Friday, January 27, 2006

A Million Little Pieces Of Crap . . .

My only familiarity with James Frey’s memoir . . . err . . . novel . . . A Million Little Pieces is what my wife told me as she read it in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Knowing that I was unlikely to ever pick up an Oprah Book of the Month Club selection, she offered me a blow-by-blow account of Mr. Frey’s harrowing addiction and recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. As she told me about the book, my thoughts ranged from “preposterous” to “ridiculous” to “I can’t believe this guy is still alive”. I never gave much thought to the truth, as I assumed it was account of Mr. Frey’s life. However, I did assume that there were many an exaggeration, some more obvious than others. Nonetheless, there is a story told by James Frey, and maybe readers and critics alike, should go back a read the story as a novel, and see what they come away with before placing Mr. Frey on the crucifix.

You see, I don’t really care whether Mr. Frey told the truth or not, and to be quite honest, I’m a little perplexed all the outrage. I’m the kind of person that’s a little more concerned about whether or not our elected representatives, including the President of the United States, are telling the truth. Their lies are much more harmful, and much more detrimental to our Nation than anything James Frey could possibly say. And for those of you who might say I’m minimizing the James Frey saga . . . I say “yes” . . . I am minimizing the situation.

Why was it ever maximized? Don’t we have more important things to attend to?

Kosher Ham

PS – Guess what? The movie Fargo is also not a true story as it claims to be. It was just a stylistic tool. Should we flay the Coen brothers?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Grabbing Hands . . .

I was listening to Depeche Mode tonight, and I don’t know, but for some reason these lyrics made me think of the GOP:

The grabbing hands
Grab all they can
All for themselves
After all

Kosher Ham

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Surprise, Surprise . . .

From the Washington Post: The Bush administration appears to have violated the National Security Act by limiting its briefings about a warrantless domestic eavesdropping program to congressional leaders, according to a memo from Congress's research arm released yesterday.

The Congressional Research Service opinion said that the amended 1947 law requires President Bush to keep all members of the House and Senate intelligence committees "fully and currently informed" of such intelligence activities as the domestic surveillance effort.

The memo from national security specialist Alfred Cumming is the second report this month from CRS to question the legality of aspects of Bush's domestic spying program. A Jan. 6 report concluded that the administration's justifications for the program conflicted with current law.

Kosher Ham

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Inside The Numbers . . .

One thing that these numbers reveal is that, not surprisingly, most Long Beach homeowners are older. My guess is that an overwhelming majority of homeowners are over 40 years of age in Long Beach. A lot of the homes in Long Beach are located on the east side of the city. I’ve been there, I used to live there, and I have friends (over the age of 65) who live their now. I know a lot of those neighborhoods, and the people are great, and they are older.

Another thing that these numbers reveal is that Long Beach’s older population isn’t necessarily a wealthy population. In general, a lot of seniors live on retirement, also referred to as a ‘fixed-income’. This amount of money isn’t a lot, so it’s a good things that their houses are already paid off, because most fixed-incomes don’t afford mortgage payments. Also, part of my assumption is drawn from the 50% of our seniors who do claim a disability, and may be collecting SSI, or SSDI from the federal government. These sources of income are also paltry. Oh yeah . . . Long Beach is ranked 6th in the nation in poverty . . . catch my drift here.

More needs to be done to help young people become homeowners. The housing stock is old, and turning apartments into ‘condominiums’ is a risky investment, and a poor way to ‘plan’ a community.

More needs to be done in the area of home modifications. Many seniors need minor fixes that would make their homes far more accessible to them, and to visitors as well. If indeed, Long Beach’s older population is not a wealthy population, than local government will need to develop an assistance program.

Home values don’t gauge the health of a community. I heard a council member last year state that his District was doing well because home values are so high. I guess his ego is an inflated as the home prices around here. The Los Angeles County area ranks as one the most overpriced housing markets in the country. And by overpriced, they mean the house isn’t worth what it’s being sold for.

Friday, January 13, 2006

All In The Numbers . . .

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an affordable housing advocate. I especially think it’s important for local governments to make sure that housing is being built that residents can actually afford. The idea for local representatives is to represent their current residents . . . not device plans to bring in new, and shall we say more wealthy residents.

Here are some things you might no know about Long Beach:

  1. 40% of Long Beach homeowners are over 55 years of age.
  2. Over 25% of Long Beach homeowners are over 65 years of age.
  3. 50% of Long Beach’s older community has a disability.
  4. In 2005, Long Beach was ranked 6th in the nation in poverty.
  5. Nearly 6000 Long Beach grandparents are raising their grandchildren.
  6. More than 40% of the homes in Long Beach are over 50 years old – nearly 18% of those homes were built in 1930 or earlier.

I’ll get in to how these statistics relate to housing tomorrow.

Kosher Ham

Thursday, January 12, 2006

They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright . . .

When I was in high school, my parents took me to see Phantom of the Opera. As I kid I thought it was pretty cool for a musical. As an adult, I still enjoy the music. A pretty accessible score, and story, it's no wonder that this week Phantom of the Opera became the longest running show in Broadway history -- 18 years.

I don't see many Broadway plays, but I did happen to see one last weekend . . . more on that later . . . it's worth breaking the rule for.

Kosher Ham

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Closing The Books . . .

In case you missed the news, the Long Beach City Council chose not to place on the ballot a measure that would have increased funding to the libraries. Supporters hoped to use the money to restore library hours and programs, purchase more books and computers and increase child and adult literacy programs. All bad things.

So, rather than let the good people of Long Beach decide what to do, the City Council balked at placing the measure on the ballot. The main reason that was used was the the people wouldn't want to raise taxes on themselves twice in the same year. You see, later this year Long Beach residents will get to vote on raising taxes to pay for new cops. So, it was books versus cops in the end, and books don't have a powerful and influential union.

Kosher Ham

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Vegas Baby . . .

Off to Vegas.

Most likely I'll adhere to the "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" rule. See you when I get back.

Kosher Ham

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pardon The Interruption . . .

I was out sick yesterday. Well, actually I went in for a couple of hours to take care of some things that are close to their deadline (look at me! you might actually think I got paid well). At 10, I went home for the day, and just took it easy.

I watched a soccer game, and thought of my Spurs Mad friend who probably went ballistic when Robbie Keane scored Tottenham’s second goal.

I watched a bit of the outcome to the horrible mining disaster. A lot of religion was evoked.

I cleaned up the place. Place. That's what I call my place . . . my places used to have names . . . The Bone Yard, The Maxi-Pad, but I've never come up with a name for this place . . . I'll have to work on that.

I actually watched a bit of the Rose Bowl as well. I'm not much a college football fan, but this was the BIG GAME, and what I saw, was pretty damn good. I don't like USC, but I like things from Texas even less.

I better get running to work. I'm feeling much better.

Kosher Ham

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Portrait . . .

A picture my wife drew of me . . . obviously she caught my good side.

Kosher Ham

Monday, January 02, 2006

If Only . . .

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Clean Slate . . .

The first day of the New Year . . . doesn't really seem that much different than the day before.

Though, I suppose as we flip the calendar to the New Year, we can have a sense of optimism as we move ahead through the next twelve months . . . it will be what you make of it . . . so make it a good.

Kosher Ham

PS - Consider these my 'vacation' entries . . . more substance to come.