Underdogs in L.A.

underdog-la

Originally published on takepart.com Congressional hopefuls will travel a long way for some Tinseltown support Los Angeles and politics can make strange bedfellows. What other city can boast of/apologize for sending the Terminator to the governor’s mansion and the Gipper to the White House? Not to mention L.A.’s greatest policy legacy, Proposition 13, the regressive-tax […]

The Occupation of Los Angeles

occupy-la

What were we supposed to do, march on the Hollywood sign? With no great metaphor for what’s plaguing our nation readily available, somewhere between 1,000 and 4,000 protesters, depending on which news source you prefer, assembled on Saturday, Oct. 1, at Pershing Square in Los Angeles (not exactly a brand-name landmark) and marched a mile […]

Dogma: Is the Power of Now About Chasing Garbage Trucks and Peeing on Bushes?

Originally published in the LA Weekly DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR … Buddhism! Or, at least reading about it, if the number various Buddhism-for-beginners books foisted upon me over the past tumultuous year or so is any indication. In an attempt to not go completely bat-shit crazy, I took the advice of my friends, family and […]

Coming Home on Oscar Night: Twilight’s Empty Streets on L.A.’s Indoor Mardi Gras

Originally published in the LA Weekly MY HEAD IS THUMPING with nostalgia when I touch down at LAX on Sunday night after a long weekend with family and friends in the mountains near Vail, Colorado. The occasion, under the ruse of my sister’s engagement party, was a last hurrah at the house that’s come as […]

Silver Lake Anxiety Attack: The Rowena Avenue Crime Wave

Originally published in the LA Weekly IN LINE AT THE BANK last Saturday morning, I overhear a man explain to the teller that he has no identification because his “wallet got jacked.” He points to a manager type on the other side of the glass and, with the quiet urgency of a man besieged, says, […]

In the Doghouse: A Leash-Law Miscreant’s Day in Court

Originally published in the LA Weekly ~ ON ONE OF THOSE GLOOMY, wet winter days when Seattle sends its weather south, I arrive at the Hollywood branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court at 8:30 a.m., with my partner in crime — we’ll call him Dave, because that’s his name. The idea is to be […]

Banking on Disaster: A Day in the Life at the End of the World

Originally published in the LA Weekly ~ YOU’RE PROBABLY FAMILIAR with the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. The curse has two other parts that are progressively more dire: May you come to the attention of those in authority, and may you find what you’re looking for. Well, these are certainly interesting […]

The Tortoise and the Tank Face Off at Fort Irwin

Tortoise-and-the-Tank

Originally published in the LA Weekly SAND IN THE BOX The worst sandstorm in John Wagstaffe’s memory is at full howl. We’re deep inside Iraq, somewhere between the towns of Medina Jabal and Medina Wasl, on a day when the threat of violence is as thick as the squalls of sand. But there’s something about […]

Erased

Originally published in the LA Weekly ~ THINGS LOOKED A LITTLE OUT OF PLACE last Thursday when I got home and walked in the door. “What the hell was she looking for?” I wondered as I spotted open drawers and general chaos. My wife doesn’t usually leave the house in such a mess. Did the […]

What a Wreck

Originally published in the LA Weekly ~ So I’m on my way back from my head doc around lunchtime, heading south on the 101 freeway over the Cahuenga Pass after having just paid $80 to learn that my pedestrian anxieties and run-of-the-mill insomnia stem from not feeling in control of things (revelatory!). I didn’t sleep […]