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What Should You Feed Your Pet?

October 24, 2014

Dogs on Special Diets

We pet owners swap parenting stories just like those with human children do. The other day, a neighbor was complaining about her poodle being a finicky eater. She buys all her provisions at a place called Just Food for Dogs which features such products as beef & russet potato, turkey and whole wheat macaroni, and venison with squash. This is a common conversation in L.A. I feed Rose some kibble with a little chicken thrown in. Am I a bad mother or what?

I Heart New York

October 23, 2014

Alexandra Pacula

Ten days after 9/11, I flew to lower Manhattan for a conference. It had been scheduled a year in advance. Before going, colleagues discussed whether it was wise to make the trip, and we all decided it was imperative to participate. There was such unspeakingable sadness in the city then. With no taxis allowed below Canal Street, I was dropped off and had to walk with my luggage the five blocks to the hotel, which was also a staging area for first responders. It was a devastating time. And yet I remember thinking that New York, out of all places, had the resilience, creative capital and relentless energy to survive and thrive. Take that, Ebola.

Painting by Alexandra Pacula


What Will You Be Wearing for Halloween?

October 22, 2014

Halloween tree.Glen Brogan


Illustration by Glen Brogan

One Fine Day

October 21, 2014

Amazing.Mel Bochner

Today, I could no longer delay a car repair I’d been fretting about. When I got the call from my neighborhood mechanic that the car was ready, I walked over with dread. He took my credit card and sighed, “you’re not going to like this.” I took a deep breath. But then he grinned and said, “no charge!” We hugged. When I told him I had to race home to watch the World Series, the mechanic whispered that he was a Giants fan, not something readily admitted to in L.A. We hugged again. To top it off, the Giants just took the first game 7 – 1.

Amazing by Mel Bochner


Oscar de la Renta, RIP

October 20, 2014

Oscar de la Renta gown

Even I was enchanted by George Clooney’s marriage to the fabulous Amal Alamuddin, featured in this photo, as she’s being fitted for her gown designed by Oscar de la Renta. News was just announced of de la Renta’s death at the age of 82.

End of Week Zen

October 17, 2014

Austin Kleon

Today, a friend who is an accomplished poet and writing teacher, admitted that she never finished Giliad by Marilynne Robinson. I didn’t either. What acclaimed book did you quit?

Illustration by Austin Kleon

Do You Get a Flu Shot?

October 16, 2014

Ivan Navarro

With all the ebola hysteria, it’s a good time to remember the virus we’re infinitely more likely to get, especially because there’s something we can do about it. A few years ago, I was finally persuaded to get my first flu shot by a doctor friend who works in a free clinic. He explained that the shot may not be so important for me, given that I’m healthy and would likely survive the flu. But I could transmit it to someone who is more vulnerable.

Sculpture by Ivan Navarro


Why We Still Need Pennies

October 15, 2014

Robert Wechsler

Yesterday, I got an indicator on my iMac that the trackpad batteries were low. Apple’s design is so seamless, I couldn’t see where the opening was to remove the batteries. So I googled it and found an illustration with clear instructions which began with, “Use a coin to remove the battery compartment cover.” And I wondered, who keeps coins around anymore?

Sculptural cube made from pennies by Robert Wechsler


The Upside of Getting Emotional

October 14, 2014

Simon Evans

“Whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.”  - E.E. Cummings  (born on this day).

Feelings by Simon Evans



When Was the Last Time You Read Outloud?

October 13, 2014

Tom Gauld

I’m in a wonderful book group. Right now, we’re reading The Waves by Virginia Woolf, which I find pleasurable, but difficult. Last night, when we assembled for our monthly discussion, someone suggested we each take a character and read passages of the book out loud. It was an inspired way to absorb Woolf’s complicated prose. Try it sometime with other adults (or by yourself). It’s liberating.

Illustration by Tom Gauld