Category: Uncategorized

I’m only happy when it rains

Los Angeles can be so ungrateful. Just weeks after the the city nearly burned down, the rain that usually waits until, at the earliest, Halloween arrived in amounts that anywhere else would seem innocuous. And people were angry about it. “How about THIS RAIN?” someone at the PTA meeting said last night. “I wonder if …

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One after 9/09

Today the surviving Beatles and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison, as well as the financial and marketing entities that represent the interests of the former Fab Four, have reissued the Beatles catalog in remastered mono and stereo and have released a version of the videogame “Rockband” featuring the group’s music. This means …

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What Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Comics means to you

Today the Walt Disney Company announced it had agreed to purchase Marvel Comics for $4 billion in cash and stock. Marvel’s board is likely to agree, making the bold acquisition the largest media buyout since last year’s economic collapse. But fans of both cultural institutions are concerned with the purity of iconic characters and storylines. …

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Jackson estate: “Don’t treat us like Butkus”

Providers of Funeral and Ossuary services, collectively known as the Cadaverous Arts, face challenges other merchants don’t: How to advertise a product for which someone has to die in order to use? The bulletin at St. Margaret’s Church featured (and probably still does) a back page of ads from local businesses, several of which were …

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Life Cycles, pt. II: Human kickstand

When I was 9 I found my kickstand rotting off; it seemed to have crept under my bicycle. I asked my brother John to fix it. “There’s two types of people in the world, Mart,” he said, using an abbreviation of my name that means shop or store. “People who need kickstands and people who …

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Life Cycles, pt. I

Several times a month I ride my bike to work across seven miles of city streets. It takes me 45 minutes, depending on traffic. I rarely stop, even when I should. The Atwater Bridge stands less than halfway through my journey, but it is the hardest part. It is the one place I must stop, …

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Return to “Crack Street”

There have been a lot of changes to Lowell, Massachusetts, my birthplace, since I left; the city has embraced native son Jack Kerouac, it has a Single A baseball team, and it has finally gone ahead and christened a thoroughfare Crack Street. “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell” is a 1995 HBO documentary …

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On the trail of the Kogi truck: Coming to terms with Twitter

Like thinking people everywhere, I see little use for the social networking site Twitter. My life is complicated; can it really be summed up in 150 characters or less? Do the people who depend on me for guidance and moral leadership deserve to only know part of my brain? Furthermore, what can they glean from …

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Esta es mi enfermedad terminal

Manny Ramirez has a new billboard in Los Angeles, but former teammate Jonathan Papelbon would probably approve of my redesign. Previously: Sixth inning and the Dodgers are winning; NomahSee also: Jonathan Papelbon grinds his teeth (Esquire)

Thoughtful perspectives on selecting your upscale grave

Large, freestanding, and often rectangular outside advertisements are known as billboards. Here in Los Angeles there are a number of them, alerting potential consumers to available goods and services. The Forest Lawn Memorial Parks, a franchise of high-quality, well-maintained, tourist-friendly ossuaries and crematoria, advertise their trendy boneyards via billboard campaigns that speak to our gentle …

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