So painful when something that is so close is still so far out of reach

My friend Mara spotted some lost doll flyers around the reservoir this weekend.

Good sign. And laminated.

While I am currently too chicken to venture down to the reservoir myself right now, as the last time I went there most people were maskless and ignoring the posted COVID-19 safety measures on the pedestrian path, I thought I might be able to do some internet sleuthing to find this doll’s whereabouts.

First off, I realized that I had to figure out who this Kit was. According to the American Girl website, she grew up in Ohio during the Great Depression, and she weathers hard times with grit and gratitude. Already she sounds more mature and responsible than many of the people going around the reservoir.

Wikipedia says she is a tomboy, which is borne out by the fact that she was lost while up in a tree. In fact, here is a flyer in what I am assuming is said tree:

Wikipedia is also saying that Kit hates change. However, I’m thinking that this may no longer be the case, as she is wearing a rainbow t-shirt in one of the photos, and that’s making me think that she is expressing her LGBTQ+ allyship. This is hopefully not a radical idea to any of us now, but it certainly was in Ohio during the Great Depression. Good job, Kit.

In regards to the area itself, I know that some things have changed around the reservoir since I last walked down there and encountered all the maskless yahoos. First off, some folks made a very powerful Black Lives Matter “Say Their Names” memorial all the way around the fence that skirts the pedestrian path. Secondly, from the photos I’ve seen of the memorial, it looks like people are checking it out while mainly practicing decent physical distancing measures. So maybe Kit is hanging out with a responsible person with a strong moral code, and she will soon be returned to her child pal with some good stories and life lessons.

On the other hand, some asshole this morning managed to drive 75 mph on the street that goes along the reservoir, veering into oncoming traffic, hitting and killing someone on a scooter, seriously injuring two other people, and plowing into a restaurant. This goes well beyond yahoo behavior straight into sociopath. I hope Kit and her child pal were far away from the area. I think I will continue to avoid it as well. Find your way home safely, Kit.


You can buy a dream or two

I should be happy today. Benny found a Lonesome Town refrigerator out in the wild yesterday, and since he has a lot of experience taking refrigerator doors off their hinges,

we now have a sad clown refrigerator door on our porch. And my super talented friend Andie made me a new face mask that might perk up peoples’ spirits if I start walking around the neighborhood again.

To add to that, it’s my little pal Lulu’s eighth birthday today and I got to talk to her a bit today while I was at my car and she was on her front stairs. So it hasn’t been a bad day or two for me personally.

But we just hit 100,000 COVID-19 cases in the state I live in, and we just hit 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in the US. And some people still don’t think it’s a big deal and are making this worse by acting the fool. So I guess it’s just me and Benny and this fridge trying to keep one another happy behind the driveway gate for who knows how much longer. I hope you’re all keeping well.

Published in: on May 27, 2020 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A hug waiting to happen

My friend Mara used to keep a blog consisting of cliches about Los Angeles that she found in random media. I’ve never asked her why she stopped writing it, but I suspect that the task was so monumental that it would have consumed her if she had kept it up.

Even though the blog is dormant, she still shares particularly good examples of this bad writing with friends on social media. And you know what? After I don’t know how many years of people complaining about it, the New York Times is still printing a lot of really shitty writing about LA.

This week they ran a pointless article about how people in LA hug a lot. As a greeting. To back up her thesis, the writer of the article talked to one lifetime Angeleno living in Sherman Oaks (a publicist) and a bunch of people who just moved to LA from angrier cities. There is an obligatory mention of a shaman and jokes about gluten and actors and chakras. People spending all their time in cars? Check. Sunshine, all the sunshine? Check. It’s one of those articles written by someone who thinks that everybody in LA works in the entertainment industry.

I happened to spend some time this weekend riding my bike (yes, in the sunshine) at one of the city’s semi-regular Ciclavia events, the route this time going about six miles down Central Avenue from South Central to the Watts Towers. And once again I have to say jeez o petes, NY Times, the real Los Angeles is an enormous, diverse city and I can’t believe you’re still acting like a throwaway joke from Truman Capote is the reality of our lives here.

Maybe I’m being too sensitive. This guy

may very well be a shaman, and I would have gladly accepted a hug from any of these characters

… actually, I’m still on the fence about the last crew. The birds were good but the bird lady was giving me some real Dennis Woodruff vibes. Anyway, you and your hugging article can suck it, NY Times.

Published in: on February 25, 2020 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A minty mischief of rats

Benny and I are having our seasonal rat problem right now, and the current group of rats is driving me more insane than normal. The other night I found a fat one eating an apple in our fruit bowl in the kitchen, so (after screaming) I took all the apples and put them on the trash can lid for later disposal in the compost bin. Not an hour later, I found that one of the other apples had been knocked off the trash can lid and chewed upon. I don’t know how this creepy rat made it up the side of the metal trash can to do that, and I really didn’t like thinking about it.

Because I had read online that peppermint oil was a good rodent deterrent, the next day I soaked a number of cotton balls in peppermint oil and left the balls in the kitchen corners and near points of ingress/egress. After using up my current vial I went out to buy more peppermint oil, and when I got back the whole house was overpowered by the peppermint smell. A nauseating level of peppermint. When Benny got home his eyes started watering, and the dinner I made that night was terrible because I couldn’t taste or smell anything correctly. Of course later that night when I went to get a drink of water, I came across my fat rat friend running from one cottonball to a different cottonball with nary a care in the world.

So I threw the cottonballs away, Benny set a ton of traps, and I think we executed the main jerk by the next morning. Here’s hoping his minions got the message and will stop bothering us now.

Anyway, all of this was a rather long-winded way of saying that Peppermint Land is not the delight that it seems to be in this cartoon.

Grars and hypes forever

I finally got to vote in the presidential primary today, and boy, am I exhausted. How much longer until November? I don’t know if I can stand it.

One good thing about this election cycle, though, is I got this great t-shirt:


Of course I got food stains on it four hours after I took this photo this morning, but seeing as the shirt was designed by Mr. Let’s Paint, a man known for painting while riding a bicycle while making smoothies*, maybe those stains are meant to be there.

If you want your own great election shirt, greeting card, shower curtain or baby onesie, you can go here to order one and customize colors, sizes, and so on. I’m not getting paid to shill these; I just think this design is a pretty good depiction of this year’s democracy in action. USA!

*Also painting while running on a treadmill while playing chesspainting while shaving while riding a bikepainting while running on a treadmill while interviewing Eric Andre while baking cookies, etc.

Cuba libre

While it is true that my current job preparing and correcting old film soundtrack spreadsheets has sapped a little of my energy of late, it is also true that I am finding my previously evaporating reservoir of pop culture minutiae to be refilling at a healthy rate. Interesting things keep popping up in the least likely locations.

Take, for example, the song “Rum and Coca-Cola.” I’ve heard this chirpy little song from the ’40s a billion times and hardly given it a second thought. I say “hardly” rather than “never” because I know I gave it a second thought the first time I realized that the lyrics had something to do with a mother-daughter prostitute team, but still:

Working for that yanqui dollar sounds so sunny and relaxed when sisters from Minnesota sing about it, doesn’t it?

Anyway, the other day I was looking this song up on the ASCAP website and saw Morey Amsterdam listed as a co-writer. Morey Amsterdam? Little sarcastic Buddy Sorrell from The Dick Van Dyke Show wrote “Rum and Coca-Cola”? Wow. Neat.

But it got better. Morey Amsterdam didn’t write “Rum and Coca-Cola,” but he did hear “Rum and Coca-Cola” when he was on a trip to Trinidad, and when he came back to the States he told some cute young girl singer that he wrote it and she could use it in her nightclub act.

The cute young girl singer did use it, and after it became quite successful for her, she started making arrangements for it to be published under her own name. Morey got mad, the girl probably said something like “I know you didn’t write this song, you dope, and I’ll tell everyone if you don’t split the copyright with me” and they eventually agreed to share the songwriting credit.

By the time the song hit the charts, the original songwriter in Trinidad found out about Morey and the girl taking credit, and he was mad. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would want this guy mad at me, because his name was Lord Invader. I am not making this up. Some of Lord Invader’s pals in Trinidad were named The Mighty Growler and Attila the Hun. Also Macbeth the Great and Lord Of Iron. Not a bunch of guys to fuck around with.

Lord Invader came to New York, and instead of raining hellfire and bees down upon Morey and the girl, he filed a lawsuit. Things got very complicated with a bunch of other side lawsuits, but eventually Lord Invader won. Unfortunately, he very quickly spent all the money from the settlement and died quietly while Morey and the girl bought the rights to the song, and today if you look up “Rum and Coca Cola” on the ASCAP website, you will see Morey Amsterdam, the girl singer, and some other random guy I’ve never heard of listed as the writers.

Now, this whole thing makes me mad, and I will never look at this bookmark


with the same amount of zesty zilliness I once might have, but at least now I know the truth. Lord Invader, I salute you.

Soft shell

Oh hey, how are you? I’m sorry for the extended absence*; I promise I didn’t forget about you. It’s just that I’ve been dealing with some things, and while technically I could have updated this blog on Benny’s computer or on my phone or something, I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do so. You see, I’ve been spending money. And there’s nothing that puts me in a bad mood like spending money.

It started last week when Benny and I decided we needed new phones. The phone app I need for some work that I do is now only working with operating systems that won’t work on my old phone, and Benny’s phone would only go to sleep if he pushed the button thirty times, so it was a necessity. We grimaced at the larger size and price of the new phones but went ahead and bought them. Okay.

The problems started when I tried to transfer everything from my old phone to my new phone and I got caught in a “you need a new version of iTunes/you need a new operating system on your laptop if you want this new version of iTunes/’OH MY GOD IF I HAVE TO BUY A NEW LAPTOP NOW JUST TO GET THIS PHONE WORKING I AM GOING TO LOSE IT'” mess, but 15 hours or so later, things were all peachy. My old laptop was chugging a little bit harder with its new operating system, and I no longer had Photoshop, but whatever.

Three days later, my laptop display disappeared. Well, it didn’t disappear but it was so dim that I could only see it if I closed the curtains and shone a flashlight on it, and that was not really a workable thing. I kept losing the cursor. Shouting. Crying. Disassociation, mild numbness. Benny did some research online and it wasn’t looking good.

On Friday, Benny took my laptop in to the Genius Bar because 1) I decided I had to go to a meeting, 2) he is awesome but you already knew that, and 3) he might have been worried that I was going to shout and cry in public if I went to the Genius Bar and heard bad news. I’ve been known to cry in public over the cost of a standing rib roast planned for Christmas dinner.

I was at said meeting when I got a text from Benny asking if I wanted to hear the good news or the bad news. Then he said the good news was he was bringing home some fried chicken. Bad news was something something new display needed mucho dinero not worth it and besides my laptop would have to be shipped someplace weird because the normal service department didn’t work on “vintage” computers. I pictured the wax-mustachioed gent wearing an arm garter and knickers who would be willing to work on my vintage computer and felt very old. Like I should be wearing this sign on my back:

This Monday I went with my old laptop in tow and bought a new laptop, but when I asked the Genius to transfer my files from my old laptop to my new one, he said it was going to cost $99. “You want ninety-nine more dollars. I… just… spent…” Crying was history. Hyperventilating and numbness too. I was at Looney Toons head exploding now. “OKAY. IF THIS IS THE ONLY CHOICE I HAVE. IS THIS THE ONLY CHOICE I HAVE?” The Genius adjacent to my Genius was looking concerned.

“Oh yeah; we can’t do this if your old laptop isn’t in working order.”
“I need to check with my manager.””DO THAT.”
(brief interlude; Genius returns)
“Have you backed this up recently?”
“Oh! You can just transfer everything from that then.”

He assured me that everything would be exactly the same as a one-to-one machine transfer, and I brightened and went on my way.

I got home, Benny had the misfortune of being home as well, and we then proceeded to attempt the transfer. Benny handled all the internet research and texts to tech-savvier friends, and I handled the “I WOULD LIKE TO THROW THIS THING OUT THE WINDOW” side of things. It was a little nuts, but after transfer of half the things one way and half the things the other way, everything came over to this new laptop on which I am now writing this post.

And during that transfer, my old laptop suddenly flickered back into existence and is working just swell as of this moment.

*Sorry; I promised myself I would never write “sorry I haven’t updated in a while” ever on my blog. I also promised myself I would never call it a blog, so maybe I should stop making promises to myself in regards to this thing.

Cartoons and uncomfortable situations

Yesterday was a confusing day. I picked up an odd job via one of those sites you pick up odd jobs from – my job was to pick up someone’s comforter, wash it at a laundromat, and return it – and I got stood up. I showed up where I was supposed to pick up the blanket, buzzed the apartment buzzer, and there was no answer. I texted the client – no answer. Neighbors came in and out of the apartment complex and offered to let me in, but nobody knew who this person was that I was supposed to meet. I stayed outside and texted again. I buzzed the buzzer again. And texted. And buzzed. I got in my car and texted again after fifteen minutes, and then after a half hour. Nothing.

After about an hour, I left and texted the client that I had left. I finally got a text back – “Buzz the buzzer. utdm.” Not knowing what utdm meant (under the door mat? up the down move?) I responded that I had tried buzzing the buzzer several times but had left. Then I got one last text that made no sense. I reported the situation to member services for the site and cancelled the job.

I was a little freaked out as I wasn’t sure if I had just escaped a mugging situation or what, so I parked my car while I calmed down, and noticed that I was in front of my favorite local swap meet store, but all of the store front art was different. The drawings of tricycles and bleach and mittens with eyeballs had been replaced with a mural of cartoon characters. I recognized some of them,

but I wasn’t sure why Tweety Bird was carrying a caveman club,

I didn’t know who this toddler was or why he was drinking a beer,

and the only thing I could guess this guy was supposed to be

was the elusive Number One from The Prisoner. When I came across the Shroud of Turin with a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos bag above it,


I was ready to call it a day.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on it, I’m thinking that this no-show laundry job was nothing sinister but just the modern equivalent of a prank call, but what kind of lame prank is that? It’s as much a mystery to me as Flamin’ Hot Jesus.


Long after the getting has ceased to be good

Today is my last day at work, at the job I have held for a little over 16 years. I have been telling people that it’s time for me to move on, find a new path, follow my muse, blah blah. But to be honest, the real reason I am leaving is that I’m scared for my safety. Where there were once funny faces on Post-Its and mysterious creatures made of fruit abandoned in the break room and messages on the garbage cans inspired by Magritte, now there is only violence and mayhem. To wit:


There is a theory that these signs inspired so much rage because our company has been employing a huge number of temps who are not considered fully “employees,” but this is just a theory. Sometimes people just hate being told to wash their own dishes. And then there are more lunchroom hijinks (please click on all photos for larger versions; it is well worth it):


I am supposing he preferred his lunch meat to the free Chinese food, which is perfectly understandable. It should be noted that this email was sent to all US offices as well as the head office in Berlin.

Here is a goodbye note when the author of the above email had finally had enough:


Now, I think this would have made sense if it had been sent to the head office in Berlin, as the photo appears to depict some Pennsylvania Dutch versions of Krampus and maybe the head office would have looked at the photo and wondered, “Have we been so naughty as to deserve switches to our bottoms this year?” and been frightened. However, this goodbye note was photocopied and deposited in physical form on certain employees’ desks solely in the LA office, so we recipients were merely frightened in a vague way without understanding the Krampus tie-in. Krampus isn’t really big in LA yet.

Oh, here is a Post-It that my perhaps-too-dedicated assistant affixed to some paperwork after trying to make some sense of something that would never make sense:


That’s never the answer, kid. Especially not for something as dumb as that pile of paperwork. And then finally, here we come to the grandaddy of  something that would never make sense:


I suppose it’s neat to know that you can send an anonymous fax; I never knew that before. I just don’t know why I got this fax, and I don’t think I’ll ever know, and I think if I stick around in the hopes of finding out, something pretty bad might happen.

So off I go to a new, safer career as a roller derby queen or a war correspondent or something. Wish me luck.

Every bite

Hi, Hostess™. I hear you’re going bankrupt. I know what you’re blaming this on, but if you could just take a minute to hear my theory, maybe you’ll take a minute for some introspection. Your marketing through the years changed drastically, and I feel like that change in outward message may have reflected your internal corporate philosophy.

You went from seeing through the eyes of a child:

possessing creative conflict resolution skills

and a “stop and smell the roses” attitude

to faux-caring harmful decision making:

to flat-out greed and gluttony:

With a $100,000 a month salary, you really needed the bakers to take an 8% pay cut? I think someone could use a lesson in sharing.

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