Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year . . .

Friday, December 30, 2005

Question For New Year's Eve . . .

What are you doing for New Year's Eve?

I'm not doing anything fancy. I'm just going over to my friends' place here in Long Beach. Their building, and the building next door are hosting a big party . . . should be a lot fun. I'll be playing it safe and traveling by taxi.

I hope you have fun doing whatever you're going to do, and most of all be safe!

Kosher Ham

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Links Continued . . .

I don't go to Pine Ave. very often. If I do, it's usually for work related purposes. But, on occasion, I do venture down there for a little fun. My favorite restaurant is Alegrìa. Going there on a weekend night is the best time to go, as that's when you'll see dancing, and music. The food is great as well. Okay . . . enough plugging for Alegrìa.

Kosher Ham

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

More Links . . .

In an effort to increase the usefulness of this blog (aside from my creative wit and wisdom of course), I've been adding links to the side bar. Check them out, they are places I visit or frequent.

Today's addition is EJ Malloy's. My wife and I go to EJ's quite a bit, like for example today. We also had an engagement celebration their, countless beers, countless chicken wings, and countless good times.

Kosher Ham

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The State Of The Nation . . .

Check out the Daily Kos . . . if you haven't already that is.

Kosher Ham

Monday, December 26, 2005

Realidad Regresar . . .

El New York Times:

After a respite following the election, more than 70 Iraqis have been killed in the last four days, including more than 20 killed Monday in a string of ambushes and car bombings.

Donde esta El Presidente?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

My Present To You . . .

. . . Barenaked Ladies.

Happy Hanukkah - Barenaked Ladies, "Hanukkah Blessing" (scroll down just a little bit . . . it's worth it!)

Merry Christmas - Barenaked Ladies, "Carol of the Bells"

Kosher Ham

Saturday, December 24, 2005

From The Frontlines . . .

The 'War on Christmas' is worse than I thought . . . I write this to you from a dark attic, where my wife's side of the family is secretly celebrating Christmas. Shhhhhhh . . .

Kosher Ham

PS - Dear Mr. O'Reilly, how could I ever doubt you.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Trick Question Of The Week . . .

This is rhetorical because there is no “War on Christmas”. There’s no more a ‘War on Christmas’ than there are WMD in Iraq.

It doesn’t exist!

  1. Our country is in a real war, and real troops won’t be spending the real holidays with their real families. Paraphrasing Nicolas Kristoff’s opinion piece in the New York Times, I’ll say, when there is a real war going on, people should re-consider the use of the word to describe disagreements about Christmas greetings.
  1. There is plenty of Christmas spirit in the air, if you can’t find, don’t blame others . . . it’s time to look in the mirror and do a self-evaluation.
  1. Don’t let the sales people at the mall make or break your Christmas season as they ring you up at the checkout stand. I hate going to the mall at this time of year. I usually have to wait on line so long just to check out that I couldn’t care if the cashier told be to shove mistletoe up my ass, I just want to get out of there.
  1. I don’t know anybody that wants to celebrate Christmas and will not be able to. There’s no persecution, there is no need for secret Christmas handshakes, nobody has to keep a Christmas tree in their attic so the neighbors don’t see it, and somebody has got to be raking in a fortune on those Santa caps.

I can’t understand why folks like O’Reilly want to see a greater Christmas presence in American mall’s of all places. I thought they were opposed to the secularization of Christmas. If I were James Dobson I wouldn’t want the holiest day on my calendar associated with The Gap in anyway. But, that’s just me.

I’m Jewish anyway, so from my point of view it’s hard for me to see where Christmas spirit is being muted. Even had a headline pronouncing, “Poll: More Americans prefer 'Merry Christmas' greeting”. According the article, “69 percent said they prefer "Merry Christmas" over "Happy holidays," which garnered 29 percent.”

Last I checked we didn’t gauge this country’s moral compass based on what mall cashiers have to say. If Bill O’Reilly wants to see more Christmas spirit, he should spend more time getting Christians to Church, and not worrying about what a mall cashier is going to say. For the first time since 1994, Christmas will fall on a Sunday . . . also known as the Lords Day. So, since Jesus’ birthday is on his special day of the week this year, you would think they would be flocking to church.

Not so, some of the nation's most prominent megachurches have decided not to hold worship services on the Sunday that coincides with Christmas Day.

But for the vast majority of the other churches, closing down on Christmas Sunday would be unthinkable. "I can't even imagine not observing Christmas in an Episcopal church," said Robert Williams, a spokesman for the Episcopal Church USA.

In many Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, known for their rich liturgical traditions, Christmas Day attracts far more worshippers than an average Sunday. "From the Catholic perspective, the whole purpose of the holiday is to celebrate it as a religious holiday in the company of the community, and for Catholics that means at Mass," said Robert J. Miller, director of research and planning in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Canceling worship on Christmas Day appears to be predominantly a megachurch phenomenon, sociologists of religion say.

"This attachment to a particular day on the calendar is just not something that megachurches have been known for," Nancy Ammerman, a sociologist of religion at Boston University, said. "They're known for being flexible and creative, and not for taking these traditions, seasons, dates and symbols really seriously.

All I can say is, celebrate the holidays the best you see fit, and send your thoughts and prayers to parts of the world that need it the most . . . and throw in an extra prayer for Bill O'Reilly

Happy Holiday,

Kosher Ham

PS – I guess I could’ve just said, “Mega-Churches Aiding ‘War on Christmas’ by refusing to hold mass on Christmas Day”, and that would’ve done the job . . . too bad I didn’t think of that until after I finished this.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Can't I Live While I'm Young . . .

A friend of mine told me I needed a little culture in this space. So, a week ago I ventured into the Long Beach night to check out a bit of the scene in Long Beach. My wife and I made our way to Alex’s Bar, where we’d get to see the premier of the ‘Gong Show’ capped off with a friend of ours performing a fire hula-hooping show. I also wanted to prove to myself I’m still young, can party on a weeknight, and make it back to work the next morning.

Surely, my $26 would get through the evening, so, we left our place at about 10:30pm, deciding against stopping at an ATM machine first. Alex’s is just about a mile or so from our place, so it was nice to find a place that has live music just down the street. Though it looks small from the front, Alex’s is quite large inside, with a small stage, large bar, and some pretty cool tables and chairs. Some people looked like they were having too much fun the chairs with wheels, so we found ourselves a little nook on the far side of the bar, opposite the door. That’s one of my policies when I go out: get away from the door, for some reason people always congregate by the door, and the patrons of Alex’s were no different.

Ah, the patrons you ask? Mostly younger than me, but I didn’t feel old by any stretch of the imagination . . . I’m pretty ‘hip’ as they say. Also, I assume everybody is looking at me because I’m so good looking, not because I was the oldest dude in the joint. It was just a good old Thursday night in Long Beach, when the student population kicks off the un-official beginning to the weekend.

The ‘Gong Show’ was more like ‘Battle of the Bands’. Considering the cover charge was only $3, I thought the music was pretty decent, and since I really came to see the fire and friends, I saw the music as an added bonus. Basically, each band played until the crowds ‘chants’ of ‘GONG-GONG-GONG’ cued somebody to hit a gong, which cued the bands to stop. Only one band made it through all three songs, which was fine, because I just wanted to get to the fire.

Man, I sound like a pyromaniac!

So, we had a few drinks, and of course I lost track of my $26 and ended a few bucks shy of a final beer. Thanks to a friend, that problem was erased and the beer was flowing again!

Finally, the fire . . .

Imagine girls spinning in fluorescent glowing hula-hoops spinning around to dance music. Now add to that more girls spinning with fire-hoops, and balls connected to chains that are also on fire, and you have one hell of a wild show, and easily the best entertainment of the night. During their performance, Alex’s was the quietest I heard all-night, as people stood in wondered amazement. (My friend teaches this performance art, and as soon as the website is available, I'll put up a link)

Family, friends, live music, good drinks, fire, and hula-hoops . . . that’s Long Beach for you.

Kosher Ham

PS – I made it back to work the next morning . . . no problem.

PPS – Even though it might make you feel old listening to it, I thought the title was apropos nonetheless . . . so enjoy Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Discount Time . . .

My Pop turned 55 today, and after testing me as to his age, he was quick to tell me he was eligible for senior discounts now. Knowing my Pop, he’ll take advantage of that at every turn.

To tell you the truth, I’m not even fazed by the fact that my father turned 55 today. The older I get, the younger both my parents seem to me. That’s a good thing, because while we still make that father/son connection, we now make a man-to-man connection as well.

I was thinking about my Pop this week. I was thinking back to all the good times we had, and I thought of this moment I wanted to share.

My father has taught special education for well over 20 years. During that time, he’s gone to various Southern California amusement parks with his students, almost all of whom were students with significant disabilities. On a few occasions I got to go ‘help’. Because most of the students in my Pop’s classes used wheelchairs, we got to go around to the back of the ride, since the lines weren’t accessible, and other patrons would probably get upset seeing our group pass by them (I’m just guessing on this).

So, around the back we’d go, where the attendants would stop the cart, and let my pop load the students on to the ride. That was the thrill, seeing my dad hoist these students onto the rides. They would be so excited! At that moment, he was Superman to me.

You still are my Superman! Happy Birthday!

Kosher Ham

PS - That's a picture of my family from a protest in Rancho Cucamonga. The date was February 14, 2004, and we were in front of Senator Jim Brulte's office. We were protesting potential cuts to In-Home Supportive Services. No cuts were made. Back row, L to R: Pop, Me. Front Row, L to R: Aunt Terri (behind the sign), Mom, Uncle Terry.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Study Sessions . . .

If you are lucky as I am, than your job allows you to sit through Long Beach City Council Study Sessions!

So, today I sat in the Long Beach City Council Chambers as the City Council met for an information session – no actions would be taken . . . not that this is wholly different from other times the City Council meets. So, what are they studying, you ask?

Today’s Study Session is entitled: Possible Ballot Measures for the City of Long Beach. For those of you who don’t know, next year is a city-wide election in Long Beach. But, before we look at the potential ballot items, I think what’s more interesting, would be a look at how the City of Long Beach arrived at this point.

The City of Long Beach used tax payer dollars to conduct a public opinion poll to determine if there would be public support for a tax increase to pay for needed services. The information gleaned from the poll will guide Council Members as to whether or not tax payer’s dollars should be used to place any initiatives on 2006 ballots. I hope to never hear any of these Council Members say they don’t govern based on polls.

I know! Next time, the City Council should poll taxpayers to see if they think a poll is a good use of money! But, for shits and giggles, let’s just play along and pretend that we think it was a good idea to use tax payer’s dollars to conduct such a poll.

Now, I know at least one person who was polled, and he was not asked about the lack of affordable housing, one the biggest problems facing the city. So, not all the options were on the table in terms of what Long Beach residents might want to see tax payer’s dollars spent on, or what their biggest concerns are. This was more of cops versus books poll.

But, again, for shits and giggles, let’s just overlook that little flaw as well.

So, what does the poll tell us:

  1. Long Beach residents think that the most important issue facing Long Beach is the need to improve its ability to respond quickly and effectively to a terrorist attack.
  2. Funding the Municipal Band concert series is not very important to Long Beach residents. I bet some Council Members wish they had seen this poll earlier in the year when they had to decide this very issue – for the record they represented the minority opinion on this one, and we still have concerts in the park.
  3. 66% of the public would have to vote in favor of any of these initiatives in order for them to be approved. None of the proposals to use tax payer dollars to pay for increased police services received a 66% approval rating in the poll.
  4. Only the ‘Library Parcel Tax’ received support from more than 66% of those polled. The Library Parcel Tax received support from 73% of those polled.
  5. When it came to importance, public safety issues outweighed issues related to the library. However, the public clearly preferred the funding mechanism for increased library services over the funding mechanisms for increased cops. This is a subtle finding in the poll that the consultants tried to point out to Council Members, but it I think it largely seemed to fall on deaf ears.
  6. My experience with ballot initiatives is that they only go down in approval rating, not up. Just ask Governor Schwarzenegger.

Some serious PR work would have to be done to get any of these initiatives passed. The City Council may be willing to place some of these measures on the ballot, but I would presume most of them will stay silent during the election (if they can). If these measures are going to pass, a Council Member or two is going to have to champion the cause. Today their biggest concern had to with going to the well twice. If voters are asked to support a library tax in April, will they be less inclined to support a cop tax in November?

Now, some Council Members clearly preferred cops to books. Some even hinted at not placing the library tax on the ballot because it would hurt the chances of the cop tax passing. I say, don’t take this out of the hands of the public.

What else do I think? First, if this City Council hadn’t dug us a $100 million dollar hole, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Instead we’d probably be reading at the library, feeling safe because we’re surrounded by cops patrolling the city.

Second, if raising the utility tax 1% will save the lives of Long Beach kids, than let’s do it. If raising taxes will keep our libraries open, and give our kids increased access to learning institutions, than let’s do it.

I don’t need a poll to tell me what’s in the best interest of Long Beach residents. I don’t need a poll to tell me what my morals and values are. Hopefully, the City Council will give Long Beach residents get a chance to decide if we want to invest in our community’s future.

Kosher Ham

Monday, December 19, 2005

Where Have All The Children Gone To Play . . .

As some you may know, I’m an affordable housing advocate. When I talk to local elected officials (and let’s use the Long Beach City Council as an example), I hear from some of them, “local government shouldn’t be involved in housing.”*

Well, here’s one reason they should care a whole lot more.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the Long Beach Unified School District has shelved plans to build two new schools due to declining enrollment. A middle and a K-8 school that were to be built with local bond money no longer qualify for state matching funds because of a recent enrollment drop, said Carri Matsumoto, executive director of facilities development and planning.

The district had planned to build a middle school, at 1777 E. 20th St., and a K-8 school, at 3230 Hill St., using a $295-million local measure voters passed in 1999.

The state would have picked up half of the construction and property-acquisition costs if the district had qualified under state funding formulas based on enrollment projections, Ms. Matsumoto said. But the district no longer qualifies for K-8 matching funds because it has lost more than 4,000 students over the past two years.

Now . . . let’s try and think . . . what could be causing a decline in enrollment?

Could it be the lack of affordable housing? That’s what district officials told the Press-Telegram on December 1. According to the front page article, “the trend may be the result of rising home prices driving families to cheaper housing markets in the Inland Empire and other states.” And, as Ms. Matsumoto tells us, high school enrollment remains strong. This means that Long Beach’s young families that are the ones that are being forced out or can’t afford to move here.

It’s not just the kids, the impact is much greater. I couldn’t even begin to count the ways. But a couple of easy examples are that if a school isn’t built, that means nobody is going to be hired to build it – no construction jobs. Nobody will be hired to teach at the school – no new teaching jobs. I sure do hear the Long Beach City Council, and all the mayoral candidates talk about bringing more jobs to our city. I guess those jobs won’t be education.

Sure, affordable housing isn’t the only reason there is a decline in enrollment in the Long Beach Unified School District, but it’s a B-I-G reason.

So, the question really is, is the decline in enrollment a harbinger of other things to come . . . or in other words . . . is this the proverbial canary in the coal mine?

Kosher Ham

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Plastic Babies . . .

I couldn't possibly explain this to you, so it's best if you check out my friend’s blog for yourself. or clink on "Language In Common" under "Friend's Links".

I’ve known this guy for a long time . . . in fact . . . he introduced me to my now wife. A former Long Beach guy, with a little Long Beach still in his heart . . . enjoy.

Kosher Ham

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Don't Spy On Me . . .

Remember the good old days when the only thing we had to fear, was fear itself? Well, it appears our President is so damned scared that he’s shredding our constitutional rights to pieces for no reason. Today, President Bush admitted to authorizing a secret eavesdropping program in the U.S. that operates without court warrants.

President Bush says, "Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies.” Arguing whether or not this is true is completely pointless.

  1. It’s true. Eavesdropping on suspected terrorists could, and possibly may have prevented terrorist attacks.
  2. It’s been this way before 9/11, and there was no need to begin operating without court warrants. The ability eavesdrop had nothing to do with preventing 9/11. Remember, two of the hijackers were listed in a San Diego phone book.
  3. There was a process established to eavesdrop on American citizens, and it required getting a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. In its entire existence, since 1978, the FISA court has only twice (once in 1980 and once in 1997) refused a government request for electronic surveillance authority. The court’s goal is not to serve as a barrier, but rather, a check and balance.
  4. Eavesdropping can begin prior to obtaining the warrant from the FISA court. This provision allows for emergency situations that can’t wait for the court to meet and grant the warrant. When this occurs, the warrant eventually sought from the FISA court would be to “continue” eavesdropping in an on-going investigation.

This news should not surprise anybody. I always say there’s a little truth behind all humor, and after all, this is the President who has jokingly said, “It would be easier if I was dictator" and, "There ought to be limits to freedom."

I’m not scared like the President . . . I’m scared of the President

Friday, December 16, 2005

Semi-Intriguing Question of the Week . . .

Is King Kong a racist film?

Or another way of asking it . . .

Do King Kong movies bear racial subtext toward dark people?

Lot's of people think so. Type "King Kong racist" into Google, and you'll get 494,000 hits. Obviously the thought of King Kong being a racist film has been discussed since the original film was released in 1933. Peter Jackson's remake is stirring the question once again.

Now I haven't seen the new King Kong yet, and I haven't seen the others in awhile (which is why I'm copping out and not answering the question), but from what I understand, whether it is version from 1933, 1976 or 2005, the movie King Kong shows:

1-White people going to remote islands reminding us of the white slave traders going to Africa.
2-King Kong eats dark women but falls in love with a white blond woman.
3-The capture of King Kong is a reminder of these white slave traders capturing black Africans.
4-The transfer of King Kong to New York is a reminder of black slaves moved to the new world.
5-The exhibition of King Kong for profits is a reminder of slavery in cotton fields and other areas of commerce.
6-The revolt and subsequent destruction of King Kong, serves as a warning to the dark slaves that the light-skinned people will prevail.

What Say You?

Kosher Ham

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Schmuck . . .

The Mad Prophet from the Northeast is at it again. Last week, Connecticut Senator, Democrat Joseph Lieberman, stated, “"It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

Like Representative Murtha asked, “What credibility?”

The fact that Senator Lieberman thinks that President Bush has credibility on any matter, strongly suggests that Mr. Lieberman is indeed from another planet. That fact that he would choose to chastise the Democratic Party for not supporting the President, means that Joseph Lieberman has become a Democrat in Name Only (we have a bunch of DINO’s around Long Beach, but more on that later).

In my opinion, there is no room for Mr. Lieberman in the Democratic Party. I’ve never been a Lieberman guy. I was disgusted when Al Gore chose Mr. Lieberman to be his running mate in the 2000 Presidential election. I also believe it was one of the many reasons Al Gore lost. Nobody was interested in a cup of “Joe-Mentum”

Maybe one reason he’s advocating for the Republicans is because he’s been doing it for a long time. Mr. Lieberman was one of the strongest proponents for war in Iraq, and a strong proponent to support President Bush.

In 2002, Mr. Lieberman had this to say: “I believe deeply that he (President Bush) is right about Iraq, and that our national security will be strengthened if members of both parties come together now to support the commander-in-chief and our military.”

There are several flaws in this statement.

  1. President Bush was wrong about Iraq. We know there were never any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The supposed weapons of mass destruction claims came from liars, either for political reasons, or to stop being tortured in secret prisons.
  2. The Iraq War has not made this nation safer. Our military is spread thin, and is not meeting its recruitment goals. Hurricane Katrina proved that the United States is not prepared to respond to natural disasters, let alone another terrorist attack. Don’t take my word for it, according to the 9/11 Commission the United States is no safer today from a terrorist attack than we were on September 11, 2001. The Bush Administration received failing grades in several areas. This should be unacceptable to Americans.
  3. Why should both parties come together to support a liar. There are many examples that show the Bush Administration used evidence know to be false, in their fierce and rabid advocacy towards war.
  4. You can support the troops, but not the commander-in-chief . . . even Tom Delay said so.

I’ve long held disdain for Joseph Lieberman, but his latest comments and the rumors circulating around him becoming the Secretary of Defense are beyond the pale. Senator Lieberman’s comments go a long way towards undermining the Democratic Party, and the minority voice in this county. To have one of our supposed “own” doing this to us is just plain disgusting. To their credit, Democratic Party leaders have had this to say:

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.): "I've talked to Senator Lieberman, and unfortunately he is at a different place on Iraq than the majority of the American people."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): "I completely disagree . . . I believe that we have a responsibility to speak out if we think that the course of action that our country is on is not making the American people safer, making our military stronger and making the region more stable."

I’ll go a little bit further.

The Democratic Party should shove a cup of Joe-Mentum up Lieberman’s ass, and send over him over to the Republican Party where he’ll fit right in. Intolerance you say? Not so! I have complete tolerance for Senator Lieberman’s view points . . . I just think they belong in the Republican Party instead of the Democratic Party. Iraq is too big of an issue, with too much at stake for Joe Lieberman to go around shitting on brave Democrats who speak out against the Bush Administration, and patriotically demand accountability.

Of course, if he became a Republican we’d lose another Senate seat. But we have to ask ourselves if haven’t already lost it?

Goodbye Joe . . . thanks for nothing.

Kosher Ham

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Muzak . . .

I put some music links up on the side. Just a little bit of what I listen to from time to time.

KCRW is great, and one of the special things about living in Southern California. Of course, you can listen to it on-line or download a podcast, so I guess even if you don’t live around here you can still enjoy the music. Morning Become Eclectic is a classic program, and that’s where I learn about cool music in my constant effort to stay cool and hip. I think I’m doing a pretty good job. Obviously, the news is a welcome break from the monotony of cable news, and you can get a wide range of perspectives on the issues.

I hope you enjoy some of the links I put up -- have fun with The Hype Machine . . . I'm reluctant to share that one with you because it so awesome and powerful . . .

Kosher Ham

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Talking Back . . .

In the Long Beach Press-Telegram, they print anonymous comments from people presumably from our community. As the comments are anonymous, I suppose we really have no way of knowing how genuine the comments are. One thing that we do know is that the comments can often be absurd. Take this one for example:

We have over 2,000 dead men and women in Iraq in over two years of war, yet the Democrats and the news media criticize Bush for Iraq and never speak of the 9/11 or Pearl Harbor attacks that happened all in one day.


I'd love to send my comments in, but they might actually print them. You see, you can only have so many things printed in any given period of time. So, I'd rather not waste my comments on something so stupid. That's what I have this blog for.

My response:

Actually, one of this years keynote speakers at the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Pearl Harbor, HI was Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, who witnessed the Pearl Harbor attack and served in World War II. As for your absurd comment regarding 9/11, there are currently at least nine Iraqi War Veterans vying to become the first soldiers of the post-9/11 military to be elected to the House of Representatives, according to party leaders. Eight of the nine are running as Democrats. Most went to the front lines from the Reserves or the National Guard. The Democrats have candidates who have first hand experience in fighting the war on terror, instead of a Vice-President who sought military deferments, and a President, who was virtually absent from the National Guard. Maybe you didn’t see the 9/11 Commission (which consists of Democrats and Republicans), just last week, come out and give the Bush Administration an F for acting to protect the United States from another terrorist attack. Next time you want to throw around a bunch of red-baiting lies to attack Democrats, at least have the guts to put your name on it (and for the love of the country, stop watching Fox News Channel).

Kosher Ham

Monday, December 12, 2005

Fracas in the Fifth . . .

This morning, a website called was brought to my attention. You gotta check this out. It's an open letter asking Council Member Kell to drop out of the race.

Now, for those of you who don't know, Jackie Kell is the current Council Member from the 5th Council District in Long Beach. She is nearing the end of her second term. There are terms limits in Long Beach. Technically, they restrict an office-holder from appearing on the ballot for an office they have held for two terms. So, Ms. Kell is running as a write-in candidate. This is apparently much to the ire of Gus Ceballos. Mr. Ceballos is the name registered for this domain name.

This is race is one of the heavyweights in next years municipal elections, and so far, it's living up to its expectations. I'm sure we'll hear more about this later . . . we'll see how long it takes the local press hounds to sniff this one out . . .

Kosher Ham

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Pryor Tribute Continued . . .

If you want to laugh click the picture . . . if you are at work (or there are kids around) turn down your speakers.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Thanks For The Laughs . . .

"Long Beach is no place to get busted. You call your friend, you say, 'Hey, I got busted. Come bail me out.' They say, 'Where you at, man?' You say, 'Long Beach, bro.' They say, 'You shit out of luck, man. No way I'm coming down there to bail you out.'"--Richard Pryor, "Live in Concert," 1979.

I was saddened today to learn of the passing of the great comedian Richard Pryor. Richard Pryor was probably one of the first stand-up comedians to make me laugh. I was pretty young, maybe 6-7, when I first heard his stand-up comedy routine from the film, Richard Pryor Live in Concert. This is one of the funniest performances ever – seriously.

As a youngster, the joke that I remember most was about how his Doberman Pinchers didn’t help stop a burglar from stealing from his house. He does an impersonation of his dogs actually directing the burglar as to where to good stuff is. As I kid, this was funny stuff. And, as a matter of fact, Richard Pryor gave this performance at The Terrace Theater, right here in Long Beach, California . . . how many of you knew that?

In the 1980’s I probably saw Stir Crazy more often than anything else, except for maybe The Toy. I will always choose to remember Richard Pryor as one of the first people to make me laugh.

Thanks for all the laughs, rest well.

Kosher Ham

PS – If you have any fond memory or a favorite movie of Richard Pryor's, please share them.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Getaway Day Question of the Week . . .

Do you drink Long Beach tap water?

I do not . . . unless I'm not feeling well, can't find any bottled water, and I need to take some aspirin. I bathe in it, but that's where the relationship usually ends for me.

What about you?

Kosher Ham

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Depressed Telegram . . .

Long Beach has one local daily newspaper, the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Because it is the only daily newspaper in Long Beach, I feel compelled to put a link to it on the side of this page.

In terms of providing news, the PT is pretty decent. I mean, it's not even close to being in the same league as the Los Angeles Times, but there are some good local journalists who work there. But a lot of the material is from the newswire services, and you can find those articles reprinted in other Southern California newspapers.

A for the editorial board, well, I disagree with the editorial board about 9 out of every 10 times. Actually, I fundamentally disagree with them on just about every issue. Sometimes they'll call a spade a spade* . . . but that's pretty much like the pot calling the kettle black.

You should read it, if only to know what the only local daily newspaper in Long Beach is telling people to do. For example, they endorsed President George W. Bush a second time. Not even President Bush's hometown paper did that. The editorial page usually reads like something straight out of the Heritage Foundation or the Reason Foundation . . . pretty conservative stuff.

The anonymous speak out line is pretty cool, but I've never used it. Well, I've tried, but I've never been printed. I have had a few Letters to the Editor that have been printed, and I've had one full editorial run. So, for as much as I disagree with the Editorial Board of the only local daily newspaper in Long Beach, I can't say they don't print opposing view points, because they most certainly do . . . and I hope everyone, and I mean everyone . . . can appreciate that.

Kosher Ham

* Just to be clear, "Calling a spade a spade" is not a racist term . . . plus I'm black anyway.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Long Beach Report . . .

I'll take a little time here to point in the direction of an informative website that should be of at least some interest to many Long Beach residents. At you can find a variety of information about what's going on in and around Long Beach.

LB Report is a "media" website that offers great alternatives to the local print media.

I don't like everything they report on, such as car accidents and murders (I guess if it bleeds it leads). The website is certainly not afraid to point a glaring finger at City Hall actions, and everybody, and I mean everybody, should appreciate that. LB Report has provided in depth coverage of the LNG 'spectacle' in Long Beach, as well as the Redevelopment Agency showdown.

I got a chance to meet the editor (off the record), William Pearl, and let him know I appreciate his site. He seemed excited and enthusiastic about his work, and I look forward to viewing the continued development of his website. He never covered the Housing Trust Fund issue I was working on, but given the likely readership . . . maybe he was doing me a favor.

Kosher Ham

PS - You'll find a link on the left to LB Report - Check it out!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Another Thing . . .

My rent keeps going up, but the place I live in is getting worse. The landlord has made no improvements in the last two years (at least). Yet he manages to find a way to continually raise the rent. When the rents are going up faster than the cost of living . . . somebody is getting greedy. I swear I feel like I'm in a movie sometimes: Once the landlord drove up in his new Lincoln Town Car to drop of our notice of rent increase . . . I figured the dealer didn't give him a very good financing option.

60% of Long Beach residents rent. Only 12% of Long Beach residents can afford to purchase a home in the City of Long Beach.

I’m willing to bet that most of that 12% already own a home.

Kosher Ham

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Things That Suck About Renting #1

I have to pay for parking. Yup, on top of my rent, I have to pay the City of Long Beach $30 a year to park my car on the street. So does my wife. So, it costs us each $5.00 a month to park our cars of the fucking street, right in front of our own damn duplex!

On top of that, we have to purchase an additional guest permit. On the off chance we should have company we wouldn't want them to get a ticket.

The part that really pisses me off is that I just got the bill to pay the $90. I got the bill on December 1, and the bill is due . . . December 10.

Thanks for the massive amount of time to pay this bill . . . is this going to be a permanent thing?

Kosher Ham

Friday, December 02, 2005

Does Long Beach Really Suck?

Of course not . . .

I love Long Beach, and fans of the band Primus will no doubt get the facetiousness with which I've chosen to name by blog. However, there are things about Long Beach that do suck. In addition to some political and social commentary on a variety of issues, there will be a pretty heavy concentration of posts that discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of Long Beach.

I hope you enjoy, and please check back often . . . also . . . feel to post a comment . . .don't be shy.

Kosher Ham