Posted in Around Town

SGV Bloggers

Rapscallions. Rogues. Masters of hyperbole. “Vicious psychopaths—just as soon kill ya as go fishin'” (to paraphrase Rawhide in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimention).

Front row: The 99 Cent Chef, Pasadena Daily Photo, Ed Padgett.

Middle: Miss Havisham, Irina.

Standing in the back: Monrovia City Watch, WCGB, the cool dude Adam who hangs out with Brian Fuller, Kelli with an i, Ann Erdman, Susan Kitchens (who got me blogging in the first place).

The taller guys in the very back: Brian Fuller, Aaron Proctor, a space for Centinel, Frazgo.

Not pictured: The Sky Is Big In Pasadena, Alex Zucco (an FC Contributor), The Real Zajac, and many more supporters. Special thanks to Kathie of the Aztec Hotel who made it all possible.

Posted in Around Town, Let's Get Visual

Dear Trader Joe’s

Dear Trader Joe’s,

You and I go way back. I’ve seen your employees move from store to store, get promotions, grow gray hair. Your reasonable prices on milk, bread and eggs keep me coming back (though for the life of me I don’t understand why the whole wheat pita gets moldy so fast).

I was at a big meeting in South Los Angeles yesterday, and they’re trash talkin’ you down there. Continue reading “Dear Trader Joe’s”

Posted in Around Town

While You Were Watching City Council…

I took the ARTS bus to City Hall.

A sign of hope: Somebody used a USPS sticker to tag the ARTS bus stop sign. Easier to remove!

It’s the Pasadena Way to have a meeting outside the meeting:

As I walked toward city council chambers, a pan flute was playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” A couple was enjoying the courtyard.

Note to City Council: There is never enough CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) money for everyone who wants some. That is true EVERY year. Apparently, Door of Hope got a letter awarding them $0.00. No, it wasn’t a typo. Clearly, it was ridiculous to send a letter like that. Clearly, Door of Hope’s executive director should have been informed about the appeal process in a timely manner. (Update: I’ve been told that the CDBG appeals process information is in the application packet distributed by the city.)

Yes, El Centro needs money for their program for seniors at Villa Parke. Should programs that operate in city facilities get special treatment? Sid Tyler busted up that idea. (Disclaimer: Sid Mr. Tyler is on CHAP’s board. I sometimes work as a consultant for CHAP.)

Just as Pasadena City Council was wordsmithing its way to a clunky motion to address perceived potholes in CDBG administration, Margaret McAustin laid the smackdown on micro-managing/undermining the work of Pasadena’s Human Services Commission. “Our job is to set policy,” she said. Huevos around the table were frozen and cracked as though by liquid nitrogen. It was a beautiful moment.

No Virginia, city staff aren’t going to help local nonprofits raise money.

Michael plays his pan flute in City Hall stairwells because the acoustics are splendid. I told him that Pasadena’s City Council was meeting upstairs.

“Can they hear me in there?” he asked.

Posted in Let's Get Visual, Tennis

Carrizo Plain

But first, let me serve you a Pimm’s Cup because The Fortnight starts today. Yes, Wimbledon.  The Big W, as Bud Collins calls it.  The championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. This is the second year that the AELTC will award equal prize money to women players. Good on ’em.

Was I crazy to get up at 4 am this morning to see the very first moment of ESPN2’s promised 100 hours of coverage? Yes indeedy. But when you’ve got Cliff Drysdale, Mary Carrillo (link to bio courtesy of Tennis Served Fresh), and consummate Raider fan Brad Gilbert on tap—well, sleep can wait.

The better to see you with, my dear. The TV that The Scout bought way back in 1991 died recently. Over the weekend, we considered getting a plasma tv. We settled on an LCD TV and brought it home. Those suckers give off a lot of heat—a decidedly undesirable quality, especially during this past weekend. The LCD went back to the store. We’re sticking with good old-fashioned CRT for now—found a nice one on Craigslist. We saved money. We recycled. Nice.

The Carrizo Plain National Monument, courtesy of The Scout.

Posted in Around Town

Clowns to the Left of Me, Proctor to the Right

Pasadena-specific blog post alert. Those of you who read may be curious about AP’s alignment with the Republican party. Does he really mean it? Yes. Is it logical for a working-class young guy who is interested in politics and a no-BS approach to become a Republican in Pasadena, especially after observing local political machinations? Yes. Is he doing it just to be annoying? No. Does he like it that some people are annoyed? Yes. Does AP have a sense of humor that is best described as “equal opportunity offender”? Yes. Does AP get it right on some of the issues? Yes, that’s why a lot of people read his blog. Should the ARTS buses expand their hours of operation? Yes.

There’s an article in the 2 June 2008 New Yorker entitled “The Dirty Trickster: Campaign tips from the man who has done it all” by Jeffrey Toobin. It’s about Roger Stone, who in his years as a political consultant, “…crossed the line between respectability and ignominy, and has become better known for leading a colorful personal life than for landing bigtime clients.” However, the guy has worked on high-profile campaigns, like George H.W. Bush in 1988, and Bob Dole in 1996 (he was forced to resign due to a sex scandal). Stone was involved in preventing the recount of votes in Miami-Dade County in 2000 (there is “some controversy about his precise role” the article says).

AP is no Roger Stone clone. Stone has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back. “Women love it,” he says. AP would probably go with a wrestler. After all, there are no graven images of Sid Tyler. (Any photos you may have seen of Sid Tyler are reasonable facsimiles.)

The article helped me understand the historical context for why someone like AP would become a Republican:

“He (Nixon) identified with the people who ate TV dinners, watched Lawrence Welk, and loved their country…

Nixon recognized the effectiveness of anti-elitism—a staple of American campaigns even today—as a core message. “Everybody talks about the Reagan Demorcrats who helped put the Republican Party over the top, but they were really the Nixon Democrats. The exodus of working-class people from the Democratic Party was started by Nixon. The realignment was delayed by Watergate, but it was really Nixon who figured out how to win,” Stone said. “We had a non-elitist message. We were the party of the workingman! We wanted lower taxes for everyone, across the board. They were the party of the Hollywood elite.”

AP identifies with people who like Wendy’s and watch Dr. Who and The Prisoner. AP doesn’t like what he perceives as Pasadena’s “Us up here gotta help them down there while making sure things are stay exactly the same for us up here” attitude. That attitude smacks of snobbery and hypocrisy, and it is an easy target for humorous jabs. If it wasn’t at least partially true, we wouldn’t be reading his blog and laughing.

Still, there are a lot of “up here” people, along with just regular people, who make significant contributions of time, money, or both to make Pasadena a better place. My guess is that AP wouldn’t argue with that, even though most of the people I’m thinking of really loved the film Sideways. Me included.

We were cringing along with Miles, the unpublished writer who wouldn’t stoop to drink merlot, but then showered himself with the winery tasting room’s spit bucket (upon learning that his book is not going to be published). We even turned away from merlot ourselves (for a while…we’ve gone back).

Meanwhile, we were laughing hard at Jack, the guy who popped open a bottle of unrefrigerated, rare champagne in the car when they first hit the road; the guy who charges the golfers on the golf course that hit into Jack and Miles; the guy who, when Miles dismisses a wine that tastes “like the back of an LA school bus,” unapologetically and unpretentiously replies, “Tastes pretty good to me.”

Posted in Let's Get Visual

Scouty Goodness

The Scout is out and about in the beautiful California landscape. He’s working on a car commercial for that automobile manufacturer that, you know, wants you to “See the USA.”

Earth’s dry skin. (Adjacent to Arco Pond Levee Road, Trona, CA)

Area adjacent to Trona Pinnacles Road, Trona, CA.

My high school cinematography teacher, Mr. Albert, would call that shot above a “Kung Fu” shot (remember the opening sequence of the television show?) The Master says, “To suppress a truth is to give it force beyond endurance.”

Wow, that’s Lara Parker in that Kung Fu clip (Master says, above). She played Angelique in one of my favorite shows from way back, Dark Shadows. I used to race home from school to watch it.

Main Street, Trona, CA. Trona was built as a company town, and today is home to a soda ash processing plant. I love its Twilight Zone appeal.

No photos of Trona Pinnacles this time around…maybe next time.

Let’s go north, shall we?

Movie Road, Lone Pine, CA.

Highway 190, Lone Pine, CA.

Crowley Lake, Mammoth Lakes, CA.

Grant Lake, Mammoth Lakes, CA.

All photos © Tim Down

*** *** *** *** ***

Congratulations and best wishes to everyone getting married today. It’s been a long wait, and I’m really happy this day is finally here.

Posted in Around Town, Issues

The First Graffiti of Summer

But first, a bit about Santa Monica.

I celebrated Father’s Day by taking my dad to Santa Monica, the town that maintains a firing squad for anyone caught smoking anywhere. We sat on the patio sidewalk in front of this place, and my dad asked the waiter server if he could smoke. He knew the answer would be no, but he wanted to see what the guy would say. Server-dude said it’s okay to smoke six feet away from the eating area.

Minutes later, another restaurant patron lit up while sitting at his table. I’m not sure if server-dude saw this or not. No one was at the table next to the guy. In fact, no one was within six feet of this guy. No one was offended. No one said anything.

Later we walked through Palisades Park. I pointed out the “No Smoking” signs. We walked out to the pier, which is also a no smoking area. I saw two elderly tourists, a European-looking couple, both with a cigarette in hand. I thought how incredibly ridiculous it would be for a police officer to approach them and request that they extinguish their smoking materials.

Aggressive anti-smoking ordinances are only effective if they can be enforced. When ordinances are so comprehensive as to be unenforceable, they just end up being silly. Santa Monica, you’ve gone too far. Everyone, even smokers, knows that smoking is bad, even the blind smokers that have to buy the special cigarette packs with the surgeon general’s warning in Braille (not really, I just made that up). I can’t imagine Santa Monica wants to yank cigarettes out of tourists hands and end up losing tourism income. Or will nicotine replacement soon be available at the Visitor’s Center?

= = = = = = = = = = = = =

It’s been weeks, people, WEEKS since I’ve seen any egregious graffiti in my little corner of District 1. That really doesn’t mean much considering how I’ve been chained to my desk working on a project. Anyway, this little Father’s Day gift was deposited at the northeast corner of Lincoln and Montana.

In fairness, the WWMHS was not on the wall. It’s just that I figured out that I could put text on photos, so I had to try it out.