Small Wonders: Random thoughts on reading

I'm trying to avoid controversial subjects right now.

After a few weeks tackling hot-button issues — religion, politics, slumber parties — and fielding the fiery feedback, I need a breather. But with 38 days left before election day, it's going to be difficult.

Good thing I'm too busy working two jobs so I can pay 30% of my income in taxes, save pennies for a rainy day, afford food, utilities and rent — because even with multiple incomes we can't afford a mortgage in Burbank — or I'd feel like one of those “victims” dependent on government handouts.

Stay focused.

It's 4 a.m. as I write this — taking care of my first job before leaving the house for my second. The world outside is still dreamy as I pierce the darkness with my desk lamp, open the window and feel the cool breeze roll in. The daily newspaper just landed on my driveway with a thud, and I am staring at the blinking cursor on my screen trying to coax a subject from the ether of my foggy brain that I hope you'll enjoy.

I read a recently published comment from a reader (yes, I do care what people are saying about me) that insinuated I don't write enough about local events and places. A fair assessment, I have to admit.

For reasons stated above, it's hard to get out and meet interesting people, chase stories, rake the muck and still have time to make sure my kids know the difference between iPod and iParent.

So, for inspiration, I turn to another window on our community to keep abreast: the Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader websites. Glendale is my hometown; Burbank my adopted home. Like family, they're often infuriatingly frustrating, yet both cities mean more to me than words can describe.

Glendale, dynamic and envious, has a college, a grand shopping district, simmering racial tensions and is in a state of constant makeover attempting to keep up with L.A. and Hollywood. Burbank, contented and complacent, has an airport, movie studios, a troubled police department, Friday night carhops at Bob's Big Boy and fights hard to be a big town rather than a small city.

A recent headline stated, “The latest statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week show Glendale has taken a major economic hit since the recession began in 2007.” I blame all those lazy employees who got themselves laid off when good, hard-working, deregulated bankers consolidated and gambled away their mortgages…

Sorry, trying to stay lighthearted.

“Former Glendale Councilman John Drayman goes with public defender.”

Another entitlement program that needs to be abolished.

Former Glendale Police Chief “Randy Adams takes the 5th 20 times at pension hearing.”

Standing up for the rights of all civil servants who deserve a half-million-dollar annual pension after helping to bankrupt the communities they served.

Speaking of city employees, Burbank City Manager Mike Flad just announced plans to resign even though he has a contract until 2016 making more than $18,000 per month with an annual 3% increase. He worked for the city for 23 years and is only 46. I wonder what we'll be paying him when he retires at 50.

And another headline tells us that, “More Burbank residents were unemployed and without health insurance last year than in 2007 and 2009...” More lazy, dependent people …

I did it again. Sorry. Back on track…

“Burbank police chief appointment may be postponed” due to the imminent departure of the city manager. Has anyone considered why they don't just give the job to “interim” chief Scott LaChasse who, by all accounts, has been doing a yeoman's job for the last three years? Or are they afraid that would hasten his departure?

“Porn star joins valley business leaders in opposing condom requirement for adult film productions.”

I don't have an angle on this headline. Just hoping the word “porn” gets picked up in Google searches and more people read my column.

A quick glance at the “Most Commented” tab on each paper's site indicates that Glendale readers are more engaged with a far greater number of comments even though most devolve to name-calling and racial slurs. Sorry, Burbank. Despite a few of the regular angry rants about Walmart or the nuisance of pigeon feeders, you're just too content.

Controversy, it seems, is all around us. So since I can't avoid it, I challenge readers to a food fight. Which is better, the House Combo sub at Mario's Deli in Glendale, or the Italian Sub at the Handy Market in Burbank?

The first 20 people to try both and email me their conclusions get a free signed copy of my book. I gotta do something to get rid of these things.

PATRICK CANEDAY needs a hug. Friend him on Facebook. Contact him at Read more at

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