For a moment, is was like a Greek tragedy, the fire from the grill, the sprinklers arcing high over the patio, me dashing for the shutoff valve and grabbing my torn schnitzel. You see now why I like fall so much?
I like the cool air and the sense of impending change right now. Seems everyone we know is dropping kids at college. Woooosh, off they go to St. Louis and Philadelphia, Pomona and San Diego.
We ended up on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, too hip by half, where we searched for overpriced sushi amid the moonglow of a thousand cellphones. You know, sometimes life gets away from me a little.
The coast of California is dotted with these dark dives that provide an oasis from the pressures of work and the sameness of suburban living. They are like train whistles in the night.
Forget the fiddle players. At the legendary Hollywood Bowl, the real show is often out in the snug seats, where 20,000 attendees rub elbows, knock knees and make the most of celestial summer nights.
I’m renowned for my ability to adapt, and this new workplace offers a fresh start for everyone. Honk and wave as you pass our beautiful new building. Inside is where the magic happens.
I could ping the kids with tomatoes. Or take the dogs for another walk. Or carry our pet wolf past the attacking cats. In the heat of summer, the possibilities are almost endless.
We've hit that summer sweet spot. For once, no one is talking about their idiot bosses or wayward careers. Instead, they discuss their recent summer trips down the Danube, or how this one restaurant in Spain staged the absolutely perfect feast.
As you well know, it’s been a brutal July so far. So we take our summer visitors to the sea. "The cure is salt water," a writer once said. Turns out she was right.
Three hundred years ago, New Orleans was founded on arranged marriages and broken promises. It shouldn’t probably exist at all. It burns down. It floods. In summer months, it stews in its own juices. I kind of like it.
The old Times building is located at the vortex of privilege and sanctimony, a squat, imposing, limestone shoebox soaked in smog and surrounded by courtrooms and mouthy politicians.
After a good trip to the heartland, I'm paying the price: a canceled flight, hours to kill and the spotty allure of an airport bar. Bloody Mary, anyone?
Father’s Day is such an afterthought it’s almost not a thought at all. No one is tougher to buy for. So instead of tools or neckties, how about you just play a little catch with him again?
I wake each weekend to the thought of blending fun with obligation. Obligation usually wins. Then along comes this beautiful new smoker....
You’d look at this house, with peonies everywhere and whiffle balls in the flowers from when the little guy last took batting practice, and you’d think: “It’s not such a bad house, really."
We seem to have survived another raw So Cal winter and have taken to the backyard again, for crawfish, family and frosty margaritas in old jelly jars.
Graduations are coming up, as is Mother's Day. Dress up. Dress down. But try to avoid that joyless, blank-faced stare — a.k.a. the Gelson's Grimace.
The Happy Hour Hiking Club provides a break from chores, blending generous pals, old and new. And a photo from Chicago proves to be a real home run.
The top is perfect, but the drawers are blemished, like chalk along the sidelines, craving – as we all do — human touch and a certain degree of manic obsession.
This weekend's book fest is a chance to celebrate the written word. Call it the Coachella of ideas and poetry, wit and wordplay.
The cards, the candles, the casseroles, the pies… they all help, including soulful little notes from total strangers who watched our son grow up.
The boy, who was killed on the freeway March 4, grew up on these pages. He didn't have a fancy resume or elite education. Just a great spirit and a zest for life. There are no words.
Childhood used to be so much simpler. Amid the pressures and the expectations — and another national tragedy — they are reminding us what is really important.
In a sea of brake lights, during an endless rush hour, an angry woman jumps from her SUV. Just another defining moment in the land I love (Los Angeles)
January is dads on ladders taking down the lights and moms deciding when to toss the half-dead poinsettias. January is obligation and diets. But it's real.
I think it was a successful season, though there are always misfires – something I said in jest taken seriously, a flubbed or forgotten gift.
As the old song says, we were happy in a million ways this past holiday, amid our fellow misfits and malcontents. In fact, it's sometimes hard to tell friends from family.
Here’s the thing: If you get Christmas 60% right, you’ve still got a lot of Christmas. Chasing a perfect holiday leads to stress and disappointment.
As gifts, I’m giving my kids a digital currency based on the value of mermaids and unicorns. I mean, who even knows what bitcoin looks like?
Under this new holiday plan, the first day of Christmas would be Dec. 20, roughly coinciding with the first day of winter. Pancakes and PJs would also have their own day. This 12-step plan would mean more friendship, fewer things.
The 300-pound beagle has more ego than I do. But at least the new wolf loves me. At least I think that's love. Do I care?
This is the stuff of real life. The faucets leak and so does the roof. You sure don't see these issues come up on "This Is Us."
During a pediatrician visit, Dad voices concern over the boy's behavior. But it turns out that being goofy is quite normal for that age.
On a road trip up the coast, I linger too long over lighthouses and eat way too much pie. Surprised?
Off I went, in a cheesy rental car, ugly as a fire truck, on airless tires that rattled over every road seam.
The lake is the color of Charlize Theron's eyes. And the weather? Much like the Med (at least for now).
It's a village smothered in sour cream. Fifty years ago, I roamed the backyards barefoot, snatching apples and other kids’ Schwinns.
Sure, 20% of the population believes in unicorns. But don't judge too quickly. Besides, L.A. changes from minute to minute anyway.
Readers reach out to Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Erskine and his wife, a.k.a. Posh, after he revealed her cancer diagnosis.
You can’t see the answers because there is A.1. steak sauce all over his homework. Where his name should be, there is ketchup. Like Jackson Pollock, the little
So we’re getting into the new school year routine, and it’s going very well. We wake at what must be 3 in the morning. My coffee tastes like cigarette butts.
It’s late August and the dog needs a bath. Actually, he needs three baths. After his third bath, he needs to be rolled in powdered sugar. He’d still stink, but
Chris Erskine's younger daughter has moved to Cincinnati but visits L.A. often on business. He's trying hard not to let his feelings show.
I used to write with music playing in the background till I realized the rhythms were interfering with my work. Like music, writing relies on attractive
Go ahead, moms and dads, try to solve parenthood. Chris Erskine ponders the issue while tallying the cost of hiring a math tutor for the little guy.
My goal this summer is to get the little guy to listen to one Harry Chapin song. And to paint his bedroom. That's it. One song, one bedroom. Simple dad, simple
If you’ve had teens before, you know what flawed yet wonderful insects they are about to become. They lose their freckles. They lose their puppy breath.
The one where our columnist finds himself caught between one kid who won't grow up and another who's flying the coop.
Someone had a funny line the other day about barking dogs. He wondered if, when we yell at the dog to stop barking, the dog is thinking: "This is awesome! Now
Chris Erskine makes 60 new friends who are just off-kilter enough to join the Happy Hour Hiking Club.
Chris Erskine goes jogging and has a close call with a Prius; then some cyclists get involved. All he wanted were banana pancakes.