A Hilarious Pete Shaw Classic from 1990!

When I started and owned The Alpenhorn newspaper so many years ago my wonderful and creative friend, Pete Shaw wrote a column for me each week. Sometimes his stories would be sentimental and beautiful and other times it would be something silly or hilarious or very sentimental. After all these years I still have a lot of my old newspapers and hidden in some of them are his weekly columns. I am hoping to post many of them on this blog so enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

“I guess I’m confused about fashion. I was watching the CNN channel the other day and they were covering a fashion show from Paris. I was about to flip past the channel the other day and they were covering a fashion show from Paris. I was about to flip past the channel when a group of models came down the runway (I guess that’s what you call it) dressed in jackets that had shoulder pads wider than most NFL linebackers usesse. Their hats looked like they had raided the costume department of robo-Cop and they were wearing metallic slacks.

I suppose that beneath the costumes were beautiful international models but someone had done a good job of disguising them.

They looked like they had walked down a ramp from the cosmic saucer that had just arrived from Nirvanland in the Freaknoid galaxy. Can you imagine knocking at the door to meet a blind date and have her appear in those duds? “Hi, I’m Art, Fred’s friend. Very nice to meet you.” “I cannot shake your hand. it could result in a severe electrical shock.”

“Oh, sorry. Well, are you ready?”

“I must polish and buff my slacks, change the batteries in my hat and inflate my shoulder pads.”

“Oh well, don’t dress up too much. I was thinking we’d just go grab a taco and….”I’ve already eaten. I just finished a tin foil salad.”

“Ooookay…well…..(I’m gonna kill Fred!)”

“What did you say?” Oh, I said we can go somewhere else instead.”

Who designs this stuff anyway? I understand many high fashion designers are men. did they have bad relationships with mothers, aunts and kindergarten teachers? Are they “getting even” or what? I’m sure I’ve offended some people with my comments but I guess I’m just confused.

Speaking of fashion, I went down to buy some shorts the other day and they were on sale because all the cloths for the fall were soon coming out. Summer vacation hasn’t even started yet.

I swear, these fashion people can’t even get the seasons right.

I know what it is, they hate Mother nature, too!






When John Denver and Alabama Sang at Snow Valley

For those of us who were lucky enough to see (and hear) John Denver at Snow Valley it was an event that we will never forget. Thank goodness I have found the story I wrote about that fabulous event when I owned The Alpenhorn newspaper. The wonderful singer kept everyone thrilled to see (and hear) him in an outdoor venue…on the slopes of Snow Valley ski resort. The concert was on July 13, 1990 and those of us who took blankets or low-seats (along with warm jackets) were so lucky to be at the breathtaking concert. Weren’t we lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!A few weeks later the  and much-loved top country group, Alabama, had everyone tapping their toes and clapping or dancing to the fabulous sounds of the exciting country group. Again, the slopes at Snow Valley were filled to the gunnels with excited concert-goers. The two concerts couldn’t have been more different. When John Denver performed you could have heard a pin drop even though there were hundreds of people on the slopes. People came to listen to him, his lyrics and his incredible voice. It was a night that everyone would remember and throughout his performance you could hear people yell out “Farrrrr Out” which was one of his signature sayings. It was truly magic. Tickets were only $22 (including parking) so hundreds of people attended . It  was a magical night and that’s no stretch .

The next performance of the season was a fabulous, fun, colorful, fun concert by the adored country-western group, Alabama. What a fabulous time that was and I know that lucky guests so many years ago remember both of these first-rate concerts. The concerts were so different. For the “Alabama”concert people were clapping their hands and singing along with the great songs. When John Denver performed you could have heard a pin drop. People came to hear him and they sat quietly, bundled up in the brisk, lovely evening.

At this time both of the concerts were made available by the Lake Arrowhead Summer Music Festival. The performances began in 1989 and ended a few years later. It was a glorious time for those of us who were lucky enough to catch the terrific concerts. I know I’m not the only person who would love to see the concerts start up again but it’s not likely to happen so those of us who were there will always have great memories.



Remembering Mike Newfeld

This is a very late blog post on the death of longtime mountain reporter, Mike Neufeld. His service, held in the beautiful San Moritz Lodge on Sunday, February 12, and I can’t help but think that Mike, a longtime mountain reporter, would have been smiling a lot at the number of people who showed up to remember him.

I don’t believe that in all my days I have ever seen such a “turnout” for a funeral service. Throughout the years Mike was a mountain reporter and he had the knack of getting news as soon as possible and as accurately as possible. He was so well thought of which showed because so many family and friends and attended . Those who attended the service comprised of a “who’s who of the mountains” as well as many family and out-of-town friends.

Mike was an amazing man in many ways and I know that he left big footprints on everyone who attended.

I like to think that wherever he is he’s busy giving lessons on how to be a good reporter to whoever will listen.




Snow Valley’s Last Day April 9

Skiers and snowboarders have just a few days to enjoy fabulous spring skiing at Snow Valley Mountain Resort. The last day of this season will be April 9 so grab our skis or your”board” and drive up to the fabulous ski resort and enjoy one last day on the snow. It’ll be a long time before next years snow hit the ground so take advantage of the fabulous upper slopes before the end of this year’s season.

For decades Snow Valley has been one of southern California’s destinations for great skiing and snowboarding so take advantage of the last few days before they close for another year.

You know the old saying, “Be there or be square” well, the saying is “be there or miss out!”



Hello everyone. Just like Arnold in the Terminator when he said “I’ll be back”…I’m back too after having some really confusing electronic issues. I’m not electronic-minded and it makes for some really difficult circumstances. Thank you for your patience while I’ve been learning about this new computer and dealing with some difficult (and painful) sciatica problems. Anyway, thank you to my daughter Amanda Aberg for her computer help.


One of my most favorite stories when I owned my own newspaper in the Rim communities came from my friend Pete Shaw. I am so grateful that somehow I still have a lot of those wonderful stories and this one in particular. It’s called “Vacation” and you’ll love it and be able to relate to it all at the same time. Get ready to laugh….a lot!

“I bought a tent trailer this summer. These new-fangled devices are advertised as a miracle of technology. They fold down almost to suitcase size and are spring-loaded to suddenly expand into a room at the Ritz. Whatever happened to truth in advertising laws?

Anyway, we set out with high hopes for our week at the beach on Friday morning. Our son’s two friends safely buckled into the seats. As we swung around the corner we waved goodbye to friends and neighbors.

Three minutes later, just past Chateau Pines restaurant, I realized we had a problem; our trailer was attempting to pass our vehicle. It was frantically swerving from side-to-side. “What’s that? I hear  something strange,” my wife remarked. this reaction was comparable to standing on the deck of the Titanic and quietly exclaiming,”What’s that odd scraping sound, dear!?

My first reaction was to hit the brakes. The result was that the trailer slid under the rear of the Toyota and inbedded itself solidly in place. We came to an abrupt stop in the middle of the highway on the end of a rather dangerous curve.

My first initial reaction was to simply walk into the forest t0 avoid the ensuing embarrassment and humiliation but that would be a particularly spineless act with my wife, child and his friends sitting in frozen posture in the car in the middle of the highway.

As I emerged from the vehicle, cars swerved madly to avoid us, their drivers and passengers yelling and gesturing as they passed.

I was a man in real conflict. One one hand I hoped that no one would recognize me and I pulled my baseball cap down to my ears and adjusted my dark glasses in an attempt to become unrecognizable. On the other hand I needed help!

Luckily Dave Featherstone and Jeff Hubbard stopped to assist me in my dark hour of need. Dave explained that I had not successfully put the hitch fully over the ball and locked it into place. That certainly seemed simple enough. How could I have failed in such a simple task?

I climbed back into the car and tried to reassure the passengers  that all was well, safe and secure. This attempt to exude confidence came from a man who had recently claimed to fix a blow dryer only to plug it in and have it pop and throw a flame that ignited the chest of his T-shirt. Needless to say my credibility was still at a rather low point.

A glance in the rear view mirror showed three pale young faces siting quite erect, wide-eyed and white-knuckled.

For the next four hours our conversation consisted of five words; “What was that noise? and the reply….”Relax!”

We finally arrived at El Capitan State Beach campground. Families were returning from a day at the beach as we pulled in.

In order to fit into space No. 17 it required that I back the trailer up and thread it into the eye of a needle of a small parking area. It was going to be simple because the salesman had told me it was as easy as pushing a baby carriage.

I shifted into reverse and started backing up. The trailer began to lurch back and forth left and right. My attempts to correct and over-correct resulted in invasions into campsites. Campers scrambled to save aluminum chairs, hibachis, and ice chests as the madman in the Toyota attempted to gain control. Again, I searched for a forest to disappear into but there was only low underbrush in the area. All other occupants of the vehicle had slid below the window levels of the car.

The disastrous beginning of our trip was somewhat ameliorated by the discovery by the discovery that we had picked a glorious campsite. Beautiful fragrant blooming bushes surrounded us and a perfect site for the boy’s tent was discovered in the underbrush. Odd that the other campers had not realized how ideal a spot they had overlooked. Camping Rule No. 1: Always be suspicious of a choice campsite that is rejected by others in a full campground.

By the next morning lines of a poison oak rash began to spread down my arm and between my fingers. The blossoming bushes opened in the morning sun and thousands of bees descended upon them in a gluttonous frenzy of pollen gathering and became very irritated with ignorant humans who had the audacity to invade their nectar paradise.

Throughout the night we were convinced that we would be pulverized by the Amtrak trains that we were sure were thundering through the rear of our trailer.

Sleeping became a nightmare. At some point in the wee hours of the morning I fired up Coleman lantern. I looked about for something to read and could only find one of those gothic romantic nvels I so mercifully kidded my wife about. “How can you spend hours of your time reading that stuff: what a waste.” You know, the ones that have the bursting bodices. Three hours later I was hooked. “Would Galina Borshinskey, that half-Russian gypsy Jezebel, lure shy Mr. Hope-Brown, the vicar’s young assistant, into her web of seduction?” Only a few more pages would tell. The Coleman lantern sputtered, flickered and died. In my obsessive state I groveled for a flashlight. thank goodness I had bought new Duracell batteries; surely that would last at least a hundred more pages.

At 5:03 a.m., the batteries died. Mr. Hope-Brown had fallen and the sun started up.

Six more days, 20 more Duracell’s later we prepared to leave.We had hobbled around on sunburned feet, collected enough oil and beach tar to save our driveway, used showers and bathrooms that I was convinced were breeding grounds for every bacteria that carried dreaded communicable diseases known to mankind, had been thoroughly thrashed by a 12year-ld in our Hearts Tournament and almost perished in an attempt to close up our trailer.

Our fellow campers cheered as we left and drove out. My sunburned head glowed, a few pieces of canvas fluttered from the sides of the foolproof foldup, another poison oak blister popped but we were headed home.

We collapsed into our beds four hours later and we fell into a deep slumber, uninterrupted by the Super Chief.

The next morning I walked down the driveway to pick up my paper. My neighbor pulled out and rolled down her window. “How was your vacation?” “Just great,” I replied. After she drove off I looked skyward and asked for forgiveness; Dagwood Bumstead had fibbed again!