This comes to you from the frozen north of the San Fernando Valley in what used to be known as sunny Southern California. I have been out here since the first week in November and there has yet to be a day where gloves, a wool hat, and multiple cashmere sweaters were not de rigueur.
I have made it through Thanksgiving, LA traffic, an overcrowded resort in the desert in what I remembered as a fabulous oasis of my past, survived a major USC football loss (costing my team the Pac-12 championship and a chance to compete with the best of the best) and none of it comes even close to the discomfort I have felt at being this cold for this long.
There is, despite the cold, a sense of gratitude… knowing I am only weeks away from a return to my warm island is number one on my list.
What with family and the reconnoitering with friends from the old days, there has been precious little time for streaming, let alone reviewing much of what is being presented either with or without holiday wrappings. Mercifully, White Lotus is over… a truly guilty pleasure if ever there was one. I am not a huge fan of the series, but this latest incarnation (season two) is a great improvement over the initial offering.
Season One was all about money and greed, this second season is all about sex. Sex is better. It also takes place in a posh resort in Italy which, let’s face it, is way superior to anything Hawaii has to offer. If you are one of the few who has yet to see this HBO offering, go ahead and watch. You may hate yourself afterward, but it is (in truth) not all that bad.
Sharon and I are now into season five of Outlander and still enjoying it. Every time I find myself thinking they have finally worn out the fundamental premise of the thing, the producers find a way to rope me back into this lushly produced and beautifully cast historical drama. It continues to keep us from watching much of anything else.
Having failed to keep up with the latest in motion picture and television offerings, let me at least attempt to ease the burden of last-minute Christmas shopping. Under the heading of “be careful what you wish for” here are some things you might want to take off your Christmas lists:
The Mont Blanc pen: Quite simply, it leaks… all the time… especially on planes.
Vilebrequin Swimming Trunks: This could well be the cruelest joke of all. Not only do they average $250 more per suit than a better product anyone can buy on-line from Land’s End, they also don’t fit… anyone. They don’t dry any faster, the interior lining is binding to the point where it is often removed by customers who buy labels rather than quality. By the way, they don’t last any longer than the much cheaper versions and often fade quicker.
Rolex Watches: It doesn’t give nearly as much information as my on-line wristwatch which was purchased for comparative chump change via Amazon, and (face it) The Rolex can only be counted on for accuracy twice a day… and then only when it has stopped running.
Vintage Bentley convertibles: Monuments to style over substance. Beautiful to look at but as is the case with too many beautiful women… these are designed to break your heart. As for the new ones… well, VW makes all the moving parts work better, but they still leave it to the English to design and build the bodywork. You will better understand the meaning of that when you find it necessary to have a headlight replaced. How many men does it take to change a light bulb? On a Bentley it is about four thousand George Washingtons. Seems it is necessary to dismantle a great deal of the front end of the car to get the job done.
One final thought for those of you nearing retirement:
Staff: Underappreciated while you are working and missed terribly once you have left the workforce. If you are rich enough to buy Mont Blanc pens, Vilebrequin swimming trunks, Rolex Watches, and the like, then you might want to consider eschewing those things and, with the money you save, keep the staff on the payroll. A true bargain in retirement and one you richer folks will truly miss once they are gone.
Retired or not, I hope you have a Merry Christmas and to all this fervent wish: stay well and stay warm… anyway you can.
Follow Barney at:
To purchase “Cagney & Lacey and Me” go to: