May 27, 2006
The current (July 06) issue of Hemmings Sports and Exotic Cars (formerly Special Interest Autos) has a feature on an LA area man’s 1987 Honda CRX HF.

This was a small coupe that Honda also sold (more than 80% of them) as the Si version which was the most popular choice of boy racer in it’s day (if you like small cars- and I do- my ’79 Fiesta was a laff riot).

What’s so interesting about such an old car? Owned from new, the owner has managed to roll up 333,000 miles on it. Also he still consistently gets over 50 mpg. Another interesting tidbit: contrast the mileage figures against a modern car, say the Prius, which is rated at 47 city/ 60 highwy. The CRX HF was rated at 53/57 when new.

And he doesn’t get to use the car pool lane.

This is with normal maintenance, some minor repairs, and no overhaul of the engine or transmission.

How far have we come in twenty years?


What’s Next?

May 25, 2006
Kenny-boy and Skittles have been convicted by jury, and so it seems the next step is fronting an appeal.
This is their right to do so. I suppose that ultimately their conviction could get over turned. But before we go all negative here, let’s allow ourselves to bask in the warm glow that these two cretins could possibly be ass-raped in a federal pen (OK, club fed is probably where they’ll wind up eventually, but let’s enjoy the fantasy while we can).
Watching the post verdict news conference in front of the courthouse, Skittles and his lawyer Petrocelli thanked a bunch of people. What did they think this is, the Oscars? You didn’t win, Danny-boy. I was wishing someone would just yell out looooo-zer. Oh we’re all so grown up now.
When will we know the fix is in?
When Kenny gets a pardon after his boy Duhbya leaves office. You just wait and see. Maybe even earlier than that. Them mash notes Kenny-boy wrote to Duhbya will pay off.
One other note: this is a very public rebuke of Duhbya and his in-bred cronyism that hasn’t percolated up yet into the public discourse. I suppose it will, and certainly Fux News is preparing the spin.


May 24, 2006
I phoned Milt about 11:30 and spoke to Patty. Milt was enjoying his nap (he’s 87 folks!), so she suggested I call back in a half-hour.

I called back at 12:30 and Milt was in good spirits. “I’m still alive.” Wonderful.

We talked for about fifteen minutes. I mentioned a few names of people I worked with, whom he also knew. He asked me where I worked now. That’s a question I hardly get asked, and so I don’t have a prepared answer. “I’m looking around,” I replied.

He talked about how his company has been around for 80 years- founded by his dad in 1924. How they always were hands on in running the business- his dad, him and Ben, and now his nephew.

I liked their philosophy, established by their dad: “If you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it.”

He also recalled that they did business with the company I worked for almost from day one. That company started out downtown LA, moved around once more before finally relocating the plant to Pacoima, where I worked (it’s now a big hole in the ground, being tested before a Lowe’s is constructed on the site). The year I joined (1977) they were closing up that plant, located on Humboldt street, which Milt remembered.

I left that company in 1994, and the company has since relocated to Lake Forest, in Orange County, Ca., sometime in the late 90’s, iirc, but. Went over the brief history of my old company, the out sourcing of plating and polishing to Mexicali, which he recalled. I mentioned that I think most all of their product now comes shipped from Korea, boxed and ready to sell. Sure, the product is probably better, but the loss of jobs, technology, and skill this country had it will never get back.

Maybe it won’t matter.

I got a chuckle. When telling him about the old plant, he said “you’re one of the old timers.”

I hope nobody ever says that about me ever again!

What’s it all about?

May 24, 2006
I have been peering through death records (ain’t the web a wonderful thing) and finding names of relatives. Just out of curiosity, I began looking up people I once knew and developed business relationships with. Often with business relationships, there is the feeling that without the business aspect, there is really no friendship. Yet I did (and still do) have friends that came out of these relationships.

For example, I used to speak to a couple of really nice brothers who ran a business that I purchased supplies from. They inherited from their father, who started it out in the early part of the 20th century in Los Angeles, and were still at their original location.

I lived in LA practically my whole life. Being a bit of an Angeles-o-phile I have a keen interest in what made this city what it is (and isn’t).

So speaking with people like Milt and Ben was one of the highlights of that job. I actually never met them in person- we only ever spoke on the phone, which at first seems strange, but then the phone gives you a kind of comfortable distance at which we can comfortably relate.

After we got business out of the way, we would get around to discussing old LA and I really enjoyed their insight into what the city was like way back when. One of them, I think it was Ben, even lent me a copy of a book (in web form), no longer in publication. This was such a nice gesture that I felt touched and still to this day appreciate the kind of rapport we had, for something that was really only a business relationship.

And to know someone that wasn’t too far removed from that time and place, and whose family had just a few degrees of separation from the author, made me feel some extra special connection to my town.

I found Milt and Ben’s company on the web, and sent an email inquiring about them. When I did business with them in the late 80’s early 90’s, they were iirc in their 60’s.

The person who replied, whose name I recall as being someone I spoke with back then, informed me that Ben passed away in 2004. Milt is now 87, still works every day, and even drives himself there. Amazing.

I think I’ll be giving him a call.

Back to the Books

May 24, 2006

With all of this hullabaloo about DRM and corporate monitoring of individual consumption habits (without going through our trash, no less), I’ve come to the conclusion that going back to books is the only way to avoid the trap.
Of course this means avoiding all online purchasing.
Not so hard to do, right now. I suppose now the mpaa and riaa have figured out that info on their customers is like gold, they’ll stop crying about losing phantom dollars when an authorized download occurs (I hear an angel dies whenever someone downloads an unauthorized copy of something) and see what their future could be like, if they’d smarten up.
It’s all about control, motherfucker.
So buying a book, paying with cash, and not using my ‘reward card’ (unless it is unregistered)- you know, the old-fashioned way- seems like the sane thing to do. I don’t like being peeped on. I don’t like Amazon recommending stupid books based on the buying habits of other people (‘morons’) who happened to have bought the same book. I don’t want the NSA or the CIA or other agencies yet-to-be-named of Big Brother breaking into my house because I happened to have borrowed some book from the library that’s on some list of theirs.
But can I do this? Is it even possible?
It’s certainly inconvenient. And they won’t let me ‘opt-out’.
But if we ever changeover to digital money and do away with cash entirely, then it’s time to do something- I don’t know exactly what, but the nightmare scenarios that come (and the likelihood of this) with this realization that this will be with us appreciate every day.
What kind of world are we stumbling towards? Are we stumbling, or are we being rooked into passive acquiescence since our elected ‘leaders’ don’t seem to get it?
Some science fiction made us think the future would be a wonderful place, that there would be marvels that would improve the lot of mankind. But the bit of evil that exists in each of us also exists in those that make the laws, and those that make the laws are influenced by those that want their way, and have the muscle– and cash– to make those that make the law complicit. As well as those that define it.
I want to share my observation about the Supreme Court’s role but I’m running late; so come back later– it’ll make your head spin.

I Wouldn’t Be Paranoid if All of You Weren’t Scheming Against Me

May 19, 2006
Coming Soon- the Police State. You wanted Law and Order, wel… YOU GOT IT!
Seriously folks, the man is using terror against us.
He’res a swell rant by someone far more lucid than me. Read it and weep.

Terry Gilliam is a prophet.

# Oh Spin a Conspiracy Web for Me! #

May 18, 2006
Once upon a time there was a fourth estate.

They did their best to do their job, which was to keep the elected officials in check. When enough of these scoundrels would get elected, they tended to get out of hand. A few brave journalists would speak their truth, and the public, upon hearing it, would recognize it as such. The upheaval would run it’s course and the scoundrels would leave in disgrace. As the bad times subsided, the bad guys regrouped to figure out a new, improved approach.

This cycle of struggle went back and forth slowly for years, through good times and bad.

One day Kangaroo Bob decided he would change his allegiance in order to become the biggest baddest owner of real estate that the fourth estate had ever seen. He was canny, cunning, ruthless, and could spin like a dervish on meth.

When his peers saw what he’d done, they too rushed in. It became a feeding frenzy. Newspapers and television combined and evolved into bastions of media-cracy, and the public decided that wasn’t so bad. Good news is better than bad news, and it suited them just fine.

Every newscast was like the other, and every paper reported the same stories, in exactly the same way, and avoided reporting some stories because they were considered too complex, too arcane, or too critical of the powerful elite. Plus, they could make a case that it wasn’t what their audience wanted to hear. After all, why make waves?

The people entered a period of fallowness unseen since the great wars 60 years earlier. Many decided to pursue a program of personal greed that encompassed everything from how much their business should be allowed to pollute, to how their faith was the most important one and should be given an elevated status above other faiths.

And many new scoundrels were elected. Brazen, unapologetic ones, that screamed whilst others wanted simply to debate. And they bullied the poor journalists who after all were just trying to make a living, who needs this?

That would have been the end of balance except a new outlet arose and gained strength rapidly. This gave individuals the freedom to report and discuss issues that were important to them. The stories that their own home town and national outlets didn’t want to report as it turns out had been reported all along- overseas.

Soon the stories from abroad found their way on to the screens of people who were trying to figure things out. So many stories were half reported in their usual resources, that they felt ashamed. It troubled many people, who just wanted, just had to know, what the rest of the story was. Why was that so bad?

And suddenly there was a new era of open discussion, and free discourse. Analyses of stories that were not reported because the old guard didn’t think it important enough to report. Yet they misjudged. They seemed to have lacked a focus on what was really important, and it never occurred to them not to be so selective. After all, how can they report everything?

But then the big bad media companies were noticing this was happening. The felt their carefully constructed monopoly could be compromised. They realized it is vital to get control back into their hands. But how to go about it?

Soon they were sidling up beside their pals that ran the cable and telephone companies, and pointed out that they have the power to restrict access to only those willing to pay a fee. After all, business is a fascistic enterprise, not a democratic one. They don’t have to let anyone play unless they can afford admission. And they can charge whatever they like, since they golf with people in government who set forth policy on such matters.

The end of the story has yet to be written. Who do you want to place your bet on?