Short Supply

The hummingbirds were suspicious.  The bees were downright adamant the butterflies were involved.  Nectar from the tropical sage flowers was disappearing at an alarming rate.  Finally, Horace the bee stayed up really late one night and captured proof.

Bakersfield, California 2009

The Trials Of Growing Up

Zack was a pretty wild kid.  Maybe wild is too strong.  Inquisitive might be a more appropriate description.  He was always hanging out with the older boys.  Pushing the limit.  One day, Zack crawled into a dark tunnel on a dare.  The next thing he knew, his ears were ringing and he had shot his wad.  He didn't even know he had a wad.

Photo rendered with Topaz Labs Glow.

Bena Road, Kern County, California 2010

Itch

Barney Birch first noticed his skin itching when he turned 63.  At first, he thought he had some kind of rash or latent STP; he was pretty wild in his younger days.  But, after a doctor visit, he discovered his skin was just dry.  He started limiting his showers to once a day, quit using a wash cloth and changed his brand of soap.  That seems to help.

He notices the irritation more in the Winter months when the humidity is low.  He's afraid he will have to stop running around nude in those months and that will really put a crimp in his lifestyle!

Bakersfield, California 2010

Confident

Mortimer figured he made a clean getaway.  He had a two hour lead on the posse.  There was no way they could track him!

Bakersfield, California 2010

It's Short

Lenny was chatting away with his buddy, Abraham.  They were discussing life and death.  Lenny was staring at Gloria, she was hot!  Abraham said, "Life is a dream for the dead."  That caught Lenny's attention and he turned to look at Abraham.  Abraham wasn't there.  Abraham was lying dead on the pavement.  Lenny started staring at Gloria again.

Bakersfield, California 2010

Choices

Nobody told Jasper Greenbooger he'd get this much exercise.  One minute he's in a 9-13 convenience store holding a gun to the cashier's head demanding money and the next, he's running all around town jumping fences trying to shake off this pesky helicopter.  He's been bit twice by dogs and has thorns in his arms from rose bushes.  Damn, it's almost not worth it, but, his only other option is to get a job.  Screw that!

Bakersfield, California 2010

What He Saw

An hour after ingesting wild mushrooms, Theodore began to doubt his choice.  Perhaps the ones growing in the manure were not proper salad ingredients.

Bakersfield, California 2010

The Gathering

Every year about this time, a new group of friends got together to take bets on who would be the last on the tree.  Unfortunately, there was no joy in being last because there was nobody to share the moment with.

Bakersfield, California 2010

Heartbreak

River Birch: "I'm telling you, Doc, it feels like my skin is peeling off and I itch all the time.  I've tried changing soap, shampoo, diet!  Nothing seems to help.  What?  Psoriasis?  I haven't tried that yet.  Is it over-the-counter?"

Bakersfield, California 2010

The Last Ride (B/W)

Roland was released from the Wasco State Prison at 8:30 PM.  He was at the Wasco AMTRAK station at 8:40 PM.  He used the restroom facilities at 8:50 PM where he shook hands with long-time friend, Cooper.  Roland boarded an AMTRAK car at  9:15 PM.  There were twelve other passengers already on board.

Roland exited the AMTRAC car at the last stop in Bakersfield, California at 10:07 PM; alone.  AMTRAK officials found twelve passengers literally glued to their seats.  Apparently, Cooper passed Roland a tube of superglue while in the Wasco AMTRAK station.

(The above story is fictitious.  Cooper passed Roland a single-edged razor blade.  The twelve passengers were glued to their seats.  None were breathing.)

(The above fictitious disclaimer is fictitious.)

Bakersfield, California 2015

Bugged

Julian "Wasp" Mountain lived in this tree for 43 minutes on December 4, 1954.  He was protesting the opening of the first Burger King in Miami, Florida.  His tree sitting would have been longer, but, a confrontation with a flying insect, wasp, abruptly ended his residency when he fell out of the tree.  Besides, it was getting kind of windy and cold up there and he had run out of Pabst Blue Ribbon; his only source of hydration.

(Absolutely no truth to the above story except that Burger King did open their first store on the stated date.)

Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California 2011

Briefly Pays To Be High (B/W)

The advantage was that the perch was off the ground.  Walkers can't climb.  Even the former linemen weren't coordinated enough any more to climb.

The disadvantage was that when 4,623 walkers accidentally push on the pole, the structure falls.  Dinner time!

Bakersfield, California 2011

Contained

These signs used to tear up the town when they were younger.  They would stay lit up all night long, partying!  You would expect them to mellow out a bit when they reached a certain age, but, it didn't happen.  Eventually, they had to be contained for their own safety.

Kern County Museum, Bakersfield, California 2011

Cleaned Out

It ended right here.  The mountain lion won.  Barnabus and his two buddies were playing Texas Hold'em and Milton the mountain lion asked to join in.  Well, after all, there were four seats, so the boys said sure.  Milton lost a couple of hands and the boys were feeling pretty good about their decision.  It was downhill after that.  Milton couldn't lose.  Eventually, the boys had given up their money, boots, hats and clothes to Milton.  Barnabus came real close to betting the cabin on a last ditch effort, but, fortunately, he didn't do it.  Milton is some kind of card player!

(rendered with Topaz Impression)

Camp Nelson, California 2008

Possible Delay

I sure hope things go alright.  We had Rudolph over for dinner last night and I think he had a little too much eggnog.

Bakersfield, California 2011

Wrong Story

it was at this moment that Darth realized he wasn't dressed in his normal garb and that wasn't  Obi-Wan.  This was the beginning of a bad dream!

Bakersfield, California 2011

Launch

It's not common knowledge that a group of San Joaquin kit foxes were the first to launch a living animal into suborbital space in 1643.  The kit foxes used a bunch of woven reeds to make a slingshot attached to the tree to the right.  They persuaded a carp to be the test subject.  After several unsuccessful attempts, the carp kept hitting the tree, they launched the carp just above the top of the trees with enough force to clear about fifteen feet of ground and land in the river unharmed.

I know, I know.  You're skeptical because the trajectory was no where near suborbital space.  Well, in 1643, suborbital space for kit foxes was anything higher than a tree.  End of discussion.

(The preceding story is fictional, but, it could have happened.)

Bakersfield, California 2011

Guardians

Dendron and Gigant always dreamed of traveling.  They just can't seem to uproot themselves.  Their older brother, Drongig, did manage to see the inside of a sawmill, but, that's a story for another time.

Sequoia Crest, California 2012

After Burn

John Attractsbolts has been hit by lightning 57 times and survived.  Unfortunately, things around him aren't so lucky!

Sequoia Crest, California 2012

Start Your Engines

There is a 1.5 mi (2.41km) stretch of road and railroad track just southwest of Ducor, California that runs parallel to each other and is perfect for races between train and motorized vehicle.  If the vehicle wins, the driver gets to drive the train into Delano, California, another 15 miles down the track.  Of course, this event was back in the early 1960s when things were a little more relaxed and the highway patrolmen, train engineers and vehicle drivers were all friends or related.  You know, back when you could spit in the street or drink a beer while driving because there just weren't many people around and those that were, were all related or friends.  It was during a time when absolutely nothing was going on other than a little war in Vietnam, some civil rights stuff and a few hippies smoking pot.  The locals needed something to get excited about other than bashing gays or hippies.

(the above is completely fictitious other than the Vietnam War, civil rights, and bashing gays and hippies)

Ducor, California 2012

Get Off My Roof

I am probably on miles of video surveillance film assuming the cameras really work.  I spent about a year and a half visiting this location every week or two weeks.  The scene doesn't change a lot other than the sky, but, it was always interesting to see what was happening on the streets below.  It has only been in the last year or so that the security folks have taken to running people off; especially, dumb-ass photographers.

Bakersfield, California 2012

Thermostat

To Phil, it seemed like the temperature never registered much of a change in the old thermostat no matter how hot or cold the room was.  Turns out, it wasn't filled with mercury.  It was filled with Sally's blood and Bill did it.

Linda Vista Hospital, Los Angeles, CA 2012

Griddle

Lucas was in the middle of cooking when the power went out.  After checking the circuit breaker, Lucas realized he wouldn't be finishing his slab of former neighbor Harry any time soon.

Linda Vista Hospital, Los Angeles, California 2012

Going To The Chapel

Lizzie was staring at this window when the Shadow Man entered the room.  The Shadow Man is in charge of the Blood Room and the blood was drying out.  It needed to be replenished.  The floor was getting rather sticky from coagulation.

Linda Vista Hospital, Los Angeles, California 2012

Boardwalk

Albert and Ebenezer loved Halloween.  They liked scaring people, especially, little old ladies and young children.  They spent many happy years sitting on this building screaming, "Boo", as people walked by.  They had so much fun, they forgot to eat!

Santa Cruz, California 2012

Boards

Slow George seemed to be mesmerized by these lights.  He stood here for hours at a time for three nights in a row.  Turns out, George thought he was in line for ice cream.  Smoking fattys will do that to you.

Santa Cruz, California 2012

Window Shopping

Cecil the Tree brought his kids here every night and stood in front of this window.  Cecil would tell the same story every night about how his younger brother didn't obey his parents and now, you can buy his body parts in this store!

Santa Cruz, California 2012

Ascension (B/W)

As far as anyone knew, Anizumne Cosomne's attempt to climb the falls in 420 was a first.  The Miwok, Mono and Paiute Indian tribes got together at the base of the falls for powwows every 730 suns and each time, discussion would turn to scaling the falls while it was dry.  There was always the risk of a sudden rain storm and it had happened frequently.

Well, this particular powwow was pretty lively considering the significance of the year 420 and Anizumne got really worked up.  Before anyone realized it, he was climbing.  Two suns and one moon later, Anizumne was standing at the top of the falls whooping and hollering.

That's when Hewhobreakswind turned around and saw 371 wolves advancing on the powwow.  Anizumne may have been the first, but, 1,543 other Indians attempted the climb of the falls that day.

Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California 2012

D'em Bones

Skel always was a little awkward on the dance floor.  Then he met Rosy and they were a perfect match.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California 2012

Security

Horace lives on the third floor of this building.  Nobody knows he's there.  Well, most of the time nobody knows.  Sometimes, Horace slips up and walks through a wall with people in the room.  Horace has a hard time remembering he's a ghost.

Los Angeles, California 2012

Available For Parties

Norman was bored with his job.  He did the same thing night after night.  Diffusing light.  He was ready for a change.  Maybe he could become a standup comedian or a rock star.  He would even consider being melted down and repurposed as a bottle or window pane.

Balboa Park, San Diego, California 2012

Waiting

You hear all those stories about trolls turning to stone in the sunlight.  Poor Mona didn't know she had troll blood in her family tree.  Thinking back, it makes perfect sense why her family never ventured out in the daylight!

Balboa Park, San Diego, California 2012

Da Croc

This poor guy looked like he needed a meal.  He had plenty of opportunities, but, never took advantage of the situation.  I told him we could make a run for some chicken or a cow, but, he didn't seem interested.  I hope he survived.

(photo rendered in Topaz Labs Glow)

Balboa Park, San Diego, California 2012

Better Half

Shari and I have visited San Diego, California twice in the past couple of years.  Both times were carless.  Bus, train and public transportation.  We did the same thing to San Francisco once during that same period.  What we discovered was that if you have lots of time and no stringent agenda, it works.  Otherwise, drive.  We've decided driving works better for us, but, we wouldn't know if we didn't try.

San Diego, California 2012

The Sighting

Herb the Parasaurolophus had heard all the old wives tales of an odd-looking creature that kind of glided along the ground. But, he knew they were just rumors and there Could Not Possibly be anything like that. He chalked it up to bad veggies.

(Yes, this is a composite.  I added the motorized vehicle.)

Trona, California 2013

Blinded Relief

Homer Growlingbowel made a quick pitstop.  He was sitting there minding his own business when a brilliant light lit up the landscape.  Homer doesn't remember what happened after that, but, he sure felt lighter.

Trona Pinnacles, California 2013

Power Wagon

Charlie Manson ran out of gas right here after the family torched an earthmover owned by Death Valley National Monument.  It was a long walk to Barker Ranch and he was grumpy.  To make matters worse, Tex Watson had made off with the other Power Wagon trying to get to Texas.  Charlie was not happy.

(The above is fictional as far as I know, but, could be true.)

Ballarat, California 2013

Inconspicuous

Sam was pretty sure these two padlocked buildings contained maintenance equipment.  So, when he accidentally kicked the right combination of rocks and the buildings jettisoned revealing the noses of two Minutemen missiles, well, he was, to say the least, shocked!

Death Valley National Park, California 2013

Gung-Ho

T. J. "King" Kong picked himself up, spit out a mouthful of sand and thought, "that was a hell of a ride!  I wonder where my cowboy hat landed?"

Death Valley National Park, California 2013

Do It Yourself

Reliance Overbury asked Junior to take care of an ant infestation while Reliance was in town gambling.  Reliance said nothing about not using dynamite to remedy the situation.

Rhyolite, Nevada 2013

Isolation

Elsie loves living in the desolation of the desert.  No neighbors, the glorious smell of sagebrush, and the Sun doesn't hit her place until about 10 AM.

The above story is fictitious.

Rhyolite, Nevada 2013

Disappointment

Cleo Wordsmith dreamed of being a reporter for the local newspaper.  He beleev he would be really good because his dawter said all the other reporting was so grotesk, especially stories about wimmin.  Unfortunately, the reporting masheen was hard to break into and Cleo never lived his dream.  Instead, he opened a soop kitchen on an iiland in the Aegean Sea.

Bakersfield, California 2013

Last Thought

Horace rode like a bat out hell down the double solid lines.  Air blowing through his hair.  The deep rumble of his Harley beneath him.  He didn't worry about it much because no one crosses double solid lines.  Right?  Well, at least that's what it says on his headstone.

Hwy 223, Kern County, California 2013

Here He Comes

Klopalong Hasbenicity ruled the range.  He was rude, crude, rough-talking and dangerous.  Men and cattle feared him and that's how he liked it.  Klopalong had one friend, Ecneralc Droflum.  The only reason they were friends was because Ecneralc wrote the stories and Klopalong didn't know what to do until the story was written.  Then he'd have to wait until Ecneralc wrote the next story.  Ecneralc was kind of controlling in that respect.

More than once Klopalong thought about getting rid of Ecneralc, but, Klopalong had just enough awareness to know that he would be lost without Ecneralc.  In fact, Klopalong realized he wouldn't exist without Ecneralc which is more than most people who read the stories realized.

Hwy 223, Kern County, California 2013

From China With Love

There is a little critter called the Asian citrus psyllid that potentially carries a Chinese citrus greening disease called huanglongbing.  It has decimated Florida citrus crops and now, has, shown up in Los Angeles and Kern Counties.  Not every psyllid is a carrier, but, the disease cannot spread without the pest.  The psyllid transmits the disease by feeding on the liquid inside citrus leaves.

Psyllids have now been found in the city and last weekend, November 2015, there was a lot of spraying going on in our neighborhood.  We don't have citrus, but, our neighbors do.

Bakersfield, California 2013

High Strung

Paterina KzAfee is a field goal kicker.  This is where she comes to practice.  You can see her along Interstate 5 in the Los Angeles area almost every day during the week.  When she gets tired of kicking balls, she practices her high wire act.  She's a tough cookie!

(Drive-by shooting)

Los Angeles County, California 2013

What's In A Name?

The area below these buildings has been called many things over the years.  In 1866, the area was dedicated as a public square and called La Plaza Abaja.  In 1867, the area was informally called St. Vincent's Park.  In 1870, the area was officially renamed Los Angeles Park.  Then in 1886 the area was renamed 6th Street Park.  In the early 1890s, the area was renamed Central Park.  In 1918, the park was renamed Pershing Square.  The building on the left is the Title Guarantee & Trust Building and the structure on the right is the Bell Tower in Pershing Square.  You'll just have to take my word for it that there actually is a park below these buildings.

Above Pershing Square, Los Angeles, California 2013

Targeted

The U.S. Bank Tower on the left is the tallest building in Los Angeles, California at 1,018 feet (310m) comprised of 73 stories.  I have no idea who currently owns the building which has changed hands several times since construction in 1989.

The building was targeted twice for terrorist attacks.  Both attacks were foiled.  The original plan for the September 11 attacks included the building according to some reports.

There have been several reports of missiles being launched from the building.  Total hogwash.

Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, California 2013

Rocky Beginning

Yrneh Sllew and Mailliaw Ograf had a brilliant idea in the 1850's.  They thought they could provide financial services from New York City to folks in California.  After all, the gold miners were raking in the bucks in California.  Things were kind of slow starting out.  Both boys were dyslexic.   But, once someone suggested that the boys spell there last names from right to left, Wells Fargo, the business took off.  It was kind of hard pronouncing Sllesw Ograf.

The above is a  total fabrication.

Los Angeles, California 2013

Running Late

Pedro the pelican: "Come on guys.  We need to get a move on!"

Eramus the pelican: "I told you chasing that school of fish would get us in trouble!"

Lionel the pelican: "But, I was really hungry, guys!"

Ignacious the pelican: "And you know how cranky Lionel gets when he's hungry!"

Chad the pelican: "But, you didn't have to go back for thirds, Lionel!"

Abel the pelican: "We should have been setting up an hour ago, guys!"

Nathan the pelican: "If we don't set off those fireworks when it gets dark, there are going to be a lot of upset bipeds!"

Santa Cruz, California 2014

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