People

Salinas Focus: Tim Ryan Is a “Servant Leader”

Salinas Focus: Tim Ryan Is a “Servant Leader”

While Tim Ryan could be a problem child if he played in a school orchestra—because he prefers tooting everyone’s horn but his own—as the Superintendent of the Santa Rita Union School District in the picturesque, diverse city of Salinas in Monterey County, he may be just what students, teachers, principals and staff need: a leader who leads “not from above but from below, helping lift up the people who do the real work,” he says.

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Dead and Earning It! A Post-Mortem on Some Post-Moolah

A well-meaning acquaintance recently sent me an article showing how much the estates of famous deceased writers and artists continue to earn each year. In response, I asked if she were suggesting that death might be a good career move for me.

She became very annoyed and did the email equivalent of slamming down her phone. (No, I can’t explain that gag, either. But I think you may know what I mean.)

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The “Sugar High” Gets Re-Debunked. To Which I Say, “Bunk!”

In 1994, medical science definitively debunked the notion that children can contract “sugar highs” from having cake, cookies, ice cream and soda at a birthday party, or as mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks, or for after-dinner dessert, or as pre-bedtime nibbles.

Incidentally, what I just described is the daily menu seven-year-olds, if they were precociously licensed dietitians, would create for their patients.

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What Are A Jew’s Dues?

What Are A Jew’s Dues?

Had I not invited Dr. Marion Leff to lunch, where we talked about the Jewish Federation of Sacramento (and other Jewish federations throughout the state and country), I wouldn’t have learned the following:

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An Art Show Like No Other to Honor a One-of-a-Kind Gallery Owner

An Art Show Like No Other to Honor a One-of-a-Kind Gallery Owner

The art of Michael Himovitz’s life was art itself.

He was known throughout California and the creative cosmos in general for his uncanny eye in spotting talent that he nurtured—sometimes like a mother hen, sometimes with tough love. He ruled over an eponymous downtown Sacramento, second-floor gallery, which eventually moved to an under-appreciated part of the capital, Del Paso Heights, and even for a brief while established a second beachhead in an upscale suburban enclave, Pavilions Shopping Center, which he told me, in his distinctive cigarette growl, he “hated, hated hated!” (He amplified that by saying he didn’t think “middle-aged couples climbing out of their Lexuses wearing matching, ironed jogging suits are my demographic.”)

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Take This Job And Love It!

Take This Job And Love It!

Even in the go-go jobs economy of California, and in particular the prolifically hiring Sacramento, many employees are still what I call Glummy Bears.

That’s according to a recent study conducted by Robert Half, the worldwide staffing firm. It reports 63 percent of company executives it surveyed said that “worker turnover has increased in the past three years, with lost productivity (29 percent), new hire training (26 percent), and recruiting (25 percent) being the costliest aspects when employees leave.”

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It May Be High Nunes for Devin

It May Be High Nunes for Devin

Today’s column may seem pitched to our Fresno readership (a really nice person, by the way) but it concerns more than the Central Valley or even all of California. This is about the entire country and the chance voters (and donors) have to not only set a precedent but also to put someone in office who knows whereof he speaks when it comes to healthcare, water, immigrants and small business.

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Kirky Memories

Kirky Memories

I’d like to say it was quite a coincidence that I was watching “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” at the exact moment one of its stars, Kirk Douglas, died at 103 years old a couple of weeks ago. And I really was watching it, at that precise time. But since I watch it at least three times a year, I’m not sure this qualifies as a coincidence.

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All In The Family

All In The Family

“We’re like family here!” is the second most popular cliché I hear when writing about a company’s culture. (The all-time champion remains, “We believe in giving back to the community.” This always sounds to me as though the company is admitting to having burglarized something from the community at one time.)

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Hallmark’s Dealt Some Bad Cards

Hallmark’s failing greeting-card division recently dismissed its president, Steve Farley . I can only hope it wasn’t done in its patented doggerel style:

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Valentines Stay

Valentines Stay

Last September, after Kim was given a very scary health diagnosis, I flew down to Long Beach to help her check off a couple of bucket-list items: (1) an evening in Disneyland to see the soon-to-be-discontinued Electric Parade on Main Street; and (2) dinner thereafter at Blue Bayou, the restaurant in the same structure as what has become one of the park’s iconic attractions, Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It’s rare you get to check off two bucket-list items in the same venue.

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Classical Music Meets DIY

Classical Music Meets DIY

Just because you wouldn’t bring in a new manager for each basketball, baseball or football game doesn’t mean, if you were running a highly successful musical organization, it wouldn’t make sense to bring in a new conductor for every program.

That’s how Alice Sauro, the general manager and artistic director of the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera for the past five years, managed to turn around the once-moribund Sacramento Symphony and Sacramento Opera companies into a unified community treasure that has been selling out almost every performance for the past two years.

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Surviving Divorce Month

Did you contemplate, initiate, negotiate or complete a divorce last month?

Me, neither. My not being married may have been a factor.

Nonetheless, January was THE month we were “likely to see an uptick in divorce filings,” according to a story in USA Today—whose motto, when first founded by the late Al Neuharth in 1982, was that…

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Jim Lehrer Propelled Me Onward

Jim Lehrer Propelled Me Onward

In the haunted days, fog-shrouded weeks and seemingly infinite months after my wife Jane died in 2007, Jim Lehrer helped keep me sane.

His steady, caring but unsentimental delivery of the day’s happenings on the PBS NewsHour gradually made me realize that not even personal tragedy would prevent the world from twirling—sometimes out of control, but twirling nevertheless.

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Smoke Gets In Your EyesBy Ed Goldmanhe December passing of former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker conjured up some memories.On the plus side, he appears to have loved cigars even more than I do. While I smoke only one per day—and not even...

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Flying Taxis

One expression likely to face extinction in the next five years is when we impatiently tell our cab driver, ”Oh, just drop me off anywhere around here.” That may work when we’re stuck in rush-hour traffic and close enough to our destination to simply hoof it the rest…

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Are Suits an Endangered Species?

Costumed in my customary semi-bespoke, big-boy suit, I attended a few semi-formal, semi-sassiety events this holiday season. When a Chablis-infused old guy staggered up to me and said—with what I’m sure he considered jocular, possibly even urbane wit—“Hey, tomorrow I’ll treat you to a tie”—it reminded me of an…

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Cue Cards

Cue Cards

A friend of mine, Michael Lawrence Green, gives talks and workshops all across the country to companies, government agencies, trade associations, salespeople and news organizations about memory.

One of his gimmicks is to mingle with the people attending his …

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Breakfast

I’ve always thought that breakfast is the most self-important meal of the day. It shows up on nearly every diet plan as essential, and we continue to be fascinated by the important people who have it each day and what a good one may consist of for them.

The most …

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Welcome to Your World

Welcome to Your World

If you’re just joining us—well, of course you are, this is the first day of this column—let me set the stage for what I hope to have follow every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, unless it’s a national holiday or my wife insists I take a day off. Since I’m not married …

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