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 very much like an image of someone I once knew, but firstly, that person lives nowhere near me, and secondly, while it looks like that person, it’s like a quasi-him.  As if this is a ghostly, or disembodied version of him.  It’s as if some part of his being was somehow dislodged from his physical body and ended up moving aimlessly through the ether.  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 Tracking 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.  

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Question That Made A Loud Industry Go Silent


 U.S.C.'s Bovard Auditorum - Photo By Fred Herrman

I recently went to a set of symposiums at my alma matter, U.S.C.  It was presented by the School of Cinematic Arts and was a week in which the school brought in professionals from all parts of the entertainment industry.  As an occasional donor to the school, I am invited to events as they come up.  I thought this week would be interesting for me for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, I worked in the industry for about twenty years doing both live-action production work in film and television, as well as a lengthy career in animation at both The Walt Disney Studios and at DreamWorks.  I was invited to work on two Pixar feature films, but during that time, both of my parents were declining with Alzheimer and dementia related illnesses, so I felt that I couldn’t be four hundred miles away in the Bay area.  It’s too bad because I would have loved to have worked on some projects for Pixar. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Eulogy For Billy Gentry

My spouse's stepfather passed away this past January of 2019, and a few days before the memorial service, which was held at the grave site, I wrote this eulogy for him.  However, due to the nature of how the service was structured, which was out of my wife's control, the setting was not appropriate nor long enough for me to read my thoughts of him.

Monday, October 1, 2018

When MySpace's Space Was Gobbled Up


Do you even remember MySpace?  Were you active on it at all?  I was.  It was the big social media website that was popular leading up to FaceBook. 

It was a peripheral service somehow of the music industry.  I don’t know it’s genesis, but by the time that I was on it, it was busy and buzzing with activity.  The thing about MySpace at that time was that you could customize your profile page.  And though I know close to nothing about writing code, for it took HTML code to customize, I was able to get bits of code from the internet to do what I needed.  There were sites dedicated to helping a person put photos and designs on their MySpace page.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Cleaning Up

I was driving two days ago when I noticed to the right, out of my passenger window, a woman carrying two giant clear plastic trash-sized bags of aluminum cans.  She was stepping out of a large,  maybe acre-sized field at whose edge by the sidewalk was her bicycle and an attached wagon.  That’s where the bags of cans were going to be placed. I then naturally took a look at the field behind her; clean as any field could be.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Voice Recognition In Humans


Have you ever thought about how incredible it is that we can hear a voice anywhere; on the radio, on a phone message, out of a crowd, and we know who it is?  On the face of it, it doesn’t seem that incredible.  I mean, if you know someone from their being a friend of yours, or from loving their music, or listening to their shows, you might think, “Well yeah, you hear their voice and you 'know' who it is."

Friday, July 13, 2018

On The Roof Of The Sea Castle

Every once in a while, a person has one of those vivid memories that resides in the midst of a foggy mire.  One of mine is that while I lived in the Sea Castle Apartments in Santa Monica, which was giant, Art Deco, aquamarine apartment building, and formerly an old-timey beach club (“The Breakers”), I got to see one of the most memorable fireworks shows ever.