Snapshots of Shame and Despair

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A local convenience store owner has decided to combat the thieves who plague his establishment by posting security camera stills of them in action.

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Since the passage of Prop. 47 in 2014, theft of less than $950 is considered to be a misdemeanor.

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With the concurrent passage of AB 109, the state prison system is mandated to transfer much of its population to county jails to ease overcrowding, leaving no room locally to hold those on misdemeanor offenses.  Unless you assault someone, you can steal with impunity in Los Angeles.  That leaves the store owner defenseless, but for a baseball bat under the counter (no guns!) and the power to shame.  Hence, despair.

Spinning for Cash

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“Most people won’t consider doing it, because of the robe. They think it’s undignified, but it doesn’t bother me. Money is money.  I was really sore after my first day. Once I had calluses on my hands it got better.”

The term of art the advertisement industry deploys for such work is human directional. Amado gets a $700 bonus if he can make it to April 15.   He rides the bus from ‘the city’ to flip the sign on Van Nuys Blvd.  

His other job is at a convenience store.

Let Us Now Yell at the Uber Driver

Yes, we're listening...

Yes, we’re listening…

My Uber is now an analyst’s couch.

He’s taking away people’s rights based on skin color and gender he won’t let scientists speak the truth he’s pushing Indians off their land and spoiling their drinking water China wants to blow us up because he’s so cra-a-a-z-ee. 

Well, said I, striking a therapeutic note…we’re stuck with him for four years…

No we’re not!

How are we not stuck with him?

We’re going to get rid of him! 

How are we doing that?

He’ll be forced out he’ll be impeached or someone will kill him before the end of the year. 

Nothing in her tone suggested she would not be rooting for the killers.

Trump had been in office six days.

I’d like to think people have calmed down over the past month, but I would be wrong.   There are now living among us a critical mass of citizens grasping for an amplifier knob which goes to 11.

People really want to talk back to their television set, even when they agree with it.  People really want to go back in a time machine to Nov. 7.  In lieu of that, they have me.

Which is worse for democracy, having an election in which no one goes to the polls, or having an election in which half the country refuses to accept the result?  Civility is the sum of sacrifices we make to live together.  But what if we inhabit the same geography but live in entirely different mental spaces, with little shared cultural language, to the point we begin to ‘un-see’ those who cross our path in the same city?  What if technology does not liberate us but enclose each of us in his own seedpod? Or as a rider I picked up in Beverly Glen grandly put it:  “America is the golden triangle, New York, LA and Miami. The rest of the country is Topeka, Kansas, enough said.”

When the Twitter Meme Narrative in our head:  Tyrant! #Resist! Don’t Normalize! displaces facts, facts have no meaning.  I am a noble person, say the Resisters, the proof of this is I oppose Trump.  Therefore Trump must be the perfect villain. If people are angry now, how angry will people be when he fails to be the tyrant they need?

Hating all things Trump is a full-time job.  How can one keep up?  Will the media exhaust everyone, including the Trump haters? Who will fold their hand first?  The liberals or the leftists? Will it infiltrate everything, including beer?

America, we got our ear buds in.

How Dreck Is Made

Does this look plumb to you?

Does this wall look plumb to you?

Lets take a closer look...

Lets take a closer look…hmmm

How is the poured concrete attached to the blocks?

Let us connect concrete walls using the cake batter technique

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Construction has stopped on the new USA Fitness gym in Panorama for reasons not aesthetic.  Like an abandoned ark, this hodgepodge of listing, peeling concrete forms and blocks has loomed for months, half-completed, over Van Nuys Blvd.  Shut down by the Building Department, presumably.

The trouble would appear to have originated in the failed mating of two distinct structural techniques, poured concrete and reinforced blocks.  The blocks went up first. They must have thought they could use the exoskeleton as an anchor for setting forms for the pour, but they gave way.   Those who skimp on aesthetics will skimp on engineering. They will do the minimum.  Cheap on cheap equals cheap.

T’wasn’t always so. Los Angeles is thick with sublime and timeless commercial structures, built by craftsmen, forgotten or hidden over the years behind quick paint jobs and dreadful get it done by Wednesday facades.

Even in Panorama.

Panorama, 1964

Ohrbach’s, 1964

Valley Swap Meet, 2017

Valley Swap Meet, 2017

Escape to Baywood

Where Marcus lost his name

Where Marcus lost his name…

and is known as The Baker

…and is now known as The Baker

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Where your living space doubles, but your rent goes down.  Where you leave your wallet on a bench at the Ale House, and its waiting for you at the bar the next day.  Where the civic moniker is a paddle surfing cow. Where the streets just now are getting paved and the sewer lines at long last being put in.  Where your vegetable oil burning Mercedes comes to die.  Where you name your dishwasher Humphrey.  Where you rise at 3 AM to shape the loaves, and stay open only until the last one is sold. Where all your needs can be satisfied within a two block radius. Where if you want to go West, you get on a kayak. If you want to go elsewhere, you get on a bike.

You’re never going back to Echo Park.