Thoughts of the Week Blog

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An Unfair Birden?

Seems like a good idea. Eliminating automobile trips under two miles in length would be an enormously positive change. Moving people around electrically instead of with fossil fuels would be an enormously positive change. Getting people out of cars and onto their feet would be an enormously positive change. That’s why at first blush so-called...

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Confessions of a Luxury Hotel Concierge

For more than 15 years, she’s worked behind the Concierge Desk at several of the finest hotels in Los Angeles. Sabrina [her name has been changed at her request] will get you anything (well, almost anything) you want, because that’s her job, and she does it well. Securing dinner reservations at “fully booked” restaurants, hiring...

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A More Exceptionally Perfect America

Experts on matters patriotic, including members of Congress and the corporate oligarchs for whom they toil, believe that those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the greatest country on Earth benefit from a magical phenomenon known as American Exceptionalism. According to those who have made a kind of casual study of our glorious history,...

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Our Undemocratic Impulse to Defeat the Waze App

Vista, the little Sunset Square “capillary” street we live on, runs North-South between two major “artery” boulevards, Hollywood and Sunset. Because there’s a school at the end of our block, diverting traffic around the block to the East or West, Vista Street is inconvenient for those in a hurry. Most drivers take a more direct route, one that...

When My Friend from the Rainforest Visited

When my friend from the rainforest visited the city, I couldn’t make him understand why the most important people in the tallest buildings were the most important people. No, I told him, they were not able to hunt or fish or grow their food, or build a hut from grass, or communicate with the spirit world....

Our Golden Age of Corporate Apologies

Some of the most popular and successful companies in America — Wells Fargo, Facebook, Uber — have suffered a series of highly unfortunate blemishes on their otherwise pristine public images. They did very naughty things. To their customers. Stole from them. Lied to them. Treated every person like a valuable revenue stream instead of an...

The Experience That Changed Your Life

Do you have an experience that, in retrospect, seems to have set you on your life’s journey? A formative moment? An epiphany? Mine came when I was 16, more than 35 years ago. The summer after my sophomore year of high school, I attended (and completed) a 24-day Colorado Outward Bound course in the Rocky...

Further Refinements to the NFL Anthem Policy

The National Football League recently announced a change in their rules regarding the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” that great paean to durable fabric. They understand the symbolic importance of standing and pretending to know the words to a song about a symbol. It’s symbolism: Singing a song that pays homage to a symbol...

The Denuding of Los Angeles

Before he takes his war chest of political “donations” to the national arena, where his handlers will attempt to re-package him as “presidential,” our bumbling failure of a Mayor, the man who oversees an ongoing humanitarian disaster known as “homelessness in Los Angeles,” seems determined to wreck as many neighborhoods as possible. The Eric Garcetti ethos: If a...

The Urban Farmstead

We call the place we live “Vista Street Farmstead.” It’s a house in Hollywood, one block from Sunset Boulevard, with a front and back yard, maybe 1/16th of an acre? But almost every available square foot of dirt is dedicated to growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Blessed with copious sunshine throughout the day – and...