California 2012/Hockey/Neil Armstrong

By HOWARD BERGER

TORONTO (Aug. 27) – Midway through this month, I received a half-dozen messages on Twitter wondering if I had re-located to southern California. It was a pertinent question given the amount of time I’ve recently spent in Los Angeles. I followed the L.A. Kings through their entire Stanley Cup march and then made a couple of trips for summer vacation to my in-laws’ house in the San Fernando Valley. A perusal of my calendar showed that I spent 50 nights in Los Angeles between Apr. 11 and Aug. 20.

So, thanks for asking.

Most human beings have four limbs. I have five: two arms, two legs… and a Nikon Coolpix camera. If you either frequent Los Angeles – or have never been – I trust you’ll enjoy this generous compilation of photos from spring and summer 2012.

GIANT OCEAN-WAVES ARE A SURFER’S DELIGHT AT ZUMA BEACH IN MALIBU, CALIF.

During my boyhood and scholastic years, I had two primary interests: sports and space. Anyone familiar with this corner will understand the sports angle as it pertains to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the National Hockey League. I also spent many-an-hour transfixed by the TV images of men walking on the moon between 1969 and 1972, when I was 10-13 years of age. As such, the death on Saturday of Neil Armstrong – arguably mankind’s most famous explorer – hit kind of hard, as it did for millions of people around the world, based on Twitter reaction. The latter part of this blog is dedicated to the man who first set foot upon the moon, July 20, 1969.

LOS ANGELES KINGS 2012 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

TWO MONTHS – EXACTLY. FROM APR. 11, WHEN THE PUCK WAS DROPPED AT ROGERS ARENA IN VANCOUVER, TO JUNE 11, WHEN DUSTIN BROWN TRIUMPHANTLY RAISED THE STANLEY CUP BEFORE A RAUCOUS CROWD AT STAPLES CENTER, I ATTENDED ALL 20 GAMES OF THE LOS ANGELES KINGS CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE.

LOOK CAREFULLY BELOW AND YOU WILL SEE IMAGES – HOME AND AWAY – FROM THE KINGS SERIES WITH VANCOUVER, ST. LOUIS, PHOENIX AND NEW JERSEY. 

BEACHES OF SANTA MONICA AND VENICE

AUG. 14: I SPENT A DAY AT THE BEACH WITH MY FAMILY AND HUNG AROUND UNTIL 7:40 P.M. TO WATCH THE SUN SET OVER THE PACIFIC OCEAN AND SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS.

WALKING BETWEEN SANTA MONICA AND VENICE BEACH (ABOVE); LOOKING BACK TOWARD SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS AND MALIBU COASTLINE (BELOW).

FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THIS PHOTO (ABOVE), A FREIGHTER APPEARS TO BE MAROONED IN BEACH-SAND WHEN, IN FACT, IT WAS SEVERAL MILES OFF-SHORE.

I ACTUALLY BOUGHT THE ABOVE TIE-DYED T-SHIRT AND WORE IT AROUND VENICE BEACH. DAVID SHOALTS WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD OF ME.

WAS MILDLY INTERESTED IN STOPPING IN FOR A QUICK ASSESSMENT (ABOVE AND BOTTOM-LEFT) BUT THE KIDS WERE WITH ME. DARN!

      

IMPROMPTU BIRD-BATH (ABOVE AND BELOW).

LONE REFERENCE TO THE STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS WAS IN FRONT-WINDOW OF A VENICE BEACH FLAT (TOP-LEFT). OTHERWISE, IT WAS ROLLER-BLADES NOT HOCKEY SKATES.

ALONG THE OCEAN SHORE…

A BOEING-747 CLIMBS OUT OVER PACIFIC OCEAN (ABOVE), SECONDS AFTER DEPARTING LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – THREE MILES TO THE SOUTH.

SOME SORT OF JELLY-FISH WASHED ASHORE (ABOVE) ON VENICE BEACH AND I CAME WITHIN AN INCH OF STEPPING ON THE DAMNED THING.

LOOKING NORTH (ABOVE AND BELOW) TOWARD THE FAMED SANTA MONICA PIER.

I HAVE GOOD MEMORIES OF THE ABOVE BUILDING: THE LOEWS SANTA MONICA BEACH HOTEL, WHERE I STAYED WITH THE LEAFS ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS WHEN THE L.A. KINGS WERE STILL PLAYING AT THE FORUM (IN NEARBY INGLEWOOD). LEAFS WERE HERE DURING THE ICONIC STANLEY CUP SEMIFINAL OF 1993 AGAINST WAYNE GRETZKY AND THE KINGS.

BEACH GOERS – HUMAN AND OTHERWISE – GATHER ON NORTH EDGE OF THE SANTA MONICA PIER (ABOVE) TO WATCH THE SUN SET ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2012.

BEACH SUN-SET IN CALIFORNIA IS ALWAYS ENCHANTING.

AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, THE BEACH-SUN SETS IN THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS (ABOVE AND BELOW). IN WINTER, IT GOES DOWN BENEATH THE OCEAN HORIZON.

BASEBALL AT DODGER STADIUM

IT IS NEVER EASY TO BECOME A CHAMPION IN PROFESSIONAL SPORT BUT THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS HAVE MADE AN INCREDIBLY STRONG PITCH TO JOIN THEIR HOCKEY BRETHREN IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE. DURING THE PAST MONTH, THE DODGERS HAVE ADDED SUCH PROVEN BALLPLAYERS AS HANLEY RAMIREZ, SHANE VICTORINO, JOE BLANTON, BRANDON LEAGUE, ADRIAN GONZALEZ, CARL CRAWFORD AND JOSH BECKETT – THE LATTER THREE IN A BLOCKBUSTER TRADE OVER THE WEEKEND WITH BOSTON. DODGERS HAVEN’T WON THE WORLD SERIES SINCE 1988 AND ARE LOCKED IN A HEATED BATTLE WITH SAN FRANCISCO IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST. ON AUG. 8, I TOOK THE FAMILY TO DODGER STADIUM FOR A NIGHT GAME AGAINST THE COLORADO ROCKIES.  

TOP DECK AT DODGER STADIUM (ABOVE) FROM PARKING LOT BEYOND CENTER-FIELD.

HEADING TOWARD THE AWNING-COVERED ESCALATOR (LEFT IN ABOVE PHOTO) AND LOOKING BACK FROM BENEATH THE AWNING (BELOW) TO STADIUM CLUB ENTRANCE.

FROM OUR SEATS IN FIFTH ROW OF THE UPPER-DECK – THIRD-BASE SIDE.

DODGERS MANAGER DON MATTINGLY (SIGNING BALL-CAPS, ABOVE, FROM STADIUM DUGOUT) IS THE SECOND-MOST NATURAL HITTER I’VE SEEN, BEHIND ONLY GEORGE BRETT. MATTINGLY NEVER WON A CHAMPIONSHIP BUT HE COULD SPRAY THE BALL TO ANY PART OF THE FIELD – AND WITH POWER – AS FIRST-BASEMAN OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES FROM 1984 TO 1995. IN ’85, HE HIT .324 WITH 35 HOME RUNS AND AN AMERICAN LEAGUE-LEADING 145 RBI. HIS .352 BATTING-AVERAGE IN ’86 WAS A CAREER BEST.  

CRIES OF “M-V-P!” ECHO THROUGH DODGER STADIUM WHENEVER MATT KEMP (ABOVE) COMES TO THE PLATE. SHANE VICTORINO, ACQUIRED FROM PHILADELPHIA, REACHES FIRST (BELOW) WHILE MATT McBRIDE OF COLORADO MAKES SURE EVERYTHING IS STILL IN PLACE. 

ROCKIES STARTER JEFF FRANCIS OF DELTA, B.C. LETS FLY EARLY IN THE GAME (ABOVE); DODGERS THIRD-BASE COACH TIM WALLACH (BELOW-LEFT) WAS ONE OF THE TOP SLUGGERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE MONTREAL EXPOS.

LOOKING RIGHT (ABOVE) AND LEFT (BELOW) FROM OUR THIRD-BASE SEATS.

ZUMA BEACH, MALIBU, Calif.

THOUGH IT WAS LOW-TIDE ON THE AFTERNOON OF AUG. 17, THE WAVES OFF ZUMA BEACH WERE RATHER MAGNIFICENT, AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE IMAGES BELOW…

AFTERNOON BEACH-FOG ROLLED IN (ABOVE) BUT IT DIDN’T FAZE VISITORS (BELOW).

CACTUS PLANT (ABOVE AND BELOW) ON A CLIFF OVERLOOKING PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY.

HEADING SOUTH ON P-C-H TOWARD MALIBU CANYON.

RUGGED SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS ARE ALWAYS PICTURESQUE (ABOVE AND BELOW) WHILE DRIVING THE NARROW ROADS OF MALIBU CANYON.

FROM A CLIFF-SIDE IN TOPANGA CANYON (ABOVE AND BELOW), A LOOK NORTHEAST INTO THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY. THOUGH IT IS MOSTLY CLEAR IN L.A., LARGE THUNDERSTORMS WITH TORRENTIAL RAIN FIRE UP IN THE HIGH DESERT, 30 MILES EAST OF THE CITY.

SUNSET IN THE VALLEY…

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE NEAR THE OCEAN TO APPRECIATE THE END OF A SOUTHERN-CALIFORNIA DAY. EVEN A BACK-YARD SALAMANDER (BELOW) ENJOYS THE SIGHT. THIS FELLOW LOOKS LIKE AN ALLIGATOR THANKS TO A ZOOM-LENS ON MY TRUSTY NIKON. IN FACT, HE WAS ALL OF FOUR INCHES IN LENGTH.

ON DAYS WHEN A HUMID AIRFLOW FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO PUSHES NORTHWARD INTO CALIFORNIA, HIGH CIRRUS CLOUDS BRILLIANTLY REFLECT THE SETTING SUN. 

CRESCENT MOON (ABOVE) SETTING BEHIND THE BUSH IN SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS.

ATTENDING A BEATLEMANIA CONCERT (ABOVE) ON A SATURDAY NIGHT IN LINDERO CANYON, EAST OF THOUSAND OAKS. GOODNESS DID THESE FELLOWS SOUND LIKE THE FAB FOUR!

BEHEMOTH AT L-A-X

THE WORLD’S LARGEST COMMERCIAL JETLINER – THE DOUBLE-DECK AIRBUS-380 – MADE SEVERAL APPEARANCES AT LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ON AUG. 21. THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN FROM THE AIR CANADA AEROPLAN LOUNGE ON THE SECOND LEVEL OF TERMINAL 2, WHICH PROVIDES A CLEAR VIEW OF THE NORTH RUNWAYS (24L AND 24R). SINGAPORE AIRLINES DEBUTED THE A-380 ON OCT. 25, 2007. A TOTAL OF EIGHT COMMERCIAL OPERATORS FROM EUROPE, THE MIDDLE-EAST AND PACIFIC RIM HAVE THE GIANT AIRCRAFT AS PART OF THEIR FLEET; IT HAS YET TO BE FLOWN BY A NORTH AMERICAN-BASED COMPANY. HOW BIG IS THE A-380? IT STANDS AS TALL AS AN EIGHT-STORY BUILDING (80.2 FEET) AND ITS WING-SPAN (261.6 FEET) IS ROUGHLY 12 YARDS SHORTER THAN THE LENGTH OF A NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE FIELD. THE PLANE REQUIRES SUCH A REMARKABLE LIFT-CAPACITY THAT ITS WING-SPAN EXCEEDS ITS NOSE-TO-TAIL LENGTH BY 23 FEET. IN A LAYOUT OF ECONOMY SEATS, THE A-380  IS CERTIFIED TO CARRY AN ASTOUNDING 853 PASSENGERS. TYPICALLY, HOWEVER, THERE ARE THREE CLASSES OF SERVICE (FIRST, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY) – HOLDING 10, 76 AND 439 PEOPLE, RESPECTIVELY. 

AIR FRANCE FLIGHT #066 FROM CHARLES de GAULLE AIRPORT IN PARIS LANDS ON RUNWAY 24R AT L-A-X (ABOVE AND BELOW) AROUND 1:15 P.M., AUG. 21, 2012. PASSENGERS ON BOARD HAD BEEN IN THE AIR FOR ROUGHLY 11 HOURS AND 15 MINUTES.

KOREAN AIR FLIGHT #018 (ABOVE AND BELOW) DEPARTS FROM LOS ANGELES FOR 12 HOUR, 45-MINUTE JOURNEY TO INCHEON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN SEOUL.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES FLIGHT #012 ARRIVES (ABOVE) IN LOS ANGELES AFTER A 19-HOUR JOURNEY THAT INCLUDED A STOP AT TOKYO-NARITA IN JAPAN.

NOT OFTEN DO WE STILL SEE A SOUTHWEST AIRLINES BOEING-737 PAINTED IN THE COMPANY’S OLD BROWN, RED AND ORANGE LIVERY – THIS AT L-A-X TERMINAL 1.

MOMENTS AFTER DEPARTING LOS ANGELES ON AIR CANADA FLIGHT #796 (AUG. 21, 2012), WE SOAR ABOVE THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS (TOP-LEFT) AND THE ROSE BOWL IN PASADENA (RIGHT).

THESE IMAGES (ABOVE) MAY LOOK LIKE SOMETHING YOU’D SEE FROM LUNAR ORBIT BUT THEY ARE ACTUALLY PART OF THE CALIFORNIA HIGH DESERT – 50 MILES EAST OF L.A.

HAVING DEPARTED L-A-X NEARLY TWO HOURS LATE (AT 5:15 P.M. PACIFIC TIME), THE DAY ENDED RATHER QUICKLY AS WE FLEW EAST – A LOVELY SUNSET BENEATH CIRRUS CLOUD AND DISTANT AIRLINE CONTRAIL (ABOVE); MULTI-COLORED DUSK (BELOW).

UPON LANDING IN TORONTO AT 12:53 A.M. (AUG. 22, 2012), THE “FIREWORKS” FUNCTION ON MY CAMERA CAPTURED NEON SIGN AT THE PEARSON AIRPORT SHERATON.

THE DEATH OF NEIL ARMSTRONG

AT 53 YEARS OF AGE, I CAN VAGUELY RECALL MY LATE MOTHER, SANDEE, WATCHING ENDLESS TV ON THE DAY PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY WAS ASSASSINATED IN DALLAS (NOV. 23, 1963). FAR-MORE VIVID ARE RECOLLECTIONS OF SUCH OTHER “YOU’LL-ALWAYS-REMEMBER-WHERE-YOU-WERE” EVENTS AS PAUL HENDERSON’S SERIES-WINNING GOAL AT MOSCOW IN 1972; THE SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER EXPLOSION IN 1986 AND, OF COURSE, THE TRAGIC EVENTS OF SEP. 11, 2001. FOR ME, HOWEVER, NOTHING SURPASSES THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE FIRST MOON-WALK ON JULY 20, 1969 WHEN APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUTS NEIL ARMSTRONG AND BUZZ ALDRIN HOPPED ABOUT THE LUNAR SURFACE FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS. AS DID MILLIONS OF YOUNG CHILDREN, I WATCHED THE HISTORIC EVENT ON TV IN MY PARENTS’ ROOM AND HAD NO DIFFICULTY STAYING AWAKE INTO THE WEE HOURS OF JULY 21, EVEN AS A 10-YEAR-OLD. ARMSTRONG – FIRST MAN ON THE MOON – DIED SATURDAY AT 82 AFTER COMPLICATIONS FROM HEART-BYPASS SURGERY. 

NEWS OF ARMSTRONG’S DEATH SHARED HEADLINES SATURDAY AFTERNOON ON CNN (ABOVE AND BELOW) WITH TROPICAL STORM ISSAC, WHICH CONTINUED TO THREATEN THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION IN TAMPA. 

THE MOON OVER NORTH TORONTO, AUG. 26, 2012 – ONE DAY AFTER NEIL ARMSTRONG DIED.

ARMSTRONG WAS BORN IN WAPAKONETA, OHIO – A SMALL TOWN OFF INTERSTATE-75 BETWEEN TOLDEO AND DAYTON (TOWARD UPPER-LEFT IN THIS MAP).

APOLLO 11 MISSION PATCH (ABOVE); SAD NEWS IN TORONTO STAR (BELOW).

FRONT OF OLD TORONTO TELEGRAM (ABOVE) THE DAY AFTER APOLLO 11 MOON-WALK.

THE NEW YORK TIMES BEFORE THE LUNAR LANDING (ABOVE) AND FIVE FULL PAGES OF MOON-WALK COVERAGE IN ITS JULY 21, 1969 EDITION (BELOW).

             

IN MY PERSONAL COLLECTION, I HAVE A COPY OF TV GUIDE (ABOVE) FROM THE WEEK OF THE FIRST MOON-WALK IN 1969 AND THREE EDITIONS OF LIFE MAGAZINE (BELOW) DEVOTED TO THE EPIC JOURNEY OF APOLLO 11.

SPECIAL APOLLO 11 REVIEW SUPPLEMENTS FROM THE TORONTO STAR (AUG. 8, 1969 ABOVE) AND TORONTO TELEGRAM (AUG. 30, 1969 BELOW).

BERGER SPACE LIBRARY…

A SELECTION OF MY BOOKS (BELOW) DEVOTED TO THE U.S. SPACE PROGRAM.

                                                

 

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