Friday, December 19, 2008

A Very Sad Anniversary

(This is an updated reprise of an entry I wrote three years ago to mark the anniversary of the passing of my best friend.)

Today I'm taking a little break from the regular political stuff you've gotten used to reading here to pay homage to Larry Moore, a man who had been my best friend for more than a half century. No man ever had a more loyal friend tha
n I had in Larry Moore.

Five years ago today, December 19, 2003, my best friend since we both were five years old passed away as a result of injuries he received in a motorcycle accident on a lonely desert road near the California/Nevada border early in November of that year. He was on his way home from Las Vegas after a visit with friends and decided to avoid the busier, more dangerous interstate highway and take the road less traveled.

We'll never know what caused his accident, although we can speculate that he just momentarily lost focus and didn't see a clearly-marked turn coming up. Whatever the cause, he ended up in a crumpled heap on the side of the road and would have died on that spot if not for the fortuitous arrival and quick action of foreign tourists immediately after the crash. They flagged down a railroad work crew, who used their training and wisdom to call the right people at the right time and my friend was helicoptered to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas - the best trauma center in the
western United States.


For six weeks he received the best possible care from the staff in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit. His injuries were so severe - it was as though he had been beaten with a baseball bat - that the staff juggled treatment with skill to first keep him stable, then to bring him back to us. They almost succeeded. Finally, after six weeks, an untreatable blood clot took him from us.

During the month and a half my friend was in the hospital I was at his side, making decisions about his care as required by my designation as his power of attorney for health care. Together, my friend and I rode a roller coaster. Time after time he would rally, then regres
s. Each night I would return to my hotel room and report via email to friends who were eager for good news. At first there were just a few, but near the end hundreds of people received those nightly reports, each looking forward to reading a glimmer of encouragement. Right up to the end we had hope, and were making plans for his rehabilitation. Sadly, it was not to be.

During my time at his bedside I had a chance to conte
mplate our lives together, and how much we each meant to each other. Growing up as friends, closer than some brothers, we shared our lives. Our birthdays were two weeks apart, so we celebrated together whenever we could. We attended some of the same schools, were Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts together. We dated the same girls, were teammates in college, reveled in each others accomplishments and agonized when things were not going well. He was my best man at my wedding. My wife and I are god-parents to his youngest daughter.

In our youth Larry used to compose and perform song
s - even though he couldn't read a lick of music. I remember sitting in his tiny bedroom as he would hammer out his latest creation - usually a ballad of sorts dedicated to his current girlfriend at the time. He was pretty darn good at it, too. He formed a band that performed at local venues and actually cut a couple of records. In fact, if you do a Google search you might find the lyrics of his song, "Hooray for Weekends" out there in the ether. One night he was the opening act on a local television show when a couple other young musicians, who were just getting started, performed. You might remember them - The Righteous Brothers. Ironically, my last email to my friend - which he never received - was to tell him of the passing of Bobby Hatfield the day before Larry crashed.

Larry spent more than 30 years as a proud member of the Los Angeles Police Department, a job he loved and through which he made thousands of friends. At his retirement celebration a few years ago I watched as man after man stood and told the assembled guests that Larry had been his best friend. That was the kind of man he was - one who was considered by many as thei
r best friend.


The last half of my friend's career was spent as the Athletic Director at the police academy, where he created and oversaw fitness programs for the officers during training and after they began their careers on the job. He coached and participated on the swimming and water polo teams, played on their football team and became a mentor to many along the way. He and his partner at the academy, Chuck Foote, created and conducted the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay - the premiere team relay race in the world - in which teams comprised of thousands of public safety representatives from around the world competed. He passed away a few months before the 20th running of that race.
After his passing an award recognizing the most dedicated volunteer was created in his name. I found it ironic that his life ended in Las Vegas, the site of so many of his successes.

He was a member of the Board of Directors of the California Police Athletic Federation, which conducts the Western States Police and Fire Games and the World Police and Fire Games. That role took him around the world, helping to conduct those festivals of athletic prowess. As part of this role he created an event he initially called the Toughest Cop Alive (TCA). This event is similar to a decathlon, except all the elements are completed in one day - a true test of skill, strength and stamina. Included in those elements are eight separate tests in which competitors must run, swim, li
ft, climb, throw and complete an obstacle course. That event, with a bow to political correctness, is now called the Toughest Competitor Alive, has been named for him - "Larry Moore's TCA".

At Larry's funeral, on that dreary morning just few days after Christmas five years ago, I tried in the brief time allotted to me to tell the crowd in the packed church a little bit about my friend and our relationship. I did my best, but found it impossible to compress more than a half century of admiration, love and friendship into a few moments of dialogue.


At that service we listened to his eldest daughter, who followed him into a career with the LAPD, speak of him in terms of loving admiration even though they had been estranged for a decade. During his hospitalization she made several trips from her home in the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas to see him. Her final trip was a spontaneous dash across the desert which resulted in her arrival at Larry's bedside shortly before dawn on a day when a conscientious nurse had modified his medication to raise his level of consciousness. Even though he could not speak, he was
able to communicate through the firm squeeze of his hand, the nod of his head, crinkling of his brow and tear-filled smiles. In the pre-dawn hours that morning, in the trauma intensive care unit in a hospital in a city far from home, he reconciled with his daughter.


Today, as I remember my friend and what he meant to me throughout my life, I leave you with this thought. Life is too precious and precarious to leave unfinished issue
s with your loved ones. Don't wait until it's too late, as my friend almost did. On this road of life you just never know what awaits you over that next hill. The road on the other side may be wide, smooth and straight, or it might hold a hidden turn, as it did for my friend. As we approach Christmas, do yourself and your loved ones a big favor. Remember my friend, Larry Moore, and make a resolution you can keep - resolve to tell those you love just how you feel. Do it now.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Operation Local News

As reported in an earlier post, two former Daily Pilot honchos have joined forces to create a brand new news source for the Newport-Mesa area. Former publisher Tom Johnson and former editor Bill Lobdell sent the following letter out yesterday announcing their venture:

Dear Friend and Neighbor,

For some 100 years, the Daily Pilot has acted as a watchdog and uniting force for our communities. Recently, however, newspapers have come under financial siege, including our local paper. The Tribune Company, owner of the Pilot, recently has filed for bankruptcy, and the Pilot’s staff has been cut to the bone.

As the days go by, we have become concerned about the Pilot’s future. We’ve asked if the Tribune Company would be willing to sell the Pilot, but received no response. So we’ve decided to explore what we believe is a very viable and exciting alternative.

Simply put, we want to create a daily community newspaper that would operate online and in-print as an independent nonprofit. Believe it or not, it’s being done in other markets (including a very effective operation called the Voice of San Diego that has returned quality local journalism to that community; you can read a New York Times story about the Voice of San Diego here).

We have put together a business plan. The idea is to generate revenue through two means: advertising sales and donations. It’s a financial model based on National Public Radio and PBS.

Our plan calls for a news operation that would effectively cover this community in more depth and creativity than ever before. You’d get everything you’d expect and more: your favorite columnists, community watchdog coverage, opinions and editorials, a complete community calendar, local sports, photos, videos and more.

Together, we took the Pilot from its dark stages in the early ’90s--when the paper was losing $250,000 a month--to its being a financially viable operation, a focal point of the community, and honored as the best community daily in California. We believe we can do it again and better with this new product.

We need your help in two concrete ways. First, help us spread the word locally by forwarding this e-mail to your friends and neighbors. It’s important we get the word out.

Second, let us know if you’d support us as a non-profit in this venture. We’re looking for corporations, foundations, and individuals to make an annual pledge. In addition to $200,000 in start-up costs, we’ll need to raise about $200,000 a year outside of advertising to provide Newport-Mesa with a first-rate news gathering team. (Our ultimate goal is to create a local media nonprofit that can live on through an endowment long after we are gone.)

To review, please forward this e-mail to everyone you know and hit the reply button on this e-mail (here’s the address,, if you’re reading a forwarded copy) and make a pledge--or an appointment for us to show you our business plan.

In the spirit of this new enterprise, we’ve started a website called Operation Local News to allow the community to watch our progress and to contribute the ideas on everything from coverage to the paper’s name. We’ll also keep an ongoing tally of the dollar amount of our pledges. Everything will be transparent.

It’s our guess that the Newport-Mesa community would support a quality news operation, and this is our chance to prove it. If the money isn’t raised, Newport-Mesa will likely end up with, at best, an anemic non-daily paper. That would be a sad day, and it doesn’t have to happen.

Yes, we know. It’s new, it’s different, but it’s also very exciting and the future.

Thanks. Tom Johnson (former publisher of the Daily Pilot/17 years)

Bill Lobdell (former editor of the Daily Pilot/10 years)

As I've said before, my personal preference would be for them to find a way to acquire the Daily Pilot, including its archives, and then morph it into this new model. One would hope that is not a dead issue.

However, Johnson and Lobdell are moving forward. I hope you will forward this link to others who may be interested in this new, exciting venture.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


As an old coo
t I find myself getting joy in small ways - a magnificent sunset, the smiles of the beautiful children in my neighborhood and the way my heart pounds when my wife comes home from work each night. These kinds of pleasures bring as much joy as would winning the lottery - although I'd like to test that theory one of these days, just to be sure.

Today another event occurred that brought a big smile to my face. A loyal reader pointed out that the
Daily Pilot - our newspaper of record for a century - deleted the CM Press from it's roster of community blogs. I'm sorry, but I just can't stop smiling.

For years the relationship between the author of the CM Press, Mr. U. Know-Who, and the management of the Daily Pilot have been strained - to say the very least. For years he would submit commentaries, some of which would be published and some would not. He never failed to express his displeasure when one of his "Mensa meanderings" didn't make the editorial cut and has threatened legal action when he disagreed with characterizations in the Pilot.


There was a time when, I'm sure to provoke controversy, the editors would publish letters from Old Grumpy and
me side-by-side. I thought it was fun. Old Grumpy was ticked off to have his "stellar" work appear beside the feeble efforts of a guy who spends his days living in a cave, wearing a tin foil hat - according to him. That made it even more fun.

Recently Mr. U. Know-Who - who apparently views himself as Jimmy Olson because he played a reporter (badly) in a terrible movie 35 years ago - has decided he knows all there is to know about publishing a local newspaper, so he's begun using his pathetic blog to instruct the editors of the Pilot
on what they need to do to save the paper. I'm sure those comments endeared him to them.


For a guy who tells us he's very smart, he sure doesn't act that way. I mean, does he really think he's going to get a receptive ear from the editors of the Daily Pilot when he perpetually pokes them in the eye wit
h a sharp stick? Not likely.

Or, maybe the editors decided to de-link his blog because they didn't think their community newspaper serves it's readers well by linking to a notorious right-wing extremist who uses the esteem in which he is held by KKK poster boy David Duke as a tool with which to market his pathetic books. That seems like a good reason to me.

So, Mr. U. Know-Who has been expunged from the roster of community bloggers on the Daily Pilot pages and I find myself wondering how he likes it. After all, he's been trying to expunge the Latinos from our city for most of this decade. I wonder how it feels for him to be the "expungee" instead of the "expunger"? In my humble opinion, it's long over due.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mr. U. Know-Who Gets It Wrong - Again!

Over a
t the CM Press this morning, in entry #554, Mr. U. Know-Who - the racist goof ball that pretends to be a reporter just because he played one (badly) for 19 seconds in a terrible movie 35 years ago - demonstrates to his readers just what a pathetic and unreliable "news source" the CM Press really is.


In addition to his abnormal fixation with Katrina Foley and his perpetual pusillanimous pontification about the Daily Pilot, today he again criticizes the Costa Mesa Senior Center Board of Directors for the position some of them apparently take regarding his "golden girl",
Wendy Leece and her desire to be a real, voting member of the board, going so far as to list them by name on his blog. Here's his list, as published on #554:

Executive Committee of Board
Mike Scheafer, President
Joan Weeks, Vice President
Ronald Frankiewicz, Treasurer
Bruce Garlich, Secretary
Del Heintz, Past President

Board Members
Pastor Bill Gartner,
Phyllis Daugherty,
David Kinkade,
Gwyn P. Parry, M.D.,
Scott Roberts,
Byron de Arakal,
Dan Worthington,
Arlene Flanagan,
Marty Burbank

Only problem here is that he continues to use an old web site, which lists a previous iteration of the board! If he were just a little more conscientious he'd be able to provide accurate information to his readers to supplement his biased rants. Here's the actual roster of directors from the correct web site:
Executive Committee of Board
Arlene Flanagan
Joan Weeks
Vice President
Ronald Frankiewicz
Bruce Garlich
Mike Scheafer
Past President

Board Members
Phyllis Daugherty
Judy Lindsay
Patricia Linsky
Gwyn P. Parry M.D.,
Dan Worthington

I guess when you're a member of Mensa, as he tells us he is, people will automatically accept what he
says as gospel. Ha! What a joke! Anyone who has read his rants for awhile understand that they are nothing more than his opinions, founded in his beliefs that the Aryan race is doomed unless all real "white" people go forth and reproduce.


Now, we know Mr. U. Know-Who over at the CM Press reads these pages because he vents his spleen frequently on his site about things that have been written here. Too bad he doesn't pay attenti
on to what appears here, though. If he did, he would realize that we provided the link to the current Costa Mesa Senior Center web site, which included the current roster of directors. Here's the link, again, to the correct web site. We tried to make it easy for old Mensa Marty, but he just didn't take the hint.

Mr. U. Know-Who continues to mislead his readers with "facts" that he makes up to fit his bias. Certainly, at least a few of them are smart enough to realize how he's trying to m
anipulate them, right? Maybe not...

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