30 October 2010

Meet the Candidate

We live in one of the historic districts just outside downtown Phoenix. Every year, our neighborhood hosts an ice cream social to welcome in the "cool" weather (because it was only, like, 90 degrees today). So we went, took our new dog, Aalto, and had a good time. After a while, we noticed that Terry Goddard (pictured) had arrived. He's the Democratic candidate for governor. He's been involved in Phoenix and Arizona politics for decades and is a really good guy. I introduced myself, Matt and Aalto. I guess our historic district rates pretty high to have a gubernatorial candidate show up.

25 October 2010

Good News

Clifton's Cafeteria is under new management which has plans to renovate and restore the restaurant to its former glory. We love Clifton's and made a special trip there last October during our visit to Los Angeles.

You can read the good news here.

23 October 2010

I Wonder...

At what point in the history of this country did people begin to believe that the definition of "the rule of law" was "the will of the people"? Laws are created by legislation and by voting. "Laws" are not just whatever the "will of the people" may be at the moment.

Keep in mind there was a time when lynching was the "will of the people" (some people). Luckily, that never made it legal.

14 October 2010

Twenty Things

We just got back from a week in Hawaii -- specifically, the island of Maui. While the trip was wonderful, I was surprised by how many things I did not know about Hawaii / Maui before the trip. So, I decided to assemble the following list of 20 things I never knew about Hawaii / Maui:

1: Taxi cabs in Maui do not take credit cards. It is cash only.
2: All the cab drivers we had on Maui were Vietnamese.
3: Residents almost never wear shoes.
4: There are not 8 islands in Hawaii; there are 132.
5: Honolulu is really big and developed.
6: It is always windy on Maui.
7: People on Maui use a red dirt as a dye for shirts.
8: Timeshare / condo offers are everywhere on Maui.
9: Everything is very expensive.
10: A lot of residents are not natives of the islands.
11: Places on Maui are much farther away than the maps make you think.
12: Buses on Maui don't use transfers.
13: The state flower is the yellow hibiscus with a red center.
14: There are not many cinemas on Maui.
15: Maui has its own kind of cow for eating, and it is black.
16: "Hawaiian culture" is a mix of a lot of different cultures.
17: There are not a lot of bugs.
18: In 1898, Thomas Edison shot silent films of activities in Hawaii.
19: Walking in Maui is a lot like walking in Key West, Florida.
20: Hawaiian boys are as cute as you thought.

08 October 2010

Books I Am Reading

Am reading this (again). One of my rare forays into fiction.

Just finished reading this.

07 October 2010

Talk About Killing the Messenger

Wow! Newspapers are certainly dying off for many reasons, but the death of integrity in print journalism is one step nearer thanks to the recent actions of upper management at the Stoughton Courier Hub of Madison, Wisconsin.

Last July, the paper's editor, Autumn Drussell, wrote a column stating something that is painfully obvious not just to her but to millions of other people in this country: the economy is bad, and she is going to have to start being more careful with her spending. More specifically, she said she was shopping at lower cost stores. For some reason, this pissed off owners of stores who advertise in the paper.

So, guess what happened? Was she praised for putting into words what so many of us are doing? Was she supported by her newspaper because of her freedom of speech and the newspaper's responsibility to represent the people it serves?

No, she was demoted and the newspaper issued an apology for her OPINION because some local merchants complained.

I hope I am not being too simple here to point out that a lot of people are shopping in lower-cost stores because some other stores are just too expensive. While I am not a fan of Walmart's driving small businesses out of town, I totally understand the simple fact that they merchandise products at a lower price. If you want food, and have to watch your pennies, do you go to the expensive local butcher or someplace that sells the same product for less (and, in many cases, MUCH less)?

Sure, we need to support local businesses -- and, in normal times, we ALWAYS choose local over national businesses. BUT THESE ARE NOT NORMAL TIMES. Rather than shooting the messenger, maybe the local businesses in Madison should try some of Drussell's suggestions. We don't live in Wisconsin, so I don't know if they have customer service problems. I also don't know if they are not appealing to cost-conscious shoppers. But, really, is there ANY store in the entire world what should not make sure it provides good customer service and has options for cost-conscious shoppers? (Okeh, the stores on Rodeo Drive get a pass on this one.)

Drussell has filed a discrimination complaint to prevent her treatment from becoming precedent setting. All I can say to that is "You go girl!"

You can read more about this story here.

[I tried to find her original column on the Web, but had no luck. If anyone can locate a copy, please let me know.]

03 October 2010

Silence is NOT Golden

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the need to preserve early film and video tape. What's been lost in all that noise is the need to preserve the audio as well as the visual.

Being the huge fan that I am of vintage radio drama and comedy, I am very grateful people have, over the decades, saved audio versions of radio programs so that I can listen to them today (which I do, every day). But, like early film, many of the early radio programs have been permanently lost -- either through neglect or just the passage of time.

Many early radio programs were preserved on shellac disks that were something like vinyl records. These have held up well over time, except when they were dropped to the floor (they are very brittle). Other shows have been saved on magnetic tape (reel-to-reel machines) but these have problems with sound bleeding from one part of the tape to the other where the pieces of tape touch. Many shows have been converted to more modern formats: first to vinyl records, then to digital copies.

But it appears even these modern advances may not be enough.

You can read more about the precarious state of affairs of audio history here.

(Thanks to Matt for alerting me to this story.)