Sharks in Baghdad By The Bay


No place on earth – this one or any other in the universe  – is as peculiar as Baghdad By The Bay.

Several years ago The City gave everyone a little compost bucket, to discourage using the left-over machine shark that shreds what’s left of food and sends it got-knows-where that’s probably not good for the earth..

My tenants took mine. Would I be caught by the Disposal Police if I turned the disposal on to scrape the little clumps of oatmeal that didn’t make it into my mouth.

I turned on my disposal. Nothing. Like a car that’s lost its battery, I turned the crank again. And again.

A smell pervaded the kitchen. I pushed the ‘restart’ button on the bottom [this NEVER works] and whips of smoke crept out the bottom edge of the machine.

I started off for Discount Builders Supply, 7 am in the morning . . . I was the ONLY woman, except for check-out clerks. Why didn’t i think of this before? Forget match.com. I like men in belts . . .

Never mind. I’m off subject. Returned home and Renato my handyman gift from another country installed the new one. Then, I needed to get some vinegar at Trader Joe’s.

I walked up Brannan. By the time I returned back, I had to weave myself through a demonstration of Janitors assembling in front of the Jewelry Mart.

Someone tried to hand me a sign with “Janitors Deserve Health” printed in crimson letters. I’d spent the morning cleaning stuff, but next time I’ll take off my sweatshirt before venturing out the door.


Please Follow This Blog . . . it might be famous someday.

Walking on Beaches at Night with Men.


J and T had dinner on the pier. J remembered that it was not in her best interest to order capellini pomodoro, so she ordered the clam-chowder-sour-dough bowl and vowed that if she had to share the oyster crackers, she would. T had the rib eye, creamed spinach and, when offered the basket of warm rolls, refused. The conversation ranged from the discovery that Einstein was right ­– relativity is real – to the proper way to fold a fitted bed sheet – Martha Stewart’s version is difficult for a dyslexic to get past step one.

After the Lava cake and some mighty espresso, the two ventured down to the sand. The moon was a slice short of full; seagulls were foraging for the buried remnants of PBandJ sandwiches on organic wheat bread and Dorito specks. J and T stepped over abandoned buckets then moved closer to the moveable line between dry and wet.

J stepped on a plastic rake, causing her to lose her balance [all those Pilates classes didn’t help at all] and fall on the knee-from-hell. Then, as if it had been waiting for her, a wave aimed its foamy fingers at her and struck with such force that her glasses sprang off her head.

T tried to help, but not if his Gucci 1953 horsebit crocodile loafers would be baptized by a primal sea. He waited until the water drew back, grasped J’s hand and lifted her out of the sand.

“My glasses. Can you see them?”

T was at a loss. Had she been wearing glasses? He hadn’t noticed.

J vowed that never again would she walk on the beach in the moonlight, after dinner, with a man on the first date.

She would consider lunch.

Photo: Myra Alex

The Life-Or-Death Round-Eye Clutter Buster

December 29. 8:00 a.m. My daughter informs me that Omar, the Painter, will arrive on Wednesday to paint my room.

“My room” is yellow. I’ve been here for three years, temporarily. The encampment – a tale of unfaithful former spouses and boyfriends – is the subject for another day.

It is now 1:15 pm.

I’m hearing voices. “Why don’t you follow the “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Japanese Method”?

I have developed the Life-Or-Death-Round-Eye-Clutter-Buster Method. No Zen. Not an ounce of organization.

Simply stated, “What would happen to this [book, knick-knack, scarf, Nixon T-shirt, golden sealing wax, or collection of 351 #2 Ticonderoga pencils] . . . IF I WERE DEAD?”

I picture my daughters, one holds the plastic popping Santa I’ve had since 1968. The other, waves a scarf an old lover bestowed upon me after his visit to Paris, with another woman.  At their feet, the cast-iron popover pan, bequeathed to me by my father [DO NOT EVER use soap and water].


All right. I’m dead.

And so it goes. Today I died a thousand deaths.


Rudy | Eavesdropping on the Master


It happened so fast. One minute Rudy was following Dasher and Dancer down the hall, then he slipped on the ice that his mates had tracked in and now he was splayed up against the wall to the conference room. He knew it was rude to eavesdrop, but after all, Santa was the master.*

*“He sees you when you’re sleeping.
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been good or bad
So be good for goodness sake.”

Fred Coots
Copyright: Toy Town Tunes Inc.

The words were muffled, but Santa’s rich baritone penetrated the oaken door. “I wouldn’t call them a ‘team’ per se,” Santa said. “They are a preternatural entity the elves concocted for convenience. The one with the cold should learn how to blow his nose.”

When Rudy heard this, was he shocked to learn that he would be cast aside as an inauthentic aberration? Would he be the first to feel be downsized? Just because he had the sniffles?

jobs-santa-1040cs012412Actions have consequences. Rudy had refused to be vaccinated for Lyme disease. According to PolitiFact, this half true. There is no vaccination for the disease, or the common cold. The idea for his replacement was only an agenda item under unfinished business. Now, was true that someone had suggested his position be given to a drone with a solar-powered proboscis?

Hearing this, however, was enough to send his brain spinning so fast it turned his red nose, blue.

Disaster averted.

December 4 Episode

Rudy | The Unofficial Novella


Chapter One | Resignation

“I quit.”

The words were printed on a brown paper bag. The letters were crude, scratched from what appeared to be the mud from just outside the barn. A tiny, debossed stamp of a deer’s hoof served as the signature. The bag sat on the Claus’s kitchen table, surrounded by two-dozen salt lick angel cookies and a wilting bouquet of mistletoe. It was the day after the day after Christmas, 2017.

Chapter Two | Rudy | Making Hay

Nobody knows the exact second on the atomic clock when Rudy weakened. Or what form that final straw took.

Theories flooded in from the usual subterranean provinces as well as the ethereal. One farmer reported that it was not one, but thousands of organic missiles snatched up from wheat fields that hadn’t been bailed.

The winds of that tornado would hold the title of ‘storm of the century’ for ten days, until a bigger one scraped across the earth.

There was no last straw. Rudy’s noble soul was pierced by a byproduct of cereal.

He was hit by the hay.

Chapter Three | Ancestry Matters

Rudy comes from a long line of loyal and true steeds, a fact first noted by none other than Charles Darwin, who made a clandestine journey to Lapland in the winter of 1835. Following his Indian summer voyage of discovery to the Galapagos, there was such a brew-ha-ha about the idea that the sweet red-breasted robin’s Jurassic ancestor could have been a Velociraptor, that Chuck hesitated to tell anyone what he was up to at the tippy top of the planet.

His intention was to test his aerodynamic mammal theory as it applied to the Norse and Germanic mythology. He hid copious notes in the flyleaf of his red-leather journal, which he placed in a secret drawer of his roll top desk. His wife [and first cousin] Emma donated the desk to a museum and nobody opened the drawer until 2016.

thor-mjolnir-hammer-chariot-goats-norse-mythology-godsNow we know that Darwin had surmised that Rudy’s ancestors were massive, horned beasts that pulled Thor, the mighty god of Thunder across the sky in a chariot on freezing winter nights. This suited Santa, who acknowledged a fondness for the thunder god’s bellowing “Ho Ho Ho”. However, amateur Norwegian rune translators had mistakenly dubbed the beasts ‘goats’ not reindeer – a tragic example of semantic disaster. Darwin tried to correct the mistake, but he didn’t have access to DNA analysis.

Rudy did. He sent his sample to Ancestry.com. Soon after he received the results, left his resignation on Santa’s kitchen table.


to be continued . . .

Saving Daylight is for the Birds


I was a scarlet macaw in one of my past lives, a captive in a Paquime Indian village, long before the Spanish brought smallpox and Catholicism to Pueblo adobe dwellers in Mexico.

My hypothesis is not based on my appearance in this life. Perhaps a hint on Halloween, when I paint a featherless face and don crimson plumage. No vestigial physical attributes support my theory, except for the macaw’s massive beak. My jaw has been known to crack down on more than one misinformed political nut.

Every fall, I am reminded of my avian existence via a jolting flashback that follows the 2:00 am “you-get-an-extra-hour” hoax.

At 4:00 pm on Sunday, November 1, I was transported back 1,195 years. I am crushed by fatigue as I watch the seven-year-old girl who captured me approach to drape a mat of woven ferns over my cage.  The memory forces my body clock into a vat of cement. I would bet a million feathers that it’s 10:00 pm.

Alas, it’s only 4:10 in the afternoon. In 2016.

Bad Bad Ben

One more time trip. It’s AD 1783 in Benjamin Franklin’s bedchamber in Paris, France. Witness the birth of his diabolical plan:

Benjamin was awakened by sunlight at 6:00 am. The night before, he’d dined with a family that complained of having to spend hard-earned coin on candles and whale oil to stave off the darkness.

“I looked at my watch, which goes very well, and found that it was but six o’clock; and still thinking it something extraordinary that the sun should rise so early, I looked into the almanac, where I found it to be the hour given for his rising on that day. I looked forward, too, and found he was to rise still earlier every day till towards the end of June; and that at no time in the year he retarded his rising so long as till eight o’clock.”

I can’t make this stuff up. See for yourself.

Daylight Saving Saves . . . whales.

Ben knew that time could not be saved, lost, forgotten, had, spent, or out-ed. Daylight could be tamed by citing Poor Richard’s Almanak’s annual celestial schedule, then moving the hour hand forward or backward on a watch. Need I remind you that said Almanak was written and published by none other than, you guessed it, Ben himself.  Thus began the Saving of Daylight, one of the cleverest propaganda campaigns in history. I’d like add that Ben was the first unsung tree hugging save the baby beluga whale activist.

The Beware the Day After the Ides of March

Our body clocks are going to be stripped of an hour at 2:00 am on March 16, 2016. Our sixty minutes will be returned to us on November 6, 2016, two days before we the people hopefully eliminate the wickedest of presidential and congressional candidates.

If the nuts win, I will conger my ancient bird self, escape from my cage, eat a bushel of grapes, unfold my wings then hurdle through time and space to soar above said wicked heads.

I hope to have enough energy for an aim that’s true.

Uber of Shame

Uber of Sheep

I can’t believe I . . .

In June 2016, I will hold an award ceremony, hosted by Morgan Freeman. Categories will include

  • Best Passenger in a Supporting Role [aka Front Seat GPS Luddite]
  • Farthest [Furthest?]
  • Shortest
  • Weirdest
  • Best Fact-Filled
  • You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up
  • Messiest
  • Grateful
  • Repeater

Award Winning Short Films

The screen goes dark and instead of 45 minutes of previews, short films appear. Some are cartoons –  line drawings morphing from a small child to a fully grown Tyrannosaurus Rex. Others could shine in the  film noir section, circa 1949. Think Maltese Falcon.

These black-and-white glimpses into Saturday night’s one-toke-over-the-liners become my Ubers of Shame on Sunday mornings. I whisper, play Symphony Hall softly and try to make them feel better, just short of menudo. I suggest purchasing a can of  ‘hair of the dog’; or, if they’re not that far down the razor blade to full-blown pro drinker, stopping at a greasy-spoon diner. For those whose destination is somewhere in the vicinity of where they left their car, I congratulate them.

More than once, I couldn’t find mine. Lost my red Ford Falcon Futura convertible somewhere around St Andrews Place in Los Angeles, in 1967. Later, I misplaced my orange VW with mag wheels, in Newport or Laguna, or Costa Mesa – name an Orange County city.

Millennials will never understand what life was like before the “Find my Car” app.

Lyft without the Mustache

Breaking news! I’ve just enrolled to be a Lyft driver. Stay tuned as my life gets an anthropological injection of comparative civilizations

Growing Words

A lot has happened, and not happened, between our first days of horticulture in May, and this day in mid-June. There were bubbles of  joy when the first cucumber leaves appeared above the mulch, like sharp points of green light.

Encouraged, I sowed a second round of seeds between wet paper towels, to give them a head start. I waited one week, then peeked. There were four minuscule shoots.

My joy was short-lived. Like wild baby animal orphan babies who bond with unrelated species, the shoots had imbedded themselves into the paper towels. I tried to unhook one little one after another, but they would not let go.

All right, Mother Nature. Have it your way. I planted the seedlings in the mulch, still attached to their paper placentas. Only one has survived, far below the leaves of his siblings, plants that have started to reach for the trellis I placed in the soil, five minutes after I planted the seeds.

A trellis rising above mounds of ungerminated seeds is the epitome of hope. The cukes are headed upward!

Three and a half weeks after we planted, the back patio teems with hope. Leaves the size of lily pads hover over struggling dill and chives. The carrots are in dire need of culling, but I dare not touch them until the little farmer who left on a trip, returns to choose which stalk to rip from the earth so that the rest may grow.

A garden is hope for the future. A garden is also a cruel place. Every two weeks I enlist an army of ladybugs and charge them with doing unladylike chores – devouring the aphids that chew on the leaves. Carnivorous snails that attack leaf eating snails. The caterpillars? The tower of tomato plants could be under siege from a host of deadly hosts tomato fruit worm, potato aphid, stink bug, leaffooted bug, hornworm, silver leaf whitefly.

So far, no sign of the enemy. Or, Peter Rabbit.

I would knock on some dogwood. Alas, none grow here.

How My Inner Voice Cost Me $125


The party on Saturday was in the cul de sac, so I can’t call it a block party. It had all the trappings of the suburban let-the-kids-play-in-the-street-while-parents-drink-until-silly ‘block party.’

By seven, the group was heading toward ‘silly’ at light speed. I decided to try my first Uber service after dark. Six minutes after I was online, a ping and fare, just two blocks down the hill.

“Would you mind taking me to a recording studio, in Los Angeles?”

Of course not. Off we went. Up through Carson, where my fare had to stop at a Panera Bread to visit the lady’s room. 30 minutes later, I dropped her off at a little studio just off the Golden State Freeway.

Saturday night. Los Angeles. Lots of fares, right? My little inner gremlin crawled out from his bunker and whispered “What are you doing? Get back home. You don’t know the roads, what would happen if you picked up a gang member from Boyle Heights?

I raced to the freeway and was almost back to the OC when my voice of reason took over.

“Do gang members used Uber? If so, go ahead, name one.”

It was late. Even though I was in Orange County, I’d hit the besotted hours, 10 pm to 2 pm.

The voice – “a la Jack Nicholson’s The Shining “Here’s Johnny”  had cost me $140.