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R.I.P, Clay the Dog, 1998 – 2013

R.I.P, Clay the Dog, 1998 – 2013
 It ended the same way it began. On a hard, linoleum-covered wooden floor. Me lying next to Clay, the Dog. Comforting him at the very beginning. And comforting him again at the very end. Clay, my homeboy companion. My escape artiste extraordinaire. Clay, the canine outlaw of Echo Park. The cat killer and coyote enforcer. The sweetheart and heartbeat of Elysian Heights. Clay, the Dog, who is no more. I remember the first night on my brown-diamonded, linoleum kitchen floor, high above the lowlands of trendy Echo Park, that locals used to call “Red Hill” (for its Commie-leaning, rabble-rousing...
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act three?

act three?
“act 3”, you know, of a play? it follows its 2 predecessors: act one, which brilliantly sets up what’s at stake for the protagonist. followed by act two, in which the play develops with tension & suspense as it builds in “rising” action, when finally, you have, “act 3”, the climax and resolution of the play. if it’s a good/happy ending, the play is called a comedy; if it’s a not so good, bummer of an ending, the play is called a tragedy. in either case, act 3, the “falling” action and… the end of the play. now being a college theater professor for the last 26 years, i...
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mountains and ocean and hollywood sign… and yet?

mountains and ocean and hollywood sign…  and yet?
   look to the right, exactly 90 degrees from the terraced hillside back deck of lucretia gardens, and there are — the san gabriel mountains — gently looming over the hazy glendale flats. turn 180 degrees back to the left and there’s — the glassy silver rim of the pacific ocean, dividing the big sky of another multi-colored california sunset from the slightly high-rise sprawl of snarky century city and the equally-hazy flats of LA’s toney west side. turn back another 90 degrees to the right, and there, straight ahead, is the white dome of the griffith observatory, the shrubby...
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the slow fade of the perfect easter lily

the slow fade of the perfect easter lily
one of the true, inalienable gifts of the end of summer is the harvesting of home grown garden tomatoes. bright red, succulent, juicy-delicious, it’s a gift that actually comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes: the  omnipresent heirloom, the muscular beefsteak, the green zebra, fuzzy peach, red boar, the hillbilly, grape, plum, campari, even the diminutive cherry. all can be planted easily in the spring, watered abundantly through the brunt of summer, and ultimately & gloriously harvested, often, thru the end of september. personally, i can’t think of anything much more satisfying than...
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in my time of dying?

in my time of dying?
i used to dance at 155. in my twenties, i was a lean mean dancing machine. 40 years later, i’m now tipping the scales around 190, no matter how many times my well-meaning wife calls me, “fatso”. i tell her it’s age, and all the pills i’m taking to insure against becoming my father. low cholesterol pills, low blood pressure pills, anti-gout pills, doc sipkowitz says they’re keeping me alive longer, protecting me against the heart disease, hardened arteries, and gouty arthritis that i inherited from the old man who i ran 3000 miles across the country to get away from. other than that, life is...
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