Police Story, Part 1

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 16, 2008 10:17pm | Post a Comment

My first run-in with the cops was when I was fourteen. I was in a parking lot across the street from Del Amo Mall in Torrance after football practice, waiting for a ride home. I wasn’t used to taking the bus to the new school I was going to, several miles away from my home in Gardena. I kept boarding the wrong bus so finally I gave up and called my sister to pick me up. As I was waiting, I watched the cops make a u-turn across the street. I remember thinking that they probably got a call for a crime and were heading for it, but I was wrong. They pulled right in front of me, jumped out off the car and had me put my hands in the air. I dropped my backpack full of my sweaty clothes on the ground. The cops asked me why I was standing here as they frisked me. I told them that I was coming back from football practice and I was waiting for my sister to pick me up. I then asked what I was doing wrong, because I was just leaning against a brick wall waiting for my sister. They didn’t answer me. I watched as the passengers in the cars slowly passing me by gave their slow judgment. I was embarrassed and I was scared that that they were going to find something to bust me for, even though I had nothing on me to get busted with. In short, I felt like a criminal. After the frisking and looking through my backpack full of sweaty clothes, they let me go and said, “Stay away from the parking lot-- it looks like you’re checking out the cars,” and they left.
My fourteen-year-old brain was confused, “Checking out the cars?” I guess they thought I was going to break into one.  

When I got home I looked in the mirror and saw for the first time what they saw. I was nearly six feet, wearing a white t-shirt with my head shaved down to a number two guard and, I was dark. As dark as the dirt on the ground, as dark as the cochinto pan dulce that sat on the dinner table, as dark as all the criminals I’d seen on the news. Until then I felt like every other kid. But now I knew better. I knew that from now on I would have to be careful of what I said and what I did. I knew I just couldn't go anywhere. Others could get away with more but because of the way I look I couldn’t. I couldn’t stand on a corner, I couldn’t dress different, I couldn’t even check out cars in a parking lot. On that day the cops let me know how different I was, and I hated them for it. For the first time in my young life, I felt powerless.


Posted by Billyjam, March 16, 2008 10:01pm | Post a Comment

There is so much great Irish music out there-- from traditional folk Irish music to Irish rock, jazz, electronic, and hip-hop Irish music etc.-- much of it available at Amoeba Music. But for Saint Patrick's Day I always find the more traditional or trad/folk rooted Irish music is the perfect soundtrack to celebrate the day with. Above is one of my all time favorite songs performed by two of the best, the Pogues and their main musical inspiration, the Dubliners, together doing a rendition of the traditional song "The Irish Rover."  Below is a video of the Pogues performing "Dirty Old Town" -- another song previously popularized by the Dubliners.   And if you happen to be in New York City on Saint Patrick's Day, you can catch the third consecutive night of the Pogues performing live at the Roseland Ballroom. Also on the bill are Billy Bragg and William Elliot Whitmore.

March 14, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, March 16, 2008 01:22pm | Post a Comment


Posted by Billyjam, March 16, 2008 12:12pm | Post a Comment

In the Bay Area recently there has been a surge of road accidents involving cyclists and not just the much publicized ones like the recent tragedy in which a Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy fell asleep at the wheel of his patrol car and veered across the divide and into a group of cyclists, killing two, on Steven's Canyon Road in Cupertino. Besides this and several other recently publicized fatal bike accidents there have also been a ton of unreported crashes in the Bay Area (which has a high density of bike fanatics) that often send cyclists tumbling from their bikes and to the hospital for stitches, or worse.

Coincidentally, this morning just as I was reading a newspaper article about bike crashes in the Bay, I looked up to witness (on College Avenue in Oakland) a cyclist taking a spill on his bike.  The cause of the accident was perhaps the most common one in urban areas.  He suddenly swerved, losing his balance and knocking himself off his own bike, in an attempt to avoid a car door being carelessly flung open by its driver  Luckily the cyclist was wearing a helmet and (seemed) to be okay. Although I think he was still in a state of shock as he told the small crowd suddenly gathered around him,  "I'm fine, I'm fine," as he remounted his bike and shakily cycled off down College. A lot of times you don't realize you are hurt until later after the adrenalin rush subsides.

Parked cars flinging open their doors, along with cars driving too fast or recklessly near cyclists, seem to be the most common causes of accidents for bikers. And it leads me to believe that for true safety for cyclists the only real solution is to completely separate the routes traveled by autos and by bikes: have exclusively bike-only paths and restrict cars to their own routes.   But in the meantime - as bikes and cars are forced to share roadways -  here are some safety tips for cyclists that, although they should be common sense, need reiterating:

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Still Life: Telling Time in La Jetee with Henri Bergson, The Human Torch and EC's Weird Science

Posted by Charles Reece, March 16, 2008 01:52am | Post a Comment

The prisoners were subjected to experiments, apparently of great concern to those who conducted them.  The outcome was a disappointment for some - death for others - and for others yet, madness.  One day they came to select a new guinea pig from among the prisoners.  He was the man whose story we are telling.  He was frightened. He had heard about the Head Experimenter. He was prepared to meet Dr. Frankenstein, or the Mad Scientist. Instead, he met a reasonable man who explained calmly that the human race was doomed. Space was off-limits. The only hope for survival lay in Time. A loophole in Time, and then maybe it would be possible to reach food, medicine, sources of energy.  This was the aim of the experiments: to send emissaries into Time, to summon the Past and Future to the aid of the Present.  But the human mind balked at the idea. To wake up in another age meant to be born again as an adult. The shock would be too great.  Having only sent lifeless or insentient bodies through different zones of Time, the inventors where now concentrating on men given to very strong mental images. If they were able to conceive or dream another time, perhaps they would be able to live in it.  The camp police spied even on dreams.  This man was selected from among a thousand for his obsession with an image from the past. -- Narrator, La Jetée

I hate temporal mechanics! -- Miles O'Brien, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

la jetee poster

Thanks to YouTube, I finally got around to watching La Jetée by Chris Marker. Perhaps most surprising after all the ink that's been spilled analyzing this experimental work is how much it resembles the old science fiction stories of EC's Weird Science.  These stories -- like the majority of those from EC -- featured some twist ending that followed along like fate from whatever course of action the protagonist chose in the beginning. 

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