Article from the 11/4/2016 Catalina Islander

Since becoming "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet cruise ships and cross channel carriers, I have answered 59,025 questions.
Mr. Ning's will be closing before June, 2017, but no date has been set yet.  Show your support and say your final "good-byes" to my favorite restaurant!  Among the nicest group of people on the Island or ANYWHERE else!
If you would like to check out any of my past column submissions and also enjoy some of the more interesting/unusual questions I have heard over the years, www.catalinaislandman.com
IT RAINED AGAIN!  Keep it coming!  In the meantime, here are some more observations I have received regarding our water situation.  Raise revenue by sell the salt that we produce in our desalinization process.  If we continue to go paper and waste, instead of washing our meal articles, how much longer can our dump handle this?  Maybe we should look to Israel for a possible solution. Keep you suggestions coming and contact me directly, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The 3-hour PBS documentary, "WEST OF THE WEST", focusing on the history of the eight channel islands, with a very good segment on Catalina (including yours truly), is only available in Avalon at the "Steamer Trunk" and the "DC-3" (Airport).  If you don't live on Catalina, send me a check for $23, P. O. Box 1533, Avalon, CA 90704 and I will send you a DVD.
CORRECTION:  In my October 14, 2016 article, "WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE...", I stated that our last major drought was 1975-76.  Great friends Edie Hugo and Dr. Bill Bushing corrected me; 1978-80.  SORRY!
Our high school football "League Champions", Avalon "LANCERS", continue to win, win, win!  Speaking of not giving up, how about the Chicago "CUBS" who had their Spring Training on Catalina, 1921-51, while owned by the Wrigley family? GO "LANCERS", GO "CUBBIES"!!!
Regardless of the fact that our two Presidential contenders are arguably the two worst candidates our country has ever supplied us, GET OUT AND VOTE, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 7am-8pm!  I and others in Avalon and around the nation will be working the polls to guarantee that our wonderful democracy can continue.  PLEASE vote absentee, by mail, if possible, to cut down the paper work at the local precincts and make our job easier! 
 
"ALEX, I'LL TAKE 'CATALINA ISLAND' FOR $1000!"
 
One of my greatest joys is sharing this wonderful Island with as many people as possible and for as many different reasons. For years I drove charters through "Catalina Transportation Services" and I was always anxious to see what new adventures these excursions into the "Interior" of the Island would open up to the visitors as well as myself.  Around  2008, I had the particular honor of taking the cast of the ever popular TV show"Jeopardy" around for the Island for three days to help them with the category of "Catalina Island" (you know, the statements of video taped models) which they wanted tuse for their first HD program.
I drove the Director and two of the female models, while the other vehicle had the tech crew.  Being ME, I made suggestions on information they might want to utilize, as I had been asked to do so from other productions.  The Director made it VERY CLEAR from the start, "This is 'Jeopardy', we KNOW what we are looking for!"  So much for my humble input!
We went all over the place, often meeting up with Conservancy personnel who granted us permisiont go to "off limit" locations.  When we were in Middle Ranch, one of our EXTREMELY rare antelope ran in front of my van, which both delighted and frustrated me!  This was the first time, and so far the ONLY time, that I have ever seen his elusive animal and, with all of the high tech film equipment  in our little cravan, they weren't able to bring ANYTHING out in time to shoot it!  NOW THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A ONCE IN A LIFE-TIME SHOT FOR THE PROGRAM!!!
Anyone who knows anything about TV/movie productions, especially on "location", painfully understands the concept of "down time", and a LOT of it!  Just driving from place to place and shotting shot after shot can be extremely boring!  While we were experiencing one of these "unproductive" (?) periods, the younger model turned to me and asked me how old I though she was. (GENTLEMEN, I KNOW THAT WE ARE LITERALLY WEENED BY OUR DISTRAUGHT FATHERS TO BE PAINFULLY AWARE THAT THERE ARE A FEW QUESTIONS THAT WOMEN ASK US THAT ARE TRAPS AND THIS IS ON THE TOP OF THE LIST!  WE HAVE ALL BEEN TAUGHT TO THINK HOW OLD A WOMAN IS AND THEN IMMEDIATELY DEDUCT 10 YEARS. THAT IS THE NUMBER WE GIVE TO HER. THIS IS FOUND IN CHAPTER ONE OF THE "A BOY BECOMING OF AGE SURVIVAL HANDBOOK"!).  I was unfortunately a bit tired and "forgot" this formula, so I guessed her age, without taking off the 10 years!  SHE WAS FURIOUS!  "NO ONE has ever thought that I was over 25!!!"  I asked her by how much did I miss the mark and she answered, "You were right, but NO ONE has ever given me the correct age!"   Now that my brain was obviously in "neutral gear", I looked at the other model, who was quite a bit older and blurted, "At least you aren't 50 like she is!"  TURNED OUT I CORRECT FOR EACH OF THEM, BUT NOW THEY BOTH HATED MY GUTS!!!
Driving along with them in the back of my van, obviously trying to ignore me, made things very uncomfortable, but at LEAST I was still friends with the Director.  He was sitting "shot gun" and I turned to him and said, nervously trying to turn on my "charming" wit and humor, "When will this particular show be taped?"  "I think you mean when will it be 'aired'."  "No, when will it be 'taped'.  I want to find out who the three contestants are so that I can share with them the answers on the  "Catalina Island" category.  I want to share their winnings with them!"  Within seconds a piece of paper and pen were forced on me.  "SIGN THIS"!, the Director insisted.  "What is it?"  "It is a contract that states that you WILL NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, divulge where we went on this charter, what we shot, and what the questions were!!!"  "I WAS ONLY KIDDING!"  "SIGN IT!  BASED ON PAST QUIZ PROGRAMS, WE CAN'T TAKE THE CHANCE!" (Just for the record, to this day, even though the show was aired years ago, I stlll haven't shared with anyone this information!). Now, not only had I gotten the two models angry at me, but now I have lost it with the Director!
Needless to say, the last day of the charter was VERY QUIET and I kept my mouth SHUT, unless directly asked a question.  That night I went to my favorite restaurant, "The Channel House" (location of the present excellent restaurant, "M", 205 Crescent, "Metropole Market Place"), to have a quiet dinner.  Once I entered, I noticed that the "Jeopardy" cast and crew, unbeknownst to me, had also chosen this location for their final night celebration!  I asked the hostess to PLEASE find me a table AS FAR AWAY FROM THEM AS POSSIBLE.  I was escorted a distance around them in hopes that they wouldn't notice me and disrupt their meal.  I ate my dinner quickly and then waited, for over five minutes, for my bill.  When the waiter, who I knew quite well, hadn't served me the paper, I got a bit anxious and upset.   I wanted to pay up and get out BEFORE my newly made "enemies" saw me!  When the server FINALLY walked by, I abruptly asked him, "WHERE IS MY BILL!?!"  "I thought you knew, Chuck, it has ALREADY been paid!"  "Who paid it?" as I didn't recognize anyone else in the restaurant.  "The table over there", pointing to the "Jeopardy" group.  I glanced over there and with big smils, they gave me an enthusiastic wave, which I returned, but a bit "shell shocked".  I guess I had over reacted (OH YA, LIKE THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!), and we were back to being friends.  By the way, they tipped me VERY NICELY.  It had been quite a three day adventure!  The director had even asked to become a FB "friend" and had placed on my site, without me asking or knowing about it, that I had been an employee of "Jeopardy"!!  IMAGINE THAT!!!
Every time I watch this icon of American quiz shows, I have to laugh a bit.  One more "Never To Be Forgotten" experience that my magical Island home has afforded me.  I AM SO BLESSED and happy to share all that I can with those who truly LOVE Catalina as I do!