Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Whatever You Do, Don't Call The Police!

Literally one day ago, I brought over a gift for my brother-outlaw’s (as opposed to in-law’s) boy.  He is thirteen and he wanted the hottest newest, over a hundred dollar, self-propelled scooter; The RipRail Jet Fuel Scooter.  It’s the kind you hold onto the handle bars and you push yourself along with a foot..the manual kind.  Not motorized.  I stopped by this grandmother’s house, where he was that day, and gave it to him there.  

I just found out today that just hours after leaving their home, the boy went riding on his scooter and was attacked by two older boys, a black teen and a Hispanic teen who were from outside the neighborhood who beat him up and then stole the scooter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

On Meditating

Meditating is hard at first.  Or it’s easy.  A little of both.  I just recently started doing it once per day, beginning with just a five minute session to get my body used to sitting still for that long.  After a couple of weeks, I increased it to ten minutes, which is where I’m currently at.  It’s so relaxing.

But what I’m finding hard about it, being a complete newbie, is not letting my mind breeze away into some memory or imaginary circumstance.  

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Real Estate Bar

This topic is near and dear to my heart since I am a license real estate agent in the great state of California.  I have a bone to pick with the industry in general.  That is, that I believe that the bar to become a real estate agent is far too low.  All that one has to do is to study and pass a test that is really not that difficult.  When I took the test back in 2007, I was out the door before a lot of people, and truly, I am not a Mensa member or anything.

The reason that I write about this topic is that I have come across, in my fourteen years of being an agent as of this writing, many other agents who really don’t know what they are doing, and worse, who don’t care that they don’t know, or even worse, know that what they are doing is not ethical, and just want to get away with it in order to close a sale.  There are a lot of rules in the real estate industry meant to prevent such things as misbehavior and fraud, and pressuring individuals to buy or sell property that they are either not ready do, or are unable to understand the consequences of doing.  And yet, a lot of agents operate on the fringe, if not deeper into, unethical behavior.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Psilocybin, Panic Attacks, and Spiritual Growth

If I said this aloud, “bright neon and geometric patterns,” the two people who experienced this phenomenon with me would know exactly what I am about to write about simply from those five words above.  It was my one crossing into the psychedelics zone with them.  

During my junior year at U.S.C., which would have been 1987, I was living in the Dean Scholars’ dormitories on campus.  I was not a Dean Scholar, although I had made the Dean’s List at U.S.C., but someone somewhere thought that I would be a good match for the young adults in that dorm.  And they were right.  I enjoyed the friends that I made there.  By junior year, I had gotten pretty settled into the school and to the campus habitat.  I was still close friends with two of my high school mates. For this story, I will call them Lucas and Stan.  Both were very interesting friends to have, and I learned a lot from them.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Living Room

We always keep music on in our house at a low level in a couple of the rooms, so if the TV isn’t on, there are always tunes; old time country tunes to be exact.  We normally stream KCWR FM.  

So now is the time of the season when they start playing country Christmas tunes from all decades.  It’s fun to listen to the variety of songs and artists that have recorded them throughout the years.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Travis Alexander Murder Trial of Jodi Arias

Travis Alexnder and Jodi Arias.

I have been, of late, preoccupied with the Jodi Arias trial of about seven years ago, and that horrid event that happened over twelve years ago (I was going to describe myself as, "obsessed," but maybe that's not a good idea with this story).  How strange it all was.  I think the thing that fascinates me is how someone could preconceive a plan like she did, taking so many steps to hide her intentions, and then to actually do it with no regard for his life, and then think she wasn’t going to make the twenty or so mistakes that they say every murderer makes. And she made some doozies.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Forgetting The Mask

It’s a whole new problem, isn’t it?  Well, I should be used to it by now since we’ve had this Covid thing going on since mid-March.  But dammit if I can’t remember to bring a mask each time I visit a place.  I always have one at the ready, or at least that’s my plan.  I have a mask usually in my back pocket, one in my "murse" (man-purse…which for me is usually a small cooler from Rite-Aid that I throw all of my shit into such as charging chords, pens, a Sharpie, extra coins, doggie bags).  And I have a mask somewhere hidden in all three of my cars.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Great Glen Campbell Performances

I just wanted to draw readers' attention to two Glen Campbell performances that I really love. One was for what looks to be a television special in the middle of the day outside with picnic tables for the song, "Southern Nights." The title of the video on YouTube is, "Jerry Reed & Glen Campbell - Southern Nights." I'm activating the link for each song title (click the link, not the image, for each), but YouTube links have such a notoriously short lifespan that in short time, you may have to search for it yourself. But it's well worth the find. This is a multipiece band with two of the greatest guitar players who have ever lived playing together with what Roger Ebert used to term for actors as, "Joy of Performance." You'll see; just listen. And listen for the really pretty banjo rolls that are accompanying them. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Whatever Works for Them

With the Covid life that we are living, and concerns of being in confined spaces such as elevators and bars, I am reminded of a couple of years ago when we flew to Philadelphia to visit my aunt during her ninetieth birthday celebration.  It was a fun visit, and I was able to see a bunch of Herrman cousins that I had not laid eyes on for more than two decades.  

For our return, we took an American Airlines flight back from Philly to LAX. I was seated at the window, and my traveling companion seated next to me.  As soon as I sat in my seat, I was quickly made aware of a young man, very sick with either a terrible cold or the flu, who sat directly behind me.  I knew I was going to get sick to some degree.

Pounds of Foolishness

It seems very strange to me that for a nation that is so liberal politically, trying to create a workable free health care program, as well as many other progressive enterprises, that the U.K. would choose to sustain royalty.  Have you ever thought of that?  The Royal Family and their assets are worth around seventy-five billion British Pounds (eighty-eight billion American dollars).  And yet, there are people in the U.K. struggling to make ends meet.  The Royal Family and all of its apparatus are completely unnecessary, and they perpetuate some belief in the true-blood line concept of people.  

In addition, when people in the U.K. criticize American billionaires and heads of companies that earn various forms of golden parachutes, they sound hypocritical while they support the Royal Family’s existence.  One could argue that the Royal Family brings in revenue to Britain, as tourists who come to England to see Buckingham Palace, for instance. That’s all true.  However, here you have propped up a certain group of people above the population to inherit great wealth and have access to a life that no-one else does.  That doesn’t sound so progressive to me.

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.  


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.