Saturday, November 19, 2011


Problem: The plaza area of Hermosa Beach is burdened with drunks on weekends and all through the summer. No surprise, really, because as far as the eye can see there are bars and restaurants. Many and penetrating are the howls of outrage from the owners of the million dollar mansions that abut it -- noise, drunks urinating on house walls lawns, patios and the fights. The police are resigned to double the numbers of attempted rape on weekends.

Solution: A Hermosa Beach man wrote the newspaper to suggest "pedestrian checks." He pointed out that vehicles are routinely stopped at checkpoints for signs of alcohol abuse by the driver.

He suggests a police perimeter around the entrance/exit to the plaza. You would be told to walk a straight line or blow into a breathalyzer. If guilty, your shoes would be instantly impounded for 30 days and your forehead would be stamped in fluorescent ink "DRUNK." The ink eventually wears off, but you better call in sick until it does.

Shades of Sheriff Joe in Arizona, but possibly effective.

Problem: The very high cost of obituaries in the United States. A double column width, six inches deep in the LA Times could run as much as $3,000 times the number of days it runs. It's as if newspaper management is thinking, "This is our last chance to get money off of this dude - sock it to hiim!"

Solution: From our Netanya, Israel, correspondent who writes, "A month before you die, become Jewish and come to Israel. If you don't need to be in a specific place in the cemetery like next to Hubbie, it's free.

No obituaries - you do have to buy some printed notices which you pin up on trees or in specific places in the town. Other than that, it's word of mouth. When you have to be under ground within 24 hours, there is no time for fancy, schmancy notices and choice of coffins -- oh, yes -- no coffin.

As for the mourners, you show up at the funeral in whatever you are wearing - no need to rush out and buy a new black outfit. The chief mourners definitely don't wear their best clothes because, as the Bible dictates (I've forgotten what it does dictate) but it does end up with their clothes beng cut with a razor blade, just a little cut, but not something you would want on your Versace.

No profits made on funerals here. There are some payments to various official bodies, but overall a pretty cheap affair.

On that cheerful note - have a nice day and live a long and happy life!"

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