Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seal Beach Changes

Some weeks you never quite know what to expect. This past week certainly was a surprise in many ways. The Chamber suffered a devastating loss, one of our newly installed board members, Beverly Pearce passed away last week.
At the same time, it was a busy week of City Council meetings, Planning Commission, additional community meetings, and the real start of change in our traffic and parking patterns in Seal Beach due to the Electric Storm Drain project and the West OC Connectors projects.
Erik Dreyer-Goldman was out of town with some family emergencies this past week, and our Director of Operations, Gina Phillips, mom had to have open heart surgery. If you would keep all of them in your thoughts, we would appreciate it.
All in all, change came abruptly and in some cases very painfully to our members and supporters of business. Cicero, the great Greek Senator and orator, said over two millennia ago: “History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity.”
In Seal Beach, with the 95th anniversary of Founder’s Day coming up in just a few weeks, what can we learn from history, business decision and cycles of change in our own community.
Firstly, there are those businesses which have been proven over time to be successes: Walt’s Wharf, Hennesey’s, Bay Hardware, Clancy’s, Art on Glass, Sun Newspapers, Harbour Surf, the post office and a few others. They have managed to last for decades and have filled a niche for many of our residents and visitors. They have evolved in small ways, but rather have each become destinations for more than one generation. We should tip our hats to those businesses who have survived more than one down turn in the economy and certainly a boom or two.
Secondly, the historic successes: the Joy Zone with its roller coaster and the Jewel City CafĂ©. There was the remarkable Red Car railway system and the hotels and expanded dining options like Sam’s Seafood (when that part of California was still Seal Beach). If we thought Seal Beach was always a sleepy town, you might be surprised if you saw Vivian Laird’s Garden of Allah and her rakish matchbook advertising. What about the gambling boat run off of the pier in the 30’s? If you look at photos of our Main Street in the 40’s liquor stores and restaurants dominate it. Tourism boomed and caused Seal Beach to thrive. They exploded into prominence like bright fireworks and then faded from view as the region’s demographics and needs changed and the era of the Glider Inn slipped away one night.
As we moved through the late 70s and early 90’s, Seal Beach went through a period of contraction. It wasn’t unusual to see boarded up store fronts on Main Street, a decline in many of the options we now enjoy. We saw restaurants, coffee shops and retail clothing come and go, but some solid businesses arrived and flourished. California Sea Shell Company, Main Street Art & Frame, Baby Boomer and others have made their mark.
By our current decade, we have seen the changes, the new buildings on Main Street and the annexation of what is now the Shops at Rossmoor and the Target shopping center. This started the current upswing in the businesses of Seal Beach.
What can all this teach us? Those cycles continue to move forward and that life brings change. We should be thankful each day for the business and personal successes we have and be a little more gracious about those who might have less or are going through a rough time. We should continue to shop local and find common ground between us. Seal Beach has been a boom town, a shanty town, an older town and a young town. Most importantly, it is our town. It’s success or failures are only our own visage in the mirror of history.

Cool words - linguistic gymnastics

As a consultant and writer, language is important to me. This is provided by the Washington Post in their annual competition:

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. Karmageddon (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.