Inside Track 001: Paper Streets

“A paper street or paper road is a street or road that appears on maps but has not been built.”

“Beware! Paper Streets” cautions a sign hung by the Kirkwood Bowl Foundation towards the base of Laurel Canyon, LA, where I lived for most of 2018.

Paper streets are used in real estate cons of all sizes. Up in the Hollywood Hills, as these scams go, unsuspecting non-Angelino buyers purchase land on a paper street, sight-unseen, in hopes of building a home. These marks then arrive at their land with an invalid deed and dashed dreams.

Enough of these streets show up on Google Maps, each with a checkered history, replete with fleece, to warrant warning signs around the Canyon.

West Elusive Street was the paper street I explored most, at the apex-turnaround of my old running route, off Jewett Drive. Part of West Elusive spurs up between two houses to the Canyon summit. The bulk of West Elusive, off a bit further at the true end of Jewett, functions as a footpath through jade and succulent scrub brush, dropping you off the summit to the top of Utica Drive.

Curiously, the sign on Gould faced uphill, warning those leaving the Canyon, whereas perhaps its alarm is most useful before an unfinished extension of road indicates trouble ahead.

Paper streets convey how cruel we can be to each other, and how most things too-good-to-be-true prey on the trust we need in the world to enjoy life. The Bowl Foundation’s sign admonishes putting blind faith in strangers, even though life gets pretty lonely if you can’t trust anyone.

As I traversed the canyon that year, I felt sorry for the streets themselves, as the sign cast them as dangerous. In that they’re mostly undriveable, yeah, don’t risk your car’s suspension.

Other than to errant drivers, however, their foxtail-laden cracked concrete slabs pose no inherent threat.…


all the things you love

all the things you love

may you turn away
all the darkest things
and turn on the world
every time you sing

road work outside your window
construction down the block
induction of plans
demolition of clocks

breathe says the water
when trouble hides and seeks
to overturn your order
and trade worries for your sleep

rolling on a ball
rolling off a log
rolling and falling away
from all the things you love

all the things you love
will someday
go back the way you came
all the things you love
will someday / always know your name

faith believes

religion isn’t about the god, it’s about the faith

faith in a god (irrational and unprovable as any deity is) translates to faith in oneself

that is to say, one’s faith in a god is not faith in itself/himself/herself/theirself being true. one’s faith in a god is faith in one’s belief the god is true.

faith becomes both the affirmation and the evidence of truth in the absence of truth

faith is  a spiritual circular reference, if you will

pascal’s wager is a 50/50 chance, the spiritual equivalent of the come/don’t come bet on a craps table (the simplest bet you can make in a casino without knowing any rules, fwiw). you can’t prove gods true, but at the same time you can’t disprove them. so, the wager goes, why not believe?

perhaps this makes religion a coping mechanism in the face of a chaotic callous world, but, hey, we require mucho cope-o in this shitto world

religions offer believers order, purpose, and a sense of place . but dogmatic belief systems are one-way streets, where morality and structure rain from above. often, religion is an expression of conformity, for better or worse. after all, one “belongs” to a church, synagogue, mosque, sect, order, etc.

adherence to religious practice can enhance the best parts of some, but also suppress the best parts of others.

it’s possible, however, to be spiritual but not religious. i mean, i am that way, so this must be true. when pressed to check a box, i say i’m jewish, b/c that’s what i was born, and it has informed my spiritual identity. 

i don’t practice judaism with any credibility, though. on top of it all, i went to a benedictine catholic school for 6 years, junior high through high school. all boys. in a monastery.…


Random 20220914

In this world, are there more cheap things or expensive things not worth the money?

commitment is a subset of love

none of my best performances have been recorded 😔

Sometimes I have a lot of trouble figuring out how people zipped themselves into their clothes

there’s more profit in the darkest futures. The sunniest futures give enough to everybody, where profit becomes unquantifiable, and so irrelevant

The internet is about habits, not exploration

The best thing it does is capture patterns of its use

(that’s actually the only thing it offers, in a way)

As you “discover” the patterns of your life, the internet would have you believe it’s made to organize your life.

Using the internet to organize your life, however, serves only to organize your life around using the internet

20220618 the knick

the knickerbocker tennis club in Brooklyn is the oldest tennis club in New York City. My coach Winston Philip Ramsay is also the head pro there, and invited Cat & me to play on a windy Saturday in June. Just glorious.