Perfect Drought

The LA Times is sinking into oblivion.  Trying to be cool and compete with USA today, the paper references that movie, The Perfect Storm, in its title for an article, “Conditions for the Perfect Drought.” As I recollect everybody in that movie died though from an excess of water not a lack thereof.  In any case, the article reports that this last year produced some alarming conditions; not only were the portions of CA that send water to LA affect but so were areas in surrounding states upon which So Cal is dependent for water.  Very little rain, very little ice pack.  Adding to the alarm recent geological findings suggest So Cal and its water supplying environs underwent decades of drought between about 900 and 1300 AD.  A decade of drought would produce some pretty nasty conditions.



We had a drought—that lasted for six years maybe–in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  But then we still had those other parts of the state and parts of other states to supply us with water.  Still it was pretty nasty.  One did not flush as frequently as one was used to doing.  One installed a low flow toilet and also a low flow shower head, doing one’s civic duty.  Also water was no longer automatically served at a restaurant; one had to ask for it.  Lawns died out, and some people painted their front yards with green paint.  The very rich people in the adjoining “community” of Montecito (mostly drug dealers and captains of corporate corruption) had water tankered in to keep alive their acres of lawn.


People talked, if the drought refused to break, of tankering water in ships down from Canada; also proposed was breaking off a huge chunk of an ice-berg and parking it off shore.  The city did buy a desalinization plant towards the end of the drought, but never got it going as I recollect.  They moth balled it and then sold it to a country in the Middle East.


At the time I thought, Those Idiots!  Prudence dictated, as I thought, that we get the thing up and running and maybe even expand it, as long as the sale of the water took care of the upkeep (and couldn’t the water be bottled and sold to Tourists as real desalinated water from the Pacific—sort of a novelty item.)  But No!  So should another drought come we will have to go back to the ice berg idea, if any ice bergs are left by that time.


Above is a picture of the UCSB penis or PHALLIC SYMBOL.  Every UC Campus has one.  They are called TOWERS, and as far as I am able to ascertain, they are the only completely non-functional or decorative pieces of architecture on any of the campuses.  What does it mean, I wonder, that the UCSB penis should be housed in a non-functional structure?

Empty Space

An odd ball day, alright.  I am preparing to drive down to see my elderly shrink when she calls to cancel the appointment saying she must go to the hospital because she just received a call about a friend who had to go to the emergency room.  She reassured me she was not the one sick and said she would get back in touch later in the day.  But she didn’t.





Then as I am pulling out of the Blockbuster Parking Lot I get a call from Brother Dave who has been contacted by hospital authorities saying that Joan wants to be resuscitated should she “code.”  But the doctors want her DoNotResuscitate because resuscitating her, in light of her overall condition, would probably kill her.  Talk about your experiential paradox!  When being saved is going to kill you, the end has probably come.

So I went through the Tingle family trust for what must be the 1000thnt time looking for language governing the situation.  I couldn’t find the material I needed, so I called Joan’s lawyer, and the lawyer’s secretary faxed the language to David and sister-in-law, Teresa.  This language appoints Brother David the guardian of Joan’s physical being, and in the document, signed by Joan and signed by the lawyer, she indicated that she did not want to be resuscitated.  So Teresa faxed these materials to the hospital authorities.  Have not heard about the response to that.

I called the hospital to speak with a doctor or a nurse about Joan’s condition.  I was transferred five times, and then the call got dropped.  With surprising calm I called again and this time get Joan’s nurse who can’t really tell me anything—I mean who knows what is happening exactly— but says Joan’s condition is the same as the day before.  Stable? I ask.  You could call it that, somewhat ambiguously she replied. 

 I spoke with Joan for seconds.  I could barely hear what she said.  I don’t think she knew who I was, but did know I was a relative.  She asked if Dan was walking yet.  This indicates she is aware something happened to Dan but really not what.  Then she complained at not having received some jello or something like that, something she was supposed to get to eat, but didn’t.  Then all was silence; then she started talking again, but about what I couldn’t tell since I believe she was talking with the nurse because the nurse came back on and I said goodbye to her.

Then Joan’s case worker called.  I had forgotten I had left a message for her.  She seemed like a nice person.  I said I wanted her to know that to a man—and we were all men—the Tingle brothers do not favor having Joan resuscitated especially if it would kill her.  I said I wanted her to know that, and she asked had I let the doctors know, and I said I had said it to everyone I had spoken with, and that my sister in law was faxing documents to that effect.

 Sort of pisses me off though to think that we must pay 100 day co-pay for the hospital room AND a hundred and fifty a day to reserve Joan’s room  at the place where she was before the hospital should she recover.  Damn I never thought it would cost so much just for a person to take up space.  And empty space at that.

Tall Tales

Sister-in-law, Teresa, wife of Brother Dave, worked in hospitals in different capacities.  She and brother Dave visited Joan in the hospital just yesterday, I think.  Teresa writes via email:

She [Joan] has been getting some caddilac antibiotics that can only be given intravenously. She is having pleural fluid removed this afternoon; they insert a large needle in the back and remove the fluid. I think she will feel much better after this procedure. I just received a call from DR Chaun as I write, Joan’s procedure went well. The fluid was actually taken from inside the lungs because the CT of the chest showed the fluid to be "walled off." The DR was not seeing a consistent WBC (white blood count) it was up and down, so the decision was made to remove the fluid and culture it. DR believes Joan’s ability to swallow was impaired with the strokes causing her to aspirate when she eats. She literally inhales food. Joan has a drainage tube from the lung and the doctor said that may be removed tomorrow. No time given for discharge, I’m sure they’ll have to wait to see low consistent WBC numbers. The culture on the fluid will be able to identify the organism causing the infection and what specific antibiotic will work the best.


I find this form of getting old utterly appalling, though I suppose if and when I get to this point, I will welcome whatever the doctors have to offer.  In any case, I am feeling death obsessed again, and when I am just sitting or driving around, have these images of little pieces of crap breaking off in my veins and going to my head and stroking me out.





Teresa worked for a a good while with a biotech firm.  They were making human skin there.  I would tell my students this story.  That they had made a piece of human skin as big as a footfall field.  Also were they to have a male child and have it circumcised (though I did not recommend doing that since doing so reduces the sensitivity of the head of the penis and thus one’s capacity for sexual pleasure) but if they should do it, they should be sure to ask for the foreskin, since the biotech firm my sister-in-law worked for used foreskins as the source skin for the skin they were making, so consequently they might be able to make some money off the foreskin.  Although the market was probably not all that good since the biotech firm had a huge number of frozen foreskins in a vault somewhere in Iowa.

I have no idea how much of this I made up.  But I think the foreskin part is accurate.


When we bought our little condo back in ’92, I think it was, we paid a bit more because it is an end unit, meaning we share a wall with only one neighbor, and in the back we look out unto a little golf course.  Back in ’92 that didn’t seem like such a big deal; there were open fields a couple of blocks away on all but the east side.  Now condo developments have filled in all the open area.  The little golf course is now a "green belt."  More importantly it’s part of a flood plain that drains off into a lagoon nearby that drains into the Pacific. So it looks as if our little golf course (it’s just nine holes) will remain a green belt into the foreseeable future. 

Teacher of Record



As teacher of record, I am obliged to ok my teaching assistants’ final grades.  That’s done online now.  So there I was wide awake at 11:45 pm and pissed off because one of my charges hadn’t turned in his grades. The deadline for that was midnight, so there I was, like an idiot, online and johnny on the spot should he get them in at the last second.  I didn’t stay up till 12 though because I couldn’t access the site to approve the grades anyway, most of the school having apparently decided to turn in grades at the last possible second.


This morning I learn there was a screw up on the site; also the original date had been set for today, not yesterday, and they moved it back to yesterday for some unknown reason and my TA hadn’t gotten the word and that’s why his grades were late.

So what with all the screw ups and the site crashing, they extended the deadline for grades until 3 today.  So I stayed up late for no damn good reason at all.  I knew it was for no damn good reason at the time, but I couldn’t help myself.  Finally, I am at long last done officially with last quarter with four days till the next one starts.



Sometimes I forget we live less than a mile from the Pacific, but today I remembered.  So here are a couple of shots from Campus Point.


We have spent weeks and much online time over the last couple of months trying to determine if we needed to file an income tax form for Joan and the sale of the house.  Finally, today, after multiple tries, the lawyer who drew up the Tingle Family Trust for WB and Joan got back to us and said they strongly recommended that we file and get the sale of the house on record, to get the statue of limitations ticking.  If we don’t file and don’t get it ticking, who knows?  twenty years from now, when I am dead, the IRS may decide the Brothers Tingle owe back taxes on a house sold in 2006.





So Carol came with me and we made an appointment to go to H and R Block.  First we got lost, then we had to wait, after rushing around to get there because we were lost and were late.  And well—then, it had to be decided whether we were filing a trust form or an individual form.  So a call was made and it was decided that we do an individual form.  Turns out however that an individual form is actually a joint form, so we needed the social security numbers for both Joan and WB.  We had the former but not the latter, so we had to drive home and find the social security number and then phone back to H and R Block.  We then received multiple calls from H and R lady, plus we made calls to Brother Dave who was up north near Idlewild in a casino to gather information.  We learned WB and Joan paid 55K for the land and about 55K for the construction of the house in about 1980, which we sold for 575,000 in 2006.

So after the H and R lady ran all the numbers it seemed clear we didn’t owe anything tax wise and I guess we could not have filed, but if we hadn’t—who knows—we wouldn’t be on record, I guess.

Big Sky today in SB with winds gusting to 40 mph.

March Something or Other

One may find, not twenty feet apart, these plagues located not far from the Waldorf Astoria (undergoing renovation) on the street facing the south end of Central Park.  So high culture and popular culture meet at street level. 


Since my last visit a huge pile of dirt—as well as big yellow tractors—has appeared in my former parking lot.




Brother Dan’s language ability continues to return.  He wrote the following interesting email:


El Bros-

I had an interesting view of the dreaming. From 6 O’clock I had a dream, it was nonsense in nature. I woke up when I screwed the bottle back on itself, and there was much fuzziness about that.

Brother Steve reports via email:

my head feels like a ton of bricks…..did not go to visit again at the hospital, what with coughing and sneezing all over the place….might have caught the cold in that freezing emergency room anyway… today I’m going to just rest as much as possible…..will have to go out sometime to buy chicken soup and some kind of cold remedy…..the good thing is I’m off work until Wednesday, so maybe I’ll be better by then…..


Bye Bye Manhattan




That’s the Manhattan skyline from the freeway headed towards JFK.

So we left the hotel at 7 am ECT and arrived in SB at about 3 WCT. That’s a long travel day, about 11 hours by my reckoning but we had no untoward or extended delays.

This morning I woke wide awake at 5 am.  That would have been 8 am ECT.  Apparently my interior biological clock was in the process of resetting itself.  This interior clock is a pretty amazing thing; mine is very accurate.  I would like to know more about how it works.

While in Manhattan, received an email that Joan had to be removed from the Villas to the hospital.  The doctor thought stroke, but now they believe pneumonia.  Brother Steve reported via email:

went by and looked in on J…..nothing much new… test results back from the urine sample, but the nurse says there is some kind of infection obvious….she asked that I pass along info to the family, so that they don’t get too many phone calls….J has a phone in her room, but they say she needs rest as much as anything….so she will be in Palomar for an unknown number of days, until her lungs are clear….and then back to the Villas, where her bed is being held for her…..she was more coherent today than yesterday, hence nastier today than yesterday… other words, not much new

Below the Manhattan skyline is hardly visible as an irregular black line at the very bottom of the snap.




Well, the talk is over, and it went well.  Last year, we—Len and Joanne Podis and I—had 30 to 35 people in the room and this year 50 to 55.  People were standing.  We have no idea why especially since we were up against the talk of the woman who wrote bastard out of Carolina.  Joanne thought maybe people came because we had one of a very few interesting titles for our talk…”Dude! Where’s My Voice: Identity, Language and the Working Class Writing Instructor.”  I think Len and Joanne had thought too that this would be the last time we presented together.  But in light of the surprising turnout we decided to think about putting together another panel for next year.  I am in charge of coming up with an idea.

 We had a lot of laughs in our session.  We want to keep the humor, the more personal approach and say something further about the working class teacher/student issues.

We ate way too much today.





 M n’ M’s seem to be taking over the Times Square area.

Brooklyn Bridge


An absolutely atrociously awful five restless hours of sleep was followed by a good, late breakfast, at a place across the corner from the Hilton. The rest of the day was spent, until about an hour ago—hoofing and taking the subway.  We took the blue line down to the Brooklyn Bridge—which I believe America’s foremost architectural wonder.  Screw Frank Loyd Wright and his artsy-fartsy ilk.  The man build homes people could live in—that had leaky roofs and fireplaces that wouldn’t draw.  Give me a break.  Enough with the l’art pour l’art BS.  Roebling and his crew built a bridge that worked and still works.  Roebling studied with Hegel; I think the bridge imbued with the spirit of Transcendental Idealism and Speculative Reason.




Many died building the bridge.  The pilings were sunk so deep into and under the river that workers would get the “bends” when they came to the surface.  But they didn’t know what the bends were in those days.



I cannot believe it has been 20 years since Carol and I spent 6 weeks here up by Teacher’s College.  The town has been absolutely scrubbed since then.  The poor have been forced out of the area, as the town gentrified and I hear that Major shipped the homeless to New Jersey.