Monday, November 24, 2008

Hug the Kids

I just received an EMail from a lady I have seen maybe twice in the last 20 years. Hannah is someone Albie and I met in Junior High. I had a crush on her and Albie had a crush on her friend Terri.

She EMailed me to see if I would sing at her daughter's memorial service tomorrow. She died suddenly last week at the age of seventeen, the same age as my daughter Zozo. I saw the obit and did not know it was Hannah's little girl. But now I look at it and see a strong resemblace.

This is the third child of a friend who's death I have learned of this week.

Hug your kids, friends, hug them now.

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Friday, November 21, 2008


The Laramie Project, a powerful play about the brutal killing of Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student, opened at the community college in Rio Nada last night.

Soon it was discovered that the Phelps family, a group of HATEmongers from Kansas that run the Westboro "Baptist" "Church" were planning on making an appearance at the Rio Nada opening, just as they have done many times across the country.

You've probably seen the Phelps' on TV. They're the ones with the signs that say "God Hates Fags!" and "Mathew Shepard Deserved to Die!".

Lately they've been showing up at the funerals of American soldiers killed in the Middle East wars because God has told them that these deaths are His punishment for the U.S. and it's position on homosexuality.

300 or so people of all ages, colors, creeds and orientations stood for a silent counter-demonstration just outside the Landis Performing Arts Center. The demonstration was "organized" by a late-afternoon EMail that quickly made the cyber-rounds to many of the decent citizens of our fair metropolis.

The police were there too.

The cowards never showed their pernicious faces. It was said they were stuck in traffic.

From the stinking ooze they came and sat for hours on the I-10 in their own miserable filth.

And the show went on.

Westboro Baptist Church To see picket schedule, go here

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Big Ass Fire

Princess and I drove up the hill to near King High and drove up the dirt part of Mariposa Rd. near Golson Rd. You can see a lot from up there at 1:00 AM. The entire San Bernardino Valley and into Claremont/Mt. Baldy area and Pomona. Saddleback Mountain to the West-ish. South you can see the rocky hills near Fallbrook and Eastward is Mt San Jacinto. You can even see the car lights heading up the Cajon Pass to Barstow, Victorville and Vegas.

Looking Northwest we could see the huge Corona/Chino Hills/Yorba Linda Fire. I think it's called the Freeway Fire officially. It should be called Thee Big Ass Fire. We could see the fireline, maybe five miles long and flames shooting up into the sky. The plumes of smoke were glowing orange and billowing towards the West. And we were probably at least twenty miles away.

They say this fire is bigger than the Bel Aire fire in LA in 1961. Something like 400 houses were lost then. I think this one has more losses and it's only a day old.

There are three major SoCal fires working right now. In order of appearance: The Montecito Fire near Santa Barbara, Sylmar fire near the top of the 5 Freeway and the Grapvine and the Freeway Fire near Anaheim Hills/Yorba Linda/Chino et al.

There are many huge houses, mobile homes and apartments destroyed.

The 91 was/is closed completely thru the Santa Ana Canyon and the 241 Toll Road.

No going to Disneyland tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

John Bull Pub, Rio Nada, Cali.

The Princess and I decided to get our hairs cut, so we headed on down to the Snip's Kitchen of Beauty and Wisdom. It was pretty early in the morning and nobody was there save for a funny, stocky and talkative old English guy who looked a bit like a muscley gnome. The old guy's friend came in with a scooter of the "I can't get around" variety and parked the scooter and sat in one of the kitchen chairs. The muscley gnome got out of the barber chair and went to pay. When I saw his face I thought "I know this guy." Then he hopped on the scooter and zipped out the door.

It was Rick Hooker, the old owner of the long demolished John Bull Pub here in Rio Nada.

The John Bull was like a sitcom gone sketchy. The same cast of characters every night: Hooker, who was nearly blind then, the barkeeps Edwina, Diana, and sometimes Mo. There was Sweet Stinky, Bull Binkley, the great pencil artist, Riley, who once carved his name in the concrete door stoop with his chainsaw, Snip, Murphy, and Sunshine, who was sorta mentally challenged and, so the story goes, had his front teeth removed forcibly by his caretakers at the Swiss Inn to keep him from gnawing on his fist which he constantly put in his mouth.

We always sat under the portrait of Prince Edward in a dark corner near the jukebox. We were sitting there the night John Lennon died watching the television in that eerie light.

We were there the night when news came that Sweet Stinky had killed himself in Murphy's V.W. van beneath the redwood canopy at Patrick's Point.

Tuesday night was Stranger Night. Everyone was supposed to bring a stranger.
Monday night the Irishmen had dibs on the bench under Prince Phillip to play dominoes. And most everyone played darts.

Then they decided to knock the place down and make a parking lot. I stole one of the old mugs the last night it was there.I still have it.

A week later, all that was left was a pile of rubble. I slowed as I drove by in my Pinto. And from the rubble there rose two broken walls from that wretched pisser, rising like graffitti-pocked Phoenix toward the blue sky.

And on one wall it said "O. Howie Fertz was here."