Fires to the south of us, out­ages to the north of us

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - News -

Read in Au­gust, Joan Did­ion’s 1965 es­say on the Santa Ana Winds seems a bit melo­dra­matic. Now it is Oc­to­ber and fires are blaz­ing just a few miles away — and Did­ion seems right on the mark:

“There is some­thing un­easy in the Los An­ge­les air this af­ter­noon, some un­nat­u­ral still­ness, some ten­sion. What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will be­gin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast whin­ing down through the Ca­jon and San Gor­gonio Passes, blow­ing up sand­storms out along Route 66, dry­ing the hills and the nerves to flash point. For a few days now we will see smoke back in the canyons and hear sirens in the night.”

It ap­pears Lan­caster Mayor R. Rex Par­ris was ahead of his time, as he of­ten is, when a decade or so ago he ad­vo­cated of­fer­ing home­less peo­ple a one-way ticket out of town.

Crit­ics howled, but the tick­ets were vol­un­tary, of­fered only for peo­ple who wanted to leave, specif­i­cally to re­unite with fam­ily in an­other city or state.

Now sev­eral cities, in­clud­ing San Fran­cisco, have adopted the “Home­ward Bound” pro­gram, giv­ing one-way bus tick­ets to home­less to go wher­ever they wish.

Seat­tle is de­bat­ing adopt­ing the pro­gram, but, sur­prise, it is op­posed by many politi­cians there, who say it sends the mes­sage to home­less peo­ple that they are not wel­come in Seat­tle.

Speak­ing of home­less, I had yet an­other un­for­tu­nate en­counter on my morn­ing walk Fri­day.

A young woman was walk­ing around Jane Reynolds Park in a scream­ing match — with some­one who was nowhere to be seen.

I al­tered my route to avoid her, but she cut across the park and walked straight to­ward me and started scream­ing at me, some­thing about books and churches.

I walked past, but then a young woman in a house across the street started scream­ing her to shut the (blank) up be­cause peo­ple were try­ing to sleep.

The home­less woman screamed at the res­i­dent, telling her to shut the (blank) up and I cut short my walk and went home.

That is Lan­caster, 2019. And it is get­ting old.

Fires to the south of us, power out­ages to the north of us, $4 gas mak­ing it too ex­pen­sive to go east or west.

At least (knock wood) July’s earth­quakes have not paid us a re­turn visit.

Po­lit­i­cal colum­nist Michael Barone called El­iz­a­beth War­ren the Democrats’ “faute de mieux” fron­trun­ner, a French term mean­ing “for lack of a better al­ter­na­tive.”

Seems like we’ve had a lot of those can­di­dates from both par­ties the last few years. “I may be aw­ful, but look at the other side!”

Def­i­ni­tion of “first­world prob­lems” — A story in USA To­day ex­am­ines the ques­tion of whether we should say “please” and “thank you” to Alexa and the Google As­sis­tant.

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