Don’t Waste Your Vote

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are running for President. Jill Stein (Green), Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Darrell Castle (Constitutional), and ten (10!) others will be on the ballot as well. Let me repeat: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are running for President, no one else. A vote for any other name on the ballot is wasted.
A close friend told me they were going to vote their conscience in the primary. I assume they voted for Ted Cruz as they said they would—cute? Dumb. Clever? Foolish. Brave? Certainly not—we have a secret ballot here in California!
Was I impressed by his bold claim? No, I was disappointed and fearful that he wasn’t alone in his choice. It would have been foolish to vote for someone who’d already pulled out of the race by the time Californians voted.
I have heard this ‘vote my conscience’ statement quite a bit lately…from a lot of Christians. This phrase is part of the new CC—Christian Correctness®, quickly replacing Political Correctness. I’m not referring to Christianity. Christian Correctness does the same thing as Political Correctness: it pigeon holes the user, or better said, makes them part of the right club. It replaces real thought, straight thought, and ultimately, the truth with clever phrases and an unbecoming passive aggressive attitude.
Ted Cruz and John Kasich, both men for whom I held a great deal of respect nine months ago, have proved themselves no more than sophomoric sour grape sore losers in the end, and might earn the dubious title as the ones who put Hillary in office. Hillary will be the first to thank them.
“Dump Trump” and “Never Trump” are the clubs, the sorry self-righteous congregations of those embittered by not getting Ted, Marco or Carly nominated. And why such a nasty epithet—Dump Trump? He’s not like us! Look what he said about Megan Kelly, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Donald Trump is not a politician (None of the founding fathers were politician, except perhaps Ben Franklin). Trump might not be good at running, or one might claim he’s too good; he won the nomination big time. I’m not sure why he said much of what he said that was so ugly, but he wants what I want, and I think he can bring it about. He isn’t PC in any way. He believes Christians have taken it in the shins for a long time, and if he’s not against you, he’s for you.
If you vote your conscience, as recently constituted, you will get nothing in return. You will still have your pride…and that little sticker that says so proudly that you voted.
One last word, if you’ve read the first 440 words. The pedestrian, pedantic, dismissive, insulting phrase “I’m going to hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two evils” is just plain nasty. Don’t use it. This seemingly clever phrase warns all those in earshot that they had better not cross the speaker, that it’s what we’re all doing, and that there is no thought beyond this (I’m avoiding conversations with many of my friends till December).
It’s time to grow up. Your vote is precious, don’t waste it. It’s not a game.


Disenfranchising Your Daughter

A six-year-old girl came into McDonald’s with her thirteen-year-old brother and her dad. Dad went to order lunch and the little girl claimed the table facing me, at a window. Her brother shot past to the second table behind me. He hollered for his sister to follow.

“I want to sit here,” she said firmly,  though not really defiantly.

I thought, “Good for you. Hold your ground.” I was really proud of her, such a little thing up against a big lard-of-a-brother. “She should do well.” It made me smile.

Dad had seen this. His approach even startled me. And he lit into his little girl. “Just who do you think you’re talking to? That’s your big brother. You do what he says!” And, blah, blah, blah. He stood two feet from me, and I felt like he included me in his berate.

The second he raised his voice she was reduced to a quivering chihuahua. Her eyes darkened, her chin dropped to her chest—tail between her legs, and she was done. She didn’t dare cry—there wasn’t a hint of tears—that lesson had obviously already been taught. She crept off toward her brother.

My brain screamed. “Some day a boy will tell her what to do, and she will do just as she is told.” And whatever the outcome, she will be blamed.

Choosing a table has nothing to do with safety. It’s about having your druthers. Just about an opinion. What if Dad had simply said to the brother, “What’s it gonna cost you to let Leticia have her way once in a while?”

So, listening to her brother at that time meant that he must always be in charge—regardless. And, following this logic, the big brother most likely learned he can count on being in control: he makes the rules! Hey, in a couple of years he can just tell a girl what to do, and she’ll do it.

You don’t agree with my simple inferences of this two-minute scenario? Just how do you think personalities are formed? How do you think people learn their patterns of behavior?

I was proud of the little girl at the outset, then I watched her fall in line just as though Dad had pulled on her choke chain. I think about it once in a while, and hope she keeps that moxxy, that strength to hold out.

It was unfortunate for the dad that I wasn’t a line-backer like Tim, a friend of mine. I might have had the casabas to tell the dad what I thought, what he’d just flushed away. He might have learned a different lesson…but then, I’m small, afraid of confrontations, and maybe a little dumb—what? Where did I learn that?

Calling Cards on the Sidewalk

I dropped one of my business cards on the sidewalk the other day. I reached down to retrieve it and came a finger’s reach from another calling card from the WPA, the Works Project Administration (originally the Works Progress Administration). It was created in 1935 to help in the recovery from the Great Depression. Buildings, bridges and school built by the WPA bear plaques as a remembrance of our recovery—a slow recovery that ended at WWII.WPA 1941 split copy_edited-3
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But, sidewalk calling cards aren’t limited to government projects of coarse. On the brighter side, there are many more business cards stamped in the walks of my town. They were stamped by the contractors of 1950, 51, 52 and on. One of them was one of my Dad’s friends, Henry Cox of Cox Brothers Construction Company of Stanton, California.Cox Bros. Construction 1951 copy


You can find his calling card in the 1951 neighborhood of East Whittier. Look for it on Ocean View above Mar Vista. Hank Cox was around our house a lot. He lived in Garden Grove where I grew up. My father, a broker,  acquired property for Hank to build homes on.

There were many independent contractors who poured the sidewalks in Whittier. They built the houses and the buildings.Griffith Clean Vignette copy

Wonder once in a while. Think of who built this or that structure. Look down at the sidewalk where a stamp, a metal insert, or an iron municipal cover marks the presence of an American worker or contractor. Take notice when it says “Made in USA.”

Flight of the Grumman Goose

Remember Fantasy Island? Remember Tattoo shouting “De plane, de plane” from the tower of the white mansion? For a moment you glimpse the Grumman Goose flying at you, then passing to your left. Tattoo races down to meet Ricardo Mantalban in his white linen suit (I’m sure it wasn’t polyester). The actual mansion, fronted by the  lagoon, is in the  land-locked Los Angeles Arboretum. Most likely the Grumman is still flying somewhere in Alaska, Seattle or Florida…Hawaii?  Barring the historic DC-3, (Dakota, C-47), with its first flight in December, 1935, and still going strong, definitely Queen of the skies (opening to “Burn Notice”?), no plane of World War II vintage has logged the continuing hours of the Grumman Goose  G-21. A personnel transport, it first flew in May, 1937.

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Santa Catalina Island enjoyed hourly air service from San Pedro Harbor and Long Beach Airport up through the nineteen-sixties via Avalon Air Transport and Catalina Channel Airlines. Both used the Grumman Goose, flying several planes each. Avalon Air also had the four-engined Sikorsky VS-44 Excambian, lovingly dubbed “Mother Goose” by Islanders. This plane flew once a day, then spent the afternoon bobbing in Avalon Bay. The steamer was still running till the late 60’s, as well. (Google pics and facts)
Our family enjoyed Catalina when I was a kid, my three brothers and I, Mom and Dad. Dad bought a 40′ Chris Craft Sedan in 1955, and we motored over (like that boat talk?) every few weekends when the weather was right.

When Dad was done with boats, he partnered with two friends and purchased Hotel Catalina; so we still had to get to the island.  I took four trips on the steamer in my teens.  It ran from the  then construction site of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, (opened in 1963) near where the Lane Thomas is docked. Avalon Air Transport planes took off from under the bridge, too. San Pedro was a lot more romantic in those days with the steamer, fishing boats and sea planes coming and going.

Driving from Garden Grove to San Pedro for a two hour trip on a “cattle boat” wasn’t Dad’s cup of tea, I guess, and we drove to Long Beach Airport to climb aboard the Catalina Channel Air Grummans. We’re talking 1962-63. These planes were plenty old by then. Our luggage was placed in the nose from the outside. Two opposing covers in front of the wind shields opened from the center allowing access to the “hold.” An aisle ran between 10 to 12 seats set along each side.

The engines kicked over, puffed a gray-white cloud of smoke from each exhaust, and roared to life. The engines revved, and the sheet metal vibrated till it was tuned to itself.  We trundled along to the strip. The pilot spun the Goose onto the strip—literally—pivoting on the left wheel. He pulled the two throttles forward. We rattled down the concrete airstrip struggling into the air. The co-pilot cranked up the wheels. There was plenty of noise, but once in the air the rhythm of the two engines settled down. The flight lasted fifteen minutes.

Landing on the surface of the Pacific Ocean—you know, the Pacific, the one with all the waves—landing can be touchy. The plane settled toward the surface, inching down till the boat-like hull split the waves. The wing floats, little pontoons also shaped like boat hulls, skimmed the surface. The pilot slowed the engines, and the plane settled in, turning left or right, wallowing, rising and falling like a… goose… on the waves. The wheels were cranked down. The engines revved again, pulling us up to the ramp onto the concrete yard at Pebbly Beach. There were buildings from when the earliest sea planes ran to Catalina as far back as 1935. A shuttle carried you to town, about two miles around Mt. Ada.

The Buffalo Nickel Restaurant 1-310-510-1323, occupies one of the old buildings dating back to the 20’s or 30’s. The food is excellent and if it’s your birthday, it is free. Call them when it’s time to eat and they will pick you up at the Moll where the jet boats arrive or at the east end of Crescent where town begins. The shuttle costs nothing, the service is friendly, and no one cares if you wander around Pebbly Beach after lunch, looking for broken pottery shards from the Catalina Tile and Ceramic Company (1927-37).

My family enjoys the Catalina Express 1-800-622-2354, whose boats cross from LB to Avalon in an hour flat. They’re catamarans and very stable. For the past few years they have offered you a free ticket on your birthday, too. We like to hike deep inside the island, or snorkel in Lovers’ Cove. I’m glad I tasted history back then when I was a kid, but there is so much to the island, I’m always interested to hear someone else’s story about Catalina.

I’m sorry I have no site or phone number for Channel Air or Avalon Air—how cool would that be? You will enjoy the plethora of photos of the Grumman Goose on Google.