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#a358 :: Palm fragment

February 7, 2009

0205091Children’s toys approximate reality.

In the happy world of Rokenbok this is not a huge, page filthy boulder shot through with veins of iron and smeared with the engine oil it’s been sitting in in the junkyard where you unearthed it after the glacier dropped it 3.2 million years ago.

It’s just part of a load that you spend idle hours shifting happily from one end of the Action Sorter & Conveyor Set to the other. Scoop up the boulders, dump them in the hopper, watch the little conveyor belt shift and sort them, repeat.

The toy hung around for a good three years after Santa brought it, until its recipient tired of it and moved on to videogaming, elaborate science fiction illustration and (shudder) HTML. I think we eBayed it, but this little rock escaped to remind us of who the boy once was.
020609Los Angeles jetsam reminds me daily that I live in a freakish magpie’s nest of a city.

Stolen from aboriginal people by Spanish missionaries who gave huge chunks of it away to soldiers, sildenafil whose families then sold it off in ever-decreasing slices and slivers, prescription Los Angeles has always been shaped by grabbers, pill opportunists and self-reinventors.

Angelenos take, procure, manufacture, buy, steal, co-opt, give birth to or create whatever the hell they think they need to move forward …
Lubricated by commercial/political struggles over water and oil and finally fertilized and electrified by booms in aerospace, post-war manufacturing, Hollywood and wave upon wave of immigrants, this city is like an immense 50-by-50-mile petri dish: teeming with virulent, ever-mutating cultures of nationality, religion, science, sexuality, sport and art .

So when I’m shambling across Figueroa Blvd. in a hammering rainstorm USC to teach a room full of brilliant multi-cultural computer programmers how to architect social networks for a fictitious neighborhood watch and contemplating whether to eat Thai or Mexican that weekend before or after tackling a new video game or clean out my gutters, it’s no surprise to happen upon this: a wickedly sawtoothed chunk of palm.

This non-native species was imported to L.A. in the 20s and 30s to pretty things up.

And now it is an inextricable part of our mythology.

That’s why I love living here: Because when it comes to cooking its own ever-evolving recipe for the future, L.A. tosses absolutely whatever the hell it likes into the pot … and keeps stirring.

Filed under: Found Object, Jetsam, Life form | Comments (0)

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