Archive for July, 2002


I have adopted new terms of approbation and disapprobation.

From henceforth, my enemies and the various ogres that stand against me shall be known as “luminists”.

My fellow fighters for truth and justice, “scurvy dogs”.

wiese street blues

Wiese Street was once described in our local paper as a “crime-darkened alley”, an epithet we have embraced. Adorable urchins have painted cheery, saturated-color murals of inspiring figures like Sojourner Truth, but one was recently defaced. It now reads “Mahatma Ghangi Fuuk Yu”.

This morning as I was coming to work a police officer was searching one of the locals, looking in the pockets of his vinyl jacket. “Do you have any needles?” he asked. The local stared into space. “Well?” asked the officer. “Do you have any needles?”

“Um… yeah?” said the local helpfully.

Right now the crackhouse across the street is blasting Transglobal Underground. “Egyptian pharaohs, fell from the sky, fell from the sky and played the blues.”

no latte rule

Jeremy asked me to pass on his Rule Number One For Road Trips Along I-5:

1. No lattes.

Midsummer Mozart, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Frankie and Tina’s new beachside pad in Santa Cruz formed the rudiments of a splendid weekend. Slept on the deck and woke to the sound of waves and barking seals, before the brass band got tuned up to cheer along the runners in the Wharf to Wharf.

Knoa cut her second tooth.

in which it is revealed to me that i am a codger

I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

R: I’ve got a great idea for a Burning Man costume. I’ll wear a sailor suit and hang an albatross around my neck.

Kathryn (smiles, politely but blankly)

R (at her most codger-like): And that’s what’s wrong with kids today! They don’t read! Peter, at Burning Man, I’m going to wear a sailor suit and hang a stuffed albatross around my neck.

P (laughs his head off)

R: See? See? I am funny! You just have to catch the references

(Those crazy kids sure know how to rock the Lush Lounge, though.)

*that* was quick

I mailed Susan at Kerncrest Audubon. She replied in mere moments, saying that the bald eagles that show up every winter are gone by this time of year. On the other hand, there are ospreys nesting at the lake right now.

I like eagles and ospreys, so this is a win-win from my point of view.

do i feel lucky?

Swimming hole on the Kern River near Lake Isabella last Sunday morning. Two big raptors flying low, heading east. Very dark bodies, distinctive snowy-white heads and shoulders.

“Did you see those?” asked Jeremy.

I did, but I was swimming, so I didn’t have my glasses on. And now I doubt the evidence of my own eyes. The only white-headed raptor on Buteo is the bald eagle – rare, spectacular, and if in fact in Lake Isabella, hundreds of miles south of its usual range.

But this site also lists a sighting by a couple in Lake Hughes, another 130 miles south of Kernville. So it’s not impossible

Don’t get me wrong; I want to believe those were eagles I saw. But I also saw a huge raptor soaring over McWay Beach in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park last December, when we went down for J’s birthday. That one had great patches of white under its wings, right up against its body. Just like this.

The California Condor is one of the fifty rarest birds in the world. Either I’m the luckiest neophyte birder who ever trod this earth, or I need to get my glasses cleaned.


Two of the 16th-and-Mission locals – the big guy and the bent-over guy with the child’s shopping trolley – are engaged in some kind of mercantile activity. The big guy pours a handful of silver into the bent-over guy’s outstretched hand. The money spills onto the tarmac, catching the light and ringing like tiny cash registers.

“Dang,” says bent-over guy, “there’s a hole in my hand.”

sweet dreams of you

It turned out Richard Stallman and Osama bin Laden were actually the same person. I was assigned to improve his public image. When I suggested trimming the beard, he became enraged.

Later, I was trying to search for “daylight saving New Zealand” on Google, but the text box kept changing “daylight saving” to “Intel” and “New Zealand” to “Helen Keller”.


In other news, my brother, he is funny.

We are brooding over coffee and bagels at Atlas.

R (deprecating the choice of music): Nothing like waking up to rockabilly. Hey,
can you have pomp rockabilly?

J: Prog rockabilly?

R: Add a banjo player to Yes.

J: Tubular Organs.

R: Tales of Topographic Farmboys.

J: Pink Floyd’s The Ditch.

Big (rousing himself from morning torpor): Dark Side of the Barn.

They ponder.

Big: The Alan Parsnip Project.