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Author Archive for michael

Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 2)

Saying ‘okey-dokey’/singalonga Smokey/Coming out of chokey Ian Dury When British New Wavers Ian Dury and the Blockheads were scaling the charts in 1979 with Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3), the rock group Smokie bumped into Dury at an airport and thanked him for including their obscure band on his list. Dury responded with good […]

The Fear of Magical Thinking

“Do You Believe In Magic?” –Lovin’ Spoonful A little magic never hurt anyone. I don’t mean the delusional “spiritual therapy” practiced by Lynn, one of the first women I met after moving to L.A. 25 years ago. She claimed to have removed a client’s malignant tumor during a phone session in which she got to […]

Thank You for (Not) Running for President

The U.S. is the best country in the history of the world, Americans like to say, because here any child can grow up to become president. But now that our 24/7 cable/Internet news culture has opened a window on how thankless a job the Presidency can be if you win — and how humiliating it […]

Job Seeking in Tough Times

In the media/entertainment business these days, so many qualified applicants are chasing so few good jobs it’s enough to drive you into selling real estate. Oh, wait, there aren’t any jobs there, either. This week the New York Times laid off more than a hundred editorial staffers, Conde Nast — in the wake of closing […]

CDs and Ardi and Vooks, Oh My!

CDs. Ardi. Gourmet. Vooks. It’s a digital, astonishing, sad, hilarious time to be alive. The CD, which just celebrated its twenty-seventh anniversary, continues its path toward extinction. Sound Scan reports that even this year’s multi-million-unit Michael Jackson and Beatles bonanzas haven’t stopped album sales from dropping 13.9 percent from 2008, which itself saw a 14 […]

Mental Health/Economic Health

A close friend of Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist Jennifer Kromberg — let’s call her Jane — recently fell into a depression after losing her job as an academic researcher at a major university. Jane, also going through a painful divorce, couldn’t afford even the bargain-basement rates her psychotherapist was charging, and her treatment was terminated. […]

A Vote Ain’t Just A Hill of Beans

“Republicans have been accused of abandoning the poor. It’s the other way around. They never vote for us.” — Dan Quayle I admit it. I like the late Bono — Sonny, that is — better than the current one. The U2 front man is a certified rock god and globetrotting champion of great causes. Sonny […]

Let Corporations Be (Just) Corporations

Politics has gotten so expensive. It takes a lot of money just to get beat! –Will Rogers When Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton implausibly claimed during his 1992 presidential quest that he’d tried marijuana but never inhaled, Johnny Carson quipped that Jerry Brown, Clinton’s quirky rival, appeared never to have exhaled. Clinton, of course, went on […]

Hypocrisy, Lies and Videotape

When I worked at LA Weekly in the early ’80s, our demographic research showed that not only did most of our readers not have kids, they didn’t even like kids. Ten years later, when we started OC Weekly, we were advised by “community leaders” that it would never fly because Orange County was much too […]

Field Notes on a Songwriter’s Centennial — Part II

How long does it last? Can love be measured by the hours in a day? September 24th is the centennial birthday of my late father, the songwriter Carl Sigman (1909-2000), who wrote nearly a thousand songs, including “It’s All In The Game,” “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story,” “Ebb Tide,” “What Now, My Love,” “Enjoy […]