Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day!!!

Hope you all have a wonderful 4th!!!

Friday, July 3, 2020

We were all thinking it...

Pretty much the entire internet reacted the same way to Thursday morning's startling news that the FBI had arrested Jeffrey Epstein's partner in crime Ghislaine Maxwell, and that was basically to mimic the "Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself" bit.

Yep, we were all thinking it.

When I went looking for mentions of Maxwell on social media, look what popped up when I typed in her first name, particularly number 3:

A few results:

The Babylon Bee, of course, wasn't going to be satisfied with saying what we were all thinking. As usual, they took it one step further:

Suicide? Arkancide? You decide.

There are rumors on the internet that Maxwell is going to sing like a canary and drop some big, big names. She'd better do it fast, before she has an unfortunate accident. She's probably the last hope for any of her and Epstein's evil cronies to face justice. I hope she tells all.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Recent reading: "The Los Angeles Diaries: A Memoir" by James Brown

The Los Angeles Diaries: A Memoir by James Brown

Brown's harrowing background includes a highly dysfunctional mother who committed murder and secretly bankrupted her family, as well as two older siblings who suffered from alcohol and drug issues, as did Brown. The difference between Brown and his siblings is that they eventually succumbed to their demons, both dying by suicide. Despite living a lifestyle that should have killed him as well, Brown eventually came to the realization that he had to change, although it took years, the horrific deaths of his brother and sister, a shattered marriage, and countless lost professional opportunities.

The Los Angeles Diaries is a collection of brutally honest essays detailing various moments in Brown's life, beginning when he was five years old and his mother decided to set fire to an apartment building, killing an elderly resident, then treated him to a weekend in San Francisco. The police eventually caught up with her thanks to an eyewitness, who unfortunately was elderly and ultimately not considered someone strong enough to go to court with. This didn't spare Brown's mother a prison term, as it was then discovered that she had been secretly selling off properties her hard-working husband had accumulated. She bankrupted the family and did time for tax evasion due to not paying taxes on the money she'd made from the sales.

Brown's older brother Barry had a knack for performing and once out of prison Mom pushed his showbiz career, taking the kids to Hollywood after her marriage ended following her imprisonment. Despite his fondness for booze and the Hollywood lifestyle, Barry racked up an impressive list of credits before shooting himself to death at age 27.

The family's middle sibling, Marilyn, was an aspiring actress whose career never took off. She got pregnant and married young, but her addictions to alcohol and drugs eventually got the better of her. She made it to her mid-forties before leaping off a bridge into the cement Los Angeles Riverbed.

I found this book in a strange way. I had Netflixed the first season of Rod Serling's Night Gallery and Barry Brown was in an episode. For some reason I looked him up on imdb and not only discovered his tragic family history, but The Los Angeles Diaries as well.

James Brown became a successful writer and writing professor, despite his own issues. He eventually cleaned up thanks to his second wife. I thought it was sweet that in his acknowledgements he thanked his first wife, the mother of his three sons, noting that she had been put through more than she deserved.

The Los Angeles Diaries became the first of a trilogy of Brown's experiences with addiction and sobriety. The most recent was just released in March. You can find more info on Brown's website.

Then my mind drifts to Tito and the things we stole. The eight-tracks come from cars parked around the neighborhood. The TV and stereo belong to someone who lives in a groundfloor apartment across the street. The big stuff - the Selectrics, the Dictaphones and the adding machines - come from an office building in North Hollywood. I think about the good part of stealing, the adrenaline rush, the fear of being caught and the exhilaration of getting away with it. And the money, all the easy money. But when I close my eyes I see the man who lives in that apartment coming home after a long day's work and finding his place ransacked. I picture the people who work in the office building in North Hollywood and the look on their faces when they discover the same scenario.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June Words of Wisdom

Those who know the least, obey the best. --George Farquhar

Get busy with life's purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue. --Marcus Aurelius

One does not and cannot negotiate with brutality, nor give it the benefit of the doubt. The moral absolute should be: if and when, in any dispute, one side initiates the use of physical force, that side is wrong - and no consideration or discussion of the issues is necessary or appropriate. --Ayn Rand

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
--Adlai Stevenson

Beware of the female narcissist who decorates herself with flowers and a crown. No matter how much she pretties herself up, below the surfaces she is just bad bones. --Kate Masters

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. --John F. Kennedy

Your job is to get your audience to care about your obsessions. --Martin Scorsese

Capitalism urges us to see ourselves as the authors of our own lives.
--Stephen Hicks, PhD

Do not make the mistake of the ignorant who think that an individualist is a man who says, "I'll do as I please at everyone else's expense." An individualist is a man who recognizes the inalienable individual rights of man - his own and those of others. --Ayn Rand

Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully. --Kristen Butler

Stop thinking of writing as art. Start thinking about writing as work. --Paddy Chayevsky

Learn to sit back and observe. Not everything needs a reaction. --Unknown

As conservatives, we don't care about the color of your skin, we care about the color of our flag. --Allen West

Do not correct a fool or her will hate you; correct a wise man, and he will appreciate you. --Bruce Lee

We, the American people, are not each other's enemies. The enemies are those people behind the curtain jerking everybody's chains and trying to divide us up by age, by race, by income. --Dr. Ben Carson

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. --Seneca

Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves are doing today. --Thomas Sowell

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. --Victor Hugo

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

My Ballona

Yesterday I realized I'm going on two years since the move. I can't believe it's been that long. Like everything else in my life, time just gets away from me.

I remember the morning of the move hoping (childishly) that I would get a call from the movers that their truck had broken down and that they wouldn't be able to move me. Maybe I should grow up and stop expecting so much from life.

I've lived in both Playa del Rey and Marina del Rey. Both moves away were purely financial decisions, and both moves away were huge mistakes. I should have held on at any cost, both times. Some people never learn.

I was perfectly at home in both places. More so than anywhere else.

You can see my old apartment at the end of this one.

And in the beginning of this one:

And you can see my old driveway at the beginning of this one:

BTW, that street isn't Admiralty Way, it's Via Marina. Admiralty Way is in the opposite direction.

So homesick.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Public Service Announcement: Phishing seems to be on the rise

I've gotten several of these recently. Maybe since people are stuck at home they feel like people are more vulnerable to scams. The recent ones were from "Apple" and "Amazon". The newest one claimed to be from PayPal. It wasn't.

The scams claim that your accounts are being locked or that your mode of payment needs to be updated. Yeah, right. You can click to biggify to get a better look at it.

If you get one of these, just check out the sender's email address.
This is a dead giveaway that they're not who they say they are.

So much to pick apart hear. First, how would they know there was suspicious activity on my credit cards? Ridiculous. Oh, and give us your credit card info then wait five days before doing anything? Again, ridiculous. The sad thing is thinking that there are people who will fall for this.

If you get one, search under "phishing" and the name of the company it's supposedly from. That will give you an address to forward the email to so the scam can be investigated.

Be careful out there!

Sunday, June 21, 2020


This popped up on Post Secret yesterday:

Okay, so you either have lost your father (welcome to the club) or have/had an awful relationship with him. We get it. The final line is what I take issue with.

It seems like nowadays on every holiday there's some of self-righteous sort who  wants everyone to suffer with them. That because they aren't celebrating this particular moment, no one else should either. That's the part I have a problem with. Father's Day is a day to celebrate dads. It isn't about someone's personal drama.

It's also not about being "respectful" on social media or anywhere else. The world isn't here to cater to anyone. If you don't want to see other people enjoying life, maybe you're the one who should take the day off. If it bothers you that much, stay off social media for 24 hours. You can do it.

I have many memories of my Dad. Some of the less than great ones are because of how my sister disrespected his memory and final wishes in the days, weeks, months after he passed away. And after doing that, in the years that followed, she would post things on social media that made it sound like they had this awesome relationship, like she hadn't shit all over his memory and family after he was dead and gone. This is the same person of whom my Dad once said, "I know she doesn't really love me. I only hear from her because I have money." And he was right. That's not the point. The point is that she continued to use him to build herself up even in death. It was sick.

But I'm starting to ramble here. My point is that I have some bad memories to go with the good. But even if that made me dread Father's Day, it would never occur to me to demand that everyone else suffer with me, that they shouldn't enjoy it. Because I'm not a special snowflake that thinks the world revolves around me. Because I'm not the kind of person who would even think of making the sort of statement made in this Post Secret.

So if you've still got your dad, or you have a great relationship with him, go ahead and celebrate! It's his day, but do it for both of you. Do it on or off social media, whatever works for you. It may be just another Sunday for some of us, but I hope the rest of you have a great day.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

This is a recording...The Babylon Bee strikes again!

YEEEEAAAAAHHHH!!! unidentified red-haired crime scene investigator...

The whole fabulous story is here.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Hat trick! AKA I'm being published again!!!

Got some very much needed good news this week - I'm being published again! My short story "The Legend of Bahama Bobby" was accepted for the Sisters in Crime/Guppies anthology The Fish That Got Away. This will be the third time I've been published after LAst Resort and Crossing Borders. Further bragging rights: They received 87 submissions and only chose 21. And Bobby was one of those 21.

The theme is criminal plans gone awry or criminals who slipped through the net. We begin the editing process in late July and the book will be released next March or April.

I'm so grateful to the Guppies for this opportunity and can't wait to go through the wonderful process of editing, cover art, publishing, promoting, and reading  again.

Write on!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

8 Ways to Find Peace

Some much needed words of wisdom from The Daily Stoic's Instagram:

I'm better at some of these than others.

Be well.