Archive - October, 2011

Get It Done… Right.

There are two kinds of people in this world:  The people who do their own yard work and the people who pay someone else to do it.

I am the first kind of people.

I inherited the job of family landscaper the summer after I got out of the fourth grade.  It wasn’t a fun job, but my parents promised it would pay me in, wait for it, “character development”.

Since that day, I’ve been mowing lawns and taking names.  It’s not a job I enjoy, it’s a job I’m compelled to do by my very nature.

I don’t take care of my yard because I enjoy the challenge of taming God’s green earth,  I’m engaged in an unspoken competition with the men in my cul-de-sac.

I can’t afford a BMW so the only way I can “keep up with the Joneses” is to have the greenest, thickest, most manicured lawn in the neighborhood… and I’m keeping track.

I’ve developed weeding, feeding, and dog shooing into an art form.

This is why I said, “absolutely not.” when little “Clifford” from up the street offered to mow my lawn for $10 last summer.  The job was too important for me to entrust it to a ten year-old.

Until…

I came home one afternoon and my wife said, “Honey little Clifford came by and he wants to mow the lawn to make some money so I told him he could do it when you came home.”

I was incensed that my wife was completely unaware of the secret competition that only I knew about. (more…)

Celebrity Sighting

Growing up in Southern California my family’s airport of choice was Los Angeles International.  There is very little that is good about LAX.  It’s too old to be nice or clean and too new to be considered classic or unique.  The only thing LAX has going for it is celebrity-sighting.

When they travel internationally, and they certainly do, most Hollywood celebrities fly in and out of LAX.  This means that if you keep a sharp eye out for tiny people with big heads wearing sunglasses indoors, you’re likely to spot at least one mid-grade actor near a Starbucks. Even if it is just Gilbert Gottfried.

Because of this I don’t usually get tongue-tied or starstruck when I run into someone like Danny Glover at the Smarte Carte return.  I just smile and keep moving.

The closest I’ve ever come to making a fool out of myself was the time I saw Diane Lane buying a copy of USA Today.  I was 22 and I had just turned around from the register after purchasing some mints. We were face to face.

Hers, a face that’s launched a thousand ships, mine a ship of fools.

I said, “Pardon me”, nodded my head, and sidestepped her.  As I walked to my gate I congratulated myself on not saying or doing something embarrassing or untoward.  I realized then that I do pretty well when I’m around people whom others lose their minds over.

I was once nearly trampled by a throng of Michael Jackson fans just outside the Log Jammer at Knott’s Berry Farm.  I kept my cool while he walked right by.

One of my good friends told Jennifer Love Hewitt that “he loved her” when we bumped into her at Disneyland.  Her response, “I know…”.  I just kept walking.

I thought that this was because I was somehow “immune” to celebrity.  Like maybe I had seen enough of it and now I was so mature that it didn’t affect me.

That was until I made a complete nincompoop out of myself in front of someone I really admire. (more…)

A Life By The Sword

Cell phone video has already brought us so much bizarre material that I was surprised to find myself deeply unsettled by the footage that came out of Libya last week.

The images of former Libyan Dictator Moammar Gadhafi meeting his grim end were so disturbing that I couldn’t watch.  As I thought about his demise it struck me that most of us don’t get to pick how we will die… only how we will live.

Gadhafi lived out many peculiar eccentricities,  not the least of which was a predilection for things embellished with gold.  Much like Saddam Hussein, Moammar surrounded himself with golden statues, televisions, even bathroom fixtures.

He took great pride in a gold-plated 9mm Browning Hi-Power pistol, keeping it tucked into his pants at all times.

For the better part of three decades Gadhafi has been incapacitated by, at best, a severe narcissism.  The grizzly and public way in which he met his fate made me glad that I live in the United States.

Dragged out of a sewer culvert, the former leader was subject to a baying mob that howled for vengeance. (more…)

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