Fri05272016

Blame it on Rio: No Shoes, Please

In 2008, I wrote a column explaining why I thought Beijing was an inappropriate venue for that year’s Summer Olympic Games. I cited health risks: the city’s terrible pollution and the country’s corrupt food supply chain. I also noted that the “only gold medals count” mentality of the Chinese government was antithetical to the spirit of the Olympics themselves.

Everything I wrote was already well-known. The air in Beijing was infamously foggy with contaminants. The director of the State Food and Drug Administration had just been executed – yes, put to death – for accepting bribes and egregious dereliction of duty. Chinese athletes openly spoke about how the governing bodies of their respective sports considered silver medals to be worthless.

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Housewives of LA: The Villaj Idiut

Bumble waiter: Hello, ladies. May I take your drink order?

Housewife No. 1: I don’t see this on your menu, but I had this really superb wine at the Rosewood spa last week when I was getting my mani, pedi, herbal facial, Brazilian wax, back wax, tramp-stamp enhancement and three-hour hot-stone massage. I got a glass with each treatment, it was only like $15 a glass. I think it was called “Charles Shaw.”

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Spoken English: No Shoes, Please

Cathy and I come from similar backgrounds. Our families are close, and our mothers remain confidantes to this day. I hadn’t seen her in a very long time, but recently, in the space of six weeks, we’ve attended the same two funerals.

At funeral No. 2, my sister and I walked with Cathy to the parking lot, followed by an entourage of our Japanese elders: my mother, Cathy’s mother and Cathy’s aunt and uncle. As per usual, one group chatted amiably among themselves entirely in Japanese, the other group entirely in English. Periodically, we would crosstalk in our respective native tongues, but for the most part we stayed in our linguistic, generational lanes.

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The good mother: Haugh About That?

With her frail, pencil-thin body lying on the living room couch, I held my mother’s 85-year-old hand as she asked the same question, again: “Honey, was I a good mother?”

Bending over the shriveled frame that once held the sophistication of Coco Chanel and the unconditional love of the Blessed Mother, I kissed her cheek, feeling impatient. Then, looking into her pleading eyes, I reassured, “I don’t know why you keep asking this. You’re the best mother a girl could have.”

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Out of the mouths of babes: Haugh About That?

Drowning my sorrows in a stiff glass of Cabernet, I sat alone in the dark late one evening and moaned, “God, what am I doing wrong?”

After seven years of coaching both fall and spring league, you’d think I’d have the softball gig down, but that was not the case. In 1992, I was given the task of herding a group of 7- to 9-year-old kittens that couldn’t catch a fly ball or connect with the bat. We weren’t just bad, we stank, and I’d lost all confidence in my ability to run the team.

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It's still about the water: A Piece of My Mind

My husband and I took a road trip a few weeks ago, driving from Los Altos down to Bakersfield on Interstate 5 and then east to Sedona, Ariz., returning via Bakersfield and then up Highway 101.

As far as the Pacheco Pass, the landscape was lyrically green with oaks and buckeyes sporting fresh foliage, and wildflowers filling the crevices between the hills with streams of yellow mustard, buttercups and golden poppies. Rock outcroppings were wreathed in ribbons of late-rising fog like the karst peaks in traditional Chinese landscapes.

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Get out of my vey: The Villaj Idiut

Memo to Google: The speed limit is only a suggestion.

Even Johnny Law acknowledges that you can pretty much go 9 mph over the posted speed limit and they don’t really care – unless you are on Interstate 280, where you have to go 29 mph over the speed limit or you’ll get run over.

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