Agonize over the heavy burden of trying to make sense of a year like no other, without knocking down Christmas trees and menorahs-ful of lingering holiday cheer?

Or take the easy way out. Why reinvent the wheel? I have two friends whose posts on Facebook today struck me as real, and true.

The first is from poet Ellyn Maybe, my favorite living poet. She’s ventured into applying music to her verse and has a new recording out, “Skywriting with Glitter” (

2016: The Year The 20th Century Finally Died

The year so many musicians died and the year

Freedom seemed to be moving underground

Caskets filled the air.

We live in times of turmoil, clocks beating quicker and quicker.

Middle age seems old.

Seniors seem timeless.

There’s a lethargy in the way people move .

There’s a liturgy on the tip of our tongues.

There’s something in the morning cereal.

It looks like newsprint.

There’s something in the evening news.

It seems like farce.

As though this couldn’t be real.

This over the top peek into tragedy’s eyelid.

This shiver that lives in our psyche like snow.

We ski into another winter.

The world is on a ski lift.

Cocoa is leaving its face around a cup.

We stir and it’s January.

We stir and it’s the 20th Century.

We stir and it looks like it’s black and white newsreels.

History tries to repeat itself as the people in power like sequels.

People wear the hero mask, the death mask, the face, and the heart.

People make choices. The stores sell everything.

One of the strongest songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein,

You’ve Got to Be Taught,

Prejudging is the name of the game so many household’s play.

Play rummi kub instead.

Play solitaire, don’t be influenced by peers.

One minute to midnight but people don’t know if the year

will leave us dangling from some threshold .

History said, look at me with your eyes aflame.

Burn my pain in your memory.

Walk into the libraries and kiss all the spines.

The Earth is spinning whether people stay on it or not.

What if Earth falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it.

The last person on Earth will carry a pencil.

That is why Earth has survived this long.

My friend Hook Herrera is one helluva harp master, blues thank you, and a man

harboring righteous anger who speaks his truth without compromise. His DNA

prints out Mexican,Tarahumara, Ohione and Sicilian. I consider this poetry.

My brown skinned answer to the poor privileged posting about alt right and nazis and antisemitism…….shit. we been under siege since before i was born. only difference now is the internet. nazis cowboys rednecks nuns priests politicians cops. if you’re surprised it just shows you been in a privilege bubble all your life. good luck and carry a big stick.   — c/s


Rarely do I have to make a correction. I think this may be the first time. In my life. (Ha! Ask my family.) But in writing about Judith Owen and Harry Shearer’s Christmas show recently, I got a name wrong.

“Amy Heckerling went [15 minutes] with a dark, comedically precarious obsession with the movie ‘Castaway,’ and I think that was my favorite of all the great acts.”

It was, rather, comedian-writer-actor Rebecca Corry. I’d love to see her full act, if that bit was any indication. The introductions that night went by quickly and I only recognized some by face. I looked up photos of Heckerling and thought, yeah, that must be her only with shorter hair. Wrong. Sorry, Rebecca, and Amy.

I also mentioned the killer musical act of the night, piano pounding blues shouter Doña Oxford. Turns out she played in Burbank a few days later, opening for the amazing guitar master Dick Dale. What a performer, and he’s six months shy of 80. (Looks just like a heavier, older version of local architect and writer Bob Taylor, but Bob doesn’t lecture a captive audience with his natural cures miracles, patriotism and his wife’s native American heritage. On the other hand, Bob can’t play a lick of guitar.) Oxford rocked the room for more than an hour, and has a new live CD out.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: When are citizens speaking before our City Council going to be always given even-handed treatment and respect?

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Th newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It … comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable…” — philosophical barkeep Mr. Dooley, creation of humorist Finley Peter Dunne

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at