By Lionel Rolfe
Thirty-five years ago in Pasadena I met a young man at JPL from where a device was rocketed to Jupiter. The Voyager was a VW-sized vehicle powered by nuclear fuel, with solar panels and broadcast antennas. Guard Hall was the “Ops Chief” for the Voyager spacecraft. Launched in 1977, the Voyager craft acquired images & scientific data from encounters with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and their moons. He was involved in another related mission, the earlier one to Mars.
Guard Hall—his name apparently came from a military childhood—believed very much in the idea of life on Jupiter’s largest satellite Titan, and on Mars. He lived a wonderfully scientific life, more mystical than it should have been. He may have been the most mystical around JPL, he says. His job there was to command the Space Flights Operation Facility in the bottom rung of a five-story computer building. Hall, born in 1948, studied psychology, computers and space stations. Read more
Lynne Stewart on her website (one with her husband Ralph Poynter) not long before she died.
The Blind Shiek, Stewart’s most famous defendant, died Feb.18 –about 3 weeks before Stewart’s passing.
Photo of Lynne Stewart and husband Ralph Poynter at rally in lower Manhattan before she was imprisoned for helping “blind shiekh,” a convicted terrorist, communicate with his followers in Egypt.
By Mary Reinholz
Detractors of the late Lynne Stewart view her as a disbarred mouthpiece for evildoers who was imprisoned for helping a convicted terrorist communicate with his violent followers in Egypt. Her mostly leftist supporters revere the once prominent lawyer from Manhattan’s Lower East Side as a zealous defender of the poor and the grievously oppressed. Read more
Hollywood Writer and Director Robert Pirosh
By Bob Vickrey
Writer Robert Pirosh wrote what is likely the gold standard of resumes in 1934 when he penned a letter to Hollywood directors, producers and studio executives.
The well-paid 24 year-old copy editor who was living in New York City decided he wanted a career as a screenwriter and wrote this playful letter that would hopefully catch someone’s attention at the studios. Not surprisingly, this lively and exuberant romp immediately opened doors for him.
April 23, 1934
I like words. I like fat buttery words such as ooze,
turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular,
creaky words such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious,
valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words such
as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like
suave V-words such as Svengali, svelte bravura, verve.
I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words such as splinter,
grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling
words such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Good-
Heavens-my-gracious-land’s-sake words, such as tricksy,
tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, glowery words
such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like
wormy, squirmy, mealy words such as crawl, blubber, squeal,
drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words such as cowlick,
gurgle, bubble and burp. I like the word screenwriter
better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a
New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood,
but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of
study, contemplation and horsing around. I have just returned
and I still like words. May I have a few with you?
[The following message on President Trump’s budget request was issued March 16 by Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, based in Washington, D.C. It is reprinted with permission.]
* * *
President Trump’s budget slashes critical resources used to help keep housed some of the country’s lowest income and most vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and formerly homeless individuals. At a time when America’s housing crisis has reached historic heights and the lowest income people suffer the most severe impacts, proposals to further cut these vital resources are unconscionable and unacceptable.
President Trump proposes to cut overall HUD funding by 13% or $6.2 billion compared to 2016 levels. When compared to funding levels needed for FY 2017, the proposed cuts amount to a 15% or $7.5 billion reduction. Read more
By Bob Vickrey
Du-par’s Restaurant and Bakery employees take their pancake preparation so seriously that they seem to consider pancakes as their own separate food group. Our monthly lunch club decided to get equally serious and investigate their findings firsthand.
When James Dunn and Edward Parsons founded Du-par’s in 1938, they opened a simple nine-stall booth adjacent to the Farmers Market that eventually became one of the most famous coffee shops in Los Angeles. (The partners combined a portion of their surnames to come up with the name of their new restaurant.) Read more
President Trump’s proposed $54 billion cutback in discretionary spending in order to fund a matching increase in the military budget hits hardest at programs for the poor and homeless. The most obvious is the $6.2 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Cuts from other federal agencies that affect low-income people run the total to well over $10 billion, notably $4.2 billion from the Department of Health and Human Services, which operates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The proposed budget also eliminates the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness, the coordinating body for 19 government agencies that work on homelessness. Read more
Stanley Bard, long time proprietor of the Bohemian Chelsea Hotel and a “Robin Hood” of innkeepers, dies at 82 in Florida
Arthur Miller at left, Arnold Weinstein center, and Stanley Bard at right
in photo by Rita Barros.
By Mary Reinholz
The old red brick building on the west side of downtown Manhattan was once home to luminaries like Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Joni Mitchell and any number of wannabes and miscreants who needed an affordable place to crash. This one time crucible of creativity is nearly empty now, a ghostly construction site as renovations at the world famous Chelsea Hotel drag on.
All the paintings and sculpture that once hung on the lobby walls or dangled from the ceiling, many donated by grateful residents in lieu of back rent, were put in storage years ago or reportedly sold after Stanley Bard, the Chelsea’s late long time proprietor, was ousted in 2007 from his position as manager and majority owner by the hotel’s board of directors. I knew Bard back in the day and believe that coup broke his heart. Read more
Mayor Kevin Nealon: An accomplished crime fighter, but were his election results tainted?
By BOB VICKREY
After reading the latest crime report in our local paper, I’m calling upon the citizens of Pacific Palisades to come together and build a wall around our town.
Just the other day I read that two CD’s were stolen from a vehicle parked along Swarthmore Avenue. And twice last week my newspaper went missing from my driveway. This rampant crime wave is out of control and must be stopped before it gets even worse.
You may have noticed that we’ve been attracting a bad element recently from Santa Monica and Brentwood—not to mention the celebrity types from Malibu that are crossing our border. Many of these people are known stockbrokers, accountants, entertainment lawyers—and even worse!
I’m sure there are some good people from these places but they are not sending their best. Read more
By Tony Cloud
(Editors note: The writer remembers his boyhood friend David Rodgers here in this short essay. I’ve known Tony Cloud since we were young kids, so you can imagine my pleasant surprise in recently discovering his creative and fresh voice as a storyteller. You will notice no explanation is offered for the reversal of letters in the title—a subtle nod to their boyhood secret code of friendship.—Bob Vickrey)
Yep, Ole Divad was something special.
An old friend from way back in the Cub Scout days, he was.
Karen and I drove to Lake Charles to witness his hitching when we were expecting our first daughter fairly quickly
Sure was hoping all would work out and we could get back across the Sabine in time so I wouldn’t have to break the news later to her that she was a “coon-ass” by birth. Read more
In February 2016 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a 47-point strategy to combat homelessness under the title the Homeless Initiative. One year later, on February 8, 2017, they sponsored the First Annual Homeless Initiative Conference. Little reported (no article in the LA Times), almost 500 civic leaders gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for an all-day session.
Opening speakers included County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn and the mayors of Inglewood and Whittier. Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke later in the program. There was an extensive review of the year’s progress, chaired by Phil Ansell, Director of the Homeless Initiative. Presenters were from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the County Housing Authority and Department of Mental Health, and the Sheriff’s Department. Read more