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Showing posts from January, 2016


When I was in my late 20s I had what I thought was this great idea for a business opportunity. By business opportunity I mean money-making venture that would allow me to use my literary abilities, however paltry they may be, or were at the time. I had been living in New York and this flight of fancy came to me as a matter of fact while flying back home to Los Angeles for a visit. This isn't the only time that such a fit of inspiration has visited me. Something about being thousands of miles above ground, traveling through the air at hundreds of miles per hour, and through time zones too. Or maybe it was just the stiff Scotch that for some time had been my customary in-flight beverage. Who's to say? 

The idea was to become a professional writer of love letters. That simple. I'd make my literary services available to anyone wishing to send their loved-one their sentiments, be these as a token of appreciation, or condolences, sweet nothings, miss-you-lotses, or fond farewells …


What is the recipe for success? This is the ultimate question, and not because of the assonance. Did you catch that? Recipe. Success. Though spelled differently they sound very much the same. That's what assonance means anyway. Say it aloud three times for yourself and see. 

How to lead the perfect life? What should the ideal be? What are its ingredients? There are as many answers to this question as there are askers and tellers. But who to trust? Famous writers? Religious figures? Choosing someone who is both philosopher and mystic would be best, but so few religious figures wrote anything down, and many a writer has been a no-good, low-down lush. So???? 

There is Tolstoy, however. Heard of him? Familiar with his work? Tolstoy was a count who lived (mostly) in the 19th century, wrote a great many novels (7), and had a great many more kids (14). He also went by Tolstoi, but don't let the name fool you. Same dude. Among his books are the epics War and Peace and Anna Karenina. But…


So the old man sprained his ankle - again. This is the second time in as many years that my father is out with the same injury and unable to walk. Last year it was his right foot and now it's his left. What's strange is there was no frank insult that he can remember. Nothing like a fall or landing funny or stepping on uneven ground, the kind of things you usually think of when you think sprained ankle. After the first injury he was on crutches for nearly a month. This time it's been a couple weeks and he's still mainly sofa-bound. But he has the swelling and discoloration so I know he is not faking it. Or is he? Could it be that there is a psychosomatic component to what appears to be a purely physical ailment? I wonder...

Last year being away from his law office for so many weeks gave rise to thoughts of retirement. My father is almost 77 years old and a dozen years past the traditional retirement age of 65. But he has always been the "die with my boots on" t…


I once asked my father for career advice. You know, that age-old question, "What should I be when I grow up?" I was 20 at the time and after two years of college I was still undeclared. So he broke it down for me. 

"Son," said he, "there are really only three decisions that count in a young man's life." (He meant in a life-shaping way.) "First is the decision of how far to go in school and what to study. Next comes choosing a profession. And finally, selecting a wife. Now, since what you do for a living is a result of your education, and your marriage prospects are influenced by your income, which is a function of your profession, there really is only one decision that counts, and that's how far to go in school. Whether you are content with a high school diploma, or get an associate's degree, go on to earn your college degree, or get a masters, PhD, JD, MD or what have you - your schooling is really the only decision you need concern yours…


Side by side fell asleep two young lovers. One of them dreamed that together the couple took a trip to an exotic island. Such a fun place, where they got to stay in a quaint cabin along the beach and eat tropical fruits all day, and all night bask in the warm glow of passion's embrace. In the morning when they woke up, the dreamer turned to his partner and said, "Wasn't that fun?" Of course, the other had no idea what he was talking about, so the dreamer recounted the adventure. "That was your dream," his lover replied. "It was all in your head. I passed the night in deep sleep."

And so it is. Some of us like to think that our dreams take us to far away places where we interact with old friends or perhaps even the spirits of dearly departed loved ones. When in fact we never leave our bodies at all. Like day dreams, flights of fancy, and fits of inspiration, night dreams are figments of the imagination, I hate to burst your bubble. And as proof I of…


My aunt and uncle visited for brunch this past Sunday. They brought their 20-year-old son, Austin. After two years at the University of Boulder with shall we say, "less than flying colors," Austin is back home and enrolled at the local community college.

Going into the get-together that's all I knew, and aware as I am that young adults can have thin skin I approached the young man gingerly. "How's Colorado?" is how I chose to broach the subject. From this question flowed a torrent of information. I learned of Austin's new-found passion for the piano, and his desire to pursue a career in the recording industry. Thence followed a three-hour-long discussion about whether or not it is in Austin's best interest to earn a degree or even remain in school, given his particular interests and the current collegiate climate, if you will. 

Austin will be taking general education requirements while at Pierce, to pad his GPA and prepare him for a four-year college …


In high school some girls wondered whether I was gay. It's understandable. I wore tight shirts. I gave myself facials and made liberal use of lip balm and moisturizers. And I was always meticulously groomed. Most of my friends were not meticulously groomed; that is, unless they had learned a thing or two from me. But I was not gay in sexual preference, and having spent time with a lot of gay guys, I can say that in one other respect do we also differ. I am well groomed without appearing to look like I spend much time grooming, where if taken to an extreme an assiduous toilet, in the parlance of an age gone by, can be so obvious as to call attention to itself. And this is never a good thing. I mean eyebrows so pencil-thin as to be obviously plucked, even a beard that looks trimmed and sculpted. All this screams "I try too hard." The methods should never outshine the man. 

I came by my grooming honestly. My mother turned me onto skin toner when I was ten. She had three boys…


Strangest dream last night. One of many actually. I was on a carnival ride, rapidly spinning through the air. Conjure a ferris wheel having a child with the teacups at Disneyland and you can envision the ride I was on. But there were no seats. It was simply grab on. But at the same time I was trying to descend the flight of stairs that was somehow part of the ride, ludicrous though this may seem. I was eating a watermelon and dropping chunks as I descended. But this bit of sloppiness made the steps, which were plastic and smooth, slippery. An old couple followed me down. I looked down to notice I was wearing black patent leather shoes that looked the same but on closer inspection were different. One had a pointy toe, while the other was square-tipped.

Then without warning the ride malfunctioned and we found ourselves hurling through the air at a dizzying speed, struggling to hold on to whatever we could grab onto, in my case a pole, knowing that should we let go we'd fall several s…


Everybody wishes to be happy. Never is the human race more united than in this simple truth. Together we stand, open-armed, hands clasped, in praise and in prayer and in search for this simple or not so simple aim. For each and every one of us, the ultimate end of all our endeavors is the same, and it is happiness. Yet how we set about achieving it is where we differ, and markedly. Indeed there are as many methods as there are individuals. 

Some seek fame and fortune. These believe that once they are rich and famous, happiness will follow. Not necessarily. Elvis Presley, who knew these twin achievements so intimately, sang about fame and fortune, and "how empty they can be." The King himself called them "only passing things." 

For Elvis, and for many before and since, love is the real treasure "to hold, so much greater than silver and gold." Elvis sang a lot about love, as did the Beatles.  You can tell by the titles of their songs. "All You Need Is Lo…


Imagine if tomorrow a new movie came out with the title Black Men Can't Act. Everywhere there would resound cries of racism. Hashtags like #hollywoodkkk would abound. But what difference does such a title have from the title of the movie starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes: White Men Can't Jump. Both pronouncements proclaim a racially-based deficiency. Leaving aside the question of its truth, the title is funny, and the movie was too. I don't recall any racist accusations back in 1992 when the picture hit the screens.

I bring this up because it is Oscar season, and journalists and entertainers alike are screaming at the injustice that of the 10 best actor nominees, all are white, and for the second year in a row! Spike Lee is boycotting the ceremony, as is Jada Pinkett Smith. George Clooney laments that the film industry is "moving in the wrong direction," by not giving more opportunity to nonwhite filmmakers.

In the spirit of equal opportunity and uniform r…


The other day I was casually conversing with a friend when the subject of politics came up. This makes me feel old. As a kid, whenever my elders made mention of presidential candidates and executive decisions I'd scurry into the other room. Old people's talk. And growing up my love of sports and sheer physicality saved me, for rather than sit with the adults and be conditioned by their idle chatter I'd go outside with my peers and play. It made for a strong body and a bias-free mind. And now that I'm in my 40s, and my interlocutors tend to be my age or older, I can't seem to avoid the subject of who will win the race, and which candidate says what about the ultimate fate of our great nation. 

So I asked my friend who he thinks will win the next election. "Trump," he quickly replied. "He tells it like it is. He speaks the language of the people. And in an age of slippery-slope politics candor is what we need."

I assumed by the use of the term slipp…