Every year we are treated to videos of parents punching each other at Toys R' Us, fighting for the latest cabbage patch PS3.   Anyone remember what last year's must-have toy was?

          My favorite conscience-drubbing ad is the "He went to Jared's" campaign.  This commercial has all the relatives gathered in a fancy restaurant in New York.  They are oohing and Ahhh-ing over a guy who bought his wife a big diamond.  His mother pats his cheek.  His father nods approval.  An onlooker's wife insults her own husband for being too cheap to get her a big diamond.  "HE went to Jared's!" she sneers, and the rival husband mocks her with a Scrooge-like sneer of his own.  A sleepy headwaiter overhears that hubby has bought jewelry and snaps to life, running to the table with a towel over his arm in anticipation of a big tip.   

     Jealousy, guilt, approval, rejection, obedience, greed...  Amazing what you can buy at Jared's, isn't it?  They seem to be fresh out of Good Will Toward Men, however.

     Topa Topa is a mile-high mountain of striated sandstone overlooking Ojai.  Often, the setting sun glances off the Pacific and the evening light slants into Topa, basting it in a red glow known locally as "The Pink Moment."  I was driving back from Casitas one day when it happened, so I pulled the car over and pulled my little Nikon out.  For a minute, it was quiet, beautiful, and peaceful.   

     Jade picked out the shot, and told me to keep unnecessary clutter out.  The image was later used on coffee cups and T-shirts for the visiting tourists.
 

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