Monday, 26 June – When I began the series of books I'm writing, I didn't expect to situate so much of the narrative of the early books in San Clemente and Dana Point. These communities have gussied up a little since 1975, but even to-day they feel insulated from the grand media blare of New York, Washington, and LA. I roamed around both beach towns Saturday and found three community qualities reassuring. One was the number of '60's muscle cars, well kept, surfer and low-rider alike, that are still rolling on the streets. The second reassuring thing was the number of VW Buses parked in driveways. And third, the three-story plank exterior homes of San Clemente, painted the old-issue standard seaworthy blue-grey. There are a couple further down Cazador Lane, which I describe early on as possessed of "tall stark three-story houses of wide blue-grey siding planks, and apartments nestling in among them, with levels like lanterns fallen in a random pile, and so many picture windows turned towards the pier and the sea."
Wednesday, 28 June – As part of my portrayal of late 1990 in my series (which is "where I'm at" with my project right now), it occurred to me to read Octavio Paz's Nobel Laureate speech. It's high-minded intellectualism but at its bottom it suggests that the western world at the time was passing away from every -ism and religion it had known and even from the realm of academics. This was dangerous enough, but more dangerous still was any of their prospective returns. "It would be terrible if the fall of the abstract idol of ideology were to foreshadow the resurrection of the buried passions of tribes, sects and churches. The signs, unfortunately, are disturbing," Paz noted. What might be to-day's meta-historical reversion? Some may believe it's radicalizing religion to the point of extremism; others, less comfortable with accepting radicalization as a new norm, believe it would be the perceived need of western liberals to regulate speech. Yes, twenty-six years later, it strikes me as depressing as Paz supposed that any such relapse might be.
Sunday, 2 July – Eric Garcetti tapped a Trump-bashing actor and a social justice rabbi to bestow blessings upon himself and the city for his and his friends' extended, specially created, five-and-a-half year second term commencing yesterday. I don't know that LA's top political leadership has much more to offer city and globe than that. But media generally expressed awe while barely observing that Garcetti's LA is the nation's capital of homelessness, rents beyond income, and traffic – and that Garcetti himself is now the longest serving elected official in LA city government.
The ceremony was more like an abdication than a swearing in: in a city of over a million economically crushed Latinos, Hizzoner's own mother administered his oath, and, in advance of it, he released a photo of himself hugging one of the few benefactors of the city's extremely expensive, cruelly counterproductive, permanent supportive housing lottery. New to the City Council trough also comes a former Riordanite with a realty background, Monica Rodriguez, who represents the Latino-tilting district where so much of the homeless housing development monies – and so many of the homeless themselves – end up. Garcetti, along with two other donor-beholden progressives, who typically produce and promote lobbyist-originated policies that in my view create more poverty than opportunity for the city, will end up holding LA's top three elected offices for nine-and-a-half years rather than eight.
Tuesday, 4 July – Happy Fourth from a Jaguar with some American color in the rear seat space parked across the street from Cap 'n' Cork in Los Feliz.
Friday, 7 July – Desert camou Texas truck with US and State flags, 6 July 2017. The true oddity: that left turn lane has almost never been empty in daylight hours.