There were many opportunities for an inspiring Father's Day here in Ventura County -- at least according to a peppy web article promising plenty of outdoor adventures to make dads feel special -- including a round of golf on a course offering "bent/poa grass greens and Greg Norman hybrid Bermuda tees." This golf outing sounded nice when I read it, but I still have no idea what it means. I don't play golf. I am not a geneticist either, so I do not know how you can combine a human being and a golf tee.
My father might know. He is one of those quiet people who doesn't say much, but knows much. He might admit to the former, but he would never voice the latter.
In his younger days my father played a little golf and some tennis and lacrosse, too, but as soon as he finished his military service and embarked on a career he spent most of his time working to support us. I don't know what he thought each year when Father's Day rolled around and the advertising culture of Madison Avenue again suggested he be celebrated with barbecue implements, cologne, and natty apparel. I recall that he took the day off, but only because it was Sunday, and always made a mild fuss over the last minute card I made. He is not a demonstrative man.
It's hard for even committed observers to make sense of the many special districts that manage the water flowing to our taps. The water supplier everyone knows is the Metropolitan Water District, a consortium of 26 cities and other water districts that imports water for nearly 17 million people in southern California. If you live in Los Angeles, the big supplier is the city's Department of Water and Power.
But there are other, more obscure water agencies in Los Angeles County. Their boards are elected by the residents who live in the district, although voters have never shown much interest in who their board members are. They're invisible until corruption begins to seep out.
Steve Soboroff and his son Jacob chatted for publication the other day, and the results are in the CityThink blog at Los Angeles magazine.
The father's life is woven into the recent history of Los Angeles -- from Playa Vista to the Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University to the Dodgers (briefly) to the Weingart Foundation. He's been a candidate for mayor. He's also a collector of typewriters once owned by notable authors.
The son is a host at HuffPost Live, the streaming network of The Huffington Post. He's also a filmmaker and journalist. Back in Los Angeles, he's been reweaving himself into the fabric of the city. (He worked on a video series with KCET, too).
The story is part of Southern California's origin myth, Los Angeles' Original Sin: the Department of Water and Power took water from the Owens Valley to fuel the city's growth, dooming not only the desert landscape but its own. That story's usually told in the past tense, but it still unfolds today, a century later. And a forthcoming video series from the Owens Valley Committee (OVC) and Bristlecone Media intends to bring us all up to speed.
This post continues a series looking at the origins of Los Angeles' oldest parks. Previous installments visited Westlake (MacArthur), Eastlake (Lincoln), and Prospect parks.
Many of the city's oldest parks have suffered deleterious changes through their history, but Los Angeles' Second Street Park boasts a dubious distinction: it's the only one that no longer exists. A popular outdoor retreat in the 1880s, the privately owned park became a casualty of industrial progress when L.A.'s first oil boom gripped the city in 1892. Today, not a trace of it remains.
Located at the present-day intersection of Glendale Boulevard and First and Second streets, the park was part of an ambitious plan to transform what had been a remote, inaccessible wilderness into the upscale residential district of Crown Hill. Built around 1885 by the Los Angeles Improvement Company -- the real estate syndicate behind the Crown Hill development -- the park would attract potential customers to the site, which could be reached from Los Angeles by the Second Street Cable Railway.
It's still graduation season, and I have one to go to next week. I'm actually looking forward to it, which is somewhat unusual. Graduation ceremonies are what we all suffer through to get to the mingling and dinners out that follow, not unlike funerals. Of course graduations are happy occasions, but they nonetheless tend to be dull, over-solemn, and interchangeable.
This one I'm going to next week will hardly be that. The small group of Antioch students who will cross the stage among the hundreds of other Antioch students at UCLA's Royce Hall will not be getting a bachelors or a masters or a doctorate. They will not be getting a degree at all, but a certificate good for twelve units at a community college or some other institution where they will hopefully continue the journey toward a degree or training of some sort. With any luck they'll end up with a good job -- a goal they certainly share with every student in cap and gown -- but that's not fundamentally why they enrolled in the first place.
It is a most informative and interesting water bottle.
1%. That's all the fresh water on the planet for living things.
Letting the water run while you shave wastes 32 of these bottles.
A running toilet wastes 800 of these bottles a day.
It is not an insubstantial bottle that sits beside me. Currently full, it holds 24 ounces of water.
The water bottle was produced by an organization called Alliance For Water Efficiency, which works to conserve our planet's, as you now know, limited fresh water supply. The bottle is covered with scrawls relating other interesting tidbits and factoids; imagine a tagger who specializes in bowling pins. Most of the writing is black, but one phrase is, well, watery blue
Since the time of the dinosaur, the amount of water has never changed. Yet our population has increased exponentially. You do the math.
That button. The one pinned about waist high to the traffic signal pole, sometimes strangely far from the crosswalk, which is supposed to ... to do what, exactly? Jon Hotchkiss at The Huffington Post, with genial snark, lays out the effects in Los Angeles of pushing that button in a new episode of his This vs. That series.
A few weeks ago, Governor Brown told the California Chamber of Commerce (as reported in the San Jose Mercury News):
(T)he Gold Rush was the best stimulus program ever invented; 300,000 people came from every country in the world, got a shovel and pick and started picking. They got billions into the economy. Federal Reserve didn't even exist. The federal government wasn't even heard from, so far away. They dug and they got gold, they spent it and more and more people came and they haven't stopped.
There are layers of bitter irony in the governor's ode to boom times in mid-19th century California. We remain -- more than 160 years later -- inheritors of the Gold Rush to our wonder and dismay.
Orange County, with its flat terrain, coastal breezes, ultra-wide streets, and low-density sprawl, represents the epitome of SoCal suburbia, and, arguably, our region's closest semblance to Middle America -- both aspects of which are as celebrated as they are mocked. But traveling east along Bolsa Avenue from the 405 Freeway, the median suddenly turns into a lush linear garden, the architecture looks a bit more exotic, the air wafts with the aroma of noodle soup, and business signs bear familiar Roman characters, albeit adorned with unfamiliar accent marks.
You've reached Orange County's Little Saigon community, centered in Westminster -- not merely the heart of Southern California's Vietnamese community, but the cultural, spiritual and commercial capital of the Vietnamese diaspora.