William P. Warford

I am about 14 chapters into the novel “Bleak House,” and, boy, are those characters Dickensian. Oh, wait, it’s a Charles Dickens novel, I guess they’d have to be.

Seriously, though, many scholars and critics consider “Bleak House” to the best and most Dickensian of all Dickens novels.

I bring it up today because of the story on the umpteenth delay in the corruption case of former Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford.

A recurring theme in “Bleak House” is the slowness of the English justice system, as represented by the civil case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce.

“Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on … The little plaintiff or defendant, who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled, has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world. Fair wards of court have faded into mothers and grandmothers; a long procession of Chancellors has come in and gone out.”

Will the People of the State of California v. Ledford go on for generations? Or will it just seem that long?


Speaking of books, in Sunday’s column, I reviewed “One Day” by Gene Weingarten, a collection of stories about things that happened on the randomly selected date of Sunday, Dec. 28, 1986.

As I assume anyone of a certain age would do, I wondered what I was doing on that day. I was sports editor of the Antelope Valley Press then.

Toward the end of the book, I got to the chapter on the Los Angeles Rams vs. Washington Redskins National Football League playoff game at the old RFK Stadium in D.C.

Wait a minute. That’s what I was doing on Dec. 28, 1986. The late photographer Gene Breckner and I flew back on the redeye on Friday night and covered the game Sunday.

The Rams lost.


Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and a story out of New Jersey lends credence to Ben Franklin’s views of a certain bird associated with that holiday.

According to the History Channel, Franklin never proposed making the turkey our national symbol, but he did, in a private letter, extol the virtues of the turkey over the eagle.

The eagle, Franklin wrote, was “a rank coward,” while the turkey was a “bird of courage” who “would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.”

Indeed. The New York Times reported this week that wild turkeys in Toms River, New Jersey, are so bold that they attack cars and knock on people’s doors.

“They have come close to harming my family and friends, ruined my cars, trashed my yard and much more,” Todd Frazier, a Toms River native and former Major League Baseball player, told The Times.

The turkeys also block traffic by stopping in the road and refusing to move, even when drivers honk their horns. Courageous, indeed.

Well, male turkeys are toms and it is Toms River.

William P. Warford’s column appears every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

Ledford case beginning to look like Jarndyce

and Jarndyce

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