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Showing posts from July, 2017


Wouldn't it be great if everyone said what they meant? This is the question the makers of the Citi Double Cash Card ask and answer in the affirmative. I ask you this: Wouldn't it be great if you revealed your innermost secrets at parties? I too answer yes, it is. It happened to me just the other day. I wasn't at a party exactly. Rather, I was lying in bed on the phone with my friend Quinn. But it's always a party when Quinn and I gab so I'm partially right. 

While on the phone I proceed to tell Quinn about these pesky outbreaks of genital herpes I get every now again on my lower back and hips. I tell her this as a deterrent, in case she wants to have sex with me. Although Quinn was born three months almost to the day after I was, back in good ole 1973, she is far too old for me. See, I don't go for girls in their forties. I'll maybe make an exception for a dame in her early thirties, provided she has never been married and has no kids. Few that I have met ha…


I was on the phone with my friend the other day when we kept getting disconnected. She called me back and joked that if it happened again she would start to think I didn't like her. I replied that she was the one with the cell phone, and a land line, which is what I have, rarely goes dead. 

Think back to the days of your wall-mounted phone. Did you ever lose your connection? Granted I use a cordless phone, and the battery does at times act up, but not nearly as frequently as a cell phone drops a call. My phone is as reliable as my Internet connection which is pretty solid. Then the phone went dead again, and Bryn called back telling me if I didn't want to talk to her I should just say so! I gave in and said my end was the faulty one, she was right, and going forward if we ever had a disagreement about anything we should have as a standing policy that the fault is always mine. Like any woman, or for that matter person, she liked the prospect of being always right. It was like ca…


At dinner recently my brother asked me, "If you knew then what you know now, would you have still gone to medical school?" 

I believe GT asked me this question for the benefit of one of our interlocutors, Danny, who is due to start medical school himself in San Diego come August. I replied that getting a medical degree was the right thing for me to do at the time - which was in my early thirties - but if I had to undertake those grueling 5 years all over again at my current age of 44, I just don't have it in me. The art and science that is the practice of medicine took everything I had; I gave my studies my all; and I was left with a body that was broken, wits that were frazzled, and eyes that were perpetually red. 

And yet my brother's query took me somewhat by surprise. Not only because I had just seated myself down to dinner and hadn't yet even ordered a drink. I guess I just assumed that he knew, as do I, that the past is perfect and cannot be improved upon. As…


So my good friend Erin had a meltdown over the weekend. Family troubles and overwork have gotten her so stressed out that unwinding meant drinking a couple bottles of wine every day for three days and capping off this bout with a couple pints of vodka Monday morning. We spent a couple hours chatting that day and she seemed stone-cold sober to me. OK maybe a wee bit crazy but that's normal for her and one of her best features. Sure had me fooled. I played therapist slash litigator and gently put her on the stand, asking her a bunch of questions the answers to which would clarify things like how much alcohol she had consumed over what length of time, and more importantly, why. I needed to ask, because she needed to hear the answers. It's what any good shrink would do in my shoes.

It seems it was a bit of the work hard, play hard mentality in effect, but Erin has a history of drinking excessively which had even her worried that she had fallen off the wagon. In the wards I was taug…


During the summer of 1984, when I was 11, I developed the daily ritual of watching the soap opera Guiding Light. Every afternoon from 2 until 3, while sitting on the floor in my bedroom eating ramen noodles, I'd be rapt as Rita and Shane did their thing. I'm not even sure if there was a Shane. It's been a while. 

The show is no longer on the air, but the principle still applies, as every morning and evening this summer, 33 years later, I sit on the floor in my bedroom for one hour each day staring at the candle flame and trying to be guided by the light of intuition and led by the voice of my conscience. I skip the ramen, which has fallen out of style.

Why do such a thing as sit in a catatonic trance and shrink my attention to the size of a point of light? To expand my consciousness, naturally. I live in LA, and this is what people do.

Call a person narrow-minded and he is insulted. But we all wear blinders through life. Individual existence entails seeing things from a singl…


I remember waiting in line for the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland as a child and listening over and over to the recorded voice overhead as it urged passengers to "remain seated please, permanecer sentados por favor." I find this to be good advice for life.

My mother used to love watching the preachers on TV. One of her favorites was Joel Osteen, who I also love. He's funny and inspiring and sweet. He has the eyes of an Aryan/Asian hybrid, a lean physique and an impressive head of hair. I first saw him on the way to North Carolina in 2007 and I left the hotel with a smile. Osteen often begins sermons with a joke, and by the end of his performance, which always includes passages from Scripture, I am left feeling uplifted. And not just me, but 10 million other people too. Osteen, who has been preaching for only 14 years, has such a large following that talk show host Steve Colbert has wondered if "Osteeniasm" might soon become an official creed. A speculation which …


In his book The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, the "psychologist, optimist and philosopher of science" Abraham H. Maslow writes: "There is a new type of job opening up that is an activist's job, and it is one that demands experience rather than book training. It is a sort of combination of an old-fashioned minister and a teacher. You have to be concerned with people. You have to like working with them directly, rather than at a distance; and you have to have as much knowledge of human nature as possible."

I thought about this quote while on the phone yesterday with my childhood friend Jason. Jason insists that I "do something" with my life, that I "help people." He was referring to some sort of role as a motivational speaker or therapist, because in the 30 plus years of our friendship I have often dispensed advice which my friend ignores. I thought of the aphorism "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," but didn't sa…


The only drawback of a high fiber diet, other than the high cost of purchasing so much produce, is that the resultant three bowel movements a day requires you each morning to never stray too far from a toilet. I learned my lesson today while taking Max for his morning walk. We only go about a half mile round trip, and I had already used the loo once this morning prior to leaving the house. But as we made our way back down the hill, nature issued its second summons. So I gave Max a gentle tug. Of course my proud and headstrong pooch took it as an opportune moment to sniff a particularly interesting piece of foliage, and the delay of ten seconds cost me a pair of clean shorts. I executed a butt-clenched, stiff-legged shimmy up the driveway but no sooner had I entered the house than it was bombs away. By the time I had actually seated myself upon the crapper I had half a load in said shorts. The other half was distributed in equal portions along my legs, on my shoes and all over the toil…


You are not who you think you are. This became ever clearer to me the other night while watching TV of all things. 

I should first tell you that my pet way to greet friends is to say "How you doing?" Not like Joey from Friends. The pronunciation is more like Hi dwing. I've done this on and off for as long as I can remember, and as far as I could tell nobody else riffed on this conventional pleasantry quite like me. Then, as I was watching the party scene from the movie Weird Science, Max and Ian enter Wyatt's house, and the friend says ... you guessed it. He stole my line. More like I stole his. Weird Science was perhaps my favorite movie back when I was 12 and 13. It was the first movie my mom let me see in Westwood without parental supervision, just my best friend, Jason, and I. And we both thought Downey Jr and his friend were so cool, right down to their "finsky" handshake, which my brother and I emulated practically until the day Justin died. So natural…