The people will survive in their environment

Maybe every year is like this.


Continue to stay safe, everyone.

Published in: on March 16, 2021 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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For your consideration

Just got back from one of the most beautiful buildings in downtown Los Angeles, where I had another appointment to cough several times and give a sucked-on lollipop stick to a Hazmat-suited guy in a kiosk. I can’t wait for the day when that general rundown feeling doesn’t lead to thoughts of impending doom. Stay safe and continue to stay home if you can, everyone.

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 10:39 am  Comments (3)  
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They’re all dead dogs, Brent

Benny and I went with a couple of friends to the local pet cemetery this weekend. I’m kind of surprised that I never went to this pet cemetery before. Actually, I’ve never been to any pet cemetery before other than a pretty makeshift one on Catalina Island and a micro-cemetery down at the Red Car property. (Re: the latter, I think we had more pet graves in our side yard during the fateful Guinea Pig Plague Year when my brother and I were kids.)

But this one in Calabasas is a proper cemetery, with drooping trees and quiet paths and gentle grassy hills. And it being Los Angeles, there are plenty of famous animals

as well as pets of famous people.

There are people who blame themselves too much for the passing of their non-human friends

and people who maybe need to take some time off from having pets.

There are wordy tributes

and not so wordy tributes.

Funny names

and awesome names

Big guys and small guys.

Pets who were a bit challenging

and pets who were extremely patient.

You might think that the pet cemetery is a depressing place, but there is so much love there that I found it exactly the opposite. If you’re having some trouble these days finding the humanity in people, go find yourself a pet cemetery. Bring along some ghost treats.

Took away the sun

I think I’m going to take a few days here to talk about some wonderful older gentlemen who have been keeping me from the pit of despair during this pandemic. Older gentlemen don’t stick around forever, and sometimes I forget that. Today I’m going to talk about the one we just lost.

I had to wait a day here before writing anything about the passing of Trini Lopez from COVID-19, because that post would have just been a long string of curse words and I don’t think Trini would have liked that.

My friend J9 and I saw him in concert in Palm Springs last year, and for anybody who might be saying, “Well, he died from COVID-19 because he was an old frail man,” I need to say that you are a big bag of poo. Also wrong. That concert was the peppiest, happiest show I’ve been to in quite some time, and not just because J9 and I were seated at the same table as a nice older lady who kept making jokes about cocaine and also surreptitiously paid our bar tab.

During his set, Trini talked about growing up in Texas, and about taking over the Crickets from Buddy Holly, and getting a record contract with Reprise, and about a billion other things in between singing all his hits and exhorting us to get up and dance, which we all did with much enthusiasm. I danced with such abandon that I almost careened into a table. J9 and I had been laughing before the show that we were probably going to be the youngest people at the show, which is a situation we’ve found ourselves in many times together, but we absolutely were not the youngest people there by a long shot. I almost just wrote “… and Trini kept up with the youngest of them,” but that sounds pretty condescending and it doesn’t convey the reality of the situation. He wasn’t keeping up with anybody. He just was doing his thing like he had always done, and we were trying to keep up with him.

And now he’s dead. Just like that.

If you’re not taking this COVID stuff seriously because you think you’re too young and healthy, shut up and take it seriously. RIP, Trinidad. And thank you for the uplifting tunes.

Published in: on August 12, 2020 at 6:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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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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License to ILL

Well, that’s too bad. Legendary animator and artist Gene Deitch died on Thursday, at the still-too-young age of 95. His Tom & Jerry cartoons are my favorite T&Js, and I’m happy that Gene lived long enough to see their honor restored after decades of vilification, but I’m not going to post one of those today.

Today we get some advice that is pretty unnecessary in this time of social distancing, though the current situation makes a cameo as a solution for encountering overly chummy individuals. The only advice that the members of ILL need these days is how to avoid virtual happy hours. Bon voyage, Gene. I raise a virtual cocktail in your honor.

Published in: on April 18, 2020 at 8:51 am  Comments (4)  
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God rest ye elegant gentlemen

Hey, how are you doing? What are you doing? It’s Tuesday night. I used to go bike riding with friends on Tuesday nights, but that started to go on later and later and it was getting little difficult for me to wake up and go to work the next morning, and so for the past year or so I was going roller skating on Tuesday nights. The owner of the local roller rink plays the organ on Tuesday nights, and I guess since a lot of people think that’s a drag, it’s nice and uncrowded. I happen to love organ music, so I win both ways.

But right now we can’t go to the roller rink. I’m actually okay with having to stay in the house while this pandemic is wreaking havoc everywhere. It’s as busy at work as it’s ever been, and outside of work hours I can tap dance in the house and do yoga and go on a walk at lunch if I wear a face mask. Between all that and unfriending people who are spouting conspiracy theories on social media, my day is pretty full. I have been worried about Porky Pine and the Elegant Gentlemen from the skating rink, however.

The Elegant Gentlemen are older fellows who come to the rink on Tuesdays, and they are really amazing to watch. I think at least one of them used to be some sort of professional skater, one of them skates way too fast but gets away with it, and one looks like he might be an IT guy close to retirement who nobody at work ever guesses is an incredibly graceful creature in his spare time. Sometimes they go in the middle of the rink and do little routines together. Sometimes one of them will hold my hand and skate with me.

And then there’s another guy who is also older who is not as advanced with his skating technique as the Elegant Gentlemen, but he’s there every week and he has a very nice low-key way of gliding around the rink. Nothing showy. He’s a little gruff. He reminds me of Porky Pine from the Pogo comics. I remember one time he told me something about roller skating curing his polio. I wanted him to tell me more but he didn’t feel like elaborating, so I didn’t press it.

I hope they’re all able to get some exercise right now, and I hope they’re all safe. Maybe someday soon we’ll all get to hang out together again. So what are you doing?

Photo by Ben and Rachel Apps via Flickr
Published in: on April 14, 2020 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Un chien on the loose

Monday was either National Dog Day or International Dog Day, but it came on the heels of some rather sad news about our favorite local French restaurant getting ready to close its doors or downsize or some such thing, so seeing all the cute canine posts was somewhat bittersweet. You see, not only is the local French restaurant a great place to relax near a fireplace with a glass of wine and some fries with mayo, but it’s also the home of one of my favorite dogs. And I don’t know what’s going to happen to him if they tear down the building.

Here’s the dog in question:

He’s in the hallway between the bar and the restroom. Do you think they’ll let me adopt him?

Published in: on August 28, 2019 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Slayer cake

We went to an estate sale recently where there was one of those sad progressions of cookbook libraries that started out with Fun Holiday Cookies and Cakes For Every Occasion from the ’60s and ended up with No Sugar Desserts and Diabetes Busters from the ’90s. In honor of the lady of the house’s fun times, I went home with the Wilton Pictorial Encyclopedia of Modern Cake Decorating from 1969.

My friend Sally asked me what I was going to make first, and I had to reply that I had no intention of making anything in the book. I bought it solely for the pictures. There are a lot of really elaborate and colorful wedding cakes and cakes shaped like pianos and very advanced sugar flower techniques, and there isn’t a thing in here that I would actually be able to pull off.

But the thing I noticed most about the book was the jarring shift in tone throughout the pages. At a certain point I realized that a lot of the perceived tonal shift was due to the photos either being in color or black and white.

Take, for instance, the Bear Skiing On The Roof Pink House Fantasia:

compared with this terrified bear/mouse creature being eaten alive while running through a field:

I’m sure he’ll be fine, but he doesn’t look happy. Polar bear about to jump off the roof seems much more dangerous if you think about it, but gosh if I don’t want to jump into that picture and hang out for a while.

What about these dolls?


It’s a toss-up for me as to which one I would prefer, but the mood couldn’t be more different between them. It’s Laugh In vs. Clive Barker in confectionary form. Let’s move on to clowns.

If you read this site frequently, you know that I like clowns and am annoyed by the proliferation in modern pop culture of “scary clowns.” Scary clowns are a tired cliche and are kind of unfair to actual skilled acrobatic clowns who can juggle and do magic and would be able to make a whole heck of a lot of kids happy if the kids hadn’t been conditioned to the “clowns are terrifying” point of view by their lame relatives. But still, there are some unsavory clowns around. I will admit that.

Take these guys who are creepy crawling along the perimeter of this cake:

They may be preparing to sneak up on someone, or they may be recovering from a drunken face-plant; either way, they do seem to be clowns to watch out for. On the other hand, I’d much prefer meeting all three of them in a dark alley if the alternative were:


There are a lot more examples like the ones above, but I’m going to wrap this up with the cakes celebrating violence and destruction. If you were to choose, would you prefer to adorn your party table with:


I guess it depends what kind of party it is. I never knew George Washington could seem so goth.

Word of the day for Thursday, June 13th

In high school I had a friend that at certain points I considered to be my best friend, even though from my perspective I was always just trying to get her attention and from her perspective I was always competing with her. I disagreed with her perspective because we didn’t look alike, didn’t think alike, weren’t good at the same things, and weren’t really interested in the same things. I guess that doesn’t sound like a very good foundation for a friendship from either perspective. Maybe I just had a crush on her. She was a rather magnetic presence.

At some point in our adult lives she completely broke off contact with me without explanation, though when I saw her across the room at a school reunion she gave me a small smile and didn’t run away or anything. When a mutual friend died, I contacted her through an email address on her blog to let her know. She acknowledged receipt of my email a week later. When I read her email, it was late at night and I was drunk on wine so I wrote back immediately, something to the effect of “oh my god you wrote back oh thank god let’s talk please we have so much to talk about oh wow.” I woke up the next morning, looked at what I had sent the night before, and wrote another email that said, “Never mind. You don’t need to talk to me if you don’t want to talk to me.” And I never heard from her again.

I miss this person, but five years or so later (I’m a little slow) I’ve finally come around to the fact that yes, she doesn’t want to talk to me. And even if she did want to talk to me at this point, it would be a bit of

cavoli riscaldati, wouldn’t it? An Italian phrase meaning “reheated cabbage” that is used to describe an attempt to revive a long dead, unworkable relationship. A smelly, limp mess. Give it up. There must be something better in the fridge.


Published in: on June 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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