He is if anything buddhist in philosophy, frequently reciting the precept “to benefit all living beings” but when he finds baby snails masticating the palm fronds he crushes them between thumb and index finger. Imagine how that feels but does he desist? No, he kills another and another.

He has sympathy for all getting evicted from their homes in Twittertown but when he hears that the man renting his father’s house in Denver is four months behind in rent, he is ready to put the man and his kids out in the street.

When his niece abandons the writing project they had begun because she felt uncomfortable writing fiction, he writes back, “What’s particularly uncomfortable about making something up?  You could look at writing fiction like you look at putting on a new outfit.  It’s a persona; we all have them, put them on for different occasions.  The trouble comes when we get fixed on a particular one and let it rule us.  Keep us imprisoned in the ‘comfort zone’.”   He urges her to take risks but is somebody who night after night falls asleep in his recliner.

He like so many others partially envies but mostly resents the gray google geese that glide through the city in black buses, but if his nephew who needs a good job were one of them, that indeed would be different.

He stands on the street corner, waiting for the light to change. It’s only mid-afternoon, and he’s a free man, and suddenly he realizes it, and he sucks in a great lungful of well-being and gratitude and thinks, this is kind of it, what enlightenment must be about, this brilliant afternoon sunshine, but in sucking in the air he notices that the waistline of trousers is pressing against his belly or vice-versa. He has put on weight, and decides no, he can’t have that burrito he was looking forward to, and life is really a series of deprivations.



I promised I wasn’t going to write another thing about crime in the neighborhood but in today’s email two more reports by neighbors of their cars getting broken into. Odd thievery, mostly registration and insurance info from glove compartments. Comes the attendant chorus of enough is enough, let’s put up cameras and more lights. Makes me wonder, if every neighborhood had cameras on every corner, would this kind of vandalism disappear from the city? We are well on the way to that reality anyway. Wave. Say, Hi Mom.

Thievery, an ancient profession. Doubt it’ll go away soon.

From broken word to stolen passwords. You’ve all heard about the bleeding heart security flaw thingy. Yahoo users, they said, should change their passwords. That’s me. No, I am not going to whine, even though it took 1.5 hours of my shortening life. I kept getting caught up on my security questions, especially, What is the last name of your best friend in childhood? Why would I have chosen that question, assuming I did once upon a time. I didn’t have a best friend in childhood but I always wanted one. Isn’t that sad? There were only two possibilities name-wise. It’s not that I was a pariah; it was a small town. Anyway, before we get too far into the psychoanalytic wilderness, nothing, nothing, nothing could prevent Error from appearing, and madly I kept trying, variation after variation, each time taking it from the top, filling in all the little boxes. Even when I got both answers right, I was informed that some other inscrutable code was invalid. No, no whine. Instead, I will express gratitude to Patrice who at some point took over my computer like it was a cabin cruiser and I just sat there while the screen background went black and she drove it through the waters. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. Anyway Patrice got it done, though I don’t think she knew for sure of all the stuff she tried what did the trick. And so far my emails have worked all day. (Why anyone would want to read them is a good question.)

I suddenly realize that Patrice is an evil tech genius from Kazakhistan and I am doomed.

So as not to end on a downer…due to my friend Randy’s encouragement, I took the on-line test, what character in the Wizard of Oz are you, and guess what, they said I’m Dorothy, and I didn’t even tell them I was from Kansas.

Also, more good news, if odd: Noelle came home to find all the stuff taken from their car in one of their own grocery bags sitting on their porch.




The common meaning is to allow, as to facilitate. Let me entertain you. But “let” has an opposite, archaic meaning; to hinder, prevent. A let in tennis is when the served ball hits the net and bounces in. It’s a stroke that doesn’t count.

Since warbling about the neighborhood safety issues, I’ve become aware that my posts have given you, cherished readers, a wrong impression about our dear neighborhood. Yes, there are issues, probably more or less consistent with a lot of city neighborhoods. Yes, there is reaction, sometimes overreaction, understandable especially in those who have had their car windows smashed, their Minis upturned. When I write about the situation, thinking I’m writing satire I sound self-righteous and snarky.


So let me put that topic to rest. Picture me this fine spring afternoon, having come home from work early, in time to have fun doing a little more to the concrete wall using the tiles that Colette was happy to get rid of.  Colette is the friend who created the world-famous Sunset steps that I’ve taken you to see, if you’ve ever come to visit, or will, if you do.  No need to be afraid, let me assure you.



I should have had my camera. They were all over the patio and the side beds, a yellow galaxy, in all states of decay, many still full of youth’s firmness (I put aside eight to take home,)  some  with coronas of mold, some under a blizzard of white mold, some blacking and crawling back into the dirt. My shoes made lemonade as I went crabwise through the garden gathering them like I was invented to do that, and when I was done I had a full garbage bag which weighed about as much as one of the moons of Saturn, the one where they discovered water.

A digression: it is never anything less than a blast of pure wonder to contemplate the satellite Cassini circling Saturn for years and sending back the micro signals that someone analyzes and learns that yes, there is a body of water bigger than Lake Superior below the surface of Enceladus? My salaams generally go to artists but a big one to these scientists. Yikes, that’s smart. Why is that water so exciting? What if there are microbes having sex up there? We’ll find out lots of great information, but mainly that it (life) can happen. I guess. It happened on Earth once upon a time.

Another orbiting digression: it makes me a little happy that these space majesties have names from Greek mythology. Admittedly, Enceladus may be one of the less attractive members of the mythic family. According to Wikipedia, he was one of the Gigantes, [can he play right field?] the enormous children of Gaia  fertilized by the blood of castrated Uranus. [Who’s your daddy?] Like the other Gigantes, he had serpent-like limbs and the scales of dragons for feet. Still, better than a computer-generated number. Which of course must be resorted to, given the number of celestial bodies and corresponding lack of mythic personae.

Quiz: how many moons does Saturn have? Bonus points: name them. No cheating. I’ll give you a hint: think Zeus crush.

More space debris, heads-up!: Who’s Your Daddy, Video, 2004. “An adopted Ohio high school senior [Is that you, Dickie?] discovers he is the inherited heir to a porn empire. Dropped into a bitter power struggle, his new flock of beautiful…”

A lemon grazes my ear, glances off my shoulder. I am the inherited heir to lemons. Life has done it, made its point. Maybe I’ll make some lemonade with my eight select lemons.


There’s been an upsurge of crime in the neighborhood lately, or so it seems, thanks to each misdeed reported on the listservs and blogs—mailboxes jimmied, cars vandalized, even an armed robbery over on Coleridge in daylight.   One of the neighbors pointed out that in days of yore, before Bernal became the cutest, most desirable place on the planet, back in the time when there were projects on Army Street, criminal activity was common: “tire slashing, muggings, burglaries, graffiti tagging, you name it”. A Neighborhood Watch was formed. The projects came down and crime did too. The Neighborhood Watch dissolved from lack of relevance.

In the listserv there is consternation, not to say rage. Those bastards (genotype: masculine, young, and other) will not get away with it, though it seems they have. Beliefs and assumptions proliferate, and cries arise, put cameras on your houses, motion-detecting lights. Should I mention that the motion-detecting light on Coso Street half way up the block makes me want to take a baseball bat to it in the nicest possible way every time I pass? Probably not.

One of the neighbors has offered to help other neighbors install similar lights. When I walk down the new Mirabel Avenue and a concatenation of lights gets triggered, I might imagine myself as paparazzi bait on a Hollywood red carpet. Ready for my close-up. Or else I might think I’m on a perp walk.

The police get called, and the police respond. When my house was broken into (it certainly does feel shitty) thankfully years ago, there were fingerprints all over the place but so what? The detective said forget about it. It was petty theft. A television, a watch, some other stuff I don’t even remember. The thieves also took the blanket Richy bought me in Scotland, no doubt using it to wrap the stuff up to carry. I still miss that blanket. It was better than the womb.

The police respond. Last week Alejandro Nieto was killed sitting on a bench on the hill eating chips. The cops responded to a panicky call about a man with a gun. Four officers shot at him. They supposedly thought he was pointing the gun at them. He didn’t have a gun. He had a taser. Whether he was pointing it at them is questionable. His friends said he’d never do something so stupid. He was a trained security guard.


It’s hailing.

No, really.