The importance of punctuation

This ice cream truck wouldn’t have seemed nearly as sinister to me if there had been exclamation points after Donald’s and Daisy’s utterances.

Yes, Donald would still be waving stacks of cash around, but his deadpan cynical “WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD” and Daisy’s opium den prisoner “HELLO” response are what chill me to the bone here.

There was actually a more disturbing drawing of Goofy intoning a similar “HELLO” on the back of the van, but that open back door spooked me and I had to get out of there. Welcome to Hollywood.

Soft serve pastoral

Benny and I visited our friends Peter and Sally this weekend in the Valley. We don’t see them enough, and so I’m sure we overstayed our welcome (we actually invited ourselves over), but they were very gracious as they always are and insisted that we stay until the ice cream man came by.

The sun went down, we had eaten as many hot dogs and slices of grilling cheese as we could possibly cram into our stomachs, and still there was no ice cream man. “He comes at night,” Sally explained. Hm. “It’s soft serve!” Okay. We would have to see this ice cream man with his mysterious night-time soft serve.

Some time after 7 pm, we were playing dice games in the backyard when Peter and Sally’s heads shot up. “The ice cream man!” They sprinted toward the back gate that opened onto an alley. Benny and I heard nothing. No tinkling music, no slowly choogling motor, nothing.

Peter climbed halfway over the gate and started waving desperately. A van sped by. Peter waved more broadly as Sally shouted. “It’s okay, he’ll come around again.” Either the first time or the second time around (he was going really fast), the van driver finally stopped well past the gate and backed up to us. Peter managed to get the gate open. And that is where we saw this ice cream truck.

There was something otherworldly about this truck, there was no denying it. The extensive menu including full dinner selections, the night-time silent speeding through alleyways – this was some secret and precious thing. Secret and precious even without a pastoral scene on the side panel of children swimming and playing

and enjoying ice cream and Cheetos

but of course this truck had that too. And yes, the soft serve was amazing.

Maybe this was all just a dream. If it was, thanks for the dream, Peter and Sally.

Straight to hell

Once again I get caught up in a copyright quandary. There’s this incredible photo of a “lost” flyer up on Flickr, and the guy who took it has it marked with a © All Rights Reserved mark, not a Creative Commons mark or anything, and even though the revered Bike Snob has posted the image on his site without any attribution, and even though I have a section on my site dedicated to exceptional notices about lost items, I hesitate to post this exceptional flyer here without seeking prior permission.

At my work, I spend all day listening to people say, “But I’m not making any money off it! I gave you credit! It’s just more publicity for you!” when they violate a client’s terms of copyright. It’s tiresome. Those things aren’t really the point of copyright. Control over the dissemination of one’s work is the point of copyright. I get that. I respect it. Often. Not always. But from time to time I do. In certain contexts. Argh. I don’t know. Thus the quandary.

Aw, fuck it. I need to share what’s not mine.


Seeing as he didn’t actually make the flyer, but just took a photo of it, I would argue that this flyer isn’t really Yankel Frankel‘s to copyright either. But he just copyrighted the image of the flyer, not the flyer. And the flyer doesn’t have a copyright notice on it, because obviously the guy/girl who made the flyer wanted it to be disseminated as much as possible.

If I could have gotten one of my friends in New York to steal one of these flyers and send the original to me to scan I wouldn’t be violating anybody’s copyright. And if I put a scanned image up of the flyer it would be good for everybody in terms of disseminating its message, even if I did have someone steal the original flyer… off public property, where no doubt it’s not legal to post flyers in the first place. It’s a slippery slope, this idea of intellectual property. Maybe somebody can buy me an ice cream truck so I can stop worrying about this copyright stuff once and for all.

Smile, citizen

I was tootling around Hollywood not too long ago, minding my own business on Sunset Boulevard, when I noticed the following in front of me:

What is that? In case you’re having problems seeing the item in question above, I’ve given the photo a super-paranoid enhancement:

Seriously, what is that? At first I thought that it was just a sinister looking four-way camera, like a Google Maps-type car for the police department. Then I thought maybe it was a loudspeaker, and the policemen were making extra money using their squad car as an ice cream truck.

When Benny and I saw another one at the Burbank airport last week, Benny noticed that it said “infrared” on the car. So now I’m back to my super-paranoid stance. This is some sort of night vision heat sensor police cruiser supercar, trolling the streets of Hollywood. I know this car is supposed to be used for catching criminals and we law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear, but this kind of monitoring technology in the hands of authoritarian figures worries me nonetheless. And I have a feeling that this is not going to sit well with certain other people in the area either:

Personally, the only people I trust with supercars are marionettes.

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