A Slice Of Pizza

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He wears a smart straw hat with a black silk band.  He is African American, perhaps in his mid-60’s.  He is trim, keeps his white beard cropped close and often wears a Hawaiian print shirt and sunglasses.  At first I thought he might be a musician.  And he might be – I’ve never asked him.

And I can always find him sitting on an upturned plastic milk crate outside one of my favorite pizza places.  He holds out a paper cup and says, “Spare some change?”

I mumble back “no,” shake my head and enter the restaurant to buy a slice.  And he always calls after me,

“Maybe on your way out.”

He’s persistent, but not pushy, and he asks with a smile.  And I never give him anything.

Should I Or Should I Not Visit My Neighbor, An Acquaintance, Who Was Moved Into A Convalescent Home About Six Months Ago, And Who I Visited Once, But That Was A While Ago?

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This was the question posed to me by my mom the other day on the phone.  Lately (and by “lately” I mean the last ten years or so), she has had many such questions for me.  “What gift should I get my niece who loves the movie ‘The Titanic?’” “I visited two dentists’ offices, and while one doctor comes more highly recommended, he wore sandals.  Is that normal?  Who would you pick?” or “We need to buy a car, and I don’t know whether we should go to a dealer or a private party.”

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These are questions my mom never would’ve asked me when I was a middle schooler, even a teen.

Little Osaka Ousted, In Its Place: Sawtelle Japantown

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The perimeter of blocks surrounding the West Los Angeles area featuring the busy “Sawtelle,” “Sawtelle Corridor,” or “Little Osaka,” is no longer named any of these, it’s now Sawtelle Japantown. On Sunday, March 29th, Sawtelle and Olympic Blvds became the site host for the unveiling of the Sawtelle Japantown designation. From that corner up to Santa Monica Blvd, where a second sign will guide southbound drivers, the confusion of neighborhood names will no longer exist.

Who Wants to Go in with Me to Buy the $4.75 Million Apartment Complex From the Original ‘Karate Kid’?

And by go in with me, I mean who has $4.75 million lying around to buy the apartment complex because it’s apparently up for sale.

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It’s the 37-unit South Seas Apartment in Reseda, California (in the famed San Fernando Valley outside of Los Angeles) where Daniel-san (Ralph Macchio) lived with his mother in the first and original Karate Kid. Much of that movie was shot in the San Fernando Valley, but no other location has become, arguably, as iconic as that run-down apartment which represented the not-so-good situation that Daniel-san and his mother were faced with when they moved to Southern California.

So the last thing that anyone would like to see happen is for some greedy developer to come in and buy the property, only to tear it down and turn it into a friggin’ Forever 21 or something like that. No, it’s a historical landmark that must be preserved and for just $4.75 million and my amazing vision, we can do it…together. Like these two did:

This Week in Internet Cuteness: The Magic Bunny

What better way to kick off another week than with a picture of a cute and rare animal:

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That’s the Ili pika aka the “Magic Bunny”. They live in the remote Tianshan Mountains in China and are so rare that there are believed to be fewer than 1,000 of them left. The photo was snapped by Weidong Li, the man who discovered the species back in 1983.

As adorable as the pika may be, its numbers have been decreasing because their natural habitat has been shrinking—by over 71% in the past 30 years.

The Robot Apocalypse Will be Led by Korean Rice Cookers

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So my parents got me this new-fangled rice cooker for my birthday last month and this past weekend, I finally figured out how to use it and, damnit, if it didn’t cook up what I have to describe as the perfect batch of brown rice.

But to get there, well, I’m not ashamed to say it took a bit of effort. My previous rice cooker was simple. You added rice and water in the bowl, put it in the cooker and pressed one button to turn it on. That’s it, just one button.

But holy shit if the controls on this thing aren’t as complicated as some fancy computer thingie you’d find at NASA:

Jury Duty

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The bailiff admonished us – again – to turn off all electronic devices.  “Not sleep mode, not airplane mode, but completely off, folks.”  About 100 of us had been called into the court room for an initial jury screening, where we all waited for the Honorable Judge Ming to enter.  No one chatted; we sat up straight. The room itself seemed modest compared to what I had seen on TV and in the movies, but still, upon entering it, we all felt the gravity of our civic obligation: twelve of us would eventually determine someone’s freedom.

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The Most Depressing Starbucks in America is Getting a Makeover

Last year, I blogged about the newly opened Starbucks in Highland Park, California, just miles from our YOMYOMF Office in South Pasadena—the one dubbed “the Most Depressing Starbucks in America”. Well, as I drove past it the other day on my way to the office, I noticed this sight:

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It looks like that Starbucks is finally getting that makeover they promised the community. What the new Starbucks will look like remains to be seen, but I will be there the moment they open to check it out. The only question is—if they do indeed renovate the business into something aesthetically appropriate that the community is happy with, where will sad Keanu get his afternoon lattes?