Decline and Fall of the Anglo Empire

Yet another insane bill has passed through the madhouse called the California State Legislature and now awaits the undead governor’s signature. Indeed, one of the few signs of life he showed during the campaign that brought him back ...

January Jones and Jon Hamm


Mad Men: Escape to Camelot

Television—thanks to the profit motive—is intensely imitative. If any type of show is successful, a horde will suddenly appear of usually lesser and shorter-lived knockoffs. In one season, the networks may be overwhelmed by alien ...

Bert and Ernie


The Love That Won’t Shut Up

Maybe it’s my age—or maybe life really is getting crazier—but even for California, it feels ever more to me that we have slipped down a rabbit hole. The latest evidence for this is the push to have the characters Bert and Ernie on ...


A Tale of Two Riots

Buildings and cars burning, mobs looting, outnumbered police incapable of restoring order—London in 2011. As I watch the news on television and the spilling of civil unrest into other cities, The Clash’s London Calling is running ...


The Pink Elephant in the Schoolroom

I thought I was inured to the unspeakable stupidity oozing out of Sacramento’s State Capitol, but I am still after half a century sometimes shocked to see what emerges from the baboons inhabiting those august and ornate halls. Our ...

Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio


Yet Another Unglamorous Hollywood Scandal

Hard to believe though it may be, another scandal involving A-list actors is rocking Hollywood. There are all the usual hallmarks of moral decay—big-name stars (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tobey Maguire); illicit ...

Mount Shasta


The Ascended Masters of Mt. Shasta

Living in a state where the elected leadership tends to fall somewhere between the criminal and the brain-dead, it is always a relief to turn from the political to the real. The meaning of “real” is debatable: As English authoress ...


An Impermanent Paradise Called California (Part Two)

The California that gave us the film industry was far from a blank slate. In addition to the land barons, Midwesterners, and gurus whom I mentioned last time, there had also been an influx of creative types. After Mark Twain and Bret ...

Santa Monica, CA


An Impermanent Paradise Called California

In February, fresh from the great victory at Oxford, I went to a dinner party in London. At one point my historian friend asked: "€œDon"€™t you miss Europe?"€ My response was a halting "€œYe-e-e-e-s-s-s, but..."€ It is ...

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