The Flight of PAL 773


            This  yarn begins in midweek over 55 years ago (May 6, 1964) at the San Francisco airport, where a man, described later by acquaintances and family as debt-ridden and erratic, purchased two life insurance policies with a value of over $160,000 from an airport vending machine, naming his wife as the beneficiary.  Continue reading

So who stole the Black Bear’s black bear?

Feed a bear

Seems mighty strange that while the twenty thousand or so mighty hunters of the Safari Club International were visiting our hamlet, that the four-foot high wood-sculpted black bear in front of the Black Bear Diner on South Virginia Street turned up missing.

Just to help out, we of the coffee group that meets there posted our own bear until John O’Looney can replace the missing bear. Frankly, it’s been swiped three times now and we think John might be a bit o’looney to keep buying bears for hunters to steal, but it’s his diner. The photo’s pretty washed-out; the sign says “Bears Eat Free”

Meeting our staff…


OK, I’ve been fooling around learning what I can do and what I can’t on this website that does all the work for me, so this column’s presence is about to get put onto my e-mail as a signature to attract a little crowd – as of this writing if you got here it was by accident. I am posting a photo (booking) of my research assistant, who has been with me for many years – his name is Carmine Ghia, which many find curious. They would find Carmine himself to be even more curious, but he’s an excellent researcher, as he has the time, about two-to-five. Photos of more members of my staff will follow, all from the old Blue Place Special days.

Our website RESEARCHER is Carmine Ghia, who matriculated at Julliard Institute in New York City and honed his research craft while with the New England Journal of Medicine. He became a household word in music while backing up, on steel guitar, the many appearances of the great Irish tenor Mary O’Lanza at Lincoln Center and Tanglewood, and later, while under contract to Buster Brown Shoes, adapting Mussorgsky’s Concerto in O Positive to the popular Teddy Bear’s Picnic used on the company’s Saturday morning radio program Big John & Sparky: No School Today!, a radio forerunner of TV’s 60 Minutes

Ghia (whose name appeared in our first Blue Plate Special in 1971) may frequently be found unearthing little-known nor cared-for facts about our valley, at the Nevada Historical Society (where we send particular greetings to senior librarian Mike Maher), the Sparks Heritage Museum, Sundance Bookstore where he goes to borrow information from the works of other local writers, the Reno Gazette-Journal’s morgue, the local fire departments, and just getting on the phone taking chances that someone who answers may know something about something. Often that works. Or, if Carmine’s totally stuck, we just run it on the website and see who disputes the story – that works like a charm (kidding. sort of.)

The old Crescent Creamery


Atop the hill just east of Mountain View Cemetery, when there was no Stoker Drive, just south of the homes that would be built on West Seventh Street, was the Crescent Creamery – serving all of Reno and Sparks, and indeed northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe, for many a year

Snowbound, west of Donner Summit, 1952

This post is just getting the “feel” of how the graphics work; the picture is a Southern Pacific locomotive on the point of the City of San Francisco passenger train snowbound just west of Donner Summit in January of 1952, (and that’s what the slide show on the 18th is about!)</p>

Still feeling my way along with baby steps, but the plan herein is to get back to the ol’ Blue Plate Special of days gone by with a few tales of old Reno, along with a goal for a photo-of-the day – stay tuned!