In the course of my duties yesterday, I did a follow-up with a lady in South Los Angeles with whom I’ve been I’m working as she transitions from unknowingly tethering her dog in violation of the law to doing so via a lawful alternative system. Progress has been slow, but that’s not the point of this post.

The point is that near the end of my visit with a promise from her that she would have everything completed within a week, a neighbor pedaled up with with a guitar slung across his bike’s handlebars curious as to why there was a guy in a uniform and a badge in his friend’s yard. She put him quickly at ease and we discussed the issue with him promising to help her get her dog properly confined.

I’m not at liberty to divulge specificities, so all I can say is the lady is a singer and told me that back in day she was a member of a prominent gospel group that performed all over the world and on television for such variety programming as “The Flip Wilson Show” and “The Mike Douglas Show.”

And before I left them the neighbor picked up his guitar and treated me to the following impromptu quick minute of music, which I offer to you because it was  such a pleasant and surprise joy to unexpectedly find myself enjoying those beautiful moments in a place not very well known for providing such things.

Gustavo Dudamel conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony may have been listed as the star of the show (and it was fantastic!), but the reason I bought tickets to the July 13, 2017 performance at the Hollywood Bowl was that my beloved Vin Scully — eternal voice of the Dodgers and of ALL of Los Angeles — was on the bill to narrate Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” and he did so beautifully with characteristic humility and eloquence.
The chance to hear again what has been the voice of ALL of my summers as a native angeleno was something I couldn’t pass up, nor could I not memorialize the occasion.
NOTES: Scully’s narration begins at about the 8:20 mark. An encore performance is scheduled for July 18, 2017, at the Bowl. This performance was recorded (faaaaar better than me and my handheld recorder from Section J) and is scheduled to be broadcast July 30, 2017, on KUSC-FM (91.5). Gawd bless my fellow audience members. This was my first visit to the Bowl in several years where everyone was pretty much completely quiet throughout the whole program.
If the embed at the top is not functioning, here the direct link to my YouTube post:

In the months of 1989 leading up to the birth of my daughter things were not at all great financially or emotionally, but at the time we had a relatively sweet deal managing the 20-unit Van Nuys apartment building in which we were living in exchange for free rent on the two-bedroom we occupied.

Not long after she was born in September of that year it was decided that we would relocate to manage a building in Burbank, almost triple the number of units at only about half-off the rent, in part because a friend of my then-wife’s lived in the building and encouraged her to take the opportunity. There were pluses: it was in a better neighborhood; a newer building with nicer amenities. But in the end it increased the stretch on our finances and our already rocky relationship to the breaking point and I ended up moving out in January of 1990.

After all this time, my biggest regret of that whole inevitable failure as a man and a husband and a father? Leaving behind the stereo I’d inherited from my mother when I moved out on my own in 1985. Mind you, it was nothing fancy. Made by Admiral, it was called the Solid State Sterophonic High-Fidelty system, and without getting too overly sentimental, it played aaaaaall the music across the first 21 years of my life. Barbra Streisand, Carole King, Nat King Cole, Henry Mancini, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mendelsohn, Dvorak, Fleetwood Mac, Vicki Sue Robinson, The Beatles, The Who, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, countless Broadway soundtracks, Louis Prima, Kansas, Journey, Queen, and on and on and on.

What happened was I had at some point in my early independence I upgraded to a Marantz system and thus unceremoniously relegated my mom’s to the garage storage compartment where it sat throughout the duration of meeting my future ex-wife, moving in with her, getting married, getting pregnant, et cetera. Then when it came time for that move to Burbank, I couldn’t find the key to the storage compartment’s lock and just said to hell with it and left it behind.

Compounded by my mom’s disappointment that I didn’t bring it back to her when I quit using it, my abandonment of it has bothered me ever since, up to and including this past weekend, when it disturbed me that we didn’t have a functioning phonograph with which to play my Nat King Cole Christmas album this season. That in turn triggered the thought of the number of Christmases it spun on the able Admiral and so of course in this day and age I googled “Admiral High-Fidelty Stereo System,” and wouldn’t you know? BOOM. In full jaw-drop, I found one available on eBay, looking pretty much in a similar well-worn condition that my mom’s was when I banished it to the garage:


It should be no surprise seeing that picture auto-triggered some verklemptification.

According to the Indiana seller’s description everything works but the record player, which is in need of a needle. The asking price is a prohibitive $329.99, especially considering I ordered a suitcase style self-contained stereo phonograph from Wayfair for $70 that should arrive by Friday.

But I’d be a liar if I denied putting this old lady on my Watchlist. And you really shouldn’t be too surprised if I end up putting in a low ball offer as we get near the end of the 27 days left at auction.

Susan and I went down to Club Nokia as guests of the Grammy Museum and relished in the almost four hours of standing-room-only awesome that was last night’s Woody Guthrie Centennial Concert.

Below is the video view from my iPhone as Rage Against The Machine’s absolutely incredible Tom Morello, tore up the place with the music he wrote for Guthrie’s unsung lyrics titled “Ease My Revolutionary Mind.” The “choir of angels singing” that Morello references during the intro include the likes of Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Joel Rafael and Joe Henry (the phone’s picture quality blows, but the sound quality of the great song is solid):

Artists who came out to celebrate Woody Guthrie’s birthday included: Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Dawes, John Doe, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Joe Henry, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Morello, Van Dyke Parks, Joel Rafael Rob Wasserman, and Ronny Cox.

For a 2009 series on songs about Los Angeles, about a week after what would have been Guthrie’s 97th birthday, I wrote of discovering his little-known “The New Year’s Flood” a ballad he penned in the wake of the devastating 1934 disaster that struck the Crescenta Valley, killing at least 40 people.


Twenty-six minutes of live footage of The Ramones at their motherfucking greatest rock ‘n roll band best during a 1977 performance at The Rainbow in London:

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.

Thailand & Cambodia 2055

Originally uploaded by there2roam

During one of our last excursions in Chiang Mai we journeyed to a village cooperative supporting several indigineous tribes from the area, and of course I couldn’t get together with a local family for a brief and very enjoyable gong ‘n drum jam.

Photo by Susan, who’s far better than I am in getting her thousands of trip pix up onto Flickr.

Next Page »