Poem: Full Circle

very sophisticated water

According to the label, this plastic jug of water

Came to Los Angeles from New Zealand, where

An artesian spring spews forth artisanal beverages for

Sophisticated folk in search of hydration

Not hubris.

The water got here on a plane or a boat that

Burned a different kind of petroleum product than

What was used to make the bottle.

All of it came from billions of deaths, from trillions of trilobytes

Settling down for eternity in a tarry soup

Within the earth bowl we scoop and slurp and sip,

Probing, poking, prying. Cleaving.

Sensible and somehow right, isn’t it, that this

Plastic jug of agua Kiwi is finally home in the dirt?

Where it belongs?

Shielding vulnerable babies from attack and maybe

Death, inevitable and necessary for them and us and everything that lives

To make more oil for whatever comes next.

. . . → Read More: Poem: Full Circle

We’re Not Qualified

earth sun

Look, we’re not qualified to discuss the scientific data on the sun. We don’t have that kind of education. That’s for specialists to debate among themselves. All we know is that there’s a strong case for the sun being the “center” of our galaxy and an equally strong case for us, Earth, being the “center” of the galaxy. Obviously, it’s all very complicated. Rushing to final judgment on this issue would be a mistake.

And why does it even have to be an issue? Can’t we all just agree to disagree? Respect everyone’s point of view, even if it’s not outlined in the Bible?

It’s not like we’re claiming the sun isn’t the center of our galaxy. We’re just saying there’s some very strong data out there that makes you wonder…and isn’t skepticism one of the lynchpins of scientific inquiry?

Also – and you’ve got to be . . . → Read More: We’re Not Qualified

In Memoriam

soldier funeral

Because Monday is the one day a year we set aside to remember our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, strangers and friends who have perished while serving our great country by killing other people’s brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, we figured we’d get the rest of our memorializing out of the way, big-box style. More convenient that way.

So, yes, we remember all the fallen soldiers who, along with their families, were bamboozled into thinking their death helped keep the rest of us “free.” They did indeed die on behalf of defending American values, like low gas prices and 24-hour streaming of our favorite TV shows. Thank you, and we’re sorry for all the lies you were told – like, you were a “hero.” But your bravery will certainly be remembered and appreciated while most of us take a day off from work and barbecue . . . → Read More: In Memoriam

Dharma Gypsys, Volume Two

dharma gypsys volume 2

Reggae. World. Rock. Social consciousness. Dharma Gypsys, Volume Two is music for yoga, meditation and revolution — and for obsessive replaying. Created by celebrated yoga teacher and former death metal guitarist Daniel Overberger, the DGs are a collective of some of Hollywood’s coolest musicians, including one of our favorite jazz vocalists, Charmaine Clamor, who leads the chorus on the “No GMO” anthem “Wicked Garden.” Each Gypsy adds her pungent spice to the musical stew. The result is one of the most compulsively groovy records ever to serenade a downward dog.

We’re No (April) Fools

We're No Fools

In the spirit of light-hearted playfulness of April Fools Day, the Los Angeles Times tried to pull one over on their (dwindling) readership. But the cleverest among us realized their ruse, and instead of feeling perplexed and outraged we enjoyed a hearty chuckle. All in good fun!

The April 1, 2014 edition’s lead editorial, on page A10, was headlined “Climate change here and now.” The sub-head said: “Crop yields are down, deaths from heat are up. A U.N. panel’s report should be a call to action.” The editorial encapsulated the report’s most alarming warnings – impending disruption of the world’s food supply; dying oceans; droughts – and concluded that, in a rational world, the report would be more than enough to propel world leaders into action.

The final sentence: “We [should] discuss how quickly we can reduce [climate change’s] severity by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and which . . . → Read More: We’re No (April) Fools

Poem: The Logic of Success

Fiji truth

Find someone else to do the actual work for you

While you sit in a chair

Pay this person less than their labor is worth

Add value to their labor by doing clever things

Such as advertising and storytelling

Conjure fantastical tales of how beneficial and sexy it would be to drink

South Pacific water shipped across the ocean

Arriving like salvation

Making the drinker’s life altogether better and certainly more sophisticated than

The average tap-slurping worker type

Who made the plastic bottle and put the liquid inside and carried it to a truck

Unloading it and loading it and unloading it until

Something that started out being free

Now magically costs several dollars

Because you have to pay for quality

Stories

A Los Angeles Worthy of Candide

hollywood's c-list

Everything’s working perfectly. The Los Angeles City Council has allowed several major real estate developments, including residential towers, to begin construction in Hollywood on or near major earthquake fault lines. Geologic surveys were never ordered, but the developers, major political donors all, assured everyone that there was no problem, so it was therefore decided that building on the most dangerous land in Los Angeles was no problem.

The chief of the Department of Public Works has resigned for “personal reasons,” just as Sherriff Lee Baca resigned for his personal reasons, an impending FBI probe of his rotten department among them. Ron Nichols, the DWP king, stepped down as questions swirled around him regarding the mysterious use of $40 million in ratepayer money that was funneled into non-profits aimed at improving labor relations.

Los Angeles also earned the (dis)honor of having the largest percentage of residents living in . . . → Read More: A Los Angeles Worthy of Candide

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

Very Special Yoga People

Upside down crescent flexibility

Yoga People come from all walks of life, with a million different back stories and life journeys. Nonetheless, Yoga People generally share certain admirable and desirable traits: physical flexibility, mental mindfulness, and a spirit of focused discipline. They tend to possess a figurative openness of heart that mirrors the literal openness of their limbs spread wide in an asana.

They look good, too!

Yoga People, the conventional thinking goes, are slightly more conscious of the universe than the average person, more awake to reality and possibility, thanks to the power of inward-looking meditation.

This may be true in many cases, maybe even most cases. But practical visual evidence, the kind with measurable parameters, suggests that for all their advanced inquiry into the nature of being, Yoga People are actually pretty much like non-Yoga People.

To be oblivious to the world around us and . . . → Read More: Very Special Yoga People

Litter in Runyon Canyon: An Update

Runyon Canyon Trail

One year ago we began picking up litter in Runyon Canyon and the Hollywood streets near it. For three-days-a-week, for more than 52 weeks, we’ve collected anything we see (and can reach) that doesn’t belong on the ground — or in a tree or on a bush. SINCE PUBLISHING THE ORIGINAL ESSAY, WE’VE COLLECTED NEARLY 3,000 PIECES OF LITTER IN RUNYON CANYON. We’ve also found car keys, cellphones, and about $7 in paper money.

Horrifying amounts of garbage accumulate on the sidewalks beside the world-famous Hollywood Boulevard — which has exactly one trash bin on the blocks near Runyon. Councilman Tom LaBonge is aware of the situation but doesn’t seem to be able to do anything about it. So we’re stepping up to the civic plate until he or his hand-picked successor does.

Our neighborhood’s spectacular nature area is dramatically cleaner than it was last August. Yet, . . . → Read More: Litter in Runyon Canyon: An Update