Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Local Spider Determined To Save Democracy Spins Messages Of Advocacy In Canoga Park Webs

 By Nita Keswick, Quilt staff

DATELINE: JORDAN AVENUE







A common orb weaver spider has taken it upon herself to save democracy, neĆ©, the entire USA, by skillfully crafting messages in her surprisingly colorful webs, encouraging citizens to exercise their right to vote. 


The busy, agenda-driven spider, presumed to be of the genus arachnida politica, has displayed her work around a  number of trees and poles on Jordan Ave near Saticoy, in Canoga Park’s civic-minded Jordicoy neighborhood. 


The peppy little spider, inset, with two examples of her work.    Staff photos.

The word “Vote” has appeared multiple times, but residents of the area report seeing other messages, including “Some Candidate,” “Radiant,” “Humble,” “Terrific,” and “Hand-Made Pupusas 2$ each.”


Says Elkwood Street resident Bryan Rauschebart, “I’m glad she decided to eventually go with a more non-partisan approach and just weave ‘Vote’ in her webs. ‘Terrific’ sounded a little too Trumpian for me, and I’m solidly behind Kanye — if only ironically, because this state’s going for Biden anyway.


“But that bit about the pupusas really burned me up. The dollar sign goes before the numeral, not after. When will this country learn?”


                                                                                               Staff photos.
The spider responsible for the message-laden webs was unavailable for comment as it had been, just days before the election, snatched off its web, and just as quick as you please, gobbled up by a hungry crow.


Correction: Seems it wasn’t a spider responsible for the messages, but an anonymous knitter into what the kids these days call “yarn bombing.”  We regret the error.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Distance, Mindfulness Among Changes To Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

By Ingomar Schoenborn, Quilt staff



DATELINE: SHERMAN WAY

It wouldn’t be the last Monday of May in the west San Fernando Valley without the parade honoring those who’ve died while serving in the U.S. armed forces — but due to this year’s feisty coronavirus, staging the popular procession in a mindful way has given local officials a unique set of problems.

The Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade in happier, less pandemic-y times. Staff photo.
“The Memorial Day Parade is Canoga Park’s biggest annual event and draws enormous crowds,” says Murla Havemeyer, Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council’s Chairperson of Parade Organizement. “Ordinarily that's great, but not with this COVID-19 thing trending. So rather than cancel the parade, we decided to figure a way to accommodate spectators and participants alike in a safe, responsible way — while being mindful.”
Murla Havemeyer, CPFNC's
Head of Parade Organizement

The solution? Space the crowds out. The parade has traditionally run along Sherman Way from Owensmouth Avenue to Mason Avenue for a total of 1.25 miles with crowds four and five people deep lining both sides of the street for its entire length. This year, however, to properly socially distance the estimated 30,000 spectators who are likely to attend, the parade route will extend eastward for an approximately fifteen additional miles to the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

“We’ve had crews out this week marking off six-foot intervals and taping down approved viewing spaces on the sidewalks from here into Winnetka, Reseda, Lake Balboa, Van Nuys, Valley Glen, North Hollywood, all the way into Burbank. We’re mindful of the fact that Memorial Day is less than two weeks away but anticipate they should be done in time for the parade on Monday, May 25.”

Those hoping to show their patriotism by attending need only find an unoccupied Individual Parade Enviewment Location and stand directly on it while the parade files by. 
Taped directly to the sidewalk six feet apart, these Parade Enviewment mats will help spectators
across the San Fernando Valley to enjoy the parade while maintaining crucial social distancing.
Simply find a vacant mat and stand directly on it as the Memorial Day parade passes. Staff photo.
There have been changes for those participating in the parade as well, says Havemeyer.

“Since we’ll be crawling along at a little over two miles an hour across the entire length of the valley, [parade vehicle] drivers need to be mindful and prepare for a seven hour trip. That means a full tank of gas and an empty Big Gulp cup in the seat next to you in case you need it.” 

A brief pitstop is scheduled at the Hazeltine ARCO in Van Nuys, notes Havemeyer, to accommodate antique cars with smaller tanks or particularly inefficient gas mileage, and those who “can’t hold it any longer.” 

This clean, friendly ARCO station in Van Nuys marks the halfway point in this year's parade — and a welcome
"pit-stop" for those needing to gas up a parade vehicle, urinate — or even defecate.  Photo credit: Google Maps.
Anyone without a Big Gulp cup who doesn’t think they’ll make it to that halfway point are are advised to wear suitable protective undergarments “especially if you’re riding as a guest in a classic car with vintage fabric seats. Our insurance only covers so much.”

Parade participants marching on foot are advised to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to traverse the entire route. “We really want to be mindful about putting on a good show for the crowds from here to Burbank so we’ve given the Pierce College Winnetka ROTC Drill Team the go-ahead to use their bayonets to prod along anyone who starts to lag behind.”


Horses, like this one from the 2015 parade, will be part of this year's event, but
only if horse and passenger are both mindful of going the distance. Staff photo.
Dancing horses, always a popular element of the festivities, will be included this year as well. Vaqueros have been asked to include only their most healthy animals that have the stamina to gaily prance and frolic for the entirety of the 16+ mile distance. “We don’t want a ‘Santa Anita racetrack situation’ taking place in the middle of Sherman Way,” says Havemeyer.  “We’re trying to be especially mindful of any kids watching.”
Jason Valsera, teen tubadour.
Music is a big part of any good parade and the organizement committee has been mindful to make sure to include plenty of marching bands this year as always — with specific modifications.

Stoney Point High School senior Jason Valsera says he’s mindful of the challenges this year’s parade brings. “We’re doing our best. But now that we have to march single file and the band will be stretched out over 250 yards, we need to play a lot louder so we’re all on the same measure.  

“And with the muffling from that N-95 tuba mask I’m required to put on my instrument, that’s not going to be easy.”

Correction: Seems the parade has been canceled this year. We regret the error.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Still No Date Set For Canoga Park Barbershops To Remove Brown Paper From Windows, Let Customers In Through Front Door Again And Pretend To Reopen

By Blythe Moorcroft, Quilt staff



DATELINE: SHERMAN WAY


Despite LA County officials announcing the allowment of the reopenization of some retail shops as soon as Friday, barbers across Canoga Park are frustrated by the lack of an official date to act like they’re suddenly reopening.

“We’d love to pull that paper off our windows and be able to stop whispering in case anyone’s walking by,” says DeShawn Gillard of Trimz, Clipz ‘n’ Cutz Barberz on Sherman Way. “And by that I mean, of course we’ve been closed. I myself have been, uh, at home, taking a Master Class on acting taught by, oh, Dame Helen Mirren to pass the time, let’s say. I most certainly have not been here every day unlocking the door for customers who knock three times, then two times, then three times again, 10 am to 6 pm. 

“Again, that’s three times, then two, then three.”

Sign in a window of one of the thousands of barber shops located throughout Canoga Park that have
been closed since March due to COVID-19 and patiently await the go-ahead to reopen.  Staff photo.
Bernice Solverson of Canoga Park’s Chamber of Commerce, says that with nine out of every ten businesses in Canoga Park operating as a barber shop, and entire blocks of Sherman Way storefronts being comprised of nothing but barber shops, “the barber shop industry is as important economically to 21st century Canoga Park as the aerospace industry was to 1960s Canoga Park.”  

She estimates that of the nearly 43,000 people living in Canoga Park, over 38,000 of them own local barbershops or make their living as barbers, or in a barber-adjacent field, such as hair-sweeping, organizing racks of old magazines, or more recently, taping large pieces of brown kraft paper to store windows. “We need to let these people pretend to get back to work!” says Solverson.

Ernesto Almazan of Homiez ‘n’ Thugz Haircutterz agrees, “Man, this last month and a half has been a pain in the ass— getting the word out, answering the phone in code, deciding if they’re cool, and making sure they come in through the back! Sheesh!

“...Eh, that is to say, we’ve all been closed, sitting at home bingeing, oh, ‘Tiger King’ or some shit.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Once Rowdy ‘Dystopian Toilet,’ Much of Canoga Park Reverts To ‘Pleasant Middle-Class Neighborhood’ Due To Pandemic Lockdown, Say Locals

By Sherman Farralone, Quilt staff

DATELINE: OLD TOWN CANOGA PARK

Residents throughout the Old Town region of Canoga Park say they’re astonished by the change that the shelter-in-place order has had on their once-raucous community.

“It’s as though I'm suddenly living in a completely different neighborhood,” Ted Pasternak, a furloughed pool filter assembler says. “—namely the good part of the West Valley—if the people living in the good part of the West Valley dumped mattresses, old tires and broken furniture at the curbs in front of their own property.”

With residents forced to stay at home, the normally cacophonous neighborhood — known for its wall-to-wall noise on weekends due to block after block of competing parties with loud, amplified live music, the sources of which somehow elude even the most clever LAPD officers — has been “as peaceful and quiet as the much-nicer, south-of-Ventura-Boulevard part of Woodland Hills, where I lie and tell co-workers that I live,” notes Alisha Pfeiffer-Gonzalez, a furloughed dental hygienist and Valerio Street resident.

Others echo her sentiments.

“It’s like I’ve been magically transported back in time to the pleasant, middle-class neighborhood that used to exist on this very spot just a few years ago,” says furloughed retiree Howard Villafuerte, “and not the dystopian toilet this area has become since then. I’m living in a frickin’ Jack Finney story and I don’t want it to end!”


Once-bustling Sherman Way has become "so quiet you could hear a bowling pin rolling down the middle
of the road," says one resident, who was evidently trying to convey something or other.   Staff photo.

Experts, however, warn that the serenity won’t last forever.  

“Enjoy it while you can,” advises Dr. Morris Detzer, a professor (furloughed) of cultural anthropology at Pierce College Winnetka. “Because the second this order is lifted: Get ready for three solid months of New Year’s Eve-level house parties, if New Year's Eve fell on the same night as the International Mariachi Competition finals and they were held in the 9th Circle of Hell using speakers that the Who rejected in 1976 for being too loud.

"That said, yes, it's going to suck. But on the plus side? The return of unlicensed vendors selling cheap, delicious sidewalk tacos!"


Correction: Unlicensed vendors selling cheap, delicious sidewalk tacos never went away. We regret the error.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Protective Gloves Outnumber Condoms Among Filthy Latex Discarded On West Valley Sidewalks and Parking Lots

By Nita Keswick, Quilt staff

DATELINE: RALPHS SHOPPING CENTER

The familiar sight of the used condom — a ubiquitous presence on sidewalks, high school courtyards, parking lots and other public places in the West San Fernando Valley — has suddenly taken a back seat to disposable gloves, which now surpass the prophylactic sheath by a ratio of more than twenty to one, according to data compiled by the Canoga Park Department of Latex, which tracks such trends.

Toodle-loo, Trojans; Later, LifeStyles: Discarded latex gloves, not used condoms, are what's trending
now on the fashionable sidewalks, parking lots and public thoroughfares of Canoga Park. Staff photos.
“Used to be you couldn’t walk ten feet without squishing a used [condom],” says Reseda resident Lupe Darula as she transferred 12-packs of Angel Soft two-ply from her shopping cart into her car outside Ralphs on Sherman Way. “These days, it’s those gloves. They’re everywhere.  I guess because of this coronavirus thing, people just aren’t having sex in parking lots anymore.”

“It's sad, really. I don't know if we'll ever get back to the way things were, she wondered aloud as she peeled off her own gloves, dropping one on the cart's flip-up child seat, and shooting the other across the parking lot. 

“Ooh, look — I got some good distance with that one.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

LA River Runs Clear For First Time In Centuries As Coronavirus Lockdown Decreases Shopping Cart Traffic, Feces

By Ingomar Schoenborn, Quilt staff

DATELINE: THE LOS ANGELES RIVER

They say every virus has a silver membrane and COVID-19 — or “Chinaman’s Complaint,” as the White House has dubbed it — is no different.  Canoga Park’s expanse of the Los Angeles River is flowing crystal clear once again, due to the lack of shopping cart traffic and human effluvia, or huffluvia, in the picturesque concrete sluice since Eric Garcetti, a mayor with the City of Los Angeles, issued his recent mandatory “Aw, Gosh, We Sure Love Ya — So Stay At Home, Huh, Angelenos?” order.

Free of shopping carts and human waste, the LA River's waters run clear and pure. Staff photo.
The edict has had a “trickle-down” effect that benefited the river almost immediately, notes Donald Culross, head of the Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Beautifization Committee. “With everyone stuck at home, no one’s calling in complaints about homeless people living on sidewalks and around freeway off ramps,” explains Culross. So the housing-deficient are free to stay there rather than be forced to move to the largely unpatrolled LA River, its sheltered underpasses and its ‘Greenway’ biking, walking and dog-shitting paths, which they traditionally befoul with stolen shopping carts and excrement. ...Mostly excrement.”

The change has brought “back the crystal blue waters of ancient times, those of the pre-homeless epidemic,” according to Culross. “There was even reports of a dolphin frolicking upstream towards the DeSoto Avenue Overpass.”

Correction: What was described as a frolicking dolphin was in fact a waterlogged possum clinging to an empty 2-liter Jarritos tamarind soda bottle, and headed downstream. We regret the error.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Canoga Park Man Credits Girl Scouts For COVID-19 Preparedness

By Blythe Moorcroft, Quilt staff






DATELINE: VASSAR AVENUE

A Canoga Park man says he’s grateful to the Girl Scouts for helping him prepare for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Teodor “Ted” Pasternak says he has West Valley troops to thank for all the extra groceries and supplies he stockpiled weeks ago that are now getting him through the current self-quaranisolation.

“The second I started seeing posts on Facebook and Nextdoor about ‘Girl Scout Cookie Season’ in late January, I ran out and bought everything I needed for the next three months — twelve cases of Spaghettios, eight cases of vodka, one package of toilet paper, everything a single guy could ever need.” says the recently unemployed pool filter assembler.  “That way I didn’t have to go back to grocery stores during the epidemic — the epidemic of pushy little girls harassing and hassling me once they set up their folding tables outside the front doors of these places, that is!”

Clockwise from top right: Off-brand cookies, random little girl, nourishing Spaghettios, Pasternak.

“Every year, there they are, ready to pounce, when you’re going in and when when you’re coming back out, with the ‘Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?’" Pasternak sneers.  "It’s like walking a frickin’ gauntlet. Look, those cookies aren’t cheap and every year the boxes gets smaller.  Five dollars?! Get outta here!”

Ironically, one thing the wonderfully misanthropic Pasternak did not stock up on was cookies. 

“And I could really go for some of those peanut butter cookies now. Not the ‘sandwich’ ones. Those are garbage. No, the patties — the good ones,” he says. “Dollar Tree sells the exact same cookies for a buck, thank God. I may be intimidated by a bunch of eight-year-old girls, but I'm no fool — I’ll take my chances against the virus for a package of those things! Hand me that face mask! I’m headin’ out!”