The Luxury of Grandparenting

I Can Devote Myself to My Granddaughter and the Garden

I worked all of my life as a costumer. Feature films (from The Outsiders to Spiderman 2) and television series took me across the world—from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Austin, Texas to communist Poland and Paris. My husband was also a costume designer, and we raised our two daughters on set; they grew up traveling in trunks. They grew up to be costumers, too.

When my granddaughter, Veronica, was born six years ago, I knew I wanted to be a deeply connected part of her life. I believe that involvement—being there—is …

What the Heck Is the Mexican Mafia?

How a Gang Neglected by Wardens Made It Big Outside Prison Walls

In California, there are individuals who have been tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison—and gained significant power from behind bars. The sanctions of imprisonment have become the source of their …

Professional Football Has a California Problem

Three Teams Want to Come to L.A., but I've Got Better Ideas

Pro football has a “California problem.”

So say some of the most powerful people in the sport. And as a new National Football League season kicks off this weekend, they are …

Lessons From a Fishmonger While the Twin Towers Fell

On Sept. 11, 2001, I Was Driving around L.A., Collecting Dirty Mops, and Contemplating the Nature of Ignorance

The story goes, my grandpa was sitting on his recliner watching TV when the news broke. JFK had been shot and killed. My mother was seven years old. She’d been …

Extreme Makeover: The Roller Coaster Edition

A Little Steel Goes a Long Way in Bringing Back the Thrill of Aging Wooden Classics

Colossus once was the “King of Coasters.” Introduced at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 1978, the classic wooden behemoth—which reached reported speeds of 62 miles per hour and was the …

What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Politics

Imagine a Society That Chooses Leaders Based on Past Behavior, Not Promises in TV Ads

Whenever I find myself in a contentious academic meeting or I see clips of Congress trying to pass (or kill) a bill, I am reminded of capuchin monkeys.

Don’t get …