|From a Distance
||[Aug. 4th, 2008|09:04 pm]
Late afternoon brought a series of flights by water-dropping helicopters that passed over my neighborhood on their way to a fire east of the river. At least I hope it was (and remains) east of the river. I could see the cloud of smoke rising from it. I don't think it's the Craig fire, which is at least ten miles southeast of here. The smoke plume looks too close, and the helicopters didn't have enough time to fly that far before returning. I suspect that a new fire has started which hasn't been noted on the CalFire website yet. We'd better not have to evacuate again.|
I much preferred watching the flights of birds to watching the flights of the helicopters. True, the birds aren't helping to extinguish fires, but they were quieter and more graceful than the machines. I saw one hawk and several crows, and many short flights at lower altitudes made by the various jays, woodpeckers and such who frequent the nearby trees. I continue to marvel at the abundance of birds this summer. While many may be refugees from burned areas, there were greater than usual numbers of birds even before the fires began. I think the excessively warm and dry spring might have caused them to nest early, and last year's mild autumn probably extended the breeding season for many species in 2007. It seems possible that they will devour every seed, worm, insect, fruit and nut in town, field, and forest before fall arrives. And the larger raptors will feast, until the excess of smaller species is consumed. Ah, nature!
And ah, civilization! Here's photographic evidence of the rampant gustatory miscegenation now taking place around the world. Little Tokyo, scene of the photo, is of course the long-established Japanese neighborhood on the edge of downtown Los Angeles. Döner Kebab is of Turkish origin, and a variant created in Berlin appears to be the source of the viand to be vended from the Little Tokyo eatery with the German-looking name Spitz. Spitz, however is a Southern Californian operation which, according to the history section of its website sells a version of Döner Kebab inspired by a variation discovered in Madrid by an Occidental College student named Bryce.
Bryce and his buddy Robert opened the first location of Spitz in the northeastern Los Angeles district Eagle Rock, home of Occidental, a neighborhood which I recall having a large Mexican population even twenty years ago. Their Little Tokyo store will apparently be their second location. Oh, and their menu includes an old California favorite, gelato. But, lest one conclude that this is the sort of deracinating thing one might expect in a vast Imperial metropolis such as Los Angeles, but not in less cosmopolitan places, check out this post from last year at a food blog, displaying a photo of a fellow who serves "Döner Kebap" (no "b" in the local alphabet?) from a tiny cart in that trend-setting metropolis, Hanoi. Also, note the name just below the pagoda-suggestive roof of the cart: Cafe Goethe. You know, I can't even get decent chow mein in Butte County, and that's an American dish! Oh, the world is passing me by!