Friday, September 21, 2007

A dark and stormy night...

The rain is now pounding down outside my window. Lord knows we need it, but it breaks my heart to think what's happening to the Twist-Basler House right now. Thanks to the City of Santa Ana and the developer, it remains chopped into pieces and exposed to the elements. Rain does very bad things to historic interiors. I won't be surprised to see lawsuits filed shortly. The Register covered this story in some depth today.
To keep up on the latest news about the Twist-Basler House, bookmark the Santa Ana Historic Preservation Society's (SAHPS) website.
Speaking of the SAHPS, they will be holding their historical salvage sale tomorrow (Saturday), rain or shine. There should be a bunch of good stuff there for you restoration/preservation folks, and the money goes to a worthy organization (SAHPS) which just won the 2007 California Governor's Award from the State Office of Historic Preservation.

A year after the fact, Newport Beach has decided to celebrate their city's centennial by putting a huge bronze orb at the base of the Newport Pier. The sphere will be surrounded by a dark circular pattern set into the plaza. In other words, it will look just like the Cosmic Waves fountain in Tomorrowland -- except that it won't spray your children with polluted water, which you have to admit is a big plus. Newport claims the project will cost half a million dollars. You know, they could have used that money to help retrofit and restore Newport Harbor High School. Or they could have used it to help preserve the Fun Zone. But since all of that is gone now, let's just hope this orb lasts longer than the Reuben E. Lee did.

It's hard for me to fathom the folks in City governments (and every city has them) who don't "get" the importance of a community's landmarks and historic sites. But the other day, I figured out the perfect way to understand these people...
They're Vogons.
For those of you unfamiliar with Douglas Adams' Hitchihiker's Guide to the Galaxy, perhaps the following excerpt will explain:
"[Vogons] are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy. Not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters."
Giving mankind about 10 seconds notice before demolishing Earth, a Vogon from the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council broadcasts the following:
“People of Earth, your attention please. …The plans for the development of the outlying areas of the Galaxy involve the building of a hyperspace bypass through your star system. And regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition…. The plans have been on display at your local planning office in Alpha Centauri for the past fifty of your Earth years… [That’s] only four light years away, you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that's your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams!"


It's the perfect analogy, and I will be using it (although perhaps not out loud) any time I run into uncaring government bureaucrats who would as soon tear down a California Mission as look at it.

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