DEEP COVER. It’s about Putin on the Ritz…check it out a few pages below

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa just got a fabulous review in Publisher’s Weekly (3/24) and was still able to send this…she writes: “My novel, Alias Hook, gets a great review in Publisher’s Weekly! Tune in for this and other fun stuff this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (” Publisher’s Weekly said, “Jensen’s second novel, a twist on the Peter Pan story which reconceives of Captain Hook as a tragic hero, shows how she’s matured as a writer since her excellent debut, A Witch from the Sea. Jensen’s wonderful imagination and devotion to history and myth allow the reader to fly with her through this outstanding adventure—no fairy dust required. (July)” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

……In order of perfection……

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.Like Salvatore Dali and Norman Rockwell Wes Anderson makes brilliant films but the intent, meaning, and any statements behind what you see are confusing. Budapest Hotel is one of Anderson’s simplest films. Lots of laughs, not much subtlety, and Ralph Fiennes is at his funniest best. Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton and F. Murray Abraham are also in the film for publicity purposes I guess. Rotten Tomatoes says Johnny Depp, Ursula Kuhnt, and Angela Lansbury are in it too, but I didn’t see them.

DIVERGENT. Shailene Woodley has come a long way from George Clooney’s daughter in The Descendents, or her wonderful job in “The Spectacular Now”. She’s the main thing in Divergent. She diverges from the approved 5 factions in this Chicago land of the far distant future. It’s a lot like Hunger Games and Shailene reminds me a lot of Jennifer Lawrence in looks and in the roles they play in both these flicks. Ashley Judd is in this too, so is Kate Winslett. Much war, blood, fights, teen age stuff. You could stay home and study about oil deposits in Santa Cruz County and be better off.

BLOOD TIES. Clive Owen plays a very, very bad guy and crook as well as brother to Billy Crudup who is of course a very, very good guy and a cop. Dropping names, we have Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis and Zoe Saldana playingfemme fatales or wives or sisters. This movie is 60 years behind the times. We older folks saw it many times in the 40’s. It wasn’t any more significent back then either. It’ll be gone soon, so no problem.

(from BEST 2 worst)

PARTICLE FEVER. You’ll feel a lot smarter after you see this documentary about the “God Particle”. The Higgs Boson ultimate discovery that is supposed to explain everything. You’ll feel smarter but you won’t be able to describe this film to anybody. It’s so far over our heads, and it mostly looks like a hype piece to justify all the billions of dollars spent on the research. Mr. Higgs is in it and we never find out what happened to Boson. It is very impressive.

THE WIND RISES. It’s a masterpiece of genuine animation, not Disney, digital or Pixar it’s from Ghibli’s studio in Japan. They made Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and a few other classics. It’s not for children, it’s a sophisticated, intelligent biography of Jiro Horikoshi famed aeronautical engineer, and how “Jiro” created the famed WW 2 “Zero” fighter plane. The earthquakes, the war, the tender love story are absolutely stunning. See it asap.

TIM’S VERMEER. The Art of Vermeer would be better titled as Art of Da Mirror. A billioneer engineer thinks Vermeer used mirrors to paint his masterpieces. Maybe he did, so what? What if Van Gogh used his ear as a paintbrush? It is a barely interesting docuumentary, if you’re not too busy, or in a really good mood and have nothing else to do.

MONUMENTS MEN. This movie is boring with laughs.. It is terribly miscast with George Clooney, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville (from Downton Abbey) Jean Dujardin and Cate Blanchett. This is spupposed to be about art experts seeking masterpieces of art that Hitler’s troops had hidden. What’s funny about that?? Yet, the music, those funny actors, just weird that’s all. No continuity, little empathy, a few killings…not a bit of cleverness in it. Absolutely no reason to see this film.I didn’t know that there were more than 300 troops involved as Monument Men not just the 5 or 6 that Clooney created. You might get something out of renting for a rainy night!!

THE LEGO MOVIE. Check it out, Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 95 % (Monuments Men got 34%!!!). It’s notTHAT great but its clever, sort of Pixar clever. Yes it’s all animated with those little Lego people doing all the acting”. Voices like Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, and Chris Pratt are just fine, but there are dozens of almost secret throwaway lines that will really grab you. Many product take offs, huge slaps at our commercial lives, and it ends up with what you might even call a moral lesson!!! The 3D version is extra cute…but you could rent it in a year and still enjoy!!

NON STOP. It’s not a “who dunnit” but a “who’s doing it” murder mystery on board an airliner. It’s really confusing, and Liam Neeson holds it together as best he can. It’s odd and disappointing to see Michelle Dockery from Downton Abbey have such an almost non speaking part. Julienne Moore does her usually fine acting as does Lupita Nyong’o from 12 years as a Slave. Go if you want to, but you won’t like it very much.

NEED FOR SPEED. It’s difficult to put all of this racing saga in the overflowing movie trash bin. Aaron Paul and his relationship with co-star Imogen Poots is fascinating and well done. The racing footage is ok even in 3D it’s not great, but ok. The film has such a Hollywood ending like you’ll never believe.

MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN. I only watched 6 minutes of the part where Peabody and Sherman confront Leonardo DaVinci. It was enough to convince me that none of the wit, cleverness, sharpness of the Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Do Right days were gone. This is just another witless money grubbing Hollywood cartoon.

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE. It’s got an evil queen Menses (who looks like a dark, mysterious Margaret O’Brien) fighting the pure-at-heart Sphinctus Erectus who’s from grease or maybe it’s Greece. It’s full of blood and a PG type warning “no acting was performed during the making of this film” should have been given before we had to watch it.

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer (live only or sometimes old programs are archived…. Aletta deWal guests on March 25 to discuss art and marketing, followed by Gunilla Leavitt talking about Yarn and her Golden Fleece Yarn Shop. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years here’s a chronological list of just this year’s podcasts. Click here then tap on “listen here” to hear any or all of them… all over again. The update includes Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson-Darrow, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011. Hear them all!!!

QUOTES.” An intellectual is someone who has found something more interesting than sex”, Edgar Wallace. “I don’t hold with bi-lingualism. English was good enough for Jesus Christ”, Ralph Melnyk. “Violence is the repartee of the illiterate“, Alan Brien.


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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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