Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tony Brandenburg: Home, Sweet Home

This Year in Review
I have been on an extended vacation. Well, that is not exactly true. You may recall that I am a musician in between long breaks as an educator.

I went on a couple of band tours, two in the United States, and one in South America. I got sick down there in Argentina and I was swallowed alive by a toilet. Don't worry, it burped me back out. The promoter in South America was a sweetheart. His name is Caca. You say it like the secret password in the Three Amigos (click here). He wears a ring on every finger and has grandchildren. Yes, we are a proud tribe of geezers.

Anyway, he brought a doctor to see me before one of the shows. I was very sick and needed a plug. She spoke Portuguese quite well. She was also very beautiful. English was a smile and a nod.

Yes, she was the perfect doctor.

When she asked me what was wrong I thought about it for a while. I suppose I could have told her the truth, that I had been staying within three feet of a toilet for about five days and that even the heartiest Brazilian barbecue turned to decaf in my digestive track.

But I lied like a rug. A fine, well worn carpet.

I'm fine! Not a problem in the world. Thank you!

Where Was I? Oh yes. My blog is an education blog. Or it was. Nowadays it is a swampland of  bric a brac and that's ok. I like that just fine.

One day I'll change the name of my blog. Something to reflect my ego most completely. That's because no one else in my house helps me write anymore. They just 'cc me in their world of words.

 ..... and then I hit delete.

Recap
You may recall that I live in a small town in the foothills that I despise.

Yeah, whatever. I have my reasons. Some of them are even good, but that's no matter.

People always tell me to move. My friends tell me to move. People who live here and who hate me tell me to move. People who live here and like me tell me to move.

Mary doesn't want to move. She likes to see me wriggle on the devil's fork. If I turned to decaf before her eyes, I think she'd go into medicine like my beautiful Brazilian doctor.

In order to live here you have to pretend you are happy paying taxes for stupid stuff that no one uses or wants. That's to raise revenues for events that make us hillbillies seem quaint.

I don't eat out here much because I don't want to talk to anyone who may have betrayed my family a few years back. I get it to go, or more likely, I don't go at all.

I do go to the butcher shop because they've earned my patronage and respect. They did this by being friendly, courteous, and raising money for people in need.

I know. I'm a jerk. I need more pride in others and less in myself. I'm sure there's a twelve-step plan for that somewhere in town.

Parking Enforcement
There is a new police person in town. She stopped by the house a while back and asked Mary about my truck outside, parked in front of the house I bought, with a parking sticker I paid for. I know because I bought the parking pass like I have every year for what seems like forever.

The officer asked if the truck was running. A solid logical question. She asked the wrong person why it was never moved. Mary, no doubt, said it was because her husband is 'a low-down dirty scoundrel.'

Imagine if we weren't madly in love with each other.

What I really mean is the the officer told Mary that it needs to be moved every three days. Mary told her that the truck does, indeed run, that I am the only one who knows how to control the beast, and that it has a parking sticker on it.

I mean, I get it, sort of. The truck has cobwebs on it. It's filthy because I stopped washing it in order to conserve water. It has a broken air conditioner which makes it unbearable in this oppressive heat. So I wait until Winter to drive it. It sits part of the year in front of my house. Sometimes I paint witty slogans on it.

I have come into the attention of the newer police in town. They like to occasionally pull me over by my house so my neighbors can see the rebel hillbilly from up the street engage in conversations instead of going away.

Before I left on tour I paid online for the pass. When I got home a few weeks later it wasn't on my truck, and it wasn't in the mailbox. That was a concern, of course. The online parking system has been a royal pain in the neck. It is farmed out to some company- no doubt to make policing in Sierra Madre easier.

My dog, a little orange terrier, notoriously attacks the mail when it comes through the slot and flings it all over the living room.

She's free range. It's cool. I have no problem with her quirks. But I do have to climb under furniture to find my mail sometimes.

No parking pass. But lots of UUT endorsements from people I no longer believe in.

The Parking Fairy
So, I walk over to the police station to ask about my parking pass.

I am helped by a young officer who tells me I need to pay for my parking pass online. I explain that I have done this, but the parking pass was never put on my truck, and that I have checked my email and post for a receipt that never came.

He explains that, clearly, I have done something wrong.

Of course I have. It certainly couldn't have been that the crappy company they hired to do this for them - to make their jobs and lives easier- had somehow messed up. When all else fails, blame the public you serve.

Just like the teachers at Sierra Madre Elementary. When all else in the system fails - blame the kids.

Anyhoo, I told him that of course I was confused.

For many years I had handed a check to the person sitting where he was sitting, and two weeks later the parking sticker would be placed on my truck.

He told me that no such thing has ever happened.

I assured him that indeed, it had. It had been that way for years, prior to his employment.

"I see," he said. "It just magically appeared on your truck. Like a Parking Fairy came and stuck it on in the middle of the night?"

Yes. Like that.

There was a time when the Sierra Madre Police took the time to place a paid sticker on our cars. I never called them fairies though. That came from Officer Friendly.

Third Time is a Charm
After a second online attempt to get my parking pass, and after a visit to the station, I finally called the company who hadn't issued my pass.

Good old land line telephone.

Nothing quite like efficiency.

Chalk It Up to Outdated Ordinances
There is a certain symbiotic relationship that has to exist between law enforcement and citizenry. We have to break rules so that they can exist. They have to exist because we break the rules.

Even if the rules are stupid.

I am sure that somewhere in time it was necessary to have an overnight parking ordinance to keep cars off the streets or, more likely- to insure that mechanics wouldn't work on their cars on the street- or that people wouldn't live in their cars. It justifies shooting them in the backs if they fall asleep in the back seat. Oh. I digress.

Personally I'd prefer to park mine on my beautiful green lawn that the city keeps tabs on with an occasional letter or warning.

But I don't.

So the result of my exciting exchange with Officer Friendly and the news of the magical parking permit beings, I now get visits from my new friend in ordinance control. The rear left tire of my truck, parked in front of my house- which I pay for in taxes levied twice a year- with a parking permit I pay for annually - it periodically gets chalked to insure I move it every three days.

Now everyone in Sierra Madre can see my shame. They can all see that I'm naughty and don't follow the rules. Shame on me.

No recess.

But I, too, have chalk. I can chalk all four of the tires for good times. I love chalk art.

You may not know this, but in some cities chalking the streets in protest of police brutality is an offense worthy of arrest for vandalism.

I wonder if I should make a citizen's arrest.

If chalking the streets is now ok, believe me, I have plenty of tubthumping slogans to share.

I also have paint, and I love to paint messages on my car. I'm quite good at it.

Maybe I can paint it with witty messages across about archaic city ordinances.

I can start parking it every three days on Sierra Madre Boulevard in front of that lovely ALF monstrosity you all approved. Or in front of the schools and churches. Or down by the cemetery.

Maybe you'd like it in front of your house, since it's not ok for me to park it in front of mine any more. You can paint an advertisement on it. Something like:

You love mediocre food? Dine in Sierra Madre, where the only thing higher than the price of the food on that plate is the City Council and their tax infatuation.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

69 comments:

  1. Thanks Tony for the excercise of a hearty laugh at 5:45 in the morning. Glad your health is back to a stable routine and won't you be happy for the new Sherriffs coming to town.

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  2. Do the Sheriffs work with the Parking Fairy?

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  3. Suicide is an option.

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    Replies
    1. Obviously the Parking Fairy has a dark side.

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    2. Yes, please. Thin the herd, 557. Or give me your address and I'll send dr.kevorkian over

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  4. Is Officer Friendly one of those who deserted?

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  5. Good morning old fella:

    Shut your mouth, you stupid little brat
    What you need's a smack, smack, smack
    If I'd my way, I'd give away

    I hate children, I hate children
    I hate children, I hate children
    **** *** ******** ****

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    1. So Officer Friendly didn't leave.

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    2. 635 it is give YOU all away. Even a monkey can copy and paste.

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    3. yeah, 6:45 i wrote that when i was 15, and a child. wrote down almost verbatim what i heard someone say. get the irony? or are you simply rubbing your nose in my ass?

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  6. Most people I know and that is quite a few think the Alf is quite a improvement on what was there

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    1. I didn't have a problem with ALF until I heard they gave $1,000 to the Yes UUT cabal. Now I realize they're just another special interest working city hall for things you and I will never get.

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    2. The Kensington:
      1. consumes a huge amount of water without the restrictions that home owners face.
      2. Is by far the largest user of our Paramedic services
      3. employees virtually no Sierra Madre residents
      4.Provides services to very few Sierra Madre residents
      They do give generously to self-serving issues like "Yes"
      Now tell me why it has benefited Sierra Madre to have The Kensington.

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    3. Now tell me why it has benefited Sierra Madre to have The Kensington
      OK
      It does not consume huge amounts of water.
      Paramedic services are not free they are paid for.
      It pays a lot of property taxes and business license fees.
      It brings good people and business to town.
      It's a pretty building and grounds.
      It donates to charitable causes and city functions.
      plus many others......

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    4. Umm everyone who lives there is a Sierra Madre resident?

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    5. City employee pension funding. It is the #1 priority at city hall.

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    6. Clever 9:19! Call Pasadena. I know a political campaign manager there who could use someone with your talents.

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    7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    8. 648 it is the beginning of the end of this town as it moves toward becoming a city. Of course it is loved. one step closer to being annexed by a "real" city

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    9. The Kensigton does little to help Sierra Madre. It just helps itself and City Hall.Parasites both!

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    10. Kensington is a handsome looking place. Some grumpus on this blog called it a 'monstrosity'..

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    11. The dementia ward is interesting.

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    12. When people say "you can't take it with you," the Kensington is where it stays.

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    13. Handsome like a McMansion

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    14. Kensington makes profits from the crumbling Sierra Madre infrastructure and taxpayer funded service. Kensington pays off City Hall.Billy Shields got his commission. The crooks are happy and we got screwed.

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  7. I would be honored to host your truck for 3 days. Sunnyside Ave. last house on the right.Be sure to curb your wheels properly.

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    1. 651 here jee thanks TB. Alex Van Halen the drummer for a band called Mammoth told me that too. he meant platonically tho :(

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    2. Seems like selective enforcement to me. There has been a non-mobile silver Ford Mustang coupe on N.Mountain Trail for many months with flat tires. But he does have a "Yes" sign in the window...

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  8. It sounds like everyone has been cutting costs and outsourcing as much as they can to save Sierra Madre people money. It sounds like we have an outside police force who follows the rules more rigidly and doesn't care about having a personal relationship with Tony or care that he is caught up in outsourced bureacracy.

    It's also a fact that the Tattler has posted that the way we are going to save money with the police is by closing the local police station and outsourcing it to Temple City (the much touted 800k in savings a year). Of course, it sounds like the service over there is getting poorer anyway, because in this instance they can't help with something that has already been outsourced. Ah, your not-taxpayer dollars at work.

    So here we are, complaining about the level of service, and deciding the answer is to pay less, get worse service, and get more bureacracy as a result. Yay.

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    1. The Temple City claim is false. Plus how service could get worse when we are discussing a PD that lost half of its members to desertion. But it is clever of you to try and sneak that all in anyway. Befitting of the ethical standards of a "Yes On Measure UUT" advocate. So little honesty there.

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    2. For saving $8000,000 a year police would not be dispatched from Sierra Madre, for a lesser saving they would be.

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    3. Depends on who is negotiating the deal. Thank God that won't be a deserter lover like you.

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    4. The deserter I love most is Apple pie and vanilla ice cream very American.

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    5. I love the Sierra Madre PD. I don't like mailers, hyperbole, and money wasted on mailers. And we all know who the king of the mailers is, but we cant say His name since He became a demogogue.

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    6. 9:00 liar liar pants on fire

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    7. 9:00A I didn't think Tony was referring to the Sheriff about hassling him over his truck. And I haven't heard the "much touted 800,000" you state. And they will be housed here in our PD. The "yes" people want you to believe the sheriff is coming from Temple City. That was only n1 of the proposals offerred. You need to do better research.

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    8. Tony, I do believe that the demagogue of which you speak does like to call himself "The Dark Lord".

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    9. Straight out of Harry Potter, that dude.

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    10. Tony said there is a new police person in town. He's right, it's the new Sheriff guys. Tony said he used to have a nice experience doing what he's always done. But now it's outsourced. Tony said everyone is now incompetent and doesn't know how it's always been done. He complains he tried to resolve it by simply going to our local station, but couldn't resolve it there.

      Police savings: The Tattler posted a bunch of data showing where the savings would come from if we outsourced. The only one that had the 800k savings per year (after such and such years, first savings beginning on year 2) was the one that moved the local branch from here to Temple City (Option C). Option A saved about half the amount had the local branch open with less hours, and other cuts. The one providing the same amount of service cost more. (Option B)

      Yes, yes, I am a liar somehow for repeating these things.

      Here's the tattler saying we'd get more services for 800k less:
      http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-sheriffs-contract-review-committee.html

      And here's the numbers Tattler published (see how option C says no station?, see how option B has the same amount of officers patrolling and costs more?) http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2016-03-18T05:00:00-07:00

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    11. Again, this is the Sheriff's proposal. Nothing has been negotiated or agreed upon.

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    12. 3:06. I did not say anything at all about the sheriff. Now I know your nose is growing.

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  9. Really Tom. You are complaining that you can't leave an old dirty heap parked in front of your house. What would the city look like if everyone did that? Hillbilly Haven. Have some respect for your family and neighbors. While you are running around the world, they are stuck looking at your dirty junker that Mary is unable to move. You don't mention that you have been ticketed, you are only being asked to follow the law. Have a pleasant day and I hope that bug is gone. I also think the Drk Lord needs to clean up his frond yard.

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    1. Not sure you read this right. Mr. Brandenburg did follow the law. But the law didn't do its job. That is the point.

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    2. Yeah, I think you missed the joke and the contradictions of life. I do drive it, it does run, I conserve water by not washing it. My house is very clean, manicured, and my house is worth 5x what I bought it for simply because of the pride I take in my home. The irony is that if I did what the city asked me to do, my house would depreciate by at least 100k. So do I pass the good neighbor test? Or no? And who is Tom?

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    3. I apologize Tony.

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  10. For those of you who feel the Kensington doesn't do anything for you: You can get your hair and nails done there. If your doctor orders physical therapy, you can be evaluated in their physical therapy department and have therapy there instead of going out of the city. They recycle their water and I believe they have grey water system for the outdoors. Maybe you should ask to tour the facility. Oh, and there are several Sierra Madre residents living there. You can do your own research as to whether they hire Sierra Madreans.

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    1. how very nice! almost as gorgeous as the facilities on baldwin and on sunset. sierra madre, the little red headed stepchild of arcadia. lol.

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    2. Kensington is the largest user of Paramedic services in Sierra Madre by far.In that regard they steal services from Sierra Madre taxpayers for their own profit.
      None of their PT services are free to Sierra Madre residents so what is the point?
      Whatever they may or may not recycle, the are the largest single user of water in Sierra Madre. They are taking water that we are conserving !
      They have 2 residents who formerly lived in Sierra Madre.

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    3. I know for sure they have at least 5 Sierra Madre residents there and all 5 are very happy to be there. Do you have any figures re: water use? How about the laundromat, Wards' and the senior housing? All are heavy water users and they don't have a gray water system as does the Alf. You may check your facts!

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    4. 2 or 5 families it not matter they are my neighbors and I welcome them in the community please don't speak of persons as objects it makes you in humane and insults our creator

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    5. Why am I reminded of soggy cornflakes?

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    6. It seems to me that everyone who lives there is a Sierra Madre resident by virtue of the fact that they, um, er, live there.

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    7. The Kensington is a gross user and abuser of our scarce water. We shot ourselves in the foot when we allowed them in .
      Kensington does nothing for the taxpayers in Sierra Madre - it is a net expense.But of course they do keep on the 'right' side of City Hall - that is why some here support them.
      And the best support anyone can give is that you can get your nails done there!Jeez...

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    8. C'mon now 8:50. Give some facts that prove K is a gross user and abuser of water. Do you have the water bill? What's the per capita monthly usage for the residents there? Maybe a better Q is why don't you want the new Sierra Madre residents who live there have the assistance and care they need?

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  11. How would you like to be the Boss for awhile?March 29, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    Hey, its the narrator from Randy Newman's song "My life is good."

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    1. Do you love LA?

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    2. I do but LA doesn't love me.

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  12. "Can't we all just get along" We all want the same things by different means. I love yous all but stop the insanity.
    "Justice peace and unity for you and me pass it on
    Oh children of the most high
    Oh rid that yourself of rejection of man
    As free as the grass grew up the wind blows
    Where ever you go good goodness will follow,
    Let the communion of righteousness consume
    Your heart with joy and gladness
    Freeing your mind from envy jealousy and delusion
    With justice, peace and unity for you and me pass it on"

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  13. "Can't we all just get along" We all want the same things by different means. I love yous all but stop the insanity.
    "Justice peace and unity for you and me pass it on
    Oh children of the most high
    Oh rid that yourself of rejection of man
    As free as the grass grew up the wind blows
    Where ever you go good goodness will follow,
    Let the communion of righteousness consume
    Your heart with joy and gladness
    Freeing your mind from envy jealousy and delusion
    With justice, peace and unity for you and me pass it on"

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  14. Sorry didn't mean to end the discussion Let's Rumble :\

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    1. I think you put everyone to sleep.

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  15. I wanna be the boss for a while.

    Mary won't let me.

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    1. Seems you didn't get the irony in the song there.

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    2. Me? Nah. I don't know the song. Flew right by me. I was thinking way more neanderthal

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  16. I've been getting parking stickers for one of my vehicles since 2009 or 2010. While the stickers have magically appeared in my mailbox, none has ever magically appeared on my vehicle.

    For the last two or three years, parking sticker payments have been made online. If it's a new permit or the old sticker has expired, you print a temporary permit page, tape it inside your driver's side window, and wait for the magic of the postal service. Simple.

    I leave my vehicle for months at a time without moving it, but got chalked (the tires and the street with a "cite by" date!) only once when the cobwebs were thicker than anything at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.

    Never been pulled over in town--sports car (no front plate/no Yes sticker but Yessongs blaring), truck, or MC--though I was followed while on my MC the entire length of SM Blvd thru town the night the sheriffs arrived.

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  17. Don't be sad, but I sold my truck. The party is over.

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    Replies
    1. I'd like to sell mine, but I'm too lazy. Hence, the cobwebs.

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