nothing in here is true

  1. Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    we’re gonna get through this 

    i promise

    just hang in there.

    since everyone keeps wanting to talk about the good book, heres just another lesson i have learned from reading that thing every sunday for the last 25+ years

    shit takes time

    in the bible there are numbers and some of those numbers are symbolic. one of the most symbolic numbers is 40

    40 years the jews were in the wilderness trying to get back home.

    40 days and 40 nights the rains came down during the flood.

    40 just means “hella long”.

    we are in that hella long period right now and it may seem like 40 years but it’s not. it just feels like it. we can make it. we can survive. and once we survive we can thrive. so just hang in there during this storm of hate and ignorance and cruelty.

    this is the time that character is developed and long-lasting bonds are created and the evil is separated from the good.

    unlike one of my favorite flaming lips songs, i believe that good will prevail.

    the cubs won, love won, good will win.

  2. Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    adios, history 

    yesterday amber an i went to the LA Times because we learned that there were only two official tours remaining of the building before the paper moves to El Segundo.

    thankfully my boss understood that im insane and the only days off that i want are for weird things like this and not trips to maui.

    but to get a tour of a fascinatingly rich and complex building like the LA Times from a 40-year veteran of the paper like Darrell Kunitomi is a priceless gift.

    he has seen it all, met everyone, worked with everyone, and experienced all the very high highs and extremely low lows of the greatest paper west of Manhattan.

    it was a bittersweet tour because with every fact, photograph, and piece of equipment was an asterisk that said THIS TOO WILL BE GONE WHEN THEY MOVE.

    the root of the problem was executive after executive from Chicago has done its best to ruin the LA Times, plunder its riches, lay off its people, and finally sell its majestic building and hoard the profits.

    so now the paper is a tenant in a building that they also share with the likes of Uber(!) and they are forced to pay $2 million a month in rent. meanwhile the new owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong owns a building by LAX and he would rather spend millions renovating it so that the paper can work in a modern place… rent free.

    because life is crazy, it just so happened that Dr. Patrick (as people now call him) was in the building yesterday because he was officially announcing the sale and the new Executive Editor. the newsroom was joyous with anti-Tronc signs, cake, and bubbly.

    the tour was not allowed to join in the celebration, as this was their moment, which is understandable, but damn did i want to be in there with some of my former colleagues. The Mayor even showed up.

    i did splinter off from the group when we made it to the Entertainment section which is where the Sports Dept used to be. Gerrick Kennedy, Randall Roberts, and Alison Dingeldein all greeted me and i got to chat briefly with my pal Todd Martens.

    when we finished the tour Amber and I were filled with emotion because… that’s it. That cool building will be ruined, basically, with stupid condos or offices that will not change the city the way a 100+ year old paper can. and all the memories that people with way more time spent on Spring Street will be heard and not seen.

    so we went to the nearby Redwood Bar, where Timesmen and Timeswomen have escaped to since the days of rotary phones. and there we hid out in the dark, listening to classic rock, and eating fish tacos.

    i love the LA Times so much and the people who made it and make it what it was and is and it’s so sad that this sad story never ends. even with a prince of a billionaire trying to make things better. maybe it will be better. maybe the new place will be a turning point.

    lets hope.

  3. Saturday, June 16, 2018

    i drove a big powerful movie executive on thursday 

    everything about her was smooth.

    perfectly dressed. great sunglasses.

    picked her up somewhere classy, dropped her off at a studio.

    the whole time she was on the phone with this one and that one

    and she was happy and smart and eloquent

    and so insightful about this big director

    and how to tell in an email if he had been drinking

    because if he had you can disregard the tone.

    she and i never talked but by piecing together the cast of characters

    it was easy to find her imdb.

    and when i got to where she had started in hollywood

    i totally understood why she had such an even keeled disposition.

    cuz that show was incredible.

    even though i worked at e! and now where i do,

    i have learned way more about hollywood from driving people in an out of century city

    for uber

    because these people are always on the phone

    and this city is way smaller than it appears.

    i just wish i knew who they were first because we would have better convos.

  4. Friday, June 15, 2018

    all lies matter 

    when politicians start using the bible to explain why they are doing sinful things, it’s time for everyone to start reading the Good Book so they can put these lying liars in their place.

    yesterday the Atty General and then the Press Secretary attempted to use the Bible to explain why this administration is ripping babies from their mothers as they are seeking asylum in the so called Greatest Country in the World.

    these self proclaimed Conservative Christians – a term that is contradictory in every imaginable sense – turn a blind eye to the origin story of Jesus, who as soon as he was born had to haul ass out of Israel and into Africa because the King wanted to kill him because he was a threat to his administration.

    A days-old Jesus was seeking refuge. A stranger in a strange land. And that experience he used as an example in his teachings about other refugees. He even reminded the Jews that they were once immigrants in Egypt when there was a famine in Israel.

    FUCKING BE COOL TO EACH OTHER is the overwhelming theme of Jesus’s teachings.

    love your neighbor

    love your enemy

    love the poor just like you love yourself.

    reading the bible without paying attention to Jesus’s life and teachings is like listening to Van Halen without paying attention to the guitar.

    the guitar, sorry Michael Anthony, is what Van Halen is all about.

    Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is what Christianity is all about.

    He healed the sick, he didn’t lock em up.

    He fed the hungry, he didn’t kick them back to King Herod to get killed.

    He solved problems, he didn’t wipe his hands to them.

    I know there’s worse evil in the world, but this DC, GOP evil is something i never expected in 2018.

  5. Thursday, June 14, 2018

    theres a thing called ‘voice’ that people like to talk about 

    and i get it, in theory, that in writing there is a particular tone that one could read into a blog post, an article, a report, ect

    and that’s nice, but where i come in conflict with some

    it is when i say it doesnt matter.

    when i was at the Times, i tried to convince as many desks as i could that they should consider group blogs as opposed to individual ones.

    i explained that tonypierce.com was pretty successful at a point, for a one man show, but i never really understood the power of a group blog until i was at LAist.

    there you could get lots of different points of view and

    OMG lots of different voices

    and that diversity is what brought in a larger audience.

    any time someone brought up a blog or a site that had a detectable voice, i brought up two that were rollicking group blogs with no unified voice.

    it wasn’t until two of our group blogs, the local news LA Now, and the Fabulous Forum sports blog, broke out once they started writing a bunch of stories a day.

    those successes allowed me to say with confidence that IF you believe in voice,

    then you should also encourage a chorus, which, when it is in tune, can create a more powerful emotion.

    but me – i don’t believe the audience is loyal. and i believe that they are clicking clicking clicking hundreds of times in between visits to your incredible web destination.

    and during those clicks they are hearing one different voice after another – and they love it. how do i know? because they keep clicking.

    what will keep them clicking within your web site / instagram feed / blog, isn’t a tone or a style similar to the one they just read

    but kickass posts, one after another, with interesting information that they can’t get anywhere else,

    with fascinating photos or graphics or charts.

    internet users are bombarded with conflicting, contradicting, ugly beautiful images and messages. the fact that you have 9 pink pictures in a row with some lilting sentences

    is not why someone will return.

    you impressing their friends will.

    and what impresses their friends is learning something shareable before you do.

  6. Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    been reading Oscar Levant’s “the memoirs of an amnesiac” 

    he’s talking about taking a train into LA’s union station

    and how when he does he always goes to this newsstand and asks for a new yorker.

    but one day the lady at the newsstand really rubs him the wrong way when she tells him she’s all out of new yorkers.

    after that he vows to go to “an inferior newsstand” to avoid dealing with her ever again.

    because he was a concert pianist, the new yorker would review his concerts and sometimes give him bad reviews.

    it got me thinking how hard it is to write a good bad music review. you dont want to utterly destroy the performer, but you want to be colorful and entertaining. but ultimately you are judging the most subjective thing there is: art.

    when i was at the record store in the mid 80s there were two bands that were bubbling under. fishbone and the red hot chili peppers.

    both were good and funky and creative and fun and funny and all the things youd want if you were 18 like i was.

    and if you had asked me: one of these bands is going to get huge and be a world wide sensation through the year 2018, which one would it be?

    i would have said Fishbone, no question. Because as good as the Chili Peppers is, 18 year old me woulda said, ultimately they are derivative of PFunk mixed with a little more rock, but still white dudes doing fast funk.

    and i would have been wrong. and their biggest tune, “under the bridge”, would have proven me a fool because it isnt funk and it isnt fast.

    which is why i would add, it’s tough to make a good bad music review… that stands up to the test of time.


  7. im at a social media conference today 

    i dont go to a lot of conferences.

    its like church, though, i might avoid it, but im always glad once im there.

    the problem is when the successful people talk either they dont know how they got successful

    or no way in hell are they gonna tell you the secret

    for free

    right there in front of everyone else.

    i like to go for the snacks.

    this year the clear winner is this blueberry fig bar.

    imagine a Fig Newton but made of healthy ingrediants

    and the size of a small wallet.

    sat outside for lunch yesterday, took off my cubs hat and 20 minutes later i got a pretty good tan/burn. shoulda used sunscreen.

    back in the day i spoke at a conference or two. i won an award at a conference. probably got the job to work at LAist because of a conference.

    but the thing about social media is there are no secrets there.

    if you go for it, you will reap rewards because most of the scene is half-assing it.

    same way most of the blogosphere half assed it. which is why they stopped blogging.

    those that go all out in social win, not because of algorithms or posting at a particular time of day

    but because they are fully committed and will try anything

    including some of the dumbest things ever, i cant believe youd brag about it at a conference.

    the weirdest thing is the traffic. it took nearly an hour and a half to get from santa monica to east hollywood at around 6.

  8. Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    i say live your life 

    i say if you wanna cheat at Mario Bros, then thats you

    i say if you wanna drive like an asshole, do it

    i mean it’s tougher to be nice to people and polite and let people get in front of you on a crowded LA street during rush hour

    trying to get from west LA under the 405 to the east side

    and a real superhero would be able to do it with good tunes bumpin

    hand holdin

    speaker phoning

    but others wanna honk and flash and throw up the middle fingers.

    what can i do.

    this guy wasnt paying attention and  tried to make it through the intersection over by the VA

    but nope, nothing was moving so he ended up blocking traffic.

    this other guy couldnt get around him so he started honking.

    first guy goes, what am i supposed to do?

    honker yells dont be a moron next time.

    which doesn’t really make sense because…

    and i had the sun roof open and now i see a little color on my bald head which is funny.

    and almost exactly what summer is supposed to be.

  9. Sunday, June 10, 2018

    this was a tough week 

    careful readers may have noticed that i hadnt updated in almost a full week.

    not sure that has ever been done in the history of this blog, but as soul asylum said about records

    they were made to be broken.

    when bad things happen we get to take a good hard look at what things matter.

    we get to rewind the tape and see if we we missed any signs.

    did Fred not wanna go see Solo with me because he was depressed or because Star Wars films are becoming less special?

    playing detective with our memories is an interesting game for a little while but only if it changes our behaviors going forward. how can we become better friends, boyfriends, employees, neighbors, strangers?

    it’s weeks like these that make me wonder about little moments that make my day: when people are nice in traffic, when an old man shakes his head at a bad parker, when a homeless man tells me a funny and unexpected joke, when i read a funny comment on reddit, when an old song from the past gets reunited with my insatiable ears, when i feel at home out in the streets.

    how can we be in the world so that we put a smile on other people’s faces as we continue slouching towards bethlehem?

    theres very little in this world that i have truly wanted that i have not received. and i am so grateful to that.

    right now my phone is streaming a recording of Czech pianist leading a Mozart concerto. the music is being sent through the air to a Marshall speaker that looks like one of their famous guitar amps. my cat is purring at my lap and soon i will be reading the Bible from an iPad.

    we are living in some of the weirdest and yet magical periods of time.

    i am so grateful.

    and i am committed to being a good spirit in this dance.

  10. Monday, June 4, 2018

    and sometimes the devil wins 

    i know i write a lot about the Bible.

    i do it because i am surrounded by the most interesting, most well-read and brilliant minds, but they refuse to read the most misunderstood tome ever.

    sometimes the devil wins.

    i do it because i am the least interesting, least well-read, confused mind, and i am fascinated by it.

    for a so-called book of propaganda, page after page reflects a basic human condition: rebellion.

    either corrupt leaders are rebelling against What Is Obviously Right, men are cheating on their wives, the powerful are enslaving the poor, or the privileged are refuting what they have experienced in favor of what is poisonous for them.

    ignorance, fear, foolishness… whatever their motivating roots,  in the Bible, just like in life, people themselves are often their worst enemies.

    and the devil wins.

    some propaganda when chapter after chapter tribes and cultures would rather make wooden idols and pray to them instead of following the God who oversees miracle after miracle.

    some propaganda when the Son of God appears and is ridiculed and mocked and shunned by even those who see him work his magic up close.

    some propaganda when there is rarely an ah-ha moment by any of the main characters in the New Testament, and those who were faithful are portrayed as insane, criminal, and whores.

    i believe the Bible because it keeps it so real that even the impossible to believe parts don’t seem so wild because what is more confounding than to constantly listen to the devil in your head instead of the angel in front of you

    ride or die.

    critics say God shows very little love for his people in the bible: he floods them, shuns them from the Garden, plays deadly games with them, asks them to Believe with zero proof

    and i agree there are very few scenes where Jesus or Moses or David takes a child or a hater or anyone on his lap and strokes their hair and says, “I love you so much, I wish I could connect with you, I wish you could see what I see when I see you.”

    but the Bible isn’t a cheesy movie. it isn’t Hollywood. it isn’t all the phony baloney melodrama we’ve grown accustomed to. it is a reflection of real life, real relationships, and real struggles and rarely do those include some poetic soliloquy

    and ironically there are very few come to Jesus moments.

    what there is is a general theme of patience.

    God is frustrated by his creations from the first couple and then again by their kid who kills their other kid. and on and on and on.

    At first He’s like fuuuuuuuck these people and wipes them almost all out, but realizes that isn’t gonna solve anything. and the rest of the book is about God trying his best not to slaughter every last asswipe himself.

    but damn if the devil doesn’t win page after page after page.

    without even trying.

    just by being there.

    just by being Bad.

    humans are so attracted to Bad and Fear and Sadness and Misery in the good book – and in life – that they feel more comfort and safety in it than with Love or Peace or Unity or even being a good neighbor.

    every ugly violent act is portrayed in the bible – while beauty is rare.

    but when it does happen it startles even Jesus.

    one of my favorite stories, which seems ridiculous out of context, but when framed by all the suspicion and confusion of the Gospels is when a woman makes her way though the throngs to get near Jesus.

    for 12 years she was, basically, a hemophiliac – she couldn’t stop bleeding.

    she thinks to herself, “if I can just touch him, I will be healed.” so when she finally gets close enough, she touches the hem of his clothes and she is instantly healed. he can feel it all through her body.

    Jesus felt the power leave him too and turns around and says to the crowd, “who touched me?”

    some wise guy said – and im paraphrasing, “bro look around at this giant crowd, everyone is touching you.”

    but the woman, knowingly, but afraid, gets on her knees crying, admitting it was her.

    and Jesus, in one of the most loving moments he will have, says,

    “because of your Faith you are healed. go in peace.”

    the devil doesn’t always have to win.

    he wins a LOT but not always and sometimes it’s the smallest things that we are all capable of

    that can bring healing to our lives.

    but what the story of the bleeding woman teaches me is

    sometimes you just have to walk,

    for once,

    towards Good.