December 13, 1998 |
New Jersey already has dibs on the Garden State. So let's call California the Gardening State. Here's the reason: Californians spend nearly $10 billion each year to maintain their yards, trim golf courses, landscape freeways and generally keep the Golden State looking green, a new UC Berkeley study has found. But we also spend more on gardening for the dead than for our schoolchildren.
December 12, 1998 |
It was a dark and stormy night. Well, actually, it was a dark and stormy afternoon on David Mas Masumoto's farm in this rural outpost south of Fresno, where the air was thick with rain, wind and hail and the sky looked like something Stephen King might conjure up. It took the hail 10 minutes to wreck 90% of the peach crop, a crop that Masumoto had nurtured and nourished for months. Oh, the perils of the family farmer--perils of which city folk are blissfully unaware.
September 19, 1998 |
The giant billboard promises sunshine, palm trees and muscular bodies. This is the California Fitness Center, one of three multistory exercise clubs in Hong Kong that push the idealized California dream of the perfect body: washboard abdomen and bulging pectorals. The club members, seemingly mustered day and night in frenetic columns several rows deep, are part of the display, clearly visible through plate-glass windows astride or atop their computerized machines.
August 9, 1998 |
The invitation was to a party on the Santa Monica Pier in honor of Route 66. When the day came, I wanted to go. Every year the party was a good one, and I knew that this one, like the others, would properly revere America's holiest of highways. One of my favorite bands, the Insect Surfers, was playing. I could visit a 1962 Thunderbird convertible, my favorite car. And, of course, what's a pier party without food on a stick? But I broke with tradition and headed north, past the party.
June 25, 1998 |
Frank Sinatra went into his night as an American original, a man commemorated and held dear alongside similar designs and signs of our enduring times. Like the fifth of Jack Daniels, the pack of Camels and the Zippo lighter placed in his casket. So American. So typical of totems that happen only in America.
May 4, 1998 |
Shall we deem this a snub, or a compliment? Shall we respond with a wounded sniffle? A haughty snort of amusement? Or shall we simply pretend that we're way too busy buffing our bodies and meditating over crystals and lunching with our agents to even give this piffling matter a thought? Maybe that last approach is the best. It'll prove that we're cool.
April 26, 1998 |
The San Francisco-based vocal group Chanticleer has made a name for itself from its polished musical gifts and its dedication to wide-ranging programming. With its current tour, which brings the 12-man ensemble to several venues in Southern California this week, Chanticleer digs a little deeper in the exotic--and finds it in our own backyard.
April 12, 1998 |
Michael Bowman's parents divorced when he was 6. After that, time with Dad was limited to Saturdays and special occasions. His folks--once so happy together--scarcely spoke for 19 years. Bowman turned out fine--graduating from college, marrying and landing a good job--but he believes he's one of the lucky few. Divorce, he contends, is devastating for children, shattering their sense of security and leaving a legacy of trauma that can stain an entire life.
April 12, 1998 |
Although legislators hoping to restrict divorce say it hurts children and that too many parents divorce too casually, researchers have yet to reach any definitive conclusions. "The research is just a mess," said Richard Weissbourd, a specialist in children's issues at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. "There is research out there that can support almost any position on divorce."