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He screamed “That’s It! Now I’m gonna hurt you!” in his very best crazy-enough-to-do-it and started coming at me, but even then we both knew it was over. If it’d just been his fists things might’ve been different, but the moment he picked up a weapon everything turned radically against him. My motivation to protect myself was overwhelming compared to his desire to hurt me, and the poor drug-addled bastard didn’t stand a chance.

I think about Puke and his screwdriver whenever I hear about somebody - cops usually - shooting someone because they “feared for their lives.”  And nine times out of ten I think to myself “Bullshit.”
Like this, in Dallas. (Trigger Warning: Cold Blooded Murder.)

What happened to me was the opposite of that. I had a genuine drug-crazed lunatic lunging at me with a ground-down screwdriver screaming how he was gonna hurt me. If I’d been a cop, or even just a guy with a gun, I could’ve shot him dead and that would’ve been it. Apart from some affidavits, lawyers and paperwork, I’d probably be a free man - free to spend the rest of my life knowing I’d killed somebody for no good reason.

If I’d had a gun I would’ve thrown it away. Seriously.  It would’ve just gotten in the way. With the adrenaline shooting through me at that moment I could’ve taken on three guys with screwdrivers. Maybe even four. If you’ve been in a similar situation you know what I mean: when you think your life’s actually being threatened you feel a whole lot of things at once, but the very least of them is “scared.”

As it happened, I didn’t even need to use my fists. Instead I yelled back at him twice as loud - like the biggest, baddest drill sergeant there ever was -“Hurt Me?  HURT ME?  YOU LOVE ME MOTHERF*CKER!”

Stopped the poor guy dead in his tracks. He just stood there stunned, looking at the screwdriver in his hand like he didn’t even know how it got there. It was probably the most humiliating scene I’ve ever witnessed and it all happened right in front of his girlfriend. I almost even felt sorry for the guy.

Beneath the fold is the backstory of A Boy Named Puke.  It’s a junkie story, so it’s a lot like all the other junkie stories - a little bit of funny and a whole lot of sad. Not what you’d call a happy ending either. Horrifying, actually. But, like all the junkie stories that don’t end in death, there’s at least a chance at redemption.

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Save the Arctic sign on parking structure.
Your ad here. Mine slightly up and to the right.
This is my 7000th political freeway sign, at least since I started counting. You can find the other 6,999 on my blog. This picture says pretty much all you need to know about freewayblogging.
Bush V. Gore Supreme Joke sign over freeway.
My first signs went up immediately after Bush V. Gore: those dark, voiceless days when a 5-4 decision turned our democracy into the world’s most powerful banana republic. If you remember what that felt like, putting signs on freeways doesn’t seem so odd.
White Votes Only sign by freeway.
All Bombing is Cowardly sign on pole.
Protest sign on tree.
I hate bombing and I don’t care who does it. Whether it’s dropped from an airplane, buried by the road or walking into a pizza parlor - I think it’s all just murderous cowardly bullshit.
Protest sign on pole by freeway.
Especially when the people you’re bombing had nothing to do with it.
Nobody Died when Clinton Lied sign.
These words came to me when I read “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” by Ambassador Joe Wilson, the first of many disclosures that our war against the wrong guy was bullshit. When I googled them there was only one hit, so I did what anyone would do - wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper, the LA Times. “Editor - Nobody died when Clinton lied.” When they didn’t publish it I said ok, fuck you then, I’ll do it myself, and proceeded to paint it up and post it on freeways all over southern California. This was my first real attempt at a campaign - to physically place a specific set of words in front of as many eyeballs as possible - and it worked spectacularly. Over the next six weeks I watched the hits on google go from 1 to 15 to 75 to hundreds and then thousands. Then I started seeing it on bumperstickers.
Bush Lied sign by freeway.
I did hundreds of these. Not particularly witty, but short, and to the point. After two solid years of listening to the media go on about how Clinton lied (He Lied!) about a blowjob only to go silent when Bush lied us into a war, putting these up was a pleasure.
We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war.
Seriously, in the history of warfare has there ever been a conflict manufactured so entirely by men who were such demonstrable cowards?
Osama Who sign over freeway at night.
In 2004 there was this one shut down footbridge over the Santa Monica Freeway that still had a light burning in the middle of it. Getting inside was a bit tricky and scary, but once you were there anything you put under that light looked awesome and spooky as hell.
The War is Over sign at night.
The day after I put this up an AP photographer got a picture and by the next day it was in newspapers all over the world.
The War is Over sign over Freeway.
Osama Bin Forgotten sign over freeway.
Easily the strangest thing to occur during my lifetime was the replacement of Osama Bin Laden with Saddam Hussein as the perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks. And this without so much as a peep from the media. Meanwhile, the rest of the world went from “We are all Americans” to “We are all amazed at how profoundly stupid and manipulatable Americans are.”
Osama/Saddam sign over freeway.
Honestly, you’d think the one thing Republicans would actually get right would be violent revenge. But no, they even fucked that one up. One of my most cherished memories was following an SUV with one of those “We Will Never Forget 9/11” bumperstickers as we passed by one of my “Osama Who?” signs.
Sign over LA Freeway.
How many times do you suppose he said “Saddam Hussein?” Thousands.
Some signs I'd do just for the fun of it...
Attorney General's Warning sign.
Dixie Chicks sign by freeway.
Rumsfailed sign over freeway.
Purple Heart/Deviated Septum sign over Freeway.
Halliburton adopt a highway sign.
How to adopt an Adopt-a-Highway sign...
We're all wearing the blue dress now sign over freeway.
A polite way of saying George Bush jacked off on the entire country.
If this was our policy we're losing a hell of a lot more than just a war.
I’m not a big fan of state-sponsored torture. I’ve been trying to figure out why waterboarding was illegal in World War Two but permissible now, and all I’ve been able to come up with is that we’ve become shittier people.
Turning into a torture state without so much as a whimper.
Shut Up Hippy sign
Seriously, what is it with right-wingers and spelling?
Memorial sign for Jesus Suarez
These were done at the request of the families. They stayed up for a long time.
Memorial for Marvin Best
Memorial sign for Pfc William Ramirez
This is the secret to hanging large signs: coat hangers.
I took a couple years off when Obama was elected, but started up again during the Occupy Movement and since then turned my attention to climate change. I’ve thought about quitting plenty of times, but old habits die hard. I’ve become addicted to the relaxation that comes from painting signs and the rush I get from posting them. I also love the photography.
Sign over Santa Monica Freeway
Mostly what keeps me going though is when I’m driving and see one of my signs still up on a fence somewhere. I’ll look at it and think to myself, “I’m glad someone decided to do that.” So long as that keeps happening, I’ll probably keep doing it. It doesn’t even matter that the someone was me.

First off, stay calm. The police are there to help you, and unless you’re actually shooting at them, nobody’s gonna get hurt. If it’s a traffic stop, they probably thought you were a minority and you’ll soon be back on your way. In the mean time, just do everything the officer asks. If they ask if you’ve been drinking, the correct answer is “No sir. Not a drop.” Not “Just a beer…” or “I had some wine with dinner…” They don’t want to hear that. Five words - remember them: “No sir, not a drop.”

If an officer stops you on the street it’s because they thought you were poor or, in rare cases, because you were actually doing something wrong. Either way, this is why it’s important to always carry a passport. Having a passport indicates that you may have money and they’ll usually let you continue on your way. Still though, ask yourself why the policeman bothered to stop you: Do you have long hair? A lot of tattoos? Are you shabbily dressed? These are all indicators that you may be poor, which in white neighborhoods is tantamount to being Black or Latino. Again, flashing a passport, preferably one with a couple of stamps in it, should be enough to let the officer see their mistake and let you on your way.

Okay, let’s say you’ve done everything right and for some reason the cop still wants to ticket you. Remain calm. This is a nation of laws and you’re allowed your day in court. If you really didn’t do anything wrong you are entitled to appear before a judge and listen in disbelief as the cop flat out lies about everything that happened. So it’s best to spare yourself the grief and outrage and just pay the fine. If you really are innocent of the charges and the officer was abusing their authority or just generally being a menace, it’s best to let the police take care of the problem internally.

Of course, filing a complaint is worthless and will only put you on an enemies list. Instead, go to Google Images, type in “actors headshots” and pick a picture you feel is appropriate for the officer in question. Print it up nicely on 8 1/2 by 11 glossy paper and sign it to the officer (their name is on the summons) with the words “You’re my Good Cop/Bad Cop…” like so:

actor headshot
Discreetly drop it in the police station parking lot or anyplace else where one of their colleagues is likely to find it. You may have to do this a couple of times before it reaches the right hands, but once it does you can be sure that said officer will not last much longer on the force. Please note this method is only effective for male officers in jurisdictions where law enforcement is predominately homophobic. For your convenience I’ve included a map below.
Map of Homophobic police jurisdictions, U.S.

"Tomorrow they will be here. They will shave our heads. We will stand naked in front of them. They will humiliate us and in the end they will kill us. So I want to use my only freedom - to choose the way I die."

His father and stepmother lay on the bed dressed in their best clothes, leaving enough poison for the boy to join them if he chose. He held their hands and waited for them to die before climbing out the window, sneaking to the train yard and clinging to the undercarriage of one of the cars to escape.

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Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:40 PM PDT

We Are The Walrus

by freewayblogger

Granted, not everybody's going to get this. Maybe one in ten. For the rest, I figure it just makes their day slightly more surreal. The story about the walrus stranding in Alaska hit me harder than I expected: probably because I see it as a harbinger of worse things to come. The thought that my kids are going to live in a world where all the animals are dying - that kind of gets to me.

On the other hand, since I'm a liberal, I can allow for the possibility that I'm entirely wrong. Christ I hope so.

Speaking of Christ, it seems odd that our fundamentalist Christian friends are sitting this one out. I remember when everything from supermarket scanners to Madonna videos was considered a sign of the end times. Now the whole top of the planet's melting with hardly a whisper from the holy rollers.

The deeply religious probably aren't going to be much help anyway: after all, if God wants a better planet He'll just make one. I'm afraid this task is going to be left up to the atheists... they're the only ones who really know the stakes.

As for the deniers - screw em. It's not like any genius solutions are gonna come from out of their ranks anyway. As far as I'm concerned all they're good for now is entertainment. In the future they'll probably be used for fuel.
Of course freeway signs, comprehensible or not, are hardly a solution. It's not like someone's going to see a sign that says Save the Arctic and then go out and do it. On the other hand it seems criminal to let things go this far with so little mention on the landscape. So I consider this as a sort of moral beautification project.

If nothing else, Freewayblogging gives me a sense that I'm doing the best I can with what I've got. And that at least I'm doing something. If something more useful occurs to me then I'll do that instead, and I'm pretty sure my kids will do the same. Yeah, growing up on a planet where all the animals are dying is gonna be depressing, but so was growing up on a planet bristling with nukes. ("When I was growing up we were all gonna die any second in a nuclear war just because some senile actor with a great smile hated commies. You kids don't know how good you've got it...")

Every generation shares this though: we're all born into a world where nobody really knows what's going to happen, and as far as I'm concerned that's the best part of it. Maybe the walruses will pull through somehow. Maybe we will too. In terms of dealing with it in the meantime, I think Edward Abbey said it best:
"Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."
My humble additions to the weekend's protests.
Signs Posted - 6,868
Arrests - 0
Save the Earth sign next to the 405.
400 PPM sign next to the 110.
How to Make Signs

Huh? What would you do if you were livin' on the outskirts of San Luis Potosi where there's no money and no jobs and everybody's dirt poor and two hundred miles north they're having a party with all the goddam money in the world.  What would you do? Just hang out?"

Guy looks back at me wide-eyed, like he's never thought of it before and this is some kind of revelation. Then he recoups a bit and mumbles something about laws being laws so I say "Fine. Better off you just stay down there then, cuz we don't need you here anyway. Those people? The ones crossing the desert and risking their lives trying to make something out of themselves?  They're the ones we actually want."

This was 20 years ago, back when I was a bartender, (which was why I felt so free to speak my mind...) but the same four word argument holds true today: “What would you do?" If there's one thing I can't stand it's listening to someone complaining about people struggling for the privileges they themselves were born with.

While it's tough to pick out the height of right wing hypocrisy, hatred for immigrants has gotta be somewhere near the top: especially when it comes to the ones from Mexico and Central America. Practically everything the Republicans claim to stand for - hard work, independence, risk-taking, love, respect and support for family, belief in Jesus-Christ-the-Savior and The American Dream… it's all right there lined up and waiting to cross the Rio Grande. If their base weren't such racists the GOP would have a complete lock on the fastest growing demographic in the nation right now.

Not that I’m all squeaky clean on this - I’ve been afraid of illegal immigrants myself. Deathly afraid. Once I was parked out at the end of a dirt road on the outskirts of Douglas Arizona: out in the desert - middle of nowhere - and suddenly I hear a guy say “Hey!”

He climbs out from a culvert I hadn’t seen, and behind him there’s gotta be at least a dozen others. He’s holding a plastic jug and asks for water. I’ve got five gallons in a Jerrycan strapped to my truck, so I motion for him to hold on, unstrap the can and bring it to him. My heart's pounding the whole time because there’s at least a dozen desperate people right there and, like I said, we’re in the middle of nowhere. If they’d decided to rush me and take my truck (which had a shell over the bed and would've easily hidden all of them,) I almost wouldn’t blame them.

He starts pouring water into his jug and I say “Just keep it.” and turn and walk back to the truck. I’m scared… really scared... but don’t want to run. As I’m driving away I’m thinking about the sack of food on the floor beside me. While part of me wants to turn around and give it to them, another part says I’m lucky just to be alive and that I’ve done enough. The argument goes on until I rationalize that going back might bring on the border patrol and the last thing I want to do is get them busted, which is kind of odd, now that I think about it.

After all, I’m a “good American” and the guys roaming around in SUVs looking for illegal border crossers are presumably doing it for my benefit, but more than anything I wanted those people to make it. Maybe it was just rooting for the underdog or gratitude for not messing with me. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m more of a conservative than I think. Because honestly I didn’t just want them to make it, I wanted them to make it big. I wanted them to reach Tucson, or LA, or Denver, find work, make money and have a better life… the American Dream. Because as much as I detest hearing it chanted, when it comes to economic opportunity, USA really is #1. Something I suggest republicans might want to shut up about if they don’t want people coming over here.

My bar was in a little hotel on the outskirts of the Tenderloin. It was a great gig. Most of the customers were middle-class families from Europe and Australia seeing San Francisco for the first time and loving it. I'd help them practice their English and they'd help me with their languages and there were times when I'd drive home practically weeping with gratitude just for having met the people I'd met that night. Not too many jobs like that I imagine.

The few racists and gun nuts I'd get were usually conventioneers from out of town. It's just a hunch, but I have a feeling that bigots don't last too long in San Francisco. (Or "Frisco" if you want. Contrary to popular belief, a true San Franciscan doesn't really care what you want to call it. The spirit of "Do your own thing, man..." is still alive and well by the bay.)

Towards the end of my stay I was training one of the waiters to tend bar. His name was Mao, about 25 from Cambodia, and crossing the Sonoran desert was nothing compared to what he'd had to go through to get here. He was nice enough, though a bit quiet for the job, but he was always bugging me to get more shifts, which kind of got on my nerves.
Eventually I quit to go traveling and when I came back about three years later, Mao was running the whole hotel. He may have even owned it - I wouldn't be surprised.

When people talk about immigrants taking "our" jobs, that's just half the story. Oftentimes they're moving right through our jobs and getting better ones. Because when you've already crossed a desert on foot, or been abducted by Thai pirates on the South China Sea, working your way up the employment ladder in the United States of America can be pretty damn easy. So if you ever find yourself discussing immigration with a right-winger, try asking “Oh yeah? What would you do?”  It might make them think, at least for a bit. If they say they'd try to come here legally, or just stay put, chances are they're telling the truth, so be sure to remind them how lucky they are for being born here.

My mom at the
It's a little blurry, and to be honest the reason she was so close to the podium was that she worked right next to the mall.  She was an attorney for the newly formed Peace Corps and her boss was a 26 year old named Bill Moyers. Both my parents were bureaucrats, and when we were bad they'd threaten to send my brother and me back to "the Office of Babies," where presumably we'd get all tangled up in paperwork. Both my parents were liberals too, so when the Limbaughs and Hannitys of this world demean them, I take it personally.

Theirs was a different time, with different ambitions and different heroes. Back then it wasn't all just about getting rich, it was about making the world a better place, and a life well-lived included good music, good books and traveling the world. Mom's visited close to a hundred different countries in her life... now she can barely walk. We're living a lot longer these days, but we're dying a lot longer too.

It started with forgetting words and names and repeating the same stories over and over again. She calls it short-term memory loss, but it's more than that. She'll hear a word, "Syria" for example, and tell about the time her wristwatch was stolen in Damascus. It's not that she's forgotten having already told the story, even though she probably has, it's that she can no longer hear the word Syria without thinking about that watch, and if someone else is there, she'll talk about it. Certain words or ideas trigger the same, predictable responses. Her mind travels in loops now, and the loops are getting smaller and smaller.

I read somewhere that the older we get the more we become parodies of ourselves. Mom's always worried a lot, but now she does it constantly. It's always about family, never about herself, but you don't need a degree in psychology to see she's projecting her own fears onto the rest of us. As her body gets weaker and weaker her mind relies more on the amygdala: fear takes the place of reason simply as a means to survive. Apart from short walks and the occasional trip to the grocery she doesn't go out anymore. The outside world scares her, especially if there's even a hint of a crowd. Like just about everyone else her age, she's just one fall away from being bedridden for the rest of her life.

I'm sure this is familiar territory to a lot of you, especially if you've bothered to read this far. So far it's just been a lot of pain and the mild indignities of a failing mind and body. I know the real horrors are yet to come: there's a whole lot of verses to the Caretaker Blues.

If I had to sum up what I've learned from mom so far it's the importance of the unimportant. All her adult life my mother has kept herself occupied with things that are important: career, family, financial security. The books she reads are either historical or biographical, the movies she watches are almost always serious and the only music she listens to is classical. I once asked her to name a song that'd been written in the last fifty years and she came up with "Happy Days Are Here Again," written in 1929. And the only reason she came up with that one is that it was written by a relative. I rephrased the question, upping the stakes by saying "Let's say there was a madman holding a gun to your granddaughter's head, or the admissions department of Stanford saying she was about to be accepted, but only if you could name a song that'd been written within the last fifty years... then could you do it?" And she couldn't, or better put, wouldn't. Anything having to do with pop culture - even The Beatles for chrissakes - she refuses to admit any knowledge of. And while I'd like to think that it's simply posturing and that if said madman or admissions board were to challenge her she'd come through... honestly, I'm not sure she could.

As far as I know she has never played a musical instrument, written a story or poem, sang, sketched, painted, built or sculpted anything since she was a child. I doubt she's ever even tried doing a crossword puzzle. And throughout her life that hasn't really been a problem, until recently.  What do you do when you've spent your entire life concentrating only on "important" things and find that your mind is no longer able to handle them? Suddenly take up knitting?  Fat chance.

Back in the 90's I was tending bar in San Francisco and writing stories for Penthouse. For a while I was actually making more money from my writing than I was bartending and I used to joke that I was "writing in order to support myself as a bartender..." To quote Roxy Music, it was one of those "throwaway lines that often ring true." Because the truth was if all I was doing with my time on this planet was serving drinks to tourists, I'd probably go insane.  The fact that I was writing - that I was practicing some form of art - there was at least a chance, no matter how slim, that I could actually accomplish something great. And it didn't matter if I accomplished it or not, so long as there was a chance... that was enough.

With mom I've found a whole new world of reasons why it's important to have an art: to fill the long hours, days and years that medical science has now given us. Same goes for playing games, doing puzzles, or just generally wasting time - these become increasingly valuable talents when the others start slipping away. Mom reads of course - or tries to - generally books about the holocaust. She's always had a sort of survivor's-guilt-by-proxy since her family was safe in the U.S. when it happened. You know how many so-called "primitive" cultures practice ancestor worship? My brother and I do the same thing: we call it "Thank God our great grandparents got the hell out of Poland." Still though, the death camps have always haunted our mother. Her last big trip was to Iran during the Ahmadinejad regime, and when people asked me why I joked that she was "teaching holocaust studies at Tehran University."

I heard a guy on the radio say he considered taking care of his aging mother to be a privilege and I've clung to that word ever since. Unlike practically everything else in this weird, fucked up world we live in, at least I don't have to worry whether or not I'm doing the "right thing." I am. And if you're taking care of an aging parent or loved one, so are you.

As her world gets smaller, so does mine. I haven't been up to Portland and Seattle for years now, and even the Bay Area's pretty much out of my reach. I can still paint signs though, and thanks to the First Amendment and the five foot tall roll of butcher paper in my garage, they can be as big as you want and say whatever you want them to say. Send me a Kosmail and we'll work it out.


Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 07:09 AM PDT

More and Better Protest Signs

by freewayblogger

Air France Kills Primates sign over Santa Monica Freeway.
I saw this the other day over the Santa Monica Freeway. While I appreciated the effort: the folksy yet urgent quality of the handwriting and implied bloodiness of the bright red paint, even in the morning when the light was right you still had to strain to read it from the road, and that made it dangerous. After noon, with the sun behind it, it was entirely unreadable.

On the plus side, it meant that one of my favorite sealed overpasses was accessible again, allowing me to put up this:

Save the Arctic sign over Santa Monica Freeway.
And then replace it with this a few days later:
Save the Planet sign over Santa Monica Freeway.
Despite my efforts to bring it into the mainstream, freeway signposting still remains the province of the political fringe - but that doesn't mean it has to look that way. If you're going to do something, do it right: Large signs, readable lettering, black-on-white. That particular overpass has over 150,000 cars pass under it every day - each direction - and an audience of that size deserves respect.

While my modus operandi has always been mass production and serial posting of signs - trying to put as many words in front of as many eyeballs as possible - most people seem to prefer the old school method of simply holding signs on overpasses. Nothing wrong with that, (until the police come and say otherwise,) but if you google "Overpass Protest Signs" you'll see most overpass protests consist of groups of people milling about with a couple of large signs flanked by several smaller signs, giving the overall impression of a spirited, but ultimately disorganized political message. Far better, I say, both politically and aesthetically, to decide on a single message and then hold it across the overpass in letters five feet tall.

With that in mind, I bought a roll of butcher paper five feet tall and 1100 feet long, reinforced my garage door and made an easel out of campaign signs:

Butcher paper and backboard.
1100 foot roll of butcher paper.
So here's the deal: if you'd like to do some large scale overpass protesting, send me a kosmail and let's work it out. I'll want to know the message, font and layout you're looking for, then I'll just paint it, roll it up and mail it to you. No charge. (If you'd like to make a donation, make it to Daily Kos.)

Once you've got the paper banner, duct-tape some bicycle boxes together for backing and you'll have something you and your friends will be proud to stand by. Want to do both sides? No problem, I'll send you two. My "easel" measures 5' by 14', so your sign, or panel, should fit proportionally into a one-by-three-ish rectangle, like so:

Reflect on an Arctic that doesn't reflect sign via overhead projector.
You can have my gun when you pry it from the fingers of my cold, dead child sign via overhead projector.
Without Ice the Arctic Ocean will start absorbing all the sunlight it used to reflect.
Wake up and Smell the Permafrost sign using overhead projector.
Now, signs like these would cost over two hundred dollars from Kinko's or another retail signmaker, and that's on planet-choking vinyl. These are Free to Kossacks because I've got a big roll of paper, an overhead projector and a whole bunch of spare time.

Here are some of the other signs I posted over the July 4th holiday:

Save the Arctic sign over Pasadena Freeway.
Save the Arctic sign over Santa Monica Freeway.
Save the Earth sign over Harbor freeway.
Save the Arctic sign over San Diego freeway by LAX.
Save the Arctic sign by I-5.
Save the Planet sign over Pasadena Freeway.
Save the Arctic sign over I-5.
Save the Arctic sign next to I-5.

Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM PDT

Hey, Check Out My Backyard!

by freewayblogger

Backyard full of climate change protest signs.
Pretty impressive eh? Did it with a little bit of dumpster diving, a couple of earth posters and about six bucks worth of paint. The sad thing, apart from the obvious OCD, is that these are stacking up at my place instead of being out on the freeways where they belong.

Unfortunately mom hasn't quite bounced back from surgery, so for the past three months I've been taking care of her and unable to go on road trips. You know how they say that taking care of an aging parent is really difficult and draining but also incredibly rewarding and sometimes devastating? They're right.

But this diary isn't about that. Like most of my diaries it's about cardboard and paint and putting words in front of eyeballs. The best part of my day is once mom's asleep and I can go into the garage, turn on some music and crank up the overhead projector. Right now my wings are clipped, so I'm going to ask some of you to take up the slack.

Here's a 9 foot banner spread out:

Save the Arctic banner.
Here it is ready for mailing:
Save the Arctic sign ready for mailing.
So here's the deal: If you'd like to put one of these up in your neighborhood, send me a Kosmail with a mailing address and I'll send you one. You put it up someplace where people will see it and send me a picture at
That's it. I'll cover the mailing costs. If you feel like giving back, make a donation to Daily Kos.

Posting is simple: find a piece of fence that's easy to see but difficult to get to, go there, strap the sign to the fence with a couple of bungee cords and a bit of duct tape and walk away. Takes about ten seconds. The end result should look something like this:

Save the Arctic sign next to the 405 freeway.
Here are some of the fifty or so I've painted for this project so far. This offer is open to all Kossacks who want to do it. If I get swamped, priority will be given to green diarists. Let's see if we can make this work.
Save the Arctic signs.

Fri May 02, 2014 at 06:05 PM PDT

Earth Month

by freewayblogger

Save the Planet sign over Hwy 101.
             Some of the 100+ signs I posted in April. (24 photos, no text.)
What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic sign over Hwy 101.
Save the Earth sign behind roadsign.
Protest signs in garage.
Save the Arctic sign over Santa Monica Freeway.
Wake up and smell the permafrost sign next to Pasadena Freeway.
Help sign on Hwy 101.
Save the Planet sign over the Santa Monica Freeway.
Save the Earth sign over 580 Freeway.
Save the Arctic sign next to Interstate 5.
Help sign over I-80.
Protest signs in garage.
Save the Arctic sign over Hwy 101.
Help sign next to Hollywood Freeway.
Save the Arctic sign over Hollywood Freeway.
Save the Earth sign over Pasadena Freeway.
What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic sign by LAX.
Save the Arctic/Earth/Help signs in garage.
Save the Planet sign over I-80.
Save the Earth sign over I-80.
Save the planet signs in garage.
Save the planet sign next to I-80.
Imagine your grandchildren dancing at the weddings of their grandchildren.

Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 03:00 PM PDT

Road Trip (photos)

by freewayblogger

Save the Planet sign over U.S. 101.
Guy walks into a lawyer's office and says "I've been putting political signs on the freeways." Lawyer says "That's okay. As far as I'm concerned it's pretty much your constitutional right - just like putting up a flag." "Yeah," the guy says, "But I've been putting up a lot of signs." Lawyer says "Doesn't matter if you put up one or a thousand of them. Until they arrest you, I say go for it."
"And when they arrest me?"
"Then we fight it in court."

That was 6,700 signs ago. Still haven't been arrested.

Lately I've been painting "Save the Planet/Earth/Arctic" signs, along with posters of the earth with the simple word "Help." These took about eight hours to paint and cost, I dunno, maybe two dollars all together. Scroll with me for a bit to see how they look on the road...

Save the Planet signs in garage.
Save the Earth signs in garage.
Save the Arctic signs in garage.
Help signs in garage.
Save the Arctic sign over the Santa Monica Freeway.
When the sign above was taken down I replaced it with the one below on the off chance it was the font that someone found objectionable. The other signs were placed around LA and the Bay Area last weekend.
Save the Arctic sign over Santa Monica Freeway.
Save the Planet sign over U.S. 101.
Save the Earth sign on Ashby.
Save the Planet sign over I-80.
Help sign in by U.S. 101.
Save the Earth sign over I-80.
Save the Arctic sign over CA 110.
Save the Earth sign over I-880.
Sign over LA Freeway.
Save the Earth sign on La Cienega.
Save the Planet sign on U.S. 101.
I hung about 35 signs on this trip (LA to SF and back.) The "Help." sign above, on the 405 by LAX, was still up when I returned. Just that one sign was seen close to half a million times.
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