Tag Archives: stan lerner

WHEN DEATH IS BEHIND YOU

WHEN DEATH IS BEHIND YOU

“Go check out Pratt, it’s a good place to do business,” the owner of the Inn, had said.

The visit was a short one, weather had interceded and now I did not see the land I had come to love the varied colors of. My eyes could only stare into the rearview mirror at the monstrous cloud, veiled in the drops of rain, dark and gray spinning behind. The road that I traveled upon was straight, straight in front of me. The same could not be said, of the road of life that had brought this moment to be, it had been filled with twists and turns, steep declines, followed by ascents to heights that most should not go—for the air is thin at the great altitudes of life and can cause one to lose the sense for what is and is not real.

The noise from the radio blared. This tone is one that penetrates the ears and stabs at the brain, with an icepick like sharpness. Again and again, the horrible tone screeched and the prerecorded voice warned to take shelter. But on the highway from Pratt to Wichita, there was no shelter. I thought about the flimsiness of our human composition as this warning was repeated. “We are able to build a shelter that can withstand this giant funnel pelting my car with hail, but it takes time, a lot of time, something that you do not have…”

A live voice emanated through the speakers of the truck. “A category 5 tornado has touched down outside of Pratt and is traveling east down Highway 54, at 50 miles per hour.” I looked down at the speedometer, I was doing 70, but the funnel was gaining. “I think it’s going faster than fifty,” I said aloud to the radio, “but of course not the first time you’ve been wrong about the weather…Like this morning when you said this storm wouldn’t get here until 4:00, which would have given me plenty of time…” The voice. “You must find shelter underground, there is no chance of survival above ground if you are in the path of this storm. Again, there is zero possibility of surviving this storm if you are not in a storm shelter, do not delay seeking shelter for any reason, your life is what’s most important, get underground now.” Then more of the shrill squelch… Continue reading

THE NIGHT

The night is cold, dark and bleak, and there are hours to go before I sleep.

Gone, gone away is freedom’s light, empowering the perverse to their own delight.

But the time has come for them to die a terrible death, the time has come for their last breath.

Who first? I think about this as I pace, who first is to lose their face.

I ponder the landlord, the lawyer, the banker, the politician, who first to my knife’s fruition…

The night is cold, dark and bleak, and there are hours to go before I sleep.

The Landlord, mostly an inherited man, a man who gains wealth by another’s hand.

But the worst of this type, actually believes he is Lord and it is this man we can no longer afford.

So over his gate I climbed and into his house I did walk, and smiled at the splendor meant to make others gawk.

Soon it would be covered with red, soon this temple of doom would be a place of dread. The wife, the son, the daughter, the Man, I cut and peeled off their face according to plan.

The night is cold, dark and bleak, and there are hours to go before I sleep.

The Lawyer, is there one that won’t burn in Hell? Maybe one, the scriptures tell.

With so many of these to cogitate on, I decide who would not see the dawn.

A despicable little man, who lies as he breathes, and at the point of my blade he knelt on his knees.

“This is mad, I was just doing my job,” these were the words that he sobbed.

And he did sob, as the sharp steel cut his throat, no more would this creature gloat.

The night is cold, dark, and bleak and there are hours to go before I sleep.

The Banker, the man who takes from the poor and gives to the rich, then laughs in our face and says, “Ain’t that a bitch.”

Yes, Master Of The Universe, Man of Wall Street, it is my blade the you will soon meet.

And there he was taking a walk in the night, and on 5th Avenue he discovered his plight.

First I ran the bodyguard through in the middle, why him you ask, because the hired gun of the evil is part of the task.

The banker shrunk into the gutter, part of the trash, part of the clutter.

“I have money, a lot of money, I’ll pay for my life.” I stared at this pathetic being down in the street. “You exist for a number in an account and for this you must account. You are an abortion, you were born dead.” And then I put the blade, into his head.

The night is cold, dark, and bleak, and there are hours to go before I sleep.

Oh Politician, you are the ultimate betrayer, it is time for you to meet your anarchist slayer.

So many reasons for you to die, perhaps even more than the stars in the sky.

But really it is the promises that you break, it is for this most of all, your life we must take.

Who first? The man that calls himself the lawmaker, who is known by all to be the lawbreaker.

This loathsome whore gorges his belly full of ill gotten gain, while delighting at heart, of the hard workingman’s pain.

I found this devil asleep in a luxury hotel, so I raised my knife to send him to Hell.

Wait! No! This is too good for such feces, he must be an example for the rest of his species.

I returned that very night with knife, rope and gas can, everything necessary to put an end to this man.

I stabbed him, and he awoke screaming, “You can’t do this to me!” “I can, and soon you will burn, and swing from a tree”

Swinging, he kicked and hoped to detach, but there was no escaping my match.

The night is cold, dark, and bleak and there are hours to go before I sleep.

I pace back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, contemplating how many more of these evil oppressors must I purge, how many to put an end to this scourge?

All of them! Their blood must run like a river through the land…And until then, the knife is in hand.

 

DRINKING LAM

Foreword: On Feb 1st 2013 Elisa Lam (21) went missing from the Cecil Hotel, 19 days later her dead body was found in the hotel’s rooftop water cistern. To date the authorities have offered no answers, the story that follows, is what downtownster believes may have happened to Elisa Lam.

It was the kind of morning that most do not care for in the city known for its good weather. Overcast, no, more than overcast, dark with a chill in the air, the type of morning that one would expect to hear that something horrible had happened…

A storyteller am I, however it has been a long while since I have taken to the keypad, not because the world has, suddenly in our lifetime, become mundane, rather with my own personal aging has come the understanding that there truly is nothing new under the sun. To write now, is to not slice into the essence of humanity as it once was, this frontier has been thoroughly explored, yet context does change and with it, perception. And it is within the realm of new context that a storyteller can possibly offer some insightful or entertaining new perception. So why not tell a story? I did not venture to find something to tell of, it ventured to find me.

And so it goes:

I awake early, though I am not a morning person, to begin my routine before others, for lack of a more polite way of saying it, get in my way. This is a short story of the terrible variety, which does not concern me directly, so I see no need for my own personal dimensions to unfold slowly or in great detail—I’ve had an interesting life, most of which has taken place in and around Downtown Los Angeles.

The coffee I raised to my lips was a blonde roast, which is better than the house blend Starbucks always has to offer. It’s strange that a chain of coffee houses, synonymous with the over corporatization of an entire country should be mentioned in a story one would hope might last for the ages, but it too plays a role in establishing new context. In the past a story such as this would begin in an establishment owned by a character of some-sort, who surely would be part of a community, but there is little sense of community in 21st Century America.

And while many desperately seek privacy from friends and family, they live out a personal reality show in the realm of social media—much of it filled with lies and delusions of grandiosity. The anonymity offered by a city as large as Los Angeles, attracts the most extreme of this type—their end is often financial, moral or physical demise…

“Do you mind if I join you?” asked the attractive, twenty-something-year-old.

I glanced around the space and beheld an abundance of empty tables, which leads one to an obvious conclusion of specific intent. I gestured to the empty chair and she sat.

“You start early.” She smiled.

I wanted to not like her. It’s a funny thing about men of my age, after a lifetime of living ruled by feelings toward women; we break our chains and move on. Not that we come to hate the opposite sex, in fact I would say quite the opposite, we come to see them as a being, for better or worse. And it this very naked state, when a woman stands before a man not blinded by sensuality, that can be perceived so incorrectly. In my youth many a woman asked to be desired for who they really were, but knowing that I was hopelessly unable to see as such, the true nature of this statement was simply one of having power over another. “You can’t know me, because you are weak.” So why not like this attractive girl who sat in front of me? Without knowing her true nature what was there to like? And because of her appearance, as with all women of her type, I asked of myself to not be fair. I moved the line back, to be sure that she would have to prove herself as a person, something more than the causation of a chemical reaction within my body.

I didn’t return the smile, but answered, “I don’t sleep well, when I have things to do.” I paused to contemplate for a moment what an attractive, young, well dressed, woman would want with me so randomly. And concluded that this was not random. “Do I know you?”

She shook her head. “You don’t, but I know you.” She smiled the smile of the self-assured. “Your book “Criminal”, it’s required reading for anyone who wants to take the detective’s exam.”

I nodded. “Did you pass?”

“Yes, I passed…I’m Detective Patrick, I work for the Los Angeles Police Department.”

A slight smile crossed my face. “Really?”

“So you’re a chef now-a-days?” She stated more than asked.

“True story,” I answered.

“I hear you’re very good, my captain eats at your place—garlic chicken I think.”

“Another true story,” I confirmed. “But it’s not my place anymore, you would know that, I imagine.”

Detective Patrick leaned forward, her face feigning some concern. “I heard something to that effect, what happened?”

“Bad partners, of the vile to be around type, so I ended our arrangement.” I paused. “By that I meant, that I ended it nicely, not with them in the deep fryer or anything…”

“Why don’t you write anymore?” She asked.

“I wouldn’t say that I don’t write anymore. I think I’ll write again, I mean I plan to, I’ve just been taking some time off…More than I thought I would actually, but I have a lot of new ideas.”

“Are you going to write another crime story?” she asked, seemingly genuinely pleased that I intended to write again.

I shook my head. “I don’t think so. The world has enough ugliness for everyone to see, it doesn’t need me to tell its story…I want to write something that raises people up, there’s plenty of beauty out there, I’ve seen it, that’s what I want to write about…”

“When we were told to read your book, I was skeptical, slash, young and arrogant. I couldn’t imagine a bad guy that’s smarter than a good guy. But I get it now…Can I ask you a personal question that I have no business asking?”

“Are you going to ask me if I’ve really changed?” I asked, preemptively.

She nodded with a smile. “You’ve heard this one before?”

“Once or twice,” I quipped.

“Have you?” she asked, returning to a tone of propriety.

“I’ve changed. And I haven’t.”

The detective’s face sagged a bit at being confronted with this truth. “That’s not exactly reassuring.”

“As it shouldn’t be.” I shrugged. “I mind my own business, I’m not out there hurting anybody. I try to stay busy doing good things.”

“And if someone were to run into you in a dark alley?” She noticed my face lighted up.

I laughed. “The trick is to avoid dark alleys, detective.”

She sighed. “Well that’s not going to be possible today, I need your help.”

Detective Patrick at this point had caught my fancy. “What could you and the LAPD need help with, from me?”

The detective took a moment to think about what she was going to say and how to say it and then with no back-story, she simply said, “There’s been a murder.” Continue reading

STAN LERNER aka Chef STAN 2012

As 2012 came to an end, I couldn’t help but to wonder if writing about one’s self, as I am about to do, is worthy of anyone’s attention, even my own. For most of my life, my ego drove a steadfast belief that I had something to say to the world, something that people should hear. I even came to believe that there might be value to be found in my shortest musings over current events. I do not believe these things to be true any longer. Now, if and when I write, I only do so because it is what I do; I cook, I write, I breathe, I sleep, all things that I do, not one more important or less than any of the others. Do I hope that people enjoy the fruits of my labor, of course I do. And over the last few years, I have found this to be a real happiness…

It was a cold January morning, 17 degrees if I recall, when I left Guthrie Oklahoma and headed for my childhood home in California. Continue reading

BYE BYE AMERICAN PIE

A few weeks ago an attractive young bartender at a nice new Italian restaurant here in Downtown LA said to me, “Well if I do have kids, it’ll just be one, because in today’s Modern Economy I have to figure on having to be able to support myself and a child. So, I wouldn’t want to take on more responsibility than I can handle on my own.”

Modern Economy? What is the Modern Economy and when did it start? I asked myself.

Well the Modern Economy seems to have started with the election of President Obama. I say this because I have come to realize that the Modern Economy is not about economics at all, the term is simply used to describe the state of our current social condition.

You see if you like President Obama and plan on voting for him again, you believe that his administration has created three million jobs.

If you like Mitt Romney and plan on voting for him, you believe that President Obama has lost six million jobs.

The reality: nine million jobs were lost, three million jobs were gained and there is still six million jobs gone missing.

And it is this ludicrous argument among Americans that defines the Modern Economy. Ludicrous? Yes, ludicrous indeed, because the number that truly matters is the size of the workforce, defined as those people CAPABLE of working rather than those SEEKING work. More simply put, 63% of Americans capable of working are actually counted in the Modern Economy workforce. Of this 63% my research shows that only 43% can actually be considered fully employed.

What does all this mean? Well, it means that in a country of three hundred and fifty million people there’s only around one hundred and thirty six million people that care to work and of this group only about one hundred and ten million are actually working. The conclusion, which we can now all easily reach, is that one hundred and ten million Americans are supporting themselves and another two hundred and forty million people. The fact that one third of our country is supporting the other two thirds is far beyond an economic problem, it is a social calamity.

HEAR WHAT I’M SAYING WELL!!! Continue reading

SOUP BY CHEF STAN

Having spent seven months in Kansas and Oklahoma inn keeping, cooking and writing I knew in my heart that it was time to come back to Los Angeles, if for no other reason, to celebrate my birthday with friends and family. And then in an unusual twist of life, even by my standard, an old friend offered me one of the coolest jobs on the planet – of course I said yes, and back in LA I am. The fact that I had just moved my Chef Stan cooking enterprise to Guthrie Oklahoma, while no problem for my new job, a definite challenge for Chef Stan to cook in the Midwest while taking care of business on the Coast. But not to worry, I have friends and they have restaurants and who doesn’t need some Soup by Chef Stan?

As it turned out, my first conversation with my buddy Rasmus Lee, the owner of the renowned Downtown Hygge Bakery (1106 South Hope, Hope & 11th) was the only one that I needed to have, Soup by Chef Stan was coming to Downtown. And over the last few weeks that I have been making Soup by Chef Stan at Hygge I have had the joy of cooking for old friends and the uber joy of turning still more folks on to what I do –  cook great food for people!!! Yeah I know, I just called my own food great, but by this I mean that I put a lot of love into what I do and it’s the love that goes into food that turns good food into great food – all the school in the world can’t give a chef heart, a chef has to find this ingredient for himself.

Sometimes when people who don’t know what I do, ask me what I do, I smile and think to myself that this is going to sound kind of crazy – even to me. Continue reading

THE YEAR GONE BY

I had gone back to my hometown to work hard and try to find myself again, which turned out to be more of a beginning than end.

On a whim I opened a place for people to eat, and realized that it was I, I still needed to meet.

“Look how happy you make people,” this was said to I, and then came that thought from the sky.

I’ve spent my whole life seeking fortune and fame, but not enough of either came.

Because there never is enough.

Why not just spend your time feeding people and making them happy?

So my penitence and personal protest transformed to purpose, and the I that had gone missing began to surface.

And in my quest to do things right, the employees and landlord did not delight.

The place where I cooked was both loved and hated, people who had not met me said I was not so nice, in the mirror it is they who should look twice.

I thought small town America might be different, so in my free time I drove around, in hope of finding some gentler ground. Continue reading

THE GREAT DEPRESSION OF 2012

I woke up that morning, a few months ago, I’m not sure what the day or date was then—the importance of days or dates are no longer.

I don’t know why it came as such a surprise to so many people, in reality the European Union had failed when it bailed out its first member, but Spain and Italy were the final blows, which never needed to come, the EU should have ended at Ireland.

If there are economist in the future, or a United States for that matter, they’ll want to look back at the failure of the European Union, the national strike in China and the revolution in Saudi Arabia as the perfect storm that brought the Great Depression of 2012 to shore and now what appears to be the end of the world as we have known it. But just as they were wrong in the past, as this is now self-evident, this too would be a wrong-minded conclusion. And with riots in the cities, millions of Americans dying of starvation, and the Capitol burned to the ground, I don’t want to say I told people so, but I did write extensively on the topic for more than a decade; time will tell who did and did not heed my advice…

As I write this account, both for my own satisfaction as a writer, writers write, and as a history for future generations I sit in my home surrounded by more than a thousand acres of my own land. I have often been asked if, after a lifetime of the extravagances of the city, I did not suffer culture shock from living in such seclusion? Truth-be-told, for all of the excesses of my youth, I have always been a man of simple taste, preferring hard work, to mindless leisure. And nature has always struck me with awe. However, it would be disingenuous to say that the place, which I call home, is void of the necessities of culture. Like the storehouses I have filled with many lifetimes worth of food, I have supplied my home proper, with every type of musical instrument, thousands of books, records and movies—digital and hardcopy’s of all. I even went so far as to build not only a grand ballroom, but a theatre for plays and an outdoor amphitheatre, so Shakespeare may still be recited under the stars.

Also, it should be noted; that while I built what I simply named “The Farm”, as previously described, I lived in a small town, which gave me ample time to adjust to the pace of rustic life. In a very real way, I weaned myself off of the night and day continuum of social interaction I had been accustomed to all of the days of my life. Although I have enjoyed every minute of it, sad and cold is how I would describe the early part of my journey into solitude, but as time has advanced I find more moments of happy serenity in the hours of the day. I can offer this insight, I feel the least alone while tending to my farm or in the time that it takes to make my bread and churn the butter. I laugh aloud for a moment, because of the paradox presented by the occupation of my day—I feel the least alone when making bread, yet because I am capable of making more bread in a day than I can eat in a month, my own bounty is cause for concern, while at the very same moment in time the masses, who are far from lonely, starve. And this leads us to the discussion of producers and consumers, of which I wrote of for many years.

As the new century approached (2000) I was far more concerned about a shift in the core values of our nation than a computer glitch, known as Y2K. I wrote: code can be changed by the simple act of adding a zero, but a profound shift in the paradigm of the values that built our country, well, that could very conceivably cause a fracture of the foundation of our world, a defect that will lead to collapse. Continue reading

IRON GATE AND THE OPERA STARS

The reasons I put my life on hold in Los Angeles and moved to Winfield Kansas are many, but the one of which I write about now, is perhaps the most interesting, at least to myself.

What would the world be like if society dedicated itself not to the purely personal accumulation of wealth, but rather the personal accumulation of wealth through individual efforts, which make society better? What if the bottom line wasn’t a number on a ledger, but an unequaled experience of excellence, having been provided? What if one lived a dignified and comfortable life, while at the same time creating a better world for others? In a sense a philosophical protest against a culture that looks to something other than individual effort, accepts mediocrity, a culture with a sense of entitlement, entitlement to what, they do not know…

I took over Iron Gate because it was built by a man who understood that his own fortune was only as valuable as the community in which he lived. I perceived the value of Iron Gate, not as some wood hammered together sitting on a tract of land, but as a place that represented a man and a time in which great individuals did great things for their communities. However, all individuals were expected to strive for their own personal greatness at their respective pursuits. There was no desire for a nanny state and there were no coattails to ride. Often, men born to advantage struck out on their own, to make their own way in the world.

From the moment I first set foot into Iron Gate, I hoped that it would be a place where people could come and stay and rediscover that feeling of what made America the greatest country the world has ever known. I wanted Iron Gate to be a place where people could come and recharge themselves with the positive energy that it takes to do great things. And I even imagined it being a place, where people could come and stay and do more than recharge—they could stay and create. And to this end, no expense would ever be spared. Iron Gate would be a place where the most is done for the least, an oasis, in a culture that now often desires to give the least for the most.

Now imagine a little country radio station, KSOK, that gets the notion that it should bring one of the world’s best tenors to small town America for a night at the opera. That tenor, would be Dominique Moralez. Continue reading

IRON GATE ALL HALLOWS EVE

As I sat and pondered All Hallows Eve, a dark cloud descended on my soul, mournful sorrow its only goal. And then the ghost of my porch stood silently and stared, urging me to ponder further if I dared. So I searched the deepest reaches of my mind, waiting for this skeleton jackal to opine. Finally this pirate long dead spoke, “The remedy to your doom and gloom is a party on this particular date, that would be a party at Iron Gate.”

“Yes, a Halloween Party!” I shouted out to nobody at all. Then dreamed of the days past at The Monsters Ball.

Few days to the fright of night, few days til Poe’s delight. Do you hear Iron Gate calling, do you feel yourself falling, falling into your doomed fate, Halloween night at Iron Gate?

To men of analytical persuasion does Halloween make sense? To men of genius tis a night of recompense. Why? Because genius is found in the imagination, dark a place as it may be, you’ll need to come to Iron Gate to speak more of this with me!

True it is of sightings of apparitions at the house with gates of iron, “And thou art dead as young and fair,” haunts the words of Great Lord Byron. Will the spirit of this noble poet join our Mr. Poe? Attendance at All Hallows Eve at Iron Gate, is the only way to know. To know about love lost, at such a cost, that souls are left to wander, sad, sad it is a Halloween to squander.

The rooms have been occupied and we have served food and libations galore, but all who can count, know it well that it’s only hours til the night that we adore. Now there are those who want something for nothing, America’s truly great foe, so if kids want candy at Iron Gate, they’re going to listen to Mr. Poe!!! ha, ha, ha, ha!!! Continue reading