You Are My Sunshine

Valentine’s alert: The Wall Street Journal reports that the traditional dinner date is all but dead, given a 17% spike in restaurant prices.

Also, more couples on first dates apparently are splitting the bill, so there’s one tiny victory for men, who absolutely suck, at least according to most women, until it comes time to pay for sushi, or win a war, or go into the garage to see what that strange thud was.

“You go,” I used to tell Posh. “You’re tougher,” which was true and a total compliment.

Look, I don’t date anymore anyway. I’ve been broken too many times, first by the ’69 Chicago Cubs, then by Marsha Emerson in the 11th grade, then by No-Kiss Kelly, 50 years after high school, when she still refused a simple goodnight kiss, though bless her for at least feigning interest. In a pretty smile, I always see hope for humanity.

Lately, I’ve been seeing one of the most-incredible women since Helen of Troy. Will she kiss me? Only if I buy her dinner first. Fortunately, she’s an LA girl.

“So, you wanna split a French fry,” I ask as we open our menus.

“I’m not that hungry,” she says.

And onward we go.

You know who really owns me now? Cakes, my granddaughter. She stomps around the house like Marlon Brando, chewing scenery, but in that playful way Brando had while soaking up every bit of attention he possibly could.

Cakes’ favorite actor is Elmo, from Sesame Street, and when I really want to get her attention, I imitate Elmo’s screechy falsetto.

“Hi Cakes, I’m Elmo,” I say, then launch into song. “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”

By then, she is looking at me funny. Did I swallow Elmo, or am I somehow possessed by Elmo? Or is Papa drunk again, like at Christmas when I slow-danced with the tree.

If you were me, you’d drink a little too.

Still, I have value, right? Don’t answer right away. Think about it, then DM me with your thoughts.

“The aim of life is self-development,” wrote Oscar Wilde.

Now you tell me?

The other morning, I get an SOS from the lovely and patient older daughter. Her tummy really hurt, so she asked me to race over and watch Cakes for a few hours, while she continued her Zooms.

By the way, no one takes sick days anymore, at least most of us. Yet, there are always a few co-workers who take ALL THEIR SICK DAYS, no matter what. In that disparity, you can find all that’s wrong with people.

Anyway, the lovely and patient older daughter had that cold that’s been going around, including a bad tummy ache, and a general distrust of men, which is also a symptom of this particular virus.

Honestly, I think her tummy ache stems more from the way my daughter eats — way too much Thai food.

As my physician (Dr. Steve) explains it: The American immune system recognizes cheeseburgers, Trader Joe’s cookies, Pink’s hotdogs, See’s chocolates, Twinkies and the beef dip from Philippe’s, thanks to 300,000 years of human evolution. But the American immune system does not yet recognize (nor process) krapow moo saap.

Me, I could eat krapow moo saap 25/7, no matter the physical cost.

So, to recap: A really nasty cold is sweeping LA. Take this short quiz if you feel it coming on:

–Do you grunt when you bend over to tie your shoes?

We all do. You’re fine.

–Do you physically scoff in the back of your throat every time they predict an El Niño?

We all do. Carry on.

–Does your tummy feel like James Cameron is filming a sequel in there?

Bingo! Drink plenty of fluids. Steer clear of stuff that makes you pant, like Grammy telecasts and social media debates over Ron DeSantis.

If you’re really desperate, I could send over my beloved White Fang. Dr. Fang is some sort of husky/werewolf mix, yet she has a degree from a med school in the Caribbean.

If White Fang can’t fix you, I’ll send over my pal Forrest, who seems to have a firm grip on all that troubles us these days.

“Like what?” you ask.

Well, a dire lack of taste, civility and epic love stories.

Forrest writes: “It does seem as though humanity, of late, has turned upon itself, consuming some of the human beauty that has informed its art.

“I think we’re probably OK until Elvis leaves the building, too, and maybe Leonard Cohen, Vivaldi, Stan Getz, and perhaps a few others. Sarah Vaughan and Sinatra come immediately to mind.”

In short: The world doesn’t have time for love songs anymore.

Yet, onward we go.

Props to those who joined the Happy Hour Hiking Club on Saturday, for a rigorous little jaunt through Fryman Canyon. Extra props to Carol Schmiederer for arranging our post-hike pit stop at the glorious Pineapple Hill saloon. You guys are fun, funny and appreciative. Stay tuned for details on a west side hike soon and another gin party. Wanna support this operation? Buy some gin glasses or a book at Thanks and cheers.

17 thoughts on “You Are My Sunshine

  1. Your value? Hmmm…I’d say priceless. Been reading these columns for years. Definitely priceless.

    1. I didn’t need time to think about it. You not only have value, you are the very embodiment of it. Your columns in the LA Times were — all by themselves — worth the subscription price. I still subscribe, but only because “an object in motion tends to stay in motion.” I read you here online, but if I had my druthers, I’d druther you were back at the Times. You would make it a better paper.

  2. I’m with Bonnie. And your pictures of Cakes are priceless too. Love that grown-up pose, with what looks like a pacifier in her mouth? Priceless. Carry on, Grandpa Elmo.

  3. Seriously, you wonder if you still have value? This devoted reader says ABSOLUTELY! Your writings bring joy and laughter – something so needed in this world today. And, I don’t even need to ask her, but I am certain that Catty Cakes thinks she has the best Grandpa in all the world. We need you! Keep these coming.

  4. I have 70+ years of dining at Philippes and have introduced countless others to sawdust and double dips. The BEST!

  5. …onward we go… “boats against the current…” You’re still my fav columnist, and an amazing writer.

  6. Always enjoy your take and always a fun read. Enjoy that little sweetie, Cakes, she will grow up before your eyes! The taste in music — from you and another writer is superlative. Also — Thai food is a favourite always — Need Pad Thai to keep going!!
    Keep ’em comin’! — and extra treats for your beautiful canine!!

  7. Last in family to get Covid ! Thought those bacon wrapped hot dogs outside Hussongs in Ensenada would keep every bug away !


  8. Did you know that the song You Are My Sunshine was written by a former Governor of Louisiana? He wrote and sang classic country songs including Be Nobody’s Darlin But Mine.

  9. The giant crimson.balloon of Valentine’s Day lies just over the thin blue Winter horizon, about to release its atmospheric flood of emotional color.. its immersive atmosphere resolves many ambiguities, and I feel it will do so, here. The tropical dissolving power of red, like a Jimmy Buffett song, can make a cheeseburger and fries in the rouge L.A. haze seem like manna from heaven. A dark vermillion kiss or two can do the rest—Oh! That rose madder love of the flesh. Offer to split anything after the ballon goes up and you will be overwhelmed by the response; and you won’t go hungry. I may not think this, but I feel it; and know it.

  10. What is a ballon? Is it pennies from heaven passing a balloon going the opposite way?? Only this @&$$&@)(::($!!! Text editor knows for sure! I pray for voice to text, though i’m occasionally not careful what I wish for.

  11. I’m writing for all of those who have seen all the pacifier-grandkids grow up and go!!
    We had a “binky” in every drawer, glove compartment, pocket ready for emergencies!! Enjoy your Cakes❤️

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