Article from the 4/28/2017 Catalina Islander

I was doing security at the Casino when an older woman drove up to me in a golf cart, with two men in the back.  She  was headed out to Casino Point.  "Am I going the right way?"  "Where are you going?"  "I don't know!"  "Then I guess you have a 50/50 chance of going the right way."  About 15 minutes later she stopped on her way back to town, "Thanks for your help!"
Just getting off the cruise ship, "Will I now be getting 'International Roaming Charges' on my cell phone?"
A woman rushed off the cruise ship directly to me.  "Quick, where is the restaurant that has the pictures of nude men in the restroom?  I have waited almost 40 years to see them again!"  (Anyone guess where I sent her?  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m)
"Is the Island surrounded by fresh or salt water?"
"Why don't you call yourselves 'Californians'?"
GENTLEMEN BEWARE!  About 5 years ago I was doing security in the Casino Ballroom for a Conservancy Ball.  The ladies' restroom attendant came over to me and shared some "unusual behavior".  "Two women have just exchanged all their clothing?"  "WHY?"  "I don't know!"  "Nothing illegal about it, but try to find out from one of them why!"  About 15 minutes later she came back to me.  "Seems these women think that their husbands are more involved in each other than them, so they wanted to find out if they would notice if they exchanged clothing when they went back to the table."  "Find out what happened!"  30 minutes later the ladies were asked how their husbands faired.  Both noticed, one noticed, neither noticed.  You guess!  Wonder if men could do the same!
FLEETING FAME:  Almost exactly one year ago, March 22, 2016, I wrote a column, "ESCAPING PARADISE" ( and I mentioned two very nice "new" Islanders, Bryan and Nia Baze.  I am happy to report that we are now good friends.  I mentioned them in the column and they proudly posted it on their refrigerator.  I guess it is now pretty faded as Bryan told me that he and his wife were going camping at Ben Weston during Easter and he was hoping that this would be significant enough to make the column again!  HARDLY!  But out of "friendship", here we go again.  Might as well also mention Bessy, Sean, and Luca.  One of them is their son who will soon be starring in Sean Brannock's production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". You guess which one is the son.
THIS ONE I DON'T BELIEVE!  A few days ago, April 22, I was heading to the mainland when I was standing next to a young couple with two adorable kids.  They were looking for fish and I pointed out some of the larger ones jumping out of the water and so I explained the number of reasons why this could happen.  As I often do, I gave them one of my business cards in case they wanted to keep in touch for when they might come back again.  They looked at my card and then at me and said, "CHUCK LIDDELL!  You were the one who my step-father, Bill Paige, asked to give a lecture on the history of Catalina for our 'rehearsal dinner', at the 'El Encanto' (now "Island Spa")!  We are here to celebrate our 10th Anniversary!"  It had been 10 years and 2 days since I last saw them!  Alan Sheppard married Florencia Porto on April 22, 2007, in the Casino Ballroom.  He is the son of Sherrell Paige. They had with them their sons, Christian, 3 1/2 years and Nicholas, 1 1/2 years.  They live in Anaheim where he teaches History and she teaches Spanish.  I have a feeling it won't take 10 years for another reunion!  WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF US MEETING UP AGAIN STANDING IN LINE AT THE MOLE!?!
A MUSEUM DISPLAY YOU MUSTN'T MISS!  First, I have a confession.  Originally, I wasn't AT ALL happy about the new direction our Museum seemed to be taking.  Displays that had NOTHING to do with Catalina were being highlighted in the new Museum with the understanding that getting visitors to see these exhibits will help get them in to learn about Catalina's history.  This concept didn't impress me!  We had SO MUCH more to show about Catalina.  THEN I became a volunteer "docent" ("docent touch ANYTHING!") for the new Dale Chihuly glass display that began on March 16 and will continue until December 11, 2017!  IT IS BREATHTAKING AND WORDS CAN'T DESCRIBE IT!  People are coming from EVERYWHERE to see this once in a lifetime display and it was a real coupe that Catalina got it after it has been literally around the world!  I suddenly woke up and realized that having these "non Catalina" oriented displays allow Islanders, as well as visitors, from having to travel around the country to see them.  THEY ARE NOW IN OUR OWN BACKYARD!  How great is that!  The new Museum is on Metropole Ave., up from the "Hermosa Hotel" on the right (YOU CAN'T MISS IT and DON'T!) and it is open daily from 10-5 and ONLY closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  Believe it or not, I had two visitors last week who actually put there ears near the glass in the "Seaform Room", wanting to hear the ocean!  I KID YOU NOT!  IT IS THAT AMAZING!
CASINO "SING ALONG"!  I was talking to official Casino organist extrodinare and great friend, Jon Tusak, and we thought it would be an interesting and fun experience to turn his one hour "comp" organ concert, Friday-Tuesday, 6:30-7:30, included in the price of movie admission, to a "sing along"!  WHAT FUN THAT WOULD BE!  "Catalina Island Co.", do you have any bouncing ball around!?!  Let's try it at least once to see it might catch on!  Shades of Duke Fishman in the evenings on Crescent Avenue!
AVALON IS WALKABLE!  Although we mostly are capable of walking literally everywhere in Avalon, I know how hooked we can get on golf carts.  Unfortunately, once we are dependent on them, they can "completely" dominate and control our ability to get around!  When I had my medical issue, I put on 10 pounds so quickly by not walking!   It is unfortunate that so many of our older children are "driven" to the school, when it would be so good for them to get some exercise, fresh air, socializing, when walking to school.  Our very large percentage of Diabetes I (childhood diabetes) can be controlled if our kids can learn to only use golf carts when necessary, and not as a substitute for walking.  Adults can learn from this too.  Significant weight loss/gain all depends on our learning to use the carts sparingly!  Are we adults good role models for our kids?
YOU ARE ALL INVITED TO A VERY SPECIAL CELEBRATION!  For those of you turning 70, how are you planning  to celebrate your birthday?  Well, as should come to no surprise, I plan to do it a little differently!  Although my 70th will be on May 24, on May 21, at the "Peoples' Park", across from City Hall, Avalon, 2-4, I will be having a very special "Coming Out Celebration".  Yes, I am gay and have known it since I was 6 (64 YEARS!).  I have FINALLY decided to make this stand as I know that there are a lot of scared and confused young as well as older males and females who know that  they are gay, but are overly concerned about making the move publicly.  I want to be the "poster child" for the young ones NOT to wait until they are 70, yet for the older ones, it is NEVER too late!  Please join my wonderful home of Avalon for this double celebration.  Please, no presents, but encouraging cards are always appreciated and if possible, please bring a dozen cupcakes, so that everyone there will be able to partake in a piece of the cake.  I am sure that this comes as quite a surprise to many of you and, if I have offended you, I am sorry.  Never intended to.  For those who are hurt that I hadn't told you before, please realize that this has been EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for me and I give many of you the credit that this disclosure would not affect the love we have for each other.  If you have any questions/comments, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE AND SHARE WHO WE REALLY ARE WITH THOSE WHO LOVE US UNCONDITIONALLY!
That beautiful fountain in the Wrigley Plaza, Crescent Ave., next to "Blue Water Avalon", was built in 1936 and a few years ago it had a major face lift as it was showing it's age. Many visitors and Islanders alike are surprised when I tell them that the tile on the outside is now reproductions, but INSIDE are chards of the original tile.  Many backgammon pieces are noted as that was VERY PROPULAR back in the 30's when the tile was made into tables. It was part of Philip Knight Wrigley's (son of William and Ada Foote Wrigley, Jr.) plan, along with famous designer, Otis Sheppard, to help preserve the Spanish history and architecture of Santa Catalina Island.  Soon after it was built, "Tarzan", Johnny Weismuiller, (read where I procured women for him when I was only 4!  "NATURE BOY", January 1, 2016, unintentionally, "christened" it a year later.  He was walking through town with his shirt off, which wasn't too unusual as he WAS making the movies then and had to keep his tan going for his shirtless jungle scenes.  He could be spotted in Avalon on a pretty regular basis, as he and his wife at the time, actress Lupe Valdez, often rented homes on the flats.  Some of the local kids recognized him (WHO COULDN'T!?!) and begged him to share his famous "yell" for them.  He gave in, but wanting to get in the mood, he climbed on the East side of the fountain to regale with his scream.  Unfortunately, our "Ape Man" was more man than ape and wasn't able to keep his balance and so, much to the delight of his fan club, he fell off the fountain.  The story would have been A LOT better if I had lied and said that he fell INTO the fountain, but, alas, he didn't, but fell harmlessly on the bricks; not hurting anything, I assume, except his pride!
My part of the story takes places on the green pier and "Joe's Rent-A-Boat", where is still stands, in the 50's.  Before it was remodeled a few years ago, there was a salt water trough at the top of the ramp leading to the main float.  Anytime anglers caught anything they didn't want to take home, i. e., octopus, shark, scalpin, and any other objectionable creatures, they could conveniently leave the catch in this basin so that passerbys could examine our local sea animals up close and, if anyone wantd them, all they would have to do was to take them out. Streams of salt water kept the fish alive. One older character would often take these undesirables and wrap them in butcher paper and with the use of his hand cart, would go through the alleys giving households the opportunity to do their fish shopping through him and not have to buy them in a store.  My mother often purchased them, just to help the gentleman out, but we NEVER ATE THEM.
It was my "job" (that's when I had a job) to put these "unwanted characters", who were still alive and healthy, in a large bucket, filled with salt water and then I would tote them to the fountain.  The fountain was salt water, as with today, and was continuously being filtered and airiated.  I would slowly dump these catches into the fountain, thus allowing our visitors to marvel at our sea life.  Unfortunately, there were some older boys who, maybe because they were jealous of my "neat job", would follow me with dish washing detergent. They would wait a minute or two after the fish hit the water, so did the soap!  Although it caused quite a beautiful display of foam and dancing water, it didn't go so well with the fish, which had to be netted and taken out, once the pond was drained.  Needless to say, it took a lot of the "glamour" out of this work for me and so I quickly gave it up.  Suffice it to say, the fish didn't fare very well through this ordeal.  Don't worry, "Sea World", you have no more competition!"