May 15 2016

Ornji Makes Comeback, Survives Surgery

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  Ornji was up at 5 am for breakfast today, Saturday morn 5-14, something he hadn’t done for some time, so I knew he must be feeling better, yet I couldn’t give food as much as I would have liked to as surgery was scheduled for 8:45.

I couldn’t go back to sleep and Ornji seemed ready for surgery,
unlike other days when he wouldn’t even move, so we arrived
for surgery over an hour early, around 7:30 am along with the cows
waking up and the new shift coming on at the vets office. So, we hung
out in the lobby, meeting and talking to all the staffers with Ornji now
out of his cage sitting next to me chillin’ and being so popular with
For some reason we weren’t too nervous. Of course, we were at the best vet in town (and probably the most expensive). And, Ornji was doing better  than in recent days , which gave me and the doctor added hope for a successful surgery.
The surgery actually didn’t get scheduled until 12 pm as they had to call in
the top specialists, surgeon and anesthesiologist , and when the time came
they found Ornji to be a bit anemic. So , to give him the best chance
they gave him fresh blood transfusions, but this would delay the actual
surgery until 3 pm…
Of course, they didn’t tell me and I was alarmed that I hadn’t heard from
the doctor . Three hour surgery sounded a bit long, so I called in to learn
of the delay. 
Three o clock rolled along and I didn’t hear from the vets office so at 4:30 I called again and learned that surgery had just finished but no details were provided and Doctor would call me.
Well, I waited and waited and waited and about 9 pm I finally got the relative good news that things went well, only a small area in the liver tumor that they didn’t dare remove- for which we’ll wait on a biopsy- but good news was that nothing was found in the other organs, eg no spread.
Ornji will be kept overnight at least one day to recover. It’s about10 pm now and I’m going over with some food that Ornji will eat. he’s picky and doesn’t like the medical science food.
I’m truly grateful as a week ago I thought I had lost another cat. Ornji is the first of four cats that ‘came back’ from a serious illness and actually rebounded after stopping eating. I must credit Encina Veterinary and their staff of top professionals, as well as my own persistence of emailing and calling repeatedly to get this early surgery date. I could find fault with this
one PR issue that Encina doesn’t follow up well, but that’s pretty typical
of the medical industrial complex in general these days.  One must be proactive today when it comes to medical issues. Don’t wait for a doctor to call . You call them or you may lose valuable time and maybe a life.
I wish I knew of Encina Vet  20 years earlier for my first three cats who died with six months from AIDs, leukemia and FIP, but then
I would probably have had to rob a bank to pay the bills in my still formative years.
So, thank you for your support. We”re not out of the woods entirely but
getting close. Now, hopefully, Ornji will   adjust to his new indoor status with his new indoor friends, me and Zack. Maybe after all this medical stuff
he will feel glad to me indoors away from the elements, much like Zack
was four years ago when he nearly died from exposure on his foreclosed home porch. (That was also an Encina success story that helped save zACK after a very t ouch and go time). So , perhaps the moral of this story is DON’T GIVE UP, no matter what happened in the past – Learn from the past and try harder and good will come to you, balancing out the bad past.
Actually, Ornji is one tough cat, with a strong will to live that really had a lot to do with his recovery so far. I coudl tell

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May 08 2016

Beloved Ornji Cat Suddenly Sick After Becoming Indoor Cat

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in treeDear friends,
I’m sorry to say I’m dealing with a sudden, unexpected very sick cat, Ornji, who
had just become an indoor cat…maybe too late (http::// . But doing best we can…
Seems he has a tumor on his liver. Being HIV positive he has always been at higher risk
with a weakened immune system, yet he has lived   outdoors (and in the basement)
with no problems the past three plus years.Then suddenly, just before his dental cleaning
10 days ago he started showing signs of slowing down, sleeping in the garage and not being  so animated at which time I used the opportunity of the dental cleaning and anestetic grogginess to bring him indoors to a quiet ‘cat room’ I had long anticipated for him or another cat. . Ornji’s  blood tests before the dental cleaning were pretty normal. but, we learn that a pet can have something else going on that doesn’t show in blood panel, thus the ultra sound is necessary- and that’s where they found the tumor. Now we’re waiting 3-5 days to learn more about that.
Maybe worse is that Ornji is not eating except for what I force feed him (gently in small
amounts) thru a syringe. Im trying to be optimistic but it’s tough with a sick cat who’s
not eating.  I’m doing breathing exercises and listening to calming tapes for myself while
staying mostly at home to monitor Ornji and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible.. There’s not much else to do until we get the
biopsy results…
Just wanted to share this so you’ll know if I seem distant it’s not intentional.
I’ve also had my own health issues last three months (neck and sinus pain), which I think and hope are controlled  but now this. Not asking for sympathy but a prayer or two wouldn’t hurt, if you
believe in that… or just some good thoughts.
Hope you and yours are doing well. This is all part of life and having gone thru it before
you’d think it would get easier. Not so sure about that…  But I will utilize what resources
I can, including you, my friends, with much appreciation.
Thanks for listening,
Burt  for Ornji (and Zack)
ornji on deck 1Ornji new indoor home-room
ornji nice large silhouette on deck rail

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Feb 08 2016


Published by under Uncategorized

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The dark, dreary days of winter had taken over. Just beyond the longest day of the year and the shortest amount of daylight to commune with nature. Not to mention the unusually cold days and freezing nights. A month ago Northern California was experiencing temperatures in the Seventies. Now, it was half that in the evenings and lucky to break into the 50s by day.

Even ‘sunny’ Californians can experience cabin fever and John Dutton literally hadn’t been out of the house in over a week, except for a short walk or two before the elements of cold and darkness became too much, even for this rugged outdoorsman. Each day for weeks he had planned to get out on one of his ‘Bay Area Backroads’ adventures – usually a several-hour bike trail ride in one of the Bay Area’s amazing regional parks. Obligations didn’t permit him to get out before afternoon but John was determined this day to finally leave early enough to be able to enjoy at least a couple hours in the wilderness, away from the everyday grind and increasingly limiting city life to which he was accustomed.

Dutton had been to nearly every East Bay Regional Park since discovering the nation’s largest and maybe finest system of parks. Morgan Territory – so remote it isn’t really in or near a city- was one of his favorites and best known ‘unknown’ places where one could escape for a totally un-city-like experience. With more time, he would have gone to a warmer coastal clime, such as Half Moon Bay or Monterey. After a last minute, unexpected phone call from a relative, he finally left home around three in the afternoon, which would give him an hour and a half of daylight biking time after the 45 minute car ride to the desolate area located somewhere between Livermore, Pleasanton and Concord. With warm clothes and bike light he might even be able to grab another another 15-30 minutes after darkness had settled
John had only been to Morgan Territory once before, having approached it via Concord. This time he came to it, driving from the south-eastern side beyond Pleasanton and Livermore. After a slow final five miles of single-lane (for two cars) winding road, he came to the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve Staging Area where there was a sizable number of cars parked near the main trail head. That would be the Valvon/Walker trail.

There were no available maps this day . Perhaps the rainy and wet conditions of late didn’t allow for maps that were usually left in boxes near the trailhead. But there was only the one main trail which John had been on and enjoyed even if only once. Without wasting any more time, he got out his bike from the car, put on two layers as it was probably not even 50 degrees and not about to get any warmer. He followed a few other hikers to the beginning of the Valvon/Walker trail.

The beginning of the route was quite muddy. So much so that the nearby hikers appeared to cut back to a shorter, drier area. But Dutton continued on, hoping the muddy conditions would subside as he climbed the hilly trail, with the bike tires absorbing the mud more than his own shoes.

Due to the relatively late hour – even for Dutton who was used to getting out even later than this to ride – the plan was to stay to the main trail and not dare venture out on one of the many tributary paths that can get one in trouble. He’d only known too well what can happen when one doesn’t plan the time; just mention the words ‘Rocky Ridge’ and Dutton would start to tremble as if a soldier experiencing a war-related flashback. Yes, he had once hiked an area not unlike this one where he lost his way at dusk and had to be rescued by helicopter just before a possible unwanted night in the mountains. Now, Dutton was more experienced, smarter and wiser.

After the 1000 feet of muddiness, Dutton would climb into a drier wide road bed. He remembered it like an old friend from the time before – maybe a year ago. This was truly one of the classic trails, probably more so for hikers than bikers, but Dutton was good at turning at making a bike path out of a hiking path, even usually sticking by the park rules.

John was making good time. Only 4:15 pm now, it was relatively light out, considering the overcast conditions. For a very brief moment or two there had even been a sliver or two of sunlight show through the clouds as he climbed above the darker canyon below. He figured on another good hour of light as he approached what figured to be, perhaps, the half-way point of the trail. He closely followed the trail posts, staying true to the ‘Valvon/Walker Trail’ signs and not the numerous trail ‘branches.’. He was especially buoyed when he came about ‘Valvon Loop.’ He was pretty sure this main trail would loop back as they usually do and this all but confirmed that. Further confirmation came when the next trail sign was again ‘Valvon/Walker,’ indicating that the Valvon trail was the same as the ‘Valvon Loop.’

It was a spectacular late afternoon. Often cloudy, overcast conditions can be more picturesque and photogenic than sunny days. He stopped to chronicle some of these kodak moments with his trusty all-in-one smart phone/camera. Some of the off-shoot trails, such as Whipsnake, looked intriguing, too. On another day, he would have probably gone off course and checked them out. But, it was starting to get late, and he now knew better than during his earlier trail days.

After awhile the trail seemed to be going on longer than John remembered the first time. He didn’t have a compass with him this day – not that that would have helped him much. Perhaps that it was getting darker made the surroundings appear different than he remembered. There had also been a slight problem with his bicycle’s gearing and chain. Even though he had just had the bike tuned-up recently, he would have to stop more than several times to readjust the chain that would come off the spokes. With maybe a half hour of daylight left, all he needed was for his gears to jam and have to walk the bike all the way back; this had happened recently near the top of Mt. Diablo, but he was able to somehow slowly coast down the hill on only tire tread. But this trail was too ‘ up and down’ to coast very much. What if the same thing happened here and he’d have to somehow get back before nightfall without the benefit of a hill – or clear direction- to get back?

As the time approached 4:45 pm, it appeared to John that he wasn’t getting any closer to returning back to the trail head. He may have even have been further away. Was this really a ‘loop’ trail?, he began thinking. Suddenly, he remembered having ‘lost’ the trail near the end of his last trek here. Somehow, the trail marker ‘skipped a beat’ and it took him a long time to get back on track. But, that time it was earlier in the day with less fear of running out of time. In ‘skipping a beat,’ he would ‘lose’ the trail. Instead of the signs continuing as ‘Valvon/Walker’ he came to a ‘Blue Oak’ trail as history seemed to be repeating itself to his dismay.
‘Oh no,’ he said to himself. Just a half hour ago, things were going well and he was enjoying this long-awaiting outing with no reason to believe he could be in any danger of another ‘Rocky Ridge.’ But, now, he really didn’t know where he was. He was off course. And he hadn’t seen another person to help with directions in over an hour.

Realizing that time was now becoming of the essence, he quickly decided to back track to the previous trail sign to double check that IT was still the Valvon/Walker trail. Sure enough, it was. So, he continued on, but somehow it seemed like he was starting out again the same loop he began over an hour ago. He could keep going or turn back before risking getting even further off course and miles from civilization.

It was now evident that John was not going to make the 5 pm park curfew. But, of more concern, was he going to make it back this night, period? True feelings of panic began to envelope him.

He had been saving the ‘juice’ on his phone but now was the time to use it. He remembered having to do the same thing with Rocky Ridge. It was this phone call that perhaps saved his life, or at least an overnight in the cold mountains with out a coat. This time, at least, he had warm clothing.

He would simply call his girlfriend and have her call the ranger station to send a truck up to get me. After all, it couldn’t have been very far from the start, no helicopter would be needed this time. Thank God for cell phones. But, when he tried to call her, all he got was her name to appear in the caller ID box; the call would not go through. Now it was full-blown panic. Add to this that rain was beginning to fall; that’s right, there was a forecast for rain this night.
Now, the odds of getting out of the Morgan Territory this night were looking slimmer and slimmer for John. He began to think the worst scenario was about to become the likely one and what would he could still do to prevent it. He hadn’t seen any mountain caves that he could sleep in along the way. And, now with the rain, he MUST have shelter.

With 10% cell battery left, he made one more call but, unlike Rocky Ridge, that ‘saving’ call was not to be. He tried calling the Park District but couldn’t make any outgoing calls, period, from this remote outpost with, now obviously, no cell service. He began questioning himself. How could this happen? Again? Did this happen to anyone else? ‘Why me?,’ he thought. In this modern society with technology why couldn’t he use his cell phone and what options were left, if any?
His only hope, he figured, was that his girlfriend, who he spoke to hours earlier and told he was going to Morgan Territory, would remember and call the rangers. But that probably wouldn’t happen until much later, if at all, he reasoned. It may be ‘do or die’ right now, he thought. He started feeling guilty of going out so late and without a map. But no use in pointing fingers at this point, he quickly deduced.

Obviously, there was something wrong with the signage for Valvon/Walker trail, having suddenly been interrupted. This had happened twice. Or, maybe he had read the sign wrong, but twice?

He had a window of maybe 15 minutes to find his way out this maze of trails before darkness settled in. Thirty minutes before total darkness, at which time it would be impossible to see more than the three feet ahead that his bike light illuminated.

In a last ditch effort, he thought , to avoid a night with the wolves and elements, he had to try those three (not four, it turned out) off-shoots and hope that one of them would eventually lead back down the hill to civilization. If there was just one person around who could point him in the right direction. But no. Not this night.

He would try each of these remaining ‘branches’ and hope one of them would lead out.This would totally exhaust the remaining 15 minutes of twilight. He went for it.

The first branch would take John back to ‘Blue Oak.’ But, to get there was an uphill effort, retracing his earlier route. John’s head and heart pounded as he struggled up the rocky climb with his bike. At many points he had to demount to avoid the high rocks and mud. When he finally got to the entrance of Blue Oak he could see that his was not the ‘lucky’ entrance to escape.

Back down the hill, next John would try Whipsnake, but he had no greater hope that this would get him back to the staging area, even though he remembered coming by the sign at the beginning of his journey. That’s why he KNEW he was not that far from the trailhead. But , as they say, ‘close only counts in grenades and …’ Whipsnake proved just as disappointing as Blue Oak , only somewhat less tiresome as it was flat.

Now, with darkness only a blind eye’s breath away, there was only the one ‘door’ left. This one was the least likely of the three, thus John chose it last. It didn’t even have a name. It hardly even looked like a trail, directly across the now-muddy valley. This would use up any remaining light – and probably energy- that John had, but he had to go for it.

Struggling to ride his bike through the mud, John traversed the hardly-visable path to get to the opening on the other side. He would ride a ways and hope that this would be the path that would drop down to the staging area.

Hope can be a wonderful thing, but too often it ends in disappointment. John had seen this many times with members of his family losing precious lives when hope finally gave out in the case of serious medical conditions. At least John still had his health this night, and, hopefully, something good would result this time. John had to go for it as the little remaining sand of time dwindled down the hour glass. The risk here is that by going for it he could end up further away. But, at this point, it didn’t look to John like his savior was anywhere near, even only two days after Christmas.

Corny as it sounds, ‘when the going gets tough the tough get going.’ After making it across the meadow, the final ‘path’ was pretty narrow but there was a glimpse of ‘light’ ahead. Now, at least there was no mud but the path seemed to go on and on. There was barely enough light for John to realize that this appeared to be the widening path he had come up on at the very beginning of the trail! Just another quarter mile or so should bring him back to the staging area. As he continued there was still no noticeable descent, though the path continued to seem familiar.
But, now, another decision loomed ahead. It was, literally, another fork in the road. The trail was about to split off in two directions. Which, if either, of these paths would be the one that would finally bring John home, if any? Not up for any new adventuress at this point, he noticed a small sign off to the right. As it was nearly dark, he would have to get close to read it, hoping the words would say ‘Staging Area Ahead.’
And, that’s EXACTLY what the sign read! John was elated, to say the least. Yet, he wasn’t home free, yet. How much further would his weary legs have to peddle? Would the park gate still be open and would the car still be there?
A thousand feet later that might have seemed like many more – but feet that he would gladly ride – down the hill John could make out the parking lot and his green car, the only one save for what appeared to be an abandoned one off to the side. Not even a ranger in sight.
After a final coast downhill, John arrived at the cattle gate before finding the right one. After finally opening the gate to the parking lot, he kissed the ground, unlocked his car and loaded his muddy bike. And, yes, the gate was still unlocked. And, now, as he left the park and quite a bike ride behind him, John was back in the REAL word, charging up his smart phone so as to help find the way out of this remote area.
John was never a big planner, enjoying the spontaneity of it all, but if there’s a lesson to be learned from his second experience of it’s kind, it’s to get a map and DON’T DEPEND on modern technology. And leave a little earlier next time.
John knows better and can vouch for all the above information because John is ME.

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11 6 15 Remembering the ‘Race’ to get better between Don and Pucky

Published by under DON,Pucky

It’s been a bittersweet weekend with the 11th anniversary passing of Don.

It seems like yesterday I drove Don to   attend
religious services not long after the passing of mother (Pauline). Don was
already in the throes of  his cancer treatments, yet he was
able to hobble down the isle and sit with me as we prayed for Mom and
sister Joan, who had passed two years earlier.
I remember Don having a really good spirit that night, as he did most of the time,
even despite his serious illness. Despite grieving for our family members
there was the strong hope  in both of us that Don could beat his illness and that positive attitude would give him more time that most. I remember that night, again, like yesterday,
hoping beyond hope that Don could beat the odds; if anyone could he could.
The other thing I remember  especially well during the time when Don was going
through his illness and treatments was that he continued to put others ahead of
his own problems.  Every time I would talk to him he wanted to know how
Pucky was doing.  Pucky was Joan’s dog for whom I took over guardianship after
Joan passed in 1999. Pucky, a chihuahua-fox, had that same indomitable spirit like Don
and was going through her own tough times with kidney failure
Sadly, she would pass this same week as Don,11 years ago, after her own long struggle.
It was certainly a double blow to lose both Don and Pucky at the same time , while
Dad was beginning to experience his own medical problems; it was certainly no easy feat
for Dad, who had been looking after Don, daily, the past years, after losing his wife
and daughter. Words don’t come to describe the empty pit-in -your-stomach feeling losing your closest people/pets (I had lost Joan’s older dog, Roscoe, just two years earlier,
not long after four cats in their infancies).
I learned a lot from both Don and Pucky, and TRY to live by the qualities they
showed me, especially in their later years as I got to know them better.
 I still miss them a lot, and always will.
While Pucky had a full life, for a dog (18 years)  I always feel especially bad
for Don, who spent so much of his time caring for others in his short-lived medical profession as well as being a dedicated father and friend of many-some of whom may not always have been there for him, especiailly when he was in need . Don did live longer with
his cancer than the great majority of people with  his kind of cancer.  I just hope he got more than a little back in his shortened life; for sure two great kids that will
perpetuate his legacy.  We know he was appreciated by many, including his co-workers at Kaiser Hospital who  awarded him Doctor of the Year. Dad and I went to accept that award in Don’s posthumous honor. As they say, Don was  ‘chip off the old block,’ much
revered by his patients as was Dad.  If Don had any enemies I never heard of any.
but lots and lots of admirers. 
I like to recall certain memories and ‘living thoughts’ of Don (and others no longer with us) that inspire if not daily then at least once or twice a year on these notable days. And, I always enjoy hearing stories about Don and my other family members which keeps them ‘alive;’  I cherish my brother Don, Pucky along with all my family members; just because they may not be so-called ‘active’ participants in society today they remain very ‘active’ in my hearts and thought processes, and , hopefully, some of yours’.
Thanks for caring and sharing,
With Love,
Burt K.



Feb 08 2016

Candlestick Park – I Said So-long to An Old Friend

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Published by under baseball,Candlestick Park

I wondered if the sun was shining so brightly at the new shiny downtown  stadium they rave about so much, where the  Giants announcers always proclaim   a ‘beautiful day’ or ‘beautiful night’ even if the temperature is 58. It gets cold at the new place, too.  

Candlestick Crumbles view from cracked parking lot
Not -so -Welcome to Candlestick anymore, as demolition is in progress 4-20-15.  Gates are  closed for good, now, as guards make sure nobody gets in for one final closeup. But, perhaps, getting too close might hurt more. Can probably see all we want from afar

Candlestick Park – I Went To Say Goodbye To An Old FriendI went to visit an old friend the other day.  It had been more than  10 years since I’d seen him, yet he was looking  as good I remembered him, except for a few parts missing. No signs of any cancer, yet his days are numbered. They say my friend had a ‘cold heart’ unlike the ‘new kid’ uptown where
the sun shines all the time, or so they say…

49ers sign and stadium back small
Road to Ruin – Where 49ers last played, Candlestick parking lot reminder of good times for 49ers and Giants fans.

Something called to me from within to go visit my friend this day, telling me
there wouldn’t be many more. I took a crowded freeway Monday, 
April 20  , suddenly deciding to get off busy #280  at the old Silver Ave exit  in
an effort to not only save time while recreating the old bus route I took as a kid  .
At least I would catch the tail end of that bus route. It looked like nothing had changed on the last leg to Candlestick… the  bumpy roads amidst  blocks of small, multi-colored matchbox homes abutting one  another.

Then, suddenly, there it was, right before my eyes. An empty but still invitingballpark
with the SUN BEAMING DOWN ON IT, surprisingly(?). It was a vision to behold, nothing like all the bad stuff you hear about in the media. This is the park they’re 
getting rid of in favor of the  shiny, new  one downtown, now already
in its fourteenth year. 

While the security guard wouldn’t let me get too close the park, as the large ORANGE cranes
took GIANT bites out of my friend, I was still able to go all the way around the stadium
to see all that was   being done to my friend.  I don’t know if it was better to see him go bit by bit, as sanctioned by the neighbors rather than one big explosion which would upset a lot. But, who could be upset more, as it was to slowly lose a friend. Maybe fast would have been better.

 And there was Paul McCartney
looking down from a large billboard left over from last August when he celebrated the 50th year
since the Beatles’ last concert at Candlestick Park .

candlestick crumbles from center field  parking lot view
Candlestick becoming a distant memory

In the bright sunlight my friend looked very good, from the various vantage points
I visited around the park .Perhaps it was a good thing they would’t let me get any closer
to see the actual blood and guts.  Why destroy a beautiful last image/memory any further.

As I gazed out at my friend he didn’t look quite as big as he did as when I was a kid.
Seeing my old friend again, for the first time in years.began to trigger old memories like
seeing the players leaving the clubhouse after the game, going to their cars. There was
‘Sad’ Sam Jones, relief pitcher extroadinaire – at least for a year or two – getting into his
’59 Caddy El Dorado  with the big fins. So what if he didn’t sign his autograph. It was Sam Jones! Then, it was the second game of the 1962 World Series – the first and only the Giants would appear in
during their first decades in San Francisco. My neighbor was nice enough to make this little kid (me) to that game, which I’ll never forget and some of the events of that day. There were many
other games I attended at Candlestick,,most of which have become a blur.  I don’t remember the cold
weather everyone complained about. The Giants were winners in the early 1960s. I did collect every Giants baseball card that year except Willie Mays (see sample below).

Remembering a simpler time, the ‘black and white days’ of the early 1960s. Can you name these Giants greats?

Remembering a great team of stars no cold weather could interfere with. I can remember
the names like yesterday without looking it up. Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Cepeda, the
Alou brothers Felipe and Matty, Hiller, Haller, Davenport, Miller, Pierce, Sanford, Bailey.
I think Perry came a little later. For a minute I forgot what day it was as a day dream
was taking over me. But it wasn’t a dream.More like a reverie. There was Candlestick Park
once more. I would have probably stayed a Giants fan for life if the team hadn’t run into
hard times in the late Sixties and Seventies, hiring less than stellar managers and players
as the Dodgers were beating our butts. After Alvin Dark, who managed Giants to the world series was fired, ten years of Herman Franks as manager was enough for
me. I switched allegiance to the new team across the Bay in Oakland. 1968. Of course
I lived in Oakland so I couldn’t be  called a traitor.

As I came out of my day dream I became sad. Thinking in modern, marketing terms – as we all
seem to do these days – I wondered if Candlestick had been built right on the water where
the parking lot was and the parking switched to where the stadium was would the Giants
have attracted bigger crowds back then? Would that have even made a difference
or were attendance numbers such a big thing in the Sixties?  Maybe it was yet people
weren’t so hung up on attendance as I recall. An owner could still make money with a half
empty stadium when costs were much less. Stadiums cost perhaps one-twentieth of what they do today. And ticket prices were rediculous. $1 for a bleacher seat, $3 for a good first deck ‘box seat’
in the early 1960s, as I recall.

candlestick crumbles from top stands (50s era stremlined curved backing

Up in smoke, once distinguished, 50s-stylish curved upper deck now in ruin

I wondered if the sun was shining so brightly at the new shiny downtown  park they rave about so much, where the  Giants announcers always proclaim   a ‘beautiful day’ or ‘beautiful night’
even if the temp is 58  – and it can get cold at the new park, too. 

It was time to leave my old friend, now, and get back to work and reality, but I thought
that, yes, it would be interesting to go by the new stadium, which was just off the freeway
on my way home. I do remember going to my first game at AT&T , then called Pac Bell Park,
in the early 2000s. It was the coldest night I can ever remember going to a game, and that
included Candlestick. Maybe it was because I was no longer really into the Giants, but, no,
it was plenty cold that night. My friend Tom will vouch for that… and I remember the weather
more than I do the game, which wasn’t the case at Candlestick for me.

Candlestick still looking good from this angle, parts intact - Copy
Still looking good from this angel, er, angle

Looking out from Candlestick’s warm climes on this day, it looked like the rest of San Francisco was overcast and cold. Driving back 101 I passed by King Street   the not-so-new Kid in town and saw not a drop of sun.The temperature on building read ’58,’ which had to be a half dozen degrees lower than over at Candlestick. I began to get mad. Why are they hurting my friend. Why are they getting rid of him. This is a con job, I told myself. On this day it certainly was much warmer and more beautiful looking out at Candlestick than AT &T.  Was it just a coincidence that on this day things were colder  and gloomier downdown? I’ll have to try this again another day soon, and see if the downtown location is really that much warmer and less windy. I’m going to do my own
little investigation. 

In the Eighties and Nineties the Forty-Niners were football winners at Candlestick. Nobody complained about the cold weather then. Maybe the winters in San Francisco ARE warmer than the summers , as Mark Twain once reminded us, but how much could that be? If the Giants stop winning you can bet they’ll come up with some excuse  . The Giants have no KNOWN PED players currently on the team, which may explain part of their drop off this year, 2015. If they continue to lose, there will be some excuse. Can’t build another  ballpark already. We’ll see.

     from car view
One last gate remains open for demolition trucks to come and go – but not for fans anymore.

I am going to say one thing that a lot of today’s younger fans and some older ones
 might not like. There wasn’t the  political correctness on the Giants and any second guessing  
 about players back then. You saw what you got. A homerun was a homerun – and the M and M boys hit a lot of them, as did the rest of the Giants. No second guessing whether a player was ‘legit’ or ‘enhanced.’  Players drank more booze back then, were more overweight and even took some greenies to stay ‘up’ during long road trips. But, even the greenies didn’t affect the outcomes of ball games.

We weren’t overrun with media and political correctness back then,either. Players we rarely saw on TV were brought to life through the ‘color’ radio   of Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges.   Our imaginations took the place of  ‘in your face’ social media.   Maybe a little mystery was better than reading 140 character word-bites. The focus was more on the games, themselves. Besides, there  were no ‘designer’ anabolic steroids  or PEDs to speak of back then. It was a simple, more honest world that didn’t call for drug testing. With long-term,multi-million dollar contracts today brought on by stronger players unions, the pressure is on players to produce. Now, it seems that players are even being rewarded for taking enhancements as we see PED indictments being overturned (Bonds) and players making more money the second drug offence around (Cruz, Peralta, etc). The Giants won there first three world series in sixty years  with KNOWN PED users and key players (Torrez, Cabrera and Morse in 2010,2012, and 2014 respectively) and have seen 23 indicted players come through town since Bonds opened the flood gates in 1997. Today we’re living in an era where a player like Bonds , basically, can control a team as we saw his presense directly or indirectly force out key NON-PLAYING members of the Giants family,e.g. Bill Newcomb, Stan Conte, Dusty Baker, Hank Greenwald and even some players like Brian Wilson. Interesting that with Bonds, the Giants still didn’t win a world series. Only when ‘team CHEMISTRY’ got real good, if you will, did the Giants start winning.

Ironic orange monsters destroying old orange and black's stadium
Ironic orange ‘monsters’ destroying the old orange and black stadium, home of the OLD orange and black of another era, when the Giants played like GIANTS without aid of any special enhancements. Cold weather didn’t matter. In fact, when they were winning nobody seemed to notice cold weather.

Sure, some players could be surly and avoid signing autographs back then. But, they certainly never charged money for them as they sometimes do today. Today, players are paid extra so that they will interact with fans, do interviews, etc.  Wasn’t the case back then. Players got  one year contracts back then and that was it. And it wasn’t a lot of money, where most players had to work during the off season.

Take down the lights, the parties over
Take down the lights, the party’s over

It’s a different world today where fans  will come religiously out to the ballpark  – with 
smart phones in hand. It make take take half price Goldstar tickets or nightly promotions 
or roided or suspect players  to draw them –and they may be staring at those phones rather than watching the game. But, they’re there and part of the, in Giants case, hundreds of straight ‘sellouts.’  Meanwhile Giants management does all the  politically correct things,
from holding ring ceremonies to inviting back the former players  . Meanwhile, good old Candlestick Park (before ballparks had corporate names)  where REAL, honest baseball ruled, is quickly becoming a forgotten friend from a  time when players were loyal
to their teams and teams were loyal to their players (and not just with multi-million dollar contracts).

A year from today  Candlestick will be no more. If you grew up in THE era, you, too, may want to to say goodbye to a good, old friend, the likes of which you’ll never see again , nor what’s took place inside.

Thanks for coming

Yes, thank you for having us , Candlestick. You did the Giants and 49ers proud and most fans loved you, at least when their teams were winning.


In the immortal words of Russ Hodges ‘Bye Bye Baby’to Candlestick Prk
or as Lon Simmons might say, ‘Tell It Good Bye.’
Candlestick Park – I Went To Say Goodbye To An Old Friend


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Feb 08 2016

A Busy Day in the LIfe 3-12-14, beating Friday the 13th! A Success!

Published by under Uncategorized

A Busy Day in the LIfe 3-12-14, beating Friday the 13th! A Success!

Published by under Ornji,Pets


Zack and Ornji have never officially met since Zack is the senior INSIDE cat and ORNJI the OUTDOORS Johnny Come Not-so-Lately Cat, though they certainly know each other by now. Zack is more curious about Ornji than the other way around but certainly tolerate each other in their rides together to the vet to looking at each other thru screen door. Zack lets me know whenver Ornji is around with his plantiff , soft meows.  If and when they are together indoors one day, hopefully they will get along. Below, Zack taking it all in awaiting his teeth cleaning



 Zack in carrier at vets

Busy Day Highlighted by Long, Nerve Wracking Zack and Ornji Dental Cleanings!

 March 12 (glad it wasn’t Friday the 13th)


7:00 am to  the Vet after a challenge getting Zack and especially Ornji crated and stacked in car front seat. Cats were fairly good on ride to vet, still sleepy.


7:45 Vet  Dr Hall Essoe came out with techs, very thorough of what to be done today – sedation and an hour of teeth cleaning per cat.. She would call mid day to update progress and any necessity for furthter dental work


8:30 am shopping for cat food and my food at Nob Hill Foods near the vet.  


11 am more shopping at Ranch market for Bonita treats for cats ,then 99c store for $1 plant hangers to hang tomotoe plants, plus,  went to


11:30 am Cost Plus where they helped me put together a gift basket for vet of wine, tea and chocolate(asst to vet said Dr Hall Essoe liked), stopped


 12  pm Vet called to let me know Zack did fine but needed one tooth extracted


1 pm Big Lots Concord for 50c tomato planters (reg $10) and 5 drawer organizer towers for only $26-bought 2,


2 pm dropped one at office and did some work there including a 5 star Yelp review for Dr Hall Essoe vet,


2:30 Vet tech called to let me know Ornji got his cleaning with no other issues!


3 pm stopped at Walgreens for a tetanus shot since doctors don’t do it anymore -they said I have thin blood ( is that good or bad?), 4 pmdropped off final tax info at CPA in W.C. but it was the wrong one,


 4:15 pm stopped at Quest in Lafayette to try for a lab blood work but they now close at 4 pm,


4:30 pm went home pick up correct tax info and also vaccumed basement so Ornji could come home to a clean room at night, 5 pmreturned to CPA with correct tax info and drove back to vet to pick up Zack and Ornji at 5:30 pm, an hour later than I could have come but that was ok… they were still a bit groggy from anaesthetic.  


6 pm Brought ‘the boys’ home and took Ornji in his cage to his base ment room where he ate the small prescibed soft meal, ran back up to take Zack out of the car in his crate inside for his small 1st meal of the day, ran back down to check on Ornji who was doing fine and resting now, ran back up to make sure Zack was ok ; he was now taking it easy. Had my first real meal of the day, spaghetti with vegetables and spaghetti squash, garlic and spices, 


7 pm took a short walk around the block,


8 pm watched a little TV with Zack, did a little work, 9pm  checked on Ornji who was nowhere to be found (probably hiding out in back of basement after long day),


9:30 gave Zack another small meal of wet food and then put him  in his room so I could get some work done,


10pm went out to the garage to finish unloading shopping to find ORNJI waiting for me for ‘outside’ food.  Escorted him down to his basement room where I gave him another small wet food meal  and said goodnight


 11 pm little more work, check email, watch a little TV, went to bed at 1 am! A full day I had dreaded! Glad It’s over…FYI  .  Thanks for sharing and caring! PLEASE SHARE YOUR SPECIAL DAYS!





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Jan 03 2015


Published by under Uncategorized

Elves, not Elves neededsent to 84 friends, family and those (mostly from MInnesota who send contributions to Dad’s memory)

This is full veriosn


How time flies -I’m trying hard to slow it down – and, especially, how late I am in acknowledging your kind a generous
sentiments / contributions following the passing of Dad (Jerry Kaufman) Oct. 16, 2012. I had intended to write each of you a personal note
but between my emotions and unrealistic expectations here we are ovoer two years later, having just celebrated Dad’s 100th birthday!


I’m well as I hope you are, yet with a piece or pieces of me missing, as it were, though trying to appreciate each day and moments I’m
fortunate enough to have that my family members don’t. I feel very lucky to be living out days my brother Don and sister Joan couldn’t,
as well as Mom (Pauline) and Dad …though, 98 years wasn’t too bad for him. I also lost my ‘orignal’ cats April (20) and Weepy (18)
shortly after Dad. I have been able to revisit family members in infrequent dreams, which have been
real treats.) I still feel all of their collective energy and hear their ‘voices’ from within offering guidance,
e.g. What would Joan or Don have done in a given situation?

walmart hanukah

So, life’s a bit different now . It’s more about living each day well, doing NOW what I used
to put off, like getting the house in order , including a family tribute room , where old family photos, momentos and memories will grace the walls
once again, with countenances smiling at me, no longer in boxes. And,I will smile back at them. Looking at Don, Joan, Mom and Dad will
remind me, fondly, not only of days happy days gone by but of what might have been their futures, some of which it has been and
will be my duty and honor to carry out. I was lucky to have an especially likable sister and brother, whose personalities alone contributed
much to the world, not to mention their contributions as teacher and doctor, cherished by many.


In 2015 my 5,000-plus record collection (as in LPs and 45s) will come to life again and even my ‘lucky’
’63 Chrysler Imperial might see the road this year after two years in moth balls; I acquired ‘Carhuna’ in 2004 during my own life-threatening
medical issues and he remains an important part of the ‘family’ along with real life favorite furry friends Zack and Ornji, not to mention
the wild turkeys, deer and birds who come around for food.


As I catch up on a long list of things in 2015 this includes speaking/corresponding with you more in the new year. If nothing else I’ve learned the value of each day,
not to be taken for granted, and again, as Grandma said, ‘If you’ve got your health you have everything.’ I still don’t travel outside the Bay Area
and don’t get to visit many of you , in person, but I think of you often. Here’s thanking you again for being there for me and wishing you – and I’m
sure all the Kaufmans would echo it – a truly Happy, Healthy New Year.
Enjoy every sandwich –
with Love, Burtcar with kennedy stickers



Aug 04 2014

Dreams Re-unite Us with Our Old Pets, Loved Ones

Published by under Dreams,Loved Ones

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Jun 21 2014

Thoughts of Sister Joan on her Birthday 6-21-14 – Connection with Allan Sherman

Published by under Allan Sherman

​Joan’s Portrait of Roscoe on her bed

Today is Joan’s birthday. She left us many years ago and life hasn’t been quite the same since losing my closest relation and friend. But,  we/I go on. Inspired by her memory and the person she was/is,  we/I try to live my life as best I can   with her a part of it/me.
Joan was a very unique individual, exemplifying the best qualities whether it be her ability to really listen or her empathy or her real common sense when dealing with issues often family-related or otherwise. When there was something troubling me it was often troubling her, too, and she always seemed to understand the situation; even if there was nothing that could be done it would help us deal with the issue simply thru understanding . 
 Joan and I had many common interests; perhaps it was in our blood –  no, I think it was the bond we built up over the years often due to trials and tribulations. One such common interest was music. Joan excelled at the piano.  She was one of the few kids I knew who continued her music – taking lessons for 15 years. Unfortunately, she never went back to it but she always loved music and we would often take rides together to  favorite ‘haunts’ while listening to the soulful strains from Aretha Franklin to Janis Joplin to  Gene Pitney to Jerry Butler to doowop .   When a new record or CD would come out that I knew she would like, I couldn’t wait to bring it along and play in the car on one of our rides, or shall I say ‘cruises’to see her reaction to the new music.
One thing we did NOT have in common was art.  I couldn’t draw my way out of whatever but Joan was excellent, as you can see in her attached portrait of Roscoe ‘the wonder dog’ now featured on my home wall. Roscoe was Joan’s last dog along with his ‘sister’ Pucky.  I need to mention here how Joan had the knack of acquiring the greatest dogs over the years. I think part of it was that they became a product of their guardian, Joan – and she enhanced their great qualities. I would like to talk more about Roscoe and Pucky another time and how I got to enjoy them another four years after Joan’s passing in 1999.

Getting back to music,  I went to hear an author speak last night and thought I’d share some thoughts about ALLAN SHERMAN, the subject of a new book. I don’t remember how Joan took to Sherman but I’m sure she would have appreciated his sometimes cynical lyrics that poked fun at Jews, if not the music itself.  Joan and I had our own  ‘run-ins’ with the religion in our formative years and it helped to listen to Sherman’s own versions. Dad, I know, was a big fan of Sherman’s as was Mom. It was music for all ages, really.  Don was perhaps  a bit young.
As a kid in the early 60s there were two popular songs  that I memorized all the way through. One was the ‘Dodgers Song’ by Danny Kaye (even though I was a Giants fan at the time – and they DID beat out the Dodgers that year) and ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah,’ by Allan Sherman.
A year before ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah,’ there was the breakout album for Sherman, ‘My Son The Folksinger,’ which was really parodying the Jewish culture in America at the time. I remember   relatives gathering around the cardtable in our living room  , actually LISTENING to ‘My Zelda’ (from Belafonte’s ‘Matilda’), ‘Sarah Jackman’ (from Frera Jacques), ‘Streets of Miami’ instead of ‘Streets of Loredo,’ etc. as Sherman both celebrated Jewishness while aptly skewering parts of it at the same time.  It was perhaps the first such ethnic album that became popular with mainstream America, in 1962; even President Kennedy, an Irish Catholic, enjoyed   the album.  I loved it, too, initially   more for the music than the lyrics, most of which I did not understand at the time, but there was something very different and special about this ‘sound’ that Sherman gave us  It certainly brought our family together for one of the few times, again, really LISTENING rather than trying to out-talk one another.

Sherman with President Kennedy, a big fan

If my family had ‘rough  edges,’ Allan Sherman’s had many more. He may have only gotten through the many family moves, parental shifts and so forth by describing the craziness of it all through his writings, and , later, the musical parodies that would hit big  .
He would go on to have three No. 1 albums within a year- My son The Folksinger, My Son the Nut and My Son the Celebrity.’ Though I have only begun the book I am already taken back to my own similar experiences growing up around the kitchen table, being encouraged to ‘eat eat’  and ‘clean your plate’ or in Yiddish, ‘ess, ess,’ while being told it’s better to be seen than heard. So, I took a back seat and witnessed the Jewish culture around me with mixed emotions – a wonderful, historical past with rich, intellectual properties yet sometimes with  the less-desired aspects shoved down my throat.
Sherman’s sordid yet colorful past gave him the ideal life experiences for which he would become famous in the musical parodies he wrote. We learn that those parodies were his means of expression, throwing off  the his  mother’s ‘chains of bondage,’ as it were , as well as other dissatisfactions growing up- all not always Jewish ones. It was not all ethnic, either, as Sherman also mocks the new artificial suburbia that was taking over American in the early Sixties in songs like ‘Here’s to the Crabgrass.’
Mark Cohen takes a subject, Allan Sherman, who has never really been written about in any depth  before, and not only brings him and the ’60s time period back to life in ‘Overweight Sensation ‘ but gives us a very detailed, well researched, documented and footnoted treatise on Sherman and that era.  Cohen has been able to gain access to not only the Sherman estate archives but many of the people who knew him – while they are still with us. The only thing missing from the book are actual multi-media samples of audio and video of Sherman; of course those are obtained through various sources like Youtube; we have also put some up on our tribute to Sherman and this book   It was as if Sherman was right there in the room as Cohen played some of his favorite Sherman parodies and even interview clips with Sherman.
Whether you remember Allan Sherman or not, this book is a fantastic historical time capsule that will bring back memories and a real look into a man who turned his tortured upbringing into a uniquely positive contribution to society and opened doors not only for Jewish but   ethnic group acceptance into mainstream culture. Allan Sherman is pretty much forgotten or unknown  to most  today, other than for his  small resurgence due to this book , but in 1962-1963 he was the biggest thing in comedy, if not music.

Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts on this sometimes difficult day. 


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May 27 2014

Memorable Memorial Day – Honoring Family and Veterans from Historic Mountain View Cemetary, Oakland, CA 5-26-14

5-26-14 A special day.I wanted to do something for my family that I hadn’t done. That was spending most of a full day at the cemetary with them. I had only visited once before – perhaps I couldn’t handle it or wasn’t ready – but the experience today was a lot more positive than I expected, as noted below. It gave me a good feeling and I almost felt they were right there with me again. I will repeat this more often, now and look forward to being with the Kaufman family again soon. It does bring some comfort and perhaps -I hate to use the trite word but…closure.








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May 12 2014

Mother’s Day Wishes 2014 Remembering Mother and Her Good Deeds

Published by under Uncategorized


Wishing you and yours a Happy Day as we honor Moms for all they do, including bringing
us into the world to make it all possible for us. Such can be said for my Grandmothers
Rose and also remembering Aunt Annette among  more immediate circle of relatives,
and, of course, my own mother, Pauline, who is greatly missed. (I like to remember her
and others no longer with us on special days like this. Sister Joan was the best pet ‘mother’ I’ve known; she raised  many happy, wonderful dogs over the years including her last, Pucky and Roscoe. She was also popular ‘mother’    to get through to many Oakland school students.

Celebrated yesterday with Mindy, and her mother, Joyce at the Oakland Zoo, where we saw many other mothers of various species including bats, giraffes, elephants, walabees (in an Australian section), but, most notably the primates, for whom the Oakland Zoo has one of the best offerings… baboons, chimpanzees, gibbons, etc. and especially the lemur ‘sanctuary’ were of great interest.  Mindy is mother to Hershey, wonderful chocolate lab
and the late Stormy and Amber, still with us in spirit as our other departed friends and relatives.    I shared with Mindy and her mother some letters written to me by Mom and Dad, recently come upon while cleaning house and some relatives, too.  Those involved may remember.

Also , thought of how Pauline was ‘mother’ to many lively seniors at the resident Coit Hotel in Oakland during the Sixties and Seventies. My parents treated ‘Goldie,’Mr.Goldman and the ‘lobbyists'(as I called them) gang just like parents, giving them a lot for the $52 HUD monthly rent they paid.  Memories…  And, that got me to thinking of how Mom finally got the city of Oakland to bury the telephone wires below ground so as not to obstruct the beautiful resevoir/fountain views, as well as finally paving the roads; sadly, she had passed away by the time the city actually did the work.

And, speaking of memories especially for us folks who remember the Fifties… a few more , courtesy of Uncle Al and Diamond Films : 

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