A Well-Regulated Militia
All day last Saturday they’re telling and showing us on TV, mass demonstrations to stop gun violence are taking place all over the US and on every continent — “except Antarctica.”
I won’t make a lame joke mocking snowbound protesters in tuxedos, but couldn’t a few scientists have put on a parka, grabbed a sign and walked around the Quonset hut once? That’s all it would’ve taken to make the news and bring attention to science and climate change, what with Maryland-sized chunks of ice falling off our southernmost continent into the ocean and threatening to put Miami underwater (but it could give me oceanfront property here on the hill in Ocean Park).
All those mentions of Antarctica sent chills down my spine. Because do you know how much it costs to go there? I do. Thousands. Thousands. My wife wants to go there. A lot. She wants to check the last two continents off her travel list. (Buenos Aires on the way — no non-stop flights to McMurdo Station, duh.) Me, I’m fine with the five continents I’ve got.
At least we don’t have to put aside twice that amount. I won’t be going, because I agree with my friend Mary’s axiom: the words “fun” and “cold” do not belong in the same sentence. I planned our family’s whole year-long 2011-12 trek around Europe and North Africa upon where we could escape when chill winter temperatures hit — turned out to be halfway down the Moroccan coast.
So if anyone out there knows of a way to get from here to Antarctica (and back… I suppose) for under five figures, please, please let me know. Or feed me some winning lottery numbers.
When I get a sub sandwich, my first choice is Jersey Mike’s. I like ‘em! And I like to patronize chains that make an effort to be good citizens of their communities. So you should go have a Jersey Mike’s or two or six right now because today, Wednesday 3/28, they are donating every penny that comes through the door to various charities.
Our JM’s here, at Lincoln and Pico, is part of the LA group giving money to Operation Gratitude, who send care packages to our troops. I’m no big fan of anyone’s military — you know, death, destruction, unfathomable pain and suffering — and I think ours has a particularly bad history, but that’s the politicians’ fault. My nephew Joseph joined the Navy recently, and it’s done him a world of good.
Here’s a suggestion, Jersey Mike’s: drop the Operation Gratitude from your 170 LA stores and give instead to good causes your other CA locations have picked: Boys and Girls Clubs, Children’s Miracle Network, City of Hope, Make-A-Wish, Children’s Hospitals Davis and San Diego, Child Abuse Prevention Council, and yes, Wounded Heroes Fund. This, of course, is only the opinion of one Viet Nam era vet, me. Nonetheless, y’all should definitely still go today and scarf up JM’s subs. I will. I love it when giving tastes this good. (They claim to have contributed $28M since 2010.)
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR!
Phil Brock! Or elk of the year (a much smaller, more furry constituency), I’m not sure. Is it hunting season? But if you show up at the funky-cool Elks Lodge on Pico tomorrow (Thursday) night, you can join the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks honoring Arts Commish Brock for his decades of service to Santa Monica, and also get a dang good salmon or tri-tip dinner for 20 bucks (a portion of the proceeds will go to help formerly homeless veterans at the VA facility), and a pretty cheap bar to boot. Line up the Jameson and Coke, thank you very much. Now that’s an event I call shakin’ the local thang, small-town SM-style. Some ladies, pillars of the community, have even threatened to show up with boas and attitude. (Well — they always bring the attitude.)
Native son Brock has an unmatchable record of service to our community, from teenage years behind the desk at the Boys and Girls Club to coaching to longtime Rec & Parks chair, Kiwanis Club and Samohi Alumni and now the Arts Commission, where he has made a difference, working especially with chair Mike Myers. I’ve come to know a lot of natives and decades-long residents here, but Brock has the longest, widest, unbroken record of giving back to his beloved city that I’m aware of. The honor is well-deserved.
BACK TO THE KIDS
That’s what we’re calling them, these demonstrators led by the Parkland massacre survivors, because they are, but only by age. They are warriors, fighting for their lives, against their own countrymen and so-called representatives.
I know, don’t jinx it, but I am convinced they will win. It’s not just their steely resolve but their sophistication as to how the system works. They are not going to quit, and in the process, I do believe they will change this nation. After they get the gun insanity fixed they will look around, I‘m convinced, at universal health care, wealth inequality, campaign financing and so many other vital issues.
As a veteran of the ‘60s “revolution,” that wasn’t, but had more good lasting effects than most give credit for, I can see how much more sophisticated these youngsters are about the system and what it will take to make real change.
I’ve been criticized for conflating the national and the local situations. But I always search for larger truths over particular fixes. These new revolutionaries (good God! — it’s revolutionary to say we shouldn’t have military weapons in the hands of anyone who wants them, and that more than 300,000,000 guns in America is a good and normal thing?) — they organized, in short order, through social media, marches in nearly 1,000 cities across the globe, and wrested the world’s attention away from the philandering orange news hog. Pretty good start.
But I really like their REV cry: Register (to vote), Educate (to vote), Vote! It’s what we need here in Santa Monica to make things right: large numbers of people, working to create educated, informed voters.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Ted Talks? Next week.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — Dr. Angela Davis
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org