Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Burlesque in Santa Monica

A late night decision yesterday to hear some live music at a Jazz Club brought us to one of my old stapes, Harvelle's in Santa Monica, on 4th street near the Promenade. It was Tuesday night, and it turns out that Tuesday is burlesque night at Harvelle's.

Both my friend and I were were astounded. It wasn't quite striptease, but it was girls with G-strings doing splits, walking on the bar, hanging upside down over the young patrons who stiffened in their seats, not knowing where to look and what to do...

We felt like we had an out of world (or at least out of Santa Monica) experience. And you can have it too. Every Tuesday evenings, from 10pm, at Harvelle's.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Anti-Bacterial Everything

A recent NYTimes article spoke to something I've believed for a long time - that the proliferation of anti-bacterial products - hand-creams, cleansers, fabrics, etc... is not good for us.

For two reasons:

The first and obvious one is that just as the proliferation of antibiotics use has created strains of drug resistant bacteria, so the proliferation of these anti-bacerials is creating anti-bacterial resistant bacteria.

The second - that we probably need a bit of dirt in our environment to properly develop our immune defenses. Children who are raised in too sterile an environment may develop immune deficiencies including a difficulty in fighting disease, but also a proliferation of auto-immune diseases, such as allergies.

I'd say that the empirical evidence may even back up these ideas. We don't seem to be any healthier (measured by days of being under the weather) than we've been before, and we certainly seem to be developing more allergies.

Anecdotally, I remember once being told that Polio was a disease that was almost unheard of before the 20th century. The reason being that Polio is a disease that doesn't cause any harm if it's acquired in the first three months of life. And before the 20th century, the general level of filth ensured that almost all babies did acquire it in those first three months. It was only with increased sanitation that many children were not exposed to Polio early enough, and when they did encounter it at a later age, it caused paralisis, and was sometimes even lethal. No, I'm not recommending that we go back to 19th century sanitation levels, but we may be going too far in the other direction.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I've been watching Angelina Jolie's weight loss with somewhat horrified fascination. I equate her weight loss with something that happens to me. It's not anorexia. But I get stressed, and then food becomes anxiety provoking. In my normal mode I wake up hungry every morning, but in my anxious state, coffee with a lot of sugar is the most I can take, and I start losing weight.

I have never gotten anywhere near as skinny as Angelina Jolie. And I'm not comparing here... But I'm fascinated by how someone who seems to have it all and do it all - great career, great guy, great kids, lots of money, a real impact on the world (consider how many additional children have been adopted thanks to her example), can get so anxious that she loses all sense of proportion, and seems to start literally starving herself to death.

I know there's a lot of Angelina Jolie hatred out there, and maybe
that's part of the story that she's facing, but when you consider that what
she's doing to herself indicates (at least to me) tremendous personal pain,
you've got to have sympathy, and also wonder what it all means.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I spent the evening last night with a friend in Santa Monica. We walked around the 3rd street promenade around 8:30pm looking for a place to have a light dinner. But every place we looked was either too formal or depressingly empty. Until we finally had the brilliant idea of going to that old hippie dippie yogi movie star hangout - Real Food Daily near 5th on Santa Monica Blvd.

Good choice. It was packed - with only one empty table - great vibe, and comforting food. It was only an hour later, when the diners started leaving that we realized that almost all, without exception, were carrying their yoga mats with them.

Which, for those of you unfamiliar, means that they had just come from Bryan Kest's donation-only yoga class on Arizona and 5th. Pretty clever of Real Food Daily to setup shop just a block away from Bryan Kest. And it kind of explains why the Beverly Hills branch of the restaurant had to close down. No yoga to speak of in Beverly Hills.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bait and Switch

I got an e-mail from Gap this morning. It's their birthday, so they're giving online customers 10% off and free shipping, today only.

So I logged onto their web site and it was down for maintenance and upgrades...

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Half Car

As you may have heard, the Smart Car - that's been around in Europe for at least 5 years, is finally coming to the U.S., but only in early 2008.

Some vital statistics - it's a two seater (spacious seats), and the fairly loaded model (A/C, AT, front and side airbags) lists for about $13,500. Which is not bad compared to the Mini Cooper (about $30,000). Fuel economy similar to the Prius.

It's just what someone like me needs. I have one car, but need another half car for when my kids are home, when I have guests, or when I just want to save some gas and find easier parking while tooling around town.

Plus, with its low introductory price, (compare to about $20,000 in Europe) I bet the Smart car will maintain its value for the next few years.

The only fly in the ointment is that it's made by a German manufacturer (Mercedes Benz together in a consortium with Swatch). That's unfortunate. But I guess I'll choose to ignore that fact.

When I saw and heard and test drived I was ready to buy one immediately, but to my chagrin it will only be available in early 2008. So I reserved one. You can do the same my sweet and faithful reader, at Then we can all compare and decide who chose the best color combo.