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Hooray for Hollywood; Boo on Secession

March, 2002

March, 2002, HOLLYWOOD - I love Hollywood. It's a part of my hometown, Los Angeles, that I've been stuck on all my life. My life history is literally embedded here.

When I was a kid, it was the exciting part of town that my parents took me to for special occasions - a movie, a dinner, and a drive admiring the glamour of the neon signs and art-deco architecture. As a movie-struck teen-ager, Hollywood Boulevard was where I hung out. It was where I got the only jay walking ticket in my life, dashing across Hollywood Boulevard right in front of the legendary Grauman's Chinese Theater. I spent hours exploring in bookstores on the boulevard, like Larry Edmund's and Pickwick Books, and chancing across stars like John Derek and Gig Young also browsing among the stacks. Music City, on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street, was where I went to listen to the latest hit records in the glass booths facing the street. In the evenings, we went to movies at celebrated theaters like the Pantages, the Egyptian, and, of course, Grauman's Chinese Theater.

But over the years, Hollywood started to decline. The big department store closed down, followed by other fine clothing stores. Seedy operations began opening up. The smaller movie houses shifted their booking to X-rated films. Fine restaurants closed and reopened as greasy spoons. The people on the street changed. We stopped going there at night. When the Pantages and Egyptian theaters went dark, I was shaken. Those were landmarks of our city. It was unthinkable. It was like a death of a loved one. It hurt - and I also felt guilty. I hadn't supported those great movie palaces in years. It was heartbreaking to watch a beloved, once legendary street going derelict.

A few hardy institutions were toughing it out against the tide of nastiness and squalor. Musso & Frank's Restaurant, the gathering place of stars since the days of silent movies, had been on the boulevard since 1919. I still went there on occasion for their steaks, chicken pot pies, and, especially, their great martinis. It was wonderful bumping into Ricardo Montalban there shortly after we worked together on "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn."

And tour buses still congregated at old Grauman's Chinese Theater with its autographed and hand printed forecourt. Through thick and thin, the Chinese was a perennial.

"Star Trek" did its galactic best to buttress up the renown and traditions of Hollywood. When Gene Roddenberry was honored with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we all gathered - with the exception of Bill Shatner - to rejoice with our boss, the Great Bird. With each new star on the Walk of Fame for a fellow member of our Star Trek family, we got together to celebrate the happy occasion. And hundreds of fans joined us from far and near.

The year 1986 was my turn and I will never forget the joy of that day. My name embedded in a rose terrazzo star on the sidewalk that I had been walking over all my life! Before feet from all over the world could tread over my good name, my mother, who gave me life and taught me to walk, had to be the very first one to step on my star. She reveled being in the spotlight. After the ceremony, we partied at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Mayor Tom Bradley proclaimed October 30, 1986, George Takei Day in Los Angeles. The heady memory of that day will forever be my personal treasure.

Incredibly, that day was topped by a shared day of jubilation. In the 25th anniversary year of "Star Trek," just before the premiere of "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," the entire cast was honored with Hollywood's version of consecration - a place in the forecourt of the hallowed Grauman's Chinese Theater. Cheering fans lined both sides of Hollywood Boulevard as we paraded down in convertibles. The USC Marching Band blared away in front of us. We arrived at the Chinese to be greeted by the ever-ebullient Johnny Grant, the Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, with a cortege of young fans dressed as Starfleet officers, Klingon warriors and an Andorian Ambassador or two. This ceremony was going to be unique from any other in the Chinese Theater's long and colorful history. Ours had visitors from throughout the galaxy. A large square of fresh cement moistly awaited our autographs. The studio publicists had instructed us that, due to the limited space, we were to write our autographs only - nothing else. Bill Shatner and Leonard Nimoy led off obediently as instructed with only their signatures on the wet cement. I surmised then, that I was obviously the only one who knew the whole tradition. A handprint must accompany the autograph in the cement. It was tradition. As the only native Angeleno, the responsibility for continuing that tradition lay solely with me. When my turn came, I wrote my name clearly and then, despite the instructions from the studio, I pressed my palm firmly into the wet cement. The shocked exclamation that followed came from Bill Shatner. "George put his hand in!" Then after a pause, "I want to put MY hand in too!" Splat! He slapped his handprint into the moist cement right beside his signature. Pandemonium broke out as everyone else ran to add their handprints to their autographs. Leonard - always thinking in character - placed his handprint in the form of his Vulcan greeting. The continuity of the hallowed rite of the handprint was not broken. I took quiet satisfaction in knowing that I was the one responsible for maintaining that tradition.

The day after that memorable ceremony, I drove down Hollywood Boulevard. Tourists with cameras were still ambling around the Chinese Theater. But the rest of the street had returned to its shabby dereliction. The crowd was gone and the grungy, the delinquent and the deranged had shambled back. "Star Trek" had brought only a brief day of excitement to a growingly forlorn street.

Over the years, there were many initiatives to revitalize Hollywood. Every disappointment was followed by redoubled efforts to reclaim a valued part of the city. Everybody knows Hollywood. From Bombay to Helsinki, from Morocco to Outer Mongolia, Hollywood is a place known throughout the world. In some parts of the world, Hollywood may be better known than Los Angeles itself, of which it is actually a part. Los Angeles could not allow the decline to continue. Hollywood was too valuable and too well known.

With much effort, a revitalization plan was crafted with tax incentives, historic restoration credits, improved security programs and, most importantly, leadership commitment. When the film appreciation society, American Cinematheque, working closely with the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, restored and reopened the historic Egyptian Theater as its new home, the re-ascendance of Hollywood began. It was quickly followed by the welcome return of the Pantages Theater. The great movie palace was magnificently restored and premiered just over a year ago with Disney's stage production of "The Lion King." It is a smash hit still playing today. And, last month, Hollywood saw the spectacular opening of the Kodak Theater and the Babylon Court of Hollywood and Highland. This is the biggest and most fantastically over-the-top complex of theaters, shops, and restaurants in Los Angeles. Just last week, the Japanese American National Museum held its annual dinner in the glamorous new Grand Ballroom on the rooftop of the complex. In two weeks, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the Oscars for the highest achievements in motion pictures for the year 2001 in the dazzling new Kodak Theater, designated as its permanent home.

Hollywood Boulevard is where Oscar belongs. It was born 75 years ago at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, just across the street from the Kodak Theater. Since then, Oscar roamed all over Los Angeles and Santa Monica, finally to find a permanent home back on Hollywood Boulevard. Hooray for Hollywood!

The people are coming back. The excitement is coming back. Now that the money is coming back, so are the politics.

There are people politicking to have Hollywood secede from the City of Los Angeles. After Los Angeles had struggled through the tough years of Hollywood, after all the effort and investment to revitalize the area, after the Metro Rail subway system was built to bind Hollywood with the rest of the city, there are activists trying to break away. They are advocating to place a measure on the November ballot declaring Hollywood an independent city. The irony is that, if they did succeed, they will still have to contract with Los Angeles for all their services.

I don't live within the specific boundaries of Hollywood. But, I consider it an intrinsic part of my hometown. I have childhood memories there. I went to summer school at Hollywood High. As a Los Angeles High School cross-country runner, I competed in races against runners from Hollywood High. I work in an industry that is synonymous with Hollywood. I go to movies, eat, play, and spend my money in Hollywood. I don't want a room in my civic home taken away from me.

One more thing - that world famous sign on the hillside of Griffith Park that announces "Hollywood" in great big bold white letters is in Los Angeles. And, we won't give that up. What is Hollywood without the Hollywood sign? It would be like Paris without the Eiffel Tower or New York without the Empire State Building. I say to the activists trying to break away, "give it up." Your effort is misguided. And we ain't giving up our Hollywood sign!

People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.