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tourist for a day
The cheapest ticket back to the West Coast was a one-way, $400 deal on Delta, but to Los Angeles, not Seattle. Seattle, where my friend’s car was waiting for me, was around double that. I'd still save a little money even after buying the LA to Seattle ticket on Southwest. The crazy thing is, the LA deal had a connection in Seattle! I had a six-hour layover so after arriving in Seattle I checked my bag and then jumped on the light rail and went to cousin James' house to take a shower and get a couple items I'd need in LA- namely sound and video equipment for an interview I'd scheduled. In December of 2020, just as the jab was making it's diabolical debut, the boys and I were driving to LA for our return trip to Japan after our 7-month Montana covid getaway at the height of the plandemic. I had called Dr. Mark McDonald to see if he would be interested in a face to face interview at that time. Dr. Mark is one of the prominent members of the Frontline Doctors group. We just missed each other on that trip; when I called him he was kind and willing to do the interview, but was about to board a plane to DC for a FD conference. I interviewed him by Zoom instead in January of 2021. Since then he's had a best-selling book on Amazon and another that just came out. This time we managed to meet up at his West Los Angeles office and it was a great interview. The video and audio files are now being edited in Germany at KLA Frankfurt studios.
A young man on the Frankfurt team, Lukas, happens to be in the states now, and he agreed to come to LA to assist on the project as my tech man. On my own it's busy enough getting ready for an interview; add on worrying about tech stuff and something is bound to go wrong- cameras, lightings, sound, computer- something is bound to go wrong. It was good to have Luke around to worry about that stuff. After Luke and I finished with Dr. Mark, we moved to our 2nd LA project. I want to do a piece on how the CIA or other government organizations can hack into late-model cars and remote-control them. Tin-foil-hat stuff a decade or two ago but proven via a Wikileaks dump not long ago. This is precisely the reason for the death of Michael Hastings, in my opinion, and it may also be why Anne Heche died just last month, also in Los Angeles. We wanted to go onsite to those locations to get footage, and the Hastings crash site was not far from our interview, while the Heche crash site was closer to our hotel, so we visited in that order. But I'll leave that subject and the interview for future substack posts. Here I’ll keep things light and fluffy and I'll just post some pictures of our 'free day' the following day. Lukas had never been to LA so I wanted to show him some sites after our busy work day.
With prices going through the roof, it helps to be rich anywhere but especially in big-city, coastal USA. This wasn’t the average price in LA; there’s no way the riff-raff are going to buy their gas here near Beverly Hills, but I took the photo to show you what some people are willing to pay- the kind of people who probably don’t even look at the price. Here Porches and Teslas are ubiquitous, let alone BMWs, the poor-man’s ride in Beverly Hills.
Speaking of looking at prices, Lukas and I needed some water before our visit to Venice Beach, so we went into the first supermarket we found. This place is called Erewhon and the produce section is a work of art.
Here’s what I mean about not caring about the price. You can bet that this stuff is not eaten with $1.89 Ragu.
Shall we have fish tonight?
There wasn’t one single thing in that store that didn’t look healthy and delicious. If I had money to burn I think I would skip the yacht and spend it on food.
Luke and I lined up at the registers with the only thing we could afford- a two-dollar bottle of drinking water. They actually had a gallon jug of Crystal Geyser so we weren’t forced to buy Perrier or Chateldon Springs blanc de blanc eau de vie.
I looked around in amazement. The young woman next to me didn’t look rich. I said, “This place is amazing. Does everyone shopping here make 200 grand minimum?”
She forced a brief, uncomfortable smile and said, “I don’t know,” and turned to indicate that our conversation was over.
The checker was friendlier. “You two have a great day!” I’ll bet he got a discount here.
Venice has a really cool neighborhood I was unaware of an area called the Canals.
Amazingly, we found a place to park on the street for free.
The weather was September perfect- nice and cool for the morning walk but sunny and heating up for a day at the beach.
Lukas, being big into fitness, wanted to see the famous Venice Muscle Beach. The outdoor gym with weights where the Mr. Olympia types like Aaanold work out was not open yet, but the sandlot exercise area was.
Lukas did some stuff on the rings and chinup bars. I said, “Luke-baby, if you’re going to be my bodyguard and we’re going to be scoping out the scene of Deep State crimes, you need to do some work on the bag over here.”
The Mongols were out in force, being bad ass, checking out sales on tee-shirts and searching for a churros stand. (If I’m incarcerated in California I’ll pay for that one unless I join the Nordic Bund tout de suite.)
Luke cut his workout short so he’d still have some flexibility and strength leftover for basketball. We found the courts and right away, two guys said, “You guys wanna play some two-on-two?”
No, it wasn’t KeeShon and DeVandre, mopping up the beach courts with their Compton skill set. It was Mike and Mark, two guys in my age range or beyond, with heavy east coast accents. They weren’t fat, but didn’t look super-fit, and by the way they dribbled and shot, I thought Luke and I would have an easy time with them. I’d take the 15 to 20 footers and Luke could do the hussle stuff: rebounds, steals, blocks and diving saves over the out-of-bounds line.
Mike and Mark were no dummies; they split Luke and I up and we were on opposite teams. It was a good match- me and Mike against Luke and Mark. I figured Mark and Mike were about even. I have a better shot than Luke but I’m slow now, and as you can see in the previous picture, he’s super fit.
I got a kick out of Mike and Mark’s accents and goofy basketball shenanigans. I covered Mark. Every time he got the ball he’d come up about three feet shy of the free throw line and say, “You gonna give me this?” I’d say yes, then he wouldn’t take the shot and dribble in a couple more steps for a closer shot. “You gonna give me this?”
Then he’d dribble back out to the previous range and shoot, and he was sinking them that day.
When we got the ball, I’d pass to Mike when he had inside position. Instead of taking the easy shot in the paint he’d dribble out to about 15 feet and take a wild fade-away jump shot and try to hit the banker. He did hit it! Twice! But those two hail-Mary prayer shots proved unfortunate because the rest of the game, and into game 2 and 3 he kept trying for that shot; any coach would have benched him. Mike and I lost all three games.
Early into the first game I realized Mark wasn’t actually from the states. I like guessing accents and had him pegged for the middle east or one of the Stans. Mike, however, had a typical east coast accent that could have been Brooklyn or Philly or some such way of talking straight out of central casting. I took a stab at a guess.
Looking first at Mike, I said, “I’d say you’re from Brooklyn.” Then looking at Mark I said, “You’re from Brooklyn or Tel Aviv.” Tel Aviv was my real choice but just in case, I didn’t want to call a proud New Yorker a foreigner.
“Tel Aviv,” said Mark. And Mike was from Baltimore. I didn’t ask to confirm that they were Jewish but Mark confirmed it when he said he ran a jewelry store in Santa Monica and his name was CF Silver. You can’t be more Jewish than that. Later I found out I misheard him and actually he was telling me the name of the store, “Sea of Silver.”
“Been here 25 years. Where you from?”
-Seattle but I live in Japan.
-The Japanese are my best customers!
-I bet they never barter (I refrained from saying, “jew you down,” heh)
-Nope. They never do. Super-polite people.
“Do you change the prices when you see the Japanese come in?” I said as a joke, of course.
“No, I just take the prices off, heh.”
Mike got a phone call as Mark and I were talking. I couldn’t help but overhear Mike chewing out his son in thick Baltimorese, for being truant. “Don’t give me that! I don’t care if you didn’t have a class. You can’t leave the campus. You really screwed up here! Now call the principal and apologize!”
Mike got off the phone. In the same jovial mood as before the phone call, he said, “You guys ready for another?” He looked at me and said, “How you doin’? You holding up?”
I said we had to go. Truth is I was exhausted.
Mark said, “If you guys come back, we’ll be here.” Then he said, “You guys are all right,” and looking at me, said, “and you’re not a bad ball player. Remember, if you come to LA, live in the west. West LA only.”
I’ll remember that. I’ll want to be close to the beach and Erewhon market. After making millions off this blog, of course.
After basketball, we walked the promenade toward Santa Monica, where the beach houses are very upscale and the beach crowd a bit less riff-raffy.
Yes, one could have a pleasant existence in LA, if you lived and worked west of the 405, near the beach, and had a multi-million dollar house and bank account. Speaking of the 405, I was calculating the commute time between our hotel and Dr. McDonald’s office. The most direct route was right up the 405. I googled it and got “The 405 is the busiest interstate in any US city.” We took the arterials near the beach instead.
But even in the pretty west side, there is something about this town that doesn’t feel right. Despite lots of friendly people in the beach zone (many of them tourists), things remind you that you are in LA, ground zero of the cultural rot infecting the country and the world. The billboards advertise the latest offering at the movie theatres. It seems the themes are all either woke or dark-supernatural. One billboard you could see everywhere announced this upcoming release:
I took shots of other billboards advertising the latest trash, but I’ll spare you.
Instead, here’s a pic from yesterday, just before work. First snow of the season in the Bitterroots. I’m in Montana now!
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