Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Musings


ANOTHER MEANDER DOWN MEMORY LANE...
I thought I'd reprise something I wrote three years ago, on May 26th, 2006 - when I was using my previous blog host. Most of you current readers - both of you - have probably not seen this, so I thought I'd share it with you for some nice Memorial Day reading while I spend the weekend celebrating my 50th high school reunion with a bunch of geezers I may not even remember. Yikes! Fortunately, my sweet, patient and much younger wife will join me for this milestone event, to wipe the drool from my chin and keep me from falling asleep face-first in my mashed po
tatoes. I'll be back next week. Enjoy...

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May 26, 2006

TOTTERING ALONG
As the clock continues to tick I found myself at a major milestone in my life earlier this week. Following a much-needed nice, little vacation that took my sweet wife and myself to our favorite California city, San Diego, and included a few days at another favorite place on the Central California coast, we returned home in time for my scheduled appointment Monday at - ta da! - the Social Security office!

EFFICIENTLY SIGNED-UP
After a brief, efficiently-conducted interview with a helpful young woman, I was out of there in fifteen minutes flat and am now poised to join tens of millions of other American geezers bellied up to the trough of Social Security and Medicare. I confess that I haven't yet untangled the ball of snakes that is Medicare Part D - the prescription drug program. That will come soon.


SURE SIGNS OF MY AGE
As I head on into this summer, which brings with it a major milestone birthday, I find myself having some very strange urges. Meandering through the aisles of my local drug store I find myself slowing as I pass the Ensure display, checking out the flavor choices. I feel my pace quicken as I approach the aisle where the Depends are stacked neatly on the shelves, unwilling to even c
onsider that particular requirement for the time being.

PASS THE DEFOLIANT, PLEASE
Is it my imagination, or are my ears getting bigger? And what's with those hairs? Nobody told me I'd eventually have foliage sprouting from almost every orifice in my head! I used to joke about those nose hair trimmers from The Sharper Image but today, if I didn't tend to m
y ears and nostrils, you'd think I was wearing earmuffs and growing a mustache!

LOOK OUT! HERE THEY COME!

I find myself glancing over my shoulder from time to time for fear of being trampled by the hoard of baby boomers who begin turning 60 this year and thunder into geezerdom, demanding more and more services and spending money like drunken sailors - just as the
y've done throughout their lives.

SAME GUY, ONLY MORE OF HIM
All this is very disconcerting. When I look in the mirror as I shave each morning I still see that "kid" who has smirked back at me more than five decades, when I first began scraping off the stubble with a Gillette double-edged safety razor, applied styptic stick and toilet paper to the nicks and slathered on the Old Spice. He has gotten a little more pudgy and his hair has gone from blond to brown and back to blond again. Well, not really blond - more like silver, but I tell myself it looks kinda blond in the right light.

MIXED BLESSING

Even though I love the senior discounts at the movies and restaurants and carry a Golden Age Passport to national parks, I still have a tough time when someone in their forties or fifties calls me "sir'.

WANTS AND NEEDS
All this has given me a little mid-life crisis (don't I wish!) and I find myself wanting to run out and buy a sports car. The only problem is, something in my aging cranium keeps whispering "Buick"! Arrgghh!

*********

REMEMBER THE REASON FOR THIS HOLIDAY

Have a very safe Memorial Day Weekend and try to carve out some time to remember what it's really about. Maybe this link will help. The photo above is of the American Military Cemetery just south of Florence, Italy. It's a wonderful, peaceful place where the remains of over 4,000 American soldiers who died during World War II are buried.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

"The Mouth" Revisited

"THE MOUTH" MORPHS
We've not mentioned our old buddy, The Mouth From Mesa North, lately - with good reason. Seems our pal has decided he's going to become a kind of low rent Matt Drudge. Rather than dazzle us with the product of
his prodigious intellect with his blog posts on the CM Press, recently he's become an aggregator - a guy who only links to the works of others.

BEGGING FOR
COMMENTS
And, recently he's added the ability to comment on his blog. The only problem with that is that no one noticed, so he's begun beggin
g for comments. I know from personal experience that he doesn't post all comments sent to him. I guess he'll only post comments that agree with his racist world view of things.

LAZY POSTS
And, rather than post a new entry when newsworthy events occur during the day, he simply crams another entry or entries onto the original post for the day
.

EARLY ONSET DEMENTIA?

And, I think
he may be suffering from early-onset dementia or else he's developed a fixation on the number 670. Why would I say that? Well, twice within the past few weeks he's numbered entries with that number, which had been used in sequence weeks earlier. The most recent occurrence was with his number 700 this week. He initially numbered it 670, but changed it later in the day. For an alleged Mensa guy, simple number sequences of his own creation shouldn't be that hard to follow...

SCREWED-UP LINKS

Today, between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. he's posted twice on the same entry. The most recent one discusses items on the recently-announced Parks and Recreation Commission agenda for their meeting next Wednesday. He attempted to provide hot links to a couple of agenda items, but managed to screw that up, too.

MORE ANTI-BROWN S
KIN BIAS
One of the items, the proposed contract between Aztec Basketball Leagues to rent the facility at the Downtown Recreation Center on Sunday mornings for organized basketball competition, raised his ire. Wonder if the ethnic orientation of the name had anything to do with it? Of course it did!

A NEW REVENUE SOURCE

According to the staff report, by permitting Aztec Basketball League to use the facility on Sunday mornings pick-up volleyball and basketball games would be excl
uded for those hours, costing the city roughly $3400 in annual revenue. In return, Aztec would provide more than $43,000 in revenue to the city. Seems like a good deal, especially when you realize that only a half dozen people would be displaced on Sunday mornings and that alternative playing times are available to them later in the day.

WATCH HIM IMPLODE!
Our old buddy, The Mouth, has recently taken the entire City Council to task - standing at the speaker's podium and using his three minutes to vent his spleen at them for any number of transgressions - mainly their lack of performance on budget issues. As I watch him rant and rave, flailing his arms and turning beet red, I fear for his health. I'd hate to seem him suffer some kind of seizure while berating the council.

TAKE PITY ON HIM AND POST COMMENTS

So, to make him feel better, I suggest you submit comments to his blog fr
om time to time so the poor man no longer has to beg for comments. I'm not sure what it will take to get them posted - perhaps some obtuse reference to DNA or the wisdom of selective breeding will do it.


IRRELEVANT CARTOON

This poor fellow has become a caricature of himself and is becoming progressively more irrelevant in our community as his predictable, inane rants become even more difficult for people to take seriously.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Other Side Heard From On Senior Center


FINALLY!
Last night at the C
osta Mesa City Council meeting we finally heard from "the other side" on the whole Senior Center issue.

POSITIVE VIEWS PREVAILED

During Public Comments a dozen people stood to speak directly to the conditions at the Costa Mesa Senior Center and only two spoke in negative terms. The remainder (83.33%) spoke with passion in glowing terms about the programs, management and staff.

CHILL OUT, DARLENE

One of the two who spoke negatively, Darlene Letnes, has been a frequent and vocal critic of the center and it's Executive Director, Aviva Goelman, both in person and in writing in the Daily Pilot. Last night Ms. Letnes used much more than her alloted 3 minutes and spoke with such anger that I thought she was going to blow a gasket! Clearly, the Senior Center is not a place where she finds peace and harmony. My suggestion to her is to simply find another place for her recreation and fellowship - perhaps Huntington Beach.

GOELMAN OFFERS OLIVE BRANCH

At the end of public comments Goelman stood and addressed Wendy Leece - the lightning rod for all the turmoil at the Senior Center for more than a year - su
ggesting that the two of them get together to discuss their differences. Leece later agreed to meet with her.

LEECE OVERSTEPS THE BOUNDARIES

Leece, in her role as city council liaison to the Senior Center, has overstepped the boundaries of her assignment many times. She's taken it upon herself to change the rules and give staff direction - something well beyond the purview of her job.

WITH FINGERS CROSSED...

Let's hope this new spirit of collegiality will facilitate the restoration of calm at the center and that our seniors will, once again, find it to be a haven of companionship, recreation and good will.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is Mansoor Running Already?

MANSOOR'S RUNNING ALREADY!
Last Saturday our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor, jumped up on his campaign soap box for his first public pronouncement of his 2010 campaign for a state Assembly seat as the Daily Pilot published almost 800 words (double what would be permitted to us mere mortals) in which he tried to address our local budget problems and groused about the abysmal way the state and federal governments manage theirs. You can read Mansoor's epistle HERE.


WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE?
Hard as it migh
t be for you to believe, but I actually agree with Mansoor on most of what he wrote. I know, I know - better watch out for flying pigs and ice skaters in hades.

HE IS CORRECT...

Mansoor is correct when he complains about how the state and federal governments manage our money, and goes on to talk about the skill
and transparency with which budgets are managed here in Costa Mesa.


...EXCEPT ON THE TOT
I don't agree with him on the subject of the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), though. He shrugs off the fact that the city council failed to permit the voters to be heard on the subject last year, when they simply filed the request to place the TOT and a possible increase in the Business License Fees on the ballot last November. For those issues to be considered by the electorate they must now wait until the
elections of 2010 - a long, long way off when our city is bleeding red ink.

THEY SHOULD HAVE ALLOWED US TO VOTE

In my view, we should have had the chance to make our opinion known in the voting booth
on those issues. Although reasonable increases in both certainly wouldn't balance our budget, every little bit helps.


LOOKING FOR WISDOM...

I read Mansoor's "angry" piece and kept waiting for him to tell us what he has planned to balance our budget. Those words of wisdom never came. Not a hint as to how we can balance the budget without significant staff reductions.


...FINDING NONE
Mansoor didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know. In fact, part of what he told us was a little off the mark. He said we may be $19 million short this year when, in fact, we will more likely be well over $22 million short if the propositions on the ballot today don't pass.

HAS MANSOOR CHANGED HIS MIND?

Councilman Eric Bever has brought bac
k the issue of fees to be charged to folks in town for Emergency Medical Service which was recently passed by the council on a 3-2 vote, with Wendy Leece joining him to vote no. One must assume that he's managed to convince his buddy, Mansoor, to change his mind because the fees look and smell like a "tax" - Mansoor's least favorite word.

OK, WHAT'S YOUR IDEA, MR. MAYOR?
Mansoor and his colleagues asked the city staff to come up with new revenue sources a few months ago when it became clear that we were going to be in deep trouble budget-wise. The Fire Department did, but now stands to have two of their three proposals shoved back in their faces.


BUDGET WILL INCLUDE STAFF CUTS, UNLESS...

The staff is going to have a budget for the council to consider early in June. If the employee unions have not re-opened negotiations on modifications of their contracts before that time, the budget proposal will almost certainly include significant cuts in staff throughout the city ranks - including public safety positions. There is no other way to come close to balancing the budget - unless the unions agree to concessions that spread the pain.

...THE UNIONS DO THE RIGHT THING

The big question here is will the union leadership have the wisdom to do the right thing, or will they dig in their heels and force the city to thin their ranks significantly? Instead of trying to help resolve this crisis by spreading the load over many, will the union choose to simply watch many of their compadres lose their jobs? Which ever way this goes, I'm sure the good people of Costa Mesa will remember...

LOOKING FOR LEADERSHIP
Now is the time for strong leadership within the unions and the elected officials in our city. Now is the time for them to meet and resolve the issues that may force this city into even more difficult decisions than they already face. The clock is ticking...


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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Things That Go Bump In The Night

EARTHQUAKE!
So, did ya feel it? No?

Tonight we here in Southern California had another reminder that we live in Earthquake Country. At 8:39 p.m. a little 4.7 shaker hit the Los Angeles area and there have been a couple smaller aftershocks since then.

NEWPORT-INGLEWOOD FAULT
This one, which apparently was located on the northern/western tip of the Newport-Inglewood Fault, was felt throughout the Southern California area and, according to news reports very late Sunday night, has resulted in very little damage.

A LITTLE JOLT HERE

Here in Costa Mesa it was a jolt, then some jiggling - enough so that we moved to a doorway for the duration of the 8-10 second tremor.

USGS MAP

Here's a map from the USGS site - one of many available for viewing for each such shaker. I've provided a link over on the right side of this page for that site for future reference.
THE BIG ONE - FICTION OR PREDICTION?
Just for reference, shortly after Hurricane Katrina I wrote an essay on my other blog site which addressed a potential big shaker on the Newport-Inglewood Fault. You may find it of interest. It can be read HERE.

So, life goes on here in "shaky land".

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Ruby's Fund Raisers Reminder

Just in case your forgot, there are two separate Ruby's fund raisers going on this week.

SUPPORT THE ESTANCIA YOUTH AMBASSADORS
Tomorrow, Monday, May 18th, at the Ruby's diner at South Coast Plaza (Bear Street side), b
etween 4 and 9 p.m. 20% of the sales of food items will be contributed toward funding the trips of 8 Estancia High School students who will be Youth Ambassadors to Australia in July of this year.

PRINT THE FLIER AND TAKE IT WITH YOU

A flier is required to be presented at the time of purchase of the meals. You can follow
THIS LINK to a pdf file, which will give you a printable flier.


SUPPORT THE COSTA MESA LIBRARY FOUNDATION

And, all next week from 4-9 p.m. at the Ruby's Diner on East 17th Street a fund raiser continues for the Costa Mesa Library Foundation. Again, a flier will be required for 20% of food purchases to be donated to the foundation's efforts to built a new, first class library in Costa Mesa.

TAKE THEIR FLIER, TOO
THIS LINK will take you to the Librar
y Foundation's web site, where you will find a link to a printable Word file for the flier for this event.

TRY MY FAVORITE DESSERT!

I encourage you to support both these worthy causes and, once again, try my favorite dessert - a yummy slice of hot apple pie with a slab of cheddar cheese melted on top - yum!

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