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Volume 15, Issue 45  | June 6, 2023Subscribe

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Fair Game


Hello from Las Vegas! Today we’re talking shoes!

TJ headshot AugThis week’s column comes while looking down from the 62nd floor of the Crockfords, part of the Resorts World Las Vegas complex on the north end of The Strip. Sometimes, we just all need to get away. This time it was my turn. And while the task of processing stories and columns is still important and required, I just needed a new environment to invigorate my mind. Some readers might say, “You should do it more often.”

But, what a great city! There is so much to do, so many shows, so many lounges to relax in, pools seemingly everywhere I turn, and if you like golf, and I do, then it’s a great place to bring out the sticks.

But while I’m away, it also becomes clear to me that what I temporarily left behind is arguably better than anyplace else this world has to offer…so I’m looking forward to getting home, refreshed and rejuvenated.

Which also reminds me, the next time I need a getaway, maybe it’s just a call to The Ranch, the Surf & Sand or even The Montage. We certainly have a lot to choose from.

• • •

Here’s a question, what do you think of when I mention the name Imelda Marcos, besides her being the First Lady of the Philippines from 1965-1986? Shoes…shoes and more shoes. At one point, her collection was estimated at some 3,000 pairs.

Okay, I’m not that bad, BUT, I do love shoes…particularly my Pumas.

Here’s the story behind it. Some years ago I was wearing a pair of Pumas and one of my nieces commented, saying, “Uncle Tom, your Pumas are cool!” She was young and I figured me looking cool was a good thing, and I guess that’s all it took.

When I semi-retired a few years back, or should I say, attempted to, I decided that I was never going to wear hard shoes again. Now, this is from someone who owns a number of pairs of loafers in all colors and styles, lace-up dress shoes, casual and dressy sandals, cowboy boots, hiking boots, boots for the snow, zories or flip-flops as they’re more commonly called, a dozen or so golf shoes, and this is a big AND – 70+ some pairs of Pumas!

That’s right.

I have them in all colors: blues, reds, blacks, pinks, greens, purples, blacks and browns…many in multiple shades…it’s really gotten crazy. Pumas are all I wear now. If I’m heading to the beach, Pumas. Going off to church, Pumas. Coffee with City leaders, Pumas. A black-tie event, you guessed it…Pumas with my tuxedo.

Fortunately, a number of people now do something similar with these types of casual shoes…so it’s not really that weird. However, most of those “cool cats” are some 30-40 years younger than me and probably a better fit for styling.

But what most people ask me when they find out about the shoes is, “where do you keep them all and how do you keep them organized?”

Glad they asked. Fortunately, today, we can pretty much find anything we need on Amazon. For me, for obvious reasons it was shoe storage I was looking into. On Amazon I found many different offerings, but settled in on one called Kuject Large Shoe Organizer. They’re kind of a stackable cubby hole for shoes.

Fair game shoe system

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Amazon

My shoes, thanks to the Kuject Large Shoe Organizer

Well, I ordered a bunch and when they arrived the multi-day building and organizing process began. This is not just a morning project, mind you. So, first you have to build each box individually; then you stack and clip them together; next I built and designed them to occupy most of a bedroom wall, including around a fairly large window. You don’t know how many times during this process I told myself, “This is really stupid.”

When they were finally in place, the real work began…putting the shoes each away in a place that made some sense of organization so when I need them again later I can find them.

As for the finished product, heck, I call it art…which goes to show you I’m not much of a connoisseur of the finer things in life.

Oh well, it’s my thing…and I enjoy doing it. I also liked to collect baseball cards when I was younger. Who knew I’d switch from a love of Willie Mays to the shoe-queen Imelda.

Wait, is that a knock at the door? Probably just another order of Pumas!

• • •

Okay, you’re going to need breakfast anyway on Monday, May 29…so why not get up and head out to support the Laguna Beach Firefighters’ Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast in Heisler Park.

The fare includes coffee, juice, pancakes and sausage for $8. What a deal.

The money raised goes to the Laguna Beach Firefighters Community Assistance Fund.

Thanks to Mozambique, Skyloft and Jedidiah Coffee for their support.

The Laguna Beach High School Model United Nations (MUN) students need our help. They’re currently hosting an online auction of eight custom-painted 50-gallon rain barrels to raise funds to provide the Maasai Village in Kenya with a permanent water infrastructure system.

The auction is open at and will remain open until midnight on June 1.

Monies raised will go towards funding a $31,000 water well project to improve access for clean drinking water. It also ensures against a drought threatening the Maasai’s food supply, health and well-being.

Kudos to the Laguna Beach County Water District (LBCWD) who donated the eight 50-gallon rain barrels to LBHS’ FLOW Club, while the students at El Morro Elementary, Top of the World Elementary, Thurston Middle School, and Laguna Beach High School “unleashed their artistry to decorate these barrels.”

“The district was happy to lend its support and donate rain barrels to this worthwhile cause,” said Christopher Regan, assistant general manager, LBCWD. “It’s exciting to see local students working to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in a community on the other side of the world where drinking water is a luxury.”

The rain barrels can be previewed at Individuals can also make direct donations online through Venmo to @Laguna-Maasai.

It’s nice to see our kids who have a thirst for this kind of community involvement.

• • •

Laguna Ocean Foundation is excited to announce the return of KelpFest on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the cobblestones at Main Beach and at the Laguna Beach Beer Company after-party from 3-6 p.m. KelpFest celebrates Laguna Beach’s unique shoreline, the vital coastal resources and the kelp that supports them. This free festival features music, activities, informational booths, games and art. Highlights this year include live art creation, ukulele performances by the Seaside Serenaders and edible kelp snacks. This event has something for everyone!

So come enjoy a day of fun while learning about and supporting organizations working to preserve our precious coast. 

Laguna Ocean Foundation (LOF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to preserve and protect the beaches, intertidal zone, watersheds and ocean waters of Laguna Beach by promoting ocean literacy, emphasizing the importance of coastal ecosystems, community involvement, and an interest in nature for all residents and visitors of Laguna Beach.

• • •

On Thursday, June 1 at 5:30 p.m., join the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce as they welcome Andrew Myers Art with a ribbon-cutting celebration.

“We don’t see this space so much as a gallery or a store, but rather an art piece within itself. It’s an experience,” said founder and Artist Andrew Myers. Andrew Myers Art is located at 224 Forest Ave.

RSVP to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

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Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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