Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The rash of late night fires have increased in the Hollywood area marring the spanking 2012 new year. The fires have been set in cars, carports and neighboring apartment buildings and the fires locales vary from on or around Hollywood Blvd, to the Hollywood Hills and to as far as Studio City. The fires began in late late December 2012 and over 50 fires have been set so far.
Police suspect an arsonist with a beef against the police or the city authorities as the culprit. Some of my friends and fellow church members live in the area and they are on alert and praying. A few people suspect disgruntled or anarchist types from among the Occupy Movement protesters who had swarmed big in 2011 and even had a protest after the yearly Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. I believe the fires are done by one singular person without a grand political motive. This is personal for this guy and he has done this kind of thing before because it looks like he likes fires.
Despite round-the-clock surveillance by police and fire officials, two more fires were reported in Hollywood (one near friends who live off Sycamore Ave). The police has released a video of a possible suspect, a portly white male in his 20s-30s with a ponytail leaving the Hollywood & Highland metro.
Police have caught the arsonist thanks to the alertness of a sheriff reservist who spotted his van off Sunset & Fairfax and to the follow through of some alert policemen who remembered the perp from an immigration hearing. The man is 24 year old, Harry Burkhart, a German national and he matched the suspect on the release police video. Burkhart was apparently very angry that his mother, who has a questionable visa status, has been detained by federal immigration officials here in the U.S. Reports state that his mother is wanted for charges back in Germany and the German authorities wants her extradited back.
Canadian police report that Burkhart is a suspect in some arson fires there and there are reports of possible mental illness. I remember Burkhart having a weird smirk-like look on his face when he was arrested that made me think that he is not well so I very much believe this. German officials report that his mother is wanted for fraud and fled the country because of it. News report shows very revealing photos of the mother and there are some reports that she may have been involved in online sex sites.
Keep praying for Hollywood!
I spent New Year's Eve on the elliptical in the gym then in the Jacuzzi like I did on Christmas Eve. By the time I got back, the Ball was about to drop in Times Square so I turned on the TV to watch it. I saw a little of the televised New Year's celebrations world-wide, from New Zealand (first), Australia (wow!), Japan (somber) China(interesting), Germany(not bad), London(representing!)to NYC (wish I could've been there!).
Then, before you know it, I was out like a light on the couch without ever seeing Los Angeles' festivities. I woke up at 12:43 A.M.and whooped "Happy New Year!" and crawled to my bed thereby fulfilling the toughest of my New Year's resolution; to be in bed before 2 AM every night which is hard because I feel at my best at that time-lol.
I spent New Year's morning being "chauffeured" to church by a friend from church( God bless you, M.C.!). I hugged lots of happy people at church and had hot cocoa and sliced banana bread. Then we had great praise and worship and a great sermon on surrender done by our guest speaker and the former and founding pastor of Ecclesia, Brandon Dickerson. Dickerson is a writer, producer, director but most importantly, he is a man of God.
Dickerson talked about how his faith was tested over the years but that it built his faith and his character. He quoted Psalm 3 and many other scriptures in between personal anecdotes and relevant scenes from the current movie he directed (it pays to have church in a theater). Then I got dropped home in time to sun pool-side as the temperature was in the 80s outside!
What a lovely New Year's Day, God and thank you, thank you thank you!
SIDE NOTE: Falling Stars of 2011
The industry lost some greats in 2011 especially stars famous in the 60s to the 80s like Elixabeth Taylor, Sidney Lumet, Jane Russeland the lovable but grumpy, Andy Rooney, from the long-running CBS TV show 60 Minutes. We also lost Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, from pancreatic cancer and soulful jazz singer, Amy Winehouse from a drug-related issue as well as legendary boxer, Joe Frazier, who died from natural causes.
Of all the losses, my heart hurts the most over the loss of Heavy D, of the group Heavy D and The Boyz, the chipped-tooth, smiling, rotund and lovable rapper-turned actor with a heart as big as his smile. Also known as "the over-weight lover", Heavy D revolution-ized the image of over-weight people in American media as he could out rap and out dance even the slimmest of performers. In fact, Heavy could be credited for breaking down barriers for other ample-size rappers like Chub Rock to be accepted by white audiences and for rapper-turned actor, like Queen Latifah to cross over into TV and film.
I loved Heavy's songs, especially my favorite song, "Now That We've Found Love" and the theme song he did for the ground-breaking 90s hit TV show, "In Living Color". He also turned out to be a very fine actor, too appearing as a guest star and then as a regular cast member for many shows. Heavy will be greatly missed by every "child of the 80s", like yours truly.
May they all rest in peace.