Friday, April 29, 2016

Malibu morning picture of the day - Friday, April 29, 2016 with Friday Libertarian Lesson

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

It is NOT a predominantly blue sky picture day today at the coast, to wit:

Lot of clouds today. Here's a second look.

The white tents you see down there are for the graduation this weekend that we expect here at Malibu Community College.

Big day for a lot of people. I wish them well; they paid my salary after all...

Friday's Libertarian Lesson

Since I got such an underwhelming response to my thoughts on being a libertarian last Friday, I've decided to devote space in the election year to lessons on being libertarian framed against the issues that are being asked of the presidential candidates. I don't really expect anyone to respond. But if you've wondered what would a libertarian candidate likely say or think regarding such things, wonder no more since I will give you a knee-jerk response.

Q. Should we build a wall between us and Mexico?

A. If you've got a house or business that sits on the Mexican border, I think it would be a very good idea to put a fence up if you have problems with trespassers, burglars, or unwanted animals or varmints. If you have safety hazards on your property it would be nice courtesy to your neighbors, but we know not to go on your property unless we're invited. The Mexico-facing side, the south side in most cases, would be included of course, so what would be the point otherwise?

Q. I mean should the U.S. government put up a fence?

A. Use taxpayer dollars to put up a fence on your property? No. Go buy your own damn fence. If you don't have enough money, get a job and save up.

Q. But what about illegal immigrants who might walk through?

A. What makes them illegal?

Q. They don't have an official permit, a visa, to enter.

A. I have no problem with letting people come be tourists, students, visit relatives, or offer their services, or just stepping through to look around. That just about covers all the bases. Give them all visas or get rid of visa entirely.

Q. You'd let anybody through?

A. Through my yard? No. There's a perfectly good border crossing station with a paved road and sidewalks. They don't need to be cutting through my place. It's very inconvenient for them. If it's someone I know and they ask nicely, I'll let them through. If I don't know them and they ask and hand me a Jackson, I'd probably escort them personally and give them a Coke.

Q. I'm not talking about your yard. But they won't let them through at the border crossing.

A. And why is that?

Q. They're afraid they'll get a job or be a terrorist or go on Welfare.

A. What's wrong with getting a job?

Q. They take it away from someone else.

A. So the employer checked out both and the superior candidate crossed the border? The other guy needs to up his game. We dig competition here in the U.S., right?

Q. I assume they're equally qualified. It's probably because the immigrant works for less.

A. Then other guy needs to lower his price. But you're sure throwing a bunch of presuppositions in there.

Q. But what if he's a terrorist?

A. Has he hurt anybody yet?

Q. No.

A. We'll arrest him, try him with due process, and punish him when he does.

Q. Pretty short-sighted to not try to cut off dangerous people from doing deadly things before they happen.

A. When you come up with an accurate predictor of human behavior, let's talk. I think you'd wind up restricting the action of a lot of people once you start doing preemptive restrictions. Is violence only committed by immigrants? Or do all immigrants commit violence?

Q. No. What if they go on Welfare?

A. Do they qualify under the rules that the aid-granting agency has set down?

Q. Yes.

A. What's the problem then?

Q. They're a drain on the system.

A. Change the rules then. Or once the budget is drained, that's it. Wait until the next fiscal year starts. I'm not a fan of handing out free taxpayer money, I'd shut that system down personally.

OK, there you have it. "Jo Libertarian" has just articulated his view on a border fence. Trump would build one and try to send Mexico the bill. Clinton would "build a physical barrier when appropriate."

If you've got a question for Jo, just ask and they will answer.

Next Friday: Job Creation


Thursday, April 28, 2016

iT'S STreeTarT THurSDay iN eaST HoLLyWooD! with Malibu AM pic of the day - Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dear Street Art Lovers and all you other lovely and loving people,

Today I present a somber work from East Hollywood. As I have mentioned before, one of the other names for East Hollywood is Little Armenia, because it has long been an neighborhood where many Armenian people have migrated to, liked living here, and settled. We have a mural off of Hollywood Blvd. just east of Normandie Avenue done in commemoration of the 1.5 million Armenians who perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Around this time of year I see many cars in the neighborhood flying the small car-window flags of Armenia.

Artist AVA Artoon, We Are Still Here, paint on wall (2015), central detail.

This last weekend was a time of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide (which if you've read the news, the Turkish government has never owned up to), so I thought this was probably the best week to present this mural. I've been waiting for months (I drive by it on my way to work) for the combination of good morning light and no cars parked in front of it to get a good picture, but this has never happened.

This obviously went up last year in the 100th anniversary year 2015, but I've been waiting and watching for a good day. Yesterday morning the light was good, but there were vehicles in front so I figured it's as good as I'll get. But it's no less powerful and disturbing because of those cars.

It has been said that Hitler felt that he could get away with engineering the Jewish Holocaust because he took the lesson that the Turks exterminated the Armenians and the world remained silent.

It's a very atmospheric and emotional image. An old woman is gagged and made silent, holding out her chained hands pleading with us. Vapors representing the troubled spirits of the slain eerily winds from a monument through the woman's hands and eventually file through the gates of Heaven. Trees burn on the left and are transformed into crucifixes, indicating that the Armenians died not because of anything they did, but simply for who they were, followers of Christ. But, as the headline says, they are still here.

Here's the whole thing:

When a snapped a picture a few months ago, there were no cars in front, but the early sun was casting shadows of trees on it. Here it is from then:

The artist has indicated four flags on the left. He/she has chosen to not commit the same sin as the world did on the part of the Armenians, and has recognized additional peoples against whom the Turks acted. The top flag (red, blue, orange) is the Armenian flag.

The Turks also waged exterminations against people of Greece (represented by the blue and white striped flag) and Assyria (the flag with the wavy X pattern). The number were less, but the brutality was the same. The flag of Israel is included in solidarity. I have to admit I knew nothing about these events, so this artist has definitely raised my consciousness about the horrors that started the 20th century on its bloody path of dehumanizing people, making them valueless and disposable.


Another predominantly blue sky this morning.

Took the bus this morning. In LA there are these double-long buses and in the middle they have these really high seats facing the middle. They're uncomfortable to sit in as they are made for people with long legs, but I grab one when there's nothing else. You DO get a view over everyone else which is interesting. It makes you think what it's like to be a person over six feet tall. I decided to whip out the phone and do a PANO shot just because.

When one is out taking random street shots like I do or shooting a mural, it's always interesting to see who, if any, cover their face. In this age of Twitter, there are a lot of citizen journalists and muckrakers out there, so I suppose anything is possible.

I was reading an Australian's blog post on race in his home country versus the U.S. He reports that they have a third category that we do not (we have the binary system of white/nonwhite) called wog. The folks who would fit into this are Armenians, Middle Easterners, Balkans, Greeks, Italians, dark-skinned French and Spaniards, etc. whereas in American we'd just lump them in with the whites. I was thinking about that this morning and decided with the exception of 2-3 blacks, I was on the "wog bus." Since Latinos are hybrid Mediterranean Iberians-Indians, I figured they belong in the "wog" category too. Only one "Australian-denoted-white" male ever go on the 704 line, no such females; there were only a handful of Asians.

When I transferred to the Malibu-bound 534 bus it became exclusively "wog" or "Latino" except for me. Come to think of it, most of the time, I am the only Asian on the 534.  I take that back. A bunch of black kids from the initial stops in Culver City are on the 534, but they ALL get off on Sunset where they transfer to the bus that takes them to Palisades High School. So I guess the 534 is also "the Palisades High Black School Bus" as well.

After that, it's the "wogs" and me. The writer said never call a wog a wog unless you are one yourself, so I assume it a perjorative that has been reclaimed, much like the sacred NWRD.

It's funny that even as I sat there thinking about a 3-tier race system, a certain kind of reality of graduated privilege seem to start to materialize in my thoughts. A friend who has a very Italian-looking name (think Petru vs. Petrocelli) figures he has to send out 15% more resumes looking for work than the guys named Peterson. So, do we have wogs in the U.S. and don't know it? It's an interesting thing to consider, but by and large I'd say East Holly is a wog enclave by default and it certainly starts to make some descriptive sense.

That's all for today. Have a great Thursday people.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Malibu morning picture of the day - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

We're on a roll here of blue-sky days ... let's double down and see if we get five ...

Nothing else to report at this time, so take your blue and go.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Del Amo Family Shopping Center 2 and Malibu AM Pic of the day - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

Ah, you're back! Thanks for coming. And let us continue our Tuesdays excursion into the "Out of Bounds" Gallery of the East Hollywood Online Museum of Street Art.  We continue on our viewing of the exterior walls of this swap meet that you can find, just off the Blue Line Metro Station in Willowbrook. Go back a week if you want the spiel. Otherwise let's just continue to see what the muralists have put up here for us.

Artist Making Our Bread, Cowboy, paint on shopping center.
Here we've got a cowboy.  You'll have to pardon the bad light. This was end of the day and this east-facing wall was in shadow with loads of diffusion bleeding over the top, leading to lots of color distortion.

Artist CacheK4P, Threshhold Guardians (left detail), paint on shopping center.

Threshhold Guardians, full front view.

Threshhold Guardians (Flower Maiden detail).

So what's your guess?

Is this an advertisement for the kind of makeup you can get at the swap meet inside?

Is it the artist's girlfriend? His/her ideal girl?

Either way, she's a startling contrast to the highly stylized cartoon animals beside her made from very flat color planes.

For some reason, Jon Benet Ramsey keeps coming to mind and this picture gives me the creeps...

Threshhold Guardians (right-detail, 8 Cats, 2 Birds).
And here we have some gaudy, urban wildlife...

My oh my. Someone get a hose! There's a fire. I think? I dare any of you to come up with a story for these images. My mind reels. But you're all smart. I trust you. Let me know what you got.


Not too dissimilar from yesterday. Blue on blue.

Leaving yesterday there were some 60 MPH winds, so you get whitecaps out on the ocean, which was unusual.

Doesn't look like much  in this picture. But if you can see caps from the parking lot which is almost a mile way, you can imagine you don't want to be on a boat on that. Here's another view with some comparative structures.

And that's the nice thing about having to commute to the ocean side every day. You get to see it in all moods and weather. Before I worked here at Malibu Community College, I only ever saw the Pacific as it looked on sunny days in July and August (after having checked the weather report).  Probably spent less time seeing the ocean in a five years than a tourist who comes and enjoys it for a week. Funny how you take certain things for granted and then you never go avail yourself of the beauty nearby.

OK kids, it's that time again. See you Thursday for more art, or check in everyday to see what my weather's like...


Monday, April 25, 2016

Malibu morning picture of the day - Monday, April 25, 2016

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

Happy Monday to you all!  We've got a blue-on-blue start to the week. Enjoy it as we start to enter the climactic slide into May Gray and June Glume when the world will turn monochromatic here on the coast.

The days for viewing this kind of scene are definitely numbered on this blog as they will be relocating me to my employer's Calabasas campus in several weeks. So enjoy.

Time to pay the rent kids, so I'll see you later. Have a great Monday.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Malibu morning picture of the day - Friday, April 22, 2016

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

It's Friday and it's clear over the waters of Malibu.

A bank of low clouds are out there over the horizon, but over land it's cloudy and foggy as you can see here: that would be Santa Monica through South Bay under the clouds in the distance.

A few of my coworkers know that I am politically and philosophically a libertarian, or a classical liberal, and they've asked what I think about this election season. I tell them I really don't pay attention to primary season at all. Neither of the main political parties speak to the way I think things should be done or run, and I fear they never will. I still vote, always for losers, namely the Libertarian Party. I'm asked why I throw my vote away. I tell them it doesn't count anyway. The only place my vote counts is in the small nonprofit committees on which I sit and in the two juries that I've been in, and that's fine.

I can't say I'm totally disinterested in the election cycle though. I do live in this country and I like to see what my fellow citizens are doing en masse. Presidential elections and their run-up are a proxy set of national quadrennial surveys that tell you what kind of people you're living with and what they're nervous about. I always wonder if I will get to live through something like the beautiful summer of 1914 and watch as the civilized world turn into something completely different in a matter of months. Something seems to be happening in the American masses this year, but we'll see if it turns into significance or if it dissipates.

I'm always amused by comments I read on people who don't understand libertarian or objectivist stances on public policies. We get accused of being childish or selfish. Selfishness I will definitely own up to. We hold high the value of the individual and his or her self-determination to do what is best for themselves or those they care about, as long as it does not infringe on the same liberty of others. So, you have to care about yourself first. Childishness is a misreading however. There is a perception that libertarians don't want to share their stuff with others, and that's childishness. The virtue of sharing is probably the first thing we learn from our mothers or kindergarten teachers as they help to learn to navigate in society. This is probably where a lot of people get their sense of where "childhood" ends and "adulthood" begins. It's very primal.

Libertarians do share their stuff with others. We just don't want to be forced to share our stuff with others.That is the definition of theft; it's not "sharing." If the consequence of not choosing to share is being struck, or physically isolated, or being subjected to verbal and public shame, surrendering to someone that cookie to someone is not an authentic act of the will. It is not an act that would accrue karma (the Asian version of expressing the concept of volition and free will). Imposing such coercion is the kind of Act of God that is craved by those who say "Why didn't God stop the bullet/terrorist/rape/bacteria/--your injustice here--?"

To be able to manifest your will is what is important to libertarians. Are we uncooperative with other people? Sometimes sure. Are we isolationist weirdos? A few maybe, but most of us have to deal with others to get stuff we want or want done. So, we have to be good listeners and communicators and negotiate things we will or won't do until we find commonality with others. This is not a difficult concept to understand. Everybody acts this out in some way. Libertarians are just people who have thought about it a lot and know what their moral starting point is.

A lot of people think it's odd that a worldview built on selfishness could find any kind of purchase on a lot of people who call themselves Christians. Rand and Branden, some of the most vocal evangelists of objectivist ideals were atheists. Where we converge, however, is at the core belief that a person is responsible for their willful acts; which supposes that a free will exists.

Lookee that time, gotta pay the rent! Just listen to Goong-Goong/Yeh-Yeh ramble on...


Thursday, April 21, 2016

iT'S STreeTarT THurSDay iN eaST HoLLyWooD! with Malibu morning pic of the day - April 21, 2016

Dear Street Art Lovers and assorted Gentle Readers,

Today's offering is a very stylized, monochromatic rendering. Here's a detail of the left side:

Artist unattributed, Combat Myth, paint on Chinese restaurant.

This poor fellow is being stabbed in the arm. This looks like a fairly small illustration, but it's big and long, occupying a wall of a single-storey retail building in Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd.

Here's the entire mural, or at least as much as I can bet in one shot:

I call it Combat Myth because the fellow being stabbed is not only poised to strike but since his knife is dripping, he evidently got in the first blow. So there are three in combat here, the two whose faces we see, and a third who has driven a knife into the guy on the left.

Here's some detail on the right-hand combatant. He/she has on a pinkie ring. These were taken at night. I've learned that if you can get the angle of light just right, you can photograph monochromatic murals in very little light. We've got some overshine from streetlights on the details, but otherwise it's fine for our purposes. I had just come out of the Chinese restaurant on which this is painted. To be fair to the restaurant's marketing, this is on the back side of the building, patrons may never know that this artwork event exists. There's nothing about it that says: "Try our sweet-sour chicken today!"

To tell you the truth, I miss the mural that was on here before. This is what used to be there before (I had posted this on Xmas Day in 2015) or at least part of it:

But you can't get too attached to street art of any kind. They are transient loves that come into our lives just briefly and then fall victim to white or neutral paintovers. Mythic combat is nicer to look at than just another beige wall.


Image result for april and the extraordinary worldLight clouds, not too cool, not summery hot, but pretty hot if you stay directly in the sun. That's So Cal for ya.  Hey, last night I went to go see a foreign (French with subtitles) animated film before it wraps up its limited run in limited numbers of theatres here in L.A.  April and the Extraordinary World  is a steampunk alternative history story. The conceit here is that (spoiler alert, don't read further if you plan to see it) a scientist was commissioned by Napoleon III to invent an elixir of invincibility but instead wound up creating large sentient lizards. A lab explosion takes out the scientist and client Napoleon causing a young and stupid Napoleon IV to sue for peace instead of waging the Franco-Prussian War thereby extending the reign of the French Empire. But someone or something keeps kidnapping the scientists of the world and the technology remains unable to advance past the steam/coal age.

Image result for april and the extraordinary world
Fast forward to 1931 and the scientist's descendants are still working on his elixir, clandestinely since the Empire appropriates any scientist it can to wage war against North America for its wood-forest charcoal resources (Europe has been completed denuded of greenery, the only oak tree is in a museum) and then there's this mysterious force that seeks out and destroys scientist too.

Image result for april and the extraordinary worldThe main character April is a child when her family is killed off and the story picks up with her as an ingenue working as a secret scientist on her family's project and how those same force then start to come after her. If this all sounds terribly complex, I'm sorry. I'm even surprised I remembered that level of plot detail and setup myself. But trust me, it's a beautiful piece of motion picture art to look at if you dig moving drawings like I do.

Image result for april and the extraordinary worldThere's a talking, sentient cat. There's a male love interest. There a genius grandfather who comes up with all kinds of machina in which a likely deus can dwell. There are all kinds of clever and witty 19th century machines that you could imagine have been taken as far as imagination and ingenuity could have taken them without the discovery of electricity. And it's all as funny as hell. It'll probably be in a theatre nowhere near you, but do check it out in the future if it ever crosses your path.

If you're a real fanboy of the steampunk genre which celebrates scientists as superheroes, I would highly recommend the webcomic Girl Genius to you. It's been running for years and the story is quite rich, complex, and highly satirical. Totally free to read online.

Several years ago I took my daughters to Comicon and we ducked into a panel moderated by the creator Phil Foglio only because it was the only seminar nearby that had empty seats. I went home that night deciding to check out his work before going to bed. Despite being bushed from 2.5 hour drive from San Diego, I found myself clicking through page after page and then realizing it was 6 AM in the morning--so if you dig this kind of thing, watch out. It would probably take about 2 days to binge-read the series now. I have to say it took me down a path to a deep abyss of reading webcomics and manga and watching anime from which I have never resurfaced.

It's time to go people. So I leave you until next time.