It’s surprising how many people have had surfboards fly off the tops of their cars. I met two at the pool on Wednesday who had it happen, and one of them was a fireman. I assumed firemen were expert at tying knots and exempt from surfboards misbehaving and ending up in the ice plant on the s…

Things happen in the locker room. Things that may be an opportunity to discover who you are,  where and how are you. Things that might deliver the reckoning you did not expect, but require in order to keep you current and awake.

I read an article recently in the New York Times Magazine about an event called the Ice Mile. It is a mile swim in 41-degree or colder water. Only 243 people in the world have completed it.

I drove through the Kern Canyon to Lake Isabella earlier this week. The river was fat and brown. This was no time to drive off the road, I thought, because if you do, you will die and your car won’t be of much use to anybody in your family.

Jay Smith emailed to say that Bakersfield’s Frank Bidart has a poem in the Jan. 23 edition of The New Yorker. He added that “Mourning What We Thought We Were,” might not be terribly complimentary toward his hometown but if the poem is good and is true, who cares.

A few weeks ago, my brother sent me the 2017 Penthouse wall calendar with the bonus refrigerator magnet. I opened it early in the morning and when I realized what it was, I looked over my shoulder to make sure somebody wasn’t sneaking up on me.

A hundred-dollar gift certificate is something. When it’s to H. Walker's, something special. One that includes a gracious greeting at the door, hard candies on the counter, exquisite service and clothes, something to look forward to.

Friends gave us a box of See’s Chocolates during the holidays. The box, wrapped in red paper, was hidden in the bottom of a burlap bag filled with a delightful array of chips from Frito-Lay. Health food all, if the health of your psyche counts and it does.

Hallelujah. That might be some people’s reaction to Christmas being over but it is also the name of the song by Leonard Cohen that has been covered by about everybody including the woman behind the counter at the UPS store.

Thomas and I played the National Father & Son Hard Court Championships recently at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. There are victories and there are moral victories. We excelled in at least one of those categories.

Neighborhoods generally have saints, the spiritual glue that makes its residents better than they have a right to be. A few days ago, ours — Veronica White — knocked on the door and asked if we wanted to take part in the cookie exchange on Saturday.

Things couldn’t be better with the two grandchildren — Nora, 5 months old, more fetching by the day, warming to her grandfather like they all do, and Andrew, the little soldier marching around laying claim to territory and hearts alike.

Traditions are hard to break on Thanksgiving. Sometimes that tradition is stuffing. A friend’s son was dismayed to discover that his mom hadn’t made stuffing for their meal so an hour and half before eating, his father ran to Marie Callender’s and bought a quart or so for around $15. Pricey …

Leon Russell died last week. One of my favorite songs is the duet he did with Elton John in “Best Part of the Day (the album was called “The Union.”) YouTube it. The song features a mature Elton John and a very mature Leon Russell. Russell was talented, smart and played backup on more record…

They told me it was going to be like this. I didn’t believe them. Wrong again, which can be added to all of my other wrong-agains.