Presidents Day Off

Pomona College

What I love most about having the day off is the time spent with myself and my wife. This morning I got up and put on a pot of coffee. While the house was filling with the aroma of Peet’s Coffee, I got out the galleys of my grammar book, looking forward to some serious line editing. The three few cups of coffee helped with the proofing, intense work under the best of circumstances. Around noon Sandy and I had lunch together — a rarity — and then I spent the mid-afternoon walking around the Claremont Village and the campus of Pomona College. We’re in the midst of a drought here in California, so the weather was dry and warm, as it has been for many months, and people were strolling along, enjoying the weather — while the rest of the US freezes through a hard winter. A quick trip to Vons and I had everything I needed to make homemade chicken soup for dinner. Sandy’s been under the weather lately, and the chicken soup tasted great.

Aftermath of two accidents

Aftermath of Two Accidents from Thomas Fasano on Vimeo.

The morning commute was cloudy, and an SUV and a pickup truck banged into each other, choking up a stretch along Euclid Ave. in La Habra. Looks like someone was taken away in an ambulance — sad but not as tragic as the horrible head-on, wrong-way-driver crash on the 60 Sunday morning which took six lives. In the second part of this video, I was on the way home when I spotted two guys in the emergency lane of the 57 — not too far from Sunday’s deadly crash — arguing and about to fight.

The Claremont Trolley

No, the trolley doesn’t wind its way through the Claremont Village anymore.

But when it did back in 2009, it would motor along a one-mile route past apparel shops and gift boutiques, restaurants and bakeries and cafes, even the library, stopping to pick up passengers free of charge. It wasn’t exactly a streetcar — more like a bus — but it had an old-school charm that city leaders hoped would attract business and maybe add to the small-town atmosphere of tree-lined CLaremont.

Sadly, only after about six months, the trolley died an early death due to a lack of riders. I suppose some residents believed the trolley was a stupid novelty, but I thought it was kind of fun and definitely charming.

No one stops at stop signs anymore.

Cars No Longer Stop at Stop Signs from Thomas Fasano on Vimeo.

Lately I’ve noticed no one stops at stop signs anymore here in California. They call it a “rolling stop.” Out of curiosity, I took my video camera out in an attempt to record somebody actually stopping at a stop sign. No dice. In an hour I failed to spot a single driver who came to a complete stop. What am I missing here? Doesn’t STOP mean STOP?

Gary’s Typewriter Repair


I recently bought an IBM Selectric typewriter at Goodwill (the tan machine in the above photo). It had a few problems, typical of these older machines; but it was in great cosmetic shape and all the parts appeared to be there. All I needed was an ace typewriter repairman. Enter Gary, the proprietor of Gary’s Typewriter Repair in Long Beach. His reviews on Yelp are gushing in their praise. So after a few phone calls and a Saturday-morning drive, I landed in his curiosity shop of typewriter wonders. Gary, a very energetic and affable guy, has been in the typewriter repair business for over thirty years, and his shop is a repository of just about every kind of typewriter ever made. I love how his shelves and floors are covered with stacks of typewriters and parts (see the photo below). It took Gary about two hours to give my Selectric a tuneup, enough time for me to visit some former Long Beach haunts — an enjoyable way to spend the morning, mostly because I hadn’t been to Long Beach in about five years.


If anyone in the L.A. area has a typewriter in need of repair, don’t take it to anyone but Gary. You can find him at 833 East South Street, Long Beach, CA 90805 (562) 423-0157. He’s the last of a dying breed.

My Classroom Desk Area


The above photo shows my desk and computer, as well as the podium, on which rests my Franklin Covery Planner, which I use as a daily logbook. I learned years ago to write down everything in detail that goes on in my classroom, almost by the minute. Doing so has several benefits: I’m able to remind myself the next day what each class accomplished (every day goes differently for each class), and I’m able to review more fully with my classes what we did and learned the previous day. The importance of such reviews is invaluable, especially for students who were absent. It’s during this review that I can pass out materials to those who need them and catch everyone up.