Countdown to Wheel of Fortune … 7 days …

… just 7 days left now until my appearance on Wheel of Fortune … Tuesday, March 4th … for an episode of “European Vacation” …

… as a teaser, here’s a photo that I received today from Sony Entertainment … taken while I was on the set …


… be sure to tune in at 7:30 pm next Tuesday on ABC (in San Francisco) … to see how I did …

… and check out Wheel through any of its official social media accounts:


– TWITTER: @WheelofFortune

– INSTAGRAM: #WheelofFortune


Running …

… it was 34 years ago today that I began my adult running career … coincidentally, at age 34 … after having not run at all for more than 10 years.

Spent the next five years in heavy training and road racing …  in the process dropping from a high of 183 pounds to 139 … my college wrestling weight! … and often doing major training runs with fellow deputy DA (and later judge) Dave Carter … Superior Court Judge Jim Smith … and my best running friends, DDA Doug Woodsmall & county engineer Al Nestlinger … until I moved to Northern California in 1985…

Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County

Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County

… at which point I got into trail running … mostly on Mt. Tamalpais … and did very little racing.

During the 5 years of frequent racing (1980-85), I managed to run my first sub-5:00 mile since college (4:55.39 in 1984) …

March of Dimes 5K 1st Overall

March of Dimes 5K … 4-29-84 … 16:28 … 1st Overall

… finished 1st overall in a 5K race … The March of Dimes Run for the Gold 5K in 1984 …

… and ran lifetime PRs of 32:59.14 for 10K (in 1985) … 1:14:37.40 for the half-marathon (1983) … 2:40:33 for the marathon (at the 1982 Fiesta Bowl Marathon) … and — also in 1985 — 54:41.8 for a 10 mile run … what I consider my best race ever, averaging 5:28.18 per mile.

Also ran in some interesting races …

The 1983 Boston Marathon -- Finisher's Medal, Pin & Patch

The 1983 Boston Marathon — Finisher’s Medal, Pin & Patch

… including the 1983 Boston Marathon (2:43:05.83 when I died in the last three miles after running sub-6:00 mile pace for the first 23) … a 24 hour track run (covered 75 miles) …the Lake Tahoe 72 Mile Run (dropped out after 43 miles and 6.5 hours, due to a combination of altitude sickness and severe shin splints) …  the Bay to Breakers several times (best time 44:54.69 in 1983) …and finally the Dipsea Race across Mt. Tam from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach.

And ran in some other interesting non-race settings …the Humboldt National Forest redwoods in Northern California … Muir Woods National Monument in Marin … Point Reyes National Seashore … the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon

The Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon

… down & up the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon … down & up the Sandia Peak Trail in New Mexico … around the rim trail of Walnut Canyon National Monument in Arizona ..

Meteor Crater, Winslow Arizona

Meteor Crater, Winslow Arizona

… and around the Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona … to complete this loop, had to run past signs prohibiting visitors from going any further … sh-h!

And hundreds of runs on Mt. Tamalpais here in Marin … with, at one time or another and with some frequency, sons Doug & Matt, Toby George, Eric Nygren & Tom Hurst … and four-legged friends Cairo, Oski & Nano

Nano on Mt. Tam Trail

Nano on Mt. Tam Trail

… all of whom proved worthy training partners … eventually, I was able to run every trail on the mountain at least once from end-to-end in each direction … all 160 trails covering more than 200 miles … 

Tamalpais Trails by Barry Spitz

… all carefully documented in one of my copies of Barry Spitz’ excellent book, “Tamalpais Trails” (of which I own six copies) … and the origin of my personal email address “RunTam”.

Age, a knee injury and the dysfunction of my thyroid gland eventually put an end to my running career … but I credit the tens of thousands of miles that I’ve run with my relative good health … and, in my mind, I often re-run my favorite Mt. Tam trails … Matt Davis TrailNorthside TrailSouthern Marin Line Fire Road … the Dipsea Trail … and my personal favorite …

Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway

Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway

Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway Patch

… the Old Railroad Grade, once the course up & down the mountain of the Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway.


The Piggy Bank 10K, January 27, 1983 --- 10K PR 32;59.14

Piggy Bank 10K … 1-27-85 … 10K PR 32;59.14

Finished 4th Overall & 1st in 35-39 Age Group

4th Overall & 1st in 35-39 Age Group

Age Group Piggy Bank Prize

Age Group Piggy Bank Prize

Collection of Race Pins

Collection of Race Pins

Farewell Gift ON Leaving DA's Office ----- Running Art by DA Investigator R. Skelly

——–  Farewell Gift on Leaving DA’s Office in 1985  ——– Running Art by DA Investigator R. Skelly

“The British are Coming, The British are Coming” …

… the second of this week’s major rock & roll anniversaries was on Friday, February 7th … the 50th anniversary of the arrival in the United States of … the first wave of the “British Invasion” … THE BEATLES.

Rolling Stone Magazine:  The Beatles Arrive in the U.S.

Rolling Stone Magazine: The Beatles Arrive in the U.S.

The Beatles, of course, changed rock & roll forever … and in the process profoundly changed the United States in ways the consequences of which continue to this day.

John, Paul, George & Ringo … last names not necessary … came to the U.S. while the country was deep in mourning over the then recent assassination of President John F. Kennedy  … and provided, at least for the younger generation of Americans, a welcome diversion from the melancholy which had gripped the country.

Because I was in the midst of “gloom period” (the post-Christmas leave, mid-winter period of cold, snow & early darkness) of my plebe year at West Point, I was not a spectator … either directly or even by way of television … at the arrival of the Beatles.

But, thousands of Americans … mostly teenagers or journalists … greeted the band on its arrival at the recently renamed John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.

The Beatles Press Conference February 7, 1964

The Beatles Press Conference February 7, 1964

After their arrival, the Beatles participated in a press conference with New York disc jockey Murray Kaufman … “Murray the K” … who came to refer to himself as “The 5th Beatle”.  Kaufman hosted the “1010 WINS New York” evening time slot … and was (along with Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow) one of my favorite DJ’s of the rock & roll era.

The Beatles went on to make American television history with their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9th … with 73 million viewers … a staggering 40% of the total American population … and the largest recorded TV audience for a single show ever up to that time.

Meet the Beatles Album Cover

Like many young Americans, I bought every Beatles album as it was released … at least until I graduated from West Point … at which time I unwisely sold most of my record albums, including all of my Beatles albums, to underclassmen. 

Although I was never as much a fan of the Beatles as I was of others who they credited with making their success possible … including Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley … and did not like most of their post-1966 recordings … I do, to this day, enjoy their early recordings … such as …


“I Want to Hold Your Hand” … “Love Me Do” … and “I Saw Her Standing There” … which provided temporary relief from the drudgery of life as a West Point plebe … and which still bring a smile to my face when I hear them.


The Beatles on Wikipedia:

The Beatles arrive in the U.S. on Wikipedia:

How popular were the Beatles albums?

“The Day the Music Died” …

… this week marks the anniversaries of two significant events in the history of rock ‘n roll … the first of these was this past Monday, February 3rd … the 55th Anniversary of “The Day the Music Died” …

… on that date in 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in the crash of a small plane near Clear Lake, Iowa.

The Day the Music Died Mason City Globe-Gazette 590203

Buddy Holly was … and to this day remains … my favorite rock ‘n roll artist. The song which made famous the line “The Day the Music Died” … “American Pie” by Don McLean … is my single all time favorite song.

I was fortunate to have grown up on Long Island … and to have attended a 1958 Alan Freed rock ‘n roll show at the Paramount Theater in New York City …  Buddy Holly & the Crickets appeared in that show, along with many other 1950’s rock ‘n rollers … I was also a newspaper carrier boy … delivering the Long Island Daily Press for any other old-timers who still remember that now defunct paper … and learned of the crash when I picked up my papers to deliver the next day.

Most music fans probably know of the two movies that have been made about the lives of Buddy Holly … “The Buddy Holly Story”, starring Gary Busey, Don Stroud & Charles Martin Smith … and Ritchie Valens … “La Bamba”, starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Esai Morales … I keep hoping that someone will make a movie about the third rock star victim of the crash … “The Big Bopper” … so as to make a complete set.

There is also an excellent documentary movie called “The Real Buddy Holly Story” … hosted by Paul McCartney … who says that Buddy Holly was a seminal influence on The Beatles and their music … And, I also have two books on Buddy … the very readable “Rave On” by Philip Norman … and the almost scholarly “Buddy Holly, A Biography”, by Ellis Amburn.


For internet articles on the three artists, see:

Buddy Holly autographed photo

Buddy Holly & the Crickets website:

Ritchie Valens album cropped

The official Ritchie Valens website:

Big Bopper The singing

The Big Bopper on


Rolling Stone

article on Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper: