Saturday, August 31, 2013


Overheard on the Sam Merrill Trail this summer.

[man on cell] Yes, Dude, yes she did ... Yes she did ... You're right, she did ... I can't believe it, yes, yes she did ... No, no, not that, no she didn't.

[two women] I can't say I'm happy about any of it. But the good news is, he's a pharmacist.

[two men] So I said, 'This is not the first time it's happened. Fool me once, shame on you. Right; am I right? Fool me twice, fool me three times, then like, shame on you all over again.'

[woman on cell] I'll call you later, ok? I'm at the airport with lots of baggage.

[man on cell] I ... Well, I ... No, I ... Listen, I ... I ... I ... Can I just say ... Can I ... I'm losing the signal, you're breaking up ... I'm losing ... I said ... I...

[man and woman] Next time we want to get in shape, let's go bowling.

[man and woman] Fine. If you don't want to talk about it, then I don't want to talk about it. If you want to shut down, then I want to shut down. If you've got nothing to say, then I've got nothing to say. What do you say to that?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Let Me Ask You Something...

Dek, LA Times [Aug 27, 2013]:
"Wilma Subra, a diminutive grandmother, has long challenged the corporate polluters in one of the nation's most toxic regions."

So now you think the dear little thing is holding a bake sale, right? Subra may be a grandmother, she may be many other things as well, maybe she bakes, maybe she fixes cars, maybe she writes verse; but what's important to this article is that she's a chemist. And an activist.

Let me ask you:

If you were to read an article about an environmental activist, a chemist who won the MacArthur Genius Grant, then spent years going toe-to-toe with the big players in the chemical manufacturing arena, and later faced physical danger when publishing those findings; if this article were about a man, would the Dek read: "Tiny grandfather takes on corporate polluters"?

I think not.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My brush with greatness

I've had maybe five.

Ok, so I promised a couple of people my Fassbinder story, and here it is.

In the early 80's, I spent a couple of weeks at a friend's ranch outside of San Francisco. On the weekends, D filled the place with people -- mostly other rich guys and foreign film directors. The rich guys wanted to direct, and the directors wanted to be rich, which made for an intoxicating cocktail, three parts mutual admiration, one part envy, with a splash of bitters.

On the second weekend, Rainer Fassbinder joined the party. I assume my friend flew him over; this is just a guess on my part, but I doubt at this point Fassbinder ever had to spring for anything. In certain circles, the brilliance of Berlin Alexanderplatz and The Marriage of Maria Braun could serve as a form of currency.

Fassbinder was 30 something, and looked 50 something. From what I observed, he considered cocaine a competitive sport. But mainly, Fassbinder was high on Fassbinder, an enthusiasm everyone at this particular gathering happened to share.

While no one would dream of disturbing the great man as he went about fulfilling his various appetites, clearly, the guests were fairly panting for the moment when he finished -- when he, they could all share ideas on art, and film, the creative process, philosophy, aesthetics.

Finally, Fassbinder spoke:

"I can hop on my right foot, fifty times without stopping," And started to prove it. "Can you hop with me?"

He was already at hop 10 or 15 when a sizable crowd joined him. After they reached 50, Fassbinder kept going and said, "I can hop to 500."

Many fell victim along the way. By 400, only three were still hopping. When they reached 500, Fassbinder said, "And now, I will hop 500 times on my left foot."

I watched the full thousand; I guess I must have been rather in love with my friend at the time.

Fassbinder died later that year.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

As you know

I've been working for a couple of news sites lately, and have not begged, massaged, or in any way coerced you into clicking one single link. But I like this one.

It's kids at a local horse summer camp, telling me what they think is the most important thing they've learned about horses or themselves. And it starts off with "Don't fall off."

Imagine what wear and tear this one simple lesson, had I been listening,would have saved me. Check out the faces and the philosophy. Here's the link.

(And the 1800 shares in less than one hour that appears on the page? A glitch, no doubt. Still, as Allie said when we talked about her model horse collection, "I like to make-believe."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Sometimes life seems tough, and throws all kinds of traffic cones and speed bumps my way. And sometimes life is better than all right. Not to brag, but this is my town. On a very ordinary Wednesday evening.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Written Hard and Put Away Wet

As I've been woiking, woiking, woiking these past few weeks, I've got no words left in the tank. But since some of you were nice enough to ask for a Vandy picture, I snapped a couple today.

Talkin' bout my girl -- my girl, my girl.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Getting it Right

So, I've had my horse Vandy since 1990, and that's a nice collection of years. And she might be headed out of this world, soon. Soon. I'm sort of putting the final word off on this. As she is comfortable, happy, certainly not in any pain, promise you that. But she's losing weight.

She is such an interesting being to know, and I've been interested in knowing her being for longer than anyone else in my life.

Let me tell you the best thing about Vandy. When I decided to buy a horse, there was another registered quarter horse for sale named Rose. Rose was 12 years old, and probably would have been the perfect horse for me. Well-behaved, good looking.

I don't know what drew me to Vandy. Wait, yes I do. She had the most beautiful face. Her face hasn't changed. On her quarter horse registration papers, her markings are: Star, Strip, Snip. She has a white star on her forehead, a white strip down her face, a white snip just above her upper lip.

She's a bay. Black points on her legs, black tail, black mane. In winter her coat is a deep brown, and in summer, she's a chestnut.

Back to what drew me to Vandy, other than her physical beauty. Though only 15 hands and change, she's a natural at dressage. Her body is built that way -- long pasterns, and the right kind of head and chest and collection. One day I'll figure out how to describe the poetry of riding my Vandy.

She moves with great drama and precision. And she's a diva, who has tossed me off her back, oh, maybe 20 times? Probably more. But that's only resulted in three or four trips to ER, one cast, and, I don't know, maybe 15 stitches, total. Oh, wait,then there was also the leg-thing, but that healed by itself.

If Vandy could speak for herself, she could tell you about the time I rode her so hard, she pulled her suspensory ligaments and was laid up for six months. And another time we rode high up the hills, she bucked her shins when a mountain bike came careening down the hill.

And then my friend Debbie could talk about the time Vandy sucker kicked her horse in the chest, and blood shot out like a fountain, and we pulled the saddles from our horses, left the saddles on the trail and used the saddle pads as compresses to stop the bleeding, as we walked two miles back to the stables.

All was well; in every case -- we were fine. And ready to ride again. I could never say this about another human, but with my animals, I treasure some scars. The one on my leg and my hand from breaking up a fight with Bru; and the knot on the back of my head, the bump on my shin, and a slightly shorter little finger -- that's Vandy.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What I want; what I really, really want

All my life I thought I wanted a craftsman house. And when I couldn't afford one, I told the real estate agent, "Just find me some ancient damned squat in Altadena that I can buy for $10 and some groupons."

So that's what I got. But it turns out, that's not what I want at all. I don't want cozy; I don't want eaves, and dark living rooms, and plumbing problems. I want sleek. I want spare. I want mid-century modern.

When I tell this to friends, you know, about the volte-face in my aesthetics, they say, "Don't you find, that our tastes change as we get older..."

And that sort of response makes me so mad I jump up and down until I dislodge my artificial hip and lose my dentures. No, it's not because I got older -- you guys did, and I'm really sorry about that, boo-hoo. But the reason I want midcentury modern is because ... wait, where was I, now I forgot what I was saying...

Oh, hell, it doesn't matter. But I'm soliciting volunteers to launch a Kickstarter for me so I can get this:

In return, well, I'm all out of groupons, but there's some Ralph's coupons I stashed away, and they're worth double on Wednesdays.