The power of profanityRe: “No cussing week” [“Sordid Tales,” March 19]. My daughters charge me 25 cents every time I swear. They think it's a good money-making opportunity. It started about five years ago, during Thanksgiving dinner, when I said, “George Bush! What the fuck is he thinking?” All the spoons dropped at the kids' table.
Another thing I would add to your concept of teaching swear words to children is to teach them swear words in other relevant languages. As a white kid growing up in a bilingual community, I learned all the key cuss words in Spanish, and a good thing, too, for talking smack at the bus stop. In college, studying one year abroad, I had a wise German professor who taught us the foulest phrases the Teutons had to offer. One late (beer-kellar tromping) night, while waiting for the last city bus home, I knew the crazy-ass freak who climbed out from under the bridge was not demanding deutschmarks of me, and I knew exactly how to tell him to fuck off (that's international, of course).
My feminist wiles rail against “motherfucker” (not liking the implied weakness/passivity of the fucked mother, though certainly appreciating the power of the insult, even if at “mothers'” expense), though I doubt anyone except semiotics profs think terribly deeply about such things.
Gayle Early,Mt. Helix
Memories of the DelI was very interested in your “Presently Tense” column in the March 26 issue of CityBeat. I'm a native of Coronado, and it discusses one of my favorite places, the Hotel del Coronado. I remember as a youth watching Some Like it Hot being filmed, since my family had a business nearby on Orange Avenue.
I also have memories of the old Prince of Wales Room, before the renovations began several years ago. It was dark and formal, with a dress code, and I enjoyed dining there regularly and spending time with its staff. Since you needed to go through several interior corridors to access the room, it was a little confusing to tell directions, especially since there were no windows in the room. I loved the continental menu, with its formal presentations tableside, including flaming desserts. I dined there on its last day of operation before its renovation. After closing time, the hotel's night manger presented each of the diners with one of their pewter service plates as a souvenir. It was a great place.
When the first remodeling was completed, I visited, but not as frequently. I happened to be there the night that John Allesio, the former owner, had dinner with his family. One of the staff told me he was disappointed in the changes and didn't expect to return. I don't believe he ever did so. That's rather sad.
I've been in 1500 Ocean only a couple of times. I had been away for some time and was pleasantly surprised when several of the staff remembered me. I sat in Jesse's station, and he mentioned that his 30th anniversary on the restaurant staff was coming up. The name given the new restaurant even rankles, since the correct address for the hotel is 1500 Orange Ave.; there is no 1500 Ocean Boulevard.
I even remember when Steve Shackney, the longtime vice president of food and beverage, was a server there; they may still have a photo posted someplace. At least the staff has remained a constant, despite the labor problems you mentioned.
One of the regular pianists in the lounge was Johnny “Ace” Harris. He was a member of the original Ink Spots and a great musician and person. During the ownership of Larry Lawrence, President Clinton would sometimes stay with the family at their home in town, and Johnny would be asked to perform. He told me he had performed for every president since FDR, either at the White House or at a private party. I was able to have Johnny featured in a local human-interest television piece before he passed away.
You also mentioned the lobby bar, which was also a favorite. When the smoking laws came into effect in restaurants, the Palm Court room of the bar was the last indoor space to allow smoking. We enjoyed visiting there after dinner for a drink and cigar, until that was also no longer allowed.
Thank you for bringing back some great memories.
Leonard Fry, Downtown
Living in the pastI thought your recent article on the Hotel del Coronado [“Presently Tense,” March 26] was interesting but a little unfair. My career is in hotel management, and I have worked at places such as the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills (the Pretty Woman hotel), but the Del remains one of my favorite hotels in the country, and I am full of fun facts about it. I got your article through a Google news alert.
I think KSL has done some wonderful things at the Del—for example, replacing torn-up and stained carpet in the rooms and guest hallways or adding air conditioning to all the guest rooms. I might be wrong, but I would guess most people appreciate those touches. I also appreciated the removal of condoms from the drawer in the night table. I guess I did not need to be reminded how “romantic” the Del is.
I know you did not like the remodel of the restaurant (I have not seen the new one), but I always thought the Prince of Wales was a bit of a disappointment for a place such as the Del. The TVs are fine with me, too. I like to catch the scores of the games.
The brief mention of the labor dispute seems a little bitter and an unnecessary side stab. There are always two sides to every story.
Anyway it seems today many people look back at how they remember things and think it was so much better then. I personally like the history of Del and am glad KSL has chosen to celebrate it. You see why I like to embrace the past. I choose not to live in it.
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