I was talking to a woman today , a southern Cal born-and-bred woman , who told me that she’s never seen snow falling . I was telling her about yesterday , when Ada and I were up on the mountain watching the snow fall . We were warm and cozy in our little A-frame cabin , with the fire warming the place up .
I had a chance , the first chance this year , to wear my snow boots . My size 13s have somehow long ago become size 15s , so those snow boots look a little Frankensteinish ; but , hey , it is what it is ! They keep my footsies warm and dry .
Some people up on the mountain wear clamp-ons , snow cleats that strap somehow onto your shoes . I have my eyes on a pair of those in my future . An old frail-looking woman walked by through the snow near the cabin wearing a pair of clamp-ons. If she can do it I can do it , I say . Seems practical .
Friends of ours will go up to our little cabin on their own during the Christmas season for a few days . They have snowshoes , which they have hanging in their garage in Pasadena . No one needs snowshoes in Pasadena . There was some excitement expressed about having a chance to use the snowshoes this winter . I can understand that . My guess is , though , that they’ll try using the snowshoes once and then they’ll decide to sell them or to give them to charity ; but who knows ! Or , they could donate them to me and I could hide them somewhere in the garage . Those snowshoes could join all the other unused stuff in there and wait along with everything else for that fine day when they’ll be dusted off , reintroduced to sunlight , and put in the garage sale . Someone else will have a chance to put them in their garage . We southern Californians don’t use our garages for cars , as you might already know . Too much stuff in them to park a car .
One of my cousins has the cabin next to ours . I was splitting wood for her a few weeks ago on a neighbor’s machine . It’s vital to have enough wood to burn to keep the place warm during a snow storm . Sit inside a warm room looking out the window at the cold . That’s the life ! Sharing some conversation with friends and loved ones while doing that is even better .
I know ; I know . Thanksgiving is gone for this year and it’s already Christmas . Christmas . Christmas season ? Our kitchen radio classical station was already playing Christmas carols as I was washing some of the Thanksgiving platters and plates .
We have a dishwasher , of course ; but Ada likes to collect fancy dishes for holiday use that can’t go into the dishwasher . Some of them have a circle of gold paint on them that , evidently , flakes off in the machine’s cycles. Some of the glassware gets cloudy in the machine . So , to make a longer story shorter , Dan becomes the dishwasher . It’s the least I can do to contribute to the effort , given that Ada has worked all day to prepare the food and set the table , and has been , as Marion Kirby used to be referred to in Topper : ” The hostess with the mostest ! “
A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently something about ‘the war on Christmas’ , how we’re not allowed to say ” Merry Christmas ” any more . This guy meant to be posting something else , I guess , meant to be making another point altogether about Black Friday , he said later . I replied “idiotic” to his War on Christmas post. Kind of short and curt , I know ; but sometimes the garbage piles up too high . I felt that the post was not his style , anyway , and I expect much more from him .
Sometimes people watch too much Fox-and-Friends and Hannity , and begin to gargle that stuff as if it just might be Champagne . It’s not Champagne , though . It sells fabulously , though . I’ll give it that much . Sells big time !
I’ve seen some discussion recently , too , about fake news on the internet . Did the Russians plant fake news stories before the election ? Are Americans taken in by fake news , or , how much are they taken in by it ? That’s the kind of stuff ; but I haven’t really read much of it or thought too much about the issue .
Alls I know is that the daughter of an old friend of mine passes along one outrageously fake new story after another . I think that she , if she indeed even reads the stories , believes them . Is the Clinton Foundation , for example , really being indicted for it’s scheme of trafficking in child prostitutes ? Is Obama really planning an overthrow of the government and a 4th term financed by George Soros ? Maybe she just reads the outrageous headlines , though , and leaves it at that . When I say “leaves it” I mean leaves all of her common sense and sanity . Leaves it at the door and walks on in .
I used to try to teach critical thinking to my students . It may have been a little bit of a ‘ do as I say and not as I do ‘ approach ; but I gave it a shot . Much of the so-called thinking that I seem to see these days , however , is merely re-statement of some pre-judged opinion expressed by someone else . For several years now , the so-called “news” shows , too , like to tell us what to think .
So , how come Christmas began already ? I know , the retailers need to make a good showing this year . I won’t even mention “Black Friday” . I went to the Walgreen store around the corner Friday and bought 1) a battery for my doorbell , and 2) a battery for my electronic car key . Now friends can expect to get a response when they push the button next to my front door . I’m sure they will be gratified , after getting no response for the last few years , and if it’s a solicitor at the door I can slip out the back of the house as I automatically unlock my car . I’ll be all ready to jump into the driver’s seat and ride off .
I could go to the mall and have a talk with Santa . Is the economy so bad that the Jolly Old Elf has to work so much longer every year , and no doubt for the same pay ? Or , maybe he’s spending a little moonlighting time scouting the southern California real estate market in hope of finding a cozy place to land when the polar ice caps finally melt .
Happy Holidays , everyone !
And to my Danish friend , Ivan , hope to see you next Tanksgivenz ! Thanks for the fairy tale book . It might become a new American history text . Let’s see how tings go .
This morning thousands gathered in Balboa Park to participate in the Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K run and walk. Money raised during the annual event helps Father Joe’s Villages provide food, shelter, medical care, employment training and hope for many of San Diego’s homeless. If you’d like to donate to Father Joe’s, or learn […]
I was strolling along a week or two ago on Facebook , or should I say scrolling along , and I read about the evil international Hillary and Bill Clinton conspiracy that , among other things , traffics in child prostitution in an endless evil and vicious attempt to undermine America and to take over the world . All that must be true , I guess , because there on FB the truth was exposed , there was a headline in black and white .
The woman who posted this particular bit of feculence has taken to sharing lots of inside information of the sort . It’s a good thing , too , because what the risible albeit wing-nut cable news and radio commentators used to call ” the lame stream media ” won’t tell me the truth . It’s part of the evil plan , evidently . They deviously hide the truth from us , but that’s not news ; we all know that by now .
I met a guy in Berlin who claims to know the truth . Where he gets his inside info I don’t know . He knows more about California than I do , too , he assured me , despite the fact that I live in California and usually keep my eyes open . He’s never been here . I tried to contradict him a couple of times during our discussion a couple of years ago in his living room , because his facts were not right , but he determined right off the bat that I have been hopelessly duped by agents of the great entrenched international conspiracy . From what he said about that moneyed international cabal …………….. well , I don’t have to tell you what he said . You can guess . Suffice it to say that he and his like-minded wife live in a building that was once housing for Nazi military officers and I suspect that these two truth mongers chose the place for that reason .
I should pass along some vital information that I was told by these Berliners , though . It might come in handy some day . Zbigniew Bzrezinski is in charge of the whole villainous shootin’ match . He’s the biggest cheese , the evil genius , the boss-man , the top dog . Yeah , I was surprised , too . Needless to say , the wealthy elitist U.S media outlets never mentioned any of this . (And all this time I thought the evil genius might be George Soros !)
President- elect Trump has been informed by now , I’m quite sure , of the massive Martian infiltration of the world , a dark secret held close-to-the-chest by a series of American administrations . I hope that Trump will handle this crisis better than Bush or Obama did . Maybe he can make a beautiful fantastic deal with the entrenched Martian infiltrators , but I have my doubts . We’ll see .
I want to ask you , by the way , as long as you’re here : Have you ever noticed something odd about small dogs ? Haven’t you noticed how all of them , as varied on the surface as they are , nevertheless seem to be oddly similar in some unearthly kind of way ?
The existence of dogs in recorded history only goes back about 150 years , you know . Oh , yeah . Look it up .
Oh , of course other records have been doctored to make it look like dogs have been around since prehistoric days . Sure . Schools teach about dogs being domesticated way back when . Schools ! Are you catching on ? Where is all this misinformation foisted upon our impressionable and malleable youth ? You got it : schools . Think about it and shudder .
Anyway , sometime look at the research done on drawings of dogs in ancient books , paintings , and manuscripts . Yeah . They’re faked . Look it up . Then match that disturbing info with the leaked secret information ( secrets held by the government deep under the ground in the desert in Nevada ; but you can find a re-posted headline on Facebook , I think ) about the schedule of the initiation of the clandestine Martian invasions of Earth . You’ll be amazed .
Let’s talk turkey .
As far as I know , I’ve used that expression only once in my life . [ Now when I say that I’ll have several people coming out of the woodwork to contradict that statement , perhaps ; but I’m sticking with it for the purpose of this post . Who cares anyhow ! Right ? Not to get political , but I could lie through my teeth day after day , month after month , and I could still be elected President , so who cares in my case . Right ? Sorry . Let’s move on . ]It was one of the times that I’ve been fired [ yes , one of the times . You mean to say that you’ve never been fired ? You lead a sheltered life , or what ? ] .
I was selling popcorn and candy at the Vista Theater in Hollywood . Some would call it East Hollywood , making it sound a bit more chi chi ; you know : swank . The place wasn’t so swank when I lived there ; it is now though . The neighborhood was waiting for me to move out , I suspect , before it went to all that trouble and expense and changed ; but I don’t take that slippery strategy personally .
The posh coffee places came in on Vermont Blvd and the local watering holes filled up with new crowds. I might call the newcomers sophisticates , facetiously . Bartender Lou , over at the Drawing Room , started taking credit cards and he stopped bringing pans of pigs’ feet to stash behind the bar to hand out to his friends . Someone even began to sweep the place out on a regular basis and the Drawing Room added a wine list . When I was going there after work for a beer they wouldn’t take credit cards — in fact they ridiculed the poor unsuspecting strangers who tried to use one . The beer list , I think , was Budweiser or Millers in a bottle . Pick one .
There was a place across the street , the Ye Rustic Inn , that got hit even worse with the frilly remake . In my opinion . Ye Rustic Inn , as you might glean from the slightly pretentious moniker , was a neighborhood dive bar trying to be grandiose . My friend Curtiss and I used to go over there rarely . The people were friendly , lots of locals , but never did the bartender bring any pickled pigs feet , for example . They weren’t open at six o’clock in the morning , either , as was the Drawing Room . A bit affected and pompous , you think ?
Now , don’t get me wrong . For one , I wouldn’t have eaten a pickled pig’s foot had I been wasting away in the final throes of starvation , and I never went for an early morning beer , certainly not at 6 in the morning , and I wouldn’t have been considered ” a regular ” at any bar [ except , perhaps , during the nine day teacher strike of ’89 , when Curtiss and I would hit the Drawing Room in the afternoons to blow off steam after picketing mornings around the school ] .
I’m not cool . Never was cool and haven’t ever had an itch to be cool . When these two beer places within a block of my former home were down-to-earth neighborhood beer joints , I felt comfortable there and would visit from time to time for a beer or two . My friend Virginia lived in a house next to The Drawing Room . She didn’t mind the place with the exception of the occasional drunks who puked on her lawn . Lou worked evenings and always was good for a good word or two . The Ye Rustic Inn people were friendly too , and usually a good source of local gossip . But then the two places became flashy cool . Cool people contacted one another by cell phone and met at one place or the other for loud binges of coolness , and unfortunately , the places lost my interest from that time on .
Luckily , I guess , I was on my way out of that neighborhood at about that same time . I escaped just before complete grip of gentrification , up-pricing , and up-gussying . My flannel shirts , which I wore almost exclusively back then , just weren’t fitting in anymore . Lou , the bartender at The Drawing Room retired , and my buddy Curtiss moved to Florida . Virginia sold her house and bought herself a cozy spot in an old-folks’ home on the other side of downtown .
I moved out to Sierra Madre , where there was only one bar , the Bucchaneer , which should have been avoided if at all possible at all times by everyone . Something about the Black Hole of Calcutta comes to mind. I was in there two or three times , nevertheless , over the years . One must do one’s research , after all . Go in early , if you go . The bartender is drunk by evening and he gets a bit bent-out-of-shape belligerent if you want anything from him , like change . Well , to be honest , I haven’t been there for years , and they may , by now , have a wine list and serve craft beers in fluted glasses ; but I don’t think so . The place , by the looks of the outside , seems not to have changed at all . There’s old -curmudgeon comfort in that cozy consideration , I realize .
But , Bless me Father , for I have digressed .
Back to the talking turkey theme . I worked at the Vista after school and on weekends , as a second job. Teachers do that kind of thing . The Vista , at the time , was owned by three gay guys . The new boyfriend of one of them took over management of the theater , and within weeks decided to fire all of the non-gay employees . About half of the popcorn and tickets crew were axed . For some of these people that was their only job . For me it was no skin off my nose , so to speak .
The reason given for firing us was that our work wasn’t up to standards , which was obvious nonsense , so I confronted the manager . I told him that I had come to ” talk turkey ” with him , and that the real reason for the nasty action was obvious , and had nothing to do with quality of work . I said my say and that was it . ” Talk turkey , ” I remember him repeating . ” Talk turkey ! Talk turkey ! ”
His romance with the owner , by the way , broke up a few weeks later and he was immediately fired . What goes around comes around . I can’t say I had much sympathy for that jive turkey .
So , as you have just read , I remember the one time ever that I’ve used that ” let’s talk turkey ” expression . It’s been documented here and will , I assume , be placed in the record .
The Vista theater is still there , too , but it’s been owned by a theater corporation for decades now . I wonder if the wallpaper I put up in the restrooms is still there . By the way , here’s a bit of inside scuttlebutt : that goo they squirt onto the popcorn in theaters isn’t butter . It’s World War I surplus used motor oil drained from Army vehicles . Just thought you’d like to know . Eating buttered popcorn with that “butter” is like turkeys voting for an early Christmas . Just saying ! Might as well talk turkey , after all !
I was reading a post by fellow blogger Jacqui Murray , over on a writer blog I follow , Wordreams , about the use of the word turkey . There was a survey asking what use of the word comes to mind when I hear the word turkey .
Are you listening , turkey ? ( just kidding ).
I checked off my choices . Turkey , the bird , of course . A few other meanings . I know the country of Turkey , never been there , but it comes up in world events , I think . Something about a refugee crisis , an attempted coup in July of this year , gorgeous beaches , shooting down a Russian military jet , Erdogan , …………
I never think the country Turkey when I hear the word turkey . That’s probably a good thing , but it strikes me as a funny little mental quirk nevertheless . Some thoughts began rambling around chaotically in my tiny brain when I was struck by this thought .
Three charter schools in the LA area recently had their licenses pulled by the school board for reasons that seemed to me to be somewhat murky . Seems the schools hired immigrant Turks , one after another , to teach and to work around the campuses . The schools paid their immigration fees and helped them get green cards , or whatever . There must have been some political pressure from the feds behind the scenes , I assume , since the Turkish government is putting pressure on America to extradite some old man named Fethulla Gulen who lives out in the woods somewhere in Pennsylvania whom they blame for the attempted coup back home , and the three LA schools are possibly tied somehow philosophically to this old guy in the Pennsylvania woods . The school board and the feds probably want the potential international problem to just go away .
The schools do extremely well academically , by the way . I should say : Did extremely well .
I met three Turks in Szczecin, Poland , this summer. They were musicians . They performed in a little hole-in-the-wall neighborhood art-house club . They weren’t ready for Carnegie Hall , if you ask me , but they had energy and enthusiasm and played up a storm . I don’t know how to describe the music . Original , maybe . Two guitars and a wooden box .
They spoke English to the Polish audience , some of it political chatter , and some audience members spoke back , not realizing that there was a covert American spy in their midst . My cover was not blown until the owner of the venue , who had invited me to the event , asked me how I had liked the music . I’ve always been tongue-tied under pressure , so I’m used to the condition , and , besides , there are times in life when one should just keep his/her mouth shut .
At any rate , Thanksgiving is rapidly upon us . I always liked Thanksgiving . Now it’s merged with Christmas though , I think . The local Ralph’s Market is displaying ( outrageously ugly ) plaster Santas for sale already , and Christmas cookies , etc. That’s not the only store around here hawking Christmas stuff already . Every year Christmas shopping is pushed up earlier and earlier . Whatever happened the the so-called ‘ War on Christmas ‘ ? Was there some treaty signed ? I didn’t hear about any cease- fire declared . I guess I just don’t pay enough attention .
Do they celebrate Christmas in Turkey ? Do they eat turkey at Christmas dinner ? ( I know ; I can feel it ; you’re going to tell me : ” Only when they get Hungary ” ) . I think it’s safe to say , anyhow , that they don’t celebrate our Thanksgiving over in Istanbul . Certainly not these days . Maybe they have a Turkey Day , however .
Some people I know went to Turkey recently . My mother went to Turkey several years ago . Friends of ours rented a house on the beach there and had a wonderful vacation . Someone we met recommended Turkish Airlines to us for European travel . All I know about Turkey is that my bag once went to Ankara even though I was going to London . The little bugger never revealed to me its experience while there . I met it again ten days later at Gatwick and we flew back to Berlin together in awkward silence .