It’s Saturday evening, and I’m getting ready to go out to the first show of the weekend, so what better than some news chum stew before the show. Hopefully you’ll find something tasty. We have a few themed areas as appetizers.
Real Estate Chum
- Increasing Property Value. Every day, as we head home from work, we pass an office building on the NE corner of El Segundo and Continental, across from the large Raytheon facility that used to be the Hughes Space campus. This office building used to be occupied by Raytheon, in fact. But defense shrunk, they downsized out of it about 4 years ago, and the building was sold and remodeled. Now it is a “creative campus” and worth twice as much. Bixby Land partnered with real estate investment manager Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers in purchasing the building in 2013. They spent $25 million to acquire and transform the traditional office space into flashier, more modern offices. Perks at the 113,606-square-foot building include a dog park and beach cruisers for workers. There are polished concrete floors, exposed ceilings and a shared outdoor patio with a rectangular fire pit and couch. They just sold it for $49 million.
- Decreasing Property Value. Then there’s Porter Ranch, near where I live. Sigh. Here’s an interesting article with a different perspective on Porter Ranch: When the subdivision was laid out and sold, worry about gas wells wasn’t even in the discussion. In fact, the environmental impact reports for the development did not have to disclose anything. Why? Here’s what is really interesting: Neither the old oil wells nor that natural gas facility had to be mentioned in those environmental impact reports. The wells would be included if the housing project was to have an impact on them, but not the other way around. Under the California Environmental Quality Act, an analysis of the impacts of existing environmental conditions on a project’s future residents is not required. Think about that for a minute: An environment impact report details the impact of the new development on the existing environment, not the risks from the existing environment to the new development.
- A School Goes Away. For the last of this trilogy, there is the announcement of the closing of Pinecrest Schools. It is unclear if this is due to property values, or just the owners not able to afford the loss. Will the land be able to stay a private school? Your guess is as good as mine. It may benefit a number of local private schools in the area.
Not So Pleasant History
- Racism and Route 66. Many people wax nostalgic about Route 66, and the travels from Chicago to Los Angeles. But there’s one characteristic of those people: they’re white. If you weren’t white, travels on Route 66 were less than pleasant. Black people weren’t traveling on the Mother Road. This is easy to see via a new interactive map created by the New York Public Library, which digitized 21 volumes of the Negro Motorist Green Book and imported data from 1947 and 1956 volumes into it. It shows that through much of the southern portion of the route, especially through Texas and Missouri, it was impossible for black people to get evening lodgings, or even be in a city after sundown.
- Racism and Donald Trump. Woody Guthrie sang of the dustbowl refugees that traveled Route 66. Guthrie also happened to rent a room from Donald Trump’s father, and was not happy about it. He was especially bothered by the racism of daddy Trump, and even wrote a song about it: I suppose / Old Man Trump knows / Just how much / Racial Hate / he stirred up / In the bloodpot of human hearts / When he drawed / That color line / Here at his / Eighteen hundred family project ….” and “Beach Haven ain’t my home! / I just cain’t pay this rent! / My money’s down the drain! / And my soul is badly bent! / Beach Haven looks like heaven / Where no black ones come to roam! / No, no, no! Old Man Trump! / Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!”
- Leaving the Fold. This one may be premium content if you go to it directly, but often you can get to these things from Google. This is a fascinating story about a Haredi family who decided that the Haredi life was not for them, and escaped the community. A really interesting read, with some interesting illumination about the history and control within that community.
And The Rest
- ! Yes We Have No Bananas. Bananas are returning to La Conchita, after 18 years. I remember when there were locally grown bananas in Southern California. Then they went out of business, landslides occurred, and they were gone. Now they are back. I’ll have to look for them.
- When Can You Reuse Oil. This is a real interesting article about fried foods, and when you can reuse fry oil. What I found especially fascinating was the explanation of how foods become greasy when frying: “Incidentally, the folk wisdom that oil that’s too cool will cause foods to absorb more oil is bunk. In fact, because oil tends to move into spaces that were formerly occupied by water, the amount of oil a piece of fried food absorbs is directly related to the amount of moisture that is driven off, which in turn is directly related to the temperature you cook at, and the temperature to which you cook your food to. The hotter you fry, the more oil food will absorb.”
- Loss of Focus. Here’s an interesting explanation for that loss of focus: Adult onset ADHD. More and more adults over the age of 50 are newly diagnosed with ADHD. The disorder occurs as the brain is developing, and symptoms generally appear around age 7. But symptoms can last a lifetime. For adults, the problem is not disruptive behavior or keeping up in school. It’s an inability to focus, which can mean inconsistency, being late to meetings or just having problems managing day-to-day tasks. Adults with ADHD are more likely than others to lose a job or file for bankruptcy. They may overpay bills, or underpay them. They may pay bills late, or not at all.
- The Why of Clutter. Here’s an interesting article on why you accumulate clutter. One reason is that most people don’t know how to get rid of it, how to start, or how to address the overwhelming amount of it.
- Sometimes, Local Music is Better. People are rediscovering the value of having your music collection locally, as opposed to the cloud. They are wising up to the cloud computing ‘trap’ by using ‘old’ MP3 players like the iPod Classic instead of music streaming services that require costly monthly subscriptions and internet access. Both of the articles I’ve seen on the subject, however, talk about what is being done, but not how. The “how” is easy: Get yourself an iPod Classic 5th Generation or later. Then visit Tarkan’s iFlash site. There you can get a board that can replace your hard disk with solid state memory. Depending on the version of the iPod Classic, you can either max out at 128GB or 1TB. I know. My iPod Classic 7.5G is now at 512GB. I’ve just ordered my second board to convert my alternative iPod. The only worry is wear leveling.