Posts Tagged ‘LAPD’

To Stand or Not To Stand

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

to-stand-or-not-stand_where-excuses-go-to-dieIn high school I stitched an American flag to the seat of my pants and marched onto campus. Just before 3rd period a friend said, “You’ve gotta get out of here: the whole football team’s looking for you!”

I was beaming as I headed down the hallway, but the Vice Principal caught me on my way out. He calmly escorted me to his office, then locked the door, shoved me against his desk, and threatened my life. The pain and anger in his eyes as he described guys my age who’d died in his arms in Vietnam showed me far better than any lecture that I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

That began a lifelong need to understand the American flag. All these years later I can’t say I have any real answers, but I do have a relationship with the Stars & Stripes that’s filled with regrets, worry, and growth. The last one is what I’m most proud of. 
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Marijuana Storytelling and You

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Commander Blast-off celebrates his promotion  to the rank of Field MarshalWhatever your opinion of pot, haven’t you one good marijuana story?

A friend of mine was so baked once that he walked into a department store women’s restroom, surprising the hell out of a lady with his leather jacket, orange mohawk, and T-shirt featuring Ronald Reagan in a penis hat. All the guy did was turn a wrong corner, but the woman’s horror movie screams could be heard on every floor. We were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe for three straight minutes. Watching this big, punk rock tough guy fly out of a ladies’ room like dobermans were on him was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Of course, we were stoned as well, but that was a long time ago and I’m still laughing.

Another time, a young schoolmate of mine created a pipe out of a piece of fruit, employing the sediment screen from a bathroom faucet to line the “bowl.” My dad had to replace so many of our family faucet screens after that, he still mentions it to this day.

Then there was that rumor circulating at the record store where I worked. A female colleague had gotten stoned for the first time ever, run out into the middle of traffic, and was promptly struck and killed. I was told this on my first day by my new manager, who fired up a joint and blew smoke into the air-conditioning vent to prevent our fallen co-worker from haunting us. This manager told me all employees who smoked were required to do likewise. (He turned out to be a cabbage-headed idiot and the story wasn’t true.)Bought this sticker on Venice Beach in 1989, but never stuck it to anything becasue it was always too good to waste –don't judge me

The very last time I smoked pot, I was headed north to hang lights on a movie set with a crew-mate who handed me a fatty somewhere near Bakersfield. After three big lungfuls, my brain suddenly hit me with, DUDE. You borrowed all those CDs from Angelo and you never returned ’em. You are SUCH an asshole! For the next hundred miles, thoughts of this failure returned to the same piece of music. All those CDs…such an asshole…never gave ’em back. Now, from a great distance, I can laugh at this as well.

And smoking or not, I still enjoy the camaraderie of others’ shared marijuana experiences, be they friends younger than me or those with whom I otherwise have little in common.

Because who hasn’t heard a stupid-good pot story that was rich with takeaways? You either laugh or scoff at the near-miss folly (fortunately someone else’s) or you guilt trip the person at the center of your intervention: either way, there’s something for everyone. The world would be a little duller without ganja-themed storytelling. (more…)

Cops and Cathedrals – Part I

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

For me, really embracing Detroit means being a wreckage dork first

Downtown Detroit Lives_©Where Excuses Go to DieI’m in Detroit this week and have assorted free days to leave the safe confines of my host’s Grosse Pointe neighborhood for Mad Max Island, aka downtown.

I’m sitting at a table with coffee now, preparing  for the 21º weather and listening to police scanner feeds covering Wayne County, which itself is like sticking my hand into a bucket of ice water before it’s poured over my head.

Off Waverly Street, a policewoman reports, a fight between two women has just ended with one holding the other’s hand in a car door and breaking it. A suicidal man is offering to kill himself, but through police observations from across the street, he has a severely autistic adult in tow who is resolutely unwilling to step away.

“Daughter is threatening mother with a gun over a check” crackles over the air, followed by an officer in another location answering a call involving “a group of people” attempting to “force their way into a home” where workers are inside. Aside from that literal siege, a mile away, an actual home invasion is announced as being “in progress.” (more…)

The United States of Suspects

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

File This One Under: Advice for Parents, Children and Teens

Notes6Tuesday, April 23 – FoxNews.com posts an article linking the online Al Qaeda recruiting publication “Inspire” to bomb-making plans used in Boston. Soon after, here in L.A., “Charlie” clicks on a link contained in the piece that takes him to the Jihadist magazine itself. He explores it, without questioning why such a hot-potato link was live, instead of just explained.

At 6:25 the next morning, Charlie’s condo door is nearly pounded off its hinges. Whizzing past his 18-month-old daughter’s crib, he marvels at her solid sleep. The peephole view through the door is of several LAPD officers and ATF agents. He turns the handle to find game faces and drawn sidearms. Boots instantly become doorstops. Their respective uniforms are tactical, but reasonably so. Still, they’re big, amped, and all going at once.

“Step back. You’re gonna wanna step back.”

“Are you alone? Step back.”

“We have a report of a man seen in your window waving a firearm.”

“Hold on, what?” Charlie demands, alarmed at their inching inward.

“Where are your weapons?”

“Hey, wait,” Charlie implores. “I have my 18-month-old daughter here!”

“Will you consent to a search of your property?”

“A man in your window was seen from the street with a handgun.”

“I don’t own a handgun! I have no firearms here.”

“Yes you do – a Ruger American, 270.”

“I just bought that. A friend is sighting it for me.”

“At what location?”

“You didn’t get the scope option?”

“Will you allow us further entry to check for ourselves?”

“Go ahead and look! It isn’t here. I have a baby, so I don’t keep guns here.”

They fan out into the living room, dining area, and next to the plasma by the big window in question. Charlie doesn’t merit a strategic takeover of his living room or his life, so he’s clueless but calm. As it hits him that this is really happening, he wonders why it feels like both an honor and an insult. (more…)

L.A. RIOTS as seen from Maximum Security Prison

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

You’d think after 20 years there’d have been a book or movie about watching the L.A. riots from prison, where day-to-day dynamics of race and equality are already challenging. And though it’s likely such a view would have been twisted into the taffy of a Broadway musical by now, we got nuthin’. So let’s put it this way: most prison televisions sit in protective steel enclosures for good reason.

Welcome to: (more…)

DOG-PILE!

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Forget the cop who faked gettin’ shot, how ‘bout those “eye witnesses”?


Original Story: 89.3 KPCC, Southern California Public Radio and Eyewitness News KABC-TV/abc7.com

During the afternoon of January 19, unbridled zeal for this story poured forth from L.A.’s TV network affiliates: ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX-LA. (more…)