December 2009

Looking Back at 2009 – Ten Things We Did at the OB Rag

December 30, 2009 by Doug Porter
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Two thousand nine was a growth year for the OB Rag blog. We added a whole bunch of new voices, posted more often about more things, and still managed to keep a good eye on what was going on in our community. Our readership grew by leaps and bounds and our unique brand of citizen journalism gained significant local and national recognition. We had our hits and flops, made a lot of new friends and a few enemies along the way.

Frank Gormlie and I have been talking back and forth over the past few days, trying to figure out how best to recap the year. We tried collectively writing about all our coverage and it quickly got unwieldy. So here’s my stab at writing about the impressions that reside in my memories of the last twelve months.

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‘The Big Lebowski’ and Its Dudeness

December 30, 2009 by Source
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By Dwight Garner / The New York Times / December 29, 2009

Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 movie, “The Big Lebowski,” which stars Jeff Bridges as a beatific, pot-smoking, bowling-obsessed slacker known as the Dude, snuck up on the English-speaking world during the ’00s: it became, stealthily, the decade’s most venerated cult film. It’s got that elusive and addictive quality that a great midnight movie has to have: it blissfully widens and expands in your mind upon repeat viewings.

“The Big Lebowski” has spawned its own shaggy, fervid world: drinking games, Halloween costumes, bumper stickers (“This aggression will not stand, man”) and a drunken annual festival that took root in Louisville, Ky., and has spread to other cities.

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Avatar, The Movie: Mind Blowing Eye Candy

December 29, 2009 by Doug Porter
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The family & I headed out to Mission Valley this weekend to catch James Cameron’s latest film, Avatar. We’d seen the previews last month during a 3-D showing of another film (A Christmas Carol) that’d left me wondering if the higher ticket prices ($14.50!) for Hollywood’s latest techo-babble could ever match the hype.

After sitting through all 2 hours and 45 minutes of Avatar, the answer would seem to be yes, at least for this film. Cameron effectively uses the medium to draw the audience into an artificial reality that goes far beyond the usual visual gimmicks employed in 3-D films.

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Around Town – Waves close pier, Christmas Tree down, and bar crash

December 28, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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OCEAN BEACH, CA. The big news around downtown OB today was the big waves, number one – which forced the OB Pier to be closed by lifeguards. And number two, the infamous “Charlie Brown” OB Christmas Tree came down – to be recycled.

With large swells arriving up and down the Southern Cal coast, and with a National Weather Service high surf advisory in effect until 10 p.m. on Monday, local lifeguards had to close the pier, while a few top-notch surfers braved the waves – which could have been as high as 8 feet.

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OB Flashes – News, Calendar, and Discussion Board:December 26, 2009 – January 3, 2010

December 26, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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* OB’s Tsunami Signs Merit a Union-Tribune Quote from the OB Rag
* Pagan Trees to Robb Field
* OB Christmas Tree Comes Down for Recycling on Dec 29th
* OB Parade Committee Email Hi-Jacked!
* Up to 30 Suspected Illegal Immigrants Run from Boat in OB

* Councilmember Faulconer Proposes ‘Sponsors’ for Lifeguard Training and Equipment
* New York Times to Pick Up OB’s “Adopt-A-Fire-Pit” Story
* Local Wonderland San Diego Producer Noah Tafolla Gets Props
* OBMA’s Winners of the Holiday Storefront Decorating Contest
* Sparks Fly – Duplex Burns on Niagara in OB
* Donations Gathered for the Pets of the Homeless
* Don’t forget OB Historical Society’s Meet with Local Photographer Steve Rowell

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7 Reasons for Atheists to Celebrate the Holidays

December 25, 2009 by Source
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It’s often assumed that the atheist position on what is politely termed “the holiday season” is one of disregard at best, contempt and annoyance at worst. After all, the reasons for most of the standard winter holidays are supposedly religious — the birth of the Savior, eight days of miraculous light, yada yada yada. Why would atheists want anything to do with that?

But atheists’ reactions to the holidays are wildly varied. Yes, some atheists despise them: the enforced jollity, the shameless twisting of genuine human emotion to sell useless consumer crap, the tyrannical forcing of mawkish piety down everyone’s throats. (Some believers loathe the holidays for the exact same reasons.) But some of us love the holidays.

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Jim Grant’s Lens

December 22, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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OCEAN BEACH. It is difficult not to be amazed by Jim Grant’s lens and the scenes he captures. Here are some recent December views of our ocean and our little piece of land.

Whether it’s Peace Rock or the cliffs at Sunset Cliffs Park or the OB Pier, Jim Grant’s lens seem to hold the magic of nature that surrounds us, particularly when our star glides into the ends of the earth.

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Two Aging Hippies Live Here

December 21, 2009 by Ernie McCray
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The other day, as I pondered the words, “Two aging hippies live here,” the greeting on the welcome mat at the front door of my home, I thought about how lucky I am to have had Nancy in my life for so long.

I wondered how we ever got together. I mean Nancy was raised in Pacific Palisades, in L.A., overlooking the mighty Pacific, across a canyon from Grace Kelly, Walter Matthau and Betty Davis, just to name a few.

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Federal Stimulus Money – San Diego’s Share So Far

December 21, 2009 by Doug Porter
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by Doug Porter

(Not a Tiger Woods Story)

The challenge in authoring an article about a weighty subject like the $792 billion dollars the Congress authorized earlier in 2008 is to keep the reader’s eyes from glazing over. It doesn’t take long for a series of numbers and statistics to lull the logical mind and encourage a longing for yet another Adam Lambert or Tiger Woods story.

I could have taken the Union-Tribune’s usual approach and found a project amongst the 600 plus grants made in San Diego County that seems sensational, …

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Last Minute Gift Idea: The Vodka Bong

December 20, 2009 by Doug Porter
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So…. Your long awaited royalty check has finally arrived. Or you just woke up from a really long winter’s nap. Or you’re just afraid to buy gifts in advance in case your friends dump you. Or… you just put off shopping till the last minute because that’s the way you are.

The dilemma of finding that perfect Obcean gift at the last minute just got way easier, thanks to our good friends at Newport Farms (The store next to Hodad’s).

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Rick Sorben – Co-Creator of the OB Seagull Logo – Has Passed

December 18, 2009 by Source
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If you have spent one day in OB, you know about the OB Seagull – a decal logo plastered on just about every car in town. And then some. The creator of the logo – another Ocean Beach artist – has passed away. Donald “Rick” Sorben died on December 2nd, after a brief illness. He and his brother were creators of the OB Seagull Logo, a community icon.

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Fire pits out, tsunami signs in

December 17, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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Is it me or does this thing about the City putting up tsunami signs ring a wrong tune in these budget cutting times?

On one hand, OB and the rest of San Diego beaches are threatened with losing our fire pits, yet at the same time, the City goes around and puts up these warning signs.

Whew! I am sooo relieved. I never would have known which way to run, ride or skate if OB was faced with a tsunami.

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The Saga of OB’s Fire Pits: Almost All of Our Fire Pits Have Been Tentatively Adopted

December 17, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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It was one week ago that the idea was presented to have OBceans adopt the community’s fire pits in order to save them from the City’s plans to remove them. One of our commenters, bodysurferbob, told us that we would really regret it if we allowed the City to take the fire pits and offered:

“I propose we in Ocean Beach find a sponsor for each fire pit on our beaches. Whether a business, a church, a civic organization, a sports team, a circle of friends, or just simply an individual, I believe that we can organize sponsors who will maintain their pit for the rest of the community. We can do this. Let’s start now, before it’s too late.”
(Go inside for more ….)

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Debate among progressives about whether to support the current health care bill

December 17, 2009 by Staff
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Editor: Here then are some of the arguments on both sides of the question of whether progressives should support the current version

KEITH OLBERMANN: ‘Kill the bill’ – In a “Special Comment” Wednesday night, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann agreed with former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean that the Senate health care bill, as it currently stands, should die. (Go inside for more….)

OR

PAUL KLUGMAN: Support the bill despite illusions and bitterness: There’s enormous disappointment among progressives about the emerging health care bill — and rightly so. That said, even as it stands it would take a big step toward greater security for Americans and greater social justice …

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School Board Budget Workshop Offers Little Hope For Next Year

December 17, 2009 by Doug Porter
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The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education workshop on the looming budget crisis painted a bleak picture of the future for education in America’s Finest City on Tuesday evening. The auditorium was about one-third filled with concerned parents and two of the five Board members were absent as the district staff presented one report after another outlining options and suggested courses of action for the 2010-2011 budget.

You have to give the Board of Education credit for coming to grips with the problem. They’ve held five “town hall” style forums, …

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OB Flashes – News, Discussion, and Calendar Board – December 16-22, 2009

December 15, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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OB Surf and Skate to Move into old Rock Paper Scissors Building
Giant Tree Falls at Ft Rosecrans – did anyone hear it?
Olive Tree to Open Tasting Room
OB Town Council Throws a Craft Fair for Saturday Dec. 19th

OB Holiday Parade Winners
Blue Whale to Close
Pipeline – not trucks – will pass excess gas from wastewater facility
OB Historical Society Presents Local Photographer Steve Rowell in “Our Local Wildlife”
OB Planning Board Meetings

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Free Frank! More History of OB and the Rag

December 15, 2009 by Patty Jones
Free Frank Gormlie!

Today a good friend sent us a tidbit that he found tucked away in his morgue file, and that got me sidetracked in a real fun way….

Frank has written a lot of historical pieces on Ocean Beach (click on HISTORY up there in the navigation bar, you won’t be sorry) and in my opinion this article needs to be part of the story of the Collier Park Riot. Originally published in the door (another San Diego underground paper) in May of 1972, it tells a bit of the story of our very own EditorDude on that infamous day in March 1971.

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Medicare, Medi-Cal, Medicaid: the Public Health Programs that Already Exist

December 15, 2009 by Lane Tobias
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There’s a lot of confusion, we find, about government or public health care programs. Medicare, Medi-Cal, Medicaid … just what are the differences?

Well, some would argue that Medicare actually helps adult people, whereas Medi-Cal really is better for children and prenatal mothers than the general population it serves. My opinion? They could all be better. But I’ll stop with opinions now…..

Medicare – Federal Health Insurance plan for seniors and the disabled. Contrary to what some may believe, you can be a 20 year old with Medicare.

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More on the fire pits: the City has been trying to close them for years and it’s not about money.

December 15, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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The City of San Diego has been trying to close or remove the fire pits at the beaches for years. This is the only conclusion I can reach after reviewing a 3 page memo that has crossed my desk that was given to the Peninsula Planning Board way back in May of 2003 – over 6 years ago.

The memo is from the San Diego Police Department Western Division and describes a power point presentation to be given to that planning organization that calls for the “Seasonal Removal of the Ocean Beach Fire Rings.” The proposal called for the removal of OB’s fire pits from October 1 to April 30th each year.

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ABC-10 News picks up on interest of Fire Pit Adoption

December 14, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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SEE UPDATES IN COMMENTS

San Diego’s ABC news affiliate Channel 10 came out to interview me this morning about our ideas of adopting fire pits in OB. Mike Chen, the reporter and camera guy all rolled into one, appeared at our doorstep wanting an interview and we couldn’t resist the PR. I quickly threw on my OB Rag T-shirt and got in front of the camera.

As you may know, the OB Rag is promoting the idea that instead of the City of San Diego removing OB’s eight fire pits, that people, individuals, businesses, churches, civic organizations adopt them and pledge to maintain them. This is similar to the idea that CalTrans has – having groups adopt sections of the freeways in order to maintain them.

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Call to Action: Last Minute Budget Meeting Set By School Board

December 14, 2009 by Doug Porter
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Stressed out for the holidays? Running around trying spread all that good cheer while not breaking the budget? Well, if you’ve got kids in school or care about education, you need to revise your schedule for this week. A critical meeting of the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education has been called for this week and your child’s school may be on the chopping block.

After parent groups around San Diego had sent out emails & made phone calls alerting parents to a Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday evening, they learned that the budget wasn’t really on that agenda. Another, hastily arraigned, meeting of the Board of Education has been announced for Wednesday, December 16 at 5 pm. The meeting will be held at the Board of Education complex (4100 Normal Street, in University Heights).

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Candlelight Vigil to Demand a Real Deal for Climate Change Talks

December 14, 2009 by Staff
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Sam Hargrove, a junior at High Tech High, organized a group of students to hold a candle-lit vigil in support of Copenhagen climate agreements. He did it in conjunction with the organization “350.org”. Here is his brief report:

Small but loud, we stood at street corners and conversed with numerous passersby as we held our candles and signs. We were ten recognizably sentient humans, two babies, and one puppy.

We made a big 350 on the ground and in the air with candles and flashlights. Overall, it was really fun and we definitely got our voices heard and got to show our commitment to the cause. Thank you everyone who came!

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Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression

December 14, 2009 by Source
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A psychologist asks: Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves?

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States? Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further?

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Hey OBceans! Adopt a Fire Pit! …the OB Way!

December 12, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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OCEAN BEACH, CA. Thanks to OBSteven, we now have documented where OB’s fire pits are. There appears to be eight of them – see map.

Now is your chance to adopt a fire pit. Are you an individual, group, civic organization, store front, business, or church? Rush now to get yours. There’s only eight.

We have numbered them #1 through #8, starting with the most northern one as numero uno. Number eight is the most southern one – the one closest to the main Life Guard tower. Sign up now, fellow OBceans!

One of our vocal commenters, bodysurferbob, has proposed that people adopt them, just like groups and families adopt sections of the freeway. Get your name on the fire pit.

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The World Wants a Real Deal – Candlelight Vigil, Dec. 13th

December 11, 2009 by Staff
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We got an email from a student at High Tech High International, Sam Hargrove, asking us to spread the word about a candlelight vigil that is happening this weekend. The following is from the message he sent to us. ~ Editor

THE SAN DIEGO COMMUNITY JOINS THOUSANDS OF CANDLELIGHT VIGILS TO DEMAND A REAL DEAL AT THE COPENHAGEN CLIMATE TALKS

As climate negotiators gather in Copenhagen, local residents will hold a candlelight vigil throughout San Diego on Sunday night to demonstrate public support for an agreement strong enough to actually slow climate change. This local action will join thousands of coordinated vigils happening in more than 100 countries as part of “The World Wants a Real Deal” campaign to demand a fair, ambitious and binding climate agreement.

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Ocean Beach Holiday Shopping Guide: An adventure with Jon and Tanya

December 10, 2009 by Jon Carr
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By: Jon Carr and Tanya Joy Brueckner

Ocean Beach is a community well known, and highly regarded for supporting our local merchants. Our “mom & pop shops” have arguably been the backbone of this great village for decades. Obceans take great pride in our local storefronts, and go to great lengths to protect our shores from large corporate interests. It is in my opinion that the single most effective way to preserve our community, keep local businesses thriving and stave off corporate influence, is by shopping local whenever possible.

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Reader Rant: Don’t let them take the fire pits out – you’ll really regret it if you do

December 10, 2009 by Source
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by bodysurferbob

I’m telling you right now, if you allow the City of San Diego to remove OB’s fire rings and pits, you will live to really regret it. Maybe not this summer, but a summer or two down the pike. Or maybe the next time your kids ask you to take them to the beach for a marshmallow or wiener roast. Or the next time you have guests from out of town, and you want to do a beach party.

I’m telling you right now, if you let the City take the fire pits out, part of beach culture goes with them. Part of our beach culture will die.

You’re saying, hey, they’re closing libraries, they’re talking about cutting out school sports and music, the City is laying cops and lifeguards off. These are really dire economic times. How can we worry about fire rings?

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Coastal Commission Omission re Condos at Saratoga Park

December 9, 2009 by Source
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Editor: It flooded in OB on Monday with the water lapping the doorsteps of a number of Abbott Street businesses, like Falling Sky Pottery, Newbreak, across from the Life Guard station. It does this everytime there are major rains coupled with high tides. It’s not that unusual. Well, the developers of the condos slated for Saratoga Park better be prepared for this level of nature. Here’s a back-ground piece from the San Diego Reader several weeks ago:

By Stephen Scatolini / San Diego Reader / Originally published Nov. 16, 2009

City plans for the development of the parcel of land at Abbott Street and Saratoga Avenue have been approved by the California Coastal Commission, but one important consideration seems to have been given short shrift.

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Get a break on your electric bill – more people qualify than you might think.

December 8, 2009 by Patty Jones
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It’s the time of year when I really start to dread opening the gas and electric bill. It got cold yesterday, didn’t it? Sometimes, no matter how many layers you wear, you just gotta turn on some heat.

I’ve been reading (with interest) about SDG&E’s intent to change electric rates so people that use less electricity will pay a little more and people that use more will pay a little less. I know this has a lot of people up in arms because they think that those of us that conserve will be hit with rate hikes while the energy hogs will get a break, and to some extent it’s true, but they’re talking about 4-5%, and that’s not going make much difference to most folks. But there are other sides to this issue…

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OB Flashes – News, Calendar, and Discussion Board – December 7 – 13, 2009

December 7, 2009 by Staff
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Newport News: 4 new Newport businesses

Emergency vigil on Tuesday, Dec. 8th, to remind Congress that we still want real health care reform

Woman wounded in leg during home invasion on Long Branch

Recommendations from San Diego’s Medical Marijuana Task Force may force Newport dispensary to move

City Beat gives props to OB’Kanobe’s

Community Services building finally sold to Newport Pizza owner, locals reminisce about the old Inbetween

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