Archive for August, 2009

There is something about rampaging unstoppable wildfires and the literal and figurative pall they cast that both agitates and depresses me to marked degrees. It’s like such disasters create an internal tug-of-war wherein I want to got to irrational extremes — on one end I want to seek out destroy anyone even remotely resembling a past, present or future arsonist, and on the other I want to move to a place of permafrost and ice wherein there’s no chance of such disasters happening to me.

Because they do happen to me. Sure I’m not someone in the inferno’s path who’s lost property or suffered injury, but however indirectly and from whatever distance I am from the devastation I am nonetheless deeply affected by it.

As the following timelapse video of the Station Fire shows, I’m physically far away. From the roof of our Silver Lake home I set up the camera and captured the footage, condensed down to four minutes from an hour that passed last night beginning at 5 p.m.

It’s not very dramatic from a visual level, but with the spewing white plumes that power up above the hanging haze of ash and smoke, it makes me imagine gargantuan steam locomotives unseen behind a curtain of poison, destroying everything in their predatory paths. And it breaks my heart.

Not sure how it got there, but this morning I found a katydid in the kitchen, on the inside of the window next to the breakfast nook. After catching it up in a mason jar I took it outside where it crawled out onto the leaves of our Carolina cherry tree and then allowed me to get all macro at it with the camera (click for the bigger picture):


Don’t ask me: I don’t know why I came to call this behavior of Pepper’s “glarring” it just fits. And yes, I do know that pepper has the littlest head on the biggest body.

As snapped from the junction of Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards in Silver Lake Thursday evening (click for the bigger picture):


I can’t tell you whether the charbroiling burger smells that emanate from Carl’s Jrs are unique in their aroma, but I can tell you that when I biked by the one on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue yesterday morning and got a good whiff in passing, I boarded the sense-memory express on a nonstop flight that took me and my olfactory system all the way back to when my age was in single digits and I made numerous trips by bike to that very same franchise location from where I lived at the time about a mile away in the slums of Beverly Hills.

But not for the food. For the drinks. Or rather the glasses they came in. I don’t remember the particular connection between the fast-food chain and Warner Bros., all I know is that in the early 1970s Carl’s Jr began selling glassware emblazoned with pretty much every Warner Bros.cartoon character you can imagine.

Mind you, these were not the cheap thin crap glass you get in promos nowadays. These were thick and sleek, with a heavy bottom from which the sides rose and tapered out and surrounded some 16 ounces of the beverage of your choice. And the artwork? Equally awesome. Whether it was Bugs Bunny or Sylvester or Tweety Bird or Yosemite Sam or Foghorn Leghorn or anyone else in the Looney Tunes cavalcade of cartoon legends, the images were authentic, the colors perfect and the paint thick giving it a bit of dimensionality off the glass — as if they’d jumped straight out of the TV and into real life.

Even at my unadvanced age, I knew these were well-crafted things I’d cherish forever.

Needless to say I saved my nickels and dimes and would make regular trips every weekend to that very Carl’s Jr I biked by yesterday morning, and I would march inside to the display at the front counter in high hopes that a new character glass had arrived.

If it was one I already had, I’d withdraw, bummed out. Maybe I’d bike over and hang out with the Dan the Miner statue in Carthay Circle, scuffing the grass with my sneakers in impatient frustration — in large part because I was playing catch-up in something of a gotta-get-’em-all competition with my best friend Randy, who lived in Van Nuys and was collecting them as well. In fact I’m pretty sure I only found out about the glasses during a visit to his house when he showed off the ones he’d already obtained from the Carls Jr near his house on Woodman Avenue and Burbank Boulevard. So envious was I that I’m pretty sure I contemplated stealing them from him. Instead from that point on the race was on.


cokebottle1That the Coca-Cola bottle I unearthed Sunday had been buried about a foot beneath the surface of the frontyard for a minimum of a decade was a given, since that’s when Susan bought the house and nothing’s been dug up or buried there since then.

But of course I wanted more specifics as to how old the registered trademark might be, so I consulted The Google and after a couple deadends found myself on the Bobby’s Coca-Cola® On The Web site where I posted a cry for help and provided all the details I could find on the bottle:

Hi Bobby,

I had the pleasant surprise of digging up an intact 8-ounce Coca-Cola bottle this afternoon while working in the front yard of my house. I can say for certain it’s been underground a minimum of 10 years, but there are a couple of factors that make me wonder how old it might be, and so I got on the internet and found your site in hopes you might have some insight.

The glass itself is greener than other bottles I’ve seen and what little was left of the logo’s script was white. Unfortunately it came off when I cleaned the bottle up.

The bottom of the bottle is embossed with “Fresno, Calif.,” and in the center of that it reads “® Bottle Trademark.” In the center of the bottle’s bottom is a logo that looks like and anchor centered over an “H”, and below it is the number 10.

Embossed on the lower bottom of one of its sides is “65-36.”


Any help in solving the mystery will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


This morning I found the following response from Bobby:

That’s awesome that you dug a Coke bottle!    The embossed numbers below the waist of the bottle “65-36” indicates that it’s from 1965.   The Coca-Cola script on this bottle was painted, also known as applied color label (ACL) — from your photo, none of the painted label remained.  The base plate however is in very good shape!

Thanks for sharing!

Happy Collecting,

Point of order: That the bottle is 44 years old isn’t to automatically say it’s been underground that long. Sure there’s a chance its burial occurred the year of its creation, but I’d wager the actual interring could have been a few years later.


I’ve gotten so used to seeing the black carpenter bees that buzz around the house (one’s even dug a home out of an old log in the northside garden) that when Ranger pointed out this poor dead magnificent monster (at 25mm it’s practically three times a typical honeybee) on the patio this morning, I had no idea it was a male carpenter bee until the good folks at clued me in.