Aug 3, 2022

Playing Non-Favorites: A Great New Parlor Game

…Provided you can find a parlor, natch

By Ed Goldman

Friends, readers and audiences often ask me about favoritism.

They’re not talking about the kind that’s often indistinguishable from nepotism, which is just familial favoritism. They mean the much less toxic favorites I may have, like my favorite (please take a cleansing breath) color; movie; food; actor; animal; author; singer; essayist; book; concert; news source; local news anchor; men’s fashion designer; restaurant; comedian; classical-music composer; symphony; Broadway musical; playwright; song; lyricist; poet; poem; typeface (and size); car; motorcycle; tree; flower; motion picture score; musical score, and political leader.

Edgy Cartoon

Talent to Burn

If you’re still with me, here’s the problem: I don’t play favorites—though I will, at the conclusion of today’s session, respond to all of the above, which should start more than a few arguments.  

I’m sure that sometimes I express an avid preference for one of the above items. But this usually happens when I have an attack of M.E.: momentary enthusiasm, a condition that’s neither endemic nor clinical. Yet.  

What’s easier for me, a Jew with very catholic tastes, is to single out my non-favorite things. So please imagine Julie Andrews or Lady Gaga belting out the following, to the tune of “My Favorite Things.” Remember, the song has three verses, then a chorus.

1. Most of rap music, all hip-hop and emo,
Who gives a damn about locating Nemo?
Recommendations about static cling,
Each one of these is a most boring thing.

2. “Breaking News” stories on what Trump is hidin’,
Jokes about Boris, Ivanka and Biden,
People who think what a teacher should bring
Into the classroom’s a gun or a sling.

3. Actors who quarrel on national TV,
Suing each other: “Me, too!” or “No, not me!”
Paying attention to somebody’s fling—
Can there be any more brain-numbing thing?

There’s a war on, and mass shootings,
Why are they ignored?
I guess it’s much simpler to list fav’rite things
And not just admit we’re bored.

As promised, here are my responses to all of the listed faves:

– color: seafoam green

– movie: “The Godfather” 

– food: sashimi;

– actor: Robert DeNiro, Katherine Hepburn;

– animal (tie): cat, dog; 

– author (tie): Peter DeVries, Ernest Hemingway, Nora Ephron; F. Scott Fitzgerald;

– singer (tie): Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday; 

– essayist (tie): Maureen Dowd, David Sedaris, Fran Leibowitz ; 

– book (tie): “The Great Gatsby,” “The Garden of Eden” (a posthumously published Hemingway novel), “Consenting Adults, or The Duchess Will Be Furious” (DeVries);  

– concert: Simon and Garfunkel, Long Beach Civic Auditorium, November 1969. The fellas brought the Everly Brothers onstage at the end to sing “‘Bye ‘Bye Love” together, Earlier in the evening, they premiered “Bridge Over Troubled Water”;

– news source (tie): PBS News Hour, NPR; 

– local news anchor (tie): Adrienne Moore, Tony Lopez, Marlee Ginter, CBS 13 (they behave as adults); 

– men’s fashion designer: Armani; 

– restaurant (tie): Mattone, Café Bernardo, both in Sacramento; 

– comedian (tie): George Carlin, Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher;

– classical-music composer: Beethoven;


Looking for a Great Gift?

– symphony (tie): Fingal’s Cave” by Mendelssohn, “March of the Turks by Mozart; 

– Broadway musical (tie): “The Sleepy Chaperone,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Music Man”; 

– playwright (tie): Edward Albee, Eugene O’Neill, Neil Simon, Leroi Jones, August Wilson; 

– song (tie): “As Time Goes By,” “What’ll I Do?,” “Dock of the Bay”; 

– lyricist (tie): Allan Jay Lerner, Lorenzo Hart, Stephen Sondheim, Bob Dylan; 

– poet (tie): Robert Frost, W.H. Auden, William Butler Yeats;

– poem: “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Frost; 

– typeface (and size): Palatino 14-point;

– car: Bentley, Mercedes 320, Mustang Shelby; 

– motorcycle: Indian Scout; 

– tree: orange; 

– flower: sonya rose; 

– motion picture score: “The Magnificent Seven” by Elmer Bernstein;

– musical score: “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein (no relation to Elmer); and

– political leader: Abraham Lincoln.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


This week, with his permission, I’m re-posting a marvelous article by Gail Filter. While it’s a longer read than my usual blogs, it’s well worth your time.–VV

The Mercy Pedalers’ mission is a simple one: to be present by reaching out to men and women experiencing homelessness on the streets. It is all about making relationships. As Sister Libby says, “When you can meet someone eye-to-eye, they feel like they’re worthy. They feel like they mean something. It’s simple as that. How can you make a change if you don’t feel good about yourself?”

In a recent Sacramento News & Review article about Sister Libby and the Mercy Pedalers, Melanie Tadakawa, who is homeless, stated: “Being homeless, we don’t have much to do. It would be cool if they actually employed homeless, because wherever we go, we always try to clean up, pick up garbage.” See John Flynn, “Mercy on Wheels” Sacramento News & Review (September 6, 2018)

Interestingly, in Sonoma County the Clean River Alliance (CRA) runs a program where the homeless are seen as a solution to pollution, and not the problem.

I had the opportunity to spend time with CRA Director Chris Brokate and his staff and observe not only how the power of presence provides comfort to the homeless, but how it is also instrumental in protecting the environment. Here is “where it is ok to talk trash.” The homeless actually participate in river cleanups and trash removal.

In 2014, after seeing the devastating effects of trash coming down the Russian River from heavy rains and entering the ocean, Mr. Brokate began getting together with a small group of volunteers to do cleanups. From this original group, known as the Garbage Patch Kids, CRA now organizes public cleanups throughout the Russian River watershed.

In 2017, CRA organized over 200 cleanup events, involving over 1000 volunteers, many who are homeless, removed over 170,000 lbs. of trash from creeks, the Russian River, and ocean beaches. Much of the trash was attributed to homeless camps. Brokate enlists the homeless in helping to haul their trash out, provides free trash pickup to river homeless camps and helps connect homeless to other available services.

CRA has been recognized by Sonoma County and State agencies for its dedication and commitment to protecting the environment. For example, last year the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors honored CRA. Supervisor Lynda Hopkins said, “This has gone beyond just removing trash from the riverbank. You have created community. You have brought together Guerneville, and the whole river with a common purpose.”

CRA tracks places where trash needs to be removed, plans events and rounds up volunteers. The CRA enlists the homeless to participate in cleanup events in exchange for vouchers for transportation, movie passes, meals and other incentives. Orange Garbage bags are provided to the homeless, and on designated days CRA picks up the trash.

I went out with CRA on a garbage run. In less than two hours we picked up more than 20 bags of garbage containing 560 pounds of trash (the county dump provides weigh slips) from Guerneville homeless camps. The following day CRA picked up 860 pounds of garbage in Healdsburg. Kudos CRA. Those Garbage Patch Kids are amazing!

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