Susan and I made a getaway to MOCA downtown on Grand Avenue to check out the awesome “Naked Hollywood” exhibit of  photos by Weegee, and afterward we walked through the halls housing the museum’s permanent collection, where we found many creations that left me shaking my head — especially the one pictured above. This “painting” literally makes me want to slug anyone who’d dare earnestly defend it as “art,” which in this bullshit’s case can only qualify if art is defined as “paint applied to a canvas that’s hung on a wall.”

Or at least mix up the goddam ryhthm, you asshole.

UPDATE (11.03): It continued pretty much unabated until past 8:30 p.m. when either the cuss-worthy percussionist finally stopped. Or was stopped.

Wow. This morning was a double whammy full of assholes. At 5:20 a.m., Ranger started barking her “this is for real” bark and sure enough after bolting from bed and looking out the bedroom window there was a shady looking creep casually walking the brick walk on the north side of the house like he owned the place.

I got dressed and downstairs and out to the street in time to find the prowler — who turned out to be our block’s most notorious nuisance transient — coming back onto the sidewalk from a house a few doors south of ours. He wore a blue hooded sweatshirt pulled up over his head. Of all things he had a golfbag handcart and was carrying an arm full of magazines.

When he saw me approaching he commenced walking away  but I caught up close enough to inquire how it was that he came to be pushing a bagless cart down the street at such an odd hour. “Bought it,” he responded without breaking stride. I let it be known I didn’t believe him, then I advised as we arrived at the cross street that parasites such as himself are not wanted on this block, and that it would extra-especially be in his worst interest either to be found by me setting foot on my property or anywhere near it for that matter.

“In case you don’t remember which house was mine that you cased, it’s the one overly decorated for Halloween,” I said. “Should you decide to come back. I’ll be waiting.”

He grunted, and I apologized that I couldn’t stay and chat longer but I had to go call the police on his thieving ass.

“Go ahead,” he said, as if I needed his permission.

It was in walking back home that I noticed the graffiti tags, freshly sprayed in silver and black paint sometime in the evening on garage doors and walls along the west side of the block, including mine:

Since it didn’t look like any of the local gang tags I’m only all too familiar with (and since our block is rarely hit and never so heavily), my first hunch was it was done by the prowler who really is a multi-tASSker who counts theft, squatting, harrassment and arson among his suspected crimes. But after notifying the police I attempted to erase it with some graffiti remover and elbow grease (the smaller black one came off quick, but the larger silver one didn’t). While down there scrubbing a car pulled up and the guy inside said he lived down the block and was trying to see the extent of the vandalism.

The reason being he had just rented out an apartment to a single mom with two teens who regularly had classmates over, and coincidentally some silver spray paint he had stored in his yard had been stolen.


Hi. Question for you: Are those cigarette butts yours?  They’re mostly Camels, but there’s a lone Marlboro among them. Go ahead, click the pic to take a larger look. I’ll wait.

The reason I ask is that as part of my regularly scheduled yard work this morning — done because I take pride in my house and keeping it trimmed and swept and generally presentable — I found them. They were dumped presumably from a car’s ashtray into the street. Coincidentally right in front of said house in which I take the aforementioned pride.


Before I get all up in your figurative and hypothetical grill, I must commend you on using your ashtray. So many smokers don’t, choosing to keep the specifically developed devices spotless while just carelessly and thoughtlessly ashing out their windows and pitching their butts out of their cars one by one on the fly. Zing! Pwing! Fwing! But you, Huzzah! Rather than leave your filters infilterating the areas of the city you blithely infect and pollute at least you blithely consolidated your pollution in one place. Trouble was that place in this case was the street in front of my house, which adds to one of the great mysteries of urban life as to what exactly is it that triggers smokers unable to hang on to their butts until they’re near an actual trashcan and rahter makes them so egregiously and compulsively clear their ashtrays rightthatfuckingminute directly onto the road. My road.

What was I doing on that road wondering why some sociopathic shtupwad decided that and then would be the perfect place and time to litter so fucking heinously? Fair question. See, in addition to the house’s front yard, I have this wacky habit of sweeping the sidewalks in front of the place  — and get this: even the gutter! Crazy, right? A touch compulsive even. I mean, who the fuck in this day of personally irresponsible entitlement actually gets all up in a street’s gutter with a broom and a dustpan without a hazmat suit or it being mandated as some sort of court-ordered community service? Certainly not the same assholes who’ll dump their cigarette butts out in the street, that’s for sure!

So anyway, there I was off the curb entirely of my own volition and sweeping the leaves and some styrofoam packing peanuts and an empty Starbucks cup down to my driveway apron when I saw one butt, then two in front of the car parked next to me.. Then I came around the driver-side quarter panel  and found the scene pictured above, right next to the door.

Though I knew instinctively it was a dump-and-run — they all are — I immediately cased the adjacent automobile’s interior through its closed windows to see if I could find anything identifying it as a smoker’s sedan. You know: lighters, matches, a freshly emptied ashtray, burns in the upholstery, an unopened package of Nicorette, any residually exuding cigarette stank, ashy bits accumulated where the windshield meets the dash, or perhaps a telltale pack of Camels or Marlboros. Nothing. I even checked the rear bumper just in case there was sticker that read “I’m literally stupid enough to inhale toxic smoke into my lungs regularly and voluntarily and think it won’t fuck with me later on — and I’m so big an entitled jerkbag that I believe the world is my ashtray.”

Surprise: no bumper sticker. Couldn’t hurt to check though.

Had I found any connection between your buttdump and that vehicle, I wouldn’t be writing this letter. I’d’ve gained closure by duct-taping each and every motherfucking butt to the hood (and that’s only because I’m out of staples for my staplegun). I was tempted to anyway, but common sense and benefit of the doubt prevailed and instead I did what you couldn’t be bothered to do: I added your mess to the pile-in-progress, picked it up and put it in its appropriate trash receptacle, in hopes some day someone does the same to you.

Catch you later! Fucker.


On the hottest day Los Angeles has experienced in a looooong time, I ventured into the triple-digit heat yesterday afternoon with three errands to run: the Hollywood Bowl, to exchange tickets for that night’s performance since Susan is out of town helping out with matters in the wake of her uncle’s death last weekend; the New World Camping store, to exchange the fishing rod we’d bought the weekend before, which snapped our very first time out with it last Sunday; and a recommended body shop to get another estimate for the bumper damage to the Ford that I caused rolling into an unseen boulder on the side of the east fork of the San Gabriel River during our aforementioned fishing day trip.

I took the leap this year and became a subscriber this season, meaning I purchased a package of four performances within the Bowl’s jazz series. Susan and I have enjoyed Bobby McFerrin and Chris Botti, Robert Cray, and the Buena Vista Social Club Orchestra among other acts on the first three Wednesday nights we attended. Last night’s was headlined by Quincy Jones and promised to be excellent, but I called up the Bowl yesterday to tell them I couldn’t attend and ask what my options might be. I was advised to take advantage of its ticket exchange policy, a subscriber benefit, by going to the box office.

Allow me to note ahead of time that during the call I was not informed of any service fee involved in swapping tix on the same day of the event. Had I been I would’ve gone Tuesday, not yesterday.

So I arrive at the Bowl and walk up to a representative at one of the windows. The markedly effeminate young man with scruffy facial hair behind the thick glass asks through the speaker and how he can help me. I tell him while sliding the tickets through the window. He looks at them and tells me that there will be a $10 per ticket charge to complete the exchange. Surprised by that I ask why and he tells me that’s the standard fee for any exchanges made on the day of an event.

“How disappointing that wasn’t mentioned to me when I called yesterday because I could’ve come yesterday and avoided being penalized.”

At this point the young man adopts a decidedly defensive demeanor and unhelpful tone, asking “Who did you call?”

“The Hollywood Bowl.”

“What number?”

“The number on the back of my subscriber ID card.”

He pauses and regroups before plastering a simpering grin onto his mug and launching into a pointedly condescending spiel that he’s obviously practiced a lot about how a comprehensive subscriber information manual was provided with my ticket package and in it is clearly stated that any tickets exchanged on the day of an event are subject to a $10 service charge.

I consider telling him where he can stuff that detailed document, but instead I ask “What page?”

That catches him off guard and the simpering smile falls off his face as he realizes there is actually something he does not know.

I bridge his moment of horror with “Look, had I known there was going to be an exam I’d have studied your hallowed manual and committed it to memory. My issue isn’t whether or not there’s a fee. My issue is with the representative I spoke with Tuesday when I called and said I can’t attend Wednesday’s event who could’ve mentioned that but didn’t. As I mentioned earlier, had that courtesy been extended I would’ve come yesterday and avoided this BS.

Over-dramatically taken aback at my use of the acronym for “bullshit,” the young man sat up straight and said he thought it was entirely unfair of me to expect such consideration.

Now I’m the one taken aback. “Reeeeeeally. Well then I’ll go you one further: Both the person I spoke with on the phone and you turn the term “customer service” into an oxymoron.

And with that he ceremoniously stripped off his headset, slammed it down on the counter while jumping up off his chair and flitted off in full hissyfit out of sight, replaced a few moments later by another rep who eyed me warily upon approach.

“Don’t be afraid,” I said. “I’m not as bad as your thin-skinned predecessor would have you believe.”

Taking a seat he asked what the issue was. So I gave him the quick recap.

All business and no bull, when I’d finished he asked, “So where do we go from here?”

I give it a shot: “Well, since I’m guessing you’ll be able to resell these and make my $20 almost two times over is there any way you can have mercy on this first-time subscriber and waive the fee?”

His mouth moved into a smile, but not his eyes as he looked from me to the tickets. “You’re right, these are decent seats someone will probably purchase, but I’m afraid I still can’t waive the charge.”

“Then let’s get on with it.”

And in a few more minutes the Bowl had 20 of my dollars (plus another $12 for the $6-per face-value increase between the two performances), and I was signing a receipt with an intense feeling that the Hollywood Bowl will not see another dollar from me as a subscriber ever again.

Sliding the tickets to me the man asked if he could be of any additional service.

“Well, yes. Do me a favor and apologize for me to the young lady I scared off. I didn’t mean for my frustration to compound the obvious bad day she was having.”

Somewhere out of sight from within came: “Oh that bitch!”

Turning I said “That’s 100% bastard,” and walked away.

From that joyful experience I headed down to New World Camping on Western Avenue in Koreatown with the broken fishing rod we purchased from the place the weekend before last. Walking in with it I found the same man who sold us the defective pole and just from his demeanor as I approached him I had the sinking feeling an exchange wasn’t going to be easy.

And it wasn’t. I told him what happened and he looked at the pole. Instead of doing the honorable thing and giving me a replacement, he starts right in with how it will cost me $15.

I ask why and he tells me because that’s how much it will cost him to return the rod to the manufacturer.

“But why is that my responsibility?” And he launches into a tirade about customers who are chronic pole breakers/returners.

“But I’m not one of them!”

“I know, I know,” he said. But still he wouldn’t budge. It was $15 or fuck off.

I attempted to reason with him, by pointing out how medievally unethical such a return policy was when compared to other retailers, to which he exclaimed, “This is not Costco!”

“So there’s no way you’re going to replace this item unless I pay you more money for it.”

“That’s right.”

“Then enjoy that piece of crap and the $29 I paid for it, but I’m not giving you another penny now or ever.” And I walked out wondering if I had a “Give This Guy A Hard Time” sticker stuck to my forehead while vowing to make it cost this jerk more than the fifteen bucks he was unsuccessful in extorting from me.

And it will, eventually: When I got home I posted the following description of the disgusting encounter on all sorts of review sites: Yelp, Super Pages, Yellow Pages, Insider Pages, Chamber of Commerce and several others (even the store’s Facebook page where I wrote a recommendation which began “I recommend you avoid this place.”):

I purchased a $29 rod August 28, 2011 from New World Camping, and used it for the first time a week later September 4 (mainly to practice casting in the San Gabriel river). During that outing, a foot of the rod snapped off at the tip. I returned September 7 with the defective rod to make a simple exchange but the proprietor refused to do so unless I paid him $15 to cover what he said would be the cost for him to return the rod to the manufacturer. I attempted to reason with him, but he refused to listen so I told him to enjoy the broken rod and the money I’d spent on it initially but that I wouldn’t spend any more — and certainly not at a business with such an unscrupulous regard for its customers.

As to the body shop visit that was also planned, I decided not to risk enduring a third battle and instead headed home with plans to return today. I’ll be going there in a few minutes with fingers crossed that I’ve broken the streak at two.





Yesterday morning, after dropping Susan off at the airport so she could fly up to Montana to bury her uncle Jim who died Saturday only a few weeks after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, I then came back and got an outrageous estimate for damage done  to the front bumper of our Ford (via an unseen boulder I rolled into on the side of the road) during our Sunday fishing trip up the east fork of the San Gabriel River.

Not really the best of times, right?

So what better to come home to than an email from a “Sarah” in my inbox, containing the comment (since deleted) that she posted in response to my three-year-old post of mine she’d found about the last time I went golfing. If you don’t want to go read it, basically the post centers on my reaction to an impatient jackass who hit an absolutely beautiful ball off the tee on the 6th hole at the Roosevelt golf course that landed wonderfully on the green. The trouble with that glorious shot is that me and the rest of my foursome were still on that green and it thunked fast and hard into the grass about 10 feet away from the person putting. Highly dangerous. Highly unsportmanlike. Highly against the basic rules of golf. And yes, instead of just internalizing, I went ballistic.

“Sarah,” who apparently sides with that portion of the population who see absolutely nothing wrong with the golfer’s tee bomb and everything wrong with me getting tee’d off, took great offense and had this to say:

My guess is that with your terrible attitude and poor language that you are what you write.  Good luck to a lonely life.  If you don’t have one now, your wife will eventually leave for lack of tolerating your bad attitude and lack of forgiveness for others.  Accidents do happen.

Isn’t that sweet — I mean, totally and trollishly and ignorantly hateful with a side of kneejerkingly judgmental? Of course, the email address “Sarah” chickenbitchedly entered to submit her comment was clearly phony — something like And then there’s the irony of her lack of forgiveness of me while taking me to task for what she is compelled to perceive as my similar shortage. But the piece de résistance had to be her closing line: “Accidents do happen.” I find that fascinating how she can write off what that golfer did as such, totally absolving him of any responsibility and putting the blame on me for my “terrible attitude” displayed after the fact. I can only imagine how outraged she’d be at me if I’d had the nerve to be as exponentially put-out as I’d be if I actually got hit by the speeding intentionally hit projectile (presuming I was still conscious and/or ambulatory).

Since “Sarah” saw fit to so fully condemn me based on a single incident from my past, I think it only fitting that I return the favor based on what she’s shown me about her. “Sarah” is clearly the kind of person who’ll complain about people who profess a lack of enthusiasm for just about any assbag on the planet and couple that to a willingness to call bullshit when it’s warranted. I’m not sure if such a full failure on her part is from a reading comprehension issue or from her being just an absolute nincompoop, but my sense is somewhere in the middle of those two aspects is where we’d find her incompetently fussing and fuming and taking potshots from her dank and humid corner of the internet before scampering away feeling like she accomplished something. You go girl!

Curiosity led me to run a cursory check of her IP address (, which placed her within a radius surrounding a point somewhere in the middle of the Florida panhandle on the mobile network (AT&T). I also checked my Sitemeter log and found that she had arrived here via a search engine with term “Assholes Who Golf.”

And I’m the one with the “poor language?”


At the Hollywood Bowl Wednesday night (to see Robert Cray, Keb’ Mo’ and Mavis Staples) Susan and I got there early enough to eat dinner at one of the picnic areas. Across from where we were sitting was a group of three people — two men and a woman — whose conversation and meal had been interrupted by a honeybee who took great interest in something that was on the lady’s plate.

She was having none of it, and stood up and away from the table. The younger of the two men had a worried look on his face, but it was no big deal to the older gent who just smiled and wondered what the big deal was. I couldn’t decide if the over reaction was the result of a full phobia or if an allergy was the issue.

A couple attempts were made to shroud the bee in a cloth napkin, whereupon they smashed at it but it managed to escape and buzz about a bit before returning to the plate. The younger fellow flailed a bit when the bee flew closely about his head, mentioning that he was stung in the eye as a child.


The bee eventually settled down on the plate again, the riveting center of attention to the frozen unspeaking trio, and I wondered why their instincts were to kill the creature. Why is it that so many people automatically default to death as a first resort in such matters. Because it’s just a bee. Just.

But you see to me, it’s never just anything. I don’t play the kill card off the top of the deck. I opt for a kinder, gentler option that recognizes  and respects a creature’s right to life. As such the solution isn’t destruction, but the simple removal the plate (and/or whatever it was the bee was  intent upon) from the table’s vicinity, like say to a trash can. The bee stays alive, and it stops bothering me. All is good. See how that works?

They didn’t. Wasn’t even an option.

But the irony is that after another half-minute of staring at the bee on the plate, that’s what happened. Well, not quite. The gent who suffered the eye sting as a boy, impatient at the continuing standoff, finally stood up with a plastic knife in hand, leaned across the table managing to pin the bee on the plate under its edge before turning the cutlery flat and smushing the life out of it.


The woman then dutifully removed the plate from the table and took it to the trash. As if nothing had happened.



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