The Duck Movie


I’m always so verbose, I thought that for a change I would give one of my shorter-winded friends a chance to speak (the film clocks in at 28 seconds):
 
Yes, the film was directed and shot by yours truly.  Give it up to me: Lil’ buggers were quite resistant to those multiple retakes.
 

 


 

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The Dentist and The Purse


I like going to the dentist.

I don’t know what all the fuss is about, you people.

I sit in the chair being happy: That someone is taking care of me. That someone is grooming me. That someone is trying to be gentle with me.

For me, it’s a lot like the pleasure I take in getting my hair done. The injections of Novacaine? Big deal.

Oh, Calm Down. Grow a Pair. (Of Breasts, Of Course. Woman Up!)

My dental student at UCLA this past year, Daramin, has been wonderful. He has worked around my mid-divorce scheduling craziness, and tolerated my miserable self-pitying ramblings. He has gone to bat for me with the school’s financial office.

What is perhaps more important—my teeth are in the best shape they have ever been. I am the proud possessor of a total of five new caps that are a perfect match for my originals.

Hot? Or HOT?

Beyond all this, I have enjoyed Dara’s company. He is a sweet young man who has revealed a strong moral core.

I try to figure out what small token I will bring to our last appointment to show him my appreciation of the time I have spent in his company. However, in the hectic two weeks leading up to the appointment, enmeshed in the viscous murk of my divorce, I entirely forget.

I show up with absolutely nothing, shaming myself. I am further shamed when Dara presents ME with a gift.

I Really Hate the Box.

And then, I feel even worse. Dara has given me a quite expensive gift card to a department store—one at which I normally can’t afford to shop.

Dara says that I am a very good patient, and he appreciates that. (I wonder what a bad dental patient is. Do some of us bite?) I am embarrassed. But not too embarrassed to use the gift!

Months prior, my years-old purse had finally taken that long journey to the land where old purses go to die.

Unsurprisingly, Some Aged-Out Professional Models Wind Up There, As Well.

I had shuddered at new purse prices—what is wrong with women, throwing away money like that?

I had travelled to the nearest discount department store (it rhymes with “FLOSS”) and bought the least expensive plain black bag I could find. I had also bought a cheapie wallet.

Although the wallet had survived my typical rough treatment, a few weeks later every thread of the FLOSS handbag’s stitching had broken.

Thanks to Daramin’s gift, I now headed off to the better department store (it rhymes with “BRACIES”). They were having a huge sale. I had Dara’s card and two coupons.

Get Out of My Way.  I'm Ready to SHOP.

Get Out of My Way. I’m Ready to SHOP.

I am now the proud possessor of five new caps on my teeth, and one ridiculously-overpriced handbag for which I paid only a pittance.

Thank you, Dara! I will think often of my student dentist and the dental school:

Every time I drop my FLOSS wallet into my BRACIES handbag.
 

The Perfect Place to Tuck Those Yummy Caramels!

A BRACIES Bag Bonus: Serves to Discourage Any Would-Be Pick-Purses.
















This post is dedicated to:

The real Dara (he knows who he is), and
 
Dr. Alex Daneshvar, the best dentist in Culver City.



Don’t ALL Rivers Have Bulldozers?


The entire country (world?), if it’s heard of the L.A. River at all, knows of it only as a joke…

Just Your Typical River Dozer

Just Your Typical River Dozer (“Okay, Okay, ‘Skip-Loader’ Fang–Get Off My Case, Already…”)

…or as the site of occasional tragedy during flood season. Why, just this week, I passed another sort of tragedy along its banks:

I Doubt Any Passengers Walked Away From THIS Accident.

I grew up playing in the woods, every single day. Real woods, with wild apple trees, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, daylilies, roses, damp brown dirt, rich brown bark, and lots and lots of green: Deciduous trees and bushes everywhere you looked, and some pine tossed in for the smell. Water? We had a splashing stream, and a whole reservoir to fish in.

Now, the tradeoff for living in sun 10 months of the year is to give up ever seeing Mommy Nature at her finest. I live in a desert wasteland. Even in non-drought conditions, the hills are ALWAYS brown and ugly. The “woods” are barren. And what L.A. calls a river…

But this post is not about how awful the river is. I have learned to appreciate the L.A. River. I walk often along its riparian concrete banks. I am glad it’s there. Do I wish it were more attractive? Yes. So do lots of people.

The city plans to return a great swath of it to nature. Conveniently for the city, this is the part of it which is already closest to nature, already filled with greenery and wildlife–

abc

Some L.A. Developer Must Have Been Napping. You Could Fit a HUGE Condominium Complex Here.

NOT the part where I live.
But although I am stuck with a graffiti’d concrete ditch, I needn’t focus on the ugly aspects of my walks. Instead, let me introduce you to my L.A. river:

Flowers

You might have to look a just a bit more closely for them than when next to a “real” river (okay, it is just possible you might have to peer through fences, and over walls) but they’re there (really!).

Trumpet Vine Fluorescent Adolescents

Birds

Because you’re often at a distance from the water, you might need a German camera’s telefoto lens to see what KIND of avian creature is flying or wading by, but you will see winged wildlife on your walks. Down at the ritzy Santa Monica end of the ditch–oops, river–there are always lots of ducks and coots. When I walk west, I enjoy stopping to watch for a minute. Yesterday, the coots had exclusive use of the baby-bird rapids and were group-surfing:

"Get Ready...Here Comes Wave Number 1...2... What Comes After 2?"

“Get Ready…Here Comes Wave Number 1…2… What Comes After 2, Guys? Does Anyone Here Have Fingers?”


 
My favorite sight is of birds gliding low over the water:

Spit Overflight

But birds using their feetsies are nice, too:

These seagulls must be a special species with very long legs, for their feet are resting all the way on the bottom of the river, but their bodies are way up top:

"Now Get Out There Today, Men, And Show Those Pansy-#ssed Pigeons What Sh#tting on Things Is All About!"

Seagull Sergeant: “Let’s Get Out There Today, Men, And Show Those Pansy-#ssed Pigeons What Sh#tting on Things Is All About!”

"Have You Seen My Mommie?"

“Have You Seen My Mommie?”

Fish

So far, this is the only one I’ve spotted, but it’s a beaut:

Art

This aspect of the concrete canal might not appeal to you neurotypicals (folks who don’t have Asperger’s), but for me, it is one of the saving graces of the otherwise almost-barren walk. There are many places along the route where the intersections of shapes form a beautiful geometry which, if you imagine the scene 2-dimensional and hung in a gallery (or my home!), could constitute world-class art:

Tell Me This Isn't Beautiful

Tell Me This Isn’t Beautiful


 

Can’t YOU Imagine It Flat on a Canvas?


 

Somehow, These Shapes Change Every Time I Go By


 

I’m Back In The Keys… Or In an Impressionist Painting.


 

Y’Know How Some Autistic Folk Are Train-spotters? I Could Easily Have Filled This Post Entirely With Bridge Pictures. “Bridges. OoooOOOOOooo.” (Caution: Total Dork Alert!


 
River Gothic

Let’s Pause a Moment Beside a River Gothic Cathedral


 
Mysteries!

Yes! Intriguing mysteries! Well, at least for a total nerd. Inquiring mind wanted to know the answer to several geeky-type things, so I fired off an email to the Army Corps of Engineers. Literally not five minutes had passed before my phone rang and a Mr. Jay Field from the Los Angeles Corps office was kindly taking the time to try to answer my nerdiosity:
 
(1) WHAT are the big plugs spaced out along the riverbanks (about 2 feet in diameter)?


Are these there only to attach rescue lines for that one time a year when it rains so hard the water is dangerous to curious children and foolish adults? And were the plugs designed to be there originally, or were they added later?

ANSWER: Yes to the first question, and probably “added later”, to the second, because the special rescue team that does this didn’t exist when the Army Corps of Engineers first constructed the riverbed.

(2) WHAT are the square holes spaced out along the banks, cut through the concrete all the way down to the dirt? (Until someone disposed of their leftover cement in one–tsk.)


ANSWER: When the river is rushing and swollen, the pressure of the water is so great that even the concrete banks are threatened. These seep holes allow some of the water through to the soil to relieve some of the pressure.

(3) I was guessing that the double-yellow lines on the river bottom in Culver City were left over from the days the Army Corps drove up and down on the bed while forming it, but why do some of the lines lead a vehicle’s driver into the riverbank wall?!

"Whee!!"

“Whee!!”


ANSWER: Mr. Field wasn’t familiar with these lines until I mentioned them. Because there aren’t double-yellows all along the river, he guessed they might have been painted there for a film shoot, like “Terminator II”. I think that is an excellent guess, since I’ve seen them so far only in Culver City, known for its film studios.

Thank you, Mr. Field. What a nice man you are.
There is still one more mystery to uncover: One which likely falls outside the Army Corps’ area of expertise.

(4) WHAT is this backyard shrine a shrine TO?

Blessed Buddha of the Backyard

Blessed Buddha of the Backyard

The yard is packed full with yellow plastic lei-draped trees, bushes, and statuary, and many of the walkers and riders who pass stop to wonder aloud about its purpose. I’ve decided that I intend to find out. I’ll revise this post to let you know if I learn anything!

I’ll end now with two gifts for you:

First, I was unable to yet capture an image of a great heron striding near me so that you could see one in its natural cement environs, but the L.A. River administrators, it turns out, have one in an unnatural setting. Here is a heron in the lobby of their offices on San Fernando Road in Cypress Park:

Effing Run Like Hell If You See One of These.

Effing Run Like Hell If You See One of These.

When I arrived in said lobby, no one was to be found. All the staff had retreated to the upstairs offices. Can you blame them?
 
Finally, I’ll leave you with the sound of the river when it is low, like now: The gentle sound of falling water:
 
????????????
 

*** WARNING! *** WARNING! *** WARNING! ***

*** ==== BEWARE RIVER SKEPS ==== ***

(beehives)

They Look All Small and Humpy and Innocent…

But When You Move Up Closer…

Can You IMAGINE The Size of the BEES?!


 
The All-Time Top River Credits

(1) All pics were taken (by yours truly) with an Iphone 4S or 5C.

(2) Thank you to the L.A. River office administrator whose name I was too impolite to note down who suggested I contact the Army Corps of Engineers directly with my questions.

The All-Time Top River Song Site
Top 20 River Songs of All Time

The All-Time Top River Documentary


 
The All-Time Top Helpful River Link for Angelinos
KCET’s River Notes: Latest River Improvements & Recreation News

 
The All-Time Top River Advice From Friends

2014-03-16–My friend A. said “Change the order of the opening–don’t open with the bulldozer.” So I did.

2014-03-17–Another friend J. said today said “Change the order of the opening–open with the bulldozer.” So I did.

Any more friends can just shut their faces.
 

Married Priests? Lesbian Nuns? Yup.


Yup. Way back when, married guys could become priests. Even some of those oh-so-holy desert hermits, like the ones in the Bible, had wives! Although the hermit-y guys SUPPOSEDLY didn’t have sex with these women-they-lived-totally-alone-with-day-after-day-week-after-lonely-week. (Yeah. Right.) Hermit wives supposedly just did all the cooking and cleaning up:

  1. “Pick up scorpion.”
  2. “Eat it.” (avoid stinger).
    Come on. How much cooking and cleaning is there to DO in a desert?

“I’ve Finished Catching Today’s Lizards–Can You Think of Anything ELSE We Can Do Besides Pray For the Next 23 Hours?”

Now it is true that priests weren’t allowed to marry AFTER they became priests, only before, but their before-wives were allowed to keep living with them. Early Christians just weren’t as uptight about sexual matters as later ones. Then, a few hard#sses spoiled it for everyone.

St. Paul the Not Too Bad

The first spoilsport was the apostle Paul, but at least he had logic on his side:
He thought everyone should drop Sex For Fun because we should devote ourselves more completely to God. Less focus on our body gives more for the Spirit. But Paul realized we’re not all capable (willing!) of that much self-control, so he also said, basically, “Okay, if you MUST have sex, go ahead and marry, and then do your conjugal duty by each other.”

Even Paul, very sexist by today’s standards, felt that the duty was mutual: That husbands should satisfy their wives, too. That’s an apostolic creed (belief) I can get behind!

St. Augustine the Hypocrite

But then we come to the “great” St. Augustine. Prior to his saintliness, randy-man Augie had partaken freely–enthusiastically!–of sex. He’d even joked that when he’d decided on turning over a new spiritual leaf, he had prayed to God: “Give me chastity—but not yet.”. But the new Saintly Augie didn’t think anyone ELSE should enjoy themselves like he had.

“Just Take My Word For It–Sex Isn’t All That.”

What bugged him the most about sex was that one part of your body acts like it is the boss of all of you. The little brain runs the big brain. (Augie definitely had that right. Women had recognized the male little-brain phenomenon long before this: When an early cave-dude, Dah-Ahg, had swung his hairy noggin so fast to check out the sexy brow-ridge on the babe the next cave over, he wound up walking right into the first fire. Oh, how Pok and Neexa hooted scornfully at him!! Oral tradition tells us they actually coined two of pre-history’s first words:   “Hot Babe”.)

Annual Celebration of That Roving-Eyed Dah-Ahg’s Come-Uppance

Augustine was so full of himself he even came up with a brand new name for our little-brain parts–our privates–even though they had lots of perfectly good names already. Augie didn’t think the old names captured just how low-down dirty they were. He called them “pudenda” (“pew-DEN-duh”–that’s for more than one–just mine or yours would be a “puDENdum”) from the Latin root “pudere”—to be ashamed.

Aug decided that intercourse for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden must have been a lust-free “Insert Part A Into Part B.” kinda thing:

Do NOT Enjoy Yourselves. See Also: Following Diagram.

Substitute Pudenda for Hands (If Parts Squeak, Add Holy Oil)











But then, evil Mr. Snakey slithered by, sprinkled lust dust on Adam and Eve’s naughty bits, and turned Eve into a dirty, dirty girl. That’s why we needed to cover up those bits with fig leaves. (Too bad it wasn’t fig newtons—that could have been fun, if a bit sticky!)

Preferred Way to Remove a Fig Newton Leaf

Other holier-than-thou types jumped on the no-no bandwagon and agreed with Augie, only even more so: Sex was icky, icky, icky. Clearly the most holy folk had the least sex. Priests should most definitely avoid it. It took the Church a few hundred years to force their way with this. And they’re still trying.

Lesbians? Cool. But no SELF-Pleasuring!

The Church almost entirely ignored female homosexuality. But if nuns were found using long hard objects in private (dildos), they were punished severely. So: Males thinking women-on-women action is totally hot goes WAY back–and so does the male fear of being outperformed by something that always stays hard. (Whenever we want it, baby!)

No WONDER Nuns With Long Hard Objects Wound Up Using Them in Anger (Uh…Am I Going To Hell For Saying That?)

Gays? Less Cool. But No Biggie, Back Then.

For an uptight intolerant bunch of repressive control freaks, Church folk were remarkably tolerant of male homosexuality. The church had a “graduated scale” of tolerance: Males kissing males were punished less than two males masturbating, who were punished less than two having oral sex. The worst punishments were reserved for those discovered having anal sex. Fair-mindedly, for all of these, older participants or those who held high positions in the church were punished more than those under the age of 20.

For more than 500 years, “homosexuals were in fact treated no more harshly than were couples who practiced contraception.” (Reay Tannahill, Sex in History)

In other words, the Church gave the merest tippy-taps of a slap on the dangly wrist. (Drat. Now I’m definitely going to gay hell for saying THAT. At least there’ll be hardwood floors and good landscaping. Oooo! And Oscar Wilde!)

St. Thomas the Total Twerp

St. Thomas Aquinas bears a lot of the blame for the change. He wrote an argument “proving” that since the sexual organs were clearly designed by God for procreation (pro-cree-AY-shun–making babies), that was the only use for them, and anything else was verboten (vair-BOE-ten–not allowed): No anal sex or oral sex, whether you’re gay or straight. No sex for fun.

Surprisingly-Modern Medieval Priest Headgear

Unless you are like many young men, even today: You think that the more babies you help make, the more of a man you are, so your idea of fun is to try to make a baby every time you have sex. That makes you like a termite, or a cockroach. They make lots and LOTS of babies. In your case, you really DO have a pudendum (shameful part) between your legs–and between your ears.

Just Sorta Tacked On Bit:
Did You Know Every Priest Is Jesus’s Twin?

In 1977, at the height of feminism, the Church announced two reasons women still couldn’t be priests:
1) Jesus chose only men for his apostles
2) Each priest reminds his congregation of the actual physical Jesus, and female priests can’t do this.

Really? Do you mean to tell me that both skinny, 6’4″ red-headed Father Keavney, and short, fat, white-haired red-nosed Father Kerry BOTH reminded me of the SAME Jesus?

THIS Jesus? (A Little Too Pale for a Middle-Eastern Jewish Man, But You Get the Idea.)

What about that day I was pulled out of Catechism class and Father Keavney literally screamed at me for daring to ASK A QUESTION? Was THAT supposed to remind me of Jesus, too? I guess that must have been from the Bible’s money-changers-in-the-temple scene. But it seems to me that my every-day Catechism teacher–pretty, petite Sister Bernadette–was a lot more Christ-like.

Footnotes/References

  1. This is the fourth in a series of posts based on information from “Sex in History” by Reay Tannahill. Misplaced my notes and have donated my book to the library, but I think most of the stuff here came from around page 160.

  2. I was never taught by a mean nun. All that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing were kind, caring women–even the strict ones–and I never witnessed a hand or wooden stick of any kind raised to a child in anger.

 
Next Post in the Series: Better Sex You Say? And Tao!
Previous Post in the Series: Ancient Greek Dudes Were NOT Gay…Kinda
 

How Fang and I First Hooked Up


After my Mexican Fang post, some of you have wondered how Fang, 15 years my junior, a less-literate Mexican man-boy–How did he and I manage to hook up, when I’m a word-loving, nerd-loving oldish whiteish lady?

Whatever this magnetism is that Fang and I have, the more he and I chatted at my friend’s, the more his magical powers pulled at me. On the 4th of July, there were almost fireworks down on the ground when I nearly leaned over and just kissed him out of nowhere! THAT is not like me. Especially since I was consciously fighting the whole thing. I was really not comfortable at the thought of how Fang would react to seeing me naked. My body looks pretty good for my age. But a guy THAT young? What he imagined he’d see and what he would see were likely to be different.

Meanwhile, Fang, who had set his sights on me from the first time he saw me, was running a sneaky campaign to overcome my resistance. He said he wanted to be only my friend–that he had no romantic interest in me at all. (This was mostly so that I would rent a nearby apartment of his brother’s, thereby staying within easy reach.) By the point he came up with this, I had PLENTY of interest in Fang, despite my body/age doubts, and hearing the “let’s be friends” line was a great disappointment.

Turns out he was a big fat lying liar. But why use words, when pictures will do? Here’s your free comic for being such a good post reader!

(Click to expand. Use the back arrow to come back.
If you close the window, you’ll be lost to me–sniff! sob!):

Comic All Sections

2014-02-14–As usual, first version was WAY too wordy. Cut out the ca-ca.

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