By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
There are 3,000 homeless children in the city of Long Beach. I don't know about you, but I find that hilarious.
Cue the piteous waifs from OliverTwist:"Please, sir, may I have some more?" (You have to read that in a Keanu Reeves-ishly terrible British piteous-waif accent.) Or the old InLivingColorsketch: "Mama? Please don't eat the government cheese!" (You have to read that like a mid-20s actress playing a googly-eyed ghetto kid.) Which is it? More cheese, or no cheese? Yes on gruel, no on hash? And if they're so homeless, why don't they just get a job? I, for instance, am a pundit, and it's a job I totally recommend. I go some places, I have some drinks, I read some blogs, and I live in a state of perpetual outrage. I like outrage! It makes me feel so outrageously alive!
Which is why I will be watching Revelationson NBC this coming Wednesday, which will be last Wednesday once you read this, so you're going to have to wait till next week's issue (which for me will be two weeks, or something) to read all about it, at which point it will be incredibly dated, but you will read it anyway because I am a pundit and what I say goes, except for my solution to the abortion debate. Ain't nobody listening to that.
I now officially have no idea what I was talking about. Oh! Jobs! Like mine!
Punditry is not just a noble calling—in that it pays me handsomely—it's also one with flexible hours and little supervision. It would even let the childrens work from home . . . if they had one!
Grubby, stenchy children.
Since these little WalkerEvansbait can't all be me, I've had to give the issue a bit more thought, which as you know I don't like to do. (Being a pundit, like being the president, is hard work—especially if you're a woman, like me and Maureen Dowd. Mo? Nobody likes a whiner.) And on the blogs, which do a lot of my thinking for me, I have read that Armyrecruitments are way off target. Why not make like the Stingsong and have us a whole new Children's Crusade? To be fair, following the lines about "corpulent generals safe behind lines" and "history's lessons drowned in red wine," Sting went on to make it a song about dope, which, if you've seen any old Policevideos in which they're dancing around the studio, you'd know Sting has never, ever done.
Can you believe I used to love Sting? To be fair, I was 13, and the stuff 13-year-olds like today is even way more stupid. And speaking of stupid—not to mention grubby and stenchy—I cannot freaking wait for the new Britneyand Kev-Kev reality show, which KevinFederlinedescribed poetically as "a documentation of love." I love love!
But we are speaking of homeless children.
Remember when the whole country was gripped by the plight of the homeless? People actually noticed there was a problem, instead of just blaming teachers and Mexicans. I recall that RonaldReagan(who was not at all culpable for the mentally ill living on the streets) was president at the time, and ketchup was a vegetable—not to mention James Watt.
Ooh! Snap again!
There was widespread unemployment but 20 pages' worth of help-wanted ads in the WashingtonPost, which el Prez never tired of waving around in a crotchety manner.
To be fair, they were mostly ads for engineers and stuff, which, to be fair again (and frankly, it's really getting tiring; now I know why FoxNewsjust dispenses with the whole scam), most homeless guys were not.
Oh, how I miss that sainted man.
* * *
Homeless people like Long Beach. I know that because I always see that old cat who dances outside the BlueCafťon Sundays; dude's got a sharp moonwalk by way of Cab Calloway. Homeless people also like to have scabies, which I found out the hard way when I was living in Santa Barbara (which homeless people like, too) and used to actually touch them. Sadly, the whole town ended up with scabies—because if I'm getting scabies, then goddamn it, everyone's getting scabies. I'm pretty sure there's a plague of scabies in Revelations,right after the fundies string up all the scientists.
I was very popular.
Saturday night, following a rather expensive trip with my small buttercup of a son (often both grubby and stenchy himself) to see TheLionKingat the OrangeCountyPerformingArtsCenter(the play would have been great if they'd kept the choreography, the costumes and the African rhythms and just cut out all the LionKingsongs, dialogue and plot), I made my way back to the LBC for a benefit for the Play House.
The Play House serves 35 of Long Beach's homeless children, aged six weeks to five years, at a time; all told, they end up serving about 300 kids per year. Staff are trained in the kids' myriad special needs, from the prevalent anger-management issues to the desperate need to just see the same people each day. They've got a washroom, so they can give the children baths when they are stinky, and they've got a kitchen, so they can feed the children when they'd like a little nosh. Personally, I think this makes children soft, but Theresa Bixby, who helps raise the center's annual $400,000 operating budget, claims it's quite good for them. One child used to cower in fear at everyone, she said, and then his mother said that one day, when they were at the grocery store, he smiled at people, and when the checker said hello to him, he said hello right back.
And so I went and, following a full four days on the wagon, had a couple of drinks for the kids.
The folks hanging out and getting hammered (for the kids) were a strikingly pretty bunch, if a bit USCfor my tastes, who had all been friends since high school. They gabbed and schmoozed and scammed on one another, and the women, though cute and well-put-together, weren't put-together in that off-putting Newport Beach way where "casual" means a 40-minute blow-dry with a $300-jeans-and-Manolos chaser. While they threw themselves a fun party, with the dance floor always full, it was in no way at the expense of the charity itself, which raised about 11 grand. Food, for instance, was a non-flashy taco buffet, and the drinks, though copious, were in no way free.
And Cartier didn't give anyone a gift for attending.
I go to a lot of benefits—for the presents—and this might have been the most down-to-earth yet. And unlike Tom DeLay's children's charity, Celebrations for Children, I don't believe the money raised goes to throw GOP events, parties and luxury cruises, though if I happened to be on the luxury cruise, I'd probably be down with that. Just to be fair.
FOR MORE INFO, GO TO CHILDRENTODAY.ORG.