Archive for May, 2011

You say you’ve got a hankerin’ for a nine-minute timelapse Memorial Day vidclip of 30-miles worth of urban cycling from Silver Lake to Westwood’s National Cemetery and back — augmented rockingly from start to finish by “If I Leave This World Tomorrow,” an absolutely jamtastic blues number from Glenn Kaiser (sorry if the tune’s not playing right away; YouTube’s Audioswap function is sometimes slow to sync with a fresh upload)? Well then you have come to the right place:


This vid’s a couple/three years old and because I’m such a harumphing curmudgeon when it comes to new music from them whippersnappers nowadays I might never have found these songs —”Joe D” and “Bev D” by Restavrant — if t’weren’t fer Tony “Six Gun” Pierce. Destined to become my Summer Song, better late’n never… I reckon:

Can’t understand a single word the guy’s singing. Don’t care. It’s more than raw and authentic — rawthentic! — enough to get the old fogey in me to shut up, bop my head and enjoy. Punk blues, muzzafuzzas.

(click it for the bigger picture)

I sat snapping way too many shots of this butterfly on a succession of leaves — all of them with its wings up — hoping it would lower them so I could capture its colorful pattern. It would eventually take off and flutter around the backyard before coming back to rest in the vicinity and close ’em back up. After a few minutes my patience gave out and I gave up, thinking I hadn’t gotten what I wanted. But upon reviewing the series of images, it turns out by sheer luck I triggered the shutter at that exact same micromoment it started to lift off from a loquat leaf.

On the heels of Monday’s hummingbird brought to you by Jiggy, this morning Pepper dropped off an alligator lizard — tail-less but otherwise unharmed — announcing its delivery with a strange wail that brought me into the kitchen without hesitation to find the reptile curled up on the kitchen mat.

After a few minutes of peace and quiet in a box by my desk, I installed the critter as seen above (click for the bigger picture) in what’s become the go-to Lizard Recuperation Facility: namely Buster’s hutch. There they hang around long enough to get their faculties back in order and then find their ways out where hopefully they will manage to avoid any future cat encounters.


Several years ago on area group forum, one of my neighbors south of Marathon on Occidental Boulevard posted witnessing a crime of some sort (I can’t recall what exactly but it may have been a prowler) in the back of a residence and a respondent asked if it was near “the Balto mural.” Having never seen any such a thing, I’ve been curious about it ever since and many has been the time I’ve been out and about that I’ve looked down some nooks and crannies, including several times down the alley east of Occidental — always unsuccessfully. Though I’d not given up hope of finding it, I’d guessed in the time that had passed it perhaps had been painted over.

Turns out there was one nook upon which I’d failed to look: the alley to the west of Occidental, and for the very first time this past weekend out with Susan for a walk with Ranger, we went up that throughway and boom, there it was (click it for the bigger picture):

The main reason for my curiosity didn’t stem from any sort of  love of the animated feature loosely based on the real-life dog. It came more from a wonderment as to why and how would a mural about the heroic canine (who has a statue in New York’s Central Park) come to be painted in my section of Silver Lake — and essentially hidden from view by anyone except those residents (and/or prowlers) who might utilize the alley.

In the upper left section of the frame (above the trashcan and near the top of the wall) the date 6-6-96 of its creation is visible through the fence posts. But thanks to my excellent framing skills, I’ve perfectly obscured the name above the date behind the crossbar.

With the resemblance to the animated characters being spot on, could it be the work of an animator from the movie, which was produced by Steven Spielberg’s pre-Dreamworks Amblimation studio? Or was it just a labor of love 15 years ago by a fan? I’ll have to go back and catch the artist’s name to see if that will reveal anything.

In the meantime, I found out via the Balto wikipage that two years after Balto’s epic run (which is commemorated with the annual Iditarod race), he actually visited Los Angeles, which proved to be of benefit to the dog in averting what could have been a sad postscript:

Balto was not destined to be a star in the breeding shed since he was neutered at a young age, hence he was relegated to being neglected on the vaudeville circuit with his team. While visiting Los Angeles, George Kimble, a former prize fighter turned businessman from Cleveland, was shocked to discover the dogs were unhealthy and badly treated.

Mr. Kimble worked together with the newspaper, The Plain Dealer, to bring Balto and his team to Cleveland, Ohio. On March 19, 1927, Balto and six companions were brought to Cleveland and given a hero’s welcome in a triumphant parade. The dogs were then taken to the Brookside Zoo (now the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo).

Balto died at the age of 14 in 1933. His remains were mounted by a taxidermist and remain on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

A well-timed visit to the kitchen just before 1 p.m. today led me to find Jiggy uncharacteristically in it at that hour, and a moment later understood why when I saw the motionless hummingbird on the floor at his feet. Picking it up I was relieved to find it alive and at least externally intact, and it sat calmly in my palm while I retreated to my desk and made the following little video:

Given its strong heartbeat but unwillingness or perhaps inability to move, I figured it was a hopefully uninjured just-fledged chick and brought it out to the backyard where I heard and saw several other hummingbirds, none of whom displayed any maternal interest… leaving me realizing it would be next to impossible to find the nest and thus facing the daunting task of caring for it or more likely get it to someone such as great folks at Animal Advocates, who are far better equipped and informed.

But shortly after the above photo was snapped, as the bird naps in my hand while its abductor lounges triumphantly in the background on the patio, the little bird suddenly solved the entire dilemma by perking up out of nowhere and flying strongly off and out of sight. Yay!

Commemorated in a combo timelapse/realtime vid: