Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Category Archive: 'obituaries'

Saturday News Chum: Deaths, Mergers, Departures, Health, and Foreign Aid

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Feb 14, 2015 @ 10:14 am PDT

userpic=lougrantFinally, it’s Saturday. This has been a busy week — I’ve been accumulating articles, but haven’t had time during the week to post them. Before we jump into the stew, Happy Valentine’s Day to those that observe. What are we doing? We’re going to a wonderful organic Shabu Shabu restaurant we’ve discovered, and then seeing a musical story about the Loch Ness monster. And you?

  • Deaths in the News. A few major deaths have happened in the last couple of days that are quite noteworthy — primarily because these are people about which no one says anything bad. Really good people are rare to come by, and we’ve lost three. The first is Stan Chambers, long-time newscaster at KTLA — and by long, I mean 63 years! This is someone beloved in the news industry, a fixture in Los Angeles, who just reported the story and the facts. Forget your Brian Williams and Dan Rathers — this was the real deal, a reporter to look up to. The second is Gary Owens, a long-time radio and TV personality in Los Angeles. Again, this is someone who everyone looked up to, who helped loads of people with their careers, and of whom no one said anything bad. The third is Florence Sackheim, a long time member at Temple Beth Torah — again, this is someone who was there for everyone else, and whom no one had anything bad to say about.
  • Corporate Mergers. There are a number of corporate mergers of interest. Two weeks ago. Staples made an offer to buy Office Depot Office Max. This is a major consolidation in the office supply industry, and I think it is a bad thing. Loads of stores will close, loads of employees will lose jobs, and prices will rise without two equivalent competitors. Where are the regulators. In a similar consolidation, this week Expedia made an offer to by Orbitz. Expedia already owns Travelocity, so this is a major consolidation in the online travel booking industry. Again, I think this is a bad idea, although there’s a little less of a problem here in that the two services were about the same on price.
  • Going Away. Last week, the news was focused on Radio Shack going away. This week brings news of some other going-aways. First, Costco is celebrating Valentine’s Day by breaking up with American Express.  Well, the breakup will happen in 2016. AmEx has already been hammered as this brings them a lot of business; I know it is the only reason we have a non-corporate Amex card. Costco is reportedly near a deal with a new issuer; it is unclear whether accounts will be transferred, or reapplication will be necessary. In another going-away, the rumors are increasing that the Riviera Hotel may soon be closed and demolished. This makes me sad — there’s not much of 1950’s Vegas left on the strip — some two-story wings at the Tropicana and the original 9-story 1955 Riviera are about it. When the Riviera goes, so goes the history. However, the plan makes sense: the place has become a dump and cannot compete with the newer hotels; it is on the slow end of the strip next to a dead partially completed hotel, across the street from Circus-Circus and… not much else, as Echelon/Genting World is still under construction as well. Supposedly, the Riv is being bought by the Las Vegas Convention Bureau, who want to extend the Convention Center’s reach up from Paradise Blvd to LV Blvd, between Convention Center and Riveria Blvd. Not much is there — the parking lot that was the Landmark, a Dennys, a Walgreens, the Riv, and a 3-story apartment complex and some small businesses. I think we can kiss the Riv — and it’s history — goodbye.
  • Nose and Throat. A week or so ago, on This American Life, I heard a segment on a annoying condition (for some) called Vocal Fry. I’d never heard of it, or could even notice it — so luckily, Mental Floss had a nice article on Vocal Fry.  Now that I know what it is… I still don’t get why people are annoyed. People’s voices are their voices. Get over it. In another interesting article, Vox had a nice exploration of mucus. I actually found this interesting, as I have continual sinus trouble (and I’m also one of those addicted to Afrin).
  • You Know How Foolishly Generous Those Americans Are. So said Stan Freberg in United States of America, and many people believe America gives too much Foreign Aid. However, those beliefs don’t correspond with the facts — and American really doesn’t give that much foreign aid. In fact, less than 1 percent of the $4 trillion federal budget goes to foreign aid. The largest portion of the money goes to health: a third of the U.S. foreign aid budget in 2014, or more than $5.3 billion. The next two biggest portions go toward economic development and humanitarian assistance. Small sums of aid support democratic elections in other countries. A tiny portion goes to protect forests in countries where logging is destroying natural habitats. Some aid funds programs that train local law enforcement to combat drug trafficking. (But no foreign aid goes directly toward another country’s military.) Proof again that most people wouldn’t know the facts if they bit them in the …
  • Dealing with Death. One problem when you die is that you can’t update your Facebook anymore. Fear not. Facebook will soon let you appoint a digital heir.  This is actually a good thing, as  there are more and more memorial Facebook pages, and it would be nice to know they are memorials (so you don’t keep wishing them a happy birthday).
  • Used Bookstores in LA. LAist attempted to do a list of the 10 best used bookstores in LA. Used bookstores are great, and we have lost some significant ones in the last year — both Cliffs and Brand Bookstore are gone. But LAist missed some great ones — in particular, Bargain Books in Van Nuys, and Books 5150 in Chatsworth. But this is no surprise — all those Los Angeles lists are done by westsiders who forget that the valley exists.
  • Women and Work. Last week’s Backstory was on women and work.  As part of this, they did a special segment on women in computing.  Well worth listening to, and something we should encourage. The segment gives me the opportunity to pimp for a project of ACSA: the Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security.

 

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In Memory of Rod McKuen…

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Jan 30, 2015 @ 5:07 am PDT

userpic=tombstonesThe poet Rod McKuen died yesterday at age 81. When I think of McKuen, I always think of the following song, which was sung so beautifully by Mary Travers during her solo period. The words of the song ring true today, and provides something very important to remember as we see battles between black and white, right and poor, immigrant vs native, and all the other divisions of our society:

CHILDREN ONE AND ALL
Rod McKuen
©1968, 1972 Editions Chanson Co.

Some of us live in big white houses
Some of us live in small
Some of our names are written on blackboards
Some are written on walls
Some of our daddies work in factories
Some of them stand in line
Some of our daddies buy us marbles
Some of them just buy wine
But at night you can’t tell  Sunday suits
From tattered overalls
But then we’re only children
Children one and all

Some of us take our lunch in boxes
Some in paper sacks
Some of us kids join in the laughter
Some hear it at their backs
Some of our mothers sew fine linen
Some can’t sew a stitch
Some of our mothers dress up poorly
And some of them dress up rich
But at night you can’t tell party dresses
From hand me downs too small
But then we’re only children
Children one and all

Some of us learn our lessons poorly
Some of us learn them well
Some of us find an earthly heaven
Some of us live in hell
Some of us go right on a’preachin’
Without making too much sense
Some of us hide behind a wall
And some behind a fence
But at night you can’t you tell picket fences
From bricks a tower tall
But then we’re only children
Children one and all

Some of us grow up tall and handsome
Some of us grow up plain
Some of us own the world in ransom
Some of us just our name
Some of our people die in misery
Some of them die in peace
Some of our people die for nothing
But dying doesn’t cease
And at night you can’t tell fancy coffins
From boxes in the hall
But then we’re only children
Children one and all

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Mothers Day News Chum Stew

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun May 11, 2014 @ 4:43 pm PDT

Observation StewYou know you want to take your mother to dinner. But what will you talk about? Here’s a bunch of news chum stew items, accumulated over the last two weeks (I’ve been busy, what can I say) that might just do:

  • Size Matters. Here’s a great discussion topic for your mom… or for “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me”. A recent study has shown that, the larger your penis, the greater the likelihood that your wife will cheat on you. In particular, according to this study, every one inch longer penis increased the likelihood of women being involved in extra-marital partnership by almost one-and-half times. I think I’ll leave the subject at that and go on to the next subject…
  • Got Gas? Here’s some more useful information. Remember “Beans Beans They’re Good for the Heart”. Well, it turns out that lots of gas is a sign of a healthy biome in your gut. This reminds me of a joke from Jason Alexander. It seems there was this long married couple whose sex life was in the dumps (see item #1). The wife went to a sex counselor, who suggested they try 69. She came home and explained it to her husband. They got in bed and in the position…. and she ripped a good one. After the air had cleared, they tried it again… and she ripped another one. They were about to try it again when the husband said, “you think I’m going to do this 67 more times, you’re crazy”.
  • It’s the Place To Be. Yup, that Farm Living is the life for me. If this makes you think of Green Acres, you’re not along. There are plans for a Broadway stage play adaptation of the hicksville TV show originally starring Eddie Albert and Eva GaborThe rights to the property were acquired by director Richard L. Bare, who was one of the most prolific helmers on the original series, and by producer Phillip Goldfine through his production company Hollywood Media Bridge.
  • Cramming It In. Sony is working on new technology that will cram 3,700 blue-rays into a single cassette tape. Actually, that’s a little misleading — we’re not talking here about a C-60 or a C-90, but a specially designed cartridge. Still, the technology is intriguing: a whopping 148 GB per square inch, meaning a cassette could hold 185 TB of data. Sony uses a vacuum-forming technique called sputter deposition to create a layer of magnetic crystals by shooting argon ions at a polymer film substrate. The crystals, measuring just 7.7 nanometers on average, pack together more densely than any other previous method. The result is that three Blu-Rays’ worth of data can fit on one square inch of Sony’s new wonder-tape.
  • A Touching Story. Here’s a very touching story about a late night encounter in a supermarket, told by Mark Evanier.
  • Anything But Starbucks. A touching obituary for Herman Hyman, founder of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf chain. This chain, which roasts its beans in Ventura County, started in a small store on San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood in the 1970s. I think, in fact, that it started not far from my first condo.
  • Buildings Up, Buildings Down. Two interesting buildings in the news. First, the plans have been announced for the former furniture store space across from the Pasadena Playhouse. Should be an interesting project; it will be interesting to see how it changes the character of that area. In Las Vegas news, approval has been given to finally take down the Harmon. If you aren’t familiar with the Harmon, it is the oval blue-glass coated skyscraper next to the Aria and Vdara, across from Planet Hollywood and the Cosmopolitan. It was built wrong and is unstable, but they can’t implode it because it is too close to other stuff. They have to take it down piece by piece. Now if only they could do something with the Fountainbleau, which is an even bigger eyesore on the N end of the strip (where the Thunderbird once was).

 

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My Father: A Remembrance

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Mar 19, 2014 @ 5:00 am PDT

userpic=father-and-sonEvery year on my dad’s birthday I post a remembrance that I wrote the day after he died in 2004. Today he would have been 92. As I wrote last year: As I get older, I see more and more of my father in me — and I like what I see, and I’m grateful he gave so much to me that makes me who I am.

My father was born in Flushing NY in 1922. He was the eldest of four brothers; the son of a tailor who lived over his shop. I can’t give you too many details of the early days; Uncle Herbert can (and perhaps he will reply to this post and do so). His mother died young, when he was in his twenties, and sometime thereafter, his family moved to Los Angeles (how’s that for glossing over details). My dad went to Southwestern School of Accounting, and was a Public Accountant. He married his first wife in the late 1940s, and my brother was born in 1952. He loved my brother very, very much. He divorced that wife in 1955, and retained custody of my brother. He married my mother in 1956, and I was born in 1960. My mother was a CPA, so they formed an accounting company of their own, Faigin and Faigin. My brother died, reported due to an accident (I never knew the true details) in 1970. It devistated both my parents. My mother died in 1990 on my wedding anniversary. My father remarried a year or so later to Rae, who had lost her husband. This brought me some new wonderful family members. This should bring you up to date on the familial backstory.

So, who was my dad, and what do I remember. This is a jagged collection of memories.

I remember being in Indian Guides with him, painting rocks and bark to invite people to meetings. I remember going on Indian Guide campouts with him. It is because of this that I did Indian Princesses with my daughter, continuing the tradition. I recommend this program to anyone who is a dad.

I remember going on trips with him to East Los Angeles, to visit his clients. We would hit small mom and pop grocery stores, mexican candy companies. I’d always get sweets… and get to sort the paid bills afterwards.

I remember him taking the time to be with me.

I remember him telling bad jokes, and being enamored with old-time radio stars, such as Al Jolsen (his favorite), Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, and so on.

I remember his teeth. Specifically, I remember how he would remove his dentures just to gross out us kids.

I remember him taking me to the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion to see musicals, starting in 1972 when my mother was too sick to attend The Rothschilds. From this came my love of musicals.

I remember him reading Robert W. Service to me, especially Bessies Boil.

I remember him, at the Passover Seder, reading the Four Sons. He loved to act, mug, and play with his voice to make a point during the story.

I remember him being active in the Masons and the Shriners, especially with his good friend, Raymond Schwartz. I remember him going to the Masonic Picnics.

I remember him playing bridge with my mom and their friends, the Cohens, the Schwartzes, and the Strausses. Perhaps this is where I got my love of gaming.

I remember him telling stories of his time in the Navy, when he was a pharmacists mate, 2nd class, at Camp Elliott, which is now part of Mirimar NAS in San Diego. He found it ironic that he was in the Navy, as he could never swim.

I remember his disorganized toolbench, where eventually you could find what you need. I still have his 30 year old power drill, which I still use today.

I remember him taking care of my mother as she died of cancer, and fiercly defending her when we would fight.

In his later years, I remember him fighting with the computer, and eventually learning to use it and to use Email. However, he could never quite get the printer figured out. I would get calls from him that stuff wasn’t printing, and it was because he had been playing with the printer queue again.

I remember him cooking. He loved to cook peppers and onions in olive oil. He made a mean spaghetti sauce, and a great pot roast in tomatoe sauce. Rae says that I got my cooking skills from him, with which I must agree, as I don’t think my mom could cook.

I remember him collecting autographs and first day covers. For many, he would frame them and put them all over the walls.

I remember his love of baseball, which never rubbed off.

I remember him taking pictures. And more pictures. And more pictures. And still more pictures. I’ll probably find about 50 cameras at the house, together with probably 200 photo albums. In particular, I remember a few specific cameras: His Konica T-3 SLR, which I have. His Fuji POS, which he received at a special party my mother threw for him at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

I remember him loving fountain pens, just like me. He had boxes of pens, and even more ink. He’s the only man I know that has a quart bottle of Schaeffer Black Quink Ink in his supply closet. There are about 6 bottles of ink on his desk (I only have 3).

I remember him being a luddite when it comes to computerizing financies. I’m going to have loads of two-peg journal books to go through to figure out stocks and bank accounts.

I remember him being a packrat. He collected office supplies. He collected biographical books. He collected CDs. You name it, he collected it.

I remember him being a good friend and caring about other people. After my mother died and he remarried, his new wife’s children were treated the same as his natural children, with the same love. He was a second grandfather to my sister-in-law’s children. He was there when people needed him. Until his last year, he volunteered to help seniors with their taxes.

For many years, I remember him being a staunch Republican, going counter to my mother, the strong liberal. I remember him backing Nixon and Reagan. This year [nb: this was written in 2004], however, had he been strong enough, he was going to vote for John Kerry.

I remember him being a people person. He would just light up when he was around people, especially those that hadn’t heard his stories before.

I remember him being there for me and my family. We spoke weekly on the phone, something I will miss, talking about everything. He had good advice, which I grew to respect as I got older. To the youngsters reading this: listen to your parents. They’ve been their and made the same mistakes. They do know what they are talking about.

I remember his love for his granddaughter. He had pictures of her everywhere, and she loved him. I remember him taking her to Disneyland when she was three, and being there in the hospital when she had her open heart surgery at the age of four.

I remember his love for his family. He enjoyed spending time with his brothers, Herbert, Ronald, and Tom, and researching family history. When my daughter was little, we picked up a copy of Grandfather Remembers and gave it to him. He filled it out, and now it is a lasting memory for her of her grandfather. To those of you who are grandparents: take the time now to write out your memories for your grandchildren. Record an oral history. Annotate your photo albums. It is worth the time. You will create that memory that will outlive you.

I remember how he loved Yiddish and Yiddish stories. I remember him reading the Freiheit.

I remember (or have discovered) how he loved his wives. I remember how he loved my mother, Nancy, even through the depths of her depression, her anger, her rages, her illnesses. I remember how he rarely lost his temper (and when he did, you needed to worry). I remember when he first told me he had met Rae, and how they quickly grew to love each other. Even though there was an age difference there, I saw the deep affection that existed between them. He chose well.

I remember how he touched people. A few months ago, I went to a funeral that was packed to the gills of people who loved the deceased. My father had friends all over the world, and helped many people.

In short, I remember a deeply caring man, who I really think was responsible for making me the way I am today (both for good and for bad). He does live on in me, and I think he lives on in my daughter as well. As long as we remember someone, they never die.

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Thank You for the Honor of Your Company

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Jan 28, 2014 @ 7:47 am PDT

userpic=folk-artistsMy tastes in music haven’t always been this varied. Although now I have over 33,000 songs on my iPod, from loads of different genres, things were different when I was young. Back in my teens, I wasn’t into the rock music of my friends — I was into folk. Primarily, that meant Peter, Paul, and Mary. Since then, I’ve branched out. I’ve also learned more about folk music, and the folk music revival of the 1960s. Kingston Trio. Tom Paxton. Chad Mitchell Trio. Dave Van Ronk. Joan Baez. Judy Collins. Brothers Four. Mississippi John Hurt. Burl Ives. … and the father of the entire movement, Pete Seeger.

The world lost Pete yesterday.

All I can say in response are the words of Tom Paxton, in his song “Thank You for the Honor of Your Company”:

When I find myself with a song to write,
I remember candles in the night.
Voices raised in ragged harmony,
Singing this land was made for you and me.
Some of those voices are silent now and gone;
I’m glad to see how you’ve been keeping on.
I remember the songs that pulled us through,
And when I hear those songs, I think of you.

So, thank you for the honor of your company;
The music was as sweet as the good red wine.
Thanks for the company,
And thanks for the harmony,
I’m here to say the honor was all mine.

Back when times were tough and the news was bad,
Faith and a couple of songs was all we had.
Songs we rearranged and made our own;
Songs it sometimes seemed we’d always known.
We’ve been together now for a long long time;
And if ever I was the poet, you were the rhyme.
It was always the music that kept us strong.
And, if ever I was the singer, you were the song.

So, thank you for the honor of your company;
The music was as sweet as the good red wine.
Thanks for the company,
And thanks for the harmony,
I’m here to say the honor was all mine.

Decade after decade, year by hear,
Season after season, we’re still here,
And it does not take a crystal ball to know
We’re gonna go out singing when we go.
A five-string banjo and a steel string guitar
Just a couple of the reasons why we’ve come this far,
Singing like we always have and will,
Knowing the circle is unbroken still.

So, thank you for the honor of your company;
The music was as sweet as the good red wine.
Thanks for the company,
And thanks for the harmony,
I’m here to say the honor was all mine.

 

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Saturday Stew: Technology, Cannibal Rats, &c

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jan 25, 2014 @ 11:31 am PDT

Observation StewIt’s Saturday, and you know what that means: time to clear out the links list of articles that never quite formed into themes of three or more articles:

  • The iPod of Prison. An interesting article from the New Yorker on the Sony SRF-39FB, a clear plastic AM/FM radio that is the most popular radio … in prisons. The clear plastic is one factor, the sound quality and reception is another, as well as the price. It is only now starting to be replaced by MP3 players, where the prison controls what can be downloaded.
  • Risks of BYOD. The catchword today in business is BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. Businesses have become more accomodating of employee’s using their personal smartphones and other devices on corporate networks. But there’s a big downside — when you leave the company, typically they have the right to remotely wipe your device. You should read any connection agreements you need to click through carefully, and make an offline archive of any personal information before you leave.
  • Multilingual. Here’s a neat article and video: “Let It Go” (from Frozen) in 25 languages, and how Disney planned the movie for 41 languages. I love how seamless the video is — great job from the sound engineers to get the timing exactly right. I love listening to songs I know in other language, be it “Fiddler on the Roof” in Yiddish, “Hair” in Hebrew, “Les Miserables” in French, the Beatles in German. I blame my high school Spanish teacher, who constantly played “yo no encuentro satisfacción”.
  • Cannibal Rats. There evidently is a ship floating around the northern Atlantic that is filled with cannibal rats. Whether or not you think the story is real, the concept is right up there with “Snakes on a Plane”. Can’t you just see the horror movie now. Our teens on a pleasure cruise come upon an abandoned ship and decide to explore.. and they find…
  • No Ren Faires in Your Long-Term Future. Good news for history, English, and other liberal arts majors: it’s not the career death you’ve been told. Liberal arts majors may start off slower than others when it comes to the postgraduate career path, but they close much of the salary and unemployment gap over time, a new report shows. By their mid-50s, liberal arts majors with an advanced or undergraduate degree are on average making more money those who studied in professional and pre-professional fields, and are employed at similar rates…. with one exception. Salaries still lag behind engineering and math and sciences graduates, who in their late 50s make about $98,000 and $87,000, respectively.
  • A Loss for the Jewish Community. The LA Times and the Jewish Journal are reporting that Harvey Fields has died. Rabbi Fields was just taking over from Rabbi Wolf as senior Rabbi at Wilshire Blvd Temple when we got married; Rabbi Wolf had been senior rabbi for a year after the death of Rabbi Magnin. We were only at Wilshire as Fields was coming in, but he did remarkable things for the congregation during the time — he basically brought the congregation back into modern progressive Judaism, stemmed the membership decline, and completely revitalized the place. I was more involved with the camps, and during much of his time, there weren’t significant changes there (those came near the end of Fields’ tenure as Rabbi Leder was coming in). But Fields still deserves a lot of credit for what he did for Wilshire Blvd Temple and the Jewish community in Los Angeles.

 

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What a Loss

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Jan 02, 2014 @ 12:47 pm PDT

userpic=tombstonesFor the first news chum of the year, here is a late lunch posting of a few articles highlighting things we have lost, or are losing, as the year turns. I’m not going to mention the big ones — such as plastic grocery bags in the City of Los Angeles or new 40 or 60 watt incandescent light bulbs. However, these are important to some folks:

  • An Acting Loss. In the last couple of days, we’ve lost a significant actor. I’m not referring to James Avery of Fresh Prince, but rather Michael Levine. Michael was a regular actor in the Santa Clarita area, at both Canyon Theatre Guild and at Repertory East Playhouse, where I met him. I will always remember his portrayal of the grandfather in Jewtopia, his direction of A Few Good Men, and his performances in dramas such as Proof, On Golden Pond, and To Kill a Mockingbird. As I’m an audience, not an actor or creative, I never had the pleasure of working with him, but I always enjoyed him on stage and when I talked to him before a show.
  • A Dining Loss. Tonight, the penultimate Hamburger Hamlet closes as the Pasadena location is replaced by a – dare I say it – Dupars. I used to always love eating at the Hamlets in Palms, Brentwood, and Westwood — all long gone, and occasionally at the Pasadena and Sherman Oaks locations. I recall having the Rex Harrison, which was a fancy Bacon Cheeseburger, “Those Potatoes” (hashbrowns and sour cream), and wonderful French Onion soup. Lots of fond memories, but a dining style and menu that doesn’t resonate with many today. I’ll have to get down to Sherman Oaks while it still exists, and I won’t forget those sides. The closing has provoked a number of remembrance articles: LA Observed, LAist)
    [*: There may still be an East Coast location in Crystal City VA; the one in Bethesda MD (if it is still open – Yelp is ambiguous) is essentially a Dupars. The website also lists a Larchmont (Los Angeles) location, but that closed in December. There may also be a “Hamburger Hamlet XP (Express)” location in NoHo.]
  • A Television Loss. On 12/31/13, SoapNet ceased programming. Now, I never really watched the channel, but I do remember the heyday of both the daytime and the primetime soap operas. My grandmother loved to watch the soaps on NBC (I would watch them, as a kid, when she babysat). I remember the evening soaps — Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, and others — and I still watch the new Dallas. The death of SoapNet is a harbinger of the death of the genre as originally constituted, although I guess one can find the equivalent on Lifetime Network.

 

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9/11 Post | Post 9/11

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Sep 11, 2013 @ 8:22 am PDT

9-10 Pictureuserpic=tombstonesAbove my desk at home I have a drawing of a 6 year old girl and her daddy, with a caption along the lines of “My dad and I moved my bed today.” It shows a new daybed, and everyone happy. It is dated September 10, 2001.

Today is September 11, 2013. Twelve years since the planes flew into the towers. I remember the morning well: I had turned on the news before leaving for work, and saw the reports of the planes flying into the towers. I remember listening to the news as we drove the van to El Segundo, not knowing what we would find. I seem to recall an emergency shutdown that day, as everything was locked down (we work co-located with an Air Force Base).

At the time, we were working with Margie Templeton (formerly of SDC) on her database project. Her company lost of most of its marketing people that day.

Usually, I opine. Today, I pine.

I pine for the horrific loss of life we had that day — the loss of the innocents who had no part in the underlying disputes. I feel for their loved ones, who had parts of their lives ripped away for no reason.

I pine for all those we have lost since in the name of revenge, retribution, and fighting the terrorist threat. I agree the threat needed to be fought, but did we approach the fight the best way?

I pine for what our society has lost — civil liberties, privacy, and trust in government. All can be directly attributed to the loss of 9/11. America has been changed for the worse by the terrorist act.

I pine for the loss of the rules of war. War — although horrific — used to have rules that were followed. These included minimization of attacks on civilians. Let the uniformed soldiers fight. Today’s terrorists don’t follow those rules. 9/11 didn’t start this decline, but it has certainly accelerated it.

So on this day, let us pine. Let us remember. In Judaism, the expression is “May their memory be for a blessing.”. On this day, let the memory of who and what we have lost be for a blessing. Let us, shall we say, pray, for the day when the “what” we have lost is restored, as well as “pray”ing that the memory of the “who” lives on in our memories of the good that they have done.

Music: L’il Abner (Original Cast Album): “Jubilation T. Cornpone”

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