Tag Archives: Big Bear Lake


17 Jun


Last night for my birthday, my husband, Tim, took me to this tiny concert venue called The Cave in Big Bear to see founding Beach Boy member Al Jardine. It was unbelievable!

We sat in “General Admission” and I kept thinking the reserved seats in front of us would start filling up once the concert started, then after the opening act, Shay & Co. They never did fill up. There were, at most, just 150 people there! I was shocked.

Once the concert started, the MC invited anyone to come down front to the “mosh pit” to enjoy the concert and get as close to the stage as we wanted, as long as we didn’t touch any of the performers.

So guess where I went? We were also encouraged to ask questions and I did. I asked Al Jardine how he got into folk music. He answered me, saying that The Beach Boys were recording in the same studio as the folk group, The Kingston Trio, and it had a great echo chamber. He was so impressed with the sounds the Kingston Trio came up with using that echo chamber that he was inspired to do his first folk rock song with The Beach Boys.

Jardine explained the history of the old tune, probably from the Bahamas, and demonstrated how it was originally sung, along with his band mates, including his son Matt, who sings falsetto with Mike Love’s current Beach Boys touring group. Then they launched into The Beach Boys rendition of “Sloop John B,” a 1966 hit single off the historic Pet Sounds album. It was awesome!

Jardine introduced another Pet Sounds favorite, “God Only Knows,” written by Brian Wilson, as his pick and Paul McCartney’s pick, for the best song ever written. 

Throughout the concert, old footage of The Beach Boys played on a large screen behind the band. Sometimes the footage was interrupted by an interview with someone that Jardine wanted us to watch or a picture that he wanted to discuss. I learned so much!

The concert opened with The Beach Boys’ first recording, “Surfin’,” which hit the air waves in November of 1961. According to Jardine, the newly formed band had a song that leader Brian Wilson wanted to record but they had no instruments. Jardine came up with an idea for the group to “audition for my mom” to get money for instruments. The group sang two songs, including an a cappella number by the Four Freshman, a quartet whose harmonies greatly influenced The Beach Boys, particularly Brian Wilson. It worked. They bought their instruments and the rest is history.

Jardine also shared the story of Brian Wilson receiving an “F” for his composition of “Surfin’” in a music class at Hawthorne High School. Other versions of the story say that Brian actually received the “F” for “Surfin’” in a music class at El Camino College. Either way, it was a great story.

The concert continued with “Surfin’ Safari,” a set of car songs, which included “I Get Around,” The Beach Boys’ first #1 single (1964), and “Little Deuce Coupe.” Other Beach Boy hits included “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls” and “Surfer Girl.”

Jardine said that he felt the late Annette Funicello was the first real surfer girl, I suppose because she played the part in seven “Beach Party” films, beginning in 1963. Then a clip was shown of The Beach Boys playing and singing backup behind Funicello on the title song of the Disney film, “The Monkey’s Uncle,” released in 1965.

Jardine introduced The Beach Boys hit “Don’t Worry Baby” by discussing the group’s admiration for the work of former record producer Phil Spector. He said, “‘Don’t Worry Baby’ was the Beach Boys’ answer to ‘Be My Baby,’” a hit for the Ronnettes, which was produced by Phil Spector.

The audience also viewed photos of the Beatles while Jardine explained to us how John Lennon and George Harrison knocked on his hotel door one day and invited him and the rest of The Beach Boys to meet the Maharishi, who taught all of them Transcendental Meditation.

There was also an interview shown recounting the bizarre making of the song Vegetables in 1967.

California Saga was written after the group spent a frustrating month in Holland working on the Holland album, according to Jardine. He said the band members were all homesick for California when Brian Wilson walked into the room and spontaneously started singing, “On my way to sunny California,” in anticipation of going home. Those words then became the first line of the song, which was released on the Holland album in 1973.

Jardine and his band also played a few songs from his solo CD, A Postcard From California.

Encore songs included Surfing USA, Help Me Rhonda and Barbara Ann.

After the concert, fans were allowed to get up close and personal with Jardine, who signed posters and CD’s.

Compared to many concert sites, The Cave is just a hole in the wall, nestled in the San Bernardino mountains and perhaps the best kept secret of Big Bear. Despite the need for a long drive up a windy, mountain road to get there, The Cave is just 90 minutes from the Inland Empire and two hours from LA and Orange Counties.

Our general admissions seats were extremely close to the stage and cost only $30 apiece with a discount my husband found online. Armed security guards were present, also.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years about the members of The Beach Boys is that these days they all put on a great show. Whether it’s Brian Wilson and band, The Beach Boys, featuring lead vocalist and veteran front man Mike Love or Al Jardine and band, it’s a wonderful bit of nostalgia and fun that you don’t want to miss, if at all possible. So thanks, Tim, for the PERFECT birthday present!


15 Feb



I WAS WRONG. There actually are people who are stupid enough to take to heart the issues that the late fugitive, Christopher Dorner, has raised and who viewed him as a sympathetic figure, a righteous vigilante and a revered messenger of truth. (See my last blog.)

People like Natasha Lopez of San Diego, who started a petition asking that an independent agency reopen Dorner’s case which charged that he was unjustly terminated from the LAPD.  According to the Associated Press, Lopez is concerned about police corruption and negligence. “I believe that he has opened a can of worms for the LAPD and opened the eyes of individuals that might have otherwise been blind,” she said.

Of course there have been abuses of power in the LAPD and other police agencies. Remember that old saying, “Power corrupts?”  But what Lopez and other Dorner supporters are missing is that Christopher Dorner was that bad apple. He was that rotten cop. He has proven that by his actions. Thank God he was terminated. Think of what damage he could have done with a badge on.

Then there’s the person who created the YouTube video game declaring Dorner, “A True American Hero.” I personally declared Dorner a true, yellow coward who killed four totally innocent people whom he did not even know.

Let’s not forget the singer of “El Matapolicias” or “Police Killer,” in English, who pays tribute to Dorner in a Facebook video.

Maybe there has always been a small number of people who are just “out there” in their beliefs, defying logic and common sense. But now, with the Internet, they have found their voice and they are able to broadcast it to others. The internet has given these no-names a platform to stand on.

Voice or no voice, I choose not to focus on this small minority of misguided people or their beliefs, but rather to focus on the facts and the truth. Christopher Dorner took out some very good people who will be missed by many. That cannot be changed. Let’s remember these people and the good they represented and try to forget about Dorner and his evil campaign of hate and murder.

Charlie Beck

11 Feb


Wherever he is, assuming he’s still alive, I hope that Christopher Dorner saw the news last night. If he did, he would know that Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is listening to him. Dorner would know that shooting that retired cop’s daughter, her fiancé and those Corona and Riverside Police Officers got Beck’s attention.  He would know that now Chief Beck wonders if maybe the LAPD did make a mistake. Maybe Christopher Dorner was wrongfully terminated. Maybe it was a set-up, a cover-up, racism or, whatever.

Of course Chief Beck says he knows the LAPD was right, they were fair, Dorner should have been fired. This is just to show THE PEOPLE, especially those in the African American community that the LAPD is fair, that the LAPD has changed. They’ve made progress in race relations, in community policing and community outreach. The LAPD is NOT racist, says Beck. And everyone will see that after this case is reopened and reinvestigated. Then everyone will know the truth.

What I would like to know is, who is Charlie Beck trying to appease? Even the Reverend Jessie Jackson, himself, bypassed the importance of specific issues raised by Christopher Dorner in his now infamous manifesto. In a radio plea for Dorner’s surrender, the Rev. Jackson chose not to address a reporter’s questions about those issues, and downplayed their significance, focusing instead on the issue at hand, the issue on everyone’s minds: safety. Reverend Jackson chose to focus on safety of the public, the police and everyone else – even safety of the suspect himself, should he choose to surrender.

Does Charlie Beck really think people are so stupid that they will take to heart the issues that Dorner raises, that he will become a sympathetic figure, a righteous vigilante or a revered messenger of truth? Anyone who has read or heard excerpts of the disjointed ramblings of Dorner’s manifesto knows that this man is not thinking logically and that he is not in his right mind. There’s paranoia, self-aggrandizement and a host of other problems with his thinking. And everyone knows that.

Even if Christopher Dorner did have a leg to stand on in his arguments and claims of mistreatment, he lost it when he shot that innocent Irvine couple and those innocent police officers who were just doing their jobs.

Charlie Beck, I beg you, please do not give Christopher Dorner another leg to stand on. Just let your officers and others do their jobs and catch him.

Fugitive Reward

11 Feb


I’m getting my dog, Sugar, and taking her up into the mountains, not too far from where we live, our destination:  Big Bear. Maybe we’ll stop along the way at the local Sporting Goods store and pick up a gun or two for good measure.

Or, maybe not. I keep hearing about these background checks and waiting periods that everyone is talking about. And people want to make them longer. Something about not letting guns get into the hands of the wrong people. But, that shouldn’t affect people like me. After all, I’m not a criminal. I’m a law-abiding citizen and I think I want a gun or two NOW! I’ve got an idea. Perhaps I can borrow a gun from someone.  I know lots of people who have guns.

Whoops. I just thought of something else. Even if I get a gun, I have no idea how to use one. Oh well, it couldn’t be that difficult. It seems pretty basic to me. I’m sure I could figure it out. Nevertheless, gun or no gun, I’m going. I’d be stupid not to.

After all, I could use a million dollars as much as anyone else. I’d even be willing to accept part of the million, especially if I’ve earned it. Never mind that I don’t know what I’m doing or that I don’t have the proper clothing, protective gear or weaponry to carry out my mission, not to mention the training. Never mind that Sugar is not a police dog, a bloodhound or any other kind of trained dog – she’s actually just a mixed mutt. And honestly, although I love her, come to think of it, she’s not the smartest dog in the world. But there’s a reward at stake, money, dinero, cash… a lot of it. And I would really like to get my hands on it or even on some of it.

Never mind that I might get in the way of the police or the other reward seekers or the suspect himself. Never mind that I might get shot or killed. Or, that if I’m somehow able to get that gun or two, I might accidentally kill someone else. I might accidentally shoot someone who looks like Christopher Dorner or perhaps I would shoot some innocent bystander who gets in the way because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never used a gun before.

Come to think of it… maybe I won’t go after all. I don’t know if Sugar could track a suspect or do anything helpful, probably not. She’s just a pet, a happy dog, and kind of dumb. I don’t even remember the last time her paws touched the snow, or my boots, for that matter.

Maybe this reward idea isn’t such a great idea after all. I can’t imagine that there’s anyone out there harboring the suspect or holding back information that could lead to his capture. Why would anyone do that? He’s declared war on the LAPD, their families, police in general and anyone who’s “hurt” him. He’s killed three innocent people who have done him no wrong. I would assume that he’s a danger to anyone at this point and that no one would be willing to help him.

All I can say is, reward or no reward, I hope they find him and that nobody else gets hurt!

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