In My Orbit…

9 05 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Time Passages

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.





Illustrating Absurdity: #OWS Redux

27 10 2011
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net

You keep giving me absurd news copy, I’ll keep writing posts!

Under the This is Rich category, The OWS kitchen staff is getting fed up with homeless and ex-con freeloaders who are eating their food… Say what?!

“The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a ‘counter’ revolution yesterday — because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.” (emphasis mine).

How thoughtful! Today’s definition of Irony: “Protesting that the wealth needs to be shared while withholding your own.”  Occupy Wall Street Kitchen Slow-down Targets Squatters.

Occupy Portland is upset because it’s lost $20,000 in donations via PayPal:

“Organizers of Occupy Portland say they fear as much as $20,000 donated to the group through a PayPal account has disappeared.

They also say the group’s finance committee has hijacked the demonstration’s Internet domain name and filed for incorporation against the wishes of the group’s decision-making body.

The demonstrator who filed the papers with the state said Wednesday she did so to protect the protest, and she has received death threats as a result.”

Death threats? That’s beyond the pale, but then, so is this supposed movement. Occupy Portland fears it has lost $20,000 in donations.

Finally, in the Too Stupid to Run a Mile category, the idiot Mayor of Los Angeles has come to the conclusion that Occupy Los Angeles “cannot continue indefinitely.” Occupy LA: Occupy LA “Cannot Continue Indefinitely,” Villaraigosa says.

Yah think? With the violence and law enforcement push back in Oakland, Atlanta, and other cities, Villaraigosa sees the handwriting on the wall: All this bad press will ruin the PR for my December trade mission to Asia!

Just like him–when the going gets tough, the tough get out of town.

 

 

 





Illustrating Absurdity: The Occupy Wall Street Expanded Edition

20 10 2011
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net

As our own village idiot, Mayor Villiaragosa, passed out 100 ponchos to rain-soaked protestors last week, and City Councilmember Richard Alarcon rides this wave of unrest by pimping his “responsible banking” ordinance, it’s clear that the OccupyLA movement has been fully embraced by our supposed city leaders.  You know, the ones that are tasked with balancing our budget shortfall and and bringing back jobs and industry to Los Angeles. How’s that working for them? We already know how it’s working for us.

Well, the lovefest may be coming to a screeching halt: Los Angeles is broke, and complying with the rabble’s demands of cracking down on banks could cost at least $58 million. A pull quote on the potential “damage” of sticking it to the Man:

“Last week, lawmakers asked city analysts to continue developing a plan to use the city’s financial heft to punish misbehaving financial institutions. On Tuesday, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana issued a dire warning: Such a move could cost the city at least $58 million.

“Severing agreements with major lenders could trigger sizable termination fees and lead to higher interest rates, Santana said. That could in turn complicate financing for an array of city initiatives, from replacing deteriorating sewers to rebuilding part of the Convention Center to make way for an NFL football stadium, he said.”

Official’s embrace of OccupyLA loosens a bit over fiscal issue.

Hell, just tell Angeleans about the kabosh on NFL football in L.A. and I betcha the sports fans would pour into the streets and kick the occupiers out!

And the Kabuki theater is now being peddled to children as education. This just in from the Los Angeles Times.

“The fifth- through eighth-grade students from Sequoyah, a private school in Pasadena, munched on their lunches while protesters engaged them in discourse about how democracy works.”

Students visit OccupyLA for a lesson in democracy.

And this gem came from one of the teachers who organized the field trip:

“‘My goal as a teacher, regardless of my own personal beliefs, is to expose the students to as many viewpoints as possible,’ Barkataki said as she watched her students explore the Occupy L.A. encampment. ‘We’re here to get first-hand experience.'”

I thought influencing with viewpoints was the role of the parent, and the teacher’s job was to teach them the Three Rs? I wonder how much any of these children are learning about the the Revolutionary War and the United States Constitution? Johnny don’t know much about history, but he sure knows how to protest!

LA Weekly at its snarky best, keeps it real. Their commentary on the first of the OccupyLA protests:

“The turnout was less than rousing:

The blog LA Activist says about 70 protesters showed up Saturday outside City Hall. And if you’re in L.A., class warfare is really about Trader Joe’s vs. Whole Foods (we kid).”

They may kid, but I do not. That statement is exactly on the money. It’s very hard to take a movement seriously that offers “Yoga with Raquel” at their medical tent as part of “wellness”.

As far as I’m concerned, the supposed 99 percenters of OccupyLA would be more effective if they marched due west and parked their protest at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building. LADWP holds every Angelean hostage with their rate increases to support massive CEO salary and lactation classes for employees.

Apparently Steven Crowder is finding the same “lack of seriousness” in the Occupy Dallas bunch, who were on, wait for this… lunch break! when he arrived to interview them. He had great fun talking to some 9/11 Truthers and LaRouchites, then makes an effort to comprehend what is truly incomprehensible:

And from the New York Zuccotti Park crowd, this self-described 99 percenter has been outed as part of the 1 percent. It seems Edward T. Hall III is a  Columbia graduate student and a trust fund baby –so I’m sure he doesn’t carry any student loan debt. Wish I could say the same.

Mr. Hall appears to be starving… for attention. Language alert here:

The pushback over all this silliness gets little to no attention from the L.A. Times or any other mainstream media outlet. But thankfully, it does exist.

Tumblr has a great blog, We Are The 53%, for all of us who actually pay taxes so the supposed 99 percent can whine, protest, clog streets, and stink up parks and city property.

And Heather Mac Donald pulls no punches in her City Journal article,  “Get A Job“:

“There are times when mass protest carries an undeniable dignity and grows out of an unbearable necessity; the civil rights marches and sit-ins in the 1950s South were one of those moments. But our culture’s glamorization of protest—most celebrated when the message is a leftist one—scants the unsung virtues of showing up and doing your job.”

What a concept. One that is lost in the rush to legitimize this illegitimate movement.

 

 








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