Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 in review: Thank You!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,400 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Holidays and A Confluence of Cultures

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We live at a confluence of cultures, for the most part, borders and languages blurred and changing.  Nothing reflects that better than the holidays.

I grew up in a country with one distinct population: Caucasians – nearly 100% – who were (many still are) of mostly one religion, and who spoke one language. All around us, and several countries over, that’s all there was.

In my religious family, Christmas was very important  — religiously and traditionally. Folks took great pride in passing down customs such as traditional wear, caroling, folk music, prayer (which included lighting up candles for the departed), food.

I loved it.

The food, the large family, the caroling, the folk music. It all held a certain beautiful magic. Didn’t necessarily like being dragged to Christmas Mass but we, the kids, soldiered through the long service — our rewards awaiting: more gifts from St. Nick and delicious deserts.


Christmas mass in Romania

Adolescence brought about change — as it always does. Church was strictly for wedding or baptism ceremonies, busy as I was (or claimed to be) with school projects. Outgrowing something imposed on you is inevitable; but when planted so deeply, spirituality never dies; it just takes on a different and deeply personal form.

But that was then.

Now, Christmas is a huge family get-together, free of caroling and prayer and the multitude of traditional dishes, though few have remained. The noise level is the same, but if you overlook the language and food, we could be any family, anywhere. Those deep traditional lines are mostly gone. Two or more streams of people from various parts of the world have merged into one big river, if you will, gathering more streams along the way. 

At least that’s how it appears as I observe, considering where I come from.

I make it a point to visit the Romanian (Greek Orthodox) church here in So. Cal. couple of times a year, mostly to be around Romanian people, do all things Romanian.

When I visit the old country, I light up a candle at the local church for the dearly departed, as I had watched my mother do in the past. Makes me feel connected in a deep way. Our old way, going back centuries — who am I to dismiss it?

I tell my son stories from my Christmases long ago, take him to our  get-togethers here at the Romanian church, but it’s different for him. He is growing up at a confluence of cultures — his father’s and mine — which is also the place I’ve occupied most for the past 22 years.

And it’s a great place to be.  It’s different. Something I would have never imagined as my life all those years back when I rushed home from school, cleaned up my boots and set them by the windowsill, ready for St. Nick. Ready for Christmas.

Speaking of which …


 … and a very happy New Year. Here’s to a magnificent 2015, dear blogging friend. Cheers! 



Spineless Hollywood


Hollywood is all about causes and making noise, but when they need to put their money where their mouth is, they fold like a cheap suit.

I’m sure you’ve heard all about the Sony fiasco by now.

In all honesty, I don’t give a fib about the movie in question.  It looks pretty stupid, and it calls into question the judgment of people who green-light such a project.

But … that’s not my point.  That’s not what irks — it’s the complete surrender shown by a multi-billion dollar behemoth of an industry.  With that, I have a problem.

And today, Geroge Clooney is circulating a ‘we stand together’ petition, which every head of TV and studio refuses to sign. No solidarity. No one iota of fuckign courage.

I understand the liability issue, the fear of having to bear responsibility should something go wrong, but the alternative is much scarier.

This more than anything proves the Hollywood types who adopt causes are wimps or only trying to get publicity. A shame to allow oneself to be intimidated in such a manner.

The Deadline interview with Geroge Clooney is all over the internet, but here is a chilling quote:

“What happened here is part of a much larger deal … and people are still talking about dumb emails. Understand what is going on right now, because the world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention.”  ~ George Clooney on the Sony fiasco and the inability to get a ‘we-stand-together’ petition signed by spineless heads of studios.

(Let’s home my next post will be sunnier).



Let’s Make a Real Difference


During this holiday season, let’s remember those who don’t have enough to feed their families. I’m not referring solely to the homeless, even if the need among them is staggering. I’m talking hard-working people who work themselves to the bone and are barely surviving.

Barely surviving in this country of plenty.

Since we’re lucky enough to have a roof over out heads and more than enough to feed our families, why not make a difference in someone’s life?

Here in Los Angeles, we have food banks everywhere. The largest organization and one of the best in terms of volunteers is the L.A. Regional Food Bank.

One dollar provides 4 meals. Think about that. Ten dollars (which can be donated via the link — no envelope necessary), feeds 40 people. Forty hungry souls, many of them children finding themselves in unimaginable situations through no fault of their own.

And through Feeding America, you can find your very local food bank.

Let’s give ourselves the gift of giving to others this holiday season — to those who need it most.

~~ Thank you M.J. Joachim for organizing the Holiday Food Drive, hosted by Effectively Human on Google+. My understanding is everyone can participate, and the more the better.  Let’s make a real difference.