Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tungurahua Erupts

Explanation: Volcano Tungurahua erupted spectacularly in 2006. Pictured above, molten rock so hot it glows visibly pours down the sides of the 5,000-meter high Tungurahua, while a cloud of dark ash is seen being ejected toward the left. Wispy white clouds flow around the lava-lit peak, while a star-lit sky shines in the distance. The above image was captured last year as ash fell around the adventurous photographer. Located in Ecuador, Tungurahua has become active roughly every 90 years since for the last 1,300 years. Volcano Tungurahua has started erupting again this year and continues erupting at a lower level even today. Some truck-sized boulders landed more than a mile away.

Credit & Copyright: Patrick Taschler

Fact, Fiction and Fantasy

The reality of Trump Tower, Las Vegas' tallest residential building — which Trump described as "very, very successful" — is different from the hype.

Conceived as a high-end hotel-condominium development in Las Vegas' go-go years, the project opened in 2008 amid the economic meltdown. Most investors pulled out and demanded their deposits, leaving Trump and his partners holding the bag.

The casino-free building, wrapped in 24-karat-gold-infused glass, now rests in the boneyard of the Las Vegas Strip, a collection of vacant lots, barren scaffolding and silent cranes left over from abandoned resort projects.

These days, the 645-foot Trump tower might be a metaphor for his nascent campaign: lots of splash, little in the way of substance.

Friday, April 29, 2011

"gore-eographed suspence"

This grisly looking vampire meets an equally grisly fate in the stylish “Stake Land,” showing at Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

World Car of the Year

The 100% electric Nissan LEAF™ won the 2011 World Car of the Year Award presented at the New York International Auto Show. There, it was up against 38 other vehicles, including the Audi A8 and BMW 5 Series.

Julia Child in A Covert Affair

Julia Child's wartime spell in the Office of Strategic Services has always seemed the most intriguing chapter in the story of her evolution from the cocoon of her staid, soft-shoe Pasadena upbringing into the iconic French chef who revolutionized American cooking. Serving in that precursor of the CIA not only took her away from her native shores for the first time but also plunged her into two cultures about as different from what she was accustomed to as any you might find. Surely, it was no coincidence that India and China also boasted two of the world's greatest cuisines, so that amid all the culture shock there was also exposure to a panoply of spices and new ways of cooking.

How appropriate, then, that Jennet Conant, who has demonstrated her flair for bringing to life the odd interstices of World War II's intelligence services in "Tuxedo Park" and "The Irregulars," should now be training her sights on this time in Julia McWilliams' life, when she met Paul Child, the man who would give her that name — and so much more.

Conant doesn't disappoint in her picture of the whirlwind life of the OSS, created very much in the image of its founder, the maverick William J. Donovan. Her glimpses of how he overcame bureaucratic rivalries and turf wars are as exciting as her picture of life in the field, complete with dengue fever, cobras and scorpions.

"The Las Vegas Mob Experience"

Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal sits at a witness table before the Senate Investigations Subcommittee, Sept. 8, 1961 in Washington during a probe of organized gambling. Las Vegas has recently opened their museum about some of its founding fathers and most influential figures — guys with names like Bugsy, Lefty and Lansky.

The spoof of that "other Pasadena parade"

The Pasadena Doo Dah Parade is world-famous for its egalitarian spirit and its wiggy, offbeat style. This spoof of that "other Pasadena parade" is a toast to madness and mayhem. This year's highlights include an actual Doo Dah wedding, Dr. Steel's Army of Toy Soldiers and perennial favorites BBQ & Hibachi Marching Grill Team, the Men of Leisure and the Doo Dah house band, Snotty Scotty & the Hankies. Colorado Boulevard between Altadena Drive and San Gabriel Boulevard, Pasadena. 11 a.m. Sat. Free. (626) 356-9725.

"catastrophic collapse"

Los Angeles Dodgers fans who are worried about their team's lackluster recent history have nothing on Chicago Cubs supporters, who have endured a century-long championship drought.

Perhaps no postseason was more painful for the Wrigley faithful than 2003, when fan Steve Bartman appeared to interfere with a foul pop-up in the eighth inning of a potentially pennant-clinching Game 6 against the Florida Marlins, an act that set into motion a catastrophic collapse and the team missing the World Series.

Or did it?

Oscar-winner Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side") explores the Bartman incident, the alleged Cubs curse and sports scapegoats in general in "Catching Hell," his new documentary that world-premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night.

"It came out of a personal pain," Gibney said in an interview after the premiere about his reason for making the film. The director, himself a die-hard Red Sox fan, went through a similar ordeal during Bill Buckner's flubbed ground ball in the '86 World Series, an event that gets ample airplay in this film.

"I lay awake for days after that happened. At some point, you think, 'It's only a game. It's not like anyone in your family is hurt, or like there's been an attack or an earthquake,' " he said. "But I was still stunned and devastated, and I wanted to examine that."

In the film, which will premiere on ESPN later this year and possibly get a theatrical release, Gibney interviews numerous fans who sat near or comment on Bartman, uncovered rare footage from the game and even re-creates what Batman was hearing on the radio's seven-second delay as he watched the fly ball come at him.

He concludes Bartman was not nearly as responsible for the loss as the reaction from the fans, angry and in search of a scapegoat, suggested. Many other hands had reached up for the ball, and even had Cubs outfielder Moises Alou caught the pop-up, a series of key miscues on the field played a far more important role in the subsequent collapse.

Most interestingly, he paints a picture of Bartman -- immortalized as the laconic, headphones-wearing fan in a green turtleneck who was hustled out of the stadium amid death threats -- as a tragic and even mythic figure.

"In the Odyssey, when Odysseus blinds the Cyclops, [the Cyclops] goes to his mutant friends and tells them 'No Man' did it, and his friends say, 'Well, it must have been the gods,' " Gibney said. "Bartman, in a way, is a kind of No Man. So he must be the gods." The fan, who has since declined all requests for public appearances and interviews, including Gibney's, was just as devastated about the Cubs loss as the people whose hearts he supposedly broke. But he has all but gone into hiding in the nearly eight years since the incident.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Nothing stays the same"

The Hollywood Sign (built in 1923) is the most famous sign in the world. It is located on Mount Lee in Griffith Park overlooking Hollywood. It is illegal to hike to the Hollywood Sign. There are many good vantage points from the streets of Hollywood. The Hollywood Sign originally said "Hollywoodland" before it was shortened in 1945.

"one thousand years of singing"

Westminster Abbey has resounded to music every day for over one thousand years. Singing has played a hugely important role, from the plainsong Offices sung by the monks of the tenth-century monastic foundation to the daily choral services sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey today. Over the intervening centuries some of the most illustrious British organists, singers and composers have been closely associated with the Abbey, which continues to play a leading part in the musical and cultural life of the nation today.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Capturing Magic"

The 1957 Chrysler Windsor

Here is a photo of the interior of my dad's 1957 Chrysler Windsor, that he had when I was a young boy. He bought this car used and had it until the early 70s. You rarely see one of these on the road today. I have only seen a few in my lifetime.

My father installed a small turntable that could play 45 rpm records. It was in a drawer, mounted on springs that helped to dampen road vibration. I do remember some skipping, but for the most part, it was just so cool to be able to listen to your own "sounds" while cruising around. I clearly remember dad taking me down to the Pike in Long Beach, right before they closed the Cyclone Racer forever. We had The Mama's & The Papa's song "California Dreamin'" playing as we motored along Ocean St. I was too young and scared to ride the Cyclone, but wished I had later when I realized that it was one of the most classic wooden roller coasters of all time.

The awesome pin stripe work on the dash was of course done by my uncle Fritz.
Kustom tuck and roll upholstery and the trick machined hubcaps that he made were nice touches. He also removed most of the exterior branding and badges for a cleaner appearance.

Recollections Posted by Synthetrix. Click on the heading above to visit his blog.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"The Beginning of Islam"


A: With the Hijra or Hegire – the migration of the Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Medina in 622.

This date marks the beginning of Islam and the Muslim era.

Medina – “city of the Prophet”
After Muhammad’s revelations he began to preach with great zeal. This was still in the area of his home town, Mecca. Some 100 or so followers joined Muhammad, however, there was also great opposition to him. Unable to make any progress in Mecca, Muhammad decided to move to Yathrib, a city some 450 kilometers or 280 miles north of Mecca. The city was later named Medina meaning, “city of the Prophet”.

"a great party for all!”

SATURDAY, April 30th, Colorado Blvd., in East Pasadena, stepping off at 11:00am. Daring to go where, well, we went last year, this year’s Pasadena Doo Dah Parade will venture eastward for the second time in its colorful history. While the alternative event has enjoyed much popular success in the Old Pasadena retail and entertainment district, organizers are excited to bring the eclectic parade to the town-like setting of East Pasadena. “Old Pasadena has been a terrific backdrop and host for the Doo Dah Parade,” says organizer Tom Coston. “But East Pasadena is an exciting new frontier with its own local character and possibilities. It’ll be a great party for all!”

"blood is thicker than water"

Queen Victoria's grand plan to marry as many of her descendants as possible into the reigning families of Europe resulted in her progeny sitting on the thrones of no fewer than 10 nations. After all, as the saying went back then, "blood is thicker than water," and so with this network of rulers related to the woman who was dubbed the "Grandmama of Europe," surely then peace would prevail. But of course, little more than a dozen years after Victoria's 1901 funeral, attended by a host of these relatives, cousin was pitted against cousin in unprecedentedly hideous global combat.

In "George, Nicholas and Wilhelm," a finalist in the biography category for this year's Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, British biographer Miranda Carter focuses on the nexus among the heads of state in three of the major combatants, Britain, Russia and Germany. The allied King George and Czar Nicholas (shown above) were not only first cousins (their Danish mothers were sisters) but they looked so much alike that people frequently mistook one for the other. Nicholas' wife was also a first cousin to George (on his father's side) and Kaiser Wilhelm bore the same close relationship to both. (He was also related twice over to the czar.) In Carter's capable hands, what could so easily be little more than an annotated family tree springs to life full of vivid, flesh-and-blood characters and replete with family attachments, feuds and quarrels. As her story unfolds, we see just how determinative — and sometimes irrelevant — these turned out to be.

"Bye, Bye Birdie"

This photo from Bye, Bye Birdie, dated c. 1960 was recently spotted by UCLA Musicology Chair Raymond Knapp. His sharp eyes identified the guitarist as UCLA's Ethnomusicology Professor and head of Jazz Studies, Kenny Burrell.

"a jubilant message"

So light as to transcend the earth's gravity, angels are a lyrical expression of Dali's world of dreams and fantasy - in fact, Dali once said "nothing is more stimulating than the idea of an angel"! From the end of the 1940s, when the artist began weaving strong religious themes into his artworks, angels appear frequently in his oeuvre. In this beautiful sculpture, the Dalinian angel trumpets his divine music, wings spread, head thrown back, sending his jubilant message to all who will listen.

"tilting at windmills"

Congress' eleventh-hour compromise on the federal budget this month rescinds $400 million in funding for high-speed rail in fiscal year 2010, and eliminates federal funding for high-speed rail in fiscal year 2011. Yet California High-Speed Rail Authority officials remain committed to their vision of a high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The agency is beginning to tilt at windmills.

The congressional action means that California will not get the $19 billion in federal grant support the authority was counting on receiving by 2016, nor (almost certainly) the $2.4 billion in grants that Florida's governor declined. Technically, Congress' agreement did not rescind roughly $3.75 billion in federal grants to California, but this commitment is also at risk. About $715 million has not been obligated and could be easily rescinded. The remainder of these funds is obligated, and rescinding them would be more difficult but not impossible.

California taxpayers would benefit greatly from rescission, because every dollar Congress finds the courage to rescind from the California rail project is a dollar the state no longer has to match. In Sacramento, some lawmakers are beginning to connect the dots. Assembly Bill 76, introduced by Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point), would have defunded the California high-speed rail project, but it was rejected in a committee vote along party lines.

Above: An artist's rendering of the proposed San Jose stop on the $43-billion high-speed rail line. (California High-Speed Rail Authority / Bloomberg)

"Exploring Marilyn Monroe's Catalina days"

The Catalina Island Museum has assembled a trove of letters and photographs that reveal the star-to-be as a vulnerable and girlish young woman.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Los Angeles Freeways -- they're either insane or ingenious

Lots of people from across the country complain about their cities commutes and traffic, but until you have actually been on the 405 through the 405/101 interchange and the Sepulveda pass you have no idea what traffic really is. Here's a picture below in case you need a visual of what your daily drive will look like, enjoy...

"Thar she blows"

A group of 2,500 people set a new world record last year for the largest number of simultaneously erupting "Mentos geysers". The Mexico City participants dropped the candy inside 2-liter bottles of soda at the same time. The mixture created a giant geyser of fizz. A representative from Guinness World Records was on hand to verify the event.

"he wanted to be an entertainer"

Ehrich Weiss, the Budapest-born son of an immigrant family, ran away from home at 12 to join the circus. Not the least bit interested in becoming a rabbi like his father, he wanted to be an entertainer.

Although Weiss was already an accomplished trapeze artist in a neighborhood circus, he soon turned around and headed back home. But it was only a matter of time before the whole world knew who he was. Reinventing himself as Harry Houdini, the rabbi's son became a celebrity as an escape artist, and, by the time of his death in 1926 — on Halloween — a legend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"lunar rainbow"

Ladies and gentlemen, don your raincoats. Conditions may be just right in the coming days for a moonbow at Yosemite National Park.

A moonbow, also called a lunar rainbow, occurs, oddly enough, at night. The Yosemite National Park website says an optimal view is the result of "clear skies, enough water in Yosemite Fall to create sufficient mist, dark skies, bright moonlight not blocked by the surrounding mountains, and the correct rainbow geometry."

I can make no iron-clad promises, but Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said conditions look right: There is a lot of runoff at Yosemite Fall, the snow pack is enormous and the weather is warm.

Los Angeles Times photographer Mark Boster, whose Yosemite in Four Seasons photographic series has appeared in the Travel print section and whose photo appears above, recommends wearing a raincoat or poncho.

"Standing next to a roaring waterfall means bringing towels and plastic bags for your cameras," he said.

He shot this photo using a 16mm-35mm zoom lens. The aperture was set at f/4.5, and he exposed it for 60 seconds.

(excerpts from an article by By Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel Editor, April 14, 2011)

"Creating Beauty"

Only nature could create such a majestic scene, right? Well, nature or burst flood-control gates.

The Salton Sea in Southern California was created in 1905 when spring flooding broke down the canal gates leading to the Imperial Valley, causing waters from the Colorado River to rush into a depression in the Colorado Desert.

Today, the Salton Sea area, about 60 miles northeast of San Diego, attracts birdwatchers, hikers and other visitors.

Times reader "tommy750" captured this scene.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How about "two nights in a treehouse" ???

Leave it to a luxury resort to redefine "alternate route." To the Post Ranch Inn in California's Big Sur area, a 15-minute helicopter ride is the best way to avoid an hours-long detour. And starting Wednesday, you can book a package that includes the scenic flight.

Since March 16, when a section of Highway 1 collapsed north of Big Sur, about 13 miles south of Carmel, the California Department of Transportation has advised motorists to find different routes into this popular stretch of Central California.

Travelers driving up from Los Angeles and other points south of Big Sur are not affected by the slide. But for motorists arriving from the north, the detour could mean a long ride down various highways, rejoining Highway 1 south of Cambria, or connecting from Highway 101 and winding across Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.

Noting the drop-off in visitors to the ocean-view resort, Mike Freed, Post Ranch Inn general partner, collaborated with a helicopter company to shuttle guests from Monterey Peninsula Airport to a helipad on the Post Ranch property.

The inn's new "Flight to Paradise" package includes free round-trip helicopter transport from the airport to the resort; free airport parking; two nights in a treehouse guest room (it's on stilts, in the treetops); free snacks, beverages and wine; two 60-minute massages; activities such as daily yoga, guided nature hikes and stargazing with the in-house astronomer; and other perks.

"This is the first time we’ve set up a package where the room charge includes a complimentary helicopter round trip," said Freed, who tested the flight in the four-seat aircraft earlier this week. "It was a rare opportunity to see the Big Sur coast...from the ocean point of view."

Prices for the two-night, midweek package begin at $2,170, plus tax and tip. Basically, you get the helicopter trip, valued at about $900, for free. Here's the math: Treehouse rooms begin at $945 a night, or $1,890 for two nights, and massages add $280 for a total of $2,170. Weekend packages are available at a higher price.

The package is available through May 6, when Caltrans is hoping to have cleared the Highway 1 slide area; the road reopening date is tentative.

Info and reservations: Post Ranch Inn, (888) 524-4787.

(Los Angeles Times)

"Grand Canyon of the Pacific"

Waimea Canyon — about 3,500 feet deep, 10 miles long, a mile across and dolled up in enough shades of green, red, orange, yellow, purple and brown to render inadequate every paint swatch at Home Depot — is the type of spectacle Vegas would announce in 100-foot-tall neon.

I'd guess we're about halfway between Waimea's unseen bottom and rainforest-clad top. "It's sooooo beautiful," Terri says of the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. "It's unreal. Bryce, Zion, the Grand Canyon all mushed together in the tropics."

"Heyday of the greeter is gone"

The Southland has had some colorful characters over the years standing on corners just to give a boost to people walking or driving by. But most are gone now.
In this fast-paced, sophisticated and somewhat suspicious age, civic greeters don't seem to be getting much love.

A poet who was Laguna Beach's unofficial greeter for almost three decades died last year. No one has taken his place.

A Long Beach homeless man who waves to motorists from a street corner was out of action for several months after he was hit by a car.

And Rodeo Drive's official greeter was laid off in January, a victim of the weak economy.

"It's too bad," said Hossein Abbasi, proprietor of the Greeter's Corner Restaurant in Laguna Beach. "All the world needs a greeter. The human interaction is missing."

Certainly Laguna Beach is not as small-townish as it was in the 1880s when Old Joe Lucas, a Portuguese fisherman, started his daily ritual of waving to stagecoaches on their way to Santa Ana or El Toro.

He was succeeded in the 1930s by Eiler Larsen, a bearded ex-gardener famed for booming out to passersby, "Hello-ooo, how are you-uuu?"

Larsen, proclaimed the city's official greeter in 1963, once conceded that people "may think I'm crazy, but when a motorist comes to town, tired and weary of the traffic, and smiles when he leaves, does it matter what they think?"

In 1981, a few years after Larsen's death, his cause was taken up by Number One Archer (shown above), a poet who said he was so named because his mother was speechless when she gave birth to twins. (His brother was named Number Two Archer.)

Archer also had a trademark phrase. When asked how he was feeling, he would answer: "I'm perfect — just like you."

Now, Laguna's only greeters stand mute — two statues of Larsen occupy spots beside South Coast Highway.

Whatever happened to Gunther Toody ???

The first season of "Car 54, Where Are You?," one of the funniest sitcoms of the 1960s, is finally out on DVD. In the 1950s, producer-writer-director Nat Hiken scored a huge hit on CBS with "The Phil Silvers Show," a.k.a. "Sgt. Bilko." Two years after "Bilko" left the airwaves in 1959, Hiken was back with "Car 54, Where Are You?," which aired on NBC from 1961 to '63. Hiken even co-wrote the snappy theme song. "Bilko" alum Joe E. Ross played Gunther Toody, a hapless Bronx policeman with a nagging wife, Lucille (Beatrice Pons). Fred Gwynne, also a "Bilko" veteran, was his quiet, girl-shy partner, Francis Muldoon. Their best friend was Officer Leo Schnauser (Al Lewis), who was married to the excitable Sylvia (Charlotte Rae). Gwynne and Lewis would reunite in 1964 for the CBS comedy series "The Munsters."

"ghillie camouflage"

Soldiers wearing ghillie camouflage suits, which simulate heavy foliage, march in a parade near Tehran.

(Vahid Salemi / Associated Press / September 22, 2009 )


Even though the labor crisis has the NFL at a standstill, the effort to bring a pro football team back to Los Angeles is moving forward.

AEG, proposing to build an NFL stadium/event center in downtown L.A., has taken another step in that direction by selecting Gensler to design the estimated $1 billion venue, The Times has learned. L.A.-based Gensler was one of three finalists, with the other two being the firms HNTB and HKS.

Wrecking ball for Land's End

A 25-room Long Island mansion that some believe inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald's portrayal of lavish lifestyles in his Jazz Age classic "The Great Gatsby" is being razed, the latest in a long cadence of estates disappearing from what's known as the Gold Coast.

Known as "Land's End" and sitting on a 13-acre lot on Long Island Sound, the 24,000-square foot house is being torn down to accommodate five $10-million custom homes. David Brodsky, who bought the home with his father, Bert, for $17.5 million in 2004, told Newsday that taxes, insurance and maintenance on Land's End became prohibitive — about $4,500 a day — prompting the decision to build anew.

In its glory days, Land's End was said to feature marble, parquet and wide wood-planked floors, Palladian windows and hand-painted wallpaper.

— Associated Press

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Hogarth Engraving

William Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode Plate I, 1745. (According to Act of Parliament April 1st, 1745. )

( William Hogarth, The Cartoon Museum / April 17, 2011 )

"Pioneering Photographer"

Contemplation Rock, Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park. The 1872 prints were meant to give a 3-D image when viewed through a albumen stereograph.

( Eadweard Muybridge / SFMOMA )

L A's Philharmonic Auditorium

At the southeast corner of 5th and Olive streets in downtown Los Angeles, there sits an ugly parking lot that looks rather out of place among the historic buildings that form the periphery of Pershing Square. Each day, a steady stream of pedestrians and drivers passes by this urban eyesore, most of them unaware that it used to be the site of one of L.A.'s most prestigious performing arts venues, the Philharmonic Auditorium.

For more than 40 years, the Philharmonic Auditorium served as the home of the L.A. Philharmonic, before the orchestra moved to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1964. Largely forgotten today — thanks to a date with the wrecking ball in 1985 — the auditorium has come back to virtual life on HBO, serving as a crucial setting in the miniseries "Mildred Pierce."

In the final episode, which is set in the late 1930s, Mildred (Kate Winslet) attends a concert at the Philharmonic Auditorium given by her daughter, Veda (Evan Rachel Wood), an ascending coloratura soprano. The concert serves as an emotional high point for Mildred, who sits teary-eyed as she channels her lifelong ambitions through her daughter.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Historic In-N-Out Burger stand is Down-N-Out

Only debris and memories remain after the oldest In-N-Out stand was torn down in Baldwin Park. It was built in 1954.

(Lawrence K. Ho, Los Angeles Times / April 16, 2011)

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Los Angeles will gain another museum and cultural center and it will be quite unique for anyone curious about the early days of the city and its roots. LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes opened on April 15th, and will be housed in what was once the tallest building in the city -- five whole floors! -- and near where the city was founded in 1781.

“The Mexican and Mexican American presence has permeated the communities of Los Angeles with its enduring values and celebration of life, touching and enriching everyone in this global metropolis and beyond,” said LA Plaza’s President and CEO Miguel Ángel Corzo today in announcing the opening date. “We at LA Plaza are thrilled to tell the comprehensive, vital story of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles.”

Found across Main Street from El Pueblo, where throngs of tourists visit Olvera Street, La Plaza's home will be on over 2 acres of land that includes the Vickrey-Brunswig Building, the neighboring Plaza house and 30,000 square feet of open space dubbed as El Jardin. Officials hope it becomes the "nation’s premier center of Mexican American culture and arts."

"seven years after she dumped Ken for an Australian surfer named Blaine, Barbie is again with her true love"

"Yes it's true after seven long years apart, Ken and I have decided to rekindle our romance," reads Barbie's post on her Facebook page wall. "A doll knows when it's love and I've finally realized that my heart only beats for Ken."

Yes, Barbie and Ken are back together, surely to the delight of the 1,745,707 people who have liked her Facebook page.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"The Hotel of Doom"

Esquire magazine once dubbed this "the worst building in the history of mankind" but is it ???

"Koala Way"

A baby koala clings to her mother's back at the Los Angeles Zoo. The female koala was born in July, but since newborns spend about six months developing in the mother's pouch, she just recently started to emerge.

( Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times / April 14, 2011 )

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Classical Tradition

Anoushka Shankar, 29, is a sitar player and composer who grew up in London and Delhi. Daughter of sitar legend Ravi Shankar and half-sister to singer Norah Jones, Shankar became, in 2003, the youngest woman nominated for a world music Grammy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For the "Screamish"

Remember the teeter totter you enjoyed so much as a kid? Now picture it 900 feet above the ground. Add in a roller coaster element and you've got X Scream at the Stratosphere.

X Scream is definitely the ride of a lifetime. The open vehicle sits on a 69-foot-long roller coaster track, which is mounted to the base of the Stratosphere Tower's pod. But unlike the typical roller coaster track that takes you back to the ground, this one stops in midair at a 30-degree angle. For those who want the most daring experience, the front seat definitely delivers the best view. Riders feel like they're about to fly into the ground 900 feet below.

Just when you think you're going to fall face first, the track teeters backward. The vehicle then slides back and forth across the pivoting track. Reminiscent of a teeter totter, X Scream is a lot more exhilarating because it's much higher off the ground. Aside from X Scream's free fall sensations, the view of the Las Vegas Strip and the surrounding desert mountains make it all worth it.

"Most Inspirational"

The Los Angeles Times called Jim Abbott "Most inspirational." Abbott, who was born without a right hand, pitched six seasons in two stints with the Angels and had a record of 54-74.

Kings River Canyon California 1873-1874

This beautiful piece of art is available for purchase. For details, click on the heading above.

Life Unhurried in Palm Desert, California

This unique sculpture is of a Dreamer who has been lazing beside the river for so long that he is sinking into the ground. The weathered and crackled figure is 14 feet long and 4 feet high. The lost wax metal casting was done in three piece allowing the viewer to imagine what should be below the ground.

"One constant in Hollywood"

The landscape of Hollywood Boulevard is constantly evolving. But one constant is Musso & Frank Grill at 6667 Hollywood Blvd. Named for the original owners, Joseph Musso and Frank Toulet, the grill opened in 1919 and is Hollywood's oldest restaurant. During the golden age of Hollywood, the restaurant attracted such writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. There's even a legend that silent film superstars Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks raced horses down the boulevard and the losers picked up the tab at the restaurant. The eatery was also a favorite haunt of Orson Welles. In fact, Musso & Frank was featured in 1994's "Ed Wood," when the hapless director (Johnny Depp) meets his idol, Welles.

"a bit of scene-stealing"

New York —— At a recent preview, the star trotting the stage of Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater had a command that was palpable.

The audience seemed to watch his every victory with cries of delight, and shouts of dismay at his peril. Not a bad bit of scene-stealing, especially since the performer in question has no lines and is, in fact, made of leather, wire and cane. Even so, Joey, the life-size horse puppet at the center of the play "War Horse," has the power to eclipse anything — and anybody — on the stage.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The simple beauty of the Mulholland Memorial Fountain

The Mulholland Memorial Fountain, dedicated August 1, 1940, soon came to be known at the "Kool-Aid" fountain because of the way that colored lights illuminated the water at night. Water appropriately shoots up from this memorial to William Mulholland, the man who built a concrete and steel river through the Mojave Desert and brought water to L.A.'s doorstep. This amazing photo was captured by Images by Laszlo.

Leaping Dolphins Provide Drama

Now a favorite of Cerritos children, the Dolphin Fountain at the Cerritos Civic Center was unveiled in February 1997 as part of the renovation of City Hall's front entrance. The 34-foot-diameter fountain features leaping dolphins cast in bronze surrounded by dramatic water spouts and dancing droplets. This amazing photo was captured by jquiz.