Doug Krikorian / Viewpoint

A Christmas Tale Of Reflections And Remembrances

Mr. Krikorian, an award winning journalist and author of two books, earned multiple awards in his 22 years of writing for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and 22 years for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He is happily retired.

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(Dec.22 2020, 6:30 p.m.) -- In this Year of Pandemic Darkness, the Brightness of the Holiday Season always has been for me a mixture of joy and sadness, of glad remembrances and despairing regrets, of thrilling reflective journeys into the sweet innocence of childhood to the harrowing reflective realities that accompany the passing of time.

In the dance of life, the crowded ballroom eventually grows empty, and the waltz doesn't go on forever, as old melodies fade into oblivion, as does eventually everything and everyone on this planet.

I want it all to be right for all people and for all to get along and for all the world to be free of wars and crimes and hate and poverty and disease, but I understand that's nothing more than a fanciful hallucination.

I know life is a maddening tableau of bliss, sadness, births, deaths, riches, poverty, sicknesses, tragedies, good, evil, disputes, firings, breakups, humiliations, promotions, demotions, feuds and, of course, laments.

But, still, as has been the case throughout my existence, I pause at this point in the calendar, and engage in a dream sequence of fantasy that includes yearnings for the living and replays for the departed.

Just one more time, let me see Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier duke it out ferociously as they did so often during the 1970s that would make a mockery of the promotional mismatches with pre-ordained outcomes commonplace these days in a sport that richly deserves its drastic decline. Give Sandy Koufax the baseball in the regular season, post-season, any season, and let him demonstrate his greatness and embarrass those sporting dilettantes who dare compare Clayton Kershaw to him.

Tear apart the rigid, doctrinaire leanings the ghastly Long Beach health department czar, Kelly Colopy, has displayed in causing so much distress, so much heartache, so much financial horror for so many LB restaurateurs with her mindless lockdown orders. How does this woman sleep at night knowing the wide-spread disruption she has caused for so many people in our community? I suspect the same question could be posed to Gavin Newsom, or even to Robert Garcia.

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Let me see Willie Mays one more time make his graceful, trademark basket catch in center field for the San Francisco Giants, and put on an exciting pre-game home run display during batting practice. Let the clock wind down in the final seconds of a tie game, and give Jerry West the opportunity to make the game winner again for the Lakers. Let me somehow iron out a rapprochement with Wilt Chamberlain, a close friend for 25 years who refused to talk to me for his last 10 because he insisted the last column I wrote on him in the old LA Herald Examiner negatively critiquing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had been off the record even though the previous 10 I had done on the subject weren't.

Let Long Beach's Mando Ramos and Sugar Ramos go at it again as they did in 10 rounds of perhaps the most savage boxing match I've ever witnessed amidst the cloud cover of cigarette smoke that engulfed the old Olympic Auditorium at 18th and Grand in downtown Los Angeles that sweltering, memorable August 6, 1970 evening. Just one more time I want the opportunity to tell Jim Gilliam how he was one of my childhood heroes -- I savored the smart, stoic way he played the game---and how I copied his running and throwing mannerisms -- during my high school playing days. Actually, I did so during a Dodger road trip I took in August of 1968 when Gilliam, who had a 14-year career with the team after starting off in the Negro Leagues, had become the first base coach for the ball club.

Let me see again the most dynamic performer I've ever seen on the hardwoods, Kobe Bryant, exhibit his magical shot-making skills, and, oh, what a tragedy that his glowing life was cut so tragically short. Inform Elgin Baylor that he'll never be forgotten by people of a certain age like myself who were mesmerized by his brilliance.

Put smiles back on the solemn faces of local restaurateurs such as Phil Trani and John Morris and George Malouk and Mike Neufeld and Ryan Hoover and Ken Buck and Denny Lund and so many others in this vicinity victimized by the lunacy of governmental overreach. Make sure Terry Antonelli's L'Opera flourishes in its latest incarnation after it was destroyed in that awful May 31st LB looting spree exacerbated by LB mayor Robert Garcia's foolish stand-down order to Police Chief Robert Luna.

Give LeBron James his due, and his extraordinary body of work across 17 seasons---nine NBA Final appearances and 4 World Titles---puts him right alongside Michael Jordan in the GOAT (greatest player of all time) category. Give Tom Brady the same acclaim---six Super Bowl titles during his New England Patriots career---as he, incredibly, is still functioning at a high level at age 43 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the Kansas City Chiefs' astonishing Patrick Mahomes eventually will supplant Brady if Mahomes continues to play at such a dizzying level and remains healthy for the next 15 years, no certainty in the violent milieu of the NFL.

Force the energetic owner of the Naples Gondola Gateway, Mike O'Toole, to become a Long Beach mayoral candidate when Robert Garcia departs the scene, which to a growing number of town people can't be fast enough. There's no one more passionate about LB than Mr. O'Toole, a Wilson High graduate who's president-for-life of the Naples Improvement Association and displays an encyclopedic knowledge of this city in constantly extolling its virtues. Inform disgruntled USC football followers the reason Clay Helton---the worst major college football coach I've ever seen---will continue to remain upright at Heritage Hall is that it still will take more than $20 million to fire him, which is down from the $28 million it would have cost to get rid of him after the disastrous 2019 Trojan season. The worst athletic director in USC history, the blessedly fired Lynn Swann -- he even surpassed in incompetency the discredited Pat Haden -- was the miscreant who gave Mr. Helton that disgusting five-year extension that included those inflated buyout guarantees.

Just one more time let Chick Hearn do a Laker game with his fast-paced delivery, his colorful sayings, his comical zingers, his hyperbolic asides and his entertaining persona. The same goes for the two other Hall of Fame sportscasters who worked the LA sporting scene for so long, the Dodgers lyrical Vince Scully and the Kings' smooth Bob Miller. Let me have another conversation with Bill Sharman, who played all those years with Bob Cousy and Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn on all those championship Boston Celtics teams and then brought the Lakers their first NBA title in LA in that memorable 1971-72 season in which his team won a still-record 33 games in a row. Turn back the calendar on both Tommy Lasorda and Don King, for no one in sports provided me with livelier copy, or inspired more laughter than these two characters that brought such levity into my life during the countless occasions I was around them. Give the resilient and honorable journalist, Bill Pearl, a one-time skilled disc jockey at such iconic LA rock stations as KHJ and KKDJ the credit he deserves for standing up bravely against the LB City Hall Swamp with his daily around-the-clock dedication to his LB Report on-line news operation.

Give the superintendent of the LBUSD, Ms. Jill Baker, the courage and strength to stand up to the teachers union and to her fellow handlers in Sacramento and LA and do what's right for her 70,000 students -- and rescind her March 1 return date and open up the schools for these beleaguered young souls whose intellectual, social and emotional levels are being harmed perhaps irreparably by keeping them out of the classroom and at home. Doesn't she know a vast number of her students are totally ignoring the virtual on-line instruction? Doesn't she know the destruction and chaos she has sown with her edicts? Or does she?

Let me witness again Maury Wills scurrying frantically around the bases on the ball diamonds of America, as he did throughout most of the 1960s when he and Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale and Johnny Podres and Tommy Davis and others led the Dodgers to two world titles and three National League pennants. Mr. Wills changed the fabric of baseball in 1962 when he recorded 104 steals amid chanting "`Go, Go, Go" at Dodger Stadium. The Baseball Hall of Fame has no credibility in my view for not displaying plaques in Cooperstown of the most prolific batsman in baseball history, Pete Rose, or a gentleman who etched such a historic path during his momentous time in our national pastime, Maury Wills.

Force my pal, Bernie (The Prince of Tabs) Selmanson, to get back in the booze business because there is no person in America who's more versed in it, or has hired more people in it, or has more contacts in it than Mr. Selmanson, who recently retired after a long and wildly successful incumbency at Southern Wine & Spirits. Mr. Selmanson might hold the Guinness Book of World Records for the amount of restaurants and saloons he's visited the past 45 years---he estimates over 25,000---and the amount of tabs he's picked up along the way---a similar amount. See to it that Jim Michaelian is able to stage the 46th annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach now scheduled for September 24-26 after it was cancelled last April because of Coronavirus and perhaps will be canceled forever if the Indy Cars are forced to the sidelines here again. One more time let me interview Walter O'Malley and John Wooden, perhaps the two smartest men I ever had the privilege to interview.

Give me another opportunity to tell my parents I should have listened to their advice when I was young and dumb and spent too much time wasting it as maniacal weight lifter and when I took a similarly wayward path when I grew older wasting too much time pursuing the dark temptations of the evening when I should have been more serious about matters that I now realize were far more important.

To all, have a Merry Christmas, and a happier New Year in 2021 than the forgettable one that blessedly soon will expire.

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Previously by Mr. Krikorian:

Krikorian Notes: From New LA County DA George Gascon Moving To Naples To LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker Continuing To Stunt Growth Of 70,000 Students To Distress Of Locked Down LB Entrepreneurs Jeff Cozart, Mike Neufeld, John Sangmeister To LB’s Very Own Kato Kaelin, Steve Folger, Squiring Kelly Clarkson In Nashville

Krikorian Notes: From Joe Jost Owner Ken Buck Sounding Off On The Lockdowns To Big Ben Goldberg's Boat Parade Party In Huntington Harbor To Bob Ludlam Departing LB For Prescott -- The Leisure World of Arizona -- To LB State President Jane Close Conoley Not Faintly Resembling Her Esteemed Predecessors To Mike (The Hammer) DiMarzo Invading Miami For Nightclub Frolic To LB State Women's Soccer Coach Mauricio Ingrassia Suddenly Looking Like A Matinee Idol
When Is LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker Going To End Her Calamitous Lockdown That Has Caused So Much Chaos And Heartache And Disruption Among 70,000 Students?
Krikorian Notes: From Councilman Rex Richardson Displaying Courage To Show Up At A Long Beach Restaurant Association Meeting To The Countless Millions Lost On Unoccupied LB Buses To LB Health Czar Kelly Colopy’s Latest Mean-Spirited Edict To the Irritating Silence Of LB City Manager Tom Modica To LB Mayor Robert Garcia Ignoring His Constituents For Political Reasons To Bob The Black Labrador Parading Down The Peninsula Boardwalk Holding A Large Palm Limb In His Mouth
How Many Long Beach Restaurants Will Be Forced to Close After Latest Lockdown Lunacy?
Where's Krikorian? Temporarily On "Injured Reserve List" Recovering From Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Krikorian Notes: From Nico's George Mlouk Praising LB Mayor Robert Garcia For Working To Help LB Restaurateurs To A Plea To LB Health Czar Kelly Colopy To Restrain Her Overzealous Sleuths To Lakers Deserving NBA Title To LeBron James Turning Anthony Davis Into Passionate Competitor To Vital Contributions Of Lakers Coach Frank Vogel And GM Rob Pelinka To Sadness Of Passing Of The Great Joe Morgan And Its Impact On Maury Wills' Hall Of Fame Chances
Famous Long Beach Restaurateur Phil Trani Days Of Joyful Memories And Pandemic Miseries
Krikorian Notes: From The Irritating Silence Of The Long Beach Politicians In Not Supporting Their Citizens To The Whereabouts Of LB Mayor Robert Garcia To The Whistles Favoring The Lakers Against The Nuggets To The Greatness of Patrick Mahomes To The End Of A European Vacation Streak That Started In 1989
LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker’s 70,000 Student Online Virtual Teaching Miscalculation A Disaster!
Krikorian Notes: From The 9 Unworthies Of The LB City Council To The LB Upstick In Shootings And Speeding To Restauranteur John Morris Horseback Riding On A Wyoming Mountaintop To The Walking Adventures Of Earth Man
Jeff Cozart's Time Of Torment: Will His Belmont Athletic Club Survive Gavin Newsom’s Latest Lockdown?
Krikorian Notes: A Labor Day Elegy For Those In The Long Beach Business Community Who Were Violated In The Memorial Day Looting Frenzy To The Palm Tree Limbs Littering 2nd Street To The Scooters Littering The Belmont Shore Bridge To The Virtual On-Line Spectacle At Big Mike O'Toole's Household
Krikorian Notes: From Long Beach Mayor's Ascent To Dem Stardom Because Of Lockstep Embrace Of The Party's Policies To The Enchanting Parklet Dining On 2nd Street To Tearing Down The Hoops in Belmont Shore To Greg Silver's LB Departure To Huntington Beach To Bob Rice Protecting Me From Isiah Robertson
Don Kramer Was A Character Like No Other With His Zaniness, Goofiness, Joyfulness, Kindliness Who Left All Who Knew Him With Lasting Memories Of Slapstick Antics And Mirthful Anecdotes
Krikorian Notes: From Majority Of LB Teachers Skipping Classrooms For The Comforts Of Home To Dr. Jill Baker Becoming Another Maria Montessori To Terry Antonelli Discussing Resurrection of L'Opera To Mayor Robert Garcia Touted By MSNBC's Brian Williams As A Future U.S. Senator To Kershaw's Magical Transformation
Long Beach's Renaissance Man, Chuckie Miller, Reflects On His Entrepreneurial Life And On Racial Inequity
Krikorian Notes: From LB's Elected Leadership's Reimagining Delusions To the Gaslamp's Outdoor Wall Video Band Show To The Ghastly USC Coach, Clay Helton
FDR's Grandson, Delano Roosevelt, Talks Democratic Party, JetBlue, Long Beach And His Life
LBPD Chief Robert Luna: Stand Up For Your Fifty Ousted Cops!
What Next From Long Beach Health Boss Kelly Colopy, Hazmat Suits For Our Restaurant Servers?
Sadly, Our National Pastime No Longer A Pastime For Me
Parklets! Three Cheers For Long Beach Politicians!
Memo To LBUSD Sup Jill Baker: Return The Kids To the Classroom!
A 2 1/2-Hour Commute To Work A Joy To This 86-Year Old Gentleman
Long Beach Politicians Once Again Fail Long Beach
Is Long Beach Destined to Become the City That Never Sleeps?
I Never Thought I'd Live To See These...
Ben Goldberg Exits Long Beach, Now Nearby Refugee In OC
Long Time Long Beach Resident Dave Lopez Climaxes Storied 48-Year TV Career
From Krikorian's Notebook: When Will LB Police Chief Luna Come Clean About May 31 Downtown Long Beach Looting Frenzy?
From Krikorian's Notebook: (1) LBUSD Mgm't Mulls Keeping K-5 Kids Indoors Without Normal Access To Playground, Cafeteria, Auditorium Activities; (2) And More...
Will LB's New School Sup't Allocate Untimely Pay Raise To Serve Students?
Awaiting Governor's Dictate To Decide Fate Of This Year's (July 3) "Big Bang On the Bay"
Mayor/Council Sounds Of Silence After LB Cops Let Some Pillage Our Village
Excuses By Long Beach Police & Politicians Dishearten Damaged LB Businesses
Hallelujah! LB Mayor Pleads For Sac'to Permission To Lift Closures That Needn't Have Occurred
Speak Up, Mr. Mayor, On Governor's Unwise Edicts. You Can Do That And You Should
My Beloved Long Beach: A Victim Of Irrational Government Overreach Beyond Reasoned Response To Virus
Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.

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