Invasion of the flying cockroach

Flying cockroaches.

Really, an affront to all that is civilized and gentle-minded.

I hear about flying cockroaches, but it’s always 3rd or 73rd hand. I’ve never heard anyone tell me “I saw a flying cockroach in my house last night!” excitedly and proudly.

Nope. It’s always “My 2nd cousin Albert from the Everglades was out alligator hunting the other night when a flying roach landed on his arm!” bullshit. The kind of story that sounds sorta interesting, and even less impressive. In concept, a disgusting concept. Flying roaches. Blah. Heard that one all my life.

Until the summer of 2005. Or was it 2004? Yep, it was 2004, the summer I moved into this place. It was a weeknight. I had my son…he witnessed the flying cockroach.

You see, I was in the kitchen. I walked into the dining room and I think I heard it before I saw it…a fluttering, a strange clicking sound, of wings, of flight…? Strange.

Then I saw it. A fucking cockroach was flying around the dining room of my new apartment. Flying.

Look, I’m not pussy when it comes to insects. I hate them but they don’t scare me. I prefer not to eat them or touch them, but nevertheless, I don’t get bothered by them. If I see one in my place I’ll generally ignore it, or if it’s intrusively large, I’ll toss it out the door.

But this…flying cockroach. I froze the minute I realized what it was. A chill literally ran up and down my spine. I think I might have even made an audible chickenshit sound. Dude. How often do you walk into a room and see a flying roach dive bombing your ass like some crazed kamikaze pilot??

You’d think I saw a ghost.

Despite this, all the cortisol and adrenaline flooding my system the minute I saw that shit sprung me into freakin’ Terminator action. Guns drawn I flew into battle mode. Ready to take on this little fuck. I didn’t really have guns, but I had equally lethal and menacing weapons…a broom and my arms. You can inflict serious hurting with a broom. I literally followed that damned thing for at least 5 minutes as it flew haphazardly around the room. I noticed that it did not have the Art of Flight mastered. It would land, crawl like a normal roach, reach a good launching height, then start to flutter those grisly wings once more before feeling the wind upon its spiny legs once again….and I could not kill that sucker because every time it looked like it might fly towards me, I yelped and fled back. That’s right, I was a man in action!

Funny thing…to this day, and owing to the events of July 11, 2005, I simply do not remember what happened.

Did I kill it?
Did I open the patio door and let it “fly” out? To call it “flight” is generous. It was about as graceful as a June bug on meth. It had no direction, no control…and that is what made it more scary. Usually cockroaches will avoid your ass…but a flying roach has no idea where it’s headed next. Hilarious shit.

Remembering back now….5 years later.
I had a flying roach in my place. What was the deal?

Sounds like a job for for The Cockroach FAQ. And don’t we all visit that regularly?

It’s a great site about roaches and I may revisit it one day if I can stomach the thought.

So anyways, to my question, which incidentally is #18. Can roaches fly?

In case you’re blind

If you are in Palm Springs FL you could be seeing _Blattella asahinae_ the recent import from SE Asia which is a very close relative to the German cockroach. The import can fly and interbreeds with _B. germanica_ which leads people to think that _B. asahinae_ was the wild species from which the non-flying domesticated species was derived.

Another flying cockroach is the Cuban Roach, Panchlora nivea, recently becoming common along the whole Gulf coast. It is bright mint green in color.

If you are in Palm Springs CA I do not have a clue as to what species you might be seeing. There are several wild cockroaches of the genus Parcoblatta in which the male flies. They are relatively inocuous and do not normally invade the home. They congregate at porch lights as do the species mentioned above.

Sounds like maybe I should have killed the sucker and sent it to this Ivy League insect guy.

Well, I never had a flying roach incident after that. I had plenty of roach infestations, but I’ve cleaned up my act and it seems the only ones I see now are the occasional interlopers, the one-night stays. They come, find nothing, and move on.

There’s no doubt in my mind now…this was an Asian cockroach; mystery solved. Just don’t come around here no more.

Remember stirrup pants? Don’t worry, I won’t tell…


Yeah so check it out.

Recently I was taking the Red Line home after work. All the window seats were full and rather than sit on the aisle I chose to stand by the back doors. I love to stand and listen to my Ipod. You get a pretty good view of the platform each time the train stops, and sometimes the view is titillating, other times it’s downright frightening. But it’s always entertaining. Something about seeing a group of people milling around who you’ll soon leave to their own devices as your train speeds away toward the next stop. I think of it as a sampler platter of various inner city L.A. neighborhoods. For instance, Sunset & Vermont, doctors, nurses, other health care grunts; Santa Monica & Western, lots of crazy ass Central Americans with a dose of homo outliers (Santa Monica Boulevard isn’t so swishy this far out of West Hollywood); MacArthur Park, more crazy ass Central Americans, lots of hoodlums and crooks. Hold on to your bags. But if you’re looking to buy illegal shit, you’re in luck; 7th/Metro, lots of suits and uptight business people, some days you see lots of suburban white people venturing into the city to catch a game or concert at the Staples Center.


So standing by the door as I head home is a feast for the eyes. And sometimes the stuff I see is downright Medusian.


Recently as the train pulled into the Vermont and Beverly station (Filipinos, Central Americans, Koreans) I saw a middle-aged women standing on the platform with the obligatory tights and long sweater ensemble of the day. Except…yikes. The tights were tight, yes, but where they joined her ankles and feet I was alarmed to note…she wore stirrups.




That was a flashback, a frightening jaunt on a backwards time machine. I want off that ride.


Stirrup pants!


That’s the kind of crap I remember back in the 80s when I was in college. There was this chick I had in a Literature class who used to wear stirrups and pumps all the time. And she wore them very well, I must say, but this was 1985ish. In the year 2009, there is no way stirrups can be worn in all sincerity, can they? I’m no fashionista, but c’mon. Stirrups. The ones Ms. Red Line wore were black and the stirrup cutout portion showed her ankles over the further obligatory ballerina flats.


As I said, I’m no fashionista and the fashion world could collapse in a loud crash and I wouldn’t even know it, so removed am I…


Time for some Google.


Found this “discussion” on QVC titled “Are Stirrup Pants Back? And the consensus seemed to indicate yes.


And I found this fashion blogger, youlookfab who was quite gung-ho about the stirrup look. Enough so to post photos of her stirruped feeties.


Hmm…alrighty then.


They say all fashions come back, eventually. I’m waiting for the stone-washed denim look to make a roaring comeback. Skinny ones at that.



Dr. Francis Gross, Face of Death: A post accidentally killed….

Well, it finally happened.
I was screwing around on my blog dashboard, battling the Spam Invasion whereby in the span of time it takes me to delete 5 spam, 3 more fill its place. Scrolling around, clicking, removing, I went to the area I thought were my drafts and I saw “Dr. Francis Gross…” and assuming it was a draft I no longer needed, I deleted it. I’m not sure at what point I realized this was not “just” a draft, but it was too late…by then I had deleted my entire Dr. Gross post.

Panic. When you delete a post on your blog, it is gone. Gone. So my supremely witty post from Tuesday morning was no longer. And it can never return.

Anyways, the post is dead forever. To attempt to recreate it at this point would be an exercise in futility.

Let me explain the gist of the post.

I was happily delighting in the fact that Faces of Death, that revolting piece of snuff video masquerading as a serious documentary and graced by the presence of Dr. Francis Gross, the narrator and alleged pathologist, a figure who legitimized this voyeuristic farce, was now appearing in the Netflix line-up of instant viewable downloads on Xbox Live! It was a flashback, and as I recall, I said that watching Faces of Death now was not the same…something was missing. It reminded me of going back to your elementary school as an adult and experiencing that same sense of disconnected familiarity.

I wrote, “Dr. Gross. Was he a pathologist? A scientist? Insane? Who knows” Wasn’t quite like the original post, but you know, a certain blogger had to go on a deletion binge.

It could have been worse. I could have deleted one of my wiser, 1000+ word “materpieces”…I deleted one of my shorter posts that really didn’t matter much. On to Dr. Gross!

Lesson learned?
Yes, always back up your posts and save them to hard drive. Beginning now.

An ego stroke Moment in Time

Wednesday, November 11
Eastbound bus, 7 p.m.

Noticed in the morning, I don’t get the day off so didn’t realize
is Veteran’s Day.
Whatever that is. But it is Veteran’s Day
and lots of lucky people had the day off spent it shopping and sleeping and eating and watching shitty
television and doing everything but
which is what I did.
So holidays
on the bus in the morning. Small bus crowd, old bus crowd. The normal high school contingent
gone, nowhere, non-existent.
And high school contingent is not
just students
but a host of other people
whose life is schooling. So empty and old people and frankly sadly kinda disgustingly actually, not many cuties today!
brings me to this evening
the bus home
usually an older crowd anyways. The bus is sparse the seats are all empty just a few older suckas who had to work today
including me.
Sitting way in the back is what I like next to a partition, sideways facing, to my right on the other side of the partition, 2 cramped seats. Empty bus means
I can stretch out
and enjoy a little solitary time
but today somewhere after downtown I think a boy and girl
the bus kingdom. The girl
bypasses and heads straight back.
I glance at her
jailbait again because that is what these damn Moment in Times seem to have become jailbait tales yes. She was cute, a light-colored Mexican, a guera to those of
you who know your Spanglish which I don’t actually but
I know some words!
The girl she bypassed, didn’t pay
the guy, the boy she was with, was paying
and she headed directly to the back and sat
on the other
of that damn partition, right
It’s not like there were no other empty seats in the bus
but she chose that
and she began to
swing her feet
and that is always sexy why is that???? what is the dynamic of a girl swinging her feet which makes one
lust more?
The human mind
is a trip.
Swinging her feet her legs
next to me and finally the boyfriend friend guy whatever comes to the back and joins her
on the seat further down
separated from me
by her
they don’t greet like lovers or anything but strangers
someone pissed
a little spat a dime ‘o’ dozen lover’s spat
she pulls out a cell phone and engrosses in it a great way
to ignore someone
in the old days women crossed
their arms and went blank
they fiddle with the phone
and she did that.
in a burst of defiance
turns in her seat, folds her legs underneath
and faces me, only inches away, rubbing my arm as she does so, defiant, and disruptive
and I ignore or try to ignore
while this girl sits on her seat, inches from me
facing me completely
but in order for me to tell and properly appraise the situation
I would
need to
turn my
But that is too obvious so I continue playing aloof and I feel she is tempting me
to turn my head
and meanwhile
boyfriend tries to rub her attention away
looking like a helpless boy
tugging at mommy’s sleeve to pay attention
and she has her back turned to him
but facing me directly.
Tempting me to look.
Or is it?
Am I inflating my ego a little too much am I overshooting myself am I pumping my Toyota Tercel up with racing fuel am I overreaching maybe she’s not really looking at me
if she is
I’m a tool maybe. She probably doesn’t care about me but it’s a nice convenient
way to rub salt in her boyfriend’s psyche.
Because we all know
how women operate do we not?
I coulda been any Joe Shmoe, that
chick woulda
still teased just to
make her boyfriend pay.

I wanted to tell the guy
tell him, man
Dude, you need some Joose, yeah man that’s what you need, she’ll be yours again in no time
and you don’t
have to worry about her
trying to rouse the
attention of some
bus neighbor
almost 3 times her age.
When the seats cleared on my left I moved away from her, from him…we all needed our space.

Granted that space….she leaned over the partition and hung herself over it. There would be no kissing and making up tonight!

You’re so ghetto!


It was during my previous post about Joose and Cisco, 2 of the all-time great crap boozes which are good for only one Thing, I threw out the term “ghetto” reflexively; without thought, without consideration. As I’m prone to do, I began to reexamine my words, my thoughts. Ghetto.


What is ghetto? The word gets thrown around, many times as a source of derisive and even self-deprecatory humor. Some of the best ghetto humor comes from ghettoistas themselves. Very rarely do we actually take the time to consider the word and all its meanings and ramifications.


At its crudest and most well-known formulation, “ghetto” refers to that which is from or of the urban inner city. Born of urban squallor and graffiti, ghetto defines a mindset and a way of life that has been refined through the generations of urban inhabitants, an evolution of a persona that leaves a subject both street smart, rough, and immorally formidable.


And while I certainly believe the ghetto attitude does correlate with urban dwelling, I think it’s more helpful and less elitist to view the ghetto phenomena from a different perspective: from a neutral viewpoint which examines the facets of the ghetto attitude, ultimately bringing the onlooker to a spot in which ghetto is a function of class and economics and less of race and place of residence.


In the spirit of neutrality, I will list what I view as the trademarks of “ghetto mentality.” I’m scoping these concepts out; attempting to mold them into a cohesive whole, a loosely accurate description of what ghetto means in this day and age.


The most common traits which I associate with the ghetto mentality:


1) Poor money management ===> living beyond ones means ===> inability to save for the short-term or long-term. From my observations, it seems that many of these people’s eyes are bigger than their wallets (to borrow a phrase). Forgetting, or most likely, unwilling, to accept that not everyone can or should afford that monster television (especially them), they buy it so they can prop it up in an undersized living room where it stands out like a Rolls Royce being serviced at Jiffy Lube. There is a crucial lack of self-control and financial awareness at play here. Juxtaposed with a voracious materialism that is sorely out of proportion with ability to pay for the goods comfortably. Meaning, to pay for the goods without sending everyone in the home to the food bank for dinner. Poor money management amongst the ghettoistas is the reason for such culturally suicidal motifs as pay-day loans outlets and rent-a-rim businesses. More than anything, these types of thriving ghetto industries are the epitome of non-existent financial humility, especially amongst the demographic that should learn this value the most.


2) Terrible eating habits ===> obesity ===> early mortality and disease. This may spring from bad money management, from misplaced priorities. Instead of spending $1000+ on the big and intrusive television, can’t the money go to better use buying healthier and cleaner foods? Much of this problem also centers around the over-reliance on juvenile eating habits, a fixation with sweets and cheap, salty, fried snack food. Once again, going back to money management and priorities. Have you ever stepped foot in one of those inner city ghetto supermarkets? You’ll notice the aisles are lined with boxes and cans and plastic bottles…row upon row of packaged and canned foods, a veritable endless sea of processed foods where nothing resembles food. But it’s all temptingly available and cheap and easy.


3) Laziness. I’ve seen it many times. Not only laziness in the popular sense. Nope, also laziness of the spirit, laziness of the mind. That laziness which clouds the mind in a pall of complacent insignificance. A laziness which prevents one from distinguishing oneself; laziness which prevents people from seeking to swim towards the light and breaking through the surface ice; spiritual laziness which weighs people down deeper in the dark and murky ocean until they’ve lost sight of the sky above. This is the trait which leads so many ghettoistas to roam Costco looking for free food samples. Or which leads them to eat a free sample purely for that reason. Who’s ever heard of quinoa, but it’s fee, let’s eat!


4) That odd sense of entitlement which seeps into all aspects of their life, both financial and non-financial. I think this may go hand-in-hand with #3. An attitude of blase expectations, that of the given, that life must inevitably offer rewards and gifts to those for the mere sake that they are they; that the mere act of existing is proof of a deserving nature. Striving only for rewards, not for the earning of these rewards. The path to victory is not important; the only important thing is the prize. And the sense of entitlement tells you that you will get a prize, or should get a prize, a reward, for no reason other than you showed up at the starting line.


Perhaps there are many other ghetto trademarks, but I think these provide a good glimpse into the “ghetto” mind. It is important to note that not everyone living in the inner city has this mindset; and it’s also important to note that simply because one does not live in the inner city exempts them from the ghetto label, either. I once had a friend back in my 20s who may very well fit the 4 criteria I listed…and he was a white guy from the suburbs.


Which brings me to my final thought: ghetto is a state of mind and nothing else. As to the question of why it is represented so widely in poverty-level urban neighborhoods, I will tackle that another time.