Monday, December 23, 2013

Good help is hard to find

Here's the problem with supermodels

Sure, they're easy on the eyes. But give them a little praise, a little notoriety, and they start believing their own press. They fall in with a bad crowd,

a crowd that drives too fast and parties all night.

Before you know it, what you've got on your hands is a sack full of attitude --

And a model who shows up three hours late,

in no shape for the morning photo shoot.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

History: A lie agreed upon

My grasp of history might be different from yours. We all approach these things from, I think, a unique and not totally pragmatic perspective. Our take on human history will be colored by what we discover, coupled with the stories we've heard since infancy.

Much depends on our cultural experience.

Many of my cultural experiences took place in a car, when the parents would drive us wee kids and our sleeping bags, transport us in the back of a green '65 Rambler station wagon to the local drive-in.

As these were events of an educational nature, there was nothing fun nor remotely salacious promised. I.e, no James Bond; no popcorn. We were not on a pleasure trip.

We arrived at the Thunderbird Drive-In, all work, no play; to learn, history and literature. But mostly history, because Dad liked epic cinematic sweeps. And if we weren't prepared to learn, then we could just pipe down, stop cackling, or he'd turn this car around, and is that what we wanted, is that what we really wanted, because if we kept on this way, well, don't ask him twice, because he'd do it in a heartbeat, just try him. Go on, just one more word.

We decided to learn.

And some lessons have stayed with me all through life. The 60's cinematic epics taught me:

That during any significant period in human history -- the 20th C Arab uprising, WWI, WWII, or the Russian revolution -- Alec Guinness would be there, every step of the way, to bear witness. In some strange accent that one can only describe as Guinness-stan.

That everyone, from the beginning of time, all civilizations, spoke a common language, and that language was English, though with various results. Like, someone could live next door to a Russian, and the Russian would sound German and the neighbor, Italian; and the Polish brother would be Irish and the Irish brother from Cleveland. And the Arabs, don't get me started.

Plus, if Omar Sharif starred as the hero in and as anything -- a Mongol, Russian, German, or Swede -- don't get your hopes up, he's toast.

So, my grasp of international history is, well, wanting. Wanting for something other than David Lean.

In middle school, I had a history teacher, who was actually the boys' gym coach. I mean, he doubled as our history teacher; the real one was on sick leave. The school must have been desperate, because Mr. Burleigh seemed rather out of his element, talking about Sow-Doo Arabia, and such.

But I liked Mr. Burleigh, and he liked me. He knew me, through the gymnastics team. He never called me Karin, but Miss BOO-gay. And I rather liked that.

In history class, one day he unfurled a map of eastern Europe and touched the map with one of those pointy sticks, "This is the Soviet Union. Who is prepared to talk about it?" Because he obviously wasn't.

And Mr. Burleigh was sweating some, and had pushed his shirt sleeves up, exposing his muscular forearms.

Some in the class giggled.

I couldn't let them humiliate Mr. Burleigh. So I stood up and said, "Well, actually, Mr. Burleigh, I have a good story to share, and it starts before the Russian Revolution..." I talked for 40 minutes, about the Reds and the Whites, through a filter of Julie Christie, Tom Courtenay, Ralph Richardson, and whatever I could remember through a second filter, the Rambler, a few years back.

It went over well. And the bell rang.

"Thank you, Miss BOO-gay," said Mr. Burleigh. "Today, we learned something,"

I could only think we hadn't, much; except, maybe, how to be a friend.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lion in Summer

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Holidays, But Keep the Cross

I may be an atheist, but I'm not a pain in the ass atheist. In my book, a pain in the ass atheist is every bit as bad if not worse than a pain in the ass Christian. Because why the hell be a non-believer if you're just going to get all evangelical about it, go around quoting from your own jaw-droppingly boring catechism.

So there's this cross in a San Diego graveyard that's been honoring dead war veterans for 60 years, and a bunch of PainITA atheists sued the state to take it down. Apparently, the cross rests on government property. And looks like they've won.

"'This is a victory for religious liberty,' said Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's program on freedom of religion and belief who argued the matter for the plaintiffs in a hearing on Thursday." (LA Times)

Shut the fuck up, you self-righteous old windbag, sez I. The only victory here is that you destroyed a piece of history and got your name in the paper.

I'm perfectly comfortable with crosses, Stars of David, Buddhas, and the like. When something bad comes my way and a Catholic or a Muslim says, "I'll pray for you," I don't drone on about why I think the prayer won't work; no, I'm just grateful someone cares.

Let me make an ineffectual gesture of my own, ie, sign someone's petition to keep the cross. A cross in a graveyard can mean something lovely, even to a heathen like me -- I consider it a symbol of respect, hope, and comfort.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Words

Have you ever been in the middle of a debate -- or say, a friendly verbal exchange -- and suddenly a word pops out of your mouth; a word you've never used in your whole life?

"Verisimilitude," for example. And then the rest of the conversation is lost on you, because you're so intrigued with how this word got purchase in your brain, why it took this particular moment to make its appearance. "Verisimilitude," you think, "Verisimilitude? What the hell is that?"

But if, in the background, the chatter continues, you think, "Yes, score! I got it right."

It takes you back to when you first learned a language, something beyond nouns and verbs. The first time language touched concepts -- and you knew words could embrace something greater than an's or is's or even a does.

I used "confluence" for the first time, recently. Oh, my friends have been conflueing this and that for ages, but I couldn't. So I sort of pledged, sub-consciously, that sometime this year, I would find the perfect moment (it's like waiting for the double-dutch jump ropes to invite you in), to enter "confluence" somewhere during a conversation.

Nailed it.

What can I say? For me, language is both a religious experience and a competitive sport.

Next on the list: Diaspora and marginalia. Both very popular among my set. And even though ephemera seems to be huge this year, I'll pass and stick with stuff.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Your Christmas movie, at last

I always knew where my parents hid the Christmas presents, usually months before December. They hid them, always, in the usual place -- in their closet, on the upper shelves. I'd get a chair and rummage about, because I knew the toys or  music stand or books were up there, somewhere. And I knew a few other things, as well; I knew I wouldn't get my horse, or my piano. About that, I was quite sure. But not absolutely certain, and thought I might, just might, find an envelope that said -- well, I don't know what it would have said, because I never found the envelope, so it didn't say.

Still, I didn't like suspense then. I don't like suspense now. To know the end, from the beginning --  if I could have that, I would promise to walk all the steps in between.

That's why I like books. Books let me read as I wish I could live. If the first few pages capture my imagination, then I skip to the end. And the middle, well, the middle -- it's pudding. All the irony, humor, tragedy, joy would be lost on me, if I didn't know how it all held together.

When I was introduced to The Dead, by James Joyce, I read the first, the finish, and then the middle. And that's the way I read it to this day.

The story is much better, knowing the end from the start. That Gabriel will find a state of grace. A gently sad grace. Without knowing that, from the beginning, by the end, you have to start all over again. Which, on second thought, is a gift, after all.

The movie is true and faithful to the text, and lovely in its own right. It was John Huston's last. If you haven't seen it, then let's open with the final scene. I do think they're among the most beautiful words ever strung together in the English language.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Autumn Harvest

They say that the essence of futility is to keep doing the same thing thing over and over while expecting a different result. So after two years of crop failures, I'm through with vegetables -- the weepy lettuce, stumpy carrots, and preemie zukes.

Now I'm planting puppies.

As an experiment, I tried a Labrador seed in March, before the last of our spring rains. Just tossed it in the raised bed, not expecting much, one way or the other. It languished during the hot summer months, looked more dead than alive, so I kind of thought, well -- that's that. Then all of a sudden, come November, I've got this. Rather thrilling, what?

Advantages of puppy seeds -- they till their own soil, dig their own holes, and self-fertilize.

I thumped this one on the head early this morning, and it sounds practically hollow, so I reckon it'll be ready for harvest in another week or so. Then I'll take it to our local backyard produce exchange. Maybe I'll get a melon or two in trade. Or even just a turnip, that'd be ok, given it's my first try.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

who am I?

I had a pretty good handle on this. We won't go into details, but I was me, for most of my life. So I thought.

Now it turns out someone or things have been dipping into a me that includes credit card numbers and such. Kudos to the credit card company that caught this, early. But now I have to look into all sorts of stuff, of a monetary nature. The bank started an official police inquiry, but I suppose, after googling some info, I should also contact my local constable.

I always thought if the universe got all up in my face, confronted me with major questions, those questions would regard being and nothingness, my place and purpose on this earth, something metaphorical, rather than financial.

I'll let you know how this works out. No, I won't bore you daily. But I will provide some info to keep in your back pocket, should this ever happen to you. Steps to take, and so forth. Because, really. These guys, these guys -- they went trolling through rich waters of unprotected identities and the best they could find was this little fish?

And just to end with a mild rant -- when they caution not to give out your social security number (something I never do, out of habit) -- but please, are we fucking stupid? Everyone has access to our ssn -- it's on our school records, rental agreements, mortgages, tax forms, bank accounts, utilities -- might as well be on a billboard; anyone can grab it; doesn't take a Snowden or that pale guy, because it's everywhere.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Parents wish; children are

They wanted me to be a dentist.

When I graduated college with a major in English Lit, I returned home for a weekend, and my parents looked concerned. English Lit? How would I make my way through this all-too real and sometimes cruel world, knowing nothing but the difference between a metaphor and a simile, an aphorism and an axiom, an allegory and a parable.

Where are the bicuspids? they asked. Show us the teeth in this plan.

"Oh, don't worry," I said, and patted their furrowed, worried brows. "Yes, yes, it's only an English Lit degree, but I've backed it up with a minor in Italian Cinema.

"And if that's not enough to impress you, next year, I'll go for my Masters in Philosophy -- emphasis on French Structuralism. I'll be studying whether Foucault, a known positivist, may not be an ordinary positivist at all. I know! You look amazed! We are all amazed! Because, paradoxically, he uses the tools of science to criticize science.

"Of course, structuralism is less popular today than other approaches, such as post-structuralism and deconstruction, and the emphasis on ambiguity, i.e., the ethics of ambiguity. If I can recall the words of Cornelius Castoriadis, when he criticized the practice of symbiotic meditation, and yes, it is at the tip of my tongue... "

My dad dropped off first, my mom followed soon after. We all slept well that night.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

They say tomatoes, I say Hahamongna

"The Devil's Gate Reservoir Sediment Removal and Management Project [will host] an estimated maximum of 425 truck round trips per day." [six days a week, for five years.]

Let me preface this by saying, that which the County is now calling Devil's Gate Reservoir is actually, mostly, for all of us who hike, bike, gallop, run, jog, stroll, and admire the acreage, that which the County calls Devil's Gate Reservoir, is in reality, primarily, Hahamongna Natural Watershed Park.

I got nervous, the moment I saw they were morphing the name.

As to the sediment abatement plan, you know, if we can put a man on the moon, and we did; if we can put a robot on Mars, and we have; then why can't we address a silt-removal problem at a local dam with a certain amount of sophistication?

Moving dirt in trucks, four hundred-plus trucks per day? Apparently, were it not for the internal combustion engine, we'd be hitching up the mule train and grabbing our shovels. Is this the best our brilliant County, and their highly-paid scientists, engineers, consultants and more consultants, can imagine, configure?

I don't know all the possible options, not by a long shot. But sluicing seemed worth pursuing. As to that option, the consultants hired another consultant who printed some xxx-page report to say that sluicing wouldn't work. Well, maybe not. Who is this gentleman, I asked? Oh, the best in class, they answered, an expert from San Diego State Uni.

Fair enough. But we're talking big budget here. So, I ask the County, you went to San Diego and, what, the mule wouldn't move? Like, you couldn't afford to call the Netherlands, for instance? Japan? Denmark? Just one consultant, for a multi-million dollar project?

So the County position at the meeting today -- trucking dirt. Four hundred truck trips a day, six months a year, for five years -- worst-case scenario. (When officials start positing a worst-case scenario, they're talking as good as it gets.)

If this plan goes through, I say, follow the money. Look closely, very closely, at the dump truck, bulldozer, and crane contracts. That'll be a helluva scoop.

Anyway, I found this clip. If the County proceeds, here's our wildlife, here's our Hahamongna Natural Watershed Park. Dig it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Saving Hahamongna

Hahamongna Natural Watershed Park is an acquired taste, like Roquefort cheese or truffles. To appreciate the Haha, you must welcome the extraordinary; you need a sense of adventure.

I like parks. I like an expanse of green green lawn in the middle of a desert -- a clipped hedge, appointed paths, acres of St Augustine, a fake pond. I also like liquefied American cheese on nachos. You know, when they melt that baby down and the chips get all soggy. Even though I realize, fully realize, I’m eating something akin to motor oil with salt and it’s not food at all. But yeah, I like parks and I like nachos.

Hahamongna does not present itself in pre-sliced, sodium infused packets. Hahamongna is strong, barely tamed. The visitors who love it are explorers. They have a taste for adventure; a call of the wild. Because the Haha is raggedy and unkempt, with unhemmed skirts and pillow-hair. Filled with newts and toads, good dreams, bad dreams, a Native American burial ground. The Haha is an open invitation to share quality time with ducks and herons, hawks, owls, coyotes, and mountain lions.

You’ll never find an image of Hahamongna on a candybox or in a Kincaide --but if you bring your own sensibilities to the picture, the Haha will embrace you. You’ll find a landscape for the dark and light moments of the soul.

So, when the City of Pasadena lost their bid to gentrify the Haha, seems our wily County of LA found a backdoor. A sediment removal project which will host more than 400 dump trucks six days a week. The plan is to rip out riparian areas that have been self-healing since the rock quarry years of the last century. And this project will continue for five years. That is more than fifteen hundred days of dust, dirt, destruction, noise, and death.

The County couldn’t more effectively obliterate the heart and life of this area if they tried. But then, I think they are. Trying, I mean. No conspiracy theorist here, but the City of Pasadena and now the County of LA, they’ve always hated Hahamongna. Partly because most of those on whatever panel have never even visited, let alone seen, Hahamongna, and partly because we’ve loved it so much.

If the County has its way, well, here’s the riddle: how many souls can fit in a dump truck? Before you answer, County, scoot over. No, further, give a girl some room. (You always hog the floor, 30-seconds for public comment? You won’t get away with that, you really won’t.) Ok, the answer is, zero.

The souls I know opposing this plan -- you have no idea what sort of tenacity, intelligence, and creativity you’re up against. These souls are in it for the long haul and have been at it for decades. Their roots grow long and deep, into a welcoming earth.

Catch a meeting.
Thursday, November 14, 2013

6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Jackson Elementary School Auditorium, 593 West Woodbury Road

Saturday, November 16
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Community Center, 4469 Chevy Chase Drive, La Canada Flintridge
La CaƱada Flintridge, CA 91011

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

You dog, you

Rob Ford Pledges, 'I Will Not Resign.'
Ending six months of often vehement denial, Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, admitted on Tuesday that he had smoked crack cocaine while in office. “Have I smoked crack cocaine. ... Yes, probably, in one of my drunken stupors ...God Bless the people of Toronto." NY Times

Oh, so brilliant -- the two phrases that could have saved me a lifetime of lame explanations and regret.

Forgot to do my homework? "Yes, Mr. Fletcher, but you'll understand when I say, last night I was in a drunken stupor. God Bless."

Missed curfew; arrested for under-aged driving; caught with contraband? "Sorry Dad, but I was in a drunken stupor. God bless."

Flunked out of college, late with rent, forgot a birthday, stood up a boyfriend, lost a power point presentation, divorced, bungled a work budget? DS and GB.

Of course, as all great orators will, Rob Ford takes it to the next level -- ratchets it up. "I know that admitting my mistake was the right thing to do and I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off of my shoulders...This was so difficult ... I hope, I hope, that nobody but nobody has to go through what I have gone through. We must advance; we must get back to work immediately."

Someone has taken a leaf from his book.

"Oh, I'm so glad you're home. I need a thousand pounds lifted off my shoulders, ASAP."

"I am a Bad Dog, a very bad dog, indeed. And admitting it is the right thing to do."

"That said, can we just turn the page on this unfortunate incident? Or are you going to obsess over it? Because if you let bygones be bygones, I have a gift for you..."

"I am your dog forever; I will not resign. God Bless!"

Friday, November 1, 2013

Breeders Cup, Friday, Gary Stevens

Brilliant ride, by one of the best jockeys, ever. Minimize this pup, it's just a soundtrack. If you click on the pictures, you can follow the race.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Betting class

From the first day I landed in LA, it seemed I hooked up with one gambler after another. Some were occasional, casual gamblers --
upstanding citizens, and others were guys who only felt alive when betting their last red cent.

But doctor or pauper, they all liked the horses, and with few exceptions, every dollar they bet only circled the drain.

For a time, I had these two friends, G and T, a gay couple that we called Gin and Tonic. Tonic was a nurturing mother-figure, and Gin had been raised by a very different kind mother altogether. Gin's mom lived at the track, in her clubhouse box at Del Mar and Santa Anita, and Gin had reached maturity on a diet of nachos and Pepsi. Thanks to Del Mar, though, he was also an excellent surfer.

When the mom died, Gin invited me and my husband of the moment to her house; his house now. It had a wide-screen TV and one chair in the living room, and that was pretty much it. "What happened to your furniture?" I asked. He looked puzzled. "You don't like the chair?" "Oh, sure, it's a great chair. But the room, I mean, what about a table or sofa." "Oh well," he said, "That was Mom. she didn't like to dust."

If we joined them at the track, Gin would bet every single race. And not just a single bet. He bet all across the board -- exacta, box, baseball, cartwheel, and any other exotic on offer. He effectively left no horse uncovered. After every race, Gin would pass Tonic his beer, then search his pockets and sort through the 18 or 20 tickets. "I can't believe it!" he'd say, jumping up and down. "I won!"

But I'm digressing. Because everything I learned about racing and handicapping I learned from Don. A professional. A college swim coach who quit his job once he found the secret. He considered handicapping his job, and the track was his office, and he bet on class. He had a system, a great head for numbers, and the gift of self-discipline. Don could go an entire season without laying one single bet. I'll share his secret tomorrow. He wouldn't mind. He'll always be in business. Betting against hotheads made him a rich man. At the track, only cooler heads prevail, and you don't need two hands to count them.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A horse beats a ghost any day of the week

Santa Anita hosts the Breeders Cup this weekend; Karen Klein and I caught the morning workout at Clockers Corner.

These are the big guns and gunettes, racing for million-dollar purses. On dirt and turf; sprinters and distance; juveniles and seasoned; mares and stallions; and they come from all around the world, and some winners will be owned by billionaires, others by some chaps who, when the race started, were just one trailer ride away from bankruptcy and disgrace.

Karen and Karin arrived early-early, and saw stars, you betcha.

I exercised my jaws on some ham and eggs. Best breakfast in all of LA.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Extra Ordinary

I took a picture today. Through the window, into a house that's been empty for -- ten, fifteen years, maybe? And you see my visor, reflected, and the grand piano in the living room. The piano is the only piece of furniture that remains. But now there's a woman, to our left. I can't explain this. You see her, too, right? It's not just me?

Update: What is wrong with you people? If you think you're coming to my slumber party, think again.

I was listening to Lou at the time. Halloween Parade. Cross my heart.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, that is what you mean to me, Harper Lee

"Author Harper Lee ... seeks to protect the 87-year-old's best-known intellectual property, "To Kill a Mockingbird."
The Alabama writer has sued her hometown Monroe County Heritage Museum for trademark infringement, saying it is illegally using her fame for its own gain... It is a substantial business that generated over $500,000 in revenue for 2011, the last year for which figures are available," said the lawsuit filed last week. " -- CNN

So Harper Lee is suing over the use of the To Kill A Mockingbird trademark and logo. Well, who the hell does she think she is?

I can't imagine anyone so mean spirited. She's rich; why strike out at us, just because we clean up on our "Scout and Jem" fanny packs and "I Heart Atticus" baseball caps and coffee mugs? Jealousy, perhaps, that we came up with the idea first?

We only want to promote the heritage of this town, after all. I haven't actually read the whole book. But I have read the important parts, because every time I take something from the stove while wearing my Miss Maudie Mitts, I see a new and wondrous quote. Plus, every time we stuff a chicken in the "Hey, It's Not a Mockingbird" roasting pan, we remember, right? -- the story or whatever. Same goes for the "You're Toast, Bob Ewell" mini-oven.

I suppose next thing we know, she'll be suing over our Boo Radley Rat Traps. These traps not only work, by the way, but have a different TKAM quotes on every slab, making them both fun and educational for the entire family. My son and daughter literally fight over who gets to empty them each morning.

Artists. Don't get me started. This whole thing has me so upset -- the greed of this woman, the selfishness. Something my family doesn't indulge in; in fact, you're all invited over to share our jar of "Folks Call Me Dill" pickles. Depending on which way the wind blows, these may or may not be available early next year.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Let's Party

Join Altadena Heritage this Saturday, from 2-4 p.m. All the best people will be there.

Plus, I promise you this -- You'll witness horseback riding of exceptional quality -- dressage, racking, western, Charros; and there will be a performance by the Denas' and Doo-Dah's own Dianne Patrizzi. We'll share a little past, a little present, some gossip and nosh.

Come on down to 3064 Ridgeview Drive.

Don't make me come and get you.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wahoo! Altadena Fete -- Free, October 19th, Everyone Welcome

Fete? You bet. Because I had to look up the word "fete" to make sure, and yes, we have a celebration on tap, a festival. Horse-riding demos, refreshments, and a few short words from big people.

Mostly, you'll oooh and ahhh when some accomplished riders put their horses through their Western, Dressage, 5-gaited, and Charro paces.

And here's the thing: I never threw a party before, ever. You know that, else you would have been invited. And some of you folks live in PA, Canada, Oz, Brazil, and New Yaaawk, so you're excused; but surely I must have a few local readers. And to you I say, please come. Because this was my idea, and if you don't show up, I'll look stupid, and drive home with 50 pounds of guacamole in the trunk of my car.

Mark your calendar -- Saturday, 10/19, from 2pm to 4pm, at Altadena Stables, 3064 Ridgeview Drive. That's near where Altadena Drive dead-ends into JPL, and it's just a walk, one block south.

More info, enticements, tomorrow.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Writing for a living

Among my many jobs, one was writing tech manuals for a new super-duper online program to revolutionize how work gets done, in a place where it had been done in a most specific manner for about a hundred years, and target the manual to those who held both computers and reading in equal contempt.

This project I handled in concert with another writer. Both of us Lit majors.

My text was "dah-dah-dah -- Your're almost there -- dah-dah-dah -- you're doing fine -- dah-dah-dah -- You've got it!" And his was prose that went on for pages -- "If a red light blinks in the upper corner of your screen, this indicates a problem, but a problem that can be tackled if we consider the three probable solutions..." Mine was the more popular, and his the more accurate. So neither of us communicated anything of value.

In any case, we could finish our daily job in about an hour, so had time to kill. Which we spent quizzing one another on the first lines of literature.

"Ok, so who said this..."

Then the competition escalated to: what is the most recognizable first-line in English Literature? Something we didn't admit was that both of us scoured our book shelves; it made the next day interesting, attractive; a reason to get up in the morning.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged," he said.

Oh, that's good. Better than my, "Happy families are all alike..."

When the rubber hit the road, the shit hit the fan; in other words, when they flicked the switch on this new technical wonder -- our actual job, it was chaos. My stuff didn't work, and no one had read his. So the true techie wizard had to travel from San Francisco to San Diego and sort things out, personally.

Oh, well. We tried. And no one seemed to hold us accountable. So back to what mattered.

"The sun shone, having no alternative," he bid.

"Mother died yesterday," I countered.

To our credit, we never stooped to "Call me Ishmael."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

We Won't Stop: Notes from Albert

Don't get me started on the tongue-thing. I invented the tongue-thing.

My girl friend Lily can do it, too; but I'm a professional, and she's just a talented amateur. And yes, we can both twerk. I invented the twerk, thank you for asking. Again, I'm better at it than Lily, but Lily is better than Miley.

My greatest claim to local fame, however, is a certain move. A solo piece, both sexy and shocking. A move I'm not afraid to perform in the open -- whether at the vet's office, a dinner party, or waiting for money to spit from the ATM; I can even sneak in a performance on a walk while waiting for the light to change. Sure, it looks easy. But as the Italians say, Spezzatura. This drop-twist-head tucked up the ass, requires great flexibility, concentration, and lightning reflexes.

Like other great artists, I publicly value my personal space.

As for my work, though some have cited Miley as my major influence, I give total credit to the republican party. Through this party's brave example, I learned that it's ok to tune out that irritating criticism, the buzz-buzz-buzz from my fellow man, and focus on my privates.

As the saying goes, Ars longa vita brevis. I think I invented that too. Because my ars is really longa.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Walk this way

I have a few missives that are too important to leave for the postal carrier. The mortgage payment, the checks for property tax, and quarterly health insurance -- those I walk myself, to the post office. It's just a mile back and forth.

It's a nice walk to the Altadena Post Office. I cut through this alley

Then head back home, past the pet store

Past Lori's Websters.

There's a photography studio on our left

And a bus stop up ahead. I didn't ask these guys if a photo opp was in their future.

But I asked these two, outside El Patron restaurant, if I could take a shot. And they said, "Of course!"

After the gas station, we head up the hill.

And the landscape reminds me of a ski jump. I tried to capture this feeling, but someone was walking behind, and I thought my snapping might make him nervous.

"I'm not shooting you," I said, as he passed. But then I changed my mind and caught up to him. "I'd like to take your picture."

"What's it for?"

"My blog..." and here I was going to make myself bigger and more important than I am.

"Your blog?" he said. "That's awesome."