Hatful of rain

I first saw this bag taped up to a pole in the neighborhood over the weekend,

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but I didn’t stop to check it out until today, and in the interim we got quite a bit of rain.

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“I found (something something) on (something) somebody has left yarn & needles to crochet a small hat she was making.” For some reason this is making me imagine that the materials haven’t been retrieved yet by their owner because they belong to a young male crochet enthusiast who is really building up a head of steam about the gender assumption on the nice note. Maybe it’s not as fraught as that – maybe it’s just that nobody wants to touch the now-mildewed yarn in the bottom of the wet bag.

I wish I knew how to crochet. I would find some new yarn and make a small hat for whomever put up this bag, and hopefully they would retrieve it before we got any more rain.

Published in: on February 4, 2016 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Boba cat

If you find yourself worried about the whereabouts of mini-Felix about halfway through this cartoon, you’re not the only one. Have no fear; he (she?) reappears by the time the story wraps up.

Published in: on January 30, 2016 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Gangland funnies

I was going to post the cartoon “It’s a Greek Life” this morning, but the best version on YouTube is at the end of a gang of Toonerville cartoons. It seems sort of chintzy of me to post this with a “skip to 57 minutes in” function when all of these cartoons are swell (I’ve posted some before), and since you’ve been especially good all week, you get the whole gang.

Speaking of gangs, if you only know the name “Toonerville” from the murderous northeast LA gang Toonerville Rifa, you should know that the gang got its name indirectly from these cartoons. The Red Line trolley (the remnants of which I can see from my window as I write this) was nicknamed the Toonerville Trolley by locals back in the ’40s, and at some point the Latin Souls adopted the nickname of the trolley that ran through their neighborhood. Maybe this sounds like a silly and childish nickname for a violent gang, but bear in mind our other local gangs are Frogtown and Rascals. I won’t be surprised if I hear of a new beef between the Sunshine Makers and Merry Kittens soon.

Etiquette & superstition: interactions with a dying person

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According to a New York Times interview with the artist of the painting above, Jack the black monkey was owned by an 18th century British ambassador to Italy. Jack’s owner noted in correspondence that he (Jack, not the ambassador) enjoyed enemas and grabbing the genitals of young boys. Perhaps it is no surprise that there are no companions at his bedside as he joins the choir invisible.

ETIQUETTE: When you are talking or writing a letter to a dying person, it is important that you try to find out whether the person knows and accepts whether they are dying. If they do not know, insist on using euphemisms or are not willing to accept their impending departure, you need to go along with that. Now is not the time to get into a new argument.

Start working on making your peace with the dying if you need to, let them wrap up their own loose ends, accept gifts they wish to bestow on you. Err on the side of making amends rather than expressing brutal honesty, but don’t say anything or make any promises that you would regret if the person weren’t dying. Sometimes people make amazing recoveries.

If you can’t think of anything to say to a dying person, just hold their hand.

SUPERSTITION: If a dying person’s last words are your name, you’re probably the next on your way to the pearly gates. If a dying person hits or bites you, you have to hit or bite them reciprocally if you don’t want to die yourself. Go ahead and get them back real good; a dying man’s tears are a good headache cure.

Image of “Jack On His Deathbed” by Walton Ford provided by La Petite Claudine on Flickr

Lincoln Heights logs

The title of this post is not technically correct, as this log cabin

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is in Montecito Heights, just northeast of Lincoln Heights, but the John Lloyd Wright-designed building toy isn’t called Montecito Logs, now is it? Actually, unless my set was incomplete, this house has a lot more going on than the Lincoln Logs I had growing up. Bricks. Stones. Metal security doors.

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I know John Lloyd Wright didn’t design this particular house, but his influence is definitely here and I think it would be neat if it were included in architectural tours of Wright homes in the LA area. If nothing else, it would really cheese off John Lloyd’s dad, wouldn’t it?

Cannibals and cannonballs

Benny went to visit a friend of ours this week and I guess the conversation turned to our intermittent but rather disgusting pest problem, because Benny came back with our friend’s solution to cannibal rats in the home. If the previous sentence made you squeamish, you may want to turn back now.

The solution as presented to Benny was thus:

  1. Trap a rat in a standard snap trap.
  2. Await the cannibal rat who wants to eat the rat in the snap trap.
  3. Trap the cannibal rat in a cage.
  4. Feed him until he becomes very large.
  5. Release him back to where the rats hang out.
  6. Let him eat all the other rats.
  7. Problem solved.

Unfortunately, this plan doesn’t seem to me like it would be as smoothly executed as it is laid out, and furthermore I see a much different #7 in this scenario. I don’t think this is the plan for us.

I don’t think the plan for us is the one laid out in this cartoon either, however. Those mini cats are wasting much more food and causing much more damage than that tidy rat with his electric meat slicer.

Published in: on January 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Look in the land of the Hyperboreans

After finding this lost dog notice

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I started reading about the Labors of Hercules and am now very grateful that I was not born a demi-god bastard in ancient Greece*. You should be too. If you had, your stepmom would have driven you insane – like kill your wife and kids and best friend insane – and then you’d have to do stuff like chase a deer around the world for a year and repair clothes while in drag and clean up 30 years’ worth of cow poop, just so everybody knew you felt really bad about what you’d done when you were insane. And all this because your dad tricked your real mom into having sex with him by pretending to be her husband.

Maybe this Hercules isn’t having such a tough time of it, though. Maybe he’s simply playing with Orthrus and Cerberus and wondering what it would be like to have more than one head.  Don’t worry, owners of Hercules; I’m sure he’ll be back before too long. There are no dog treats in Hades.

*Yes, I know; Heracles is the greek name. Just let me have “Hercules” here, will you?

Ain’t it time we said goodbye?

Benny has a much better David Bowie story than I do, but this is my blog and not his so I’ll tell you my dumb David Bowie story now. It’s not really a story and it’s not even about David Bowie.

My high school freshman year best friends Mona and Laura and I had been trying to figure out how to get to Santa Cruz without asking our parents to drive us. It was a bit of a long haul from Sunnyvale to Santa Cruz, and there was no way our parents would just drive us there without expecting to hang out with us, and that was simply not acceptable to us freshman year of high school. Mona’s mom, maybe. She was a “cool mom” and generally let us alone when we got there, but she still wasn’t too enthusiastic about driving us all of the time. It might have been her who found the solution to our problem, come to think of it. Greyhound.

Yes, Greyhound had a bus that took us straight from Sunnyvale to Santa Cruz, and it was cheap. The first time we took it, we could not believe our luck. Why didn’t we do this all the time? What a deal. Freedom. Fun. The bus. Anyway, the first time we did it the ride was uneventful, but the second time one of us wound up sitting next to a bleach-blonde woman in her mid-thirties. This lady started talking to us about music, and then she said, “Oh hey? Do you know David Bowie?” This was 1984. Yes, we knew David Bowie. “I’m his ex-wife.” Angie Bowie.

We all said our “wow, how cool”s and then there really wasn’t anything further to say. She made some vague comments about how she could probably get us backstage at his next show, but the whole thing just seemed a little off. I think Mona got her phone number out of some sense of politeness, but we never called her, and I don’t remember us taking the Greyhound to Santa Cruz after that. I’m not sure if it was really Angie Bowie on the bus or if it even matters. Mona is dead now and Laura doesn’t talk to me any more, so I have this dumb memory just kind of clattering around in my head without anybody to share it with. Like I said, it’s not really a story but I wanted this memory to stop clattering around so I wrote it down here.

Anyway, here’s a song not written or performed by David Bowie and not about Angie Bowie as far as I’ve been able to tell, but I couldn’t get it out of my head last night when I found out David Bowie died. Please enjoy, preferably not on a bus with someone who’s going to make you feel uncomfortable.

Published in: on January 11, 2016 at 5:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dexy’s midnight farmer

I thought this cartoon would have more of a come-uppance at the end, but it’s probably difficult to convey the real scenario in a humorous way. You know – three days later all of the farm equipment has been dismantled, the fields are half-plowed in a funny pattern, and everyone is huddled in the barn talking gibberish wishing to god they could just go to sleep.

Thy fearful asymmetry

A couple of friends of mine used to live in this middle eastern-themed apartment building in Silver Lake

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and while I thought it was cute with its odd conglomeration of onion dome and towers and terraces, I never considered it worthy of much serious attention. But a Facebook group called SoCal Historical Architecture recently posted a photo of it and pointed out how very unusual its asymmetry was for a mere apartment building

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(that’s taken head on; look at the towers!), and now I’m feeling bad that I didn’t give it the respect it deserved earlier. I don’t remember if your interior contained any similarly unique elements (from the looks of your new vinyl windows, I’m guessing not), but no matter. 2016 is the year I start giving you the respect you deserve, middle eastern-themed apartment.

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