Friday, February 29, 2008

24 Hour Prices - Friday 2/29/2008

I've been thinking about the other two all night diners that Chuck at Twain's told me about last week: Dupar's and Jerry's, both on Ventura Boulevard. I didn't like Jerry's much when I went there years and years ago, but it's since burnt down and been rebuilt, I think.

I dropped in on Dupar's on Ventura this morning.

Yikes! When did breakfast prices get so high? Or is that partly because these diners are all-night establishments that serve the meal all day long? $7.00 for a short stack of 3 pancakes? $7.00 for two eggs, hashbrowns and toast?

It was very quiet here this morning. The music was good. Heard some REM and the like.

What am I learning here? That the grass isn't greener at other diners. And it's sure not cheaper. I think Bob's Big Boy has about the best prices in the Valley, in an unscientific comparison. Maybe I should make the rounds and make more notes.

Kind of not ready to go back to Bob's. It'll be nice to see the people there, but I also feel like I'll have to talk about the whole strike thing and for some reason I just don't want to. It'll blow over after the first day, certainly, but... Ah, who knows? I'll get back over there.

Meanwhile, check this out:

Cool Thing: This week I had the pleasure of talking with the gregarious Neal Schiff of the FBI during the course of my job. Turns out that as well as answering questions for researchers like myself, he hosts a pair of interesting online radio shows, the eclectic "FBI, This Week" which covers the inner workings of the FBI now and historically and the fascinating "Gotcha," which features closed FBI cases. You can either listen in online or read the transcript. Both are updated weekly, on Fridays.

What's Wrong With This Picture? - Thursday 2/28/2008

I started taking New York magazine because I had unused frequent flier miles sitting in an account and the program said I could spend them on free subscriptions. Now pounds of glossy paper arrive in my mailbox each week.

I'm trying to figure out why this cover and the inside photo spread that recreates Marilyn Monroe's last photo shoot upset me so much. Lindsay Lohan is beautiful and her body is at its prime, why shouldn't we all have a look since she's willing to share?

It just feels dangerous to me to dress the famously troubled Lohan up like Marilyn Monroe in this context. What exactly is this reenactment promoting?

If (I just edited out the word "when") Lohan kills herself in a few years, how proud will Bert Stern and New York magazine feel that they put her up to this? You can bet it'll be touted as prescient.

I'm not promoting censorship, I'm just questioning the wisdom of the publisher and photographer. It just gives me a stomach ache and I'm honestly questioning why.

I'm conflicted about whether to link to the photographs online or not. I've edited and re-edited this post several times. To link or not to link?

If I do, more people may go click on the images and give the magazine the idea that they support its decision based merely on interest in the material.

If I don't, I'm not giving you all the information you need to understand what I'm talking about.

In the spirit of free speech and debate, here's the link to the Lohan/Stern photos.

I hope you'll take a minute to tell me if you think I'm overreacting or on the ball, or somewhere in between.

Remembering Pinky Lee - Special Post!

Remember we were talking about the Ding Dong School and then Pinky Lee the other day?

Hydra found this online video of the show! (Thanks, H!)

Wow, what energy that man had! Vaudeville for tots!

The Way Forward is Clear - Wednesday 2/26/2008

Well. Maybe not perfectly clear. But all indicators point in the same direction, for me.

I'm going to wait until the Democratic party selects its candidate and then I'm going to participate in the campaign. I would be happy with either Clinton or Obama.

This photo is credited with appearing first on The Texas Observer.

Yeah, I know that strictly speaking Obama is all hat and no cattle. But as far as I'm concerned, he can leave his hat on.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Appreciation for Hanu Montanu - Tuesday 2/26/2008

No, that's not an Inuit rock star she's talking about. Neither is it a Tuvan throat singer.

This letter from Little Vee (I think) was hanging the bulletin board in Braveheart's study, where I woke up this morning.

I really want to know what the guys on the right side of the stage are doing. And is that Little Vee on stage with Ms. Montana/Cyrus?

Hanging Up the Bracelet - Monday 2/25/2008

I'm saying the strike is really over for me today, since it's the beginning of my first full week back at work.

I spent the weekend assessing how I deported myself during my 3 months of relative freedom.

What I didn't do:

-Completely clean and reorganize my writing studio
-Learn to play the guitar
-Sign up for a yoga class
-Make as much progress as I would have liked on my novel
-Keep the whole house tidy
-Become perfect

What I did do:

-Wrote almost every day
-Explored L.A. and L.A. County
-Visited my brother in Texas
-Networked with other writers
-Started a new blog of service to writers
-Took a lot of photos
-Cleaned a few drawers and cupboards out
-Substituted as a writing teacher and took a once-a-week job teaching writing at the same place
-Spent almost too much time online some days
-Did some research for myself
-Worked a little more to help my friend find an agent
-Appreciated my time and freedom

I very much enjoyed my extra free time, but I am also glad to be earning a full paycheck again, you bet! And some things were set in motion that will play out over the coming months.

Thanks to The American for the idea for this photo!

Miss Eartha Kitt - Sunday 2/24/2008

Rrrrrow, huh?

I bought this LP at the Round Up last weekend for seventy-five cents. Isn't that a great cover?

My turntable is packed up in the garage alongside the end-table sized speakers that went with it. I bought it right out of high school back in nineteen hundred and seventy-nine and it served me well.

I'm thinking I need to get one of those USB turntables so I can move the hundred or so LPs on my library shelves to mp3 files. There's some really good music in those sheaths that hasn't made it onto CD.

Cool Thing: A recent interview with Eartha Kitt on NPR entitled Still Sizzling.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Loving L.A. - Saturday 2/23/2008

I would paint my house these colors if I thought the Homeowners Association (and maybe Hydra?) wouldn't flip out. This store on Pico Boulevard sells Oaxacan art. My mom's in Oaxaca right now. I adore the art from this area and am lucky enough to have some very nice pieces that either Mom brought me, or I found for myself when I went with her a few years ago.

We went to McCabe's guitar shop to have one of Hydra's guitars looked at, and John C. Reilly was also there. Looked like he was having a couple of instruments restored. He's taller and thinner than we thought he'd be. No one harassed him, which was great. Nice to know he has a real interest in music.

Why a photograph of a freeway tunnel in a post about loving L.A.? This is, as far as I know, a unique tunnel.

Naw, not because of it's design. Because of it's emotional atmosphere.

When we first moved to Acton, we used to park one of our cars in our old Sherman Oaks neighborhood overnight and do that part of our commutes together. (He went on to UCLA and I went on to Toluca Lake.)

Anyway, we crawled through this tunnel on any number of afternoons, and an unusual thing happens here. Happy honking!

Seriously! I'd forgotten about it until we went through it slowly a couple of weeks ago. Drivers honk their horns in this tunnel but not in anger. In solidarity! When it happened again recently, I saw people in other cars tapping their horns and grinning.

Short bursts, bits of rhythm...somehow it all stays friendly and you feel like you've just participated in a little demonstration of how we can all rise above a bad situation.

It makes me so happy.

Anyone know of any place else this happens?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Antique Asylum - Friday 2/22/2008

Yeah, I already posted photos for today, but I really like this one. Another part of my Day of Freedom was spent poking around the Antique Asylum in Palmdale.

When this lovely woman sat for this photograph, I'll bet she never expected it to end up being sold for the frame for $5.00 half a century later.

I'd like to caption this one "Molly already had seven little darlings when the twins arrived."

I cannot imagine what her days must have been like.

These two scrapbooks caught my eye. Hydra remembers watching The Ding Dong School as a kid. (Click on that link for another link to a streaming video of the show! She reminds me of my kindergarten teacher, except that Mrs. E didn't smile that much.)

The show was aimed at pre-schoolers, but the owner of these scrapbooks seems to have been a bit older because of the articles cut and pasted from Lexington, MO and Kansas City, MO newspapers. One is dated 1959, the other 1960-64.

I gathered from flipping through the pages that the collector may have been a young African American girl. She was interested in a wide variety of topics, including the space program, Alaska's statehood and Cuba. Interspersed between these big stories were inside-pages coverage of notable women and African Americans, and bits about interracial marriage from clergy points of view to notes about famous interracial marriages (Eartha Kitt's caught my eye because I do love her voice.)

There were no prices on these scrapbooks, and I probably shouldn't be thinking about bringing other people's mementos into my house anyway. But after spending some time with this anonymous collector, I really liked her.

I wish she had written comments in the margins. I'll bet she would have kept a knockout blog.

Last Day of Freedom - Friday 2/22/2008

Okay, yeah, the title may be a bit dramatic. The good news is that work is picking up enough at last, post WGA strike, that we've all been called in to work the full week next week. Bad news is, I have to give up my chair by the window five days a week and actually do something I get paid for.

May I just say that this is my absolute favorite type of weather in Acton? Cool, not too windy, with clouds playing through the mountains. Each breath of air on my little hike around the neighborhood was like a peppermint landing on my tongue.

The hill behind our house is responding well to the rain. This was blackened by fire last March.

My foot wanted to get into the picture and show you the teensy purple flowers that are blooming on the hillside.