THE BLOG
01/26/2016 04:11 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2017

Sherlock, Seinfeld, Gillibrand and Various Fripperies

California drivers tend to think their turn signals are vestigial organs, something that exists existentially but doesn't really matter, which makes driving highly voltaic at an eight-lane, four-way Los Angeles intersection.

How long before airlines start charging us for ice in our drinks?

David Baldacci's latest thriller is not a thriller - also perhaps not his latest. Guilty, feels like a trunk piece. Dusted off, shined up a bit but ultimately better left in the trunk. Basic premise: lethal assassin has father-son issues.

A Texas high school marching band faces punishment for giving a predominately African-American school's band a fruit basket with pineapple, coconut, watermelon and candy. We assume Hawaii natives would also be offended by the pineapple and Philippines for including coconuts as gifts. Is this what they mean by MICRO-racism?

Who knew? President Franklin Roosevelt's family wealth came from his maternal grandfather, Warren Delano, whose fortune was made in the Chinese opium trade.
Source: James Bradley's absorbing audiobook, The China Mirage.

When New York drivers cut you off - it's intentional. When Los Angeles drivers do it, they're oblivious.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman's initial Sherlock Holmes TV series in 2010 was what good television aspires to. Many of us were thrilled watching the best Holmes-Watson pairing since the twelve Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce's movies of the 1930s and 40s. Today's Holmes creator-producers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss updated their first episodes to modern times. Holmes texts, uses the Internet and Watson is no longer the bumbling Nigel Bruce sidekick but an intelligent partner. All very appealing - until the newest one that aired last month. How did they take this fine wine and turn it into vinegar? The new show was reset in the 19th century when the detective and the doctor first meet. Fine. But somebody thought they needed to artistically gussy the whole thing up with obtuse camera angles, dim-to-dark lighting and a mishmash of a plot that tries to weave elements from Doyle's original The Five Orange Pips and a new script they called The Abominable Bride. The only thing the show delivered was the abominable part.

If you missed Jerry Seinfeld's episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with President Obama, drop everything immediately and find it streaming on Crackle or the Internet. It's funny and revelatory on several levels. The notion that a sitting president even agreed to do this show is mind-boggling. Can you imagine how long it must have taken to set it up? The chutzpah for Seinfeld to even ask and the equally bold choice for Obama to do it! And if you were surprised by the president's candid response about how crazy some of the world's leaders are, you can be sure The White House had final approval of the edited show.

If 'Politics is show business for ugly people,' U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Dem-NY, is the exception to the cliche. It's her looks that sometimes make her job complex when Gillibrand followed Hillary Clinton as New York's junior senator. In her audiobook and print memoir, Kirsten Gillibrand, Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World, she candidly deals with sexism in the Senate and specifically about the verbal pokes regarding appearance and weight she gets from some of her male senatorial colleagues. Gillibrand is also the exception to the rule about those who write well make poor narrators. Coming in at 6 1/2 hours, (print: 224 pages) the audiobook adds considerable credibility to her singular narrative. In addition to explaining complex issues and policies, the senator does get down to earth when she writes about cleaning up the bathroom floor with Clorox wipes after her two boys played crossing urine streams. If you are into politics, Gillibrand, Off the Sidelines, is a must to ingest.

Kroger of Cincinnati is the largest supermarket chain in America with around 2,620 stores. You'd think this successful company knows what they're doing. Not really. This December was a major grocery shopping month as folks geared up for the holidays. So why, oh why, did Kroger - called Ralph's in Los Angeles, why did these marketing geniuses totally rearrange every isle making it impossible for regular customers to find anything thus spending more time in the store. Maybe that's why Kroger did it. Corporate cupidity equals customers' disservice. When an L.A. store manager was asked 'why' the December change, she made finger circles around her ear - the classic mime for 'crazy.' Indeed.