picked up this guy from a fancy hotel

he didn’t talk much at all. he was on his phone.

we were going to Mt. Olympus which is way up in the Hollywood Hills.

My GPS told me to go up through the Beverly Hills and then take Mullhulland along the edge of seventeen.

the sun was setting. a bunch of people had pulled over to watch it.

but he was still on his phone.

i was playing Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Dream”

finally i said, “this is the prettiest you’ll ever see the Valley.”

he looked up and grunted something and looked back down.

i thought, i am so lucky. so blessed. so loved.

dropped him off.

thought about only giving him 4 stars cuz he made me wait at the hotel

and didn’t know enough about life to enjoy the ride.

but one shouldnt judge.

maybe he was in the middle of a flame war.

one good thing (and there are many) about being black

is, if we are in touch, we don’t worry about certain things

because in the last 100 years things have been much worse.

hell, 50 years ago it was illegal for a black man to marry a white woman in half of the USA.

so when people get all uptight about the supreme court, or certain laws, a well-grounded black person could say, welcome to my nightmare

shits always been bad. we cope. we fight on. we dont get hysterical. we dont scream and cry. we keep marching up that hill.

despite how steep it is.

regardless of how much oil they spill to slow our progress.

it’s gonna happen.

we will reach that mountain top.

which isn’t to say that there isn’t a time and place to make a joyful noise, oh there is. there just isn’t a time and place to quit. because, and heres the secret to life the universe and everything: people are watching. and people are mimics. thats how we learn.

and if someone sees you fight a little and if they respect you, even secretly, then they will think fuck this is impossible. but nothing is impossible. blacks can marry whites. we did send men to the moon. the cubs did win the world series.

we did figure out how to get internet access through the freakin air.

which means we can solve the problems of today, just like we can solve the issues of tomorrow.

we will do it together, as a team, but every member of that team needs to remember that everyone is watching and learning and if your lesson is to persevere, then fucking persevere.

aint no anthems being sung about dirty quitters.

picked up a guy at a fancy hotel


as i normally do at hotels i ask the people if theyre in from out of town.

chicago! he said. older guy, which is what this hotel usually caters to.

i turned my cubs hat around and said, “did you see this?”

we laughed and i knew things would be good.

but i didnt expect them to be this good.

i asked, what are you out here to do?

“im here to visit my daughter.”

oh what does she do?

he said, “shes in a band, but unless you were a high school girl in the 90s you probably haven’t heard of them.”


he asked, have you ever heard of Veruca Salt?

i was all, omg The Seether? American Thighs! (i couldnt recall their followup hit)

we talked about the Beatles, the Stones, the Who. he told me that The Dave Clark Five were just as good, i told him I would look them up.

then he told me this great story about a friend of his whose son didn’t get accepted into an ivy league school.

he said, “oh it will be ok.”

the depressed dad said, “are you crazy? you’re a father. don’t you want things for your kids?”

and my passenger said that he thought about it and finally concluded the most beautiful thing

he said, “i do want something for my kids. i hope that they love music.”

rarely do i shake my passenger’s hands, but after that one i did.

we’re gonna get through this

i promise

just hang in there.

since everyone keeps wanting to talk about the good book, heres just another lesson i have learned from reading that thing every sunday for the last 25+ years

shit takes time

in the bible there are numbers and some of those numbers are symbolic. one of the most symbolic numbers is 40

40 years the jews were in the wilderness trying to get back home.

40 days and 40 nights the rains came down during the flood.

40 just means “hella long”.

we are in that hella long period right now and it may seem like 40 years but it’s not. it just feels like it. we can make it. we can survive. and once we survive we can thrive. so just hang in there during this storm of hate and ignorance and cruelty.

this is the time that character is developed and long-lasting bonds are created and the evil is separated from the good.

unlike one of my favorite flaming lips songs, i believe that good will prevail.

the cubs won, love won, good will win.

adios, history

yesterday amber an i went to the LA Times because we learned that there were only two official tours remaining of the building before the paper moves to El Segundo.

thankfully my boss understood that im insane and the only days off that i want are for weird things like this and not trips to maui.

but to get a tour of a fascinatingly rich and complex building like the LA Times from a 40-year veteran of the paper like Darrell Kunitomi is a priceless gift.

he has seen it all, met everyone, worked with everyone, and experienced all the very high highs and extremely low lows of the greatest paper west of Manhattan.

it was a bittersweet tour because with every fact, photograph, and piece of equipment was an asterisk that said THIS TOO WILL BE GONE WHEN THEY MOVE.

the root of the problem was executive after executive from Chicago has done its best to ruin the LA Times, plunder its riches, lay off its people, and finally sell its majestic building and hoard the profits.

so now the paper is a tenant in a building that they also share with the likes of Uber(!) and they are forced to pay $2 million a month in rent. meanwhile the new owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong owns a building by LAX and he would rather spend millions renovating it so that the paper can work in a modern place… rent free.

because life is crazy, it just so happened that Dr. Patrick (as people now call him) was in the building yesterday because he was officially announcing the sale and the new Executive Editor. the newsroom was joyous with anti-Tronc signs, cake, and bubbly.

the tour was not allowed to join in the celebration, as this was their moment, which is understandable, but damn did i want to be in there with some of my former colleagues. The Mayor even showed up.

i did splinter off from the group when we made it to the Entertainment section which is where the Sports Dept used to be. Gerrick Kennedy, Randall Roberts, and Alison Dingeldein all greeted me and i got to chat briefly with my pal Todd Martens.

when we finished the tour Amber and I were filled with emotion because… that’s it. That cool building will be ruined, basically, with stupid condos or offices that will not change the city the way a 100+ year old paper can. and all the memories that people with way more time spent on Spring Street will be heard and not seen.

so we went to the nearby Redwood Bar, where Timesmen and Timeswomen have escaped to since the days of rotary phones. and there we hid out in the dark, listening to classic rock, and eating fish tacos.

i love the LA Times so much and the people who made it and make it what it was and is and it’s so sad that this sad story never ends. even with a prince of a billionaire trying to make things better. maybe it will be better. maybe the new place will be a turning point.

lets hope.

i drove a big powerful movie executive on thursday

everything about her was smooth.

perfectly dressed. great sunglasses.

picked her up somewhere classy, dropped her off at a studio.

the whole time she was on the phone with this one and that one

and she was happy and smart and eloquent

and so insightful about this big director

and how to tell in an email if he had been drinking

because if he had you can disregard the tone.

she and i never talked but by piecing together the cast of characters

it was easy to find her imdb.

and when i got to where she had started in hollywood

i totally understood why she had such an even keeled disposition.

cuz that show was incredible.

even though i worked at e! and now where i do,

i have learned way more about hollywood from driving people in an out of century city

for uber

because these people are always on the phone

and this city is way smaller than it appears.

i just wish i knew who they were first because we would have better convos.

all lies matter

when politicians start using the bible to explain why they are doing sinful things, it’s time for everyone to start reading the Good Book so they can put these lying liars in their place.

yesterday the Atty General and then the Press Secretary attempted to use the Bible to explain why this administration is ripping babies from their mothers as they are seeking asylum in the so called Greatest Country in the World.

these self proclaimed Conservative Christians – a term that is contradictory in every imaginable sense – turn a blind eye to the origin story of Jesus, who as soon as he was born had to haul ass out of Israel and into Africa because the King wanted to kill him because he was a threat to his administration.

A days-old Jesus was seeking refuge. A stranger in a strange land. And that experience he used as an example in his teachings about other refugees. He even reminded the Jews that they were once immigrants in Egypt when there was a famine in Israel.

FUCKING BE COOL TO EACH OTHER is the overwhelming theme of Jesus’s teachings.

love your neighbor

love your enemy

love the poor just like you love yourself.

reading the bible without paying attention to Jesus’s life and teachings is like listening to Van Halen without paying attention to the guitar.

the guitar, sorry Michael Anthony, is what Van Halen is all about.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is what Christianity is all about.

He healed the sick, he didn’t lock em up.

He fed the hungry, he didn’t kick them back to King Herod to get killed.

He solved problems, he didn’t wipe his hands to them.

I know there’s worse evil in the world, but this DC, GOP evil is something i never expected in 2018.

theres a thing called ‘voice’ that people like to talk about

and i get it, in theory, that in writing there is a particular tone that one could read into a blog post, an article, a report, ect

and that’s nice, but where i come in conflict with some

it is when i say it doesnt matter.

when i was at the Times, i tried to convince as many desks as i could that they should consider group blogs as opposed to individual ones.

i explained that tonypierce.com was pretty successful at a point, for a one man show, but i never really understood the power of a group blog until i was at LAist.

there you could get lots of different points of view and

OMG lots of different voices

and that diversity is what brought in a larger audience.

any time someone brought up a blog or a site that had a detectable voice, i brought up two that were rollicking group blogs with no unified voice.

it wasn’t until two of our group blogs, the local news LA Now, and the Fabulous Forum sports blog, broke out once they started writing a bunch of stories a day.

those successes allowed me to say with confidence that IF you believe in voice,

then you should also encourage a chorus, which, when it is in tune, can create a more powerful emotion.

but me – i don’t believe the audience is loyal. and i believe that they are clicking clicking clicking hundreds of times in between visits to your incredible web destination.

and during those clicks they are hearing one different voice after another – and they love it. how do i know? because they keep clicking.

what will keep them clicking within your web site / instagram feed / blog, isn’t a tone or a style similar to the one they just read

but kickass posts, one after another, with interesting information that they can’t get anywhere else,

with fascinating photos or graphics or charts.

internet users are bombarded with conflicting, contradicting, ugly beautiful images and messages. the fact that you have 9 pink pictures in a row with some lilting sentences

is not why someone will return.

you impressing their friends will.

and what impresses their friends is learning something shareable before you do.

been reading Oscar Levant’s “the memoirs of an amnesiac”

he’s talking about taking a train into LA’s union station

and how when he does he always goes to this newsstand and asks for a new yorker.

but one day the lady at the newsstand really rubs him the wrong way when she tells him she’s all out of new yorkers.

after that he vows to go to “an inferior newsstand” to avoid dealing with her ever again.

because he was a concert pianist, the new yorker would review his concerts and sometimes give him bad reviews.

it got me thinking how hard it is to write a good bad music review. you dont want to utterly destroy the performer, but you want to be colorful and entertaining. but ultimately you are judging the most subjective thing there is: art.

when i was at the record store in the mid 80s there were two bands that were bubbling under. fishbone and the red hot chili peppers.

both were good and funky and creative and fun and funny and all the things youd want if you were 18 like i was.

and if you had asked me: one of these bands is going to get huge and be a world wide sensation through the year 2018, which one would it be?

i would have said Fishbone, no question. Because as good as the Chili Peppers is, 18 year old me woulda said, ultimately they are derivative of PFunk mixed with a little more rock, but still white dudes doing fast funk.

and i would have been wrong. and their biggest tune, “under the bridge”, would have proven me a fool because it isnt funk and it isnt fast.

which is why i would add, it’s tough to make a good bad music review… that stands up to the test of time.


im at a social media conference today

i dont go to a lot of conferences.

its like church, though, i might avoid it, but im always glad once im there.

the problem is when the successful people talk either they dont know how they got successful

or no way in hell are they gonna tell you the secret

for free

right there in front of everyone else.

i like to go for the snacks.

this year the clear winner is this blueberry fig bar.

imagine a Fig Newton but made of healthy ingrediants

and the size of a small wallet.

sat outside for lunch yesterday, took off my cubs hat and 20 minutes later i got a pretty good tan/burn. shoulda used sunscreen.

back in the day i spoke at a conference or two. i won an award at a conference. probably got the job to work at LAist because of a conference.

but the thing about social media is there are no secrets there.

if you go for it, you will reap rewards because most of the scene is half-assing it.

same way most of the blogosphere half assed it. which is why they stopped blogging.

those that go all out in social win, not because of algorithms or posting at a particular time of day

but because they are fully committed and will try anything

including some of the dumbest things ever, i cant believe youd brag about it at a conference.

the weirdest thing is the traffic. it took nearly an hour and a half to get from santa monica to east hollywood at around 6.