Keeping My Eye On Our Home  

I really appreciate our Arlo home security. My cousin Jeff talked us into getting it, and we have no regrets. It’s great to be able to check on our apartment. We have folks going in and out for   different reasons and I like making sure everyone shows up.

They all know we have cameras, so I am not sneaking up on anyone. I am so grateful for this technology.  We just have to make sure the batteries are fully charged. This is totally a wireless system. 


This is what the app looks like. Above is a full report of the activity.

Here is a shot of Jorge, our concierge, delivering our mail. Below that is our balcony. Furniture is still in place. That’s a relief. 

A video of our housekeeper taking care of business.

There she goes again

Our home in Los Angeles

Our room

The other side

Breakfast and lunch

The pool

The lobby

The scene

The view from our window

Hollywood Hills

We looked down on the famous Comedy Club

The famous Katana Japanese restaurant

The restaurant is on the balcony

Beating The Deadline  

I’m currently in Los Angeles. I usually have until 3am east coast time to write my blog. After that, it gets distributed to you. Guess what? It’s almost midnight in LA and I just returned from a night out with friends. I only have a few seconds to beat the east coast deadline. I’m going to trick this digital distribution mechanism.

I’m going to write a few words now and then post. Then I will add to my blog post after midnight so at least the post goes out. The system allows me to make additions and edits after my copy is posted.

See you on the other side of midnight.

Hello again. Now I can breath easier. All it took was a little but of copy to get into the daily distribution system. 

This is Lissa Levin with her husband Dan Gutzelman. We spent the evening with them. They are very well known in Hollywood as major writers for both stage and TV. They took us to a really cool restaurant in West Hollywood. The minute we got there Lissa spotted a famous late night talk show host sitting at the next table. 

I didn’t say a word to anyone but secretly snatched a video of the TV star. Can you tell who it is? 

I know I am nasty for invading this person’s privacy, but he is a public figure so I  became star struck. 

Two nights ago, we dined with my cousins Larry (r) and Darren at Norah’s, another fine restaurant. They were the celebs that people were whispering about. They rank number 21 out of 42,000 Berkshire Hathaway real estate agents. Quite an accomplishment.

Good night. 

New Formulas For Ranking Books   

There was a period in my life that I referred to the New York Times best selling books list several times a week. I needed to know which were the most celebrated books so I could engage in certain business conversations.

A recent announcement by Amazon reminded me just how much the book industry has changed. Now, I refer to Amazon, not the New York Times, to get a pulse on what’s going on. Amazon Charts actually tracks the top 20 most sold on the site, and the most read books. 

“The most read” is the new information that I find very interesting. It’s one thing to buy a book,  it’s another to read it.  Amazon also lists books that have received awards in addition to publishing monthly roundups of what its editors think are the best books.

The part that I love the best is that Amazon is actually breaking down downloads on Kindle e-readers, print books, and audio books. I want that information because it’s definitely more accurate about what people are consuming. I listen to books on Audible a lot and that should be counted. 

Amazon will publish the top 20 fiction and non-fiction books that are being read (using Kindles and Audible data) as well as the top 20 fiction and non-fiction books that are being sold through its marketplace for Kindle, print, and audio.

In a surprise move, Amazon also said that Alexa will also offer all of this information too. All you have to do is ask “Alexa, what are the most popular books this week?” And she will give you rundown.  

How cool is that?  .


Chalk It Up In Santa Barbara 

Lois, Andrea, Eliot and Ron

It’s so wonderful witnessing people helping people, especially people helping children. Today our friends, Andrea and Ron, took Eliot and I to see the generosity of many talented artists who transformed the pavement in front of the Santa Barbara Mission into works of art. This project raised funds for the Children’s Creative Project (CCP), a nonprofit arts education program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Each artist, sponsored by a local business, used pastel colored chalk to paint stunning square drawings. 

Called I Madonnari, the festival was the first of its kind in North America. This was the 31st anniversary.  The squares range in size from 4-by-6 feet to 12-by-12 feet. Each one bears  the name of the sponsor — a business, organization, family, or individual. 

We had a great time walking around, viewing the squares, watching pieces being created, and meeting some of the artists. It’s amazing what can be done with chalk. Thank goodness for the great weather. I hate the thought of rain washing away these masterpieces. I feel privileged that I could at least take photos of some of the drawings.  

I took these photos with my iPhone 7 Plus. The sun was so bright, I am surprised they came out so well.  


I Must Be Back In U.S., I Have To Wipe My Own Tush 

Just call me potty mouth, but not just because I use dirty words. Call me potty mouth because I am going to hound you until you try one of the Toto toilet cleaning machines before you leave this earth. Yes, it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Everyone on our Japan tour group shared how much they loved the Toto experience many times. You can laugh all you want but until you have had a proper dump, you don’t know what you are missing. 

Doing your business on a Toto toilet is like giving yourself a well deserved rest stop. I think it takes the stress out of your day, even for a few minutes. You are sitting on a heated seat that basically warms your heart and your tush. It’s total comfort that reminds you that there are some wonderful experiences in life. These days you need that reminder.    

Toto plays wonderful music so no one hears you doing your business, sprays your private parts (front and back) for total cleanliness, and then dries you off. You do nothing but squeeze. 

By the way. Toto toilets are available everywhere in Japan, even gas stations.

I can hear a few of you now. “My current toilet system is just fine,” That’s like saying you never need a hug. Toto toilets treat you like royalty. You deserve to sit on a high class throne.


Street Art Makes People Smile  

These street art pieces can be seen all over the world. My girlfriend Reva Solomon posted them on Facebook, and I have spent so much time staring at them. You have to look closely to see where the art begins and what was there before. 

These are our last few hours in Japan. It was a wonderful trip and we hope to return again in the near future. Below are our last cocktails at a terrific bar we discovered in our hotel, the Righa Royal. We ate bar food (sushi and fried chicken) and chatted with others hanging there too.

Next stop Los Angeles !  

The Future Of Games Now

Eliot and I gave ourselves a free day today in Japan after touring with a group for 12 days. Instead of going on an optional tour, we decided to pretend we were locals, and do what locals do: go to the mall and to the movies.

We happened to wander into an arcade and saw what teenagers in the United States will be playing a few months from now. Many of the games American teenagers play today started in Asia. 

The game we saw for girls was based on the Snapchat premise. You post quick videos and funny photos of yourself online for a set period of time. Then they disappear. Now the Japanese entertainment industry has taken the concept to a whole new level. 

Photo booths in arcades now let teenagers dress up their faces with makeup and decorative art. Once they like what they see, they take a photo of themselves to share with others. Some even use their smartphones to snap selfies. I’m not sure if the photos disappear. All I know is that teenage girls love trying on makeup,

The big trend for teenage boys is pretending they’re drummers like Ringo Starr. We witnessed groups of young boys pounding drums or other musical surfaces. I’m not sure what this is all about, but it certainly should help to eliminate some teenage angst. Watch the videos to see the action.


Now onto the movies. 

Eliot and I attempted to go to the movies in Kyoto but the only thing we could understand was Food, Drinks and Tickets. Why would that be in English when everything else was in Japanese? 

That’s all folks! 

Shrine and Dine 

Today was filled with Temples, Castles, Shrines, and Restaurants.  We walked close to 13,000 steps through magnificent Japanese Gardens and historic Kyoto streets. Tonight we dined in a rotating, 360 degree view, restaurant on top of the Righa Royal Hotel, our home for the last few days of the trip. Most of our lunches were random sushi or noodle shops. One was better than the other. 

Learn The Text Symbols Your Kids/Grandkids Don’t Want You To Know. 

I thought I would share this with you, even though I am not happy about spying on children and grandchildren. This is probably a handy list just in case there are extreme circumstances that should be carefully monitored. This will help you look for the warning signs: sex, drugs, and suicide 

Thank you USA Today. Click here 

LOL = laugh(ing) out loud

GR8 = great

IRL = in real life

TYVM = thank you very much

IMHO = in my humble opinion

BRB = be right back

J/K = just kidding

L8R = later

NP = no problem

WYD= what you doing?

53X = sneaky way to type “sex”

KMS = kill myself

LH6 = let’s have sex

KYS = kill yourself

MOS = mom over the shoulder

POS = parent over shoulder

CD9 = code 9, parents around

GNOC = get naked on camera.

99 = parents are gone

WTTP = want to trade photos?

LMIRL = let’s meet in real life

1174 = meet at a party spot

IWSN = I want sex now

CU46 = see you for sex

FWB = friends with benefits

ADR = what’s your address

MPFB = my personal f*** buddy

PAL= parents are listening

TWD = texting while driving

GYPO = get your pants off

This Is Cordelia 

Our tour group went to a workshop today which is dedicated to preserving the living art of Gokayama Washi paper making. We learned how the paper is made and then we created our very own post cards. I posted various stages of us hand making the paper, then decorating them. 

Gokayama is an area within the city of Nanto in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

One of the instructors was a young gal from Rhode Island. I did a short interview with her to find out how she liked living in Japan, especially in a small town.