Those of you who know me understand that I am easily overwhelmed. Why, when I wake up each morning, I am overwhelmed with the realization that I am still among the living and, of course, getting out of bed is also overwhelming. In fact, life for me is simply one overwhelming experience.

A few days ago, I paid a visit to my doctor. To be literally correct, I didn’t pay for the visit—Medicare did. I see my general practitioner every few months, and this was simply a routine check-up, not much different from bringing in your car every so many miles.

This is a cautionary tale, so read it carefully and learn from it. We all tend to believe what we read in print. (I certainly hope so, since my columns appear in print.) But we occasionally forget that something in print, as Ira Gershwin wrote, “Ain’t necessarily so.” That also goes for what…

Those of you who know me know that I am not fast afoot. Nobody confuses me with Fred Astaire or Dick Van Dyke. Because of polio, I have no muscles below the knee in my right leg and so my schlepping through the woods of Sequoia National Park earlier this month did a number on my poor, aching body.

After the fire destroyed our home and everything in it, Karen York had my bride and me over for dinner and gave us some sage advice. She urged us to leave town every now and then to clear our heads from the task of rebuilding that lay ahead. We followed her advice.

Now I know this is going to drive my editor crazy and my exceptional journalism teacher Ernestine Robinson will turn in her grave but I no longer see the need for punctuation and so I insist that this column be without it

I was dreaming the other night, and when I awoke, I had an uncontrollable urge to buy Greenland. You cannot imagine how startled I was to learn that Donald Trump had the same craving. Coincidences abound.

You’re not going to believe it, of this I am certain. Last Friday morning, I was in my rental home minding my own business, doing what I like most—absolutely nothing—when the phone rang or vibrated, or whatever phones do today. My dear friend Oscar Best sounded anxious.

I belong to Diamond’s Malibu Gym. I use the word “belong” not because I pay a monthly fee, which I do, but because I have come to know many of the staff and members, and it seems a bit like belonging to a family.

I am no rocket scientist, to say the least, which is the very point of this column. Read on. Recently, David Dreier, my friend and neighbor until we both lost our homes to the fire, (he is still my friend), suggested I meet another friend of his named Dan Goldin--so far, so good. David thoug…

At my advanced age, I can use any kind of enhancement I can get, so you can imagine my extreme interest—make that delight—when I heard a commercial touting some product that would enhance my brain. Of all my bodily parts that need enhancement, most assuredly, my brain needs it the most.

We have wimps in our midst right here in Malibu. Yes, you heard me correctly—wimps. The other day, I heard a woman complain that it was too hot outside. At the time it was exactly 75 degrees with a mild ocean breeze. That is not hot. That is perfect weather, and why many of us live here in M…

My bride and I just returned from back east—New York City and New York State, to be exact. It was so hot, the cliché “hot as hell” comes to mind. If hell is as hot as New York was, then I had better improve my behavior—immediately. 

I wish I could say it weren’t so, but I am still having trouble with my native tongue. I just don’t understand half the expressions out there. 

OK, that’s it. I’ve had it. Enough already. Give me a break.  Polio, Bernie Madoff, fire and now earthquakes. I am too old to shake, rattle and roll. I am tired of being tested by the power upstairs. Either pass me or flunk me, but enough with the tests. I am expecting locusts any minute.

The downside of writing a weekly column is that it is entirely possible to miss experiencing life. What I mean by this is I am so busy thinking of whether every conversation, sight or smell might possibly be fodder for a column, I do not absorb life directly but rather through the filter of …

It is once again time for me to confess: I am not particularly fond of dogs that are so tiny I cannot sit down without the fear of crushing them, thereby sending them prematurely to doggie heaven; I don’t care for fountains, since whenever a man my age hears running water, a man my age runs …

I was recently reminded of a story which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that sometimes we can learn wisdom from the very young.

Free food is a killer—an absolute curse. Let me explain what I mean. Occasionally, I have stayed at hotels where the meals were included in the price.

My father was very much my mentor. He was philanthropic, loyal, reliable and honest, and I have spent a lifetime trying to live up to his example. We had similar voices, the same dark brown eyes, identical builds and so on. There was one major difference—Dad had good luck and I did not.

Frankly, I don’t care whether taxes go up or down, whether the seas are rising and will drown us all or whether we have single payer health care or no health care at all. It is about time somebody addresses the single most important issue confronting mankind in our time.

No, no, no! I was not literally in the belly of a whale. I am just going the metaphor route once again. The other day, I found myself in what is commonly referred to as “The Blue Whale,” a humongous building situated in an even more humongous complex called the Pacific Design Center. For the…

I just returned from a trip back East, where I stayed at one of those New York City boutique hotels—you know, where the dogs outnumber the human guests. One sits in the lobby sipping coffee watching the dogs sniffing each other. Life doesn't get any better than that.

I was surprised to learn that this month marks the fifth year I have been writing columns for this esteemed publication. It just doesn’t seem that long ago when I started putting my observations in “the cloud,” or wherever it goes when I type into my computer. I have submitted over 200 colum…

Back in the 1950s, there was a weekly show called “I Remember Mama.” I think it was broadcast on CBS and sponsored by Chock full o’Nuts. Those were the days when a show often had a single sponsor. I think of my mom almost every day, and especially around Mother's Day, I like to reminisce.

Let’s get something straight right now before you read any further. If you are of the Christian faith, and you get offended easily, then quit reading this column immediately. There are all kinds of other things to read in this newspaper.

I am reminded of a Swedish movie from the 1960s. Perhaps the movie historians of Malibu can remind me of its title. An Italian man of little physical stature is standing on a train platform when a gorgeous Swedish woman steps off the train and looks right at him. She waves, he waves back, an…

I was sitting there in the dentist’s chair with my mouth agape like some crocodile stretching his jaw muscles. Sue Pierson, my dental hygienist who works for Dr. Niebergall, had her hand in my mouth scraping out the residue of peanut M&Ms that I had accumulated at the Malibu Film Society…

There are angels living in our midst. My friend and neighbor Karen Goddard is such an angel. When Karen learned that my library of books went up in flames, she bought me my first book—“The King and Queen of Malibu.”

Since ATF (after the fire), I have been more aware of my dreams than BTF (before the fire). I’m not sure why, but sometimes the why is not that important.

The recent personal attacks on the late Senator John McCain by Trump remind me of a story that I will tell you now.

Let me be honest with you—there are not many advantages to having your home burn down. No matter how hard I try to convert lemons into lemonade, I seem to end up with more lemons. But I don’t give up easily, and I am constantly trying to find ways to reap benefits from this tragedy.

The prestigious, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times, known by Trumpsters as the purveyor of fake news, recently reported the death of Karl Lagerfeld. They referred to Mr. Lagerfeld as “the designer who defined luxury fashion.”

I am drawn—magnetically pulled—back to my pile of debris, which not that long ago was my beautiful home. As if by staring at the rubble long enough, somehow I believe my home could miraculously reassemble like a film seen in reverse. The toppled chimneys would rise upright again to their rig…

For those of you suffering from survivor’s guilt, please do not feel guilty on my account because I lost my home and you did not. I hope I would not be overcome by guilt if the tables were turned. I am obviously sad that I lost my home, but am happy you still have yours.

None of you knew my bride’s brother, Walt Gavin. You would have liked him. Walt was (how very strange and painful to use the past tense) a courageous, caring human being. My bride and I said farewell to Walt back in November as the fires consumed our home. We will never regret going to North…

My bride and I were recently looking at a video of our former home and its belongings. A friend of mine suggested, years ago, that we have a professional take a detailed video in the unlikely chance our home burned and, of course, it did. We kept the video in a safe deposit box and made a co…

Ever since the fire took my home back in November, almost everybody I meet, be they friend or total stranger, greets me with pretty much the identical refrain: “Is there anything I can do?” Often, the following is added: “If there is just anything, please let me know.”

There was a time not that long ago, BTF (before the fire), when I had about everything material I could possibly want. I had several TVs, a desktop computer, a car, a wrist watch,  dozens of socks, a colander, and even more. What more could a man possibly want? The fact is that every Christm…

Occasionally, a coincidence can be spooky. A case in point is a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King and me, which was taken at a train station in Boston after I hosted Dr. King at a Harvard function back in the 1960s. Actually, the photo was of Dr. Martin Luther King, me, and a third person, but…

I am very fond of Ellie Somerfield. How could I not be? She is my biggest fan. Ellie not only reads my column every week, she actually cuts them out of the paper and gives them to friends. 

The publisher of this esteemed publication has requested that those of us who contribute to The Malibu Times might want to write some kind of year in review. Being a most obedient and dutiful person, I hereby offer the following:

A rental house is not your home. They say “there is no place like home for the holidays,” and those of us who are spending the holidays in a rental house know that all too well.

I would be lying if I told you I look forward to the holiday season, and I don't like to lie. The problem is, I haven't a clue what to buy for other people, and I certainly don't know what they can buy for me, except for sour pickles. I like sour pickles. I actually like chocolate also, but …

If Ripley were to have a contest for who in the world is wrong most of the time, I am confident I would be one of the finalists. I am living proof that somebody with a Harvard education can be wrong more often than not. I know you, my loyal reader, think I must be exaggerating, but trust me …

In the song "I think It's Going To Rain Today," the great songwriter Randy Newman refers to "human kindness overflowing." I have experienced such human kindness overflowing ever since I returned to Malibu from a trip to the East Coast only to find my beautiful home reduced to a pile of debris.

If you believe it is too early to laugh or smile, then don't read this blog. For me, it is never too soon to laugh. Laughter gets me through the dark days, and these days have most assuredly been dark. So, here goes:

Friends have pointed out how ironic it is that my bride and I, who have worked to find housing for Malibu's homeless population, now find ourselves without a home.

I write this column with a heavy heart. Like many of you, we lost our home. I say home, not house, because it held our memories, and that, after all, is what a home is.

My most recent column referred to a box of chocolates, and that in turn reminded me of something that happened several years ago, which remains stuck in my mind.

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