So The Girl has been vacating and marinating under the Central Coast skies, joining hubby in his geek pursuit of Military Radio collection, and visiting with his family. All-in-all, a nice little respite, where I got more sleep than I have in several months now–so it’s all good.
Now it’s back to life’s realities, and one of those is dealing with death. A few weeks back for In My Orbit, I paid tribute to Jack Gilbert and my cousin Ricky. Jack Gilbert’s memorial service is this Saturday, and it will be fitting to be part of a more public tribute to such a good man.
When you get to my age, you start marking time by these passages, and two more have made me reflective: Maurice Sendak, and Digby Wolfe.
Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen, and Outside Over There, died yesterday at the age of 83. I loved Sendak’s work–it spoke to me as an introspective, bookish child, and the illustrations inspired me as a young artist. My first college major was commercial art with an emphasis in illustration; but I found I was much better at painting with words.
His books, along with Florence Parry Heide and Edward Gorey’s The Shrinking of Treehorn, and Julian Scheer’s Rain Makes Applesauce were part of the formative alchemy of who The Girl is today. Had I had children, I would have read his books to them too, passing on these shaping works to another generation.
I had the privilege of taking a class with Digby Wolfe in his last year of teaching at the University of Southern California, and went on to do one semester of focused study under his tutelage.
Digby Wolfe was one of the creators of Laugh-In, and his wit was just as sharp and fun 30-years in, as it was when he wrote the show in the 60s. He also had a depth of insight about character, and writer motivations which helped to make me more conscious and more directed in my own writing. Digby died of lung cancer on May 2, at the age of 82.
It was interesting that as a successful Renaissance man (he was an actor and singer as well) he spent the balance of his life as an academic, albeit a non-traditional one. He taught in the Watts Writer’s Workshop, then at USC, before he left Los Angeles for the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. The obit in the Los Angeles Times said it best:
“‘He wasn’t an academic in any traditional sense,” Jim Linnell, dean of fine arts, said with a laugh. “He was a provocateur and a satirist. Having Digby in an academic program kept things lively, challenging and constantly pushing the boundaries of getting work done.'”
As a writer, I was blessed to have that support and influence, even for a brief time.
Chain of Fools
So I was fortunate to miss the Occupy LA/Immigrant Rights protest on May Day. While this local counterpart managed to remain low-key (what a shock), their brother organizations in Seattle and Cleveland did not fare so well. Downtown Seattle saw millions of dollars in commercial and personal property damage, and 25 arrests. But Cleveland takes the cake.
Five OWS Cleveland protestors plotted, then attempted, to blow up the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, 15-miles outside of downtown Cleveland. The smooth criminals rigged explosives that they thought were packed with C-4 at the base of the bridge, and tried to detonate them using a text-message code.
Of course, when you announce such an intention to a G-Man, you are bound to fail. Apparently an undercover FBI agent had infiltrated their pack and managed to thwart the plot by supplying phony explosives, and then calling in the posse. Good times!
OWS Cleveland’s official word is that they do recall these guys at their events, but they do not support bombing bridges. One of the suspects actually signed the lease to property where the OWS Cleveland protestors camp; so I think guilt by association can be proven here. What surprises me is the light press this continues to receive.
Now, had this been a right-wing group, or people who claimed to be a part of the Tea Party? It would be the Trayvon Martin news cycle all over again.
Rich Lowry calls it like he sees it, in an opinion piece in the New York Post; give it a read, if only to get the other viewpoint on these protests and the type of people it attracts.
Clowns to the Left of Me
From my house, that’s the direction toward Downtown L.A., where our idiot City Council wages war against sanity, commerce, and anyone finding or keeping a job in Los Angeles.
Their latest campaign involves banning single use plastic bags in an attempt to supposedly reduce litter. The law of unintended consequences comes into play here. According to the Los Angeles Times, Crown Poly, one major manufacturer of plastic bags, estimates they may have to lay off 20 to 130 employees because of this action. With unemployment numbers in Los Angeles city in the 10-11 percent range, you would think they would take pause at this action. But “think” and “Los Angeles City Council” are often mutually exclusive.
One of the useful idiots, Councilman Paul Koretz, compared the company to makers of horse-drawn carriages who were phased out with the introduction of the automobile.
“‘I’m the last one to allow for layoffs in L.A. city, and I fight them hard,’ he said. ‘But I’ve never stood and said that if a job doesn’t make sense anymore, that we’ve got to keep that job.'”
Who says it doesn’t make sense? The majority of these bags are made from recycled material–heck, some of the grocery stores have recycle kiosks for unused bags, along with other things recyclable. How many people are employed in this enterprise? I know a few, and their jobs are on the chopping block too.
I’m all for environmental awareness, but like what they did in the San Joaquin Valley to save a Delta smelt, this smacks of foolishness that will further cripple the city and the State.