Who, me? (Aug. – Dec. 2011)

I’m San Fernando Curt Morgan. I’m also C.W. Morgan, C. Wade Morgan, SFCurt, Fignus Broylandt and Cootio – depending on which alias is convenient or can get me across a border. I live in beautiful San Fernando Valley, a delicately ethereal part of Los Angeles County, in America’s Golden State. Most days, here in North Hollywood, I awaken to weave garlands of clover and feed from my palm fawns on the lawn. This paradise of color and poetry is marred only by occasional gang-bang shootings, machete attacks, mariachi riots and widespread Krylon vandalism. In other words, it’s a post-modern promised land, a habitable ashtray. Livin’ the high! Note the sinister nature of this page. My 1981 eyes, big as walnuts, seem to peer out of a face cratered at this resolution like meteor-pocked moonscape. I’m watching. …Watching. You watch me watch as I watch you watching. Tense… huh? For many of you, I’m sure this photo is older than your parents. I can be reached at sanfercur@yahoo.com, or register on the site and pester me at will.

 

COMMON-LAW LIFE…

Dec. 8, 2011 – Fortunately, last week’s windstorms in Southern California only managed to crack some branches in our front-parkway elms. I cleared one – with about six-inches of pure lawsuit at its base – with help of a neighbor and his telescoping trimmer/clamp. Suspended high in the tree, pulling at it didn’t work, at first. Finally, I came up with a brilliant plan to finally dislodge it by climbing up a ladder, grabbing the branch under it, jumping off the ladder and swinging down on the branch as he pushed up on the giant resting atop it. It dislodged the lumber, but my Tarzan-vine broke, as well. After much effort and potty-mouth, it finally came down. It was as big as the original branch – and greener.

Lucked out, really, since several neighborhoods, especially between us and Pasadena, have been without power for about eight days now. No refrigerators, no lights, and most importantly, no gas for heaters. Overnights have been freezing – literally,l 32 degrees – so that last one is missed.

SoCal Edison says it must “rebuild infrastructure” to get lights back on; that didn’t sell to a Sacramento investigating committee, who grilled power-company honchos about the slow rekindling Tuesday.

Things always can be worse…

Nov. 19, 2011 – Here’s a shoutout to whoever came up with this brainstorm:

Thanksgiving is more than a time to get together for turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. The family gathering can actually be good for its members’ long-term health as members start a dialogue.

Obviously, this shill for the healthcare industry – which never gets enough from us – has never been to a holiday meal in a Southern WASP household. That’s all anyone attended talks about – their medical conditions, problems, foreseeable problems, unforeseen crises, etc. Maybe is Big Health would stuff itself on holiday fare it wouldn’t feed so ravenously on us.

Nov. 13, 2011 - We took advantage of an Indian Summerhere in L.A. to do massive construction work in the backyard (massive for me, anyway) and get the house ready for a Harry Potter-themed birthday party. Somehow our Giza pyramids were built and a new eight-year-old made happy, so it was all kind of worth it. This is the first quiet weekend in many weeks, and I’m happy now, too. The rains have stopped and the Niners are winning. All is, for now, right with the world.

Nov. 4, 2011 – A co-worker of mine has the best line as the Dr. Conrad Murray trial wraps: “If I was on the jury, I head for deliberations with my car keys already out.” Let’s face it: Cheaping out on Jackson’s treatment – no nurse, no monitors with alarms – and talking on the phone to his girlfriends while the King of Pop died in another room makes the good doctor guilty of something.

Oct. 31, 2011 – I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. Because I live with a woman who’s really a big kid, I’m the one left at home to dish out treats while she accompanies our seven-year-old on her costumed rounds. That’s fine with me – I can watch choice horror movies on TCM and kick back. But I also nibble, incessantly, on the damn candy. I wake up the next day feeling Cuba running through my veins . “Sugar rush” doesn’t begin to define it. Oh, well. It only happens once a year. … Yeah… But diabetes is for life.

Oct. 20, 2011 - OK. I admit it. Sometimes I dip into TMZ’s salacious bits and gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who appears to have been blabbing on the phone to his many girlfriends as the King of Pop went into Propofil-actic shock in a nearby room – and died.

Dr. Murray: Just don't smile...

I’m not particularly on his side. Jackson’s death two years ago took out one of the world’s iconic entertainers – and it was heartbreaking to see his mom leave the courtroom before autopsy photos were shown last week.

But somebody needs to get to Dr. Murray’s defense team and tell them he shouldn’t look so damn guilty sitting there at the defendant’s table.

Look, man, everybody knows you killed Michael. You sit there all morose and remorseful and shit and anyone watching just wants to kick you. You want to get out of this with an ankle bracelet, or a few years in the big house? Think about it.

Oct. 18, 2011 - (I decided to expand this entry into a full post on the front page. It’s there under “Mama, where art thou?”? So there!)

Oct. 13, 2011 – Since I’ve never had to think about this before, I never have, but I’m beginning to think females become much more adept at mind games, at an earlier age, than males. Sometimes, when I pick up my daughter after school, she’s crying about her treatment at hands of some friend or friends, who suddenly reject her, tattle on her, whatever. It all sounds very deliberate – designed to put her in some impromptu pecking order, or motivate her to some end. Then she tells me some of the things she’s done in the past to this person or collective – and it’s third-grade version of North Korean re-education ordeal. Boys fight; women play with each others heads more promptly.

Oct. 6, 2011 - In the “old world”, ramshackle, nondescript facades will open into luxurious interior quarters, some built around placid courtyards. That part of the world has lived with “social camouflage” for some time. I thought of that this morning, looking around my downtown parking garage: Most of the cars – like 70 percent – were in grey-scale shades from white to black.

We’re living an era in which we don’t want to “stick out”. There’s trouble in drawing too much attention. Car pursuits with dogged helicopter coverage are a big deal on local TV in L.A., and a notable one last month was a canary-yellow Maserati that eventually was torn up in sloppy evasion by a desperate thief. I’ll bet the owner wished he’d opted for a drab color. At least his mechanical beauty might not have piqued felonious interest as handily.

My own heap is candy-apple red – not because I like attention, but because it happened fit into my put-upon finances. It was bought used from an Enterprise lot days after the 2008 meltdown and the banks really slung me on the wall for the loan. An advantage, though, is that it’s a PT Cruiser, and a lot of them are bright red. And few of them attract thieving eyes.

Oct. 5, 2011 - It’s pouring here in a way it doesn’t in the first two weeks of fall, so, of course, everyone on the road has forgotten how to drive. Slick roads, gleaming in headlights! What can that mean? Better slow down – or speed up to unstoppable velocity. We’re not weather-vetted out here – or maybe we’re just stupid.

…And say ‘hello’ to Dante when you see him

Oct. 3, 2011 – I spent all weekend locked in my room bashing my head against the wall (just to feel something). I’ve decided to act. Instead of  impotent helplessness in face of banking depredation… I will make war on them.

Leaders of ChaCitiFargo – the enormously wealthy banking state second only to Switzerland as the most titan-friendly corner of the earth – have taxed and forced tribute from all their regional neighbors. I sense its cobbled-together confederacy of tiny nations is fissured with rage and frustration. I take advantage of this sour situation, making secret pacts with many of these virtual slave-states. Then, to remove last impediment to my takeover, I attack and sink the ChaCitiFargo fleet, anchored at Login Harbor.

By the time my amphibious forces land in its sparsely populated north, organized military cohesion collapses as each Balkanized force returns to protect its own state – leaving abysmal, corrupt national defense forces to guard the capital of Credito. It quickly falls after my armored battalions sweep in and isolate the city in a pincer move.

Then I bring before me – still in my camp bivouac – the leaders of this once-mighty banking empire. I strip them of clothing. Most of them are middle-aged men in sock garters – chubby and soft in indolence. To each I give a hill and a large stone. They are to push it to the top of the rise, watch as it rolls down the other side, then repeat the procedure. If I could arrange fowl to pluck out their livers as they do so, I would include that torment, as well.

Sept. 30, 2011 – Well, I have that to look forward to.

My bank, Wells Fargo, has sent out a list of fees it’ll charge beginning Oct. 15:

Some of these charges are pretty understandable. I mean, Account Research for $25 an hour – with one hour minimum. But… account research could almost mean anything. Couldn’t it? A teller checks your balance for you and – bang! – account research fee on your ass for $25.

Scary.

And all those transfers. Like “outgoing domestic/internal transfer at 30 fuckin’ dollars each. Every month I pay my part of our household expenses with a transfer to my house-mate’s savings account. Does that qualify?

Looks like just about every transfer imaginable is carrying a hefty fee, in fact. I feel sorry for the folks who must make an outgoing international U.S. currency transfer. That’s $45 – and will probably affect a lot of new arrivals sending money back home. Welcome to El Norte, suckas.

Those repetitive book transfer skinflints will chip in only $10 a pop. The very idea. I think that may be what I’m doing every month. Gotta find out. Hope so. I’ll save, lemme see, $15.

Love the part about “we appreciate your business”, peasants. I don’t appreciate getting the business. I’m getting the idea “too big to fail” means “too big for me”, and I’m checking out small credit unions, locally owned. With my paltry assets, it may just work for me.

And maybe the too-big boys will get so big they’ll explode. Swell up and POP like a wienie in a microwave.

Good. Fuck ‘em.

Well, guess I’m back to a cash-only buyer – dammit

New York Times

The news on Thursday that Bank of America is imposing a $5 monthly fee on people who have the nerve to use their debit card to buy things probably should not have come as much of a shock

Wells Fargo, the other giant coast-to-coast bank, had already revealed its plans to test a $3 fee in the wake of new federal rules that made the cards less profitable for many banks.

Bank of America probably has bigger problems than any of its competitors. So it stands to reason that it would make a bolder move. After all, it is dealing with a pile of troubled mortgages, legal fallout from the sales of bonds made from those loans and questions about how it serviced its home mortgages…

- Business Day, 9/30/11

Sept. 28, 2011 – Anyone who’s ever been burglarized knows the feeling of desolate violation any victim feels. It’s not just the missing possessions – although that’s a lot – it’s that strangers who had absolutely no concern for the victim other than what they could take from them trooped through living quarters that previously felt a lot more like home. It happened to our little household a few years ago, so I took special not of this dispatch from the Laurel Grove Neighborhood Association:

I received an email from a neighbor on Westpark Drive.  On Wednesday morning as she was leaving to take her kids to school she noticed two Caucasian men in a dark green Hummer H2 staring at her home.  When she got back later they had ransacked her house.  She filed a police report.
 
Two days later in the morning on Friday, she spotted the same green Hummer on Calvert Street, she called the police but was told by them that they did not have any cars available to drive by the house and that there is nothing they could do unless they see the men in action.  On Sunday she found out that when she saw the Hummer on Calvert and St Clair that house was burglarized.

Not THE H2, but its twin!

The criminals probably need to pull off dozens of these robberies every week just to keep gas in their behemoth.

I really hope police get these guys. But I must point out that by now Dan-O, Chin Ho and, of course, McGarrett – the original, slightly crazed version, not the new guy – would’ve already cross-checked H2 owners with convicted burglars released in the past 18 months. Then they’d corner them in a downtown Honolulu office block while a pitiful hostage squeals for mercy.

Sept. 26, 2011 – Maybe it’s just the sheer boredom of a non-election year, maybe they’re just hot-flashing into male menopause, but a couple of our commentariat elite, Left and Right, are comin’ to town with smack talk of late.

During a talk to promote his new book, Here Comes Trouble, liberal firebreather Michael Moore told an audience of college students at Bunker Hill Community College to “reject this vision of America that has been thrust upon us,” and that to fix it “will require a rumble.”

…It also serves as a neat bookend to Andrew Breitbart‘s Friday remarks about “fir(ing) the first shot” because conservatives “have the guns.”

Breibart’s comment on video is featurette of the month on YouTube, at least among aging news junkies like myself. And all my correspondents on FaceBook (the redesign does suck, so there) are up in arms about it.

Two things: I don’t see Michael Moore rolling with the Sharks and Jets, much less Crips and MS-13. And is Breibart suggesting we shoot all liberals, or just the tender, meaty ones?

Sept. 22, 2011 – When I picked up my daughter this afternoon, couldn’t help but notice the schoolyard was as deserted as a vacation resort in the Hindu Kush. Seems there was a lockdown of schools in the neighborhood since “a suspicious package” was found at a nearby mall. We walked back to my car, her filling me in on all the ins and outs of lockdowns, how important they are, and asking a million questions about why robbers do such things. That was tough to hash out to a seven-year-old.

Now… in ordinary times, a package left behind at a shopping center would hardly be cause for alarm. But these aren’t ordinary times, or so we’re told. Who knows? Maybe  terrorists are coming for our J. Crews… They hate us for our Cheesecake Factories.

And maybe some poor schlub will arrive home before realizing they’re missing that goddam Banana Republic bag.

But really, if the sheikhs of shrieks want to hit us where we live, they hit us in our soft economic underbelly. Remember air travel after 9/11, and how that slowdown rippled through the entire economy? We’re so dependent on fickle “consumer confidence” which now seems so elusive. We’re told it’s the only thing that can finally end this ragged recession. What better terror target than… shopping malls?!!! They go ghost-town come the holidays and, perhaps, the terrorists will win. Or laugh themselves silly in their caves and spider holes, trying on Joe Boxer undies and munching that sweet, sweet Marie Callender banana cream pie.

Serious shit… think about it.

September 20 – Is there any worse day than Tuesday? At least Monday has dreary drama of beginning yet another wage-earner week. Tuesday just sits there, twiddling it’s thumbs. After today, there are three more long days left in the week. One day is preferable, two are doable. Three days – might as well be a full week. I was born on a Tuesday, incidentally.

September 15 – The last weekend of summer is coming up. I always feel a little low this time of year, even though it’s my favorite. I guess shortening of daylight becomes apparent right about now. It’s apparent fall is all but on us. Somewhere back there are all the summers when the world was still a peach, everything was possible. Those days got shorter, too.

September 7 – Kooki started third grade today, and it’s a little hard to see her progress from toddler to little girl to schoolchild – growing in inches only slightly faster than maturity. As she ages, she pulls away a little more; can’t wait until she’s a teenager and only is nice when she needs gas money. Maybe it won’t be that way. She’s a wonderful little girl – and that’s not just me talking. All her teachers have said that, and several friends want her around their kids because she manages to have fun and keep her head on her shoulders at the same time. Still, things are changing. As LAUSD is never tired of reminding us, third grade is a turning point, when classroom instruction gets harder and pupils’ responsibility to learn becomes more concentrated. I worry over that and a billion other things. That’s life.

September 3 – Maybe it’s just too hot, still, but I just can’t get into college football this weekend. It doesn’t feel like fall yet. I’m watching USC tangle with Minnesota in the L.A. Coliseum, in 90+ degree temperature, and all I can think is, “Damn, how can they play in weather like this?” As the game wears on, the players seem to move more and more slowly. They’re packing a lot of body padding after all. They must be burning up! Actually, I wouldn’t even care to be a spectator in the stands on a day like this. One thing, though, all the northern players will be able to brag to their grandkids that they once played in the stadium where the very first Super Bowl took place.

August 28 – Summer has held off until the end of August here on the Pacific Coast, but now that it’s here, it’s got ‘with a vengeance’ written all over it. Temperatures have been hovering at 106 since Thursday, and although there’s a much-promised cooling set for mid-week, it can’t come quick enough. Most people who grumbled “I like the heat” through all that nice, gloomy marine layer weather this season now would like this spell to break, too. But, as a friend pointed out on the beach last week, the heat makes all aches and pains disappear. It’s dry and hot – and not a stitch in the back or a muscle in the leg is acting up. If I ever wondered why retirees flock to places like Palm Springs for retirement, I can wonder no more. But… 106 is ridiculous. I’ll take the crick in my neck for this to pass.

August 26 – Since my brother and his family live in New York, just north of the city, I’m watching the End of Days Tribulation – earthquake, possible hurricane – with some trepidation. With all this, and the rest of the country withering in drought, I’m expecting California’s population losses in the last few years to be turned around. Summer finally came here this week – with triple-digit temps in my neck of the Valley. But it’s almost Labor Day… Summer’s almost done, folks. Usually we get 100-plus breaks of heat as early as August. And this one is supposed to break in a few days. Nice. I love L.A., baby.

August 22 – I remember reading a couple of years ago that shoe repair is one of those trades to be phased out by our never-static Future Shock world. Evidently, in years ahead, a spray-on aerosol will sprout out to become footwear – Chia Shoes! Maybe? In the past two weeks, I’ve been handed at least two sidewalk fliers advertising shoe repair – glossy, full-color handbills that weren’t cheap to produce. I guess the 2008 meltdown did more that evaporate retirements and put working classes a rung lower on the social ladder. It extended traditional, “brick and mortar” handiwork, as well. Why throw away and replace $70 shoes when $20 will put on a new sole? I can’t see the logic. Maybe no one else can, either – except, of course, our economic prognosticators. They probably also prophesied housing prices would hover in the stratosphere forever.

August 16 – Ever since our economy crapped out in 2008, I’ve been sitting around, twidling my thumbs, wondering, “Where is the bleak bestseller warning of even more catastrophe, yet, in the title, offering still-flush Border’s shoppers financial advice to ride out this coming economic storm?”

These “ponies gone – close barn” books follow every economic downturn. This really started after the brief market crash and savings & loan crisis in the late ’80s, with Ravi Batra’s bestseller “The Great Depression of 1990″. Remember that one? Then I find such “postdiction” now is superfluous in print form: Dire predictions warning of latter-day bread lines and Hooverville block parties are all over the Internet.

However, we now may have this year’s print Cassandra: Robert Wiedemer’s new book, “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown.”

Despite appearances, Aftershock is not a book with the singular intention of scaring the heck out of people. Although it does provide a harsh outlook for the economic future of America, the true value lies in the wealth of investment tips, analyses, predictions, budget advice, and sound economic guidance that people can act on immediately, offering a ray of recovery hope and an indispensable blueprint for life after shock.

Sure. But let’s remember – Batra”s book of doom was contradicted by real-life 1990s – a decade of properity and comparative peace for this country’s stumblebum money world. Sometimes those crystal balls get a tad foggy.

August 10 – Turning an eye very clear albeit gimlet on English riots that seemingly won’t abate, Justin Raimondo sees these “Barbarians with Blackberries” this way:

While commentators are busy conjuring some political or economic “cause” behind the British riots – one which, not surprisingly, validates some preexisting ideological agenda, whether it be “left” or “right” – what seems clear is that nothing about the motives of the rioters is at all clear…It is now four days since the first rioters raised their ugly heads, and there has been no let up in the violence: big plasma television sets and Nike sneakers, rather than “social justice,” seem to be the rioters’ main concern. One group of girl looters, confronted by a newsman with the question “Are you proud of what you’re doing?”, asserted “We’re just getting our taxes back!”

I’m reminded of Williams Burroughs and his 1960 novel “Naked Lunch”. Amid all the junkie gibberish so overpraised as singular art by post-war trash-mongers – self-appointed specialists in social reverse-engineering – he pops up with this prophecy:

“Rock and roll adolescents storm into the streets of all nations. They rush into the Louvre and throw acid in the Mona Lisa’s face. They open zoo’s, insane asylums, prisons, burst water mains with air hammers, chop the floor out of passenger plane lavatories, shoot out lighthouses, turn sewers into water supply, administer injections with bicycle pumps, they shit on the floor of the United Nations and wipe their ass with treaties, pacts, alliances.”

With a child at home and bills to pay, this stuff has stopped seeming so romantically subversive. And, refreshingly, there’s been a dearth of connected poobahs citing such crap as proof of the Western world’s iniquity, then having another layer of coddled hacks verify it with rote nods. “You evil honkie gentiles scared, yet?” Yeah… sure. These rebels are smashing the evil establishment, racism, injustice, blah blah blah. I can recite the moronic bullshit by heart after half a fucking century.

Sunken dreamboat on sour milk sea of love

Maybe it has something to do with my diet or fractured mental state, but I rarely have erotic dreams lately. At least, evidently I don’t have any worth remembering when I wake up. Then, a couple of nights ago, I had one about an old girlfriend who wasn’t exactly a wild passion, but of whom I’ve often thought simply because she was one of the crazier bedbugs I’ve engaged. She was so skinny – I don’t want to be harsh – but it was like fucking a sack of curtain rods. …Kind of a sour, snippy personality, too. Came all the time though, and that boosted my ego.

In this night flight, we’re in a room with a phantom roommate who never existed – a dwarf woman with an extremely overdeveloped, muscled and strapping upper body. Nothing much happens, except I’m refused sex, then lose her in a trip to some beach complex, only to find her again helping children in a parking lot. Oh… I suck her nipples at one point, while her gremlin cleans house around us. So… we’ve got an R instead of my favored trip-X night flights. And that’s it. Oh… in the midst of searching for her, I pause to have lunch. That must mean something.

August 2 – When you hail from a place as god-forsaken and out of the way as southeastern Arizona, waaay down on the Mexican border, you latch onto whatever celebrity squeezes out of your immediate environs.

Last Friday night, TCM was wrapping up its month-long “Singing Cowboys Friday Night” and an entry starred one of the last of the singing ‘pokes – and Cochise County native – Rex Allen. It was an adventurous tale involving…. oh, who cares? They were all basically the same popcorn-burner. This one had the standard finish – with a horse chase out of town, hero’s jump on bad guy’s back, small slope they roll down, fistfight (although both are usually armed), then, finally, wrap-up with song. As far as I know, this was the only Rex Allen movie I’ve ever seen, and never realized his sidekick was Slim Pickens! It was from the early ’50s – almost sundown for movies of this sort. They moved to TV for awhile and then – that was it. These musical, amiable gunslingers galloped away with ghost riders in the sky.

Allen was a native of Willcox, just north of my little town, and I once saw him perform at a county fair. Throughout my childhood, Willcox threw a big celebration every year to honor its most-famous son. In fact that was about the only time Willcox shook itself awake. As I watched this movie, I thought that shindig must be a thing of the long past. No one today, not even in Willcox, remembers singing cowboys. So, of course, I Googled “Rex Allen Days” and up popped this year’s schedule. I was floored. The 60th of these regional chestnuts takes place Sept. 28-Oct. 2. If ever there was something utterly irrelevant to the New Millennium, it’s singing saddle tramps like Rex… uh… Mr. Allen.

Sadly, he died a particularly tragic death in the late ’90s, crushed slowly to death under the rear wheel of a big Cadillac his housekeeper had accidently backed over him. Allen was living near Tucson Medical Center (for deliberate reasons, evidently).

Wonder if he had his boots on…

August 1 – Yesterday – almost out of nowhere, although weathermen warned us it was coming – we had an extremely rare thunderstorm rumble though the Valley, dumping a whole bunch of rain, and leaving the rest of Sunday as humid as a West Texas prayer meeting. This just doesn’t happen in the summer, here on the “coast”, although deserts east of us have the same kind of seasonal monsoons as the rest of the Southwest – lightning and all. That humidity reminded me of what the rest of the country sweats through in the dog days. …And I don’t envy you for it.

WHO, ME? June-July 2011