Monthly Archives: July 2013

lock outs

chain linkSo , I go out in the front yard  to hose down the heater grate . Three minutes tops . [ What’s a heater grate ? This is not a post about heater grates so I’m not going to explain .  Live with it . Guess .  Does it matter ? If it does , then any guess is right . ]When I try to open the security door to get back into the house ………..[Wait for it ]……it’s locked .

Our doorbell works sometimes and doesn’t work at other times . I push the button , usually . At the same time I yell [ Well , it’s kind of a yell ; not so much a screech or a pathetic begging ; sort of a manly holler I would hope ; preceded , of course , by a low growl or a muffled curse word or two ——[  not ” hamburger shit ! ” though ; hamburger shit is reserved for Ikea furniture construction ] for Ada to open the door . She’s locked me out again . ” Oh , did I lock you out ? ” she asks .

Well , it must have been her . The cats can’t reach that high .

” Oh , did I lock you guys out ? ”  Henry  Ford may have asked his striking  workers . Do I hear Walter Reuther hollering from outside the door ? [ I know . You history buffs realized that these two men are from different eras . It’s a figurative reference ; not historical. Get over it ]

I can go out to get the paper in the morning , strolling  a mere 35 feet from the front door . How long does that take ? One minute round trip ? And the door will be locked by the time I get back  if Ada has passed by . It’s a reflex . I don’t take it personally .

But maybe I should . I’m not the quickest thinker on the planet , not the sharpest knife in the block .  In my case things take a while to sink in . Sometimes my mind tosses and rattles an idea around within the depths of my cavernous brain for months , years , churning it , honing it , rolling it around on its tongue to see just how it tastes . And then , usually in the middle of the night , I wake up with a completed  thought , an answer , a clear and shiningly amazing   insight . Does that ever happen to you ? It’s decades , sometimes , and suddenly the light bulb flickers on , shines a bright and wonderful light on an idea lost , by now ,  in the meandering endless trickle of time . ” So , that’s what was going on that day ! ”   ;  or ,  ” We could have done that ; that would have worked  ! Yeah ” ; or : ” So that’s what he meant ! “mime

Way too late , of course .

I couldn’t be a trial lawyer . Can you imagine the judge and the courtroom full of people waiting for my brilliant reply ?  I’d stand there in my inimitable catatonia , waiting for the right-on, to -the- crux- of- the- matter   thought that would lead to my influential and insightful words ……….. and waiting . How much time have you got , judge ? Folks ? Can you come back in a few weeks ,  maybe a month ?   Well , I’m certain no longer than  a couple of years . Usually . I’ll have a winning reply by then .

So , anyway . Ada has this habit of locking me out . I’m all for security , too . But , you know , come on !  No bad guy is likely to rush into the house , skirting rapidly past me , as I wobble determinedly along the concrete path from the front door to the little wisteria tree near the sidewalk where the newspaper usually lands when thrown from a recklessly speeding car early in the morning .

In my neighborhood , that newspaper delivery car is the most dangerous thing I can think of . That , and the possibility one fine day of being sprayed by one of the neighborhood skunks who becomes  bored or irritated by something or other and all of a sudden needs a target .

A friend of ours visited his son in Minneapolis a few years ago ;  went out early in the morning to get the paper . Being a guy raised in Greece and now living in Southern California , he went out on the icy walkway in bathrobe and slippers . The slippers slipped .   He fell and broke his leg and was stuck there at the end of the walk , helpless , like an upturned beetle .  His  family in the house were all asleep . Lucky for him ,  a  neighbor called the house a little while  later : ” There’s a strange man lying on your driveway in the snow . “clenched fists

At least Arcadia isn’t snow country , because if it were , I could be in some real danger . So , I should count my blessings . And I should always  carry a key to the front security door with me .  And I shouldn’t take the lock -outs personally , I suppose . At least Ada  hasn’t changed the lock .Edison and Ford 1930

Yet .


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natural history museum los angeles

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2 drinks walk into a bar ……….

milwalkie manENGLISH BOLO

4 oz. sherry

1  1/2 oz. lemon juice

1 tsp. sugar

A cinnamon stick

Muddle the sugar and the lemon juice with the cinnamon stick in a small tumbler .  Add the sherry and stir .  Serve straight up —- stick and all . 


1  1/2 oz. rye

3/4 oz. port

1 tbs. lemon juice

1 egg white

1 tsp. powdered sugar

1 pineapple stick

Combine ( except the pineapple stick ) with ice ; shake well .  Strain and add ice ; decorate with  the pineapple .girl with tea

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knuckle sandwich

brass knuckles carried by Lincoln's bodyguardsI have a CD in the player in my car . I forget who the artists ( artists ? ) are  . I’m not good with names . About the third song is a country western number probably called ” Fist City ” . Do you want to go to Fist City ?  Watch out or you’ll go to Fist City . Seems there was some heated competition over the affection of some guy . This song’s the warning . Fair warning .

I was using the phrase “knuckle sandwich” today . I asked Ada a few times ,” Do you want a knuckle sandwich ?” I was just using the phrase , listening to it out loud .  Ada probably thought I was talking about some kind of pork sandwich . If she thought about it at all ; which I’m quite sure she didn’t . She knows I’m quite fluent in nonsense ( which , to be honest , she struggles with ) and so she doesn’t pay very close attention when I’m using nonsense lingo . Testing it out . Like a kid with a new word .boxer

And , once again , “Ada , do you want a knuckle sandwich ? ”

” Oh , come on ,” she says . ” You asked me that five times .”

” So far ! ” I could have answered . But I didn’t . ” You never answered , ” I said instead . And she hadn’t .boxer old

A little later she asked me what it meant , knuckle sandwich . I was trying to visualize just exactly what a knuckle sandwich would look like , but   I drew a blank . So I made a fist and showed Ada a fist .  ” So , it’s a fight , ” she said .  Her tone was a little bit dismissive. Not only doesn’t Ada speak nonsense fluently , but she doesn’t really appreciate it , perhaps , as much as she should . It’s a cultural appreciation thing .

I was thinking about it later . You should be able to get a knuckle sandwich in Fist City .

I should ask my friend Bill , who punched my friend  Victor  when Victor was bringing Bill a box of pomegranates . Long story I won’t go into now . Victor hadn’t expected a knuckle sandwich when he lugged the box of pomegranates up to Bill’s house . After all , these guys are old fellas , too old for this kind of foolishness . Victor didn’t know he was in Fist City . I should ask Bill how life is in Fist City . Everyone has to constantly keep on their guard there , I guess .

You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’ . That’s what Bill should have said to Victor . Given fair warning .  Or , simply , Bill might have said either , ” You’re going to Fist City ” or  ” Do you want a knuckle sandwich ? ” Fair warning .

Bill and Victor are friends again , of sorts , now .

Everybody has to be aware of their surroundings . Drive defensively if you drive ; and live defensively when you get out of the vehicle . Stay out of  Fist City .

I’m not bringing Bill any pomegranates . And I’m not going to ask Ada another time about a knuckle sandwich . She just might have an extra one to share .cropped-girl-and-devils-poster-circus.jpg


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it was in another pocket

When I taught for Los Angeles Unified School District there seemed to always be plenty of money , but the School District was always in financial trouble .  There was money for what they needed , but not for what you needed . That was the general rule I came to understand .

At one time the Superintendent rode around in a chauffeured limousine . Well , the chauffeur was a LAUSD cop , and the limousine wasn’t quite what Paris Hilton would choose , but at the same time the classrooms were always short of supplies ; teachers fought to keep their pay from being cut, and the Super being was riding around like a potentate  . Same old drill . Actually , I don’t think that he actually rode around much ; but , his royal chariot was , nevertheless ,  ready and waiting .crownSlave child redeemed

When it got into the evening news that the Superintendent was riding around in style , no problem , the District had to backpedal a bit for public consumption , and so they cut the limo and the driver .  Poor bugger Super had to drive himself  to work and back again . But he had to drive around visiting schools and do LAUSD work at the same time , the District honchos had explained , and that was why he needed the driver . And the driver , a cop , was more of a bodyguard , anyway , they said .

Yeah . Right .

What made it to the public eye got addressed , though , so as they , those upper echelon flunkies , fought tooth and nail to keep teacher pay low , the Superintendent’s driver went back to police work . Teachers talked about the Superintendent’s  high pay , too . Maybe keep it as some multiple of a teacher’s pay . Well , the honchos explained , he wasn’t getting nearly as much as  executives  in private industry . Poor bugger was underpaid . How you gonna attract the best people to the job if you don’t inflate the pay and benefits ?  That nice logic they never applied to teacher pay ,  I noticed  . Slick irony unrecognized in the ivory towers  .

But , I’m getting off track here . I wanted to talk about generals’  job perks . Came out in the L.A. Times a couple of days ago . Photo of a mansion in Coral Somethings , Florida . Coral Gables ?  Maybe that was the place . The generals have maids and housekeepers and free rent , too . Paid by the government . Paid by us .

I was looking at the photo of the general’s house . Not such a big deal . I say , he probably earned it , doing his general stuff , protecting the country from terrorists and communists and insurgents and whistle blowers . Planning strategies for the next wars , improving  battle techniques . Maybe there won’t be any battles at some point , as it seems to be going ;  just drone strikes .  The general , though , will have to be there  to give public rationalizations during news conferences , excuses if needed , apologies if required . He’ll have to testify in front of Congress .

And pilots . The military doesn’t have enough fighter pilots . Sign up and we  ( taxpayers ) will give you $ 225,000 as a signing bonus . Buy a house somewhere . Buy an expensive car . Take a pre military -time cruise . Buy your girl or boy friend a diamond necklass .  Think of something .

I was talking all of this important stuff over with my ninety-two year old neighbor , Don . Don is a WWII vet . He was a navy medical  officer floating around in the Pacific at the same time that my father was a navy medical officer floating around in the Pacific off the coast of places like Guadalcanal .  ” We got too many generals , ” Don says . ” They got nothing to do but strut around acting like big shots .”   He might be right . What do I know ?war talk WWI

Meanwhile ,  Detroit declares bankruptcy .   Stockton , California did it , too , not too long ago . Can’t pay the bills , just like a lot of Americans these days .

When the schools paid easily for new pet projects and programs , but had no money for textbooks , or for routine maintenance on the school site , I’d wonder where  all the money for this stupid program or that new building came from .   A friend of mine explained  , ” Different pockets . The money’s in different pockets . ”   He  was a teacher union guy at the time , and he meant simply : They got money for what they want , but not for what you want .

We got money in this country for what they want , too , but not for Detroit or Stockton , or  ………or…………

The money is just in different pockets .steel helmet army


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our pretend fence

It doesn’t like me because it knows I don’t like it . I think it’s silly , useless , annoying .FENCE 001

So , from time to time , it tears my clothes . It loves to grab pockets on cargo pants . Easy prey for it’s claws . Years ago I changed the claws ; took them off of the stationary fence post and fixed them onto the swinging gate . That helped some . That slowed down the pace of vicious pants attacks . Those claws used to be sticking out permanently into the path of passing pedestrians —- well , me , anyway . Ada never seemed to be attacked . ” Oh ,  don’t exaggerate ,” she would say , or she’d offer other poo-pooing responses like that .  I could sense the fence’s toothy smirk behind my back when she spoke . That smarmy rusting  Continue reading


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Is he Edweard Muybridge or

Edward Muggeridge or

Eduardo Santiago , or……….?MuybridgeA photographer . ( He changed his name several times ) .

Experimented with freeze frame photography . Showed that a horse’s hooves all leave the ground as it runs . Lived in California for awhile . Took pictures of Yosemite .  Taught  at the University of Pennsylvania in Philly .

Born in England . Died in England .

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