A Corpse is a Corpse Of Course Of Course

The corpse flower came back to Los Angeles to unleash its horrid stench on the masses. The abusive smell it emits resembles rotting flesh. This is to attract flies, on which it feeds. A phallic monstrosity over six feet tall, it blooms at random every few years and the olfactory nightmare only lasts a few days. One would think that people would want to avoid the stench, but not only do tens of thousands of people line up to catch a whiff, they pay $20 for it. It seems a high price to pay for torturing themselves, but look what Angelenos dish out for rib removal and personal trainers.

Not that I'm one to talk. I myself dashed to Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, where the corpse flower lives. Huntington Gardens enjoyed a media frenzy over the event, and when I arrived, the parking lot was full and crowds were everywhere. There was a ten minute line just to pass by it. The plant is affectionately named "Stinky" and children squealed with delight, full of the hope that they would be nauseated.

Only it didn't smell. Like, at all. Crowds hovered around, taking deep inhales as if in Ashtanga yoga class. They waved the air from the plant to their noses in a scooping motion, but there was nothing. Though it took two weeks to rise and blossom, I arrived at day one of the slow descent. One would think there would be a lingering odor, but it was not so. People, some of whom had driven hundreds of miles to experience this tropical oddity raised a stink because the plant failed to. Huntington Gardens should publicize the daily stink level before swiping $20 from guests. I would have been annoyed, but I got in free on a press pass and spent the rest of the afternoon strolling the gardens. The Japanese garden is magnificent, by the way.

It's fascinating to see people come from far and wide to expose themselves to something utterly unbearable, then grow angry over the fact that they couldn't be repulsed. People were excited to experience what is essentially self mutilation. But it explains a lot of things. It explains why tribal folk walk on hot coals and why Spencer and Heidi from The Hills have yet to fade into white trash oblivion.


The Bacon Dessert Movement

Los Angeles may be known for stuffing avocado and alfalfa sprouts in everything and calling it "California Cuisine," but soon, we may be known as the land of bacon desserts.

I don't know who started it, but I know that the movement is growing. Nickel Diner, a vintage breakfast spot in downtown Los Angeles, started serving bacon maple glazed doughnuts, and the sidewalks have been packed with hungry hipsters ever since. Patrons such as Kim Burke made the pilgrimage all the way from Pacific Palisades to sample the goods, and she brought an entourage of seven. By the time they were seated, there were only 20 bacon maple glazed doughnuts left, and her table ordered a round and wrapped up the rest to go. The tattooed throngs on the sidewalk had yet to receive word that the famous menu item had just run out.

If a bacon maple glazed doughnut seems a safe route, other restaurants are experimenting with bacon and chocolate. Animal, the Fairfax district restaurant which serves as a haven for the carnivorous, offers a Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar. Grubb, a down-home Hollywood establishment with ever-changing menus always has one dessert stand-by: the Hershey Bar Sandwich. The delectable concoction was made of bread, whipped cream and a Hershey bar, but keeping with the times, they have added bacon.

Restaurants that boast organic salads and fresh baked breads are now featuring menu items better suited for a state fair in the Midwest. But in these economic times, people seek escapism through calories and exotic experimentation, and it's really been helping restaurants bring home the bacon.


Los Angeles Sliding into the Dark Ages

Enough already. I cannot let Angelenos carry on this way. The "green" movement is being completely misinterpereted, and we are sliding backwards into the dark ages. Unscrewing lightbulbs so we walk around on dimmer streets and in dimmer markets? Using less water so our lawns and gardens turn to dust and our cars and patios are thick with dirt? This is progress?

Quick history lesson: Mulholland. It's more than the name of the mountaintop thoroughfare with sweeping views; more than the title of a a David Lynch movie. It was the name of a man - William Mulholland. He believed progress was allowing humans to live exactly the way they wanted to live, and turned this vast desert known as Los Angeles into the fertile oasis it is.

Have we all forgotten that 2/3 of the earth is covered in water? Salt water yes, but if everyone could put down their canvas grocery bags for a second, they'd realize that desalinization plants do exist, and people don't know about it because they weren't spoon-fed the information. It's not on E! or in a magazine, so no one can see the big picture, which is this: We do not have to live like paupers. Desalinization plants remove salt from water and bring it to land to sprout forests, vegetable gardens and fruit groves. Israel does it. In fact, desalinization plants exist all around the word. But E! and Spin magazine are too busy selling you Priuses and cloth bags with green trees on it, so many have no idea.

Why aren't desalinization plants more widely acknowledged? Two things work against it. One, magazines and T.V. programs can't use this "going green" element to suck money from you, so why bother? The editorial would piss off their advertisers (like Toyota) and other "green"companies. Second, the plants are expensive, and local and national goverments prefer quick, temporary fixes. As evidenced by what happened with the levees in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, many are too short-sighted to invest in long-term infrastructure.

So what are we doing instead? We are all contemplating living in mud huts like cavemen. Aside from the water issue, there's energy. Nuclear power is clean, can be safely recycled and these plants use up a lot less land mass than those wasteful, space-swallowing wind turbines. Ah, but "nuclear" is a trigger word. Some hear the word nuclear and say things like, "Dude, like, that's for bombs. No way."

The thing that I find most disappointing is how the "green" crowd resembles sheep. They do as they are told without acknowledging our integrity, and the possibility of living higher quality lives without sacrificing water and electricity. These sheep do things like get together to choose a night to shut off their lights and live in the dark. And for what? Their refrigerators were plugged in, their cell phones were charging, and they choked the air with smoke from metal wires in their wicks. Nice job.

Bless San Diego, who hoped to invest $320 million dollars in a desalinization plant so that residents needn't get sucked into the dark ages. So what happened? Environmental groups rallied, arguing that it could damage some sea life close to the shore. Are we supposed to allow millions of humans to do without in order to spare the lives of about 16 crustaceans? When did a handful of fish supersede the needs of human civilization? We could turn deserts into farmland and sustain life for both humans and animals, and if a couple of flounder get lost in the mix, they'd be replaced in spades. Next thing we know, the EPA will declare carbon dioxide a hazardous material, and we could all be arrested merely for exhaling.

I get it, people want to fit in, be joiners. Look how Prius drivers stare down their noses at people with large road vehicles. They can't help themselves, even if the SUVs are packed with actual families and big dogs that need the space. But let us resist the urge to poke them in the eye. They need to feel better about themselves; perhaps it's all they have. Besides, they are helping to reduce smog.

I myself like giving back. I recycle, compost, garden, buy vintage and repurpose all kinds of business I find on curbs. The latter is an art form actually. But what I am not is a sheep, a zombie, a follower of whatever "green"advertising is thrown my way to give me false sense of pride. I am not afraid of the word "nuclear" because I know what it means. I stand by our forefather in agriculture and irrigation, William Mulholland. I believe we are better than this. Let this be the land of milk and honey, pomegranate trees, emerald green lawns and a good, messy sexy car wash.

And for the love of all things holy, I will not live in a mud hut.