thank you Rise, wherever you are

when i was in high school i took an Iowan college up on an offer to visit their school.

a bus drove around suburban Illinois picking up kids like us who had signed up to spend the night in Cornell College. on the bus i saw two beautiful young ladies, Rise (pictured, left) and her best friend Tracy (not pictured). i enjoyed the college but i knew i was probably going to come to LA for my studies.

so before we got on the bus for the long ride back to Illinois i made sure that i sat near the two pretty girls, and i succeeded. not only that but we all hit it off. Tracy and Rise didn’t go to Cornell either, they chose, instead a school in Wisconsin. Since these were the days before the internet (!), we wrote letters back and forth and occasionally i called Tracy because i had, what the kids called, the hot for her, which i no disrespect to Rise who had the bluest eyes ive ever seen.

one day Rise told me she was going to spend a semester in Switzerland and i should visit her. i laughed it off because i was 20. who goes to Europe when they’re 20 simply because they were invited? i was selling TVs in west LA and i was doing pretty well at it. one thing led to another and i found myself not going to UCSB right away. i had 4 months to think about the bad job i had done at Santa Monica College.

so i wrote Rise and said, see you at the Swiss Army Knife Store! and i went to Europe for the first time and it changed my life. one thing i learned was travel is relatively inexpensive. another thing was that people around the world understand American politics better than most Americans. “Foreigners” are able to see past the racism that is intertwined within US politics and question it. miraculously. it made me feel guilty that i wasn’t as educated in politics as much as i should be.

from that trip i started subscribing to newspapers because all the smart people i met read at least one paper and often three. subsequently, each time i have visited europe i found that my first trip wasn’t unusual: europeans not only know US politics inside and out, but they also know their own, brilliantly. they also know several languages, how to drink, and how dangerous guns are in society.

looking back at this, now 30 years later, i feel so blessed that i went on that bus to a college i knew i was never going to attend, and had the courage to chat up the two hottest babes on that bus, and was in the position to be able to visit Rise (and her super cool friend Ae) in Switzerland, a trip that led me to visit several other countries on that journey… because it deeply shaped me as an adult. and i am so grateful. sooooo grateful.

i was 20 years old when i first went to europe

12729303_10153897631218057_806972817262673055_nin fact i turned 21 in florence, italy.

but before i made it there i traveled from London to Paris to Switzerland back to Paris then to Munich then Denmark and then Sweden.

in Sweden i met a bunch of 20-somethings who hosted my stay

and they reminded me of a lot of my friends who i grew up with in Illinois.

one guy in Sweden, the class clown, sorta, showed me his key chain

it only had three “keys” on it.

he told me, in broken English,

“this one is my house key, this one is my car key”

and then he held the bottle opener and said,

“and this, this is the Key of Life”

everyone laughed.

the other day while i was at the Apple Store, i realized that i too have simplified my key situation to his.

wherever you are, Hans, here’s looking at you.

hey do!

the ugliest american of the day

apparently in the tiny island of Malta the roads are as narrow as the minds of some americans

in this video, shot by some visiting Brits, a Maltese driver refuses to back down to a US driver

who sounds and acts a lot like formers Steelers head coach Bill Cower.

unfortunately he is a US Embassy worker. whoops.

so enraged was this man that he didn’t realize that his enemy’s back window was rolled down for a good two minutes

road rage is a serious thing, america.

here in the mean streets of LA we learn to check ourselves because the gentleman in the other car

just might be having a bad day and will be forced to use his AK.

you shoudnt tell old stories

maybe to your grandkids, only.
when youre camping. and theyve had too many s’mores.
i told an old story today at the whole foods
in the sushi aisle and it didnt go over that well.
little know fact: i review all the jokes i told all day
when i jog at night around hollywood blvd.
my brain just has nothing better to do no matter what
is blaring through my ipod.
people dont realize it but i think about radio all the time.
i pay for it. how many people pay for it.
i pay for the newspaper and radio.
am i 100 and 25?
radio has it all. who we kidding
and the newspaper, how can you not wanna know things
let alone, everything?
this girl got up leaving her friend behind at the table
what was i gonna do, just sit there?
if you read the paper every day, every page
you have nothing to fear when you meet a brazilian girl
named rosa
just let your eyebrows talk.
thats my tip of the day.