Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Jena 6

John Edwards probably said it best:

"When a ‘white tree’ stands outside a public school, marking a place where white students sit but black students are not welcome, there is something so wrong that the right words are hard to find. When children have learned to intimidate each other with age-old, hateful symbols of racial terror, we are reminded that we cannot take progress for granted."

Read this detailed description of how this all has gone down.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Republican San Diego Mayor Stands Up for Gay Marriage

During the same week that cowardly senators could not raise their voices loud enough to really begin to end the shameful, unnecessary, illegal and deadly war, across the country, a republican mayor did something remarkable.

He changed his mind, stood up, and spoke out emotionally and elogquently about Gay Marriage. More than 50 years ago, we as a country decided that separate but equal is inherrently unequal. The same holds true today. This Mayor did good.

Now if only our senators could be brave and speak the truth that they know -- whether it be about Gay Marriage or the War or you name it. You people are elected to lead. God damn it, lead.

When a leader does as this Mayor has done, he has the power to change history.

Blogger Play

Blogger launched a site today that is a slideshow in real time of all the images being uploaded by blogger's bloggers. So cool. Check it out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Oppose Censorship

From MOVEON.ORG:

The U.S. Senate just told us to sit down and be quiet. They passed a resolution condemning MoveOn.org and it has one purpose: To intimidate all of us who care about ending this war. To send a message that anyone who speaks unpleasant truths about this war will pay. To make everyone--especially politicians--think twice before they accuse the administration of lying.

We can't let that happen. I just signed a statement telling Congress that they won't intimidate me, and I'm going to keep speaking out until they force an exit strategy out of this awful war. Can you join me? Speak out!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rockin R Ranch

Somehow, someway, my sister stumbled across the website for the Rockin R Ranch in little Antimony, Utah. I shit you not, I went to summer camp there back in 1979 and it was the best thing, at that time, I had ever done in my life.

For a kid from L.A., getting to ride horses every single day, go to rodeos regularly, ride bulls, go on cattle drives and camp in Bryce Canyon was what dreams are made of.

Now, it seems it caters to an older crowd then 11-17 year olds, but it's a damned great find. I don't know anything about the current people running it, but I'm pretty sure you won't find many more beautiful places in the world.

The internets sure are magical!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Kids!

DSC04393 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Taking the Bus to Work or My Birthday Project #20

Friday morning, I woke up early and decided to drop my car off at the dealer in Universal City and take the bus to work. I've been meaning to try busing for more than a year and this was the perfect opportunity to try it on. And you know what, it fit well.

From the car dealer on Lankershim, I walked 3 short suburban and leafy blocks to Vineland, waiting 5 minutes and was on board the 156. This bus shot over Highland in great time and I found myself waiting on the corner of Santa Monica and Highland for the 4. Another 5 minutes and I was on my way.

Sure, I waited a smidge too long to get off and went a little further than I needed, but it was an out and out pleasant experience, not stressing and listening to my music!

Coming home was a little different. I got to the bus stop on Beverly Blvd. around 7 and waited...and waited...and waited. About a block away, I could see many a number 4 buses streaming by, but no 14. So I nudged up to the corner and found I could wait for either the 14 or 4 there. Rookie mistake. 5 minutes later the 14 bus arrived.

The ride was pleasant enough, but the bus smelled a little moldy/mildewy which gave me a slight headachey. When we got to Virgil, I hopped off, per my mta.net instructions and waited for the 201...and waited...and waited. Then a bus came and...NOT IN SERVICE. D'oh!

And, well, then a cab came and it was in service, so I hopped in and joined friends for a transit celebratory drink (or 3) at Akbar and then took another cab home.

On Monday, I try to take the bus from home.

L.A. City Nerd

Anybody know why this blog doesn't seem to be public anymore?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Equal Rights for All Californians

I've been with Carl, my partner, for 17 years. We have shared everything in good times and bad times. The only things we haven't shared are marriage vows.

Is our longstanding, stable relationship a threat to the state of California? Is it a threat to straight people in any way? Does it cause anyone or anybody in our society harm? The answer is no. And, still, we are told that we cannot marry.

For those who say it goes against God's laws, I kindly remind you that we live in a country that still separates Church and State.

So, if you are so inclined, I encourage you to stand up, speak out and be counted. Let your voice be heard and let's -- as a progressive state -- take another step toward greater equality.

Los Angeles Traffic

WTF. It's never good, though at least during Jewish Holidays, you can occasionally zoom through the boulevards a little quicker. This morning was like that, but last night, oy!

I decided to take Santa Monica east from Beverly Hills, but an electronic sign said that at some point the street was closed. WTF!

So, having already come up from a boulevard further south, I decide to head north. I take Sunset and, as usual, it's a bit of a crawl to La Cienega and then opens up until it's gridlock around La Brea. So, north I go to Hollywood.

Whoops. I'm at the corner of Temple Israel and everybody and their grandmother is going to Rosh Hashana. And, I'm not at a light and the car in front of me wants to take a left on Hollywood?! Where's the civility. I wait.

I finally turn right and I cruise past La Brea and then again another electric sign saying that Hollywood Blvd. is closed. WTF.

Seriously, the city cannot close two major east/west boulevards so relatively close to each other at the same time. It's just wrong.

So, I head down south again on Highland, pass lots of angry people turning left at Sunset and Fountain and finally hit a decent clip back on Santa Monica.

Bottom line, city planners: Don't close two major boulevards at the same time. 'k?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

York Pub or My Birthday Project #19

Yeah, I know. I'm supposed to do a new thing a week. So, sue me. Well, don't sue me, but do give me a little lee way. Sometimes you just want to do the same old, same old. So, I'm refining My Birthday Project to doing at least 40 news things during my birthday year. Hell, I'm nearly half way there.

So, with no further ado, I went to The York (a newish gastropub) in Highland Park last night with Dave, Connie (help Connie raise money to fight cancer), Jill and, of course, Carl. I had heard a lot about it and Jill and I had been discussing off and on doing something on the eastern side of things -- as she just moved to northeast of Downtown -- and so York it was.

The York sits on a pretty grimy stretch of York ave, but once you enter, you enter a whole new world. It's distinctly urban and has a touch of hipster, but it's also quite relaxed. Carl and I got there early so we could grab a booth (There are no reservations and you order from the bartender.).

Though, service was a tad slow and/or spotty, the food and drink was great. We started with the salami and cheese plate. Delish. Great oiled and toasted bread, blue cheese, cheddar, small grapes. Very nice!

Later we primarily ordered burgers which were large, meaty and juicy with a lovely almost-brioche bun and Dave ordered Fish and Chips. The fish was lovely, but it came with chips. Come on folks, hand over those delightful hand cut fries with your fish, not chips!

Overall the atmosphere was great, the food fabu, but it was a smidge pricey. Best of all, it's about a ten minute drive from home.

And, if there is one takeaway from the entire evening, while in a swimming pool, it's best not to put floaties around your ankles. No matter how much effort and struggle it takes, it's simply not worth it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Is Los Angeles Broken?

Good question. And so soon after my little birthday post. My short answer is that it's not broken, but it's breaking. That no one local politician or major local media outlet stood up and publicly asked WTF -- why is our power going out in an all-too predictable summer heat wave in late August/early September is astounding.

That it takes me an hour to drive 10 miles on city streets is astounding. That the car tax that supports mass transit was slashed is astounding. That gas tax that supports mass transit has been diverted is astounding. That the long-running criminally operated public hospital -- mlk -- was finally shut down is astounding. Schools, graffiti, crime and on and on...

Yet, I'm still hopeful. As citizens, we have a voice and we need to hold our leaders not just accountable but force them to suck it up and do what's right for our communities. Sometimes that won't make them more electable. I thought politicians got into the whole thing for the greater good. They're still out there. Some of them, anyway, and they can use our encouragement.

Echo Park Paddle Boats

The city's Rec & Parks department has decided to shut down the long-running paddle boats on Echo Park because they sustain a deficit. As Jenny Burman at LAObserved notes, how are no-fee soccer fields, tennis courts and Griffith Park city money makers? Councilman Garcetti managed to keep the boats running through the summer, but now seems to have hit a wall.

If this was happening at a park in a wealthier and whiter part of L.A., I guarantee the city would find the money.

Contact Eric Garcetti.
Contact the Rec & Park Department.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Happy Birthday L.A.

(via Militant Angeleno, but I have to embed the video too because I freakin love it.)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Requisite Heat Wave Post

Even our crappy EconoAir AC/Heater can't keep up with this b.s. I mean it's 8:30 and it's still 97 degrees...but thankfully, it feels like 94.

Fight the Flower

Happy Labor Day.

Wiccan Wins the Lottery

Christian Fundamentalists must be pissed.

I love this graft:

Bartlett, an accountant from Dundalk, said he made a bargain with the multiple gods associated with his Wiccan beliefs: "You let me win the lottery and I'll teach." Both tickets he purchased had numbers chosen randomly from the computer.

Flour to the People

I love a good counterprotest almost as much as a good pun. Combine the two and it's a celebration.

Thunderpants!

With the extreme heat comes extreme thunderstorms in our mountains and valleys along with gorgeous clouds. Will Campbell stuck a camera on his Silverlake roof and put together a time lapse video. It's impressive. Go watch.