Location: California, United States

Observer, curious, laugh a lot, listen a lot, don't respond well to force, like driving cross-country

Friday, December 24, 2004



Apologies to Vagus N if he thought I meant all docs to be sued. No. Not when I once had my life saved by some. Not hardly. But the idea that my little sis could have lost hers due to those particular docs at that particular hospital did not set well with me. Additionally, that situation so upset my writer/RN friend that she brought the legal side up originally. In any case, it's not my decision to make. Still if it happened to little sis, it could happen to anybody. As the writer/RN said, "They'd better get people who can read results in there." In that, I agree.

The New Yorkers, Ted and Nina, and their kids and grandkids were on the patio having breakfast when I got there this morning. Nice family they have, truly. A doll of a granddaughter, I'd guess about three years old, was enchanted with the birds who fly over to get their daily biscuit crumbs. Eyes huge, finger pointing, she said, "Bur...bur...burd?" Had to laugh. They were off to Legoland. Granddad Ted was not impressed...but he was going. Had to laugh again. Told him that Legoland sponsors a contest every year that he, as an architect, might want to consider. "Huh," said he, eyebrows raised, and left J and A and I laughing again.

So here it is, Christmas Eve and we have a full moon. Had pizza too. Who could ask for more? We all our troops home from all over the world so they too could be with families and friends. Peace and quiet, so the world could enjoy that full moon in contentment. Ain't gonna happen.

Just for the record: San Diego has not settled the Mayoral election yet. Sheesh! Washington state looks closer to getting their Governor election settled than we do with our mayor mess.

In any case, I wish you all the most enjoyable holiday season. :)

So that's a wrap for tonight!

Thursday, December 23, 2004



I sit here, totally torqued. Sister back east crashed in their van. One of the rare times she didn't wear a seat belt. Black and blue from shoulder to knee on left side. Off to hospital. Docs say she has a cracked vertabrea...just a tiny one. They keep her for about a week and at the end of it, she's up and walking, but with pain. They send her home. Few days of intense pain. Back to hospital. They call in a bone doc. Guess what? She has a broken neck, broken back, and cracked sternum. Bone doc had her air-lifted out of that hospital to a good one in another town. He's planning surgery on her neck.

RN here says she's lucky to not be paralyzed like Christopher Reeve. Says she has a no-lose suit against the first docs and hospital if she chooses to pursue one. And right there is where lawyer jokes is always the case in shit like that. Tell me that trial lawyers aren't necessary for this type of thing...

I want either John Edwards or his clone.

And then there's Rumsfeld's visit to Mosul on the news today. I noticed that he visited patients and staff. Didn't see a damned word about visiting the troops who weren't in the hospital.

J and I had just finished breakfast this morn when the man and woman a couple of tables away on the patio struck up a conversation with us. Glad they did. Invited them over to join us. They're an architect and his wife, a real estate agent, from NYC, staying at the hotel. Their adult kids are coming in from LA and San Francisco and will also be at the hotel over Christmas. So they wanted to know where the nearest grocery store was. They planned to, when the kids arrive today, go to the Zoo. Seems the architect had something to do with our downtown construction when the high-rises first started going up. Look forward to seeing them in the morning.

And that's a wrap for today!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004



In 25 more minutes, the sun will be gone. Man, the days get short in winter. I've got the 2005 calendar ready to hang next to the desk here. Already have some to-do stuff marked on it.

And Workaholic, you're right. The guy in the car could have run the trucker over. Seemed like it happened so fast, and no doubt the guy thought the trucker was coming after him, and by then it really was a done deal.

Yesterday morning at breakfast on the hotel patio, another writer--let's call her J--had a tale to tell. She has two businesses. One is helping other writers rewrite their books and get them not only publishable but saleable. The other is transcribing and editing videos and audio tapes for various clients. So night before last, she's sitting at her desk in an office she shares with a guy who does the same thing. That office is in the front part of his home. In the home there are three cats, and I swear they're all insane.

Anyway, the guys have gone off to Vegas for the holidays and it's about 10-11 o'clock, house is dead silent, and she's intently working away. Behind the guy's desk is a window with thin wooden shutters. And all of a sudden this cat explodes through the shutters, lands on the guy's desk and off on the floor and away! J about went through the roof. She had no idea he was even in the room. Cat had been sitting lower than the top of the desk, on the window sill. Must have seen something that really spooked him.

Gave Archie the load of cookies this morning. He had them on his desk when the meeting he'd called began. He came out laughing. Said his staff had attacked those cookies like locusts. Who is there that doesn't like cookies?

Havin' a beautiful sunset outside this window here. Pink to blue to purple. Shaft of sunlight hit and those huge red-orange blossoms on the coral tree went to flame. Only a few left at the top of the tree, and they're only there because the Santa Ana has warmed the place up so much in the daytimes.

The Chargers won. Hot damn! Of course they want a new stadium. Want the city to give them the land in Mission Valley between I-8 and the river. Uh-huh. And now they've moved their practice field back down to Mission Valley from Anaheim. Let 'em buy the land. The city can use the cash, lemme tell you.

Just found out that San Diego has the same auditors looking over that pension fund that just screwed up Fannie Mae in DC. Now that's cheerful news. KPMG. Press conference. SEC and FBI and the new City Attorney in the audience. Asses need kicking until noses bleed.

Am upset about that suicide bomber who blew up the mess hall in Mosul, I kid you not. Anytime we think we're the only ones who can infiltrate the enemy camp, we need our heads examined. But blowing up your own people as well as ours is not a good thing. However, they're seen as enemy collaborators, so there it is.

Nothing merry about this holiday season....

Tuesday, December 21, 2004



So the writers gathered again this eve as we do every Tues unless a major holiday falls on Tues, when we don't. Talk about withdrawal pains! For the last few weeks, one or the other of us has brought along some kind of goody to share. Tonight, one of the writers came with an absolutely huge chocolate, chocolate cake. A four-layer job. One of the best chocolate cakes I've encountered in a long while. Impossible to finish, even after everyone taking some home, so the staff at the restaurant gets the they have with the goodies brought in previously.

Went to a kosher bakery today. Found it by accident, but having encountered kosher food before, considered myself lucky. Bought four dozen cookies--half a dozen of each kind--and will deliver them to the Gen Mgr down at the hotel for their staff. After all, they feed us breakfast every morn. We felt the least we could do was feed them back. The clerk at the bakery said he and his dad had just baked them this morning, and gave me a coconut macaroon to try. Couldn't eat it all, but man, I tried.

Had an email from a writer who sailed her boat up to Nova Scotia. Come Jan, she'll be driving back here across country. Should be one hell of a trip, given the snow and ice she's gonna encounter on the way. Says she has to come back to get a new server for her computer. I'm thinking one excuse is as good as another. And maybe she likes driving cross country as much as I do.

Turns out that all of the writers there tonight, but one, prefers to drive when it comes to long distance trips. And she likes to fly into the midst of a city to be able to be immediately immersed in the life there. The rest of us want to really see the nation close up. Every place has a different smell, different light, different feel. One guy loves Santa Fe, New Mexico. I liked Rawlins, Wyoming on sight, another will be leaving for Reno, NV in two days. Amarillo, Texas has the best cheeseburger I've ever tasted in a cafe near a military base. I damned near got blown off the street in a sand storm full of flying tumbleweeds in Albuquerque, New Mexico one trip.

Which reminded me of a long-haul semi driver who told about being followed halfway across Illinois by a car driver who had his bright lights on the whole time, and who the trucker couldn't get out from behind his truck. Finally hit Chicago and a stop light, where he got his hammer, went back to the car and knocked both the guy's headlights out.

Life is damned interesting.

Monday, December 20, 2004



A John Denver album is of a writer friend's favorite voices. Must tap into her Tennessee roots. And one of the waiters on the hotel patio is just crazy about Lorretta Lynn. He's from N Carolina, and is down there visiting family right now for the holidays. Another writer, posted in Frankfurt Germany, just emailed that he's now in N Carolina too, after a ten hour flight between two screaming babies, neither one his. Says it's freezing cold outside and freezing cold inside and he can see his breath. I say I'm staying right here!

Just had an email from a cousin in Canada. Said his neighbors had recently moved to Idaho and just love it. Said he'd thought about doing the same cause he can't stand the Government Canada has! Guess one of the main problems up there is lack of jobs, but he doesn't have to worry about that, being a farmer with sections of land. Not sure what a "section" is in acres. But big, I know that much. He's in Calgary.

Struck me funny, with US citizens thinking Canada is golden, and Canadian citizens thinking the opposite.

Gawd! Just had an email from another writer with a notice:
Electors across US break traditional pro forma ritual to use electoral
>college to protest election violations
Across the US electors in at least five states, for the first time in
>history, turned the heavily scripted and ritualized electoral college
>proceedings into a forum for political action. Frustrated by the relative
>inattention to wide spread real voting violations now numbering in the tens
>of thousands, Electors called for congressional investigation and
>legislative action."

Five states?!!! Including California! Who did it? These folks:

>Truth in Elections*
>49 Francesca Ave.,
>Somerville, MA 02144

Be like Karl Rove to turn the heat on Rumsfeld to take attention off all the problems with voting. It's call "misdirection", and so far, it's worked like a charm.

Amazing number of people down in the Gaslamp Qtr last night for a Sunday night. Soft summer-type eve. Just enjoyed having dinner at the sidewalk cafe and watching the strolling folks as they wandered past. Had a chicken rissotto and it was very damned good. Had to bring half of it home. They don't just feed you there, they try to fatten you. Excellent coffee, excellent crusty Italian bread. Who could ask for more?

Sunday, December 19, 2004



Sunday morning coming down...Kris Kristofferson did a great job with that song. Exactly the right voice for it.

Another few hours and will be motoring down to the Gaslamp Qtr downtown for dinner on the sidewalk cafe at Trattoria Mare & Monte. Looking forward to everything about that except for the initial search for a parking space. May just park at Horton Plaza and stroll over one block to 5th Ave, then hang a right for another block or so and there it is. Damn, they do know how to cook there.

More good news via mail call yesterday: Gayle Lynds' new thriller, "The Last Spymaster", will hit the bookstores in August, and the paperback version of "The Coil" will be available in July. She's on a roll! Additionally, Dennis Lynds (who also writes under the pen name, Michael Collins) has just finished the manuscript of a brand new thriller, "The CEO". Those two are some kind of a pair of writers.

Now if some publisher would have the good sense to publish Jerry Hannah's "Holy City Zoo" set of short stories featuring characters, two of whom are named Hoover and Old Ralph, in book form, I'd head for the bookstore so fast hell wouldn't have it. Hands down, the most hilarious, outrageous set of characters ever encountered in print. Yeah, there's a bar in San Francisco named Holy City Zoo, but the stories were there before the bar was...and no, Jerry is innocent. Has nothing to do with said bar.

Jerry wrote about 100 or so short stories a year or two ago and every damned one of them was published in magazines. The man knows what he's doing. Every time I think about the Holy City Zoo stories, I get torqued cause I can't get them all in a book.

Downtown is a sight to see these days. Cranes all over..and I'm not talking about birds. Old buildings, long trashed, going down overnight and next thing those incredible construction workers have put elegant hi-rises in their places...or 6-7 story parking garages with retail shops at street level. Or a little park...they call them "pocket parks". And a very very tall office building has just topped off on Pacific Hwy. Two new hotels coming behind the Convention Center, one a Hilton. Next to a new parking garage there. Now they're wrestling with the plans for a pedestrian walkway above the railroad tracks and Harbor Drive, at the foot of 8th Ave (which runs beside the new ballpark). From what I'm told, this walkway will rise at the foot of 8th, cross the tracks and Harbor Drive and exit into that new parking garage.

At the 8th Ave end, they have to install an elevator for the Disabled, obviously. Can't have them trying to roll up a steep walk in their chairs or with crutches. The garage at the other end has elevators already.

There's been a problem with the conventioneers at the Conv Ctr. Lunch break comes, and if one of the Santa Fe freight trains is doing their back and forth and stop stuff on the tracks, people pour out of the Conv Ctr, cross Harbor Drive and climb right over, or crawl under the couplings between freight cars, heading for the restaurants in the Gaslamp Qtr. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to know it's just a matter of time before one of those fools gets mangled when the train suddenly moves.

Don't want to see it!

Saturday, December 18, 2004



Had another thought. Having never worked in the construction field, I've always been fascinated watching those guys do what they do, to the point that when I was doing some photography (was once hung in an International Exhibition) I'd grab the camera and go take photographs of them on the job. Have some beauts too, but that's another story.

Anyway, the people who, a couple of months ago, bought the house across the street, are doing extensive remodeling. So, just parking the car after breakfast on Marie's patio this morn, I see two of those remarkable people on ladders in the front of the house. Apparently, since I don't know the layout of that house inside, they'd installed two new bedroom windows. The guy on the left was outlining the left window with red tape. Being very careful about it too. Very exact.

At the same time, the guy on his right had some kind of tray with a pile of what I believe they call "mud" on it, and a trowel. He was troweling this mud in the area between the two windows--a very rythmic motion--and when he'd put enough on the wall to satisfy himself, he takes a short board and smooths the mud off, removing the excess.

There has to be a reason for this work on the wall between the windows, but I'm damned if I know what it is. These guys never do something for no reason. I was mortally tempted to march over there and do a close up inspection, but restrained myself. But damn, it's easy to spot the guys who know exactly what they're doing cause they do it so well.

I'm getting out the camera when the guys come to put on our new "copper penny" colored, metal roof. Gonna be some dramatic shots, cause that metal will reflect sun. Hot damn!



And yet more good news!

Had a Xmas card from Jean Graham yesterday, and she wrote: "I should have 3 or 4 stories coming out in anthologies next year. Two will be in a book called, "Vampires & Werewolves & Monsters, Oh My!", due out next summer. Be really interesting to see the cover on that book!

The writers are having great Xmas news with all those sales.

And now I find out that James Goldsborough, who for years has written a weekly Opinion political (Dem) column for the San Diego Union-Tribune (U-T as it's commonly known) paper, has been asked to hook up with a new online paper, "". Background on the "Voice": A year or so ago, the city's favorite columnist, Neil Morgan, lost his job at the U-T, and so, with Barbara Bry, a former writer for the LA Times, and one other guy whose name I forget, have combined to produce the "Voice". The "Voice" isn't going to rev up till sometime in January, but I wasted no time getting on their email subscriber list.

Both Goldsborough and Morgan's leaving the U-T caused subscriptions to that newspaper to be cancelled and angry letters from the readers to be sent to the editor. Not that the U-T paid any attention, of course. Bet they'll pay attention now. :)) The U-T has a website: and they'll be going up against the "Voice". The U-T, a Copley paper, is a Repub paper. The "Voice" is Dem. Shit's gonna hit the fan in this town. I look forward to it. Hah!

Some years ago, I wrote a column for "Writers West" mag. Column consisted of notes on what writers (published and not yet published) here were writing or selling or doing. I'm thinking that if I'm not careful, I'll find myself doing the same thing here. Not my intention, really, but it's my opinion and belief that writers are important for civilizations, and the more of them, the better.

One of the problems (?) with writers is that they pull up the shades and invite the public to take a look at what's trying to be hidden. And then they think about that...on paper...and that causes readers to start thinking and one thing leads to another. Good example from another writer's email last night:

"But you gotta love it. I heard this morning that George II wasn't
going "to let people take risky chances." They'd have a list from
which they can select investments. Now think about it. If there's a list, how come he knows what's on it, and no one else knows? The man who helps us handle our meager resources doesn't know, so he helps us spread it out to hedge our bets. Ray Luchia doesn't know -- he suggests three buckets, and only one is the market, and he doesn't name any specifics, even narrow ones.

P.T. Barnum (sp) was right -- there's a sucker born every minute, and it appears they're all Rs. Of course, if they, themselves, don't move their prodigious accounts into George II's narrow range, I can't call them suckers, for they see through it all. No, they'd be bastards, worse, but the words are too harsh even for this audience, because they're promulgating the myth, knowing it's a myth, to the sorry minds on the other end of their microphones, ready, of course, to tell the investors they're slothful and immoral because when it comes time to retire and their investments in George II's narrow range failed them, they'll have to take from the public trough, and you know what Rs think of such people. George, though, won't face the doggy cookies and cardboard retirement because you know the dollars he got from his daddy won't go into that silly narrow range. But what the hell -- by then he'll be gone and those still around, if there is an 'around,' will blame whomever is in office. Ain't it grand?"

It's no wonder dictators lock up all the writers in jail as soon as they take over. Sheesh!