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February 20, 2013


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It’s gone Jon! In the early 60’s I would pick up my (first) wife at the Mountain Bell building where she worked and we would go across the street to Woody’s El Nido to eat. And almost next door to that was Bert Easley’s fun store. Poor Bert, the religious police had him arrested for selling vibrators or something as innocuous.

Its gone Jon, except for pockets like Willow and even those residential remnants of history are being crowded out and are in the shadows of tall ugly edifices. And if you want to puke just drive by the 36 pumper Circle K at 40th Street and Baseline. The Japanese flower gardens have been covered by “The Holy Surface Parking Lot.” Asphalt is the black tar heroin of Developers.

Its gone Jon, only an occasional rain brings back the sweetness of the Great Sonoran Desert, What’s left of it.

Its gone Jon, from cal and his phantom dog Spot in their Motor home somewhere in the great Sonoran desert, what’s left of it

"When I was confined to the tender mercies of Mr. Joe's..."

Oh do tell! That sounds like an interesting story.

I won't miss the tire shop at 7th and Roosevelt, but the neighborhood behind it is worth saving. Too bad it looks like it has be redlined by the REIC. Maybe the ASU prez will ask for it to be sanctified in the future with some asphalt.

The "Holy Surface Parking Lot" and "asphalt is the black tar herion of developers" are keepers!

I remember in the '60s driving down a dirt road (Scottsdale Road) to a vacant lot with an asphalt oval (where Shea Boulevard is now) to drive go-carts. Don't know why that oval was there. Nothing was close except Reata Pass Steakhouse (and that was another long drive down a dirt road).

Sitting at my kitchen table and looking out at snow-covered Four Peaks, there are no visible signs of civilization except a sprig of our neighbor's lemon tree. Over the 40+ years since we got transferred from Minn-e-so-ta, I've moved North and East to alleviate my claustrophobia and dodge much of the congestion and pollution. True, my walk score is zilch and many of my docs are a 30 minute schlep across town. It is not ideal but beats hell out of freeways and squinchy parking lots.

We're not wealthy but we are very fortunate . . . all things considered. The next hurdles are how best to adapt to fading health if and when it comes to rest as we approach 80. Always something. Yes, I lament what's happened to Phoenix and have fond memories of yesteryear. Yes, I hate what the developers and politicians have done. Yes, I look down my nose at the paunchy Midwest Transplants who are pitifully under-invested in our communities. But it is what it is and nothing much is likely to change. We'll focus on doing our best with what's been given us, helping a caretaker with a broken hip and a relative with a broken life.

"But one has to wonder how many eateries can be supported when the center city isn't adding jobs, particularly well-paying ones."

....or adding residents in true community-oriented neighborhoods (the amazing new half-million dollar condos aren't coming nearly fast enough). Garfield offers a big glimmer of hope for me. But after Garfield, where next? Are the brave gentrifiers of downtown taking on the area south of the tracks? Not really, but they should be.

Eateries: Other than The Portland, I have not found any eatery worth its salt, downtown!

Holy Surface Parking Lots.
Contractor BlacK Tar Heroin Asphalt.

"But it is what it is and nothing much is likely to change"
Sums up the future pretty well. I never noticed the gas station at Garfield being that old of a design, thank you Mr. Talton.

Let me know if you guys want to do some bloviating over coffee Saturday March 2nd.

I read a recent blog post by Taz Loomans, where she said that grass roots organizations are the number one best thing about Phoenix.
She is not the only one, last year Taz interviewed Yuri Artibise who also believes that community based organizations like Phoenix’s Village Planning Committees are a big plus for the city. Yuri also said that, “Phoenix’s biggest opportunities are frankly the great expanses of vacant lots and empty storefronts. Combined with the entrepreneurial spirit and low cost of living mentioned above, the city could become a great laboratory for sustainable desert living,” I like that; the idea of what could be rather than what is not.

And Jon, you had mentioned in an earlier post that Phoenix lacks corporate donations to attract top quality art exhibitions. That is true; however, the city does have an ordinance that allocates 1% of the city’s Capital Improvement Program to public art. Three points for Phoenix.


AZREB: I is good on the coffee and blowharding on 030213. U all name it.

It is what it is. With all its warts Phoenix is still a vast improvement from the Midwest hell holes where many transplants came from.

@jmav- Hellholes? Like Dayton, Ohio? So where will they move next?

Hell holes? Spent the last 10 years of my business life traveling widely through the Midwest on various consulting gigs. The people tended to be warm and welcoming and honest. The smaller cities were usually nice . . think Sterling, Dixon and Elgin, IL. There was also a strong sense of community in most places. In these respects, large segments of the Midwest are still attractive to me . . . specially the people. Dunno why Arizona attracts so many arch conservative racist types with weak minds and strong opinions.

And yes, the humidity can be stifling and the 'skeeters can be as large as B29's. And the winters have become far less predictable than before, as they can now last from Thanksgiving through Easter.

Enough to make you healthy...

Tucson's Cyclovia

I spent more than eight years in Cincinnati and Dayton, and I will always love both the experience and those places.

There are important distinctions. I lived in the cities, not the suburbs. There were and are places very much worth caring about in the cities. Cincinnati, especially, is a jewel. Churchill rightly called it America's most beautiful inland city. Dayton got a raw deal from the hollowing out of America. But both have great bones, lovely parks and neighborhoods, fabulous architecture, and in Cincinnati's case is a city with a real future.

I also spent time in Oxford, a picture postcard town where Miami University is located. This is one of America's "Public Ivies," which was built up to greatness by the state of Ohio. The town is walkable, gorgeous and surrounded by forests and farms.

Some of the finest people I ever met were in Ohio. But with few exceptions, they lived in the cities, not the suburbs, and particularly not the horrible sprawl that has destroyed priceless farmland between Cincinnati and Dayton. They were also not the kind of people who would move to Phoenix.

@morecleanair-"Dunno why Arizona attracts so many arch conservative racist types with weak minds and strong opinions"-Ditto.
@Jon Talton-My reference to Dayton was in regards to "Who Mourns for Dayton". The decline of industrial America equals the decline of America. I have spent time in Dayton and it seemed like an honest place.
Arizona seems to attract some of the worst people of anywhere I have been.

I suppose the "big sort" theory is at work. People of the same background and world views cluster together in the same places. On the other hand, I have wonderful progressive friends who live in central Phoenix.

The old "birds of a feather" thing, right? Our church has snow birds, desert birds and odd birds who don't fit into any definable political slot. Our pastor runs a global teaching ministry that de-mythologizes parts of the Bible. Good stuff and all the birds at least tolerate hearing that Mary might not have been a virgin?

Whats the pastor say about Jesus brother?

cal: you mean brother Shlomo?
Surely you know he was Jewish and they ended the Bible before dealing with his career as a tour guide.

That's him, Shlomo James, the older brother born in a Holy Surface Parking Lot.

This is never off-topic. This film is short - one hour - and grimly engrossing. It is worth every minute of your time. There are not many things that can boast that.

Watch ‘Obey’: Film Based on Chris Hedges’ ‘Death of the Liberal Class’

"...confined to the tender mercies of Mr. Joe's"?

I take it we're discussing St. Joseph's, not the downtown jail...

Yes, the local wags use that now that St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center lost its Catholic affiliation. Which is not to say that the Badged Ego wouldn't like to get his claws on me.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"For an afternoon, I lived like most Phoenicians and drove, drove, drove. I am spoiled both by Seattle and even the usual life I lead in central Phoenix. I think: How can people live this way? I'm sure they think the same of me."

I take the city bus and light rail exclusively, but only because I can't afford private transportation.

I often visit ASU West to use the library, but recently they changed the printing system (part of the relentless corporatization of campus life) and it's now impossible (by design, believe it or not) to fund a print card with cash from any of the satellite campuses. (Online takes a credit/debit card or a Paypal account and has a minimum deposit of $12.)

So, I had to make my way to the Tempe main campus to visit the Canon corporate office. Light rail was by far the quickest, cleanest, and most pleasurable leg of the journey. But I use the term "journey" advisedly: it took five and a half hours to make the round trip, of which a solid four and a half was spent on or waiting for a bus or light rail, or walking (across the campus from the closest light rail stop).

By car, and directly, the travel portion of the round trip wouldn't have taken more than an hour, not counting the ten minute walk across campus.

It would be wonderful to be able to arrange one's personal and work life to be able to use the light rail exclusively, but that isn't a realistic option for most.

I can't imagine making this trip from my location in Phoenix to ASU's main campus as a daily commute using public transportation. If the trip had been confined to the rail portion and the walk it would have been quite acceptable and not the ordeal that it was. (Assuming, of course, that I was able to get a seat, as indeed I was. There is nothing worse than standing in a crowded train for an extended period.) And assuming that idiots with their noisemakers are controlled, which is hard to do when there is no supervisory presence. Despite the formal requirement to wear headphones or earphones, it is increasingly common to find individuals playing very tinny and annoying, percussion driven music through an open cellphone speaker (which makes transister radios of the 1960s sound like high-fidelity by comparison).

P.S. The print card does not work. I tried to test it before I left, but Canon chose that moment to make free photocopies available through the system (long story), so I figured that because I was able to log-in with the card, saw the amount credited properly, and make a photocopy, that all was well.

P.P.S. It is impossible to contact the Canon office during weekends via telephone or e-mail, because the office is closed. Apparently, operating the monopoly print and photocopy franchise across a major, multi-branch university with tens of thousands of enrolled students, carries no obligation to conduct business according to elementary principles of professionalism. So much for the often vaunted efficiency of private enterprise. What happens if the print system develops problems over the weekend? Tough titty. Wait until Monday, then see if you can manage to contact someone who is both knowledgeable enough and in a position of sufficient authority to correct the problem. Meanwhile, suffer.

By the way, I hope that the Front Page link to the Time story "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us" will be added to the FP archives.

It's a long article, but non-partisan, detailed, well-researched, and factual. It's also very recent, so all of the Obamacare revisions are reflected in the article. Readers will learn more about the U.S. system of medicine as it now stands -- how it really works, both on the private and public side -- than they will nearly anywhere else.

Yup, I agree with Emil Pulsifer. I also think that the Front Page link to the Time story "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us" would be a nice addition to the FP archives.
I too think the story will hold value over time.

Ditto to Suzanne's post.

Time has outdone itself. Michael Moore's "Sicko" was on target but maybe ahead of its time. When Obamacare is tweaked enough, lets hope it will attack the sacred cows in our medical system!


The Time story is already linked on The Front Page...it is currently the last one on the list. And I concur, a must read.

Misc. Bloviettes:

Some Schmo named Shlomo claims to be Jesus's brother? I don't think so.

If the casualty insurance industry (auto, commercial liability) learned in the early 1970's to hire full time nurses to review hospital bills and to negotiate the bills down, by 50 to 70 percent, does it take the rest of America 40 years to learn about this fraud practiced by the hospitals? So now TIME magazine puts out this news like it's NEW news??

Petro, good film. The question is WHEN will "1984" really get here. I've been waiting since................well, 1984.

I don't mind paying city sales tax at all. It funds good people doing hard work for the city.

I don't mind paying county property tax in Maricopa county and Navajo county. It funds good people working very hard for the counties.

I sort of mind paying State tax so that Brewer and her crazy partners can do bad things on behalf of the state.

I really hate paying fed tax. They can take my full annual tax and blow it up in one second in a foreign land killing people whose families will hate me forever.

If the casualty insurance industry (auto, commercial liability) learned in the early 1970's to hire full time nurses to review hospital bills and to negotiate the bills down, by 50 to 70 percent, does it take the rest of America 40 years to learn about this fraud practiced by the hospitals? So now TIME magazine puts out this news like it's NEW news??- AZRebel

The thing is that 40 years ago the charges were not so exorbitant. In the last 10 years, prices have skyrocketed. While most Americans, those with private insurance and Medicare/Medicaid, don't have to worry about negotiating prices, those without insurance or who are underinsured are left with little power to negotiate better prices.

Even private insurance companies, as Time noted, are losing the battle in terms in negotiating discounts. Hospitals and practices are consolidating and "the insurer needs the hospital more than the hospital needs the insurer."

Recently had a wonderful dinner at the downtown Westin on central.Like every other time I have went downtown past 7pm,it was completely deserted when we walked out to the complimentary valet.I looked up and down Central both ways and it was like the old horror shows-"Where is everybody"

If RC has a lot of progressive friends downtown,they must all go to bed by 7pm.:>)

If RC has a lot of progressive friends downtown,they must all go to bed by 7pm.:>)
All good progressives are in bed by 7pm, so that when they're finished with that bit of business they can be out and about again for the late night scene... ;)

Seriously, though - I know what you mean. I used to have "Omega Man"-like nightmares when I was a child, and it's an odd thrill listening to your footsteps echoing when you find yourself downtown Phx at night...

Omega Man "nightmares"?

Free reign of the city during the day...all the free napoleon brandy, classical LPs, fine cigars (until they run out or get stale), luxury sports cars, gasoline, and fine clothes (or track suits, if you insist) you can lay your hands on.

Sure, OK, at night some turkeys armed with spears (OK, and a fireball hurling medieval catapault) stand under your window chanting your name; but a blast with the Browning Automatic Rifle (or whatever that was) will send 'em scattering. But they're all infected and should be dying off sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, look for the nest and shoot any you find.

P.S. Petro, Petroooooo!

Coffee on for March 2? I can make it around noon tho.

The southeast corner of 7th Street and Roosevelt is suppose to become a Circle K to replace the one of the NE corner. They wanted a liquor license, but the neighborhood was not impressed with the operation of Circle K and it has been withdrawn for the time being. Roosevelt west of 7th Street is suppose to be narrowed considerable shortly to make it more pedestrian friendly. One lane each way, sort of like Roosevelt west of Central.

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