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Frank Lloyd Wright, And How To Kill An Afternoon

Posted by bmac on March 7, 2008

I was in L.A. yesterday, just for the day. Can’t really say why, but it was a paying gig. And yes, it was legal. I had the afternoon to kill, so I took a little field trip to see one of only four houses in all of Los Angeles designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. All the houses he designed there had a similar theme, a Mayan block motif.

I find myself fascinated by these houses, not only because I love Wrights design, but because they have an ominous, almost menacing look to them. The house I went to, the Ennis-Brown House, has been used in a bunch of movies for just that reason. It was featured in the original “House on Haunted Hill”, and it’s most famous cameo, Harrison Fords house in ”Blade Runner.”

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This house is currently in very bad dis-repair. Built around 1924, the materials Wright chose are composite blocks that aren’t weathering too well, and the ’94 Northridge quake as well as the 2005 deluge of rain that hit L.A. have taken their toll on this amazing piece of architectural history.

When I was there, there were only one or two guys working inside (The public can’t go in) but I understand it’s being renovated with donations from the public. My pictures don’t really capture the massiveness of this house, it’s enormous, taking up almost an entire block, and it’s no easy feat to get to. It sits high up in the hills of Los Feliz, just below the Griffith observatory, and the view is breathtaking, a panoramic of all of Los Angeles.

I like the little details that are uniquely Wright, like this porch light. usable-ennis-5.jpg 

I wish I got a less cluttered view, but click on it to see a little better. It’s a small thing, but here’s this stupid little porch light that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, kind of lost within this massive structure. Simple, but unmistakably FLW.

Or this doorbell. usable-ennis-6.jpg  Here it is in context. usable-ennis-8.jpg

Each block is 16 inches, if that gives you an idea of the size.

Just down the hill from this house, is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. that I thought I’d check out while I was in the neghborhood, the Sowden House, which is also Mayan themed, and has been used in a zillion TV shows and movies.

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It’s got the added attraction of being somewhat infamous, when it was recently tied to the Black Dhalia murder, by the son of the guy who owned it in the 40’s. He maintains she was killed and mutilated in this house. By his father. There were people in it, ( I believe you can rent it out nightly or weekly) so I couldn’t get too close, or linger around.

These houses evoke a kind of film noir darkness of old Los Angeles, old Hollywood, probably best captured in a film like “L.A. Confidential,” that I find fascinating. In fact, the Sowden House was used in L.A. Confidential. There must have been some twisted parties that went down in these houses.

Anyway, hope this isn’t too boring, but I enjoyed it.

Posted in Personal Stories | 17 Comments »

Kramer

Posted by bmac on February 14, 2008

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This was a tough one. Losing Kramer totally wrecked Mrs bmac and I. In a strange way, it was harder than losing my mother in law, and I hope that doesn’t sound callous. I think pet people understand. Or maybe we’re just like exposed nerve endings right now, I don’t know.

We’re involved with a German Shorthair Pointer rescue in California, and one of the people there told us that when you lose a pet, there’s no bad memories, there were no harsh words or hurt feelings. It’s probably more like losing a child than losing a parent. That helps make sense to me as to why we’re so crushed.

Kramer was a tough little son of a bitch. He beat cancer twice. He also had sedacious carcinoma (not sure if that’s what you call it) cancer when he was younger, which were lumps just under his skin that we got removed fairly easily. He had a lot of scars. When he was younger, he ran chest first into a piece of rebar, and punched a hole in his chest, and promptly wanted a cookie. Like I said, he was tough.

The life force in this dog was incredible, and even though we still have two dogs here, the house seems empty without his energy. While most dogs came out of chemo treatments sluggish and tired, Kramer came running out, ready to go for a ride and play.

Cancer couldn’t take him, injuries wouldn’t faze him, and ultimately his heart just couldn’t keep up with how big it needed to be for his boundless energy and will.

Thank you guys for all of your kind words. Many of you helped us get 6 more months with Kramer, and for that we’re forever grateful.

I’m just gonna take a little break from blogging, maybe a week or two. The last month has been a bit overwhelming, and we have a lot of stuff to tend to.

Thanks again you guys, and I’ll see ya in a week or so.

Posted in Personal Stories | 5 Comments »

Checking In, And Some Thoughts On McCain

Posted by bmac on February 1, 2008

I’ve been pretty busy this week. My wife and her brother, but mostly my wife, are busy dealing with their moms affairs, and I’m packing up the last of my business. Strange week, but I feel unusually optimistic. The two main things that have defined my life for the last 3 years, are coming to a close, and it just feels like it’s all supposed to happen. My wife is the one really dealing with everything, all the phone calls and stuff like that. I just can’t be of much assistence in that area. So I’m taking care of closing out the business, and all the home stuff. She’s on the phone from the minute she wakes up, until the minute she passes out.

Thank you all again for the kind words, I really feel like I’m part of an internet “family” in this corner of the blogosphere, and I mean that sincerely. I’m proud to be associated with you morons.

While I’m packing, I’ve been listening to the daily line-up of Rush, Hannity, and Levin, and their…..I guess I’d call it damage control, so I’m gonna take a little break from packing and get into some political bloggin’, cause it makes me feel normal. So here we go:

Assuming McCain gets the nom, we end up with a lose-lose.

 You might say a RINO is better than a socialist, but I say with McCain, the differeneces are so small, it really doesn’t matter. If Hillary gets elected, that could be the starting point to rebuild the conservative movement, so on that level it’s a good thing, but we’ll pay a hefty price. It’ll be a Carter-like catastrophe. With the economy already on the ropes, she’ll take us to rock bottom. Get used to the term “malaise” again.

On the other hand, if McCain wins, the Republicans will take that as an affirmation of their new “Redifined Republican Party” and they’ll veer even farther left, and won’t look back, no matter how bad McCains tenure turns out to be. Not to mention a little disaster called immigration. I guess we can consider that a done deal either way, so to all my fellow southwesterners I say:   We’re in deep shit compadres. And if you think we can count on McCain to deliver conservative judges to the Supreme court, well….I wouldn’t.

I’ve had a lot of alone time this week, since my business is effectively closed, and I’m here alone packing, so I’ve been trying to figure out how we got into this mess. I have two theories:

1.) America, as a whole,  is not as conservative as we’d like to think it is. 40 some odd years of liberalism has taken firm root in this country, and maybe those of us in the conservatve bubble just don’t get that. Maybe we are the ones out of step with what the average John Q. Republican wants.

2.) There is a concerted effort by “the government” to merge into a one party system, but we’ll still call candidates “Republicans” and “Democrats” to make people think they still have a choice. As far as I’m concerned, a choice between Hillary and McCain, is not a choice at all. We could “lesser of two evils” this all day long, but when we don’t really have a choice, our pesky “votes” are effectively nullified. Yeah, I know, sounds a little kooky…….or does it?

After reading Enas Yorls description of the caucus voting process, I don’t have much doubt that fraud could be easily perpetrated in the primarys. I think the voting process for Prom Queen at most high schools is more organized.

You tell me, I just don’t know how else to explain this retarded election cycle.

So much for the short hiatus from political blogging. I gotta go now and find some goop to take the lettering off the windows…..

Posted in Personal Stories, Politics | 3 Comments »

On A Positive Note…..

Posted by bmac on January 29, 2008

Thank you to everybody who have sent your thoughts and prayers, please know it really does mean a lot to us. Things are crazy, and there’s about a million things I should be doing right about now besides blogging, but it’s kind of therapeutic, and something exciting happened last night that I wanted to share that gave us a little lift out of the funk.

A friend of the bmac family was sitting with the Bush family at last nights SOTU speech.

Will Milam is a member of the Coast Guard, he works the Bering Sea, and he’s a bona-fide hero.

On a cold, dark February morning a year ago, Milam, a Coast Guard petty officer from Kodiak, jumped from a helicopter into the 45-degree waters of the Bering Sea to rescue four fishermen stranded on a life raft.

Milam, a 42-year-old rescue swimmer, was awarded one of the Coast Guard’s top honors: the 2007 Coast Guard Foundation Award for Heroism.

Will was also my wife’s teenage boyfriend, and they have stayed in touch throughout the years. He called us last week to tell us he had been invited to sit with Luara Bush, in recognition of a daring rescue he made last Febuary.

On February 10, 2007, Petty Officer Milam responded to a distress signal in the Bering Sea. When arriving on location, he located a life raft from a boat that had sunk an hour earlier. Petty Officer Milam deployed into the 40-degree water to rescue four individuals who were mildly hypothermic. Even though Petty Officer Milam began to feel numbness in his legs due to the cold water, he was able to successfully rescue all four survivors in the life raft. Petty Officer Milam’s military decorations total nearly 45 awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, three Letters of Commendations, the 2007 Coast Guard Foundation Award for Heroism, and 2007 Captain Frank Erickson Aviation Rescue Award.

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Will is standing right next to Barbara.

Needless to say, we’re incredibly proud to call Will Milam our friend.

Will’s quite a character, and my wife was just a little worried he’d do something silly. (He didn’t.) Just to give you an idea of what he’s like, he told us the thing he most wanted to do during his visit to Washington:

Poop in the White House.

In the bathroom of course. Just to say he did.

We haven’t talked to him yet, so I’m not sure if he accomplished that lofty goal, but I really hope he did. He said he’d settle for a picture of himself peeing there if he had to.

In the bathroom of course.

Here’s what Will does in his free time:

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Yes that’s a real bear, yes he killed it, and yes he’s a badass.

Congratulations Will, we’re proud of you! And it appears G. has great taste in men.

Posted in Personal Stories | 4 Comments »

A Death In The Family

Posted by bmac on January 28, 2008

Early Saturday morning, we lost my wife’s mother, Victoria. It was not unexpected, as she has been seriously ill for the last 3 years, but still, you’re never fully prepared for that, and I’m not sure it’s really even sunk in yet.

Actually, it’s a kind of a blessing. Victoria was a Christian Scientist. (NOT a Scientologist). Christain Scientists do not believe in the use of medicine, or doctors, and without going into the gruesome details, Victoria was suffering the last few years without so much as an asprin to ease her pain. That pain is finally gone, and for that, we’re grateful. I will say this, no matter how you feel about religion, the power of prayer is real, and I’ve seen what it can do over the last 3 years.

On the other hand, my wife has endured the mental pain of seeing, and knowing her mother was suffering every day for the last 3 years as well, and not being able to do anything about it beyond creature comforts. She has been amazing through all this, there just are not words to describe how much I love and respect her. She chose not to be a Christian Scientist when she turned 18, but she was raised that way, and she respects the religion, and she respected her mothers devotion to it, as did I. But it’s not easy. 

It’s been a tough 3 years.

It’s kind of strange the way things work out. I’m also in the process of closing my business after 3 years. I’m choosing to look at that as a blessing too. Just decided to do it about three weeks ago.  Everything is happening at once, but that’s life isn’t it?

Right now, snarking about politics and news just don’t seem so important, so blogging will be light, and probably a bit more personal in the coming weeks. Our lives are changing dramatically as I type this, so I have no idea where everything is headed right now, it’s like living in the middle of a tornado. Has been for awhile, I’ve just chosen not to blog about too much personal stuff. That’ll probably be changing, because I consider some of you guys friends. Fake internet friends, (joking) but friends nonetheless, and we need all the friends we can get right about now!

Posted in Personal Stories | 22 Comments »

Something We All Would Like To Do

Posted by bmac on December 1, 2007

 A relative of the bmac family’s world travelling blog.

Tony Swarthout is a relative of the clan bmac, and he’s doing something a lot of us wish we could do, spending an entire year travelling the globe. He’s doing it alone for the most part, staying in hostels, travelling cheap, and blogging the entire trip. He started in March, and will finish in February.

He’s a really good kid who gave up a great job to go on the adventure of a lifetime, and I envy him. You can read all about his adventures, and if you’re so inclined, can even donate a meal, via paypal. He usually thanks the donator on the blog, with a picture or a Youtube of the meal you bought for him.

He won’t recognize my blog handle if you reference me, (he left the country before I started blogging) but if you want to comment or donate a meal, you can email me, and I’ll give you my name so he’ll know who you’re talking about, or you can do it anonymously. Either way, it’s a good read.

Posted in Personal Stories | 3 Comments »

Update On Kramer

Posted by bmac on November 20, 2007

Chemotherapy on dogs works a little differently than on humans, but one of the things that is the same is that it lowers the white blood cell count, making them susceptible to infection. When I got home today, Kramer was very weak, and listless, wouldn’t get up or take a treat (he lives for treats.) Going through this treatment, Kramer has good days, and some bad ones, but this was the worst I’d ever seen him, so I took him to the vet, and while they think he’s gonna be OK, they’re keeping him there for 2-3 days to give him intravenous fluid for hydration and antibiotics. He had a fever of 104 1/2, so he may have an infection of some sort.

I gave the vet his blanket and favorite toy, a stuffed teddy bear, to keep with him. This was brutal, to leave our dog there, not feeling good, shaking and scared, not being able to explain what’s happening to him. It broke my heart to drive off without him, we’ve never had to do that before. That poor little dude has been through so much, and been so strong….it’s just heartbreaking. Our chocolate Lab is wondering where her little brother is.

If you can, just say a little prayer for the Dude, while he’s away from home, scared, and wondering what the hell is happening to him.

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UPDATE: The vet released him to us last night! After intravenus anti-biotics and hydration, he’s doing much better. Still a little weak, but waaay better than he was on Monday!

Posted in Personal Stories | 8 Comments »

Update On Kramer

Posted by bmac on November 9, 2007

Here’s the Dude getting his second chemo treatment, he goes in today for his third. He handles it better than most dogs, according to the vet. Comes outta there happy and ready to play! He knows he’s getting better!

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The full size pic is too big to post, but just click on it for the bigger version.

Thanks again to everyone that helped give us more time with our beloved little dude!

Posted in Personal Stories | 3 Comments »

Tales From A Gig In Utah

Posted by bmac on November 3, 2007

About 12 years ago, I was in a bar band, and we used to do weekend gigs occasionally in nearby Utah, usually Friday and Saturday night. We played a bar in St. George, a small town about 150 miles from Vegas, and home of Dixie college, so we thought you know, college town! This is gonna be great! 

When we first got there, things looked pretty good. The bar, (only bar in town) had giant murals on the wall of Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison, seemed like a pretty “Rock n Roll” kind of place, plus we knew Mormons love to party, kinda like Catholic High School girls love to party. If that makes any sense.

As we were unloading our gear, we met the owner of the bar, who informed us he “Only had one rule.” No problem, what is it? No shots on stage? No bestiality? No nudity? What could be the “only rule” in a clearly Rock n Roll establishment with giant murals of debauched dead rock stars on the wall?

“I’m gonna need you guys to tuck your shirts in.”

*Sound of record scratching, everything comes to screeching halt*

“That goes for the customers as well.”

We all kind of looked at each other like “Is this guy joking? He’s kidding right? There’s a giant picture of Jim Morrison on the wall, WTF?”

He said something like “I know it’s a bar, but I think people should try to look presentable, it’s just a thing with me…..blah blah blah…….

Great, just great. Who booked this? We’re stuck in Tuckville for two days. To make things even worse, here’s a fun thing you should know about Utah, and Mormons: They don’t take too kindly to drinking, at least in a public space, and in bars, they only serve 3.2% beer, and no hard liquor. No shots, no drinks. Near-beer and wine. Just try to get yer groove on when your bloated and sober, with a tucked in shirt.

Needless to say, we played to chairs, as everybody goes to nearby Mesquite, (Nevada) where you can drink real beer and have a shot, with your shirt untucked with impunity.

The real fun came after the gig at about 2 AM, as we tried to get some food at the local Denny’s. Another thing they don’t take too kindly to in St.George, is long haired, barely drunk rock bands with distended bellies. (Thanks near-beer) We were completely ignored for a solid twenty minutes, as if we were Fitty Cent walking into the Elks Lodge. This is friggen Denny’s, it ain’t like we were hoping to get a moon over my hammey at the Four Seasons. When they finally sat us, of course the food sucked, and the service sucked worse.

This was the case anywhere we went over the course of the weekend. While it’s only an hour and a half from Vegas, St.George is like going back in time. We discovered that the locals don’t want to be seen going into, or coming out of a bar, for fear of being branded a “Drunk.” Like you could get drunk on that shit. The bar would have been better off serving NyQuil.

All in all, a miserable weekend in fabulous St. George Utah, where we spent the majority of the daytime in the bar, drinking our barely alcoholic beers, and re-tucking our shirts with the local outcasts.

Good times, good times……..

Posted in Personal Stories, Slow News day | 3 Comments »

A Meeting Of The Minds (or lack thereof)

Posted by bmac on October 17, 2007

This Friday evening, Enas Yorl and I will be meeting at Club Charleston, here in fabulous Las Vegas. Sobek may also attend if time permits. If any other Vegas “o Spaders” are gonna be around, please come by and watch as I attempt to flaunt the law by smoking in a bar.

I’m a rebel.

Posted in Personal Stories | 1 Comment »