Poem: Scandal

oedipus painting

IN MEMORY OF EUGENE KONIK, born February 27, 1936. R.I.P.


And although I don’t share your candid misanthropy

I understand and I am sorry.

Father who left us all too soon

I understand and I am sorry.

Our species, the one you claimed to despise, having peered inside yourself and

all around the carousel, having seen dazzling cruelties

reckless greediness



worse than rodents – the worst we’re capable of inflicting on ourselves and

those we claim to adore

like they were our firstborn son, the one that will always be first, the first in the family

to go to college

and see the Loire Valley

and lose a wife.

Father who left us all too soon

I understand and I am sorry.

This morning, walking into the sunrise, something you liked to do —

now I like to do, yippee! hurrah! yahoo!

to be . . . → Read More: Poem: Scandal

Family Problems

family problems

In the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, where thousands died and hundreds-of-thousands more were left homeless, almost everyone I spoke to asked the same question: My Filipina wife — was anyone in her immediate family affected?

Everyone was greatly relieved to learn that, no, none of my wife’s immediate family members were harmed by the storm. To these kindhearted and compassionate inquirers, the absence of death, injury, or property damage to my wife’s closest relatives was a great relief, a kind of silver lining to the dark cloud of death that descended on her birth country. By some sort of strange spiritual calculus, it was understood and taken for granted that blood relations are intrinsically more important, more valuable to us, than everyone else – with the exception of those who are welcomed bloodlessly into the family through adoption and marriage. . . . → Read More: Family Problems

The Slow Motion Holocaust

a typcial black male

Identification, ostracism, confiscation, concentration, and annihilation.

Those are the key steps in all genocides. We haven’t yet accomplished the final solution, the annihilation part, but we’ve done a brilliant job of the first four steps in our slow-motion holocaust against the American Underclass, the perpetually poor lowest ten percent of our society. The clever part, the really insidious part, is that while perpetrating our crime we’ve avoided the international community’s approbation. Indeed, we’ve earned begrudging praise for figuring out how to warehouse our unwanted black males and uneducated white trash behind bars, where they can’t hurt our precious children. And we’ve built a profitable, fast-growing new industry to boot: the for-profit prison business. So long as there are plenty of useless poor folk lying about playing dominoes and smoking weed, we’ll always have plenty of bodies to fill the cells, keeping the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, . . . → Read More: The Slow Motion Holocaust

Poem: Connecting to the Higher Vibe


Look inward, into the light at your center, the light that came from Saturn

passing through our galaxy

on and around and maybe inside

the same sacred molecules breathed by

Gandhi. And Jimi.

Everyone. All breathing the same breath, born of the same ecstatic release.


They tell you where to gaze

and why to eat

and what to care

and who to how the when. But lonely is the day, my friend,

that comes not to a proper end;

trickling, instead, to the edges, like a stain, a creeper. Wine trapped in paper.

A celebrant. If you will

just follow me, let me lead you to the place or places you’re not sure enough to know.

So, repeat after she, delete past her knee, cancel the porkpies and make some fresh ghee.

You can, you know. It has been permitted and authorized by . . . → Read More: Poem: Connecting to the Higher Vibe

To Protect and to Serve and to Text

Officer Fink can drive, text AND police his beat

Terminal 3 at LAX is where we go when booked on Alaska Airlines. We’re familiar with the terminal’s passenger screening area, where, last week, an angry white male drew a gun and began shooting TSA agents, killing one, wounding many others, and sending hundreds of terrified bystanders running for safety out of emergency exits and onto the tarmac. The gunman was eventually chased down and shot near the food court, far down the hallway from where he entered.

Although each terminal at Los Angeles International Airport is designed slightly different than the others, with minor variances in how traffic flows through checkpoints, they have a common design feature in the security zones: a desk or observation post manned by an armed Los Angeles Airport Police officer. Sometimes two.

A police officer with a gun. A fellow citizen authorized to use deadly force in exchange . . . → Read More: To Protect and to Serve and to Text

Dirty Thoughts

An Indian ragpicker searches for re-cycl

We’ve learned from experience, from having a surfeit of dirty thoughts. Voluntarily removing more than 3,000 pieces of litter from Hollywood’s Runyon Canyon (and the streets around it), has taught us several abiding lessons that the City of Los Angeles should consider in the ongoing battle against trash blight. + Getting folks not to litter in the first place — and to pick up any litter they see — is a tough ask when our entire lifestyle is based on “acceptable” fouling of our environment. We accept poisoned water in exchange for newly fracked fuel sources. We accept polluted air (acknowledged by the WHO as a carcinogen) in exchange for the convenience of one-person commutes. We accept an entire economy based on consume-and-dispose. Accepting a litter-speckled “nature area” isn’t hard to do when many of us arrive at the park in an SUV . . . → Read More: Dirty Thoughts

Money Well Spent


California’s overseers of worker’s compensation awards have determined that Lt. John Pike, the University of California cop who pepper-sprayed non-violent student protesters as they sat peaceably on the ground, is entitled to $38,000 from state taxpayers in light of the actual pain and acute stress suffered as a result of the incident. Seems Officer Pike got thousands of unpleasant emails, text messages and letters questioning his fitness to protect and serve the students of California, which really bummed him out. He filed a claim over the summer.

The state Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board said the ruling “resolves all claims of psychiatric injury specific or due to continuous trauma from applicant’s employment at UC Davis.” The decision, “is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state’s disability evaluation unit,” UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell announced.

Great! That explains everything perfectly. A brave defender of . . . → Read More: Money Well Spent

Poem: News from the Home Front

Why Your Clothes Are Cheap

We learned this week that being the Governor of California requires extraordinary quotients

of shamelessness. Jerry Brown is not embarrassed to be the Prison Industry’s boy in Sacramento, and so

we should not be embarrassed to have elected him to lead us and protect us

from druggies, who Brown prefers to leave behind bars, the better to improve the bottom line

of his patrons in the Incarceration Business.


We learned this week that slavery still flourishes in India. The old-fashioned kind

of slavery, in which children are sold like cattle, sacred cows who labor with opposable thumbs. This kind of thing

happens, you know, so we should not be embarrassed to organize our life around acquiring and consuming

goods and services

brought to us by nicely remunerated slave drivers.


When you can’t see the harm that you’re doing, . . . → Read More: Poem: News from the Home Front

Muzzle the Bums!

panhandler with values

The government shutdown didn’t last long enough last week to stop a federal judge from overturning an Arizona anti-begging law. He said it was unconstitutional. He said it infringed on the “free speech” rights of beggars.

Since when do beggars have rights? (We already know they don’t have choices, since beggars can’t be choosers.) The City of Flagstaff clearly understood the difference between tax-paying, property-owning, police-protected citizens and worthless bums. During a one-year period monitored by the busybodies at the ACLU, Flagstaff police arrested an estimated 135 bums on “suspicion of loitering to beg.” In some cases, the offenders were jailed, which maybe was a better place to spend the night than underneath a freeway overpass. The ACLU filed a federal suit on behalf of a 77-year-old-woman who was arrested when she asked a hard-working and perspicacious undercover officer for bus fare. (And if that’s not a . . . → Read More: Muzzle the Bums!

TJ and The TIMES

TJ Simers

We still have a subscription to the Los Angeles Times. The print edition. Seven days a week. And we read it cover-to-cover. We’re old school that way.

One of the abiding reasons to continue paying for something that can be enjoyed largely for free on the Interweb is to vote monetarily, to support some excellent writers whose talent and courage distinguishes them. The Times staff, which, like most major newspapers these days, is mostly voiceless and interchangeable, in the style of classic journalism. But it has its stars. Most of these scribes have a column of some sort, a place where their individual voice may be heard and celebrated, even when that voice is eccentric, edgy, or controversial.

Until last week, one of the truly great writers at the Times was a sports columnist named TJ Simers. His catalytic Page 2 column had been indefinitely shelved for . . . → Read More: TJ and The TIMES