Southern California is almost totally dependent on Sierra snowpack and the Colorado River for its water, and both sources are endangered by climate change, even as SoCal's cycle of long droughts and catastrophic, torrential rains gets more extreme thanks to climate change.
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Greg Escalante, a pioneer in the lowbrow and pop surrealist art scene, respected gallerist, and co-founder of Juxtapoz magazine, has died. He was 62. From the OC Weekly:
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A native of Los Alamitos and bond trader by profession, Escalante started scouring the art galleries and swap meets of Southern California in the 1980s to find any art, kustom kulture artifacts, or just weird stuff that he could get his hands on. "I tend to do things overboard . . . [but] art is the heroin of collecting," Escalante told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. That led him to meet Robert Williams, the legendary underground cartoonist; together, the two went on to co-found (along with other lowbrow luminaries such as Fausto Vitello; C.R. Stecyk III, a.k.a. Craig Stecyk; and Eric Swenson) Juxtapoz in 1994. The magazine helped to launch Kustom Kulture and all of its siblings into the art mainstream.
At the Los Angeles Times, David Pierson unties the story of why doughnut boxes are so frequently pink, particularly in southern California. It's a story of Cambodian refugees who emigrated to the US in the 1970s and built the donut market. But why pink? From the LA Times:
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According to (Bakemark, formerly Westco) company lore, a Cambodian doughnut shop owner asked Westco some four decades ago if there were any cheaper boxes available other than the standard white cardboard. So Westco found leftover pink cardboard stock and formed a 9-by-9-by-4-inch container with four semicircle flaps to fold together. To this day, people in the business refer to the box as the “9-9-4.”
“It’s the perfect fit for a dozen doughnuts,” said Jim Parker, BakeMark’s president and chief executive.
More importantly to the thrifty refugees, it cost a few cents less than the standard white. That’s a big deal for shops that go through hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes a week. It didn’t hurt either that pink was a few shades short of red, a lucky color for the refugees, many of whom are ethnic Chinese. White, on the other hand, is the color of mourning.
Len Bell, president of Evergreen Packaging in La Mirada, first noticed the proliferation of pink boxes as a regional manager for Winchell’s in the early 1980s. Back in the Southland after a few years in Minnesota, Bell was amazed to see the doughnut business seemingly transformed overnight by Cambodian refugees, who proved quick studies and skillful businesspeople.
Cult Nation gathered up a fascinating collection of vintage photos from Lowrider Magazine and personal collections that show how influential Latina gangsters were on style and culture in Southern California. The look, the poses, the Germanic blackletter font still used widely, and the camaraderie are consistent in every shot. Read the rest
I'm coming to Southern California next week and I'll be speaking at Claremont McKenna College's Atheneum series. It's next Wednesday, 30 March, at 1845h, and it's free and open to the public. I'll be reprising and expanding on the "Little Bit Pregnant" talk on technology regulation that I gave earlier this month at the University of Toronto iSchool conference -- it's a topic I'm developing, but one that I find really interesting. The idea is to look at all the different groups, interests and individuals who might call for restrictions on general-purpose computers and networks to prevent some real or imagined harm, ranging from printed weapons to malicious software to libel to copyright infringement, and what we might do to mitigate the real harms and tell them apart from the imaginary ones. I hope to see you!
A Little Bit Pregnant: Why it's a Bad Idea to Regulate Computers the Way We Regulate Radios, Guns, Uranium and Other Special-purpose Tools
Podcast of yesterday's U of Toronto iSchool talk - Boing Boing Read the rest
Southern California's Menifee Union school district has banned the Merriam Webster's 10th edition from use in fourth and fifth grade classes, over this salacious definition of "oral sex": "oral stimulation of the genitals".
"It's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature," district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the paper.
While some parents have praised the move - "[it's] a prestigious dictionary that's used in the Riverside County spelling bee, but I also imagine there are words in there of concern," said Randy Freeman - others have raised concerns. "It is not such a bad thing for a kid to have the wherewithal to go and look up a word he may have even heard on the playground," father Jason Rogers told local press. "You have to draw the line somewhere. What are they going to do next, pull encyclopaedias because they list parts of the human anatomy like the penis and vagina?"
'Oral sex' definition prompts dictionary ban in US schools
Philip Pullman on the futility and evil of banning books - Boing Boing
Psych professor wants to ban "nerd" and "geek" Boing Boing
Celebrate Banned Books Week! - Boing Boing
Library celebrates Banned Books Week with window-display featuring ...
Judge orders woman to keep her SubGenius books under lock and key ... Read the rest