Is there a new “class of commercials” on TV?

junepixBy June Morrall

I was watching a 1983 movie called Blue Thunder on the Sleuth channel when it was time to take a commercial break.

You may know that soon after 9/11, the  trade magazines talked about a new kind of tv show, cheap and easy to make, and based on reality. Yeah, those shows.

More recently I read about a new class of commercials coming to tv  from advertisers you may never have heard of. I think I’ve seen a few already. They have that “bare bones” quality to them. They appear to have been grafted from the infomercial tree.  I can remember when the tv advertisers were comfortable names we all knew and trusted, like General Electric, General Mills and General Motors.

(I’m assuming there are rules and things tv commercials must follow. Perhaps this explains why these new commercials remind me of an “infomercial.” The rules must be less stringent.)

The names of the new products have not yet left their digital imprint on my mind but Magic Jack is one of them. There are some devices to help speed up computers, and I’m sure there are many more examples. In the new world of banking, there’s  the “reverse mortgage,” about which we know little. But those budget-conscious new century banking commercials are directed at seniors who may have significant equity and may live on fixed, inadequate income.

TV advertisers,  formerly with deep pockets,  have slashed their creative budgets  because good commercials are very costly to make in this “economy.”  The solution may be to accept a new class of commercials as I described. What’s positive about the door opening, even a little bit,  is that right now there may be an opportunity for innovators and inventors to expose their products to a huge, captive audience. That door may not remain open forever.

Tom Andersen sends “Oh, No!” News

From Tom Andersen

Email Tom ([email protected])

Hi June,

Just received this via e-mail from Michael O’Neill, music director for Cetrella:

Well folks,

It’s the end of an era. The music at Cetrella will come to an indefinite ending after this coming Friday night, January second.
Appropriately enough, Margie Baker will be performing along with Cetrella regulars – Ruth Davies, Shota Osabe and myself.
On behalf of myself and all of the musicians who have performed at Cetrella over the last seven plus years, thank you so very much
for your constant and enthusiastic support. We hope to see many of you there on Friday.

On a more upbeat note, I have several “irons in the fire” and hope to have a new performance venue in the very near future!
I will keep you posted with any new updates.

I hope this will be a great New Year for all.


Michael O’Neill

$$$Not Good

I was watching an MSNBC news program last week when one of the guests hinted at other possible “big” financial surprises to come in the first quarter of 2009. I added the journalist’s  cautionary “possible,” but when I pursued the MSNBC guest via email, he reminded me that some of the folks involved in foreclosures will be defaulting on their credit cards.

I remember reading stories about homeowners who were financing their  entire remodeling projects with  credit cards. Remodeling does not come cheap so you can imagine how quickly the charges added up. What has happened to those people?

Martin’s Beach: So funky-chic, we all wanted to live there. Now, Realtor Carole Delmar Confirms that Martin’s Beach has officially SOLD.


Story/Mural Photos by Carole Delmar

Email Carole [carol[email protected]]

Hi June,

Did you know that Martin’s Beach has sold? The sign on the highway is
painted over and I’d wish I would have taken a photo before it was gone
forever. I did get some photos of the mural though.







John Vonderlin  recommended this good story, including history and more background on the sale. The article dates back to August 27, 2007. To read, please click here

Tom Andersen: When it comes to singing the blues, Margie Baker’s “the one” Enjoy her performance Friday, Jan 2 at Cetrella Restaurant, HMB

Story by Tom Andersen

Email Tom ([email protected])

Hello June,

We put up our holiday lights on our deck railing, a 7′ diameter circle of clear lights, with a 4′ colored light star in the center, a giant “O”. We’ll leave it up through January 20th. We took a photo and made it into our holiday cards, adding a rainbow lettered “Hallelujah”. It can be seen while driving the straight stretch of the 400-500 block of El Granada Blvd. and looking straight ahead and up about 15 degrees.

Here is the review of Margie Baker’s performance at Cetrella last week:

Saturday December 13, 2008

Saying goodnight to Margie Baker after her performance at Cetrella in Half Moon Bay, I told her it mattered little what song she chooses, because the essence of her performance is her interpretation of the song.

Born in East Texas, but a virtual lifelong Bay Area resident, Margie Baker is as good as it gets in music. Her phrasing, that is, how she groups lyrics, the emphasis she gives, makes each song uniquely her own, regardless whether it is Ellington, Beatles, or Billie Holiday. She grew up in the Fillmore district in San Francisco which she defines the limits as Franklin to Masonic, certainly not past Van Ness! Margie spent her “day job” career in education, in which she holds a doctorate. But music has been her life long passion, beginning with the blues & gospel in Texas.

She opened the set with “In A Mellow Tone”, saving her usual opener, “Let The good times Roll,”  to liven up the third set, when there were fewer audience members than musicians. Her set ranged from the Righteous Bros.’ “OH! My Love”, which we danced to, to blues in b flat “Real Gone Guy” to “White Christmas”.

She really cut loose on the second set with “All blues”, where she opened up the improvisation with incarnations of Ella, Sarah, Dinah & Billie. She repeatedly sent out holiday wishes a la Jewish, Muslim, Christian & African. Her interpretations of Christmas standards were entirely her own, as hip & jazzy as it gets.

She announced her third set would be all blues: she knows the blues are our favorite, and because, at that point we composed half of the audience, so there you go! Beginning with her signature “Let the Good Times Roll!” (with which she usually opens her show) she continued with “Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man Who Calms the Water” spiritual, at which point an amazing thing happened. After playing most of the evening to an almost empty room, a flood of people arrived, dressed to the nines, including Michael O’Neil. Cetrella is Michael’s gig. He books the players, and is usually the “maestro”. But this evening he was playing a private party down the street at Pasta Moon, and, apparently when they folded their tent there, most of the party came down to Cetrella, right in the middle of Margie’s rousing blues & gospel closing set! Energized, there were whoops, cheers, and clapping along to CC Rider. After an incredibly nuanced version of Sarah Vaughns “Black Coffee” she launched into “Hallelujah! I Just Love Him So”, much more clapping along & whooping support. She then did a great “Georgia”, and a jazz/gospel sounding “Silent Night”. She closed the show with “When the Saints Go Marching In”, Michael having brought his clarinet in from the car, wailing away in classic ‘Nawlins” style.

Once again, Margie had given us an “all time great” performance. Amazingly, she outdoes herself every time. She is an incredible talent, a treasure, and we are so fortunate to have her performing at all, much less once or twice a month at Cetrella, where you can routinely sit within five to fifteen feet of the band.

Margie is as kind and generous a person there is, deeply spiritual, with a great world view and understanding of the human spirit and soul. She is inclusive, like Barack Obama, bringing everyone into the tent.

Her next performance at Cetrella is on Friday, January 2, 2009, 6-11:30. We’ll as always, be there from start to finish. You never know what will happen next these days, so enjoy it while it lasts!

Calara Valley, Pacifica

I think Calara Valley is in Vallemar, an Ocean Shore Railroad subdivision. Yes, those are cows you see and not a bucolic scene with Ocean Shore Railroad cars grazing.


1872: Not a “Ponzi” But a SCAM: diamonds grow on trees, you know

San Francisco History: The Great Diamond Hoax of 1872
To read more, please click here and here


Asbury Harpending wrote “The Great Diamond Hoax.”

I wonder why Hollywood hasn’t done something with The Great Diamond Hoax, a true story of post-Gold Rush California.. I can see a documentary but wouldn’t a movie be better? One of the chief characters in The Great Diamond Hoax was  USGS legend Clarence King, who had earned the description: “man of mystery.” Unfortunately mysterious people don’t tell other people waht they are up to. Clarence King was one of the “good guys,” and although he had a home back East where his fascinating circle of friends included the historian Henry Adams and his artist wife Clover.  Some years ago I read Patricia O’Toole’s The Five of Hearts.

I loved reading about the  special relationship between pioneer geologist Clarence King, Henry Adams, great grandson of President John Adams; artist/photographer Clover Adams; Ambassador John Hay and his wife Clara. The author calls them “The Five of Hearts.”

Back to who would Hollywood cast in the role of Clarence King  in a  movie based on the Great Diamond Hoax? Immediately Brad Pitt came to mind. I know, that’s not an original thought, is it?

Dec. 28,1887: Stormy Weather

December 28, 1887

“A Halfmoon Bay Building Crushed in.

“A severe windstorm set in about 10 o’clock last night and increased in force during this morning. The Centennial flag pole, erected in 1876, was blown down, falling across the Ames saloon building and cutting it down to the ceiling. The chanderliers an, d lamps were demolished. The temperance refreshment saloon, now occupying the building happened to be closed while the proprietor was at breakfast, so no one was hurt. The pole was over 100 feet tall and much admired for its symmetrical proportions but now lies broken in several pieces. It was treated by the patent process for preserving piles, but had rotted off at the ground. The telegraph wires were broken by its fall so we have only mail communication with this world. No other damage is reported, though a man was sleeping in the house, but the wind had been the strongest experienced here for some years, and it may have cut up other pranks on the coast. Rain is falling, and if the wind holds south will doubtless be heavy by night. Some plowing had been done but much of the land was very dry and the grazing sadly need rain.”