Friday, September 30, 2005

Webster Has Some Questions For You

1.) Why don't you listen to Fats Waller more often? You know how happy he makes you.
2.) What could be easier than taking a half teaspoon of Spanish Bee Pollen everyday?
3.) When was the last time you watched "On The Waterfront"?
4.) Or "Sweet Smell of Success"?
5.) You have pocket fours and you're first to act (under the gun). Do you raise or fold?

Get back to me.

L.A.'s on Fire

But this is just a sunset.
Thursday, September 29, 2005.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

At My Desk With Coffee

_X_ Buy NY Times and read McManus' poker column
_X_ Haircut [Sunday]
_X_ Buy shoes
_X_ Buy corduroy jacket [Monday noon]
___ Add Flickr to side bar (possible?)
___ Tutor [cancelled]
_X_ Little Italy Festival (photo op?)
_X_ Apple bread pudding at Famina
_X_ Pay parking ticket & write a FU letter to Culver City [Monday midnight]

Possible: meditate; laundry; go to Doug's [done]; Caesar salad with cheese tortelinni [done]; watch "The Misfits" and write a blog entry about it. (as of 10:55 pm)

Favorite classic radio song (at least for today): California Dreamin' by the Momma & Pappas

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Last Photo Of The Day

Taken while John Fahey's "San Bernardino" album was playing. The trip back was through some heavy rain. It didn't reach LA until this morning. Total mileage:344 miles.

Datura wrightii

"Nightmarish hallucinations, followed by death". But let's not dwell on that.

Lepus californicus

Joshua Tree National Park is teeming with jack rabbits. Their numbers confirm my very unconfirmable opinion that once you take human beings out of the equation, Mother Nature is doing just fine.

The Joshua Tree Inn

Yes, after spending an unscheduled hour on the backstreets of Banning with Fred, I made it to The Joshua Tree Inn on the (I believe) 32nd anniversary of the death of Gram Parsons. I briefly spoke with the desk clerk and presumed proprietor of the inn, whose interest in anything, Gram Parsons or otherwise, seemed to be nil. At any rate, there were no stoner musicians, no rockabilly tourists from Japan, no other death-freak pilgrims to pay their respects to guy who wrote a large handful of beautiful and very influential songs so I got in my car and drove on to Joshua Tree National Park, the west entrance to which is just a half mile east of the inn.

It's Raining in L.A.


This is Fred, a "disenchanted Bible scholar." After picking him up at the Yuciapa on-ramp and agreeing to take him to Banning (ten miles away), he told me his story. Originally from Belgium, Fred traveled throughout Europe and South America as an evangelist and came to California in the 70's to preach, although "in my churches you hear nothing but echoes." Having found too many contradictions in the Bible, Fred is not now connected with any particular church. This afternoon he was going back to his motor home in Banning, parked on a street whose name he could not quite recall. Wanted by the cops for illegally housing the homeless in his RV, he must stay on the move. After taking him up and down several of the back streets of Banning, he realized his home is gone, towed by the police or perhaps stolen by the homeless men ("They haven't done any drugs for months") who stay with him. As far as I could tell, Fred took the loss of his home with a befuddled equanimity. I drove him to his friend's place of business where he would perhaps stay until he finds his home.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Kevin Takes The Day Off

I'm packed (music and water and pop tarts) and headed for Joshua Tree. Among other places, I'll be going to the Joshua Tree Inn. Gram Parsons died there 32 years ago today. (He's been a member of the "Been Dead Longer than He/She was Alive Club" for six years now.)

I'm not huge fan but I've always wanted to go and never remember to. But its a good place to head to and from there I'll just see what happens.

The only question is will my photos be as crappy as the ones I took yesterday?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Christopher Hitchens Has Dead Eyes

I don't know what kind of atrocities Christopher Hitchens witnessed or heard about when he visited the Kurds in the early 90's but they must have been awful. Their plight, then and now, seems to be the touchstone for much of what he's written about since that time. While this may be a noble fixation, its a fixation nonetheless and I think there's a solution.

In his debate with George Galloway earlier this week Hitchins could not even bring himself to acknowledge that Barbara Bush made a cruel and possible telling remark regarding the hurricane evacuees. In a classic William F. Buckley/George Will style of debating, he made an erudite and obscure comparison between Mrs. Bush and an 18th Century British dowager, the point of which seemed to be "I'm more clever than you therefore I am more right than you."

Hitchens is now not only an apologist for George Bush as Commander-in-Chief but also as a sterling Constitutional law scholar. His contention seemed to be that the President's handling of Hurricane Katrina was all that the law of the land allowed for, as if none of the many provisions of the Homeland Security Act were in place.

(Also, isn't it a sad commentary on American journalists and/or potitical thinkers that two of the most knowlegable debaters regarding the US invasion of Iraq were non-Americans?)

As the debate progressed and the audience remained unpersuaded, Hitchens was not above taking a cheap shot at them. When he received a round of their boos regarding the war, he chastised them by saying they should not be denigrating the sacrifice the soldiers were making. Clearly, the crowd was doing no such thing; they were booing Christopher Hitchens and no one else.

But what I keep thinking about are his eyes. Christopher Hitchens has dead eyes. Maybe its too much red meat, whiskey and tobacco but that would explain things only if he were a hack like all the other telejournalists but he isn't. Yes, he's just as pompous and self-righteous as they are but underneath that there is tremendous intelligence and maybe just as much stifled compassion.

I think its obvious that Hitchins sees the Kurds as the same sort of victims who died under regimes he may have indirectly supported in his earlier days. Even now the man's an unsufferable elitist; thirty years ago he may have been more willing to ignore the the sufferings of other people for the sake of the revolution. To support the Kurds now is to make amends for that mentality. But his dead eyes give him away. He's made his payback from his head but not from his heart.

Therefore, Christopher Hitchins needs to have a good cry. He has to grieve for whatever he feels his mistakes to have been, for the misery of the Kurds and countless other peoples before them and then he must stop his support for a policy thats causing just as much death as he wanted to atone for.

I'm Gonna Be Up For A While

It's Emmy night here in Los Angeles and my part of town is jammed with limos and blockaded streets.

But most annoying are the helicopters taking news crews and maybe even tv superstars from place to another. Its not as bad as Oscar time but I know it'll be a while before they stop flying overhead. I just looked at the local news and the special Emmy drink is a martini with flakes of gold in it. This is more annoying than a dozen helicopters.

I've already looked at the photos I took at Farmers Market (Hollywood & Vine) this morning and they're all awful so nothing from there will be posted.

So I'll write up what I have about the Christopher Hitchens debate with George Galloway, courtesy of CSPAN Books. On the other hand, "Bullit" just started on TCM and this changes everything.

[The Gentle Side of John Coltrane]

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Route 66 in the Mojave Desert

February 2005


Walking into the theatre you might think you're about to see a famous writer's descent from fame into insanity and death. But you'd be wrong, but then again, you'd be right. "Capote" is a fantastic movie based on the few years immediately preceding his spectacular literary and social success but with all his personal weaknesses already in place and waiting to slowly kill him.

While Phillip Seymour Hoffman does not bear a tremendous likeness to Truman Capote, his ability to mimic Capote's highly idiosyncratic way of speaking, sort of a queeny brainiac, was astounding, accurate but not showy. If the voice hadn't of worked, the movie would have been on much shakier ground.

"Capote" is a movie of muted, washed out colors mixed with tightly edited scenes that don't waste anybody's time. This is not only the story of four murders in the Kansas farmland but also that of a man who, for all his Manhattan cocktail party sophistication, doesn't begin to understand himself until he sees his doppelganger sitting on Death Row.

Thich Nhat Hanh:

"Be grateful for the non-toothache."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I Just Don't Get It

For decades two of the Republican's main themes have been the incompetence of the Federal bureaucracy and that power should rightfully* be shifted to the states where problems could be handled more efficiently and as they see fit, without any "pointy-headed" meddling from Washington.

Yet, on this morning's political talk shows the blame is totally on the incompetence of the state and local government, specifically the Democratic governor of Louisiana and Democratic mayor of New Orleans, and that the Bush administration was absolutely ready to snap into action - but no one asked them to. At least this is the version being put out by friends of the Republican party.

Also, on September 11, 2005, I did not hear the name Osama bin Laden mentioned even once on any commentary show.

I'd write more but I'm listening to "For Heaven's Sake" by Wes Montgomery. I never thought I liked Wes Montgomery or any hollow body electric guitarist but this is a very soothing piece of music.

* yes, that's a pun

In A Few Minutes It Will Be September 11

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No, This Is Not A Morning Glory.

This a Jimson Weed. When the name "The Jimson Weed Gazette" came to me I had no idea that this plant was native to this area, much less that I would be stumbling across several of them on Sunday, August 28 at Franklin Canyon Reservoir, just south of Mulholland Drive.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What I Didn't Do This Weekend

Pasta Salad with Italian Sausage

Italian sausage, sweet or hot, cooked & sliced in 1/2 inch lengths
macaroni or fusilli
1 green pepper cut into strips
1 red onion, diced
1 can kidney beans
hard boiled eggs
chopped parsley
2/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch oregeno

Mix olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper & oregeno.

Combine other ingredients. Pour the dressing over it.

Chill it for a few hours.

Yes, It Tastes Like Dreck But,

Wheatgrass juice is really great stuff.

Drink one ounce and you’ve taken in the vitamin and mineral equivalent of two pounds of fresh vegetables and 92 of the earth’s 102 minerals.

Additionally, the chlorophyll in wheat grass juice is very similar to blood in that they both provide oxygen as they stimulate the elimination of the stored toxins (which are not good for you).

A complete protein with about 30 different enzymes, it also reduces high blood pressure and gets busy on the sex hormones.

Class dismissed.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happy Labor Day

In 1862 the newly formed National Labor Union called upon Congress to establish the eight-hour work day.

In 1933, a mind-boggling seventy one years later, the eight-hour workday finally became law under the National Industrial Recovery Act, which provided for the establishment of maximum hours, minimum wages, and the right to collective bargaining.

Olberman vs. Hannity

Last night Keith Olberman (MSNBC) interviewed several people in New Orleans. They all stressed very, very strongly that many people have not been fed since Monday and that no local state or federal government officials have been seen. Sean Hammity (Fox) was very keen on "the criminal elements" and "lawlessness", "said to be rampant."

***September is Bob Dylan Month***

As great as his mid-Sixties "electric" records were, there's a large part of me that would prefer to live in the world that Bob Dylan seemed to be living in immediately after these records were made. "Nashville Skyline", "The Basement Tapes", even the lesser records, "Self Portrait" and "New Morning" but primarily "John Wesley Harding", all seem to inhabit a world in which cell phones, laptops and of course blogs, would be seen as frivolous entanglements.