Monday, January 30, 2012

Groundhog Day!

Not only is it a holiday about a furry weather predicting creature but it's a wonderful love story featuring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. How exactly did we come to have a four-legged forecaster? Well, as with many traditions It traveled across the sea with th Europeans who settled here. Apparently we in the US and Canada didn't have badgers and bears so we settled for the groundhog. Here's a little article to help you understand. Of course just FYI (Bursting of bubble) Whether Ponxatony Phil (the most famous groundhog) sees his shadow or not, there's always 6 more weeks of winter from the date of February 2nd.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Happy Chinese New Year!

It's the Year of the Dragon. Luck good fortune, and Love. What's not to like?! Don't forget to wear red and have some orange slices for a sweet life. Dragons are fierce, fun and fabulous. Find out your Chinese Zodiac sign and learn more about the New Year. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK the Dream today

Today in America many, but not all, American's have a day off in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sadly, this great man is honored but it is an optional holiday so many businesses can choose not to celebrate the life of a man who inspired directly or indirectly great changes for this nation. One day hopefully sooner than later it will be a mandatory holiday for all.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Today he would be happy to see that progress towards his dream has been made but sad to not that many of us have gotten lost along the way to the true reality that he felt could be achieved. Last night I was at an event that showed just how far we have come over the last 50 years. All ethnic backgrounds were gathered together for an event. Well dressed Interracial couples and groups were everywhere peacefully, joyfully awaiting the opening of the doors for the anticipated evenings events. I feel he would be proud to see such diversity united together. However, he would not have approved of the presentation of the three young boys in front of me.

Dr. King was about honor, respect and pride. He not only wanted all people to be united together but his own people to present themselves in the best possible light at all times. Over the years a great part of that has been lost. It started in a small way but has extended itself for many years. These young men were among the many who feel it's perfectly acceptable to show their underwear to the world. When they reached the front doors. The elegantly dressed black gentleman at the front who, along with his brother,was in charge of the event  stopped the three and made them pull up their pants and tuck in their shirts. If the three had thought about where they were going or had even looked around them they would have noticed they were the most poorly attired individuals in attendance.I am sure had their mothers been present they would have been pleased to note how well their sons looked after the small action of properly wearing your clothes had been accomplished.

How we present ourselves to the world is so much a part of Dr. King's original dream. There are numerous misrepresentations of the African American/Black community as a whole that are accepted as reality by the world that need to be killed in order for us to continue down the path that Dr. King helped pave for us. HE would be appalled by BET, upset by the lack of presentation of self and disturbed by the lyrics of the latest incarnations of rap music. We must look at the current state of our community and make positive changes for the future or else Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is lost to us all for ever. One of my favorite quotes from him says it all, "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Out with the Old in with the New

Today is the day that if you weren't back to reality already you are now. Everyone is back to work. 2012 is well underway. Only the people you have yet to see are hearing the greeting Happy New Year from die hard New year's greeters. We are all immersed in our lives. The fun and frivolity of holiday cheer has ended. Closeout sales have been in stores since the first. Items are 50% to 80% off and since the first day of the year Valentines day paraphernalia has lined the shelves. Out with the old usher in the new. Keep moving never stop as something will seriously go wrong if we slow down. The world moves on. As it does, many people and places are discarded in it's wake.

Our current economic climate and computer culture has caused a great decline in several markets. Small businesses are being swallowed up by corporate conglomerates and large businesses are barely holding on.  Paddington's Tea Room was where I celebrated my last birthday with friends. It was a lovely family owned tearoom that gave you the best in quality tea for the past 20 years. They closed last year. Famima is a chain combo convenience store and take out place. It lasted well beyond my expectations but it no longer exists in Culver City. As a matter of fact many places in the once sleepy Culver City  have disappeared due to high rents. These places include El Pollo Loco, Mezza Grill, the Culver Plaza theater (which was once a Mann Theater and has a beautiful mural of old world Hollywood depicted on it's walls) and a local healthy restaurant.

Bookstores both large and small are dying in droves due to online cutthroat prices and the onset of nooks, kindles and the like. I would have never believed that a large chain like Borders would go the way of the Dodo. Sadly it is so. Even more sad to note is smaller more personal places are going down the same route. The Bodhi Tree bookstore has been a small wonderful bookstore located on Melrose since the 70's. It has provided patrons with hot tea, cozy reading nooks and great books for this entire time. On December 31st it's doors closed for good in that location. Rents were just too high to sustain the location. They hope to open again but it's just a matter of where, when and if a generous benefactor can believe in the sustainability of a brick and mortar store.

These are but a few of the many places in the metropolitan city of Los Angeles that have gone out of business due to varying factors. What gets me is that everyone is so obsessed with moving forward that the collateral damage seems to be but a glitch in the process. "Computers are better." "It's the way of the future." "That's just how it's down now." "It's so much easier." I ask you this, If the way of the future is so much better, why are there so many businesses profiting from "retro" materials? Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to toss out the old ways. Simpler times, simpler days the future isn't always brighter sometimes how we did it was just the right way.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Reflection and Redirection vs Resolutions

I hope that one and all have survived the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Many of you seem to have had a not so glamorous 2011, a not so glorious end of the year and a not so fantabulous start to the new year. I can say I am one of the many. Most of us make resolutions to offset that unhealthy balance. I can say I am not one of the most. I believe resolutions don't get done. At least not for me. It is easy to slide further and further away from the intent of a resolution. It is not as easy to run away from a reflection (unless of course you are a vampire ;-).

I like to take the end of the old and begin of the new to be more like the God Janus. Janus has the ability to look in two directions at once; both forward and back. Janus represents this time of year as we can look back over the old year and forward towards the new. When we make resolutions we tend to feel guilt at not completing them. We tend to berate ourselves for not being able to live up to our lofty ideals. We tend to feel we are less than instead of better. We are all human. We are going to slip and fall.

 I like to reflect on what I did and did not like about myself, my year, my actions and my life. Instead of making point blank specific must do's I like to redirect my actions to see if I can avoid repeating what happened before.  We are going to eat that cake, date that wrong person, buy that overly priced non necessary item and do what ever it is we should not do just because we feel like it. It is human nature to do what feels good even if it isn't what is the right thing to do. Reflection on what you've done and how it made you feel might however help you to see the connection between the events and allow you to redirect your energies in a more positive manner.

Some may say that reflection and resolution is just a way of making a resolution but it is in a more abstract form. That is possible but I do know that once I chose this path versus the hard lines of resolution my waistline got thinner, my workplace happier and my general out look more positive. Give it a try. You never know what might happen. Happy New Year! Here's to an even more beautiful you in 2012.