2013 endings: Columnist Patt Morrison on what she won’t miss
Give him credit -- he was magnificent in his brazen deception. The cyclist was a cottage industry of cliche turned real -- the epitome of triumph over adversity who invited all of us to share the dream. How many of those Livestrong bracelets went into the trash after his ways were unmasked in what the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said was “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport [cq] has ever seen”? He trashed people who talked about his doping, then complained about his mistreatment. Speaking of brazen: He was ordered to return his Olympic bronze medal.
Runner-up: Dwight Howard, who, having left the Lakers, is now welcome to sit in the Rockets’ fancy new locker room and down all the Skittles and Reese’s Pieces he likes.
After L.A. voters told the City Council to cull the herd, the city called “time” on the farcical hundreds of dispensaries that never seemed to be clustered around hospitals and medical centers but weren’t hard to find near the Venice boardwalk -- just follow the strapping young men to the sign of the anodyne leaf. Now we’re down to about 130 that were grandfathered in. Santa Monica is considering letting two of them open near the city’s big medical complexes. Whittier has banned them outright. Footnote to that: The middle name of the poet for whom the city was named is “Greenleaf.”
It’s gone, thankfully, from the state’s menus and soup bowls. Every year, more than 70 million sharks were being killed just for their fins. Some of them were just hauled out of the ocean, had their fins sliced off and were dumped back into the water, bleeding, to drown. Shark finning has killed as much as 90% of the hammerhead shark population. And yet we get hysterical when sharks kill a handful of humans every year? Shark fins belong on sharks, not in soup bowls.
The filibuster, or the threat of one, has kept major issues from getting voted on by the entire Senate. Republicans say Democrats will rue the day they changed the rules of the filibuster, but the country is ruing it already, with the failure of important legislation that had a majority of Senate votes. A tool of democracy had become a tool of paralysis. Of the nearly 170 filibusters of judicial and executive branch nominations in Senate history, about half have been played since President Obama took office. What flipped the “nuclear” switch was Republicans’ limp argument that it was blocking White House nominees to the influential D.C. Circuit Court because, um, uh, the court didn’t have very much to do and didn’t need its usual number of judges; yeah, that’s it!
The luminous lime-green color laid down for 1.4 miles of new bike lanes turned out to be exactly the wrong green for movie people, so intense and bright that it couldn’t be effectively erased because its color saturated everything in the shot, including the actors’ faces. Given that the street, in front of City Hall and the new LAPD headquarters, is photographed almost as often as Katy Perry, the city agreed to a new, more photogenic paint and a new paint configuration. This presaged more two-front exercises: The city has to get along with Hollywood and with the ardent biking community.
Above: Film crews work on the show “Ringer” as a cyclist rides by in the old green bike lane on Spring Street in March 2012.
San Diego’s first Democratic mayor in the nonpartisan job in more than 20 years was out of his job in less than a year. He was accused of sexual harassment by many women -- a former admiral, a great-grandmother, a Marilyn Monroe impersonator -- and agreed to resign as the city agreed to pay some of his legal bills. He pleaded guilty to a felony and two misdemeanors. Surely Filner is wondering how he came to lose his job while the crack-smoking, hooker-consorting mayor of Toronto still finds himself in office -- albeit sidelined from power -- and something of a cult figure; signed bobbleheads of him are selling on EBay for hundreds (Canadian).
Above: Filner speaks at a news conference in San Diego on July 26.
Three words from the 15th century: Joan of Arc. Four words from President Obama: “Valor knows no gender.” Ending this ban may do the additional duty of ending the volume of sexual harassment of women in uniform, and permitting women to break the military’s promotional glass ceiling of combat experience.
More buildup than a royal wedding, more mess-up than the Obamacare website. The consequences, including a drop in stock prices and a dent in gleaming images from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, were a dash of cold water on the swooning over tech values.
Above: A view of the Apple iPhone displaying the Facebook app’s splash screen in front of the login page on May 10.
Nearly five years after California voters, by about a four-point margin, banned same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that those who were fighting to uphold Proposition 8 didn’t have the legal standing to keep up the argument, and Gov. Jerry Brown ordered same-sex marriages to resume. Sixteen states have legalized same-sex marriage. Move along, nothing to see.
Above: Hundreds of people celebrate the Supreme Court ruling striking down Proposition 8 and allowing same-sex marriage in California during a rally in West Hollywood on June 26. (Los Angeles Times)
It seemed to go on longer than Sarah Bernhardt’s. There was a City Hall lawn festival with Bill Clinton and Stevie Wonder (Villaraigosa shot video of the crowd around him); culinary stops at Pink’s and Philippe’s, and presiding at the wedding of two plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case. He departed to several jobs: advisor to Herbalife, visiting fellow at Harvard and consultant to the Bipartisan Policy Center, to USC (his alma mater is UCLA) and Edelman, an international PR company -- one of whose clients, as The Times pointed out, is a man campaigning against Herbalife’s practices. (Getting ready to run for governor is not actually a job in the classic definition.)
Above: Villaraigosa, center, with Wonder, left, and Clinton at Grand Park on June 7.
Those brown eyes, that curly hair, that “Rolling Stone” cover photo. The startling and icky phenom had girls and women clamoring online that the surviving brother-suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was “too beautiful” to go to prison, “too beautiful” to be guilty. We haven’t heard as much from them since the case has moved along, and since Tsarnaev’s dead brother has been linked to the 2011 triple murder of some friends. Even Richard Ramirez, the serial-killer Night Stalker, who obliged the world by dying this year, had swooning female fans. And a 25-year-old girl vows that she’s affianced to 79-year-old serial killer Charles Manson. Love conquers all -- all good judgment.
Above: Jennifer Michio, left, from Mashantucket, Conn., and Duke La Touf, right, of Las Vegas, stand in support of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev outside the federal courthouse before his arraignment in Boston on July 10.
Los Angeles, the city, finally joined Los Angeles, the county, and other California cities and counties in banning free single-use plastic bags. Jubilo. The noxious things that blow like indestructible dandelion puffs, that curl around your feet like kelp, that hang in the trees like deflated condoms, are now being banished from stores as of 2014. One thing fewer that I don’t have to stop and pick up off the street because someone else didn’t.
Above: A plastic shopping bag at the Calabasas landfill.
I’m delighted to say buh-bye to the actor’s nice-guy face. The Bad Alec Baldwin is much more amusing in his choleric outbursts at tabloids, the paparazzi, flight attendants and on his daughter’s voicemail. Good Alec Baldwin kept it together long enough to land a show on MSNBC, a slot that now perhaps a real journalist can fill, while Bad Alec Baldwin goes on keeping us entertained, in this latest instance doubling down by blaming the “fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy” for his getting the TV hook. Talk on, Bad Alec Baldwin!
Above: Baldwin attends “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” at the Sackler Gallery in Washington on Oct. 17.