REPORT CARD: This don't make us look too good. Central Conneticut State University has released it's annual report card on the most litterate citys in the United States and, once again, Long Beach has finished in the bottom 10; 65th out of 75 citys. Think Mom'll notice if we try to change a "65" to a "15"?
The best thing we can say about our fairing in the results is that Long Beach is the most litterate of the bottom 10 citys (of more than 250,000 people). That means theres 9 under us (we may be not litterate, but we know our math).
If your're bucket list includes wanting to visit illitteraller citys than Long Beach, then you've got a glorious vacation in front of you. To visit them in order from bad to worst, you'll be spending time in Mesa, Ariz.; Aurora, Colo.; Fresno; San Antonio, Texas; Anaheim; El Paso, Texas; Stockton; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Bakersfield.
We're not sure what we've done to incur the wrath and ire of Central Conneticut State University. Every year, they rank us in the bottom 10. In fact, this is the smartest we've ever looked to CCSU. In past years, we've been lower. If we can make just one more town with poorer reading habits than us, then next year we'll disappear into the fog of blessed mere mediocrity. Surely there's another stupid town in Texas. And does CCSU even check Florida?
The 10 most literate cities in the study - that is, the towns in which we'd be lost because their street signs are all written in classical Greek and Latin and everyone's got their nose buried in William Gaddis' "The Recognitions" or the Harvard Review of Latin America - are:
6. St. Paul, Minn.
9. St. Louis
10. Portland, Ore.
If you care about the methodology, the university based its findings on such things as retail, rare and used book stores per 10,000 population; education level of the adult population; library resources and utilization; and Internet-related issues, including the percentage of the population that reads newspapers on the Internet.
In throwing Long Beach a bone, the researchers admitted that "one area in which the city performed relatively well was bookstores. It ranked 29th out of the 76 cites in this category and had the 11th most retail book stores per capita."
Happily, the study was conducted while we still had a Borders in Los Altos and Move Books on Retro Row. Watch us plummet next year.
"Most notably," gushed the report, Long Beach "received the worst possible score awarded for Internet reading."
What's Hot! Platinum Club members will recall our column last week in which we wrote briefly about a book in which the author referred to Long Beach as "mostly poor."
Would that we could use our vaunted poverty as an excuse for our poor literacy. According to the report, Long Beach's "poor literacy score cannot be blamed on a lack of wealthy individuals as it had a higher-than- average median income ... as well as the eighth-highest median home value among the nation's largest cities."
THE RETURN OF JESSE JAMES: OK, if we're illiterate and don't read periodicals, then how come we know that Jesse James is back on the rampage with West Coast Choppers, the fabulously successful Long Beach motorcycle shop and kingdom that James built in the 1990s and operated until it closed in 2010 when James' personal life caught fire and exploded and he lit out for Texas.
James doesn't respond to our texts; he quit doing that after his ex-wife Sandra Bullock won us in the divorce.
But chopper-builder/blogger Cyril Huze reported that James is rekindling the company, at least the highly profitable merchandise end, which has returned to the Web at westcoast
choppers.com, and includes a new line of apparel advertising West Coast Choppers, of Austin, Texas.
James told Huze that he wasn't looking to bring back WCC on the same scale as the Long Beach plant, but, rather, he'll be offering "exclusive parts, accessories and biker wear."