Category: Popular Culture

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

We were once under the misapprehension that Christmas was the holiday that had become commercialized and drained of meaning. After witnessing the emergence of Black Friday as a widely understood part of the lexicon, we’re inclined to think that the Thanksgiving holiday has become just as bad. Never mind that the whole Pilgrims and Indians thing...

Department of Bold Predictions: Crackpots

Bold prediction: Within a decade, a whole class of societal crusaders will develop and be recognized by the arbiters of culture. They will be called radicals, Luddites, crackpots. They’ll be dismissed and ridiculed. And they’ll be consistently marginalized by those with money and power. But they’ll be right.  Their main focus? Harnessing the astonishing energy...

Blame it On the Youths

A celebrity with a record label announced recently that she had signed a talented teenager to a recording contract; album due out soon! The adolescent lad joins another teenager on the Celebrity’s label. She specializes in discovering post-pubescent stars-to-be-made; indeed, this Celebrity, Ellen DeGeneres, discovered the Filipina belter Charice Pempengco, now known as Charice, which...

Attention All Media: I’m Doing Something Idiotic!

I’ve been doing it all wrong, trying to get folks to talk about and desire my quirky, difficult-to-categorize books, trying to get the media’s attention.  Recent events have demonstrated the truth about how things really work. I’ve got a new book out in 4 weeks about marijuana. It’s called “Reefer Gladness,” and I want everyone...

Food and Sex

One is required to live. The other is required to create life. Depending on your appetites, one of them is the best part of being alive. Sometimes they complement each other. Sometimes they’re combined. Sometimes they’re kept in discrete compartments. Every day (if we’re fortunate) we experience one or both.  Food and sex are natural...

Participatory Democracy in Bell, California

If there were such a thing as a Public Outrage Meter, it would be registering unprecendented levels of angst. The Gulf Oil Spill. The Wall Street Bailout. LeBron James. The latest (and possibly greatest) case of societal outrage, at least in my corner of the country, is being directed at the public servants of Bell,...

Ode to “Opening Night: The Improvised Musical”

Los Angeles is lousy with talent. Just as the plethora of beautiful men and women on the streets (and in the stores, and everywhere else) start to blend into the palm-lined boulevards, it’s easy to become immune to the charms of so many funny, clever, quick-witted people. When you see theater or hear music or...

Three Theories on Chronic Lateness

Everyone is late sometimes. Stuff happens. Some of us, though, are always late. For everything. “Traffic” isn’t an adequate excuse when you’re late for events in your own home, or when you’re the headliner of a concert scheduled to hit at 8PM and you roll in, unflustered, at 8:45PM. There’s an underlying reason. We propose...

A Letter to Craig V

Dear Mr. Venter, I read today that you and your team at the Human Genome Project had successfully implanted synthetically-created DNA into a living organism (a bacterium) and got it to replicate your man-made code. That’s marvelous! The possibilities for your discovery feel fantastical, like something culled from overly optimistic science fiction. Soon we really...

Villains Masquerading As Heroes

Warren Buffet. Haim Saban. Carlos Slim. Barry Diller. Jack Welch. Meg Whitman. A thousand other achievers lauded in the pages of Fortune and Barron’s and the Wall Street Journal. These superstars of Money Porn are the grand champions of the cruel game we all play, willingly or not. They won; millions more lost. That’s the way the contest goes and whether...