I’m a writer, but there are zillions of writers, perhaps you’ve noticed. This here is a bunch of my stuff. I hope you dig it.
I try to blog at least once daily so there’s a lot of stuff here. You can browse by category or look at some selected essays, stories (non-fiction), neuroscience pieces, jazz writing or smartassery. Some flash nonfiction even.
My LA Weekly stuff can be found here.
My email is email@example.com. My phone is 323-420-7410. I do a lot of short writing on my Brick Wahl page on Facebook, and really short writing on Twitter. I get all professional on LinkedIn, all pensive on Pinterest, and all whatever the hell it’s for on Google Plus. You can even look through my library at Goodreads. I’m all over the goddamn internet and all over this goddamn town.
Dr. George Fischbeck, RIP. What a classic character (and what a classic character’s name….) Dug up this clip from 1987. Hard to believe how simple it is, more 1950’s than now. The pace is so relaxed, the technology so sparse and free of busy clutter. He’s not competing with anyone. He’s not stacked out to yar. There’s no futuristic Mega Ultra Ultimate Gnarly Weathertrackingthing Plus spinning and glowing and promising rain. And dig that list…it’s paper. It’s wrinkled. Remember paper? Remember wrinkles?
Bakersfield was 97 degrees that day. Boise was 92. He got as far as Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 96. Record breaking heat. Then he turns to some little black and white photographs right out of 12 O’clock High and explains why. The pointer waves and twirls like a conductor’s baton in a John Philip Sousa march. Stars and Stripes Forever. I remember thinking that way back then.
Dr. George was to L.A. weather what Seymour was to monster movies and Cal Worthington was to dogs named Spot. I stopped tuning into local forecasts when Dr. George moved on. Not even the Pinay with a 100% chance of pulchritude kept me watching.
Well, a couple times she did. But only because it was raining. And not men.
Dr. George and his pointer. (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.)
Let me quote in toto “A Vast Confusion” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti whose birthday is today on March 24–the Feast Day of sad little Simonino of Trento, never seen again except through miracles and visions–and Lawrence is suddenly 96 and that is a helluva gloriously long time, nearly a century of words and sentences and cadences and rhymes that aren’t there but are, like here, listen:
Long long I lay in the sands
Sounds of trains in the surf
in subways of the sea
And an even greater undersound
of a vast confusion in the universe
a rumbling and a roaring
as of some enormous creature turning
under sea and earth
a billion sotto voices murmuring
a vast muttering
a swelling stuttering
in ocean’s speakers
world’s voice-box heard with ear to sand
a shocked echoing
a shocking shouting
of all life’s voices lost in night
And the tape of it
somehow running backwards now
through the Moog Synthesizer of time
back to the first
And the first light
“Undersound”…I can dig that. Did you dig that? Undersound.
Hatlessly holding Howl, Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1957
Bruce Anderson, the organist at the Washington Capitals home games, was just jamming on Space Truckin’. He always does. I was wondering why they show so many fucking Washington Capitals games. I think it’s so we can hear him jam on Space Truckin’. Made in Japan, baby. If he does Highway Star I’ll stop making fun of Ovechkin. If he plays Child in Time during a hockey fight I’ll buy a jersey.
That’s it. If you want literature go find a baseball fan.
He’s dead, Jim.
You know the color’s going on the set when the redshirts are greyshirts. Very nostalgic, though, as we had a black and white set until late in the Nixon administration. The Wonderful World of Color in black and white. Long Maine winters, grey skies, white snow, slush. Even the birch trees were white on grey. The Northern Lights splashed colors on the horizon like the smudge of pink creeping into the bottom of the screen. I walked into the den. Dad was in his favorite chair, watching Star Trek. I’d never seen it. Bones appeared in an alley, screaming about assassins and murderers. A tramp dropped a milk bottle. It shattered and milk flowed in perfect white. Bones screamed and grabbed the tramp by the skull, measuring. That’s all I remember. I missed out on the Beatles too. Maine was squaresville. They showed us Maine propaganda films in school. Mom passed me the mashed potatoes. Maine has the greatest potatoes I announced. My parents laughed. Non-believers. Not of the body. Back here on the tv set, in glorious black and white, Lurch is an alien. Korby is an android. And Sherry Jackson defies gravity.
Sherry Jackson and friend.
I haven’t been to Dodger Stadium since the early 70’s, and think that might have been the only time. My wife has never been there. We live only a couple hills over too, for decades now, and while these days the local urban forest blocks most of the view, the fireworks resonate incredibly here, echoing off the walls. Much louder in the back yard–sometimes with a distinctly metallic ring–than out front. Like a distant bombardment. It’s said that during the Great War, when the wind was blowing just so, you could hear the sounds of massed guns in Flanders across the Channel, and people would stand atop the white cliffs of Dover and wonder about their sons. I thought of that, oddly enough, when the Bee Gees played Dodger Stadium a decade ago and the atmospherics were such that there was an immense disco bass throb in the neighborhood. It was so loud I assumed there was a helluva rave going on down the street. We stood out of the sundeck in the warm night air and listened. When the cheers washed over us and I remembered the Bee Gees were at Dodger Stadium. The bass throb started up again as they encored, but I couldn’t make out the tune. Could have been Stayin’ Alive, could have been anything. I hate the Bee Gees my wife said. Yeah, I said, but the acoustics are cool. She shrugged and went inside. The bass throb ended and the cheering washed over us again, distant but immense. Fifty thousand voices condensed into a faraway roar. It was the strangest thing, this disembodied mass of human sound. I thought of the guns again, wafting on a cross channel breeze. After a few minutes the cheering ebbed and all was silent once more. For a big city, L.A. can have moments of near silence, and you can pretend you’re a million miles from anywhere.
An ancient, unfinished draft found in my email account. Apparently I am explaining to an editor how I managed to misspell “picks”. Why, I have no idea.
The vowelless pclsks is obviously from the Semetic language family, though which language specifically is unclear at this time. I’d say Ugaritic but then that’s extinct. So am I, actually, or close to it this morning. In any case, it’s one hell of a consonantal cluster, even tongue tripping a hardy band of Caucasian shepherds who happened by, spouting their own clustered consonants and heavily armed and wanting to kick some South Ossetian ass. I pointed them towards Glendale. But they were able to tell me that they have a similar word, though with several more consonants attached, that means picks. They said it and the crash of sibilants and fricatives and plosives scared the cat half to death.
Fortunately, I never sent it.