I debated for a long time over the title of this post. I thought about using the line from "Total Eclipse of the Heart" ("...living in a pony keg and giving off sparks...") and then I thought I might use the word Flaming, but neither of those addressed the seriousness of the situation.
So here's what's been going on in the City of Angels these past few days: yesterday morning there was a huge protest in front of City Hall against the passage of Prop 8, which essentially wrote discrimination into the California constitution with the words "a marriage is between a man and a woman". I tend to try to be a moderating voice in this conversation: I am not gay, but I support my gay friends and their desire for gay marriage, and obviously they are very offended by this passage. However, I think people's reasons for voting for the Proposition in question might have been a lot more nuanced than the gay community realizes. Nonetheless, I was disturbed by the fact that the Mormon church poured so much of its money into the Yes on Prop 8 effort, including people taking money out of their savings to "benefit their children's future"? Huh? By taking money out of their college fund? Also, I was angered by the fact that it affected the state constitution, in that even if people need time to warm up to the idea of gay marriage, well, tough, because it's already in the constitution! Can't change your minds ... or can you? The legal challenges abound here and I suspect the issue is not anywhere near being resolved. Here are some photos....
Lots of people, probably more than reported
At least the Times staff didn't have to go far
Mayor Tony came to the rally and spoke, and when he was done he said he had to get back to the fires. "What fires?" I asked. I thought he had gone up to Santa Barbara to help them out. Then I heard....more fires broke out overnight in someplace called Sylmar. And then there were some in Orange County, and someplace else. I heard that there were hurricane force winds and that the fires had jumped a couple of highways. With a high of 95 degrees on Saturday November 15, a relative humidity of 9%, and a dew point of 21 degrees (you'd have to freeze the air to get any moisture out of it), conditions were ripe for a fire. You might even say we're living in the greatest pile of tinder in the United States, and once you add the Santa Ana winds into the mix, you get what we got: a firestorm. Many fire chiefs have been quoted in the news as saying that the fires never used to be this bad, or this often; well, I suspect it never used to be this dry, either. But that's what global warming has gotten us. Here's some photos of the air around Downtown LA today, November 16 - it's absolutely awful, it stinks of smoke, and my eyes are burning a little. Notice how blue the sky is in the photo above, just a day earlier.
No this is not smog, it's smoke
This is in the middle of the day! 1 pm! Not early evening as it looks....
This is normally a much nicer view. Today, yuck.