thinkingThe last time California was slammed by a drought I wasn’t living here but I heard all about the emergency measures people were taking and talking about – pails in showers, bricks in toilets, dying lawns, an emergency waterline to Marin. This time around, however, I hardly hear anything. Where’s the panic? Ski resorts and Valley farms have been hit hard but the impact in the Bay Area is almost invisible. Pictures of receding reservoirs have disappeared from the news. Even this summer’s drought driven wildfires have drifted off the radar. A few months ago there were threats from some water districts of added charges to our bills but I have not seen any on mine. And now that we have a few spritzes of rain the Golden State is once again in a state of denial.

I was always puzzled how the cell phone industry was able to get consumers to upgrade every six months by adding a new bell or whistle to their products. The companies seemed like bullies, the consumers like sheep. I’ve softened my hostility a bit with the advent of the new, bigger 6G iPhone. The timing of its arrival couldn’t be better for us codgers whose eyesight is not what it used to be.

I understand older people who resist medical treatment and hospitalization. They are not just being paranoid. It turns out that the third leading cause of death in US is hospital error. A recent study found that infections were at the top of the list, far above blood embolisms and “dangerous objects left in patients’ bodies”. 440,000 people die every year in hospitals from preventable errors. As we used to say in our youth, “Bummer”. Meanwhile billions are being spent to prolong life far into future. The research results are mixed but the Buck Institute in Marin announced recently that they have quintupled the life of lab worms. Awesome.

If there was any time you needed to be bedridden, now would be ideal. The surfeit of great tv shows could keep you occupied for hours. “The Good Wife” keeps getting better and smarter. Shows that should be winding down like “Homeland” and “Elementary” have picked up speed. Almost embarrassed to admit how addicted I am to “Madame Secretary”, “Newsroom” and “Scandal.” Hope you caught the brilliant “Olive Kittridge” which Frances McDormand knocked out of the ballpark.

Does anyone else think the proposed design for the new George Lucas museum in Chicago looks like a giant white tagine cover?

And who would have ever dreamed that those cheesy artists of our youth, the Keanes with their paintings of bug eyed children, would ever be interesting enough to become a movie subject? Tim Burton that’s who. “Big Eyes” is opening next month.


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