Saturday, September 24, 2005


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Cajun Country

I found a wonderful website that has photos of part of the region that is being flooded by Rita. The site is titled Cajun Life and the site included here has photos of the various town, marshland, and beautiful land that sits along and within the marshland. I had no idea that the area was so beautiful. Too bad it is flooded now but I am sure it will all return back to the old way of life featured here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Gay Marriage in California: Challenge to Schwarzenegger

I think the ad described below is a great idea. Gay rights activists challenge Arnold and ask him to turn his back on anti-Gay Marriage backers and challenges him to be a hero, standing up to bigotry, comparing a veto to Gov. George Wallace standing in the doorway in Alabama attempting to keep Black students from going to college at an all white school. Wallace is depicted in the ad as well as civil rights activists including Maria Shriver's father Sargent Shriver. And I am adding this thought for the Governor. Which side are you on? As a Lesbian who has been in a first class relationship with her partner for 34 years, I am angry to think we have a Governor who doesn't know yet which side he is on and who in effect thinks my partner and I should continue to be treated as second class citizens not worthy of marriage equality. I agree with the ad, Arnold stand up and be counted.

Ad asks governor to consider legacy before vetoing gay marriage

By Lisa Leff


9:13 p.m. September 20, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO – Gay rights activists plan to air a television commercial this week that compares Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's forthcoming veto of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in California to the segregationist policies of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

The 30-second ad is scheduled to begin airing on cable television stations in Los Angeles and Sacramento on Thursday, the day before the gay marriage bill Schwarzenegger has repeatedly vowed to veto reaches his desk. The governor has until Oct. 9 to sign, veto or let the bill become law without his signature.

"The point of the commercial is to continue to build pressure on the governor to sign the bill," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the gay rights lobbying group Equality California. "His legacy and his place in history is very important to him. We need to remind the governor he is at that place."

The ad, which was funded by Equality California and produced by director Rob Reiner's Castle Rock Entertainment, starkly presents the choice facing Schwarzenegger in terms of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s.

Besides Wallace, who sealed his political legacy by blocking a doorway at the University of Alabama when the school's first black student enrolled in 1963, it includes images of civil rights champions such as labor leader Cesar Chavez, and John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, late uncles of Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver.

"Those who have made America great are the ones who have brought America together, who have stood for fairness and equality and against discrimination," a narrator intones. "Now, Governor Schwarzenegger will make a decision for which he will forever be remembered."

The ad goes on to challenge Schwarzenegger to "stand up for the basic rights of all Californians" or to "stand with the forces of discrimination," visually represented by a photograph of Wallace.

"Governor, the choice is yours. Be a hero," it ends.

California already gives same-sex couples most of the rights and duties of marriage if they register with the state as domestic partners, but earlier this month, the state Legislature became the first lawmaking body in the nation to legalize gay marriage without a court order.

Schwarzenegger, who has expressed an acceptance of same-sex marriage, has said he plans to veto the law because he thinks it's an issue that should be decided by voters or the courts.

Spokeswoman Margita Thompson said Tuesday that Schwarzenegger also thinks the Legislature acted improperly by passing the gay marriage bill because in 2000 voters approved a law stating that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Under state law, voter initiatives can only be rescinded at the ballot box, although legal analysts on both sides of the issue have argued over whether the bill just passed was written to take advantage of a loophole in the 2000 statute.

Senior members of Schwarzenegger's staff are scheduled to meet with Equality California leaders and several gay and lesbian couples. "The governor is proud of the civil rights protections offered in California and does not believe same-sex couples should be discriminated against based on their relationship," Thompson said.

Nevertheless, Equality California's last-minute advertising blitz won't dissuade Schwarzenegger from vetoing the marriage bill, according to Thompson.

"The decision is made," she said.

photo by eldan

chagrin river road bridge in gates mills, ohio near cleveland

view of lake erie from edgewater park in cleveland

Monday, September 19, 2005

Trip Back to Cleveland, Ohio

Mina and I came back last Wed. from a trip to our old home town, Cleveland, Ohio. We actually grew up in Cleveland Heights on the eastside but when we gø back we explore all our favorite haunts from when we were young. The reason for the trip was a celebration of birthdays among Mina's first cousins and , of course, their children and their children's children also came to the event. The first day we took a trip out to Gates Mills which sits along the Chagrin River. Gates Mills and the surrouding countryside is place I always loved to explore because it is so green with woods, rolling hills and valleys, and Appalachian plateau beauty. Some of the roads around there are still made of brick.

We also spent time at our friend Arlyne's who lives in a picturesque spot around 148th St. located a few doors from Lake Erie. I love the lake. There is a bench above the lake near Arlyne's place I love to sit and look down at the few swimmers around and the dogs running after sticks thrown to them in the water. I find the Lake totally different than the ocean which I see in Southern California where we live. I don't know if it is the fact it is a lake or the fact that I grew up near the lake but I love the quiet ways and scenic beauty of all the sights and sounds of the Great Lake in Cleveland.

To get to the Lake, we always drive through Five Points or otherwise known as the Collinwood area, a run down section of Cleveland not far from the Lake that in the thirties and forties and even the fifties used to be hustle bustle hub where industrial workers from the area and nearby residents went to shop. This was the place where my parents owned a children's clothing and shoe stores for many years. It was called Jolly Kiddie Shop and was located near the corner of 152nd and St. clair across from Collinwood High School which is still there.* I always knew the business district but it wasn't until after my parents died that I have come to know the Collinwood area little bit more because Arlyne lives so close to that area.

We also used to drive through Collinwood on our way to a place called Euclid Beach, an amusement park on the water that is no longer there. But we go to the spot where it was whenever we return because it beckons up so many wonderful childhood memories of eating custard ice cream, caramel popcorn, and rides that were scary and games and everything fun and I remember it as a little seedy too but that was part its appeal . There is still an entrance that has been left that says Euclid Beach. Now senior housing stands in the amusement park's place and also a regular nice park where one can walk down to lake. Arlyne took us to a restaurant in North Collinwood called The Grovewood which is in the old ethnic Slovenian area, although I think the restaurant had Hunagarian type dishes as far as I could tell. It was a very nice place but probably very hard for most people to find as it is located in a residential rather than a business area.

Mina and I also visited the Cleveland Art Museum and Wade Park area which is one of the most beautiful spots on earth.There is a small lake in front of museum. Geese are there instead of swans I used to see gliding along when I was a child. I remember getting my first camera, a kodak brownie, and taking pictures of the swans. From the eastern side of the lake, we can see the oil can, a famous church with a green copper steeple and also what we used to call Silver's Temple, named after Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, with its beautifully designed black dome and brown stone walls. We can also see the Thinker, the statue that stands in front of the museum itself before one begins to ascend the steps leading into that great edifice of the arts. Behind us is the CWRU new library and the famous Severance Hall.

After sitting beside the Wade Park lake, we drove through little Italy, up the steep street known as Mayfield Hill. The brick streets with all the Italian restaurants and shops are still there too. Next stop is the Coventry area, which is known as a Bohemian area where lots of students and professionals from CWRU (Case Western Reserve University) and other places live or go to eat, shop, but not go to a movie as the old wonderful art theatre that used to be located there is gone. After that we head for Shaker Heights and pass through Shaker Lakes, those hidden lakes in the city of Shaker that few people seem to know about. We head to Shaker Square, the beautiful business center, that is ovally shaped with a street that you can drive a perfect circle around keeping in mind that all kind of other streets are crossing through there too. Nearby is the Shaker Rapid that takes people quickly downtown.

The Shaker Rapid is a yellow electric streetcar that was the first one created in the country ( that is what I was told). I wonder if it preceded the Red Cars of LA. I doubt it but who knows. Probably it did as Shaker Heights is named after its early founders, the Shakers late eighteen and nineteenth centuries, a religious sect who did not believe in procreation, who designed all that wonderfu furniture. I think their descendants lived in Cleveland but how did they get descendants? Well, that isn't hard to guess and it is beside the point.

We also made our way to Cedar and Warrensville Center (the old Jewish early shopping center district) then on toward Chagrin Blvd. and Van Aken and close to the 271 freeway where all the new hotels and many restaurants have moved including Corky and Lenny's which is a famous Jewish delicatessen which Mina and I and family used to frequent and still do whenever we return. They have the best pastrami sandwiches you can imagine. And then on to the Hampton Inn, near the freeway and Chagrin Blvd. where many newish hotels and tourist residences are located now. We found staying at the Hampton Inn very pleasant, breakfast was included, the bed was comfortable. The staff were friendly and helpful. They also give you vouchers for free appetizers at various restaurants located nearby. Arlyne visited us at the hotel the last day we were there and two of Mina's cousins took us out to eat next to the Inn at a place people on the far eastside of Cleveland seem to frequent called Bahama Breeze (mid range prices). We also ate one evening at a higher priced place called Flemings. I had wonderful Lake Erie fish there.

We stayed at the Hampton in Cleveland six days and then left by shuttle to go to the Cleveland Hopkins Airport which has a new facelift and looks totally different from what I remembered as the old airport. It is very post modern or it is just old modern and industrial white and functional looking but I like it that way. The airport has the look and feel of a major airport and the fact that Hopkins is the hub for Continental Airlines is probably the reason for that. The staff were also very helpful at the airport. At first I felt the air conditioning was not on strong enough inside the airport but after a while that seemed to be corrected. We had an fairly uneventful flight back to LAX and arrived ten minutes early. I would say our Cleveland adventure this trip was a big success.

* I remember in the early sixties a race riot that broke out in front of the high school. My Mother called me on the phone and told me pollice on horseback were standing in front of the shop. I think this was about the same time that Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. Somehow my parents who were Jewish always seemed to muddle through those worst of times. They were the last white shopkeepers to stay on at Five Points. They never really left and I think their spirits still live on in that place, although I think their spirits are also at the Lake (Wildwood Park) and in Gates Mills too, places they liked to visit.


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picture taken from

This is a picture (from wesbite) of Reggie The Gator ( in his former home which belonged to an ex-police officer in Los Angeles.

Reggie The Alligator Still Living in Machado Lake

Rumors to the contrary Reggie the Alligator is still free in Machado Lake which is located in Harbor City of Los Angeles County.
The picture shown above is taken from Reggie's website which you can go to at The most recent alligator hunter to be defeated by Reggie was a guy named T-Bone who is a New Orleans hurricane survivor. T-Bone didn't have the right credentials; therefore the officials at the Lake thanked T-Bone for his efforts and sent him back to his temporary home in Hollywood, Ca. I read an article in the Daily Breeze hinting that Janice Hahn the LA Councilperson representing Harbor City and other cities nearby has recommended that Machado Lake be drained in order to not only capture Reggie but other gators that may be there. Higher up officials in the County and State have not yet figured out if this is feasible or if they want to follow up on Hahn's suggestion to flush out the Lake but I bet they are considering it strongly. Personally, it would be a shame to do it as the other creatures at the Lake would be negatively affected, although being eaten by alligators is also not the best thing for them either.

It is a real dilemma. My preference would be to let Reggie alone. They already captured a smaller alligator, some consider to be a brother of Reggie. I read an e-mail from Reggie's website saying one of Reggie's readers put an alligator in another wildlife Lake. The alligator was a pet that seemed to be too much for this reader. It seems this practice of releasing pet alligators into local lakes is not a totally unusual happening. It is a shame these people use, buy, capture, wild animals and reptiles in the first place. I saw a little boy on my street with a baby rabbit in his pocket the other day. Even that concerned me. What happens down the road when the animal becomes too much of a challenge for a family? The fate of all these disposable creatures usually does not have a happy ending. I am still a Reggie watcher and fan and hope the best for him.
I wonder what would happen if he was just left alone. Sometimes a remedy is worse than the cure.