Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bixby Marshland, Carson

This refurbished marshlands, courtesy of the Sanitation Districts (poo processing plant) is located right down the street, traveling east on Sepulveda Blvd. The Bixby Marshlands is just off the 110 freeway and a stones throw from a Target store. Located at 24501 South Figuerora Street, Carson, CA 90745, it's a lovely little patch of nature in the middle of the city.

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Gardena, Wetlands

I remember friends going to the Gardena Willows Wetlands to catch frogs and fish.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mobile Blogging

I've signed up for mobile blogging. I'm hoping it will allow me to publish things around town more easily.

Random Movie in Gardena

Before Torrance, Gardena was my home. I'm going to be on the lookout for the entire documentary...Can't wait!

Wearing Torrance

Timberland Torrance Oxford

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Gewgaw, Floaty Pens

The ever popular floaty pen has been my favorite cheap souvenir as far back as I can remember. This is a sampling I grabbed out of my box o' floaties. If you look closely, you'll see some naked people (some from the 1950s), a leg and garter game, a pill and a random assortment from different destinations. (I like the naked ones.)

Everyone's Favorite Store

Friday, September 25, 2009

Torrance, Sort Of

When is Torrance not Torrance? When it's not in California...'s a house in Flint, Michigan at 2417 Torrance

...a hotel in East Kilbride, Scottland...

... a swanky golf course in Scottland...

...Helen Torrance Home, Gladstone, Illinois (House is suffering from chronic dampness.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Indulge me

This is still funny after 40 years.

I grew up Catholic, attended catholic school, went to church every Sunday. I don't think I was ever a very spiritual person, even as a kid. However, I used to like to read about saints - I liked the drama - and my friends and I would act out the communion ritual by cutting up a piece of bread with a bottle cap to make hosts. Once, I wrote a letter to the Virgin Mary to intercede on my behalf and ask God for a pony. I coveted my scapular, my rosary beads, my white dress shoes and my first communion dress.

Things I liked best: the pomp and circumstance, the statues, votives, the formality and solemnity. My chapel veil, folded in quarters and bobbypinned to my hair. Ashes on Ash Wednesday, getting my throat blessed, and trying to unstick the host from the roof of my mouth with my tongue. The song "Faith of Our Fathers" and writing 'J.M.J' on my papers at school.

Things I didn't like: Confession (ugh - my confession was the same every time). Kneeling, standing, sitting, kneeling, standing sitting. Mean nuns. Actually saying the rosary. Father McGee - couldn't understand a word. Fasting before communion. My Lenten vow -giving up candy - which I'd break at the first opportunity and then feel guilty about it. Wondering how many mortal sins I've committed in the last 30 years.

As an adult, I've dipped my toe into a dozen Protestant churches. Lutheran services are similar to catholic ones, except w/out the transubstantiation and the pope. I've tried them out, but I'm afraid Protestantism isn't my bag of chips for several reasons.

My impression of most preachers: used car salesmen. Except instead of cars, they're hawking God. He's great, so why the heavy-handed sales pitch? And why make me feel pressured into buying extras I don't want? I've had the distinct impression there were strings attached if I attended service, and I should hire a lawyer to read the fine print.

Full body immersion baptisms in front of an audience. No WAY.

Speaking of fine print, what's with all the biblical quotations? Why break out every sentence and build a dissertation around it - why not just read the whole damn passage? Why chop it up into little pieces, each line poured over, dissected, fondled and micro-analyzed ad nauseam?*

And horrors, they always want to point out the new visitor - which is like being Nancy at the end of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" where Donald Sutherland points to her and pod screams.

The only thing scarier was the 'speaking in tongues' business. I was told it was 'God's language." If that was God's language, God was incoherent and inebriated, and he freaked me out.

Attending a fundamentalist service for the first time? Warning: Confess you eat human flesh - no problem, you're forgiven. Inject heroine into babies? Amen sister, god loves you. Mention you're a catholic? Your entire family are idol-worshipping-heathens-doomed-to-eternal-fiery-papist-damnation-whore-of babylon-unless-you-accept-Jesus-as-your-personal-savior-before-it's-too-laaaaaatttte!!! Ouch.

I guess I'm uncomfortable with in-your-face, Bible-thumping, kumbaya worship. Give me the smell of incense and the chill of holy water any day.

*Here, I quoted several lines from the Bible (easily found with a search thru Google), so you might say I'm contradicting myself. Frankly, it's possible to cull Biblical quotes and make an argument for or against just about anything, which was my point, sort of.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Torrance People, Part 3

Saunders-Blackaby Cemetery

Munster Union Cemetery

So, there's all the Torrances you can shake a stick at, all the way from womb to tomb.

Next, Torrance places not in Torrance.

Old Torrance People, Part 3

More Torrance people, except really old...

David Torrance

A plethora of Torrances from the Piney Township:

Samuel Torrance, Jr. and wife,

William Scott Torrance,

Matthew McKeever Torrance,

Hitchman Torrance and his wife Martha Jane,

last, but not least, Samuel Torrance, Sr.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Torrance People, Part 2

What, more Torrances skulking about?

Torrance "I Pity The Fool" Taylor

Richard "Weren't You With The Bee Gees" Torrance

Leisha "Aaaaaaaaawwwww" Torrance

Sam "Balls At The Belfry" Torrance

Torrance People, Part 1

These are people who have never set foot in Torrance, but wear the name proudly.

Jennifer Torrance of the University of Tennessee Swim Club (note, no where near Torrance.)

Jack "All Work And No Play" Torrance

Nick "My Dad Can Kick Your Dad's Butt & So Can I" Torrance

Torrance "It Wasn't Me" Jones

Chris "I'm A Poet & I Know It" Torrance

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Only 98 days until Christmas

It's a blog that's now a mug - it's a BLUG! The perfect size for your favorite caffinated beverage or late night brew. Large, easy-grip handle. Treat yourself or give as a gift...

Want to motivate that special co-worker (so he doesn't set the building on fire)? Buy 'em a Blug!

Impress your boss? Buy her (or him) a Blug!

Need a gift for that hard-to-please tea drinker? A Blug is fit for a queen!

Want to make friends and influence people? Blug will bail you out!

Okay, maybe it can't do that. However...

The Blug is the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list.

Get one today!

Tooting our horn

I'm so proud - my son is playing with the South Bay Youth Orchestra. This is the first time he's ever played with more than his dad and me as an audience, so we're pretty darn excited. He even had to audition.

He's playing trombone, one of two in the orchestra. He'll be performing on December 5th at El Camino College.

The 'bottom' line - don't steal

The City of Torrance Police Department has a nice little Crime Log site where you can view all the horrendous criminal activity in Torrance.

In the continued search for meaningful posts, one small excerpt got my attention:

I can see it now -

"One Adam Twelve, One Adam Twelve, burglary suspect has brown hair, brown eyes, approximately 5'10", 165 pounds. Possible hemorrhoids."

The theft of the registration and insurance was just a ploy to cover up the real crime. Stealing a used butt pad sounds like a desperate cry for help, if you ask me. Perhaps we should feel sympathy for this individual - he may be the product of a annular-ly challenged home environment, or a Preparation H addict.

Do not judge this person unless you've walked a mile with his piles.

Southbay Cruisers: The Old Town Torrance Bicycle Ride

What? No psychedelic (and way too tight) biking outfits?? No $10k uber high tech bikes? Ah, no, just scenes of like-minded individuals peddling through Old Torrance.

And what bike ride would be complete without the obligatory stop at Foster's Freeze?

2008 South Bay Film Festival Trailers (Unofficial)

Here's a peek at the 2008 contributors.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Third Annual South Bay Film Festival 2009

Do you think they'd be interested in this? Or perhaps this?

Joking of course.

The South Bay Film Festival is looking for real submissions, so make that film, submit it, and maybe you could be the grand prize winner and walk off with 300 bucks - better than a poke in the eye.

Who are the judges? Check out their web site, or, watch this guy:

...and here's the host of the show, if you like that sort of thing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A church's dirty little secret

I have a couple of friends who work for churches. They work full-time, pay into Social Security, and pay assorted taxes through their employers. One friend is employed by a small local non-denominational church, one is employed by a rather large Lutheran church and school in Torrance.

Both are unaware they can't collect unemployment insurance if they become unemployed.

Why? Non-profit religious organizations are exempt from paying Federal Unemployment Tax.

What does it mean to be exempt? It means churches and their affiliate schools cannot be compelled to pay unemployment tax. But does that mean they can't participate?

No. It means they choose not to pay.

Many churches do pay into the system. In an article from the National Catholic Reporter, many diocese voluntarily pay for unemployment compensation. According to a Richmond, Virginia diocese's chief financial officer, "It was a matter of justice."

For a small church, paying unemployment taxes could force them not to hire employees at all. But what about larger institutions, and those operating schools? What about mega-churches, and churches undergoing massive expansions? What's their excuse?


In God's name, he'd pay. According to the New Testament, the Pharisees declared Jesus "a friend of tax collectors and sinners." (Luke 7:34) He even chose a tax collector to be one of his disciples - Matthew/Levi. In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus directs Peter to pay taxes for them both - of course, with a little help from above.

But wait, there's more. (Who knew there were so many Biblical references to employees and money?)

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." Deuteronomy 15:11

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19

"You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning." Leviticus 19:13

"A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight." Proverbs 11:1

"He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty."
Proverbs 22:16

"Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness and his upper rooms without justice, who uses his neighbor's services without pay and does not give him his wages." Jeremiah 22:13

"Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty." James 5:4

The bible isn't just a tool to collect tithes from church members, or a book of laws for the great unwashed. The rules apply to churches - that is, if they believe themselves the harbingers of christian values.

If I were a member of a church, or a parent of a student attending a christian school, I would be putting the heat on the minister/priest and church administrators to pay unemployment insurance tax, or pay for private unemployment insurance for their employees - not because they have to, but because it's the christian thing to do.