Thursday, June 19, 2014


There are two kinds of songs in the world -- good and bad. There are two kinds of good songs in the world -- naughty and nice.

I had a friend, an accomplished musician, who was invited to sit in with the Gipsy Kings one time. He found the experience crushing -- sweat poured down his face as he struggled to keep up, while the Gipsy Kings just looked rather distracted and bored. Maybe wondering whether they could catch an earlier flight that evening, or if they stayed, what about dinner -- French or Spanish.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Pros: When beauty meets balls

I told my friends during this year's Aussie Open final, "Bet on the ugly guy."

Of course, Wawarinka wasn't, isn't, ugly. He just looks like a roofer or car mechanic; a really fit plumber with whom you can discuss the virtues of PEX versus copper. Most everyone in the ATP top ten could be a movie star. Wawarinka, on the other hand, would be the buddy of the brother of the guy who kills the zombies.

Which is why I thought he'd be a solid. It wasn't handlers who had paved his way to the grand slam title, it was his heart.

So much about sports these days is all about the close-up -- the steely gaze and flared nostrils across the net or down the field. May the best cheekbones win. It's what sells market share, it's what sells shoes. If you're both talented and lovely, the corporate sponsors kick start your career, place some long-term bets.

The inequity starts early. Supermodel competitors have the benefit of childhood interventions, grow up to the sport with the best coaches, camps, doctors, dentists, dermatologists, podiatrists, psychiatrists the deep pockets can deliver. Ordinary looking athletes have to make it on own their own steam. One can understand the corporate responsibility involved here -- the public wears what the models wear; plumbers just don't move the merch.

Had corporate scouts and sponsorships overtaken sports only two or three decades ago, I wonder if Seles, Navratilova, McEnroe, or Lendl would have made it to the top. I'm just talking tennis here, but it's in evidence on all the playing fields. The money supplies and follows the expectation that certain athletes will be equally good at both serving and selling, equally compelling on and off the field.

My World Cup soccer prediction -- in the end, whoever is deemed the hero will look absolutely sensational wearing a tux and Nike's, holding a glass of Absolut while placing one perfect cheek -- fore or aft, either will do -- on the hood of a Beemer.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Inside the Castle Green

If you're lucky enough to have a friend like Dianne Patrizzi -- and kids, it's best not to count on this, or think you'll win the lottery, or that your Twitter stock will rise, but still -- if a Dianne Patrizzi comes your way, well then, anything can happen. You may even get to tour Pasadena's legendary Castle Green while carrying a full glass of wine.

Without going into too much detail, Castle Green is from Pasadena's golden age; built in 1898, and to my knowledge, of all the grand hotels of the time, it's the last one standing.

And now, allow me to introduce the Castle Green penthouse pet. He's a looker, right? We didn't exchange names, but he has my number. In fact, I'm pretty hopeful because he said, "Call you, babe," and we shook on it.

Thanks to The Friends of Castle Green and Castle Green residents for this Friday's event.

Monday, June 2, 2014

News and Paper

When I first snagged a job at a major newspaper, I didn't exactly cover a war, a riot, or even describe the deliciousness of an apple tart from the Santa Monica Farmers' Market. No, not exactly. Not remotely.

I worked on the fourth floor, and the newsroom was just an elevator ride away. Two degrees of separation, and a world apart.

Still, my job was all about words. I paged delivery agents when Mr. Green's paper got wet or Mrs. Smith's went missing.

This could have proved disheartening had I wanted to be a journalist. But I didn't want to be a journalist. While I'd written for trade and airline magazines, it was never my intention to get emotionally entangled or intimate with facts and truth. Sure, we could spend some nice times together, but we'd prove a difficult match for anything resembling a long-term commitment.

(That's why editors are so great, by the way. My editors have always double-checked my work. Which means I don't stand by my words, I can stand behind the ones who stand by my words. Every editor I've ever had has, when necessary, gone to the mat for me. Courage I've applauded vigorously from the wings.)

But where was I? Oh yeah, this job. Great fun, actually. When not at the pub, me and a bunch of other lit and lib art majors spent most of our time impressing each other with our delivery instructions, sending out pages like:

Throw up on porch;
Wrap it in plastic before you stick it in the box;
Subscriber on vacation so put it in the rear until further notice..

Fortunately, most of the delivery agents had been around since dirt and could translate smart-ass into English and Spanish.

It took awhile to get out the journalism basement, figure out the combination and whatnot. But I did. Or didn't, now that I think about it. Others took up some heavy lifting on my behalf.

I'll miss the paper part of news when it goes away; my guess is that'll happen sooner than we think, newspaper home delivery is practically out the door as we speak. Then lots of up-and-coming lib arts majors will have to find another temporary job that offers equal opportunity entertainment.

If you thought I couldn't take a photo this good, you'd be right. This is courtesy of one of my favorite photographers, Kenny Mac at Greenwich Village Daily Photos. Thanks for the borrow.