What should I write about today?  Impeachment?  Kobe? Bad, and sad?

Nah. Let’s stay away from bad and sad today, just for the hell of it.  Not ignoring, because with TV news and social media, that’s not really possible.  Well, it may be possible, most of us try to keep up with what’s happening, or at least a version of it. But anyway, away we go!

LOS ANGELES: to the rest of the country, LA is a kind of joke. Gets a bad rap.  It’s not a real city. Traffic is awful. No culture.  No architecture.  Bad air.  Stoners. Surfer dudes. Valley Girls, La-La Land…

It’s all true!

Kidding. Let me say, I’m not an LA apologist. There are times, for example, when sitting on the 101 waiting to sit on the 405 waiting to sit again on the 10 when I want to scream. Actually, I do scream sometimes.  Or at least yell.  I try to stay just this side of the fine line of road rage because, let’s face it, road rage never ends well.  And no one feels great when the ground shakes or the air smells like smoke.  It can be challenging.

Typical scene on the PCH.
Another LA driving distraction: trying to take a pic of Uncle Neil in his Studebaker driven by Darryl Hannah on the PCH. A lotta work.

But one needs to go beneath the glossy surface.  Or not glossy.  When living in LA, you have to dig deeper and find things that entertain or amuse you, or allow the opportunity to learn or experience something new.

Case in point, Glendale, CA.  Glendale is an enigma.  If you go to one part of Glendale, you might think it’s all urban blight.  A few blocks away? A vibrant small downtown scene.  A mile north? Little streets with shops, markets and restaurants that seem stuck in the 1950’s.  A few blocks east of that? A beautiful suburban neighborhood on a hill where most of the houses are 100 year-old historic buildings.


We met our cousin in Glendale for coffee one week on a cute little street that took us back to 1962 (feel-wise), and then found ourselves the following Saturday visiting The Southwest Museum of the American Indian (technically in what is known as Mt. Washington). Founded in 1911 (the building finished in 1914) by Charles Fletcher Lummis (back when guys had three names, like Charles Foster Kane, another collector of art and artifacts), the museum holds Lummis’s collection and other artifacts and information.  Admission, and parking, are free.

Take away the flag and you could be in Spain or ol’ Mexico or something.

Lewis is a somewhat controversial but intriguing character, one of those guys who was born rich and decided to go off and be an explorer and adventurer, and he explored and adventured all over the Southwestern US and elsewhere, collecting pottery and other crafts, and encouraging the native tribes he encountered to produce the pottery they had been making for centuries for their own use on a larger scale so they could sell it to us white folks. They could make money, he could make money, and white people get a nice pot or vase.  That’s how the economies of Santa Fe and Taos started, kind of.  Native American pottery.

Lummis is lauded for his work amassing this collection which is important because it preserves much of the local Native American tribes’ cultures, but many see him as a “white savior” who wasn’t as much a selfless protector of that culture as a self-promoter and a collector of artifacts.  I’m torn, but either way, his story is fascinating, and you can go ahead and google it yourself.  But here is what I saw.  I tend to look for things that either make me laugh, or go “huh?”

First, when you get there, you see this very large pole.  Totem pole.  And it’s impressive, to be sure.  When first laying eyes on it, you might think, as I did, wow, what a large nose. But upon further reflection (and clarification from Kiki), this is NOT a nose.  There are two guys on the pole, so to speak.  The bottom one is upside down. The upper one has an eagle on his head.  They share a common appendage that is larger than one would reasonably expect, but they share it, so technically, they each get half. And this is pre-Viagra. Aren’t Native Americans creative?!

This has to be way more than four hours. I’m not explaining this joke.

Then there is this guy.  I like him. He’s little and kind of cute, but he seems to be upset.  Don’t you want to protect him?  I’d tell you what he’s for, but I didn’t read the plaques.  I just look for goofy things to take pictures of.  I think this guy was a salt shaker or something of that ilk.

Something scared this little fellow. Maybe he saw an alien?  Or else he’s been watching too much impeachment news.  I feel like this sometimes.

You need to look closely at the image on this pot.  Some say it is a bear claw, but I think it’s an alien face, with three eyes, and this proves that the Chumash had contact with extraterrestrials.

It’s an alien, but at least he’s a happy alien.

These two are funny.  They don’t look like people, Native American or otherwise, at least not to me. Are they also aliens?  Not sure, but these are probably a salt and pepper shaker, or else they can be used as a pipe to smoke whatever it is they were smoking back then.  Or a candle holder?  You decide.


Here’s an insect.  It’s large.  It could be alien, but not sure. Pretty though.

It’s a large insect. Butterfly? Mayfly? Well, at least he looks friendly. I like an insect with expressive eyes.

I have a bunch of these but that’s probably enough for today. The Southwest Museum of the American Indian is open only on Saturdays (funding, you know) but worth a visit when in the greater LA area. And small, so great for small attention spans, like mine.


AGING: Here it is, my first invitation to visit and perhaps live in a senior-living community.  Yes, that’s happening now.  I’m not going to move there, because it’s very expensive, and all the other people are old. But after looking at the brochure (note my baby picture in the corner for effect), I’m thinking, you know, that don’t look half bad.

They’re drinkin’ wine, chef chatting with them like they’re celebrities. Maybe someday, but not just yet.

BERRY SIZE: Today is Wednesday, and I eat oatmeal for breakfast on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  So today was oatmeal.  I use steel cut organic oats (the kind that cook for a half hour), and put in a little butter, maple syrup and fruit. I like blueberries whenever available, and now, thanks the miracle of refrigeration and transportation, we get ‘em even in the winter, organic no less.

But something is happening in Peru that we need to find out.  What is in the water? What are they giving these berries?  They are organic, so no chemicals. Ancient Incan secret?  Top one is from Peru, bottom one from the good ol’ USA. Is it just because it’s summer down there now, or do our berry farmers need to try harder? You decide.


So, what have we learned? No, I mean, besides nothing.

Well, we learned that Charles Fletcher Lummis lived an exciting life and collected a lot of artifacts and preserved them and some people still think he was a self-serving elitist.  Sometimes you can never win.  We also learned that Native American ceramics are cool, and even on what could be a boring museum trip, you can find funny stuff to take pictures of.  And finally, we learned that blueberries grow large in Machu Picchu and we don’t really know why.  The mystery of the Incas continues.

It’s back to the novel for me, and hope all of us have a wonderful, safe, and happy week. We deserve it.

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