Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Thing About Birthdays

Birthdays are kind of neat. Or least I think my birthdays are kind of neat. People congratulate me and wish me well as though I had actually done something -- put out some effort or given the matter some thought -- to get myself born. Actually, I had nothing to do with being born and all the credit goes to the two people who started the whole thing that is me going. When they were alive, I used to thank them on my birthday for their amazing creation. I still thank them while considering the fact that I exist.
So, Ira and Bunny, here's to you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Live And Let Live, Perhaps

Come to find out, allowing same sex couples to marry is not the threat to traditional marriage some thought. Or at least that's the point those sponsoring a voter initiative to make divorce illegal in California are thinking.
Divorce, according to these folks, is what really harms and threatens to end traditional marriage.
If these forward but concrete thinking people manage to get 700,000 signatures, this initiative will be on the 2010 ballot and if it passes divorce in the State of California will be illegal by virtue of a constitution amendment which would end the ability of married couples to divorce. Apparently those couples could still seek an annulment.
Even if this bill passes, the new law probably won't take effect in time to save the Los Angeles Dodgers from the damage Jamie and Frank McCourt are doing to that team.
Jamie McCourt wants to keep the Dodgers out of the divorce hearing and has asked the court to throw out papers filed in the team's name that 'unnecessarily' attack her. She wants to be reinstated as the team's chief executive. As you may or may not recall or care, Frank McCourt, her estranged husband, fired her from that oh shall we venture to say honorary position. Meanwhile, Frank McCourt claims sole ownership of the Dodgers. Jamie, an attorney, claims she didn't understand the papers she signed.
Meanwhile, back to the ban divorce petition. If couples like the McCourts couldn't divorce would we still be able to laugh at them?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Come Find Me, I'm on Huntington Drive

I have lived and worked in the 210 Freeway corridor between Glendale and Pomona for about fifteen years. This means that, from time to time, I have to go somewhere on Huntington Drive.

If I receive directions to a place, and those directions include Huntington Drive, I ask if there is another way to get there. If there is not, I allow an extra half an hour travel time to get lost.

Huntington Drive runs from the merger of Soto Street and Mission Road in L.A., and nominally goes east through South Pasadena, San Marino, Alhambra, San Gabriel, Arcadia, Monrovia and Duarte. In reality, it goes in every possible direction, some of which haven't been thought of yet. It coils, it straightens out, it intersects other streets. It intersects some streets more than once, more than twice, even. In some places it runs parallel to streets that it crosses elsewhere. In every city that it runs through, the street addresses change, so you can't even figure out where you are by the building numbers.

Today, I learned that I have been accepted to a Clinical Pastoral Education internship. That is very good news. The internship will be at Arcadia Methodist Hospital. The address of the hospital is 300 Huntington Drive. Oh, dear. The internship begins in January 2010. I think I'd better start driving now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Unconditional Love

I have two adorable loving male cats and one beautiful loving 16 year old female dog. Dakota (my dog) is ailing and my cats (Sami and Romeo) know things aren't quite right with their dog. Sami runs circles around Dakota when she's standing with his tail flipped up to the longest extent and he purrs and purrs. Then when she lays down, he rubs and rubs against her, licks her ears and gives her a love bite. Romeo does much the same. We know Dakota's days are drawing nearer and nearer and her two companions are not letting her go without expressing their true and undying love for her. Animals are remarkable!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Road Trip Treasures

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I love road trips. Although it had not been my intention to drive cross-country twice in six months, I thoroughly enjoyed both trips. However, I don't think I have yet mentioned one of the subsidiary joys of that kind of travel, and that is the treasures to be found at travel centers. Yes, travel centers. That is what they call truck stops these days.

Although the main purpose of truck stops--excuse me, travel centers--is to provide fuel, restrooms, and food for the traveling public, they also stock an astonishing assortment of stuff, and you can find some real treasures in their aisles.

I am a small person. I have small hands. Sometimes, I do work which requires me to wear work gloves. You try finding work gloves which fit small hands. I don't mind naming names. OSH, Home Depot, Virgil's Hardware, all have huge displays of work gloves, and they are all sized "large" or "larger". They slide right off my hands. Today, in Lost Hills, California, I stopped for lunch on my way home to L.A. from the Bay Area, and I found a treasure. Work gloves for smaller hands. I'm thinking of projects already.

Friday, November 6, 2009

At Any Rate, Happy Birthday

Today might be my father's birthday. Yesterday might also have been the date on which he was born or perhaps tomorrow is the correct day.
Here's the story.
My father was born at home in the Aravaipa Canyon near Klondyke, Arizona. There was a lot of stuff going on when he was born and no one bothered to look at the calendar. Some time later the family tried to remember the date and couldn't. What they could remember was that on the day my father was born a big storm hit the canyon hard and dumped several inches of water. While no one could remember the date of that storm, the sixth of November seemed like a pretty good collective guess.
And that became my father's official birthday.
So happy birthday, Daddy.

What's in a Name?

The City of Upland is in a quandry not knowing which street names are correct.
Is it Base Line or Baseline?
Is it 16th Street or Sixteenth Street?
Which is correct? Even City Council doesn't know which is which.
Isn't this just like city governments?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Every Pitch Begins With A Bow

Mariano Rivera did it again and so, finally, did the Yankees.
Okay. Wouldn't it have been nice if this had been a Dodgers and Yankees World Series. And wouldn't it have been just too good to be true to listen to Vin Scully tell us about such a series.
The Dodgers are held hostage by the marital disaster of the owners and will probably wind up shaken and traumatized by that mess.
So since the Dodgers couldn't be the other team tonight at least our other team won the series.
And the best part about tonight was that I knew once he'd won, my favorite baseball player would finally smile. Some things are just worth the wait.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Those Air Drying Things

You know the ones. Public restrooms sometimes use them. You stick your wet hands under them and in an hour or so your hand is sort of dry. It never much mattered how long it took or if your hands actually got dry because most of the things were broken anyway.
Times they have changed, though. I noticed this change when -- I forget the larger location (theater, restaurant, library) -- I put my wet hands under one of those things and watched with combined awe and horror my skin practically pull away from my body. It was fascinating, really. I wondered how long I would remain intact. Even more surprising was the realization that my hands were dry. Imagine.
Apparently those machines were developed to save trees (paper towels we used to call them), water, and to keep the washrooms cleaner. All of that is well and good and even quite admirable except for recent information which indicates that all that hot air actually gets us dirtier than we were before we washed our hands.
Here's the low down on that:
-- after washing and drying hands with the warm air dryer, the total number of bacteria was found to increase on average on the finger pads by 194% and on the palms by 254%
-- drying with the jet air dryer resulted in an increase on average of the total number of bacteria on the finger pads by 42% and on the palms by 15%
-- after washing and drying hands with a paper towel, the total number of bacteria was reduced on average on the finger pads by up to 76% and on the palms by up to 77%.
Next time I use a public bathroom I think I will just haul out my own bath towel. I can still save a tree or two. No one will have to empty my trash because the towel will go with me. And I won't have to wonder how securely the skin on my hands really is attached.
Either that or the above quoted study was just a lot of hot air.
Anything's possible, you know.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Doctorow's March

Okay. So it's not a new book but, since I just finished reading it, it's new to me.
Here's the book's first sentence:
"At five in the morning someone banging on the door and shouting, her husband, John, leaping out of bed, grabbing his rifle, and Roscoe at the same time roused from the back house, his bare feet pounding: Mattie hurriedly pulled on her robe, her mind prepared for the alarm of war, but the heart stricken that it would finally have come, and down the stairs she flew to see through the open door in the lamplight, at the steps of the portico, the two horses, steam rising from their flanks, their heads lifting, their eyes wild, the driver a young darkie with rounded shoulders, showing stolid patience even in this, and the woman standing in her carriage no one but her aunt Letitia Pettibone of McDonough, her elderly face drawn in anguish, her hair a straggled mess, this woman of such fine grooming, this dowager who practically ruled the season in Atlanta standing up in the equipage like some hag of doom, which indeed she would prove to be."
My high school English teacher, Miss Blanche Kennedy, loved to diagram sentences. Had she not lived years beyond an early grave, that first sentence of "The March" would surely have sent her to just such a resting place.
I learned a lot about writing from reading this book. I also learned a lot about the Civil War and about the socio-economic problems left in its wake and from which we have yet to recover.
And though I needed no reminder of this, "The March' nevertheless pounds home the relentless truth that war is the height of madness.

A Disney Halloween

Classic, silent horror movie and the Disney Concert Hall aren't phrases I ordinarily see walking hand in hand through my mind. Last night, though, they weren't just in my mind. They were there, together, up close and personal.
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror is the 1922 masterpiece directed by F. W. Murnau. The story and the film are based on Bram Stoker's Dracula with names changed because the studio couldn't get the rights to the novel. Vampire, thus, became Nosferatu and Count Dracula became Count Orlok.
Aside from the film and the concert hall, the real star of the evening was the organist who played mood matching and mood creating music for an hour and a half non stop.
At least half the audience obviously wore costumes and the other half may or may not have been wearing costumes. I mean, who can tell if a man in a business suit is only pretending to be an attorney. And what about the surgeon in the bloody scrubs? When you have a ticket to a classic horror film shown in a world famous concert hall accompanied by one of the greatest pipe organs around you really do drop just about everything to attend.
And you know what?
That put together with spit and shoe polish movie is one scary way to spend an evening.