Sunday, October 17, 2010

L. A. Nuts

L. A. Nuts: A Collection of the Cult-Hit Columns by Joe Dungan
Trinco Publishing, 2009
Trade Paperback, 268 pages
ISBN-13: 9780982034569
highly recommended

Have you ever been to Los Angeles? Have you ever strolled among its denizens? Have you ever lived next door to any of its countless eccentrics? Writer and L.A. native Joe Dungan has. He's been writing about Los Angeles and its colorful inhabitants for years. And when you read about Joe's L.A.- when you encounter all the characters, misfits, crackpots, and cream puffs Joe has run across - you'll discover a side of L.A. that you've never seen before. This collection of classic essays will put a smile on your face and a shot of espresso in your heart. "With just half a Splenda, if you please."
My Thoughts:

L. A. Nuts, a collection of humorous columns written by Joe Dungan, isn't just for those from L.A, the "Land of Fruits and Nuts."The first several stories found me laughing so hard that tears were running down my face. Dungan not only writes with humor and a sharp wit, but there are also some very insightful comments.

Dungan is a native of Los Angeles and has been a writer and editor for over a decade. This collection of short pieces started as a blog in which Dungan ranted against his neighbors and became a regular column for In October 2009 Dungan was awarded First Place in the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book awards for humor for L.A. Nuts.

I could relate to almost all of the stories. Some of this is due to frequent moves around the country, so I've had many different neighbors over the years. Part of this is from recently living in Reno, NV and experiencing how the natives felt about anyone from California. (My husband actually had a car side-swiped by a car from the opposite direction. That was also a hit and run.) And part of my understanding is due to renting rather than buying for the past several years. (We've very recently experienced the joys of living in rented place where upkeep was a theory and even more recently discovered the joys of neighbors who are, quite frankly stupid, and didn't think you'd be trying to sleep at 2:30 A.M. wondering "Exactly when can we party?")

He needs to write another book soon. I need to know the further adventures of Clyde Langtry.
Highly Recommended


In the four years Clyde Langtry has been my neighbor, I've had an awful lot of conversations with him and made careful observations. opening

Being a polite guy, I try to listen, giving him the benefit of the doubt every time that what he's about to say is going to lead to something remotely relevant. Doubt has long been erased. Now I just listen to him for the material. pg. 3

"I'm very good at reading people," Clyde likes to say during such conversations. He can't figure out why he has no friends but he's very good at reading people. pg. 4

There were a handful of days in my San Fernando Valley childhood where the air was so toxic that we were ordered to breathe as little as possible during recess and lunch. We were not allowed to take handballs and kickballs out, and playground supervisors ordered us not to run. Twice a day, we sat around in little clusters, occasionally getting up to walk over to some other cluster to see their version of doing nothing. Looking back, it was probably good practice for office life. pg. 7

Wednesday, out in the parking lot, I headed to my car as Clyde was digging something out of his trunk. He looked up at me and said, "Enjoy your hamburger."
I wasn't going to get a hamburger. We hadn't been talking about hamburgers. I don't think we've ever discussed hamburgers. I have no idea why he told me to go enjoy my hamburger. After careful consideration, the best I can determine is that he meant to say "hi" and it accidentally came out "enjoy your hamburger." It's not much of a theory, I admit.
Because of this elegantly bizarre moment, however, I'm inspired to purpose that "enjoying the hamburger" become an expression meaning "using crazy people for entertainment purposes." pg. 33

And upkeep was merely a theory. Thin crappy brown carpet, ticky-tack walls, plaster peeling off - indoors - a huge gap above the door, through which piles of dust blew in and climate-controlled air wafted away. And that's just the stuff I could see. No telling what kinds of toxins were seeping out of the paint. pg. 41

Ever since the pilgrims gave England the finger and fled to this continent, we've been wailing away on the English language as if it were a sparring partner. That proud tradition is on display in Los Angeles too. Sometimes we just slur and sometimes we mispronounce things entirely. But on occasion, what comes out of our mouths is so cryptic that it can't be defined. pg. 138

The guy ahead of me, driving an old economy car in the fast lane, swayed way over the double yellow and sideswiped a jeep that was in the left-turn lane, pointed the opposite direction. And he kept going.. pg. 139-140

Jezbo (to me): "Could you hear us?"
Me: "Yes."
Jezbo: You shoulda' said something. I didn't know you was sleepin."
Me: "It's 4:30 in the morning. I'm usually sleeping at this hour." pg. 222


Jeanne said...

This sounds like a good book for me to stockpile for the dark days of January and February, when I need something to make me laugh and believe in warmer climates.

Lori L said...

If you've ever had odd neighbors, I'm certain you'll enjoy L.A. Nuts.

Unknown said...

This sounds like fun...I am from California the Northern bit... slightly different but off beat never the less. Thanks Lori!

Lori L said...

Shellie, you probably won't even find the people nut-like at all. I think you'll know and recognize them. You'll totally understand the grumbling about traffic too.

Unknown said...

I bet... although Northern Ca is not quite as bad as Southern terms of traffic but different in terms of "nuts". We like to call them local color...

btw - I have included you in our updated blog roll under literature and classics. Is that good for you?

Heres the link

I will be putting them in alphabetical... but hey one step at time.

Lori L said...

Thanks Shellie! My reading tastes are pretty eclectic, but that works!

Unknown said...

Yes but you tend to veer your reading a bit toward the literary...

No problem to relocate you. :)
It may be a few weeks though.
let me know.

Lori L said...

I'm good, Shellie! You can put me where ever you think I belong. :-)