Posted in Let's Get Visual


The Neighbors Decorate for Halloween

The neighbors went all out this year.

PS – Also in the neighborhood: The idjits are at it again (from the Pasadena Star News)

Shootout between cars reported

Article Launched: 10/30/2007 09:36:55 PM PDT PASADENA – Witnesses reported a rolling gun battle between two cars occurred in a residential neighborhood Tuesday, officials said.

The shooting was reported about 6:30 p.m. on Navarro Avenue at Howard Street, said Pasadena police Lt. Randell Taylor.

Between 10 and 15 shots were believed to have been fired in all, Taylor said, though no injuries were reported.

One of the cars involved fled the scene and has not been found, said Taylor. The other car, a Dodge Intrepid, was discovered near the scene where it had crashed into a parked vehicle, however there were no occupants inside, he said.

The Intrepid had bullet holes in it, Taylor added, and spent bullet casings were found at the scene.

No victims have been located, however, and police found no signs that anyone had been struck by the gunfire, said Taylor.

A check of area hospitals late Tuesday turned up no gunshot wound victims who may have been hit in the shooting, Taylor said.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4501.

Posted in Around Town, Current Events

Float On

Those of you who are Pasadena locals know that we’ve been having quite a time with the upcoming Rose Parade—specifically, the China-sponsored float (courtesy of Avery-Dennison) touting the 2008 Olympic Games. Members of Falun Gong have encouraged city officials and the Tournament of Roses to nix the float. They’ve spoken eloquently of torture, abuse, murder and cover-ups perpetrated by Chinese officials.

China promised to clean up its human rights act in exchange for the honor of hosting the Olympics, but there is little evidence that any significant improvements have been made. We visited China for ten days on business a few years ago, and Mr. Lee (not his real name) was our translator. He emphasized (quietly, but persistently) that he would like to be able to travel outside China, to visit the US, but his country does not give him that freedom. Considering that even non-dissidents are not allowed to travel outside of the country without government permission—well, I think it’s pretty clear that communism is alive and well in China.

The report of the City of Pasadena’s Human Rights Commission is here. The length of the document reflects the complexity of the issue.

My opinion: There are people in my community who have had personal experience with China’s supression and torture. Regardless of how I feel about the Olympics or the “this-parade-has-been-brought-to-you-by” parade of corporate floats, just the simple testimony of these people is enough for me to say: Dump the float.

Because one thing is for sure: leaving the float in the parade isn’t going to change a damn thing. Rejecting the float lets China know that *we* know that they haven’t cleaned up their act. It’s a big act too; human rights, religious freedom, health and safety rights for workers, and environmental degredation (not that we’re stellar in that area either). I’d say they’ve pretty much got a full court press going in the wrong direction. But we like them ’cause we get lots of cheap stuff from them. Oh yeah, and cheap workers too. Cheap workers who make cheap stuff (inexpensive, that is, I think they’re getting quality under control).

Earlier this year, I blathered about China, Chinese workers, and New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebration after seeing a wonderful documentary entitled Mardi Gras: Made in China.

Special message for the three Pasadena City Council members who pressed for a stronger statement directed toward China (courtesy of Rick in Casablanca): “I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

Finally, a refresher:

A Tribute to Communism

Posted in Current Events

Fire Fatigue

I’m sure we all have fire fatigue by this time, along with smoke fatigue and gee-the-sunshine-looks-weird fatigue.

Sadly, there are still fires burning. This story didn’t package itself for public consumption. ‘Fire story’ should have known that four days is the absolute max for public attention. We’re now closing in on a full week.

So let’s get over our fire fatigue and check out LA Observed‘s entry entitled “Next Year’s Pulitzer Photo?” Be sure to watch the linked-to Brian Williams piece about the photo.

Posted in Current Events

Healthy SoCal

There seems to be a growing category of People Just Generally Pissed Off Who Might DO Something Someday. This week, they did.

One of the big fires was intentionally set and therefore, might have been prevented.

How could it have been prevented? Better mental health care.

That would mean better mental health education (‘mental health floss’ I like to call it), better awareness, understanding, identification, early-intervention, and treatment, if needed.

It would mean understanding a person in context (which is a luxury few, if any, providers in any health-care establishment feel they have). It would mean enough paid professionals on staff to deal with people in the various places they present themselves (hospital, clinic, police department, school, and, location of last resort, post office).

Mental health is 50 years behind medical health. The stigma is real. Nurse Ratched is the poster child for psychiatric nursing to this day.

Taking care of people costs money. Sadly, we don’t seem to value either ourselves or our communities enough to do the right thing.

* – * – *

Putting the emPHASIS on the wrong syLAble happens all the time. The good news today is that once in a while, a correction is made. Genarlow Wilson is out of jail.

Posted in Around Town

Healthy Pasadena

There are people who go to work every day but don’t have health insurance. Most of the adults who seek health care at Pasadena’s CHAP Clinic are working adults. But generally, people who don’t have health insurance don’t seek preventive care–they wait until something is wrong. So, for example, Jane Doe’s hypertension goes undetected and she ends up having a stroke.

The site of the now-closed St. Luke Hospital got sold to some developers (via PSN). Council member Haderlein is quoted as saying he told the developers that “historic preservation, park space, an urgent care facility and uses compatible with the surrounding residential neighborhood would be important for the site.” Haderlein hopes that city control will be exerted through the existing zoning for the site.

I hope so too. The uninsured of Pasadena deserve affordable health care. The old St. Luke site is appropriate for either an ambulatory or urgent care facility, and it is a better site than the city-owned building currently under consideration located on East Del Mar Blvd. St. Luke  is in a more densely populated area along a major transportation route. I hope those who have a say-so in this matter are serious about extending medical services to the east side of Pasadena.

For those of you with insurance, go get that physical you’ve been putting off (I’m talking to myself here). You can’t rely on your HMO to do it for you, per this article from the 19 October 2007 LA Times: HMOs rate poorly on prevention.

Posted in Cool Stuff

Jackie Robinson

Did you catch Metroblogging LA‘s series on the greatest dead Angelenos? Jackie Robinson came in at number one. I highly recommend Will Campbell’s post about Jackie, which pretty much mirrors my own unabashed hero worship of the guy. I’ve heard that Jackie felt slighted by Pasadena and that’s why he never returned here to live. Seems like one of the schools that Jackie went to (Cleveland Elementary, John Muir HS) should be named after him. Mack got the post office, after all.

By the way, greatest dead Angeleno #2 is William Mullholland.

Posted in Around Town

Walking in Pasadena

Why go for a walk in Pasadena? Well, because the car is in the shop, of course.

I had to get to that great stretch of Walnut that is car repair shops and auto sound shops and tire shops. So I took ARTS bus south first. The ARTS bus doubles as a school bus:

Girls on bus

Then I walked east on Villa (a nicer walk than Walnut), and here’s yesterday’s slice-o-life. Yes, graffiti on the ARTS bus sign, but I’m not going to post it. By the way, have you noticed all the nice new “street furniture” around town? Lots of new benches at bus stops. They are wrought iron–so I suppose they’ll be hot in the summer, but they’re fine now. Yes, I found graffiti on the arm of the new bench. No, I didn’t take a picture. I don’t want to hear from anonymous.

Guys fixing a roof:

guys fixing roof

On the sidewalk:


What happened to the owner of these?


Posted in England, Green & Pleasant Land

Nostalgia & Tech

From time to time, I am afflicted with nostalgia. It was originally seen as a medical condition. From Wikipedia:

The term was newly coined in 1688 by Johannes Hofer (1669-1752), a Swiss medical student. The word is made up of two Greek roots (νόστος = nostos = returning home, and άλγος = algos = pain/longing), to refers to “the pain a sick person feels because he wishes to return to his native land, and fears never to see it again”.

I was lucky enough to go to high school in England on an American Air Force base, RAF Lakenheath. I say lucky because it is a valuable thing to see your culture from someone else’s perspective, and growing up overseas gives you that gift.

It’s also a great advantage to study Shakespeare and then go to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see a play, or to pop down to London to see the Rosetta Stone and the Mildenhall Treaure (a large collection of Roman silver buried in the 4th century and dug up “on a bitter afternoon in January 1943” – here’s the scoop from the Mildenhall Museum). We had a ditto sheet with questions that we had to answer (to prove we had actually seen the item) – I remember finishing quickly then walking around outside in search of a pub.

The fear in my nostalgia is real: I can’t go back to the England I grew up in. First, RAF Lakenheath is now a fortress, and you can’t just walk on base like we used to. Even when I visited in 1999 (pre-9/11), I needed all kinds of clearance to visit. But secondly (and far more obvious), the England of 30 years ago is gone, just like the Pasadena of 30 years ago is gone.

Still, something essentially English remains (far away from here, expensive to get to, more than a weekend jaunt). Essential nuggets of Pasadena also remain (City Hall and Pie ‘n Burger). I left England, but I don’t think I’ll ever leave Pasadena–I already have a case of double nostalgia and if I have to watch Pasadena change, I’d rather it happen under my nose.

I helped organise (lapsing into British spelling now) my 30th high school reunion this past August – photos here.

Since then, a wonderful thing has happened. Bill Paul (he’s still ‘Billy Paul’ in my mind) started a Lakenheath network on ning. Better than and, ning has allowed Lakenheath alum to connect (and to see who is connecting with whom). There is a Lakenheath group on Facebook too, but somehow the ning thing has been the better catalyst for people to connect.

Back to me feeling lucky. Continue reading “Nostalgia & Tech”

Posted in Cool Stuff, Let's Get Visual

Let’s Just Hope the Halves Communicate With Each Other

From Susan, this handy little test to figure out if you’re right-brained or left-brained.

I didn’t need the test to know which of my hemispheres is dominant. I’m a lefty with right-brain envy. Why be practical and orderly when you can be holistic, intuitive and artsy? Alas, I’m born to left-brainedness and straight-hairedness. I’m the geek who routinely spots typos on restaurant menus (and points them out–but I’m very nice about it).

Here’s another test if you want to find out your percentages.

If your life is filled with left-brained people who like to read, here’s the Inquest on Left-Brained Literature. Handy for holiday gift-buying for the engineer or other left-brainiac in your life.

Here’s a visual representation of how the left brain will take a photo, and how the right brain will take a photo. First, the left brain. Note how my extreme near-sightedness results in me putting the camera too close to the subject, making the words fuzzy.


Next, here’s the same subject taken by the right-brained Scout. Note that despite the rather boring subject and blah sky, the photo is almost relaxing to look at.


Ah, but it takes all kinds to make a world. I’m signing off now–I’ve got my “to do” list to attend to.

UPDATE: Just got home from work & took another look. Now she’s going to the right! Oy, what can this mean?

UPDATE #2:  Okay, the Scout just looked at her for about 45 seconds, and had her going clockwise, then counter-clockwise, then clockwise, then counter-clockwise.  I can’t make her change direction, but she’s still going to the right (clockwise) for me.