Monday, July 07, 2014

My Independence Day...

We here at A Bubbling Cauldron hope you all had a safe and sane Independence Day this year.  We spent our holiday where we could grab a taste of small town Americana and not have to worry about a week of illegal fireworks ruining our sleep and causing neighborhood pets to become apoplectic.

We journeyed to the small Central Coast community of Cambria, where being found even possessing fireworks - "legal" or illegal - carries with it a MINIMUM $2,000 fine!  As a result, during our several-day visit we heard NOT ONE firework being discharged - except on the evening of the 4th, when the entire community gathers to watch a professional fireworks show being shot off from the beach.

I couldn't help but contemplate how this little community - right at 6,000 permanent residents - manages to get along without so-called "safe and sane" fireworks when we here in Costa Mesa seem to be unable to even contemplate life without them.

They condense the celebration into one day - July 4th.  They have an all-day party in a large municipal park right at the beach.  Thousands of residents and visitors to this tourist-oriented town gather for food, music and fun.
There are waiter/waitress races, where teams from local restaurants have a great time competing against each other for bragging rights for a year.
There are pie-eating contests sponsored by a local establishment famous world-wide for their Olallieberry Pies.  These contests are a hoot!  Contestants must eat a pie hands-free with the ten-minute time limit with no assistance except from a "scraper", a person who helps keep the pie stacked in front of the eaters.  So, it's face-down, gobbling the pie until not a morsel is left on the table.
The boys and girls and the women eat small pies but the men must devour a full-size FOUR POUND Olallieberry pie.  The record, set last year, is five minutes, eleven seconds - set by the fellow who finished a distant second this year.  The winner this year finished well over seven minutes.
In the women's competition, contestants from the Miss California Mid-State Fair competition - including the the recently-crowned Queen, Sabrina Dunn from nearby Templeton - participated.  In fact, Dunn won the pie eating contest!  Last year's queen, and a runner-up this year, Eloida Moore from Cambria, also competed.  When was the last time you saw a beauty queen with pie jammed up her nostrils?
There were stands selling hot dogs, hamburgers, tri-tip sandwiches, drinks, strawberry shortcake, corn on the cob, pies and Independence Day baubles as fundraising events for a variety of community needs.
There were families making a real celebration of it, with pop-up shade shelters, coolers full of food, beverages and lots of fun and games.
There was music from the permanent bandstand from 9:00 a.m. until the fireworks began more than half-a-day later.
The highlight, of course, is the discharge of the professional fireworks show that begins after dark - this year it started at 9:15 - and continues for around 45 minutes, or until all the shells have been fired out over the ocean.  Friday was an overcast day - as is the case most days on the Central Coast this time of the year when the intense heat inland Paso Robles environs pulls a blanket of fog ashore along the coast.  Sometimes that fog lingers into the night and the fireworks are just colorful puffs in the clouds.  This year, though,  at sundown the fog - right on cue - withdrew a few miles offshore and the celebration proceeded under a cloudless sky with a chunk of moon looking down.
In the meantime, back here at home our public safety folks were out in force, trying to protect the city.  According to sources, Fire Chief Dan Stefano had a few extra staffers on duty for the day and night.  He had three arson investigators teamed up with police officers for much of the night.   I'm told we had approximately half our police force on duty on Friday - including Chief Tom Gazsi, who was in uniform, on the streets trying to maintain peace on a day when the combination of patriotic revelry, safe and sane fireworks masking the use of illegal stuff and too much alcohol created some difficult times - including a tragic event where an allegedly-drunk woman crashed into two people who were in the middle of West Wilson Street setting off fireworks, HERE.  According to sources, both those young people remain in a trauma unit with serious injuries.
So, neighbors, I hope you paused to recall what this holiday is supposed to be all about.  Remember the sacrifices that men and women have made over the years to create this wonderful country, and to defend it when challenged.  Now take a moment to watch this short video of Kate Smith singing God Bless America, a song written nearly 100 years ago.... watch as the video plays - you'll likely see some familiar faces.  Ms. Smith...

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Geoff, that sounds like a wonderful time. On the occasions when I've been able to be in a smaller town on the 4th its always been a much more "All American" holiday than it is here. Sadly the 4th here was a total embarrassment. My elderly neighbors were very upset and not well for 2 days afterwards. People don't realize how upsetting these explosions are for elderly people.

I saw people nearby shooting mortars over the heads of the cops and laughing, just defying them to do anything about it. This is not what the 4th of July should be about.

Once again, greed takes over the warped minds of our councilmen, and now they've ruined the 4th.

I hope those two men that were hit by the drunk driver will ultimately be okay. Very sad.

7/07/2014 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Your celebration sounds delightful and a lot like the one I had in New Jersey!

All those events could be monetized and turned into fund raisers for the teams and clubs (like the Fish Fry). Celebrate at either Fairview or the fair grounds and have a fabulous professional display. What a sense of community, rather than little groups or single blocks staying separate. I would love to see that.

Welcome back and happy Independence Day.

7/07/2014 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Great post, welcome back!
As part of the festivities at our house, our gathering watched the celebration in Washington, DC. The high point of that was this medley from Jersey Boy Frankie Valli, still great at age 80:

7/07/2014 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

Thank you for the video clip. I was moved to tears by it. Ah, memories.

7/07/2014 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

This just in:

Propaganda Popp is selling the illegal Fairview Park path as something volunteers "extended" and "maintained" to protect kids.

Sounds like someone's in big trouble and the Newport Bosses have ordered up a push to spin the facts.

These sycophants should just tell the truth many of us already know: A DG road was created on federally protected land so that football game attendees could be shuttled across the park by golf cart. As usual, rules and laws were ignored. Certain people must answer for what they did.

7/08/2014 08:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Popp is indeed a big proponent of propaganda. Not to mention, a horrible writer. Makes me wonder if he's all with us these days. Some of his stuff is just weird, if you can even figure it out.

Anyway, fireworks. Yes, they are still being blown off in our part of town. I'm really getting sick of it.

7/09/2014 07:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Skeptical in Costa Mesa said...

Speaking of DG path cover ups. . . Is there the possibility of filing under Freedom of Information Act a petition to open the files on the investigation? Just thinking. (hoping!)

7/09/2014 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

"Pop" Popp's spin sounds uncommonly exactly like what old Martin Millard said in what I think was his last (read "most recent") appearance at city council... He made some mention of how whoever did it should be decorated for promoting "Kids' safety".

I'm glad we didn't find any dead kids under the several cubic yards of decomposed granite. Joy can be found in the most depressing of circumstances.

7/09/2014 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Oh yeah, he set a wonderful example 'for the kids'. Now he can waive to them through the bars where I hope he will be housed for the next few months.

7/09/2014 09:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

To solve the DG Trail mystery, one would have had to know where to look, when to look and what to look for.

If you don't know what you are looking for, you will never be able to follow the path. I followed it until it became a better idea to leave it alone for personal reasons.

You will not be able to access the Federal probe for years to come.

I will predict that there will be no one going to jail over this path, and the investigation will dissolve like an ice cube in hot water.

7/09/2014 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

The 3rd, 4th And 5 th. was more like benhgazi than independence day....bottle rockets, bombs until
the windows shook...for days....this is the worst Ive seen in 43 years...NextDoor had over 200 entries about the fireworks, police were called and the city was under siege they couldnt handle all tbe calls. Next year pick me up on you way out of town...our brand is strong...illegal fireworks, do it yourself dg path, attmpt to stifle council comments...our brand is strong?

7/10/2014 08:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Skeptical in Costa Mesa said...

Very intriguing Ken. For personal reasons? I have family on the East Coast that don't I ask many questions about for "personal reasons" also. Is the mob involved with the DG path? Has the CMCC been taken over by a criminal element? Why will the people of CM have to wait a long time to find out the truth? Is it going to hurt the kids to find one of their leaders is a criminal and liar? As disappointing as that would be, it could be one of the best life lessons to be had.

7/10/2014 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

I’m skeptical, Skeptical...

I am mortified at your suggestion that I would personally know if there is something hinky going on around Costa Mesa involving how the local rule book is written, applied and adjudicated...

I of course never assume anything, nor write about the unknown, especially when it is for “personal reasons”..

Since you have family on the East coast, where business is never discussed in front of children and spouses, and that the children are off limits in business actions, and that all family matters go through the Consigliere before any decision is made, you would know that your reading between the lines and asking these questions of me, is off limits since I am but a child.....

From my experiences in life, if a made guy was out here from the East coast, he would probably be from the Democratic Boston area, where obligatory political connections always lead to the trash can man, a private club, a bank, a restaurant, a warehouse, private aircraft, a fencing company, a dock, the waterfront, a transportation company, a construction company, a publishing outfit and a building supply company. It is simply amazing how fast things can change in an eight year span...

Some people even have the ability to know ahead of time, when things are scheduled to be coming up, and have the claivoyancy of folks like Eugene Hasenfus, G.G. Liddy, “Fat Tony” Salerno, Whitey Bulger and the like...Wait a minute, these guys are all either Republicans, in jail, dead or democrats turned Republican...

Of course for us old time Costa Mesa boys like me that recently moved out of town, one night out of the blue, to the desert, that would be...

“Charlie The Ape”...”Chisney”...“Cheeks”...and the “Magician”...

Of course I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground, and all of this is pure fiction and an assumption on my part...So my attorney says...

7/10/2014 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous CMTaxpayer said...

Don't know Ken's personal reasons. Do know some who oppose the council cronyboys club have been followed, stalked is accurate, computers hacked, sent dirty letters, sent threatening letters, some who dare to express opinions threatened with lawsuits, many told to "watch your step", "watch what you say". folks backed into corners and yelled at, someone who was in a legal proceeding opposing councilmen had property vandalized to intimidate him. folks menaced by someone mimicking shooting: as in aiming a finger and pulling the trigger and also someone making gestures with sound effects of being mowed down by a machine gun. Some have mysteriously lost jobs-no reason. not just city employees, talking about private sector with the smell of council crony club influence all over it. It's not the American way, even though some phony so-called patriots think it's the way to play. Don't be intimidated. Then they win. repeat: DONT BE INTIMIDATED. Semper fi.

7/10/2014 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

CMTaxpayer, some have had their cars damaged, and personal private information posted in public on the internet. Not one event, but a few.

By the way, where's Fitz been lately?

7/10/2014 06:40:00 PM  

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