Fall Fashions: Views of Autumn

Fall Colors at Far Niente Winery, Napa, California
Photography (c) 2017 Russell Johnson

It was literally a breath of fresh air to experience the fall colors this year. We are headquartered in fire-ravaged Sonoma, California. We evacuated for about a week, but unlike several of our friends, we had a place to come home to. We returned to smoke and ash. Some areas of the Napa and Sonoma valleys were destroyed: homes and memories lost, automobiles and possessions melted. But certainly not all was lost, as you can see in the above picture that we snapped on our way over the mountain from Sonoma to Napa and the old vines below, some of which were still sporting fall plumage after as many as 100 years.

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Laffing Sal, San Francisco’s Creepiest Tourist Attraction

I moved to San Francisco, way out near the ocean, in 1972. Just a short walk from my house was a rubble strewn, abandoned theme park called Playland at the Beach. I wandered through just before the wrecking ball smashed it to smithereens. Playland had a roller coaster, a fun house, a replica of Noah’s Ark, a diving bell. Its creepy ambience costarred in Orson Welles’ “Lady From Shanghai,” “The Princess Diaries,” and many others, some of dubious distinction such Roger Corman’s “X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes.”

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From Vandalism to Art: Portugal’s Thriving Urban Art Scene

Portugal Embraces Political and Social Expression for All to See
(Even Seniors are Getting Into the Act)

Today Portugal is one of the hottest destinations for travel in Europe. But back in 2008 the country was hit hard by the worldwide recession. Portugal’s austerity measures had put people under tremendous pressure. Lisbon’s central district, the Barrio Alto, a magnet for youth because of the clubs and nightlife, was being hit hard by vandals with spray cans. Three hours drive north of Lisbon, Portugal’s second largest city Porto was also struggling with defacement of long-empty buildings.

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