They say the first real rain is on the way. We'll see, we'll see. L.A. repels rain the way it repels good intentions and decent FM radio.
As I was whining the other day, my favorite radio station (the Sound, 100.3 FM) is threatening to go off the air. It is the home of the world's greatest DJ (Uncle Joe Benson) and a repository of artful lineups of significant songs.
The other morning, they played Emerson, Lake & Palmer, followed by Heart. I don't even much like Heart, but as with Thanksgiving, it wasn't just the dish, it was the way it was surrounded by other delicacies.
If the Sound goes off the air, I may never listen to radio again, except when I slip up and tune in to NPR, which is by turns wonderful and unctuous.
Radio has gotten so bad. I blame the musicians as much as I blame the station owners trying to bleed a buck. All the world's problems don't come down to greed, but enough of them do, and pop music is yet another example.
Once, rock 'n' roll was the province of insurrectionist hippies with utopian ideals. Now it is bouncy idiocy, all veneer and bling, and absent much passion or thought. It suffers from too many hair extensions and mirrors.
Our kids have given up on contemporary rock too, listening mostly to country — Big Country, 105! — which I find more tolerable, though hardly inspired, hardly the stuff you might play again in 40 years.
Whether it is music or movies, pop culture seems to have no staying power. There is no legacy, nor future, for this material. The songs and movies are there, and then they're not.
Do I sound a little glum? No way. After all, the first real rain may be on the way, which I like, followed by the first fire in the fireplace, followed by the first cheesy Christmas tune. I like firsts. I like change.
Weather is sneered at here in Los Angeles. The very reason the place exists and thrives is due to a weather pattern that goes mostly like this: Friday will be 90. On Saturday, it'll be 91. For months at a time, I feel like I live in an Astrodome.
I think men enjoy weather more than women do. Our hearts are made of flannel. Cooler weather brings out our Viking spirit, and for once, we're not too warm in a sports coat.
So bring on the rain, bring on the fall, bring on the sweaters and the crossword puzzles and fat novels that thud when you sleepily drop them to the floor.
Bring on the smoky liquors and warm ovens on cool days, and kitchen windows that steam when you stir the soup.
There is much to look forward to here in November, a transitional month, a month of very good firsts.
The other morning, our daughter Rapunzel, sensing my never-ending need to help the less fortunate, dropped a clump of her jewelry on my desk.
"Dad, can you," she asked, "do this?"
By "this," she meant untangle her wad of jewelry. By nature, I am not an untangling sort of guy. I am not, by temperament or choice, patient with things. When I look in the junk drawer, I rake it furiously with my fingers, before bellowing, "WHERE'S THE GLUE?" WHO TOOK THE GLUE?" when in fact, the glue is right there.
So the fact she trusts me with her jewelry is a minor surprise. The only precedent is that once before, in one of the weak moments I have all the time, I managed to untangle a previous wad of jewelry.
If you ever help a kid with something, you are doomed to helping her forever. I saw this latest request as a defining moment in our relationship. I could rescue my daughter from her jewelry crisis, or I could insist she fix the problem she essentially created herself.
So, the path was very clear: I would rescue Rapunzel.
You parents will understand. Sometimes, you help because you want to help. Sometimes, you help so that you can share some little success together.
Little moments are what parenting is about, really. That's when you find that the glue really is right there.
The other morning, the little guy made his mother's lunch for work. Posh is working full time again, so when the little guy makes his school lunch, he also makes hers.
When she got to work, she found a little note he'd left her, the way she once did with him.
"Love you," the note said.
As all men know, sandwiches speak louder than words.
MORE MIDDLE AGES