I write like
Cory Doctorow

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Monday, June 29, 2009

One weekend later

Well, I had little to worry about today as far as the Boulevard was concerned.  There was even rumors of summer-like weather starting today.  This didn't come to pass -- a cool breeze blew up and down the Boulevard all day.  Someone was thoughtful enough to set up the metal gates so visitors could queue up on the left and passers by could walk more quickly on the right.

or, I suppose, somewhere for someone to leave a dog while the someone went who knows where.
I'll let the rest of these photos speak for themselves.  Though the scale is hardly comparable, I kept flashing back to 1997 and the expressions of grief and support over the passing of Princess Diana.

I'll see how long this continues and, if anything changes, I'll take out the cell phone camera and . . uh, that sounds a little more like a threat.  Or, maybe I'm being too hard on myself?

What the pictures may not capture is that, in spite of the t-shirt, button, flowers, concert photo book-styled publications being sold, there was a genuine feeling of visitors walking past a body lying in state on the Boulevard.

With the recent deaths of well-known infomercial king Billy Mays and impressionist Fred Travalena, it's enough to throw anyone off balance.  Even I, who has a pretty even-keel philosophy on life and death, am not sure what to make of all of this.

While I chew on that, I suppose I need to dip my toe back into all things political.  Slowly.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Now that the paint has dried

and I'm connected to the Internet again, I've got some catching up to do.

Well, that's not entirely true.  I've been to the Mudflats (she is having  way too much fun lately; however, it seems entirely too overdue for her.  BTW, she just posted an update on the goings on in Eagle, AK.  If you contributed, have a look at how your and others have done to help)   

I've even visited the General.  There's a lovely two minute clip recently posted which nicely meshes the nutty world of fundamentalist . . uh . . Christianity (?), no-neck knuckleheads and homoeroticism.  I only wish I were that clever.

Maybe these photos from Friday on Hollywood Boulevard will help get me back in the blogosphere loop:
I knew that this pas
t Friday morning when the Brüno premiere magic had been packed away (well, almost.  The Brüno carpets had been rolled and the last of them hauled up on onto a flatbed truck parallel parked on the Boulevard by the time I got there Friday morning), a whole new spectacle was going to begin.  Folks were already snapping photos, blogging, standing guard, standin
g around, etc., This was as close as I was able to get all day to Michael Jackson's star on the Walk of Fame and, if you watched any of the coverage on the TV on Friday or yesterday or today, you'd see why.

Plenty of news vans parked on the Boulevard as well.

For the second day in a row, though, the ever evolving, tender and sweet tribute to Farrah Fawcett still draws me in.  If you look a little closer, you may even see me trying to snap the photo below.

As I type, I've got 13 hours left before I make another 25 mile trip to Hollywood Boulevard.  I've had Michael's music playing off and on in my car throughout the weekend.  I was surprised at how many of the lyrics I remembered and, in spite of my age, how easy it was to find the higher notes and try to sing along.

As a dancer, I make a fantastic photographer, so I kept to the singing and tapping along to the beat on my steering wheel.

I'm not sure exactly what I'll see Monday morning on the Boulevard, or even during the rest of the coming week.  No guarantees on the photos, though I may never take a great photo if I never press "Capture" on my cell phone.

Meanwhile, I heard this song for the first time this weekend:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When I appeared back to the surface this morning . .

. . . from my daily light rail trip into Hollywood, I thought I had the whole day figured out.  In fact, Hollywood Boulevard was already shut down early this morning in preparation for tonight's world premiere of "Brüno".  I had a few places in mind to walk to for lunch that were well away from the Boulevard.  All of the tourists (God love 'em!) tend to clump like dust bunnies to the underside of a bed when all of the barricades, grandstands, carpeting and Krieg lights are trotted out onto the Boulevard.

Then, as I'm getting close to my morning break, the news of Farrah Fawcett's passing spread.  Truthfully, her death was not a huge surprise.  She had spent a good deal of time battling cancer.  Having lost three family members to cancer, I could only feel relief when I heard of her passing, knowing that all of the pain and suffering were no more.  Her fans set up a beautiful tribute on her Walk of Fame star. It was the nicest one I had seen in the many months I have worked in the Hollywood area:
Gossip abounded in between calls at work today about her death.  News vans queued along the Boulevard:

I left for lunch at 12:30 and returned an hour later to news from CNN about singer Michael Jackson being rushed to the hospital.

More gossip continued in between calls during the early afternoon until after I returned from my afternoon break to hear/read about Michael Jackson's death.

Now, just about after 4 pm Pacific today, where I was becoming accustomed to a fast paced last hour of work, a pall had descended over the office and the call volume slowed to a crawl.

I knew that the walk to the Metro station would easily take twice as long between the movie premiere, fans of Farrah paying their respects, Jimmy Kimmel's show being taped, a private event at the El Capitan theatre and, as I mentioned earlier, tourists clumped together in larger groups in a now even smaller space.

Unfortunately, Mr. Jackson's star on the Walk of Fame resides under the "ü" in "Brüno":
So, flowers, etc., for Michael Jackson were placed about 2 feet away from where I took this photo.  As was always the case in the last three months of my grand Hollywood adventure, it was European tourists who were taking photos of the makeshift Jackson memorial.  Every time I walked past Michael Jackson's Star, there were always a European tourist or two (I can tell this by the fashion choices -- believe me, the same is true when Americans travel in Europe - our fashion sense makes us stick out like sore thumbs) snapping photos of Michael Jackson's Star.

It seems he has never really left the hearts of people outside of the U.S.  It's too soon to tell if the U.S. had left Michael Jackson behind and we are just now trying to make up for lost time.

While I was never really a fan of Farrah, I liked Michael Jackson as much as anyone else.  In fact, at the age of 10, the first album I ever bought was "Off The Wall".  I wore down the grooves in the vinyl and was happy to be able to replace it with a CD years ago.

I'm signing out and headed to iTunes to try and build a Michael Jackson cover tunes playlist (such as Alien Ant Farm's version of "Smooth Criminal" -- one of the best Michael Jackson covers of all time) to enjoy over and over this weekend.

Even if you were never a fan of either star, please take the weekend to let those you love know that you love them, you appreciate them and you cannot imagine your life without them.  Days like this serve to remind all of us that we really don't know how much time we have left to say the things we want to say.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

At what is everyone staring?

Sounds awkward for a title?  Yes.  Is it grammatically correct?  Yes.

I'll let Cenk of The Young Turks tell today's sad yet hilarious tale of American Politician Sex Scandal gone horribly awry

This nearly 8 minute clip, I'm sure, beats trying to sort through Governor Sanford's rambling mess of a news conference.  I saw all I needed on Olbermann to get the idea.  I could not help but stare at the clips, especially the body language of the Governor.  As an aside, I could use a few good lessons on reading body language, but in my extraordinarily amateur opinion, there was a lot of looking downward as he apologized to his staff.  If I were one of that staff, I'd have to feel like that was not much of an apology at all.

I kept noticing throughout the day what sort of power is taken by and given to staring.  For instance, a 30 second stare by me and my boss at work at a particularly noisy bunch of coworkers silenced them and elicited an hasty and heartfelt apology.

No doubt my split between dry coughing and phlegm hacking during the day was stare-worthy.  But, knowing the power of the stare, I knew where to keep my gaze so as to avoid the effects.

As I walked past the Knitting Factory on my way home today, I couldn't help but stare at the queue of young people dressed in black (yeah, fellow metalheads!) wrapped around the building waiting to enter.  As I crossed the street, someone yelled out something about "thetruth.com" or "thetruth.org".  All of that yelling by this one idiot elicited, yes you guessed it, stares from all the folks in line.

A well timed stare at someone back home who said something they should not have said when they thought their manager was not listening was enough to send that someone very quickly back to their own apartment -- with repercussions being none of my business.

A series of particularly evil and quick stares leveled by a silver-haired woman on the train ride home toward a young woman seated on the other side of the aisle who had a toddler pressed against her tube-topped breast was more amusing to watch than anything.  The young woman either didn't notice the stare or didn't care.

Then, there is the on-going story of events in Iran.  It is still next to impossible not to stare at the video clips -- now mostly from state-run TV rather than amateur video -- when they air on the all-news cable channels.

Oh, if only the whole "staring as correction" vibe worked at that long of a distance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

". . .He who controls the past, controls the future."

This was as close as I dared to get to Ed McMahon's star on the Walk of Fame today.  From my just before 8 a.m. arrival to Hollywood through my 5:15 p.m. departure from the area, there were professional photographers, TV cameras and, at one point, up to three satellite TV news vans in the area.

If you squint and stare far enough into the distance, you may see a few fronds and some flowers arranged around the star.  This was in stark contrast to the scene around David Carradine's star a few weeks ago.  Just after his death, candles were lit, floral arrangement abounded included a TV funeral style ring of flowers mounted on an easel.

I will leave it to those who are much better versed in the finer points of the entertainment business, the death of its stars and why some people receive a different reception than others.

Sadly, it appears the government in Iran has put its own spin on the heartbreaking death of a young woman in Tehran days ago.  People much better versed in the politics and the mood of the country than I are even now still stumped about whether toned-down versions of protests (strikes, work slowdowns, etc.) later this week will move things forward, push things backward or become a slow, steady drip of change.

Still, it stands to reason that those who are in control of the story of people's deaths are bound to be in control of so much more than that.

And, uh, Allahu Akbar!

Monday, June 22, 2009


More so than in most times, so much ignorance, obliviousness and tunnel-vision abounds.

To be fair, I've been fighting a cold complete with fever, coughing, etc., since the 19th (it's one of the reasons I didn't visit with Amma on Friday).  I spent much of the weekend sleeping, vegging in front of the TV and inhaling menthol (suspended in petroleum jelly, not on a cigarette.  I tried that last about 3 days ago and it was a disaster -- smoking the cig, not rubbing the stuff on the chest . . . you know what I mean).

It is incredibly easy to ignore a whole lot of stuff in a fevered haze.  It all started on Friday's train ride home.  I think the fever was starting up because I could not keep a happy, goofy grin off of my face, especially around good looking dudes.  The fact that I'd get a goofy grin here and there in return was only fueling me to continue.  I am hopeful this is a lesson I'll retain once the cold passes later this week -- what a joy to get a smile returned when I gave one!

Our apartment is scheduled for painting next week, so I had advertised for extra pairs of hands to help move big furniture on Saturday.  I got exactly one pair of hands to help.  Luckily, it was the correct pair of hands and most of the big furniture is now smashed together in the center of each room.  I then had (and needed) the rest of the day to sleep and get at least one load of laundry done.

I played hookey from church on Sunday (though, I suspect, if I went I would have likely slept through the Sermon.  With a guest speaker giving the Sermon and my church being on the small side, my snoring would have been quite obvious).  I watched This Week and just couldn't manage the energy to throw something at the TV.  If I thought that throwing something would have shaken the Republican talking head back to reality regarding a recent survey of America's willingness to have a public health care option, I would have just upended the TV.

Thankfully, for the TV, there was no chance that anything like that was going to happen.
Thankfully, as well, I caught Fareed Zakaria GPS later yesterday for a level-headed roundtable discussion on what is really happening in Iran these days.

Lacking any sick time (or, apparently, any sense whatsoever) today, I was off to work, cough and fever and all, hoping I could just push through the day.  Blessedly I did, but not without having to ignore that I had forgotten to wear a belt (which got more challenging as the day drudged on) and to keep separated from the fellow passengers, beggars and street musicians.

With many thanks to Olbermann, I think the ultimate in ignorance has been found.  O'Fallon, Missouri, by the way, is quite the destination in the far, far western 'burb of St. Louis.

If the State Representative's June Newsletter is any sign, then it appears that the center of the country is, sadly, the center of ignorance.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Here I am on the evening of June 19

Not in a Raddison in L.A, I'm afraid.  I managed to catch a nasty cold that, like all others, has drizzled into my lungs like so much icing on a coffee cake.  I drip, I cough, I sweat and am now slathered in menthol.

Not much in a darshan mood tonight, I'm afraid.  With any luck, someone has taken my place at the ballroom and is hearing the message, singing the songs, receiving darshan or maybe meeting that someone special tonight over deep fried eggplant and curried rice.

A nasty cold has not deaden my romantic streak, it seems.

Since I'm not receiving the love tonight, I found a couple of stories that moved me in a loving and positive way.

First, a lovely story of prison inmates who are taught how to train puppies as service dogs. The inmates then are given a puppy each to train on how to be a service dog to returning veterans.  Such adorable puppies and dogs, such wonderful things these dogs do to help not only with physical but also heal emotional/psychological wounds one lick at a time.

Your heart not melted yet?  Eyes not filled with a little bit of tears?

Entertainment Tonight has compiled an essential tool for most any kind of gay man to have on hand when times get difficult.  And, with increasing unemployment, dropping wages and health care in a state of chaos, why shouldn't we turn to the ever-so-fluffy world of entertainment for a healthy dose of distraction.  Here you go.  You're welcome !

Finally, I have been rotating through my decent sized library of tunes to rediscover songs I couldn't play enough the first time around and from which I needed a break.  After discovering that my MP3 player's program lets me set the base volume for each song individually.  The song I found and added back to my player was one of those whose volume was way louder than it should be.

A quick fix and the song "Author" by Shimmerplanet, is back on the player and I'm falling for it all over again.  The link above gets you to Shimmerplanet's My Space page where you can check out "Author" and, if you like it like I do, all the big music download sites have this and his other tunes available for purchase.

Better to spend a little now then get sued and, well . . you can see the rest here.

Rest well and happy tonight!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A chef, a Chase guy and a cheap pair of glasses

Those who have read a few of my posts over these last 7 1/2 months have, no doubt, noticed a "glass half-full" point of view when I offer an opinion.

With the daily astonishing, inspirational and largely peaceful rallies/protests in Tehran, the timid step forward with today's Executive Order regarding LGBT government employees and the recent push to reform health care toward lowering costs and increasing quality, there is certainly plenty to comment on in the world.

So these monumental events can stay in the spotlight, I'll keep the comments short:  I wished Americans were as passionate about their votes in the last few Presidential elections as Iranians appear to be on their recent Presidential election where it seems all but certain that votes were stolen/fudged/tainted.  Rachel Maddow aired a beautiful yet brief video from a recent rally -- it was quite the spiritual moment

On the Executive Order:  the LGBT community has gotten far more done when we have to push harder against the government to get the equal right to which we are entitled as citizens.  Maybe Obama is a smarter student of history than anyone knows ?

And, uh, health care reform without a public health plan option?  If it does not include some sort of availability to a public health care plan, how could it possibly be reform?  What sorts of incentives would private insurers have to decrease administrative costs and provide better quality coverage if there isn't an equally large public plan with which to challenge them?

Amongst all of the usual political silliness and the knee-jerk talking point debates on all issues involving the government, my big "ain't it cool" moment was waiting for me at one of the Metro stops this afternoon.  On any given day, one of three dudes I mentioned above is usually waiting to board the same train I am.  Each of these guys is very easy on the eyes in their own way and range in age from 25 to 45.  There are even some days when I do not see any of them -- I tend to get very focused on the political chat shows playing on my radio without the visual distractions.

Today, I saw all three at the same stop, each looking their best.  It seems that just when I've had too much insanity in my day, I sometimes find myself being able to enjoy the view all that much more.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday images and video: healthcare / election protest

I'm having the usual feelings of outrage with outbursts of laughter this morning.  "This Week", I'm sure, will leave you feeling much the same. 

So much malarkey about the public option being suggested by the President.  Since when did Republicans get so jerky and nervous over a new big-box operation opening in town which threatens the "mom and pop" managed care/health insurance companies.  Oh, the poor mom and pop corporations!!

What's all the stammering and stuttering really about amongst the right wing?  A genuine sense of caring for Joe Q Public?

Take a breath from all of that laughing.  Life.com has a series of striking photos from the protests in the streets of Tehran, Iran launched from the results of their elections on Friday.  

I hate admitting this, but I think George Will on "This Week" has this one correct (the debate on the election follows the discussion of health care in the "This Week" link above).  There are a LOT of people aged 30 and younger in Iran, as the photos easily prove.  They, like many their age in the West, are computer/tech savvy and I'm sure have found ways to circumvent their government's control of information.  It's only a matter of time before there is a much stronger network of young people who will become more and more able to take over the government, secular and theocratic, as time goes on.

If anyone really wants to support the Iranian people in their struggle for fair representation in government, the best way seems to be to keep the flow of truthful information streaming into that part of the world.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tires, Shopping and Relish

I did something today I had not done in nearly nine months - had my car serviced.  As you might imagine, the car needed much more than an oil and filter change.  No, it does not mean that the car was running poorly; it was just overdue for maintenance and the dealership successfully found other things to fix, including removing air from the tires and replacing it with nitrogen.

Upon a few minutes of searching the 'net, it appears that nitrogen filled car tires makes a marginal difference in gas mileage but my guess is that it was of bigger benefit to the dealership.  So as to not sulk about my lack of all things automotive, I'll reclassify this experience as an opportunity to help an ailing industry and, more importantly, make at least a partial investment in America (or, at least, to Penske Automotive Group).

Out of a gloomy couple of weeks of bizarre weather, it seems the mall at which I wound up wandering as the car was getting serviced is, at least, holding its own.  At a time when our nation's economy is in some state of transition, it's all too easy to find going out of business sales, struggling industries and hesitancy in starting new businesses.  I found a department store that is, as well, investing in America (see the photo above), even if it is only building a new store to replace its existing store at the same mall.  The construction site still looked active -- no permanent work stoppage here.

I even stopped by a new-to-the-area burger joint that is familiar to recent followers of all things political.  If it is good enough for our President, it's good enough for me.  The vote on the burgers was mixed, though, in our household -- I could not tell what all of the fuss was about.  However, the place was busy this afternoon and the crew behind the counter working at lightening speed.

Yes, sometimes it's important to just celebrate the small victories.  Even if it's just with a double patty burger.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One Christian's response to recent events

I have digested as much liberal and conservative goulash over the events in Kansas early last week, the killing of two soldiers in Arkansas the very next day and what happened today at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

Strangely, my stomach feels extra full and I think I may end my night with something plopped into tap water that tickles the nose and causes all sorts of noise to come out of me.

As I let my nightly dose of liberal talk wash around my ears as the Metro whisked me toward my car, the connections between these two events becoming, well, evident, something occurred to me.

Where is the Christian reaction to all of this?

The bright, shiny church down the 5 freeway is saying . . nothing?  Though, it is nice to read about kindness.  Enjoy!

A little further down the 5 freeway at one of my favorite Hawaiian shirt wearing pastors church?  Talk about a revival from the good pastor and, again, nothing of the events from the past two weeks.

A visit to the "wealthy is cool with God" church, uh, whatever you would call them, has a series of blog posts that, while light on the Scripture quoting (OK, there's none), are still pretty good.  I almost popped out the plastic and searched for the shopping cart logo.  Then, I saw the professional head shots at the top of this page and figured that their needs are already well tended and they seem to have such busy lives that, perhaps, offering a piece of inspiration to counter the disturbing events of the past two weeks would just be a bit too much of a buzzkill. 

Gosh, if my eyes ever pop that big and my skin becomes that flawless, I may then make my move to the big time stadium grandstanding, book publishing and fancy car driving that I'm sure God would have in mind for me . . . or not.

The moderator of my church's denomination had a really good post about Dr. Tiller's death and her experience with a women's right to privacy.  In all fairness, though, some Christians may lament the lack of Scripture references in the post.  You may even wonder about my own lack of Scripture reference in this post, but then again I am not any church's staff member or clergy.

My brief tour of the blogosphere's Christian Corner, it seems, has turned up not a whole lot of perspective, opinion or even a seamless "here's what Jesus would do" twist on these three news events.  So, here is what this very amateur Christian has figured out.

Every Christian now has the opportunity to witness.  I don't mean "witness" in the traditional sense, though.  Whenever a Christian sees, hears or is in the vicinity of an injustice being done to anyone because of the way they look, talk or behave, we have a responsibility to stand up for that individual and represent the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Whether we physically insert ourselves between the two parties, diffuse the situation with distraction or even find someone in charge and bringing the situation to their attention makes no difference.  By acting as we would imagine Jesus Christ acting in a similar situation, we are really "witnessing" to others around who may never have seen someone behave as a Christian must behave in the face of injustice.

It is virtually impossible for any of us to stand in the path of an actual bullet, and no one should ever demand that any of us do so.  It is a rare individual who can reach through to people as far removed from good as these three gunmen were and turn their beliefs around toward love and reconciliation in time to prevent another senseless act of violence.

Since none of us really knows where the next shocking act of violence will occur, we have no idea whether we are just representing God or being that someone that makes a strong, positive change in someone's life.

It is becoming obvious to me what happens when Christians do nothing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Adam Lambert may be the center of the universe

As a photographer, I make a very good blogger!  This is the entrance to the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood, CA.  The doors are set to close on Sunday.  Does this mark the end of an era in "brick and mortar" stores dedicated to selling music?

Well, sort of.

CDs are still available for purchase in your local low-cost big box department store and in your big box bookstore/coffeehouses.  While the storage units in the department stores are usually disheveled, there was a certain joy to rooting around the bins finding some lost treasure and running up to the counter to buy it before the album fades into obscurity.

In recent years, the whole shopping experience has gotten more and more tiring. More stores boarded up, more families wandering around aimlessly in the malls with strollers and toddlers in tow and a lack of anything of interest to me inside these cathedrals of commerce were all contributing factors.

Besides, why get in my car, drive somewhere to shop with strangers when I could find what I need here on-line?  I can even find other interesting things on which to comment.

For instance, what has Clay Aiken, Rob Zombie and a conservative blogger all riled up in recent weeks?  Surely, it's something that affects people all over the world -- maybe the state of the economy, global warming or the latest heartless dictator flexing their muscles for all the world to see?

Nah, it's just Adam Lambert.

I have never watched any American Idol episodes and can report I have never heard Mr. Lambert sing.  But, apparently, with makeup, loud costumes and a recent confession to being gay, he's making a wide variety of individuals a bit nervous.

I'll go with Rob Zombie on this as to why this is really much ado about nothing:

"I'm sure Adam can f--king sing 10 times better than Mick Jagger, but who gives a s--t," Zombie told me the other day. "He ain't f--king Mick Jagger. You know what I mean? There are probably a million guitar players in the world better than Keith Richards, but they ain't f--king Keith Richards!"

On the other hand, Idol has blasted the door of opportunity off its hinges for Mr. Lambert.  Now that he has the freedom to take the next step in his career, I can only wish him luck.

Does make me kind of wonder why anyone would be so critical of someone who's poised to begin a pretty incredible journey.  Jealous, maybe?


Monday, June 8, 2009

Eagle followup / there oughta be a medal

AK Muckraker posted a bit of a travelogue with pics as she and a group of others make a trip to Eagle, Alaska (the "help" tile has been on the left for a while - thought it would be nice to post a progress update of sorts).

As a big fan of words and an ardent supporter of the English language, we need to create some sort of medal for AK for attending an event last week and having to *shudder* transcribe Governor Palin's introduction of radio chat show host Michael Reagan.

She warns readers of accompanying her "into the belly of the beast" and that "Adult beverage or soothing music is recommended".  The post reads a lot quicker than the 17 minutes it took Palin to regurgitate an introduction speech.

I'm headed for the prescription strength pain reliever for the pounding in my temple.  Blessedly, Palin is up for reelection next year so there's a decent chance that these messy, beauty-pageant style diatribes will soon be a thing of the past.

One brave woman whose "outing" months ago seems only to have strengthened her resolve

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Newt Gingrich: Americans "Are Surrounded By Paganism"

Amazing! As a Christian, these kinds of faux pious soundbites from washed up politicians just sound like more squaking from Pharisees ( http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11789b.htm ) than words of warning from Christ.

Don't expect anything to be done by any of these blowhards - they need something to push again to maintain their facade of sanctimony and to keep raising whatever kind of money they can squeeze out of a dwindling base.

Just amazing.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obama Cairo Speech (VIDEO): Calls For New Beginning, Gets Standing Ovation

Easily one of the President's best speeches to date. Quoting the Quran correctly and pronouncing "Quran" correctly? Would have never happened under our previous President!

Now, moving from words to action, all of us have a lot of work to do. Even those of us living in the bastion of liberalism in Southern California have a long road ahead of us. The link below talks about a local Mosque spray painted with hate speech overnight.


It's probably just kids being obnoxious, but part of me believes that this action symbolizes right-wing conservatives in the U.S who are now suddenly a whole lot more nervous about their role as spoilers to a major shift in attitude toward peace and celebration of our differences.
About Obama Mideast Trip
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The trail of whacky news leads to my backyard

Most days, nothing fires my creativity.  Somedays, I struggle to pare down the fascinating news down to three stories:

Yes, I know this story is now weeks old, but I saw it in full for the first time earlier today.  Did you know that there are a few states in the U.S. that are charging their prison's inmates a nightly rate for staying in the prison?  Apparently, some prisons have hiked the price of junk food in the snack bars, started charging for regular meals and/or lessened the portion of food served in each regular meal?  The Christian Science Monitor does a good job of sampling the various fund-raising efforts in states that are otherwise hurting for funding to support their state's prison population.

It does beg the question: What happens when an inmate has no source to tap for money to pay the nightly usage fee, buy food or otherwise pay for their keep?  Outside of prison, when one cannot pay the rent, the property manager can evict the tenant.  Might inmates strapped for cash have their parents, spouses, brothers and/or sisters tapped for cash to support the inmate in the prison?  If someone other than the inmate is directly funding the inmate's stay in prison, what new rights does the . . uh . . patron (?) have? 

If I had to pay for a relative's stay in prison, shouldn't I have the right to ship my inmate relative to a cheaper prison?  Would married inmates face a greater percentage of divorce to cut the tap off to the state for the inmate's stay?  What about the victim(s) of the inmate's crime? If they still want justice for their attacker/thief, perhaps they could chip in to cover the tab??

The endless meandering imagination of a liberal like me can take this argument to the Nth degree.  The depths of ridiculousness . . just no end.


A pair of men from Britain have been languishing in Santa Ana City Jail since July 2008. (Santa Ana, CA -- in the middle of Orange County).  For what reason?  Have they been charged with something? They can't afford bail?  Is the City Jail pitching in to keep a tight hold on detainees in the War on Terror ??

I'll quote the author of this article from the L.A. Times, Dana Parsons:
The men, known as the "heretical two" to supporters, aren't in U.S. custody because of their world views. Nor have they committed any crime in America. Their lengthy detention is largely the product of the asylum-seeking process that Sheppard and Whittle brought on themselves when they entered the country. They and their original attorney acknowledge that motions they filed helped prolong the case.
They were 
convicted in Britain of "disseminating hate speech" on a website one of them ran.  The men figured they could receive political asylum in the U.S. as our country is well known for supporting free speech.

The L.A. Times does a good job of bringing the facts on this.  So, now for my righteous liberal indignation for the ugly words and thoughts these two decided to spew on line:

What a bunch of hooey!  That's right.  Hooey!!

It may turn my stomach to read/hear the absolutely nutty ravings of people who seek to blame everyone else but themselves for their own perceived misfortune.  That said, I would rather be free to read/hear those nutty ravings.  Short of their diatribes encouraging violence and vehement, in-their-face ugly words in the faces of those these "writers", I say let them at a keyboard.  All the better to see them with.  

The article writer seems quite doubtful their stint in Jail is due to end anytime soon.  11 months could well turn into several years, unfortunately.  Should the U.S. give these two political asylum?  Well, yeah!  There is some measure of difference between posting ones thoughts on-line and the horrors physically brought on others in recent years based on twisted beliefs.

and, finally . . in my backyard, sort of:

One of the newest medical marijuana dispensaries in California will be opening in Whittier, CA!  Seems the city's Planning Commissioners saw fit to go counter to the City Council's vote in April 2009 where
 " . . the council by a 3-2 vote asked staff to draft an ordinance banning the medical marijuana dispensaries. Councilmen Owen Newcomer and Bob Henderson were the dissenting votes."
In what has traditionally been a conservative corner of Los Angeles County, the City Council couldn't even get unanimous consensus on this issue.  My guess is that this more a function of the state of the economy rather than a genuine concern for those who were prescribed marijuana for treatment of their ailments here in our fair city.

I'm going to go ahead and give some of the credit for this moderate shift in the city government's mindset on the grassroots group which started months ago (and who, sadly, I have not met with for a couple of months now.  I knew something had to give when I started a full-time job working away from home again).

Soon enough, when you need to smoke 'em, you'll soon be able to get 'em . . locally . . uh, as long as the Council votes to OK this next month.  Who knows?

The trail of whacky news could continue to wind about for some time to come.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cleaning the Red Carpet

In the top right corner of this photo from earlier today, you may be able to make out the lone man with a vacuum getting a red carpet ready to go for yet another world premiere on Hollywood Blvd.

Tonight's fare is "The Proposal" starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.  Take a few moments to enjoy (I found this photo at the blog See Sarah Eat. Many Thanks, Sarah!)

Cute dog, eh?

If you dug my post from yesterday, you may enjoy seeing the fulll blogroll at Mombian and might want to partake in some of the other blog posts.  I'm at #19, though the posts are listed in the order they were received.  I really enjoy the challenge of having to write to fit a theme; however, to be fair, I spend a good amount of time at my job writing to fit a theme, so maybe it's more a "I'm familiar with the structure" thing than anything.

Speaking of writing to a theme, NASA is looking for a few good . . . uh, Twitter-ers ?  Reuters has the details.  I still am not a fan of Twitter, though I have an account.  I have to admit me being such a nerd for anything science-adjacent, I'm sorely tempted to head back to Twitter and "follow" NASA when their next mission begins in August.

And, finally, I listened to the last 10 minutes of Thursday 5/28/09's Mike Malloy program.  It is very rare that Malloy will "play a prank" on someone.  However, it seemed he was a bit restless for the majority of the show and this was a wonderful way to close out the program.  Though once again I was trying my best on the light rail tonight to stifle laughter as Mike acted like a conservative, fundamentalist talk show host to this clueless Pastor.

Enjoy the show!

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