Columns

“A New Wrinkle in the Face of Things” – A New Years Resolution

December 27, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for “A New Wrinkle in the Face of Things” – A New Years Resolution

>Lets “face” it. My husband has been gone over seven years and for the past 6 of those years I have tried to find a new companion.

I lost 100 pounds; I grew my hair long – I’ve since cut it -; dyed my silver-gray hair brown – I’ve since gone back to being a blond; and put back some of the poundage I lost. And although I have met several men, none of them were “Mr. Right” – and many of them have been “Mr. Wrong”, as evidenced by the book I am writing entitled, “Liar, Liar.”

So I have tried everything that I know what to do to attract a man with no success. I even have been in a passive relationship, where I have pretended to know nothing so that HE could be the dominant one. That didn’t work either.

What must be the problem? I asked myself.

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Review : Kona Kai Resort & Spa – Vessel Restaurant

December 22, 2016 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Kona Kai Resort & Spa – Vessel Restaurant
1551 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
Reservations – 800-566-2524

Last month when I did a restaurant review with Deb, we agreed that we would try to do one more before the year was out. One day this week was that day and we decided to try the lunch at “Vessels” at the Kona Kai Resort. I am so glad that we did.

But, of course, it didn’t start out the way we hoped it would. I had made a reservation using “Open Table” for 12:15pm. The parking is somewhat difficult, and the lot is to the right of the hotel. One must take a ticket to remember to have validated before trying to retrieve your car.

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Trying to Climb Back to the Mountain Top

December 21, 2016 by Ernie McCray
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by Ernie McCray

On the Sunday before the election I felt so good, sitting on a rock at Mt. Palomar in the sun. The day before I had gone on an invigorating hike as woodpeckers stored acorns and wasps and gnats and flies flitted about with critters unseen on the run.

I was on the top of the world, my usual self, full of humor, and get up and go.

Election night came along and after the results were in I had evolved into somebody I didn’t recognize. It seemed as though I had been shot with a taser gun that had been designed to take down a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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Restaurant Review : Pomodoro in Point Loma

December 19, 2016 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Pomodoro
2833 Avenida De Portugal
San Diego, CA 92106
619-523-1301

Strange how fate works. I have been asked five times in the last six weeks if I had ever eaten at Pomodoro. Several times I had planned on doing so but just had never been able to find the right time or right person to go with me. Then earlier this week I saw on Face Book that my daughter had lunch there and really enjoyed it. Then I knew I had to try it.

I belong to a support group where all of us have lost a loved one and it just so happened that we were going to meet on Saturday and it was my turn to select the restaurant. No question as to where we were going to go!

And let me start out by saying that I am glad we went.

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Progressive Stocking Stuffers for the Impending Trump Era

December 19, 2016 by Jim Miller

A Handful of the Most Important and Interesting Books of 2016

By Jim Miller

If you just can’t bring yourself to give up on the sordid consumer frenzy and go all in for a Buy Nothing Christmas, then perhaps getting your loved ones a few good books to help them navigate the dark near-future is the next best thing.

Here is my annual list of a handful of some of the most instructive stand-out books of 2016:

1. Back in the Spring, I wrote the following about Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?:

Thomas Frank has written the most important political book of 2016,

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It’s Time to Let Our Light Shine

December 14, 2016 by Ernie McCray

2324860157_7d39208c02By Ernie McCray

As I more and more awaken from the shock to my body and soul as a result of Donald Trump being my president, I keep thinking back to my Sunday School days in the 40’s singing a song our teacher, Mr. Chandler, taught us:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…

Mr. Chandler, a beautiful man, with a voice like Paul Robeson’s, would tell us:

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A Little Humor for the Holidays – A Mock Restaurant Review

December 14, 2016 by Judi Curry
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Over the past few years, I have done a number of restaurant reviews that have met with, to say the least, mixed reactions. Some of those restaurants that I thought left a lot to be desired are someone else’s favorite, and, thanks to the First Amendment, people have told me how wrong I have been in no uncertain terms.

In talking to my friend Mary this morning, she offered to go with me to any restaurant and “help” me review it. I pointed out to her that she was “too nice” to do a restaurant review. She finds good in everyone; in everything; to the point that I sometimes wonder how she can be such a good friend. … So Mary and I did a “mock” review – over the phone – that I would like to share with you –

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San Diego Labor Opposes Dakota Access Pipeline

December 12, 2016 by Jim Miller

nodapl02 DAPLBy Jim Miller

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the heroic struggle against it have ignited a big battle inside of American labor. Earlier this fall an excellent article in Common Dreams outlined the split over DAPL at the national level with key trades unions and AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka backing the pipeline and criticizing the protests while other large national unions were issuing statements supporting the Standing Rock resistance.

Here in California and elsewhere, Trumka’s letter in support of the pipeline received strong condemnation.

For instance, a response to it that I penned as chair of the California Federation of Teachers Climate Justice Task Force challenges the AFL-CIO leader in the strongest possible terms:

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Is It Starting Already? Bah Humbug!

December 9, 2016 by Judi Curry

ob-post-office

By Judi Curry

One of my least favorite places to go to at this time of the year is the United States Post Office. And, more specifically, the Ocean Beach Post Office. Those of you living in the area probably know what I mean without any explanation. Because I am getting orders for my cookbook for holiday gifts, I seem to be spending a great deal of time at the OB Post Office. And…I seem to be spending a great deal of time STANDING IN LINE at this same post office.

It doesn’t seem to matter what time of the day I go to mail my packages. On Monday I went at 4:00pm. I stood in line for 12 minutes waiting to see a postal employee. Why did I stand in line for so long? Because, dear reader, there were 16 people in line and only two windows open. And it seemed that everyone had a number of packages to be sent, or an extraordinary amount of money orders to be purchased.

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Will the Trump Presidency be an Extinction Level Event for Labor? We Better Hope Not

December 5, 2016 by Jim Miller

Unions vs Trump Presidency

By Jim Miller

Last week in the bluntly titled “Trump Presidency Could Kill Labor Unions,” distinguished journalist Harold Meyerson ponders the possibility that the 2016 Presidential election was “an extinction-level event for American labor.”

Noting the sad fact that a high percentage of union households (about 43 percent nationally) went for Trump, Meyerson wastes no time in outlining what the costs will be for working class folks in America:

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From Mission to Microchip: An Interview with California Labor Historian Fred Glass. Part 3

November 28, 2016 by Jim Miller

California LaborBy Jim Miller

It seems like a million years ago now, but back in my Labor Day column, I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions:

California labor history doesn’t begin and end with union membership. Forming and maintaining unions is one part of a broader story, …

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Are Higher Water Bills in Ocean Beach and Point Loma Due to Loss of Water in Pipe Repairs?

November 15, 2016 by Judi Curry
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Is It All Just a Coincidence?

By Judi Curry

You can’t live in Ocean Beach/Pt Loma and not notice the continual work being done on the water pipes throughout the entire neighborhood. You can’t live in Ocean Beach/Pt. Loma and expect not to find detours where just yesterday you were able to drive right through.

You can’t live in Ocean Beach/Pt. Loma without noticing sand bags in front of drainage ditches on many of the residential streets of the area. And you can’t live in Ocean Beach/Pt Loma without noticing the huge amount of water cascading down the streets.

So is it a coincidence that many of us received water bills this week that were higher than any previous month? Is it any coincidence that those of us that have taken measures to reduce our water usage are appalled at the amount of our water bills for the months of September-November?

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Some Good Things Procrastinating Progressives Can Do Down Ballot

November 7, 2016 by Jim Miller

procrastinating -meter

By Jim Miller

Greetings procrastinating progressive poll voters! After you are done voting against Donald Trump and attending to all the high profile races that have received plenty of attention elsewhere, there are a myriad of other issues to decide. Here is my list of good things progressives can do down ballot:

*Vote to Fund Education and Elect Actual Educators to School and College Boards: Of course, the central statewide ballot measure to vote for is Proposition 55, which extends Proposition 30’s taxes on the wealthiest Californians while leaving the sales tax behind.

If you value public education, this is an obvious vote. For more on Prop. 55 see my column here.

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Restaurant Review: Surf Check

November 4, 2016 by Judi Curry

ob-surf-check-jc-1

“Restaurant” Review:

Surf Check (An Apparition)
Corner of Sunset Cliffs and Pt. Loma Avenue
Ocean Beach

Let’s follow this unlikely scenario. You are driving down Sunset Cliffs, heading South from Newport Avenue, and you pass a Thai restaurant, a couple of Italian restaurants, an Indian restaurant, a defunct Mexican restaurant, a donut shop, a coffee shop and a market. And as you continue your drive all of the places to eat, or have a cup of coffee, vanish.

You are quickly approaching one of the most scenic areas of San Diego, when, out of the blue, on a piece of cement no bigger than 40 feet wide, you are met with a blue and white trailer sporting a yellow surf-board on the top, and, in a wide array of colors, a “menu” featuring coffee, acai, smoothies and hot dogs.

The “Surf Check” is owned by someone that has been in San Diego – more importantly Sunset Cliffs – for years. His name is Richard Aguirre; he is the president of “Save Sunset Cliffs” and a dedicated, concerned person – concerned about so many things.

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How Can We Help Our Children Rise Above The Times?

November 1, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

ChildrenI’m thinking that our present times are not serving our children well. I mean, as I look at what’s going on in our society it seems as though we are all caught up in an atmosphere of lunacy wherein we have pretty much thrown our hands in the air like we just don’t care and kissed our way of life goodbye.

The saddest part of all this to me is our children are watching our madness, as only they know how: closely.

And they’ve got be as confused as they can be as they observe so many “grownups” going along with the program of a real live frightening bogeyman-like human being who crash landed in our midst and evolved, like a curse in an episode of the Twilight Zone, into a candidate for the highest office in our land.

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Restaurant Review: Plant Power in Ocean Beach

October 20, 2016 by Judi Curry
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Restaurant Review

Plant Power
2204 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
(Note: Menu has address at 22014 – )
San Diego, CA 92107
619-450-6845

I wasn’t going to do it. I knew that if I reviewed this restaurant there would be many comments – some favorable, but mostly unfavorable towards the review. However, I have been asked by so many people what I thought about it. I decided to “bite the bullet” and go.

My friend Barbara and I have talked about “Plant Power” for months. I should immediately point out that neither of us are vegans. We like our meats; we like our breads; we like so many things that are not offered at this restaurant. But we went in with an open mind and decided to order several items so that we could sample the menu.

To begin with I want to say that once you get into the parking lot (off of Voltaire) there was ample parking.

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Vote No on Measures A and B for a Sustainable Future for San Diego

October 10, 2016 by Jim Miller

San Diego County Photo Sustainable future

By Jim Miller / Jana Clark

Much of the reporting on the early campaign surrounding Measure A is falling victim to the proponents’ attempts to greenwash their deeply flawed measure.

They are doing this by representing a few astroturf “environmental” organizations in league with big money from corporate interests and a handful of unions doing the bidding of downtown insiders as a “split” in progressive circles.

This is unfortunate as the fact of the matter is that the opposition to Measure A by the Quality of Life Coalition represents a historically significant new alliance between progressive labor and nearly all of the local environmental organizations doing serious work around climate.

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Thinking of Old Badgers in the Autumn of Our Years

October 7, 2016 by Ernie McCray

Autumn via FlickrBy Ernie McCray

Looking at an autumn scene, with trees changing colors, overlooking a lake of cold water, signifying the last season of a year, I thought of how I’m in the autumn of my years.

And from that I couldn’t help but think about the Class of ’56 of Tucson High, people whom I hold dear, old “Badgers” celebrating a time when we were classmates 60 years ago.

Our hair, like the leaves in the picture of the trees, has thinned and its color has changed as has a host of other things.

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Restaurant Review : Breakfast Republic at Liberty Station

October 5, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review : Breakfast Republic at Liberty Station

Restaurant Review

Breakfast Republic
2865 Sims Rd
(Liberty Station)
San Diego, CA 92106

Last Saturday, Irene and I decided to have a widow’s day of exploring and wanted to include breakfast at the Breakfast Republic. We arrived there about 11:30am, and there was a wait of at least 90 minutes. Needless to say we did not stay.

But yesterday, a gentleman that I had met when I broke my leg last year called and suggested that we go out for breakfast. I jumped at the chance and this time when we arrived we were seated immediately. It was not quite 10:00 am. I should say that all of the outside seating was taken and there was a 20 minute wait for a table, but there was inside seating.

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From Mission to Microchip: An Interview with California Labor Historian Fred Glass. Part 2

October 3, 2016 by Jim Miller

California Labor

Here’s Part 1

By Jim Miller

In my Labor Day column , I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions:

To learn more about this story and what about it is most important, I am pleased to present the second installment of my three-part interview with Fred Glass, author, teacher, union member, and long-time Communications Director for the California Federation of Teachers.

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48 Hours of Life on a North Dakota Farm with the Widder Curry

September 30, 2016 by Judi Curry

judi-curry-farm-sunrise

It is difficult to realize that almost four years ago I met Cowboy on line though one of the dating sites I was frequenting. I think that I was intrigued with the image of the “rough and tumble” image portrayed by Hollywood for so many years. After all, Cowboy lives in North Dakota and I am 1900 miles away in California. Never did I ever think that I would be visiting the farm several times a year and doing some of the chores that the typical farmer’s wife does on a daily basis. And I never thought I would enjoy the physical labor of doing those chores.

I marvel at Cowboy. If he could fly he would have a bigger “S” on his chest than Superman. He starts very early in the morning – 5:00am at the latest – and works like his horses until 10-11:00 at night.

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Hoping a Museum Will Help My People Finally Overcome

September 26, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Black History and Culture MuseumSoon the new National Museum
of African American History and Culture
will open and stand infinitely
on the National Mall
in Washington D.C. –
sharing a home
with other grand memorials
commemorating extraordinary
Americans and events
in our nation’s history,
giving “Black Lives Matter”
fresh breath,
dignifying the humanity
of kidnapped and bought people
who toiled as slaves
in cotton fields in a long ago day,
to those, like me, who survived the evil-ness
of Jim Crow’s ways,
to those born this very day
with so many in the nation
speaking loudly of making America great again
as compared to who knows when.
Oh, it so enlivens my soul
to have my people’s stories told.

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A Water Goddess Who Appears and Disappears Suddenly

September 20, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Photo by Ernie McCray goddessOh, I remember days, just a few years ago, when memories of Nancy (my very dearly departed soulmate) would weaken me in the knees and draw heavy tears from my eyes … but thank goodness such dreary days eventually wither and die.

Now, when she comes to my mind’s eye, it’s a welcomed occasion, and she’ll usually surface at a real nice time.

Like everytime one of our grandchildren is born I can’t help but see her as a Grandma: getting little Lyric Allen or Marley Mandela or Indigo Maya (or all of them at the same time) in a headlock on the living room floor, they giggling uncontrollably; guiding them into swimmers on our Pacific shores; holding them to her breast with every ounce of the deep well of love that dwelled in her; making them pose for more photographs than should be legal; singing them silly made-up-on-the-spot ditties and songs…

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From Mission to Microchip: An Interview with California Labor Historian Fred Glass – Part 1

September 19, 2016 by Jim Miller

mission-to-microchip-cover CaliforniaBy Jim Miller

In my Labor Day column , I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions.

To learn more about this story and what about it is most important, I am pleased to present the first installment of my three-part interview with Fred Glass, author, teacher, union member, and long-time Communications Director for the California Federation of Teachers.

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Obama’s Most Impressive Legacy? Preserving Wilderness

September 12, 2016 by Jim Miller

National Parks Wilderness

By Jim Miller

President Obama’s recent stops in Lake Tahoe and Hawaii highlighted his conservation efforts, and while these activities have not received as much coverage as they deserve, one might reasonably argue that conservation and the preservation of endangered wilderness is the President’s most impressive legacy.

As the New York Times reported,

“Obama has visited more than 30 national parks and emerged as a 21st-century Theodore Roosevelt for his protection of public lands and marine reserves. His use of the Antiquities Act of 1906, which gives a president unilateral authority to protect federal lands as national monuments, has enabled him to establish 23 new monuments, more than any other president, and greatly expand a few others.”

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On the Road to Becoming A Believer (Not)

September 12, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for On the Road to Becoming A Believer (Not)

By Judi Curry

Let’s begin this article by acknowledging that I am not a believer. I am agnostic at best; still looking for answers that I haven’t yet found. With that in mind, three things have happened over the past few years that I can’t explain, and the latest still gives me goose bumps in thinking about it. Let’s start at the beginning.

Seven years ago my husband Bob died. I joined a widow support group and one of the things we decided to do was to see if a “Medium” could bring our husbands messages back to us. There were nine of us going to Harmony Grove to find out.

As we were all coming from different parts of San Diego, we met at a central location, and I drove with Rosey to meet the others. On the way there, she mentioned that she was always puzzled why she had such a bad relationship with her mother.

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We Can Display Our Patriotism In Many Ways

September 9, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Photo credit: Flickr.com / PacificKlaus PatriotismI keep thinking about Colin Kaepernick and how so many people have badmouthed him for sitting during the National Anthem rather than addressing his concerns in a “more appropriate way.”

And considering that (as I brought out in a prior piece about Kaepernick) his concern is about the oppression of black people and other people of color, those of us who are so designated really want to know how we can pursue our dream of “liberty and justice for all” in a way that suits the country’s fancy.

Because we’ve been trying like hell. For centuries.

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The Widder Curry Discovers a Solution to Robo Calls and Asks “Why Didn’t I Know About This?”

September 7, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for The Widder Curry Discovers a Solution to Robo Calls and Asks “Why Didn’t I Know About This?”

Why Didn’t I Know About This?

For the past three weeks, beginning at about 9:00pm, I have received the following calls:

“Hello. My name is Lisa. You have been awarded a full paid, all-expense trip to the Bahamas by just answering a few questions. Are you ready to begin?”

That is call number one.

Call number two comes in an hour later – or so – and it is a foreign voice telling me that he is calling from Windows 7.

“There seems to be a problem with your computer; go turn it on.”

I say that “I don’t have a windows computer” and the voice answers back, “go turn on the windows computer that you don’t have. . . .”

Then my cell phone begins to ring. The first call is from Lisa; the second call is from the Windows 7 Computer guy.

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Happy Labor Day, California Style

September 5, 2016 by Jim Miller

Labor Day Cardiff Kook

By Jim Miller

Last year my Labor Day column, “Happy Labor Day?: The Jury is Out,” began by starkly pondering the potentially devastating effects a bad Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association ruling at the Supreme Court might have had not just on public sector unions but on the labor movement as a whole.

Later, in the same column, I looked more hopefully at the potential for organizing contingent workers, like those involved in the Fight for $15 movement.

The twelve months that followed that column brought good news for labor on multiple fronts. First, with the long, strange journey of the Friedrichs case that came to the Supreme Court with a good chance of passing before everything was turned upside down by Justice Scalia’s death, a 4-4 split decision that was a victory for unions, and finally the Court’s refusal to rehear the case.

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An NFL Quarterback Was Just Added to My List of Social Heroes

August 31, 2016 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for An NFL Quarterback Was Just Added to My List of Social Heroes

by Ernie McCray

This is so deja vu, this state of affairs with Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49’ers quarterback who sat when one is “supposed to stand” in honor of The Star Spangled Banner that heralds a time when non-white people in our county were not seen as human beings.

I fully understand and appreciate this man’s stance although I stand whenever the anthem is played out of respect for those who get goose pimples in such moments. However, I bow out at singing about “bombs bursting in air” and “flags still being there” and the empty promises inherent in the braggadocio “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!” at the end of the song.

That aside, I can’t help but think back to the 68 Olympics, when the quest for “liberty and justice for all,” in a spirit of today’s “Black Lives Matter” movement was pursued like never before. My soul still fills with pride remembering the image of Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the ceremony for handing out the gold and the silver and the bronze medals for the men’s 200, standing on their podiums with their heads bowed and their hands raised in the “Black Power!” salute.

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