HomePublicationBurbankChris Erskine: Gift Tips and Trivia for the Holidays

Chris Erskine: Gift Tips and Trivia for the Holidays

Random thoughts about life in Los Angeles, the holiday edition:

  • Christmas is ragtime.
  • Christmas is morning prayer.
  • Christmas is bumping butts and elbows in a cozy kitchen.
  • Pumpkin pi: The circumference of a pumpkin divided by its diameter.
  • Need a hand with the holiday lights?
  • Call me: (818) KID-DING.
  • Roast turkey is visible proof of what a good tan can do for you.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” (Stephen King)

  • Best way to get a kid to listen: Whisper.
  • Best way to get a teen to read a book: Ban it.
  • Happy 20th birthday to “Elf,” a holiday flick that gets better every year.
  • When will Steven Spielberg do the ultimate holiday movie?
  • Oh, wait, Frank Capra already has.
  • Just a thought: Descanso Gardens should add a dog park.
  • Definition of half-hearted: The Lakers’ defense early in the season.
  • Definition of insanity: The Clips.

“Congress is so strange; [someone] gets up to speak and says nothing, nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees.” (Will Rogers)

  • Gift for your sports fan: A personalized brick at the Rose Bowl entry gate. $100. Google “Rose Bowl bricks”
  • Gift for your “Ted Lasso” fan: “Biscuits with the Boss” ice cream. From Mackenzie at mackenzieltd.com.
  • Gift for your silly party: Antler ring toss, at TJ Maxx, Kohl’s or Amazon ($8).

“Those aren’t pillows!!!”

  • Thanks, Steve Martin. Thanks, John Candy. Thanks, John Hughes.

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” (Charles Dickens)

  • Trivia I: Who was Taylor Swift named for?
  • Best fish & chips outside London: Malibu Seafood.
  • Best patio outside Paris: Agnes in Pasadena.
  • “A Charlie Brown Christmas” still has the finest ending in TV history.
  • Even though Charles Schulz once got a C-minus in an art class on drawing children.
  • Lesson: Never let a silly C-minus crush your dream.
  • Trivia I answer: Taylor Swift was named after James Taylor.
  • Fun fact: Chestnut trees once covered more than 200 million acres in the United States. Then the destruction came …
  • Same thing happened to my lawn.
  • Trivia II: Where was “The Christmas Song” written?
  • Doesn’t feel like the holidays till I see a snow game on TV.
  • The Dodgers are a terrific organization, but the front office is arrogant to a fault.
  • And the parking!
  • There should be a Yelp site just for sports fans.
  • Good news: Gladstone’s has received a two-year reprieve.
  • Bad news: Chinatown is a ghost town after dark.
  • More and more, L.A. rolls up the streets at about 8 p.m.
  • At holiday parties, I wish everyone wore sweaters with their names in great big letters.

“I would kill for the Nobel Peace Prize.” (Steven Wright)

  • Trivia II answer: Mel Torme and Robert Wells wrote “The Christmas Song” on a blistering hot day in Beverly Hills. Took them 40 minutes.
  • It really shows, doesn’t it?
  • Trivia III: What does “hurkle-durkle” mean? (hint: You do it in bed).
  • FYI, the Warners lot has a large Hogwarts Conference Room. And just outside, the Chandler Bing Room.
  • RIP, Matthew Perry, and all the great entertainers we lost this year, including Tony Bennett, Alan Arkin and Suzanne Somers.
  • I have a great Suzanne Somers story. But I can’t tell it here.

“One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” (Malala Yousafzai)

Just look at what a little tan can do for you.
  • Fun fact II: Robert Redford was passed over for “The Graduate.” He was considered too handsome to play a neurotic deadbeat.
  • FYI, Redford would go on to do other things.
  • Here’s to the neurotic deadbeats who always keep things real.
  • The Grinch, for one.
  • And a surprising number of writers.
  • OK, maybe not surprising.
  • Most-beautiful street name in Los Angeles: Chautauqua.
  • FYI, Chautaqua was a term describing 19th century educational events.
  • Yeah, I had to look that up. So?
  • December birthdays: Taylor Swift (34), Lebron James (39), John Legend (45), Jesus (2,030 approximately).
  • Why 2,030? I had to look that up too.
  • Trivia III answer: “Hurkle-durkle” is a Scottish term for lounging in bed long after you should be out and about.
  • Best December crunch: acorns underfoot while walking the dog.
  • Best free December pleasure: hurkle-durkling.
  • When we say “Peace on Earth” this year, do we mean that ironically?
  • And so the morning prayers continue.

Got a wildlife lover on your list? Please consider “What the Bears Know,” the remarkable life story of Steve Searles, Mammoth’s “Bear Whisperer.” In bookstores now. Thank you.

First published Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Outlook Newspapers.


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