What’s new in town


    There are the usual political battles, but nobody seems to really have their heart in them just now because the holiday season is upon us.

    Except for the Malibu City Council, of course, which had a big argument about whether or not they ought to take a two-day course on how to avoid big arguments and learn to get along with each other. In a split vote, the only thing all the council members seemed to agree on was that spending 48 hours getting better acquainted is about the last thing that any of them ever wanted to do.

    The holiday season hasn’t reached the Capitol either. The Congress is grinding on in its attempt to impeach the president for high crimes and low misdemeanors. If that doesn’t fly, they’ll probably end up suspending his driver’s license and taking away his White House parking privileges and then declaring victory. Most of us are so busy out shopping we couldn’t care less.

    Janet Reno has finally learned her lesson that no matter how many special prosecutors you appoint, the other side is never going to think it’s enough. So, short of forcing her at gunpoint, I suspect we’ve seen the last of the special prosecutors. I suspect also that they’re going to let the special prosecutor law just slip into the sunset or at a very minimum cut way back on it. I can’t imagine Starr chasing Clinton into his dotage offering immunity to anyone who will rat on the president.

    Locally, the rain is coming down and the surf is up, both of which are good news. We apparently have lucked out and maybe escaped the fire season this year. The wise heads tell us that the worst of it ends with November, although there is no guarantee. The moisture level in the plants is up, and if the rain continues, the moisture level will continue getting higher, so the chance of a major burn starts dropping, which is all good holiday news.

    Holiday season is always a wonderful time of year in Malibu. In my mind it opens with an ecumenical Thanksgiving prayer service at a local church or synagogue. Malibu has been following this tradition for 30-some years. A joint Thanksgiving service is truly a remarkable thing. Particularly when you consider that in most of the world, people not only don’t pray together but are often just anxious to kill their brethren, for reasons that many of them can’t even remember, other than they hate the other guy. You have to marvel because we really are different than most of the world, at least in that respect.

    The toughest part of the season is trying not to eat your way from Thanksgiving through to the New Year. I must confess I flunked my first holiday resolve. I went to a family Thanksgiving sworn to practice moderation, eat mainly vegetables and stay away from the desserts. Then, of course, the meal is always just a little bit late because someone got caught in traffic, and before you know it you’re starving and out of control. I mean, how often do you see candied yams, and stuffing with gravy and turkey and roasts and ham? It was a stampede. It was so bad that we all just sat around afterward, practically stuporous, triptophane or whatever it is that turkey puts out rushing through our veins, just one inch from catatonic. I probably would have crawled back into the fetal position except that my stomach kept getting in the way. This, of course, leads me to my second holiday season resolve, “I’ll never do it again.”

    That resolve lasts until I get to the office after Thanksgiving and the first of the season’s cookies and candy boxes start to arrive. I know abundance is one of the blessings of our age, but I do wish it wasn’t all so fattening.

    Have a wonderful holiday season.

    P.S If you’re interested in what’s going on in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Malibu Bar Association is going to have a speaker on Dec. 15 by the name of Ed Lazarus. He’s a justice’s former clerk who wrote a book about the court. A Supreme Court clerkship is the most sought after and the most prestigious appointment a young law graduate can get. Typically they’re the brightest and the best.

    To some, his book was a long-overdue public airing, while to others it was high treason and telling tales out of school. It should be a very interesting evening. The meeting is open to the public. Call for further information, 310/589-9662.