About notoriouslig

I’m a former junior high school teacher and former newspaper reporter who’s currently masquerading as a superhero (ok, maybe not) attorney. I’m fascinated by the world around me and the great (or at least amusing) thoughts it inspires.

Eastside Resting Place

About 75 people are mourning Michael Jackson’s passing by watching over MJ’s temporary Eastside resting place from the parking lot of the Jack in the Box across the street from L.A.’s coroner’s office.  The Eastside fans (and their veladoras) are joined in their grief by 11 television trucks and an army of sheriffs.

Boston’s On Fire, and so is El Sereno

Or at least some of its hills.  Fire seems to be under control now or that’s as much as I can tell by the white smoke and the fact that the helis are gone. Only question I have, why did the helicopters that practice water drops from the DWP property in Montecito Heights every weekend not actually show up when a fire broke out in the neighborhood?
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Overheard

Overheard on the Metro to the ANSWER rally against hate.

You mean not everyone gets a seat on the train?

Followed five minutes later by,

Anybody want to buy candy from me?  I got Snickers and M&Ms.  I also have condoms–just 25 cents.

She only sold the condoms.

The Fifth of July

When I was a little kid, we were too poor to afford fireworks. I suppose I can’t blame my pyrotechnic poverty just on being poor, but more on the fact that my mother didn’t think any part of the welfare check should be spent on frivolity. If we got fireworks, we didn’t get clothes, or we didn’t get food. Sure, it was a practical choice, but as a kid, you just want to rip into the hundred dollar “Independence Day” box of fireworks.

Our fireworkslessness meant that in the days leading up to the Fourth of July every year, we’d visit our more affluent friends and watch them light fireworks. Back then this annual ritual led me to conclude that socio-economic status could be identified by the characteristics of your fireworks.

If you had no color, just sound, you weren’t poor, but you weren’t living in a mansion. You lived in an apartment and shared a bedroom with a couple of siblings. The same went for fireworks with no sound, and just smoke.

If you had fireworks that were colorful, but just rolled around on the ground, you lived in one of the houses in a duplex.

If your fireworks shot color into the air, and did so while crackling, at least one of your parents had a full-time job and probably owned a house with a yard and a driveway (or at least they’d found a way to live in one).

In my family, we didn’t have any fireworks before and up to the Fourth of July. We didn’t get to light something and have sound, or color. Maybe, if we got lucky, someone handed us a sparkler. In the bad years, they handed us the punk used to light the fireworks. Yep, there’s the poor kid, the one with the smoldering ember.

Occasionally, when the sounds of Fourth of July were so muddled that you couldn’t tell the fireworks from the gunshots fired into the air, we pretended to be fireworks. I mean, if you’re a nine-year-old and you scream from a low tone to a very high one, you sound kind of like a Piccolo Pete. And besides, by nightfall, no one even knows what’s going on in neighboring yards, driveways, or streets. Everyone is just staring into the sky, looking for something to make the darkness light. That means there is no risk of being seen joining the cacophony of Independence Day sound, while in your pajamas, from just inside your apartment’s living room window. Continue reading

95 Out

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When you live on the Eastside, the beach is never a hop, skip, and a jump away (at best, it’s a long bus ride down Lakewood Blvd. away). So, you find another way to get cool.

For my family, this involves a short walk to Salt Lake Park. Today, after picking up some tostadas de camarón at Ceviche Loco, my mom lounged under palm trees while it was 95 degrees in L.A. I watched the Second Annual Salt Lake Park Skate Contest. And throughout, the soccer players played.
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Cutting Across The Eastside

A few evenings a week, I struggle with how to criss cross the Eastside without getting caught in a ton of traffic.  I’m generally talking about the north-south part of any trip that requires me to get from Rosemead to Bell or Highland Park to Bell.  If it’s around 5 p.m., there’s a 100% chance I’m going to be stuck on roads sometimes less taken (yes, I’m talking to you Soto St. all the way down to the backside of the Farmer John plant and down Boyle St. and Garfield Ave. down to Slauson Blvd. to Florence Ave. and Eastern Blvd. past the cemetery to Telegraph Rd. to the five-point intersection from hell at Atlantic Blvd).  Freeway, street, off-road trail–it doesn’t matter.  If I’m on it, it’s going to be slow. 

All this leads me to a question perhaps appropriate for a blog dedicated to the Eastside–is there an easy way to cut across the Eastside or is just designed to be a long, slow ride designed to be enjoyed when you think you have better things to do?

And for our more practically-inclined readers, suggestions for the best way to get across the Eastside are also greatly appreciated.