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Showing posts from March, 2017


My friend called me today and asked what I was doing. I replied that after taking a one-hour bike ride and meditating (read: napping) in the sun, I had just finished The Tibetan Book of the Dead, in the hopes of one day writing about it. The afterlife intrigues me, and since your personal philosophy of where you go once you die - whether to heaven or hell as a spirit, back to earth in another body, or into the Buddhist Void - influences how you conduct your daily affairs, I think the book would make for some pretty good discussion. Kelly on the other hand was traveling by Uber to work, where she sells overpriced clothing to women while cringing inwardly at the outrageous dollar amount they whip out their credit cards to cover at check-out. 

My dear friend wants to have a life such as mine, one of carefree ease, but she is regrettably stuck in the vicious circle which TIME Magazine fittingly featured this week in the depiction I've attached above. She'd like to quit work, but do…


Yesterday I reconnected with a lovely friend I haven't seen in over 10 years. Dear Kelly is the ex-wife of my ex-best friend. But in this case two negatives add to a positive, because she's such a doll. During our several-hours-long walk along the beach in O.C. Kelly wondered aloud how I have managed to stay single so long. Remaining childless for nearly 4.5 decades hasn't been easy, and it has been a conscious decision. I often say having kids is the easy part. But finding someone I could tolerate long enough to raise them with? Not so much. 

But the truth is that looking around me I can only conclude that as a parent you become a hapless victim of consumerism gone wild. The saying used to be that Hallmark invented the holidays to sell cards. It seems that every other company under the sun has joined the smorgasbord, feasting on the collective credit card account. Why else do we start counting down Christmas at Halloween? Do you even know why we give each other gifts? I be…


Searching for a new hobby? Try necrophilia. It works for me. I know what you're thinking: "Ew gross you surf dead person porn. Wait, is there in fact dead person porn?" There's kiddie porn and doggy porn and every other fetish of the forbidden, so it probably does exist somewhere on the "dark web." If you don't know, the dark web is where I buy my absinthe, a liquor known to induce morbid visions.

But no, I don't have sex with corpses. And while the term necrophilia generally refers to this prurient practice, in a broader sense it denotes the fascination with death itself. Thanatology is another nifty word which means something similar: "the scientific study of death." If there were a course I'd take it. 

Until then I'll rely on good ole intuition and personal experience, with a little ratiocination thrown in. Old-fashioned approach, you might say. Hey it worked for Galileo and Copernicus and Newton and Michelangelo and all the great…


So I'm reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which was first published in 1927. It is purported to have been written in the 8th century AD by a Buddhist master. 

The book is meant to ease the transition of a newly disembodied soul from earth to the realm of the hereafter. It speaks of three bardos or planes. These are the moment of death, the dream-state intervening between two lives, and the prenascent period, prior to rebirth in human form. 

The book's purpose is also to help the dead avoid reincarnation on earth, and the suffering, sin and misery that this world often dishes out. True, life's ultimate purpose may be enjoyment, as transcendental meditator and writer/director of the Twin Peaks reboot David Lynch claims, but so often the effect of our daily affairs is joy's opposite. Life can sometimes suck.

The three periods together comprise the afterlife/prelife period and endure about 49 days, meaning that from the time you breathe your last until the time you're …


I know why most marriages fail. You may think you do too, and then proceed to site the two common grounds for divorce that everybody knows. I mean infidelity and spousal abuse. And while moral turpitude can threaten even the most ironclad of relationships, there is one thing even more likely than giving your wife a black eye or banging the babysitter to end your plans for happily ever after. It's leaving shit stains in the toilet. 

I remember this one time when a friend of mine, Caroline, who was recently separated, told me by way of self-consolation: "One thing good came out of the break-up: no more skid marks." Having visited quite a few dating sites in my time, I can't tell you how often girls list the following as an absolute requirement in the ideal mate: "must have toilet brush THAT YOU ACTUALLY USE."

Why should leaving fecal matter affixed to the bottom of the toilet bowl be such a non-negotiable? Isn't in the toilet where shit belongs? After all, …


Today I woke up feeling extra ambitious, not in the money-making sense but in the sense of getting things done. Practical things. So after doing about 15 sets of weights I went outside and toiled in the front yard for a couple hours. 

The next door neighbor's gardener, who I used to deplore, complimented me on my weed-wacking skills. "I looked at your yard and I thought, 'He musta hired a new Mexican.'" I paraphrase in the interest of brevity, and hilarity. He didn't say Mexican, being himself one. And I don't deplore him anymore, even though he continues to mow, blow and trim with high-powered tools and make an ungodly amount of noise in the process. "Pass the compliment onto my brother," I told my new friend. "He has been saying that I've butchered the premises, but I tell him things grow back. It's a learning process, and all in due time..." And the platitudes flow.

I like being a do-it-yourselfer. Note to self: Weeds are very…


Recently I had the pleasure of reconnecting with an old friend from high school. Bryn and I had been what you might call "friends with benefits" during our senior year at Beverly High. We graduated in 1991, years before the term was coined by Alanis Morissette in her '95 smash Head Over Feet.  After seeing each other a handful of times in the first couple years after graduating, we had completely lost touch. That is, until friending one another on Facebook in 2011.

Since then, aside from the occasional comment or like, we hadn't corresponded. I did know however that Bryn had been busy since our kissing days. She had had a pretty successful career as an actress, appearing on such hit sitcoms as Party of Five and Wonder Years. She had married a couple times, had a teenage daughter, and recently lost her younger brother, Warren, who died suddenly of a heart condition in his early thirties. 

When I noticed that in wishing a mutual friend Happy Birthday on Facebook we both …


I once had the misfortune of requiring a root canal. The tooth in question, a molar in the upper left side of my mouth, had recently had a cavity, which the dentist filled, though not without irritating the nerve root and introducing bacteria therein. Thanks much, Dr. Mendelovitz, you schmuck. Kidding. Mistakes happen, even among the UCLA-trained.

But it was at the endodontist in Beverly Hills that I had the unique privilege of viewing a man completely at ease with himself and in love with his profession. His name escapes me, but what zest for life, what gumption and verve was on display for me to see while he drilled into my tooth and extracted the nerve fibers. It also helped that the procedure earned him over a grand in cash. This doctor (as the Hang Over films tell us, dentists are doctors too), with his gelled hair and toothy grin, delivered the news to me that he could "save the tooth" with the profundity of someone announcing the existence of intelligent life on Mars. 


They say nothing worthwhile is without its price. But the pros of drinking enough water far outweigh the cons, which is to say the price of adequate hydration is a pittance, which is to say a rather small price indeed. But not that small, if like me you seem to wake up every hour to pee.

I clearly was not drinking enough water. The fact that I may have suffered a kidney stone revealed as much to me. The discomfort of said stone was not as excruciating as I've heard tell. Of course my tolerance for pain may be exceptionally high. I like being exceptional, and I never resist an opportunity to congratulate myself. Prior to said stone I had been in the habit of consuming about six cups of water a day, more if you include the water in coffee and the soda in a Scotch and soda, which I know you're not supposed to include, so let's not. 

Now, six cups may not sound like much, but my diet is so high in fruits and vegetables, which are 75% or more water by weight, that I considered my…


In the spirit of Donald Trump's releasing a portion of his tax return from 2005, or letting it be leaked, I think it is appropriate that I share with you my recent grocery receipt for the week. What does one have to do with the other? It is fitting that the one who commands private citizens to pay taxes also paid them himself prior to holding public office, just as it is fitting that a medical doctor who once wrote a book recommending that readers eat more fruits and vegetables furnish proof that he himself abides by this injunction. 

We can call Trump a lot of things, but when it comes to those affairs handled by the IRS, a hypocrite is not one of them. Trump's 25 percent tax rate was actually a few percentage points higher than what other members of the top 0.1 percent (you read that right) paid. I hope at the end of this that you can say the same about me.

Before I go into detail about the foods listed on the receipt in the picture, allow me to state that I am aware that the …