Thoughts of the Week

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Crazy Man on the Bus

One of the many benefits of eschewing automobiles in favor of public transportation is the general absence of murderous sociopaths suffering from “road rage.” The downside is sporadic encounters with people tuned into frequencies only they can hear, folks we commonly call “crazy.” They’re not nearly as dangerous as an angry commuter texting behind the...

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Our Binary Democracy

Multiple-choice decisions can be intimidating. A panoply of options forces you to think about stuff, and that’s tiring. How much easier, instead, to make a simple call between “A” and “B,” between the favorite and the underdog, between chicken and beef, Staples and Office Depot. Same deal with our current version of democracy. After all...

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Advice to Self and Poets in General

When confronted with the immensity of the ocean crashing against La Jolla cliffs craggy like Ireland and the island of Islay refrain from attempting to describe the waves and sky and gulls and wind and salty spray as a poet might using nouns as verbs “the sea lips the shore” “the pelicans wing the coastline”...

they paved paradise and put up a parking lot 2

Runyon Canyon Follow-Up: No Parking Any Time

“The parking lot idea, putting a lot inside Runyon Canyon, is dead on arrival. It’s not going to happen.” – John C. Gile, President, Friends of Runyon Canyon With apologies to Jackie Gleason, what we have here is a failure to communicate. Call it a simple misunderstanding. Or clumsy public relations. Or meager community outreach....

go for two 2

The 2-Point Coach

During the recent end-of-the-year break, we were reminded frequently that what matters most in many of our lives, the thing that rouses our deepest emotions and hottest passion, is football. If you get heartburn talking about the Green Bay defense, consider Nick Saban an inspiring role model, or interrupt family gatherings to announce Draft King...

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Friends of Runyon Canyon?

Runyon Canyon Park, the dog-friendly nature sanctuary in the hills above Hollywood, has been the subject of several essays in this space, as well as a scenic location in at least two or three of our books. It’s just about the greatest part of living in this neighborhood, and maybe all of Los Angeles. For...

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Not Intelligent

Let’s say you’re the manager of a large company. You have an employee named Sia, who works in R&D. You don’t hear much talk about Sia, except at periodic, unpredictable Performance Reviews. At each Performance Review, for years, Sia is shown to be very bad at her job. She squanders enormous budgets and makes errors...

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Report from the Street (Complete)

The Homeless Metaphor If we’re speaking practically, solving problems then yes, go ahead, you can identify and analyze all the reasons why 40,000 human beings are living on the streets of Los Angeles Mental illness Domestic violence Bad choices over and over Me? Mental illness, for sure I had the crazy idea I was going...

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Report from the Street: Observed

How kind of you to include me in your annual census. I’m afraid I don’t have any cookies to offer you. Or a place to sit down that’s not the ground. Apologies, nice man. Mea culpa if you prefer the language of my former Church. How kind of you to take note of my presence...