I believe the Devil is in the details also.

From today’s Los Angeles Times Magazine I bring you some pullquotes from an article about the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Coast. The whole article is worth reading: Heaven is in the Details

Marie Friedlander, Certified YogaGolf Instructor
“Breathe through your nose,” says Friedlander in smooth, even tones. High atop the course at the Pacific View Tee, three middle-aged male golfers stand barefoot on mats with their arms stretched overhead and palms together. “Become aware of your stance. Stack your spine. Stare at your drishti.” The two-hour session concludes with the men remarking how much more flexible and relaxed they feel. One golfer, who had complained of lower back pain, heads to a canvas tent, where his swing is videotaped. He compares it with a previously taped swing playing on a nearby laptop. He smiles.

I’m not sure how a 5000-year-old Indian religious practice works with the conspicious-consumption ritual sport of the American executive, but I bet both can be done pompously. A brilliant move, though; now they can sell yoga hours to the men and not just the women. —Ed.

As for the attention to detail, it’s as if all the veteran hospitality professionals brought on board sat in one room and asked themselves, What detail would I like to add? What would contribute to the perfect experience? That’s why there are five types of coffee in each villa, a choice of soaps and Villeroy & Boch china; why no guest will ever have to request toothpaste, a razor or shaving gel; and why such touches as orchids in the sitting rooms and expansive patios with chaise lounges and tables contribute to the feeling that you’re staying at a close friend’s vacation home. The details go beyond the guest rooms: Risotto is finished in a 28-inch wheel of Parmesan and served in individual silver dishes; the spa features temperature-controlled beds and a waiting room full of art books; and the lobby is a study in opulent minimalism.

(The print edition has a photo of a chef spooning a saffron-rich risotto into a hollow that has been cut into an entire wheel of parmigiano. If there is a purpose here other than excess for its own sake, I’d love to hear it. —Ed.)

(Also, the phrase “opulent minimalism” deserves an award or a terrible punishment, probably both. —Ed.)

The Masque of the Red Death, 2006

If you type “Chronic Cantina” into Google and hit “I”m feeling lucky” you get a man-boy: http://www.myspace.com/newportbeach

This man-boy likes PUNK!! music, and he likes Governor Arnold, and he likes executions, a lot. Let ’em fry! He owns a drug abuse theme restaurant.

The man-boy wants to start a war with China. He loves our President and says that Michael Moore should not criticize the man. The man-boy would like to meet open-minded girls.

The man-boy says: “If you are a fun person and like to have respectful fun no matter what the circumstances we will get along great. ”

The man-boy owns a business selling stripper poles. The man-boy is an attorney and a real estate investor. Often the man-boy is surrounded by sad skinny bikini girls and grinning ape-boys on boats, on beaches, in bars, in nightclubs.

The man-boy was born Keith Scheinberg and calls himself MAXIMILLIAN on myspace. But I have a secret to tell you; I know his real name. His real name is Marie Antoinette.

It’s. A. Shoe. Store? (Hello, Jeanketeers!)

So, I was trying to find a cheapass pair of cheapass flip flops to replace my worn-out cheapass flip flops. And of course, I end up at the excellent zappos.com. Not finding what I need, and realizing for other reasons that I am way poorer than I thought this week, I gave up buying anything. And then I sorted the flip flops by price seeing “highest first” just to see how nutty that was. It was about this nutty. ” Rejuvenate your warm-weather-wardrobe with these high fashion thong sandals” indeed, at $240. But that wasn’t the good part! The good part is the random customer testimonial that Zappos chose to put on that page, which I quote in full below.

Dearest Zappos Customer Loyalty Team — Zappos is like nothing I have ever encountered in a store, online or otherwise. The promptness of service, total ease of return (you guys really know how finicky shoe freaks are!), constant inquiry as to how you may serve us better, and your customer evaluations (which have helped me tremendously in evaluating a particular brand/type of shoe) all create the “perfect” shopping experience! I have even told total strangers (who I perceived were frustrated in shoe-shopping) about you; and, have shared your .com address with everyone I meet who evidences any inkling of being crazy about shoes (the latest was the admitting clerk at Palestine Regional Hospital!). It is really refreshing and comforting to encounter the spiritual-material balance in your concept of merchandizing. This is difficult to explain; but, Zappos takes away some of the “guilt” I feel in buying more-and-more shoes instead of sending more money to Hope International or Heifer International or Catholic Medical Missions…or any of the multifarious, marvelous organizations “out there” who are helping create a healthier world. Because you reveal the people behind the product, you bring home the truth that by our high standard of living (which includes having more than two pairs of shoes: Sunday-go-to-meeting and every-day), we are able to provide the income for numerous folks who will, in turn, contribute to all sorts of worthwhile social programs to renew our Mother Earth! Yes, I do realize that there may be a fine line between Imelda Marcos and one who appreciates comfortable footwear; however, as I try to stay on the “good” side of the line, I certainly appreciate Zappos.com! (Have you ever considered contributing a percentage of every shoe purchased to Hope International or Mother Theresa’s Missions or some such worthy cause?) God hold you all close, “in the very hollow of His hand” (an old Gaelic blessing)! Sincerely, Di M

~ Di M, June 05 2006

The Fall of the House of Steinberg

Mold sends homeowners packing

Super extra famous sports agent Leigh Steinberg had to move and then got screwed again in his second 5 million dollar house. Oh no! Why? Well, the mold showed up again.

The Ambe family blew 3.5 mil on a house only have their 18 month old baby covered in a rash and “listless” due to the same mold.

Oddly, the same building company didn’t seem to have the problem when giving away their services for a TV show in which they fixed up a house to save a mold-threatened child.

Best quote in the article:

“My poor husband — he’s a plastic surgeon — he’s having to do five surgeries a day … where typically it would be three,” she said.

I wonder if a Tulpa can take the form of mold?

joliet prison and 99 years, turn turn to the rain and the wind

Car Wash WIndshield

I talk back to the car radio a lot, particularly when it’s not making sense. Today I heard a commercial shilling for a local supermarket chain’s loyalty program. The pitch was that you were supporting local schools because they’d give the kids a pencil for every 400,000 cucumbers sold, etc. The ad was pure SPIN selling, starting with “Education is so important. Our schools need new books and new computers all the time so children can progress. And there’s something you can do to help!” At which point I yelled “YEAH, YOU COULD PAY YOUR FUCKING TAXES!” That’s when I noticed that my window was opening and that the motorcyclist next to me was grinning at me.

Dinner: Chilled poached salmon with mayonnaise and dill; toasted pita bread with a dollop of hummus and fresh ground black pepper; caprese salad with fresh tomatoes on vine, fresh ovolini mozzarella, fresh basil, and good olive oil. Time to prepare: 15 minutes.

I was at Kéan for just an hour or so today, to cool off and slurp a cold coffee beverage. Rich unhappy people have such scrunched-up, sour faces even when they’re experiencing pleasures most of the world will never see. Looking dissatisfied when you’re having a dark chocolate mocha milkshake in an air-conditioned cafe in Paradise just after buying an iPod must be difficult, but they manage it.

At Trader Joes a plastic surgery disasters woman in her fifties was dragging her husband around hectoring him about their purchases. She’d perch angrily next to some item and pick it up: “Do you want these? Do you like yellow mustard? I like Dijon mustard. Do you want it? Are we going to get Dijon mustard?” He was a tired Tommy Lee Jones who didn’t say much except “Okay,” or “Go ahead.”

90 degrees and humid means that all the beautiful people were showing flesh today. Including the very genuinely beautiful ones and not just the ones who had purchased the standard of beauty as an aftermarket option. A six-footer surfer boy, all tanned abs and long bones and bleached hair-mp, was looking at frozen food next to a hourglass-figured blonde beach goddess with honey-colored skin and shockingly bright blue eyes. They were unaware that they were a Guess! ad because they were trying to figure out which kind of peas to get.

The flower shop next to Kéan has an appropriately fancy name, but their sign with their url on it looks like they’re selling the flowers eaten by a demon rather than those painted by an Impressionist. It’s not as obvious as “powergenitalia” but they should have realized.

I am currently maintaining crushes on at least three unavailable women. Go me!

In musical news, I’m going to see Steve Wynn this Friday night. It may well be a real Dream Syndicate reunion show of some kind. I have an extra ticket if you’re interested and can go with or meet me at McCabe’s Guitars in Santa Monica.

I have “Percy’s Song” as done by Fairport Convention in my head.

Please adjust your dogs

According to the Los Angeles Times, chihuahuas are out and pugs are in for the tiny-dog-carrying set.

Those of you who were raising hundreds of chihuahuas in hydroponic tanks in your closets have just found yourselves at the top of the market; sorry about that. If you’re lucky, you can unload the li’l barkers to clueless social climbers in the Inland Empire before they get the message.

Otherwise, it’s chili night!