Magic Castles and Brisket

Random thoughts while trying to figure out how to get off Coronado:

The fancier the bar, the less I love it.

The worst thing about a Friday? Discovering it’s only Thursday.

Best line on Cary Grant: “He made men seem like a good idea.”

A belated Happy Mother’s Day.

How come there’s no Brother’s Day?

There should definitely be a “Dolly Parton Day.”

Believe it or not, we’re halfway to Halloween.

I hate when bands break up.

Or athletes switch teams.  

Same thing?

No, I didn’t forget your name. I’m probably just “buffering.”

Hotel Del is California’s Magic Castle.

Doctors are better at finding ailments than fixing them.

Life’s most underrated ingredient: Camaraderie 

Best energy drink? Beer.

If you had a good mother, you were “born to wealth,” as they used to say.

“I opened books like jars.” (writer Annie Dillard, on reading as a child)

When did oil changes hit 100 bucks?

Or “picking up a few things at the store” cost $150?

Trivia question: Who invented Mother’s Day?

Dear Aaron Rodgers: Didn’t work for Montana. Didn’t work for Favre. But jumping teams might work for you.

The Lakers’ Austin Reaves looks like Gomer Pyle.

But he plays like John Stockton.

“Air” was much better than I expected. Five stars.

And Jason Bateman rocks every role.

“The Hangover” is the funniest movie of all time.

But for sly and smart, I’ll still take “The Graduate.”

On a personal note: Somehow, I bought see-thru dog bags.

If there anything that shouldn’t be see-thru, it’s dog bags.

FYI, Times Square was once a red maple swamp. Some would still call that progress.

Looking for BBQ: Try “Craft” in Pasadena for tender brisket and free shots. Five stars.

Really. Free.

If I had a plumbing company, I’d call it The Drain Trust.

To me, Teslas sound like boy bands.

I still prefer a car that sounds like Robert Mitchum.

Life tip: Always go with the opaque dog bags.

May birthdays: Stevie Wonder, 73; Adele, 35; David Beckham, 48; Mark Zuckerberg, 39.

Paul Newman’s memoir is as candid, raw and entertaining as he was.

My favorite actor is still Dick Shawn.

As I recall, Johnny Carson never let a writer’s strike shut down “The Tonight Show.”

Different era, different work ethic.

“Nothing works until you do.” (Maya Angelou)

Really, how come there’s no Brother’s Day?

Inflation’s best friend: Greed.

Trivia answer: Anna Jarvis invented Mother’s Day, then later turned on the holiday when it became too commercial.

Trivia question II: Who paid her retirement home costs?

“Ted Lasso” should be shown a red card.

The reason? The punchlines are too long.

Plus, what have they done to poor Nate?

“Writing is… an intimate letter to a stranger.”(Pico Iyer)

If TV had a Hall of Fame, “Seinfeld” writer Peter “Yada Yada” Mehlman would be first ballot.

So would David Lloyd, who penned the famed Chuckles episode on “Mary Tyler Moore.”

Trivia answer II: The floral and greeting card industries paid Jarvis’ retirement home costs.

Go Dodgers!

Go Lakers!

Go figure, right?

“When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.” (George Burns)

Good night, Gracie.

For past columns, please go to Email the author at

Coming Saturday: Pancakes with a pal.

17 thoughts on “Magic Castles and Brisket

  1. We are of one mind on The Hangover, The Graduate and Paul Newman. Love the George Burns quote, too. And definitely go with the opaque. Thanks for a big smile to start my Hump Day!

  2. Don’t tell the Magic Castle that the Hotel Del is the Magic Castle, they may get confused. Also, I knew we had a lot in common, but this just proves why I continue to read you. Yesterday after speaking to attorneys (I work with the good ones) we said the youngin’s would never get the Seinfield references like “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”, loved the Yadda Yadda reference. Go Dodgers indeed. You had me at Dick Shawn.

  3. Oh, this was one of your finest. There are so many gems. My favorite though has to be the one about Cary Grant. “He made men seem like a good idea.” Damn, that’s funny and still true today.

  4. Yes on The Hangover, The Graduate, Mehlman, and Lloyd. However…the Magic Castle is California’s Magic Castle. And Carson may have reacted differently to a writer’s strike if there were 50 zillion videos of him driving across the picket line at NBC that were all being posted to social media. Different time. Different media.

  5. I was just thinking of Dick Shawn the other day………..Springtime for Hitler…..he was so damn funny in The Producers and if you ever saw him on a talk show you were in for a treat! I will have to read Paul Newman’s book, now that you have brought that up! Always a pleasure to read your column, I never get to the end without a smile, some nostalgia and sometimes a hearty laugh!!! Keep em coming!

  6. -I had to look up Dick Shawn, and I’m only a little younger than you. IMBD said that he was “an acquired taste” for fans. That makes sense.
    -Ted Lasso still rocks, but yes, you have to hang in there for the punch lines. Abraham Lincoln was the same way, and his humor wore on some people.
    -I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, or Boss’s Day, but I’m all in for Mother’s Day.
    -Your random thoughts posts are always highly entertaining. Thank you!

    1. In 1997 I told my wife that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark conspiracy. She then divorced me (wish I knew beforehand that’s all it was going to take).

  7. Peter O’Toole once circled the highest victorian tower at The Del in a bosun’s chair airily suspended from a crane (in the film”The Stuntman”, I think”) and breezily yelled “Cut!!”. To me, this implied that the place was at least a movie set (“Some Like It Hot”), or more probably a dream of a victorian beach hotel more intensely realized than a Disneyland ride. I’ve stayed there, played there, attended wedding receptions there, and run the beach, the town, and the strand wisping off to the south countless times, through several hotel ownership incarnations.. Getting off the once-upon-a-time island and over that soaring bridge to the mainland freeway can be arduous and make the mind wander, but voila!—in recall we have this column. Much more than an even trade, I would think. And then there is that picture of the little girl that follows…marvelous beyond description, though I think Ira Gershwin in a memorable song lyric once tried to do so; and, of course, failed.

  8. When I’m in the vaulted-ceilinged great room of The Del I seem to see a faint pale blue haze, hear the dreamlike yet remembered swish of skirts against flesh, and detect the acrid resonance of history in the air. So yes, I guess it is my kind of joint….

    As for what script (or shooter) was being shot, I plead the fifth ( on the table).

  9. Loved this column, so many things I agree with you on! BTW Stevie Wonder getting an honorary degree at Fordham University on5/20. I’ll be there to see my granddaughter get hers too!

  10. If you ever want a good internal laugh, go to your local grocery store on Mother’s Day or Valentine’s day at 6:30 am. You’ll see scores of men in the checkout line with flowers in one hand and a greeting card in the other.

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