Notes on a Christmas Card (Don’t call it a Christmas letter!)

SCATTERED across my opinion desk are letters, invitations to parties,
newspaper clippings, notes from readers, Christmas gift receipts and
press releases.

Im calling this column Notes on a Christmas Card …

Almost everyone was home last Saturday night on Norumbega Drive
in the Monrovia hills.
Maybe people really dont want a shop-till-you-drop Christmas? Hey,
maybe, just maybe, theyd rather sip hot chocolate and watch Its a
Wonderful Life on their flat screen than buy more useless presents.
They seemed to really take in the singing from our little group,
sponsored each year by our dear friends in Monrovia, Sue and Mike
Once again, the singing (no, we never came a wassailing and we did
not hold neighbors ransom for some figgy pudding,) was the
highlight of the season for me. And the faces of the children who
dragged mom and dad to their front lawns to hear us amateurs really
lit the star on my tree.

The Angeles National Forest lived up to its moniker, Land of
Many Uses, this week when a man suspected of assault led police on a
two-hour chase on SGV freeways and into Azusa Canyon.
Criminals think the forest is a place to do their dirty deeds because
well, its dark, the roads are windy and the steep canyons hide a
multitude of sins. They seek anonymity to dump a body, grow marijuana
or set illegal campfires.
Or maybe it is a function of the media. Maybe criminals think this is
the only place they can escape the police helicopter spotlight or the
medias chopper in the sky Now in HD.
Ruben Smith, 41, who was booked on suspicion of felony evading
Monday, found this not to be true. Big Brother is everywhere, even up
in Azusa Canyon, as TV cameras captured his bonehead moves, including
driving into a mountain embankment. Dont these idiots know that
Highway 39 and Highway 2 are essentially dead-ends? They are no
outlet roads (except Highway 39, in which you can turn right onto
East Fork Road and then wind down Glendora Mountain Road, re-opened
in June).
And dont get me started about that family in Northern
California who trekked into the forest to chop down a tree, and got
lost for four days. The eco-sensitive hairs on my arms are standing
up …


Sometimes, into one mans life a little shopping must fall.
Confession: Its not so bad. My two sons, Andy, 16, and Matt, 18,
actually asked me to take them shopping for their mom. Now, thats
Note to self: They handled the traffic jams and the cashier lines
better than their dad. They just smiled and took things in stride. I
wonder who taught them that?
Also, dont let those ads that started running earlier this week
announcing last minute shopping get to you. Last minute? Hardly.
Last minute for us guys is Dec. 24 at 11:59 p.m. Shopping for
Christmas should not be a marathon but a sprint. There are more
rewarding things to do for Christmas.

On my Andys list was clothing from Hollister. For those of you
without initiation into the world of the teenager, let me explain.
This is one of those stores with trendy clothes and a high concept.
The entrance off the Arcadia mall looks like the entrance to a
Disneyland ride. Pirates of the Caribbean or Soaring Over
California come to mind. With faux mahogany and shabby chic wood
beams and shutters, it entices you into a shopping experience.
Inside, the place wreaks of their cheap cologne. The fragrance is as
subtle as Madonna in a metallic, cone-shaped bra. Every piece of
clothing has the stores name plastered all over it. Some only have a
logo (a distorted Jonathan Livingston Seagull bird). Ingenious
marketing, right? You pay them for overpriced merchandise and become
a walking advertisement.
I kid you not, the cologne is arranged on glass shelves in amber
colored bottles. It looks a lot like liquor behind a bar. Judging
from the angst-ridden expressions on the half-naked models in the
photographs that dot the darkened retailscape, Im not that
surprised. Or Ive gone mad.

1652-Hollister clothing store.jpg
1653-Hollister hoodie.jpg

To reader Angela Carter, for liking the inside look of my last
column (Some of my favorite things.) And also to Marina Tse, that
excellent and now former member of the state Board of Education,
living in Monterey Park, for sending a warm note and a historical
White House Christmas ornament. This year it depicts the wedding of
Grover Cleveland (June 2, 1886), the only president to marry in the
White House.

This entry was posted in environment, land use, Pasadena by Steve Scauzillo. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steve Scauzillo

I love journalism. I've been working in journalism for 32 years. I love communicating and now, that includes writing about environment, transportation and the foothill/Puente Hills communities of Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar. I write a couple of columns, one on fridays in Opinion and the other, The Green Way, in the main news section. Send me ideas for stories. Or comments. I was opinion page editor for 12 years so I enjoy a good opinion now and then.

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