Columns

Judi Curry: Host to 413 Foreign Exchange Students Over 23 Years

February 23, 2015 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Judi Curry: Host to 413 Foreign Exchange Students Over 23 Years

Our own Judi Curry, who writes a column here on the OB Rag as “The Widder Curry” has finally received some attention that’s due her.

As a host to foreign exchange students since 1992, Judi has had 413 of these foreign students in her home.

The local CBS News affiliate found her recently. Their reporter Abbie Alford interviewed Judi …

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A Call to Action on the Labor Crisis in Higher Ed: Colleges Are Running On the Backs of Underpaid Part-Timers

February 23, 2015 by Jim Miller

February 25th is National Adjunct Walkout Day

national-adjunct-day-posterBy Jim Miller

As I have noted here recently, the successful assault on public sector unionism has marched hand in hand with the surge of income inequality and the erosion of the American middle class. Of course, central to this is the ongoing war on teachers’ unions and the nationwide trend toward austerity budgets in state capitols across the country.

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‘Some Things Never Change’- Point Loma’s Perry’s Café

February 20, 2015 by Judi Curry
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Restaurant Review

“Perry’s Café”
4610 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92110
619-291-7121

It has been years since I have had breakfast at Perry’s. It was a place that my husband and I used to go to frequently and always enjoyed the meals we had there. However, since he passed away, I find it difficult to frequent those places that we patronized, because it always brings back memories that I would just as soon forget.

However, one of the members of my widow support group – Ro – had a birthday today that we wanted to celebrate, and she chose “Perry’s” as the place she would like to go. Interesting enough, all of us had been there with our spouses, with the exception of Candy. We asked the very nice waitress when Perry’s opened, …

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Sometimes the Simple Things Are the Most Fun – the Zion Market

February 18, 2015 by Judi Curry

Zion produce sectionTry going to the Zion Market in Clairemont Mesa some day

By Judi Curry

As much as I hate to admit it, I have a birthday coming up at the end of the week. As a general rule I would just as soon forget the day and move right on to the next one.

Perhaps many of you know that I am a “host mother” to foreign language students in the US to hone their English skills. My latest student is the 413th student I have housed since 1992, when my husband and I began this adventure. I have had students from all over the world—each one unique in their own way—and with the exception of only three students that I asked to have removed from my home, it has been a wonderful experience.

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A Path Chosen in Black History

February 17, 2015 by Ernie McCray
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by Ernie McCray

When I look back at my own little chapter of Black History, I feel grateful that I found a path that enabled me to survive a society that sought to deny me a life of dignity.

I, unknowingly, set out on this path on my first day of school, when my knuckles were, seemingly, knocked to kingdom come because I had dozed off, as if I had a choice in a room sizzling at 100 and some degrees with a fan (itself struggling to stay awake) blowing across a pail of water as though that could lower the temperature in that room to any degree. I swear I heard that fan wheeze. Talking, Tucson, Arizona, August or September of 1943.

I remember thinking, back then, as I looked at my hands, surprised to see my knuckles still there, “What the hell kind of welcome was that?” And I knew, as much as a five-year old can know such things, that someday I would be a teacher.

I would observe goings on in every school I ever attended, thinking of what I might have done differently if I had been the teacher. I’d imagine how I would have made lessons come alive, or more relevant to students’ lives.

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The Widder Curry: “I met the Human GPS Man today.”

February 11, 2015 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for The Widder Curry: “I met the Human GPS Man today.”

Seven months ago I was fortunate enough to meet the only “Human GPS” man in the world. At the time I knew he was “different” – but I didn’t know to what extent his talent included. Until today, that is.

I drive a Toyota and take it to the Mission Gorge Toyota dealer for maintenance on the car. Last July I took the car in for its 10,000 mile check up – except it only had 7700 miles on it – and had to leave it at the dealership for close to five hours. I took the courtesy shuttle home, and that was when I met the GPS man – Steve Shank. (That day he took five us to our separate homes – and he drove all over San Diego County delivering us to our residences without checking a map or GPS.)

I was the last person he took home and we talked and exchanged information about ourselves until I was dropped off. I also took the shuttle back to pick up my car and Steve was the driver.

He had told me that he was in the Navy for four years – deployed to Viet Nam three different times. When he decided to leave the Navy he applied for a job with the Post Office and was hired the day after he was discharged.

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Poetry From Ernie McCray: “Caught Up in the Beat of Superbowl Sunday”

February 9, 2015 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Katy Perry came out singing to a funky beat.
Next thing I know I was up
dancing on my old ass size 14 feet.
Every thing was mellow and sweet,
coming out the speaker in four-four time,unnamed
and, before my behind
got reassigned
to that chair of mine
at the end of halftime,
I was jamming
with Lenny Kravitz
and Missy Elliott too,
who looked like she had been cut in two,
since the last time I had seen her
doing the do.

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Dispatches from the Class War (On You)

February 9, 2015 by Jim Miller

class-warfare-fight-backBy Jim Miller

Last July, after the Harris v. Quinn decision took the first step toward gutting the power of public sector unions in America I noted that case “pretty much guarantees that we’ll see more cases brought to the high court aiming to send American labor into a death spiral.”

As legal observers commented at the time, this Supreme Court usually moves in a two-step process, starting with a narrow decision that then sets the precedent for a broader and more extreme move to the right in a subsequent decision.

Well, the case that will provide the pretext for that radical step has made its way up the food chain and will likely be heard by America’s highest court.

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San Diego Labor Goes Green: New Environmental Caucus Formed

February 2, 2015 by Jim Miller

“Let’s be clear, climate change is the most important issue facing all of us for the rest of our lives.” –John Harrity, President of the Connecticut State Council of Machinists

green planetBy Jim Miller & Micah Mitrosky

We are facing a historic environmental crisis that threatens our present and future survival. Think Progress pithily summarized the conclusions of last year’s United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, noting that:

The world’s top scientists and governments have issued their bluntest plea yet to the world: Slash carbon pollution now (at a very low cost) or risk “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” Scientists have “high confidence” these devastating impacts occur “even with adaptation” — if we keep doing little or nothing.

A short list of the many catastrophic effects that unchecked climate change may bring includes severe drought, dangerous wildfires, increased disease, threatened food systems due to Dust Bowl-like conditions, ocean acidification, more global conflict over resources, economic collapse, and mass extinction.

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Stories from Young Minds Taking the Stage

January 29, 2015 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

The Playwrights Project has been producing plays written by dramatists, under age 19, for 30 years.

It all begins with the California Young Playwrights Contest, a statewide competition.

This year there were 581 entrants, way more than usual, and the stories of eight extremely talented writers made it to the stage – at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre at the Old Globe, no less.

Four of the plays earned full production and four are performed as staged readings – and I mean “staged,” because the Playwrights Project has no bounds when it comes to creative performances.

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Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

January 27, 2015 by Ernie McCray

MLK Caricuture

By Ernie McCray

Martin Luther King. A loving man with the loveliest of dreams. After seeing “Selma,” which told the story of that chapter in the Civil Rights Movement powerfully well, I just had to write something about this dear man.

I didn’t know what I wanted to say until I happened upon a caricature that captured the very essence of how I often see him in my mind’s eye, as I think of him every now and then. How can I not in this world we live in?

The pose he struck in the portrait made me wonder what was going on in his head and based on what my friend, *Rabbi Ben Kamin, recently had to say about him in an examiner.com essay, he could have been thinking about a range of things.

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The State Of the Union: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican

January 26, 2015 by Jim Miller

obama-eisenhower3By Jim Miller

Last week, President Obama gave a pretty good speech in which he outlined a series of solid progressive policy proposals along with a few very bad ideas like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

What was most telling about the response to his speech, however, was how glowing the praise was in some quarters for what, in essence, was a fairly pedestrian list of things to do: …

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We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

January 19, 2015 by Jim Miller
Thumbnail image for We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

By Jim Miller

It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and we will be greeted, as is the case these days, with lots of empty gestures and vanilla rhetoric that erases the radical nature of King’s legacy and neuters the impact of his ideas. As I have noted in years past, King was not a moderate whose only idea was that we should all just get along and respect each other. He was a provocative thinker and activist who challenged the core values of our society both then and now.

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“Death with Dignity” Focus of League of Women Voters

January 13, 2015 by Judi Curry
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“If You Like Sleep, You’ll Like Death Even Better”

A summary of the League of Women Voters meeting on “Death with Dignity”

The LWV has scheduled 9 different discussion places for the “Death with Dignity” topic.

On January 12th the discussion was held at the Point Loma Library. The turn-out was disappointing to me – three men and nine women, plus the three female moderators. The discussion, although slow at first, was interesting as the small audience began to participate. The moderators were Nancy Witt, Shirley Walkoe and Jeanne Brown.

Jeanne led the discussion by handing out a statistical page of Assisted Suicide Laws by State. We found out that three states have passed legislation permitting physician-assisted suicide: – Oregon, Vermont and Washington. …

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“Steal Heaven” at the San Diego Rep Is a Must See

January 12, 2015 by Ernie McCray

imageBy Ernie McCray

This New Year, 2015, was already moving along nicely for me, but it shifted into high gear the other night when Maria and I went to see the San Diego RepertoryTheatre’s “Steal Heaven,” a play written by one of my favorite theater artists, Herbert Siguenza. This multitalented actor, playwright, director and producer is a founding member of Culture Clash, a performance group known for its rich satirical look at the world and its politics – from a Chicano perspective. I’ve loved everything they’ve ever done.

Siguenza’s “Steal Heaven,” was right in line with all his good work and it was just what I needed as I look forward to, hopefully, a long future of trying to change this world into a more civil home for human beings. I know, good luck with that, Charlie, but it’s what I wake up every morning to do.

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Buyer beware – or how Match.com has me by the short hair

January 9, 2015 by Judi Curry
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A continuing saga of romance on the internet!

I have been a member of several on-line dating sites for the past 4 years. I have written about some of my experiences with the men that have responded to me, and, in fact, am in the process of completing a book based on those experiences. But today, for the first time, my beef is not with the scammers but with “Match.com” and their policies.

When I signed up with this company, I immediately stated that I did not want an automatic renewal of their “services”. There was a button to push and I did so. Or at least I thought I did so. But when I received my credit card statement yesterday I found that I was charged a $78+ fee for an additional three months subscription. When I called the company to complain they were closed. The message said that if I were to send an email they would respond the next working day. So I sent the email. And there was no call-back. Today I called them. Interesting to note they said they never got the email. …

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Still Smiling as I Look Back at 2014

January 6, 2015 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray
unnamedWhen I reflect on the last piece I wrote, “A Holiday Season with Tamales and Smiles,” I realize that pretty much all of 2014 was a year of smiles for me.

The year got off to a running start, moving like water rushing from a stream to a river to the ocean. Time truly does move fast…

Family wise, there was much to smile about as all my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, on the whole, appeared to be moving along in life rather nicely. My granddaughter, Kinya, whom I rarely see, and her children, visited in the summer from Memphis, Tennessee, and being around them made smiles come easily. Lyric, my youngest grandson, turned one, and I can’t be around him for a second before he elicits a smile from me…

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Not So Happy New Year: Obama Pushing Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015

January 5, 2015 by Jim Miller

TPP_finalBy Jim Miller

Last week, I wrote about Project Censored’s Top 25 most underreported stories, one of which was “Wikileaks Revelations on Trans-Pacific Partnership Ignored by Corporate Media.”

Coming in at number three on their list, Project Censored notes that what is important about this story is that :

Eight hundred million people, and one-third of all world trade, stand to be affected by the treaty—and yet only three people from each member nation have access to the entire document. Meanwhile, six hundred “corporate advisors,” representing big oil, pharmaceutical, and entertainment companies, are involved in the writing and negotiations of the treaty.

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Stumps Market Gets the Widder Curry’s Goat

December 30, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Stumps Market Gets the Widder Curry’s Goat

Doesn’t take much to get my goat any more.

And it has nothing to do with the amount of time I am spending in North Dakota with Cowboy and his herd of goats. No, in this case it has to do with a stupid “rule” that might make a difference in my shopping habits. This is what happened.

I have shopped at Stumps on Voltaire for years. I like their meat, deli and produce departments. I seldom purchase the regular staples, because their prices are higher than I pay at Ralphs or Vons. But their meat is exceptionally tasty; and their prices are better than the other supermarkets.

Over the past years, Stump’s has offered incentive programs that I have taken advantage of – items like Tupperware containers (or similar). Apparently, Stumps now – after a hiatus of many months – has brought back a new incentive program – Chicago Cutlery. …

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The Most Important Stories the Corporate Media Didn’t Tell You in 2014

December 29, 2014 by Jim Miller

Media LiesBy Jim Miller

We live in troubled times but are increasingly ill equipped to deal with them. The average American is awash in a sea of ghastly, contextless headlines punctuated by inane trivia and pointless titillation. Somewhere between the latest massacre and Kim Kardashian’s most recent booty shot we got lost.

Indeed, some studies have even shown that the more news we consume the less we actually know. That’s because so much of what we have come to think of as “news” is really a form of corporate propaganda, a depthless mass of factoids designed to not interfere with the bottom line. Thus we know less as we amuse ourselves to death.

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Restaurant Review : Fig Tree Café at Liberty Station

December 29, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review : Fig Tree Café at Liberty Station

Fig Tree Café
Liberty Station
2400 Historic Decatur Road
Suite 103

San Diego, California 92106
619-821-2044

Every Christmas season I go out to breakfast with two friends – Nancy and Stewart – and this year was no exception. We were deciding between the “Little Lion” and the “Fig Tree Café” this year and because Nancy and Stewart had been to the Fig Tree for their $5 breakfast special we decided to go there. Alas, the special was not available for the “holiday” – even though it was now Friday following Christmas. We ordered from the regular menu.

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On Torture: Deeper into the American Heart of Darkness

December 15, 2014 by Jim Miller

torture bedBy Jim Miller

A couple of weeks ago I evoked Joseph Conrad’s classic critique of colonialism when discussing the disposability of black and brown lives in the wake of Ferguson and our collective ability to dehumanize or “thingify” black and brown people at home and abroad.

As I observed then, “in Conrad’s classic novel Heart of Darkness we are taken on a journey into the core of the European colonial enterprise. And while the naïve reader may expect an adventure in the ‘savage’ world of Africa, what one quickly discovers is that it is the ‘hollow men’ of Europe bent on the ruthless exploitation of the land and the people who are the real savages, whose moral emptiness and desire to ‘exterminate the brutes’ is the actual horror.”

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What a Difference a Few Decades Make – An Interview with Kevin Beiser, President of School Board

December 9, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for What a Difference a Few Decades Make –  An Interview with Kevin Beiser, President of School Board

By Judi Curry

I spent a delightful morning with Kevin Beiser, the San Diego Unified School Board President and he had many positive things to say about what has happened in the district since he has been on the board.

As a public school teacher beginning my career in the early sixties, I have seen the pendulum swing many ways in the past fifty years. (Fifty Years! My God!)

Perhaps one of the biggest swings was from the Professional Organizations of the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA) to the American Federation of Teachers – AFT –and other labor organizations. As a member of “management” later in my career, I have been disillusioned with professionals (educators) belonging to labor organizations, …

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Maria and Me, Living a Life of Love In Our Seventies

December 8, 2014 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Maria and meI recently wrote about a few wonderful things in my life for which I’m grateful, and I’m still in a thankful frame of mind, thinking, particularly, of Maria Ester Nieto Senour, that super-fine sweetheart of mine. I’m so thankful for having someone to age with me as my everyday valentine.

I don’t know where in the arc, of the amazing occurrences in the cosmos, Maria and I began heading in each other’s direction. But I’m glad it happened.

I do know, though, that there was a time, beginning in July of 2009, that I was as low as a man could be …

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Feeling Grateful and Giving Thanks

November 26, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

By Ernie McCray

Giving Thanks

Last Saturday was a very pretty day and to celebrate the beauty of it all I took off on a walk at a nice steady pace. As I moved along I gave thanks to the very universe for my being able to take in such a sparkling day up and about on my old size 14 feet.

I thought of so many things I’m grateful for: a great childhood, athletic glory, a marriage that thrilled my soul until my soul-mate passed away and then another fine woman came my way; children, grand children, great-grand-children, leading positive lives; college degrees; having traveled to exotic places overseas.

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Thanks for Nothing (and Everything): On Walmart, Black Friday, and Thich Nhat Hanh

November 24, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

walmart binsIt’s Thanksgiving week and Walmart is getting ready to ruin the party by asking nearly one million of its workers to come in on the holiday to get a jump-start on the Black Friday consumer frenzy. Given its size and influence, Walmart’s move, if successful, is likely to set a trend in the industry and wreck Thanksgiving for millions more underpaid service sector workers in the future.

Fortunately, OUR Walmart is responding in kind by promising the biggest Black Friday Strike ever with allies in labor and the community promising to join hands with them in their protest. As Think Progress recently reported:

Workers have gone on strike and protested for the past two Black Fridays.

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Tears for Justice, Peace and Compassion

November 24, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Justice...By Ernie McCray

I found myself, a day or so ago, kind of tearing up, thinking about a passage I had read in “Just Mercy,” a story of justice and redemption, or better yet, the lack thereof.

Bryan Stephenson, the author of this incredibly revealing narrative about the inequities in our justice system, says, concerning a man who was less than a day away from being executed unbelievably wrongfully, “Why do we want to kill all the broken people? What is wrong with us, that we think a thing like that?”

I’d say that we can entertain such thinking because we have no real values of any substance to guide us as a society. Oh we have documents that say we’re high on freedom of speech and freedom of religion and so on and so on and we sing:

America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
from sea to shining sea.

But do we really honor such thinking? Not by a long-shot.

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Post Election Notes from the Left Coast: Apocalypse Now? Just Say No

November 10, 2014 by Jim Miller

Creative Commons image by Kevin Crumbs

By Jim Miller

Last week progressives in California rightfully felt a bit relieved that their state served as a seawall against the ocean of red that washed across America. Outside of our reactionary little backwater here in San Diego where Carl DeMaio can pretend to be moderate and almost win despite multiple scandals, there were bright spots in the rest of the state …

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#Dear Congress

November 5, 2014 by Ernie McCray

For Al JareezaBy Ernie McCray

Al Jazeera America inquired “If you could ask Congress to take on one thing – one policy, one issue, one bill, one idea, one principle – what would it be and why?”

They then recommend that contributors start their “one thing” request with: “#Dear Congress…” and submit a picture of themselves holding the message.

So I sent:

“#Dear Congress, I want you to …”

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A Feeling of Satisfaction As the Widder Curry Finishes Her 3rd Cookbook

November 3, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for A Feeling of Satisfaction As the Widder Curry Finishes Her 3rd Cookbook

For the last 2 years, I have been working on my third, and final cookbook.

How fitting it is to think that I finished it on the 5th anniversary of my husband’s death and received it today, his 87th birthday.

In between writing the book, I was also writing for the San Diego Free Press and the OB Rag; volunteering as a “Front Office Manager” for the Moxie Theatre of Performing Arts every now and then; critiquing restaurants; and seeking other diversions to keep my sanity after a 46 year marriage.

Many of you are aware that I also run and own my own “Jamming” business, making unusual jams with wines and champagne

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