The MF

#457 Belvedere Park, East LA

I can go wherever and do whatever I want. I feel the thrill of this privilege and also a responsibility for making the most of it while I can.

#459 Culver City West

The mural shows a grandstand of colorfully attired people cheering you on even though you do plop balls down right in the middle of the court…

#467 North Hollywood Rec Center / NoHo Diner

I wondered if I should say anything to the other passengers, and decided that would make me just another crazy person yelling at the people who simply want to mind their own business and get where they’re going.

#470 Loma Alta Park, Alta Dena / El Patron

Taking in the overall state of your fellow bus passengers is similar to being a teacher in the classroom as students are filing in except that on the bus, you must also be on the alert for dangerous lunatics.

#471 Reed Park, Santa Monica / Yagul

Usually tennis balls, when they stick in the fence, are ankle to waist high. These balls were a good ten feet up there, and they had been there a while because that screaming neon green had faded to gray.

#472 – Barrington Park / Modelo

There are a lot of people walking around in America with superior attitudes that have absolutely no basis in reality, and I regret to say that especially as a doubles partner, I am one of them.

#480: Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Rec Center / HomeState

I’m on a quest to play tennis on every free public tennis court in Los Angeles.  This was my daughter’s idea, which is one of the many reasons why I like it.  I have, over a 20-year LA tennis career, played on about two dozen different courts.  And by courts, I mean the entire facility. …

The Mushroom Farmer, Book 4, Chapter 5

Just as Yawning Tardy No Computer Kid did a good job analyzing diction in Salvage the Bones, so too is the one single dinosaur kale plant doing a good job of unfolding broad crinkly deep green leaves.

The Mushroom Farmer, Book 4, Chapter 3

It is as though an octopus has occupied the foot of the orange tree. Here is life and intelligence of a different order, all the more alive and bright for being different.

The Mushroom Farmer, Book 3, Chapter 14

Before the mf left, he was frantic to weed Row 6, which was choked with crabgrass. The crabgrass in particular recalled the zig-zag stitches of Frankenstein’s monster, that lonesome and vicious brute. Row 6 altogether made the mf feel the sharp-tooth wound of raising a miscreant. It was neither this nor that. Yes, nigella thrived…

The Mushroom Farmer, Book Three, Chapter 9

The mf had plenty of opportunity to observe billowing clouds and blue-blue sky because there were no kids performing antics or sulking, and all the grown-ups were standing around dumbstruck by the emptiness.

The Mushroom Farmer, Book Three, Chapter 8

The mf was still getting used to the single sunbeam glinting off the angelic-looking woman’s short blonde hair and reflecting her calmly cheerful demeanor but not her tactfully invisible angel wings and harp.

The Mushroom Farmer, Book Three, Chapter 2

The mf thinks, “It’s okay, this will teach them that science is built on failure.” However, this is not a history of science class. It’s an ELD class, where you’re supposed to be building well-defined skills such as supporting a claim with details.

The Mushroom Farmer, Book Three, Chapter 1

You could look at the side garden as a cornucopia; you could also look at it as a mess. The mf thinks of this as versatility while also worrying if he will ever be a serious farmer. I personally think it is good for him to do a bit of worrying as a sort of…

The Mushroom Farmer, Book Two, Chapter 8

The mf held onto a one percent hope that beneath the shriveling brown strips of banana tree bark, he would find the lost city of Atlantis as represented by a thriving colony of Champagne Oyster mushrooms

The Mushroom Farmer, Book Two, Chapter 7

I can see him now, the last lingering emanations of sunset fading, faded; the mf still out in the wayback of the yard, getting repeated facefuls of chicken wing while struggling to secure the temporary coop.

The Mushroom Farmer, Book Two, Chapter 5

With Walden, the mf has abandoned his beloved practice of looking things up and simply inserts “antiquated tool, carved from wood.” Even if he understood, he wouldn’t understand.

The Mushroom Farmer, Book Two, Chapter 3

The penumbrae came upon the mf suddenly, along with immediate understanding they had been with him ever since he became alive. “That’s a prismatic lens flare,” the mf’s self-dispensing optometrist spoke into his ear. “Very much so,” observed the mf’s True Inner Self, the Standard-Bearing mf among the many varietals of personality inhabiting his brainpan.…

The Mushroom Farmer, Book 2, Chapter 1

The broccoli seedlings he had put out for the taking were all taken, and so too were the carrots, gone-gone. Somebody else in the neighborhood now had a more verdant garden. That’s a huge light-attractor for the mf, and so is the vivid orange and blue combination of the few remaining oranges at the bottom…

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 22

The mf is a birthday balloon flying away and away and away, transforming from lost toy to miracle of flight to speck in sky to nothing. Come back, mf! We need you!

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 20

Openly hoping for a reunion with his Black Doppelganger, the mf decides to plant lettuce in the parkway. So he loads the wheelbarrow with compost from way back in the chicken coop, adds a healthy bucket of worm soil, tops it off with coconut fiber and trundles to the front of his house. “Back to…

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 18

Say this for the mf, he had spotted the bedraggled purple cauliflowers and delicately transplanted them into this spot where they were now not merely unbedraggled but also thriving, thriving, thRivNG on a cold peak COVID-19 pandemic Southern California winter morning of more clouds than sun; rain hanging in air barely mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 17

Oh, the ramshackliness. Mid-torrent, the mf had struggled mightily to erect a shelter for his drenched hens. Plan A had not panned out. The hens were so wet, they were walking chicken soup. How they felt about being so wet was, the mf inferred, perturbed. They would like not to be this wet nor so…

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 16

Additional fallen Canary Island date palm fronds are required for the chicken coop, where the hens got drenched overnight in a lightning storm centered a few miles to the south of the cozy bed in which the mf kept his little doggie Blip company during the thunder. Blip quivered but did not shudder, comforted as…

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 12

Things happen and continuing happening; for example, after further machete action upon long, long, 12-feet or longer poinsettia stalks, the mf cuts a poinsettia bouquet for Marfa. She loves and cares for flowers, it would not surprise the mf un poquito if Marfa nurtures each of the machete-cut stalks in peat moss or other starter…

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 11

“It’s raining,” said the mf to their friend Marfa, who was cleaning their oven. Oh Marfa: she cleaned like the wind, as neighbor Agnes had rightly declared. Marfa looked up in surprise and doubt. Mr. mf was always joking. What did he mean? But this time it really was raining. You could see the splashes…

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter Ten

The pandemic on the day before Christmas Eve on the mf’s inner exurban sidewalk in Los Angeles is no joke. Everybody within 20 feet of each other — and no one comes any closer — says a hello that implies, Godspeed. It feels holy to say hello to your neighbors when you live in the…

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 9

Maybe next time, the mf would remember to till the soil before planting. Why did he forget this time? Oh, this pandemic has people in a tizzy, even people who seem not to be in a tizzy.

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 8

Things have happened. Big things; little things: things. For example, mushrooms have started growing. Not the golden oyster mushrooms, which the mf planted earlier in the week to much inner fanfare on dead bamboo leaves wrapped in a one-ply plastic shroud. He has checked beneath the shroud, once, inobtrustively, not to seem in a rush.…

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 6

The mf’s go-to ethical rule of thumb is that we don’t have to repair the entire world, but we have to do our part.

Is the mf doing his part?

The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 5

There could be no mistaking the mf’s excitement about impregnating dead, soaking wet banana leaves with golden oyster mushroom spawn. He was all but twitching. Grinning, yes. Beaming, yes. Agog is a good way of putting it. He had covered the soggy dead bamboo leaves with a plastic sheet to help keep them moist. Now…

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