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September 2017

Our world, here in the USA, feels odd, weird, like something’s not right. Our President Trump seems to attract problems. After his election I thought everything would calm down. He won the election, so he would settle down in the White House and get to work to handle some of the problems we face all the time. The need for more jobs, more training for those who lost jobs. He talked about re-building our infrastructure, like highways, transit hubs, factories. Cities back east, especially need to be revived into productive centers for workers again. If we look around we can see a lot of things that need to be repaired, replaced, moved, etc. Here in L.A. buildings are going up all over, mostly apartments/condo developments. We have huge buildings going up in downtown L.A. that will be hotels, plus apartments for rent, condos for sale. Our mayor has been so anxious to have the Olympics held here again. That’s probably going to happen and it probably will be okay. With good planning and security it should go well. We definitely should not go into debt to have the Olympics here.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has been traveling about, not saying directly that he’s interested in being the next governor of California., but there’s a good chance he is very interested. L.A. is just too small for his aspirations. Our current governor is almost finished with his long reign so someone else will take his place. It feels as though the same people have been running our state, city, whatever for most of my life. Politicians run for offices with the best intentions, to cut waste, to make things more efficient. Then, once in office they find out how much they can do--get away with, the perks and privileges of office and that’s it, that’s all they care about. Many have “pet projects” they push until they get their way. California’s system of governance is massive, on every level. The smallest cities have money that gets wasted, stolen, diverted to nonsense projects. It all goes somewhere, somehow. Too much winds up in the politician’s pockets. A few do get caught and do go to prison.

At this point in my life I have almost no respect for most politicians. Some have served with distinction, serving their constituents with honor. There is no hint of recklessness, of conniving, or self service. Today the majority just don’t measure up. Some lie, cheat, pretty much leave the work to their staffs to take care of. The “boss” is busy with “meetings,” lunches and dinners with wealthy donors who need favors. Some are busy getting buildings, highways, bridges, schools named after themselves. They all want to leave a legacy behind. Few deserve accolades.

In my opinion, one man does deserve a lot of our respect, Senator John McCain. He has served his country for decades, first as a member of the armed forces. He was captured by the enemy and locked up under dire, cruel conditions for years. He endured monstrous conditions but finally came home to the U.S. He has served his Arizona constituents well for many years. He ran for President, lost and was totally gracious about it. So I cringed when our current president, Trump, said about McCain, “I don’t like people who get captured.”

Our current president doesn’t deserve to shine Senator Mc Cain’s shoes. Trump lacks the skill, the grace to apologize for such a heinous remark. Nothing this narcissistic man does would surprise me now. He has nothing to give to our democracy. It truly is “all about him” and sooner or later it will all catch up to him. His impulsive behavior, his inability to understand complex situations, relationships and his lack of everyday knowledge about how the world works is all a negative. He doesn’t think he needs to understand much, except his own ideas, his own wishes. His orders must be obeyed by his staff or they’ll lose their jobs. The White House has been a revolving door for hired staff. Somehow they don’t measure up and they’re out.

Trump seems to not want to do the everyday work of being a president but he adores the ceremonies. It seems that he is always leaving on the presidential plane or helicopter, to go somewhere. I think he loves the ceremonial aspect of that, being saluted as he boards and departs. Which also reminds me that the taxpayers are spending a fortune guarding his large family wherever they go. They are all being guarded day and night by the Secret Service and apparently they’re busting the budget.

We now have a national disaster in Texas. The TV pictures are horrible, heartbreaking. So much damage, so fast, who could have anticipated such a monstrous deluge of water? President Trump went to “visit” the victims of the ravaged area. What a farce. He visited an area that is completely underwater and didn’t even get his shoes wet. Okay, this is snide, but his wife arrived wearing high heels as she left their plane. The president sat with a number of people around a table and I didn’t hear empathy or compassion for the first responders or the many citizens who have been working around the clock to save people from their broken houses, finding shelter, where? Medical services where? Yes, there are many victims but there are also many heroes who are there to serve, to give, to help. A contingent of firefighters from Los Angeles went right away help, as they have for many other disasters around the world.

Trump constantly criticizes former President Obama, but I distinctly remember seeing President Obama arriving at disaster sites to reassure the people in distress. He showed compassion, reassured the people, hugged victims and got his shoes wet. In my opinion Trump was making just another ceremonial visit, to make sure he got his face on the nightly news.

By now someone might ask, is the president doing anything right? As far as I’m concerned, NO. We’re just going to get more of the same until he finally leaves office. We have to endure this selfish, narcissistic man and his outrageous behavior for a long time. We have to endure the revolving door at the White House as “employees” come and go, rapidly every week, every month. We’re just citizens trying to manage our own lives, take care of our families, our jobs, our own daily welfare. Every parent has experienced a kid saying, “It’s not fair!” when they think they’re not being treated well. That’s where we are now, it’s just not fair!

We need a strong military force because there are crazy people, despotic leaders in other countries who are always testing their own boundaries. There’s that crazy leader in North Korea who is blasting off intercontinental missiles aimed for other countries. His plan is to hit north America. What a world we live in! It’s hard enough to deal with natural disasters that occur all over the world, without thinking about all the crazy dictators who are responsible for millions of lives. Right now we have to deal with the storms in Texas. Too much rain, coming in too fast as people try to leave the region, leave their homes which have been pulverized to pieces. We know that it will take a monumental effort to save people, then the tattered infrastructure left behind.

Our resilience as a country has been tested over and over. Many have dealt with the forces of nature gone amok so with time, the rebuilding will begin. People rely on family, friends, their own local resources, the National guard and so on for safety and relief. Nobody can be made “whole again” because so many precious things are gone forever. Scrapbooks, photos, documents, mementos are impossible to replace but as long as “core families” are safe then the will to continue, to start again will hold. Americans will take care of Americans. Los Angeles fire/rescue teams left for Texas immediately. It’s always been that way, disaster after disaster. We will prevail, against all odds, we will be here. Do what you can for the victims in Texas. At the very least a prayer might help.

Hang in there.

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August 2017

What a strange world we live in now. Life is one contradiction after another. We had a long election season last year and in November Donald Trump won the race for President. He was sworn in as President in January 2017. Millions of people watched the ceremonies on TV and in Washington and everything went smoothly. The Obama family boarded a helicopter and that was it. They were done with all their duties and were on to a new life.

Later new President Donald Trump was in the White House with news people and he complained that over a million people had attended his inauguration in Washington yet the press/media stated that it was less than that. A lot of people all over the world watched the inauguration on TV. He was peeved, to say the least, insisting that a million were in Washington, more than were there for Obama’s inauguration.

His choices for his cabinet positions has been chaotic; people come and go from positions. It seems that things are settling down but they are never okay. He seems very restless, going to Florida to his property there to play golf and meet people. There’s another golf resort that he owns closer to Washington that he likes. President Trump seems hyper-busy, for no good reason. His travels to the Middle East and Europe seem to be rushed affairs, meet, greet, so long! He is seen getting on and off Air Force One frequently.

More than six months have now passed and his Director of Communications, Sean Spicer has just quit. A new Director was chosen and he’ going to be someone to watch. Anthony Scaramucci is a firecracker with a hot, nasty name calling temper. He later apologized, which he’s probably going to have to do a lot.From all the talented commination specialists in the world Scaramucci was chosen. The White House is not a set for “The Sopranos.” It’s not important but the Mooch’s wife has filed for divorce. Oh, wait a minute! Scaramucci has already been fired from his position! I’m writing this as it was being announced on the radio. So The Mooch lasted, what, ten days? He was fired by John Kelly, the newest White House Chief of Staff, who just began his new assignment. Wow, that was fast, super fast!

Trump fired FBI Director Comey for what reason? That whole issue is yet to be finished. The President wants a wall built between Mexico and the USA, which is figured to cost $70 billion dollars. Also, there are numerous geological and practical reasons why a wall would be very difficult to build, difficult to manage. Of course President Trump wants the credit if it ever happens. Why not? Let him put his name on it. There’s a lot to be done now, before the first ceremonial shovel of dirt is photographed.

At this time it appears that President Trump has a beef with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions recused himself from the investigation, that Russia meddled with the election which put Trump into office. Trump also has spoken about firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller. If he fired Sessions he would be able to fire Mueller without Sessions in the picture. Will he do it? He could, with no thought about how it looked to Americans in general. This is all complicated yet Trump continues to lead with his own whims. He demands loyalty from everyone around him but then he decides who is loyal. And who is not. I think that’Trump is the definition of a bully, a tyrant with no core values, no loyalty to anyone except for his own family. He can’t or won’t take responsibility for his own faulty decisions. He goes to the crowds, his followers and says that everything is just great. Or it will be when everyone follows his lead.

President Trump appeared at the national Boy Scout Jamboree. It would have been a great opportunity to explain how “character counts,” how serving communities is good for everyone. He could had spoken about how strong, good leaders make our country stronger. No, he spent a lot of time bragging about himself and his many “accomplishments.” Sadly many in the young audience were cheering his anger, his hatred. Trump just doesn’t know when to shut up and listen to others. It always has to be about him.

Despite what is going on in Washington, the rest of u are doing our best to continue working, taking care of our families, and communities, sharing our time and labor to make our streets and neighborhoods safer, better. Washington is a tough place but so is Los Angeles. We are also hampered by politicians and their crazy ideas. No one has shut down the “bullet train idea.” Money is still being spent to get that train on the tracks, even as the cost is already out of sight. The only ones gaining are those who have been hired to get it done, no matter what the public wants.

Traffic is pretty lousy here in many parts of L.A. It really is a slog to get around easily. Over near the beach, a councilman decided that bike lanes were more important, so the public lost a vital lane to drive on. Bike lanes were deemed more important. So the traffic built up in a matter of days to horrendous. Traffic jams were horrible, tempers flared because daily commutes to work, school, etc were longer, more frustrating than usual. The public started complaining, with encouragement from Jon & Ken on radio station KFI. They have a big audience and encouraged drivers (tax payers) to protest to Councilman Bonin’s office. He backed off and said the street were going to get re-painted.

It’s about time that the tax-paying public starts complaining more. Our taxes, for everything, are pretty high in California. Our “leaders” can find more ways to tax us over and over again. Here, developers get just about everything they want. They find big lots then want to build HUGE developments there, shopping developments, more apartments and condos. Hard to believe but permits were okayed for developers to build such housing right next to freeways. They are really packed tight around the downtown L.A. area, Hollywood, the Valleys, everywhere. These buildings are supposed to have powerful air conditioning systems to keep the foul, dangerous traffic fumes at bay. It’s so bad that tenants/owners can’t open their windows ever. Expect law suits in the future. Here in L.A. money always comes first. Developers most often get exactly what they want. Oh, I almost forgot, there’s a very nice, high class high school for the arts smack next to a freeway.

Hang in there.

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July 2017

There’s no doubt that government is complicated, whether it’s a federal, state, county or city government entity. We are all being affected daily, personally by the policies set up by those governments. Even people who have “no roots in society” like the homeless are very much affected by government workers. They come in contact with police, social workers, health care providers and more. So, from birth to death we are surrounded by government.

We’ve come through a long, extra long, political season to elect a new president and other important vacancies locally. Every day there’s news about the president’s activities in exhaustive coverage. Most of us are interested in what is happening in Washington, with the president and other elected leaders. What happens there will eventually affect all of us, whether we voted for him or not. There has never been (in my lifetime) such dedicated, relentless coverage of a president. Some are eager to know what he’s doing, others are aghast at what he’s doing.

Most came to know him through his TV show, The Apprentice, where “celebrities” were teamed up to accomplish tasks. Raising funds for charity was the backbone of the show. Donald Trump would greet the contestants, usually arriving by his limo, private plane or yacht. His daughter, son and a professional manager would monitor the contestants in their assignments. Donald Trump came in last to ask questions and evaluate who would earn the title of Apprentice at the end of the season’s run.

There was plenty of squabbling among the contestants. That was the interesting part; how they argued but still had to complete the task together. The laggards were dispatched week by week. The show focused on showing off Trump properties, such as organizing a fundraiser at a Trump golf course. It got tiresome so I stopped watching. The next thing I heard much later was that Donald Trump was running for president of the USA. Wow! Talk about reaching for the stars! The ultimate prize, running the country like you run a business!

President Donald Trump thinks that he can run the country like he ran his businesses. Leading a country like the USA is like nothing else in the world. It can’t be compared to running other countries. Australia and New Zealand are “stand alone” countries but quite isolated. Japan is a standalone country but very close to other major countries. The Philippines are a series of different sized islands. Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is another USA state. The United States came together after being “owned” by other countries. We had to fight for our freedom. With time and diligence our first citizens conquered everything that had to be taken care of. A few centuries and here we are!

Now we have entire countries that have been disrupted, torn apart by war and leaders who truly don’t know how to lead. They don’t know how to set reasonable goals, plan and execute a way to achieve important goals for the people’s benefit. What has happened and continues in the Middle East is a disaster.

We didn’t change anything, help anyone, stop vicious leaders in their wanton destruction of their own countries. Maybe the new regime in Washington will come to some good decisions about that morass of despair. We, as taxpayers should be appalled at what has happened to billions of dollars in aid to a handful of countries there. We still have a military presence there and American soldiers are still losing their lives there. We got rid of a few despots but some lousy leaders remain. The president of Syria seems determined to turn his country into endless rubble, while his citizens flee in terror. Our President Trump tired to ban refugees from Syria from coming into our country, which created chaos at airports. The suffering of those caught in these hellish places is astounding.

Of course, the average American citizen can’t do much about the national issues out there. Right now I’m more concerned about my own community. Our Mayor Garcetti seems to be breezing along with everything he wants to accomplish. As long as eligible voters don’t bother to take a few minutes to vote, then the politicians who run L.A. get whatever they want. Mayor Garcetti wants the Olympics to be held here for the third time.

The Olympic Games have lost some luster over the years. They ask for a fortune from any country that holds the games and sometimes it becomes a total financial loss for the hosts. L.A. probably ran one of the best games ever and actually made money at the end. Can we do it again? Should we even need to? P.S. Mayor Garcetti announced this morning that he’s running for the Governor’s race which is coming up pretty soon. Goodbye Governor Brown, who has done enough damage to California tax payers. Now we need to bury the high-speed train idea before more millions/billions are wasted.

A new player in the food business is Aldi. They want to join all the other established grocery companies here in the Southland. Why? Don’t they know about another company from up north that bought out Albertson’s and crashed in a really short time. They failed to bring anything new to the consumers so they failed big time. Fresh & Easy was a store I liked. Stores were smaller but still offered a good variety of products. I could go in and out pretty easily, quickly. Then they were done, finished. Gone in a flash.

Now even Amazon wants to get into the grocery business. Like they’re not already rich enough! They have warehouses so they figure they can get into the online ordering and fast delivery grocery business. Wal-Mart has a plan to have current employees deliver food orders on their way home after work. A good idea? Who knows? At least they are using the employees they already have and I assume they will be paid for the extra time on the clock. There are a few businesses that deliver food directly to homes right no. Some are struggling because maybe L.A. is just too big, too spread out to make that idea viable.

Good ideas are always needed, to make things easier for busy people. It seems to me that some of these huge corporations are always going after their competitors, always trying to take money from other businesses. Don’t the emperors of these multi-billion dollar businesses have enough, of everything?

As I listen to the radio right now the news is that the L.A. Department of Water & Power has just signed a new deal with the city. Their union is very powerful and they usually get what they want, more money. So that means that very likely our water/electricity bills will get bigger. That’s a big worry for a lot of people. The DWP had two non-profit organizations, which ratepayers paid $4-milliom per year to maintain. Mayor Garcetti got the union to give up the $4 million per year from taxpayers, but instead the union will be getting $56 million every year for five years to pay for raises and other perks for the union. Hmm, that doesn’t sound like a good deal for us!

Some Water & Power employees start at base salaries of $100,000 and then get salary enhancements of $14,00 to $22,000 in other benefits. The union also spends a lot of money to train employees to further their skills. They learn what they need and some go on to work for other utilities. Some employees also go to “retreats” at posh locations to learn more skills. The union is powerful and Mayor Garcetti always caves in and gives them what they want. A few council members throw out mild criticism but they always cave in too. It’s very easy for the DWP to keep their power and not much citizens can do because we all need our utilities, right? This is a never-solved problem that we all pay for.

The cost of living here in California is high and we never hear that something, anything is going to cost less. Some people are making good salaries while many others are scraping by. We are a car culture, where most people drive to work near and far. Some are saying that the terrible smog we used to have will return with a vengeance. In short, L.A. can be a very stressful place to live in and try to make a living. Our summers seem endless sometimes and we just have to wait for the change in seasons. I complain about the heat, I complain about the cold. It’s what I do.

Is there any hope left? Can we look to the future without worrying so much about everything? Maybe. There are a lot of people who have decided to do something about the election of President Trump. The Republicans are in control now and the future is unknown. One new organization is Run For Something, which encourages people to run for an office in their area. They are aiming to counterbalance the control that Republicans now have. People are raising or spending their own money to develop reasonable ideas for the future. They don’t necessarily have to be Democrats. That sounds interesting and could encourage people to participate in their communities. Some action is better than no action.

Did you notice that I haven’t written the word jazz yet? Of course I’m interested in jazz. I went out and heard some jazz in the recent past. I’m very pleased with this website of ours and a lot of people are finding it and enjoying what they see. We’re still learning, evolving and always looking for material. If you love jazz tell your friends about our website. If you know someone who could advertise ask them to call us. And don’t forget to…

Hang in there.

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“People say that what we’re looking for is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.”
Joseph Campbell
Mythologist and writer
March 29, 1904-Oct. 30, 1987

JUNE 2017

For the last several months I’ve been driving all over the valley area. I’ve been taking my daughter to various medical appointments. I see new developments everywhere. Large, new apartment or condo complexes in Hollywood, downtown L.A , in Canoga Park, Northridge, North Hollywood, San Fernando and more. New businesses are springing up near these new buildings. This is good for business people, those looking for jobs and the L.A. economy in general. There is lots of interest in living and working near the ocean. Those are prized areas. In short, L.A. is booming but our growth needs to be paced carefully.

The thing that spoils all this new building is the traffic it brings. In order to afford to buy homes people have to move out of the city’s core, which means commutes of 50-60 miles or more each way. Some folks drive in from Bakersfield and Ventura and southern counties. Commuting is tough for everyone.

L.A. has a serious problem with our shabby, pot-holed freeways and rough streets. Where I live a main street has been set aside for bike riders with repainted lanes and bollards put in place. Two lanes have become one lane for vehicles. We have heavy traffic in the mornings and evenings when drivers are going and coming back from work. I’m in that area a lot, but I haven’t seen a bike rider anywhere. It’s also hilly in my area, so that’s another reason for the lack of bike riders. Was this project necessary?

Speaking of neighborhoods; there’s a house for sale in Bel Air that has a price tag of $250 million dollars. That’s not a typo. Someone spent four years building this 4-story “house,” which actually looks like a four-star hotel. 38,000 square feet is BIG. There are 12 bedrooms and 21 bathrooms. The pool is huge, with enough space for a dozen lounge chairs. The house comes with $30 million dollars worth of cars and motorcycles.

There is a helicopter on the roof that is not to use, but is an art piece. The house is filled with many more art installations. I can’t imagine what the neighbors went through during the mess and noise, trucks loaded with supplies and machinery needed on site. This is one end of the housing market in L.A. There are modest homes available all over but they’re not cheap.

There is no cheap housing for sale, unless it’s a “tear down.” That’s happening in my neighborhood; the house next door is being ripped apart to be rebuilt, larger. Across the street a massive house has been erected on a small lot. That’s been happening for years here in my suburb, small houses on big lots are torn down and replaced with very big houses. Every scrap of land is being used for home building.

Since real estate is the topic: the median price of a house in the whole L.A. country is $550,000. Houses have become more valuable and many houses start at $600,000+plus. L.A. is the favored region for foreign buyers and they’re looking for everything; houses, hotels, office buildings, shopping centers, apartment and condo buildings and industrial sites. They want everything. Recently four Westwood area office buildings sold for $2.6 billion. Our weather is very good most of the time. All we have to worry about here is fires in the mountain areas and earthquakes!

Despite our flaws, there is a chance L.A. will be selected for the next Summer Olympics, which will be held in various locations during a two-week period. Our leaders, most of them, want to host the Olympics and they say that we can do it without spending a lot of money. We won’t go bankrupt like many other countries have after they figure out the costs and benefits. Holding the Olympics has been a costly burden to some countries.

In fact, I’ve read that some of the huge buildings that were built in China are not even used today for anything. We’ve had two very successful Games here so we could just say no. Our Mayor wants it to happen, so we’ll have to wait and see if we’re going to be chosen. The candidates are L.A. and Paris, France. That’s the whole race, right there. Lots of countries did say NO.

I was thinking recently about how a person could live a “reasonable life.” First of all, the basics have to be covered: shelter, food, access to medical care and work. Work should provide the money for food and shelter. Medical insurance, through taxes would cover that. Those in the workforce have a heavy load to carry if they are married, with children or other responsibilities. Debt for a home, further education, food, clothing and transportation are all necessities, not luxuries. Many are hard pressed to ever be able to buy a home. Today, couples have to both work at substantial jobs in order to pay for a “reasonable” life.

We, as consumers are “trained” to want more. We see so much stuff on TV that is enticing. Trucks have become the favored mode of transportation for many. $60,000, $70,000 is the new normal for a shiny, fully loaded truck. Lots of young drivers prefer the sporty and noisy sedans. The SUV’s today are quite amazing. They are capable of carrying big loads, more passengers and a TV screen for the kids in the back is sure a nice extra.

The new outdoor shopping malls are spectacular and very tempting places to spend money. Walk into any shop and you’ll find something you want to buy. I recently had a hard time at a farmer’s market because it was filled with California grown fruits and vegetables. The strawberries were as big as eggs, red and shiny. Delicious! I wanted to buy more of those enticing fruits and veggies. The market also had fresh yogurt, bread and pastries, toys, jewelry, purses and all kinds of food to eat right there, plants and gorgeous fresh flowers. I look forward to my next visit.

The point is, that we’re very lucky to be in California, where things are going well right now. In Burbank a new IKEA store went up and it’s bigger than any other IKEA in the U.S. Jobs are available for younger job seekers. They can get their foot in the door at many retail stores and there is a chance for advancement. I noticed a lot of young workers at my recent visit to Target. Fast food outlets are still hiring young workers. “Real world experience” is the best thing for most people, young or older.

The big things we produce in the USA , such as airplanes are sold all over the world. We can do great things, produce great products if our leaders would do a better job. For example, our Governor Jerry Brown is gaga over a bullet train in California. He has supported the billion-dollar “train to nowhere” from the start. More and more people say it would not serve the public well, is way too expensive and will take decades to reach bigger cities for more passengers. The Governor thinks this train will be his big legacy, a way to always be remembered. I will always remember him as the guy who insisted we needed this enormous boondoggle.

There are things that I can’t change so I just try to deal with it. The people around me are not always cooperative but I try to ignore that and continue on my own path. I work hard and don’t mind that, most of the time. I like it when my yard looks nice, when flowers bloom. Hard work doesn’t discourage me. There is something very satisfying when a hard task is complete. It’s a personal victory!

President Trump and some family members are visiting the Middle East right now. He was welcomed by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. A deal was made for the U.S. to sell $110 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The deal could expand to $350 billion over ten years. Trump was joined by CEO’s of some major U.S. companies and that could lead to more sales of USA products. Altogether the President’s first visit to Saudi Arabia was successful. At home, he is trying to make big cuts in a lot of programs that people need, such as food stamps, medical care, including eliminating Federal support to the Affordable Care Act. wants to cut a lot of programs, while boosting the military and defense. His proposals will severely affect a President Trump wants to cut programs that serve the elderly, handicapped and lower income folks. There will be a lot of fighting in Congress about everything.

While President Trump was overseas a crazy man entered a theater in Manchester, England and set off a bomb. The audience of mostly very young girls were enjoying a concert by a popular American singe. Some parents sat with their kids inside, others were waiting for their kids just outside the venue. The chaos was horrendous and 22 girls were killed, the youngest was 8-years old. . The killer who set off the bomb was killed. Authorities immediately went after possible accomplices.

The longer we live, it seems the world is the same. Innocents being attacked for no reason. It could have been worse. Killers have been preparing in cities all over the world for just this kind of violence. England has been ready and they reacted swiftly. The killer is dead. That’s the only good thing that happened. There’s just no understanding the world we live in.

I’m optimistic about the future here in California. I’ve always felt comfortable here, even when I was a kid. Lucky for me I went to school, kinder to college, enjoyed learning and I had fun. That was good enough for me.


Hang in there.

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“Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful.” Erich Fromm, German social psychologist, March 23,1900-March 18, 1980 March 23, 1900-March 18, 1980

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May 2017

One of my all-time favorite movies is Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman. The story begins with him walking down a dark street somewhere in the Southern part of the USA, breaking parking meters. He's caught. jailed and sent to a prison out in the country. The men are heavily guarded as they dig ditches. Luke runs away and is caught. The warden lectures the entire group of men, saying, "What we have here is a failure of communication." Luke must be punished severely, so he will be an example for the rest of the prisoners. He's put in a hole in the ground, with a gnte for air. He's barely alive when he is brought out of the hole. He says he won't run away again. The rest of the film is first rate, with great performances from all the actors. The music is stunning, as composed by Lalo Schifrin.

The failure of communication goes on everyday, in all professions, families, friends rod government. Especially in government. Our American system guarantees freedom for all ofus, the freedom to live as we wish, as long as we obey the basic rules of life. We must respect others, help those in need. offer a trial in court for those accused of criminal behavior, rehabilitation for those who need it, protection by law enforcement for everyone. We offer education _to all and a system of choices that allow people to succeed in life. All that is vital to a free nation.

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Americans have a long program of steps to elect a new President every four years, with two major parties competing. This last election was so long I thought it would never end. The candidates travel all over the country to meet and greet possible voters, raise money to coninue that process. TV and press media step in with coverage of conventions, debates, rallies and more. Everything matters; evef mistake, flub, falsehood, stumble are sent out for everyone to see and remember. It's a grueling process that should be changed in some areas. If it lasts so long, people do lose interest, while others become almost fanatical about their candidate and will come to blows if necessary. We need a shorter campaign season.

A woman could have been elected, a first for our country. That didn't happen so a lot of women have been energized to fight back, to get more women interested in running for public ofices and they're ready to protest until that happens. It's a daunting task but not impossible to achieve. I hope I live long mough to see that happen, because I think it's very important for young women to test and reach all the opportunities they can, as long as they are qualified.

Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton FBI Director James Corney decided just days before the fina election day to reopen an investigation of Clinton's email account. He now told Democratic senators that it was a difficult decisiort for him to make 11-days before the national election. It brought some sense of bad behavior or at least bad decision making on Clinton's part. He had no thought that this probe might affect the contest in any way. He stands by his decision The senators also questioned him about not fully investigating Donald Trump's possible contacts with Russia. All that doesn't matter anynore because the election is over. It surely will be analyzed for years to come. A failure to communicate clearly and fully has caused many problems in our political system.

Politicians do lie on a regular basis. Some get away with it for a longtime before they're even challenged. They just don't see themselves as fakes, liars or dishonorable. They don't have the honesty to self evaluate and conclude that they're not functioning "fair and square." We do have some politicians who do follow the rules and do represent their constituents well, year after year. They're the politicians that we need in office.

Our Mayor, Eric Garcetti wants the next summer Olympics to beheld here in L.A. He's been traveling all over meeting with Olympic officials. We've been very lucky here in L.A. pulling off two very successful Olympic Games. We even had a profit from the last evert we sponsored. No problems at all. l think that there are many pluses in our favor but it is disruptive to our everyday livesfor two weeks or more. Do the citizens even get to vote? Just wondering.

It seems that many customers were satisfied with the service they were getting from most airlines. That is until United Airlines really botched everything they stood for by dragging a passenger down an aisle on his back. It was a very ugly scene which was caught on camera by many passengers. The airline needed four seats for crew members who were headed to work elsewhere. None of the customers were wiling to give up their seats so one particular man was dragged down the aisle. What a horrible sight! When airlines overbook a flight they will offer money to anyone who will give up their seats. It was a very stupid blunder. First of all they should always leave at least a couple of seats for employees. But when there are four who need seats why not put them on another airplane? There should always be smaller jets available for just such occasions.

There's no need to drag customers off of planes. The CEO of the airline had to make a personal appearance at a congressional hearing in Washington. United is offering as much as$ I0,000 to anyone who gives up a seat. What will happen when people will still not give up a seat? I have a hunch this will change the airline's procedures and at other airlines as well. It's about time!

Here's an interesting item: University of California President Janet Napolitano was called to a joint legislative committee to explain why there was a huge sum of money, $175 MILLION DOLLARS. in excess funds while tuition rates continued to rise for students. She apologized. Oh, well, then it's all okay! She promised to implement the audit's recommendations. Oh well, that's great! She agreed that her office should keep clear budget plans and records, as the audit recommended. OH WELL JANET, STUFF HAPPENS! She claims that it was only $38 MILLION in funds! Well, that's BETTER JANET!! YOU'RE ALREADY MAKING PROGRESS JANET Here's some interesting facts: Before 1970 tuition for classes and registration fees were free. Afler 1970 tuition and registration fees were $450 per semester.

Today it costs $18,866 per year! The Board of Regents voted to increase in-state tuition by $336 next academic year. On March 8th students protested, preventing her comments being heard by other meeting participants. On live stream Napolitano's comments to UC Chairman Bruce Va11er could be heard loud and clear, "Let's go. We don't need to listen to this crap." The students stripped down to underwearor exercise clothing to figuratively give the shirts off their backs.

This information was provided by the UC newspaper, The Bottom Line and The Associated Press. One last fact: Janet Napolitano's base salary is $570,000 per year. P.S. THIS WHY TAXPAYERS GET ENRAGED!

Hang in there.

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"Remember: It's not a lie if you believe it." George Costanza Seinfeld

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APRIL 2017

Luckily I have two modes of transportation: a truck (2000) Ford Ranger and a 2009 Subaru Forester. I have carried everything in the truck; furniture, trees, mulch, a refrigerator, washer and dryer, a big heavy doghouse, heavy bags of cement, lumber and much more. It now has over 162, 000 miles on it and it still performs well. The Subaru is much prettier, sporty and it has lots of handy features. It still has just 26,000 miles on it. It has all kinds of fancy features so I tend to worry about it more. Right now it’s in the shop being fixed.

The truck is not pretty at all, with a lot of dings all around. The bumpers have been hit, squeezed between two moving cars, so the sporty car behind me got real messed up. Years ago the truck needed a new transmission, so my son and a friend took the bad one out and went to a place that sold refurbished transmissions. That was a big job but it got done and the truck ran as good as new. The Ranger has had a productive and so far, safe life. I’ll miss it when I have to give it up, to that great parking lot in the sky. The Subaru is fussier and apparently it likes to go to the dealer for care now and then.

I was thinking about how the vehicles affect my life and I was thinking that cars and trucks, no matter the model or the age are a bit like children. Some people even name their vehicles. Some parents might like one kid more than another. Some kids are high maintenance, so they need more guidance, more attention sometimes. Some kids are always getting hurt, so they hade to be taken to the emergency room to be checked out. Some kids need more handling, more incentives to perform well, even for minor tasks. They’re fussy, unpredictable. When they won’t go, they just won’t go.

The ebb and flow of life take us in different directions for different circumstances. I’m more concerned about my children’s physical health. I spent a lot of time in emergency rooms, or taking the kids to the doctor and dentist for routine care when they were all young. Now I don’t worry as much. Their physical health is up to them now. It’s their job to take care of themselves. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately at Kaiser, where I go for my health needs. Kaiser is persistent in getting their clients extra good care. I feel extremely lucky to be getting such attention but it is time consuming.

For his own reasons President Trump decided to tackle the nation’s health care. He wanted to get rid of “Obamacare” and establish his own plan. Lots of people took to the streets to protest the loss of their current health care plans. It was all hurry, hurry to get it done. Ultimately Trump couldn’t get the support he needed so he had to back off. He had promised “We’re going to have a much better health care plan at much less cost.” It seems to me that President Trump is in a big hurry all the time. The pushes his staff to get things in motion and doesn’t seem to get a good sense of what is needed to change programs, how to explain his plans well and how to get the support he needs from his colleagues in Washington and the people in the rest of the USA. He’s not explaining his vision well at all. He comes off as impulsive, with grand plans but no patience with the small details that need to be addressed.

People are reacting to Trump’s ideas. People have been gathering to protest the possible loss of the health plans they already have. There are plenty of things that need fixing in the U.S. such as highways, bridges, dams, hospitals and schools. The issue of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is another hot topic. The wall that the President wants to build is already a contentious topic. Some say we should do it, others are totally against a wall that they say won’t work anyway. It seems that they will be cussing & discussing a lot in Washington to get things in order. Who will prevail? How much input will the average citizen have in all these schemes?

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As usual, life is plus and minus. Macy’s is going to close 68 stores and 10,000 jobs will be lost. Sears is also having a hard time attracting customers so it will be selling its Craftsman brand of tools plus Kenmore and Die Hard. The once very popular stores aren’t bringing in enough customers so they plan to close 150 unprofitable stores. Lots of employees will lose their jobs. I read in the newspaper today that Radio Shack will be closing 552 of its stores, including 75 stores in California. Many Sears and Macy stores serve as anchor stores in many shopping malls. Malls in general are not as popular as they once were. People shop in many different ways; online, from catalogs, smaller local stores and even swap meets and yard sales.

Good news: California has added 22,900 employees in jobs in February. In the last year over 315,000 jobs have been filled. Car sales in the U.S. were outstanding, with more than 17.55 million vehicles sold in 2016. Nissan sold more than 1.5 million, Subaru sold 615,132, and Honda sold 1.6 million vehicles. Ford trucks were very popular with 820, 799 trucks sold. Trucks and SUVs made up 63% of sales in the U.S. One last thing: owners of some cars are slow in getting their air bags repaired. Hondas and Acura owners were told to bring their cars in because the airbags had a 50% chance of erupting in a crash. Hard to believe, but many are still dragging their feet to get that important fix taken care of.

Everyone complains about the wretched condition of our freeways and roads in California. Our Governor Brown wants a new tax hike, an excise tax on gasoline to fix everything out there. The state seems to have money for a lot of things such as a big payroll for the politicians, their staffs, offices, cars, gasoline, travel and anything else they “need” to get their “work” done. There’s a $130-billion backlog of needed repairs. Well, we saw the big dam up North get ready to collapse, houses and buildings floating down the streets. We know that there is a lot that needs to be fixed in the state, but why does all the cost have to be paid by added taxes? Have they ever established an emergency fund for anything? California has become a real hard place to live in, work or plan for the future. What in the world are we leaving for our kids?

Our President seems to be in a big hurry all the time. He seems restless, going to Florida to his home (and hotel) every chance he gets. Maybe he’s bored hanging around the White House despite the fact that his daughter and her husband have close, frequent contact as his advisors His daughter has an office in the White House as well as access to classified material. How did that happen? The President likes to play golf and relax, even eats in the dining room with his very rich guests. Another thing he misses is the roar of the crowd so he is still appearing at rallies for his fans. He likes the attention, the adulation. These outings are not always peaceful, because people get carried away when those who don’t like Trump show up. Is this any way to run a country? Don’t people have better things to do? As Rodney King asked a long time ago, “Can’t we all get along? Apparently not right now.

One last thing: I got a refund check from the IRS for $16.11. I’m excited.


Hang in there.

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“You cannot judge a man’s life by the success of a moment, by the victory of an hour, or even by the results of a year. You must view his life as a whole.” (1896)

William Jennings Bryan
Lawyer and politician March 1860-1925

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