By Chris Erskine
Random thoughts about life in Los Angeles, the back-to-school edition:
- Best thing about Los Angeles: the people.
- Worst thing about Los Angeles: the people.
- All issues are education issues.
- I’ve never seen L.A.’s hillsides this green in September.
“If his IQ slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day.” (legendary columnist Molly Ivins on a Texas politician)
- When all else fails — the climate, the political system — we still have pets.
- My latest innovation: The Chicago-style martini.
- I’d still hire Sean McVay over any other NFL coach.
- September’s finest smell: sharpened pencils.
- Wait, do students still use pencils?
- In L.A., the mountains are our greatest architecture.
- Apparently, they’re the only things our idiot developers can’t mow down.
- No one changes a young life the way a good teacher can. Nobody.
- Well, maybe a good mom or dad.
- Or a columnist (of course).
- The best ambient lighting? Sunshine off the water.
- Second-best ambient lighting: A first-grader’s smile.
- Can you believe the Pac-12 is gone?
- What’s next? Surfing? Sunsets? The double-double at In-N-Out?
- If colleges won’t do the right thing, who will?
- The Big 10 swallowing up the Pac-12 reminds me of when the Chicago Trib ate the Los Angeles Times.
- And look how well that turned out.
- Write this down: Greed ruins everything.
- And write this down too: In five years, USC and UCLA will regret leaving.
- Sean McVay for president.
- Condolences to Aaron Rodgers, the NFL’s “Cool Hand Luke.”
- Love him or loathe him, he made the Jets interesting.
- By the way, blame the stiff new shoe, not the turf, for his torn Achilles.
- My GOAT list: Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes.
- Don’t panic; it’s my list, not yours.
- But Jim Morrison was the best rock ’n’ roller ever.
- Runner-up: Jagger.
- Second runner-up: Robert Plant.
- My list, not yours.
“In school we are mostly told, ‘Don’t do it this way. Do it that way.’ But art is the big yes. In art, you get a chance to make something where there was nothing.” (poet Marvin Bell)
- Takeaway: Never take advice from poets.
- Or newspaper columnists.
- September birthdays: Bruce Springsteen, 74; Hugh Grant, 63; Keanu Reeves, 59; Beyonce, 42; Zendaya, 27.
- Youth is a type of beauty. So is wisdom.
- To me, Hawkeye Pierce was the best TV character of all time.
- Runner-up: Mary Richards.
- Both characters represented the best of us.
“I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.” (Joan Rivers)
- The Christmas episode of “The Bear” is the finest ensemble acting I’ve ever seen.
- But then I’ve only been watching TV for, like, 60 years.
- My feminist Hall of Fame: Mary Shelley, Nettie Stevens, Marie Currie, Maria Mitchell, Joan Rivers.
- Wouldn’t a young Robert Downey Jr. have been sensational as Holden Caulfield?
- Trivia question: What year was “Catcher in the Rye” first made into a film?
- Note how Hollywood often butchers great novels. But it also gave us “The Wizard of Oz.”
- Trivia answer: “The Catcher in the Rye” never made the big screen; J.D. Salinger refused to sell the rights.
“We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible.” (Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.)
- The Chicago Bears are the love of my life.
- It’s been a tough life.
- Wish I’d been a teacher.
- My biggest gripe about social media: It amplifies all the whining.
- America wasn’t built on whining.
- Then again, don’t forget the Boston Tea Party.
- In a perfect world, dogs could talk.
- Trivia question II: Who invented true love?
- If I ever move, Traverse City, Michigan, will be high on the list.
- So will Cayucos, on California’s central coast, which has the same flinty light.
- And Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
- FYI, I’m never moving. I’d miss the freeways too much. And Damon’s in Glendale.
- Porto’s too.
- Trivia answer II: George Halas, inventor of the forward pass.
- Yeah, football rules my heart.
“Hold on tight, baby. The sun is coming for you.” (author Erin Van Vuren, on hanging tough in dark times)
- Another tip: Life will always be dark, unfair, a little too hard.
- Fight on!
- Go Bruins!
- Go Dodgers!
- Go Rams!
- Go Bears!
Please support my new book, “What the Bears Know,” the memoir of “Bear Whisperer” Steve Searles, at a signing at Vroman’s on Colorado Boulevard, at 7 p.m. Oct. 3. The event is free.
First published Sept. 21-23 in Outlook Newspapers.