Hosting One Of The

July 19, 2013

SUPREMES

Back in the day, when I was a younger and more idealistic man, I happened to be installed as the pastor in a small church located in the “LA Strip,” which included the Los Angeles /Long Beach harbor-area community of Harbor City. When I took over the church,  it was primarily populated by a faith-filled group of African-American Believers.

One Sunday evening, I was given the opportunity to host a young singer, who went by the name of Cindy  Hewlett.  As I was always eager to “be a blessing to others,” (Ironic, isn’t it?) I accepted the invitation and scheduled the unknown  Ms. Hewlett to perform on a Sunday evening.

It wasn’t until after she had ministered in song that I recognized her professional identity, as follows:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Birdsong

Ms. Hewlett was a sweet and unassuming songstress, whose voice easily surpassed her professional  moniker “Birdsong”  and I consider it a special moment to have met her personally and to have enjoyed her singing talent.

Comments can be made to  zakturango@excite.com.

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Zak’s Brush With….

May 18, 2012

 

FAME THE LAW

Relax. It’s not what you think.

Yesterday, May 17, 2012, I spent the entire day at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center, attending the world’s largest construction defect seminar, put on by West Coast Casualty Services (a prominent Third-Party Administrator specializing in construction defect litigation management), for whom I was the manager of their San Diego office, back in the day.

This seminar was attended by construction defect plaintiff attorneys, defense panel attorneys and experts, as well as judges from California, Nevada (including two sitting  justices of the Nevada Supreme Court) and southeastern states, such as Florida and South Carolina.

After passing and greeting, in the hallway, in the hallway, Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, the Hon. Michael Cherry, I recalled the afternoon, several years ago at a previous conference, when Justice Cherry and I were conversing while having a cocktail at the end of the day.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/may/07/justice-michael-cherry-becomes-chief-justice-nevad/

I was telling Justice Cherry about my success with Qui Tam lawsuits (a California “whistleblower” statute for private citizens) while fighting political corruption in Lake Elsinore.

Since he appeared to be interested, I recounted pursuing Former Lake Elsinore Mayor Pam Brinley for fraudulently having her grandchildren on her city-paid health insurance, when they should have been on her son’s health insurance, who was a school district employee.

As a result of the lawsuit, $18,000 was returned by Brinley.

I also recounted the pursuit of former Lake Elsinore City Manager, Ron Molendyk, who had received a questionable “sweetheart” contract, in the amount of $24,000, for “services” from his successor, then-City Manager, Dick Watenpaugh. After some pompous posturing through his defense attorney,  boasting that we would never be able to lay a legal glove on his client, the former City Manager wrote personal checks totaling $24,000 to reimburse the citizens of Lake Elsinore.

At that point, Justice Cherry reached into his pocket and handed me his business card, stating that if I would bring a version of the “False Billing Act” (Government code 12650-56) to the Nevada State Legislature for consideration,  he would support it.

However, at that point in my life, I had little interest in facilitating anti-corruption legislation in the State of Nevada.

Not to mention that Mafia thing.

My interest has always been, and remains, local politics.

Nevertheless, it was personally satisfying to have a prominent jurist acknowledge the efficacy of my efforts in dealing with corruption in local politics.

I have looked at several “situations” in the City of Wildomar that appeared to have the basic elements  of corruption, but none of those situations, while questionable, met my personal standard for Qui Tam  “slamdunkness,” nor did they rise to the base monetary threshold required for a Qui Tam lawsuit.

But I’m always watching.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


If You Lived Near Long Beach In The ’50s…..

January 26, 2012

… YOU MIGHT REMEMBER THIS TRAGIC EVENT

I was a seven-year-old youngster, living in Brookings, South Dakota when we received word that my first cousin Shirley Roberts, and her infant son, Douglas, had been killed  by a  Navy jet which had crashed into her home  in the community of Signal Hill, which is completely surrounded by the larger City of Long Beach.

The local newspaper, the Brookings Register, carried the story on the front page, with a photo of a firefighter carrying the tiny remains of a baby in his hands.

Please click on the following to read of the event and the only newspaper archive that I could find chronicling the event online:

http://www.newspaperarchive.com/SiteMap/FreePdfPreview.aspx?img=100506665

When Shirley’s husband returned to his home that evening, only to find everything he loved gone, his hair understandably turned white overnight.

Since Shirley was the second child of my eldest uncle, I can recall only one other happenstance involving Shirley. It was when she returned home to her parent’s house, where I was visiting with my parents, after having been in a solo car accident (Shirley and her friends apparently rolling over in one of the prominent ditches that are common to rural dirt roads in the Midwest). I can recall how she painfully limped around the living room due to her injuries.

As a teenager growing up in Long Beach, I used to include a brief tour (included, without additional cost, if the young lady were fortunate enough to be asked out on an infrequent date with the quirky geek, Gil Rasmussen) to the corner of 19th St. and Raymond Avenue, where the concrete foundation of the destroyed residence remained exposed for many years.

Which probably explains why I never got very many second dates (when I felt sufficiently confident to attempt my initial good night kiss “move”).

Shirley Roberts and her infant son were buried in the same plot at the All Souls Cemetery on Cherry Avenue, just north of Carson St.

Thirty-five years after the event, my elderly uncle confessed that his daughter had approached him and requested the use of his brand-new Chevrolet for a vacation trip to South Dakota. Unfortunately, Uncle’s stingy demeanor prevented him from acquiescing to his daughter’s request.

Had he done so, to his lifelong regret, the Navy jet would have struck his daughter’s unoccupied house.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Rose Bowl Parade 1963 Or Why…..

January 3, 2012

 

… I HAVE NEVER ATTENDED THE ROSE BOWL PARADE SINCE 1963

As a recall, it was a very cold morning on January 01, 1963, when I got out of a school bus in my Long Beach Poly High School band uniform, went to the equipment truck and located my trombone case.

After putting my trombone together (a trombone breaks down into two sections) and I pressed my embouchure against the cold mouthpiece of my trombone (not unlike licking the handle of the frozen pump on the farm), I suddenly realized 7.5 mile parade route was going to be more than a memorable experience. It was going to be an ordeal.

And, of course, it was an ordeal. Which is why I lost my desire to ever return to Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.

When you see a horse and rider entry in a large parade such as the Rose Bowl Parade, followed by a marching band, understand that the band members, in addition to keeping their eye on their pages of musical notes, must also keep a wary eye open for the inevitable “road apples,” laying where they were dropped by the preceding, thoughtless equines.

Take a moment, if you would, to reminisce with me about the 1963 Rose Bowl Parade, as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrMWIol_7IE

The intersection in the photographs is a 120° turn, which requires some marching skills and organization to be able to make that turn while maintaining some resemblance to a marching band.

While our band was making that turn, the CBS television crew focused on a thin trombone player in the front row, yours truly, making my mother, who was watching at home, squeal with delight, upon seeing her firstborn son on national television.

Therefore, in honor of that day, I am apparently my own brush with fame.

Although belated, have a Happy New Year, dear readers.


Lunch With….

December 23, 2011

Headshot - Judah Friedman 

…FAME?

On Wednesday, Sheryl and I had the  pleasure of having lunch with Judah Friedman, radio talkshow host of the KLEAN Radio program which is heard on the historic Los Angeles radio station KFWB (980 AM) as well as KFMB (760 AM), and my beautiful daughter, Melissa.

Judah is a bright and interesting young man, whose primary interest, when not distracted by my daughter, is substance abuse recovery.

For more information, please click on the following link:

http://www.kleanradio.com/about/

Melissa is the former President of the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter, a 501 (c) ( 3) nonprofit organization and has been involved in the rescue of animals for a number of years.

When the Soviet empire collapsed in the 1990s, she was involved in the rescue of dogs in the former Eastern Bloc country of Rumania.  (True to my Zakian instincts for priority, I often inquired of Melissa if she rescued all of the hungry people in Romania before she spent time and energy rescuing  hungry dogs.)

It appears that interesting, and attractive, people still gravitate to one another.

It was a great pre-holiday lunch.

 Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Zak Was The Mailman For…..

July 19, 2011

….JOHN WAYNE’S MOTHER

Just two weeks out of high school, due to the earnest influence of my widowed mother, who was one of the first female postal clerks hired by the Long Beach Postal Service after World War II, Zak was a letter carrier.

And, for a brief period of time, I actually delivered the mail to a California bungalow, located in the 100 block of Roswell Avenue. This section of Long Beach is known as Belmont Shore, and the bungalow was owned by a woman by the name of Mrs. Sidney Preen.

Other than being the postal customer of the future Zak Turango, Mrs. Preen also had the unique fortune to be the mother of Hollywood actor, John Wayne.

Please click on the following link to confirm his maternity:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/wayne.htm

As an aside, Wayne also graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Zak’s alma mater.

Zak apologizes for his exploitation of a long-ago, brief encounter with the deceased mother of a deceased actor, in order to satisfy the demands of my curious readers for something new to read.

But that’s what happens when Wildomar dangles perilously on the brink of its own economic demise.

There just isn’t much to write about until the demise issue is resolved.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

At the very least, it takes Tim Walker off the front page of Wildomar Magazine.


Artistic Brush….

June 16, 2011

….WITH FAME

Back in the day, circa 1949, my father was attending the Assemblies of God Bible school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, North Central Bible Institute.

My father parked cars for people such as the president of General Mills, in order to support his growing family, of which I was the baby of the family and, at that time, only son, and beginning to display the artistic potential that has blossomed from time to time in my life.

Sometimes, it was the trombone.

And other times, like the present, it’s the pen.

One of the men he served daily by parking his automobile was Dimitri Mitropoulos, then conductor of the prestigious Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1937 to 1949.

Please click on the following link to confirm:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimitri_Mitropoulos

Ever the proud father, planning and studying for a life in the service for Jesus, my musical parents had taught me the words and melody to a simple gospel hymn, “It Is No Secret What God Can Do.”

I have vague recollections of my father putting me on the telephone so I could sing that gospel hymn to Conductor Mitropoulos. Those recollections were affirmed by my elderly mother, who reminded me throughout my life, after the passing of my father, of his joy in having me sing in a telephone for prominent people.

If you’re not familiar with the song, please click on the following and enjoy the popular Jim Reeves version, as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3jKLyEkzkY&feature=related

As you may have gathered from my various writings, I have little regard for the “hipness,” mingled with unwarranted pomposity, that is the signature of many of today’s churches.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.