Monday, October 31, 2005

In Spite Of Ourselves

The woman at the grocery store, with the oodles of Snack Wells, cases of Diet Coke and umpteen Kleenex boxes.

The super-chatty guy on that cross-Atlantic flight, who insists on sneaking your salt packet before every meal.

The little-bitty old couple who amble through town, squinting through the windshield, braking at imaginary objects on the way to Ralph's.

They've all got it: a passion.

A zest for something real, imaginary or dreamed-up. A convinction, dedication, or un-wavering desire revolving around that which they know and love and believe.

Treasure it. Embrace it. And try to remember that when you're stuck on the 405, crawling through a parking garage, or questioning who people are.

They're just like you and me. Only with differently intriguing twists.

Friday, October 28, 2005

That's What You're Wearing?

Support individualism.

If you're on the glitter bandwagon and want to sparkle day and night -- go for it.

Same with mis-matched hair-accessories, frayed jeans and funky belts, and generally, anything that shouts YOU.

This does not apply to the black trenchcoat.

In fact, of all the possible wardrobe options available universally, I think that symbol of everything-that's-wrong-with-America needs to be banned.

Or at least, if you really must wear it, dye it pink or blue or green or something.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yes, They Used To

"Hello, I'm Stuart Smalley."

1988. A mere months until highschool graduation -- and though I probably should have been consuming keg beer en masse, I nerdily opted for Dr. Pepper and Saturday Night Live.

"Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

Sadly, that was then.


Al Franken evidently professes profound and 'insightful' knowledge, including (but not limited to) 1) George 2) Terry Schiavo and, shockingly, 3) Iraq.

I'm OK with that.

Not so into anyone capable of scrounging up a budget for a Costco bestseller, disdainfully mocking those in the political know-how, only to fall short on actual substance, all the while plugging their Senate run in 2008. A sampling:

"Health care should be universal."

"He gets impeached, convicted and starts drinking again that same afternoon."

"And Cheney has seven heart attacks."

Umm ... OK. Ignoring, momentarily, the completely inappropriate and almost embarassing mockery of the health of others -- thanks for the brilliant medical coverage thought.

Swirled peas, anyone?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

May I Health You?

Wal-Mart, in addition to proliferating small-town America with a never-ending supply of Cheetos Big Grab Bags -- has evidently invented a new form of exercise.


In an Onion-esque internal memo, the super-fascinating VP for Benefits, encouraged the musically conservative conglomerate to hire more fit workers, in an attempt to cut health care costs.

Just wondering how many dysfunctional band-aids we're going to plaster across the nation before we admit that the real issue may be -- drumroll -- ourselves. Remember the old adage: we are what we eat? It's true.

Not sure if McDonald's addition of "nutrition" information to greasy wrappers is going to curb the intake of mono-saturated fats.

Luckily, if you're considering a career move as a blue-vest-clad-greeter, you may be forced to stop super-sizing your life.

Sadly, they might have a point, as ridiculous as it sounds.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Have A Little Faith

I'm a sucker for romantic comedy. Love anything with a happy, cheesy ending. Completely go ga-ga when two lonesome souls realize that they've met their match.

So. That's my disclaimer.

Should be no surprise that my radio dial is often tuned to FM 93.9. And while I'll always be partial to Willie and Merle, I'd be the first to profess my love for a new country artist lyric or two.


Because aside from singing tales of weeping widows and dogs howling at the moon -- they have an uncanny ability to focus on the miniscule. The little things. And even the whine-ey ballads have a way of leaving little bits of magic behind.

Seriously. When was the last time that you admitted that the secret of life is a "good cup of coffee," "mom's apple pies," or "tryin' not to hurry"?

Yeah. Thought so.

Friday, October 21, 2005


I don't get it.

Clearly support stirring things up a bit, nominating a woman out of the non-literal left-field. Adding the curve ball of zero judicial experience definitely contributes intrigue -- and if nothing else, might draw the general public to C-SPAN on November 7.

But really.

Insufficiently answering a questionnaire is distractedly reminiscent of failing a take-home test. How does one do that?

And why-oh-why wouldn't whoever's in charge of this whole quagmire at the White House provide feedback, coach, or at the very least, proof-read Miers' responses before it hit the presses?

"What did he do in the middle of all this gloominess? He just blotted out the sun," said one Senior Aide.

Not really sure how this one is going to end.

But as an aside, who hasn't flattered their boss? This, to me, is the equivalent of CNN announcing that Jennifer and Vince smooched in public. Who cares?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Hi, I'm Andy Manning"

For once, I was actually not running late. Lunch packed, Oskar excited about daycare and Red-Headed-Stranger ready for my commute.

Doorbell rings.

And there, Mr. Infamous himself.

I knew it was him before he even said hello. Secretly, I was super-thrilled that Oskar was growling and barking and behaving like the enormous guard dog that he so brilliantly is.

"I used to live here," he began.

"Yes, I know."

"So you should be getting a letter for me. When you do, could you call me at this number?"

At this point, he even pushed his driver's license in my face, as if I needed confirmation that the owner of the poorly dyed tresses really was Mr. Fakey Business himself.

"Um ... what kind of envelope do you think it will be in?"

I was stalling, thinking of the countless pieces of mail I had already trashed. I get at least 8 things per week addressed to the guy.

"Oh, like a good-sized legal envelope."


And so he left.

Did I even consider asking him WHY after two-and-a-half years he is still using my address?

Of course not. I don't think I've ever been that close to someone-I-perceive-to-be-a-felon.

Well. Unless you count that guy I moved in with during grad school ....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


For obvious reasons, I feel compelled to read Nobel Prize winners. Mathematical prejudices aside, I still have faith in what I imagine to be a silver-haired gaggle of Swedes, contemplating stanzas, punctuated paragraphs and unconventional characterizations.

This time, I've found a gem.

It's "Soul Mountain" by Gao Xingjian:

"Reality exists only through experience, and it must be personal experience.... Reality can't be verified and and doesn't need to be, that can be left for the 'reality-of-life' experts to debate. What is important is life.... Reality is myself, reality is only the perception of this instant and it can't be related to another person. All that needs to be said is that outside, a mist is enclosing the green-blue mountain in a haze and your heart is reverberating with the rushing water of a swift-flowing stream."

Definitely ponder-worthy. Especially during those conference calls and meetings, clogging your calendar.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Friends rule. Family always is. And your extra-favorite peeps will never decline wine-inspired evenings peppered with tasty treats and contagious conversation.

But between trips and travel-planning, wedged alongside crazy commutes and late-night laughter, snuggled amidst the lovely luxuries of life -- there's you.

Tricky to remember, and decidedly easy to forget that we all need quiet. Space. Room to think. Moments to chill. And time to ponder, reflect and look forward to that which makes us tick.


Plan your week empty. Don't ignore your posse or stop thinking of your clan. Just allot a few slots here and there for y-o-u.

It's the secret key for a dancing soul.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I Knew It

Clearly, I'm a trend-setter.

How else do you explain the dramatic increase in low-and-highlights combined? Or the delightful abundance of T-shirt-over-T-shirt wearers cropping up at work?

It's me. Really. I started it all.

Just ask the New York Times.

Martin, my brilliant and oh-so-Americanized German hairstylist was just announced as the best in LA in the "transformative haircuts" category. Super appropriate, too, since I just got a new 'do.

Now I'm just waiting to see when the personalized, hand-painted clogs will catch on. Go ahead. Be the first cool kid in your 'hood.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Birthday Wishes

  • Plenty of California Cabernet.
  • Perfect snow.
  • Sandy beaches at sunset.
  • Poolside. And then more poolside.
  • Peroni and herb butter.
  • TiVo moments.
  • Fabulous non-fiction.
  • Super-short commutes.
  • Impeccable lakes.
  • Tahoe.
  • Framed prints -- on the walls.
  • Tangerine sorbet with raspberries.
  • More chocolate chip cookies.
  • A new bed.
  • Black Chicken.
  • Free tix on Southwest.
  • Mini-vacations, as many as possible.
  • More Lynchburg. Less LA.

I just blinked three times and wished on the setting sun for you. That means it will all come true. Happy 30. It's a magical decade.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I Heart Rumsfeld

I'm not a Republican. But, can't help but share these smile-worthy snippets. Brilliant or not, your call. At the very least, does make me appreciate that people -- regardless of silly party affiliations -- are what matter.

That, and a lovely ability to insert slivers of zany into otherwise mundane topics.

Oh, everything quoted is from "Pieces of Intelligence" compiled and edited by Hart Seely.

"It takes far too long for
Anything to happen, as
Far as I'm concerned."
-- Nov. 12, 2002, Pentagon town hall meeting

"Nothing we have,
Nothing in the defense establishment,
Nothing you own in your homes
Is perfect.
Your cars aren't perfect.
Your bikes aren't perfect.
Our eyeglasses aren't perfect.
We live with that all the time.
Does that --
If you cannot do everything,
Does that mean that you should not do anything?"
-- Dec. 13, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

"Anyone who knows nothing isn't talking
And anyone with any sense isn't talking.
The people that are talking to the media,
By definition, people who don't know anything,
And people who don't have a hell of a lot of sense."
-- Sept. 22, 2002, media availability en route to Poland

"Anything that I say
That I shouldn't have
Is off the record.
I want you to
Understand that
Right now, up front."
-- Jan. 12, 2002, interview with the Washington Post

"I'm brusque.
I'm impatient.
It's genetic.
I can't help it."
-- Dec. 18, 2002, interview with Larry King, CNN

"Needless to say,
The president is correct.
Whatever it was he said."
-- Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

"Opinion polls go up and down,
They spin like weather vanes.
They're interesting, I suppose.
I don't happen to look."
-- Sept. 8, 2002, media stakeout following CBS's Face the Nation

"If you're walking towards a wall,
And you decide you want to go to the opposite wall,
The sooner you make the correction,
The easier it is.
If you wait until you're right face up against the wall,
Then you've got to make a sharp turn."
-- June 24, 2002, interview with Bloomberg News

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Slivers of Time

830pm: Spend eight minutes reminding Oskar and Pippi that though they seemingly have an insatiable appetite, going after my luxuriously home-cooked meal is, quite frankly, simply rude.

1030pm: Dogs pass out after running around like maniacs for an hour.

1134pm: Oskar wakes me up. Despite my feeble, sleep-induced attempts to ignore him, I fumble my way to the kitchen assuming someone needs a potty break. Um, yeah. Ten seconds later my left foot steps into a pool of pee.

601am: Dogs are hungry.

805am: Dogs eat one of the bright yellow couch pillows.

Think they just didn't like the color?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


(insert radio jangle-ey tune)

"Stop by anytime for a $1.24 cheeseburger!"

(exit radio jangle-ey tune. insert uber-serious sounding, speed-talking voice-over)

"For a limited time only. While supplies last. Prices subject to change."

This, apparantley, is why we need lawyers.

Nothing -- not even slimey corner-store pre-packaged burgers -- is what it seems.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Let's Go

Red tail lights. Screeching halts. And out of the blue, we were crawling along at 20 mph.

Welcome to Los Angeles. Sadly, not unusual. But for whatever reason, the appealing scale never rises above a one point three. And that's only thanks to Shooter song number two.

As my Element's over-due-for-service little engine hob-knobbed with Hummers and sedans larger than my living room, I spotted it. A brand-spanking-new, shiny, silver Porche. Oddly crumpled in the car pool lane, it's bumper somehow cradling the divider.

The barely-old-enough-to-drive starlet was on her cellphone, still strapped in, calling either Daddy or Triple-A. Possibly both.

Thing is, nobody even batted an eye.

So where is that place? That simply divine spot where people wave and smile and amble down the road, instead of cursing when the light turns red. Where green means mosey and sunlit mornings translate to a luxuriously slow pace.

We have to find it. Immediately.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Pin-Point-ist-i-cally You

Maybe it's how you wear your jeans. Or prefer plain, old Ivory soap. Perhaps it's the glittery speckles you add to your cheeks, or the way you over-accessorize for no apparent reason other than the fact that you can.

Some people wear only black. Others romanticize the color pink. And then there's the mysterious crew who always seems to find the odd, the strange and the hypnotically appealing -- and wear it just so.

But that's neither here, nor there.

What is?

Herb butter. Secret ingredients, addictive results. Perfect for grilled filets, roasted chicken, sultry baked potatoes and red-pepper-flaked broccoli florets. A mere dab will transform your meal.

The little black dress, if you will, of the kitchen.

I'd share the recipe but that would be like divulging where to buy light-blue-seam 7s. Besides, it's more appealing to make up your own, anyway.

Friday, October 07, 2005


So I totally support airport security. Completely fine with removing shoes, unhooking belts and sending my fakey-pink-diamond covered watch through in a special plastic bin.

Every now and then there's some foolish peep who scribbles jokes about bombs and knives on the miniature cocktail napkins. Not funny.

But, this? Really?

Super disappointing. Makes me wonder if I should stop traveling in my 'You Can't Get This in the States' t-shirt. Or if blatantly flaunting 'Pippi Rules' is going to get me kicked off an airbus.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Who We Are

Perhaps it's mostly chromosomes. Paired with continental exposure, translated convictions and assumptions that transcend generations.

In any case.

Sometimes brilliant moments arrive, that illuminate that which might seem odd or crazy or out-of-the-blue. And while many may opt to question your actions, the very core of your innermost being senses that you've been poised for this since the notions of a beginning.

Take Jacquelyn Sherman, for example.

Displaced by Katrina, she scrounged up all the spare change she could find and played the lottery. One point six million buckaroos later, she's happy as a clam. Think she's relocating to hurricane-free lands? Putting a massive downpayment on a mansion on the opposite end of the country?

Nope. She's going back to New Orleans. Because that's what's in her soul.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Evidently, my dogs are sneaking around in the middle of the night, taking hot showers. That's clearly the only feasible explanation for why I have zero hot water on some mornings. Sound dubious? Consider a few other labrador-golden-retriever highlights:
  • They've mastered the art of detecting a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, slurping most of it without a single spill.
  • Every now and then, the paper is mysteriously missing from the driveway. Coincidentally -- or not -- those are the very mornings that Oskar chooses to sleep practically cradling the front door.
  • Ghosts. They sense them. Why else would they make mad rushes for the back of the yard, barking at absolutely nothing?
  • Just when I think I couldn't possibly time my departure any later, they sneak off with the pillows from the couches.

In related fabulous news: they're expert fly catchers and insects-in-the-house-detectors. Brilliantly luxurious. Especially in soon-to-be-cricket season.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Waffle Not

Epiphanies evidently arrive in taxi-cabs.

Last week, bustling toward LAX, I remembered what I'd filed away and forgotten:

You are your own CEO.

So, definitely ask. Inquire. Consider recommendations. Listen to analogies. Contemplate curious tidbits. And ponder perceived brilliance.

But ultimately, it's up to you.

As the inhabitants of the Magical Forest so eloquently put it: stop drowning your decisions in syrup -- if you remember what you love (a dab of butter and a hint of raspberry jam), you'll find what you're looking for.