As the election nears—it’s only four weeks and two days away, in case you hadn’t heard; also, Christmas Eve comes out on December 24th this year—I’ve gotten a kick out of reading the testimonials on behalf of, and tirades against the survival of, the U.S. Post Office.Read More
Financed in part by generous customers of his Crisp Catering business and currently shuttered Gold Rush Grille restaurant, Joe Thompson has been delivering meals to local hospital workers, First Responders and other front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic. He also takes meals to people who are very ill or immobile or both—and says when he’s allowed to reopen his restaurant, “We’ll still get those meals to these people. I’m not going to abandon them when our governor says it’s business-as-usual again.”Read More
The American Heart Association’s logo always looks to me as though an arsonist got hold of a valentine-candy box. But in light of its recent mixed-signal advisory about napping, the organization might want to change its brand to a tower of Jell-O®. Any flavor will do. Even third-cousin Monya’s Seafoam Salad Surprise.Read More
At sunset today, the Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hoshanah, the “head”(rosh) or beginning of the year 5780. The commemoration reaches its zenith nine sunsets later with Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), when the annual singing of “Kol Nidre” is as comforting to my people as when Sir Paul McCartney sings ”Yesterday” at a concert—even though you expect it, you’re still thrilled when neither disappoints.Read More
Do I qualify as my cat’s service animal? I ask because these days, whenever I head “down-state” (from Northern to Southern California), I get a little uncertain about leaving behind my 18-year-old cat, Osborn the Magnificent.
For the past couple of years, Osborn’s had a wonderful caregiver—musician and pet whisperer Laura Sterner. She comes by a couple of times a day to feed him, clean up after him and, probably discuss a few of the day’s issues. While Osborn’s tendency is to dominate conversations (usually saying the same thing over and over, to be candid about it) Laura holds her own with anecdotes from her dual careers in science and performing.Read More
Add Tanya Végváry to the list of entrepreneurs whose business might actually have improved because of the pandemic shutdown.
Végváry is a piano teacher and the founding owner of the Sacramento Piano Conservatory/School of Music, a handsome building that sits incongruously in the middle of one of the capital region’s unmistakable industrial zones. In its immaculate classrooms, approximately 200 students, ranging in age from post-toddler to post-career, take piano lessons and learn to play a number of other musical instruments from Végváry and nine other instructors.Read More
I first asked Kim Elizabeth Hyland to go steady with me on August 9, 1966. We had walked to a little park near her family home on a warm afternoon. Kim was barefoot and wore a lightweight shift. I had on my standard Southern California Summer Guy outfit: a JC Penney TownCraft T-shirt®; Madras-patterned shorts which had fashionably bled their way through several washings and now looked as though someone had sprayed an abstract painting on my thighs; and a pair of suitably roughed-up Converse tennis shoes, giving me the unintended look of a suburban dad in his teens on his way to buy some weekend-gardening tools at Sears.Read More
Somewhere between my home and my haircutter, I evidently contracted hypothermia.
How else to explain why, when my longtime stylist and friend Sherry Ngai, owner of Shapes for Hair, took my temperature at her salon and it was 94.5 degrees? (This was before beginning the process of trimming my hair, of course—something Ngai does every six or seven weeks, involving the deployment of shampoo, ointments and garden tools.)Read More
This being Labor Day, I thought you might enjoy knowing that a new national survey indicates American workers are flexible and optimistic.
The good news, as reported by the Robert Half Agency, an international staffing firm, is that America is ready and expects to go back to work—though maybe not the same way as it has for decades. Debbie Lazo, a spokesperson for Half, recently sent me the following data:Read More
My condo is not what you’d call spacious. If I had a party here and observed the current rules about social distancing, several guests would have to stand outside. Or possibly in my neighbors’ yards..
A few years ago, the need for “space” no longer had anything to do with sending U.S. astronauts back to the moon. It became a word used to connote a basic human need. “I need my space” was a more common phrase to end a relationship than the more current, “It isn’t you. It’s me.” To me, the latter is a more flexible kiss-off than “I need my space” because it lends itself to juxtaposition and, therefore…Read More
Sales of Lysol disinfectant products, including the company’s popular ozone-destroying aerosol, are enjoying a pandemic-inspired surge, according to the Wall Street Journal. To which I respond: Why not Windex?
If you ever saw the wonderful character actor Michael Constantine in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” you’re probably ahead of me already. In the 2002 film starring and written by Nia Vardalos, Constantine (who just turned 93 in May, by the way), plays Vardalos’s character’s dad, who touts the various virtues of Windex as he sprays and wipes it somewhat indiscriminately. He claims it can cure everything “from psoriasis to poison ivy.”Read More