Southern California

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New Year’s Eve fundraiser slated for the Redondo Beach Castle

At the end of 2011 I made a decision that GotBaddog.com would dedicate much of my content to promoting local businesses and non-profits. When Tanya was looking for something for us to do on New Year’s Eve, she discovered the Lady Of Magic at the Redondo Beach Castle was having a New Year’s Eve party that was also a fundraiser, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Midnight Mission, a homeless shelter in downtown Los Angeles. It was then that we had the pleasure of meeting Sisuepahn Phila, the “Lady of Magic.”

Sisuepahn is a world renowned and world class magician, and I am not talking about doing sleight of hand card tricks or something like that. She has performed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and has been featured on Penn and Teller, on the Discovery Channel and on an A & E special, “Backstage from the Magic Castle.” She is also known as, “The Entertainer to the Stars.” What drew me to her was her Magic 4 Orphans which benefits more than 2,000 children both locally and those living in five orphanages in Laos. I have photographed a few events at the Redondo Beach Castle, including her magic shows which are pretty amazing. Many times I have looked through my photos afterwards and still could not figure out how the heck she changed into five different outfits without ever leaving the stage. She is really good.

Anyway, this Monday, December 31, 2012 she is hosting another New Year’s Eve party. If you are looking for something to do for New Year’s Eve that is fun and also helps others in the process, I suggest considering coming out to the Redondo Beach Castle. There will be live music, a DJ, dancing, and lots of really good magic. Continue reading

Sleepy Hollow and the Legend of Candy Cane Lane

These photos were taken last night at the Sleepy Hollow area of Torrance, which is known as Candy Cane Lane during the Christmas season; a look at the photos makes it easy to figure out why they call it that. On December 1, Tanya and I went there to take some photos like I have for the past couple of years. There were definitely a lot of lights that went up between then and now. Homes that we thought were decorated on December 1 had even more decorations on December 18. Even though it was cold and windy, there were a lot more cars and pedestrians out enjoying the view.

After the first night of photos I submitted a report to CNN’s iReport, and was subsequently vetted by them for use on CNN. In the vetting process I was asked things like why they called it Sleepy Hollow and how long has the mass decorating been going on. My dad had told me that he thought the decorating had been going on for 40 years; so I passed that along as fact. The Sleepy Hollow thing I could not answer because I did not recall it ever being called that when I was a kid. One of my Facebook and Business & Beer friends, Dan Thomas, sent me a message that he knew who the “father” of the Candy Cane Lane phenomena was and he put me in touch with him, a Mr. Bob Solomon. Here is his story: Continue reading

Personal tour of the S.S. Lane Victory

These photos are of the S.S. Lane Victory which is located at Berth 46 in the Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro, CA. A couple of weeks ago, Tanya and I were at a regional Chamber of Commerce mixer and I won a raffle prize of tickets for two to receive the President’s Tour of the ship as well as lunch in the Officer’s Mess. It was actually the one thing I wanted to win. Anyway, this morning we met with Anthony Broude, the current President at U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II, and he gave us a personal tour of the Lane Victory from the bridge to the engine room and everything in-between. We had a great time and I learned that the difference between the Officer’s Mess and the Crew’s Mess would be tablecloths.

The S.S. Lane Victory was built in 1944 at Terminal Island, which is right around the corner from where she currently sits. She launched in 1945 for World War II. After the war she was decommissioned until 1950 when she was recommissioned for the Korean Conflict. One of the highlights of her time in Korea was when she rescued more than 7,000 Korean men, women and children and safely transported them from North Korea to South Korea. In 1953 she was decommissioned once again only to be recommissioned in 1966 for service in Vietnam. After four years there she was decommissioned on last time in 1970. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan conveyed the Lane Victory to the Merchant Marine; and on December 14, 1991 the S.S. Lane Victory was designated a National Historic Landmark. Continue reading

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