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Remember when letters were answered, calls were returned and invitations were acknowledged? It really did happen once...I swear. Then technology crept up on us and passive-aggressive behavior became the de facto standard. Just think about how easy it is to do nothing - treating modern communications as a screening tool or gating principle. This way, an invitation or email can be ignored because it's not as dangerous to the relationship or someone's self-interest by saying no or declining - and passive-aggressives can't do that anyhow. So we've all adopted their very successful m.o.

It's true and I admit it. I've been living under a rock. I thought this was a forthright, upstanding community. Oh well. When the Anti-Corruption Report Number 5, authored by Dick Simpson, et al., was published in February, 2012 under the title of "Chicago and Illinois, Leading the Pack in Corruption" I smiled knowingly. "Aha", said I to myself, "what a surprise". Been there, seen it, chose not to live there. Then I read the report. The first thing that jumps out is that this report is not a partisan screed. There is only one measure of corruption used: the conviction of a public official.

One of Los Angeles' greatest characteristics is the stunning optimism of its citizens. Certainly the remarkable climate has something to do with it - the eternal Spring that creates a spotless mind. But the downside of this great climate is that people usually love it when it rains since there's finally "weather". But there are far too few rainy days for our growing population. Can't drink the ocean (yet), can't pump enough, borrow enough or recycle enough (yet) to meet the needs of the millions of people who water lawns, wash clothes (don't forget the cars) and themselves.

At a recent gathering of formerly politically aware and engaged folks, I heard the following: "Did you hear the latest about the campaign?" "No, and don't tell me. If I hear one more word about politics, I'll melt down. I've even stopped listening to the news...only traffic reports." The repetition of the same old themes, the same old nuggets of news, the same old "gotcha" lines from the same old sources is getting, well, old. And the real fun hasn't even begun yet. So what's a cranky person to do?

It was a really good year. Really it was. After all, we're still on the right side of the dirt - and that makes it a good year. As we clean out our files, resurrect our resolutions and prepare for all the fascinating things to come - we have a lot to remember and be thankful for. Happy holidays and Happy New Year to all who read these posts - and our very best wishes for a New Year that is at least as interesting as this one has been and that finds us all wishing each other well, once again! Jon Goodman, President

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