Six Degrees of City Hall and Cyprus

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Passage of time has turned two city halls in our region into recognizable landmarks: Los Angeles and Pasadena. It will be interesting to see if the new Newport Beach City Hall has that kind of staying power.

Of course the new building is not without its critics. No doubt some of you think we should move Richard Jackson’s “Bad Dog” sculpture from the Orange County Museum of Art on San Clemente Drive to the new city hall. If you haven’t driven by to check it out, “Bad Dog” is a giant Black Labrador puppy who has raised his right leg over the roof of the OCMA building to make a statement some might find appropriate for the City’s expensive new home.

Actually I like the new city hall, and the park next door, and I have a better idea. Some of you may have seen pictures of Claes Oldenbergs’ giant sculpture of a spoon holding a bright red cherry. It’s called “Spoonbridge and Cherry,” and is in Minneapolis in a sculpture garden the City runs in conjunction with its Walker Art Center. There are now 40 works of art in the garden, and it has become a tourist attraction in its own right.

“Bad Dog” could be a focal point for our own sculpture garden. There is already a fun piece of sculpture just down the road in front of the Newport Beach Library. It is a Friendship Sculpture from our sister city, Okazaki Japan. And just this week, the City Council okayed a temporary spot at the new Civic Center for local artist  Sarah Wilkinson’s “Uprooted II” sculpture. Now if we can just figure out how to work in that statue of the Duke from the airport, we might have the start of something interesting.

You can check out “Bad Dog” at OCMA through May 5 and make up our own mind.

Six degrees of separation is the theory that it takes a maximum of six steps for any of us to connect to anyone else on earth. You may find it unnerving to discover you are less than six people away from the Kardashians, but it does help explain events that seem unrelated.

For example, I’ll bet you don’t know anyone on the island of Cyprus. The place has about a third the population of Tijuana and is much farther away. Yet concern over the fate of their banks has kept the Dow Jones and your retirement portfolio in limbo for much of the past month.

See how easy that was. In just four steps I took you from your arm chair to the Kardashians to Cyprus to the wasteland that is your retirement account. Give me two more steps and I’ll put you on a disabled cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s amazing how events interrelate. Just last month I claimed Congress would only be playing catch-up if they raised the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour. Some of you were skeptical, but, just a week later, Costco testified in favor of raising it to $10 per hour while noting their starting wage is $11.50. Who knew I could have that kind of effect on Costco?

A week after that, the Catholic Church made somebody called Francis the Pope. My wife, Frances, has been claiming infallibility ever since. I guess this six degree stuff cuts both ways.

I should warn you that the theory isn’t perfect. I’ve tried dozens of times to connect to a guy named Reince Priebus in six steps or less and I can’t do it. Reince is Chairman of the Republican National Committee and claims that he and his party are trying hard to relate to the changing electorate. So far, it’s not working for me. I see the words changing but not the policies, and we remain a lot more than six steps apart.

Meanwhile, if you’re keeping up with the Kardashians, there’s no truth to the rumor that Kim and mate Kanye West plan to name their baby “Bob” despite how close we are. They are only looking at names starting with “K” so I guess “Knob” could still be in the running.

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