The Friends of California Libre...

11 July 2005

Looking for a Bastille in Los Angeles

Greetings, friends,
Here's a personal question for the general population that has this screed at their fingertips: It's about two months until PEG 10 (that's the tenth annual Peg Entwistle Memorial Equinoxe Party. My apartment is hardly in a condition for such festivity (a couch, two chairs and the end of my bed) and in the kind of eccentric flash of inspiration I'm proud to fall under, I'm thinking of celebrating my big 4-0 with a morning hike up to the top of Amboy Crater, a small cinder cone in the Mojave Desert. If I can arrange a place to have a party in nearby Wonder Valley the night before, is anybody game? I was watching one of those community-college-credit shows on PBS at 2 AM, about the geology of volcanoes, and there was our very own Southern California cinder cone. ain't "Burning Man" but it ain't $200 either...

When I came home from the lovely forests of Northern California after 4 July, I thought that my French friends had, incredibly, taken ghastly revenge for the loss of the 2012 Olympic Games in a way highly atypical for them, by blowing themselves up in three London subway trains and one double-decked bus. Alas, it was not a sudden violent turnaround from the sweet coffee/cigarette daze of Parisian ennui, but just the long expected signal from our fundamentalist friends Back East that they, Olympics or not, expect the same long hot summer as we do. Here's what I say: To hell with them, on behalf of my friends in New York City and Madrid and a lot of other places that haven't been attacked in the most cowardly way possible: blown up on the way to WORK.

If you want the non-Americanized hysterical version of the news from London, the BBC is always good for the straight dope:

In Depth: London Explosions

Information about the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks on the London Underground and a London bus. Includes a map of the four central London blast locations, images of the scenes (including eyewitness photos), video clips, and a timeline. Find news stories about the blasts, and follow the impact of the attacks on London hospitals, transit, and communication. From the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

No, I say, and "they" say, forget the hurricanes and the bombs and get back to work, just like they will in Madrid and France!
Nudists get go-ahead in Spain for bullish protest
Naked bullfight protest brings halt to Madrid
Of pests and politicians: French mayor in trouble for squashing rat

It is hard not to sympathize with the English, especially when they cast their grief in such measured voices; the Queen referred to "the dreadful events in London", a phrase that we here in Los Angeles might use to refer to a car accident at rush hour or a really bad movie. And our own fundamentalist, George W. Bush, put the dramatic capper on event with his own terse comment: "The War on Terror goes on." Really now? And on and on and on. But let's hear it for the horridly Fickle Finger of Fate, as it strikes again. It likes to kill civilians in our era of Civilization, and like they don't complain in London, they don't complain anywhere, including Hiroshima and Dresden and the whole continent of Africa, which maybe is part of the problem. Once ordinary people declare REAL war on terror, most of which walks around every day in suits and uniforms, hey, war's over!

Still, the Brits could make improvements in their security:
Hamster mailed in British post

And how's about improving YOUR international image, mates?
Brits abroad out for booze, sex and a good punch-up

On that rather sour Trotskyite note, some of you know that I celebrated the recent Great Patriotic Holiday here in the States by taking a drive up to that least patriotic of American (and probably Californian) cities, San Francisco. Although not consumed by the kind of anti-American hijinks I used to appreciate in years past (indeed, now the war of the Cars versus the Bicycles is getting more play than Iraq in the Bay Area), San Francisco and her sister cities of Oakland, San Jose and Santa Cruz are good, safe places to drive around in a car with a BUSH/SATAN 2004 bumpersticker on 4 July, so there I went. It's always a blast, thanks to all the friends who put up with my snoring and fed me the "sociability medicine".

I'm always pleased to see so many of my friends enjoying their growing families, and of course I dread looking into the crystal ball as I see two more of our precious "little ones" at the brink of surly tweenhood, this time Nigel Bess and Adela Weigel, although I can attest (before Beth and Claudia tap out the angry moms' reply e-mail) that they seem to be at the mellower end of the spectrum, and I can't imagine either one joyriding the family car into the "bad" part of town (like some people I know). Still, when you see kids you've known since crawlerhood and absurd-statementhood ready to discover sex, drugs and rock & roll (not necessarily in that order), it makes you weepy. The only recompense was that their younger sibs (Delphina and Charlie) had most definitely entered into absurd-statementhood, Charlie masterfully so. Without doubt, he popped out plenty of one-line zingers ("If you like to get hurt then it isn't torture") that I couldn't connect genetically to either of his parents, and as for beating me over the head with a boogie board, I asked for that by playing the old, wise lion to the new master of the pride.

Pity my dear ahijada, Miss Malin, because I felt she'd be perfectly safe (and well-educated) at a party with SO MANY representatives of the Santa Cruz legal defense community present (not to mention all the food and the beer.) I hope she blew something up, even if it was only another wall inside her own head. That's what it's all about, kids, like I told Adela and Charlie: California ROCKS, and don't any of youse ever forget it.

There's the theme for this SCREED, because that's what I want my French friends to know: I'll be celebrating Bastille Day on 14 July, and loud music and louder politics are part of the plan. California needs a Bastille to tear apart:
Supreme Court Allows Prosecution of Medical Marijuana
By Bill Mears
Court: Government Can Bar Medical Marijuana Use
By James Vicini

And that, my friends, is just the beginning of the end (again):
Swing Voter
By David Paul Kuhn
The departure of Sandra Day O'Connor sets the stage for a nasty judicial confirmation battle - and maybe an even more conservative Supreme Court.

Not that we Californians can't do it to ourselves without any help at all:
California Reins In Clinics Using Marijuana for Medical Purposes
By Dean E. Murphy
The New York Times
19 Named in Medicinal Pot Indictment
By Stacy Finz
The San Francisco Chronicle
More than 9,300 marijuana plants were seized in raids.
California National Guard Unit Monitored Peace Rally
By Cory Golden
The Davis Enterprise

But we Californians don't like to be told what to do, eh, especially about our "recreational" activities, for which we are world-wide and rightly famous:
Plaintiffs in Medical Marijuana Case Defying Supreme Court Ruling
By David Kravets
The Associated Press

It's not like we don't have other problems right off shore:
DDT May Outlast Eagles
By Marla Cone
The Los Angeles Times
An effort to revive the bird on Santa Catalina Island has cost millions, but the poison's lingering threat to eggs spurs calls to abandon the project.

But here in the Golden State we have that boundless optimism:
Micro-Power Hailed as Cheap, Safe Energy of Future
By Paul Brown
The Guardian UK
Thinktank sees nuclear subsidy as bar to full use of renewables.
California Farmers Clean Up Using Solar Power
By Juliana Barbassa
The Associated Press
They save on energy costs, and air quality improves.
Solar Derby
By Amanda Griscom Little
Grist Magazine
Schwarzenegger's solar-roof plan could get sidelined by partisan squabbling.

Still, we've got a ways to go before we catch up with our friends in Europe...
Gay Marriage Is Extended Nationwide in Canada
By Clifford Krauss
The New York Times
Spain's Lawmakers Legalize Gay Marriage

...just not in everything:
'Currywurst' sausage museum to open in Berlin
Cows far from sacred in Switzerland

Because, shit yeah, it's good to be an American, God Damn It:
Red, White, and Without a Clue
by Ken Sanders

So let's get like them German tennis players and STOP BITCHING. And that's it for this year's Bastille Day message.
Stop groaning over grunting, says Seles

Vive le screed!

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