On a clear day you can see the 19th century

There is a lighthouse about half a block from here that was built in 1874, and they have been “restoring” it for about four years now (it looked fine to me before they began the restoration, but what do I know).

I just read in the paper that it has finally opened for visitors, but only from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Oh, and the inside is still empty. They expect to have the inside finished in 2006.

What is interesting about this is that the bastards that built the lighthouse in 1874, did so in less than a year, and all without the benefit of proper roads, trucks, power tools, labor unions or catered lunches.

Which says either, A) we have become a nation of useless scumbags, or B) them was some bad ass motherfuckers building shit on the outskirts of Los Angeles in 1874.

I think it is a bit of both, but the whole thing just reinforces my dim view of Americans in general, and how we have pissed away any kind of craftsmanship or pride in our work that we may have briefly had. Yes, there are craftsmen (and women) but they are so few and far between that they stick out like freakishly sore thumbs.

What have we built in the last 50 years that will still be around in 300 or 400 years? Nothing.

These buildings we live in fall apart in 50 years and are replaced by bigger, uglier, flimsier flops that have an even shorter shelf life. We walk by, whistling, with our hands in our pockets, and by the time we get to the end of the block, they’ve torn down half the street. Because it’s progress, man!

Maybe it’s just this neighborhood. Seems like everyone around here suddenly said, “Hey, we live by the ocean…let’s make our house fifteen times bigger than it is now! That will make it more valuable!

And meanwhile, the few of us decidedly un-rich hangers-on try to make the ever-increasing rent, and wonder where we will go next.

But San Pedro is the end of the world and there isn’t any place left to go from here, except maybe one of the islands you can see on a clear day.

But I’ve been to them too, and it’s no better.

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