Oscar Spoiler

It was unusually cold this February in Los Angeles.

My car had been sitting in the sun. When I got in, I noticed immediately how warm it was. It was like sitting next to the heating vent eating your cereal before the long walk to school in the snow, in long ago days growing up in the Midwest.

The warm car was so comfortable, I just sat for a while experiencing the simple pleasure of the sun and a windshield.

In truth, I was reluctant to leave my apartment parking lot. The Oscars were scheduled for tomorrow just up the street. Traffic was already getting heavy and aggressive on the street I lived on. I didn’t really want to face it.

I don’t care much about the Oscars. I like movies and all. But, when I watched anything like that, it used to be the Grammys. Every year I would watch and say, “Next year I’ll be there.” It got a little depressing, so I stopped.

When I pulled out, there was a lot of horn blowing as cars trolled the street for parking. In the chaos, I made a mistake and turned right towards Orange Drive. Orange spills right onto Sunset Boulevard but it cuts at a strange angle. So it is normally an intersection that is congested and hard to navigate. I would like to talk to the city planner who made these decisions. I doubt he is alive, and from the design of this intersection, I’m sure was a man not interested in my or anyone’s unsolicited advice or opinion.

To make matters worse, someone -who is probably still alive- gave someone a permit to put an In-and-Out Burger on this corner. So now, everyday near lunch and dinner, cars full of carnivores turn the already congested Sunset and Orange into a parking lot that smells like grease, death and religious fundamentalists.

I finally break through and am speeding down the familiar streets of Hollywood. I drive past a Bank of America. People are out front with signs protesting. It seems Bank Of America has all of their money in off-shore accounts and investments so they can claim they are not keeping their heads above water. Our government then gives them your tax dollars – $2.3 billion for 2009 – in tax benefits.

It makes me happy to see people standing up and saying “NO MORE!” But there are not enough of them. Most of us are picking out what we are going to wear next year at the Oscars.

As I drive past the BoA, I look back over my shoulder and see a man holding his protest sign. It says ” MORE LUBE, PLEASE”. I smile and drive on. It’s a good day to be alive in Los Angeles.

Best Picture 2011

  • “Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
  • “The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
  • “Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
  • “The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
  • “The King’s Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
  • “127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
  • “The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
  • “Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
  • “True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
  • “Winter’s Bone” Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Live from Mysore #8 ( Makara Shankranthi Festival)

Yesterday was the Makara Shankranthi Festival. I did yoga with BNS in the morning. My TM teacher (Nagaraja) invited me to his fire ceremony. Many of his followers came to his home and built 2 small fire pits in his living room. I realized as I watched them preparing, that I am his only non-Indian student. I was there just to watch, for the most part. They lit the fires and all chanted together for 1 hour. Then they got up and had me join them as we all circled the fire chanting Shiva and some other stuff I didn’t recognize. He also did a little of the Hudda chant. It was cool to get to see this. But I sure felt like an outsider.

The Makara Shankranthi Festival is every year on the same day. It’s a harvest festival. But the only thing they do besides fire rituals and puja (ritual gifts to their gods) is paint all the cows in town yellow and red. The horns are red everything else is yellow. Some people say they still do this 2nd part and Wikipedia says they don’t. I did not see it personally although I did go and look for it. Apparently at night they cover a few streets with hay, light it on fire and force the cows (painted like Easter eggs) to run through the fire. Seems like a strange thing do to your sacred animal. But I must keep reminding myself I am an outsider.

Later that night as it got dark we went to the Mysore Palace. Normally they only light it up on Sunday—by the way we have power outages every day—but they will also light it up on festival days. I thought they might run the cows through the fire after it got dark there and the palace lights came on, but they didn’t. We went to get a rickshaw for the ride home and were informed that since it was dark the price would be double to take us home. Welcome to India.