By Neil Rubenstein
From the "hard to believe" file: It was on Feb. 15, 2013, slightly more than a year ago, that an asteroid crashed into Russia with a force estimated to be about 500 kilotons of TNT, 25 times more powerful than the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima.
Am I the only one old enough to remember when tobacco companies could advertise in magazines? Then the government got on a medical kick (and rightly so) and prohibited my pal, Joe camel, from the printed world. Yes, unfortunately Joe has been unemployed all this time and prospects look dim for gainful employment. That is, until recently, when I saw a huge three-page ad for a product with a warning clearly stating that it can cause mouth cancer. Mr. Camel may soon stop eating at that soup kitchen and doing the salvage shuffle for aluminum cans.
My, how time flies! It's been but 278 years ago that Benjamin Franklin organized the Philadelphia brigade. The Union Fire Company was started in 1736.
Then there was every school child's friend, Smokey the Bear, who died 38 years ago in the Washington, D.C. National Zoo.
For many of us old timers, Feb. 13, 2011, the day before Valentine's Day, will be remembered as the day we lost a dear, dear friend, Pauline Dolce. The former longtime Culver City City Clerk left to be reunited with her husband, Frank.
If you aren't at the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum on the fourth Saturday of each month, perhaps a jaunt to the Reyes Adobe in Agoura Hills off the 101 Ventura freeway would be a great family adventure. Open from 1 pm to 4 pm, you can see California rancho living in the early 1800s. A donation is requested. Call (818) 597-7361 for further information.
A while back I opened one of 25 filing cabinet drawers -- you know, the one at the far left on the very bottom that had not been looked into since my head had a lot more hair -- and started sneezing like crazy. I came across the Oct. 17, 2007 meeting held at the Senior Center with the L. A. County Consumer Affairs Advisory Commission. Perhaps those that attended will remember Councilman Scott Malsin, Christopher Armenta, Assistant City Manager Martin Cole, Luther Henderson, Chair, Cultural Affairs Commission, Jeff Cooper, Chair, Parks and Recreation Commission, Eric Boyd from State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas's office and Detective Cisneros of Culver City P.D.
The room was overflowing with residents who came to hear more about ID theft and how to protect themselves.
Presently Ronni Jayne represents Culver City on this very important County Commission and is doing a great job.
Recently Kash Delano Register was released after spending over 30 years locked up for a murder he didn't commit because it was found both the Los Angeles Police Dept. and prosecutors suppressed evidence in a murder case that would have helped in his defense.
And then we have the Orange County Crime Lab slip-up on blood alcohol test results in 2,200 DUI cases filed by prosecutors last year. Perhaps as many as 200 people will see their violations reversed.
I wonder what's happening in the Philippines. It was Nov. 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan hit the country with a death toll estimated as high as 10,000 in a region with 300,000.
Seated at our favorite roadside diner with Maria AKA the "wild Gypsy lady," we were discussing her two-week vacation in Transylvania when she mentioned our hero who last December took a mostly unknown and allegedly under-qualified person who was, by chance, his son, who then obtained a war chest of $600,000 and -- you guessed it -- was elected to the California Assembly.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was written up in the Los Angeles Times for allegedly improperly converting a garage at his home in Leimert Park and using county employees to install a security system as well as interior walls and electrical wiring.
We all know almost all elected offices have term limits, including the Board of Supervisors. Can it be true Mark will run for Maxine Waters' Congressional seat when she retires? Now, you know if I were Mr. T I would have a map of his 2nd Supervisor's District and her Congressional District to see where they overlap. Could Westchester or Inglewood be a destination for a large moving van or two?
For those who have diabetes, if your doctor has written a prescription for canagliflozin you need to read Public Citizen's "Worst Pills, Best Pills News" in the Feb. 2014 issue. Public Citizen strongly recommends "do not use" because of the side effects.
I cannot wait to read the second part, due in 90 days or so, on the future of Los Angeles. The Blue Ribbon "2020 Commission" warned the city's problems are underfunded retirement programs, slower police and fire response times and government spending that is growing faster than revenue.
Take a look at these budget items. Pensions, the number one problem in the last 10 years, went up 24.7% while the second item on the chart, Health and Sanitation, went up 6.2%. Police and Fire, number five, was up only 2.8%. All this, while in 2007 14.7% of the Los Angeles county population was in poverty, and by 2012 that went up to 19.10%.
We are all being squeezed like a glass of orange juice. If we look at our water consumption over the last five or so years we find new washing machines use little water, toilets ditto, showers have restrictors and dishwashers are using so much less one wonders how the dishes get clean. Our vegetation uses about the same number of gallons. Now look at the water bills. My, oh my . . .
For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at www.CulverCityObserver.com by placing Rubenstein in that website's search box.