At 3:30 in West L.A., the bamboo is wilting, the cat is pawing the walls, my wife's sinuses are cooked and the sounds of the city and passing planes are carrying extra far through the sere sky. Santa Anas. When the desert reaches the beach is one of my favorite mini-seasons. Mt. Wilson, 35 miles from the back deck, looks as if I could touch it. If I poked my head over the hill, Santa Catalina would appear the same. Maven at the blog Cinemocracy turns to science, Chandler and Didion for perspective:
On my way to work this morning I was endangered by no less than five ridiculous drivers, and I live only a mile from the office...As the winds sweep through the deserts and canyons, they whip up the ions in the air, causing them to lose an electron and develop a positive charge. Scientists have found evidence that “positive ion poisoning” – or exposure to this kind of atmosphere – can result in “increased levels of tension, irritability, depression, reduced work efficiency, lethargy, sleepiness or headache - any or all of these conditions, with the symptoms worsening as the day (or exposure to the adverse environment) wears on...
Consider this excerpt from The Red Wind by Raymond Chandler (1938):
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's necks. Anything can happen.
Consider also the following from Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream, by Joan Didion (1968):
The San Bernardino Valley lies only an hour east of Los Angeles by the San Bernardino Freeway but is in certain ways an alien place: not the coastal California of the subtropical twilights and the soft westerlies off the Pacific but a harsher California, haunted by the Mojave just beyond the mountains, devastated by the hot dry Santa Ana wind that comes down through the passes at 100 miles and whines through the eucalyptus windbreaks and works on the nerves. October is the bad month for the wind, the month when breathing is difficult and the hills blaze up spontaneously. There has been no rain since April. Every voice seems a scream. It is the season of suicide and divorce and prickly dread, wherever the wind blows.
Cinemocracy also links to Hollywood Hill, a new membership-by-referral group for getting Hollywood execs and "young creative talent" active in politics. The advisory board includes producers Lawrence Bender and Mike Medavoy, political macher John Emerson, PR exec Larry Winokur and Arianna Huffington. The group is hosting a viewing the vice presidential debate and an address by the Rev. Al Sharpton on Oct. 5.