Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Enchanted Tiki Room


If you don’t know what this is, I’ll tell you. It was one of the older features at Disneyland while it was still there.  I was in it about twice, maybe three times before they removed it.  I have a very vague recollection of what was there.  But I think you walked into this Polynesia themed room, and there were all sort of creatures that elements the walls including animatronic birds, flowers, and other tropical themed displays.  

I don’t know why I was thinking about this…or…maybe I do.  I heard on the news just a few days ago that the Walt Disney Company is getting extremely pissed off at Governor Newsom’s reluctance to open amusements parks and other such large, live venues.  Disney gets a lot of their revenue from their parks, into which their various creative efforts are funneled from such divisions such as live-action films and animation, and turned into another huge revenue stream.  

Saturday, September 26, 2020

License Plate Scanners


Did you know that there is such a thing?  A lot of law enforcement entities use license plate readers both around the city that they are charged with protecting and serving, and also on some police cars.

I’ve seen a bunch of “Dateline” and “48 Hours” episodes in which people who are fleeing have been sited by patrol cars with license plate readers on their vehicles.  The reader simply scans license plates of cars that are driving by.  I would imagine that they are able to read plate in front of them (such as plates of drivers that the patrol car is behind at a light, or cars approaching them from the other side of the road), and also behind them (such as cars that have passed them on the other side of the road, but which didn’t happen to have a front plate…these would be able to read the rear plate receding away from them).

I also know first hand that cities often have fixed license plate scanner cameras placed in locations with high traffic volume to read passing cars in case someone has done something illegal.  I was in South Lake Tahoe renting a cabin for a weekend not long ago.  When we arrived, there was yellow tape blocking the road two houses up from us.  We got out of our SUV and started unpacking it when a detective came up and asked if the house we were at had any camera around its exterior.  I said I wasn’t sure since we were leasing it, but he was welcome to check.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

My Serendipitous Meeting of Bo


To tell this story, I have to take us back to the year, 1976.  My parents had let go of a home that we had on Malibu beach which we enjoyed anytime year round, and we had then for the first time rented a summer apartment on Venice Beach as our vacation destination for that year, just behind the speedway (the easement that runs parallel to the beach).  We were just north of Washington Blvd, and south of the large L.A. Lifeguard complex.  

It was a summer of just enjoying the beach front.  Venice had not long before installed a separate cement bike path from the asphalt strand that hugs the houses on the sand.  This bike path, which is the one still in place today, turns every few hundred yards to give the bike rider more esthetic enjoyment rather than riding in a straight line.  

I had a transistor radio that I’d carry around everywhere with me tuned to 93 KHJ (930am), Boss Radio.  The song, “Moonlight Feels Right,” had become popular during this summer.  It felt great on the air waves being a song about love and romance associated with the moon and the tide’s presence.  My friend, David, and I used to listen to the radio while skateboarding on this new bike path.  

How To Know If You’ve Got The Vankies


What are the vankies?  Well, let me tell you a story so that we can both figure it out together.  

When I was first graduated from University (U.S.C….go Trojans!), I started looking for work in the field of psychology.  The first job I got was at a group home in Woodland Hills.  It was associated with a school for children who had various forms of both behavioral problems and bio-psychiatric needs.  I’ve written about some of these places I worked in a blog called, Psychiatric Smoking Wards.

The way that the shifts in this particular home worked was that there were two counselors on duty most hours.  I say most hours because there was a lone worker for a few hours while the kids were in school, rather than at the residential care facility.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

911’s Complete Failure


This last Sunday, September 6th, I was driving back from Monterey, California on Route 156 eastbound, soon to connect with Route 152 eastbound when in front of me appeared a dark coup, such as maybe a Honda of some sort.  The driver was clearly intoxicated or disabled in some way and should not have been driving.  He or she was weaving slowly between the number one lane, the number two lane, and the shoulder of the highway.  

Just to be technically correct, since it was past midnight, it was now actually Monday, September 7th, 2020.  I called 911 at 12:31am and reported the driver to them.  Within about five minutes, Route 156 had connected to Route 152 eastbound and so I updated 911, speaking with someone in the same call center.  I knew this because they instantly knew my name from my phone number.  Staying well behind the driver (about four-hundred feet or so behind with my flashers on to warn drivers coming from behind), I told them that we were now on Route 152 eastbound.  This second call was made from my phone at 12:35am.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Strange Celebrity


Today, I saw the two parter Donny Wahlberg hosted, “Very Scary People”about L.A.’s (and apparently S.F’s…I didn’t know that) “Night Stalker,” Richard Ramirez.    

One thing that came to mind while I was watching the show was a connection I made visually back in 2009, when Michael Jackson announced his final tour.  His hair and glasses immediately reminded me of Richard Ramirez.  Not that Michael Jackson was a serial killer…he may have been a serial some other things…but I don’t think he ever killed anyone.

But his resemblance to Richard Ramirez that one night of his announcement was just uncanny to me.  I mentioned it to a few other people the next day, but for some reason, it didn’t illicit any response in my friends.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Double Nickels

I have had, as of this writing, three close friends of mine call me or email me about how they are taking stock of their lives, the decisions they have made, and what could have gone better.  These three people have contacted me within the last four days, literally.  

I started thinking about that “co-incidence,” and what it could mean.  I think it has to do with the time of life that we are all in.  The mid-fifties.  Most of us have had a few iterations of our occupations and have re-invented ourselves over those changes.  All four of us, including me, have lost at least one parent (I’ve lost four, but that’s part of a much bigger story).  And it seems at this stage of life, given that all four of us are fifty-five years old, we start to wonder how our time and energy have been spent.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Equity Set Up

My sense is that after some time; that is, after some more hurting from corporate earning’s reports that are much less than stellar, is that once we hit another equities bottom, and especially when we get a Covid-19 vaccine, then there will be a lot of upside potential to the stock market. 

The reasoning on this is that those companies that will have survived this pandemic time will have been forced to survive not only with loans and Federal Reserve corporate bond buying, but also via their own thinning of employees to essential workers.  The same goes for their processes.  By being force to re-think the efficiency of their businesses to have survived what is commonly called, “unprecedented times,” there will be a baked in efficiency to their businesses that will allow for much greater profits once things start to lift again. 

That said, there is the potential for a equity shit-storm still with regard to possible spikes in the pandemic, especially heading into the fall and winters months when people really do tend to get sick anyways.  And again, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen until Moderna, Pfizer, Inovio, or any other of hundreds of companies trying to figure out a vaccine are able to get through the various phases of testing and human trials and is actually able to market a successful drug to kill off and avoid this virus.  

Image:
https://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/moderna-s-rumored-50-plus-price-covid-19-vaccine-draws-ire-as-company-touts-new-animal-data

Monday, July 27, 2020

Disembodied Image

This is one of the stranger things that’s happened to me.  Not long ago, a photo appeared in my iPhone’s photos album from a source, from what source, I don't know.  I didn’t put it there, and it was not airdropped there.  It is exceedingly strange because it looks like an image of someone in an ethereal state.  As if this is a ghostly, or disembodied person, and part of his being was somehow dislodged from his physical body and ended up moving aimlessly through the nothingness.  It was just very, very odd. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Warm Wet Splashy Summers

This entry could really be about any of the summers I had between 1975 and 1978, that three year period when I was in fifth grade to eighth grade, because they were all somewhat similar.  I’m ultimately picking 1977 because of one event in particular.  That is, the release of the movie, Star Wars.  This film is not the center focus of this entry either. But it is a nice milestone to have in about the sweet spot of this series of summers.

My family and I moved from the Hollywood Hills down to the flats, actually slight inclines of the boundary between Studio City and Sherman Oaks, south of Ventura Blvd.  This change allowed me much more freedom of mobility on my bicycle.  In the Hollywood Hills, my effective radius of bike-riding was about half a mile, because if I went any further, which was always down, I inevitably paid the price by having to walk my bike back up painfully and excruciatingly steep hills. 

Israel's Home-Imprisoning of Citizens

In a disturbing segment on Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, it was reported that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized the nation’s intelligence agency, Shin Bet, to track people’s locations retroactively who have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, and then order a mandatory quarantine of anyone who was around that person during those backtracking searches. It’s yet another disconcerting move by a government that also forces all men to serve in the armed forces. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Canine Corona Company



Every dog who has a home in America is all the happier because of COVID-19.  It has meant not being alone nearly the same amount as usual during the day, someone to always play with, and someone to give them too many treats. 

What no dog knows is that we’re going nuts during large portions of the day, finding new shelves to clear off, online classes to take, and doing a whole lot of thus far, neglected gardening. 

I have gotten sideways glances from my two dogs while moving plants into newer, larger pots in the past week.  I know that our white dog wonders, “What has gotten into this guy?” 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Great Lakes’ Waterways

I’ve got something to run by you, the reader.  There are areas of our nation that often are in need of great amount of water.  The rainfalls concentrations have always been patterns that shift back and forth.  There are areas that flood, more often the south and southeast, but it happens everywhere from time to time.  The point is that one can’t count on consistent rainfall.  Sometimes it’s too little, and sometimes it’s too much.  But areas, especially in the western mid-west and in the west are definitely prone to droughts.

My idea, and I say it’s my idea because I’ve never heard anyone suggest this before, though I’m sure lots of people have thought of it individually, is to pipe water from the Great Lakes (Lake Michigan, Lakes Superior, etc.) into those areas that have been proven to be drought prone.  If that sounds ridiculous at first, think about the State Water Project in California, an infrastructure that was built to move massive amounts of water from the central and northern sierra, as well as from the southern Cascades into the great central valley for the farmers and then, into the large cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Roll Camera...Sound Speed...Action!

You’re laying there on your sofa ripping through episodes of whatever, consuming them like Ruffles potato chips, completely unaware that you’ve just watched thousands of hours of production. 

There’s a big difference between a live broadcast of a show, such as the CMA’s or the Oscars, and a scripted program in terms of production.  On a live broadcast, a lot of the work is done beforehand, obviously, because everything on stage has to occur in real time and, therefore, has to be ready.  That’s a different, very difficult animal in itself.  I have worked a few live productions, and the build up to the moment of the shoot is intense, and then it’s over, like cheap sex. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Letha Bean 1945-2019

The first time I spoke with Letha, which was in 1997, the first words out her mouth were those of instruction to me, and she changed my life.  While working long hours in Burbank, I often took weekend trips by myself to Lake Tahoe and Monterey, among other places.  And during one of those trips a year earlier, which was in 1996, I had stopped on a Friday night at a hotel in Buttonwillow.  I was awoken the next morning by some determined house-keeper trying to break into my hotel room.  She used her master key and opened the door only to be stopped by that slider latch that you can swing over the door jam. 

Uncle Roger


My uncle Roger passed away in New York this past July, 2019.  I have fond memories of him.   He was a slender man, very unassuming.  And by that, I mean, a little bit meek in his stance, thinning dark hair, and kindness in his voice.  He wore thick glasses and was not athletic looking, and if standing, spoke to you with his fingers pressed together, as if in a semi-praying manner. 

However, he was a surprise in so many ways.  He had the quickest wit of anyone I’ve known, and he could infuse humor and insight into the same sentences in a way that would make one reframe their experiences of the world.  And he loved tennis and played regularly. And he was truly a lovely man.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Lamenting Long-Hauler

I had to take an Uber or Lyft back from the auto repair shop not long ago, and an older gentlemen picked me up.  He was exacting in getting my name checked as I got in and going over where I was headed.  I sensed that he was a retired man, yet wanted to make a little extra money and maybe even stay out of his wife’s hair for a few hours a day. 

He was slim, probably just about seventy years old, white, and dressed in denim pants and a white dress shirt.

When I was buckled up and ready for take off, we immediately started chatting, and somehow got onto the subject of driving long distances.  Knowing what I know about myself, and what I found out about him, the subject was inevitable.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Oh Shit. It's June!


One of my sixth grade teachers at Dixie Canyon Elementary School, May Ambo, instilled fear in me about the month of June.

I was in her reading class, and we had been given the opportunity to choose from a selection of her small library of books at the start of the year.  I chose, “The Blue Man,” by Kin Platt.  From the cover, it looked like some sort of mystery.  And blue was my favorite color.  Apparently, my criteria for choosing book assignments at the time was based on loose association.  I really didn’t like reading much back then anyways.  Such a contrast to how I am now.  I am constantly reading.

I was part of the brighter class section.  Four home rooms rotated through four teachers each day…let’s see if I remember them…Ms. Zimmerman was our homeroom hostess and also our social studies teacher.  Ms. Trot was our history teacher.  She had a monotone way about her.  Ms. Bihn, a colorful southern woman, was our math teacher…and Ms. Ambo, English. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Waiting For Evolution In The Afternoon

It’s the name for a very short piece of music I once wrote on my little Roland D-20 synthesizer.  It sounded like a sort of melting of major 7ths and 9ths, volleying from the root major to the second degree minor, and it had a little little, childish break into the key of the flat 3rd degree for a few bars, then settled back into the root major and second minor again.  All instrumental, never really went anywhere and ended in just under two minutes. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Exiled

She met a man who wanted to move her away from his family, which also served to move her away from her own friends.  The thing is, she became more rigid and controlled over the years, probably from this type of restriction placed on her by her husband.  I last saw her a few years ago, and it made me sad that this once fun, laughing, vibrant woman, who had always been a little shy, had become so self controlled.  It’s just no good.  It’s never worth giving up those you enjoy being with in order to please a man.  I think she may have done it because she had lost both of her parents and a sister, and so there was some sense of helplessness and actually wanting to be dependent on somebody else who could provide for her.  But, to me, it’s just not worth letting yourself be changed that much by someone else’s requirements.