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December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!


May your 2013 be filled with bright, twinkling lights, flights of fancy, and love!

Photo: Christmas Tree Lane -- AKA Santa Rosa Ave. -- in Altadena, taken a few nights ago when Chicken Corner visited the home of her friends Todd Mandel and Natasha Mitchnik and Laila Mandel. Somehow I had never before visited the spectacular holiday lights-event, which a DJ on KUSC this morning called the nation's oldest electric-lights outdoor Christmas display. First lighted in 1920, the display stretches about a mile and, with lights reaching to the tops of massive deodar trees, it's a breathtaking sight. According to the Christmas Tree Lane Association, it was designed in the 1920s with automobile-viewing in mind. Photo below, right, via Christmas Tree Lane Association.xmas.jpgUnknown.jpeg

December 13, 2012

Secrets at the echo-spot*

On Avon near Ewing there's a hollow, and in that hollow is a spot. And in that spot, there's an echo. I walked over it hundreds of times, and the little spot kept its secret. But then one day I walked over it while talking to my daughter and heard the echo. That was the magic key. I heard the echo, and now it's a game we sometimes play -- my daughter, Madeleine, and I -- when we're walking the dog. We find the echo spot and speak loudly. We listen to the faint throwback of sound, like a muted bell.

So, it's special place, but we thought it contained only one secret. Then, this past Sunday, our friends Mia Trachinger and her daughter Lotte, came to visit and we walked the dog to Elysian Park together. We forgot about our special echo-location, though, because right there was a display of paintings -- good ones -- in a driveway, and a sign hanging from a tree that read "Driveway Gallery."

I have been walking in front of this driveway since 1999, and I never knew it was a gallery. Not only, but I never knew the inhabitant of the adjacent house was a painter. I learned his name is Bill Rangel. I knew him by sight. Usually because I saw him driving past. But the hundreds of paintings carefully stored in the lower level of his home have been keeping their own silence to a passerby. We talked for a while. I thanked the painter for the earth globe and basketball he and his husband put out on the street and other items that we've picked up and used over the years. And then Madeleine, Lotte, Mia, and I went on our way toward Elysian Park.

We walked longer than we meant to, and it was almost nighttime when we once again passed the special place where there was an echo and a gallery.

The gallery was still installed, like an exhibition in itself -- it was lighted now. But the painter had departed. The following day, of course, it was all gone. But it lingers in the mind.

*Edited post: Updates the artist's name.

December 6, 2012

Ding dong! Yip yap!

Officer Gregory Randall is an urban ranger, and most likely he is the Facebook wildlife blogger for the Los Angeles Animal Services Wildlife Program. The site is one of my favorite places to visit in those free moments that I find here and there in the margins of the day.

Randall -- or Ranger X we could call him -- has seen just about everything.

For example:

In a November 28 post, Randall describes a memorable bit of invention: An 85-year-old man fashioned a dumb-waiter to lower food to his neighborhood coyotes. The way he knew they were ready for dinner was via a motion sensor in his yard that rang the doorbell.

But there's a fine line between feeder and perpetrator, and, we learn in the comments section that the elderly gentleman paid a hefty price: a $1000 fine for delivering food to the coyotes. (They had attacked a neighbor's dog.)


Lengths people go to feed predatory wildlife. This gentleman feeding the coyotes had a dumbwaiter that lowered down from his balcony to feed coyotes, How did he know they were there? Note the motion sensor in the picture [above] which rang a doorbell in his home. When I knocked on his door he said "how did you know?" ... I pointed at the overweight tree squirrel sitting on my right shoe holding my pant leg and said "A little squirrel told me."

A squirrel sitting on your shoe as you lay down the law, which prohibits dumbwaitering food to coyotes: all in a day's work.

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