Essays & Asides
This is for everyone whose father wasn’t a 1950s TV dad. Instead, we got (well, I got) an alcoholic mess of a smart, well-read, first-to-wear-Bermuda shorts (with black socks and shoes) in 1959 dad, who died young. I got lucky. He called me Lucky. And I miss him like hell on Father's Day.
From: Wonkette.com BY DOKTOR ZOOM So here is our first take on this NSA/Verizon/FBI phone-records thingy…Actually it is our second or maybe third take, because there’s no really good way to blog the double-axel facepalm, eyeroll, and fetal position that was our real initial reaction to the news. We eventually got up and made some [...]
That's the question on EarthTalk®, a service of "E--The Environmental Magazine," which will appear weekly on GreaterLongBeach.com. The cool part? They give the answer, too!
Finally, on our fourth day, we all reached the summit of Mt. Whitney! And that’s when my dad notified us our car had been making a horrible sound ... and there was a POSSIBILITY it might not be able to get us home
Downey officials seem to be tempering their enthusiasm---and the easy approval process---for hookah bars and cigar lounges in its downtown, which GreaterLongBeach.com totally predicted in February when one hookah club offered free admission to women wearing lingerie. Just sayin'.
The State of Black Long Beach report is not another improvement plan for the city's African American residents, but rather an unprecedented reality check---more than a century's worth of data that can serve as the foundation for constructing solutions. Download the document inside.
Robots built from a pile of parts by teams of high school kids will do battle on the floor of the Long Beach Arena from Thursday to Saturday in the regionals of the Robotics World Championships. Go! It's free!
When her alarm buzzed Friday morning at 6, Marissa Gomez wasn't sure a bus trip to the zoo was such a good idea. But the Cal State Long Beach freshman was certain she didn't want to lose the $20 she'd laid out for the dorm-residents' excursion. Besides, she loves giraffes! Marissa's diary initiates GreaterLongBeach.com's weekly Travel feature.
Sustainable 2nd Saturday began Saturday in the East Village Arts District with tetherball games and the screening of a documentary about urban design in the made-over parking lot on 4th Street. Admission was free and so was the movie popcorn.
After waiting some 16 months for Molina Healthcare and Millworks real estate development to marry and makeover the historic Press-Telegram block, we find out today that those darn kids went off and eloped. The place is supposed to be ready for Molina to move in this summer.
Giving a tweak to the meaning of “cover charge,” the Mosaik Hookah Lounge in Downey will give free admission Thursday night to women who arrive wearing lingerie. The Lingerie Night promotion seems likely to provoke the conservative forces that have established Downey’s reputation for party-poopability. This is a city with no strip clubs, no tattoo parlors, [...]
Long Beach City Hall didn’t want you to see the maps showing the areas of the city where crimes are and where they are not. You weren’t supposed to know the different—sometimes very different—levels of violent crime from one Council district to another. You were supposed to accept what City Hall told news reporters—who then [...]
Supervisor Don Knabe itemized his opposition to the proposed Clean Water Initiative by including the "Top 10 Reasons This Initiative Sucks" in Wednesday's so-called "State of the County" address to the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Although Student Body President John Haberstroh and Vice President Jon Bolin have been in office for nearly a year, it still sounds strange. From Cal State Long Beach's DIG magazine.
It's been 40 years since California voters passed the proposition that created the Coastal Commission, establishing their right to regulate development, ensure public access and protect the state's coastline for future generations. Long Beach's Mel Nutter was there, and he remembers.
A plastic, plug-in baby Jesus, perhaps resembling the the one not seen in this photo, has been stolen from the manger of a Nativity scene on the front lawn of a Downey home.
You read GreaterLongBeach.com ... obviously ... so why not tell the world with one of our colorful t-shirts ... which will also tell the world how you're feeling about it. Only $15. C'mon, spring for it.
The Budget Serenity System instituted by City Manager/Marionette Pat West---and Mayor/Puppeteer Bob Foster---allows councilmembers and citizens to skip the debating and spare themselves some grief ... except, that is, for democracy.
Jeanine Birong always knew the day was coming, but on the spring day that her teenaged son actually did ask for the keys to her car, she was amazed by her reaction. He was, too.
Lincoln Park and the Burton W. Chace Civic Center got their names from downtown Long Beach leaders who intended to honor America's 16th President and Long Beach's long-ago representative on the LA County Board of Supervisors. It hasn't exactly worked out that way.
The Rose Park Bluegrass Festival tranforms a quiet, historic neighborhood into a full-on music festival venue. In only its second year, the event already feels like a Long Beach summer tradition.
GreaterLongBeach.com is republishing some of our best journalism of 2012, which we believe once again told this area's most-important stories in the most-compelling, insightful and comprehensible ways. Here, again, are texts from a man who spent a day in April waiting with thousands of others to enter a Job Fair in Downey.
The Queen Mary, known as The Grey Ghost for the color of the camouflaging paint she wore when transporting troops during World War II, churns into New York to complete one of her trans-Atlantic journeys. Bing Crosby, like many of the stars who enjoyed her luxuries during peacetime, hitched a ride to do USO shows.
The annual Pumpkin Patch fundraiser at the Los Cerritos YMCA has been moved behind the building---now it's more of a Pumpkin Porch---but the orange gourds are still selling like ... well ... like pumpkins at Halloween! But only through Tuesday (Oct. 30) at 9 p.m.
It wasn't fast or easy, but more than a year of relentless and painstaking investigative reporting by Los Cerritos Community News publisher Brian Hews and reporter Randy Economy finally resulted in last week's arrest of County Assessor John Noguez on charges of political corruption.
LB Councilmember James Johnson attended last year's public hearing on impacts of proposed Port of LA railyard at Silverado Park (above, center), and when he learned no hearing will be held in Long Beach on the project's new EIR ... well, we all learned something about James Johnson.
GreaterLongBeach.com reader Uduak Ntuk contends the passage of Proposition 30---which increases funding for public education through a tax hike on the rich---is essential to creating the educated and motivated work force California must have if it is to recover.
LONG BEACH — On December 14, 2008, Robert Garcia held a press event to announce his candidacy for a no-runoff special election to fill the 1st district Council vacancy created after Bonnie Lowenthal was elected to the state Assembly. Candidate Garcia told supporters and multiple media outlets: “What do I see as a vision for [...]
Greater Long Beach Radio’s Sept. 20 program about the Save Berth 55 campaign can now be heard anytime—in the show’s archives and as a podcast—by [FOLLOWING THIS LINK]. The program retraces and further explores the story of a small group of Westside Long Beach locals whose fast-and-loosely mustered crusade against the Port of Long Beach [...]
Title loan companies tend to locate in areas close to low-income families, people who may be in such desperate financial difficulty that they are willing to put their automobiles in jeopardy by using them as collateral for short-term, high-interest loans.
There was enormous poetry in being on the Queen Mary grounds as Endeavor passed overhead---one historic vehicle and feat of engineering joining another in retirement---and there were many moist eyes amid the cheering. Besides a beautiful and moving moment, it was the kind of event that enhances the Queen Mary's standing.
"Elliot Loves," a comedy-drama about two crucial times in a Dominican-American's life in New York---at 9, as his mother's sidekick; at 21 and looking for love---exemplifies the variety in the 2012 QFilm Festival. "Elliot Love" screens at the Art Theatre tonight at 9:30.
The Save Berth 55 campaign will take its case to today's meeting of the Harbor Commission, the potential demise of the waterfront eateries, sportfishing business and hangout strikes longtime Long Beach locals as déjà vu---which in this case, is French for a long-gone place called "Pierpoint Landing."
Phillip Zonkel of the Press-Telegram, whose "Out In The 562" blog alerted GreaterLongBeach.com to his two-part series examining the bullying of gay students in Greater Long Beach area schools and how school districts are addressing the issue ... or not. Here is Part I.
"We're pioneering new ways to keep our citizens blissfully ignorant and thereby assure their absolute and total happiness, which is our only concern," City Manager Pat West said serenely after enacting the budget handed down from his Higher Power.
Why is the Great Sand Sculpture Contest---which turns 80 this year--so popular? Maybe it's the whimsical fun. Or could it be its metaphor for our fleeting presence on the planet? I'm scared!
I’d just been forced to take a buyout from my middle management position in a once-bustling newsroom. My girlfriend and I were splitting up after 6 years. I had no income and no home, so I took a vacation.
"If Chick-fil-A has taught us anything," says Mayor Bob 'Big Boy' Foster, pushing a budget that slashes basic services and keeps things cushy for his inner circle, "it's that hateful ideas seem almost patriotic when accompanied by hot fat and hig h-fructose corn syrup."
This 2011 photo of Councilmember Robert Garcia exiting the bulldozer he has just used to turn a downtown check-cashing business to rubble epitomizes the raucous behavior of the crowds that patronize a strange establishment that does business most Tuesdays in a 14-story downtown building.
On a weekend when re-creation of comic-book violence turned tragic, some at El Dorado Park's two-day Civil War Re-Enactment wondered whether firing blanks and pretending to fall dead was really such a great idea, anymore. Norm de Ploom reports in The Local Norm.
The Lincoln Spring Farmstand sells near-flawless vegetables and fruits grown on 1.5 acres of urban land---and tended by 12-year-old volunteer Eric Fuson---from a shaded wooden structure at Spring & Elm on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Editor’s Note: Claudia Schou, one of the founders of Friends of Bixby Park, was a featured guest on the Feb. 1, 2012, edition of Greater Long Beach Radio. To listen to the interview any time, click here. +++++ +++++ +++++ The process of renovating Bixby Park can sometimes feel like an eternal purchase order, a manifest for [...]
Norm De Ploom suggests that the people rumored to be posing as utility workers to set up home burglaries may actually be a shadowy alliance of elected city officials targeting residents for political abuse.
As city light obscures the celestial show that has humbled people through history, filmmaker Ian Cheney's "The City Dark" suggests "we're losing this reference point, a sense of perspective ... a sense of our place in space."
Did Long Beach Transit officials overreact to the comments of a few people at a public meeting---characterizing Seal Beach residents as racist and eliminating their bus service---to save themselves the hassle of dealing openly with budget strains?
A year ago, I saved a nine-year-old girl from drowning. She was blue when she was pulled from the pool, and it seems miraculous she was revived. But the next day, for whatever reason---it made sense at the time---I quit the job I loved.
Turns out that Long Beach City Council members Robert Garcia and Dee Andrews didn't show up for the June 18 meeting's long-scheduled discussion of the City's problematic medpot policies---a review triggered by Garcia's motion last Feb. 14---because they were time-traveling ... that is, traveling so as to bide for time.
Lizard, the stolen iguana returned to its owner at a Bellflower auto repair shop last week, has been appointed to replace Bellflower Councilman Randy Bomgaars, who announced he would sell his good name for a generous annual increase to his pension. The scaly deal has sparked fears of a reptilian invasion.
Whatever song-and-dance enabled Congresswoman Laura Richardson to get her foreclosed-and-auctioned home back in 2008 probably isn't going to work with colleague Janice Hahn, who in November will likely evict Richardson from the House.
“Seriously, Mom?," my son asked me. He was only kidding when he asked for the keys to my new car.. He never thought I would say yes. His face lit up when he realized what had just happened, but he had to ask to be sure. “You trust me this much?”
Former President Bill Clinton's keel was scraped of barnacles before his permanent installation off Belmont Shore as a lightning rod for controversy. Councilman Gary DeLong's congressional campaign hopes Clinton will increase turnout of voters who live to excoriate a man who left office 12 years ago.
In this cover story for OC WEEKLY, GreaterLongBeach.com publisher Dave Wielenga notes that Long Beach's push for bicycle-friendliness is part of an encouraging trend in the city's long search for an identity---actually identifying with Long Beach. But a history of wacky schemes has made people suspicious.
Where did Councilmember Gerrie Schipske ever get the idea for a Don't Ask / Don't Tell ordinance against solicitors and the "they" lifestyle of promiscuous commercial, political and personal conversation they carry on at people's front doors?
Barack Obama's ordination as The First Gay President may have popped Long Beach City Council member Robert Garcia's long-range campaign for that distinction, but it's given Mayor Bob Foster's political advisers an idea so crazy it just might work. This week's report from local correspondent Norm de Ploom.
Despite a variety of imaginative efforts, from cutting holes in the breakwater to placing an enticing microphone on the shore, rescuers were ultimately unable to coax a politically exhausted city councilman to leave safe harbor.
The Port's basic predicament and plea are recognizable to me, and ignite a reaction. They almost palpably reconcoct the aura of uneasy bravura that pervaded that small batch of years. Anybody was apt to need a place to stay, for reasons like a lost job, an expired lease, a discount vacation, a romantic breakup or a home that couldn't be gone home to.
"People in line are very nice, quietly conversational, realistic, resilient. Sharing stories of their fruitless job searches, not self-pityingly, but recognizing that the sum of their stories equals a very messed-up state of affairs."
A resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute believes public-sector employees have it better than those in the private sector. In this interview with RollCall.com, Andrew Biggs explores why and what might be done about it
The Congressional race between Republican Gary DeLong and Democrat Alan Lowenthal is a war of words---sometimes almost the same words in nearly the same order---but never, ever spoken at the same time.
What's the greatest place in the Greater Long Beach Area to eat a meal, see a play, get your drycleaning done, watch the sun set, drink a beer, take an out-of-town visitor, buy a greeting card, ride your bike, play golf, go dancing, eat Cambodian food? Nominate it!
Since the worst-case scenario was cancer, when the Celiac diagnosis came I was relieved ... and then I was elated … and then I went to Trader Joe’s, where I found myself standing in the aisle surveying all the food I could never eat again. I started to cry.
Monterey was a pit stop on a much-needed road trip. A three-year relationship had just ended with a friend taking my spot in our bed. This was my time to slow down, take in the coastal scenery and figure out how to live weightless with an anvil hanging from my heart.
At the request of GreaterLong Beach.com, state Senator---and Congressional candidate---Alan Lowenthal explains his thinking in introducing SB 1243, which would permanently exempt large ships from paying California sales tax on fuel at the same time that California residents are being asked to raise their own taxes
Friends of Bixby Park, the grassroots outfit that’s slowly but steadily revitalizing one of the most-historic public spaces in Long Beach, holds its second annual fundraiser Thursday evening at the Long Beach Museum of Art. Tickets still available.
David Malmuth has developed architectural icons from Hollywood to Manhattan, but he's 0-for-2 in Long Beach---most recently when the City Council rejected his Second+PCH development in December. But the Academy Awards are being held tonight at the Kodak Theatre he developed, and we're wondering how he feels about that.
The Greatest of Long Beach is our shared mission to track down the greatness outside ourselves---but within the Greater Long Beach area---wherever in our vast and diverse region it may be, and in whatever form it may take. Now that's what we call a search party!
Mr. President, as a devout Pastafarian I'm angry you require the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to provide medical coverage to employees who refuse to eat pasta! This disregards our religious tenets and contributes to sinful eating habits that create a need for medical coverage.
City Clerk Larry Herrera pulls the winners of Long Beach's lottery for medical marijuana permits from a blue recycling bin because the machine purchased for the event was useless when somebody bought ping-pong balls that were too big for the pneumatic tubes. The Long Beach City Council may vote to ban dispensaries tonight.
With the Second+PCH development in a coma, and everybody suddenly chomping at the bit to amend SEADIP, Long Beach City Girl is proposing the construction of a Major League Baseball park at the corner of PCH and 2nd Street.: We said we wanted a gateway toLong Beach and what could be a finer gateway than an awesome looking ballpark?
If Elon Musk’s just-this-side-of-disturbingly elfin head had not been turned on that fateful May 20 of 2010---when he seemed ready to propose putting a Tesla plant in Downey after snubbing $28.3 million in incentives from Long Beach---then maybe we'd be at the big party for the Model X.
What's got this feline feeling so feral and so like hell that absolutely nothing sounds better than a session of taming at the hands of cat-whisperer Jackson Galaxy? It might just be 4th district city councilmember Patrick O'Donnell and his annual Snow Day.
I didn't mean to see you tag that sign in the parking lot---so why did you ask me what I was looking at? I probably wouldn't have called the cops on you if you had let me go on my way. I don't live in Downey, but I'm not going to get threatened on a trip to make copies.
Although the Raging Grannies protested in 2010, they stayed far away from the site where Tesla Motors considered building a production line to replace Downey Studios, where workers reported illnesses they suspected were caused by contamination from the former NASA plant--the future home of Tierra Luna Marketplace.
Seeing my chance, I cornered Dan Pressburg in the kitchen and started talking frittata. He tried to change the subject to redevelopment, until I finally had to insist: I wanted that recipe!
As we reflect on the values of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., these photos of children who are sentenced to life in prison without parole illustrate how far we still have to go to realize Kings observation that "whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
I saw you taking practice shots, kicking the ball really hard but missing every time, even though there was no goalie. You were trying to impress the women, even though there’s never been a single recorded instance of a woman getting turned on by a man in a neon headband, tank top, blue short shorts and the orange shoes kicking a soccer ball really hard.
If 60 miles of monorail track looks to you like the solution to Long Beach's transportation and employment problems, then you are apparently looking at it the right way ... according to a group called Island of Long Beach, anyway. It claims its project would move 460,000 people an hour and create 300,000 jobs. That's enough for us! All abooooaaarrrd!!!
Newt Gingrich took a page out of Horatio Alger's books when he called for rolling back child labor laws. Newt wants poor kids as young as nine to replace their school janitors, so they can learn the work ethic, as opposed to well-off kids, who are evidently born with a work ethic.
Tonight's candlelight vigil at the Long Beach Police Department marks one year since Doug Zerby---drunk and playing with a water nozzle at his Belmont Shore apartment complex---was gunned down without warning by officers Victor Ortiz and Jeffrey Shurtleff, who say they thought the nozzle was a pistol.
What will I say to Anna on the drive down to the Naval Base in San Diego? I will be the last of her family to say goodbye. I don't want to cry. I want to give her a gift. But where she is headed, Anna has neither room nor need for anything I could give her.
There really is a place on Earth where people do more for the environment than replace their detergent with baking soda, and where that ethos is fully supported by the government. Costa Rica is a botanical wonderland with plentiful (and colorful) animals, birds and fish, great surfing, frijoles y maduras---oh, and very cute sloths.
When I was a girl, and my mother got arrested at places like Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the name she gave was "Emma Goldman". Only now, after reading Vivian Gornick's biography of Emma Goldman, do I realize how little I have in common with my heroine. I don’t want to remake society from the ground up. I just want to re-elect a goddamn Democrat
The arrival of the second annual Bixby Park Halloween Carnival shows promise, not only for the event, but for efforts to revitalize the historic park. It's good practice, too, getting people back in the habit of coming to Bixby Park as it recovers from some difficult times.
We ask comic-book-geek and Superman fan Robert Garcia (that's him on the right) who would win if Superman and Zombie Superman (that's not him on the left ... is it?) cross paths during Zombie Walk/Comic-Con weekend and get in a fight. Of course, the Long Beach City Council member has an answer. A couple of 'em.
[Another in a trying-our-best-to-make-this-a-weekly series] The back story: In the good, old days when he was a member of The District Weekly staff—actually, even in the not-quite-as-good but even-older days, when he was a member of the OC Weekly staff … or way the hell back in the bad, as in going-Medieval on your ass, days [...]
By hanging banners that draw distinctions among the streets in a neighborhood as small as the East Village, city officials and promoters generate a separatist mentality that risks undermining the sense of unity crucial to the area's success. Better to hang an all-encompassing “East Village” banner that leaves the street names to the street signs.
By delivering her State of the Second District address from the historic band shell at Bixby Park, Council member Suja Lowenthal gave the park's restoration movement the best kind of validation---re-establishing it as a center stage for Long Beach's most-important events.
The Naples seawalls keep private mansions and their manicured gardens from tumbling onto adjacent boat docks---with mooring fees that the city deeply discounts for residents---then crashing into the canals. Is fair---or even legal---to repair them by using Tidelands Funds intended for the widest public benefit?
The historic battleship USS Iowa is coming to live the rest of its days in San Pedro, and the not-for-profit operators have plans to make the ship a major cultural and educational resources---without draining City of Los Angeleles funds. Let's hope the Long Beach City Council pays very close attention.
Using Congressional office accounts to send staff to a conservative Christian group's training seminar is perfectly legal, but underscores the relationships that members of Congress can build with favored causes without violating rules against using taxpayer money to fund political activity.
Conservatives are often right, but they have become so instinctive in their media-bias charges that they fail to recognize the degree to which the mainstream media has improved. And anyone who doesn’t like the mainstream media certainly isn’t dependent on it anymore, which is reason enough to chill out about media bias.
With water sources on Catalina Island being more finite than the mainland’s, you see more conservation: water-saving toilets; more scrubbing than hosing; people drinking their own urine. I also saw a teenaged acoustic duo using “auto-tune” pitch correction technology---giving them pitch-perfect, tight harmony, as sung by inhuman Cylon warriors.
An involuntary manslaughter charge depends on the assertion that the police were lawfully arresting someone. But if they beat Thomas after he lost consciousness, it was no longer a lawful arrest. Felony murder---death arising from a felony---could be based on Thomas' death arising from battery with serious bodily injury, mayhem or torture, as examples.There does not have to be any intent to kill.
“I wasn’t really talking to God,” prodigal punk Jack Grisham says of his memoir, "An American Demon." But the literary device is convincing: Grisham as a demon taking his cues from the “Not-Quite,” a lesser God, “an inch shorter, a pound heavier, two degrees less intelligent and nowhere near as loving and kind.”
I live very close to Bixby Park, and I witness illegal behaviors there on a daily basis. I do not use the park, although I would like to. I have seen drug deals, bloody fights, public drinking and drunkeness, public urination (indecent exposure), public sex acts, littering, loitering, sleeping in vehicles, sleeping in the band shell and more. I awakened one morning to find a man asleep on MY FRONT PORCH!
Punishing perpetrators of police violence does not mean buying off survivors with piles of taxpayer money. It means vigorous criminal prosecution of whatever crime fits the facts, not administrative reprimand or paid leave. If there are convictions, it means prosecuting anyone in the police department who may have lied on their behalf as accessories after the fact.
Whenever the lack of accountability for abusive police officers is pointed out, their union reps insist that police have to endure an enormous amount of scrutiny. But although there are many levels of internal oversight, every level is dominated by law enforcement. Police often brag about the way they “protect their own,” and what happened in Fullerton exemplifies that.
Put simply, the people of Long Beach do not feel the Queen Mary is theirs. Ticket prices not only keep out the poor completely, but also a large percentage of everyone else. The Queen is regarded as part of the landscape, but in many ways, as alien as a flying saucer.
Part of the reason the Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles are here is you subsidize them. They are tremendous polluters and the region has about $2.5 billion annually in externalized health care costs---about $7,000 per job. That kind of subsidy is enough to attract nearly any industry.
The world really ended Saturday, just as a small segment of Christians predicted. The lack of preparedness left lots of issues unresolved---the outcome of the NBA playoffs, the success of Oprah's cable channel and whether Long Beach would ever really be America's most bike-friendly city.
After reading how Lindsay Lohan's 120-day jail sentence will likely be reduced to 16 or 17 days, and how the typical woman serves only about 20 percent of her sentence, Steve Lowery is suddenly thinking of recruiting a crime harem---preferrably consisting of married women with kids.
Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal of the 2nd district and Council member Robert Garcia of the 1st district sit side-by-side behind the rail at Council meetings and often seem like mirror images---especially their blank poker faces. Fortunately, LBReport.com has secured a hard line to their brains and today begins a series of transcriptions
At 4:11 this morning, amid the reflexive celebration that has dominated the early aftermath of Osama Bin Laden’s death, GreaterLongBeach.com received this e-mail from a Rome-based organization that calls itself the Institute for Human Dignity. This is what it said: PRAYERS, NOT REJOICING, NEEDED OVER BIN LADEN’S DEATH Following reports of the killing of Osama [...]
Besides the birds, butterflies and bees, our new drought-tolerant yard has attracted lots of human attention, too---especially from the neighborhood’s young children. Last Saturday I was delighted to overhear a young boy exclaim, “Look at all the pretty flowers!” to his grandfather as they walked by.
A police officer on duty performs a consummately public responsibility. Officers wear their names on their uniforms because it's crucial that people in the community know their identities. Police are armed and allowed to use force, but they must do so in the service of the public, and under its scrutiny.
Greggory Moore asks: If you could eradicate either prostitution or littering, prostitution or graffiti, prostitution or texting while driving---wouldn't you do a greater service by in each case leaving prostitution alone and getting rid of the other?
Make your place look like you’re chasing nickels to support a meth habit. Erect a plywood berry stand on your front lawn and use smelly, unshaven men to sell Christmas trees when it gets dark early---but only after pulling out the grass and throwing down gravel. Make it look like you have no self respect as a business owner.
No one knows why we must suffer, yet no one can deny that the ripples of our suffering often awaken revitalizing forces in our lives. So it was at Sunday's vigil at Long Beach State's Japanese Gardens for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. [ A photo essay by Jeanine Birong. ]
When I heard a couple of PETA girls were going to shower together Wednesday in observation of Water Awareness Day … well, let’s just say it came to me as a call to action. I strapped on my vegan high heels and headed on down to Belmont Shore.
I’m sick of cities that take the phrase “Keep [insert city name] Weird” and blast it on shot glasses, playing cards, pins and tshirts. No truly weird place would try that hard. Long Beach is where the real weirdos are, and we don’t need to ask them to keep the city weird---it just sort of does it itself.
On the day the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment rights of the despicable Westboro Baptist Church, it's worth remembering the way the people of Long Beach greeted the wacky Kansas hatemongers last year with more than a little free speech of our own.
I love the idea of a bike-friendly city but wonder whether the transition is making people friendlier toward cyclists. Lots of folks seem angry. They talk about “bike Nazis,” and rail against spending taxpayer dollars on something only a small segment of the population will use.
This is Presidents Day, and in recognition of the 44 men who have been President of the United States during the nearly 235-year history of the country, Greater Long Beach refers you to this list of the 10 worst to occupy the office, as compiled by U.S. News and World Report. 10. ZACHARY TAYLOR: A political novice, [...]
My familiarity with Cal's visage from the TV spots of my childhood set me up for shock when I recently started seeing him again in Worthington Ford commercials. The gauntness, the obviously skeletal frame beneath his suit jacket, the dragging of his palate as he enunciated his sales pitch. There was no denying it: Cal Worthington is dying ... as are we all.
LifeStyles Condoms estimates that 87 condoms are used each second in the U.S. on Valentine’s Day, which is lesser known as National Condom Day. Organic Bouquet (www.OrganicBouquet.com) estimates that over 200 million roses were produced for Valentine’s Day 2011. The US Census Bureau reports that only 11 percent of households celebrate by gifting each other jewelry on [...]
Putting in this garden has brought out our crazymaking characteristics. Mark is a perfectionist while I’d rather just get her done. When he made a planter in a perfect circle without measuring it, I told him I’d read that only crazy people can do that. What saved us? The arrival of the mulch!
Removing the black plastic to discover completely bare dirt—not a single weed---and the “tabula risa” of our new front yard is somehow very satisfying. The goal is to get our new ground cover to grow in before any weeds take hold. We charge out to buy plants and shortly after our return ... our yard looks like a yard again!
Here’s a personal (and mostly steady) walk down New Year’s Memory Lane---as well as a party game everyone can play Friday night. Ask people to relive some of their most-memorable New Year's Eves. Consider it a kick start, something to do before Kathy Griffin gets bleeped or, worse yet, poor Dick Clark is wheeled out.
In the third installment of her Lawn to Garden diary, Jeanine Birong reveals how boring it is to watch grass die---especially when you can't see a thing---until a USC journalism student shows an interest and asks for an interview. Suddenly, she can't stop raving about it!
The question: From where you stand—on the downtown corner of First Street and Linden Avenue, where you and Amir Zee have co-owned Utopia Restaurant for 11 years—do these look like Happy Holidays for East Village businesses? Kamran Assadi’s answer: Compared to last year, it’s much, much better. It’s been a very good holiday season for [...]
Jamie Lee Curtis simply gushed about the performance of her colon in ads for Dannon's probiotic-laced yogurt. Like, she loved going to the crapper! But Dannon's $21 million fine for false advertising makes you wonder what---if anything---was really going on behind Curtis' bathroom doors.
[ Another in a weekly series. ] The question: What happened to Beer & Politics, the thirst-quenching public-issues forum that you’d been moderating in taverns around town for the past few years on the last Tuesday of every month? Mike Clements’ answer: Beer and Politics was a casualty of real life. By end of 2009, [...]
[ Another in a series. ] The question: What’s the deal with the spelling of your last name—ZumMallen—that is, a double-M with the second one capitalized? Ryan ZumMallen’s answer: ”That’s just the way the name has always been. I don’t know much about its history—my dad tried to trace it for awhile, but he hit a dead end. [...]
A couple weeks ago, 88-year-old Roy Laird went to County Villa Healthcare Center in Seal Beach to see 86-year-old Clara, his wife of nearly 70 years---like he did three times every day because Clara could no longer walk, sit up, feed herself or recognize visitors. This time, Roy shot her in the head with a .38 caliber revolver.
Why haven't you registered as a lobbyist with the City of Long Beach, which last February instituted a Lobbyist Registration Ordinance by a unanimous vote of the City Council?
Because their graduation ceremonies will be held later in June than most Southern California high schools---a full week after Disneyland's annual Grad Night promotion ends on June 16---seniors at Warren and Downey highs don't know where they will be celebrating their commencement.
I rode my bike to places Cindy would have enjoyed. When I reached ceremonial Puvugna at Long Beach State and saw the dedication to the Tongva ancestors---portraits with black, yellow and red flags---I realized they looked just like Cindy’s pictures of laundry!
Cutting off the lawn with the sod cutter took four short hours. But pulling up the sod and getting it into the dumpster took an entire week. Rain, work, school and sports schedules made us scrounge for a couple of hours for our project every day. Fittingly, the dumpster full of the hideous dead lawn finally pulled away from the curb on Dia de Los Muertos.
Given the one-sided election results in California, a trend of “red flight”---that is, an out-migration of people from cities and counties made insolvent by public employee pension costs---may soon appear. And those pensioners may lead the way, taking their lucrative checks with them.
The latest sewage spill will close Long Beach's open coastal beaches for a few days while scientists monitor the water's bacterial levels. The good thing is, somebody warned the sea lions, birds and fish. And?When the percentages of poison drop to acceptable levels, everybody’s going to be invited back into the water!
What the city needs right now is a vision. Boosterism, photo ops, discussion of variances and the water table--though important--aren’t enough. But at last week’s candidates forum, all you got was a steady gaseous release of punishing clichés and useless generalities.
Brown does love law enforcement, and he does hate capital punishment. He does think government sometimes hurts more than it helps, and he does feel that government is sometimes the solution to life’s difficulties. If elected, he is quite capable of anything. And that will be a hell of a story
Greater Long Beach photographer Jeanine Birong and family---husband Mark, children Anthony and Sarah---are replacing their water-guzzling front lawn with a garden of California native and drought-tolerant plants as part of the Long Beach Water Department's Lawn-to-Garden program. This is the first installment of her diary.
MEG WHITMAN'S BARGAIN: Writing in the Sacramento News & Review, Rich Williams considers what California might look like if gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman actually applied a real-world business model to state government.
Proposition 14, which passed in June, bans all but the top two finishers in the primary election from appearing on the November general election ballot---basically, eliminating Greens, Libertarians, Peace & Freedoms and American Independents. The ostensible goal was to get more moderates elected, but a very real consequence will be giving voters even less choice.
As I came out of the WalMart I walked up to a man sitting behind a table festooned with a huge "Repeal Obamacare" sign, nodded toward his array of clipboards and asked, "Could you please tell me where I can sign to repeal Medicare?"
“No mother should have to visit her daughter in a cemetery,” says a heartbroken woman as she recalls her daughter’s ritual of going to the tanning salon on her lunch hours. The girl started as a teenager and died of melanoma three weeks before her 30th birthday.
“Usually there's a reason why things are hills,” he began, while the dog peed on some buckwheat and stuck its nose in the wind. I had never questioned a hill's grounds for existence---just its choice in placing itself at the end of a long hike when I am already tuckered out.
In between shakes, I daringly left my room and headed outside. As I opened the front door, a flyer that had been slipped into the jam fell and hit me on the foot. When I read it, I didn’t know if I should be relieved or irritated.
While I try to give the slip to the Cat License Gestapo---buying cat food and litter at a store in another county, avoiding neighbors with allergies who might put the clues together---I have visions of Kitty at the computer furtively searching out countries without cat extradition laws … Cat-mandoo, Purrsia, Cat-alina.
When principal Wayne E. Piercy learned that the Cambodian students were being bullied, he dealt with it in the most extraordinary way---he asked some Cambodian students to write down their life stories. They did. Then every student at Franklin Middle School was herded into the auditorium, where they listened.
The years pass. I'm working at a children's agency. From across the hall, the director sometimes reminds me, “We don’t say damn, Louise.” I’ve adopted an alternative set of curses, though “shazbot” doesn’t really feel as satisfying.
Every year thousands of people assault the summit of Signal Hill, seeking the best place in all the land to see Independence Day fireworks. If you intend to be among them this year, here are a few tips---from a Signal Hillian to all you flatlanders.
This is for everyone whose father wasn’t Robert Young—you know, the 1950s TV dad on “Father Knows Best,” the dad everyone wished they had. Instead, we got … well, I got an alcoholic mess of a smart, well-read, first-to-wear-Bermuda shorts (with black socks and shoes) in 1959 dad, who died young. I got lucky. He [...]
I’ve returned to my roots, literally: I’ve just had my hair shaved off---gone, no más. As a result, I am happy, nappy and finally free from the drama that I’ve allowed to big-foot its way back into my life for the past several years. I’m back where I belong after trying it all, again.
Up on Signal Hill, the wind is whipping the trees around like Tina Turner’s hair, and making sound effects from a very scary movie—wooooing as it swirls through my front porch, setting the windows to creaking. The flatlanders of Long Beach don’t know this thrill. Fourteen years ago, when I spotted this condo in a [...]
“Man walks into a bar with an octopus…” And so began the long tradition of Tim Grobaty telling me a joke—line-by-line, one trip past my desk at a time. That could take awhile, even though he walked past my desk a lot. It was situated at the entry to the newsroom of the Press-Telegram, where [...]