Tagged: life

Size Queens

Despite our vigorous protests to the contrary, what Americans value more than “family” is quantity. We are a nation of super-sized dreck.  As our population eclipses 300 million — bigger and better every day — we are less inclined to appreciate (or even acknowledge) anything that is accomplished on a small scale. “Go big or...

How to Be Happy, in Three Easy Steps

1) Surrender all ambitions to make, do, or build anything truly great. Trying to achieve greatness will lead to certain failure for everyone, except maybe Tiger Woods. The odds are so stacked against you — like, I don’t know, 10,000,000 -to- 1? — that you’re going to fail in this lifetime and probably the next...

The Kindness of Forgetting

This week I witnessed something I had previously only read about: the sudden onset of temporary amnesia.  My friend recently lost her daughter to a brief but devastating illness. She had watched her daughter die. The pain of losing her child eventually became too much to bear, and her brain stopped remembering that it had...

Department of Predictions: In the Year 2107

From Revelations to Leonardo, Jules Verne to Arthur C. Clarke, mankind has dreamed about what the world will be like dozens or hundreds or thousands of years hence. All of us — well, most of us — wonder what will become of our planet, our culture, our government, our morals when we are no longer...

Sandrine Pecher: 1970-2006

My great friend, traveling partner, and constant source of encouragement, Sandrine Pecher, died Tuesday morning after a nine-month battle with lung cancer. Sandrine had valiantly accepted whatever treatments the medical community could offer, including several different chemotherapies and radiation. Just last week, she told me that new lesions had been detected on her liver, but...

In Anticipation of Labor Day

Thank you to the Dads and Moms, toiling at home or in an office, on a truck or in a field. Thanks also to the Thais and Turks and Filipinos and Sri Lankans, the Malaysians and the Indonesians, the Bangladeshis and the Vietnamese, and of course the Chinese, who make our clothes and shoes and socks....

Poem: Desafinado

Life is a melody played repeatedly By millions and billions of musicians All trying, with various levels of success, to make the song sound right. The normal hallmarks of practice — repetition, interminable repetition — don’t apply here, for there are no second chances, no do-overs at the beginning, no opportunity to return to the...

Sexless Marriage

According to the bus stop advertisements and billboards around town, another disposable situation comedy is about to make its debut on network television. The conceit of this one, called “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” is that his adorable wife henpecks a regular guy (the aggressively unfunny Brad Garrett) to the point of emasculation. The tag...

The Price of Virtuosity

Not long ago we had the pleasure of hearing (and watching) the young soloist Hillary Hahn play the Mendelssohn violin concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at the Hollywood Bowl. She was sublime. The notoriously difficult music, which is hard even to hum accurately, came through her fingers with supreme grace, as though her body were...

Airport Security

News of an evil terrorist plot to blow up airplanes en route to America from London with liquid explosives smuggled onboard has inspired a new set of enhanced security regulations at our airports. Passengers must now place all liquids and gels in their checked luggage. Items such as shampoo, contact lens solution, and toothpaste must...