Monday, January 14, 2008

Ronald Reagan Returns to Santa Barbara--You'd Think It Was a Ghost or Something

Two larger clumps of random thoughts from a random mind that seem to go together after a long day (I'm sort of working three jobs at once right now, so that's the best I can do)....

The LA Times maybe shouldn't wander up to Santa Barbara. Or should invest in a fact checker. Their Sunday travel section visited Santa Barbara (at least they say they did) and someone reported that SoHo has "two cavernous rooms." Now, if a New York City reporter who lives in a studio called SoHo cavernous that would be one thing, but in California we tend to know what the word "big" actually means. After all, what other state has its own sea? SoHo is a nightclub. People like Jonathan Richman play there.

Then, in an article about a from-market-to-plate cooking class, there's this priceless line, "We travel in a caravan to Hauben's home in Santa Barbara's leafy LaRoque neighborhood overlooking the mountains."

First, it's San Roque, not LaRoque (I guess we should feel good the writer didn't name our neighborhood after John Laroquette). Second, Santa Barbara is pinned between the ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. It's a coastal plain. You can't OVERlook mountains unless you're in huge platforms or on an even bigger mountain or wearing good size shoes on a modest yet proud hill. That's not getting topography wrong, that's just plain dumb writing.

Then again, I guess I just don't know what news is. Here in town everyone is gaga because the USS Ronald Reagan is anchored off shore. I think it's wonderful our sailors get to enjoy our town and get a break from doing the terrible things empire makes them do. I just don't see why every news outlet has to cover it like it's a huge deal. Sure, the ship is ginormous. Sure, it's wonderful to know two nuclear reactors are now off our shoreline, making us like San Onofre without the need for a brassiere [edited 1/15/08 10:20 am--see comments]. Sure, the ship's motto is "Peace through Strength," the very inverse of Dennis Kucinich's slogan "Strength through Peace." (Given Kucinich's stature, he might rate a tugboat someday.) Sure, it cost $4.5 billion dollars to build, but that's a measly 18 days of the Iraq War, so a bargain.

It's just that I don't care it's here. I realize its massive size is supposed to be Viagra to my ever-flagging patriotism, but what's American in me would rather stand up and salute a traveling display of the Bill of Rights. Of course these days there's a provision that if you enjoy the first ten amendments for more than four hours, you've violated the Patriot Act. But you don't have consult anyone; they're listening to your calls and will know where you are.



Blogger Mike said...

I would think in S.B., a navy ship offshore would be met with protest, not fawning news stories.

You guys are getting soft.

4:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at the least I'm sure Ms. Hauben is delighted with the cheap publicity.
Foodie Commerce!!

8:32 AM  
Anonymous the gipper said...

People are going "gaga" because those 3,300 men and women don the cloth of this great nation and go into harm's way to defend the Constitution, and that very same Bill of Rights, and all of us.

All of us in Southern California should count ourselves lucky that these young patriots are over there eliminating some very evil sadistic murders before they come back to the U.S. and sabotage our oil platforms or strap on a bomb and walk into Dos Pueblos. We're lucky to have the right to whine about our government.

I'm glad you're so concerned about taxpayer dollars; perhaps to make up for the money wasted in Iraq that could have been used on American ails, you can do what these young men and women who proudly wore their uniforms on State Street do: get off your ass and go serve something greater than yourself.

THANK YOU to all US Navy Sailors! God Bless You All.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous kusala said...

Aw, c'mon, George! Put an extra spoon of sugar in your coffee and lighten up!

Funny, I noticed exactly those mistakes in the LA Times bit about Hauben's food tour. "Overlooking" the mountains was especially funny. But, in the end, ya just gotta let it go. It was pretty nice to see Hauben get such a well-deserved plug. Good luck to her.

Oh, I see you have at least one prone-to-exaggeration wingnut trolling your blog (uh... strap on a bomb and walk into Dos Pueblos?). Aren't you lucky? I guess I was curious enough to take a State Street shuttle ride down to the wharf to get a look at the carrier to see if the SIZE would impress me, but I'd be just as curious about the cruise ships that moor from time to time. Also, I realized that those things look a lot bigger from up on the Riviera then at sea level from the Wharf. I'll remember that next time.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Tongue firmly in cheek said...

That LA Times story made me cry. Lies, all lies! Santa Barbara is awful! Don't come here! Stay home and trafficate your own environment with your Angelino snobbery.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi George,
I agree with you. I'm wondering, though, why San Onofre needs a brasserie. Maybe you meant bistro? I think Americans would take more readily to a bistro or a simple cafe than to an ultra-French brasserie.
Then again, perhaps you meant brassiere...?

10:05 AM  
Blogger George said...

Anon 10:05 am--

Guess who's spent too much time pouring over the Pudlo Guide for an upcoming trip?

Guess who needs an editor too often?

10:21 AM  
Blogger Trekking Left said...

I totally agree with you about the big boat. I would add that I can see its day of arrival as news, but it was "news" for several days before the arrival. And then both The Sound and The NP had front page stories about it leaving as well. That's a bit much.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

As annoying as tourist trade may seem, through the Transient Occupancy Tax, they contribute millions to the general fund. As any publicist would tell you, any ink is good.

As to the Reagan, it, and the 3300 souls who make it a deadly weapon, have been cruising the Persian Gulf for as long as we have been pumping their oil into our refineries.
That is the first function of protecting our liberties in the middle east. If not for fifty years of our going there, I doubt that most of those who are now full of hate for the United States would even know where it is, much less Dos Pueblos.
Rather we encourage our youth to invent clean cheap domestically originated energy and establish energy independence from the Saudi sheiks who are business partners with a select few Americans.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Ambivalent American said...

I was once was of those "brave patriots" on an aircraft carrier, and I happened to be there when the Ayatollah's kids took the hostages. The refrain that echoes in my head 30 years later: "Nuke 'em till it glows!"

Grammar problems aside, it bounced off the bulkheads with the force of 45,000 tons of righteous democracy.

And then we pulled into Subic Bay and our drinking and whoring made Iran just another place we young defenders of liberty couldn't find on a map.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the hoopla over the USS Reagan's recent port call? Perhaps it's because 3,000+ members of the United States Armed Forces arrived here on a single transport, a humongous high-tech Navy ship that's mind-boggling to the eye. Because of their distinctive attire, these visitors stood out wherever they went. They were warmly welcomed by Santa Barbarans, who entertained them with barbeques, snazzy brunches, althletic events, a private concert at the Arlington, and numerous other activities. Why the media blitz? Because it's news! It's a really big deal - on many levels - to have the Reagan here.

And why did the community go out of its way to show these folks a good time? Well, Santa Barbara certainly has a tradition of welcoming visitors; it's a long-standing custom from our Spanish and Mexican forebears, part of our historic fabric. However, I'm old enough to remember the despicable manner in which many of my fellow knee-jerk liberals treated the military during the Viet Nam era, so perhaps this is Santa Barbara’s way to somehow atone for that. Or maybe it's just because we love our country. In my case, it's a little of both, plus I'm a former Naval Reserve Journalist and reformed knee-jerk liberal.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's SOhO, not SoHo.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Marissa said...

Per usual, the LA Times has its nose too far in the air to fix the errors in its copy. Chalk it up to smog-infused Yerba Mate.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

The only reason I care about the USS Reagan's visit is I am curious whether they paid the docking tax THIS TIME. (Does anyone else remember the last visit, when they didn't?)
I'm almost curious enough to check in the News Mess, but I hate that pathetic joke of a newspaper enough to forgo the information rather than look for it there.
(The headline the other day made me laugh: Sailors enjoy shore leave. There's a news story for you all right! And here I thought their officers would have had to coax the reluctant young men from their bunks. Thanks, News Mess, for clearing that up for us. Sailors enjoy shore leave!

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember, boys and girls... It is because of the USS Reagan and its forebears that we may freely express ourselves on blogs such as this.

4:02 PM  
Blogger George said...

Anon 4:02 is right--no one has a blog anywhere else in the world. I mean, there are things out there that look like blogs, but if they aren't in English how can we really tell?

4:37 PM  
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8:27 PM  

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