Given all the news these days I assumed I had a wide range of subjects to write about this week but each was problematic. First might be the tragic mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people and injured 3 others, with 11 of the victims being Black. A hate crime committed by a domestic terrorist doesn’t exactly enhance a humor newspaper column.
I considered writing about inflation which is sending the price of everything skyrocketing but nobody’s laughing. Sometimes it feels like the prices are going up while you’re shopping! There’s also not a lot of chuckles with gas hovering at $6 a gallon. (Unless, of course, you drive an EV.)
I debated writing about the recently leaked brief of the Supreme Court regarding overturning Roe V. Wade. But the reversal of Roe, the “law of the land” for almost fifty years, is not exactly chock full of levity. This is also true of Vladimir Putin’s criminal war in Ukraine to “denazify” a country whose leader happens to be Jewish. And I’m also ignoring the absurdity of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial and Donald Trump swearing to New York Attorney General Letitia James of the four cell phones she subpoenaed he’s lost them all.
For local sports fans there’s the NBA playoffs but this year the Lakers didn’t even make the postseason. During the discouraging decline, fellow columnist, Charles Andrews and his lovely wife Dian, are rooting for the Golden State Warriors, whereas my two favorite teams remain the Lakers and anybody but the Boston Celtics.
There’s no question the above topics are “gloomy,” a word that contains six letters. I mention the number of letters because of a SCRABBLE playing event open to the public that has been organized by Jeannine Frank, a lifelong SCRABBLE lover and a friend for almost 20 years. It takes place Monday, May 23rd, at a wonderful restaurant and for a wonderful charity. (Meanwhile, I apologize the above intro has to be the lengthiest in the sixteen years I’ve been writing these columns and, OMG, have I really been writing these that long?)
I first crossed paths with Jeannine in 2004, when the late comedian Mort Sahl, an intellectual comedy God and Woody Allen’s idol, came to Santa Monica to perform at McCabe’s Guitar Shop. (Jeannine is a “Jackie of all trades,” one being a talent booker with Mort having been one of her most famous clients.)
To publicize Mort’s appearance, Jeannine put me in touch with him. Unfortunately, he was so busy it was agreed we’d do the interview at McCabe’s right before the show. But when I arrived Mort was swamped with fans.
Luckily I spotted Mort’s wife, Kenslea, who suggested I chat with him in the bathroom where he rehearses before going on. It seemed bizarre but I desperately needed the interview. Sure enough, as I entered the men’s room, Mort was pacing as he rehearsed but he gladly answered my questions. However, I was stunned that he seemed so much older than I had remembered.
Amazingly, when Sahl took the stage he looked 25 years younger! To the packed audience’s and my delight, Mort crushed it. (For the record, the title of my column was “Meeting the King on His Throne.”)
Finally, back to SCRABBLE NIGHT. It takes place at the popular Coral Tree Cafe at 11645 San Vicente Blvd. (1 block east of Barrington.) A delicious dinner, which costs $20, starts at 5 pm. so bring your appetite. SCRABBLE playing starts at 6:15 so bring your SCRABBLE set if you have one, along with proof of vaccination. The festivities will end at 8 p.m. the “good deed” stuff, donating $25 (or more) to the renowned charity, The People Concern, one of L.A. County’s largest housing and social services providers. Briefly put, TPC believes no one should have to live on the street or in a violent household. Their staff, volunteers and those they serve work together to address the effects of homelessness, poverty, mental and physical illness, abuse and addiction.
So go to their website: https://www.thepeopleconcern.org/ and when donating please type “More than just words” in the comments section. Once you donate you will receive an e-mail confirmation with more details about SCRABBLE NIGHT. (Or, if this a tad complicated, e-mail Jeannine at: Jeanninefrank@gmail.com.)
As I write this the Celtics lost game 1 against the Miami Heat and I’m hoping the same happened yesterday; Amber and Johnny are embarrassing themselves in court; and Donald Trump still can’t find his “missing” four cell phones. (The DOJ should check Mar-a-Lago’s toilets!) In the meantime, dear readers, a bit of advice in preparing for Monday’s SCRABBLE NIGHT. Make a list of as many seven-letter words as you can or just show up and have fun!
The Coral Tree Cafe website is: chttp://www.thepeopleconcern.org. The People Concern website is: www.thepeopleconcern.org. And for more Scrabble Night info, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Jack is at: email@example.com.