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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Friday, October 18 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterSentimental journey—Can't go "home" again

Concluding the journal of my recent Southern California tour.

Thursday morning in Culver City began with leaden skies that dampened my mood. Lying in bed contemplating my final 100-plus miles of driving this day, after having my Starbucks and preparing the night's email post and eating lunch, to San Diego where I planned to spend the night just to say hello to a favorite city and see what's changed since my previous visit three years ago, the prospect took on less and less appeal. I wasn't sure where I'd stay, the former favorite accommodations having been remodeled to something less accommodating than I once liked. Today's traffic would be terrific the whole way from greater LA to greater San Diego, parking after getting there would be a problem.... The next day would be even less appealing, driving back the whole distance via Interstate 5 from San Diego to the Bay Area and across the ridge to San Jose. Before getting out of bed I decided to forego San Diego on this trip and return to home a day early.

Is there anything else undone in Marina del Rey/Venice and Los Angeles more generally? Nothing vital. Lunchtime breakfast at the '50s Diner on Lincoln, a couple of miles north of Washington, would be nice, it being one of the dozen or more restaurants I frequented when living in the area (the nearby cheesesteak hoagie stand, "3000 miles closer than Philadelphia," had been eliminated by my permanent fast from as much carbohydrate as characterizes its roll). After preparing that night's email post at the coffee shop in front of Costco, that's what I did. I wrote about the '50s Diner a bit in the earlier incarnation of the Jonals, while living here. It still has the even-older movie posters and magazine articles and front covers on the walls, the framed photo of President Eisenhower. Still has the Seeburg Jukebox, though it's out of order now, but the same classic hits by the Platters, Coasters, Maguire Sisters, and other giants of '50s pop music still play in the background. The formica and chrome tables are still the same, and so, thankfully, are the menu prices, which are among the best in the area. New York steak and eggs with sourdough toast and home fries for less than $8 (okay, it's mediocre steak, but compared with chain-diner breakfasts, a good deal).

Though longer by almost two hours' driving time than I-5, the coastal freeway written about earlier in the week, 101, is far less tension producing. There had been reports in the news in the past two weeks of miles-long backups on I-5 at least twice. Though unlikely to happen again a third time that soon, even with a newly minted CD of part of my playlist that was keeping me singing along, 101 beckoned. Maybe there would be glimpses of blue-water ocean vistas, even a final stop for my daily constitutional up and down the beach. That was the decision maker.

Though on Monday the temperatures across California were near and—inland—over 100 degrees, since then they had been declining daily, and by Thursday the beach was downright chilly (but I was there to hike, not sunbathe, so that should be a feature rather than a bug). The skies were still cloudy, though not leaden, when I stopped.

That section of the coast was being blessed by dolphins Thursday afternoon. By the time I ended my walk, the clouds had vanished and the water was glassy-smooth and azure hued. There must have been several hundred dolphins tumbling and showing their dorsal fins to the traffic on El Camino Real.

It seemed like a good omen, a fitting finale to the trip.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Today's groaner (end of series)

On a note similar to yesterday's, a scientist tried mixing hen DNA with the DNA of a clock. He ended up with an alarm cluck.

—Sent by Connie Cox

Thought for today

Art or icon? Or, art as icon?

A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

—Albert Camus

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