What I groove on

Archive for the tag “surfing”

Groove Central LA Quiz Masters Tourney

quizIt is time again for the 2nd annual Groove Central LA Quiz Masters tourney. After a long journey the two winners from the last contest, the noble Nelson Holdo and the superlative Tom Collins, have been paid in full. Both wore the crown with dignity and both wore it well. If you remember, the first two contestants who answer all of the questions correctly will win 3 drinks to be purchase by the Groovemaster himself at an appropriate venue. This also includes a limited amount of witty conversation and a hearty hand clasp thrown in as a bonus. Best of luck, but as the great Branch Rickey said “Luck is the residue of design.”

1)  Herb Alpert (of Tijuana Brass fame and A & M Records (A meaning Alpert, M for Jerry Moss )    Unknown-1

  • a) was born in Tijuana, Mexico and would often perform at the famous ” Long Bar ” bar in downtown TJ
  • b) comes from a Jewish family that came to the US from the Ukraine
  • c) Father worked on the presidential sculptures on Mount Rushmore
  • d)  Mother was a famous flagpole sitter during the 20’s.

2)  We all groove on Duke Kahanamoku, a pioneer of surfing and 3 time Oly gold medal winner. Duke was alsoimages

  • a) instrumental in bringing  ” beach Volleyball ” here to California and was also the athletic director at Santa Monica’s “Beach Club”
  • b) was an amazing dancer to the point of being admired by Fred Astaire.
  • c)  refused to eat anything red
  • d) starred in a Tarzan movie along with friend and swimming champion Johnnie Weissmuller playing the part of  “Mombobo”, a tribal chieftain.

3)  In ” Mein Kampf ” (My Struggle) , Adolf Hitler’s 1925 memoir, the only American who was mentioned favorably is

  • a) Al Capone
  • b) Charles Lindbergh
  • c) Henry Ford
  • d) Ryan Braun

4)  Which one of these items were NOT originally made in Switzerland ? ch~

  • a) electric toothbrush
  • b) LSD (not talking about the great new band Lake Street Dive)
  • c) cellophane
  • d)  rotary phone dial

5)  Marlon Brando’s son said “the last time my father left his house to go anywhere it was with ………    He was instrumental helping my father through the last years of his life.”   Was he referring to

  • a) Jack Nicholson
  • b) Dean Martin
  • c) Michael Jackson
  • d) Johnnie Carson

6)  We all know and groove on the early 20th century writer Zane Grey (whose first name was Pearl), who appeared to be a



pleasant and unassuming dentist from Ohio who wrote adventure stories, mostly cowboy, then hit it big with “Riders of the Purple Sage.”  He also had a big pad in Catalina overlooking Avalon harbor which is now a hotel.  Over the years, 112 films have been made from his works and in his peak he made $500,000 in one year. By comparison, F.Scott Fitzgearald, in his best year, made $37,500.  But Zane had a secret. It was :

  • a) His books were written by a blind and deaf brother who never knew of his brother’s success or fame
  • b) He kept an enormous cache of pornography sometimes with Zane as the star performer
  • c) Was arrested, but not convicted, of a string of murders of young girls in Mexico City
  • d) was a cross dresser preferring Angora sweaters, tight black dresses, and red pumps.

7)   After refusing surgery this person  said: “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share. I will do it elegantly. ”

  • a) Eleanor Roosevelt
  • b) Steve Jobs
  • c) Albert Einstein
  • d)  Walter Cronkite

8)   Here, I will lob you a beach ball right across the plate. Sandy Koufax, Dodger great and one of the coolest cats around, Sandy-Koufax-Ballscould hold how many baseballs in one hand ?   (Try it yourself…)

  • a ) 4
  • b) 5
  • c) 6
  • d) 7

9)  If you fell off a 30 foot building would you wildly scream, utter a quick yelp, or silently face your fate?   This is NOT part of the quiz. I’m just asking.

10)  Which of these records was established way back in 1978 and has yet to be broken

  • a) the Men’s long jump
  • b) the top speed on water
  • c) the top speed on land
  • d) the Women’s discus throw

11) Boston Corbett was the man who shot and killed John Wilkes Booth (Lincoln’s assassin) in a barn in Virginia 12 days after Unknown-3Lincoln’s assassination.  Henry Rathbone was with Abe and Mary in the booth at Fords theatre when the dastardly deed was done, sustaining a serious wound from Booth’s Bowie knife.  Beside being part of this American trajedy what else did these two men have in common?

  • a) both were placed in an asylum for the insane
  • b) both died in the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 which killed 21 people
  • c) both played for Abner Doubleday’s ” Knickerbockers ” baseball team
  • d) both played at the 1st Nick Talent Full Throttle Wide Open.

12) Who said that he “half-regretted the demise of so many of the valley’s orchard trees, because now there are no longer enough trees to hang all the troublemakers who live there. ”

  • a) George Armstrong Custer
  • b) William Sheridan
  • c) Gutzen Borglum
  • d) William Mulholland

Well there you have it. Good times await a couple of wonderful souls who will have the great fortune of consuming alcohol with the Groovemaster.   Nelson and Tom, do you have the juices for a repeat?    Thanks and Groove.

With Tom

With Tom

With Nelson

With Nelson

The Man Who Would Be King…of Abalonia

whiskey-on-the-rocksI think having a drink with someone is important and should be done frequently.  Sometimes you need to have 3 (I haven’t forgotten you Nelson), but the number is only important when you consider who is across the table from you.  Good stories usually dribble out – sometimes tales of bad behavior, sometimes delicate dreams that held sway in longing hearts that were then torn asunder.  Perhaps a combination of truth and lies from the hidden caves of misery or the joyful fountains of happiness.  Or it could mean being drowned in a torrent of repeated endless jabber by one who is over-served and your only wish is for some terrible medical emergency to envelope this person or at worst, envelope yourself.

Joe Kirkwood, Jr.

Joe Kirkwood, Jr.

I want to have a drink with Joe Kirkwood, Jr.  Not because Joe and his Dad (Joe Sr.) became the first father / son to make the cut at the US

Open Golf Championship in 1948.  Not because Joe starred in eleven “Joe Palooka” films and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  I want to have a drink with Joe Kirkwood because he tried to build his own country on top of a shallow seamount  100 miles directly west of San Diego called Cortes Bank.  The Bank rises from a depth of more

Joe Palooka

Joe Palooka

than a mile, up to the shallowest peak, called Bishop Rock, a mere 3-6 feet from the surface depending on the tide.  It is here where some of the biggest waves on earth, some 60′, 70′, 100′ high, rise from the depths and it is here where Joe wanted to sink a 334 ft. concrete ship weighing five thousand tons, surround it with huge boulders from a quarry in Ensenada, and become King of the country of Abalonia.  Joe and his pals were nation builders and what is amazing is not that these Founding Fathers of Abalonia failed, but how close they came to succeeding.  Sit down Joe, I’m buying.

Joe and his confederates assembled at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach on Nov.13th, 1966 and were ready to shove off.  Joe showed up in pressed pleated khaki trousers, a cashmere sweater, and a pair of fur apres-ski boots. Perfect wear for sinking a ship, placing boulders in the middle of the ocean, and declaring your throne.  There were 3 ships involved: the concrete 334 ft. Jalisco which was being towed by tug to Cortes Bank from San Francisco after being purchased for $80,000, the Rainbow’s End which was the center of communication control, and the Polaris which was given the job of coordinating the five barges of large boulders being brought up from Ensenada.  The general plan was to scuttle the Jalisco atop Bishops Rock in shallow water and surround the ship with ever expanding rings of boulders so she could be used as a seafood processing factory.  Joe and his crew figured that international maritime law would allow them to become the rulers of their own nation because Cortes Bank was in international waters.

As the strange flotilla was trying to gather, Kirkwood’s plan hit the news and drew the attention of the city San Diego, the U.S. Army Corpsth-9 of Engineers, and U.S. Attorney Edwin Miller.  Was Joe a commie sympathizer who wanted to set up his own private Cuba with missiles pointed at the Hotel Del Coronado?  What if the Abalonians decided to restrict fishing in their newly claimed territorial waters? What if Joe got together with the Mob Guys in Vegas and set up a casino?  Many questions and no answers.  It was calm as a pond, glassy, with no swell as the boys started to move the Jalisco in position on Bishops Rock.  No one seemed to notice that the horizon to the west had started a see-saw motion very slow and at a great distance.

Surfer at Cortes Bank

Surfer at Cortes Bank

A marine layer now encircled the process adding a ghostly pale to the proceedings. The Jalisco was in position and the sinking had started. What had also started was that the Jalisco was being enveloped by long, low-frequency forerunners that formed the leading edge of a huge North Pacific swell.  As the outer edge of the swell swept past the Jalisco the waves encountered something they hadn’t encountered since they felt Hawaii – an immovable object that is Cortes Bank. The wave’s energy now was compressed and could go nowhere but up.  The Jalisco now climbed and sharply dropped with her hull banging like a deafening gong. The sets continued with the waves increasing in size.  The men on the Jalisco had to leave and they had to leave now. Their only hope would be a lull in the giant sets. The men dove overboard and were yanked out of the water by the crew of the Rainbow’s End. Everyone left the Jalisco, that is, everyone except Joe Kirkwood who clutched the forward mast. The men on the Rainbow’s End watched as the water below the bow of the stricken Jalisco was drawn down and then gathered into a beautiful blue green nightmare that loomed above the Jalisco some 50 feet in the air with fish inside

Joe hanging on to the Jalisco

Joe hanging on to the Jalisco

the wave plainly visible.  It exploded on the Jalisco and sent poor Joe flying off the ship still wearing his fur after-ski boots.  Kirkwood tumbled some 200 yards down the trough of the wave and miraculously ended up just feet from the tug boat and was successfully plucked from the sea.  After more waves, the entire superstructure was torn completely off the Jalisco with a mingling of water and steel.  The Jalisco was gone and so were the dreams of the Nation of Abalonia.

The Jalisco going down

The Jalisco going down

The Jalisco split into 3 pieces of sharp jagged steel which makes surfing this inhospitable place that much more dangerous. Surfer Mike Parsons in January 2008 caught a documented 80 foot wave at Cortes Bank with the skeleton of the Jalisco below him.  In 1985 the gigantic aircraft carrier USS Enterprise wandered to close to

Parsons at Cortes Bank

Parsons at Cortes Bank

Cortes Bank putting a 60 foot gash in her outer hull, ripped-off her port keel, and

severely deformed her outboard port propellers.  She continued operations and her captain was relieved of his duties.

By my calculations Joe Kirkwood Jr., whose whereabouts are unknown, is about 93 years old.  But Joe, if you are out there, let me buy you a couple and you can tell me about being the King of Abalonia. Do you still have those boots?

If you get a chance please read the book “Ghost Wave” by  Chris Dixon. A wonderful book about Cortes Bank which I borrowed and stole from. Thanks Chris.   Groove.

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