Ship shape

Benny and I are going to try to make a boat this week, so now seems as good a time as any to share some additional information a friend found recently about the building shaped like a boat in our part of town. It’s not, as I previously thought, associated with anything Disney, but rather a former broadcasting center for a Christian musical show with a nautical theme – The Haven Of Rest. Maybe I could have gathered this from the fact that there was another building close by that was labelled “Haven Of Rest,” but I had always figured that place to be a mortuary.

Both buildings are currently being encroached upon by condo development, but the boat house seems safe from the wrecking ball as it’s on the list of Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monuments. You can catch it starting at 13:44 in this video, but watch the whole thing if you like four-part harmony and folding machines. Anchors aweigh, my friends.


My friend Julie made this and she doesn’t even live in the woods. She does know an awful lot about good boys, though.

Word of the day for Tuesday, June 12th

Today’s word is for all the folks out there who fear meeting a taco cat, evil olive, avid diva, or Dr. Awkward, but they’re not going to like it much. It’s

aibohphobia, spelled “aibohphobia” backwards. And yes, it is the fear of palindromes, and yes, that is an awfully mean thing to name a fear of palindromes. However, according to a bunch of very respectablelooking websites, there is no such thing as aibohphobia; it’s just some joke. Dammit, I’m mad.

Published in: on June 12, 2018 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ocean’s twenty-eight

A couple of notes this morning: there’s a lot of violence in this cartoon, but nobody gets electrocuted at any time. This whole “appliance in the water=electrocution” thing is so ingrained in me that I kept flinching. Also, while watching the synchronized swimmers I had a much stronger “this is adorable but if this were real life I would be screaming in terror” reaction than I usually do with mouse hijinks cartoons. Maybe this week has made me extra sensitive. Your results may vary.

Fly high and touch the sky

It’s been a pretty dramatic few weeks on our front porch, friends. I alluded to it last week when it became apparent that Gladys the mourning dove finally hatched her eggs, but that was neither the beginning nor the end of the odyssey. As we’ve now reached the end, I guess it’s time to talk about it.

The beginning, of course, was when Gladys and her mate found a very exposed hanging plant on our porch and decided to make a nest by throwing four sticks in there, as doves do. They are really quite terrible nest builders. This is not my opinion; even among bird experts, doves’ nests are described as “flimsy” and “lousy.” But whatever. The hanging pot was a pretty good readymade nest in itself, and maybe the metal chicken hanging nearby made it seem like a nice, homey place.

(that’s actually Gary; there is a bird sitting on those eggs 24/7 but apparently the male sits during the day and the female takes night duty)

There was a guard on the power line above watching over everything,

but I noticed that he would go home for the night, so that in the evenings Gladys had to fend for herself (this part is a little confusing because of the day/night shifts, but it still shakes out that Gladys was there with no guard; that’s probably girl Gladys up on the wire).

One morning the guard duty was apparently sleeping on the job, because I came out to the porch to see this:

and was extremely alarmed; was Gladys eating one of her eggs? I sent a photo to Benny and we determined that she was probably actually trying to protect the egg from a blue jay or some other predator. By the time I got home in the evening, all eggs were back under Gladys.

Then, you know, came the blessed event:

and that was really cool, and we saw the gross feeding ritual where the baby doves stick their heads in the mom’s mouth and she barfs this white foam up for them.

Things seemed to be going well, though one was a lot smaller than the other. Gladys was protecting that one more, trying to keep it warm underneath her while the other one was drying off and stretching out,

but she was also starting to leave them alone in the nest for periods of time. I came home from work one evening and only saw one head pop up. The runt was dead.

Benny did some more research online and found that this was fairly normal, and we decided to leave the dead baby alone in the nest rather than disturb the surviving one and his mom. We also decided that the surviving one was a dude and that his name was Gary Shazzbat Jr.

Benny read that pretty soon things were going to get real hairy, and Gary Shazzbat Jr. was probably going to flutter down to the ground any day now and would have to hide in a bush so predators wouldn’t get him until he learned how to fly. He wasn’t going to stay in his nest? Much like the feeding ritual, nature was not following what I had learned in cartoons.

On Saturday, we didn’t see him in the pot so we started looking on the ground for him, but then I noticed he was in another hanging plant a few feet away. So… he was flying already? There was no other explanation for it. Gary Sr. came around and made some noise about it. I don’t speak dove so I’m not sure what it was about. Probably a parent-teen dispute. “You can’t live on your own yet, son.” “I DO WHAT I WANT.”

At this point we decided that he should be renamed Angel Witch, after the song “Angel Witch” by the band Angel Witch that we heard on the radio that afternoon. This premature flying and acting like a big independent boy seemed to merit it.

Yesterday Benny was wondering if he should make a nice top hat for Angel Witch with a purple feather in it so that we would be able to tell him apart from the other doves. He was growing up really fast and wasn’t going to be hanging around in that pot much longer and we wanted to say hi to him if he ever came back to visit.

And then, this morning, Benny said that he didn’t see Angel Witch, and Gladys and Gary were each in a pot looking around for him.

I think you know where this is going.

I found Angel Witch on the ground below the first pot, in one piece but not alive. It seemed like some sort of dumb demi-predator like a cat or jay had attacked him for sport or something. The scene was not gruesome, just sad. I did not take photos.

Benny didn’t have to work this morning so he made a sassy little coffin for Angel Witch and his brother and filled it with flowers and kumquats.

We buried him in the front flower bed and that’s that.

And now there is a new mourning dove making a nest in the palm tree near the porch and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to handle this all over again.


Sunshine day

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but where I am the sun has finally come out and it’s properly acting like summer and I’m about as happy as the rabbit at 2:20. I may have to take a walk outside now. Enjoy your day.

Published in: on June 2, 2018 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dove real beauty

The past two weeks we have been watching the progress of a mourning dove who has nested in one of our hanging plants on the porch. We’ve named her Gladys, though Benny looked up some dove facts and learned that this could just as easily be a Gary.

Anyway, we’re sticking with Gladys and it seems that something happened late yesterday. She’s sitting much higher up in the nest and looks enormous, and Benny is sure he saw a little fuzzy head, and… OH BOY I JUST HEARD A COO AND WENT OUTSIDE AND HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING –

Oh boy oh boy! Gotta go. Happy Saturday.

Royal dreading

I know you have a pretty good head on your shoulders, Princess, and you might have already noticed this but I thought I should tell you just in case you didn’t. According to the credits, the prince is really Lord Garp. Do with that as you will.

Published in: on May 19, 2018 at 8:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Look !!!ward, angel

The first words of the first piece in Tom Wolfe’s first book of essays The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby are famously:

Hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia; hernia, HERNia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia, HERNia, HERNia; hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, eight is the point, the point is eight; hernia, hernia, HERNia; hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, all right, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hard eight, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia

and eventually it’s explained and whether you find that explanation to be a good payoff or not for all those hernias will pretty much weed out the people who will like Tom Wolfe’s New Journalism style from those who don’t. From my lack of punctuation in the previous sentence, you should consider me to be a person in the former camp.

I didn’t like Wolfe’s later novels much and I can imagine him being sort of an annoying “look at me, ain’t I the cutest li’l’ institution” presence with his spats and celluloid collars for the past few decades to those who live in New York, but I can’t let his death go without comment. His early writing contains beauty and cruelty and bravery and pathetic clawing and people just trying to find their place. Read “The Pump House Gang” or “The Put-Together Girl” or “The Life & Hard Times of a Teenage London Society Girl.” See if they don’t make you feel like screaming or punching or hugging the hell out of someone.

I was introduced to Wolfe by a very special teacher in high school, someone who taught me a lot about writing. One of the things he taught me was the judicious use of exclamation points. This might sound ironic given his love of Tom Wolfe, but I don’t think it is. Wolfe knew punctuation and rhythm and I don’t think he wasted a point in his ’60s/’70s-era writing. Why a great jazz musician decided he needed to start writing operas is a mystery to me (The Right Stuff is a mighty fine jazz opera to my ears), but I suppose it has something to do with what is considered important and weighty and serious. I wish older Tom Wolfe would have re-read his own pieces about teen culture and remembered that anything can be important and serious in the right context, and not everything has to be serious to be !!!important!!!

Whatever. Mr. Wolfe, have a nice time in the next world and go have a chat with Nick Ferentinos if you see him. Tell him I haven’t used an exclamation point in months.

Cat on a warm tile roof

If you’re friendly and approachable, you may not have much in common with Maggie the Cat, Milo, but I will still endeavor you to jump off the roof. Jump off it! Cats can jump off roofs and land on their four feet uninjured. Even that wreck Brick says so.

Published in: on May 14, 2018 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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