News from Home 21, Part II
11/17/2005 (updated 11/26/2005)

Mavis is doing great business at this time of year with her brother’s line of candles, ‘My Old Flame’. For Halloween, he came up with the classic, ‘Crypt Of The Dead’ which, in addition to the usual seasonal spices, pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, etc., has the added thrill of the unmistakable undertone of rotting flesh. Mavis said, “Ee, I know what you’re thinking – did he use real bodies?” She reassured me that they used extract from the Corpse Lily, that giant of the plant world, which attracts insects to its very occasional blooms by imitating the smell of putrefaction. Hugely popular with the teenage crowd.

I have underestimated our youth in the past, thinking of them as uneducated surfing morons, but they surprised me before, with their embracing of eighteenth century culture and dress, and they are confounding my expectations again. After a Shakespeare season at our local repertory cinema, the Aero, last week, the kids have taken to the sixteenth century now in a big way. Doublet and hose are all the rage for men, and the girls are going for the Elizabeth the First look, in more lightweight materials, of course. Quotes from The Bard may be heard on every street corner, and impromptu performances of scenes from The Plays may be seen in school playgrounds, the local Starbucks, or peoples’ front gardens. And they say California kids have no culture…

Brandi and Keanu, our newlyweds, besides doing great business in the world of spore elimination, have become followers of the famous Vietnamese mystic, Wa-Cha-Meol-Sun. A cross between a guru and a motivational speaker, Dr. Sun is renowned for his savage confrontational style, designed to get quickly to the root of the Western ego, drive out the demons, and free the self for higher purposes. Oh, and that will be $10,000 please…at B and K’s insistence, I went along to a rally at the Staples Centre, and the place was jammed. No rock concert ever had the crowd so eager to please. An endless stream of acolytes headed for the stage, where Dr. Sun seemed to poke them in the eyes and shove them backwards, where they were caught at the last minute by some sinister-looking assistants, and led off back stage, no doubt to have their wallets amputated. B and K looked large-eyed and grinned idiotically at every cheap platitude that dripped from the good doctor. I found the whole thing quite surreal, especially as I was feeling rather light-headed. I must explain that I had gone to the dentist that afternoon for a root canal, and he’d given me something pretty powerful for the pain, and I still felt woozy, not to mention very happy. Becoming bored with the event, I’m afraid I began expressing myself. I got to my feet, and started shouting “Rubbish!” at every pause in the doctor’s delivery. You didn’t really notice the bouncers until they were surrounding you – unsmiling, dressed in black Versace/Ninja, absolutely no sense of humour. I was frog-marched to the exit, unable to free an arm to wave to Brandi, who was shaking her head with an I-told-you-so look. They bounced my head on the plate glass a couple of times before throwing me out. Apparently, I was wandering the streets of downtown Los Angeles for over two hours, singing at the top of my voice, before Brandi and Keanu scooped me up and drove me home. That was some painkiller…