Saturday, December 21, 2019

2020 Vision

By: George Lee Cunningham



After years of sitting in meetings and writing stories about “2020 Plans,” George Cunningham came up with his own 2020 Vision this year. A dozen poems – one for each month – in which George considers everything from why boy dogs like to pee on everything to what people in airplanes think about the folks below. And absolutely everything in between. His poems don’t rhyme, but they’ve got a great rhythm. We hope you enjoy them. Click on 2020 Vision.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Not a Good Housekeeping Thanksgiving

By: Carmela Cunningham

Real Thanksgiving Day feasts are nothing at all the way they’re pictured on the cover of Good Housekeeping Magazine.  In the magazine, there’s a beautiful roasted turkey with steaming mashed potatoes, a specially made autumn-colored centerpiece, hand-cut crystal glasses, and everyone is wearing color-coordinated outfits.

It’s not quite that way at the Cunningham house.  First of all, our main dish is not turkey.  It’s ravioli made during a weekend of flour, chicken, and chaos two weeks prior to Thanksgiving.  Sure, we have turkey, but for us, it’s a side dish.

Then, there’s the decorations.  Ours are hand-made.  But the hands are small, the colors are black and purple, and they usually include an ugly picture of the artist’s sister.  At our house, we may start out dressed nicely for a family holiday, but if you lift up anyone’s shirt, you’ll find drawstring pants that can be loosened if it becomes necessary.

Throughout the day, children will run around like Indians until they all finally get yelled at and told to go play quietly in the other room, wives will get snippy at husbands who won’t say what they are Most Thankful For, and people will eat until all the drawstrings […]

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Riding the Range

By: Ken Cable

Ken Cable knows about horses. He also knows what it takes for young boys to become men. And when he writes about both, it’s entertaining and motivational. The author has written three books aimed at young people, but they’re also a great nostalgic read for adults. LOST! Track of the Hunter and White Shadow are available at:


It was only 9 o’clock in the morning, but it was already hot. The locomotive hissed slowly along the spur, then squealed to a stop in a rush of steam as the third stock car drew even with the horse auction corrals.

Sixteen-year-old Jeff Martin was standing near the rail spur in the shade of a straggly sycamore tree.  He could hear the horses in the rail car stamping their feet and whinnying in fright. A four-man crew emerged from the stockyard dragging portable fencing into place next to the boxcar. When a train crewman slid open the freight door, the horses surged out of the car, jumping to the ground and milling around in the makeshift pen next to the horse auction pavilion.

After the last horse was unloaded, three crewmen from the train climbed into […]

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Monday, June 11, 2018


By: Roger & Nancy Hoffman

Roger and Nancy Hoffman are a husband and wife writing-and-illustration team who have just joined Reader Publishing. In the first of a planned series of Saltwater Kids books, they’ll introduce you to twins Art and Minnie, their dog Pepper, and life aboard a houseboat in Florida. But, before you read about the adventures of Art and Minnie, you’ll want to meet Roger and Nancy. We think you’re going to like Roger and Nancy – and The Saltwater Kids. Read more about the Hoffmans.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Henry Eats, Mom Weeps

By: Carmela Cunningham

My husband George and our pup Henry have been planning my Mother’s Day celebration for weeks. And being the guys they are, they couldn’t keep it secret. We were going to garden all day and then get me a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in a pointy cone that night. It’s my very most favorite way to celebrate any holiday, and I was looking forward to it.

But Mother’s Day didn’t turn out that way out all.

We had a BBQ for a bunch of old friends and their children on Saturday, and the menu included, among a other things, pork ribs and corn on the cob. I had put a little trash can outside for people to dump their trash after they ate, and around 5:30 that evening, I went by and noticed the trash was knocked over. I picked it up, but didn’t think much more of it, until around 10 o’clock that night. That’s when Henry started retching, vomiting, and pooping. By 5:30 in the morning, I could see corn coming out of both ends of him and realized that he had dumped the trash and helped himself.

We rushed him to the […]

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Piano Came Home

By: Carmela Cunningham

Today I picked up my mother’s piano.

It had been sitting at my brother-in-law’s house in the Arizona desert for the previous five years. Before that it had moved from one person’s house or storage shed to another since my mother died 18 years ago.

I grew up with that piano in the house although I never played it. I wanted to play it, but for one reason or another, I never had the opportunity to take lessons.

I dusted and polished that piano about a million times growing up. I sat and picked at it now and again, but I never learned to play. Now in retirement – that part of life where we get to do everything we always wanted to do but never had time for – I have decided to learn to play.

I’ve been told by a woman who has made her living playing pianos and organs and even writing compositions, that I’m too old to learn – that I’ll never play well. Williametta is a tiny, straight-forward old lady, who says what’s on her mind.

“Well, I really want to learn,” I told her. “My age means that I’ll practice more and think […]

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Thursday, June 30, 2016


By: George Lee Cunningham

My wife Carmela would make a great nurse, even though she would hate it.

She hates hospitals, she hates all the messy blood and ooze, and most of all she hates sick people. Even with her own husband, after a couple of days, her patience wears thin. It’s like are you going to get better now, or are you just going to keep laying around, moaning about how bad you feel?

I will tell you this. The answer to that question is not sarcasm: Oh I think I will lay around for a few more days, coughing and throwing up and moaning about how bad I feel. The correct answer is to stop feeling sorry for yourself, start moving your butt, and start feeling better.

The truth is that the tough-love school of nursing works. Pretty soon, you are feeling better, if for no other reason than you want to get strong enough to slap her dirty rotten face before you die. Of course, I exaggerate, but only a little.

When push comes to shove, Carmela rises to the occasion. She does what is required, whatever that is, however disgusting, nasty, and scary it may be. It’s […]

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016


By: George Lee Cunningham

It seems that former L.A. Undersheriff Paul Tanaka is about to get a taste of his own medicine. Tanaka was convicted earlier this month of conspiracy and attempting to thwart a federal investigation into prisoner abuse in Los Angeles County jails. He could end up spending up to 15 years in jail. His boss Sheriff Lee Baca is getting off with a 6-month sentence after agreeing to plead guilty to lying to the feds during an investigation of civil rights violations at the county jail.

Both sentences are richly deserved.

Tanaka has also had to step down in his other role as Mayor of Gardena. Both Baca and Tanaka will still receive pensions for their years of service, but the taint on their names will remain. Unfortunately, some of that taint will also remain on the thousands of good deputies and police officers out there who do not abuse prisoners and who treat with respect the people who live in the communities that the police are sworn to protect.

The sad truth is that we also share in some of the blame. The sheriff is an elected official, and collectively we elected him to office in 1998 and then re-elected […]

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015


By: George Lee Cunningham

Former Long Beach Harbor Commissioner Doris Topsy-Elvord is not happy with us. She doesn’t think her service on the harbor board from March 2003 to June 2008 was sufficiently recognized in Port Town, the history book the Port of Long Beach commissioned us to write in 2013.

Ms. Topsy-Elvord has taken her case to port commissioners, gotten coverage of her issues on the front and editorial pages of the Press-Telegram newspaper, and even threatened to hire an attorney.

It was not a mistake that we left Ms. Topsy-Elvord and other commissioners out of Port Town, at least by name. From the beginning, we knew that the last chapters would be the most challenging. There are several points in the writing of such a history – especially a history that has been commissioned by the entity being written about – that present challenges. We were assured at the beginning of the project that the port desired an authentic history, not one colored by the political sensibilities or politics of the present day.

That is a lot of trust to place on authors and a lot of responsibility. We were determined to live up to that trust.

In doing an extensive […]

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Port Town Signing

By: Carmela Cunningham


We finished writing Port Town on Halloween of 2014, but there is a huge difference in completing a manuscript and holding the finished product in your hand. The editing and design folks at the Port of Long Beach did an incredible job of putting together the commemorative copy of the book with leatherette cover and cooper-gilded pages. We spent a recent afternoon, signing the books for special presentations. The book – Port Town, How the People of Long Beach Built, Defended, and Profited from Their Harbor – is available in both printed soft-cover on A limited number of the commemorative copies are available for sale at the Long Beach Historic Society.

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