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Verdict

NEWS
September 14, 1999
Robert Gardner I spent two years of World War II in the Pacific Theater of operations. During those two years I was shot at, strafed, bombed, and a ship I was on was hit by a kamikaze. I did absolutely nothing to retaliate. That was because I was a staff officer, serving on the staffs of several admirals, not to mention a couple of generals. As a staff officer, my only weapon was a pencil. However, I did have a moment of glory. It occurred on the Yokosuka navy base on the first day of the occupation of Japan.
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FEATURES
By ROBERT GARDNER | April 28, 2006
While not a record holder myself, I have been associated with two notable records. Many moons ago, Sam Oxarart, his brother Charlie and I were diving in Ensenada. Diving was lousy, so Charlie and I went in, telling Sam we would be at Hussong's. Now Sam was a lousy diver. We called him "U-turn Sam" because his head was coming up at the same time his feet were going under. However, after we left, Sam came face to face with a huge bull lobster, grabbed it and somehow wrestled it to shore.
FEATURES
By ROBERT GARDNER | May 19, 2006
For some reason, nostalgia has taken over, and I am remembering the birth of my older daughter. Her mother, Katie, was going through the ordeal of giving birth at St. Joseph's Hospital. Not to be outdone, I was going through the ordeal of giving birth in Gus Tampolis' bar in Balboa. I and my boon drinking companions were celebrating this auspicious occasion with some serious drinking during which we engaged in a long and thoughtful discussion as to the name for the newborn child.
FEATURES
By ROBERT GARDNER | June 2, 2006
I took up skin-diving at just the right time. A few years earlier and face masks had not been invented. A few years later, and the kelp was gone. It seems like just a few years ago that a vast kelp patch stretched from Corona del Mar to the end of the cape. To someone who has never experienced it, it is difficult to explain the feeling one had when diving in kelp in the early days. You felt all alone in the world, as if you were the first man to have ever been in that spot.
FEATURES
By ROBERT GARDNER | March 10, 2006
As I grow older and progressively more senile, I need more and more assistance remembering things. Thus, I have become almost completely dependent on the yellow legal tablet on which I keep what amounts to a daily diary of things to remember. It goes something like this: 1. Open eyes. This is necessary because if I don't open my eyes I am going to have difficulty getting around. More important, I won't be able to read my yellow tablet and know what else I'm supposed to do for the day. 2. Get out of bed. I'm not sure who writes that one in, me or my dog, who thinks I should spring out of bed at the first light of day and feed her. However, in my old age, I have discovered the pleasure of sleeping in, and if I didn't have that reminder, I would probably spend the rest of my life in bed, regardless of a hungry beagle.
FEATURES
By ROBERT GARDNER | February 26, 2006
A few weeks ago I said that as a young man living in Balboa, I viewed Balboa Island as a pretty poky place. That jaundiced perspective may have been colored by an earlier incident. As a child, all I knew about Balboa Island was that it was across the bay, and that on the Fourth of July everyone on the Balboa side where I lived shot skyrockets over there trying to burn the place down. That was the extent of my consideration. Then, something happened that colored my thinking about the place.
FEATURES
By ROBERT GARDNER | April 21, 2006
Every once in a while I get more annoyed than usual at the slowness of our judicial process. Now, I'm not suggesting the kind of speedy justice I saw in China in the mid-'30s. There, one day, I went to court ? actually a large, crowded courtyard. In the middle was a man on his knees with his hands tied behind his back. Two men made speeches to the crowd. The first speech, the prosecutor's, went over like the Gettysburg Address. The second, by the defense lawyer, was greeted by loud boos from the crowd.
NEWS
By ROBERT GARDNER | April 7, 2006
He was just about the happiest drunk with whom I have ever come into contact, and he holds a record which, insofar as I know, has never been challenged. He managed to get himself arrested four times in 24 hours. What makes it really ast- onishing is that he was kept in jail five hours after each arrest. So, four arrests in four hours, actually. It was my first year of practicing law after graduating from law school and passing the bar, and I was facing starvation. Rowland Hodgkinson, the chief of police, took pity on me and hired me to be the booking officer at the local jail.
FEATURES
By ROBERT GARDNER | June 9, 2006
As family legend has it, centuries ago, our ancestors were dwelling in Scotland during a famine. The local peasantry was starving in the countryside, while the local lord was cozy in his castle. With the help of his knights, he had taken whatever food there was from the peasants. In addition, he had a substantial garden within the castle walls, so he and his were eating well. The peasants would have been wiped out if it wasn't for one person within the castle walls ? the lord's gardener.
FEATURES
By ROBERT GARDNER | March 31, 2006
My stalwart dermatologist, Dr. Mailman, has retired. It was a terrible blow. After all, I was practically one of the family, in there once a month, regular as clockwork, to have numerous skin cancers removed, thanks to a lifetime in the sun. That was my downfall. Just having me as a patient added value to his practice. Dr. Mailman isn't the first doctor I've lost to retirement. Years ago, I had the profound good fortune to have a doctor move in next door to us in Shore Cliffs. He's been gone probably 30 years, and I have forgotten his name, but he had a real flair for the profession.
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