Daily Barks 11.05
The Daily Bark: November 2005
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November 30, 2005
They just broadcast a repeat of Rankin-Bass' RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. I remember seeing the first broadcast back in the early 1960s. After 40 years, it is still one of the most charming christmas specials ever done. Well designed characters, a simple story, clever songs, and great personalities blend into a type of quality not seen today. Of course, back then, they weren't trying to make a classic... just a special that folks would enjoy. I have seen it dozens of times, and each time it touches me. Its messages of tolerance, perserverance, family and duty are as key today as they were in the 1960s. In fact, the tolerance aspect is almost more important now than then. With intolerance growing everyday between political ideas, religous beliefs, economic groups, we need Rudolph more than ever. Have a holly-jolly christmas.
November 29, 2005
A steady job. Being in the entertainment business, I know employment can be erratic. When I was in college, I considered a career in journalism. I even got a degree in it. However after several years of college, I soon found that being a reporter was something I was not really interested in. Instead, my interest in entertainment led me to jobs that I thought would eventually lead me to being a full time writer. With writing being deemed such a 'minor' skill by those in power, that has not happened yet. However, having gone into journalism might have been no better. Day after day, I read about newspapers reducing their staff as fewer and fewer people seem to be buying papers. Yet, these days it appears as if there is no such thing as steady employment. The days of someone working for the same company and retiring with a gold watch are long gone. It used to be said the change was due to employees having "less loyalty" to employers. But now, every day it seems I read another news item about this company or that company is "eliminating" jobs. Sometimes it is several hundred. Sometimes it is thousands. Almost all are due to the companies trying to reduce costs. No matter how loyal one may be to their company, it is hard to find companies that are loyal to their employees. No matter how much profit a company may be making, or how much money it may be losing, it seems the best action to take is to lay off workers. At times the layoffs occur as executives are getting more and more bonuses and raises. I have personally seen entertainment execs receive huge bonuses for "saving money". The money was saved by "eliminating" jobs.
November 28, 2005
Had to work a 13-hour day at the studio. No bark...
November 27, 2005
Thanksgiving is past. Now Christmas will race up, followed by New Years. Wow. What is it about time that seems to go so fast now. Even a four day weekend did not allow time to do any creative writing, web additions or ad designing. Wanted to finally get upstairs and start turning it back into usable space. Also hoped to get holiday packages together. Did get a few things on eBay. Six out of 30 items photographed. Maybe next weekend.
November 26, 2005
November 25, 2005
Today the pups went to the lake and got their pictures taken with Santa Claus. Santa even remembered us as the couple with the 'bigger' Danes. Both Rooster and Kele did well on "Black Friday", the Friday after Thanksgiving. Neither Rachel nor I had ever heard that term before, but it certainly seemed a good description. The usually quiet Lake Arrowhead Resort was a madhouse of people. I had to drop them off and drive elsewhere to find parking. Once I arrived, we had to bump around through the crowd. Still the kids got to ride the carousel, see lots of folks, get the photo with Santa and meet the reindeer that visits every year. The weather was nice. Cool, but with plenty of sunshine. Overall a good day to remember why to be thankful this time of year. Tomorrow Rachel and Eagle will be hitting the UKC show and seeing friends. Sunday we hope to take Roku and Star (grandma and grandpa) to see Santa. Pretty good four day weekend.
November 24, 2005
November 23, 2005
Once again a creator and their producer have 'differences' so some series are doing the 'producer shuffle'. This means the producer on one series will be moved to another series so that the initial creator can get a new/different line producer. Though it is sad to see it happen again, I can at least take some pleasure in that it was not me. Anyone who has produced animation has probably experienced this. When a creator is suddenly faced with decisions they do not want to make, inevitably they blame the producer for those decisions. Much like in sports. When a team is having trouble, you cannot fire the team, so you fire the coach or manager. It is always amusing to hear studios try to cover the fact that it is an issue with the creator. Sometimes they state "the series is in trouble", or "the production team is not a proper match", or "the producer is needed elsewhere." The worse part of all this is that the producer who gets the 'shift' is suddenly considered "creator unfriendly". These "unfriendly" creators often have long histories of trouble free productions and relationships with many talented folks. However, in today's animation business, the creator is psuedo-king. I say "psuedo" because a studio will have no qualms about reducing the creators number of episodes, budget, or schedule. The studio will also freely make creative decisions the creator must follow. I guess since the network wields such control over the creator, it is no wonder they allow them the small pleasure of "sacraficial producers."
November 22, 2005
Forgot to mention that last month was my 5th anniversary at Cartoon Network. I got a crystal plaque for my desk to signify the event. It was only recently that I remembered that, at five years, Cartoon Network is now my second longest held job. The honor for the longest stint is still Film Roman, which ran seven. In today's animation business, anything more than a year is considered gravy. Shows are being produced at a faster rate due to the needs of networks. I recall how some folks were getting hired on WB's KRYPTO series. Around three months later, one called and asked if I had any work. I asked about Krypto. He told me they had done all 13 half hours of boards in two months! This mega pace probably goes back to shows like TINY TOON ADVENTURES. In an attempt to get 65 half hours done quickly, the network would create five teams to do 13 half hours each. That way they got five seasons done in the span of one. It is why Warner and Disney shows of the time have such varying looks (some would say quality). When we started SPIDER-MAN at FOX, the execs wanted the same schedule. Bob Richardson fought to have the shows done by one team in order. Yes, it meant a longer production schedule. It also meant a more consistent look. We may have been the last major show to do it. Two years ago I was on a business trip in Korea. While there I saw such Disney shows as LILO AND STITCH in no less than four different animation studios. The show looks like it was done at several studios. For a current studio to try keeping its staff year after year is nice. But not expected. And despite the fun of working at Cartoon Network, I have no illusions of being there forever. Desire, perhaps. But no illusions.
November 21, 2005
Along with the new Harry Potter film, we got to see a batch of new trailers. Three attracted my interest. First was the new remake of KING KONG. It was nice to see that the film is being kept in the same time period of the classic. The new actors seemed to be doing a good job, as well as the special effects crew. My only quibble is that the trailer was one of those "tell the whole story of the movie in the ad" type. Perhaps those who have never seen the original won't know it, but the trailer I saw pretty much was a 3-minute version of the film. Still will go see it though. The original is such a classic, that if they stay true to the time, tone and temptations it should at least be good. Also saw the trailer for OVER THE HEDGE. Looks like it could be cute... and better than the comic strip, which I generally don't think is that funny. Only downside is that it looks like it may be in the SHARK TALE "try anything loud and rude for a laugh" model. Finally saw the trailer for HAPPY FEET, a cgi animated films about penguins. The trailer was mostly a musical number, which may or may not actually be in the film. It was one of those "that's cute but what is the film about" ads. Will have to see something more substantial to make me go see it.
November 20, 2005
Saw the new Harry Potter movie today. It was quite good. In fact, the films are getting better as they are now focusing more on the stories. Sadly, the books are becoming more and more bloated. The first two were fast paced fantasy mysteries. Harry and his crew were young detectives trying to figure out who was causing the problems. As the books have progressed, they are now full of political intrigue, double dealing, romantic entanglements and more. The books are now more like soap operas. While discussing the new movie, someone mentioned the books. I stated I had read the most recent. I then found it impossible to remember anything about the book except the last two chapters. I had to really think to recall other elements. I then did the same with the book before that, finally piecing together key plot points. The films have now jetisoned most of the mushy romantic angles, the quiditch games (a clever idea that now takes too many pages), the muggle family, and such. So now they have films that are as fast paced as the first books. Good show.
November 19, 2005
Long day. Lots of chores. Just going to bed...
November 18, 2005
One never knows what will tip the scales of justice. Sadly the OJ trial has given it a very dangerous tip. OJ Simpson was tried for murder and found innocent. Despite what a majority of people might have thought, the jury spoke and the verdict was done. BUT, then suddenly he was sued in civil court. That jury found him liable for the deaths and awarded survivors big money. Recently Robert Black was found innocent by a jury. Now he has been found liable for the death and survivors have been awarded big money. Suddenly, one of our legal systems major factors, the illegality of double jeapordy was tossed out the window. This is the idea that someone cannot be tried for the same crime twice. If a jury found these men "not guilty" of the crime, then how can a jury claim that these men were "liable". If they did not commit the crime, then what makes them liable? Would the restaurant Blake and his wife ate at be liable? Would the maker of the gun? Would the maker of knives? And on and on. I know it may make some folks feel that these men have "gotten what's coming to them", but the court system is not about revenge. It is about justice. And being able to take someone to court over and over again for the same crime, despite being found innocent is just plain wrong. Case dismissed.
November 17, 2005
There is an old cliche, "do what I say, not what I do." It seems as if the current White House resident believes in that platitude. While in Kyoto, the city named after the global warming treaty that Bush backed out of as one of his first acts as President, he gave a speech about freedom. No doubt the late night comics will have a ball with it. Bush: "once the door to freedom is opened even a crack, it cannot be closed" Of course if you are talking about a woman's right to choose, you only need to get the Supreme Court to slam that door! Bush: "Satellite maps of North Korea show prison camps the size of whole cities." You mean about the size of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? And finally, Bush: "the people of China want more freedom to express themselves, to worship without state control". That is unless a specific religion is providing funds and votes to the current administration, then the state should control which religious rights are promoted. Perhaps if Bush spent more time worrying about the freedoms in this country, other countries, like China, North Korea and Iraq would be more willing to listen to him.
November 16, 2005
Is it possible for a composer to pop into your head everyday? For me it is, and it is Henry Mancini. When commuting on the Metrolink train, I often hear his theme music to SILVERSTREAK. When I spot pink or a cat, I hear his Pink Panther theme. If I get caught in a lumbering crowd, "Baby Elephant Walk" comes to mind. While other kids growing up in the sixties listened to such one-hit-wonders as The Beatles or The Beach Boys, I was listening to movie and show tunes. Mancini was probably my favorite, with John Barry being a close second, mostly due to his James Bond themes. It is hard to believe that Mancini continued to turn out popular music for 50 years. From the driving theme of PETER GUNN in the 50s to the pop hits of "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses" in the 60s to SILVER STREAK in the 70s to THORN BIRDS in the 80s to THE TOM AND JERRY MOVIE in the 90s, Mancini's skill was evident. He even had his own TV series in the 70s, THE MANCINI GENERATION, probably the only one ever hosted by a composer. (No doubt the mountain of music rights on that show will keep it from every coming to dvd.) Mancini could create melodies that cheered the heart, brought a sigh and even a tear. And for me, he creates an almost daily soundtrack.
November 15, 2005
I miss laserdiscs. Those under 20 probably do not remember the original digital video disc. It was the size of a long playing record... which those under 30 probably do not remember. Anyway, what was great about laserdiscs was that they never had the annoying ads that studios pasted on the front of vhs movies. You simply put in the laserdisc, hit play and watched your movie. But the laserdisc disappeared with the debut of the dvd. While those who produce dvds work hard to make them full of extras and treats, they also make them harder and harder to just watch the movie! Put in a dvd and you have to watch some "clever" animated menu, or sometimes commercials before you can get to the "main menu". Once there you have to hit play again to watch the movie. So instead of being able to sit down and just watch a movie, you have to sit down and manipulate the dvd player remote like you were playing a video game. Some dvd companies have begun making "auto-play" discs. But those are mostly for children. It seems children, who can program vcrs and fix computers do not know how to get through dvd menus. I think they are just cleverly playing dumb to get their way. They also get the last laugh as they watch their parents struggle to get out of the main menu or commercials to get to a screen in which they can push the 'play' button. Wasn't home video supposed to be getting easier?
November 14, 2005
After two weeks of no beard and a short haircut, someone at the studio noticed I looked "different". When asked why I shaved and sheared, I commented my wife was usually in charge of my looks. All the guys chimed in that they also got most of their fashion sense through their spouses. One complained that his wife sometimes lets him go around looking 'terrible'. While I've known some males who were very snappy dressers, most guys I know are generally copy cat fashionists. They go to a store and buy more of what they are already wearing. When I worked at the Bluth studio I needed to buy a suit. (Being in California and in animation, there is very little need for a suit.) I expressed a desire for someone to help me pick out some clothes. Lorna Pomeroy (now Lorna Cook) came along with me. She found a nice suit and some natty accessories. I always joke that they should make adult clothing guides similar to kids concepts like the 'grr-animals' which let kids dress themselves by matching the little animals on the shirts and pants. Actually, I learned some fashion through animation. I always felt that clothes had to be color matched - brown shirt, brown pants; blue shirt, blue pants. Suddenly, one day while working at Disneyland as Bernard, I realized that red and grey looked good together. Since then I pay more attention to color in animation. It helps when Rachel is not around. Though I will always remember she tells me that I look bad in stripes. Another good reason to keep out of prison.
November 13, 2005
Have a new guilty pleasure. It is a computer animated series called THE BACKYARDIGANS. The series is about five kids who have adventures in their backyard. Once the adventure begins, the imagery goes into fantasy and the backyard becomes anything from a haunted house to a beach. The kids pretend to be everything from pirates to superheroes to soccer players to ghosts. The designs and stories are pretty simple. The cgi animation adequate. What caught my attention is the fact that each episode is a mini-musical. They use various musical themes such as hip-hop, classical, rock, musical comedy, jazz and more. The characters also do simple choreography that youngsters watching could easily duplicate. No doubt the point is to get kids to stop sitting and start moving. What is surprising is how good the music is. Most of the songs are pretty simple in structure and lyrics, but they are at times leaps ahead of the songs heard in bigger budget productions. In fact, I would say that the songs in some episodes of series are better than most of those heard in direct-to-video films. The show airs on Nick Jr and CBS Saturdays (which IS Nick Jr). Certainly not great or classic. But a good example of a well done production that aims for an audience and hits the mark.
November 12, 2005
Another late night. Rachel has developed a cold and is in need of sleep. So I am staying up later to keep tabs on the kids. Has made for a very long day. As usual, lack of sleep makes evening events tough, like doing a bark. Hopefully tomorrow, will include time to finish unloading the vehicles, return borrowed dvds, writing and ebaying. I hope.
November 11, 2005
A salute to all those who have served our country. And a special salute to my dad.
November 10, 2005
Tomorrow, the 11th, is Roku's birthday. He is the patriarch of our canine clan. Proud father of our Eagle. Proud Grandfather of our Rooster and Kele. He will turn 9, quite an accomplishment for his breed. He is still sprightly and full of love. Yes, he gets an occasional ache, but he often acts as if he is still a pup. For his birthday, he'll get some cake and a grilled cheese sandwich (one of his favorite foods). Today, however, he was in the hospital. He had gotten a lump on his shoulder that needed to be removed. Tonight he is doing fine. That's good. Happy birthday, ol' guy.
November 9, 2005
The other day I got into the elevator at work. There were already two fellows in it and in the midst of a conversation. They stopped when I got in. Then as we began to descend, they started talking again. I don't know what they were saying as they were speaking in their native tongue. They looked at me once or twice to be sure I wasn't capable of eavesdropping. It suddenly made me think if our nation is really worried about security, why not adapt an "all English all the time" law. After all, California already has one. Back in the 1980s there was an initiative (#63) passed that made English the "official" language of the state. In theory, every sign had to have an English translation on it. The basic idea was that folks finding themselves in a 'minority area' like Little Tokyo, Little Saigon or Little Mexico (made that one up) could still read the signs and know where a hospital, restuarant, or other location might be. Of course, driving around Southern California these days, I would be hard press to find proof of the law, or of its enforcement. (I actually looked up the law on the internet and found if I wanted to, I could sue the state for not enforcing the law. Surprised that hasn't happened yet.) But think about it. If everyone had to speak English when in public, terrorists, drug dealers, spies and others could never secretly pass information. You could easily hear them discuss their dealings. On top of that, you could always understand what the waiters or gardners or clerks were saying behind your back. That might actually be scarier than a criminal plot.
November 8, 2005
During the 1970s, Ralph Bakshi was asked why so many film executives seemed uninterested in animated features. He responded, "Because you can't have lunch with Bugs Bunny." The meaning being that most execs are in the business to mingle with the rich and famous, especially the famous. When I was first contacted to assist in Don Bluth's first studio, there was talk of me being brought on to handle public relations and promotions. Their money man asked if that meant I might be meeting celebrities used in the films. Don said that would probably be part of the job. The money man then decided he wanted to do relations and promotions also. Fast forward to this century. Animation studios and networks are again getting caught up in the "hollywood or bust" attitude. Take their development departments. They see dozens (hundreds?) of ideas every week. What do they talk about? A new artist? A new writer? No they discuss the celebrities coming in with "ideas". So we end up with shows based on the slightest concepts by the likes of rock stars, ex-game show participants, and former male models. One such idea from a rock personality was "a show about rock star and his family." Another good one was when a network exec bumped into a writer of a hit sitcom at a party. Even though the writer stated he did not watch animation, the exec offered the writer a pilot on the spot. Later the exec told a crowded studio, "when you meet someone of that talent, you have to work with them." Often these ideas must be heavily re-worked by actual animation writers and artists who, at best, will be offered jobs on the series with no real creator credit. Guess if you can't have lunch with Bugs Bunny, lunch with any celebrity is better than nothing.
November 7, 2005
The sky is falling on non-cgi animation again, thanks to CHICKEN LITTLE. Disney's newest cgi film has done a strong opening weekend of over $40 million. This is in spite of the fact that many critics trashed the film. The studio was quick to point out this was the second best opening weekend for a Disney animated feature after THE LION KING (a decade ago). Though not up to the money seen on opening weekends of Disney's Pixar co-ventures, the film is considered a success. Sadly, two recent animated features came out with almost unanimous critical praise. Many stated they could be the best animated features of the year. The films were THE CORPSE BRIDE and WALLACE AND GROMIT: CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT. Both were stop-motion films. It took each of those films over three weeks to reach $40 million. I can already see the execs in their offices discussing how "once again" it is proved that audiences really want to see cgi movies... "any" cgi movie. Kind of like the exec who once told me that BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD being a hit on MTV showed that audiences did not care about the quality of art in animation. Luckily, he has been proved wrong time and again. (Yet, oddly, he still works regularly in our business as a major producer.) Hopefully we'll see a day where all the cgi promoters discover that they are also wrong, and there will be at least a slight return to other forms of animated features.
November 6, 2005
Well, it was a big movie weekend. With the kids still a bit under the weather, we rented four films. First was THE 12 DOGS OF CHRISTMAS. One of the most amateurish films I have seen in a long time. It makes the old 1970s After School specials look like GONE WITH THE WIND. Next was BEWITCHED. Generally an okay movie. This film never seemed to figure out what it wanted to be. Sadly it could have been much better if they had removed Will Ferrel. The cast was fun to watch, and worked well together... except for him. It was like he belonged in a different movie. Third was CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. This was really excellent. It easily has the most heart of any Tim Burton film. And Depp's performance is both daffy and touching. One of those films that reminds you how well style, story and character can blend. Finally was MUPPETS WIZARD OF OZ. Basically it was slick, but heartless. The Muppets were great in their 1970s TV show. Sadly, they have been doing the same act ever since. Trouble is, so are many other characters. Am not sure how/if the Muppets can move into the future. Like many a 60s-70s icon, they seem too heavily rooted in their original time to seem fresh now. What a weekend. So much diversity in movie styles, quality and enjoyment. Oh, and there were no Danes in 12 DOGS OF CHRISTMAS. But a large Harlequin has a walk on part in Burton's CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Neat.
November 5, 2005
One of today's biggest urban legends is the 'liberal media'. When most every outlet of news is owned by a major corporation or billionaire, how liberal will it be. Even the 'left wing' New York Times was printing stories practically written by the Bush administration. Sometimes I think the conservative owners slip in a 'leftie' piece just to fan the fire that the media can't be trusted. Even our local newspaper is full of "it". This week's issue had two great items. The first was the announcement of a Harry Potter science fair. The event featured science experiments kids could perform based on things found in the Harry Potter books. WHAT? The events in the Harry Potter books are magic, not science. What experiments are the kids going to try? Turning a rat into a cup? Repairing glass with a magic wand? Then, if that was not bad enough is a large headline proclaiming "The End of The World Is Near"! The article was about a visiting pastor who was going to explain how all the recent natural disasters were pointing to the end of the world. Now if religous folks want to make such a connection, so be it. But for a newspaper to give such a story that headline. What's next? "Stars Predict Romance In Your Future". In the movie MEN IN BLACK, the characters say the real news is in the wacky tabloids like Weekly World News. In a recent monologue about newspapers, a night time comic commented that the only major newspaper not to issue a retraction in recent times was The National Enquirer. Perhaps I WILL start getting my news from them. I'll pass on the liberal and conservative news sources and go for the moderate madness of the tabs. You know, maybe Clinton and Bush have talked with aliens from another planet.
November 4, 2005
I think I lost a friend. He had decided to inform me that, even though it did not make him mad, I had a habit that bothered him. I responded that I was glad it didn't anger him, and that he too had a habit that bothered me in which I was not angry about. That was several weeks ago and I have never heard back. It seems he was not interested in my being honest. Too bad. Though I do not want to lose friends, I know it happens. When I turned 30, I was asked what it was like "growing old". I told folks "growing old is simply watching people you know disappear." It is still true. As we age, those around us begin to leave. Obviously many of the first folks we meet (doctors, teachers, etc.) are older than us, and have a chance of passing on before us. The celebrities we know are mostly older and also die off, making room for new stars. I have even lost friends my age through death. Then there are those who simply leave, either physically or mentally. As people re-locate or re-focus they find new friends. I had a good friend at college who became one of those get-a-card-every-christmas type friends. I finally contacted him and suggested a get together. He stated that it would really be a waste of time spent trying to remember folks we used to know, kind of like the yearly family reunion. He said we had good memories and that should be enough. He ended the conversation with, "I guess I'm trying to say 'we'll always have Paris.'" And he was right. Old friends are good, and offer many memories. But as we move forward, some points in our lives, as Bogie might add, "don't amount to a hill of beans". Keep the memories. Keep the friends if possible. But don't fret if they move on. You have to move on too.
November 3, 2005
Late night. Sleepy night. Good night...
November 2, 2005
Disney's newest cgi feature, CHICKEN LITTLE, is about to come out. The reviews are already lining up with some folks saying it is great, and some saying it is terrible. There seems to be little middle ground. It makes me wonder if the folks who are critcizing it so harshly are following the pattern of THE BLACK CAULDRON. Back in the 1980s, Disney was in a business turmoil. It was the subject of multiple stories as a variety of business problems became center stage. The press talked of how the studio had 'lost' its freshness. The press talked of how the management had gone wrong. The studio, in an attempt to go a new direction attempted a more serious, darker feature, THE BLACK CAULDRON. Production on it was troubled, having begun back in the mid 1970s, and many were uncertain how to handle the material. When the film finally came out it was a hodge-podge of dark ideas, obnoxious comedy relief, and nice animation. The film was no classic. But neither was the previous THE FOX AND THE HOUND. However, upon the release of CAULDRON, the critics lambasted it as being the worst thing Disney had ever done. (Not true.) They also used the reviews as a sounding board to express discontent with the entire Disney image. I wonder if the same is now happening with CHICKEN LITTLE. Recently, the press has been full of Disney's trouble with management, creators, Pixar and such. The film also went through a large amount of development, starting out about a young girl with growing pains to a young boy fighting aliens. I believe some critics will let the anger at Disney boil over into their reviews on the film. I have not seen the film. I can honestly say, it does not look interesting to me. In fact, I think the character designs are ghastly. But is it the worst thing Disney has done? Is it a sign of how poor the studio is creatively? I doubt it. It would surprise me to find it the worst thing Disney has done... and there have been many a better sign of creative problems at Disney. Point is, critics should always review a film for what it is... not for what it should be, or how it was produced. I fully agree with the prominent critic who commented that too many publicity hungry critics tend to review the film's history, not the film.
November 1, 2005
Our area is in the news again. This time it is not due to fires or floods. It is due to a grisly murder. Body parts were found on one of the roads that leads to our area, and at a park at the bottom of our mountain. Many are shocked and wondering how it can happen "here". But as Bob Clampett's PORKY IN WACKYLAND loudly proclaimed, "It CA-A-A-A-AN happen here!" Point is, there is no place totally isolated from the evils of the world. Some think they can buy safety. I had a friend who lived in a guarded, gated community. A rash of burgalries began. The community was going to fire the gate guards for letting 'riff raff' in until police found the burglars were some teens living in the community. Some think they can move away for safety. But many of our most famous murders and grisly crimes take place in small towns. Like any 'big city' our area is the home of violence, theft, speeding cars, suicides, drug use and more. I know such vices exist everywhere. (I would like to think we have less of it than a big city.) It is part of our society. Can it be cured? Probably not. As mentioned, such things happen anywhere people live together. The best one can do is be aware anything can happen. And that goes for bad and good. After all, just heard a local resident was one of the winners of a car from Disneyland! Yes, it CAN happen here.
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