Death To All Cowardly Lion-Hating Troll Bastards

Coming up on four years ago I spewed out and posted An Unfathomable Find a pretty raw reaction to what I found online in the wake of the news of two mountain lions being found dead near Valencia that may have been intentionally poisoned.

I suppose the emotion I expressed comes in part from mountain lions having had my respect and admiration longer than any other creature on this planet, in part because I can remember as a child seeing some nature film (one of Disney’s “True Life” adventures, maybe?) that pretty much unblinkingly showed a mountain lion hunt that ended with the creature trapped in a tree and shot dead. Already being so happy-ending oriented I remember even up to the end expecting the lion to somehow escape the pursuit, and I broke into sobs as the gun fired and the beautiful cat plummeted to the ground.

To this day, whenever a mountain lion is destroyed (such as the one that reportedly killed and injured several pets in the San Gabriel Valley last week), I’m initially saddened and then quick to jump in with a point of view that differs from those who solely fault the big cat:

Responsibility for the pets’ deaths and injuries is relative. To strictly lay blame and fault at the dead mountain lion’s paws is to incorrectly absolve any residents in the area whose actions or inactions brought the desperate predator out of its drought-stricken natural habitat to exploit the accessible food source it found.

While I empathize with those who’ve had pets hurt or killed, it’s important to remember that what we in communities adjacent or among native animal populations do or don’t is as much if not more contributory to the tragic destruction be the animal a beloved domestic or a magnificent mountain lion.

But annnnnyyyyyyywaaaaaaaay, I’m rambling all that up because that page had a visitor this morning.

While most of my long-form pages around here sit on the server unmolested, occasionally someone’ll take a peek for reasons or search strings known only to them and The Google. Rarer still is it when a comment is left, which is just what some skidmark did after deciding to display his ignorance by offering an opposing point of view:

New comment on your post #99 “An Unfathomable Find”
Author : tom browne (IP: ,
E-mail :
URL    :
Whois  :
Comment: Death to all lions

I deleted it from a gut reaction and then I was sorry I did, thus this post. Because I would rather shine a spotlight on the stupidians of this world, even if it’s from some 14-year-old  testicle wart from the United Kingdom.

But now I’m off to wipe the residual slime from the virtual door and hose the trail off before it dries. If I wait ’til it gets all caky, I’ll need to break out the chisel and the paint thinner.

Today’s Lesson: Just Say ‘No Comment’

It must be tough out there if you’re somehow ancillarily connected to the subject of a story topping the current news cycle — in this case the super-tragic one involving the Porter Ranch man who killed his children, his wife and her mother reportedly from a growing despondency fed by worsening financial woes.

I try to empathize with you out there: the ex-boyfriend or the high school teacher or the next-door neighbor or the coworker. You’ve got reporters from a variety of media outlets calling you and calling you and calling you. They’re hungry for kernels of connection and insight that might help flesh out the background. They pressure you with loaded questions seeking conjecture and opinion in hopes it will help sell newspapers and/or ultimately answer the question of why would someone do such a horrible thing.

Like I said, I try to empathize with you, but sometimes I don’t do very well. Especially in the case of Greg Robinson, an entrepreneur who apparently employed the killer in 2003 and 2004.

He’s quoted in the LA Times saying he had to terminate Karthik Rajaram because “his life wasn’t moving in the right direction,” whatever that means. And he goes on to describe the father having demonstrated some behavioral issues.

“He wasn’t reliable… He was not an emotionally stable person. It was a real problem and would affect any business he was involved in,” Robinson said.

See, here’s the thing: that may totally be true — and given the horrifying outcome discovered inside that Porter Ranch home, calling the man emotionally unstable is putting it mildly. So I’m not at all doubting the veracity of Robinson’s perceptions. I’m just pretty dead certain they didn’t need to be said. For one, kicking the dead — even the heinous dead — so soon is pretty much bad form. And if that’s not enough, let’s look at the purpose such statements serve: none.

Regardless of those two entirely sufficient reasons to just STFU, Robinson instead felt the compulsion to denigrate the man when what he should have said when fielding the question was simply, “No comment.”

Well So There Ya Go

For better or worse, if there’s one thing you can count on me to relate without restraint it’s the absolutely crazy ass things that happen to me, and the one that happened a block from my house about 4:30 p.m. this afternoon will certainly qualify for Top 10 status if not  No. 1 pick for my personal Hall of Shame.

I’m still deciding whether I need stitches. About eight of ’em it looks like. Maybe 10. Rhymes with chin. What do you think?

Here’s the now: I’m leaving tonight for a biz trip to Savannah. I finished up and got out of the office a little about 3:30 p.m. so I could get home and pack and give every one of my loved ones a few dozen extra hugs and kisses. That alone is making me rationalize against going to get sewn up. While blogging about it. Ha.

Here’s the then: It was an uneventful ride home across Jefferson to Vermont and up through HiFitown into Silver Lake where I soon find myself at the base of the Occidental hill that I need to climb to get to my block and my house. The same one I’ve done scores of times.

Instead of powering up it as I’m feeling kinda beat, I just start cranking up the incline, applying enough thrust to keep the pedals rotating. In English that means I’m doing 3 mph. 4 Max.

But here’s the thing. As a result of my slow exertions I’m up off the saddle with my upperbody weight fully forward and on my arms and I’ve got my head down because I could’ve sworn the roadway was clear. So all I’m seeing as I’m grinding up is the pavement passing under my front tire. In English: I’m not looking forward and seeing that a motherfucking minivan is double parked about midway up the slope.

Holy shit, where’d that come from!?

In a flash, I do see the minivan, about a millisecond before my front tire hits the rear bumper and the rear wheel comes off the ground as I spill over smacking my chin against the rear window before skidding it across the windshield wiper and then somehow I get my feet out of the pedals and dance a bit to the left and don’t fall over. A minor miracle.

I’m feeling three times as surprised as I am stupid and twice as stupid as I am angry, and right about then is when the motherfucking driver of the motherfucking minivan leans out of her motherfucking window wondering what just motherfucking hit her motherfucking minivan.

She finds me, bleeding down my neck and wondering out loud why the hell she was motherfucking double parked.

“I had my hazards on!” She yells in her defense.

“Is your car disabled?” I yell back walking the bike up along the side of the car where I then notice that the impact with the front wheel against her bumper has crumpled the fork backward enough to make the tire rub against the bottom tube. Great!

“No, she answers.

And it’s right then that I see the curb parking available a few feet further up the street.

“Well if you’re not disabled, why didn’t you park in that space that’s available RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR GODDAM NOSE!”

“But I had my hazards on!”

“We’ve been over that. Do you think having your hazards on makes it magically OK to double park”

“I was just calling someone,” she said, indicating the cell in her hand and then pointing it at the nearest residence. No doubt she’d been honking prior to calling instead of parking her car right and getting her fat ass out and knocking on the damn door.

Again I ask if that somehow makes it OK to doublepark.

“Well you should have been watching where you were going!” she announced triumphantly.

And I said to her: “You’re absolutely right. Had I been watching where I was going I would not have hit you.”

And she smiled as if she’d won something. I felt blood trickle under the collar of my shirt.

“But let me ask you this: If you had not been illegally double parked, would I have hit you?”


“Let me rephrase the question. Had you been parked legally in the space available just a few feet forward. Would I now be bleeding all over myself instead of home up the street packing for a flight I have to catch?”

She paused defeated and then said “No,” very quietly.

“Now my bike’s fucked up, my head’s fucked up. So lesson learned: don’t fucking double park!” And I rocked the bike onto its rear tire to keep the now-stuck front one off the ground and I walked away home. Because far beyond who was at fault or how badly I might have been wounded, was the embarrassing fact that I’d smacked into the backside of a motherfucking stationery minivan at 3 mph in broad daylight — despite her motherfucking hazards being on.

In short I felt like an idiot and I just had to go. Still do. But whether it’s Savannah or the nearest emergency room — or both — remains to be seen.

Another Ride Home, Another Asshat

Then the punk pitched his cigarette at me.

But let me back up to the beginning a block away on Sunset and Parkman where I was stopped waiting for the light to turn green. A champagne colored Japanese coupe pulled alongside my right to make a right turn and as he passed me I heard the driver say out his open window “Way to take up the whole lane dickhead,” before making the right turn that he had plenty of room to make between me — in the bike lane for freak’s sake — and the curb.

Am I the kind of level-head that let’s that shit go? The answer to that is I caught up with him at Parkman and Silver Lake Boulevard where I reeeaaally took him by surprise — no shit he literally jumped in his bucket seat when I skidded to a stop beside him — and  asked him if he truly honestly thought I didn’t hear that shit.

“What shit.”

“Memory trouble much? You know like 15 seconds ago at Sunset you made a right turn past me and said — and I quote: ‘Way to take up the whole lane dickhead.'”

“Well you were taking up the whole lane.”

“OK, then, explain me this: if I was , as you say ‘taking up the whole lane,’ how on earth did you manage to get by and successfully complete a right turn just after calling me a dickhead?”

All he could do was puff on his cigarette and repeat his previous statement.

“Because that’s some righteous driving skills to be able to somehow get around me without hitting me seeing as I was in the fucking bike lane where I belong and you had the ability to do everything you wanted to do but keep your flapping mouth shut.”

And that’s when he said the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.

“Look man. I ride a bike.”

I looked his nondescript car over.

“Yeah? Nice bike.”

“No really. I ride.”

“Oh well, sure. That makes it all OK then,” and he nodded as if I was being serious so I added, “About you being an asshole I mean.”

He started to say something again, probably either “I ride a bike” or “”You were taking up the whole lane,” but I cut him off before he could get started.

“For argument’s sake,” I said, “let’s A) believe it is indeed true that you ride a bike and B) pretend that I give a shit about any aspect of your life. If so, then what kind of motherfucking idiot are you?”

And he just stared so I added, “No seriously. Please explain to me how you came to be such an impeccable monster asshat because that shit fascinates me.”

That’s when the few words he had failed him and he did this rather fey kind of jerky shudder — almost a petulant tantrum but it really looked awkward on someone his age and hipsterness — and he finished the maneuver off by flicking his cigarette at me and gunned it into Silver Lake Boulevard At first I thought the butt had missed me but looking down later I found the ash mark standing out starkly against the white of my shirt. Probably a good thing I thought his aim was as lame as he was.

Trouble was the braintrust didn’t leave. Instead he cut across the street and around a little island to where Parkman continues southward. And he stopped.

So I pursued. Hotly. And loudly. With language most foul and demoralizing.

And he ran to Marathon, where he made a right and then to Silver Lake where he made another desperation right — there he is in mid-turn:

Given his stupid attempt at escaping me I was able to stay pretty close behind all the while yelling at the top of my lungs all sorts of expletives. Then he made another right at Parkman to go around again and I realized a couple things: 1) he really had to suck if he didn’t know how to get him and his car away from a madman on a bike, and 2) he probably lives around here. As in, nearby. As in, to me.

Here’s looking for you, kid.

So I broke off the chase and left him with “I’ll be seeing you around, neighbor,” and I kept going north a bit  on Silver Lake before residual adrenaline forced me to double back and take a last look around. But he was gone, and so I turned back up Silver Lake then up the incline of Ellett Place to Occidental and home.

And yes, this time the timelapse cam was pointed in the right direction and functioning properly, and I’ve spared you the pixelated hell of YouTube by foisting the snippet upon my server as a Quicktime file here. But don’t get all excited, because with the exception of the frenetic little chase scene, most of the action’s taking place out of frame.

The Weirdest Confrontation With A Motorist I’ve Ever Ever Ever Had

It began above,  southbound on Vendome coming through HiFiTown, when the blue Honda sedan practically redlined it past, driven so ridiculously fast that the driver had to start braking almost immediately beyond me in order to be able to stop at Beverly Boulevard without laying down some rubber. On the plus side, he gave me ample room in passing, but the sound of the high-revving engine barreling down on me from behind raised hackle and heartrate.

It ended above on 4th Street when The King of the Nutbags saw me in his rearview mirror and didn’t hesitate to make a left onto Shatto Place against a red to keep some distance between us, which was fine by me as I kept going on 4th. Good riddance psychoclucker!

In between we traveled the same route — Beverly to Dillon to 2nd to Commonwealth to 4th — and I kept him in sight pretty much the whole way to where the confrontation went down at 4th and Virgil, when I finally rolled past the guy stuck in the stack at the light and in passing curiosity looked over my left shoulder to see if he looked as much an asshole as his driving style dictated. He did.  And with nothing more than looking at him directly he decided the appropriate response was to give me not one but two raging middle fingers — quite troubling, especially when I did nothing to warrant it other than show the speedster up by pacing him for a few blocks.

As is not too hard too imagine such a display did not go over too well with me. And whether I appeared to host a casual veneer or looked to be in ready-to-rumble mode, I dismounted my bike carried it off the street and onto the parkway grass, where I laid it down and then turned to do some redecorating. But dang if the driver didn’t grind it into gear and break right to go past me at the curb and hang a right onto Virgil, where I yelled a few unpleasantries from the corner in between encouragements to not be a runaway sissyboy.

Why he flew me the double birds is something way beyond me. But if I were to guess why he didn’t back it up with anything else, I’d say he came to the stark realization that he dreadfully over-reacted to a cyclist made exceptionally ragged by  the influx of asshats on the road this last week and he decided now was no time to do anything be back down and exit with as little physical damage as possible.

Except he got up to the street north of 4th and hung a u-turn (almost causing an accident) to come back down to 4th, where he rolled his driver’s side window down and started wagging his finger at me and saying something I couldn’t discern> Here we are in the middle of that moment:

I invited him to shut the fuck up and bring his sorry ass and his wagging finger across the street to me but he declined the invite.

Then he yelled me this question: “Are you a USC fan?”

And in dumbfoundment I asked him this in return: “What the fuck?”

And he asked me again.

And I was completely and utterly nonplussed. “An ‘SC fan?” I asked incredulously. “Why the hell does that matter?” And I laughed in clueless exasperation and turned back to my bike as he turned onto 4th. Was this dude the most idiotic and aggro UCLA fan in the world — and blind too as there was nothing in my black-and-white clothing/bags/bike/helmet that had even the slightest to do with being a Trojan fan?

Could it be he was just a total nutbag or perhaps he cagily tossed that unrelated and meaningless topic into our altercation to successfully throw me off track? Unfortunately I’ll never know. But given how he busted a hasty left on that red when he saw me coming a couple blocks later I’d bet on nutbag.

About The Burrito Incident With Buddy Ebsen At The Vine Street Big Lots!

And so it was that a crew of five of us set out with about 40 fresh and piping hot burritos on last night’s revitalization of the dormant Hollywood Burrito Project ride and we learned that no good deed goes unpunished. We headed up Western Avenue where first I flatted my rear tire after nailing the sharp lip of a deep pothole between Melrose and Santa Monica. After innertubes were swapped and the new one inflated we found our next obstacle in the form of haggard, wild-eyed antagonistic Buddy Ebsen-looking transient bastard who arrived from across the street as we were passing out food to the six or seven homeless encamped at the Big Lots! store on Vine Street a couple blocks south of Sunset.

“What are you doing?” he demanded to know. “Are you bothering these people?” As if he was their guardian or some such shit.

“No,” I told him, “we’re just giving them something to eat.”

“Something to eat?” He inquired sarcastically.

“Yeah, burritos.” I held one out to him. “Would you like one?” He took it from me, but instead of it having any sort of calming effect on him, instead it set him off.

“A burrito?” he said it like I’d just handed him a used tissue. “Is that it?” Taken aback that someone would be so willing to bite the hand that literally feeds them, none of us said anything.

“Really? A burrito? That’s all you’ve got?” He looked at the people laying on the cement against the storefront bundled as best they could against the chill of the night — all of whom were appreciative of what we offered them. “These people probably eat better than all of you and all you give them is a burrito?”

Let me preface the short remainder of the post with the point that it was obvious to me that there would be no winning the argument this idiot was making — and a hypocritical idiot at that given that he accepted the burrito I gave him and when I indignantly asked for it back from the ingrate he refused to give it. Instead with an abject lack of regard of the good — however little — we were doing and the efforts we were making, he insisted that we “sell our bikes” and give the money to the poor.

At some point I finally ramped my own sarcasm and stepped up to thank him for the insulting buzzkill he was providing, and immediately after came a chorus of voices from the people prone before us who clearly did not share his warped point of view and instead thanked and blessed us profusely for our kindness.

Heading away from the jerk I pointed out that we’d be back next Wednesday if he wanted another burrito and to bitch at us some more, then I suggested to the crew that it might be high time to introduce the Knuckle Sandwich Project to the area.

@!#$*%& Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers And The $%!@#& That Use Them

For far too many Saturdays mornings the gardeners for the people next door to us have been excessive (to say the least) in their illegal (LAMC Sections 112.04 & 112.05) use of gas-powered leafblowers. This particular morning it started shortly after 9 a.m. and with a couple brief breaks (I assume because the machines ran out of gas) it continues now as we approach the hour of 11.

Marshaling my diplomatic tendencies while simultaneously quelling my urge to go on a rampage with a baseball bat, I sat down and took the first expletive-free documentational step, as follows, toward resolving this. If this doen’t work I start complaining to the proper authorities.

February 9, 2009

Dear Neighbor,

As your next door neighbors we submit this request with the utmost respect, but the situation with your groundskeepers has gotten to an untenable point that requires your immediate attention and intervention.

At some not-too-distant point, your gardening crew began doing its work on Saturday mornings. I can only assume that this unfortunate switch is the result of scheduling conflicts that prevent them from doing their work during the week.

I call it unfortunate primarily because of their extensive use of gas-powered leafblowers in violation of the Los Angeles Municipal Code Sections 112.04 and 112.05 which state:

112.04: “No gas powered blower shall be used within 500 feet of a residence at anytime. Both the user of such a blower as well as the individual who contracted for the services of the user, if any, shall be subject to the requirements of and penalty provisions for this ordinance. Violation of the provisions of this subsection shall be punishable as an infraction in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), notwithstanding the graduated fines set forth in L.A.M.C. Section 11.00(m). ”

112.05 “Between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., in any residential zone of the City or within 500 feet thereof, no person shall operate or cause to be operated any powered equipment or powered hand tool that produces a maximum noise level exceeding the following noise limits at a distance of 50 feet therefrom.”

lb-copy.jpgThis morning specifically one of your gardeners (pictured at right) began blowing leaves with a gas-powered “backpack” blower shortly after 9 a.m. and it continued unabated for more than an hour. It then stopped at 10:15 a.m. only to recommence at 10:30. It continues as I write this.

Not only is this illegal from a mechanical perspective but it is also a severe and prolonged disruption of the peace.

To be fair and honest, last Saturday when our gardeners showed up uninvited (a day after missing their regularly scheduled visit) we quickly discovered that they too use a gas-powered blower. We put a stop to it immediately and have contacted their supervisor to insist any further work be done without such offensive equipment – and never on Saturday.

Again we submit this with the utmost appreciation for the good neighbors you are and in the hope your quick action will put an end to this illegal activity. If you have any questions or wish to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact us.


Will & Susan Campbell