Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Celebrity Traffic Brigade

My own rather less illustrious Smith story:

I was stuck in a driveway off Sunset Boulevard, my right-turn light blinking timidly. A naturally cautious driver, I scooted out one inch at a time, watching as car after car flew past. Just when I felt the bleakest, when Los Angeles felt the most cruel, a brand-new bright red sports car came to a full stop, its driver waving me ahead of him and into the lane with a gallant sweep of his hand. It was John Lithgow. Now this might not seem so extraordinary, but consider this: That same week, another skittish driver of my acquaintance was wedged into a rather impossible parking space. After inching forward and back for several agonizing minutes, a solicitous stranger walked up behind her vehicle and began directing her. It was Jon Voight. From these two seemingly unrelated incidents, I first came to know of the mysterious Celebrity Traffic Brigade, kind Hollywood do-gooders who repay the loyalty of their fans with help navigating one of America’s most treacherous cities.

(Note: The stories are true, though these two events were actually separated by years, not days.)


Monday, February 27, 2006

Check out my friend Grant's new piece in Smith.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A review of Andrew Gottlieb's Half Lives.

I just finished filing my Chinese visa documents. I am required to submit a medical report confirming that I am in good overall health and do not have TB, AIDS or any other venereal disease, or any mental ill­nesses. This is followed by an ex­haust­ive list of possibly dis­qual­i­fy­ing mental ill­nesses - none of which are obviously communicable.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Sea Otters

A very short review.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I was just discussing Tales of Grimm and Andersen over at Identity Theory and felt it deserved a quick mention here, too.

Specifically, I urge you all to read the tale of "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage." Weighing in at a scant six paragraphs, it tells the story of a stay-at-home mouse, grudging bird, and sometimes-sentient sausage who keep house together until indolence and class envy tear them apart. Quite literally.

Best line: "[After the dog ate the sausage] the bird then lodged a complaint against the dog . . . but it was all no good, as the dog declared that he had found forged letters upon the sausage, so that he deserved to lose his life."

Forged letters.

And while on the subject of fairy tales, allow me to recommend Bruno Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

More unlikely animal friends! - and a sweet balm for the endless ache of existence.