Columns

The Utopia of the Next Moment: Summer Chronicles # 3

July 24, 2017 by Jim Miller

What would we do without wishful thinking?

Not much apparently. According to some of the most recent science on the way our brains work, the Zen Buddhists and psychoanalysts are up against it. No matter how much we try to focus on the present, we’ll be pulled away by the Utopia of the next moment.

As a New York Times piece on some of the most recent science of the brain explained:

[I]t is increasingly clear that the mind is mainly drawn to the future, not driven by the past. Behavior, memory and perception can’t be understood without appreciating the central role of prospection. We learn not by storing static records but by continually retouching memories and imagining future possibilities. Our brain sees the world not by processing every pixel in a scene but by focusing on the unexpected.

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Restaurant Review : Jake & Eggs in Ocean Beach

July 17, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Jake & Eggs
1774 Sunset Cliffs
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
619-419-1207
Open 8-1 – Wednesday – Sunday

By Judi Curry

When this restaurant closed down a few months ago I was sorry that I had not patronized it more often. I was thrilled to see that it reopened in May, and when Marilyn came into town from Ohio today I decided to go back and see if it was as good now as it was originally. I am happy to say it is!

While not a standard breakfast menu, there are plenty of items to choose from. And, for those of you that need gluten free meals, almost all of the items have a “gf” designation.

The menu starts out with French Toast ($10); and goes to Short Rib Machaca Burrito ($11); Sweet Potato Hash is $12 as is Biscuits and Gravy. There is a Kimchi Fried Rice ($14); Chilaquiles Stack for $13;

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The Wilderness of Silence : Summer Chronicles #2

July 17, 2017 by Jim Miller

Our noise is everywhere. Just try to sit for a moment in your house and experience a moment without some kind of artificial noise, whether it be passing traffic, the sound of your neighbor’s television or stereo or the now nearly ever-present buzzing of somebody’s ear buds.

But let’s say you want to head out beyond the sprawling reach of the homogenous exurban landscape, past even the glow of the Walmart on the edge of Small Town, Anywhere to what is left of the great American wilderness.

Any peace there?

Apparently not, according to the most recent research on our never-ending din.

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Everybody’s Talking About the ‘I’ Word

July 13, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Crowd with person holding sign: "impeach donald trump now .org

By Ernie McCray

Hey, y’all, have you heard?
Everybody’s talking ‘bout the “I” word.
“Impeachment,” in other words:
throwing The Donald to the curb;
finally fed up
with him on our last nerve
like a cowboy riding a wild bronco
wrangled from the herd;
realizing it is
extraordinarily absurd
continuing to let this “I” word
be deferred and deterred and misheard and/or
unheard and slurred and unstirred,
considering that we have a leader
who is emotionally disturbed,
who, on his own,
has made himself the last word
when it comes to
lacking political decorum…

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Summer Chronicles #1: When Things Fall Apart

July 10, 2017 by Jim Miller

Summer is here and it’s time to take a break from my usual column and stretch the form a little with some chronicles. As I explained when I started this summer series a couple of years ago, the chronicle is a literary genre born in Brazil:

In the summer of 1967, the great Brazilian writer, Clarice Lispector, began a seven-year stint as a writer for Jornal de Brasil [The Brazilian News] not as a reporter but as a writer of “chronicles,” a genre peculiar to Brazil. As Giovanni Pontiero puts it in the preface to Selected Chrônicas, a chronicle, “allows poets and writers to address a wider readership on a vast range of topics and themes.

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

July 6, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Sign: LOVE with a peace sign for the letter O

By Ernie McCray

Tina Turner once sang “What’s love got to do with it?” And, ordinarily, as one who is a “love my neighbor as thyself” kind of guy, I’d answer: “Everything.” Giving my love is pretty much how I’ve managed to survive in the Milky Way. I don’t know any other way. But how loving am I? Really? I had never asked that question before receiving an email recently from an old friend, a high school classmate — in response to something I had written about The Donald. She wrote:

Dear Ernie. I believe that Mr. Trump is a deeply disturbed man. The only way I know of to soften that pain in my heart and gut is to send him love.

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The Widder Curry Asks: ‘What’s a Service Dog?’

July 3, 2017 by Judi Curry

“I Love My Dog, but….”

Let’s get one thing straight. I LOVE MY DOG, SHADOW. And I love his playmate “Rolle”. I love Shadow’s cousin “Toby”. There have only been two dogs in my lifetime that I did not love – the German Shepard that bit me when I was 5 years old, and the Pit Bull that attacked Shadow two years ago causing me to break my leg in three places, as well as my ankle and the cheek bone.

Other than those two dogs, I cannot think of any dog I don’t go “gaga” over. So when I received a note from a neighbor – Barb – saying that there is a lot of discussion about “service dogs” and other animals being brought EVERYWHERE, I decided to do some investigation and see what I could find out.

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Stream of Consciousness as a Brief Getaway

June 30, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Blue monochromatic image of three people in rowboat on calm water with man's face subtly appearing in the surface of the water

By Ernie McCray

PRELUDE: What’s written here are words that poured from me when I tried to, just for a few moments in time, air my mind of all the mania that seems to come from the White House from time to time aka all the time. It’s as written, word for word, with punctuation added to tidy it up a bit.

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Are We Witnessing the End of Public Education as We Know It? — Part One

June 26, 2017 by Jim Miller

Public Education

By Jim Miller / Kelly Mayhew

These are dire times for public education. With Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education leading the charge for big budget cuts, charter schools, and a radical privatization agenda, the possibility that free quality public education for all in America could soon be a thing of the past is real.

One would think that such clear and present danger to a cornerstone of our democracy coming from the right would unite Democrats behind the mantle of defending public education.

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The Truth Can Set Us Free

June 19, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Truth

By Ernie McCray

Jim Comey. My man! I wish I could shake his hand. I mean I’ve got to put aside my deep deep deep disdain for the FBI to give props to a man who has come through with something I’ve so much wanted somebody from a high place to do — call Donald J. Trump out for what he is: a liar. For all the world to hear and see.

Of course he was stating the obvious but it needed to be said just as he said it: out loud – because some of us and the media keep cutting him slack with witty intellectualizing about what a lie really is, how a lie might not be a lie if it wasn’t intended to be a lie. What a lie all of that is.

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The Top 5 Stories Getting Buried by the Trump Carnival

June 19, 2017 by Jim Miller

Carnival

By Jim Miller

Trump is a train-wreck, I know.

But while the pathetic carnival that is the White House continues to distract and horrify Americans, some hugely important news is getting lost in the din.

Here are a few of the stories that should be getting equal time but have been drowned out by the drama of the Disaster in Chief.

1. American public education is under an unprecedented assault.

Through a combination of budget cuts and calculated policies to encourage rapid and wide-ranging charterization, the Trump administration’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is no joke when it comes to seeking to “disrupt” public education and …

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Restaurant Review : A Second Look of the Supannee House of Thai in Point Loma

June 14, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Supannee House of Thai
2907 Shelter Island Drive #110
San Diego, CA 92106
619-795-8424
www.sdthai.com

By Judi Curry

It’s been about four years since I last reviewed Supannee House of Thai. A new friend – Marie – suggested that we meet there for lunch and I am glad that we did.

We arrived at 11:45am, and it was already busy. There was a large group of people at one table, and five other tables were already taken. I noticed while we there that there was a steady stream of people coming in for take out as well as dine in. After looking at the extensive menu I could understand why.

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Fear and Loathing in America

June 14, 2017 by Jim Miller

LoathingBy Jim Miller

A couple of weeks ago I saw Dead and Company open their tour in Las Vegas. The trip was filled with a bit of personal nostalgia for the many other times I came see the Grateful Dead play two or three show runs there before Jerry Garcia died.

Of course, all of those trips, taken with friends steeped in the larger history of the band, were full of easy, ironic references to Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas where he tells the tale of his own savage journey into the Heart of the American Dream.

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Cheers to the San Diego Free Press, a Player in My Life’s Journey

June 8, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Editors’ Note: The staff of the OB Rag launched the online San Diego Free Press five years old this week. This is one in a series of posts reflecting on the paths we’ve traveled.

By Ernie McCray

San Diego Free PressMy journey in life has been down many a highway, leading me this way and that way. Mostly wonderful, though, I must say.

I could go on and on for days about the stops I’ve made in this voyage, about the human connections that have sat well in my soul: like my relationship with the San Diego Free Press, SDFP, which, by the way, is celebrating it’s fifth year of treating us San Diegans to an array of progressive news and views.

Propositions we can use.

I remember how the San Diego Free Press came to be, how we, at meetings of the OB Rag, with its major focus on Ocean Beach, thought about reaching out to all of San Diego.

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Why the ‘San Diego Free Press’ Matters Now More Than Ever

June 5, 2017 by Jim Miller

Free Press
Editor’s Note: The San Diego Free Press is five years old this week. This is one in a series of posts reflecting on the paths we’ve traveled.

By Jim Miller

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the San Diego Free Press and that’s something to celebrate. I first started writing for the OB Rag and then subsequently became part of the birth of the SD Free Press because I loved the way that those outlets both paid homage to the legacy of San Diego’s countercultural press and continued its legacy into the digital age.

As part a key part of the local New Left and counterculture in the sixties and early seventies, Doug Porter, Frank Gormlie, and others offered a space for radical voices and cultural threads that were not acceptable in the mainstream, commercial media of the time.

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We Have Entered the Trump Zone

June 1, 2017 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Trump ZoneI don’t know about y’all but, with all the Three Stooges kind of shenanigans going on in the White House, I feel like we’ve entered the Trump Zone.

It’s definitely not the Twilight Zone, that’s for sure. The Trump Zone’s stories go way beyond any episode I’ve ever seen on the Twilight Zone.

No character in the Twilight Zone comes close to the main character in the Trump Zone, an orange faced villain with hair a scarecrow would refuse to wear, a man who, wherever you look, he is there.

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A Farewell to a Friend of Point Loma and Ocean Beach – Katie Klumpp

May 30, 2017 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

I first met Katie over 43 years ago when she was my daughter’s BlueBird/Campfire Leader. She was one of the most intelligent women I had ever met, and I was in awe of all the things that she managed to do in 24 hours. She seemed to volunteer for anything that she believed in, and did an outstanding job in all areas.

She received her Master’s in speech pathology and Audiology way before women were receiving Master’s degrees.

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What’s the Matter with San Diego Labor (Part 3): A Divided Movement Hurts Us All

May 30, 2017 by Jim Miller

South Bay Democrats Show the Way with Resolution in Support of a United Labor Movement

By Jim Miller

Last week, the first meeting of the newly reorganized San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council was a refreshingly upbeat gathering as the local movement recommitted itself to weathering the storm and reinventing the Labor Council as a far more democratic and activist organization that will do everything it can to engage union members and organize the unorganized.

One of the most encouraging moments of the night came when Doug Moore of the United Domestic Workers spoke about the pressing need to rebuild real, less transactional relationships with our allies in the community. This is a very good thing.

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Making our Schools Safe for Muslim Students in a Climate of Hate

May 18, 2017 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Muslim studentsThere’s a survey highlighting that a large number of Muslim students are being bullied at school.

Our school district picks up on it and looks at ways to make them feel safe on their campuses. And before you can say “Way to go!” to the school system, a bunch of hateful folks come up with some “reverse discrimination” kind of BS.

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Keeping a Tucson Neighborhood’s Spirit Alive

May 17, 2017 by Ernie McCray

be the best neighborhood

By Ernie McCray

Recently I received an email from a friend asking me if I would lead a conversation that would begin with a piece of art, next April, on issues important to Dunbar, the neighborhood in Tucson, where I spent the first 24 years of my life.

I couldn’t get back to her with the answer, “Yes,” quick enough. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do, in life, than take part in a rap session on behalf of a community that resides at the core of who I am as a human being.

I mean, I am Dunbar personified.

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Restaurant Review : Breakfast Republic

May 15, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Breakfast Republic
4839 Newport Ave.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
619-255-7255
Breakfastrepublic.com
/ocean- beach/

By Judi Curry

Sometimes you want things to be so good that you are disappointed when they do not turn out the way you wanted them to be. A little of that happened today when I went to breakfast with Stuart and Nancy at the new Breakfast Republic in Ocean Beach.

The restaurant is where the old Portugalia and OB Warehouse used to be. (Those of you that have been here as long as I have been may remember that it was originally a Christian Science Monitor Reading Room!) The restaurant is on the top floor, accessible by steps or an elevator. Currently the bottom floor is still empty, but the word is that Coin Haus will be opening there soon.

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What’s the Matter with Labor in San Diego?

May 15, 2017 by Jim Miller
…there is no great philosophical debate over principle at stake here in San Diego. In fact, principle or coherent strategic thinking has nothing to do with the current state of affairs at all.

laborBy Jim Miller

In one of my first columns of the year, I made a plea that San Diego labor should not allow itself to be distracted by the trials and tribulations of Labor Council President Mickey Kasparian.

With everything from a looming anti-labor shift on the Supreme Court and at the National Labor Relations Board, to “right to work” legislation in Congress along with a host of other perils, I argued that the Trump era simply holds too many dangers for labor to get bogged down in the petty drama surrounding one leader

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Restaurant Review : The Gourmet Bagger in the Midway District

May 1, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

The Gourmet Bagger
3357 Rosecrans
San Diego, CA
Midway in Loma Square
619-523-0590
Thegourmetbagger.com

Time to have lunch with the widows again, except that this time there were only two of us. Irene and me. We started out the day going to garage and estate sales, and then went to the Police Department to drop off some very old prescriptions. As we were driving to the police department we noticed that traffic on Highway 8 going west was backed up all the way to Hotel Circle. That changed where we were going to eat lunch, and decided to try “The Gourmet Bagger” instead of our original plans.

Parking at Loma Square is difficult at any time, but Saturday is the worst. Luckily we found a place relatively easy and were pleasantly surprised to see that tables outside and inside had diners, but there were still a few tables left.

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Remembering Who Brought Us the 8-Hour Day, Resisting Trump, and Fighting for a Just Future

May 1, 2017 by Jim Miller

9:00 AM to 2:00 PM Teach-in, Rally and March at San Diego City College
3:00 PM Rally at the Federal Building
4:00 PM March to Chicano Park followed by Rally in Chicano Park

By Jim Miller

May Day

Usually May Day comes and goes with a small march that most people barely notice. Indeed, most Americans don’t know much about May Day and if they do, they associate it with the state sponsored holiday in the former Soviet Union.

The truth of the matter is, however, that May Day has deep American roots. It started in 1866 as part of the movement pushing for the 8-hour day.

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Happy Birthday, Ernie McCray: Still Pushing for What’s Good in the World at 79

April 18, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Ernie McCray 79

Streams of Consciousness the Day Before Turning 79

By Ernie McCray

Tomorrow. April 18th. If I make it I’ll be 79. 79.

Can’t wait to jam as a 79-year-old man. No, indeed. Time flashes at some kind of supersonic speed. Glad I’ve got me a beautiful woman and some mellow weed…

And there’s so much greed with people in need… And they choose to shoot at each other and drop bombs on each other in all kinds of weather, no thoughts of whether a timeout should be called at some point in human history…

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Restaurant Review : ‘Swami’s’ in the Midway District

April 17, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

“Swami’s”
Midway Towne Center
3924 W. Point Loma Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110
619-222-6600
Swamicafe.com

“Widow” get-together time again for Irene, Candy and myself. I have tried to eat at all of the restaurants in Ocean Beach proper, and find that I have reviewed most of them during the six years I have been writing for the OB Rag. There are still two that I want to visit, but found that neither of them are open at lunch time.

I have been to Swami’s in La Mesa and Encinitas. This time I decided it was time to try the one in my “own back yard.”

I have fond memories of Embers, and not so fond memories of its replacement, so went into this restaurant with a little excitement and trepidation. Some people told me it was good; others were not so nice.

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Plant the Seeds for a Progressive Future in San Diego: Support Students for Economic Justice

April 17, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

In the age of Trump I have heard many a progressive ponder: “What went so wrong?” How in 2017 can we be fighting and, in many cases, refighting battles over basic economic rights and civil liberties? Whatever happened to women’s rights? How can we still be arguing about whether or not climate change exists? How did things get this bad?

In the political realm, as I have written here many times, a big part of the problem is that the Democrats have no bench of talented, young candidates. Indeed, rather than appealing to young voters and activists, it sometimes seems like the party is bent on alienating them. We saw this with the disdain heaped upon the idealism of millennial Sanders supporters in some quarters, and we can still see it in the national party’s frustrating inability to reinvent itself by bringing in new energy.

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The Widder Curry Thanks You for Your Replies

April 6, 2017 by Judi Curry

Earlier this week my “editor-dude” published my story asking you what you would have done in a situation that I found myself in a few days earlier. I was curious to see if there was a difference in the “male” way of looking at the situation vs the “female” way of looking at it. I was a little surprised by the outcome.

There were 92 respondents – several on the OB Rag; more on “Next Door” and a few more on Facebook. I also had eight telephone calls regarding the problem. Of the 92, 78 were women and 14 were men. I was very surprised by total answers given to me. Let me share with you:

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The Widder Curry Asks: What Would You Have Done?

April 3, 2017 by Judi Curry

What Would You Have Done?

Throughout our lives we are faced with making decisions. Some are important; some are not. Some will change our lives forever; others will make no difference. Some of our decisions will haunt us forever; some of our decisions we will never remember making.

I had a decision to make last week. I will not tell you the outcome in this article, but I will respond to it after I hear from you, the reader. Here is what happened:

For the past four years I have talked to – or texted – a man every single day. In those four years there were only two days that this event did not happen. We were good friends; discussed many different topics.

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The American Epidemic of Quiet Desperation Continues Unabated

April 3, 2017 by Jim Miller

Quiet Desperation

By Jim Miller

America is an increasingly unhappy place and much of what we are currently doing politically is bound to make us feel worse. And while our malaise is surely not just the product of the Trump presidency, it is highly likely that his policies will continue our negative trajectory.

As the Guardian recently reported, “Happiness in the US is declining and is expected to continue on a downward path, with Donald Trump’s policies forecast to deepen the country’s social crisis.”

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