Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Lord Zim is lazy. Lord Zim is busy. Unbearably busy. Ok, maybe not so very lazy, but in any case, Lord Zim the wastrel is too busy to do LordZim the blog justice. And therefore, inspired by the following scrap of silliness filched from the dim, dank recesses of an external hard drive, LZ presents for your reading pleasure a semi-meditation upon Hollywood horses. And what the torrential rains of last Spring might have made them think and do. It's LordZim before LordZim existed, resurrected to tear holes in the fabric of time. And to give you, the clamoring public, something to read.

(OK, yes, I'm recycling. It's not new, but it's new to you, and right now, closing in on a month of silence, that's what counts. Plus, it's not too far off from donkey issues, which, along with NYC Discos (see way below), seem to be LZ's main claim to fame. Or should I say mane claim to -- no, I shouldn't.)

March 1, 2005

We'd had two weeks of pretty steady rain here in sunny Southern California, and I thought I'd take a break from worrying about my house sliding down the hill. If you consistently worry about just one thing, your worrying loses structure and tensile strength, so it's good to cross-worry. I didn't have far to look for the object of my next set of concerns: the horses of Hollywood-Sunset Stables.

If you've ever had to entertain tourists, if you've ever walked up to the Hollywood Sign, or if you've ever had to put together a birthday party for a 12-year-old girl, you know about the Stables. Perched at the top of Beachwood Canyon Drive, nestled just below the Hollywood Sign (yes, that Hollywood Sign), the Stable is so busy perching and nestling, it's a wonder it has time to represent a bucolic outpost of cowboy culture mere steps from movie stars' mansions.

The stables exist for the recreational exploitation of horses, yes, but they're home also to goats, chickens, and a few scrappy but affectionate herd dogs. Each weekend, and to a lesser extent on other days, would-be buckaroos from around the world make their way sheepishly up to the mounting porch. That structure is less the amorous hideaway its name might suggest and more of a diving board/training wheel for equine beginners. There, from its worn planks, tenderfooted tourists sling themselves onto the backs of docile quarter-horses and set out on the well-trod paths of Griffith Park.

I once exploited just such a horse for my own purposes as part of a "twilight ride." The expedition, if such a high-flown word may be applied to so mild an entertainment, consisted of riding a horse slowly up one side of the Hollywood Hills, past an enormous landfill or strip mine, and then down the other side of the hills, through the mysterious dusky reaches of Griffith Park, under the 134 Freeway, and finally to a Mexican restaurant at the dusty mouth of the Burbank Equestrian center. All this I performed in the company of 9 to 29 of my closest pals.

At Viva Fresh, we hitched our horses to a long rail and entered the joint en bowlegged masse. We lined a long wooden table like Knights of Olde and set to work quaffing bottomless pitchers of margaritas, cramming endless crackling chips into our mouths, and shoveling in landslides of melted cheese. Hours of fun later, we finally staggered back to our patient steeds. They knew what to do. Though most of us had a job of it just staying awake and erect in the saddle, the horses, like genial old butlers, stumped along nose to tail in the lowering gloom all the way back to their stable.

Through the haze and dusk we rode, under vales of oaks, past fallen pines. A trio of owls atop a rotting log regarded us solemnly as we passed.

The rest is a blur to me now. We slid off and relinquished our horses to contemptuous stablehands, patted our butlers' noses good night, and let others lead them away.

And so it goes for those horses. Day after day, they make their way through the hills bearing fleshy cargoes, until the day they can no longer crest the steep initial ramp out of the stable, and then … and then … who knows where the butterfly goes when it rains? The glue factory? The French slaughterhouse? The strip-mine landfill?

So back to my point. I'd been wondering how the horses were faring amid all this rain. Had they grown stir-crazy? I called the stables. (This is true.) "What's stir-crazy?" asked the answerer. Then he declared, "They're doing fine." He was not entirely convincing, though he said a few intrepid souls had gone out for a trot the previous day, one of the wettest ones yet.

I didn't believe a word of it. So I committed to a little equine sleuthing. Hoovesdropping. It was a dark and cloudy night, aand there I was, creeping behind the barn. A goat baaed derisively as I slunk by. Presently, just outside the main building, I heard the following.

"I don't mind the wet, but I sure do miss the sun. Nothing makes my chestnut flanks gleam their rich golden hue like a good dose of sunshine."

"Sugar, what I miss is my mane. I used to have the flossiest, most delicious neck of hair, and now it's all gone straight to frizz. I just wish I could get my forefeet on a bottle of Flat-Out."

"Nay, nay, nay. You mares are all alike. The mud all up in my shoes is driving me crazy. I don't know if it's the cut-rate farrier or the tipsy stablehands. I say, either let us run around barefoot, or pick out the crud on a regular basis. I'm not asking so much. But the indignity of wearing --"

"Oh, hush up, you old gelding. I'm just surprised you haven't trampled anyone lately, what with your moods and all."

Silence. The swish of tails and an occasional snort.

"Not many flies these days though."


"Got that right!"

"Thank heaven for small favors!"

More silence. The goat baaed again.

"Jimmy, please don't start."

"Come on, Jimmy. Go back to sleep!"

"Goats should be seen, not heard."

"Hey, lay off the little guy."

"Hey, who cut the chevre?"

The barn exploded with something like a chorus of laughter and neighs. The goat let out a small cry of frustration and skipped off into the paddock. The laughter faded to silence, and then the voice that had earlier complained about frizz interjected.

"You horses are just mean. Now he won't come back in here for days. Who's going to rub my shins? Hm? Exactly. None of you. Just mean."

One of the others started to neigh something, but a set of hooves banged against the wall and shut him up.

After that, nothing broke the silence but the steady chewing of massive equine jaws. Presently:

"Wish the rain would stop."

"Why? So you can get fat tourists climbing all over you again? Sitting too far forward, pulling on your mane, bouncing wrong, and calling you 'Doggy'? None for me, thanks. I like this rain just fine."


"Amen to that."

"Tell it, Clarabel."

And that's all I wrote. If you're interested in a subsequent installment, email me or comment below.

For more scribbling on equine topics, see the links at left and visit the donkeys.

(En als je kan dat lezen en je K bent, ik heb je email verloren. Schrijf me iets, alsjeblieft. Veel bedankt. Sorry, hoor, voor het verschrikkelijk fouten.)


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