Rob Tillitz’s New Book: Eyes Like Half-Dollars

Author Rob Tillitz’s new book is called “Eyes Like Half Dollars,” for more info, please click here


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Scene in Princeton: Doggie Lookout Station

& There is a Doggie in that Window!

Between you and me, there are two lookouts and two doggies, one that barks incessantly and one that is very good and quiet. My camera just couldn’t capture the double image.


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Joel Bratman: Travel Vicariously to the Berkeley Art Car Festival


To view Joel Bratman’s images of the Berkeley Art Car Festival, please click here

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It’s the Point!



It’s the Point

By June Morrall

Years before one of the greatest surfing spots in the world was christened Mavericks, the Half Moon Bay locals called this big wave spot, secluded under the shadow of Pillar Point, as simply “the Point.”

Just like many locals refused to give up calling Half Moon Bay, “Spanishtown,’ some locals continue to refer to Mavericks as “the Point,” a place that holds their surfing and abalone diving memories.

I don’t think anyone calls Half Moon Bay, “Spanishtown,” anymore except when talking about the town’s colorful history. Life long resident Irene Debenedetti Bettencourt, who lived to be 100, was very casual when dropping the name, “Spanishtown,” into her conversation. It wasn’t forced; she wasn’t being quaint or insincere. Irene was a sophisticated woman, who enjoyed her Martini in the afternoon, and knew exactly where she lived, and that place was called Spanishtown.

Both Spanishtown and “the Point” have historical roots. Spanishtown was founded as a place where people lived in the mid-19th century. You can discover Spanishtown in the center of the modern “city” of Half Moon Bay. Pillar Point goes back even farther in time: the Spanish explorer-soldier SebastianVicaino noted impressive Pillar Point as he sailed by the strongly sculpted slice of land in the early 17th century.

But while it may be difficult, if not impossible, to find anyone who today calls Half Moon Bay, “Spanishtown,” there are many locals who continue to call “Mavericks” by the name they grew up with, and that is “the Point.”


My book is called: Princeton-by-the-Sea, published by Arcadia. Lots of warm memories splashed across the pages, especially for those of you who remember Princeton fondly.


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Crab Landing: Early Lunch, Followed by Buddhas

Today I ordered the Turkey Melt at Crab Landing. There was Bleu Cheese in it and all I can tell you is: YUM.

Afterwards I visited Carol at her bookstore, Harbor Books. She has many new items, including some beautiful Buddhas  from Bali.


There’s also some neutral-colored pottery pieces created by Catherine Henry, wife of local plumber, Richard “the Englishman” Henry.


For years Catherine’s work was made at the home of Wildwomen Pottery on Kelly in Half Moon Bay.

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Skipper Kent & White Cloud


To read the story, please click here

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Half Moon Bay High Reunion: The Stars were Out at Mezza Luna

To read the story please click here and scroll down

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Gray Gardner: RIP: Clarence Manheim, 82nd Airborne Division

Story by Gray Gardner

Email Gray:[email protected]

Clarence Manheim passed-away on Friday. The Funeral was held last weekend at Polly’s, east on Hwy 10, and he will be buried at their new Cemetery at Hwy 10 and Vibbard Road, Excelsior Springs, Missouri.

We attended the University of Missouri together in 1956.I was Best Man at both Clarence’s,and later Dean’s Weddings.

Here’s my favorite story about Clarence and the Coastside. He was leaving for his second tour in Vietnam, either 1969 or 70, and he spent a few days with us.I remember it was Thanksgiving; we ate Thanksgiving dinner at our favorite. Chinese restaurant,  with the  Formica counter, Chinese menu and no Tourists. And we ordered turkey and rice, instead of our regular pork chops & rice.

We went down to the Miramar Beach Inn the next night. It was called  the “Shelter” then, after being the “Spouter Inn” before that. There was a large “Peace Flag” behind the Band, and you could get stoned just walking in.The bands were composed of mosty flutes and tambourines.

Clarence was outfitted in his Full-Dress 82nd Airborne Division Uniform, Spit-Shned Boots, Epaulets,and Beret. When Clarence stepped into the room, it was a “ John Wayne Moment”,The Band and the voices stopped, dead;  most eyes were Bugged- Out, all the Hippies in the room were in a state of shock. At that moment the three “Hard Hat Divers,” at the bar stood up, hoisted Clarence on their sholders and carried him to the Bar. Not a word was uttered by any Hippie the rest of the night.

I’m trying to get in touch with Dean Russell, I know he is in Kansas somewhere,do you have any information?

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Erich von Neff: The Way to Beat the Gatto Brothers

The Way to Beat the Gatto Brothers

By Erich von Neff*


Ron Arms had it figured out. There was a way to beat the Gattos. Even Lido couldn’t stymie this one. “As I see it, their weakness lies in the exchange,” Ron explained to his partner Richard Bronson after another humiliating defeat on Murphy Sabatino’s track. A few riders were still riding on the track, cooling off.

“You gotta be crazy,” Harry said. “The Gattos got it down.” I had to agree. True, they didn’t use a hand sling style or sling shot exchange as had been perfected by Cocky O’Brian and Cecil Yates and others. No, they used old fashioned exchange, grabbing each other by the jamming tool in the seat of their chamois lined shorts, sending each other off like a rocket.

Ron Arms had been studying the mathematics of the weather at Stanford under Professor Harold Levine–what is now called chaos theory. Taking the word “slingshot” almost literally they developed what was in fact a slingshot.

One rider held this device–made out of primitive bungee cords–by his right hand. The relief rider grabbed the other end and was literally slung into the pack or more hopefully ahead of it, if there was a sprint or if they were going for a lap on the field. All this worked well on paper. There was unfortunately no time to test it before the next team race.

Friday night rolled around. Lido fired his gun in the air. As usual the pace was erratic then settled down. At fifty laps or the five mile mark there was the first sprint of the race.

Coming into the first sprint of the race, Professor Levine handed “The Sling” to Ricky Bronson who was on relief. For one of the problems with the sling was how could you ride with it when not using it? One could of course tuck it into the back of his tights, for the sling was only about eight inches long including the handles on either end, but it could work its way out, and was definitely a nuisance, though this method could be used for a little while.

This was discovered early in the race and Ron Arms promptly handed the sling to Professor Levine on his first relief. A few laps before the first sprint Professor Levine handed the sling to Ron Arms, getting ready for the final exchange before the sprint.

Coming down off the banking Richard Bronson caught the sling and was slung just ahead of the pack by Ron Arms. Bronson went for it flat out. It would be an understatement to say this implement caused consternation in the pack.

For one thing Gus Gatto had started to come through thinking Bronson-Arms were not going to exchange. When he saw some kind of rubber band stretching out between them, he backed off, attempted to come over the top, but just then Richard Bronson was slung forward leaving a gap.

And so the first sprint was won.

Italians screamed oaths of defiance. Lido shrugged his shoulders. What could he do? It wasn’t in the rule book. The bell rang for the next sprint. Teams began to exchange. Ron grabbed the sling and was slung by Bronson in an arc around Vince Gatto who quickly made the sign of the cross. And so the second sprint was won.

But after the second sprint things began to run their normal course with the Gatto Brothers cleaning up.

Professor Levine had meanwhile struck up a conversation with Lido’s mistress. He had handed her the sling which she began toying with as he talked with her.

“It’s all based on my theory of oscillations and pulsations,” he said trying to put it in layman’s terms.

“Well…..professor it is rather elastic.”

“Yes, yes, precisely the point.”

“Is it?” She turned around watching the pack racing around the boards. Shortly Professor Levine handed the sling to Ron Arms who was on relief.

Soon it came down to the final sprint. Teams exchanged on the banking. Rhoads & Rhoads, Peterson & Les Williams, Gatto & Gatto, von Neff & Arbuckle, Arms & Bronson and others…all positioning themselves. Ron Arms swept down the banking. He reached for the sling as Bronson and the pack came thundering by. The sling extended, stretching, stretching. Ron Arms could feel himself being accelerated as the sling now began to snap together. This was going to be it.

Until “snap,” the sling broke. Ron Arms now trailed behind the pack, Ricky Bronson remained on a good position briefly, but he had already taken his pull in the pack and the sprint on top of that was too much.

Vince Gatto raised his arm as he crossed the line. “Bang Bang.” Lido fired his gun in the air.

The pace now slackened and trainers began to extend their hands to incoming riders.

Professor Levine examined the broken cords of the sling. The ends appeared to have been cut, but he was not sure.

Just then Lido walked up. “I gotta confiscate that thing,” he said grabbing the sling out of Professor Levine’s hands.

And so the mystery remains. Had Lido’s mistress made a cut in the sling when she had turned away from Professor Levine to watch the pack? Had Lido asked her to do this? Would it have made any difference? For it seems plain that the surprise effect of the sling had worn off and the Gatto Brothers would have won in any case.

The sling was discarded, maybe the answer was harder training. The Gatto Brothers still dominated, and chaos did not reign. Order was re-established.


*Author Eric von Neff is a San Francisco Longshoreman about to retire.

To view Eric’s recent visit to El Granada, please click on his name below.

Erich von Neff

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Susan Morgan, Elegant CheeseCakes


Dear Cheesecake Lover,

I suspect I’m a lot like you.

Despite my best intentions, there are always two or three birthdays each year that I forget.

That’s why I’ve created the best birthday gift on the planet:   The Ultimate Pleaser, a bittersweet white raspberry swirl cheesecake on a chocolate macadamia nut crust!

Not only will the belated-birthday boy or girl love it, you’ll love it too.

Two reasons:

1.  Because we do all the work for you, and

2. For a price that you can’t beat.  Just $65 plus shipping and we will throw in a customized tag for free! A $5 value!

By simply clicking the link below, we rush out for your Ultimate Pleaser  for next day arrival.

That way you’ll not only make up for your mistake but also send them a sweet memory they’ll love you for.

PLUS if you respond in the next 12 hours, we’ll even give you 10% off any of our holiday cakes this season.

So what are you waiting for?

Don’t let another day go by.

We’ll rush out your cake as soon as we hear from you and your friend will love you for it–I guarantee it.


Susan Morgan
Elegant Cheesecakes

P.S.  Here’s what my client Sallee from Milwaukee’s friend wrote here.  “Thank you so much for the wonderful cake. It was the Ultimate Pleaser–to bad my family only left me one bite!”

Order your ultimate pleaser now.  You’ll be glad you did.

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