Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hands Off My Morning Paper!

Back in the pundit saddle, albeit on a part-time basis.

For those of you who – amazingly – still find your way through the cybersphere to this crass corner of complaints, thank you for visiting. I’ve had a few unexpected turns in recent months (mostly for the better), and will update you all in the near future. Basically, I’m looking at a complicated fork in the proverbial road, and have to choose which of the many tines I’m going to continue on for years to come. No doubt, many of you have experienced the same thing.

But, to get back into form, my rant du jour centers on coffee house etiquette. To be brutally honest, I need and covet my morning caffeine. To that end, I hang out with a bunch of regulars at Peets in Pasadena (Starbucks sucks, but is a necessary evil when conditions warrant), and have done so for years.

Now, I’m a plain coffee type of guy, so I can’t imagine spending $4.50 on a latte with more flavors and calories than most milkshakes. But, if you’re going to spend that much, don’t you think you could spend an additional 50 cents on the damn paper?!

See, my friends joke that no matter where I am sitting, or doing, someone will invariably approach and try to take my LA Times paper away from me, as if I’m the communal paper basket. This happens at all times of the day, and even outside (one time, a guy came off the sidewalk while I’m still reading a section and asked, “Hey guy, you done with the paper yet?”). They’ll even try to yank out a section from under my seat, with my foot on it! (And it happened again this morning.)

Who knows why this happens – I think it’s akin to what the British writer Toby Young calls his, “negative charisma,” when he enters a room, people immediately hate him before they know anything about him. Somehow, I must have the look of, “Take my paper – please….”

My jaded advice: Peets isn’t the Union Rescue Mission. If you there to buy the expensive coffee and more-than-expensive snacks, you can reach down into your pockets and shell out an additional two quarters. Get the damn paper yourself.

Another Pasadena Passing....

FYI, reknown Pasadena-born science fiction-writer Octavia Butler has died.

From the front page of today's Pasadena Star News:

PASADENA - Octavia Butler, the Pasadena native who was one of the nation's leading science-fiction writers and whose first novel, "Kindred," is Pasadena's 2006 One City, One Story book selection, died Friday. She was 58.

Butler died after falling and striking her head on the cobbled walkway outside her home in the north Seattle suburb of Lake Forest Park.