Category Archives: Opinion

Jim’s observations and opinions on things

Women’s March 2018 – January 20, Los Angeles


I went to the Los Angeles version of the Women’s March 2018 to support all the women I know and to do a little protesting of my own! It was a gorgeous sunny and cool day in DTLA. Got there early via Metro with my sign and took it back home with me later as advised. So now I have it for another March or protest! As long as this clown stays in D.C., it will be valid.

Here’s some pix of the awesome day:

It’s been 54 years, but I still remember that day


Anyone else you can think of who might benefit from this sentiment? Reminds you what a real statesman is like, and the kinds of thing a real statesman says.

I still wonder what kind of president Kennedy would have really turned out to be, had he lived. Something we’ll never know.

From the memory archives: Third grade, Sister Monica/Mrs. Pederson’s class. One taught morning, the other afternoon, go figure. I think because Sister Monica was really ancient. Whatever. It’s about 12:45 pm, I’m rushing back to school from lunch at home, a couple of blocks away. I’m late and it’s raining and cold in Milwaukee.

Unannounced, the PA system comes on and we hear the scratchy radio reports. It’s kind of unintelligible. Teacher leaves to find out WTF. She comes back, maybe announces that the president has been shot, I don’t really remember that. Virginia, the fat kid in the class, starts crying. Kids then herded into the adjacent Catholic church for a service – was it Mass, or just a Benediction or a blessing of some kind, not sure. Mass seems a little long and drastic for preteens, but then I would not doubt it, they liked to torture children there. Sent us home. Mom and Dad on the couch, both crying. It was so awful. Then a whole long weekend of horror, over and over on the black and white television.


Because Silence is Sometimes Considered Assent: On Charlottesville


So, therefore, I’m not silent. August 12, 2017

In case anyone had any question:

We are not with you, torch-bearers, in Charlottesville or anywhere.
We do no consent to this.
In fact we stand against you, alongside the very beautiful diversity that you fear.
We stand with people of every color and of all faiths, people of every orientation, nationality, and native tongue.

We are not going to have this. This is not the country we’ve built together and it will not become what you intend it to become.

So you can kiss our diverse, unified, multi-colored behinds because your racism and your terrorism will not win the day.

Believe it. — John Pavlovitz

Tax Day Protest: April 15, 2017


Never got a chance to post these to the blog, since I left on the month-long train trip just a week after this event. (hint – I have lots of photos and video of the trip, coming in subsequent posts).

What this was: Trying to keep Trump honest. A task in and of itself, to be sure. I’m not certain that’s even possible, but we Angelenos, and thousands of our compatriots around the country, the Resistance to this Pompous Ass, tried to remind him of his promises to release tax returns. So far, bupkis. Anyway, enjoy the photos and the one video. DTLA, April 15. See me in my red ITMFA hat (Impeach the Motherfucker Already)? Normally red’s not my color but I made an exception.

Trump Lies feature and “I am not a Bro” Rant


‘splaining the anti-bro

OK, well sometimes you just try things that don’t work. Like the “Trump Lies” feature I had going for a few weeks here on the blog. Honestly. I can’t keep up with the consummate lying professional. That, plus there are many many people whose job it is is to keep track of what the President says and decide on the truthfulness (or lack of it) and then write it up.

So I’m gonna bail on that idea. I’ll leave the posts already done up; pretty much you can read any newspaper in the country to catch Trump’s lie of the day. Pretty much everything he says 24/7.

The other part of this post is my “I am not a bro” rant, which I wrote the other day and thought to put at the head of my LinkedIn bio. But I haven’t as yet. I wrote this after reading this article about bro culture at startup companies.

I am not a bro. Far from it; you could call me the anti-bro. In fact, I am a 62-year-old single gay male with 50 years in the workforce, if you count my first paper route at 12—and why wouldn’t you—as it was work (so there, you have answers to those nagging questions that came up when you saw my head shot).

            I have many skills from those 50 years no one puts on their resume which include: knowing how to talk on the phone, knowing how to write a memo, knowing how to spell (and knowing how to look a word up that I’m not sure about), knowing how to show up to work on time and behave in a corporate or small business environment, knowing how to accept a task and complete it within the required time frame.

            I’m just really sick of ageism; hence the rant before the qualifications. I do believe, however, there are companies out there that value the experience, competence and wisdom a lifetime of work will give to someone.

            I don’t want to retire; I like being busy and I’m most like my aunt, who died at 92 still an active employee of a huge bookstore chain. Would consider relocation. Now on to the qualifications:

But, I didn’t post it. Wonder if I should. Too petulant? Or is it funny?


Trump Lies, Update #3


So yeah, it’s really, really hard to keep up with these. This week, I’m including lies told by his minions, so we expand the lying level to it’s logical extension. And, of course, these are all Trump’s lies as well, unless he specifically pushes back against them. As they say, the fish stinks from the head, and he is definitely the head of this Train Ride to Hell.

Just a sampling. I’m including the link down below.

  • Trump said his rich friends could not borrow money because of Dodd-Frank. Seriously?
  • The January employment report, which shows job gains in December. Before Trump was President. And he took credit for those gains, which is absurd.
  • Trump said Sanctuary Cities breed crime, when stats show the opposite is true.
  • Press Secretary Spicer said that current protests against the Trump regime are fake, i.e. paid protesters and they are not grass roots. Lie. If this is true can I please have my check? I need it yesterday and I’ve already been in at least 4 anti-Trump demos.
  • Trump said the murder rate is the highest it’s been in 47 years. This is a lie, the murder rate in the US has been falling since the 1980s.

Here’s the entire list.


I expect that next week we’ll be reporting that Michael Flynn has resigned as National Security Advisor. Of course that will be a lie, he will have been fired.


How that Hopey Changey Stuff Worked Out


Memo to: Sarah “The Quitter” Palin

From: Jim A.

RE: Hopey Changey Stuff

Sarah! Regarding your query:

Actually, in the end it’s kinda worked out pretty good. Herewith, a few things that affected me directly or that I thought were significant:

  • my IRA, which I hope to actually use someday, has more than doubled in value since its nadir in 2009. That’s without any new deposits whatsoever since the end of 2009. (The stock market has tripled from its 2009 low, all during the Obama years.)
  • We have marriage equality in the United States now, fully supported by Obama. I can get married if I find the right guy. Wow.
  • LGBT men and women can now openly serve in the US Military, i.e. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is history, so if you’re queer and want to be a soldier, you can go sign up.
  • Obama ended the 2008 Great Recession and prevented a Depression.
  • Obama saved the U.S. Auto Industry.
  • The Obama administration cut the unemployment rate in half since 2009.
  • I’ve been able to get and pay for health insurance because of the ACA, because of Obamacare.
  • Obama opened up relations with Cuba. Finally someone did the reasonable thing.
  • Obama terminated our enemy, Osama bin Laden.
  • Obama stopped deporting DREAMERS, which hugely benefits our country and economy.

that’s just a sampling, and there’s so so so much more! Here’s a long list with citations. I’ll miss the grace and wit and the lack of drama at the top. I wish our President and his family only the best as they find their footing in their new lives as citizens.

Car Free in L.A. for Three Years – and counting


Three years ago on June 7, 2013, I drove into CarMax in Burbank, California, and sold them my car. They gave me a check for $6000.

The Blogger at an Orange Line stop, waiting patiently.

The Blogger at an Orange Line stop, waiting patiently.

I walked back to my apartment via Magnolia Boulevard. It took more than an hour. During the early summer walk, I had numerous moments of “oh my god, what have you done?” but I did not fall into the earth, wailing or otherwise.

I’d planned to go car free, and had been thinking about it, reading about it for years. There were lots of reasons, from wanting to be more environmentally conscious to wanting to save money to frustration with driving and especially with parking.

I made lots of dry runs with LA’s Metro system, did lots of bike riding on streets with bike lanes (and others without them, but rarely) and started figuring out places I could walk to in my neighborhood of Valley Village.

Still, it was very strange to arrive back at my apartment and leave my parking space empty. That voice in my head would say, well, you’re crazy, you’ve finally done it buddy, what are you thinking, Jim? You can’t live in L.A. without a car, everybody says so!

But then I have lived in L.A. without a car, and for three years now.


  • more money for me (I save about $5K a year on car costs)
  • easier for me to keep weight stabilized, as I get so much aerobic exercise
  • stress level is lower, and blood pressure readings are more in the normal range
  • I see the city on a more human, sidewalk level. I notice people and buildings and plants and . . . that I would have missed before, speeding by.
  • I don’t get road rage.
  • I don’t have to deal with road ragers.
  • I don’t fret over the price of gas or car insurance or car repairs or any of that.
  • I can still be spontaneous — hello car sharing services, Uber and Lyft. That’s one of the missing pieces to this puzzle, and it’s been filled in.
  • I love just showing up at a venue and walking through the front door, shaking my head when someone asks if I need to be validated.
The donut stand on Magnolia and Keystone in Burbank. That's my bike, but the guy is someone else.

The donut stand on Magnolia and Keystone in Burbank. That’s my bike, but the guy is someone else.










There are really no cons to being car free, but I have learned some things about myself and the whole idea of “car free” from a white, middle class perspective.

Some of these things are:

  • Public transport is really a class thing in L.A., still. Regardless of the new Expo line, which everyone wants to ride, because it goes to Santa Monica and the beach, most people ride the Metro because they can’t afford cars. A decision like the one I made to be “car free” was born of privilege (similar to Voluntary Simplicity or New Frugality movements) — because I can afford a car if I want one, if I wanted to return myself to that misery. I imagine that most of the people who have no choice but to take the trains or buses would consider me a silly old fool. I hope that perception will change and we’re making headway, but we’re not there yet.
  • Speaking of that Expo line or the Wilshire 720 Rapid or any of the other public transport ways to get to the Pacific Ocean from the San Fernando Valley: There’s no quick way to get to the beach, other than a car, and even that’s relative. At like, 4 am. On a Tuesday. It would probably take about half an hour at that date/time. But at any other time, rail makes the journey a lot more palatable, i.e. there are no potholes on the rails. And you can read, you can access WiFi or a cell tower (Expo is above ground). You shouldn’t read while driving.
  • When you have a car, you go to lots of places just because you have a car to get there, whether it makes any sense to go there or not. It SEEMS purposeful, but I think that might be an illusion. Because I’ve found that with just a little bit of resistance (the resistance being not having an easy transport option at the ready 24/7) you make lots of different choices.
  • Driving also serves to mask boredom and loneliness. You’re part of this stream of humanity, all GOING somewhere, or at least seeming to, if really not. Listening to the radio is part of it, too, feeling connected to the music or the DJ or the newscaster makes it all a little less lonely.

Just as I started this post I saw that yet another bicyclist had been killed in the LA area, this one in Compton, today, June 6, 2016. RIP.

Be careful out there.

How the blogger lights up his ride

How the blogger lights up his ride

Bernie Sanders Rally Los Angeles August 2015


I joined my friend Chris King and 27,000 others at a rally for Bernie Sanders on Monday, August 10 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. I don’t get down to that area too much anymore and it brings back a lot of good memories of my first days in L.A. at USC and at my first job here, which was only blocks away from this location back in 1981.

Anyway, the rally was great and inspiring. For more on Bernie Sanders and his platform, see the campaign website.

Some snaps from the rally:

Thoughts on “Ballet 422” and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center



I liked this documentary on Ballet 422, which refers to the 422nd original ballet produced from the New York City Ballet Company. This one comes from choreographer Justin Peck, a 25-year old dancer/choreographer – and it’s his first ballet for the company.

For someone like me, who knows little of the world of dance, it was educational to watch the process of choreography. It’s always been somewhat of an enigma, or it’s like magic. Anyway, I really enjoyed the interplay between the choreographer and the dancers, and the parts that almost seemed co-created, or at least collaborated on. How these fantastic dancers remember what they’re supposed to be doing is truly beyond me! But they do, I guess that’s why they’re stars of the NYC Ballet, eh?  Plus of course, there’s lots of eye candy no matter what your orientation happens to be.

The documentary (from director Jody Lee Lipes) also shows the requisite behind-the-scenes, including some parts of Justin’s life beyond Lincoln Center. We see him waiting for the subway, we see him go to his apartment in a borough other than Manhattan. It looks big enough by NYC standards, but then it got me thinking, he, a member of the corps de ballet probably doesn’t make enough money to live in that toniest part of New York.

So I looked up dancer salaries to get an idea. They are in the range, it seemed, of around $50,000 to $80,000 depending on what city they were dancing in and if they were chorus or principals or had a longer season, etc.

I found this information on The DL Reporter ( (Raquel Nieves, author)

Jeremy Telman in his article, “New York City Ballet Dancers Agree to New Contract,” cited that a quick internet search suggests that a member of the corp de ballet makes $1,500 per week. He describes how the average rent in the city of Manhattan for a cramped one-bedroom is $3,150 per month and that it can get hard to find a two bedroom for under $1 million. “If the dancer gets paid for 38 weeks per year, that comes out to $76,000 per year, and that is a good salary in New York City as long as you can share a studio apartment in an outer borough with two or more other members of the corp (or you can marry an investment banker).[3]” Principal dancers, essentially the “A” list celebrities at ballet companies, make roughly about $1,000-$2,000 more per week than the corp de ballet (think below the line talent). Principals make more with the additional guest performance or teaching gig, but only a small percentage of dancers who join the company ever become principals.

So there you have it, on stage, like so many performers including actors and musicians, dancers appear to be so incredibly glamorous yet the society fails to reward artists for this. I also noticed during my viewing of the film that the theater building at Lincoln Center where the New York City Ballet performs is the David H. Koch Theater.

Yes, as in that Koch! Right, the Koch brothers, those infamous John Birch society right wing billionaire polluters from Kansas!

According to the theater’s website:

In July 2008, philanthropist David H. Koch pledged to provide $100 million over the next 10 years for the purpose of renovating the theater and providing for an operating and maintenance endowment. It was renamed the David H. Koch Theater at the New York City Ballet Winter gala, Tuesday, November 25, of that year.

So great, he’s willing to support the actual structure and maintenance of the physical building, but the dancers who fly on the stage? Well, not so much, apparently. They are members of a union [American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA)] and, well, you know, the Kochs, they just don’t like unions. Their group “Americans for Prosperity” helps states like Wisconsin gut union contracts, which is just another way to race to the bottom and destroy the middle class.

So I guess the dancers won’t really be able to look to David H. Koch for any help with their meager salaries that don’t really allow them to live in the city in which they perform. I guess it’s always been that way for robber barons, i.e., Andrew Carnegie probably didn’t help any turn of the century violinists with their rent either, though he built a theater in which they could perform.

Not that the $76,000 annual salary would make much sense to someone like David H. Koch, who, according to this piece, made $3 million PER HOUR from investments in 2012.

One of the last images in the film “Ballet 422” is of Justin Peck returning to the dressing room after all the curtain calls for this successful ballet premiere to don his costume to dance in the corps de ballet for the next offering in the program, later the same night. A worker among workers, a union man.