do you know ive been doing this nearly 20 years?

how is anything possible?

how is it that this is even alive?

how is it that im even alive?

do you know the things ive done that i havent written in here?

10 years ago next month i nearly died in vegas, like seriously

and i Believe that life is a nice combo of Free Will and Divine Intervention

i think if God or the angels see that we are doing the right thing or our hearts are good and we make THE WORST CHOICE,

he will look out for us.

and if we are smart we will never make that mistake again.

but i also think God wants us to try things. he wants us to stretch out of our comfort zone.

i believe this for a few reasons: first because it feels good, second because thats how we grow, and third because nearly every great story in the Bible is about people stretching.

and then they are rewarded.

when Abraham listened and nearly sacrificed Isaac, when Noah did the outrageousness by trusting and building a giant ark, when (a disguised) Joseph asked his brothers to go get his younger brother… then theres the disciples who dropped what they were doing to follow Jesus.

they all were rewarded for making those out of the ordinary choices, and in doing so they were leading by example.

none of those things were on the Content Calendar, which is why i dont believe in the Content Calendar.

to me the Content Calendar is for trying to look organized for someone else.

because you dont feel confident in your own job.

trust yourself.

and if you dont feel confident then think about why you are listening to the radio station in your head that’s not playing your favorite songs.

i like to hear those old standards “tony you fucking rule” and “tony omg yes!”

all those sad songs about how im too this or not enough that are wickety wickety wack as kris kross used to say.

im here to be a better version than i was last year, which hopefully was better than the year before

and the only way to do that is to

upgrade.

and that starts in the mind.

why we need weirdos in the world

a while back i was not allowed to do the job that i was qualified for, in part because the gatekeeper said

i was “too wild west”

it shocked me a little because i have been fighting my whole life to keep my beating heart inside my body

and try to fit in.

meanwhile ive worked around people who had no problem yelling non-pc names at others and doing crazy things.

and watched as they thrived.

fine.

but when this person told me that all i could say was, but my results were wildly good.

and the person could not disagree.

today i was watching church, because, duh, most crazy people like me love the bible. and the sunday school pastor was trying to describe John the Baptist to the kids. she said he was a bit odd in that he wore shirts made of camel hair and ate grasshoppers and bees.

“but when Jesus wanted to get baptized, people thought, who was holy enough to do it?” and voila they thought about how Jesus and John were related and when John was still in his mommas womb, he lept when he heard Mary talk about Jesus.

he was Jesus’s hype man in utero.

often the PR machine, the biggest fan, the fanatic, is not going to be the one who is cool calm and collected

he or she is going to be the one living the dream, talking that talk, walking that walk, truly enraptured in the spirit.

let the CEO or the accountants sit on their hands, but if you’re lucky enough to have someone so committed to what you or your company is all about that they’ll literally lose their head for you

then let that person do his damn thing.

in Jesus’ case it was to baptise him.

and if you remember, when John lived up to his name and baptized Jesus, “Heaven was opened and [Jesus] saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. Then a voice said from heaven, ‘This is my own dear son with whom I am pleased.’”

Sometimes the weirdo is exactly the man for the job.

is the world ending? yes. but on purpose.

when i was in college — even when i was in the college of creative studies, a place advertised as being an oasis for free thinking and out of the box ideas — i wasn’t always loved by my teachers.

i had one guy who taught a bible as literature class. he didnt like me. not one bit. which was sad because i liked him and that bible class was part of the reason that i have read the bible 4-5 times now all the way through.

in the end of the bible [spoiler alert], the world goes to shit. theres locust the size of horses, riding horses, fucking shit up, plagues, terrible things. for some reason in my minds eye theres molten lava everywhere.

certainly not an environment where you could get good cell phone reception or high internet speeds.

so in class we were reading Matthew 5. and in my paper (only papers in this class, no tests, hallelujah) i ask, “why is Matthew saying the meek are going to be rewarded with the Earth. does someone really aspire to get a gift that will be fucked up to shit with locust riding locusts roaming about and other creatures like this one that “rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth the mouth of a lion.”

if a cockroach rises up from the sink drain my girlfriend freaks out, why would anyone, let alone the meek, want to inherit The Earth, if this is what it’s future includes, i asked.

well my teacher got pissed. i’ll never forget what he wrote. “i have seen this. this is journalism.” an odd thing to write since he often contributed to the local free weekly. he was clearly trying to insult me but in such a bizarre way. he knew i wrote for the college paper. i was in it almost every day. sometimes twice a day.

this was a bible as literature class. when discussing traditional literature in a class like that, it would be no crime to talk about the end of the novel in relation to its middle. it was weird that he was so offended that i would talk about Revelation where the good people ascended to heaven and the bad people went to Hell, and Earth, this place God and Jesus and the prophets said to ignore, turned into a hellscape?

so anyway, yes the world is changing rapidly. right before our attention deficit addled eyes.

we are binge watching the season finale wondering who will remain standing for the inevitable spin offs.

perhaps what i wrote in the paper that truly upset him was

fuck the meek.

the bible isn’t about a bunch of meeks whining about this, being victimized by that, curling up and dying when shitty shit gets in their way.

this is a collection of stories about how when everyone laughed at noah he kept building that ginormous ark, when joseph got thrown in the pit and sold into slavery he persevered and became the most powerful man in egypt and ended jewish slavery. these are the stories of the strong.

maybe God is saying don’t be meek, for if you do, you will wind up owning this shit palace.

the oft repeated theme of the Good Book is what you see here is fine, but it’s not IT.

yours is the treasure of Heaven.

we were a planet that didn’t exercise enough, plan for disasters, or give a shit about the environment

and look at everyone now: insisting on going outside to hike, stocking up for the oncoming doom, and noticing how much of a stain we put on mother nature.

this is the way it was supposed to end.

televised, blogged, live streamed and tic tok’ed.

but until the locust come,

chill.

i had my 10th carls jr beyond meat burger last night

i was reading exodus tonight for busblog bible study.

this is why i get all the chicks, fyi.

and old moses is telling pharaoh to let his people go an pharoah is all pound sand hebrew

it’s an interesting dance of pharaoh wanting to let them go because moses is just fucking egypt up with blood in nile which kilt the fish and the dead fish were all stinky

or frogs everywhere, even in the ovens

then all these fucking flies swarming everywhere

which i gotta say is a wickedly creative plague to sick on someone because it doesn’t matter if youre rich of poor, a swarm of flies is gonna ruin your day

but pharoah wants to be cool to moses but God keeps hardening pharoahs heart

which got me thinking this

what if the mean girls in the cafeteria dont wanna be mean but their hearts are being hardend

so you’ll have a reason to perform a magic trick.

which will free your people.

your sweet friends who have it hard enough trying to make bricks in the hot sun, but then taskmaster is like ok now do it with no straw.

your amigos cant even express their religion properly because one of the things the jews did back then

is they liked to sacrifice white cows.

egyptians were like wtf, none of that! even though they had no problem being dick masters to human slaves, they drew the line in regards to killing certain animals and one of them was the super rare white cow.

meanwhile, Moses’ buds liked to sacrifice white cows Because they were rare and were saying to God, we love you so much we will give this to you because its the best and weirdest and coolest and most beautifulest and killer cow – and it’s yours because you deserve the best.

like you and me, Moses loved his friends so much he forgot he had stagefright and was softspoken and not as handsome as his brother Aaron, he just went up to pharoah and said dont make me put boils all over you AND your magicians,  cuz i will if you dont let em go, and i will take delight watching these boils fester and make baby boils on top of the boils.

inspiration can come from many things. revenge is one.

love is another.

and harder.

i think thats the lesson of exodus.

the good life

probably gonna die soon because i cant get a job, but it’s ok

i got to see most of the best bands in the world

ive had the greatest friends and sweetest girlfriends

went to europe a few times, canada, mexico

new york city.

today amber and i went to malibu to see if the wildflowers had covered the scorched earth

and they blanketed it with so much beauty that i was taking pictures of gorges and spillways and ditches

everything just popping with yellows and purples and green green green until it frenched kissed mr blue sky

like me, amber has been in LA for so much of her life that she has stories to tell around every corner

this is where we saw a ghost. this is where i littered. this is where a girl kissed me right on the lips.

first we went to the pch mcdonalds across the street from nobu. i wanted fries. we ended up spending $11 and giving our toy to a little boy who already had the same toy.

he wisely traded it for a different one at the counter.

then we went to neptunes net past county line because i wanted something in my sour stomach other than mcnuggets fries and a coke

but my tummy said nah just kiss the girl and take pics of her in front of the motorcycles

she had on this tight leotard and short shorts and the bikers checked her out from head to toe

said this and that and i’ll tell you one thing about me, very little bothers me in this world when it comes to men appreciating the women im with.

he sure looks happy i heard one say.

i winked

i do look happy.

we went up kanan dune to thousand oaks and the hills were all hi hi hi hi hi

loooooooooook at ussssssssssss!

all sorts of greens and just 3d waves of yellow flowers probably dandelions but the tallest proudest ones ever. like jose canseco juiced em. like it was a gay parade and they were dancing on the coolest float.

am i really gonna die? consider the dandy lions of the bu

fire singed them and all their friends

smoke choked them for weeks

airplanes then slathered them in chemicals

see how they rose from the ashes

bettern ever

like kanye and daft punk

stronger

waving to the shiny cars

hi tony

hi amber

they sure looked happy

 

i’ll be honest, im nervous

any other time ive been unemployed i’ve had the cushion of an unemployment check. i don’t have that safety net right now.

i’m also no spring chicken on paper. perhaps 2x the age of those who i am competing against who probably will settle for 1/2 the salary that i feel i deserve.

why do i deserve a good fee? because i produce 5x the miracles of the others.

blogs existed at the LA Times before i showed up, but they sure seemed to flourish while i was there. luck? was it lucky when i was placed on the politics blog and moved the needle from a half million to a million to two million to three million over a matter of months?

LAist was around before i got hired but when i left we were quadrupling the LA Times’ best blog despite the fact that I had a $500 budget a month (and no deadlines).

the Academy had social for years before i came on board, and magically the increases there were in the thousands of percentages. when the social media giants were invited to the Oscars, somehow i ran circles around them. live. alone. unfettered. the joke was they were gonna steal me away.

if you bring 4 people to an event and i outperform all of them, aren’t i 4x more valuable? don’t i deserve 2x what they command?

but not everyone sees it that way. some things, i assume they think, cannot be measured so easily. and often that is indeed the case. but other things have metrics and like shakira’s hips, they seldom lie.

i am not saying that i haven’t been lucky. i have. in huge ways.

i was lucky to be available to run LAist when Gothamist was able to finally pay an EIC.

i was lucky that outgoing EIC carolyn kellogg was so generous to me and handed over the keys professionally and with love. i was lucky that the staff i inherited were not just ready to rock at a higher intensity, but did so FOR FREE for YEARS with enthusiasm and creativity and vigor and style and insight and love and love and love.

i was lucky that my buddy matt welch was leaving the Times when i wanted to work there and knew who i should write. and i was lucky that i was writing to Meredith Artley, who is one of the secret angels of digital journalism. sent from above. walking amongst us. and who you can expect to see if you make it to the pearly gates. who taught me what class and empathy and professionalism are all about. and i was lucky to work with a staff who was rightfully suspicious about blogs and the emerging digital culture but were also ready to make that tough transition away from the comfort zone of their print-first mentality.

and yes i was lucky that the academy digital was being run by josh spector who knew me via LAist and i was lucky that during that time at LAist i didn’t reply to one of his emails glibly. i was lucky that the day that my former LA Times colleague Veronique de Turenne told me of the Academy job opening, I applied and Josh dmed me via Twitter and said, is this Tony from LAist? yes. yes! all of that was luck.

but the results weren’t.

the results were monster numbers that i have gotten almost everywhere else i’ve been.

i got those results not because im the smartest guy in the room or the best dressed. but because im intensely competitive. and it comes to being a Cub fan during the 108-year drought. seriously.

the Cubs were my life and as long as they sucked, my life sucked. ive had the greatest friends, coolest girlfriends, but there was a giant hole in my heart due to the Cubs sucking year after year. and the only way i could fill a little of that was to find a scoreboard in life — any — and spin those numbers like a defective pinball machine.

a hollow goal, perhaps, but i do admit it was a decent band-aid at times.

right now it’s Sunday. i am reading John 8-11 and Jesus is being grilled by all these people and he’s trying to defend himself and any time he checkmates them with an answer they look to get rocks to stone him. I am the furthest thing from Jesus, but I love the Bible because how relatable is that?

who among us doesn’t feel that when we are on the defense and we think we have replied with the Truth, there’s always a few in the crowd who say, kill him for that! what i love about the Good Book is, here’s a book that’s supposed to be about Faith and Love and Possibilities and yet even the Son of Man, the embodiment of God on Earth, had a hard time talking to people so that they understood.

as the kids say: SAME!

the bible also says don’t worry, consider the lilies of the field. so i will keep knocking on doors and submitting resumes and hopefully soon someone will say

wait, is this really LAist Tony? you really want to work with us?

that is the luck i need right now.

oh let the sun beat down upon my face

Here’s what I think about National Coming Out Day

I have had gay co-workers, teachers, bosses, and friends.

On average they treated me with respect and taught me some great lessons.

I’ve heard that 10% of the population is gay.

If that’s true, I’ll say this: I wish more were, because the ones I know are fantastic and I’m grateful that they were (and are) in my life.

Now about the Bible, which I also love, which I think confuses casual readers regarding this topic.

While it’s true that early in the book there are references to this and that,

later in the book comes a man named Jesus.

And after Jesus has experienced life on Earth as a real man, He said this, he said

I have a New Commandment: love one another, like I’ve loved you.

And since Jesus was not homophobic, I think, like with most good books,

we should pay more attention to how it ends than how it begins.

Because it is in mimicking the growth of others to the light

that we become enlightened.

today was a crazy day

but it was also Sunday during the NFL season which meant all that mattered was one thing, and that is the Chicago Bears.

i know i know im working on a secret project

and the Repubs are trying to steamroll their naughty frat boy through the supreme court process

but morrissey announced that joan jett would be opening for him at his show in LA Live

and the Cubs beat the Sox

and these Cocoa Pebbles are delicious

and i did so much laundry

and yesterday i watched this insane kirk douglas movie where he played this crazy reporter out in the desert and this guy was stuck in a mine and kirk coulda saved him right away but he wanted the story to go on and on

and all these people showed up and there was a carnival and food and the train started stopping there

and old kirk started saying super nice things about the sherriff so in return the sheriff blocked the other reporters from doing things and eventually just made kirk a deputy

there is so much evil in the world. the bible tells us this too.

so much evil in there that the good book says things like

and then Ezekanazl was born and he did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father had done.

even back then. the good old days. the days before all the minorities showed up and ruined things by working for super cheap (or free) and accepting the scraps as if they were gold. even then people in power were being super selfish and mean to the less fortunate.

and every time a beggar asks me for money i think, am i being tested? and then i think, shit, they’re being tested and thats one i would fail: try to live in LA while being stinky and homeless and jobless and undereducated.

oh it was crazy out there, all right.

i read a bunch of Job and i dont know which way to go with it. he’s right to be pissed off, and his friends are right to tell him to trust God, but mama mia, theres another test i would fail and fail and fail.

once upon a time someone tried to take stuff away from me and i tried to reason with him but then it appeared that people wanted him to take things from me and i was all, am i the crazy one then?

so old Job must have thought, wait, i didnt do shit wrong, now my family dead, i got these bumps all over my face and my friends are saying i need to just put myself in time out. wtf is happening?

and the bible says, tonight wasn’t crazy, every day is crazy.

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.

while it’s true i read the bible for an hour every sunday

it’s also true that i procrastinate my ass off doing it. and i dont know why other than i really don’t like doing things that i have done already and i have read the bible like 4 times now, and it’s not that i know whats going to happen next, i dont, i am always surprised by what is going to happen

BECAUSE EVEN BIBLICAL HUMANS ARE HUMANS AND THEREFORE FULL OF SURPRISES

i just dont like being told what to do even if i am the one doing the telling to myself.

a long time ago, in college, i was reading the bible for college and it hit me like a lightning bolt.

and when i was done reading the whole thing i said to myself, church is dumb, all i ever did in church was wait for the band to play and wait for the gospel to get read, so

i will make you a deal, Lord, i will read the bible every Sunday for an hour, with some jazz playing in the background

and this way i wont have to put on pants, go to church, kneel stand kneel stand shake hands and wait for the sentence to be over.

but for years now i have been doing almost exactly the same thing with reading the bible.

when i do it i learn stuff, duh, but the whole process is work. for me.

last night was no exception. i read, i procrastinated, i read more, i futzed with the laundry, i read more, i got my secret blog rolling, and then i saw Amber was coming home, so i read until she arrived.

then we snuggled and passed out.

i need to set a new rule that i dont get to eat until ive read the bible on Sunday MORNING that way my whole day isnt a waste and a burdon with some terrible deadline oppressing me on what is supposed to be the Day of Rest

A MEN!