New clinic dedicated

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WEST COVINA — JUST once, we’d like to hear a politician running for office say let’s not reinvent the wheel when it comes to healthcare but instead let’s look at replicating successful programs.

One of those success stories is the East Valley Community Health Center in West Covina, which christened its bigger and better facility Wednesday morning. (I first wrote about this in a July blog entry)

It’s hard to find any good news these days, especially about health care. Yet this place is a good news story.

Now that they got the thing built, the problem will be: Can they keep it operating? And can they fill the building’s capacity by expanding service? They may get some new money from the county, thanks to Supervisor Gloria Molina. But the state is talking more cutbacks. Stay tuned.

Really, why can’t these healthcare clinics get funded from all that Prop. 5 money, the tax on cigarettes? The clinic operators should incorporate stop-smoking programs. That should fulfill the spirit of that law. Also, there is tobacco settlement dollars? It’s time to fund healthcare, a need that is only growing as people lose their jobs and also lose their healthcare insurance.

It’s that, or the emergency rooms get even more croweded with the uninsured.

Paintings of Pollock?

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A look at “Revelation 1″ the largest painting of 17 attributed to Jackson Pollock which were on display at APU’s Duke Gallery.

AZUSA – The folks at Azusa Pacific University may have achieved what they wanted. A lot of publicity.

When I visited the gallery to see the paintings potentially done by Jackson Pollock last weekend, there were two men there who were asking a lot of questions. Both were interested in learning more about the largest canvas, the one in the photograph at the top of this entry. They wanted to see the back of the painting, to see if the paint had bled through. They wanted to hold the canvas up to a light source. They even wanted to know how the painting got its title.

I’m hearing that the university has had offers to buy the paintings. That could generate millions for the university, since the owner is willing to donate some of the proceeds from a sale. The last authenticated Pollock sold for $140 million.

Of course, these have not been authenticated. And therein lies the rub.
The university’s newspaper, The Clause, quoted APU Executive Vice President David Bixby as saying: “there is a significant difference in the price of paintings attributed to Pollock — millions of dollars difference.”

It’s too bad that the paintings could not or have not been tested. The university exhibit included a letter from a University of Oregon scientist who studied the fractal patterns of this works verses other Pollocks. He said they resemble those of the 20th centurty abstract expressionist.

Bixby was quoted as saying “There is growing evidence that these are, in fact, Pollock’s … the evidence is very compelling.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of price these paintings are sold for. Of course, let the buyer beware.

Keeping it close to home

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THE economy is in the toilet, unemployment is off the charts and there are two presidential candidates that I don’t think know much about derivatives or their bastard cousin, credit default swaps.

That being said, I went looking to bury my head in a distraction. In October there’s no better way to do the ostrich thing than at a baseball game.

Baseball has been on my mind lately because of the looming destruction of Yankee Stadium. That grand old place in the Bronx was where my father, myself, and my brother and sisters would experience an American distraction together.

As Yogi Berra said, they can tear it down but my memories of the place will never be destroyed. Memories of walking past the endless marble steps of the U.S. courthouse to get to the stadium. Of that splash of green that hits the eye like a fluorescent Warhol at the end of the upper deck tunnel. Of talking baseball minutia with other grandstanders whom I had never met until that day.

My dad liked doubleheaders. In between games, I’d find my way down to the Yankee Stadium Museum and lift up the phones that played the famous calls: Lou Gehrig’s farewell; Don Larsen’s perfect game during the 1956 World Series; Mickey Mantle’s 500th homer. Chills would run up my back and tickle the sweat beads there as I listened to the scratchy recordings.

“We usually sat in the upper grandstands. Dad liked that the best. We’d be under the overhang,” wrote my older sister, Loretta, who lives in Upstate New York. “Mom would make us like 10 ham and cheese sandwiches and a soda in a big bag. Then, Dad would buy us an ice cream or something special.”

I was born the year the referendum allowing construction of Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine passed — 50 years ago in April. Dodger fans have memories there, as I do of Yankee Stadium, that could fill a lifetime.

What sears baseball memories into the brain is not nine guys playing a game in baggy pants, but rather, a family connecting through baseball’s timeline. Since they’ve been playing this game for more than 100 years, each generation of fans can connect through the timeless game. When my dad would tell me about sneaking into the Polo Grounds, it reminded me of a friend of my wife’s who told me Thursday night she would get into Yankee Stadium by climbing through an 18-inch gap between the subway platform and the House That Ruth Built.

Since 1979, I’ve become an Angels fan (it started while I was attending UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton) and have had my share of bonding moments at Angel Stadium. My wife and I would take our sons and sit out on the picnic tables in center field. Our oldest, Matt, 18, grew up liking former Angel great Tim Salmon. As a toddler, he cried during the homerun fireworks, I’ll always remind him.

As I got busy with marriage, work and starting a family, baseball took a back seat. Funny, once I became a father it became more important. It became more than a distraction. Being a baseball fan meant extending a family connection.

My younger sister, Grace, who lives in Kansas with her husband and family, will never forget our baseball moment. On Oct. 14 1976, we watched Chris Chambliss smack a walk-off homerun into the seats of Yankee Stadium, sending our Yanks to their first World Series in our lifetime.

On Wednesday night, I went looking for some distraction but that turned to numbing reality. There would be no joy in Anaheim that night. The Angels had lost.
As I write this, I’m waiting for my younger son, Andy, 16, to meet me here at work so together we could see Game 2 of the Angels-Red Sox playoffs Friday night. Win or lose, joy or disappointment, we’ll be making a new memory.

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