Tales From the City

It always irks me when I hear these politicians wanting to grow Iowa when it seems about right to me. That growth comes on the backs of the people already here. Oh yea, we’ve got some potholes that need fixing, but politicians improving things does not bode well for the people of the state. What we need more of is politicians having family outings, maybe with a photo op to prove they aren’t doing anything. Every negative aspect of city life has its roots in Politicians “doing something.” I always look at the National Parks as a destination to keep tourists away from the truly beautiful and peaceful parts of the country. Cities do the same thing. The greenies push for crowded population centers so they can take their professorial stipend and visit unspoilt paradise while the ghettos fester because of overcrowded conditions. No, George Will didn’t write this.
Thanks a lot for reading. I’m looking forward to any disputes or comments adding to my efforts.

Federal dietary guidelines will now be influenced by the effect of food production on the environment. Just the fact that there is such a thing as federal dietary guidelines should make everyone laugh so hard that the national obesity crisis would be solved because with all the laughter no one would have time to eat. But alas, we pay these fools to study these things without a second thought. My befuddlement with the acceptance of politicians managing our lives leads me to throw up my hands and write history this time.

My story about my summer in Alaska was well received so I thought this urban adventure might be of interest. I hope Iowa politicians take note as they dream up schemes to attract more people to a state that I live in because it was rural.

I walked over to Bob Gardiner’s for a visit one sunny morning. I had known Bob from Newport Harbor High but he was just an acquaintance. We became best friends when we found we were both at California College of Arts and Crafts. Bob lived a block from Oakland Tech, where Huey Newton graduated in 1959 without the ability to read. Newton went on to get a PhD and founded the Black Panther Party (to give an idea of the neighborhood). Bob later became famous himself, earning an Oscar in 1974 for a short film, “Closed Mondays” (available on YouTube). He also wrote for the Smothers Brothers and sculpted the California Raisins claymation commercial.

Marcel, a retired maritime cook who lived in Bob’s apartment building, was serving a cold lunch in the vacant lot adjoining the building. Marcel was crippled and had a heck of a time navigating the steel stairway on the end of the building. We helped him carry the steak tartar, vichyssoise, and gazpacho down to the lot full of broken concrete and glass. We sat on milk crates around an old wire spool. Marcel had traveled all over the world on merchant freighters and knew his stuff. We were living like kings. If Marcel were alive today he would be waiting for the union to let him go back to work.

But this isn’t the day I was talking about. Bob had friends coming down from Eugene the next day and we planned on going over to San Francisco for Chinese together.

We were all quite impoverished so we pooled our money to make sure we had enough and off we went, the five of us across the Bay Bridge, one of Bob’s friends holding all our money. We found a place to park a ways from China Town and the guys all caught a cable car that I somehow missed. That was the last I saw of all the cash I had to spend. I walked to North Beach and China Town, hoping to find my pals to no avail. But I ran into Tom Moy, who I had known in Newport Beach. How could I not find Bob and the guys but meet Tom and his girl friend four hundred miles from where we last met? They bought me a hot fudge sundae.

By then it was getting pretty late and I lined up with about a hundred other hitchhikers on Broadway headed to the East Bay. It didn’t take too long until I piled into an old Chevy with about five others headed for Berkeley. On the Bay Bridge the fellow in the front passenger seat started talking about the danger of going so fast, obviously out of his head on dope. The driver had the presence of mind to motion to us to lock the doors but that goofball opened the door and was halfway out, going fifty miles per hour, before we grabbed him and pulled him back in and hung on. He became even more agitated as we drove north to Berkeley and the driver pulled over to the side of the freeway just in time for our patient to jump out and run down the side of the freeway, never to be seen again.

Well, at least I was on the right side of the bay. I had about five miles south to get home. It was late at night and I stuck out my thumb as I walked, if a car was coming by. A Buick Electra about thirty feet long stopped and I hopped in. There were three black kids in there about my age. I imagine they thought I was like all the long haired white kids on TV so they asked if I had any dope, then if I had any money. I told them I had $56 but it was for my rent, due the next day. The guy in the back seat pulled out this huge pistol and waved it around telling me he was going to shoot me and throw me out the door.

I gave a nice speech about how I was exploited by the rich corporations just like they were and it was all the money I had in the world. I talked like a good Democrat so they considered me part of the brotherhood of victims. They drove out of their way to take me right to my door. We shared high fives and right on brothers and I stumbled into my room at three AM. I found the landlady’s cat had been locked in and made a nice puddle on my bed so I threw the covers outside and curled up on the floor and went to sleep. No wonder I stayed in Iowa.

So, keep it up politicians. Dole out tax breaks and incentives to Google and Microsoft. We’ll all learn from example that income comes from a good line, not hard work. Would you really pay someone to formulate diets based on cow flatulence?

6 responses to “Tales From the City

  1. Interesting personal story, to say the least.
    Progress is all in the eye of the beholder, or the investor, or the benefactor. I like Iowa as it is, but even I would make some changes if I had sch an opportunity. I think Mason City would benefit from a Bob Evan’s restaurant. Others are working to bring in a Starbuck’s, which I consider a waste of their investment capital. But they have such capital and I don’t.

    • I’ve been around this country a lot and I’m staying here. Although I suppose much has changed everywhere. In 1966 I was at a KKK picnic in Atlanta and bought a tie with a little logo for a souvenir. I doubt they’d have a picnic like that again. Lost the tie, BTW. Where I was a teenager, Newport Beach, we rode bikes up to Irvine Ranch, hiked around, camped out overnight. There were cows. Now there’s a city, university and the dirt comes in little bags from Home Depot.

      We ate at a Bob Evans when we went to Indiana a couple years ago. Usually we go ethnic food out because we aren’t on the road needing sustenance often. But we weren’t impressed by Bob. Seemed like a Perkins or Denny’s. You like it more than Perkins?

      We search for Starbucks because our alternative pagan religion is tasty coffee. I suppose if there were a larger population of Peruvian aborigines around here a head shrinking shop could move into Radio Shack, eh?

      On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 8:04 PM, alternativebyfritz wrote:


      • Bob Evans is an Ohio thing. The original farm where Bob and his family made sausage and the small diner where they sold sold sandwiches are now tourist attractions. I was raised on Bob Evans sausage and still consider it the best national brand on the market. I do prefer the restaurant over Perkin’s.
        Have you tried coffee from Jitter’s in Mason City? I usually like local coffee shops more than Starbuck’s.
        I will miss Radio Shack, but I suppose the demise of the company was largely because they resisted progress.

      • Yeah. If we were on the road and had a way to discover a Jitters type place, we’d be there. It’s just that secretaries and teachers only drink coffee to hydrate and that is what we find if we close our eyes and go.

        My dad was a stock broker with EF Hutton in Santa Monica. He had a client who made us a stereo system from parts bought at Radio Shack (Realistic). There was an FM tuner, AM tuner, amp, all put together with tubes, and a Garrard turntable. The sound was fantastic. We could go to the grocery store and buy new tubes at their testing display. Next door there was a news stand, doughnut shop, women’s clothing store, toy store ect. Good to be old and remember that stuff. Life is good today too, of course. But it is rooted in what we progressed from (or digressed).

        On Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 8:45 AM, alternativebyfritz wrote:


  2. 1) As I’m sure you are aware, the government and Mrs. Obama (the “never proud of her country” Grande-dame of the United States) could give a whit about the health of the typical American (or should I write, typical multicultural American). This is just another effort in a very long string of initiatives designed to obtain absolute and total control over the populace, to construct and shape the citizenry into a collection of Pavlovian dogs that will respond in like fashion to any edict pronounced by the government.

    2) The depth of knowledge today regarding the “science” of nutrition and how the body absorbs and uses vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates is akin to where the state of surgical knowledge was in the 17th century. How else to explain the frequent contradictions in findings among the myriad of nutrition studies conducted over the last 150-years?

    3) There is, and has been for a number of years, a focused effort by the powers-that-be in government to force people to abandon the suburbs and move into the cities. What better way to confine and then control the population masses? With the rapid growth of automation, digital controls, and RF managing, even hands-on farming will, in the not too distant future, be replaced by drones and RF controlled farm equipment.

    • 1) You really think we should be trusted to make our own decisions? This is quickly becoming an anachronism.

      2) There is no way I could have said this better. I eat anything but canned peas, but in moderation. Dawn watches what she eats, reads labels, finds theories about this or that substance that will prevent or cure. She got a sinus infection that required modern pharmaceuticals. I am still well. But I wrote this so now I will prolly get sick.

      3) I’m glad we farm in a way where we are connected to the land and livestock. I see what you refer to as happening at an alarming rate. I was going down the rod a couple years ago and saw a guy in a tractor with his hands behind his head relaxinga s the tractor steered itself through the field. Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g36TiZXWx4c

      On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 10:42 AM, alternativebyfritz wrote:


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