I had the good fortune in February to be photographed on two occasions. I think I’ll tack the pictures up side by side next to my desk. In one photo, I’m all dressed up, standing in a dining room at the Beverly Hills Hotel, shaking hands with George W. Bush. In the other, I’m in a sweatshirt, in the Bay Shore Lanes bowling alley on Pico Boulevard, standing between Police Chief Tim Jackman and Fire Chief Jim Hone. . . . Guess which one is my favorite? . . .
I made up for having dinner with Bush by having tea with Michael and Kitty Dukakis later that same week (in the company of several other people on both occasions). . . . I say that, and I’m a Republican. What is the world coming to? . . .
The public entrance to this year’s Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades – think, “the L.A. Open,” as everyone over the age of 14 still calls it – anyway, the public entrance was at a bus drop-off location in a residential neighborhood. Just outside the entrance, a lemonade stand had been set up in a front yard, and on the table was a sign:
Proceeds to Haiti
And the Cherri Kravitz Scholarship Fund
Thinking that Cherri Kravitz was the girl who lived there, I was going to say that I didn’t find the sign funny at all. . . . But a little Internet research told me that the National Center for Charitable Statistics actually lists The Cherri Kravitz Scholarship Foundation, Inc., and it is an Atlantic City outfit that gives scholarships to local students in memory of a teacher who died of breast cancer. . . . Shows how much I know. Or how cynical I’ve become. . . . Or both.
I saw a sign on a table that was funny several weeks ago on the Venice boardwalk. As you probably know, there are tensions that seethe just beneath the placid surface of free-spirit Venice – tensions between the merchants on the landward side of Ocean Front Walk who pay (sometimes exorbitant) rent for their shops and the folks who set up tables on the seaward side basically rent-free, and sometimes tensions among the seaward-side folk themselves who compete for City-allocated spaces: Are bumper-stickers merchandise or political speech? And what is “art,” anyway? . . .
Anyway, one recent fine Sunday morning while walking the boardwalk, I saw a seaward-side setup with a sign behind the table:
Stop Commercial Vending
On West Side of Beach
Not Fair to Artists
And then in front of and below that, on the table of the same set-up, a sign:
Your Name on a Grain of Rice
Art is in the eye of the beholder. . . . The mind’s eye, even.
It was great to see the PAL kids’ bowling team in the lane next to the SMPD at this year’s SuperBowl-A-Thon XIV. . . . The event was a fundraiser for the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition. Let’s hear it for the PAL board members who put up the entry-fee money for the team – raising funds for the competitors who were raising funds.
I was as excited as anyone when Frank McCourt re-routed the Los Angeles Marathon to finish in Santa Monica at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, the historic terminus of Route 66. . . . But I have to admit that a bit of the edge was taken off my excitement when I read that the race would be known as “the Honda L.A. Marathon Presented by K-Swiss” . . . “broadcast by KTLA 5” [Santa Monica Mirror, February 4-10]. . . . At least they kept the “L.A.” in the name, unlike the golf tournament.
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