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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Make A Donation

You may have noticed there is no advertising on any of my sites.

If you haven't noticed, please now take a moment to notice ...

... there is no advertising on any of my sites.

I'm not anti-advertising. In fact, I think advertising can provide a valuable service to others in the same business as you. But I haven't yet heard the Small, Still Voice within whisper: "Start putting ads up, yo." It may very well whisper that any day now, but it hasn't done so yet.

In the meantime, I need to keep the web presence up and running and, more importantly, expanding. In the next year there will be more and better podcasts, films and interactive content and a few other very cool - and very geeky - treats that I'm not yet at liberty to discuss. This will require continuation of our present hosting and perhaps some expanding hosting. Certainly it will require an increase in bandwidth as the traffic to NealRomanek.com and downloading of audio and video podcasts continues to grow.

At the right sidebar - sometimes down at the very bottom of the page if you're using the Internet Explorer browser - is the Make a Donation button.

For those who don't want to bother looking over at the sidebar - or scrolling down to the bottom of the page - here is the Make a Donation button again:

The Make a Donation button is a handy way you can slip $1 or $2 or $5 or $20 or $50 into my tip jar via PayPal.

If you haven't signed up for PayPal yet, you should if you plan to keep living in the 21st century. It's simple and safe and allows you to instantly and immediately transfer money to anyone anywhere in the world as long as you and they have an email address.

All donations, of any amount, are appreciated, but with the current replanting of the Centre Of Operations in London, the donations now are received with especial gratitude.

But on with the show ...

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Friday, September 29, 2006


It's pouring out there.

I hope I don't only post about the English weather from now on.

I can't help it. It's thrills me.

Out there right now, at least the last time I looked, rain was coming down in large rainy masses of rain.

Identical weather in Los Angeles would have shut down the entire city for three days. Bright red "STORMWATCH L.A.!" logos would have filled our televisions. A ticker at the bottom of the screen would have informed us of school closures and evacuation procedures.

Whereas here ...

Some people shield themselves with umbrellas. Some don't. Some wear raincoats. Some are fine in t-shirts.

One septegenarian was perfectly at home in egg-shell blue sweatpants, tourquoise blue jacket, and cornflower blue fishing hat.

It's pouring out there.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

10 UK Culinary Challenges

The 10 Greatest Culinary Challenges
I Have (So Far) Survived In Britain

  1. Chocolate Chip Biscotti of Sobbing and Weeping (Day 1)
  2. Sausage of Sawdust and Paste and Decay (day 3)
  3. Eggs of the Trogolyte Kings (Day 3)
  4. The ur-Bacon (aka "Sahara Road Kill") (Day 4)
  5. The 2nd Worst Cup of Coffee in Christendom (Day 4)
  6. Walker's "Salt & Vinegar Flavour" Potato Crisps (Day 5)
  7. The Worst Cup of Coffee in Christendom (Day 5)
  8. Chili Cheesy Fries of the Damned (Day 6)
  9. Guacamole/Sour Cream/Salsa Compote of Grief (Day 6)
  10. Giant Crab-Apples that look just like Actual Apples (Day 8)


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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ealing = L.A.-ing + e

"... Yeah, I was over here for a script meeting ... "

I heard it today as I was entering the Poco Loco cafe for lunch.

I kid you not.

A guy sitting smoking at a table outside, looking a bit like Shane McGowan - but not as sprightly - was talking to a bearded American-looking guy who sounded, when he spoke, like a bearded American-looking guy.

Yes. Writers.


In Ealing.

Screenwriters, hanging out at the cafe, talking about the script meeting they just had, smoking ...

Ealing - it's West Hollywood with rain.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Let My Wi-Fi Go

Not only is there no Mexican food in Britain, there is no free Wi-Fi in Britain.

HOW TO BECOME A MILLIONAIRE IN THE BRITAIN #2: Open a coffee shop that offers free Wi-Fi.

In London, the Internet Cafes have been easy to find and easy to use. With the rate - as if by some unspoken agreement - always being £1 ($1.90 as of today) / 1 hour (1 hour as of today) of computer use. Still, I haven't yet seen a place that offers Internet service for free. Most of the cafes feature terminals, like the one I'm using now - a monitor, a mouse & keyboard, attached to a cpu somewhere down near my knees. It makes sense that the proprietor would charge for use of terminals like this - electricity costs money, and there's the cost of equipment and its upkeep. But if you're willing to waste valuable counter space with these terminals, why not also feature some wifeless Internet access as well? Free Wi-Fi? Just slap a transmitter on your broadband connection and you're off to the races.

If the only the proprietors here used what I call the "Psychobabble Method" (so called because it's a "Method" used by "Psychobabble" back in Los Feliz), they would clean up. And by "clean up", I do not mean "clean up", but actually mean "make lots of money easily in a short time". So I will rephrase: If the folks here used what I call the "Psychobabble Method" (so called because it is a "Method" used by "Psychobabble" back in Los Feliz), they would make lots of money easily in a short time. This place here is virtually deserted right now, and it's coming up on noon. But if patrons got an hour of Wi-Fi access for every, pound or two or three they spent on coffee, sandwiches, etc., the place would be jam-packed with laptop-lugging locals (and tourists). Jam-packed, I say! If it's a choice between me sitting at a table with my own laptop vs. sitting at an anonymous terminal paying, I'll take the option of using my own laptop every single time - serve me outrageously overpriced coffee, if you want you. I care not.

With a snap of the boss's fingers, this place could be the only free Wi-Fi joint in Ealing.

I'm thinking it might be the only free Wi-Fi joint in the entire country.

Now if they had free Wi-Fi AND good Mexican food? ...

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

I'm A Movie Star

Yes, like rats fleeing the sinking ship, we have left the United States of America and have landed on these Shores Of Freedom, this Rock Of Justice that is the United King-dom, a country where you can't trim your toenails without it being recorded by a video camera.

Even in Hyde Park yesterday, as Janet and I fed crows and squirrels peanuts and potato crisps, I was sure that there must be cameras in the trees.

Cameras in the trees. Cameras in the trees.

Oh, I know how that sounds.

But if you were here, you would see the truth. You would understand.

Why, even as I sit typing here at the Internet Cafe, I look up and, at a glance, spot 3 cameras staring down from the corners of the room (there are more than 3 corners to this room, I just can't be bothered to look over my shoulder) - not to mention the webcams perched at each individual computer station, staring like surprised cyclopes.

The upside to all these cameras around town is that your much more likely to get on TV. Judging from this past week's viewing 75% of British television features someone being caught on hidden camera. In fact, one of the shows we were treated to on Friday night was soley dedicated to the phenomenon of private celebrity sex tapes being leaked to the public. It was appalling trash, this programme, but we watched it anyway - for cultural research purposes.

All these cameras around might make some people very nervous and, true, it does unnerve me a bit. But my exhibitionism luckily just outweighs my paranoia. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking about getting dressed up more often, just for the cameras.

In London, everyone's a movie star!

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

President Chavez UN Speech

Below is the full text of the address given to the United Nations by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday, September 20:

CHAVEZ (through translator): "Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it. Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, 'Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States.'" [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.]

"It's an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what's happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet. The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time," [flips through the pages, which are numerous] "I will just leave it as a recommendation.

It reads easily, it is a very good book, I'm sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house. The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house.

"And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [crosses himself]

"And it smells of sulfur still today."

Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.

I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.

An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: "The Devil's Recipe."

As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.

The world parent's statement – cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.

They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.

What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.

What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?

The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom."

Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother – he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.

The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are standing up.

I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.

Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.

The president then – and this he said himself, he said: "I have come to speak directly to the populations in the Middle East, to tell them that my country wants peace."

That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes.

But the government doesn't want peace. The government of the United States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.

It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela – new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?

He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut with millimetric precision?

This is crossfire? He's thinking of a western, when people would shoot from the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire.

This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire and Israel firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is what happened. And now we hear, "We're suffering because we see homes destroyed.'

The president of the United States came to talk to the peoples – to the peoples of the world. He came to say – I brought some documents with me, because this morning I was reading some statements, and I see that he talked to the people of Afghanistan, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iran. And he addressed all these peoples directly.

And you can wonder, just as the president of the United States addresses those peoples of the world, what would those peoples of the world tell him if they were given the floor? What would they have to say?

And I think I have some inkling of what the peoples of the south, the oppressed people think. They would say, "Yankee imperialist, go home." I think that is what those people would say if they were given the microphone and if they could speak with one voice to the American imperialists.

And that is why, Madam President, my colleagues, my friends, last year we came here to this same hall as we have been doing for the past eight years, and we said something that has now been confirmed – fully, fully confirmed.

I don't think anybody in this room could defend the system. Let's accept – let's be honest. The U.N. system, born after the Second World War, collapsed. It's worthless.

Oh, yes, it's good to bring us together once a year, see each other, make statements and prepare all kinds of long documents, and listen to good speeches, like Abel's (ph) yesterday, or President Mullah's (ph). Yes, it's good for that.

And there are a lot of speeches, and we've heard lots from the president of Sri Lanka, for instance, and the president of Chile.

But we, the assembly, have been turned into a merely deliberative organ. We have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the world. And that is why Venezuela once again proposes, here, today, 20 September, that we re-establish the United Nations.

Last year, Madam, we made four modest proposals that we felt to be crucially important. We have to assume the responsibility our heads of state, our ambassadors, our representatives, and we have to discuss it.

The first is expansion, and Mullah (ph) talked about this yesterday right here. The Security Council, both as it has permanent and non-permanent categories, (inaudible) developing countries and LDCs must be given access as new permanent members. That's step one.

Second, effective methods to address and resolve world conflicts, transparent decisions.

Point three, the immediate suppression – and that is something everyone's calling for – of the anti-democratic mechanism known as the veto, the veto on decisions of the Security Council.

Let me give you a recent example. The immoral veto of the United States allowed the Israelis, with impunity, to destroy Lebanon. Right in front of all of us as we stood there watching, a resolution in the council was prevented.

Fourthly, we have to strengthen, as we've always said, the role and the powers of the secretary general of the United Nations.

Yesterday, the secretary general practically gave us his speech of farewell. And he recognized that over the last 10 years, things have just gotten more complicated; hunger, poverty, violence, human rights violations have just worsened. That is the tremendous consequence of the collapse of the United Nations system and American hegemonistic pretensions.

Madam, Venezuela a few years ago decided to wage this battle within the United Nations by recognizing the United Nations, as members of it that we are, and lending it our voice, our thinking.

Our voice is an independent voice to represent the dignity and the search for peace and the reformulation of the international system; to denounce persecution and aggression of hegemonistic forces on the planet.

This is how Venezuela has presented itself. Bolivar's home has sought a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council.

Let's see. Well, there's been an open attack by the U.S. government, an immoral attack, to try and prevent Venezuela from being freely elected to a post in the Security Council.

The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us extremists, but they are the extremists.

And I would like to thank all the countries that have kindly announced their support for Venezuela, even though the ballot is a secret one and there's no need to announce things.

But since the imperium has attacked, openly, they strengthened the convictions of many countries. And their support strengthens us.

Mercosur, as a bloc, has expressed its support, our brothers in Mercosur. Venezuela, with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, is a full member of Mercosur.

And many other Latin American countries, CARICOM, Bolivia have expressed their support for Venezuela. The Arab League, the full Arab League has voiced its support. And I am immensely grateful to the Arab world, to our Arab brothers, our Caribbean brothers, the African Union. Almost all of Africa has expressed its support for Venezuela and countries such as Russia or China and many others.

I thank you all warmly on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of the truth, because Venezuela, with a seat on the Security Council, will be expressing not only Venezuela's thoughts, but it will also be the voice of all the peoples of the world, and we will defend dignity and truth.

Over and above all of this, Madam President, I think there are reasons to be optimistic. A poet would have said "helplessly optimistic," because over and above the wars and the bombs and the aggressive and the preventive war and the destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning.

As Sylvia Rodriguez (ph) says, the era is giving birth to a heart. There are alternative ways of thinking. There are young people who think differently. And this has already been seen within the space of a mere decade. It was shown that the end of history was a totally false assumption, and the same was shown about Pax Americana and the establishment of the capitalist neo-liberal world. It has been shown, this system, to generate mere poverty. Who believes in it now?

What we now have to do is define the future of the world. Dawn is breaking out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and Latin America and Oceanea. I want to emphasize that optimistic vision.

We have to strengthen ourselves, our will to do battle, our awareness. We have to build a new and better world.

Venezuela joins that struggle, and that's why we are threatened. The U.S. has already planned, financed and set in motion a coup in Venezuela, and it continues to support coup attempts in Venezuela and elsewhere.

President Michelle Bachelet reminded us just a moment ago of the horrendous assassination of the former foreign minister, Orlando Letelier.

And I would just add one thing: Those who perpetrated this crime are free. And that other event where an American citizen also died were American themselves. They were CIA killers, terrorists.

And we must recall in this room that in just a few days there will be another anniversary. Thirty years will have passed from this other horrendous terrorist attack on the Cuban plane, where 73 innocents died, a Cubana de Aviacion airliner.

And where is the biggest terrorist of this continent who took the responsibility for blowing up the plane? He spent a few years in jail in Venezuela. Thanks to CIA and then government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government.

And he was convicted. He has confessed to his crime. But the U.S. government has double standards. It protects terrorism when it wants to.

And this is to say that Venezuela is fully committed to combating terrorism and violence. And we are one of the people who are fighting for peace.

Luis Posada Carriles is the name of that terrorist who is protected here. And other tremendously corrupt people who escaped from Venezuela are also living here under protection: a group that bombed various embassies, that assassinated people during the coup. They kidnapped me and they were going to kill me, but I think God reached down and our people came out into the streets and the army was too, and so I'm here today.

But these people who led that coup are here today in this country protected by the American government. And I accuse the American government of protecting terrorists and of having a completely cynical discourse.

We mentioned Cuba. Yes, we were just there a few days ago. We just came from there happily.

And there you see another era born. The Summit of the 15, the Summit of the Nonaligned, adopted a historic resolution. This is the outcome document. Don't worry, I'm not going to read it.

But you have a whole set of resolutions here that were adopted after open debate in a transparent matter – more than 50 heads of state. Havana was the capital of the south for a few weeks, and we have now launched, once again, the group of the nonaligned with new momentum.

And if there is anything I could ask all of you here, my companions, my brothers and sisters, it is to please lend your good will to lend momentum to the Nonaligned Movement for the birth of the new era, to prevent hegemony and prevent further advances of imperialism.

And as you know, Fidel Castro is the president of the nonaligned for the next three years, and we can trust him to lead the charge very efficiently.

Unfortunately they thought, "Oh, Fidel was going to die." But they're going to be disappointed because he didn't. And he's not only alive, he's back in his green fatigues, and he's now presiding the nonaligned.

So, my dear colleagues, Madam President, a new, strong movement has been born, a movement of the south. We are men and women of the south.

With this document, with these ideas, with these criticisms, I'm now closing my file. I'm taking the book with me. And, don't forget, I'm recommending it very warmly and very humbly to all of you.

We want ideas to save our planet, to save the planet from the imperialist threat. And hopefully in this very century, in not too long a time, we will see this, we will see this new era, and for our children and our grandchildren a world of peace based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations, but a renewed United Nations.

And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations somewhere else; maybe a city of the south. We've proposed Venezuela.

You know that my personal doctor had to stay in the plane. The chief of security had to be left in a locked plane. Neither of these gentlemen was allowed to arrive and attend the U.N. meeting. This is another abuse and another abuse of power on the part of the Devil. It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all.

May God bless us all. Good day to you."


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President Bush UN Speech

Below is the full text of the address given to the United Nations by U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006:

BUSH: "Mr. Secretary General, Madam President, distinguished delegates, and ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for the privilege of speaking to this General Assembly.

Last week America and the world marked the fifth anniversary of the attacks that filled another September morning with death and suffering. On that terrible day, extremists killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, including citizens of dozens of nations represented right here in this chamber.

Since then, the enemies of humanity have continued their campaign of murder. Al-Qaida and those inspired by its extremist ideology have attacked more than two dozen nations. And recently a different group of extremists deliberately provoked a terrible conflict in Lebanon.

At the start of the 21st century, it is clear that the world is engaged in a great ideological struggle between extremists who use terror as a weapon to create fear and moderate people who work for peace.

Five years ago I stood at this podium and called on the community of nations to defend civilization and build a more hopeful future. This is still the great challenge of our time.

It is the calling of our generation.

This morning I want to speak about the more hopeful world that is within our reach,
a world beyond terror, where ordinary men and women are free to determine their own destiny, where the voices of moderation are empowered, and where the extremists are marginalized by the peaceful majority.

This world can be ours, if we seek it and if we work together.

The principles of this world beyond terror can be found in the very first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document declares that the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom and justice and peace in the world.

One of the authors of this document was a Lebanese diplomat named Charles Malik, who would go on to become president of this assembly.

Mr. Malik insisted that these principles applied equally to all people, of all regions, of all religions, including the men and women of the Arab world that was his home.

In the nearly six decades since that document was approved, we have seen the forces of freedom and moderation transform entire continents. Sixty years after a terrible war, Europe is now whole, free and at peace, and Asia has seen freedom progress and hundreds of millions of people lifted out of desperate poverty.

The words of the Universal Declaration are as true today as they were when they were written.

As liberty flourishes, nations grow in tolerance and hope and peace. And we’re
seeing that bright future begin to take root in the broader Middle East. Some of the changes in the Middle East have been dramatic, and we see the results in this chamber.

Five years ago, Afghanistan was ruled by the brutal Taliban regime, and its seat in this body was contested.

Now this seat is held by the freely elected government of Afghanistan, which is
represented today by President Karzai.

Five years ago, Iraq’s seat in this body was held by a dictator who killed his citizens, invaded his neighbors and showed his contempt for the world by defying more than a dozen U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Now Iraq’s seat is held by a democratic government that embodies the aspirations of the Iraq people. It is represented today by President Talabani.
With these changes, more than 50 million people have been give a voice in this chamber for the first time in decades.

Some of the changes in the Middle East are happening gradually, but they are real.
Algeria has held its first competitive presidential election, and the military remained neutral.

The United Arab Emirates recently announced that half of its seats in the Federal
National Council will be chosen by elections.

Kuwait held elections in which women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time.

Citizens have voted in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia and parliamentary
elections in Jordan and Bahrain and in multiparty presidential elections in Yemen and Egypt.

These are important steps, and the governments should continue to move forward
with other reforms that show they trust their people.

Every nation that travels the road to freedom moves at a different pace and the democracies they build will reflect their own culture and traditions.

But the destination is the same: a free society where people live at peace with each other and at peace with the world.

Some have argued that the democratic changes we’re seeing in the Middle East
are destabilizing the region.

This argument rests on a false assumption: that the Middle East was stable to begin with.

The reality is that the stability we thought we saw in the Middle East was a mirage.
For decades, millions of men and women in the region had been trapped in oppression and hopelessness. And these conditions left a generation disillusioned and made this region a breeding ground for extremism.

Imagine what it’s like to be a young person living in a country that is not moving toward reform. You’re 21 years old, and while your peers in other parts of the world are casting their ballots for the first time, you are powerless to change the course of your government.

While your peers in other parts of the world have received educations that prepare them for the opportunities of a global economy, you have been fed propaganda and conspiracy theories that blame others for your country’s shortcomings.

And everywhere you turn, you hear extremists who tell you that you can escape your misery and regain your dignity through violence and terror and martyrdom.

For many across the broader Middle East this is the dismal choice presented every day.

Every civilized nation, including those in the Muslim world, must support those in the region who are offering a more hopeful alternative.

We know that when people have a voice in their future, they are less likely to blow themselves up in suicide attacks. We know that when leaders are accountable to their people, they are more likely to seek national greatness in the achievements of their citizens, rather than in terror and conquest.

So we must stand with democratic leaders and moderate reformers across the broader Middle East. We must give them voice to the hopes of decent men and women who want for their children the same thing we want for ours.

We must seek stability through a free and just Middle East, where the extremists are marginalized by millions of citizens in control of their own destinies.

Today I’d like to speak directly to the people across the broader Middle East.

My country desires peace. Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a war against Islam.

This propaganda is false and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror.
We respect Islam, but we will protect our people from those who pervert Islam to sow death and destruction.

Our goal is to help you build a more tolerant and hopeful society that honors people
of all faiths and promotes the peace.

To the people of Iraq, nearly 12 million of you braved the car bombers and assassins last December to vote in free elections.

The world saw you hold up purple-ink-stained fingers. And your courage filled us with admiration.

You stood firm in the face of horrendous acts of terror and sectarian violence. And we will not abandon you and your struggle to build a free nation.

America and our coalition partners will continue to stand with the democratic government you elected. We will continue to help you secure the international assistance and investment you need to create jobs and opportunity, working with the United Nations and through the international compact with Iraq endorsed here
in New York yesterday.

We will continue to train those of you who step forward to fight the enemies of freedom. We will not yield the future of your country to terrorists and extremists.

In return, your leaders must rise to the challenges your country is facing and make difficult choices to bring security and prosperity.

Working together, we will help your democracy succeed so it can become a beacon of hope for millions in the Muslim world.

To the people of Afghanistan, together we overthrew the Taliban regime that brought misery into your lives and harbored terrorists who brought death to the citizens of many nations.

Since then, we have watched you choose your leaders in free elections and build a democratic government.

You can be proud of these achievements.

We respect your courage and determination to live in peace and freedom. We will continue to stand with you to defend your democratic gains.

Today, forces from more than 40 countries, including members of the NATO alliance, are bravely serving side by side with you against the extremists who want to bring down the free government you’ve established. We’ll help you defeat these enemies and build a free Afghanistan that will never again oppress you or be a safe haven for terrorists.

To the people of Lebanon, last year you inspired the world when you came out into the streets to demand your independence from Syrian dominance.

You drove Syrian forces from your country and you re-established democracy.
Since then, you have been tested by the fighting that began with Hezbollah’s unprovoked attacks on Israel. Many of you have seen your homes and your communities caught in crossfire.

We see your suffering and the world is helping you to rebuild your country and helping you deal with the armed extremists who are undermining your democracy by acting as a state within a state.

The United Nations has passed a good resolution that has authorized an international force, led by France and Italy, to help you restore Lebanese sovereignty over Lebanese soil.

For many years, Lebanon was a model of democracy and pluralism and openness in the region. And it will be again.

To the people of Iran, the United States respects you.

We respect your country. We admire your rich history, your vibrant culture and your many contributions to civilization.

You deserve an opportunity to determine your own future, an economy that rewards your intelligence and your talents, and a society that allows you to fulfill your tremendous potential.

The greatest obstacle to this future is that your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation’s resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons.

The United Nations has passed a clear resolution requiring that the regime in
Tehran meet its international obligations. Iran must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.

Despite what the regime tells you, we have no objection to Iran’s pursuit of a truly peaceful nuclear power program.

We’re working toward a diplomatic solution to this crisis. And as we do, we look to the day when you can live in freedom, and America and Iran can be good friends and close partners in the cause of peace.

To the people of Syria, your land is home to a great people with a proud tradition of learning and commerce. Today, your rulers have allowed your country to become a crossroad for terrorism.

In your midst, Hamas and Hezbollah are working to destabilize the region, and your government is turning your country into a tool of Iran. This is increasing your country’s isolation from the world.

Your government must choose a better way forward by ending its support for terror and living at peace with your neighbors, and opening the way to a better life for you and your families.

To the people of Darfur, you have suffered unspeakable violence. And my nation has called these atrocities what they are: genocide.

For the last two years, America joined with the international community to provide emergency food aid and support for an African Union peacekeeping force. Yet your suffering continues.

The world must step forward to provide additional humanitarian aid. And we must
strengthen the African Union force that has done good work, but is not strong
enough to protect you.

The Security Council has approved a resolution that would transform the African
Union force into a blue-helmeted force that is larger and more robust. To increase its strength and effectiveness, NATO nations should provide logistics and other support.

The regime in Khartoum is stopping the deployment of this force. If the Sudanese government does not approve this peacekeeping force quickly, the United Nations
must act. Your lives and the credibility of the United Nations is at stake.

So today I’m announcing that I’m naming a presidential special envoy, former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios, to lead America’s efforts to resolve the outstanding disputes and help bring peace to your land.

The world must also stand up for peace in the Holy Land. I’m committed to two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

I’m committed to a Palestinian state that has territorial integrity and will live peacefully with the Jewish state of Israel.

This is the vision set forth in the road map, and helping the parties reach this goal is one of the great objectives of my presidency.

The Palestinian people have suffered from decades of corruption and violence and the daily humiliation of occupation. Israeli citizens have endured brutal acts of terrorism and constant fear of attack since the birth of their nation.

Many brave men and women have made the commitment to peace, yet extremists in the region are stirring up hatred and trying to prevent these moderate voices from

The struggle is unfolding in the Palestinian territories.

Earlier this year, the Palestinian people voted in a free election. The leaders of Hamas campaigned on a platform of ending corruption and improving the lives of
the Palestinian people, and they prevailed.

The world is waiting to see whether the Hamas government will follow through on its promises or pursue an extremist agenda.

The world has sent a clear message to the leaders of Hamas: Serve the interests of the Palestinian people, abandon terror, recognize Israel’s right to exist, honor agreements that work for peace.

President Abbas is committed to peace and to his people’s aspirations for a state of their own.

Prime Minister Olmert is committed to peace and has said he intends to meet with President Abbas to make real progress on the outstanding issues between them.

I believe peace can be achieved and that a democratic Palestinian state is possible.

I hear from leaders in the region who want to help.

I directed Secretary of State Rice to lead a diplomatic effort to engage moderate leaders across the region to help the Palestinians reform their security services and support Israeli and Palestinian leaders in their efforts to come together to resolve their differences.

Prime Minister Blair has indicated that his country will work with partners in Europe to help strengthen the governing institutions of the Palestinian administration. We welcome his initiative.

Countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Egypt have made clear they’re willing to contribute the diplomatic and financial assistance necessary to help these efforts succeed.

I’m optimistic that, by supporting the forces of democracy and moderation, we can help Israelis and Palestinians build a more hopeful future and achieve the peace in the Holy Land we all want.

Freedom, by its nature, cannot be imposed. It must be chosen.

From Beirut to Baghdad, people are making the choice for freedom.
And the nations gathered in this chamber must make a choice as well. Will we support the moderates and reformers who are working for change across the Middle East, or will we yield the future to the terrorists and extremists?

America has made its choice. We will stand with the moderates and reformers.
Recently, a courageous group of Arab and Muslim intellectuals wrote me a letter. In it, they said this: The shore of reform is the only one on which any lights appear, even though the journey demands courage and patience and perseverance.

The United Nations was created to make that journey possible. Together, we must support the dreams of good and decent people who are working to transform a troubled region. And by doing so, we will advance the high ideals on which this institution was founded.

Thank you for your time. God bless."


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Friday, September 22, 2006

Mexico, my Mexico!!

Reconnoitering in our new neighborhood of Ealing, having just handed over deposit on the New Place (or, in British, 'New Plaice'), we stumbled onup an establishment that insisted - absolutely insisted, via its decor and menu and Spanish-accented staff - that it was a Mexican restaurant.

We knew better, of course.

There is no Mexican food in The Britain.

HOW TO BECOME A MILLIONAIRE IN THE BRITAIN #1: Open a Mexican restaurant that actually serves Mexican food.

Still, our morbid curiosity got the better of us. We are Los Angelenos. We need our Mexican food.

We need it.

We knew for a fact there was little to no chance of eating any Mexican food in the place, but we went in anyway. We were like a drug addict who knows almost for certain that he is about to ripped off by the dealer, but with no other alternative in sight, shuts his eyes puts his head down, and tries to believe in miracles.

There are no miracles in British cuisine.

In an attempt to minimize the psychic damage to come, we limited ourselves to two appetizers - the "nachos with chicken" and the "cheesy chili fries". The nachos, they could have been worse. Slices of red chili peppers were scattered around savory triangular corn chips and - well done, chaps! - actually covered in real melted cheese. The peppers were hot and tasty, but were unlikely ever to have been west of the Prime Meridian. A small pot which contained a loose conglomeration of salsa from jar, sour cream, and guacamole, squatted nearby bravely. The "cheesy chili fries" were ... well, were as expected - french fries / chips sprinkled with a chili powder and dosed with "cheesy" sauce. It's true the cheesy sauce was the color of cheese, but it tasted like mayonnaisse.

Will we learn the lesson? Will we ever accept the fact that there is no Mexican food in Britain? I don't know. But standing at the gates of Hell, your denial can run very deep.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spider Attack!

London has the biggest spiders in the world.

Why didn't anyone tell us this?

Yesterday, we went with the more expensive one-bedroom apartment, by the way, closer to all the amenities, for our new permanent house-hold. After closing the deal, we were as excited and giddy as new homeowners who do not own a new home.

But upon returning to our tiny temporary quarters...

... on the wall ...

... sat ...

... stood? ...

... no, sat, I think ... like the one who sat by Little Miss Muffet ...

... a tarantula as big as a frisbee.

I could have been a tarantula. It might have been a banana spider.

In any case it was gigantic. And brown and hairy. So big and brown and hairy that I assumed it must have come, via our luggage, from the deep California desert.

It lurked at the bottom of the wall, near the baseboard, like some fallen, macrame wall-hanging. Except this fallen, macrame wall-hanging could at any moment leap onto your face and suck the life from you with its sixteen sets of razor sharp pedipalps.

There were no pauses to reflect upon the sanctity of all life, the need to honor and love all sentient beings. No, no. There was screaming, confusion, and commands - shouted simultaneously by Janet and myself, each to the other, to kill the thing at once. Janet has rank on me, so I was the one deployed to the actual combat theater (aka "theatre").

It took a while to select the appropriate killing machine. The thing with moving to another continent is that you don't pack many things your willing to get spider guts on. You've left things like that back home in the trash.

My Internet research suggests that the beast might have been a House Spider (Steatoda grossa). I however have decided to name it Spider Of Shrieking Maelstrom Of Doom (Spiderdoomius shriekius).

Do not make the same mistake we have made. I beg you ...

... Avoid England at all costs. Do not land. Here be dragons.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Horns of a Dilemmer

So what do we do?

Do we take the large one-bedroom just off Ealing Broadway for £1150/month (GREAT location)? Or do we take the medium-sized two-bedroom 10 minutes walk from Ealing Broadway for £1200/month (good location, negotiable)?

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006


You know what the problem with London is?

Too many damned foreigners.

I'm sitting now in this Internet cafe, and I've already heard about 6 different languages - and not a one of them in English.

And it's been like this since we got here.

We get off the airplane at Heathrow, we walk up the concourse to reclaim our baggage, and what do we see out the concourse windows?

747 after 747 after 747 - which would be fine by itself - the 747 is one of the great creations of humankind - the 747 is a work of art, as far as I'm concerne - but it was what was writ on the hulls of these noble and majestic sky-fish that so riled my feathers ...

... "Air France", "Air India", "Air Canada", "Qatar Airways", "PIA" (Pakistan International Airlines), "Air New Zealand", and most vile of all, "Iran Air" (Iran Air had disguised their 747 to look exactly like the other ones, but I saw through their tricks).

When we got out into the main terminal, you could hardly hear yourself think for the clamor of foreign tongues. The place looked like Mos Eisley - costumes and colors and smells from every part of the empire. It took all my determination and world-traveller's guile just to order a coffee from the terminal coffee lounge bar cafe. Why such a trial to order a mere cup of the precious-brown-broth-that-gives-life-and-hope? Because behind the counter was this blond chick from Norway or Holland or someplace who refused to speak without a thick accent.

Luckily, we were rescued by a friendly London cabbie. We were reassured when, in the course of our obligatory taxi-chat, he began to openly discuss some of the problems with the "coloreds".

Or, as he said it, "coloureds". It doesn't matter how you spell it though. They're all the same to me.

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Dear Gang,

Janet and I have arrived safely in London. After nearly 24 hours of snoozing, we have ventured out into Acton, which is like Vermont Ave, south of Sunset Blvd, but with English people and clouds.

Janet (typing away at a station beside me) and I are now in an Internet Cafe - which consists of 6 rows of computer terminals that you can use at the rate of £1/hour. There is a case with cold drinks that you can buy - which, I think, accounts for the "cafe" part of it.

We are confused, tired, cheerful, experiencing occasional waves of stomach-turning horror at what we've done, accompanied by equal waves of stomach-turning excitement. So we're right on track, as far as I can tell.

It's about 7pm local time and it's getting pretty dark out. We are staying in a tiny, but comfortable room at an establishment called "SafeTrap House" , or something along those lines, which looks like it might have been converted from an old Victorian School for Girls. Last night we ate chicken doner kebabs from a local kebab-ist, and cheese, bananas, and McVitie's digestive biscuits bought from a local grocery shop. Janet will meet with the liason from her job tomorrow. We hope to have a permanent dwelling-place-house in 10 days.

I have a headache, because I have had only 4 cups of coffee in the past 48 hours. It's a new abstinence record for me.

I am hit hard by the smell of England. It brings everything back in a flood of memory. "What is that smell? What constitutes this 'fragrance d'Angleterre'?" I wonder, as I tread the overcast streets and try to appear disgruntled so people won't recognize me as a foreigner.

Ah, yes. I know it, that smell.

It's a heady cocktail of cool air, and leaves, and stale cardigans, and diesel fuel. Especially the diesel fuel.

Walking over here to the Internet Cafe, my nose got cold. So I know I'm no longer in Los Angeles.

- Neal R.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

London Underground Map of yesteryear

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Leaving Los Angeles

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Can't write now. Preparing to leave the country.

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L.A. River Vibe


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Friday, September 15, 2006

Cat Dickery Mr. Whittington

Today we were told:

"Your cats cannot come to England. You will have to learn to live without them. It's not our fault. It's the lab's fault."

Or words to that effect.

After several nasty phone calls to the veterinarian's office, and a threatening letter, and much praying for Divine Intervention...

... well, it all worked out. Just like it always does.

And the cats will, in fact, be coming to England - as planned. And we - thank Bast and the Sphinx - will not have to learn to live without them.

It is very possible that I today have packed more things into boxes than a person who packs things into boxes for a living might have packed into boxes today.

Listening to Rush songs real loud can help you pack.

This would be "2112" that's on now ...

... and it's on real loud.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

L.A. Dreams Goodbyes

When I came to Los Angeles in Sept. 1985, I had hopes and dreams.

I was beginning my college days, attending a university with the most respected cinema program in the world. I had a couple scholarships to help defer the hefty tuition, including a National Merit Scholarship. I wanted to be a famous film director - or a poet, if the film director thing didn't pay off. Self-esteem had never been a strong suit of mine, and despite people telling me the contrary, I always felt dumb as post. Still, since I was in 6th grade, I had a firm conviction that not only did film directors actually exist somewhere in the world, but that I could very easily be one of them. The more I studied, the more I learned, the more I began to see that undertaking such an occupation was a very real option. When film school professors whispered praises in my ears, my certain success was confirmed.

It is years later. I have been a paid screenwriter. I have made heaps of cash in the Spec Sale 1990's. I have had a house in the Hollywood Hills. I have been arrested on Sunset Boulevard for drunk driving.

Somewhere along the way, the one thing that I came here for, the directing part, has escaped me.

Or, to be more honest, I have escaped it.

Yes, try as the gods might to hand me opportunities, I have evaded them at every turn.

One of my favorites was when a notable production company began talks with me about directing The Common Vampire - my low-budge, Scorsese-esque vampire script (I know, you also have your own low-budge, Scorsese-esque vampire script - tough luck, I got in first). I did everything I could, short of shitting on the producer's desk, to avoid following through with that offer.

As John Cassavetes said to Martin Scorsese: "In order to catch the ball, you have to want to catch the ball."

I have had so much blind faith - or stupidity, one might call it (and a healthy dose of stupidity is an asset for long-term success in any artistic enterprise) - during my time here in L.A. It is galling to see how much utter dread and fear have been lurking beneath it, taking a secret step back for every step I appear to take forward. When I have visited friends from my Ohio high school years, they always remark: "Wow. You always said you were going to go to L.A. and get into movies. And then you really did it! Wow." And I stare back at them, a little baffled, and think: "Of course, I did it. Did you think I was kidding?" and I feel my heart sag a little when I realize that when they were articulating their big dreams back in the 1980's, they were only kidding.

I have made films with the Alpha 60 collective, done the video podcasts here on the blog, experimented with moving images on my own. But this is still sketching, training, exercising. It is not what I came here to do. Asked a couple decades ago what the status of my motion picture career would be in 2006, the projected future would not have been a question of whether or not I had directed a film, but whether I had received Academy Awards for Directing AND Writing yet (having become quite familiar with our beloved Academy over the past few years, and having attended a number of the shows, the prospect of winning an Oscar has become increasingly less interesting to me however)(I don't think that's sour grapes)(or is it?).

So, I'd better get on it, huh? Better roll up my sleeves and get on that sucker?

The irritating thing I've noticed - and to my chagrin, continue to notice - is that my life here in Los Angeles seems to have had some kind of subtle guiding principle behind it - that is, I seem to have been led and guided in spite of my ambitions. And I believe more and more - and this too is irritating - that my ambitions are sometimes a road to misery and chaos and death - a roadmap for taking me directly to the places I'd rather not go. So I've learned then to soften my grip on the reins, to trust that the horse has traveled this path more often than I and that he may not need second by second guidance to get me to the destination. In fact, my constant commands will probably end with him bucking me into the ditch and spoiling what might have been an enjoyable ride.

On Saturday, my wife and I will be moving to London, which is in England.

For years and years I have said that I would like to live in London, England - home of my foremothers and grandsires - but couldn't tell you exactly how that would come about. Now, here we are, about to leave this L.A. that I've become very cozy-comfy with over the past 20 years, and I couldn't really tell you exactly how it happened. It just...happened. Step by step, revelation by revelation. This thing that seems to always be taking care of the big picture - cagey bastard that it is - is subtle and quiet, and not to be denied.

I am very, very, very blessed. And I am very, very, very ordinary.

So the future? My future? Our future? On Saturday, we will get on the plane at LAX. When we land at Heathrow, we will get off the plane. That's about as far as I'm willing to plan ahead these days.

Still, as I leave Los Angeles, in Sept. 2006, I have hopes and dreams.


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Singular Los Angeles


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Monday, September 11, 2006

Reichstag Fire Photo


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Sunday, September 10, 2006


Big fire at Reichstag

Monday February 28, 1933

The Guardian

Berlin was thrown into great excitement last night by two fires - the one at the Reichstag building (the German Parliament) and the other at the former Imperial Palace.

Fire broke out at the Reichstag shortly after 9 p.m., and burned so fiercely that within an hour the main hall in which representatives of the German people meet when Parliament is in session was completely destroyed. Flames leaping from the great glass dome surmounting the building could be seen for miles around, and attracted huge crowds to the scene.

Police in full force on horseback and on foot kept the crowd back, while all the fire brigades in Berlin poured water on to the flames.

Searchlights on building

The building was surrounded by the fire-fighting appliances, and high ladders were run up the walls and illuminated by searchlights. Firemen directed streams of water into the burning building, and hoses were run in through the numerous entrances to the seat of the fire, in the main session hall.

It is believed (says an Exchange Berlin telegram) that the fire was due to arson, as it commenced at five or six different points simultaneously. A man was arrested in the building . He was found clad only in his trousers.

A Reuter telegram says that the fire was started by heaps of documents which were set alight in six different places. The police assert that Communists are responsible, and apart from the man who was arrested there were several other people in the building, although the Reichstag is not in session.

Wild Rumours

The wildest rumours were circulating in Berlin last night, adds Reuter. One was to the effect that secret orders had been issued to the Nazi Storm Troopers to create a Bartholomew night on Saturday, when all political opponents of renown were to be "disposed of."

Although the police asserted the Communists are responsible, some people think that the fire might have been started by irresponsible Nazis with the object of provoking trouble.

The fires were extinguished at 10.45 p.m. The session hall presents a scene of desolation with all the deputies' seats, diplomats', public, and press galleries destroyed, and all the iron pillars supporting the dome twisted out of shape.

The fire brigade state that the fire must have started at several points. It developed with extraordinary rapidity and began to find its way downstairs to the rooms below.

Communist Leaders Arrested

The police, "suspecting the conflagration to be the first of a series of Communist acts of terrorism," have arrested a number of Communist leaders "in order to forestall any attempt to cover up tracks."

The man who was discovered in the Reichstag building and arrested is stated to be a Dutchman named Van der Luebbe, aged 24. He is said to have confessed that he started the fire, but denied that he was acting as anyone's agent. It is added that he said he used his shirt as firing material.

The police found a rag steeped in petrol as they entered the building, and the arrested man's cap was found close to other firing material. He has been conducted to police headquarters, where he is being subjected to a thorough examination. His manner had been extremely calm and self-possessed throughout.

Herr Hitler, Herr Göring, Herr von Papen, and other prominent persons including Prince August Wilhelm, entered the building whilst it was still burning, and Herr Goring, President of the Reichstag and "Commissarial" Minister for the Interior in Prussia, took command of the police and issued orders to keep the crowds at a distance.

If the new Reichstag is summoned after next Sunday's elections it is unlikely to be able to meet in the Reichstag building owing to the extensive damage done by the fire.

Palace Fire

The fire at the former Imperial Palace broke out earlier in the day in an attic, and was quickly subdued by the fire brigade before any damage had been done. The police suspect arson, as burnt matches were found in the attic.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - XI


How many times does a woman laugh
In a day?

The survey I read
Said twenty.

How do they know

Where one laugh ends,
The next begins?

Can the animals be taught to laugh?

Can machines be?

Or what about weeping?

To hear my lady laugh recalls
This world is in every way perfect


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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Friday, September 08, 2006

L.A. Ffito



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8 Days To London

We have our tickets now. Two tickets. Each of us - both of us - have tickets ...

... to London.

We are committed. We didn't have tickets until yesterday. Until yesterday there was the slim chance we could back out, could push back our departure date yet again. But we're locked in now.

We deliberately waxed nostalgic on our drive back from PetCo this afternoon. We had bought a new pet carrier for Cat #3 and were both feeling it - the keen reality of the move.

How wonderful that we live on the shores of Griffith Park, within line of sight of the Griffith Observatory. I could look out the window and see the Observatory now. Hold on. I'm going to do it ...

... HOLY CRAP! The Observatory is in FLAMES!!!

Ha ha! Just joshin'!

The Observatory is still there looking down on all of us, and still grumbling about how all anyone ever asks is "So what was James Dean really like?" The Observatory just hates that. "Why don't you ever ask about my periscope? Or my fascinating collection of moon rocks? Why don't you ask me if the recent renovation was painful? No one cares. It's just always 'James Dean, James Dean, James Dean'!"

Come to think of it, the Observatory is kind of whiner. I'm not going to miss the Observatory at all.

But I will miss...
  1. good Mexican food
  2. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful people
  3. the New Beverly Cinema
  4. endless coffee shops
  5. Golden Apple Comics
  6. In & Out Burger
  7. House of Pies
  8. Latino culture
  9. our big Los Feliz apartment
  10. The Pacific

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - X


I was so afraid -
yes, more afraid
than I have ever
ever ever ever ever
ever ever ever ever
ever ever ever ever
ever ever been
before, ever.

Or am I being melodramatic again?


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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Velocicat In A Crate

Vladia V.


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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - IX


Van Helsing unfastened the coffin lid,
peeled the crucifix from the bone-white brow.
He pulled the garlic from the rust-flecked mouth,
careful not to touch the teeth.
He stitched back on the severed head,
and he blotted up evidence of Holy Water,
and, full of care, he heaved free the hammer-frayed stake,
like Excalibur from the nameless stone.

Rolling up his sleeves, he said:

"Now here comes the hard part."


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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Monday, September 04, 2006

England Yard Sale

Yesterday was the "Yard Sale To End All Yard Sales".

Of course, I've noticed that every Yard Sale we have is "The Yard Sale To End All Yard Sales".

Once again, my credibility is hanging by a thread. And it really is hanging by a thread this time.

Two weeks. That's how long we have left in Los Angeles, California, USA. But that's not going to stop us from having even more Yard Sales. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we get another 5 to 10 Yard Sales in before we take off for England.

We may very well have a Yard Sale on the morning of our flight. Why not?

Usually when you create any sort of "Time Capsule" - set something aside, put something out of sight, with the hope that it will take you by surprise years hence and give you a hit of nostalgia - usually it never works out because, as easy as it is for us to fool ourselves, there is still a part of the brain that remembers the creation of the Time Capsule, and secretly counts down the years, months, days to its excavation.

But my wife and I had altogether forgotten the message we left to the world, markered on the underside of the low drawer of an IKEA dresser we built together 2 1/2 years ago. The message came to light again yesterday as we hauled the IKEA dresser piece by piece out to the yard, for purchase by strangers.

The message:
(in my wife's handwriting)


(and, in my handwriting)


My wife didn't remember writing the message, even after seeing the proof. But she is a big CSI fan and thorough handwriting analysis finally convinced her that it was indeed we who had writ it. I did remember. But I truly had not thought about that February day's IKEA construction nightmare one single time in the intervening years. Like Mr. Bernstein in "Citizen Kane", not a month goes by that I don't think about that girl on the ferry with a yellow parasol, but I hadn't once thought about our crazy bottom of the IKEA dresser message.

And so, all that forgetting - two and half years of forgetting - created, yesterday, a vivid, nostalgia-saturated rush - a shock - of memory and, more importantly, tangible proof that I have existed. That on February 22, 2004, I really existed. The knowledge that I did exist and that I continue to exist ... strangely comforting.

Is memory like pain & pleasure, hot & cold, heads & tails? Is it necessary that I forget - thoroughly, thoroughly forget - in order to fully, totally experience the revelation of remembering?

Leaving L.A. - leaving the USA altogether - I am heartsick to think that some of my comrades here will continue to exist - maybe for the rest of my life - only in my memory. I don't want to forget them. But if their memories are to be preserved, to be kept fresh for the long term, maybe I have to.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Razor L.A.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

12 Poems Of Joy - VIII


She looked at the floor and wall and was uncomfortable,
and I did not smile.
I did not say her name.

She told me her family secret,
and I made a joke of it,
and we laughed.

She spat and snarled
and made claws.
I shrugged and looked away.

God, how can I ever atone for my sins?


read all 12 Poems Of Joy


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Friday, September 01, 2006

Dry Eye In The House

Self Portrait

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