Maintaining composure at the office holiday party

Dear New Shrink, With the holidays nearing, my office is planning its annual Christmas party. This is my first year with the company and I have already heard stories of things that have happened at past parties and have been surprised by the drunken behaviors of my unassuming colleagues. I very rarely go out with my coworkers and wondered if... Read more →


Spending the holidays at the happiest place on Earth

Santa may be the first name of our hometown, but with its balmy weather, Santa Monica is not exactly the winter wonderland of childhood memory. Coming from the East Coast, I’ve always had a hard time getting into the holiday spirit here. It’s tough to sip hot cocoa and have dreams of sugar plum fairies when there is no snowfall to... Read more →

Community Profiles

Giving voice to history of Santa Monica

OCEAN PARK BLVD — Santa Monica has undeniably had a long and rich history. The culture of the city and its place in Southern California’s history is often shoved aside, however, by writers, artists and historians who tend to focus on its more illustrious cousins: Los Angeles and Hollywood. In his new novel, “Death and the... Read more →

Book Review


This book is another in the suspense fiction genre line put out by Bethany House to address the need for good fiction. It uses science fiction in the mix. “Twilight Zone” and “Outer Limits” come to mind when evaluating this format. The story is set in the future. It is 2032. Four astronauts have completed a trip to... Read more →


The Grinch is lean, mean and grean

A musical based on Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” seems like a good idea. A charming holiday crowd-pleaser. So why was the audience at the Pantages Theater, filled with kids and their parents, so amazingly quiet? No giggles. No energy. No enthusiastic feedback to encourage the ensemble onstage. And, remarkable... Read more →


Police dancing and a little yellowtail to boot

With business down, restaurant owners are searching for new ways to bring in customers. While others are slashing prices or offering happy hour specials, Bob Stiles, owner of Hana Sushi, has brought in stripper poles. Stiles was at the forefront of sushi when he opened Hana 31 years ago. Some of you might remember Bob as the MVP of the Rose... Read more →


Siblings engaged in cold war

Dear New Shrink, I am very troubled over my relationship with my brother. We were pretty close growing up and then even closer when our father died during our teenage years. We now share the responsibility for our ailing mother so it is important that we get along. But for some time now, we seem to be at odds. I think my sister in-law... Read more →

Book Review

‘Open: An Autobiography’

The cover photo of Andre Agassi’s best-selling book “Open: An Autobiography” sets the tone. Agassi’s face is photographed so starkly that it’s reminiscent of a mug shot. If his goal in “Open” was to be brutally honest about his life for the entire world to see, then I’d say he aced it. The book... Read more →


Sweet tooth contractors

For the past nine years, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel has displayed a gingerbread replica of Santa Monica during the holidays. In addition to the bank with its gold coined roof, the post office, library, Fairmont hotel, school and church, this year’s city boasts surfers catching waves made of rock candy off a replica of the Santa Monica... Read more →

Mommie Brain

Christmas, oy vey!

Right near our house, on the corner across from Whole Foods and next to the car wash, there is an empty lot. My son and I pass this lot multiple times a day on our way to school in the car, running errands or just grabbing a bagel. Normally, this is not a big deal. Sometimes, though, it is a huge deal, like when they transformed the lot... Read more →