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August 2008 / Vol 10 No 8



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 Taco Mania




When Great Mex Restaurant owner Alonzo Ricardo -"Ricky" to his friends - decided to go with the taco eating contest suggested by employee Mike Babcock, who is in charge of promotions,  Ricky had no idea how big this idea would get. With just a few signs around town and word of mouth, hundreds of spectators showed up for the event.   Ricky was given permission to hold the event in the old Balboa Market parking lot. And a good thing too because the crowd filled the lot.

Ricky preparing the 350 tacos
served for the event.

It was decided that the event would be on Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 6:00 PM
The contest rules were simple. Who could eat the most tacos in 20 minutes and hold them down until the 20 minutes was up. First prize was $200.00 and Bragging Rites. Second prize was $100.00. The contest was limited to the first 20 applicants.  At the sound of the start of the contest each contestant was given a plate of 5 tacos. When they were eaten another 5 was supplied, and another, and another until the 20 minutes was up.

Click To Enlarge
Master of Ceremonies Anna Maria Basile did a great job holding things together.

The contest started with the contestants diving into their tacos with true vigor. But as the time progressed you could see the real pros stand out from the amateurs. And after 15 minutes several of the contestants were disqualified for not having the intestinal fortitude to hold down what they had eaten. The crowd loved it and roared each time  the contestants tossed their cookies.

Click To Enlarge
Reining champion Kenny Vicky, who holds the record of eating 25 tacos in 90 minutes, chows down on his fourth plate of tacos.

When all was over first prize went to Kenny Vicky who ate 17 tacos in 20 minutes. Second place was tied between Marcel Stiffly Dan Danny Castillo who ate 16 tacos each.
The contest was so successful that Ricky is planning an even larger contest for next July 4th. He is planning to hold it in the Balboa Pier park at the Gazebo. Word is there has been some consideration to changing the name of the event to, "2nd annual taco eating contest and cookie toss.

Click To Enlarge  Click To Enlarge  Click To Enlarge  The winners, left to right, Kenny Vick, Marcel Stiffly and Danny Castillo.

Thanks Ricky, for the great fun

Time Capsule


From TalesOfBalboa the Book

In the 1970s, Dillman's Restaurant would post a sign proclaiming the Player of the Week. Hangers on at the circular bar, such as Boats Kennedy and Art La Shell, would be given notoriety for a specific feat. According to Darrel Burke, you would get recognition for such exploits as, "falling off the barstool, punching your wife, or getting arrested. The sign would feature a picture of the perpetrator and a story about why he was the Player of the week. An example being, when Ron White fell off the boat and landed on a shark, he was made Player of the week with the story, "Ron White goes down on shark." 

Pop Quiz

Words of Wisdom

War does not determine who is right, war determines who is left.

Feature Cartoon

From London's Times

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Learn To Paint At
Stephanie Bennett's Art School


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Take a Ride on the
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Events Calendar

Taco Tuesdays, All Day
$1.00 Tacos, No Limit, Eat In/Take Out
Great Mex
703 E. Balboa Blvd.

Sundays, 1 PM - 4 PM
Jimi James Live
R&B - Reggae - Funk
Harborside Restaurant

Sundays 10 AM - 2 PM
Sunday Champagne Brunch
Harborside Restaurant

Fridays, 10 PM - 2 AM
DJ Bob D-spinning
Shorehouse Cafe

Mondays thru Thursdays
Pole Dancing Classes
Balboa Pilates

204 Washington St.

1st Wednesday of the Month
 10 Am - 11AM
 Fun at Pirates Cove, 2 - 5 year olds

Newport Harbor Nautical Museum
(949) 673-7863 X 105 Carol Davis

2nd Wednesday of the Month
 Book Club Luncheon 1 PM

Newport Landing Restaurant

Thursdays, 6 PM,  May 15 - Sept. 4
Balboa Beer Can Regatta

Balboa Bay

Summer 2008 Shakespeare by the Sea
Pre-show activities begin at 6:45 p.m.; show begins at 7:00 p.m.
Bonita Canyon Sports Park (Bonita Canyon Drive & Mesa View Drive), Newport Beach

Saturday, August 2, 2008
Antony and Cleopatra

Sunday, August 3, 2008
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Tuesday, August 12, 8 PM
Junior Lifeguard Fireworks Display
Balboa Pier

Tuesday, August 12th
2008 Perseid Meteor Shower

Sunday, September 7, 10 AM - 4 PM
Coastline Car Classic
Big Corona Del Mar State Beach

Wednesday, September 17
Talk Like A Pirate Day
All ages, all day
Come dressed as a favorite pirate
Balboa Branch Library

Saturday October 4,  Noon - 4 PM
7th Annual Chili Cook-off
L Street Park

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Bonus Features

Smart Or Stupid
Magic Gopher
Energy Source

Old Photo of
the Month

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The Island Holiday was the first boat put into service by Catalina Passenger Service. It was a converted 85 foot, 83 ton coast guard cutter capable of carrying 150 passengers. The fare at this time was $7.50. The Island Holiday remained in service until 1978

Got an old photo you would like to share?  Email it with its information to:

Hi, my name is Herby, what's yours?


Help! I'm a young man trapped inside this old geezer's body.

Editor And Chief
Cook & Bottle Washer
Jim FournierI'd really love to hear from you.





































Viewer Email & Memories

Viewer Email & Memories are published as soon as they are received.
 Keep checking back for new messages.

Love the new cam of the Pavillion!! What a nice surprise! Thanks!!

Since you have closed the gallery, how can I view your photographs for sale?  I have bought 2 or 3 every summer and was sad to see the gallery closed.  Is there a website or catalog?
Diane Heuser

Dear Jim,
I have been renting with my family summers since the mid 50's.  I usually rent within 5 blocks of the ferry.  Do you know if there are any dog friendly rental available?  Please let me know if you have the time.
Colleen Grace

I lived on Balboa Island from l943 till l948 at l08 Topaz, just across the alley from Seymour Beek.  He let me shoot hoops, and the neighborhood kids would put on melodramas in a little shed in his backyard using lots of katsup for blood.  Seymour's two older brothers were off in the war.  His Dad would often stop by the gaggle of neighborhood kids and tell us how Mrs. Beek was putting salt on his wounds all the time.  Once Mr. Beek took all the kids out for a ride on his yacht in the bay.  My best friend was Barbara Black. We used to roam the alleys for interesting trash.  We went to grade school in quanset huts on Little Island. My cousin Dorothy Nadorff Pier lived on Garnet.  Fond, fond memories of Balboa Island!!
Anita Greene Ferman

Jim, Great site you have.  And like many have told you, brings back great memories.  One question.  Is the Balboa Island Sculling and Punting Society still around?  Can they be contacted?  Thanks for the time.
Larry Pim

I was so happy to find this on my computer.  In the early 1960's, my sister in law and I and her two little girls often spent a week or two in the top floor apartment of Mrs. Jackson's house on Balboa Bay in the month of June.  Those were such great days.  The Bay was so gorgeous, especially at twilight when the water turned to silver.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing it all back.
Mary Jo

Hi Jim,
I saw the same question posted, regarding Balboa Gallery. My husband I  honeymooned there last year and saw a photograph in the gallery, we both really wanted. I planned on giving it to him as anniversary gift, but obviously didn't plan on the gallery being closed! Is there anyway to still order a photograph from the gallery? Thank you and I look forward to your reply.
Audrey Duffey

Jim, now that the Balboa Gallery is closed where can I find your photographs?  I have several and I wanted to buy a few for family in North Carolina.  Thanks for your help.

Went looking for the Prison of Socrates today with my son. It was easy to find, even if it is BJ's Pizza. I saw Big Mama Thornton there about 40 years ago. I was about 16 years old. Man, what a show. Big Mama stood outside by the wall talking with my friends an I for about 20 minutes after the show. I'll never forget it.
Bill Odien

Can you give me the name of a hotel or motel on Balboa Island?  I'm looking for something that is clean but not too expensive.  Also, I was curious if there was a place to stay on the Pavilion side?
One more thing, I was hoping to stay somewhere where there is access to "public" beach/sand
Sue Candiotti

Hi, Jim!
I'm hoping you can help me with a little research for my current book.
I recall that the homes in the section of Newport Beach called "Sin City" were built on leased land, owned by, I believe, the Southern Pacific Railroad.  That's why the houses were never sold or upgraded, and became mostly student rentals, because no one knew what would happen when the lease expired.
My questions:  1) When were the homes built?  2) What's the expiration year for the lease?  3) If the lease already expired, what happened to the home owners?
I figured if anyone knew who to ask, it would be you!
Toni Andrews

Like someone else mentioned here, the Main Street webcam =really= needs to be's like looking through smog-colored glasses. :(

Hi, Jim:
 I moved there just in time for Mr. Lilly's 5th grade class at Newport Heights until I graduated in '65 from NHHS. My family stayed until the 80's but now they are all gone from the area. Now I am in Eugene, OR, but we got together with a bunch who had spent much time in the Balboa area and we started in on the "bests": you know, best burger was the original Bob's Big Boy on Marine Ave on the Island. Richards was best grocery store, the Port was the best theater only due to the balcony. Best breakfast was at the Lighthouse off of lower Bayside Drive. Best bodysurfing was a draw between the Wedge and 56th Street. Best date dinner was the Five Crowns. Best beer was at Blackies but Best dive bar was Sid's Blue Beet, right down the pier from the old Fish & Chips place, for which none of us could remember the name. My parents, when they took us there, just called it "the dirty fish place", but the fish was great, better than the Crab Shack. Remember the name? Somebody thought it might have been "Charlies", but it will always be "the dirty fish place" to me.
Bob Shaw

"Scotty's"!!!! Of course! Thanks for filling that in for me, Jim. We rarely got to go there, unfortunately - too disreputable - but Scotty was a classic Newport character. Since we lived in the Heights with five kids, it was usually off to Freddies on 17th, across from HiTime Liquor Store and LaCave. My sister was a waitress at the first Snack Shop in CdM, so we would go there, too, and then he opened the Coco's where Freddies was, so that was where we always went - for a "Nui-Nui Burger". When I was little, a big-time night out was to Christian's Hut. They used to give kids ice cream with real creme de menthe on it. My favorite meal as a teenager, though, was a plate of fries and a lime rickie at the counter of the Jolly Roger on the Island. You should run a "best" section for us old Newporters - I'd love to hear other people's takes on these things. Thanks for a great site.

Grew up down on the Point.  NH class of '69.  I check the cams regularly.  The Main St. camera is always a little fuzzy.  Any chance of a cleaning in the near future?

Hi Jim:
I really enjoy your site, especially the humorous tales of locals and their pagers. I'm writing an article about Sharon Sheeley, a songwriter who lived in Newport Beach. I'm having a few problems finding resource material to create a timeline of her life. The time periods are:
The first sixteen years of her life, 1940 - 1956 (I have a little info for the year 1956) The years 1957 & 1958. The first substantial information I have begins in 1958 when she wrote the song "Poor Little Fool" for Ricky Nelson. I also have a small amount of info re: her sister, Mary Jo, who dated Derry Weaver (The Hollywood Argyles)
I have bits and pieces of her life through her marriage and divorce to Jimmy O'Neill (Shindig). After the divorce, there is very little info except one very intriguing story about her relationship with Vince Flaherty.
If you have any info, or if you can point me to resources about her life, I would deeply appreciate the help. (Also, any info about her family, especially Mary Jo).
Gary Lee

In response to Gordon Wagner...
I know of the painting you're talking about (or at least one sounding just like it going by your description). We rented the back house twice a year for years from Rolf & Ruth Laib (Laib's Sand Castle) up until the end of 2007 when they sadly stopped renting due to health issues. In the rental unit, they had this picture on one of the walls of the living room. Maybe Jim can go and pay a visit to Rolf & borrow the picture and scan it in for you...but seriously, there has to be another copy of it somewhere...
Sergey Zakharov

I love your site, though it really nostalgic to remember how things were so long ago -- it seems like yesterday my Dad and I would row across the Grand Canal from the little island to buy doughnuts on Saturday mornings.
Is there any chance you might be familiar with a print made from a painting showing the view from the top of the OLD ferris wheel in the Fun Zone? I think it was by a female painter from the 70s. It showed the view towards the Pavilion. I'd love to find a copy.
Thanks again for a great web site.
Gordon Wagner

Hi Jim!
What a happy surprise to see my 1948 photo of "Fireman Dave" as your Old Photo this month. 
We lived on the Island from 1946-1950 and I am trying to find old playmates, born around 1939, who attended grades 1-3 at Corona Del Mar Elementary.  People I'm looking for include Paul Mantz Jr., "Skippy" Hudson, "Chuckie" Cramer, Edmund Mason, Lance Green (or Greenleaf), Laura Beth Burke, Sharon Anderson, Arthur (S?) whose father had the upstairs photography shop on Marine Ave, and "Buddy" Budworth.  Also I'm trying to find people who knew the firechief, Ed Zuby or his two daughters.  I have a photo of Ed Zuby and myself from 1948.Keep up the good work, Jim...we appreciate it.
Dave Howell
Upland, CA
David Howell

I will be renting on the Island from July 5th until July 19th, 2008. We are desperately in need of a one person kayak for that time period. All of the rental companies charge $55/day. For 2 weeks I could rent a nice mid-sized car for that price. Give me a break!
If you live on the Island and have a spare kayak, let's talk. I would certainly be willing to pay a fair price (not $55/day).
Tom Dial  Concord, CA

Hello, I love your website!! Just wondering if you can make your archives more accessible?? Thanks so much!!

Do you have a record of previous weathereye pages going back to 11/01/07?
Scott Felder

Hi Jim,
Will there be free concerts in the Gazebo this summer?
Used to be on Thursdays. Do you have a schedule?
Best, Jeff

Hi there,
I have 3 Beercan races posted on my website.  I'd love to be able to feature them on your website, because so many families love to see the pictures of their sailing friends - my site gets a lot of coverage.
Bronny Joy Daniels


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