It's very strange how the universe works... (This is vaguely Catalina-related.) Just 2 days ago when I was typing out that above ^^ response to Kathy about Disneyland/Christmas stuff, I also almost suggested that she look up some Catalina-related TV shows online, to get an actual moving visual of what the town of Avalon and the island of Catalina are like. I think I decided to wait until another post to do that. The shows I had planned to recommend were from TV travelogue host Huell Howser's series, "California's Gold"...specifically, his shows about the flying fish boat tour, the iconic Casino and the Wrigley Botanical Garden (the latter two of which you saw plenty of in this very report from July!). Huell has done more shows than that about Catalina, but those are 3 of my favorites. Huell has also done "Visiting," "Road Trip with Huell Howser," "California's Green," California's Water," "California's Golden Parks," and various shows about the missions of California. He visited Nevada and Alaska too. Another favorite show he did was in Mexico, in which he took this boat tour to see whales migrating, and the whales came right up to the small boat. He was so amazed and excited. He didn't even try to restrain his enthusiasm like most TV reporters will do. Huell also did a great hour-long special about Farmers Market (not The Grove). He has a show about Pink's Hot Dogs. I think he did a show at the La Brea Tar Pits. He's covered the L.A. Zoo and Sea World. He never did shows about Disneyland for some reason, but he - quite literally - covered every corner of California and all points in between. He would find the beauty and wonder in things like "vernal pools" and jacaranda trees. He would find the magic in egg nog and watch conventions. He would take the ordinary and mundane and make it exciting, whether he was talking about doughnuts or recording studios or In-n-Out Burger. In any case, Huell Howser - a Tennessee transplant - had an extremely likable, guileless, unaffected way about him, which is rare for California. He had a boyish excitement and exuberance that was unparalleled. He was excited over everything he saw and everywhere he went. He just seemed like a kind soul; a good-natured man; a good person. He seemed like the sort of person who could be your friendly neighbor, or who you could approach in a grocery store. He was someone you probably wouldn't hesitate to say hello to because he was so genuinely nice, whether he was talking to a farmer in a small town or a member of a rock band. Anyway, sadly, Huell Howser passed away last night. He was only 67, so I am guessing he was ill. The Catalina Island Museum posted a nice message on their Facebook page about Huell's passing today, calling him a friend to the Museum and to Catalina in general. I must admit that I got misty-eyed. When someone passes on who seemed like such a decent person - a bright light - and who educated so many people on the wonders of California, big and small, in his very simple, no-frills way, the loss is really felt. So, if there is anyone out there who has read this report and has been curious to take a trip to Catalina, I would also suggest that you look up some of Huell Howser's Catalina Island shows online. I know that he donated his entire archive to Chapman University, and they digitized the shows and made them available online - but I would guess that they can be found on YouTube too.