Issue # 116 (FINAL) // Page Two
13 June 2009
6 March 2009
I've been working on my play; thus my absence from these pages. I explain it all here. Or at least as much as I care to explain. It's a process, don't you know? The making of a play is a process, fits and starts, with an emphasis on the fits.
Something happened a few weeks ago—yes, it's been that long—that might indicate a further deterioration of my brain, caused by the play I think.
I mean that I dropped a box of envelopes behind a filing cabinet—a box that I could have reached with very little effort. But rather than exert myself I wrote a sticky and put it on my computer monitor: "You dropped a box of envelopes behind the filing cabinet."
And it wasn't physical exertion that caused the delay and the note; it was mental. I couldn't reach behind the filing cabinet and retrieve the envelopes out of mental exhaustion. Pitiful.
I explain it all here and whine some more.
30 January 2009
My friend Cliff loved a restaurant in Studio City, California called DuPars. I used to go there in my hangover days and load up on hamburgers, French fries and chocolate milk shakes. Cliff would go with me but for different reasons, having given up hangovers but not hamburgers, French fries and chocolate milk shakes. After leaving Los Angeles he would speak of DuPars when communicating from cold Minnesota. (His memories of L.A. had become idealized after a winter in Minnesota.) I think I'll go to DuPars in the next few weeks—I haven't been there in at least twenty years—and have a meal and think about Cliff.
9 January 2009
26 December 2008
See "Gran Torino." Clint Eastwood.
5 December 2008
I went to dread Border's Books a couple Saturdays ago just to get out of the apartment while Cathy was on a little vacation. I say dread Border's because of the book ignorance of the dear young people who work at the Border's near me. Once I called seeking the new translation of "War and Peace," gave the name of the book, author and translators to the young person who answered and after a pause I heard, "Is that a new book?
But to get out a couple Saturdays ago I drove to Border's. Walking out of their parking lot I saw a man, homeless possibly, with a bucket and a squeegee. "Wash your car, sir?" "I'll catch you when I come out," I said. "All right, sir. Thank you." And then he began to sing, "Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue..." After which, "Stay in school, kids."
I got some change in dread Border's and gave him five dollars on my way back to the car, and he didn't even have to wash it.
7 November 2008
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever emailed an academic at Rutgers University about James Boswell's "Life of Johnson"? The Oxford World's Classic edition. And immediately realized that what you wrote was really stupid? Because you said that you didn't really want to read the whole thing, over one-thousand pages, and couldn't he recommend an abridgement, even though he said on his web page that there really is no abridgement that he finds acceptable. And you even mentioned something about the goddamn print of the unabridged version, how it was too small for your old eyes? And couldn't he? And wouldn't he? And just after you sent him the email you wish you hadn't and hit yourself in the head? Because it was so lame? And made you look really old and stupid? But then after a few days you began to get Mail Delivery Failure Notices that let you know that you had made a typo in the academic's email address? So that Jack Lynch of Rutgers, Johnson scholar, had in fact not received your stupid email? And did it make you happy that you can't see as well as you used to? And make typos all tha tyme? And did you then think about Dr. Johnson's terrible eyesight? And did you then dive in and begin to read the 1000 pages of the unabridged "Life of Johnson," by James Boswell? With joy?
Johnson had a cat named Hodge.
17 October 2008
I know; I know. Yes, another pen. Beautiful pen, Nakaya Decapod from Japan. But it was a trade. Essentially. I sold some Pelikans in order to finance this beautiful pen modified to a cursive italic by John Mottishaw of Classic Fountain Pens. And it’s not a hobby because I don’t do hobbies. I think of it as a collection of art objects…that I write with, utilitarian art objects. So no comments about excess, please. Besides, I'm still a vegetarian; and we only have one car.
1 October 2008
An important (you be the judge) note about issues and dates and frequency of publication. Even though I’ve begun a new phase of work on my play (which could be called pre-rehearsal, if we need to call it something) I’m going to commit to writing here again on a regular basis and will return to issue numbers and dates. No more "Ylog Interim."
Yes, I call it a Friday Journal, but it won’t be every Friday, and it won’t be published on Friday, necessarily. And in answer to your question: It's because I like Friday.)
I hope all that is clear.
Thank you for reading.
Our economy now seems to be based on a Las Vegas-like situation. Isn’t that right? Wall Street is Vegas but with better clothes. Not better taste, just better clothes. Fewer tees. Isn’t that right? When you play the market—don’t you love that? “play the market”—aren’t you, uh, gambling?
Bailing out Wall Street? Well then, why not bail out people who lose money in Vegas? Is my question. Are they less worthy of bailout? The poor folks of Middle America (so named because of their prominent middles) who lose money playing Vegas—are they less worthy? I mean if we’re bailing out the gamblers of Wall Street, in some fashion, unknown at the time of this writing, why not bail out the poor gamblers who lose money in Vegas? I repeat. Aren’t they good Americans too? Or at least as good as the dick-heads of Wall Street? Is my question.
It would work like this: You go to Vegas and lose a bunch, say over one-thousand dollars and you can sign up at The Government Agency for Vegas Bailout and with proper documentation of your losses, provided by the casinos, you are reimbursed. Simple. The Treasury Department sends you a check. You know, the Paulson guy, who came from Wall Street, Secretary of the Treasury, sends you a check. Bail out Wall Street? Bail me out, too! Dude.
One other thought about Washingon. The White Guy and His Cutey will win the election. Middle America again. A black guy as president? Just because he’s more qualified? You’re joking.
But Vice President Palin will not be satisfied with Vice, which to her is like coming in second. 'Cause she’s a winner, doncha know? Number one. Dog sled, moose hunting. Killing wolves from helicopters. “Got another one. More than you, you betcha!” Sarah’s a winner. Doncha know? The Barracuda wins!
So after the White Guy and his Cutey get settled in Washington, Sarah starts making her moves. She’s not going to wait for the stresses of the office to get the old guy. Oh, no. Sarah is going to make her plans and then her moves, and she’s going to have a little meeting with the Prez in the Oval (notice the writer’s restraint) Office and she’s going to—oh, how to say this?—seduce his old ass and then bang his old ass into a heart attack, and she’s going to be so goddamn good at her bangin’ (the Alaskan Cutey) that the old guy is gonna die you betcha. I’m sorry to be so blunt. Yes, Sarah Palin will do the Old Guy in, in the Oval (don’t say it!) office. In flagrante assassin-o.
“Oh! Oh! Somthin’s happened to the president,” as she checks herself in the Oval mirror.
President Palin. You betcha.
12 September 2008
This morning I did the books and then walked a few blocks to our private mailbox. The young clerk was there, Ramin, young man. He’s Iranian with a heavy accent.
“You don’t want magazines?” he said.
“What magazines?” I said.
“The other day…you threw your magazine…” And he gestured toward the wastebasket. “I do something wrong?”
“Oh, no. Catalogs. I get duplicate catalogs. Here and at home. I wasn’t angry with you. Just a duplicate catalog; didn’t want it.. I would tell you if I was angry with you. It’s just my mood…Sometimes…No, you’re great, Ramin. You and Alex and Tina, all great. I’m crazy. An old man, crazy.”
“Oh, no. You not crazy.”
“Thank you,” I said. “Thank you, Ramin.”
But I am. Sometimes I am.
Whenever I get bored I begin to think about fountain pens. So yesterday I went to my favorite pen site, nibs.com, to see if I could get into trouble. I came across a pen I really like, beautiful pen, from a Japanese company, Nakaya. The pen is called the Maki-e Sumi Decapod Gold Fountain Pen and cost $1000.00 (One-thousand dollars.) I'd have the nib modified and that would cost even more money.
I like a cursive italic even though I don't write cursively—I print. But a cursive italic modification gives my printing a nice look, encourages a swoop to my "j" and "g." Gives dramatic authority to my "I."
I'm not buying the pen. Instead, I'm continuing to read From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun.
5 September 2008
Yes, the Republican National Convention is finishing up and to honor the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican candidate for vice president I will, at long last, be decamping to France. No, what I mean to say is that I’m going to give more money to Elephant Sanctuary—GOP symbol, the elephant.
If, for some reason, having nothing at all to do with race, certainly not, McCain is elected president and doesn’t—oh, what’s the word, survive?—all I can say is, Take me home, sweet Jesus; 'cause France won't be far enough away.
See that pic of Gov. Palin in Newsweek? Where she’s sitting on the skin of a grizzly bear, used as a throw on her couch?
President Palin. Lock up your kitty cats and doggies.
30 August 2008
One political convention has just ended and another is about to begin. To honor the political process that has given us Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, I am, on this date, making donations to two animal organizations: The International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) in San Pedro California. And The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
22 August 2008
I took the train to San Luis Obispo, California on my little vacation. I'll tell you two good things. The train, the whole damn thing, up and back (that's one), and a little restaurant cum gallery called Steynberg Gallery in San Luis Obispo on Monterey Street (that's two). Among the best espressos I've ever had, good company and good food: a breakfast burrito and a veggie panino (singular of "panini").
But isn't there always a catch? While eating my breakfast burrito (singular of "burriti") at the counter, I looked down to see a little placard. "Ellen DeGeneres ate here" and a date. Celebrity pollution, even in quiet (and I mean quiet) San Luis Obispo.
But it was a good trip. I can't say that I love motels, but the time away was necessary. And I thank Catherine for the gift.
16 August 2008
I'm getting on a train soon. The Travelodge in a coast city beckons. My family voted to send me away, said that a little trip would do them good. "Stay as long as you like," they said. That bothers me; so do the high-fives, Catherine and the cats. But I'll be back by next Saturday, whether they like it or not. Wish me well.
9 August 2008
It’s come to this. After 107 issues I’ve written a piece that just can't be used here, and I want it to be seen. I’ve written a play for myself, and it looks like I’m going to perform it; and that’s because plays are like that—having been written they want to be performed. So I'm going to take the time I need to work on my play.
I tried to kill it. Tried to shoot it, hang it by its scrawny neck until dead, tried to bludgeon it and burn it. But the damn thing would continue to show up as I mumbled through a stack of papers or looked through a folder on my computer. There it would be. Bloodshot eyes, whimpering. You understand.
I’ve recently revised the piece and will soon begin the work of beating its words into my head. A one-person play, and I have all these words to memorize and then I have to stage it and find a place to perform it. Because plays are like that.
So while all of that is going on I won't be publishing three pieces per month here, but if you'll continue to visit this site I promise that I will post timely news of the play’s progress and my health, how my head is doing. I suppose I could post the text of my play here so that it could be read, but this play doesn't want that.
Thank you for sticking with me; thank you for reading.
25 July 2008
I wrote this poem in 1973, while I was living in Venice, California. Shirley and Ernie Raia were my great friends. It's included here as the coda to my grand birthday month.
When Ernie Turned Thirty
in their limitations
are no matter
in their separations
for we again see
that fools draw lines
to segment lives
that spheres can’t contain.
—Britt Leach; Venice, California; 1973
18 July 2008
If it's all right with you, I think I'm just going to go ahead and feel very lucky today, my birthday. My Catherine, my cats, my home. I've got a few things to work on; I'd like a bit more group singing in my life, but I'm very lucky.
Do me a favor and enjoy the day.
11 July 2008
I have two personal computers, both Macs. One is an iMac and the other a MacBook. It embarrasses me to say this, but I don't know why I have two personal computers. I can't remember why I bought the MacBook. So that I could have it near my living room chair? When my iMac is only fifteen feet away in my office? That seems excessive. Did I think I would be traveling with it? But I don't travel; I've been out of town twice in three years, weekends only.
The plan now is to get me out of the apartment more frequently, and I might take the MacBook with me when I go. But, still, I don't need two computers. So when one of them dies I won't replace it.
I have ten fountain pens, and I need them all. I carry four in my shirt pocket at all times. Three in a case and one clipped to my pocket. I need all my pens; it's a matter of mood. You can't say that about computers.
We have added a PayPal donation device at the bottom of the page. If you find it offensive, I'll be happy to come to your home and whimper. Or I could send you a servile email. I'm sorry the damned PayPal button thing is so orange; I don't like orange.
27 June 2008
Why are there no T-shirts with pockets? Once there were T-shirts with pockets, would hold a fountain pen, little notebook. I found one at LL Bean, but I know it'll be too hot for southern California.
20 June 2008
13 June 2008
Catherine was in New York (City) recently. For four nights. There are whimper marks throughout the apartment.
30 May 2008
A new schedule. We are now publishing three issues per month.
And in more publishing news, there's a good possibility that the new design has been set, four issues after we said that the new design had been set and a glass of red wine had been spilled on the keyboard.
Thanks for reading.
23 May 2008
This issue is dedicated to the older woman with orange hair who stopped five lanes of freeway traffic on the 101 East on Saturday, 17 May 2008 at around 1:30 in the afternoon so that she could rescue a small orange cat that was making it down the freeway right next to the center divider.
Rooney is an orange cat who lives with my sister-in-law, Cynthia. Rooney is a rescued cat.
This is our one-hundredth issue. I don't know why we think of one-hundred as important. Something about decimals? Multiples of ten? And, if so, why is that important? One-hundred this and one-hundred that. This is our one-hundredth issue. We've made the issue number 100 red on every page in celebration.
I always think that any important number has something to do with cattle. That's probably because several money-words have to do with cattle. Pecuniary: "involving money" is derived from pecus, cattle. And "cattle" and "capital" are related, as in "capitalism." But I don't know that one-hundred has anything to do with cattle. So why did I mention it?
Maybe the significance of the number one-hundred has something to do with numerology, and, if so, too bad. Anyway, this is our one-hundredth issue.
Thanks for reading
16 May 2008
Intelligent design vs. evolution. When I decided to change the layout of my page, I worked very hard—oh, yes, I did—on the new design. But you know how it goes—plans and reality. So what you see this week is the latest (evolved) version of my new page.
Still Life With Keyboard and Red Wine. Now, about the object—actually I like objet—to the left. That objet addresses this whole matter of design finality. In other words, last week, after working very, very hard on my new page, I looked at the design and saw that it was good. (Maybe what I really saw was that I had overcome some, er, technical issues.) Damn, Leach, I said, that looks great and you haven't killed one living creature in bringing your new design to life. Have yourself a glass of wine.
So I went into the kitchen and poured myself a modest zinfandel from Pepperwood. It was five in the afternoon and time for my daily glass anyway. I then came into my office, sat down and toasted the screen. Good on you, Leach, I said. And I put the glass down on the edge of the desk. Not the desk itself, mind you, but the edge. You see the results of that miscalculation.
I was waist-down soaked and the keyboard was, as the youngsters have it, toast. Toast. The people at Apple even used that word. Toast, they said when I called. Fortunately, I had a spare. It's very important not to have liquids near the computer, isn't it? And I will never ever do it again. Because this is the final design, isn't it?
Next week, Vegas. I know that I promised a Vegas story this week. But next week is our one-hundredth issue, and I've written several Vegas pieces over the years so I thought I'd commemorate the one-hundredth issue with a Vegas piece. (Makes no sense at all, nor does Vegas.)
9 May 2008
I went to Vegas last week. With all my moaning about my angst, my Seasonal Vibrational, my going to Vegas was inevitable. There were events; I drove. I have things to tell you. Please come back next week; I promise a story.
Thanks for reading.
The Editor & Publisher