Requesting your presence, not just your presents

Dear New Shrink, A friend of mine recently got engaged and I just received an invitation to their engagement party. This is the first engagement party I have been invited to and I’m not sure what the proper etiquette is. Is it required that I bring a gift? If so, what type of gift is appropriate? The invitation does not have any... Read more →


Venturing east of the 405 for grub

I am very impressed with the transformation of Culver City and enjoy strolling along Culver or Washington boulevards in the evening amongst the newly opened cafes, restaurants and bars. What a face-lift this small town has had over the last five years. Every time I go there something new has opened and one of the new eating establishments,... Read more →


Sushi and sake on a budget

I’ve walked by the Hikari Sake House on the corner of Fourth Street and Santa Monica Boulevard hundreds of times. I just assumed it was another typical overpriced sushi place run by another sushi-Gestapo-chef who would order me to leave if I ordered the wrong thing. Finally, I went in with my friend John and, boy, was I wrong! As soon... Read more →


When is ‘An Oak Tree’ not really an oak tree?

It’s hard to believe that Peter Gallagher’s performance was never rehearsed, that the actor appeared onstage to read author/actor Tim Crouch’s convoluted script without ever having seen it before. Gallagher had only words mounted on a clipboard and directions whispered in his ear by Crouch before and during each scene.... Read more →


Getting kids to appreciate the written word

When Dash was a peanut of a newborn, I propped him up in his boppy each day surrounded by a selection of picture books. I tuck Zora in at night with a kiss, a stuffed animal, and a few dozen board books. I started dragging my children to the Festival of Books every April when they were just mewling babies, although what they really enjoyed... Read more →

Community Profiles

Youngster has a knack for apps

Proving that creating an iPhone application is not just for the seasoned tech whiz or entrepreneur looking to make millions, 11-year-old Cameron Cohen recently debuted iSketch — a drawing application featuring multiple brush sizes and colors — and plans on donating the proceeds to the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and... Read more →


Dealing with men who are down in the dumps is tough

Dear New Shrink, My family is very worried about my brother. Over the past year he has become increasingly sullen, moody, irritable and difficult to get along with. He is very successful in his career and he is also the oldest child, which seems to contribute to his attitude of “you can’t tell me anything.” His wife is... Read more →

Book Review

‘The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama’

For those unaware, or for whom memories have faded, the 1960s were perhaps our most turbulent era since the Revolutionary War. The political and social changes that resulted came at a great cost. JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X were assassinated; Vietnam tore the country apart; unarmed college students at Kent State were gunned down. There were... Read more →

Mommie Brain

Inspired by a stranger’s struggles

I am sitting backstage with a room full of women, all mothers, preparing to go on stage for the show Expressing Motherhood, a play about real moms sharing real stories, that I have been doing for the last two weekends. These are vibrant, smart, funny, revealing women. This is so lovely to be a part of. But I wasn’t supposed to be... Read more →


Discovering a whole new world

The Rader family has passed the giant, gleaming cube of the Taco Bell Discovery Center in Santa Ana dozens of times on the way to Disneyland. So we finally decided to stop by and “discover” it. The two-story building was jammed full of hands-on exhibits — literally everything there could be touched, heard or smelt. On the... Read more →

Community Profiles

Computers are a real life saver

DOWNTOWN — Les Jones loves computers. It’s not because they make our lives easier or allow us to reconnect with old friends with the click of a button. Those features are great, but Jones loves computers for a different reason. In a way, computers saved his life. A decade ago, Jones, 54, was lost. Suffering from... Read more →


Culinary savvy on full display at Viceroy’s Whist

In Europe, a lot of the best restaurants are in fancy hotels. Generally that hasn’t been true in California, but it’s getting more common. A good example is Whist, located on the ground floor of the Viceroy Hotel on Ocean Avenue. If you look at reviews of Whist on the Internet, they are not so favorable. But it’s misleading... Read more →


Baby, you can drive my CARR

Dear New Shrink, I recently had an interview that did not go very well. I had a really hard time expressing my thoughts and answering the interviewer’s questions. In particular, I had a hard time thinking of a workplace conflict that I’ve had to overcome. This is mainly because I haven’t really experienced any conflict in... Read more →