Into Antiques?

On ebay you'll find over 100 categories covering the Medieval and Renaissance periods, through Georgian, Regency and Victorian, to Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Antique Dealers in California

Linda Stamberger

Linda Stamberger, author of "Antiquing In Florida", is a Florida expert and freelance writer of many genres. Visit this site to read her articles - some of which are available for purchase - as is her book.

Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records

Brooks Novelty is an all-vinyl record store. We specialize in: jukeboxes, vintage soda machines, antique slot machines, pin balls, arcade games, neon clocks and signs, rare concert posters, old advertising signs and much more!

The Antique Company

Established in the late 1900's, we occupy a huge corner building with a small garden area that leads to another 1000 sq foot store (called TAC) that contains our Mid Century collection.

Vintage Westclox

Westclox photo identification gallery and history and information of clocks, watches and other timepieces. This site primarily displays American clocks made by Westclox that were made from the early 1900's up to about the 1960's.

Antique Appraisals On-Line

We are one of the country's largest, oldest, most qualified and respected appraisal services. The majority of our appraisals are estate and personal property evaluations for valuation documentation purposes. However, we have evaluated goods and personal property for natural disaster losses (hurricanes), theft, fire, freight and shipping damage after the loss has occurred.

Connoisseur Antiques

Featuring fine antique furniture, Connoisseur Antiques is a Los Angeles Antique Furniture Showroom specializing in antique clocks and mirrors, European and French antiques, Antique Lighting, Chandeliers, Sconces, Armoires and much more.

Liz's Antique Hardware

Antique Hardware is the backbone of our business. We offer a complete selection of door, window and furniture hardware, lighting and accessories circa 1890 to 1970.

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall is the largest antique mall in northern California. We opened our doors in October 1997 with 75 dealers and today we have over 200 of San Francisco's most professional antique specialists.

Ambiance Antiques

Importer of 18th and 19th Century French Antiques

C'est La Vie Antiques

European Antique and Accessories in San Diego, CA.

Lang Antiques

We carry a large selection of fine antique jewelry, antique rings & antique engagement rings. We also have vintage estate jewelry, vintage estate rings & vintage estate engagement rings from the Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian & Art Deco style periods.

Once in a Blue Moon Online Thrift Store

We are an online thrift store featuring new, used, and unusual items.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

California OKs Hands-Free Texting for Drivers - Reuters

California OKs Hands-Free Texting for Drivers - Reuters

Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:54am EDT

California's new hands-free texting law will soon let drivers send text messages from behind the wheel. But some are calling the bill's restrictions a bit confusing.

Under the new law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, drivers will be allowed to dictate text messages to a cell phone, but only via a voice-activated device like a headset or a car's built-in Bluetooth connection, the Associated Press reports. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.

However, drivers who try to dictate texts directly into their cell phones (like via the Apple iPhone's Siri voice-recognition software, which requires a button to be pressed) may still face fines.

In addition to the iPhone's Siri, a few other common methods of cell-phone use will remain out of reach for drivers, even under California's new hands-free texting law.

According to the California Highway Patrol, drivers still will not be able to:

  • Use a hand to simply turn on a cell phone.
  • Use a hand to select a hands-free texting app on a cell phone, or to touch any other buttons or icons.
  • Read a text message or check directions directly from a cell phone's screen.

"Hands-free is the key," a CHP spokeswoman told the AP. "The phone can't be in your hands."

If caught, a driver who violates the law could get a ticket and face a fine of $20 for the first offense or $50 for each subsequent offense. With state and local fees added in, the total price for an infraction could be well over $100.

California's hands-free texting law follows another state law that barred the use hand-held cell phones while driving. Since that law took effect in July 2008, deaths blamed on hand-held cell phone use in California have dropped by 47%, the AP reports.

Related Resources:

  • 'Hands-free' texting while driving gets OK from Gov. Jerry Brown (Los Angeles Times)
  • Texting While Driving (FindLaw)
  • Browse Traffic Ticket Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)
  • Can You Be Sued for Texting a Driver? (FindLaw's Injured)


California, look to Wisconsin - Los Angeles Times

Now that three California cities have declared bankruptcy, perhaps it's time to consider the lessons of Wisconsin.

One of the reasons Wisconsin Democrats couldn't unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the state's recall election was that his challenger exemplified how Walker's narrowing of collective bargaining privileges for government workers benefited the state.

As mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett had relied on Walker's reforms to balance his city's budget. And Barrett wasn't alone among Wisconsin officials. Walker comfortably defeated Barrett in large part because in the 11 months that the governor's reforms were in effect, Wisconsinites got a good glimpse of how they worked, even in Milwaukee, where the savings allowed government to remain solvent and avoid widespread layoffs.

PHOTOS: California cities in bankruptcy

When Walker introduced his so-called budget repair bill in February 2011, he argued that the biggest beneficiaries of his plan would be cities, towns and school districts, which would gain the flexibility to cut costs without having to negotiate every change in compensation or work rules with local unions. His legislation specifically eliminated collective bargaining by government workers for benefits and required greater contributions from them toward pensions.

How local officials employed those changes to cut costs proved revealing. The state's teachers union, Wisconsinites learned, had used its power to collectively bargain for healthcare benefits to demand that local school districts provide coverage through a nonprofit insurer affiliated with the union. Once the state ended bargaining on healthcare, school boards began competitively bidding out their health insurance.

By the opening of the new school year in September, just two months after the budget bill went into effect, 23 districts had rebid their contracts, saving $16 million, or an average of $211 per student. The MacIver Institute, a Madison-based think tank, estimated that if all the state's districts were able to negotiate similar deals once their contracts with the union-affiliated insurer expire, schools could save $186 million.

As mayor of Milwaukee, Barrett employed Walker's reforms before he knew he'd be facing the governor in the recall election. In mid-August 2011, barely a month after the changes went into effect, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the city would save as much as $36 million in its next budget from "healthcare benefit changes it didn't have to negotiate with unions" as a result of the new state legislation. When asked whether Walker's reforms should be credited for the savings, Barrett brushed aside the question and asserted that virtually everyone was in favor of having workers contribute more to their healthcare.

Local governments that couldn't immediately employ Walker's savings faced dire consequences. The Milwaukee public school system, for example, had negotiated a new contract with its teachers union right before Walker's budget reform bill was passed. In the wake of Walker's bill, the school system went to the union and tried to work out concessions in line with the savings that would have been possible under the new legislation. But the union refused to negotiate, and two days later the district laid off 519 employees, including 334 teachers. The school system had estimated that if employees agreed to contribute 5.8% of their salaries toward pensions, as mandated by the new state law, that would have saved $20 million, enough to avoid 200 teacher layoffs.

Walker has said he was motivated in part because the cost of employing a public sector worker in Wisconsin (and many other places) has soared thanks to rising pension and health costs in particular. Without the flexibility to move quickly to control those costs, local governments faced a long-term budget pinch in which employee compensation squeezes out other spending and drives taxes higher.

Californians should understand those fiscal pressures. Average annual pay for a local government employee in the state rose by 60%, to $61,185 (excluding benefits), between 1999 and 2008, according to the Little Hoover Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy. That's about 70% more than the increase in private sector wages in the state over the same period. Average pay for cops and firefighters climbed 69%, to $89,056, again excluding benefits, in the same period.

Benefit costs have soared even more than wages. The annual cost of funding pensions in California's 20 largest municipalities has grown from $1.3 billion in 1999 to $5.1 billion last year, according to a study by Stanford University professor Joe Nation. That's an annual growth rate of better than 11%.

Faced with such increases, municipalities in California haven't had nearly the flexibility to mend their budgets that officials in Wisconsin have.

In San Jose, where the average cost of employing a city worker, including benefits, has soared to an extraordinary $142,000 annually, Mayor Chuck Reed had to fight long and hard for a ballot measure to reduce pension costs that was passed by voters in June. In the three years before the vote, the city had to lay off about 2,000 employees and cut back on parks, libraries and other services.

In Stockton, which declared bankruptcy in June, for every dollar the city spent on salaries, it spent another dollar on employee benefits. Facing unsustainable employee costs and an intransigent police union that was demanding the city pay retired officers about $300,000 for unused sick and vacation time, Stockton cut a quarter of its public safety forces and still couldn't meet its obligations.

No wonder that state and local government employment slumped nearly 6% in California from the beginning of 2009 through the close of 2011. That's nearly double the rate of decline among state and municipal workers nationwide in the same period.

Without pension reform in Sacramento, and with local contracts that make it impossible to cut costs without concessions from unions, cities and school districts in the Golden State are left with few good choices to balance their budgets. That was pretty much the case in Wisconsin too until Scott Walker came along.

Steven Malanga is senior editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.


The beauty of being left to go it alone - Sydney Morning Herald
Michael Zavros

A detail from Michael Zavros's provocative Phoebe is dead/McQueen.

'I've painted a folly within a folly and, of course, the very act of painting is itself another kind of folly," says Michael Zavros, contemplating the painting that was incomplete when it won the inaugural Bulgari Art Award at the Art Gallery of NSW in April.

It's still not quite finished the day we talk in his studio on the family farm outside Brisbane, a fortnight before the painting's unveiling - to take place in Sydney tomorrow.

This gently spoken man, the Queensland-born son of a Greek Cypriot father and an Irish mother, prefers living away from the city with his wife, the art curator and writer Alison Kubler, and the couple's three small children, because of the way nature reminds him of time.

Michael Zavros

''I was reminded of the power of painting and of quiet'' … Michael Zavros in his studio outside of Brisbane. Photo: Paul Harris

Zavros, 37, has become increasingly conscious of "the stealing of time" as technology takes over our lives - it could be argued his Bulgari-winning painting, The New Round Room, is a meditation on time.

The large painting is inspired by a photograph of the Round Room, the 17th-century vestibule in the Grand Trianon, the ''retreat'' built by Louis XIV at Versailles.

Through the painting's windows, the view of perfectly manicured gardens is light-filled in contrast to the darker, more dramatic colours of the interior. There's a sense of absence, of vanished lives. Melancholy too, according to Zavros, who says that melancholy is an important part of his work.

In front of the windows, he has painted a weightlifting bench. The viewer may be startled by this juxtaposition of images, although narcissism and male vanity are vintage Zavros themes. He included bar bells and weight-lifting equipment in another Versailles work, 2009's Echo, when he painted the palace's famous Hall of Mirrors.

Robert Leonard, the director of Queensland's Institute of Modern Art, wrote in Art and Australia last year that mirrors were prohibitively expensive in the 17th century, and that the Hall of Mirrors reflected paintings celebrating Louis XIV's magnificence. Zavros's gym equipment was a contemporary echo of aristocratic vanity.

Interestingly, when he was an art student in Brisbane in the early 1990s, Zavros went to the gym every lunchtime, "which is just the last thing that an art student does".

He now sees something "strangely unsettling" in the Bulgari painting. "It describes a kind of post-apocalyptic utopia. I'm interested in contemporary culture's obsession with vampires and zombies, and I think [the painting] speaks to a kind of impending doom," he says.

One of the most collectable artists in Australia, and a four-time Archibald Prize finalist, Zavros intrigues and divides observers. He is best known for producing realist paintings reflecting his fascination with luxury objects and the pursuit of perfection. People often refer to his 2009 painting V12 Narcissus, a self-portrait showing him gazing at his reflection in the bonnet of his black Mercedes.

"If you believe what you read, I paint in Prada. The reality is I haven't left [my studio] in a week and a half. I haven't shaved in all that time. I work in Crocs and airline pyjamas and there's no underwear or deodorant," he told The Australian Financial Review after his Bulgari Art Award win.

In his essay, Leonard described Zavros as "an aesthete who paints beautiful things beautifully", whether fairytale palaces, gardens and follies, upmarket men's fashion, luxury cars and jewellery, Lipizzaner dressage horses or pretty boys.

But beauty and mortality are just as often themes in Zavros's work.

"I think for a lot of reasons that when you make work that's aesthetically beautiful, it runs against the grain of avant-garde practice or critical thinking in the art world," he says. "At art school you're encouraged constantly to explain your motivations for making something - reconciling your art to some concept. I find this approach reductive, but I also don't want to make work that's just beautiful, or that's purely decorative."

But he wonders whether his desire to "make everything aesthetically beautiful" could be "a sort of deficiency, like a beautiful band aid over something else: an abscess, a fear".

In fact, his work has been unsettling at times. Two years ago he won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize with his painting Phoebe is dead/McQueen, a life-size image of his then four-year-old daughter Phoebe, lying on her back with her eyes closed, naked under an Alexander McQueen skull scarf. He had been trying to confront his fears of calamity befalling his children, he explained. Significantly, he painted Phoebe with rosy cheeks.

"I've never thought of myself as a provocative artist [but] it clearly was a very provocative work, and I was reminded of the power of painting and of quiet, beautiful realism, and what it can do," he says.

As a teenager, the beauty of horses mesmerised him. Zavros competed in equestrian sports and his paintings of horses plummeting through space partly reflected his anguish whenever he saw a horse fall.

"I worked at the Gold Coast Turf Club on Saturdays and had a very confronting role whenever we had to [euthanase] a horse, which was quite often. I'd often hold the horse as it was being given the injection and would just look at this creature as it was about to go down. At 15, that was hard." It was his first of experience of sadness.

When Zavros was 21, his beloved godmother committed suicide. But he separates this from his receptiveness to melancholy, saying he was in his teens when he first became aware of a need to be alone. "I don't think I'm a depressive person, but I'm never far from despair, and I can't explain why that is. I do know that pouring myself into my work is an important part of dealing with it."

Recently, he started work on an Australian War Memorial commissioned portrait of Benjamin "Ben" Roberts-Smith, the Australian soldier awarded the Medal for Gallantry and the Victoria Cross for Australia, as a result of his actions in Afghanistan. The army, and the art world, will be intrigued to see the result.

Michael Zavros's The New Round Room will be unveiled at the Art Gallery of NSW tomorrow.


Mitt Romney's Bain Involvement Suggested By 1999 California Filing - Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Add another document to the pile, this one from California's secretary of state.

In a filing dated July 21, 1999, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was listed as a "general partner" for Bain Capital Partners, a California Limited Partnership. Romney's signature is on the document declaring that he certified "that the statements contained in this document are true and correct to my own knowledge. I declare that I am the person who is executing this instrument, which execution is my act and deed."

Romney remained on record as one of four general partners until the state was notified of his resignation on June 17, 2003.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul disputed these latest findings. "Mitt Romney had no involvement in management or investment decisions at Bain Capital after February 1999, as has been confirmed by Bain Capital, multiple independent fact checkers and a unanimous finding of fact by the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission," Saul wrote The Huffington Post via email. "In 2003, Mitt Romney was Governor and working full time for the people of Massachusetts, who can also verify that he was in fact Governor at the time and was no longer working at Bain Capital."

But even during his successful 2002 run for governor, Mitt Romney visited his supposedly former company at least once, according to a senior member of his campaign staff. The staffer recalled one such visit on the way to a campaign event, but wasn't told why it was made. The stop lasted 15 minutes. "He had many donors and volunteers there, so I assume it was for campaign and not Bain business," the staffer told HuffPost. "It was too fast for meetings or anything."

The staffer's account and the California document are among the latest evidence that suggests Romney's involvement with Bain extended beyond February 1999, when he claims to have retired from the private equity firm. State documents, SEC filings and his own recently unearthed testimony suggest that Romney continued to do business on behalf of Bain for several years after 1999.

At issue is whether Romney lied to federal authorities in August 2011 as part of the financial disclosure process. Romney asserted that he had "retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee [for the 2002 Winter Olympics]. Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way."

In his testimony before the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission, which was charged with settling a dispute over his residency, Romney testified under oath in June 2002, that he sat on the board of the LifeLike Co., a dollmaker that was a Bain investment during the period.

Previously reported documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Romney was listed as the CEO, chairman and president of the company after 1999. In disclosures in Massachusetts, Romney stated that he took a six-figure salary from Bain. He also attended board meetings for at least two Bain-affiliated companies.

A corporate document filed with Massachusetts listed Romney as one of two managing members of Bain Capital Investors, LLC, after he was elected governor in 2003. As a managing member, he was "authorized to execute, acknowledge, deliver and record any recordable instrument purporting to affect an interest in real property, whether to be recorded with a Registry of Deeds or with a District Office of the Land Court."

Related on HuffPost:

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  • Successful (Drake, Lil Wayne)

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