Editor’s Letter: Handmade in O.C.

I greet Gary Mathis of Gary’s Custom Saddlery in Fullerton, and my hand disappears into his like a car entering a tunnel. His grip is as epic as his handlebar mustache. Still, I watched those same hands move like hummingbirds around the various workbench projects in his garage, where for decades he has handcrafted custom saddles, exotic-leather belts, and the kind of elaborate silver buckles prized by Texas ranchers and country music legends.

Editor’s Letter: The Coyote Compromise

A coyote sauntered past the front bumper of my car as I was pulling into traffic—not unheard of, perhaps, but at the time I...

Mayberry vs. Orange County

All of us are shaped by childhood moments, good and bad, that eventually make us who we are. But when asked, most of us...

Is ‘Blue Velvet’ madness obscured by Orange County’s terrific landscaping?

I spent my first week in O.C. on a friend’s couch in an apartment on Santa Ana’s 17th Street. It was October 1985. That...

Editor’s Letter: Destiny’s Crapshoot

The opening and closing scenes of the 1994 Robert Zemekis film “Forrest Gump” revolve around a single white feather—OK, a computer-generated feather—drifting on currents of...