Printable Onward Coloring Pages

Onward into our divided world

by Mick Rhodes | [email protected]

As of last week I am no longer allowed to write political statements or write opinions that do not have a connection to Claremont [See “Local news judgment evolves in a divided world,” April 5]. This decision was made by Courier Publisher Peter Weinberger following the publication of my March 29 column, “There is no justification for the horrors in Gaza.”

Printable coloring pages of Forward for kids - Onward Kids
Printable coloring pages of Forward for kids – Onward Kids

Though I disagree, I understand this decision. By angering some of our readers we run the risk of real financial impact on the Courier, an especially acute concern in a time when we, and hundreds (thousands?) of other community newspapers are struggling to remain financially viable. It’s also against the rules for nonprofits like the Courier to endorse candidates. The Courier is a community newspaper and website, and my boss says it’s not the appropriate medium for non-local subject matter.

Last week’s protests at Pomona College made national news, and we are reporting on them in this edition, as well as other local news items that pertain to the conflict in Gaza. Still more passion on the subject is extremely evident in this week’s Readers’ Comments. So, there are some examples of how the Courier will cover this going forward.

I recognize I am privileged to be an employee, and not an employer. I have the luxury of “clocking out.” I don’t carry the burden of making payroll every two weeks. I can afford to be idealistic. For that reason, I don’t begrudge my boss the right to choose how he keeps the presses running at the Courier. I will continue to do all I can, within the newly established bounds, to keep the Courier a vital and informative resource for our community.


I want to be clear though that I believe writing about suffering, injustice, and cruelty is the job of all journalists everywhere, big and small. I’m also very proud of what I’ve written about the war in Gaza, and I believe the Courier will one day be looked upon as having been on the right side of history in doing so.

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‘Assassin of mediocrity’ indeed

Onward Coloring Pages Printable for Free Download
Onward Coloring Pages Printable for Free Download

Bill Sassenberger may not be a household name, but he’s a figure of much importance, reverence even, to folks of a certain age — say from 45 to 65 — who were musical adventurers in their youth. Sassenberger and his late wife Julianna Towns were the proprietors of Toxic Shock Records, which operated its gloriously weird store and record label at various Pomona locations from 1980 to 1988 before decamping to Tucson, Arizona, where it became vital for a whole new group of outsider music fans up until its 2014 closure.

I just finished reading Sassenberger’s first book, a moving, clear-eyed, and rollicking memoir, “Toxic Shock Records, Assassin of Mediocrity: A Story of Love, Loss and Loud Music,” which was released last month by Fluke Publishing. It tracks both his monumental love affair with Towns, who died in 2019 of complications from series of strokes that began in 2011, and his heroic championing of what was once called “underground music.”

I’ve read dozens of music biographies, and this one is perhaps the most personal. Though he rarely touches on it, Sassenberger’s life’s work — the store and record label — changed the lives of untold thousands of musicians and music fans. I know because I was one of them. He believed in my little punk rock band enough to include Human Therapy on his label’s first 12” vinyl release, 1983’s “Barricaded Suspects” compilation.

Free Onward coloring sheets for kids  Coloring pages, Coloring
Free Onward coloring sheets for kids Coloring pages, Coloring

The book pulls back a curtain on his somewhat rough childhood, and how music became a salvation, and eventually, a vocation. What it isn’t is a tale of a financial ladder climbing, where the hero toils in obscurity for decades then ascends to mogul status. “This is the story of a lifetime spent in the trenches of the mercantile class,” Sassenberger writes in the opening sentence. This self-effacing introduction sets the tone for the entirety of the 198-page journey, with the author’s prose marked by a lovely balance of sly humor and touching insight.

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Though it’s packed with details about all manner of artists, and some dirt, the heart of the story belongs to his near 40-year marriage to Towns. This alone could have been its own book. Taken in tandem with a treasure trove of memories of an undying passion for and dedication to adventurous music and musicians, at some point the twin narratives become one. It’s a love story supreme, to be sure. And if you’re like me and you grew up consuming art from the musical fringes — which have by now become the center — the book has profound relevance.

Sassenberger delves into his considerable achievements with humility, honesty, and humor. He faces the most difficult subjects — a crummy, abusive stepfather, his mother’s dementia and death, the loss of many members of his family, and of course, his journey in learning to care for his lifelong love, Towns, as she struggles with her new normal following her strokes — without sentimentality or bombast. This clear-eyed recall of the hard stuff is particularly admirable.

Sassenberger, who still calls Tucson home, will be in Southern California in June for some book signing events. The first is Friday, June 7 at Dr. Strange Records in Alta Loma. Then on Saturday, June 8, he’ll have a table at the big No Values festival at Pomona Fairplex, where he’ll also celebrate his 69th birthday. Fittingly, he’ll be surrounded by punk rock artists from the 1970s up through today, including some of his longtime friends. Many of them, like me, owe him a debt of gratitude.

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Go to flukemags.com to purchase “Toxic Shock Records, Assassin of Mediocrity: A Story of Love, Loss and Loud Music.”

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