By Doug Krikorian Columnist
A hangout across the decades for cops, fire fighters, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, iron workers, truck drivers, longshoremen, barbers, accountants, building contractors, government bureaucrats, etc., that historic tavern on Anaheim Street, Joe Jost's, on Saturday morphed into a water polo mecca.
Indeed, the back pool room was turned into a memorabilia shrine for the sport, as various items were auctioned off in what turned out to be a stirringly successful fundraiser for the U.S. women's water polo team that trains at the Joint Forces Military Base in Los Alamitos.
A lot of people like local Re/Max mogul Barry Binder - he wrote out a check for $500 - made generous donations. Four large posters featuring that racy ESPN Magazine water polo team photo also fetched immense sums, with one going for $550.
A percentage of Joe Jost's profit as well as proceeds from the sale of all sorts of things - thousands of raffle tickets, dozens of T-shirts and a lot of Super Mex tacos - resulted in the final take from the affair exceeding $14,000.
The old place was filled to capacity as players from Adam Krikorian's No.1 ranked team posed for pictures, signed autographs, gabbed with the clientele and gave pointers to a lot of wide-eyed young water polo-playing girls brought to the function by their parents.
The bartenders were kept busy by the thirsty and hungry customers, but I'm not sure anyone worked harder than Ken Buck, owner of Joe Jost's.
Why, Buck - a dead ringer for political polemist James Carville - spent the day feverishly busing dishes and beer mugs off the tables in an impressive display of entrepreneurial vigor.
"What a great turnout," cooed Krikorian, who is no relation to me but is the younger brother of the multimillionaire Slingbox founders, Blake and Jason Krikorian. "And what a great day."
It certainly was for water polo Olympian Lauren Wenger, the Wilson High graduate who coordinated the event with Ron (Nacho) Agee, and Mike (The Hammer) DiMarzo.
The latter handled PR duties for it and brought along his parents, Don and Carmen DiMarzo, his girlfriend Judy (The Stater Bros. Stallion) Williamson and his entourage that included the likes of Ricky French, Big Daddy Don Marmion, Brian (Spyder) Binder, Ed Arrocha and Capt. Brad Liebeck.
Of course, the creme de la creme of the local social set showed up, including, among countless others, Susie Atwood, Lydia (Big Hair) Wagner, Dan Gooch, Michael and Angela Castro, Daring Dave Butler, Mark (Pretty Boy) Edmondson, Mike Stovall, Darrelyn Guthner, John (Nature Boy) Narz, Bad Stu Ledsam and Junk Bond Jimmy Werner, along with his faithful companion Gary (Three Emmys) Lakes.
Incidentally, that renowned shutterbug, Mariano Bonilla, the Ansel Adams of Joe Jost's, was everywhere throughout the proceedings, taking hundreds of photographs of people enjoying the festivities on a memorable day when the venerable saloon on Anaheim became the water polo capital of Long Beach.
Nick Sanchez, on his son, Mark Sanchez, to Phil Trani in regard to all the media reports about the bachelor New York Jets' quarterback being quite a playboy: "Believe half of what you read and nothing what you hear."
A couple of local duffers, Long Beach State and Poly High Hall of Fame athlete Rick Bryson, and Schooner Or Later/Tantalum owner - Kelly's 1/25th owner Dashing Denny Lund, each recently converted hole-in-ones.
Bryson, who carries a three handicap, achieved his miracle on the 157-yard 11th hole at the Hideaway Golf course in La Quinta, while Dashing Denny, who carries a 13 handicap, consummated his implausible shot on the 140-yard 12th hole at Recreation Park in front of sworn witnesses Jerry Scanlan, Jeff Severson and John Kahler.
The most fatigued person in Long Beach Monday had to be long-time NBA security operative, Mike Wixted, the decorated retired LAPD vice detective who began working the NBA All-Star weekend last Thursday evening and didn't complete his chores until late Sunday evening.
He had a variety of grueling duties, including attending a lot of A-list parties and shadowing NBA commissioner David Stern.
Actually saw Wixted last Thursday night at the Jerry West statue unveiling at Staples Center, which turned out to be quite an event, especially the post-ceremony shindig at the Lexus Club.
Introduced the Blonde Sheriff to West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Jerry Buss, Elgin Baylor, Tommy Hawkins and Pat Riley, whom she naturally swooned over, as do all women.
Told Bill Russell I saw him high jump 6-9 at the Fresno West Coast Relays a long time ago, and he said, "Wow! Not many people remember my track and field accomplishments."
Also told Abdul-Jabbar, whom I had a strained relationship with during his playing days, that I consider him the greatest center in the history of basketball. He actually nodded in appreciation.
Of course, told Ol' Doc Buss his team was in badly need of a mid-season retooling and that Carmelo Anthony would be a nice addition. He didn't disagree with me.
Matti Sandoval, daughter of the lovable and charming Marine director Mark Sandoval, has been coaching the Poly High women's junior varsity soccer team. She herself was an all-Moore League selection in the sport on Poly's 2009 league champions.
Incidentally, her father, once Public Enemy No.1 among local rowers, recently effected an armistice with the group and even his fiercest critics, The First Family Of Rowing, the Van Bloms, John & Joan, have disarmed their rhetorical bombs.
Now if we only can get the water polo advocate, Long Beach State graduate Rich Foster, and the school's athletic director, Vivacious Vic Cegles, to iron out their well-publicized differences growing out of the forced departure of Foster's beloved Shore Aquatics from his alma mater.
Actually, famous 49er booster Rocky Suares is attempting to do so, having arranged an upcoming sitdown at his home between the two iron-willed individuals who passionately believe in the sanctity of their causes.
Please help us raise money for our team to compete for the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. Come meet the team and coaches. We will have raffle and auction items and the Super Mex truck serving food at the event. All donations are tax deductible. We hope to see you there.