Monthly Archives: June 2013

adios L.A. Times

I wanted to be the first to say goodbye .

You had a good run . I hope that you  go out with style and elegance . Please , at least , no whimpering .  Remember old Harrison Gray Otis . Make him proud .  Don’t drag it out through several years of more hopeless downsizing . Please don’t sell out to Malcolm .  Maybe try to go out with a bang . [ I don’t mean the type of bang you had in 1910 when those guys blew up your building ] .one xx 16

You did your best .  It’s not your fault . The world changed under your printers . The Chandlers sold you to Chicago several years ago . I know that had to have been a hint  .  I know you’re not stupid , although at times misguided , as are most of us from time to time .   Maybe you should have quit then . Just quit . After all , a Chicago outfit reporting local L.A. news ?  Really ?

But you struggled on .

I was sorry to see your  Garden section go . I liked Bob Smaus . Don’t know if I spelled his name right . But , I suppose , a Garden Section is one of the first to be thrown overboard when the ship is in trouble . And , what happened to Metro ?  I liked Metro . Now we have California . Is that what replaced Metro ?   I was never sure .

You have a lot of international news , mostly about the  Middle East . What’s the latest explosion ? How many were killed ? Where , of course . Next day same thing , different town or province or country , different number killed .  Do I need to know ? Really ?  Sometimes I read the Military Deaths section , mostly nineteen and twenty year olds ,  stuck way back in the back pages somewhere . How about putting that on the front page ? Never thought of that , or what ?

Too late for suggestions now , I guess .  You’re in newspaper hospice .

I don’t like your Travel section much these days , anyway , I have to say .  It was one of the last sections that I really enjoyed . What’s with these hotels for $450 a night ?  But , you would point out , there’s an introductory offer of only $415 a night for this week only  .  You stopped writing for me some time ago , years and years ago . Don’t worry , I don’t take it personally . I don’t think that the world revolves around me .  I just wonder who is your readership now . News flash : the (reader) ship is sinking fast . Your  advertisers have vamoosed by the cartload , jumped ship as fast as they can , from what I hear . They already hear the banshees wail .

I was reading last week in The Times about the two billion dollar makeover of the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX . Your reporter wrote that the terminal was designed for the ultra-rich . Maybe I read that wrong ?  I don’t think so , though . Maybe they are the ones, the ultra-rich ,  who read your Travel section now and get ideas about where to scoot off to on their next vacation .

Jump , people , jump !  Sorry , I got a little carried away for a moment .

I need your paper when I paint . I put the paint can down on it  and stick pages in the corners to protect  the floor. I’ll miss having a stack .

I don’t mean to be disparaging . I know that last statement  sounded like that . You were a pretty good paper , I always thought . Very screwed up on your editorial opinion about the schools , I thought , because that was my game ,  teaching . But , you backed the private industry and the simple minded theories , and the charter schools . Any charter school .  What else did you know to do ? It all sounded pretty good to the reading populace . You pounded us teachers . You really did . Dirty anti -student unionists !  Old man Otis would have been proud .  Charter schools  : good. Public schools : bad . Locke High School , for example . Well , I won’t get into that . Suffice it to say , you should have been a bit more honest , or analytical , or something .   Just say , for example ,  right there in print : Did the academic performance go up at Locke when the charter ran it ? At all ?  Why did you leave that out of your long-winded praises of the charter company that took over Locke ?

I apologize for mentioning some of my little petty grievances at this point . But , you know that I wrote you about them all along .  But I know , what’s done is done.

I’m sorry to see  you go , really . Bye . You were a close friend . We didn’t need to see eye to eye to remain together . I liked you . I really did .

Oh. You haven’t told your readers yet the seriousness of your condition ?  Sorry to spill the beans .  You should give them a chance to say goodbye , I think .  It’s what’s  called closure , these days . Closure .illustration 3


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Arcadia gets hot in the summer . Today was hovering around 100 degrees . Maybe it made it , but I think it missed by two or three points .weird man

There’s still tomorrow . And the next day , Sunday , I heard the temp. will reach 104  around here . That’s hot .

Well , Palm Springs is hotter . Lots of places are hotter . There are little towns in the Mojave where the earlier settlers went and stayed without air-conditioners .  There are people out there today sweating it out or secluded away in an air-conditioned room . I’m not complaining about my Arcadia heat .

Ada and I don’t have air-conditioning in the house . There are only a few days during the year that make us regret not having it . Well , I should speak for myself . Maybe Ada secretly harbors ideas of living in an air-conditioned house .  I put two of those window air-conditioners  into the bedroom windows a few year ago . One was not quite strong enough to really cool the room ; but , the other one did the job well . I thought that it did .   It rattled , though , and Ada didn’t like the noise .  Soon enough I removed the two things and we went back to turning the ceiling fan on once in awhile .

I was doing some driving today . Boy , that car gets hot inside while it sits in the sun . It has air-conditioning , of course . I wonder if any new cars don’t . But it takes  a few minutes of sitting there baking before  things begin to cool down  . Today , my plastic sun glasses , which had been waiting for me on the seat , felt as if I had plucked them from an oven , a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees .

Not too long ago , but light years away , I guess  , no cars had air-conditioning . The father of a friend of mine , way back then , had got himself a little window air conditioner for his car . Air conditioner in a car ?  It looked kinda silly .  I think we all thought at the time : how pretentious ! Except we didn’t know the word pretentious .  We were 10 .

I see photographs of people in the old old days , at the Grand Canyon , for example , in wool clothes ,  layers of clothing , full skirts , high collars , suits and ties . They must have been sweltering . Probably not complaining too much I’m guessing , because there they were posing for the camera , but sweltering none-the-less .

I’m sitting in a soft chair writing this in front of a good fan , in cargo shorts , shirtless right at the moment , drinking ice water with a slice of lemon , refilling the glass from time to time , adding more ice whenever I want . Life is easy . Life is a cabaret , old chum ; life is a cabaret .

Life is 10% what you make it , and 90% how you take it . ————-Irving Berlin  g canyon 6


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when life gives you lemons…….

………..make lemonade ?

O.k. , we don’t make lemonade . Too much sugar , maybe .  I haven’t examined lemonade recipes . What if one ( me , for example )  were to melt the sugar into a sugar syrup and then mix in the lemon juice —- maybe a smoother lemonade  ?   Some of you know the ins and outs of lemonade making , but I don’t .

Let’s move on .yard flowers Mar. 2013 022

Several years ago , Ada’s mom came from Poland for a long visit . She was the one who pushed for me to plant a lemon tree .  I did . I guessed at the type of lemon ; there are different types .

Got lucky .  Our lemons are juicy . Their skins are not too thin and not too thick —- just right !   Good lemons , in other words , good flavor : not too sour , but just sour enough . The little tree produces three crops per year .  Seems like lemons are forever on the tree . Seems like the lemon gods favor us .

Ada and I put slices in our drinking water , slices in our tea , endless daily slices . We have a little lemon cutting board with it’s own sharp little slicing knife . The knife has a yellow lemony handle and the cutting board is yellow , too , with a lemon-skin -like dimpled surface .  It’s been around for years , but I just this moment realized , as I’m writing this ,  its lemon-likeness .  I’m  sure that Ada saw it all years ago , of course , when she found the things , probably at a thrift store or a garage sale . I’m a little slow catching on .

” And who talked you into planting that tree ? ” .  I hear that question from Ada from time to time ,  Ada standing in for her mama . Her mother suggested a lemon tree .

” Mamushu “, I say . Right answer . And don’t you forget it .lemons 003

I sometimes see lemons for sale and I check the prices . Well , I hardly ever do this , to be honest . But I know they cost a pretty penny these days . Funny . Lemon trees are all over this area . Lemon groves covered the place a hundred years ago . And oranges , of course . Lemon Avenue is not too far away . Orange Grove Avenue is nearby . Haven’t heard of Lemon County , though , or the City of Lemon .

Lemons always  somehow seem to get a bad rap .  Got a bum automobile ? What is it called ?  Yeah : a lemon.  There are lemon laws to protect the public against all kinds of lemons .

Life gives Ada and I lots of lemons , of the citrus fruit variety , and we like it .  And , we all know who talked me into planting that lemon tree , don’t we .   It was a good idea .lemons 001

I have an orange tree , too . I planted it later . No one ever says : When life gives you oranges …………make orange juice . We get good oranges , too , but only one crop per year .  Nothing against our orange tree , but the lemon tree hustles year in and year out , three tremendous crops every year , and all it ever gets in the media is ……………..well , you know .

When life gives you a lemon , you say :    Oh , yeah !  I love lemons . What else have you got ? ”   ——anonymous

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never miss a good chance to shut up

droneI have a scheme for ending war . It’s this : no nation is allowed to start a war until it’s paid for the last one .   ——  Will Rogersdrone

I have Facebook friends who comment on our wars , U. S.  involvement in wars , and wanna-be wars .  Maybe Syria next . What happened to going into Iran ?   We already hit targets in Pakistan with drones . And other places , of course .

Pakistan complains .  They complained about the secret  Seal helicopter raid that killed Osama bin Laden .  They should complain. It’s a matter of sovereignty . But they shouldn’t have been protecting bin Laden. At the very extreme least , giving them the benefit of an imagined doubt , they should have known he was there under their sovereign noses . Let’s consult the war hawks in Congress . Maybe we should invade Pakistan . So many choices for more wars !american eagle

I speak from a bulwark of ignorance . I stopped following this international conflict stuff some time ago . It’s out of my control . It’s too much .

Wrong attitude ?  Defeatist ?

What’s worse : ignorance or apathy ?  I don’t know and I don’t care .

I bet after seeing us , George Washington would sue us for calling him  “father”. —–Will Rogers

Every day the newspaper reports another explosion in Iraq , or Afghanistan , or another shooting somewhere in the U.S.   I’m not a guy , though , who wants to hear only good news . I loathe  the TV news  with their sweet  stories about  the cute little lost puppy who’s looking for a home , or the latest animation movie , how cute it is .  The weather reporter , cheesecakingly ,  if female , is a former beauty queen . The weather men, some significantly  sleazy ,  always , at least , wear nice suits . They  show  maps and kill time and chatter , and chatter , and flash smug smiles . Don’t  I sound irritated ? And then, after ” the weather ” ,   : Sports .

One Facebook fellow posts four or five well-researched diatribes each day , anti-war , anti-government , anti-military , anti-Obama ,  pro-Snowden , pro-Noam Chomsky , I think . Conspiracies endlessly undermine us all , it seems !  I’ve stopped reading his stuff . Overload . Paranoid ( though that doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get us ) . Much of it I might find that I agree with . I suspect that I would .  But , it’s too intensely humorless . Overload . Sorry , buddy , I don’t ever read your stuff although I know you’ve  put your heart into it .

I don’t make jokes . I just watch the government and report the facts .—-Will Rogers

Sometimes I get the right wing people , too , unburdening their hearts on the internet , with their anti- this or that , with their inimitable conspiracy theories .

I only know just what I read in the papers . That’s an excuse for my ignorance .—-Will Rogers

Me , too , Will .

And , of course ,  political slogans , platitudes , broadsides , appear on Facebook day by day . Are they intended  to persuade anyone of anything ?  They seem to be put out there , like cats spraying , to mark territory :  This is me ; this is where I’m coming from ;  this is my territory .  O.K. , but no one’s mind will be changed . My mind took the last bus out , anyway , a few years ago .

America is becoming so educated that ignorance will become a novelty . I’ll be a member of a select few .   —— Will Rogers

I can relate to that , Will .

I’ve been quoting the humorist Will Rogers , who died in 1935 . He wrote endless political commentaries , but he did it with a sense of humor . Sense of humor . Humor.

To all my Facebook friends : lighten up ; use humor ; take a deep breath , count to ten , and then try to visualize your important and  pointed political post  naked , or wearing a batman suit and pitching pennies  , or floating listlessly along in  a slowly meandering stream on a log raft  in glittering sunshine . Elvis is on the raft , too , humming  “Suspicious Minds”  . How about that ?

O.k ,  o.k. , maybe not . But , at least ,  maybe , take a deep breath and consider it .

We are all here for just a spell . So get all the good laughs you can . —–Will Rogers

Now , that’s something I’ll  take seriously .

P.S. The title of this post is a Rogers quote , too .will rogers

will rogers


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pea fowl

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One of these guys came over to the house while I was out last night . Ada saw someone , she thought , through the window . Who is coming to visit ?   It was a peacock pecking around the yard under the golden medallion tree  .street out front 013

Pea fowl were brought to Arcadia a long time ago by old man Baldwin , E. J.  “Lucky” Baldwin ,  when he went to India and spotted the ostentatious birds . Lucky lived at the spot which is now the L.A. Arboretum in Arcadia .  We find most of the pea fowl there .Arboretum june 2013 162

So I went over there today , to the Arboretum . I’m a member . Ada and I are members . We don’t pay the $ 8 entry fee . The membership is good , also , for other botanical gardens in L.A. county . Membership for a year costs , I think , $75 . Arboretum june 2013 007

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Of course , these show-offs are the guys . The girls are there , too . Busy . Not preening .

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And a squirrel had to run from one of these . But squirrel made it .Arboretum june 2013 141


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