20 July, 2012

Jessica Ghawi, who wrote under the name Jessica Redfield, was a victim of the shooting in Aurora, CO on July 20. She survived an earlier shooting incident at the Eaton Center in Toronto in early June. Her blog post about that event is above.

A Run On of Thoughts

I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.

What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life. I was on a mission to eat sushi that day, and when I’m on a mission, nothing will deter me. When I arrived at the Eaton Center mall, I walked down to the food court and spotted a sushi restaurant. Instead of walking in, sitting…

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Lincoln Avenue Nursery

17 May, 2012

I have known for a long time that the previous owner of my house was also the owner of  Lincoln Avenue Nursery.  I stopped at the nursery once years ago on a rainy day, but I didn’t stay to look around.  Since then, I have driven up Lincoln Avenue about a zillion times thinking to myself, “I want to stop in there one of these days.”

Last Sunday was One of These Days.  Last Sunday, I stopped. I walked through the whole (huge!) property. As Ferris Bueller says, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

From the nursery’s web site:  “In 1923, a Japanese family bought the nursery. Ms. Mary Takemura’s mother ran the business.”

I live in the house that was owned by Mary Takemura’s mother.  Her surname was Matsuzawa (I wish I knew her first name).  When Mary and her sister sold the house after their mother died, they sold it with everything left in it except for their mother’s clothes—-the furniture (I’m still using the dining room table and the sideboard), the dishes (I regret getting rid of them), and the stuff in the drawers.

Yes, I still have some of the stuff that was in the drawers.  I use the tacks once in a while.  The Antiobiotic Candettes container holds 3 razors and 2 3-inch sewing needles.  In case I ever need them.  I didn’t know/remember that the bathtub caulk was still in the drawer.  That’ll get tossed today.

I couldn’t get over the size of the nursery’s property.  There are tens of thousands of plants, trees, shrubs, and succulents there.

I felt like I was at a micro version of the Huntington.

Mary Takemura died in January 2011.  From her obituary:

…She was a lifetime resident of Pasadena and is survived by husband Henry (married 62 years), with whom she ran Lincoln Avenue Nursery for more than 50 years; daughter Joan Takemura (David) Johnsen; and sister Ruth Sumiko Matsuzawa Ikeda.

Mary graduated from high school at Gila River Relocation Center, studied 2 years at Wooster College, Ohio, and graduated in 1948 from UCLA with a degree in Psychology. She was also an artist and worked at drawing, painting, making pottery and calligraphy.

I never learned about the Japanese Internment in school.  I learned about it when I moved to this house, built just after the war.  Built just after internment.

I wish I had contacted Mary before she died.  I would love to hear about her life, about her mother’s life, and about her father.  I feel connected to this family–when I go out to the lemon tree in the backyard and pick a lemon; every year when the cherry blossom tree in the front yard blooms.  And every time I need a 1/2 inch tack.

Doo Dah 2012

2 May, 2012

Congratulations to Ann Erdman, Grand Marshal of Doo Dah 2012

Tra la, tra la.  That’s the sound of Ms. Ann, Lady of Leisure.

All Hail the Queen (the once and future Princess HaHa).  I prefer Intergarlictica, but these days Her Majesty is known as Patrizzi Intergalactica.  When you hear those frogs croaking in Hahamongna, you can be sure they are breathing her name to Mother Earth, rousing the energies to preserve the wildness as it is.

Mr. Developer, step away from the watershed.

More photos of Doo Dah 2012 by the talented Brian Biery are over here.

Black History Parade 2012

18 February, 2012

Happy 30th Anniversary to Pasadena’s Black History Parade.

The bands played…

The politicians waved and smiled…

Mayor Bill Bogaard

Pasadena’s City Council District 1 Representative Jacquie Robinson

I was busy talking to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena) when he went by—more on that later

State Assembly Member Anthony Portantino, with a bold wardrobe choice—a John Muir HS cap

There were smiles all around

Lady Edna Bluain, honored by the Jackie Robinson Seniors.

Denise Jones of the Pasadena Deltas

There were drummers…

and the Pasadena Cowgirls…

There were celebrities…

Willard Pugh, who played Harpo in The Color Purple

Walter Richards on the right.  Didn’t catch the name of the young man on the left (but if you know, please leave it in the comments)

The Buffalo Soldiers

The kids

the youth

the Masons

the Real Ryda’z

and the Way of Life Car Club

Back to Rep. Adam Schiff—-I said hello and then pointed out that he had a hard act to follow, since his car was right behind the one carrying the Los Angeles County Foster Mother of the Year.

She is a real hero.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make the parade a successful one.

Occupy the Rose Parade

11 January, 2012

I was fortunate enough to receive a couple of seats to the Rose Parade this year. If you watched the parade on TV and saw the opening musical number, I was sitting near the performers who popped up and belted out their lines. I noticed them before the show started and they had that far away look in their eyes like Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate. Perhaps that what the specter of appearing national television does to one’s psyche.

People seemed to have a problem with the concept of Occupy the Rose Parade, but the intent was not to disrupt the parade. Why not take advantage of an opportunity when the streets are blocked off and people are watching to express one’s opinion? After all, those Jesus people do the same thing every year.

The music is courtesy of the Rose Parade—it’s the “good bye, we’ll see you next year” music. Of course, seeing the Constitution roll by with “Sentimental Journey” playing…well, the irony was not lost on yours truly.  Oops…the song is Moonlight Serenade.  Thanks, PetreaMr. Earl mentioned it was Moonlight Serenade on Facebook too.  In any case, as you can hear in the video, the music was terrifically loud…

The music was more upbeat by the time the Octopus rolled by (anyone know the name of the tune)?

Lil’ Rex

18 November, 2011

First I found his collar in the backyard – “Lil’ Rex” and a phone number. I returned the collar and met his owner who mentioned that all three of his cats, Lil’ Rex, Big Tex, and Spanky, spent the majority of their time in our yard (which he dubbed “Shangri-la…for Cats.” The Scout started feeding Rex tidbits from the barbecue. No, no, no, I said. He’s going to be here all the time. But furry tiger-looking things have a way of making sure their needs get met, and Rex knows how to work the meows and the purrs and the stretches that say, “Surely you see how beautiful and talented I am, especially compared to my brother Big Tex who is too stupid to get over here and eat your food.”

I’m terribly allergic to cats.  But I let Rex sit on my lap and scratch him under the chin and talk to him like he’s a dog. I don’t think cats care for verbal niceties, but Rex puts up with them. Afterward, I walk to the washing machine like an arthritic robot and remove all my clothing. In the shower I hose off like Meryl Streep in Silkwood.

He looks like a lovely ampersand to me.

Beau chat

Amanda Knox Article Roundup

3 October, 2011

I’m posting this prior to the jury’s decision (3 October 2011). The tabloids have had a field day with this one over the last four years. Here are three articles that I thought were informative:

The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox by Nathaniel Rich

Could Amanda Knox Have an Autism Spectrum Disorder? by Maia Szalavitz

Why There Will Always Be Three Amanda Knoxes by Nina Burleigh

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Altadena Hiker ponders the accusations against the accused Knox on her blog over here.

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Let’s face it…Wordpress blog postings with pictures look awesome on the iPad.  Ergo, here is an image from the car wash.

photo by Timothy Down

Nut Jobs for 9/11 Truth

11 September, 2011

A friendly sage told me that she was going to ignore all the 9/11 ten-year anniversary hoopla.

Oh, that I had heeded her advice.  But then I read “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult.”  I can’t find any substantial point in this article, written by Mike Lofgren, that I disagree with.  Lofgren writes (speaking about Republicans):

For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document. This is not to say that there is not some theoretical limit to the size or intrusiveness of government; I would be the first to say there are such limits, both fiscal and Constitutional. But most Republican officeholders seem strangely uninterested in the effective repeal of Fourth Amendment protections by the Patriot Act, the weakening of habeas corpus and self-incrimination protections in the public hysteria following 9/11 or the unpalatable fact that the United States has the largest incarcerated population of any country on earth.

Of the many things that have changed since 9/11, it’s that bit about the Fourth Amendment and the Patriot Act that I find particularly disconcerting.  Consider this story about over-zealous law enforcement at Mall of America (over here).  God help you if you’re not white and accidentally leave your cell phone behind.

Et voilà—I started reading 911Truth.org.

It’s commonly accepted that ‘conspiracy theorists’ are basically nut jobs who want to find the meaning of major events in unrelated facts, who want to make a case for a grand unified explanation when in reality no such big plan/big picture could actually exist.  According to Timothy Melley, author of Empire of Conspiracy, “Conspiracy theory, paranoia, and anxiety about human agency…are all part of the paradox in which a supposedly individualist culture conserves its individualism by continually imagining it to be in imminent peril.”  In other words, conspiracy theorists are paranoid…though even Melley admits that “…they are difficult to dismiss as paranoid in the clinical sense of pathologically deluded.”  But never mind that—in modern media and general public opinion, they are.

Call me a nut job, but there are cogent reasons why people I doubt the government’s version of the events of 9/11.  Pointing out inconsistencies doesn’t make you a fringe lunatic or unpatriotic.

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, who could hardly be confused with a rabble of untreated psychiatric patients, have a new video out about World Trade Center  Building 7.  Considering that this building wasn’t hit by a plane, it is rather remarkable that it collapsed at all.

Yes, Ed Asner’s tone may be over the top, the music may be a bit much.  But science is compelling stuff.

Fruit of the Vine

13 August, 2011

First, Altadena Hiker posts this lovely photo (you can read the original post here—it’s quite nice):

Tomato envy is a big deal in these out-West parts.  Oh, we feign niceness, we pepper each other with niceties.  But let’s face it, the green thumbs out here (I am not in their number) are in pitched battle to grow the Best Tomato West of the Rockies.

I don’t care who’s growing.  Tomatoes are better back east.  There.  I’ve said it.

The Scout has been growing Early Girls and Purple Cherokees this summer, but his plants are too much stalk without enough broad leaf.  Is he over-watering?  His admiration for the Hiker’s tomatoes resulted in the following (to the tune of California Girls by the Beach Boys):

Well east coast fruits are hip
I really dig the red they wear
And the southern shades with the way they stalk
They knock me out how well they bear

The mid-west beef marauders really make me eat a fright
And the northern looms are the heirs so fair
They keep the palate warm and bright

I wish they all could be ‘Dena Hiker’s
I wish they all could be ‘Dena Hiker’s
I wish they all could be Hiker’s early girls

What The Scout lacks in green thumbery is made up for by clever wordsmithery.  He’s my Best Boy.

C’mere C’mere C’mere

4 July, 2011

In an effort to break away from my recent obsession with Words With Friends (here), I thought I would start this holiday morning by reading the New York Times Magazine.  I started with the July 3rd issue’s letters to the editor.  They were all about Sarah Palin and the June 19, 2011 article in which Bill Keller writes about Palin, trying to divine the factors that contribute to her disdain for the media.

Of course it was not possible for me to stick one toe into the Palin pond without ending up face down and about to drown in the inch of water that is the Palin saga.  I haven’t paid attention to Palin for the past couple of years, but The Sarahscapades still give me cat scratch fever.  The statement below got me reading about her again (full article here):

Palin’s disdain goes beyond the bitterness of a public figure who has been burned by the press…Perhaps one key to Palin’s dislike of the news media is a streak of intellectual insecurity, or a trace of impostor syndrome.  Her best defense against being found shallow is a strong offense.

Another factor, I think, is that the humiliations she has endured in the media have been unusually invasive—including, at the lowest point, speculation that Palin’s youngest son, Trig, was actually born to her daughter, Bristol, and borrowed as a campaign prop. 

If we’re pointing fingers, Sarah Palin’s Lies (at palindeception.com) and  Palin’s Deceptions (at palindeception.blogspot.com)  have done a good job of trying to ferret out what happened.  (Shout out to Palingates over here as well.)  There are probably others.  Again, I quit paying attention to Palin shortly after the 2008 election and carried on not caring when she quit being Governor to pursue a career in reality television.

Until today.  I won’t drag you point by point through what I’ve read today.  Let’s just fast forward to Bristol Palin’s appearance on Good Morning America, June 27, 2011.  You can see it here.  BP is on the publicity circuit to publicize her new book, Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far.

In the interview, Bristol is forthright: She is a single mother with a son to support.  This is why she appeared on Dancing With the Stars, and she says as much.  (Presumably it is also why she wrote the book.)  Bristol will star in her own reality show later this year.

Two comments:

1. Minute 2:00 — A photo is shown of Bristol holding both Tripp and Trig.  For those of us in the ‘Bristol is probably Trig’s mom’ camp, this was gasp-worthy.  Certainly someone is making intentional decisions about the photos that will be seen during the interview.  Bare minimum, if you are trying to fuel the rumor machine about Trig’s parentage, this was the photo to keep it going.  (The Scout noted that Trig bears a resemblance to Levi Johnston.  You make the call.)

2. Minute 4:45  — Robin Roberts mentions that Bristol writes in her book that she was “thrown under the campaign bus” — with little help from the McCain team.  Bristol confirms this.

Let’s have a quick look at Sarah Palin’s Lies:

Make no mistake here. What the McCain campaign did was nothing short of genius. Faced with some very reasonable questions about the circumstances surrounding Sarah Palin’s giving birth in April of 2008, they managed to diffuse the entire controversy without ever releasing a single piece of information about Sarah Palin or the birth.  Instead, the story was re-framed to be about a seventeen-year-old girl, and then, immediately became off-limits because, conveniently, families and children of candidates are off-limits. That they were able to get away with this switcheroo is astonishing.  It seems to occur to almost no one that it was the McCain campaign that threw Bristol “under the bus” to begin with. (emphasis mine)

Back to the interview, minute 4:45.  There’s the same “under the bus” language.  Language that apparently made it into  the book.

Kudos to those who prepared the GMA interview questions for doing their homework.  Duly noted.

Sarah Palin has a loose, difficult relationship with facts, whether they are the facts of her own family history or the facts of America’s history.  Bill Keller pointed out that Sarah wants our attention.  Well, count me in, because once again she got my attention.  I will have to choose another reprieve for myself after today.

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Trash-or-Truth Talkin’ Super Bonus: Todd Palin’s paramour says she gave Sarah Palin a massage in early 2008 (here! over here!).  Paramour’s surname is Tripp.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

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A photo of the Firth of Forth on this fourth…