Friday, December 24, 2010

Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Hollywood

Hollywood and Christmas seem to go hand-in-hand. Not only are there countless motion pictures over the years (like this one, this one and maybe even this one), blockbuster theatrical releases and a post-Thanksgiving weekend parade to kick off the season, but its very name is a reference to the holiday as well.

Those of you who know your local history know that Hollywood started as its own town, independent of Los Angeles, founded in the 1870s and incorporated in 1903. Unlike many local towns and communities named after places in the so-called "Back East" such as Beverly Hills (Beverly Farms, MA) and Wilmington (Wilmington, DE), Hollywood was named after a local, a native even.

The hills above Tinseltown are populated with numerous native bushes known as the Toyon a.k.a. California Holly a.k.a. Christmas Berry a.k.a. Heteromeles arbutifolia a.k.a. Hollywood Plant. Those of you who hike up Griffith Park's many trails have seen them - they have oblong dark green leaves with jagged edges, and in the fall grow clusters of tiny red berries (edible but not very tasty, for humans at least). The word "Toyon" is referred to many times in the Griffith Park area (Toyon Canyon). Yes, Hollywood was named after this very plant.

Around a century ago, Angelenos used to pick Toyon off of the hills for use as Christmas decorations. Eventually this practice became so widespread and noticeably depleted a number of the bushes that a 1920 California state law made it illegal to pick Toyon from public lands.

Thanks to that law, Toyon is plentiful in the Santa Monica Mountains today, where you can easily see them on any hiking trail, or on the road up to the Observatory. Of course this law is still in effect, but many local nurseries sell Toyon for you to grow if you want to revive the old Angeleno holiday tradition. Next time you spot one of these indigenous plants, think about how it's entrenched in history (and how the East Coast-based media hegemony has purposely corrupted its name to stand for all that is materialistic, vacuous and superficial). Militant Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 3, 2010

UCLA or USC? Who's It Gonna Be? You Decide In The 2nd Annual MILITANT BOWL!

It's that time of the year again, folks! It's the rivalry that dwarfs all So Cal sports rivalries! It makes the Dodgers-Angels rivalry look like a tee-ball game, it makes the Galaxy-Chivas rivalry look like soccer mom fodder, it makes the Kings-Ducks rivalry look like slushy Zamboni scrapings. It even makes the Lakers-Clippers riv...okay there really is no basketball rivalry in Southern California, but still, when it comes to intercollegiate sports rivalries in the same metropolitan area, This Is It. No other city in the USA, or even the world, can lay claim to a rivalry such as this.

This is, as you may or may not know, the weekend where the USC Trojans (7-5) face off against the UCLA Bruins (4-7). As you may or may not know, USC has been sanctioned by the NCAA and is forbidden from postseason play. Meanwhile, UCLA has been suffering from a losing season. Therefore, none of the teams will be going to any Bowl game, and so all bragging rights go down to the wire on Saturday!

History has smiled more favorably on the Cardinal and Gold as the Trojans have won 9 out of the past 10 matchups, and lead the all-time record with 44 wins, 28 losses and seven ties.

The schools have fought for not only bragging rights, but a Victory Bell and a corporately-sponsored Gauntlet.

For the fans...there's The 2nd Annual MILITANT BOWL!
It's goes ike this: from the moment this post is published to the moment of kickoff at Saturday's game, UCLA and USC fans can post their respective roots and cheers for their school below in the Comments section of this blog entry. Points will be awarded (and deducted) and the winner will be announced via This Here Blog as well as the Militant's Twitter account.

Last year saw the inaugural MILITANT BOWL with USC not only winning 5-4, but also winning the football game. Will the winner of this year's MILITANT BOWL also determine the winner of the game?

The Militant will temporarily change out of his camo fatigues and into black-and-white referee stripes! [WHISTLE] So here are the rules! Read carefully!


1. Post a comment below in the Comments section of this blog entry, beginning with "GO UCLA!" or "GO USC!" and then explain, in your opinion, why [UCLA/USC] rules or sucks.

2. ONE entry per person! Subsequent entries by the same comment poster account will be disregarded.

3. You are, however, more than welcome to encourage other fans to post their own comments!

3. Each comment poster must have a screen/user name. Any comments posted by "anonymous" will BE DISQUALIFIED!

4. Comment must be a clear root or diss towards one of the teams. Ambiguous comments will also BE DISQUALIFIED! Also, wise-ass comments irrelevant to UCLA or USC will also BE DISQUALIFIED!

5. Each root for one school or diss against the other school will earn 1 point for the appropriate school.

6. Profanity will be permitted but let's keep this (relatively) civil and respectful! No _____-ist or _____-phobic comments please. Any comment of that nature will be penalized -1 point!

7. A root or diss comment of an extremely witty nature will earn 3 points!

8. In the event of a tie, The Militant Angeleno may or may not exercise his right to use his personal bias towards his unspecified alma mater and name it as the winner of the tiebreaker. So yes, the Militant will have to reveal his unspecified alma mater! LET'S TRY TO AVOID THIS FROM HAPPENING, FOLKS!

9. The comment period shall begin from the moment of this blog entry's posting and will close at the moment of kick-off at Saturday's game (around 7:30 p.m. this Saturday)!


Aas you may or may not know, the Militant is a proud alum of one of the schools, and the rivalry is one of the highlights of the Militant's year! So get out there and post your comments! MAY THE BEST SCHOOL WIN!