Are we in Hell? vision of hell may vary, but here’s what the homeless guy with the orange paint left for all to see this morning on the L.A. River Bike Path.

The actual view when I looked up comes after the jump …

Not so hellish as it was yesterday, apparently.

The air quality still sucks – scant evidence of the horrors going on at the firelines inland – but is L.A. hell right now? Do you need to be homeless – whether by long, drawn-out circumstances of life or by sudden catastrophic fire – to consider this Hell?

You be the judge.

Check beneath the image for some other perspectives on Life in Hell.


Here’s a snippet from Why Californians Don’t Leave (

As University of California Riverside fire ecologist Richard Minnich says, “What the hell are these people doing living in vegetation which at times behaves like gasoline? They should know better. Would you live in gasoline?” Minnich advocates public policy that stops approving development in fire danger areas without removing the natural fuel — a move that may require policymakers to overcome their own brain wiring.

Evolutionary theorists will point out that the brain’s risk assessment techniques are tied to the fight-or-flight response and probably serve to whittle down the human herd. For those of us who would rather avoid being thinned out, there is hope. Studies show that people can in fact train themselves to assess risks more accurately, even on the fly, by forcing themselves to estimate the frequency of events rather than simply picturing the last time they saw such an event. It might get more people out of their homes faster the next time. If so, it’ll offer us a much clearer risk picture than switching channels ever has.

7 thoughts on “Are we in Hell?”

  1. And we shouldn’t live in deserts because of the lack of groundwater, or near the coast because of hurricanes and tsunamis, or near mountains because of landslides, or anywhere in California because of earthquakes.

  2. 2/3 of the world’s population lives in an earthquake-prone zone (yes, east coasters, earthquakes actually happen in other places besides California, believe it or not). So everyone in the world should be living in the laplands or in the steppe forest or something.

  3. Very interesting but in the end aren’t we trying to use up the resources so we can find a new home in the galaxy?

  4. I’d have to agree. I grew up in Connecticut, where if it wasn’t sleeting heavily and causing black ice in the winters, you had hurricanes tearing off your storm windows and roofing every few years. I lived in Florida – hurricanes again, and even tornados. I’ve visited Tokyo – earthquakes – Manila – monsoons – Delhi – ungodly disease and poverty.

    And I’ve lived happily in California for almost 18 years, despite almost getting killed covering the 1991 brush fires that destroyed 500+ homes in Santa Barbara and waking up to find the Northridge quake (5 miles away) bouncing my furniture all over the bedroom and causing my fridge to barf a lovely mixture of ketchup, pickles, milk and shattered glass all over the kitchen floor.

    You play, you take your chances. Part of the human condition anywhere on earth.

    Except maybe London. London seemed pretty quiet, disasterwise.

    Oh, wait: terrorist bombings.

  5. I agree, Mack. I moved to Chicago and I’m constantly surprised that people aren’t *more* scared of black ice. You can’t see it? It can break your leg or crash your car? What??

  6. Good God, Mack, is there anywhere you haven’t lived/visited that wasn’t subject to some of Mother Nature’s nastiest tricks????

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