October 20, 2011

Occupy Venice CA Photo Report

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 10:24 pm

Occupy Venice CA includes a tribute to America’s fallen warriors

Tents, flags, and protest signs mark the Occupy Venice site

Gondolas are often used for decoration in Venice CA

The scene at Occupy Venice CA was rather subdued on the afternoon of Thursday October 20, 2011, but the encampment on the Venice Circle offered some photo ops and so the Coolpix was pressed into service.

Is Che the patron saint for Occupy Marina del Rey?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:01 pm

Occupy Venice CA

[Note: In an attempt to achieve humor, portions of this column have been fictionalized (it is up to readers to do their own factchecking to discern what has and what has not been fictionalized).]

(Venice CA) The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have been gaining increased media attention recently (although some lackeys in the conservative propaganda branch of the media have taken to blatant mocking the spontaneous combustion of citizen outrage) and so the World’s Laziest Journalist went to Marina del Rey (on the Western edge of Los Angeles County) to contact and interview the leaders of the Occupy Marina del Rey (CA) at their secret rebel encampment. Unlike the other Occupy protests around the USA, the one in Marina del Rey makes a concerted effort to avoid journalists and we had to switch to stealth mode to talk with the folks who have been trying to reverse the trend of politicians, bankers, and capitalists collaborating on the fleecing of the middle class, in that area of county owned land.

For fifty years the media has been reporting on the cozy financial relationship between the politicians and the developers, but (alas) the trend continues to gain momentum to this very day.

There is no publicized, centralized location for the Occupy Marina del Rey protesters where the police can focus their efforts to discourage the voters’ discontent. The rebel forces in Marina del Rey have tended to pattern their efforts more along the lines of the Occupy the Sierra Maestro Mountains. Many years ago that protest, in a small Caribbean Island Nation, may have, inadvertently, provided the paradigm for the more visible various Occupy Wall Street clone protests springing up around the USA in the Fall of 2011.

We talked with the leader of the Marina Rebels (formed in the late Seventies) known to his followers as “el Jefe,” and he pointed out that the new Occupy Protesters who say that they “aren’t going away” will need at least a decade to establish the priorities for their demands and develop a dialogue with the opposition.

The Marina Rebels have been stymied at every move by the capitalists who dictate their agenda to the local politicians and stifle any attempts to gain converts by managing the news and thus coercing the locals into becoming “sheeple.”

El Jefe brandishes a copy of the October 20, 2011, issue of La Opiniõn newspaper and points to the lead story that details the allegations that the S-Comm program (according to Aarti Kohli at the Warren Institute at UC Berkeley) puts electronic tracking devices on undocumented foreigners in the USA and challenges the columnist saying: “Bet ya didn’t know about this, didja?”

We had to admit that we must have missed that story in our efforts to monitor the news emanating out of that school in the SF area.

El Jefe calls the fascistic politicians, who let developers deplete citizens’ bank accounts via sordid and assorted devious schemes, by the word “Batista” which we assumes means people born out of wedlock. He uses the word as a metaphor for a dictator who has a very cozy relationship with the capitalists and should be replaced by someone via legitimate democratic means or somehow.

The more traditional protest at Occupy Venice (CA) epitomized by a small encampment at the Venice Circle echoes the various bigger protests in places like New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Marina Rebels prefer to conduct their efforts via law suits. The leader of the Marina Rebels is quick to ask the visiting columnist if he knows the details of the dispersal of the Bonus Army in Washington D. C. a few years back. We replied: “Didn’t Douglas Macarthur do a superb job of extending ‘interline courtesy’ and limiting the number of fatalities of protesting WWI veterains, to an extremely acceptable small number?”

“Evidently,” el Jefe responded, “Macarthur was intent on running interference for Ronald Reagan and establishing a precedence for the kind of harsh response to demonstrators which the California governor would condone when he said ‘If it takes a blood bath to end this dissention on campus, let’s get it over with.’”

We asked if the leader of the Marina Rebels thought there would be a heavy handed government move to help convince the protesters to abandon their efforts. “You had to be blindfolded while you were being brought here. Draw your own conclusions.” He continued: “Didn’t your mother teach you that all’s fair in love, war and politics?”

Then he pointed to the front page of the Los Angeles Times October 20, 2011, edition which had a lead story about an FBI investigation into allegations of beatings in the jail facilities.

“The protesters who compare their commitment to non-violence to Gandhi’s methods may soon want to read Albert Camus’ ‘The Rebel’ because in effect they are forcing a binary choice on America: ‘change your ways’ or endorse fascism . . . one more time. Based on America’s past history, we think we know which way the capitalists’ police force will be told to handle the problem. Camus wouldn’t have expected a Pollyanna ending to the protests, so why should I?” He paused and then asked: “How are the ‘No Justice; No BART’ protests going?” He paused and then asked another question: “After the 1968 Democratic Convention who was put on trial? Was it the cops or the kids?”

When we pulled out our Nikon Coolpix camera some of the rebels pulled out pistols. El Jefe motioned me to put the camera away. “Go over to the Occupy Venice site if you want to take photos. You can’t take any here.”

He chuckled and then added: “We have been conducting our fight for about thirty five years. We may not live to see the Promised Land where rents are fair, but we will continue fighting until we win or the day we die. Che Guevara said: ‘Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms.’ We hope the Occupy sites succeed and achieve all their aims but they should know that it may take some time to wear the capitalists down.”

Then he ended the bearded leader added: “It seems that efforts to shame the capitalists into repenting is a bit more optimistic than this old cynic is ready to expect.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Until the end of time,” and the Stones songs “When the whip comes down” and “Street Fighting Man.” We have to go check and see if there is an “Occupy Santa Monica” and see how well it is going. Have an “In it to win it” type week.

October 20, 2009

Absurdism, Surrealism, and Reality TV

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 9:49 pm

(Venice CA)  While standing in line at the Cow’s End Coffee House waiting for  my turn to order a white hot chocolate drink, the TV monitor featured CNN’s coverage of the barf boy and balloon dad.  They were relaying the information that last week’s scientific experiment gone bad might have been a publicity stunt that failed.  It seems balloon dad is more than just an amateur clone of  “Back to the Future’s” Dr.Emmett “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd); he actually is more of a combination of Cuthbert J. Twillie (W. C. Fields), Orson (War of the World broadcast) Wells, and Rosie Ruiz all rolled in to one.  [Why can’t the news shows play “Up, up and away (in my beautiful balloon)” as background music when they give updates on the “balloon boy” story?]

It seems that the “Let’s revitalize the concept of Zeppelins” guy is a bit disappointed by the prospect that his chances to land a reality TV gig have just gone down the toilet.  Well, this columnist came up with a suggestion that should leave balloon dad flush with excitement and get his spirits flying higher than the Hindenburg on a cross ocean trip to New Jersey.  Since it looks like he’s going to “the joint,” “the big house,” or the place where Johnny Cash recorded a live version of “A Boy Named Sue;” why doesn’t he see if the reality TV production company would like to put some video audio equipment in his cell for 24/7 coverage of him paying his debt to society.  That way folks could participate vicariously in his attempt to become rehabilitated.

The only possible objection to such a venture would be that it would set a precedence and that would open the possibility that some other company could up the ante by initiating pay-per-view access to Charlie Manson in his cell.

After getting our drink, we talked to some of our fellow Cow customers and in doing so we came up with a curious local belief.  According to a reliable source, if a person says a prayer to Bob Marley, within five minutes, someone will offer that person a joint.  No!  Not Q or “the rock” (isn’t that a national park and not the slammer these days?) a joint as in marijuana. 

Now some cynics might suggest that in Venice even if you don’t say the prayer, it’s still gonna happen, but we’re just relaying the local lore.

Actually, we hear that the fire escape to the rooftop crib where (allegedly) Jim Morrison crashed has been removed because so many tourists have been attempting to visit that particular location, the means of getting there had to be removed but that, in turn, has angered the fire inspector.

Speaking of smoking that exotic herb, we heard a rumor that one of the local legal medical dispensaries for that very kind of medicinal cigarette has provoked the usually tolerant and liberal local artists into making a concerted effort to close down one of those angels of mercy (?) efforts because of the fact that they have been a bit rude in chasing away some of the world famous Venice Beach street performers working in close proximity to the “legal medicinal pot” location’s front door.

Isn’t one of that folk remedy’s effects to make the “patient” mellow and easy going?  What up with the “scam, kid, ya bother me” type attitude?
There was a time, many, many moons ago, when the “hang-loose” attitude was one of the area’s trademark attributes. 

There was a local fellow who would sit on one of the benches and ask for money.  On occasion he would use his discretionary funds to purchase a liquid libation which might leave him in the prone position in the middle of the Ocean Front Walk.  This columnist can remember seeing a police car drive around the guy and leave him taking his afternoon siesta unbothered.  We were never able to verify the local urban legend saying that he was given every possible break because he had won a Medal of Honor during the Second World War.

Guess who is supposed to have been a Venice resident for a mere six weeks (or so) before trying her luck further up the coast where she joined a band called “Big Brother and the Holding Company.”   Ironically the singer who became synonymous with the San Francisco sound of the sixties, died in Los Angeles. 

It was on Ocean Front Walk where (according to Danny Sugerman’s biography) John Densmore offered fellow UCLA student, Jim Morrison a chance to fill-in that evening for hid band’s singer.

Venice also was home to the only bar in the world that intimidated us away.  That didn’t happened in Casablanca, but it did happen when we had the opportunity to have a sarsaparilla at “The Sand Bar.”

This columnist can personally vouch for the inexpensive but filling breakfasts which were offered by the Layafette café. 

The Catholic Church displayed a bit of civic pride by naming the local one “St. Mark’s.”

Just about the only thing missing in Venice CA is a bar that could boast that it had been (one of) Hemingway’s favorite gin mills.

Just across the border in Santa Monica, the legendary pioneer punk venue called “Blackie’s” is now a chic restaurant run by a world famous chef.

Don’t get the idea that his columnist has gone Yuppie just because of his visits to the Cow’s End.  When this columnist recently chatted with Caleb, the owner, we asked where the cow which was on top of the building many years ago went, he pointed to the cow and immediately knew this columnist was not a “johnny come lately” newbie.  We got extra points for knowing that the place, which attracts laptop owners with wifi access, could boast that an episode of “The Rockford Files” had done some location work on the premises.

Do the hippies in Venice refuse to abandon their attachment to the past?  Recenlty we saw a young fellow in his old car.  He was driving up Lincoln in a green four door convertible 1927 Bentley.  Can’t he, at least, get into the Sixties frame of mind and upgrade to a VW bug?

Aimee Semple McPherson did better than balloon dad when she told newsmen:  “It’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Now, the disk jockey takes great civic pride in playing “Down on Me,” “L. A. woman,” the “They shoot horses soundtrack album” and “the Lawrence Welk Show” theme song.

This is the world’s laziest journalist reporting live (via wi-fi) from our source for white hot chocolate drinks.  Have an “out of Vietnam now!” type week.

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