Lyndon LaRouche, whack job


Walking up Citrus Avenue in Covina Friday after a first visit to The Book Shop — an antiquarian store that gives anything in Pasadena or Berkeley a run for its money, and is owned by former Pasadena Star-News City Hall reporter Jennifer (Burry) Johnson and her husband, Bradley — I came upon this.

Or, rather, I saw the sign from down the block, and, recognizing the heinous work of freak-show anti-Semite convicted felon tax evader and former Trotskyite Lyndon LaRouche, I pulled out my camera.

You should have seen the folks scatter. Who would want to be seen pictured as associating with a political movement that would stoop to that most infantile of insults, comparing (Any and Every Politician’s Name Here) to Adolph Hitler?

No one.

Except the young couple who were setting up the card table. I crossed the street and harangued them, as any ethical person would. As I did — asking the woman if she didn’t think she would be sorry when she grew up to have spent time associated with a group that believes the Queen of England and the Rothschilds are behind the world opium trade — an African-American stroller came up behind me. She looked appalled.

I walked her away from the little moustache people, and, as she seemed genuinely upset, I spoke with her for a bit. “I don’t even support all that much, politically, that President Obama does,” she said. “But this is too much. This is about his race, isn’t it? I just feel sick.” I got her away from the freaks and we walked up the block to her destination, the fine little bakery Joslin’s, at which point she had calmed down.

What makes LaRouchies tick?

Millard Canyon: Almost a burnt-out case


Monday morning Lawren Markle of the Arroyo & Foothills Conservancy board and I took our dogs for a hike above Millard Canyon along Sunset Ridge.

We were going to go up Rubio Canyon in celebration of the conservancy’s recent option to buy another 21 acres of open space at the canyon mouth, keeping yet more untouched (and ridiculously steep) mountain land free from development.

But my collie Charlie got too many ticks last time we went cross-country in Rubio, so I opted for a wide-open walk away from the chaparral.

Not that there’s much underbrush in some of the burnt-out foothills one year on from the Station Fire. But the area is recovering, as it always does, and the Forest Service should open more of the semi-permanently closed trails.

To look down into the bottom of Millard, with its many cabins, is to recall how campground caretaker Lonnie Fehr literally saved it last fall by pleading with the Forest Service for aerial tankers to make some crucial drops along the north ridge. It worked. Not a historic wee bideaway cabin or a campsite was lost.

To find out how to help save Rubio, go to

Saturday at the Bowl

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Thanks to our friends Gillian and Rick Gough, we sat in a box at the Tchaikovsky whatnot at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday night — the annual T-athon that climaxes with the real fireworks at the end of the “1812 Overture.”

The company was great, the food and drink really good and I never fell asleep during the stripped-down, white-jacketed, summertime version of the LA Phil’s performance. Oh, closed my eyes a few times. The better to appreciate the classical fare, you know.

And more flowers


Last weekend Phoebe and I drove up to the Lake Tahoe area the back way: 395 up past Bridgeport and into Nevada, then a left at Carson City: to attend her niece Mariana’s wedding.

Mariana was a flower girl in our own wedding 25 years ago this month, so it was pretty sweet symmetry.

We also had blossoms: lowly oleandars, as it happens: down the ‘aisle’ at our own outdoor ceremony beneath redwood trees.

Mariana beautifully one-upped us with these rose petals. I heard they were freeze-dried for protection against the elements. I picked one up and they seemed soft and fresh to me …

Marka’s plumerias


We spread the ashes of my mother, Marka Ann Oliver Wilson Hibbs, last week off this point at Ha’ena, right around the corner from the northernmost part of Kauai and thus of all the Hawaiian Islands. She had a place there for 20 years, and it was her favorite on Earth.

After paddling out on surfboards, family friend Tommy and I performed the ritual — as another friend wrote afterwards, “Nice place to be for eternity” — and then we tossed plumerias after her into the blue, both strung as leis and loose.

The blooms were carried back up to the beach on the waves, and lined the sand for hundreds of feet.

That’s my niece Michelle in the photo above, among her grandmother’s flowers.