I accept blocked calls

I’ll talk to strangers

I give money to the homeless

I’ll eat my chicken boneless.

When I first started working at the Oscars my niece was all do you know any YouTube stars

I’ve stopped drinking at bars.

We’ve had the highest infection rates all year

But because it’s Halloween all the pretty IG models are having parties

Dressing up

Drinking shots.

Never stop.

I’ll take a spam risk call.

Who cares any more.

That’s another person on the line another soul, another baby everyone gathered round when they were brought home

Another hope for the future.

Anthony? They always ask. Never Tony. That’s when you know it’ll be good.

Anthony I’m from mumble mumble echo

Where did you say?

Oh I’m from muffle mumble.

You try.

I try.

But answering these calls aren’t gonna make you any friends.

Plus you can’t even come over for pinochle. Cant do shit.

Why isn’t our President telling us about doctors and nurses around the land saving all these lives.

Everyone says oh sure millions got it but what about the death rate

As if they’re healing on their own.

No one heals on their own.

But I’ll keep answering the phone.

who loves the sun

for some reason i wasn’t gonna vote.

why bother?

plus theres debate as to whether journalists should vote or not because what do you do if someone asks you who you voted for?

will that answer taint how people judge your work?

as if those of us who voted for someone a few years ago never say to ourselves, “well that was a dumb thing we did”

over the years ive made some bad votes that i wish i could take back.

hell, theres lots of things i would change if i had to do them over again, obvs choosing people to do a job would be one of them as well.

anyways today we went to dodger stadium to vote but for some reason, even though we’re just 5 days away from the end of the election, they weren’t doing voting there

come back tomorrow, the lady at the mouth of the parking lot said.

so we drove over to Staples Center

where they gave us a Lakers mask, a Kings pen, a Lakers and a Kings I VOTED sticker, and a guy even took a picture of amber and i in front of the step n repeat.

it was great being inside Staples. so many fond memories.

Lakers, Clippers games. so many concerts: Prince, No Doubt, Van Halen, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Bruuuuuce… so many.

Afterwards we went to Rite Aid to get a prescription and I talked to a homeless lady who was later thrown out.

“Where are we,” she asked.

I said, “we are on the border of Los Feliz and Hollywood.”

“No we aren’t,” she said. “We’re in the desert. Like Las Vegas.”

I said, “if we were in Vegas I wouldn’t be paying state income tax. Also, if you walk right out that door and take 30 steps to the left you will be on Hollywood Blvd. Because you are in Hollywood.”

She said, “no. We are in Las Vegas.”

She was so beautiful. Her skin was flawless. Her pants were dirty but her eyes and her skin were that of a college girl. A freshman.

She said, “I am trying to get money for food.”

I said, “if you panhandle in this casino they’ll throw you out, so put this in your pocket right away” and i gave her a dollar.

Then I said, “go out the door, turn left. Walk 30 steps. That’s Hollywood Blvd. Then walk about a mile. Don’t stop. You’ll see a Tommy’s hamburger stand. It’s Red and Yellow. There are some homeless tents in front of it. They have flags of many countries near the tents. Don’t stop. A few buildings past that is the Salvation Army. They will get you somewhere to stay.”

She said “that way is dangerous.”

I said, “not to scare you, but this casino is way more dangerous than where I am sending you.”

don’t stop.

my birthday week was fantastic, thanks for asking

on the Day itself i drove around the Valley looking for baseball cards

then Chris and Amber took me to deep dish at Ginos East in Studio City

and the crazy part of that was we all had to sit outside because of COVID and these other Chicago transplants were out there too.

it wasnt cold but it wasnt warm. but after a beer or two everyone was chatty and happy and super grateful to be eating Ginos pizza

it tastes the same, though it seemed smaller.

so i met some new friends, we exchanged business cards and lots of smiles.

midwestern people are the greatest.

afterwards i went on Facebook and soooo many people had wished me well. i think 200? what the.

and some of the people said the nicest things. i wanted my mom to read them. i wanted to say, look what theyre saying about your boy!

when i finally opened her gift — there were baseball cards in there! mom came through.

lately ive been trying to trade with people because finding them is so hard and ebay is sorta a ripoff because often the shipping cost more than the cards. so trading is better.

one guy i reached out to through his youtube video was maybe 13? so i didnt want his parents to think i was taking advantage so i arranged a trade that was super lopsided in his favor. and then he kept asking for more and more.

we’ll see if he comes through. i hope so. trading might be the way to go.

then yesterday i had a nice talk with my neighbor and her best friend.

this pandemic is hitting everyone hard. everyone is fighting with their loved ones and spouses and roommates. this one woman was telling me how she cries all the time now because of this and that.

but mostly it comes down to how the government hasnt taken care of the people.

i totally expected that because this was an election year, the GOP would have done a lot more than doled out one measly check a half year ago, but nope.

they’re acting as if rushing to reopen hasn’t led to second and third spikes in many US cities and states.

they act as if the people aren’t super confused by what they see the White House do as opposed to what it says.

meanwhile every week the White House is getting sick. so wtf.

future people, let it be known, our federal government treated this pandemic like a deadbeat dad treats his kids: they ignored it, threw some money at it early on, and then basically pretended that it didnt exist.

meanwhile the kid suffered, got angry… and might be scarred forever.

dear tony, what is the weirdest thing about you?


that is an amazing question. let me take a walk and think about this.

ok, back.

i figured it out.

i have a hard time finishing things.

it doesnt matter if it is a slice of pizza, a cold Coke, a novel, or a freelance assignment.

i dont think its an ADD thing. i really don’t know what it is.

if you have dinner with me it’s the most noticeable because i love to talk and listen and eat slowly because when i was young i would get super bad stomach aches if i ate fast. so now i eat slow and painfully slow at restaurants.

but no way do i finish the meal there. unless it’s sushi. but not in n out, not mcdonalds, not The Pantry, not even pho or ramen. i always need a doggy bag and everyone always makes fun of me and they should.

i have worked for Los Angeleno for over a year now and when i look back it’s a miracle that i finished over 100 pieces because i’ll write something and it will seem like — to me — that it took forever even if it only took two days. and the hardest part is always the end.

in part because i used to pride myself on having really good endings on things.

i once had this writing teacher who said the worst thing you could do to a reader was bore them. so i took that a step further and theorized that the best thing you could do to them is reward them for making it to the end. so you better have a damn good ending for their ass. so id try extra hard to stick the landing.

lately i have not really done that. sometimes i’ll get lucky, but i feel like in the past i had a higher success rate at having a killer ending.

also of late i have had a very hard time doing freelance work. my mind is elsewhere. is it COVID? is it Trump? is it this crazy lockdown? the lack of concerts ive been able to attend?

for some reason i just cannot do the simplest things no matter how much people offer to pay me. all i think about is Los Angeleno and baseball cards. i dont even watch that much tv any more.

and for damn sure if im watching a TV series i wont finish it unless i totally have to.

because the only thing i hate worse than the DH is spoilers.

went to the americana at brand today

believe it or not i was looking for a brownie.

am i pregnant? probably.

im sure men can get random cravings too. but this was severe

typically im a cheapskate and if i want something i can talk my way out of it by saying dude those are so expensive

for example while i was there i strolled past a Tesla dealer.

theyre in the malls y’all.

i have been watching a lot of youtube videos about them, and last month when we ordered a lyft, we got picked up by one.

they seem incredible.

naturally the $35k version gets magically turned into $50k after tax if you want the cool features like Self Driving Mode and Bigg Ass Batterryy

it was dead at the mall so i went in and talked to the nice woman who answered all of my questions

you can tell when people truly know their shit

and those who are faking.

serena was not faking.

she was wearing a mask i was wearing a mask

she said, so can i schedule a test drive for you?

i said absolutely not!

she laughed and said why not

i said cuz then i’ll buy it!

walked past the amazon store and then the apple store

i tried to thank the manager there who helped me the day before the store had to shut down

apple has always been great.

nearly bought a cupcake while looking for brownies

at that cupcake atm

but it looked like it had covid all over the buttons and the drape.

then i met this woman and asked if i could take her picture

nobody says no to a man in a Cubs cap.


for the last few weekends i’ve locked my phone up

and stayed off of social media.

but this weekend because of the Dodgers, and because part of my job at Los Angeleno is to do the Twitter and the Facebook, i couldn’t just let it rot during this very important weekend

it’s valuable to be part of the city-wide conversation.

but ive gotta tell you, i got so little done.

im working on this little tiny side project which is sucking my time away and i barely got any done this weekend

mostly because if i have that phone on and people are talking nonsense about this topic or that one

i will go in and slap em upside the head.

im not sure how useful this is because who knows it might be a bot im fighting with

and its not even that fulfilling any more because ive been doing it for years

but i will just stare at that stupid thing.

next weekend and the weekend after imma put it away again.

it’s just not worth it.

fun baseball and football game today

bears are 5-1.

worst team ive ever seen go 5-1.

i always knew it was sitting on a landmine

my favorite burrito place is closing

the LA Times said so yesterday in a feature so big it’s gotta get prominence in the Food section on Saturday or my name isn’t HR Puffnstuff.

the writer did a good job on talking to the owners and getting some good stories out of them but she didn’t say much about the neighborhood, the food, the vibe, the movie that was shot there or what it was like pre-pandemic.

it was a wild mix of every culture, sexual background, type of fashion, and level of sobriety. it is exactly what you’d want in a spacious big city taqueria where the prices are reasonable and sometimes the food is outstanding.

anyway i was working on one thing, trying to get another thing done before today, and worrying about a third thing when i read about this and i spent the rest of the night working on it.

shout out to Apple Photos who lets you search things by where they are on the map. I have over ten years of pictures from that place.

something i left out of the piece but maybe i should toss in there but nah is this

sometimes i would take dates there to see how they reacted. it’s a divey joint. freaky at times. despite the signs, occasionally shit goes down there.  it’s nice to know who you’re dealing with and a place like that will elicit responses, let me tell you.

but ultimately the food wins you over every time.

LA has maybe 10 million taco joints. but losing this one hurts.

how could anyone concentrate

yesterday I interviewed an inanimate building for Los Angeleno

not the first time I’ve done such a thing.

maybe 20 years ago I interviewed an escalator at the Vermont Wilshire subway station

sadly that escalator is no longer there as that station was remodeled years ago, which may have been why Metro often failed to repair it back in the day

Then maybe 10 years ago I interviewed my belly for the LA Times

the only thing I don’t like about that piece is it was published on the papers CMS and it lost the picture over time which to me brought it home

do you know what its like to run out of gas

the struggle ive had over this pandemic isn’t like any that ive read from anyone else.

im stuck. im empty. but not in a zen way.

my job is to pour out the good stuff.

but i sit down at the keyboard and my mind goes off in a million places.

i smoke but that doesnt help.

id drink but amber loves it that i dont drink.

my music isn’t inspiring.

my hands are literally telling me to stop.

but heres the saddest thing. my lovely friend has hired me to do some side work

and in this economy who wouldn’t accept that?

and i love the work, and she is a sweetheart to work for.

but i can barely do what im supposed to do.

i cant even with the extra.

i cant watch movies.

i cant do anything except organize baseball cards.

yesterday amber asked if i had any baseball cards for her niece.

i said hand me that black binder.

and i flipped a few pages and there was a card of a little girl who had thrown out the first pitch at ball parks around the country.

and a few pages later was a nun who had also thrown one over the plate.

i put them in plastic sleeves and she said

how on earth do you know where everything is?

i said its the only thing i know right now.

my mind is in lock down.

i’ll write two pieces for los angeleno next week.

but the second one will be a struggle.

is this it for me?

do i need adderall?

do i need subtractall?

am i closed on Thursday

do i need a longer vacation deep into the desert.

this time absolutely no phone. no social media. just books. just paper. just two pens.

just one pretty girl. just 7 pizzas. just 37 mexicokes. just 4 gallons of rocky road.

just my imagination

once again.