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Jul 24th
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From the Editor

greg_archerS2sPlus Letters to Good Times
Sometimes, during large family gatherings, my Polish aunt would burst out into song—sometimes dance—and croon refrains of Bobby Vinton’s “Melody of Love.” She loved it because parts of the song were actually sung in Polish. She sang it so often during the ’70s that somehow it became embedded into my psyche. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Imagine whistling that at a junior high school dance when all you’re really wanting to do is impress somebody.

Flashforward a decade—OK, two—to June of this year, when I visited my family in Chicago. At a graduation party, I faced a new generation of female—my teenage thumb-happy niece, who somehow, by communicating via text (while I’m across the room from her) can express what she’s really feeling better than doing it face to face. (But don’t get me started on that one.) At one point, we were sitting on the patio of my brother’s home with her two younger sisters and their friend when the girls proceeded to hum several tunes from today’s current music canon. I had no idea what—or who—they were humming but found the utmost peace in the fact that, despite already coming out with a memoir, “OMG ... Justin Bieber isn’t as cool as everybody thinks he is, you know!” (They also told me Madonna was “so ‘Hall of Fame,’ to which I raised an eyebrow, but what the hell, a new generation is afoot, so I let them have that one. For now.) Why am I telling you this? Music, songs—they are a significant part of the culture. They influence us and sometimes a ditty just grabs a hold of the brain and doesn’t let go. This is what GT writer Damon Orion explores in his latest essay. Take note of some tunes—dubbed “earworms”—that made him “mad.”

In the meantime, things get really buggy in News, where writer Jenna Brogan reports about residents who are up in arms about insect issues at a local motel. Read what the locals are saying. And in between all your adventures this week, check out our blogs at goodtimessantacruz.com and also, GTv, where yours truly checks out a rather unique food delicacy.
Thanks for reading. More soon ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Not So Hard
As I read the movie review for Eat, Pray, Love (GT 8/19) I was struck by the pervasiveness of the American work ethic, which even manages to sneak its way into movie reviews in the Good Times. Mr. Archer's primary criticism of the movie is that it makes spirituality look too easy. He claims that "real transformation can be hard work." Yes, perhaps that is true. But it does not need to be that way. In my travels through India, I found a radical approach to spirituality that focuses on lightheartedness, humor, and play. One of the ashrams I visited had a pool table as its centerpiece. Repeatedly, I found spiritual practitioners who had devoted themselves to laughter yoga, chanting, ecstatic dance, and other forms of "divine play." What makes this approach so radical—at least from an American perspective—is that it circumvents our drive to struggle, achieve, and attain. I would suggest that perhaps personal transformation does not need to be such hard work. Enjoying this moment might be enough.
Victor Shamas, Ph.D.
Santa Cruz

Mosque or No Mosque?
I think the mosque at Ground Zero is a tacky idea. For people, or certain political avenues to garnish it as racist for New York, to not put a mosque at Ground Zero, is not freedom, it is fascist. It seems to matter a lot to Muslims, or mosque supporters, and they have yet to say why they want a mosque at Ground Zero, other than to humiliat the ones who died there. The fiasco has become reverse racism. It can be considered racists, when you accuse a group, or even a policy of racism. So for a foreign leader or Obama, or Oprah or Nancy Polosi to say that Republicans are holding back the building of the mosque because they are racist, makes Obama, and Nancy, and Oprah racist toward Muslims, because they are saying that Muslims need to be identified and respected. Just like the law that says you can't pick out people of middle eastern decent, when looking for people who could be a possible terrorist threats on a plane. This is stupid. That is exactly who you need to target, people of Middle Eastern descent. It would be comparable to saying, "Okay, a woman committed the murder, but we can't single out women, we have to search men too, otherwise it is sexist." So, you have to purposefully search someone who has absolutely nothing to do with the murder, just to be fair to another race? I guess what I am saying is that if you are sensitive to race, like liberals are and most of the media is, you are racist.  The media and liberals are segregating groups with their muscling propaganda. The definition of racism is to identify and put into a group by difference of appearance from color of skin or even regions from around the world where a person was born.
David Brumfield
Santa Cruz

Holiday Deadlines

Good Times offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 6 in observance of Labor Day. Offices will reopen at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept 7.  The following deadlines will be in effect for the Thursday, Sept 9 issue: Display and Classified Display,  5 p.m., Thursday Sept. 2; Classified advertising, 10 a.m., Friday, Sept. 3, Music, Events and Calendar deadlines are noon, Tuesday, Aug. 31.


Best of The Online Comments

On ‘SmartMeters’ ...
I'm curious as to the independent and qualified proof that the wireless radiation from SmartMeters is more harmful than, say, having a cell phone charging on your night stand.
Somebody rightly said "No one speaks on a cell phone during the night when they are sleeping." However, cell phones emit radiation whether or not you are actually talking on the phone. So, if it's in your bedroom, plugged into the wall, and charging, then you are being bombarded by the wireless radiation throughout the night. Also, if you happen to work in an office building of substantial size, there's a pretty good chance the office has wireless access.  Furthermore, if you sit in (or in a building near) a Starbucks, a McDonalds or if you stay in a hotel or if you happen to live near a hotel, you are also being bombarded by wireless radiation.
In fact, if you have any device which can connect via WiFi, you can usually make it "sniff" for nearby wireless access points. Oftentimes, more than a dozen can appear within your own home, especially if you live in an apartment complex or in close proximity to other buildings. So, the ultimate question is: Are those who are truly concerned about this radiation living in a home alone, far from other civilization? Or, is there a certain amount of information that's being left out? 
If the information is true and wireless signals can really physically harm us, I'd say at this point, it's too late. We're already bombarded to a significant degree whether we're sleeping at home, staying in a hotel, sitting at work, sitting in a crowded movie theater, sitting in a restaurant, sitting at a ball game or at any place where many others (with their cell phones strapped to their sides) are gathered, etc, etc, etc. ... so, are these smart meters really going to make a big difference, or is it only one target of a much larger battle has already been lost years ago?
StareClips

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

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Roger That

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Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.