Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The definition of incredulous

Today Chief Bratton insisted that there was no basis in any of the 320 complaints of racial profiling by the LAPD filed in 2007 they have claimed for the past six years running.

And although you wouldn't know it from the local media, yesterday was the anniversary of the verdict and [your choice:] the verdict in the Rodney King Trial/the 1993 LA Riots/the LA Uprising.

Photo by Joseph Sternfeld

At least they've stopped removing the street signs from the intersection of Florence and Normandie, as if that was all it took to remove the whole of what happened from our collective memory.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Woodies on the Waterfront

Photo: Surfer Magazine

May 17th, from 9 am to 4 pm, at Ports O' Call Village in San Pedro. Enjoy a full day of classic Southern California beach cars, food, surf music and more.

Just don't say, "Cowabunga!"


May 4 - 10 is PTA Teacher Appreciation Week

If you can read this, thank a teacher.

If a week is too much for you to handle, May 6 will be NEA National Teacher Day.

In the name of full disclosure, for the record I'm the son (and grandson, and great-grandson) of teachers.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Live! from the 13th Annual Festival of Books

If anything, today was hot; tomorrow will be also. We're talkin' in the neighborhood of 100 degrees Fahrenheit .

Despite the heat, though, this has been a real buzz for everyone in the lit field. I always leave the UCLA campus kicking and screaming every year, not wanting it to end; yet at sometime I have to take all this enthusiasm and inspiration and translate it into some finished pages. I mean, you can only buy so many books and book bags and bookmarks and... well, you get the picture. I did get into every panel I wanted to attend, too (where, at least, there was air conditioning). Among the many authors I've listened to, chatted with, or just happened to run into (or brush passed) are Mark Acito, Noel Alumit, Gustavo Arrellano, Francesca Lia Block, Charles Bock, Kip Fulbeck, Gina Nahai, Naomi Hirahara, Maxine Hong Kingston, Russell Leong, Steve Lopez, Al Martinez, Walter Mosley, Gary Phillips, Christopher Rice, Luis Rodriguez and Marcos Villatoro (and there's still another round of panels to go).

At least, for one weekend out of the year, there is proof positive (about 250,000 times over) that there are people in Southern California who still have a thing for the written word.

And there's even chocolate. How cool is that?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ruben Salazar Day

Ruben Salazar

April 22 will be Ruben Salazar Day in Los Angeles. When I did my internship at the LA Times, he was our hero. The USPS is issuing a stamp to honor the late Chicano journalist.

There are innumerable buildings, murals and other monuments to Salazar around Los Angeles--and the entire state. The Silver Dollar Saloon is no more, but you can still visit the site, and others that memorialize the pioneer journalist. To take a self guided tour of East Los Angeles, highlighting the location where Ruben Salazar was killed by the police during the Chicano Moratorium, click on the header at top.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Maybe I can't get to Muir Beach today, but where I am is pretty darn good... it's in the 90s, not a cloud in the sky, a groovin' afternoon ahead at the museum and down to the beach...

It's a pretty darn good day for celebrating my 27th anniversary in the program...

I will not listen to the news today I will not listen to the news today I will not listen to the news today I will not listen to the news today I will not listen to the news today I will not listen to the news today...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

After all of the hullaballoo over the Olympic torch, it got me to thinking that this might very well sum up China's view of their relationship with the US. Most news outlets never reported that little "I didn't know my microphone was still on" slip of the tongue by a Chinese official who bragged how they no longer needed ICBMs; they could bring the US to it's knees via the internet by shutting off our entire power grid, telecommunications, utilities, etc.

After the recent spate of recalls from tainted food and toys, I was wandering throught the aisles of Target for a toy present, and couldn't find a thing that wasn't made in China!

And most of the food you buy in the market doesn't list the country of origin anywhere... so if you think it isn't cool for them to go around slaughtering nuns and priests and entire villages, better keep it to yourself or find another planet to live on.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Is it possible for the Chinese to be as stupid as straight white men?

No city in the United States is as associated with Chiang kai Shek, the "Father of the Republic of China," as San Francisco. No city in the United States has seen as many refugees from the Communist takeover of mainland China as San Francisco. So what were they thinking, bringing the Olympic torch to the City?

Not just the Olympic Committee, but the People's Republic of China, the Mayor of San Francisco, and anyone else with half a brain in the City (there are enough people already around the Bay Area if not the whole country that think you can sooner find an Eskimo at the Equator than someone with half a brain in San Francisco, but I wouldn't say that).

Somewhere, the old power elite of the City from the 1950s and '60s that never saw a longhaired anti-establishment protester they didn't want to smack right into the Bay are either scratching their heads in confusion or laughing their heads off in bemusement.

Times have changed
And we've often rewound the clock
Since the Puritans got a shock
When they landed on Plymouth Rock.
If today
Any shock they should try to stem,
'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
Plymouth Rock would land on them.

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything goes.
Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose,
Anything goes.
If driving fast cars you like,
If low bars you like,
If old hymns you like,
If bare limbs you like,
If Mae West you like,
Or me undressed you like,
Why, nobody will oppose.
When ev'ry night the set that's smart is in--
Truding in nudist parties in
Anything goes.

When Missus Ned McLean (God bless her)
Can get Russian Reds to "yes" her,
Then I suppose
Anything goes.
When Rockefeller still can hoard en--
Nough money to let Max Gordon
Produce his shows,
Anything goes.
The world has gone mad today,
And good's bad today,
And black's white today,
And day's night today,
And that gent today,
You gave a cent today,
Once had several chateaux.
When folks who still can ride in jitneys
Find out Vanderbilt and Whitneys
Lack baby clo'es,
Anything goes.

If Samuel Goldwyn can with great conviction
Instruct Anna Sten in diction,
Then Anna shows
Anything goes.
When you hear that Lady Mendel standing up
Now turns a handspring landing up--
On her toes,
Anything goes.
Just think of those shocks you've got
And all those knocks you've got
And those blues you've got
From that news you've got
And those pains you've got
(If any brains you've got)
From those little radios.

So Missus R., with all her trimmin's,
Can broadcast a bed from Simmons
'Cause Franklin knows
Anything goes.

(I don't know why Cole Porter suddenly seemed appropriate here with all that very serious shouting and all along the Olympic torch route, but I didn't know any 'Please don't kill the nuns in Tibet' songs)

Monday, April 07, 2008

We'll be prying that gun from his cold, dead hands now

I actually got to see Heston on stage when I was in high school, in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, at the Mark Taper Forum in LA. He came out on stage after the show and did a q & a with the students who'd all come to see him. What's weird is, this was before his flip into a right wing activist. He was very keen on the role the play had in the witch hunt era of the 1950s, and he struck me as being pretty concerned about civil liberties and the evils of government Big Brother. What's sad is that not too many years after that, he somehow decided that the right of individuals to bear arms was more central to his politics than when he was marching with Martin Luther king, Jr for civil rights at a time when it was not cute or safe for Hollywood celebrities to be sticking their necks out. He could have very easily become a victim of the same idiots whose right to maintain private arsenals he would later become so identified with.


If Iran is getting all blue in the face about real or perceived insults to Islam in the Netherlands, let's hope they don't get wind of the racist, anti-Islamic statements made by Rep. Sally Kern. The blood of countless Westerners in the Middle East will be on her hands now. Not that she'll take responsibility for her actions.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Amsterdam: 2008 World Book Capital

Click here on the header for a link to the UNESCO World Book Capital site, and click here for a link to a paper cardmodel of Anne Frank's house.

Beirut has been selected as the 2009 World Book Capital. There isn't an official website as of yet, but more informatin may be obtained from the UNESCO website, and probably from a fair number of the links found by clicking on the left under Lebanese Bloggers.

Dine Out LA 2008 on Thursday, April 17th

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why I probably won't bother going to the new Americana at Brand Shopping Center

There are a lot of people who have their reasons for not bothering to go to the newest shopping center in southern California getting ready to open. It was a long time ago, true, but Glendale is one of those towns infamous for their "Sunset Laws." The only place in that town I like to spend my money is Porto's Bakery (their Cuban toast and cortaditos are worth a lynching). Then I get the hell outta town, ASAP.

I think I'll just stick to the Grove, thank you very much.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April 4, 1968

This is the park my mother took us when the news reported the death
of Martin Luther King, Jr. It was years later that I realized that it must
have been the most contemplative place from her childhood that she
could think to go on that awful day.