Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lift Off! - We Have Lift Off!

LOBDELL'S BOOK SIGNING A HUGE SUCCESS
Yesterday's official launch of former Daily Pilot Editor and Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Lobdell's new book, "Losing My Religion - How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America.... and Found Unexpected Peace", was a rousing success.

EVENT THE BEST - EVER
The event, held at Borders Bookstore at 19th Street and Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa was, based on reports from the staff, the most successful book si
gning event ever held at that venue. From what I saw when I arrived late in the proceedings, I can believe it.


STOCK SOLD OUT

All copies available were sold out and more than a few potential buyers left disappointed. I'm glad I bought my copy last week!


LOS ANGELES TIMES REUNION
This event was like a Who's Who of former and current Lo
s Angeles Times employees. In front of me in line was former Director of News and Online for the Daily Pilot, Tony Dodero. He pointed out several former Daily Pilot staffers in the assembled throng. Former Los Angeles Times columnist Dana Parsons was observed holding court following the recently-announced demise of his column in that newspaper. He's still with the Times, but his column, along with the California Section, is history after 18 years. Even occasional contributing columnist Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly fame was in line, carrying copies of his book, "Ask A Mexican!", apparently hoping to piggyback Lobdell's event.

EXHAUSTING SCHEDULE AHEAD
Bill Lobdell has had a very busy week. A quick visit to his blog calendar page will give you an idea. Over the past few days he's had nearly two dozen radio interviews, will appear on local television tomorrow and later next week and is about to jump off on a whirlwind national book tour. Although I got tired just reading his schedule, I have no doubt that tri-athlete Lobdell will handle it just fine.

JUST THE RIGHT TIME

While waiting for Lobdell to sign my copy of his book I watched him patiently chat with each person who eagerly handed him their copy for inscription. It
was the end of a long afternoon, yet he took the time to calmly answer questions. As I stood in line with Dodero and others, it struck me that this may be exactly the right time for this book launch. Our country is in dire straits, with citizens being asked to have faith in our new president and his flurry of initiatives to get our country back on course. Faith is what it's going to take, because logic and reason certainly don't lead you to believe his plans can succeed without bankrupting the future of the next couple generations of Americans.

A MATTER OF FAITH

And now we have Bill Lobdell's book - the story of his journey to and from faith. If the first few
lines are any indication, this will be a tough book to put down. He gets your attention with the very first sentence, "By age 27, I had screwed up my life." You have no choice except to swim right up to that lure and take it in your mouth. With the next sentence, "I had married my volatile high school sweetheart five years earlier, mostly because it was easier than breaking up." he firmly plants the hook and begins reeling you in. I'll be reading the book over the next couple days and will report back.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

"The Rocky" Folds

ANOTHER TOUGH STORY
At a time when we hear story after story of businesses folding up, people being laid-off, the economy heading straight south and our new, trainee president
seemingly intent on spending us out of debt, today I want to share with you one more of those sad stories.

Rocky Mountain News Newsroom, 2/27/09

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS FOLDS
Today, Friday, February 27, 2009, the venerable Rocky Mountain News published its
last edition. Just 55 days short of its 150th anniversary, this institution has run the presses for the final time.

POWERFUL STORY
Here's a LINK to the Rocky Mountain News web site that tells much of the story, although I don't know how long it will be available for viewing. Here's another LINK that takes you to a powerful video produced
about this closure. It was apparently begun the day last December when it was announced by the owners that "The Rocky" was up for sale and finished late last night. This video is part of the first link, but that one may disappear soon.

LOSS OF NEWSPAPERS IS IMPORTANT NEWS

The closure of this newspaper and the precarious condition of others throughout the country - including here in S
outhern California, where the The Tribune Company, parent of the Los Angeles Times, filed for bankruptcy - is very important news. According to information in an Associated Press story on the closure of the Rocky Mountain News, "four owners of 33 U.S. daily newspapers have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the past 2 1/2 months and a number of other newspapers are up for sale". Today, with our country in such critical financial condition and our new president apparently trying to fix all the wrongs in 100 days or less, it's important to have a strong, vital, vibrant free press to keep the citizens of this country informed.

DAILY PILOT IS OUR NEWS SOURCE

Here in our little slice of the world the Daily Pilot has been our newspaper of record for a century. We depend on the editors and reporters to keep us informed on important local issues so we can be active participants in our communities. Without
the hard work, thorough reporting and careful editing so necessary to present the news to us we would be left at the mercy of less reliable, more biased sources of information - like this blog and others like it. It's important that we do not lose this source of news and information.

TACOS, NOT TURKEY DINNERS

Today the Daily Pilot, along with her sister publications in the Times Community Newspaper family, continue to keep their collective shoulders to the wheel, p
umping out the hard news and stories of interest for their readers. They are trying to stay one step ahead in a changing media world, where people tend to get their "news" in nibbles rather than sitting down for a good meal presented by seasoned, competent reporters and digesting it all. Societally, we are tending to treat news like a taco, not a turkey dinner. We buy it fast, eat it fast and don't seem to worry too much if some of the important stuff falls in our laps or on the floor.

TODAY, THE DAILY PILOT...

It's important to me that our area has a strong, reliable, credible news source. Today that source is the Daily Pilot.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Want Some Magic In Your Life?

HAVE I GOT A DEAL FOR YOU?!
In need of a little "magic" in your life? Well, have I got a deal for you!


THE CHAMP ON TV
My old pal, Johnny "Ace" Palmer, World Champion Magician, recently sent me this information in an email.

THIS IS A GREAT ENTERTAINMENT OPPORTUNITY
We've known Johnny for years (he's a Huntington Beach resident, by the way) and have seen him perform his act many times - including at couple of my birthday parties - and think he's a terrific entertainer, so we wanted to sha
re this opportunity to watch him on television with you.

MONDAY, CHANNEL 13, 8 P.M.
He will be appearing on Masters of Illusion on MyNetworkTV (KCOP Channel 13), Monday, March 2nd at 8:00 p.m. I know you'll enjoy his performance, along with those of many other magicians, so mark your calendars and set your TIVO.
Hi, everybody! It's us, Johnny Ace Palmer's baby chicks, Fluffy, Puffy, and Duffy, here to announce we're going to be on TV! This time, your easy chair is in the front row!

Next Monday, March 2,
on MyNetworkTV’s new series, Masters of Illusion, at
8 p.m. (PT/ET)
Johnny will be performing some of his classic illusions!

So mark it down in your calendar, and have a wonderful time watching us and many more magicians on


What? You're having a brain transplant that night and you'll miss it?
Relax—the above episode (Number 5) will be rebroadcast Monday, April 6, 2009!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And...
We'll be appearing at


Monday, March 23 through Sunday, March 29, 2009!

---------------------------------------------------

You can also see Johnny do strolling magic
every Sunday evening
at

in Santa Monica,
where he'll be celebrating 15 years as house magician this May!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For more information, you can...
Visit Johnny's site, call him directly at 714.373.TRIX [8749] or email him at johnny@johnnyacepalmer.com.

Visit the Magic Castle's site, ask for Mark Felicetti at 323.851.3313, Ext. 350, or email him at mfelicetti@magiccastle.com.

Visit Earth, Wind & Flour's site, ask for Dennis Klempner at 310.829.7829, or email him at earthwindflour@aol.com.




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Insomnia Cure and Buckets of Manure

BUSINESS AS USUAL
Well, neighbors, if you expected the new Parks & Recreation Commission to morph into a dynamic, action-oriented body of public servants, ready to take on all challenges, you're going to be very disappointed.

GALITSKI, AGAIN
Last night, in their monthly meeting, the five members of the commission decided to perpetuate mediocrity by re-electing Realtor Kurt Galitski as Chairman and Mike Brumbaugh as Vice Chair. Galitski, whose
management style seems to be "winging it", demonstrated that he really hasn't learned much about how things are supposed to work up there during his past tour.

SNOOZE TIME

Granted, listening to tree removal requests can be tedious, but that's part of the job. And the new guys, Kim Pederson (who was there before many moons ago) and Jeff Mathews, Gary Monahan's campaign guy and contributor didn't, show us much. So, for you insomniacs around town, I guarantee you a quick and deep sleep if you tune into Channel 24 during the Parks & Recreation Commission meetings in the future.... zzzzzzzzz

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THE MOUTH DELIVERS ANOTHER LOAD

Over at the CM Press, The Mouth From Mesa North delivered to his readers yet another steaming pile as he demonstrates both his bias and his ineptitude when he attempts to blame all our fiscal woes on immigrants - and does so very
badly. In his entry #621 he attempts to embed fourteen links to articles supporting his racist rant. The problem is, only a couple of his links work! Even if you take the time to copy and paste them into your browser window most of them don't work.

IN NEED OF HELP - LOTS OF HELP

This poor, pathetic man just couldn't wait to get his vile rant into the ether, so rushed it and ended up with yet another entry full of lies, misinformation and unfounded allegations. Perhaps he should seek help from one of his kids when posting on his blog - they're probably much more tech-savvy. Actually, perhaps he shoul
d just seek help, period.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Smiles, Frowns, Faith and More...

NO JOKES, PLEASE!
Seldom do I pass on jokes, etc. because that practice becomes something akin to the blob - it grows exponentially as recipients simply must reciprocate and jam email inbox with all manner of garbage. I'm grateful to all my email correspondents for honoring my request to never, ever, under any circumstance, send me jokes, recipes, homilies, chain letters, charitable solicitations, etc.


A "PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT" FROM THE ORANGE JUICE! BLOG

That being said, our friend Terry Crowley over at the Orange Juice! Blog posted a clever piece - a "public service announcem
ent" - that might bring a smile to your face. Here's the LINK. If you're in a particularly grumpy mood it might help brighten your day.

A NEW SOURCE FOR SMILES

I'm running out of reasons to continue to subscribe to the Los Angeles Times. I like to begin each day by reading many of the offerings on their "Comics And Mo
re" page. That is no longer necessary because I've discovered THIS SITE. I fear that the Los Angeles Times may be destined for the fate recently threatened by the Hearst Corporation for it's San Francisco Chronicle - closure. Apparently, the venerable Chronicle is bleeding bucks to the tune of $50 million last year and the flow of outward bound dollars has increased this year.

NEW LEADERS TO BE NAMED ON PARKS & REC. COMMISSION

Tonight, at it's first meeting since two new members were appointed by the City Council, the Parks and Recreation Commission will meet at their regularly scheduled time of 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. You can get a good idea of what this commission is responsible for by visiting THIS SITE. First up will be the election of a new Chairman and
Vice Chair. It will be interesting to see what impact the two new guys, Jeff Mathews and Kim Pederson have on the proceedings.

START TIME TO BE CHANGED

Then the commission will hear a proposal to begin their meetings at 6:00 p.m. henceforth to, in the words provided in the staff report, "..reduce staff and operational costs and to increase community participation in meetings.." I'm not sure about those "operational costs" - perhaps it's staff overtime, but it seems to me that by starting a half-hour earlier would tend to reduce the opportunity for community involvement rather than increase it since most folks work outside the city. Of course, the City Council meetings begin at 6:00, so maybe this plan has merit. We'll see...

BILL LOBDELL'S NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE

Today was the first day of public sale o
f former Daily Pilot Editor and Los Angeles Times Religion Reporter Bill Lobdell's new book, "Losing My Religion - How I lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America... and Found Unexpected Peace". I bought my copy today at Borders on Newport Blvd. and 19th Street. That will be the site of his first book signing event this Saturday, February 28th beginning at 2 p.m. See you there.. Here's a link to Lobdell's blog which includes a calendar of his events, including an appearance on KOCE Friday, February 27th at 6 p.m.

MORE ON DONN HALL

As mentioned in my last post, long time community activist and elected leader, Donn Hall, is in the hospital. The Daily Pilot has a piece on his illness HERE. We wish him and his family all the best.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Winds Of Change

ALL HANDS ON DECK - FINALLY
The Costa Mesa Planning Commission meeting tonight, though brief, was interesting nonetheless. It got off to a good start because all five members showed up for this meeting.(Note: original image - a tornado - apparently caused some readers consternation. So, I swapped it out for the unambiguous image now shown.)

RIGGY TAKES THE HELM

Right off the bat, as anticipated, Carpetbagger Jim Righeimer was elected, 3-2, as the Chairman. Fisler and Sam Clark voted no. Then, in a surprise to me, Steve Mensinger
nominated Jim Fisler to retain his seat as Vice Chair, who was confirmed unanimously.

SELF-SERVING SERMON IGNORED
Before the considerations for Chairman were made - and while Fisler still had control of the dais - he provided a little self-serving sermon about the Planning Commission's role in city government and made
his point that he thought the person elected as Chairman should have many years as a city resident, with years of experience on other commissions (he specifically mentioned the Parks and Recreation Commission) and committees. Obviously, he was talking about himself. Of course, the new guys just ignored him and chose Righeimer. One had to chuckle.

NOT YOSEMITE SAM, BUT...
There's a new sheriff in town now
. It's clear that a "Righeimer" Planning Commission is going to be one that will enforce the rules or force changes to them. I suspect we'll see this group - at least the majority - cutting fewer applicants some slack in their applications. I expect to see fewer conditional use permits and variances issued. This was evident tonight when the proposed restaurants at the location at 19th Street an Harbor Blvd., where the Pasta Connection lived for four decades, were denied because of inadequate parking. Fisler was a happy guy because he's tried to get the previous commission to take a stronger stand on parking. Way, way too many strip malls and shopping venues in this city are severely under-parked.

DONN HALL ILL

Mention was made tonight about the illness of former Mayor and most recent Planning Commission Chairman Donn Hall's illness. Hall is apparently in the hospital because Fisler mentioned it tonight during the meeting. During his decades of service to this city he proved to be a "man of the people", frequently getting his hackles up when he felt personal rights were being violated by "the system". We wish Donn Hall and his family well...

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