“Edendale” Now Available as an Amazon Kindle Book

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March 12, 2012 · Posted in Commentary · Comments Off on “Edendale” Now Available as an Amazon Kindle Book 

Long serialized here on Boryanabooks, Phyl van Ammers generations-spanning tribute to the people of the near mythical Edendale in Los Angeles’s northern hills, better known today as Echo Park and Silverlake, is now available as an Amazon Kindle book.

The characters in the made-up Edendale come from the Black Sea, from a shtetl in Ukraine, from slavery in the Southern States, from Japan, from the Polish enclave in Hopewell, Virginia, from Bulgaria, from the island of Curacao, and from Mexico. They fall in love, read Ina Coolbrith’s poetry, sing in a scratchy old voice, dry clean, press and sew clothes, sell rags, drink malted milk, swim in the Pacific Ocean, live homeless along the river, practice law, play the piano and the violin, teach school children, research in a library, take the train to Union Station, soldier in World War II, fly into the ocean, go mad, take acid and hallucinate, and are struck by a hit-and-run driver. Some of the characters die, and their survivors attend the funerals and say bad things about the departed.

Click here for the Amazon Kindle edition of Edendale. Only $8.00

Photog Susan McRae: She’s Always On The Scene When Folks Are Mad

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March 1, 2012 · Posted in Miscellany · Comments Off on Photog Susan McRae: She’s Always On The Scene When Folks Are Mad 

One recent Monday, a man climbed up to the top of a police radio tower. Cops were on the scene in minutes, but it took hours to figure out how to get him down. Click for larger version.


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March 1, 2012 · Posted in Commentary · Comments Off on FREE TRADE  DOESN’T WORK 


There’s been something wrong in this land for several decades now–most people have been sensing that but haven’t been able to put a name to it. Finally, economist Ian Fletcher wrote a book called, “Free Trade Doesn’t Work” which pretty effectively says it all.

He also, never modestly, offers up some beguiling simple solutions to the problem.

I would have never expected an economist to come up with any answers. I rarely ever turned to proponents of the “dismal science” because I always figured that was too generous a description of whatever it is they do. For me, economists have always had more in common with the clergy who dominated most of human history up until the last century or so than real scientists. Psychology and economics and other pseudo-sciences have moved into the fray in the last century or two, with new explanations of things. Not necessarily better ones. Read more

A French Philosopher Challenges Europe’s Sympathy for Third World Despotisms

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March 1, 2012 · Posted in Commentary · Comments Off on A French Philosopher Challenges Europe’s Sympathy for Third World Despotisms 

Pascal Bruckner

The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism – Pascal Bruckner. Translated from the French by Steven Rendall. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010 (original French version, 2006).

Leslie Evans

Pascal Bruckner is one of that inimitable French breed of public intellectuals: philosopher, academic, novelist, and polemicist. Born at the end of 1948, he is a veteran of the sixties, when he had a certain sympathy for Maoism. Today he is a firm liberal, in American terms perhaps a very moderate leftist. He is a leading figure among the New Philosophers who broke with Marxism in the early 1970s, others including Alain Finkielkraut, André Glucksmann, Alain Badiou, and Bernard-Henri Levy, though even those grouped under this sobriquet share no common platform.

Bruckner presents an unapologetic defense of liberal democracy in its confrontations with religious and third world authoritarians. He endorsed the NATO intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo in defense of Muslims under attack by Serbian forces in the former Yugoslavia. He supported the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship in Iraq, though he was later critical of the U.S. conduct of the war. And, like Paul Berman in his Flight of the Intellectuals, Bruckner came to the defense of Somali exile Ayaan Hirsi Ali when she was contemptuously labeled an “Enlightenment fundamentalist” by leftist authors Ian Baruma and Timothy Garton Ash for her campaign against Islamic female genital mutilation, the two authors contrasting her unfavorably to the supposed Islamic moderate Tariq Ramadan. Bruckner dismissed Ash and Baruma as epitomizing the “racism of the anti-racists.” Read more

Woman & Beast, Valentine Lovers

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March 1, 2012 · Posted in Miscellany · Comments Off on Woman & Beast, Valentine Lovers 

Lovers On That Special Day--Photo by Lionel Rolfe

Why Edendale

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March 1, 2012 · Posted in Edendale by Phyl M. Noir · Comments Off on Why Edendale 

Phyl M. Noir
Let me step into these stories to explain what I meant to write before they end. Besides, the ending is under construction.

I am from Edendale. I examine it from the inside.

Los Angeles lacks the human presence on the streets that other large cities have. It is sometimes seems as if this city exists without people. It is a city built for the profit in real estate development

This city is at the end of America: socially fragmented and spatially dispersed. The automobile allowed development in previously inaccessible areas, and the city and state subsidized roads and freeways instead of a good public transportation system. See, Robert Fogelson, Fragmented Metropolis (1967).

One of Alison Lurie’s protagonists in The Nowhere City (1965) defines Los Angeles as the center of a revolving concrete donut on top of a store on Sepulveda: “That big empty hole going around and around up in the air … that’s what this city is! … a great big advertisement for nothing.” Lurie wasn’t from here. She was from Chicago and grew up in White Plains, and her perceptions are an outsider’s. Read more

Honey looks up at The Unsheltered Chicken

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March 1, 2012 · Posted in Notes from Above Ground · Comments Off on Honey looks up at The Unsheltered Chicken 

By Honey van Blossom

(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste.)

I walked with friends towards Mac Arthur Park, once called Westlake Park down Alvarado, which was a noisy and dismal experience in glaring and pitiless sunlight.Along the route, I went into what I thought was a Japanese restaurant to buy a bottle of water.

Maybe it is a Japanese restaurant but it is a fast food restaurant with the calorie counts listed above the service counter. Noodles and chicken: 2,100 calories. Add a large fountain soda – 250 calories and a slice of pie – 600 calories. Most of the people inside the restaurant shouted episodically at someone invisible, and they weren’t wearing ear pods. If they eat there twice a day, the calorie load is about 6,000 calories a day. Perhaps this is a Mac Arthur Park anomaly: these particular residents need a lot of calories because they are homeless people and it gets cold at night outdoors. learned that two bean burritos were 2,000 calories. Read more