Saturday, November 17, 2007

My birthday roadtrip

We're heading up Pacific Coast Highway for a birthday roadtrip on Sunday to San Luis Obispo. The first stop is Duke's in Ventura for brunch, then we'll pop over to the Channel Islands farmers market before we hit Main Street. Hopefully, we'll get to visit Abednego Book Shoppe, the Book Rack, Last Chapter Bookshop, Bank of Books, Books on Main, and finally the Calico Cat Bookshop.

Then we head inland to Ojai and Bart's Books, hopefully stopping at Dennison Park for the famous view of "Shangri-La" before returning to the coast via Casitas Pass Road.

The next stop is Carpinteria and Ponce a Time Books, followed by the Tecolote Book Shop in Montecito.

I get to spend more time in Santa Barbara more than anywhere else along the Central Coast, so I'll try to limit myself to just a few choice stops. From Lost Horizon Bookstore we'll hop down to the Book Den (reportedly the oldest bookstore in California), the over to the Paperback Exchange. Then it's on to Goleta and the Paperback Alley and the Front Page before hitting the Isla Vista Bookstore in Isla Vista. Then we'll head back over to State Street and Chaucer's Books, before going up the San Marcos Pass Road.

For some reason, I have it in me to visit the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge; with any luck we'll get there when the late afternoon light is just right. As long as I'm soaking in atmosphere, it's off to Solvang and the Book Loft, home of the Hans Christian Andersen Museum.

If there's still time, we'll turn off Highway 101 in Grover Beach to visit Nan's Pre-Owned Books, then passing by the Monarch Butterfly Grove alongside Pacific Coast Highway.

With any luck, we'll arrive in San Luis Obispo in time for the closing party of the Language of the Heart Poetry Festival at Linnea's Cafe on Garden Street before arriving at the folks.

It isn't likely we'll make every stop on the itinerary; that way we'll be sure to have something left over for the next trek.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What I'll be doing for my birthday

November 17th is the National Support Your Independents Day... and the Great LA Walk down Pico Blvd!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Remember the people in charge of your security are the same ones who run FEMA

Take the Cosco Busan to the Olympics! Just don't check your e-mail while you're in China, or you may find yourself a guest of the Chinese government in a manner you hadn't planned ---better wear a hazmat suit, and bring any food or drink you want to consume with you as well...

Another Santa Ana is whipping across Southern California. Without the fires, the air is much cleaner, but the views of the mountainsides are more than a little disheartening.

It has been good for the strikers (if a tad hot) though.... Want to bring Hollywood to its knees? (Do snakes have knees?) Why not forge an alliance between the striking writers and the gardeners, housekeepers and nannies. If the immigrant workforce in LA joined forces with the WGA even Rupert Murdoch would be freaking out.

At least the LAPD has come to their senses and decided against "mapping" (or whatever their spin doctors are calling it this minute) Muslim communities in Los Angeles.

On January 28, 1982, the Turkish Consul General was assassinated in Los Angeles by Armenian extremists, who have never been low key when it comes to their feelings about the Turks; if other people get caught in the crossfire, they're considered merely acceptable collateral damage. Yet the LAPD has never mentioned "mapping" the Armenian communities in the city, nor the Turks, "for their protection" (I believe that was part of the official rationale for rounding up the Americans of Japanese descent during World War II).

When it comes down to it, the LAPD probably backed off due to the sheer logistics. LA has had their fair share of radical sympathizers and supporters from Northern Ireland (ask anyone whose been in London over the past 25 years about how serious that is!), and a lot of Irish people. There is a substantial Spanish population (those radical Basques), and LA is home to the largest Ethiopian community in the United States. Less visible than in Miami or New York are the Colombian and Venezualan communities. And if the Chinese Consulate had their way, the LAPD would be keeping close tabs on the Chinese American community (who are protesting the float from China in the New Years Day Rose Parade). There's a huge Indonesian comunity here, too, although the American news doesn't seem to have much time to report on the ongoing civil war there.

And there isn't enough time or space to recount the reasons that they should be mapping the English communities.
There are still enough gay folk around who remember how the LAPD used to operate when it came to the gay community, too. From long before Stonewall (read Stuart Timmons and Lillian Faderman's "Gay LA") through the AIDS activism of the 80s and 90s, there was a lot of bumping heads, to put it mildly. Now that I think about it, I remember when the LAPD was caught with illegal files on minority teenagers that they had been ordered by the courts to destroy. And I couldn't not mention those pesky Americans, while I'm at it, who are causing mayhem all over the planet.

The only solution would be for the LAPD to keep close tabs on everybody. Not that Cheney and his gang haven't tried. The LAPD has long been known to have the most sophisticated intelligence system of any police force in the United States since the days of the Communist witch hunts.

Enough so, in fact, that I would take any official announcement that they are reconsidering their "mapping" of Muslim communities with a grain of salt. Very bitter salt.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

One of these things is not like the other...

The networks are almost acting like suicide bombers, willing to destroy themselves in order to keep a few paltry dollars out of the hands of the writers as new media is developed.

Ironically, that same new media will be the prime venue for entertainment as original programming declines in quality and quantity.

The headline that grabbed my attention this week was about the 15,000 (!) Americans on the no-fly list who shouldn't be there and the government doesn't seem to be able to figure out who should or shouldn't be allowed to fly. They aren't trying to keep us from leaving the country, are they? With the falling dollar, they've made it even more difficult for foreign tourists to get visas to come here to spend their money as the US becomes a travel bargain. Are they trying to shoot our economy in the foot?

Locally, the news that the LAPD is trying to profile and map Muslim communities in Los Angeles hasn't been getting nearly the attention from civil libertarians it should.

And all the while, the Chinese are poisoning our kids, spilling oil in San Francisco Bay, and generally tripping up our economy...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A City on Strike

Bands of people walk together and speak conspiratorially, or with dread, or a detached bemusement.

The elderly at the market are at a remove from the immediacy of the crisis. They gossip and chat and mutter amongst themselves the same as always; one might think they were oblivious to what is going on all around us.

Workmen stand or slouch uncomfortably idle. If they were working, they would pray for such a break. Now it is all they can do, and they can do nothing but wait for the work that will not come.

A Rolls Royce glides by, the driver on the phone putting on a show typical of those who like to presume themselves aristocratic. Normally he would be stuck in a long line of traffic, yet today he makes it seem as though he had the traffic cleared for his convenience.

I surf the news channels, taking account of who reports on the troubles, or how; and mull its significance.

There are a number of unimportant news items that I suspect would not have been aired filling the broadcasts; they only serve to draw attention to what is not being said.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Support the Writers: Turn Off Your Television!

A Hollywood Writer's home

A Hollywood producer's home

How the studios would like to pay their employees

Thursday, November 01, 2007


The Navy dropped a bomb from an F/A-18C Hornet fighter jet on the resort community of Virginia Beach, Virginia this week, damaging a warehouse.

Since they haven't proudly trotted out the evidence for us to see, we might safely presume that no weapons of mass destruction were found.

Some of those rogue states nervously watching the US military might have notched up their alert status. After all, we did invade Virginia once before...

When stuff like this happens, it gets me to thinking that it was probably a good thing that President Bush (allegedly) spent his National Guard service partying while someone else forged his attendance records. For all of us. The thought of Dubya anywhere near guns, bombs and planes, especially during his college partying years, boggles the mind with the potential for damage that might have incurred.