A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some thoughts on a Sunday morning. Haiti? Extreme Makeover Home Edition?

The post this morning on Sunday has no central theme or foundation.  The post is just a few thoughts that crossed my mind last night. 

The last week has been filled with news of supplies and help sent to the people of Haiti.  There was a concert shown on television that was broadcast on vitrually EVERY network in Los Angeles at the same time.  This concert was shown on more networks than 911 coverage was shown. 

My heart goes out to the people of Haiti but at the same time as I wish Haiti all the best I have continual increasing  thoughts of concern for the people in this country.  Their situation is rarely shown on television.  The level of concern that I see personally falls into two camps.  One camp are those folks that work in the missions and shelters or folks in organizations such as Skid Row Housing Trust.  In another group are the individuals and companies whose donations and activities help the folks and groups in camp number one in a manner of speaking.  There are folks in this group such as Norm Harris of Norm's Rare Guitars that call his musician friends together to put on a concert where the proceeds go to The Midnight Mission.  Norm does this every year and others in companies large and small do their part.  With all the people that do help there is still a huge shortage of funds and assistance, especially from our government.  Perhaps I am totally off base making the lack of help by our government.  I am not well enough versed on the economy of the government of California other than to see and hear the stories of cutbacks and shortfalls.   When this sort of thing happens it seems that people in government are subjected to salary and benefit cuts which makes keeping the roof over their head more difficult.  The cuts make the frequency of a nice meal more rare.  But many of these people still have a roof over their head or something to eat.  People in the street are not impacted directly by the economy.  They have nothing and expect nothing in most cases.  Many meals are served three times per day by people like the Union Rescue Mission, Los Angeles Mission, The Midnight Mission and many others but not everybody are fed on a regular basis.

I have thoughts of priority.  Hearing news of executives in large corporations who had their annual bonus reduced.  People who are subjected to pay reductions.  The sorts of things that make a degree of change in quality of life to others.  Unfortunately as one moves down the income scale the changes become more drastic.  The executive may have to lease a lower level of Mercedes next year.  Their kids may have to cut back on tennis lessons to every other week rather than weekly.   Moving down the scale we get to people like teachers who help teach and train the next generation who are asked to do much more with so much less.  At the same time their own quality of life is reduced.  It is not a matter of trading down to a C Class from the S Class Mercedes, it is a matter of finding the money for new brakes on their Toyota Corolla.  Moving to the lowest income levels we find people who had nothing and continue to have nothing.  A fraction of the money raised for the people of Haiti could do a lot of good and help many people who also have nothing right here at home in the United States of America.  OK, maybe I am off base here and off on some sort of rant.  That would not be all that unusual for me.  I was born and raised in Los Angeles as were both of my parents.  I served in the military at the height of the war in Vietnam.  My military experience was the birth or the seed of my looking at what our government did or did not do.  This was when I first started to observe and question what was going on around me in our government.  Well, today as I write this what comes to mind is that America seems very much involved in other places for many reasons.  The Mid East and Haiti to name only two places came to mind last night as I was in the alley.  From my own viewpoint, and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, I see a token bit of help on occasion for people in our own country at best. 

As I slow down a little on the dialog here let us all give thanks for reality shows!  Tonight we can all watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition!  I think what they do on this show is great for selected individuals but really ... the fanfare, advertisers, celebrity, those great tour buses they move to show the great houses, the great furnishings, great appliances and yard equipment?  How about these folks doing one show per month with the Skid Row Housing Trust and other groups like them?  I'd love this show to take over a building in downtown Los Angeles (and I would be more than happy to point out a few they could consider) and do a makeover on the building where over 100 homeless folks who do have the desire to change their lives could change their lives.


I spend quite a few hours here last night.  This is an alley off of 5th street and has become a place where I meet friends.  In the evening the cars are gone.  There are alley ways between the other buildings to the right and left that are not large enough to drive a car but large enough for somebody to hide or seek some degree of shelter from the elements and wind.  You find folks with the typical blue plastic tarp in some of these spaces between buildings. 

When I walk this alley alone I often find a spot to sit for a little while.  It is a spot to think and reflect.  So many questions come to mind.  Most have no answer but some raise many more questions.  Sitting in a warm living room with the TV on or nice music in the background does not trigger the same sort of thinking and reflection as sitting in the dark on hard cement in 28-35 degrees with the sounds of the city in the background as each exhale of breath creates a fog.

The road to making a transition from homeless to a different life is a long and hard road.  The video above by the folks at Union Rescue Mission looks at one of their stories in progress.   If you look at the math and take into account that is is one of 34 mothers you can see how much time, effort and resources are required for each family.  The Hope Gardens facility is impressive and a far cry from the alley above or some of the other photos I have posted of living conditions for too many people.  A minute fraction of the financial aid sent to Haiti could increase this facility or produce others that could raise the number of families helped tenfold.

Hope Gardens and the facilities such as those from the Skid Row Housing Trust are one part of a picture.  Much more often "home" is depicted by scenes like those below.






I wish a good week to everybody whether you have a roof over your head or not.