Better Days: Journalist Lionel Rolfe Learns Old Age Isn’t for Sissies

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July 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Lionel Rolfe

Mary Reinholz

Pasadena Weekly, May 24, 2018

[Veteran journalist, author, and founder of Boryanabooks Lionel Rolfe was hospitalized in April with a spinal injury that had become infected that would not allow him to stand or walk. He has spent most of the time since in a nursing home, where he remains as of July 1.]

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One-time roving Los Angeles journalist, raconteur, author, news service reporter and occasional Pasadena Weekly contributor Lionel Rolfe is confined to a bed at a nursing center in Glendale, unable to stand and go to the bathroom without assistance.

The 75-year-old Rolfe was first transported by ambulance to Glendale Memorial Hospital last month and given morphine to relieve excruciating pain involving two fractured vertebrae that resulted from a 2017 fall in the kitchen of his Atwater Village apartment. This is the second time within a year that Rolfe has been forced to leave his home for emergency medical care after his back “stopped working,” he said.

“Basically, I’m strapped to the bed, and being given antibiotics,” Rolfe continued in a telephone conversation with this reporter whom he met while freelancing during the late 1960s at the Los Angeles Free Press and the Los Angeles Times. “They got me to stand up today, but it was very hard.” Read more


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July 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


Now let me get this straight; the corporate giant that virtually transformed modern bookselling into an online industry and drove hundreds of independent bookstores out of business—including our own Village Books—is now opening its own bookstore in the new Pacific Palisades Village?

The irony of this recent announcement is hardly laced with any subtlety. Amazon owner and founder Jeff Bezos once suggested that brick-and-mortar bookstores were practically passé now that customers could find any book they wanted online with a simple click of a button. And as we know, he turned out to be absolutely correct. His company essentially now owns a substantial segment of the retail book business. Read more

Dunga Brook Diary: Water Water Everywhere

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July 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 


Vicki Whicker

My new neighbor, Jim, seems to be a polarizing figure.

His house doesn’t have water because my house doesn’t have water, because the farmer who owns all the land surrounding our houses cut off my water…because he doesn’t like Jim.

No water.

There once was water…from a sweet, cold spring.

It flowed through a series of pipes across a field (now owned by Jim-hating farmer), across Dunga Brook (bubbling water), and into a holding tank in the basement of my (new, old) house. From there, it was piped through a few acres and into Jim’s house and the barn.

It is a mighty spring, with enough volume to quench the thirst of what was a 1,200-acre dairy farm. The water was shared like this because both of our houses used to be the homesteads of that dairy farm. Read more

Honey’s search for El Portezuelo

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July 1, 2018 · Posted in Notes from Above Ground · Comment 


By Honey van Blossom


(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste)


[In order to see the detail of the maps and some of the larger photos, you can click on them to see the full size.]



A Huntington Digital Library cataloger wrote that the scene in the photograph of a man sitting under the boughs of a tree was taken at the Ostrich Farm in Griffith Park.

According to Mike Eberts, Griffith J. Griffith’s Ostrich Farm was located near today’s Crystal Springs picnic area.[1]

Mike Eberts was right. The Huntington cataloger was wrong.

The Man Sitting Under Tree Boughs photo shows Beacon Hill, the eastern-most summit in the Santa Monica Mountain Range, the 1,001-foot hill that towers over the Los Angeles River. Beacon Hill separates Crystal Springs from the Riverside Drive portion of Griffith Park.

You can see Beacon Hill from the Crystal Springs side but the hill does not look the same from the Crystal Springs side. Read more

LA City and County Celebrate First Successes in Reducing Homelessness

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July 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Leslie Evans

About 100 people attended a May 31 invitation-only event outside the PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) offices at 340 N. Madison Avenue where the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released the results of its 2018 Los Angeles homeless count. Some 8,500 volunteers over three days in January covered every census tract in the county. The results, along with thousands of interviews with homeless people, have been under analysis by statisticians at USC.

For the first time in four years the numbers went down instead of up. The gains were modest – 3% fewer homeless in the county, 5% fewer in the city – but at least the motion was in the right direction.

By now everyone has seen the gross numbers. For the county, the homeless are down from 55,048 in January 2017 to 53,195 in January 2018; for the city, it was a little better, dropping from 38,138 to 31,516. We will dig into the details further on. Read more


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July 1, 2018 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Authors John Kenneth Galbraith and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.



Upon entering the Presidential Suite of the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I was immediately struck by the imposing figure of famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith engaged in conversation with renowned historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

Galbraith’s towering presence at six-feet-nine made me momentarily forget that this man of 90 plus-years was still making the rounds at publishing events. It was almost twenty years ago when he was the guest speaker at Houghton Mifflin’s national sales conference meeting.

During his long, illustrious career, many of his books had been published by our company and that evening’s cocktail party held in his honor afforded us an opportunity to meet the former Ambassador to India and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Read more