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Notes From the Editor &
 26 October 2007-14 December

14 December 2007

Pets of Bel Air is at the top of the hill behind me—pet store to the stars—including the item to the left— was recently in the news. The Humane Society of the United States claims that the store bought from puppy mills, and the city shut it down for a permit violation. One of the greatest four-legged creatures I know was purchased at that store. I don't know if he came from a puppy mill, but I do know that he has been a handful on his journey to greatness. Was his behavior characteristic of dogs from puppy mills, dogs that lack early human socialization? I don't know. I do know that were it not for the exceptional devotion shown this creature by his human, a handsome Wheaten would have been out of luck. He's much better now (in fact he's great) because of his human friend. So even though he was bought at Pets of Bel Air, he's fine; but puppy mills are not fine. And it saddens me to say it—given this particular Wheaten's belated greatness—pet shops are not fine either, no matter where they buy their animals. The breeding of dogs and cats for sale in pet shops is not fine. Over seventeen-thousand dogs and cats were euthanized by Los Angeles Animal Services last year. “Purebred” is a misnomer, and "euthanized" is a euphemism; they were killed.

Link to the Humane Society's page.


7 December 2007

Waitress is now available on DVD. In the 21 September 2007 entry on this page I wrote about the film and Adrienne Shelly. The DVD includes a memorial featurette and information on The Adrienne Shelly Foundation.

This is my last year for screeners, and I won't be voting on the Awards, but if I were: Waitress, Once, Across the Universe, Margot at the Wedding (Nicole Kidman!) Lars and the Real Girl. I should also mention Eastern Promises for the performance of Viggo Mortensen.

I know I sound like your showbiz reporter. Well, I'm not; but there are some wonderful films out there. You knew that.


30 November 2007

It's all the spitting and coughing. Rude, uncovered mouths. I was sprayed—I know that I was—with the (a) rhinovirus and am hacking and blowing as I write. Slept in my LA-Z boy last night, couldn't stay in bed, didn't want to disturb Cathy—hack, hack—so I went into the living room and watched things I would never watch on TV except under extraordinary circumstances until 3:30 a.m.when I finally got to sleep.

It's all the spitting. Have you noticed how much men spit these days? Not just jocks either. What is that? A territorial gesture? Displaced urinary marking? Fear? Some kind of gender crisis? LIsten to me. Who handles such? Anthropologists? Shrinks? Who cares? Some sumbitch gave me a cold with his atavistic behavior. Sumbitch. Hack, hack.


23 November 2007

Venice Beach on Thanksgiving;
it could become a tradition. Catherine and I were there yesterday; we were also there on Thanksgiving a year ago.

When I lived in Venice thirty years ago we all used that new word gentrification to describe what we thought was imminent. Out with the artists and homeless and in with the gentry ("superiority of birth or rank"). It's finally happening I think. Tear-downs on Ocean Front Walk; my beautiful old apartment building jammed by new moderns, beach moderns. But there's still some funk around, and I must still look Venice funky.

Charity groups show up on Thanksgiving to hand out food to the down-and-out. I walked up to a table where four young women, teenagers, from Food Not Bombs were giving out scones, fruit. I had on my shades, my Tilley hat, long-sleeved tee, was planning on giving them some money. "Have some food," they said. "No, I want to give you some money." "Oh, no, there's no charge; have some food." They thought I was homeless; I must still look like the old Venice. Good. I decided to move on, not try to explain. "No, thanks," I said.

Another scene from yesterday, some new residents, the gentry, taking a stroll down Ocean Front Walk, a blonde, USC-type woman was saying, "Well, I can understand. You own a restaurant down here and the homeless come up and bother the customers outside the door of the restaurant; it's horrible."

Yes, it is.


16 November 2007

Dedication: The Lady in the Light Blue Watch Cap.
The coroner's office would not give me her name; her next of kin had not been located. She was killed on Halloween at 8:55 P.M. while pushing her shopping cart across Ventura Boulevard, hit by a car; the driver was not cited.

She was first mentioned here in On Tuesday I Took A Walk.

This issue is dedicated to her memory.

7 November 2007

A Week Off.
Here it is, mid-week, and I've just decided to take a week off. I have a stack of newspapers to do something with, and I'm continuing my reading of the new translation of War and Peace. I'm in war now. I'm not leaving town, no Vegas trip. I might go to Pasadena for dinner but no farther. We'll be back on 16 November with a new issue.

But before I take a breather, the image defaced below is copyrighted by the people who turned over the name of a Chinese journalist, Shi Tao, to Chinese authorities; the journalist had a Yahoo email account. The Chinese government needed information; Yahoo needed to protect its business interests in China. Shi Tao was sent to prison for ten years. Do you Yahoo?

The Reporters Without Borders website has the complete story.


2 November 2007

No Secret.
I moved a cat and put The New York Times on the carpet. Steadied myself and took the photo. Full-page ad. "The Secret" has sold 5 million copies. "Ask. Believe. Receive." Weep.



26 October 2007

Time to say something about my home. I've lived in Los Angeles most of my life. I was born in Alabama, but L.A. is my home. I've been here forty-two years, and I don't want to move.

People are always talking about getting out of L.A.; I'm not interested. Catherine talks about Portland, says that Portland has a great system of public transportation. I wouldn't care if the Portland mayor promised to come to my Portland home, put me on his Portland back, carry me grocery shopping and buy me a vodka afterwards, I still wouldn't move there. And Portland has a great bookstore, Powell's; I don't care. And forget Seattle and San Francisco; I don't want a jewel city. I love L.A.—all glitter and strip-mall. It's my home.

I've had I think nineteen addresses here. Lived with rock stars in Venice, accidentally took LSD in Malibu (I thought it was mescaline), worked in a bookstore in Beverly Hills, drove a cab out of LAX. Sipped screwtop red on the Venice boardwalk, was an actor. On and on.

When the fires came I went first to the cynical, the protective. Who cares if David Geffen's Malibu home burns? Look at those idiots who bought homes near a goddamn forest. What the hell did they expect?

Nice, real nice.

But then you turn on the TV and watch a few of them (those idiots) with towels over their mouths, carrying a baby, dog, cat, running for their lives and the cynical goes away and you begin to worry for your neighbors. And I have to say it—risking my image of cool—to weep for your neighbors. Thirty miles away, fifty miles away, but still neighbors because L.A. is all over the place. Besides, with nineteen addresses, I've probably lived there.

It's getting cooler and the skies are clearing. Some of my neighbors have gone back to their homes; I'm so very happy for them, even David Geffen.

"Notes From the Editor & Publisher,"
2 July 2007-19 October 2007

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