- August 2016 -

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Another Fein Mess
AF Stone’s Monthly
August 2016

Moving alert

Our wonderful house across from the Hollywood Bowl has been sold. Divorce is the cause.

As of “press” time I have 30 days to find an apartment -- Approx. September 1st.

I’d like two bedrooms, and prefer Hollywood, north of Franklin.

Obviously, I am unprepared for this, and anxious.

‘Round Town

Jimmy Webb held a free concert in the band shell at MacArthur Park, his second return this decade.

It was both a crowd-pleasing treat for his fans, and a plug for the relative safety of that park, whose reputation dipped a bit during that song’s emergence.

He warbled for more than an hour, to a grateful crowd of admirers on folding chairs and blankets.

The worldwide Webb.

Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo coo “Up Up & Away.”

The ol’ Hollywood Blues Destroyers played the Redwood with aplomb. Opening act the Ryman Rails was pretty durn good too.

Rhymin’ Rails

Declined tix to see Brian Wilson do ‘Pet Sounds’ at the Hollywood Bowl, but friends who took’em parked on my driveway. (Never again. See intro.)

7-11 The aluminum vent on the wall of the parking space beneath the medical building in Bev Hills was just above the sight line of the CRV’s back window, so when I felt resistance backing up I figured it was the spare tire that doubles as a bumper and gave it a little more gas, causing that glass plane to explode inward. A week and a thousand dollars later it was good as new.

7-16 Friend Scott Myers held a barbecue for Austin’s Freddy Krc (kurk) at his hillside mansion. Barbecue and good times were had.

Freddy, AF, Allen Larman, Scott

Went to see Freddy Krc sing at Skinnys in North Hollywood. Headliners were Peter Lewis and Arwen Lewis. Ran into Saul Davis and Carla Olsen.

7-22 Played poker, won a few dozen dollars while thirty miles to the north, forests burned.

That “California Sun” of song, through the fire haze.

7-25 Christina of the Honey Lulus serenades singer Troy Walker on the occasion of his 80th birthday, at Viva Cantina.

Also on the bill were the indomitable Dick & Jane Orchestra

7-31 At noon, Skip Heller hosted a presentation about LA history downstairs at the venerable Grand Central Market, aided by a slide show and songs.

The last time I went to the Grand Central Market on a Sunday it was closed.

Things are changing: the joint was jammed.


When did diabetes change from die-a-beet-us to the hard e ending? Sounds like a game of marbles ... Who the hell wants ‘faux’? It’s the root for phony, American-talk ...

The LATimes report that overlooked white-collar white people are a “wild card” could be inadvertently correct. While frequently a wild card is miscast as precious, it is in fact a modifier that has no value til it connects with something of value ...

“There is one more piece left to complete the jigsaw.” What, a blade? The jigsaw cuts the wood into pieces to form a puzzle. The result is a puzzle. Are penny loafers called pennies? blacks slacks called blacks? ...

Who’s an activist? If the Klan holds a rally, they’re never called activists. Activists are disruptive people whose political views please the press ...

The air really is dry in L.A.

Number of baseball games been rained out since Dodger stadium opened in 1959?



The opening of the ‘Vicious Circle’ episode of the Alfred Hitchcock show has Dick York, a killer, shot from below, swaggering mercilessly. I jumped: he looked exactly, in the shadowy scene, like Jim Carrey ...

The finale of an Andy Griffith episode has a bratty kid and Opie in the sherrif’s office. The bad kid’s father realizes his son is a creep, and Andy, in a preternatural turnaround not unlike characters in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, lights up when he tells the father “I know of a good woodshed right near here.”

The father’s face fiendishly illuminates like Sweeney Todd’s as he grins through unseen gritted teeth and says “A real old-fashioned woodshed?”

The kid’s character was never seen again in the series, nor an invesigation launched concerning his disappearance ...

My sight and hard times

We saw a 1950 movie at the Egyptian. Images were crisp and the contrast bold because the “print” was a digital transfer/improvement.

Digitization has created other improvements too. Silent movies that had jerky movements when they were new are now smoothed out.

My big beef has always been focus. The projection at the Egyptian is always good, of course, because they’re archivists. But my chosen venues in the 70s were second-run double-feature theaters where the projectionists read comic books during the movie and the two projectors were placed so that neither could be entirely in focus, only part of it.

When it went out of whack from vibration of the projector, I would go up and ask the guy to correct it. But fuzziness was prominent only in distant detailed shots and when the guy would look through the cigarette-smoke coated window the scene would always change to a closeup.

“Looks good to me” he’d shrug, returning to his comic book..

It wasn’t always easy being me.

Eating out

Of all the progress made in all areas of human endeavor, why has the Waiter-button not been installed in restaurants?

Doesn’t need to be a buzzer, just a light.

Dining out would switch to the diner’s convenience.


Poor Girl!

The beautiful woman pictured here - a former Miss America! - is shown on the front page of the NY Times Business section, in a large studio portrait, by the paper’s gob-smacked editors.

Suitable for framing!

Who was hurting this pretty thing?

No one. At least so far.

It is simply a claim, but one embraced, clearly, by everyone. Would the pretty lady lie?

I first heard rumblings in their camp two weeks earlier, when she was criticized for slipping liberal commentary into her news reading.

So when I heard they were dumping her, I concluded she was, understandably, switching teams.

Well, goldarn, it turns out she was sexually mistreated. At least she says so, and heck -- has a woman every lied?

A couple of weeks later, the NY Times tracked her down to “Speak Out” about her billboarded and skywritten unsubstantiated contentions.

The accused? He hardly rates mention.

He denies everything -

but who wants to see a portrait of him?

His ouster will be based on the charge alone.



“Everybody Has One”



Marathon man

I’m watching all episodes of Monty Python, from the 12 CD set. As of the 8th disc I’ve seen only three of four bits that I, no expert, know.

The earliest remind me of strivers on Public Access in the ‘80s, doing normal things in absurd contexts, such as the interview subject with a beak strapped to his face claiming to be a bird.

Cameras intrude into view, people drop scripts in disgust, the troupe simply quits a segment that isn’t working.

One episode opens on ocean waves, with John Cleese in pirate gear explaining that that week’s show has run short and this will be filler. You look at the waves lap in for two minutes.

Good joke, but better on paper.

This is not criticism; the assemblage is a record of their growth.

But it’s interesting to see early on their heavy-handedness in ‘revealing’ the fourth wall.


When a ‘’Columbo’ marathon runs on a holiday, the shows run 90 minutes. Daily episodes run 2 hours, with an additional half hour of commercials. Of course, I’ve seen them all 2 fifteen times, but still ...

2 The first run, the ‘70s, is all good. The 1990s-forward lost their way.

Consumeris me

The silvery or white sun deflectors people prop up on their car dashboards are nearly useless.

Sun and its heat penetrates the glass and slips sideways into the vehicle at a slightly reduced rate.

Placing the item outside the glass is both difficult - windshield wipers, which should anchor them, are not uniformly placed - and subject to theft.

A car is a kettle, whatever you do.

Make no friends

When you see someone holding their phone/camera vertically, you should tap them on the back and point out that we see horizontally, that you should tilt the camera to get a proper view.

You do it.
My nose hasn’t healed yet.

Heal the world

When attending an author appearance in a bookstore with low ceiling and narrow aisles, suggest they turn off the microphone since there are only 30 people there.

One blast of feedback ruins a book buyer’s appetite.

Emotional Porn

If porn raises your blood pressure and makes you swoon with ecstasy, I have some on my home movies. Recently assaying VHS tape I popped in one from September 10 1991, and nearly blew a gasket.

There was Baby Jessie, two months old, puzzled, looking around confoundedly, moving her hands to her mouth - and I nearly fainted. I HAVEN’T SEEN THIS KID IN 24 YEARS!

All the joy I felt then came rushing back. What a sight. Oh, the love that poured over me, the wonder of it. I felt my blood boiling - I was swooning.

Then I popped in another, late 1996. She’s five, at a spelling keyboard, making faces while she slowly munches the cookie in her mouth.

The machine says MOUSE, and she looks at me in mock bewilderment, rears back, rolls her head around to amuse me and says MOUSE - “What letter would THAT start with, I wonder. Would it be ... P?”

She was kidding me! Oh, you kid!

On the occasion of our birthdays, lunch at the 101 Cafe.

Catholic school

In the late 1950’s Cathy gave the nuns $5 every year to send to people in poor countries.

She had her own “pagan baby,” to whom she wrote annually.

On the occasion of my recent ‘zero’ birthday

I guess this is as grown up as I’m gonna get.

- 57 -

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