Park bench in Calabasas, CA

In case you’ve never heard of her, if you’ve watched tv in the seventies or eighties or have seen a movie in that time you have seen her. I’ll leave you with “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

"Can you watch my things?"

Today at the beach, there was a mother next to us with four kids. She absolutely never shut up. I told Bernie she’s the sort of person who has children just so there’s a captive audience to listen to her non-stop stream of trivia. When she gathered the family to go for a hike, I […]

Topanga Traffic Cone

Frank’s traffic cone post inspired me to show him how it’s done in Topanga. This neighbor has a GREEN traffic cone, at the ready, for any situation that might come his way:

Helicopter in Topanga

Yesterday John and I were sitting on the yurt steps and watching the dogs roll around in the grass. I saw a red helicopter fly over us. I noted it wasn’t a news chopper, police or fire either. There was something odd about it– perhaps its trajectory or speed–that I couldn’t put my finger on. […]

Topanga Creek Cleanup

An article in the local Topanga newspaper gave details of an Earth Day creek cleanup. It explained the bagging of cans, bottles, and other trash, and then they found a couch which was


I took Isa on a hike in Topanga State Park. The weather was quite warm, so I reminded Isa to be careful of rattlesnakes. About a mile into our hike, a couple warned us that “about a quarter mile up, there’s a big one right off the trail, on the left.” I thanked them and […]


This has been bothering me for a great while, and now is just endemic:Everyone? Here? Raises every statement that they are telling you? As like, a question? And then there’s the ‘thank you.’ It sounds like “Hank-KYOUU!!” from every female I’ve come across locally. This was pointed out to me by a screenwriter whose name […]


Yesterday, as I was driving, I happily slowed down for a procession of about six horses, walking single file in an orderly line, as far to the side of the road as possible. I have never seen a line of cyclists do this. I’ve written here and here about my war with cyclists. But up […]

their least popular stamp

In Topanga, a typical trip to the post office consists of waiting in line, listening to this sort of exchange: Customer: How much to send this package to Portland? Person behind counter: When do you need it to get there? (several minutes later, they have agreed on a class of postage that balances the need […]

Voting in Topanga Canyon

My old pot dealer’s wife checked me in. I said, “I’m John Levenstein, American.” She started laughing, then couldn’t stop laughing, and things bogged down for a while. The other woman running the polling place put a provisional ballot in the official ballot box by mistake, and then swore us all to secrecy.