Amoeblog

Nature's a language, can't you read? -- Seasons in the Southland

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 20, 2012 03:45pm | Post a Comment


A
 FEW GENERALIZATIONS ABOUT ANGELENOS

While I caution anyone attempting to make generalizations about a group as diverse and large as the 13 million or so people known as “Angelenos,” I have nonetheless made a couple of observations about a much smaller subsection, my Los Angeles friends, that I assume share more widely-held views with Angelenos with whom I'm not personally acquainted. Just one example; as far as I can tell, only in LA do people say things like “only in LA” about things that happen everywhere.

In this entry I'd like to address and reflect upon another completely nonsensical but widely held view – that Los Angeles (and presumably at least the entire Southland and possibly all of SoCal) has no seasons or weather.


Los Angeles's The Byrds weighing in on seasons...


IN ONE CORNER -- THE SPOILED BABIES

View of Griffith Observatory and Downtown Los Angeles

As far as most people are concerned, temperatures in Los Angeles are usually quite pleasant. The daytime average is 24 °C (75 °F). The warmest days rarely exceed 32 °C (90 °F) and rarely dip below 15°C (59 °F). When temperatures deviate from this narrow comfort zone, legions of thoroughly-spoiled (and acclimated) complainers express their indignation on various social media and to their friends. As someone who has truly suffered through 48 °C (118 °F) heat and -42 °C (-44 °F) I have little sympathy -- we have it so easy!

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My Reawakened Love of Christmas Carols and this Year's Top Ten

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 24, 2011 03:37pm | Post a Comment
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and Scrooge
"That's someone shooting Tiny Tim for his PS3"

Of Christmas, the wise Ebenezer Scrooge cynically but rather sensibly wondered, "What was Christmas but a time for running into debt and getting one year older without getting even one hour richer?" That was 1843 and not even the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come could foresee the horrorshow to come in which people would trample minimum wage employees to death and unleash thick clouds of acrid pepper spray into the weeping faces of innocent babes in the effort to procure a Tickle Me Elmo, Furbie or whatever mass-produced crap has in any given year temporarily excited the mindless, collective consumerist impulse. Happy birthday, Christkind!

Brightwell Christmas Display
The crappy Christmas Carol-free zone!

Christmas Carols too have been given a bad wrap, sullied by their association with joyless, joint-zapping visits to the mall. For those working in retail, imagine how much worse it is. The fact that the same roughly eight or so songs mercilessly begin mannheim steamrolling anyone that ventures outdoors around mid-September is enough to justify anyone feeling like the Grinch. However, having avoided malls and shopping centers altogether this Yuletide, and running my own store (Brightwell - shameless plug) have allowed me to hear Christmas music in a new and holy light. I decided in this newly-awakened joy/mania to attempt to come up with my Top 10 Christmas Carols.

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Replay: Thanksgiving's Thanksgiving (on Thanksgiving...)

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 26, 2009 06:30am | Post a Comment
pie thanksgiving morning peaches iron skillet pies
 
Happy
Thanksgiving everyone! It's early (just after six am) and I'm baking apple-cranberry-pecan pie while Thanksgiving's self-titled collection of home recordings emanates quietly from the little boom-box on the kitchen table. Good thing they thought to include a CD inside the oh-so-pretty triple gatefold packaging that houses the gorge three LP set on red, white and blue vinyl that is Thanksgiving's Thanksgiving; for this I give thanks. I can't imagine managing three records and a turntable while trimming pie crust and chopping nuts --- I can't go for that, no, no can do. Still, I count myself grateful for having made an impulse purchase of this gem of an album a few years back, for it has become precious to me. 
thanksgiving self-titled triple lp marriage records phil elverum
I remember picking up my copy at Amoeba San Francisco on something of a whim and a whiff: obviously tangibly beautiful, it was in my hands and pricey but not too much so. The promise of lovely colored wax teased me into buying, along with the notion that I fancied the thing smelling of Elverum, for I was enjoying an all things Phil Elverum boom at the time (it's never really gone away, it ebbs and flows...). I would be a fool to pass it up, or so I thought. Though this crazed logic that plays the feeble minds of those swayed to swooning for pretty records and limited pressings once again held me rapt, I brook no regrets regarding this purchase because the songs are as excellent as the artwork they come packaged with. For this, again, I give thanks.

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(Wherein winter records receive writings.)

Posted by Job O Brother, December 16, 2008 11:32am | Post a Comment
postcard

It’s finally chilly in Hollywood. I mean, I still have my French windows open wide, but it’s about as cold as it ever gets, with breezes blowing from my hometown in the north, Nevada City, where loved ones are covered in white blankets of snow. (That’s a metaphor – probably very few of them have bed-sheets constructed of crystalline water ice.)

My friends in Nevada City, Jaime, Alison and Dan made a snowman. I don’t get that pleasure here. I suppose I could make a clumps-of-dying-grass-cigarette-butts-and-dog-feces man, but who has that kind of time? I have a blog to write!

sexy
Here's a picture of the snowman my friends made.
The best part will be watching him slowly melt over the next couple weeks.

My choices in music are always influenced by weather. When it’s hot city in the summertime, I’ll gravitate towards artists such as Stephen Malkmus, Thin Lizzy, or Sly & The Family Stone. If it’s a rainy day, you can bet some Siouxsie & The Banshees will be trilling from my stereo. I look out the window and see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse trampling the Hills with all the fury of Heaven and Hell as they take the stage for a final battle in which every human soul will come to greet its eternal home in either the awesome glory of the Almighty God or the foul depths of Hell as lorded over by the king of wickedness, Satan, and more often than not I’ll play a little Burt Bacharach. Because it’s always a good time for a little Burt.

St. Lucy's Day (Sankta Lucia)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 12, 2008 10:28am | Post a Comment
Lucia by Carl Larsson 1908

Tomorrow is St. Lucy's Day, a holiday primarily observed in Northern and Central Europe, and the Upper Midwest. If it seems odd for Lutherans to observe a St. Day, it's because it sort of is. Then again, as with most Christian observances, the holiday's roots have nothing to do with saints or Christianity.

St. Lucy's Day begins with a young girl clad in white with a lit crown of candles positioned in her hair in a fir wreath (or lingonberry or whortleberry twigs). She leads a procession of candle-bearing girls with coffee, ginger snaps, glog and St. Lucia buns (lussekatter). Sometimes there are boys in conical hats known as "star boys." The children sing Lucia songs which provide a welcome break from Christmas Carols.

Legend of Santa Lucia

Falling near the longest night of the year, the symbolism of young maidens bearing light-bringing fire and bounty isn't too hard to figure out, but if you must know the official Christian version of events, then here you go. Officially, Lucia helped the early Christians in Italy who hid in the catacombs. In order to see, but needing to bring food in her hands, she contructed a wreath of candles. Yeah... right.

Lussi die dunkle kidnapping children

The truth is that before the light-bringing Lucy was invented, Germanic people and their neighbors observed "Lussi Night." The figure, Lussi die dunkle, was a dark, evil female spirit that came on the 13th of December to punish those with uncompleted tasks. Similar (and perhaps to related) to Lillith, the Mesopotamian storm demons, Lussi also preyed upon children. In fact, a whole mob of Lussiferda (Lisle-Ståli, Store-Ståli, Ståli Knapen, Tromli Harebakka, Sisill, Surill, Hektetryni and Botill) would go around an enter houses through chimneys to kidnap children. Sound vaguely familiar?

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