Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Cowboy Almost Christmas Wedding

Two things were clear from the start.

First, we would spend the rest of our lives together.

There was never any question about that.

Second, I was not remotely ready to get married.

There was even less disagreement on that.

My ever wayward – and increasingly continent hopping - cowhand career (which by then had little to do with cows other than eating them) at that time still took precedence over my nascent (and unremunerated) writing career.

So while our increasingly… adventuresome… adventures were becoming quite lucrative, I had - without realizing it - made a decision not to live off that money, but to instead only use my share to finance further adventures to fuel my dopamine-starved brain.

Despite my stubbornness and male pride, though, as always, she still hung in there with me and patiently waited until I would feel financially capable of providing for her in ways that did not involve liberating stolen airplanes from foreign governments or riding shotgun on diamond shipments along the Orinoco.

Finally, though, one day Lance, as head cowboy, decided to take matters into his own hands and decided he was going to make an honest cowhand of me whether I wanted to be one or not. So shortly before Christmas, he declared he would marry us himself in a cowboy wedding and gave us – and everyone else – 48 hours to make arrangements.

I foolishly tried to challenge his authority on this, but Lance reminded me if a captain of a ship was entitled to marry couples, then as undispute captain of our ship of horses he certainly could.

Thus two days later, in all my finest cowhand finery and on Christmas eve, I marched down an aisle in the middle of a corral lined with all the others in their newly shined, polished, groomed, and tailored cowboy suits, boots, hats and spurs. Plus each of our personal horses was also in attendance tacked out within an inch of thie lives which created considerable unintentional – or more likely – intentional – humor as our horses did all the usual things that horses are often wont to do.

Then in a brilliant stroke displaying his true evil genius, Lance dragooned my ever faithless horse - Mr. D - into being the ring bearer, and Mr. D then trotted down the aisle after me with his teeth holding a box with the rings that would symbolize my loss of freedom. (And with all the attention given my bride and my horse, if I hadn't shown up – no one would have noticed – or cared)

And, luckily, D did not mistake the five carats of the ring (and as we were being paid in diamonds, size was no object) for real carrots, otherwise we would have had a wedding delay while we waited for the ring to reappear.

And, speaking of dodged bullets, with Bach as my best man (and he occupied that position since Lance was performing the ceremony) – if there was ever anyone born to host a bachelor party – it was Bach since Bach was short for… bachelor… it was a miracle any of us had the energy left to still make it to the wedding.

Then when it finally came time to close the ceremony, Lance nodded his head forward as he announced I could kiss the bride and exactly as those words came from his mouth – my horse leaned forward and gently nudged me towards my bride with his nose – to the collective vocal approval of all those in attendance.

And so I was completely upstaged not just once, but twice by my own horse at my own wedding.

Then after kissing my bride (after which she gave my Benedict Arnold of a horse both a hug and a kiss), I had the quite mitigated pleasure of watching all the others embrace and kiss my new wife under my watchful eye – when Lance came over and announced this ceremony was his early Christmas present to me.

But before I could properly thank him, for just a moment I saw that look of incredible sadness in his eyes, the look he had whenever his thoughts turned to his wife and his son.

And when he saw me reacting to his momentary mood, he turned on his easy grin and reached over and gave me a ‘friendly squeeze’ on my shoulder – which left black and blue finger imprints all over my shoulder for a full week. And between the knee weakening pain and his grin, he managed to change the mood and the subject.

But now looking back, I wonder if he somehow, or in some way knew that in all too short a time, we would all gather together again, but this time to celebrate a life that had all too soon ended and mourn her passing before laying her to rest on the ridge where Lance’s wife and son lay in wait for us.

LA Cowboy Pisses Off Miss Snark!

For those three people left alive who are still unaware who Miss Snark is, she posts an anonymous eponymous blog that enlightens writers on how to get and deal with agents and publishers.

She is also funny as hell.

She also runs what she calls a CRAPOMETER where she critiques first pages, synopsises or - most recently - hooks. Unfortunately for her, her last CRAPOMETER had a ... staggering... 682 submissions that she both read - and critiqued!

And after all of that work and resultant chaos in her life - of course some smart ass had to ask her the obvious question.

And that smart ass was... of course... me!

See above link for particulars.

And if you want to see - and hear - how all us loyal Snarklings really feel about Miss Snark - click on the below YOUTUBE video:

Friday, December 29, 2006

Due To OVERWHELMING Demand....

Well, an 'overwhelming number' of exactly four fellow Snarklings asked me to post this, the first page to the Long Rider.....

In the West, a 'long rider' is a man who has been outlawed, a man on a long ride; a ride that will last forever.





Three belows were necessary before the horseshoe drove the nail into the oak beam that bridged the doorless doorway. Age had yet to weaken the ancient beam any more than it had imparted any weakness to the man who gripped the rusted horseshoe.

Once a cattle ranch bunkhouse, all that remained was a decayed ruin, fit only to haunt those of knew of its past - or those cursed or blessed with imagination enough to see in sun-bleached wood what stories had once been told around campfires before they too receded into a past of their own.

Ten years had passed since the boots of Jed Matthews last trod that silent floor; ten years to the night his life had been felled as a cottonwood tree often was - only to have a shoot spring up from its roots and rise until the tree once more reached its full measure and overshadowed the dead and useless stump which existed then but as a mute reminder of what had been.

But not only for Jed Matthews did such reminders exist. For what had disrupted his life that night had also affected the lives of many other men in more ways than he had imagined. One of the most immediate of those consequences had been the altering of the lives of those in power as they had to reflect upon what they had done and then had to prevent any further disruptions.

Finally, there were those who could only spend sleepless nights wishing there had been something they could have done... and fearing that perhaps there had been.

But none of this could be changed.

What had happened, had happened forever. And what had been, existed then only in ruins such as those - and in the memories of the men who had taken part in the tragedy; men who lay in the safety of heir beds not knowing that Jed Matthews had returned.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Does Anyone At The Los Angeles Times Read The Headlines Before They Print Them? Obviously - NO!

According to both the print and the on-line edition of the Sunday Los Angeles Times,the present California congressional delegation is dominated by white, male... Republicans. The minor problem is that the present California delegation is dominated by... Democrats.

But that is not what the headline of the article says. The article, of course, correctly contradicts the headline and states that the existing Republican leadership in the house is being replaced by new Democratic leadership, hence the demographic and partisan shift.

Unfortunately, this type of error is an almost daily occurrence in the Times. People who write the headlines - evidently - never read - or at least understand - the articles they are putting headlines... on.

And this is why I made the suggestion some time ago that assuming that the Times does not trust writers to write their own headlines, to at least REQUIRE that the writers sign-off on the headlines.

New Congress mirrors shift in California
A delegation largely white, male and Republican yields to a diverse array of Democrats.
By Noam N. Levey
Times Staff Writer

December 24, 2006

WASHINGTON — When control of Congress switches parties next month, so too will the political face of California.

Slipping into eclipse is red California, dominated by Republican House members who for years have been the state's most influential voices in Washington.

These lawmakers — all white and all Christian — hailed largely from inland valleys. Many were deeply rooted Californians who grew up immediately after World War II when the state was a more homogeneous place. Several strolled the halls of Congress in cowboy boots.

With Democrats ascendant, however, a bluer California is set to put its mark on Capitol Hill. This face is more urban and more diverse. Its senior lawmakers — who include women, Jews, African Americans and Latinos — live in large coastal metropolitan areas. Many moved to the Golden State as adults.

The contrast broadly mirrors national differences between the two major political parties. But the shift in power within the state's congressional delegation also reflects a changing California that is cleaving along an East-West divide.

One California, concentrated along the Pacific Coast, is increasingly secular, multicultural and Democratic; the other, centered east of the coastal mountain ranges, is more overtly religious, more white and more Republican.

Last Night's 'Friday Nights Lights' Mini-Marathon! And How To Save The Show!!

After being unable to make it through more than a few minutes of any of previous episodes of the critically acclaimed Friday Nights Light's hour drama on NBC - I sat through the three back to back episodes last night while working at my desk. And... possibly... there were... maybe... 10 minutes out of the combined three hours that managed to in any way capture my interest.

Which left me puzzled. It has gotten excellent reviews from many critics and the backdrop of a small Western town - and I spent much of my time for 10 years in such towns and have been around them my entire life - so why do I find this series so totally and completely... unwatchable?

Looking back at the three hours last night - I don't think I can recall a single moment where anything - on any level - other than the scenes of the elders in the black church scenes, which felt dead-on - felt real for me.

There was zero feeling of any sense of place of any kind to me and none of the younger characters felt like any real people I have ever known - much less like kids from a small Western town. And when I tried to recollect who they did remind me of - to my surprise - it was the characters of Seinfeld - but without the humor!

All the joy of life has been sucked out of them and all they ever do is sit around and bitch and complain and talk and talk about life as if they were bunch old timers hanging out, waiting for death at Zabar's on the Upper West Side of New York.

So here's my suggestion - take the exact same characters, very slightly rewrite the dialogue, change the sport to basketball, add a laugh track and move them to Manhattan.

It'll be a guaranteed hit!


Evidently... yes!

From Poytner:

Posted by Fons Tuinstra 6:07:06 AM
Has Google Built a Smarter Internet?

Google appears to be smart about how it handles net traffic.
Day two of the Asian Internet crisis. Here's a short update from Shanghai.

Much of the situation reported yesterday remains the same for me: most sites still are not accessible after Tuesday's earthquake off the coast of Taiwan. The traffic is not cut off entirely, however, since some services seem to be working better than others. This story is rather more complicated than a continent being cut off from the rest of the world.

Skype is back in action, but MSN is spotty. When I can get online, I can only see that nobody else is. Yahoo is totally out of service.

What keeps amazing me is that all Google services keep on humming as if there was no problem: Google search, blog search, Gmail, Gtalk, Google Reader, Adsense, Google Documents, Even the uncensored Google News is showing no delay, although I cannot click through to the original sources in Google News.

I have been asking around a bit why people think Google can avoid the physical barriers that are causing problems for most of the others. One explanation is that Google, without claiming or getting much praise, has been building a smarter Internet. They seem to be able to avoid single points of failure.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Five Things You Don't Know About LA Cowboy!

1. I have been wanted for a capital offense in India for over 30 years.

2. I lost my virginity in a Nevada brothel at age 17.

3. A wild horse I caught, broke and trained as rodeo stock threw two former national champions in one season.

4. I met the Manson family at the Spahn Movie Ranch after the murders.

5. In 1966, I was one of the first people to read the first draft of Carlos Castaneda's 'Teachings of Don Juan' and met him while investigating a ghost that was haunting me.

And I tag... Miss Snark:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another Misleading Los Angeles Times Headline!

First... the headline:

The holiday fixture is a film classic, but the production wasn't always angelic.

OK - so it seems clear that some aspects of the production were the opposite of being angelic - would seem be if not satanic - as least filled with strife, discord or other non-angelic behavior. Right?

Uh... no...

Stephen Cox
Special to The Times

December 23, 2006

IT is arguably one of the most magnetic moments ever captured on film. This enduring celluloid juncture from 1946's "It's a Wonderful Life" can be summoned to mind by merely mentioning "the prayer scene." In it, a tearfully reduced George Bailey — played by Jimmy Stewart — sits at a bar and contemplates taking his own life, then clasps his hands and quietly asks for God's intervention.

And while filming this key moment, this pivotal point in the picture, Frank Capra goofed — big time.

Despite a reputation for being fastidiously well prepared, the veteran director had no idea that his star would turn on the waterworks and deliver such an impassioned, intimate performance on the first take. It was something overwhelming even for Stewart himself.

So the cameras rolled, the music and bustle in the bar erupted, and the scene played out — but when it was over, Capra realized his angle was too distant. And he had failed to capture a close-up of the emotionally draining scene. Capra apologized and asked his Oscar-winning star to replicate it, but a spent Stewart knew he'd nailed it and couldn't fathom a re-creation as effective as the one he'd just poured out.

To remedy the situation, during postproduction the director and his editor manually and painstakingly moved in — frame by frame. It created what appears to be an optical zoom.

So.. the not always angelic behavior during the production was that.... James Stewart gave a perfect single take performance.

Now that sure was... devilish... of him.

Monday, December 11, 2006

There Is An Obvious Reason Why Japanese Owned Companies Are Headquartered In Torrance!

In linking to The Los Angeles Business Journal's article on Japanese businesses in Torrance, Mark Lacter's LAOBSERVED business blog states there is no obvious reason why this is so:

Japanese in Torrance: The city is home to at least 246 companies that are either units of Japanese companies or founded by people of Japanese origin. That's at least 44 more than the city of L.A. There isn't any obvious explanation for the Torrance contingent, other than it's a relatively business-friendly community and very close to the port and other major transportation networks.

Actually... there is a very obvious reason!

Just look at a map. Almost directly east of Torrance is Gardena which for most of the 20th Century had a very large Japanese population due to Japanese-American run truck farms that started not long after the turn of the last century. Even the latest census shows an almost 30% Asian population in Gardena. Then when that community prospered, the nearest middle/upper middle class community was Torrance and they started moving west setting up stores, restaurants, supermarkets, language schools, churches and temples - proving the social infrastructure for the incoming Japanese companies.

And with Torrance having the necessary land for the new offices and factories (and a glut of cheap space after the aero-space industry collapse) and a superb school system, it had advantages that none of the other Japanese-American communities in LA County had.

Therefore - it became the headquarters city for major Japanese companies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

LA To The Arts - Drop Dead!

The City of Los Angeles’ master plan to drive every non-profit and profit making cultural institution from the city limits continues unabated. In a city famous (for decades) years for losing more museums and museum quality collections than any city in the world (and a city that has driven its best galleries to Culver City, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills), now the Neon Museum may be the next to be forced to leave LA. And several other cultural institutions may be next:

Museum of Neon Art faces dim prospects
In January it will find itself homeless, priced out of the changing downtown scene. But don't shut off those lights just yet.
By Christopher Reynolds
Times Staff Writer

December 8, 2006

The Museum of Neon Art has collected scores of electric artworks, kinetic artifacts and gleaming bits of historic cityscape. But what it really needs right now is a well-placed "vacancy" sign.

At the end of January, a month after the downtown museum celebrates its 25th birthday, the lease runs out on MONA's home of 10 years at 501 W. Olympic Blvd. After a series of failed courtships, the organization has no new permanent home lined up.

"In crisis, there is opportunity," said executive director Kim Koga, who has been looking for new sites while lining up temporary storage and arranging a fundraising event.

Koga, who has directed the museum since 1998, said she has been searching for months for a new venue, but the museum is caught in a bind common among bohemians in booming urban settings: With rents rising, lofts proliferating and redevelopment efforts underway downtown, the 400-member museum, which lives on a $200,000 yearly budget, can't afford most buildings.

For a while, MONA was looking at the old Subway Terminal Building downtown at Hill and 4th streets, which has been converted into an apartment building and renamed 417 Metro. Then Koga was interested in the basement of the Eastern Columbia building at 849 S. Broadway, a 1929 Moderne landmark with a turquoise terra cotta exterior, designed as a department store, that's being turned into 147 lofts. But neither option panned out.

Now Koga is in talks with another prospective landlord that would put the museum under the same downtown roof as a jazz-blues club, she said, but nothing has been signed.

Meanwhile, MONA will stage a fundraising party and silent auction Saturday at the Design Within Reach store in Beverly Hills, beginning at 7 p.m.

"We'd really like to stay downtown," Koga said. "This is where our roots are, and the history of neon started downtown."

Created in France, neon first came to the U.S. when Earl C. Anthony, an entrepreneur with Packard car dealerships in downtown Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, saw a gleaming sign display in 1923 and immediately bought at least two and brought them west. The Museum of Neon Art, founded in 1981, began in a rented space on scruffy Traction Avenue.


One site is a stone's throw from the museum's current location, on the ground floor of the upstairs Grand Avenue Night Club at 1024 S. Grand Ave, she said, and another is a print shop on Overland Avenue near the Santa Monica (I-10) Freeway.

Now for some back story. I first introduced the Neon Museum to the former owners of the Subway Terminal a couple years, and when new owners bought the building, the deal survived... until it didn't.

Then a month ago, I introduced them to the new owners of the Grand Avenue Club who not only offered them the needed space - rent free - for close to a year - but they also agreed to house the pending Los Angeles Museum, the just evicted Company of Angels Theater and a legendary art gallery.

Again, rent free.

So what's the problem?

Well, the spaces need to have occupancy permits for these uses, which shouldn't be a problem since the spaces have plenty of restroom and plenty of exits. It's a no brainer. But this is LA where getting even the simplest thing done can take months and months of endless inspections.

And the only person in City Hall who actually took an interest in getting things done - and who was also capable of getting them done (two very different things), left on Monday.

So I just wait... and wait... for someone... anyone at City Hall... to return a call or an email.

Meanwhile, projects no one wants such as potted trees and cheesy stamped crosswalks get easy funding while projects that might would actually improve the quality of life in Downtown, enhance the city's artistic life and create revenue generating cultural tourism... are ignored.

Welcome to LA!

Now please leave...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Suggestion Number Two On How To Improve Los Angeles Times! Have All Headlines Approved By Writers!

A not uncommon occurrence when I talk to an LA Times writer after an article appears in print (or on-line) is that they almost 'died' when they read the headline appended to their article without their input. To protect both the innocent and the guilty, I will refrain from mentioning which recent story titles upset which writers.

Like most papers, the Times has people who edit the stories and people who write the titles. Now usually, the writer get to see the story edits, but they usually do not see, much less approve, the story titles. And increasingly frequently, these titles sometimes either distort the intent of the story or, on rarer occasions, even get the facts of the story wrong, a situation that would be fixed if the writer was given a chance to see - and sign off on - the title before it goes to press or on-line.

Today's very minor example is below:

Cal State panel fails to suspend Cyprus program

Deborah Schoch

December 7, 2006

A trustee committee for the Cal State system declined Wednesday to suspend an overseas study program on conflict resolution held on the divided island of Cyprus.

Now the panel failing to do something is a far stronger statement - and makes for a snappier headline - when compared to the panel 'declining' to take an action. But is it... accurate?

I don't think so. Below are some web definitions of 'fail':

# fail to do something; leave something undone; "She failed to notice that her child was no longer in his crib"; "The secretary failed to call the customer and the company lost the account"
# be unsuccessful; "Where do today's public schools fail?"; "The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably"
# disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake; "His sense of smell failed him this time"; "His strength finally failed him"; "His children failed him in the crisis"
# stop operating or functioning; "The engine finally went"; "The car died on the road"; "The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town"; "The coffee maker broke"; "The engine failed on the way to town"; "her eyesight went after the accident"
# be unable; "I fail to understand your motives"
# judge unacceptable; "The teacher failed six students"
# fail to get a passing grade; "She studied hard but failed nevertheless"; "Did I fail the test?"
# fall short in what is expected; "She failed in her obligations as a good daughter-in-law"; "We must not fail his obligation to the victims of the Holocaust"
# become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close; "The toy company went bankrupt after the competition hired cheap Mexican labor"; "A number of banks failed that year"
# prove insufficient; "The water supply for the town failed after a long drought"
# get worse; "Her health is declining"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Scariest Recent Sentence In Los Angeles Times!

Justin: "Kate Winslet is one of my favorite older actresses.

Kate Winslet just turned... 31.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christopher Knight On James Wood At Getty!

Most of the article welcomes having an art professional running an arts institution... duh!... and then goes into more detail about James Wood's impeccable background for this job. And then comes the one other point everyone agrees upon:

What might prove most difficult for the new president is grappling with a structural problem built into the Getty at its original home in Malibu and replicated, alas, at its Brentwood campus. The Getty Villa and the Getty Center both feel remote from the city's fabric, designed more for tourism than for civic engagement. The institution must function at both levels.

And this can best be done by moving the photography collection into a new museum off the hill and within the center of urban life in Los Angeles. And, possibly, it might be built in a complex that would also allow for a new building for MOCA to be able to at last house its permanent collection.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hamid Behdad - Adaptive Reuse Czar And Mr. Downtown To Leave Public Service!

I just received the below email:

Dear Recipients,

Attached, please see my FINAL announcement. Thank you.

Hamid Behdad, PE
Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
200 N Spring Street, 13th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Hamid will be grealy missed by everyone who cares about this city. He has been one of those too few at City Hall who want to know how things can get done as opposed to finding reasons why things can not be done.

Below is his announcement:

Born on Christmas Day of 1956 to a Muslim family in Iran, Hamid Behdad was raised to be different but understanding and respectful of others. Growing up in a middle-class family, he learned ambitions from his mother, integrity from his late father, and competitiveness from growing up with five brothers.

Working from the first semester of college in September of 1975, Hamid realized that for a son of a middle-class family of eight – where kids were limited to a couple pairs of shoes each New Year and new clothes as a reward for good grades in school –there is no magic way tosucceed except to work hard.

Life experiences from the Iranian monarchy of Shah, the religious regime of the Ayatollah, as well as the devastating era of the Iraq-Iran War, had influenced Hamid to seek a different life abroad. Leaving 29 years of fond memories from his home country, as well as his loving family,he decided to test his “motherly-taught” ambitions by seeking a new life in the “land of opportunity”, the United States of America.

As a testament to his competitive nature, his first ordeal came in the form of a 2-year long fight with the Islamic Regime for his passport, followed by a 42-day long mission to convince the American Embassy in Germany to grant him a student visa for entering the United States.

Landing in Seattle Airport in a rainy October day in 1985 with nothing more than two suitcases in hand, less than $5,000 cash, and not knowing one complete sentence of English, Hamid began his American adventure! The day after his arrival he immediately started studying English at Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington.

On June 2, 1986, Hamid flew to the City of Brookings, South Dakota to start his graduate studies at South Dakota State University (SDSU) – the only school willing to give him a “conditional” admission – where he would also earn a Master’s Degree with a 4.0 GPA in Engineering.

In spite of his relatively successful academic accomplishments, his intense job-hunting efforts proved to be fruitless. Having sent over 150 resumes and job-request packages to every known company in the U.S., Hamid struggled as he was not offered even one single interview. God, however, works in mysterious ways.

In 1988, Los Angeles County held campus interviews for recruiting engineering graduates at SDSU, where Hamid scored 97 (of 100) in the first interview of his life. Accordingly, Hamid was offered a position with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in Alhambra, California.

Without any other viable options, Hamid made his way to California. In May 5, 1989, while packing everything he owned into a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (purchased for $620 in the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan), Hamid took his chances by driving for the first time in his life on US highways and freeways for a 2000-mile trip from South Dakota to Los Angeles, California.

Arriving in LA with $250 of debt on his Citibank credit card, Hamid started his new career by working as a Civil Engineer Assistant at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

In December of 1989, Hamid accepted an offer from the Department of Building and Safety in the City of Los Angeles to work in the field of structural engineering, a field he was passionate about. His passions would shift later after being selected to work in the Economic Development Offices of LA City Mayors Richard J. Riordan, followed by Mayor James K. Hahn, and most recently under the leadership of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

Hamid realized his passion was about being in the center of action, where he had the ability – and was given the opportunity – to make things happen. Over the last seven years, it was this passion, augmented by genuine hard work and motivation that provided Hamid with the ingredients necessary for making a difference in cultivating the implementation of the City’s Adaptive Reuse Program.

The program has since realized the completion of 4,252 loft units, and promises 4,100 units that are currently under construction, followed by an additional 3,200 units in the development pipeline. The program is responsible for an estimated $6 billion in stimulated economic investments and has been a tremendous boon for the City, as well as a personally gratifying experience for Hamid - the proclaimed Adaptive Reuse “Czar”.

Ladies and gentlemen, after an outstanding 17 years of working for the great City of
Los Angeles, it is time for me to move on. My years of service with the City have been perhaps the most fulfilling 17 years of my life, and now at the age of 50 I am still motivated – and like to assume that I have the ambitions - to continue my career in the private sector.

God willing, I will survive this one too - wish me luck, and thank you very much for your support throughout all these years.

Finally, and as a token of my appreciation to the great City of Angels - as well as the Adaptive Reuse Program that provided me with the opportunity to be the “Czar”
- I would like to offer my FREE consultation services to all of those who are currently in the process of developing an Adaptive Reuse project.

So long everybody.

Tyler Green Interview With New Getty Chief!

Below are the three most intriguing questions and answers in Tyler Green's interview with new uber-Getty boss, Jim Wood aka James Wood aka James N. Wood:

MAN: One of the issues that the Getty has faced for years is that the Meier in Brentwood and the Villa are physically disconnected from Los Angeles. The Getty has never felt like a part of the fabric of the city. I know you don’t have any Los Angeles ties, but is this something you’ve thought about and is it something that you need to address?

JW: It’s certainly something I’ve thought about. Specific answers… No, that would be presumptuous. But one of the attractions of coming here in the abstract sense is that there’s no question that Los Angeles and New York, in 30 different ways in my opinion, are the two most dynamic incubators of contemporary art and the visual arts and how they deal with the rest of the country. Another tremendous plus in my mind is that the visual arts institutions in this city are led by an absolutely terrific group of people that I’ve known for a long time.

Look at the institutions here. One of the things that quite excites me is that you’ve got the whole spectrum, from the Hammer, to MOCA; from historic moments in time, to institutions that do it all. How the Getty fits in -- I haven’t got the answer yet, but the dialogue that is possible is one that the Getty can learn a lot from.

Hopefully, this means he will consider bringing the rapidly growing photography collection off the hill and down into the urban fabric of Los Angeles. And since the Getty signed a covenant prohibiting the addition of even one single square foot of new space up on the hill - assuming I recall this correctly - and someone please correct me if I am wrong - then the Getty really has no choice but to do this.

And with MOCA seriously needing a large new buidling to accommodate its permanent collection - possibly there can be some kind of partnership on this project.

MAN: In recent years, in the Munitz years really, the Museum’s pace of acquisitions has slowed. You’ve written a great deal (most recently in Whose Muse?) about how important it is for museums to actively collect. Do you want the Museum to return to its previous acquisitive ways?

JW: I’m not going to get too specific because I need to know more about the priorities of the different collecting areas. Collecting is absolutely essential to the metabolism of an institution like this. And that’s not just collecting art, but collecting collections, and to go beyond that to collecting people. You need to keep growing.

The whole question is to focus on what’s going to be the most intelligent way to use the means this institution has to make Los Angeles more cosmopolitan. One of the very appealing things about the Getty to me is that its’ collecting opportunities are really quite open. We were not left with an iron-clad restriction, so the opportunity is there to make the most of changing times -- both in terms of the legality of acquisitions and in the cost and the importance of different cultures for both Los Angeles and the nation. I think one wants to remain very flexible here.

Yea! More art!! Finally!!!

MAN: Given that Los Angeles is one of the two big producers of contemporary art in the United States and one of the four biggest producers in the world (to say nothing of LA’s other creative industries), what should the Getty Trust’s relationship to contemporary art be?

JW: Contemporary art, contemporary culture is the water we swim in. The Getty needs to be very sensitive to that. Does that automatically mean we start competing with these other institutions in town that are collecting contemporary so brilliantly? I would argue not at all. I would say that the icons from St. Catherine’s is the kind of thing that is essential to have happen in a metropolitan area where young artists are figuring out how to express their own culture. Show me any great artist and usually they will say, ‘Here are the moments in the past I used to, in effect, learn how to deal with the present.’ History doesn’t have to be revoked from the contemporary. To me it’s quite the opposite.

Great answer! And with only the Getty having the resources or inclination to collect in its current fields - let the buying begin!

And the rest of the interview can be found at the above link to MAN.

Tyler Green Take On New Getty Trust Head - And The Recent Rash Of Art Star Imports To LA!

First, Tyler Green agrees that getting a great art person trumps having someone with LA ties for this position:

What we think: Wood is a first-class choice. I wrote back in February that it was important for the Getty to hire an art person to run the Trust, and Wood has strong art world credentials.

I also wrote that I hoped that the Getty would hire someone with Los Angeles ties. Wood has none. He sits on the boards of the Clark Art Institute, the IFA at NYU, HUAM, and the RISD museum. Oh well. There's no question it's more important that the Getty be run by an art guy.

In addition to the issues discussed here ad absurdem for several years, one of the Getty's biggest problems in recent years has been a brain drain, an exodus of top-notch talent. Expect Wood to be a stabilizing force. I think the staff would have loved anybody with an art background, but Wood's background should be especially appealing.

Second, he delves into the cornucopia of first rate art world talent that our city has attracted over the past few years:

Finally: The flow of Easterners heading to Los Angeles continues. New Yorkers Annie Philbin and Gary Garrels went to the Hammer. New Yorker Michael Govan runs LACMA. Michael Brand went from Virginia to the Getty Museum. And now Wood to the Getty Trust. (And who could forget: MOCA's Jeremy Strick is an ex-AICer. So with Wood at the Meier-on-the-hill, maybe we're one step closer to Michael Kimmelman's fantasy of the Getty buying-out MOCA, ha ha.)

LAOBSERVED Has Getty Press Release On New Head Of Getty Trust - James Wood!


LOS ANGELES-The Board of Trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust announced today that James N. Wood, an internationally recognized arts leader, has been named to serve as president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Mr. Wood, who served as director and president of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1980-2004, will take up his position in February after he relocates to Los Angeles from Rhode Island.

The rest of the release is at the above link.

Genuine Art Star Slated To Run Getty Trust!

The Chicago'ification of LA continues- but in a good way - with the Getty Trust landing one of the most brilliant and knowledgeable and effective scholars and administrators in the art world. And even while excellent Michael Brand runs the two Getty Museums technically, what resources the museums get is dependent upon what the Trust allocates to it, and that is why it was so critical that a hard core art person runs the Trust.

Christmas has come early to the LA art world.

James N. Wood named Getty Trust president
By Christopher Reynolds
Times Staff Writer

10:42 AM PST, December 4, 2006

James N. Wood, a 65-year-old art historian and former president of the Art Institute of Chicago, will take over the presidency of the Getty Trust, Getty officials announced today.

He'll start in February.

The Getty, the wealthiest arts organization in the world with an endowment of more than $5 billion, includes two museum sites — one a modern campus on a Brentwood hilltop, the other a re-created villa at the edge of Malibu — along with research and conservation institutes and a grant-making foundation.


Wood succeeds interim president Deborah Marrow, a veteran Getty administrator who took the post in February after the abrupt resignation under fire of Barry Munitz. Munitz, former head of the California State University system, led the Getty for seven years but was forced out amid the attorney general's probe of his free spending and other irregularities.


Wood, educated at Williams College in Massachusetts, began his career with a series of academic and museum positions, including a post at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He took over as director of the St. Louis Art Museum in 1975, then moved on to serve as president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1980 to 2003.

His specialty is European painting and sculpture from the 16th to 20th centuries, along with American painting and sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Wood "was at the top of my personal list" of best candidates, said Jeremy Strick, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. "He's a brilliant choice. This is someone who's spent his career in art museums, leading one of the greatest institutions in the country, and indeed the world."

Strick, who worked for Wood as a curator at the Art Institute from 1996 to 1999, called Wood "deeply reflective and at times quiet — but decisive." He noted that the Art Institute's president oversees not only a museum but an art school, a many-sided job description with some similarity to the Getty Trust presidency. Strick also noted that Wood played a key role in the Chicago institute's increased emphasis on contemporary art in recent years.

Getty officials said Marrow would return to her former job as director of the Getty Foundation when Wood arrives.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Bookstore Comes To Main Street! New Independent Book Store Opens In Downtown!

Just received the following e-mail from the owner of the first new independent bookstore - Metropolis Books - featuring new books - and some used books, too - to open Downtown in many, many years.

I just wanted to let you know that Metropolis Books is now open!! The City is planning our Grand Opening for December 15th, once the date is firm I will send out evites. For now please feel free to come on down to 440 S. Main Street in L.A. Last week there was an article in Publishers Weekly about the store, and we will have a small feature in the Downtown News this week and a larger feature later. Hope to see all of you soon.

Beautifully done space with lots of great couches and chairs - right in the heart of Gallery Row and within walking distance of 5 great new clothing stores and 9 - and soon to be 12 - new restaurants.

Welcome to the 'hood, Metropolis Books!

Washington Post Take On LA And LA Times!

Kevin over at LAOBSERVED links to the above story that surveys both Los Angeles and the impending fate of the LA TIMES. Good reading, other than several factual errors, of course, the worst of which is below:

The paper's circulation area spans a territory the size of Ohio, over five counties and 88 cities and through a veritable United Nations of neighborhoods -- Iranians next to Koreans near Armenians close to Thais across the county from Vietnamese abutting African Americans near Jews surrounded by Hispanics of all nationalities and political stripes.

And, of course, LA County alone has 88 cities - and the five counties combined have closer to 200 cities. And while Armenians are next to Thais, Koreans in Koreatown are not next to Iranians in Westwood, so while general point is right, not all the exact specifics are.

The best/worst part of the story is at the very end.

In his opening remarks Nov. 13, the new editor, Jim O'Shea, the former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, told staffers that he didn't know how long he'd be in the position and that his family had not joined him in Los Angeles, according to a video of the address made available on the Times Web site.

"You all know . . . sometime after the first of the year we are probably going to have new owners," O'Shea said. "And that could be a lot better for everybody here. But don't kid yourself, it could also be worse -- a lot worse."

Rutten said O'Shea's comments were telling. "I don't think anyone could have ever imagined that we would have someone here as editor whose . . . family is not going to be here and who says he himself doesn't know how long he's going to be around," Rutten said.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

City Of San Gabriel To Demolish Childrens's Park!

A wonderfully imaginative historic children's playground made up of concrete... monsters... is about to be demolished by some killjoy politicians in San Gabriel.


Guess What? Even City Hall Does Not Know How Tall City Hall Is!

After pointing out that height of City Hall was gotten wrong on a local blog two posts ago, imagaine my surprise to discover that City Hall can't even get that story straight:

28 stories tall (450 feet)

PROJECT RESTORE, the public-private organization that restored the building does not seem to know that City Hall is 32 stories tall (it says 28 stories!!)nor that it is not 450 feet tall, but 452 feet tall (but as I check further, other offical sites also say it is 454 feet tall, 460 feet tall and 464 feet tall - so who knows how tall it really is? Clearly, no one at City Hall!)- or that while the height limit was lifted in 1957, it was not until after 1960 that any building was actually allowed to be built higher than City Hall, though that last one is a bit of a semantic quibble.

FishbowlLA Looks At Us Looking At The LA Times!

For a couple weeks FishBowlLA has been publishing the results of their recent highly unscientific survey of LA Times readers, most, but not all of whom, are members of the local digital media mafia. The above link goes to the latest list of results. But even more interesting than the results, are the variety of people they queried. Clink on all the above link (and below ones too)and you get an interesting profile of (mostly) on-line LA.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

LA Times Suggestion #1 - Hire Someone To Read The Paper Before It Gets Published! PLUS - Todd Everett Wins The Irony Of The Day Award!!

The below piece by Todd Everett is an perfect example of why the LA Times needs to hire someone who actually reads the entire paper - very day - before it gets published.

On Sunday, November 26, "Calendar" ran a piece, freelanced by Michael Ordoña, on the upcoming film "Turistas," and problems shooting in a remote location, on a low budget:

Roughing it set the right tone for a film that depicts a tourist's worst nightmare: Its photogenic young protagonists get lost in the jungle, where they are drugged and robbed. And then things get bad. [John] Stockwell, director of surf-and-sand movies "Blue Crush" and "Into the Blue," says a rattling experience on a Peruvian surfing trip motivated him to take on the project.

"I had been robbed by a group of 13-year-old, glue-sniffing kids and gotten shot at," he says in the safety of the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel. "I went to the cops, and they basically told us, 'If you give us $300, we'll let you kill these kids.' And I thought, if that kind of [stuff] is possible.... I came home and read the script and it resonated."

Today, November 29, Jay A. Fernandez, in his "Scriptland" columm, writes about the upcoming film "Turistas"...and, uh, problems shooting in a remote location, on a low budget. Well, it's not exactly the same:

Ross wrote "Turistas," which will launch the new youth-targeted genre division Fox Atomic, after hearing a public radio piece about a rampant myth in Central and South America that Americans and Europeans kidnap native kids to harvest their organs on an international black market. There have been several incidents of violence in this context, in which tourists have been beaten up, stabbed or set on fire by fearful locals. An early scene sets up this dynamic when one of the backpackers takes a photograph of a child and the villagers turn hostile.

As I've asked before: if Times editors don't read their own paper, why should they expect us to?

There must be one person with a wide range of general knowledge who can read the paper's stories as the get churned out all afternoon and evening to spot the obvious errors, typos and continuity problems such as the one above.

Now as for the irony of the day award. Perhaps if Mr. Everett read his own blog, he might have spotted the error in the satement that appears on the ide of his blog:

Have you ever been to City Hall? It's 37 stories tall, filled with people spending your money. -- Doug McIntyre

And City Hall, of course, is only 32 stories tall....even though a few sources over the years have mistakenly said 28 stories, which is the height of the tower on top of the 4 story base, and I have even seen it called 27 stories tall by sources saying that the observation room is on that floor.

But 37 stories? Nope, never heard that one before.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bizarre Pre-Dated G-Mail SPAM Explosion!

Sometime this afternoon my G-mail SPAM list went from dead zero (after I had cleared it out) to almost... 500... while I was out of the office for less than an hour. And when I went to check and delete them - they were all from October 29th - November 6th - over three weeks ago.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Los Angeles Times Supports Fledging Los Angeles Cultural Organization!

One of the most infuriating policies of the Los Angeles Times is their policy to ignore new art galleries and certain other cultural institutions until they have been around for an arbitrary, predetermined period of time.

With art galleries it is a full year.

The rules are that no matter how great - or wonderful - or earth shattering - the shows are - until the gallery has been open for one year - the Times will not deign to review any show in that gallery. Now I know there must have been some exceptions over the years, but it has always struck me as odd that during the time period when any new institution could use some exposure, the Times has a policy to not review anything that organization does which has nothing to do with the quality of the programming of the gallery.

So imagine my amazement when the Sunday editorial pages of the LA Times not only welcome the appearance of a new classical ballet company, but even urge the citizens of this fair city to support this new endeavor!

My God - the LA Times asking for civic support for a fledgling civic organization? Just who do they think they are? A hometown LA paper?

The bizarre irony is that it may take editors and publishers from cities that take actual pride in themselves to create a paper that truly speaks for Los Angeles.

Another try for L.A. ballet
Los Angeles Ballet is the latest company to attempt success against long odds. We wish it well.

November 26, 2006

OF COURSE WE'RE rooting for the new Los Angeles Ballet, which will debut Dec. 2 at the Wilshire Theatre with a production of (what else?) the "Nutcracker." Still, it's hard to ignore the historical odds against ballet in the L.A. area. The company may begin with the graceful arabesques of Clara, but we have to brace ourselves for the thud of "Swan Lake's" Odette dumped to the floor during the pas de deux by a feckless Siegfried we call "the public."

Locally based ballet has been tutu scarce in Southern California. This remains the only U.S. megalopolis without a top-tier classical company, despite well-ranked ballet schools that churn out world-class dancers. There have been at least five attempts to launch a premier company in the last decade, and all of them flopped — in one case, owing large sums of money to its dancers.

L.A. Ballet — it even rhymes! — seems like a natural for a dynamic metropolitan area with such a love of arts new and old (including an otherwise lively dance scene). It's always been puzzling that we haven't supported a world-ranked company. But the survival of an elite and expensive art form is tricky anywhere. Chicago's renowned 50-year-old Joffrey Ballet, whose part-time residence in L.A. during the 1980s didn't work out either, has been on the verge of closing more than once. Even superstar Ethan Stiefel couldn't bring in the big bucks when he spent a tour as artistic director of Ballet Pacifica, a small, Irvine-based company he had hoped to take regional.

Now two notable ballet dancers, Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, are putting their best slippers forward as artistic directors. Their L.A. Ballet will be affiliated with the respected Westside School of Ballet and make its permanent home at the Malibu Performing Arts Center. In a canny move, its version of "Nutcracker" will be performed at three venues around the county, hoping to draw viewers by chopping their commutes.

None of the locations are within L.A.'s city limits, but there's time to build toward that. The main issue is whether Southern California will provide enough cash and audience to sustain this latest effort. Perhaps some of the major centers of money in town, such as Hollywood, will see the value in supporting the performing arts. It would help if L.A. Ballet delivers the goods, and if ballet fans buy tickets. Then, perhaps, L.A. will be ready for a major jeté forward in the arts.

But don't expect to see this cowboy at any of their performances. After a lot of effort, I finally developed an appreciation for opera but my taste in dance never developed beyond Fred and Ginger. And only if Ginger was wearing the tights.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Excellent New York Times Article On LA Palm Trees - Other Than The Factual Errors... Of Course!

I'll begin with the errors, then add further commentary at the end of the quotes. To begin with, crape myrtles are not native trees of California; they are from Australia and Asia and are as much shrubs as they are trees.

Second, date palm speciment trees are not imported to this country from anywhere else, much less the Middle East. The date palms being bought by Las Vegas come from the date palm fruit orchards in the Coachella Valley down by Palm Springs.

Third, the writer has clearly confused date palms - which were very rarely planted in Los Angeles and almost never along the streets, with Canary palms which are one of the three species of (see below comments for correction that was made here) palms most often planted along Los Angeles streets. They are also not imported from the Middle East - or anywhere else - and they are native to the Canary Islands.

November 26, 2006
Los Angeles Journal
City Says Its Urban Jungle Has Little Room for Palms

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 25 — The palm tree, like so much here, rose to fame largely because of vanity and image control, then met its downfall when the money ran out.

The Los Angeles City Council, fed up with the cost of caring for the trees, with their errant fronds that plunge perilously each winter, and with the fact that they provide little shade, have declared them the enemy of the urban forest and wish that most would disappear.

The city plans to plant a million trees of other types over the next several years so that, as palms die off, most will be replaced with sycamores, crape myrtles and other trees indigenous to Southern California. (Exceptions will be the palms growing in places that tourists, if not residents, demand to see palmy, like Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.)


Palms are hard to care for, so hard that the city has a line in its tree-trimming budget just for them. Last year, it was approximately $385,000, but proper care dictates an expense of about $630,000 per year, said Nazario Sauceda, the assistant director of the bureau of street services in the city’s Department of Public Works.

Many of the trees planted in the 1950s are getting toward the end of their lives, Mr. Lai said. Some are 80 to 100 feet high and 70 years old, and these are not self-cleaning palms,which means they need maintenance to remove old fronds.

Last year, the city removed nearly 8,000 cubic yards of dried palm fronds from the public right of way, Mr. Sauceda said.

Date palms, which make a bit less of a mess, have become prohibitively expensive to import, mostly from the Middle East, because Las Vegas has snapped them all up. And with only 18 percent of the city shaded (the national average is 28 percent), Los Angeles wants trees that shelter people from the sun.

Unfortunately, this is just one more important decision that was arrived at without any outreach to the citizens of Los Angeles or the neighborhood councils and it is just one more example of the city doing far more harm than good in trying to solve a perceived problem. It is also just one more step towards politically correct botanical conformity that ignores both the diversity of this city and its cultural and physical history.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Los Angeles DEAD LAST In Attracting The Young And Educated! In Fact, LA Is LOSING Them!!

In a now almost week old story that has been totally ignored by the local media - and local politicians - not only is Los Angeles no longer attracting young college graduates, but we are now one of only two cities that is losing that demographic. The other one is... Philadelphia. And we are losing our young college graduates at a far faster rate than Philadelphia.

Evidently... W.C. Fields... isn't the only one who would rather be in... Philadelphia, or any place but LA.

The chart at the end of the below story tells the tale of why Los Angeles's quality job creation rate is far lower than that of almost ever major city in the country, another story that the LA media and LA politicians ignore as the city passes law after law designed to drive business out of Los Angeles.

The only possible silver lining is that these statistics stop the year before the loft boom started that might start to halt the rate of our loss of jobs that require a college education. Lofts alone, however, will not do the job; a true urban culture needs to be also created and, alas, both the government agencies and the private sector organizations that should be working on this, have been largely ineffective.

And even that will not be enough because until the city takes job creation serious and reverses its current anti-business climate, no real change is going to be possible.

Atlanta Leads the Nation in Attracting Most Coveted Demographic in the Country
Monday November 20, 3:02 pm ET
'Young and Restless' Study Shows Atlanta is the Place to be for Highly Educated 25- to 34-year-olds
Focus Groups Cite Airport, Affordability, Diversity and Opportunity (Visit this site for full press kit)

ATLANTA, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Atlanta leads the nation in attracting highly educated 25- to 34-year-olds, the most coveted demographic in the country. They are known as the "Young and Restless."

(Logo: )

"Atlanta is winning the war for talent," said Sam A. Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. "The 'Young and Restless' are the most sought-after talent in the country. Cities want them for their economic future. Companies want their knowledge and talent. And Atlanta is leading the nation in attracting them."

These are the findings of a study conducted by Portland, Ore., economist Joe Cortright of Impresa Consulting and released today by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. The study showed that from 1990 to 2000, metro Atlanta increased its young adult population 46 percent, which is faster than any of the top 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the country.

At a time when this age group was declining by 9 percent nationally, the number of young adults increased 20 percent in Atlanta. All other of the top 50 metropolitan areas, besides San Francisco, had smaller increases or outright declines in their 25- to 34-year-old population from 1990 to 2000. And the competition for young, talented labor is getting fiercer as baby boomers retire and the workforce shrinks.

"Cities across the country recognize that their ability to attract this well-educated, hard-working young age group is critical to their future success," said Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

Atlanta has also been a mecca for young, highly educated African-American adults. While the African-American young adult population declined nationally in the 1990s by about 6 percent, Atlanta saw a 36 percent surge.

While much larger cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago still have greater absolute numbers of college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds, Atlanta has disproportionately outpaced all of them in rapidly growing its percentage of these up-and-comers.

For instance, from 1990 to 2000, New York City -- with a "Young and Restless" population nearly five times the size of Atlanta -- only grew its "Young and Restless" population by about 35,000, while Atlanta grew its number by more than 80,000.

"While the nation's talented, young workforce is shrinking, Atlanta's share is growing faster than anywhere in the country," said economist Joe Cortright. "Companies looking for a talented workforce can't find a hotter spot than Atlanta."

Most "Young and Restless" relocate to Atlanta from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Miami or Washington, D.C. The largest single contributor of 25- to 34-year-olds to Atlanta is New York, accounting for 7 percent of Atlanta's in- migration. Washington-Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago each account for about 3 percent.

"Macquarium Intelligent Communications owes much of its success as an interactive strategy and design consultancy to the fact that Atlanta is such an appealing city," said Art Hopkins, president of Macquarium, a web development and consulting firm. "Macquarium was built by talented young people with an entrepreneurial spirit, and continues to attract the best and the brightest young professionals from all over the country. We know that being in Atlanta has tipped the scales in our favor."

Focus groups cited Atlanta's competitive advantageous as affordable housing, cultural opportunities, jobs and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

"Atlanta offers the most of everything that I look for in a city," said Kate Demange, a member of the Young and Restless group and a Macquarium employee. "The weather is great, the city is green and beautiful, I can do outdoor activities year round, it has direct flights to major cities in the U.S. and Europe, a good job market, and the cost of living is lower."

While educated people in their early 20s move around, those in their mid 20s and early 30s are settling down, pursuing careers and starting families. The likelihood of moving to another state or metro area declines sharply in the early 30s. So attracting people in the 25- to 34-year-old group offers metros the best chance of building a stable base of human capital that fuels a region's economic future.

A diverse and educated workforce adds to Atlanta's appeal, Williams added, noting that the region's 45 colleges and universities educate more than 200,000 students a year. Georgia Tech alone turns out the largest number of engineers of any university in the country, and Atlanta ranks fifth in the nation for the fastest growth rate of college-educated young adults, greatly exceeding the national trend.

In addition to being plentiful, young adults in Atlanta are better educated, on average, than those in other metropolitan areas -- 36 percent versus 30 percent with four-year college degrees. The number of 25- to 34- year-olds with a four-year degree increased 46 percent in Atlanta over the past decade, more than four times faster than the nation as a whole.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (MACOC) -- with our 4,000 member companies that collectively employ more than 700,000 workers -- is a catalyst for a vibrant metro region. The Metro Atlanta Chamber focuses on the issues that matter most to the business community: improving quality of life, promoting economic growth and making Atlanta a brand name that means opportunity.

Top Metro Areas & Change in Raw Number of
Young & Restless*.

Metro 1990 2000 Change

New York 1,107,128 1,141,990 34,862

Los Angeles 616,689 590,745 (25,944)

Chicago 428,445 486,669 58,224

San Francisco 390,613 474,707 84,094

Washington 446,706 473,201 26,495

Boston 372,300 375,403 3,103

Philadelphia 278,047 274,893 (3,154)

Atlanta 176,366 257,837 81,471

Dallas 231,782 252,437 20,655

Detroit 195,284 227,319 32,035

Although metro Atlanta ranks eight in the overall number of 25- to 34- year-olds, it experienced a 46 percent increase in this age cohort, where many of its competitors saw outright declines or small percent increases. No other of the top 10 metro areas in the country saw this kind of increase. *Metro areas ranked by total Y&R population.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hot Dog! Weeneez Opens Saturday Morning 10 AM!!

After almost a full year of delays and dealing with endless bureaucrats and city and county agencies, the gourmet hot dog - and tamale - dinery... WEENEEZ... is - finally - opening tomorrow morning, Saturday November 25th, 2006, along with the RedDot Gallery at 500 S. Spring in the heart of Gallery Row. The adjacent RedDot Bistro with a larger menu, and eventually beer and wine, will open in December.

The initial hours of 10 AM to 8 PM seven days a week will be a welcome addition to Sunday dining and early evening eating at 5th and Spring where both are currently short in supply. And, hopefully, when the Los Angeles Theatre Center re-opens in the spring next door and as more residential buildings open in the area, evening hours will be able to be further extended.

This is a homecoming of sorts for co-owner, Julie Rico, who started her Julie Rico Art Gallery back in 1989 on Los Angeles Street on the second floor of a new demolished building near the Cathedral. She later followed the exodus of downtown art galleries to Santa Monica in the early 1990's, but made a decision to return downtown, along with partner Sid Carter, after a having a temporary gallery show during the festivities that christened Gallery Row.

More about her history in the art world can be found on her website -, along with the complete menu for Weeneez. Also on the website is information on the inaugural show of the RedDot Gallery, "James Brown, Friends and Flowers", featuring the work of Youn Woo Chaa.

Welcome back Julie!

OJ Book Goes For $8,300 On E-Bay!

IF I DID IT - O.J. Simpson's Confession Book

Book has been banned from stores - AUTHENTIC w/pics
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Monday, November 20, 2006

Gregory Rodriguez Takes On Mike Davis - BUT -- Gets One Of His Facts Wrong Big Time!

Gregory Rodriguez did his usual superb job this last Sunday - in fact I was meaning to comment on his last two weeks columns, too - until he got to his paragraph on Mike Davis. Below is his column until he made the fatal flaw:

Gregory Rodriguez: What's left of L.A.'s left?
L.A.'s once-reliable intellectual left has faltered even as its political cohorts consolidate local power.

November 19, 2006

IT WAS A LITTLE like Pravda running an expose on Lenin's sex life, or the Wall Street Journal editorializing on the fetishes of conservative economist Friedrich Hayek. Three weeks ago, the L.A. Weekly, once the most reliably left-wing publication in the city, published a cover story all but alleging that the late union chief Miguel Contreras died in a brothel in South L.A.

But the story itself wasn't as shocking as the fact that it was published at all in Los Angeles, let alone in the Weekly. Its publication was a sign not only that things have changed at the alternative paper but that this city's intellectual climate has shifted.

For most of the last generation, L.A.'s public intellectual life has been dominated by editors, thinkers and writers who ran the ideological gamut from A to B — from committed liberal to strident leftist. But in the last few years, as the Labor Left has consolidated its control over City Hall, it has simultaneously lost its firm grip on the small class of writers and thinkers who narrate L.A.'s civic life for the broader public.

Remember the early 1990s, after the city had self-destructed and a Republican mayor presided? Back then, Marxist apocalypticist Mike Davis ruled the intellectual roost and attained cult-like status. It's not that everyone agreed with Davis' dark millenarian vision, but few challenged him publicly in part because his zealous followers bullied dissenters. Anyone to the right of Friedrich Engels was labeled a fascist and risked personal attacks. The despair in the wake of the riots had made left-wing noir all the rage, and, as historian Kevin Starr once quipped, for a brief moment in L.A., pessimism passed for deep thought.

The mid-1990s brought a resurgence of a more traditional — and constructive — brand of intellectual leftism. Mostly through the voice of its former executive editor and chief political columnist, Harold Meyerson, the L.A. Weekly became the house organ for an emerging Latino-labor-left political coalition. The paper simultaneously narrated and championed a series of political milestones — the election of Antonio Villaraigosa and Gil Cedillo to the state Assembly in 1994 and 1998, respectively, and the elevation of Contreras to head of the L.A. County Federation of Labor in 1996.

And it wasn't alone. Although not as strident, The Times' editorial page was also sympathetic to the rise of labor — and was generally perceived as socially and fiscally liberal.

If the Davis crew endorsed cultish devotion to one individual, the rest of the intellectual left steamrolled dissent through its momentum and an aura of inevitability. The few naysaying opposition voices, such as Jill Stewart, then a columnist at the now defunct New Times L.A., and economics writer Joel Kotkin were written off as contemptuous right-wing renegades. And indeed, they were angry, indignant and downright screechy voices that tried to poke holes in the common wisdom. Yet only in L.A. could these disgruntled Democrats be considered right-wingers.

Then, depending on how you see it, in 1999 Davis was either run out of town by an overzealous fact-checker who questioned his credibility (especially in his book "City of Quartz") or he just naturally morphed into his rightful place as a global writer with a consequently waning influence in L.A.

Well, other than leaving out the name of the overzealous fact-checker - which was, moi - and the fact that I wasn't being overzealous - it was just that after seeing 1,000 lies and errors lying out in the open, ripe for the picking in Mike Davis' books - who couldn't resist looking for the less obvious ones - there is one major factual error Gregory makes.

While City of Quartz certainly has its share of fiction - starting with the opening scene that is logistically impossible to have happened - Ecology of Fear is the book I stated had far more errors and blatant lies (and not City of Quartz) - proven by the amazing numbers of footnotes that say the exact opposite of the 'facts' they supposedly footnoted.

And the main reason for that - in my opinion - is the long rumored claim that Davis' graduate students actually wrote much of City of Quartz for him might be true.

Now I first heard that story just before City of Quartz came out while I was doing research on other matters at the stacks in UCLA. The rumor was even - briefly - made public until the book became a hit and everyone suddenly shut up about it.

Then when I hit the stacks again at UCLA back in 1998, I ran into a number of his former colleagues – including some fellow Marxists - who even gave me the names of those who supposedly wrote some of the chapters. One chapter was ... supposedly... written by one person who when the book came out, was stunned when he saw that it was almost verbatim to what he had written, except for changes like where Davis added machine guns to LAPD helicopters.

But this is all second hand information and I can not prove any of it – nor am I all that interested in that aspect of Davis. The important thing is that he is more a writer of fiction than fact so how he got that way I find less important. However, how he would completely… make up… an entire interview in the LA WEEKLY with Lewis McAdams – as he did – I find absolutely… fascinating. How could he not realize he would be caught?

Still – there is one piece of information that makes me wonders how much other people might write his books. The dramatic changes in tone and style among books is a little suspicious, but very possible and it’s nowhere near a smoking gun. But there is possibly one reverberating revolver in Ecology of Fear.

In his chapter on Bunker Hill he gets an absolutely… staggering… number of simple historic facts wrong – and he then supports those facts with a footnote to an essay in an obscure collection of essays titled, OUT OF SITE, which I just happened have to have owned at the time. I then pulled it off the shelf and discovered that the writer he was quoting as his source was… Mike Davis.

Even stranger though, the facts – if not always the conclusions – in OUT OF SITE – were essentially – correct! So in an essay – written in a rather different voice than Ecology Of Fear, despite having Mike Davis’ name on them – the basic facts are right.

And yet in Ecology Of Fear – quoting an essay he wrote – the facts are… wrong.

Boggles the mind – doesn’t it?

So either he has a terrible memory – or someone other than Mike Davis must have written that essay.

Mayor Takes Heroic Stand On Firefighter Hazing Lawsuit!

The Mayor really stepped up to the plate on this one; my comments at the end of his superb speech:

Kevin Roderick

Mayor Villaraigosa used his veto power for the first time and killed the $2.7 million payout to firefighter Tennie Pierce that was negotiated by City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo and approved 11-1 by the City Council. Pierce had sought compensation for being forced to eat dog food during a hazing prank at his fire station. New evidence raises questions about the deal, the mayor said, adding that he remains disturbed by the hazing rituals at city fire stations. At his press conference Villaraigosa issued an anti-hazing directive.

The mayor's statement after the jump:

Remarks of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa regarding LAFD hazing settlement

“Ladies and gentlemen:

Thank you all for coming today.

We’re here this afternoon to declare unequivocally:

The practice of hazing has NO PLACE in the City of Los Angeles!

We’ve all read the reports*many of us have seen the images*depicting alleged activities in the Los Angeles Fire Department that have placed the City in a position of potential legal liability.

Like most Angelenos, I find these images deeply disturbing and totally unacceptable.

Hazing is reckless, reprehensible, and juvenile.

Any conduct that demeans or that otherwise makes people feel unwelcome in the workplace will not be tolerated. Period.

As City employees, we need to remember that public service is an honor and a privilege.

I know that an overwhelming number of our employees feel that way.

They work hard.

They come to their jobs every day with a full respect for the opportunity they are being given.

Above all, they know that the taxpayers have an unqualified right to expect that our city’s civil servants will conduct themselves at all times as complete professionals.

Today, I have issued an Executive Directive declaring a ZERO TOLERANCE policy against hazing in all City’s departments.

It’s time to end the practice once and for all.

It’s time to break the cycle.

Where necessary, it is time to change the culture.

We are one City workforce, serving one community, and behavior that divides us has no place in the City of Los Angeles.

This Executive Directive will require notification of our zero tolerance policy of every City employee in every Department.

It provides for the immediate investigation and discipline in any alleged case of hazing.

It requires all City departments to report back on past hazing incidents and to recommend tougher guidelines for handling incidents in the future.

I am pleased to say that the Fire Commission will soon be considering a set of improved disciplinary guidelines following on a series of audits by Controller Laura Chick.

These tougher disciplinary guidelines will strengthen accountability standards in 144 different categories of misconduct.

Employees engaging in hazing or horseplay will be subject disciplinary action, including suspension and possible termination.

I want to commend the commission and the stakeholders who participated in fashioning these reforms through many months of hard work and many hours of tough deliberations. I look forward to the Commission approving these guidelines very soon.

And I want to say: We will be enacting similar standards in every City department.

Now, I want to address specifically the City Attorney’s recommended settlement in the case of Tennie Pierce versus the City of Los Angeles.

Like every Angeleno, I am deeply troubled by the allegations raised here.

We cannot tolerate discrimination in any form.

However, new information has come to light since the City Attorney recommended settlement of the case.

I believe that this information merits a reexamination of the matter.

Given the magnitude of the recommended settlement, taxpayers have a right to demand a reconsideration with the full benefit of all the facts.

Today, I announced $15 million in long-needed investments in South Los Angeles today, so when I say every dollar counts, I mean it.

We have a fundamental fiduciary responsibility to ensure the wise use of tax dollars.

Accordingly, I am returning the item with my veto and with a request that the City get back to work on the case.

My veto of this action will permit a reconsideration of settlement in light of all of the evidence surrounding the claims in the lawsuit

I want to stress, however, that the alleged behavior underlying this case must be eliminated in our City workforce.

As this case illustrates, hazing creates a serious risk of legal liability for the City, and it undermines professionalism we expect in the workplace.

That’s why we’re going to take a hard line*AND ADOPT A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY*with respect to hazing in the City of Los Angeles.”

A great statement and a courageous action.

In close, I know a little about hazing. Back when I was somewhat abruptly introduced to the cowboy life at age 17, I was given a horse that would not remain broke - no matter how times times I thought he had been gentled - and it took me two... painful... months to figure out why.

And after I started getting just getting a touch cocky about my very fledging fighting skills, I got into a bar fight with this 'random stranger' who just happened to be there. But after ten very long minutes of brawling that left both of us barely able to even crawl off the floor, it turned out he just happened to be a ranked (if not particularly all that highly) boxer.

But each of those events - and the many like them - were designed to teach me something and to make me just a little bit tougher - and, possibly, just a little bit smarter, though the smarter part always turned out to be the harder part.

But it was never done to demean or humiliate me like what I saw that firefigher do to his colleagues.

When Does First Copy Of OJ Book Hit E-Bay?

Now that Murdoch has withdrawn both the OJ 'confession' book and the TV shows - when do the first copies leak out to the press - and end up on E-bay? And when do clips from the shows end up on YouTube?

News Corp. kills O.J. book, interview
Mark Lacter • Bio • Email

Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch called it an "ill-considered project." Here's what he said in a statement: "We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson." The interview with Simpson was scheduled to air Nov. 27 and Nov. 29, while the book was scheduled to go on sale Nov. 30.

Pynchon Punked!

The New York Times reviewer didn't particularly care for Pynchon's latest.

November 20, 2006
Books of The Times
A Pynchonesque Turn by Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, “Against the Day,” reads like the sort of imitation of a Thomas Pynchon novel that a dogged but ungainly fan of this author’s might have written on quaaludes. It is a humongous, bloated jigsaw puzzle of a story, pretentious without being provocative, elliptical without being illuminating, complicated without being rewardingly complex.

And it doesn't get any better after that...

I guess I'll cross that one off my AMAZON Christmas wish list.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fascinating Story About Mayor In Daily News Today!

Tony Castro gives a detailed - and very humanizing - look at the Mayor's background. If anyone at the LA Times is reading this - Castro has expertly demonstrated what is meant as local news coverage:

The untold story of the mayor's rise from poverty to power
BY TONY CASTRO, Staff Writer
LA Daily News
Article Last Updated:

Antonio Villaraigosa had promoted his ambitious trade mission to the Far East for almost an hour when he slipped into a monologue about Chinese food and chopsticks.

"It's funny, but I've been addicted to chopsticks since I was a kid. My kids have, too."

Those thin, metal chopsticks were another matter, the mayor said, trading stories of their difficulty with editors and reporters before drifting back to memories of his childhood.

"I've been using chopsticks since I was a kid ..."

He rolled his head slowly and gazed upward as if the ceiling tiles were television monitors showing old home movies of his youth when he caught himself and bit his lip.

"That's not true. I think the first time I went to a Chinese restaurant was when I was 19 ..."

As chroniclers of Antonio Villaraigosa invariably come to discover, sometimes what comes out of the Los Angeles mayor's mouth - particularly when it's about his past - and what ultimately turns out to be true are not always entirely the same.

Now in his second year in office, Villaraigosa, 53, is catching himself in some of those inconsistencies - those embellishments of the past or his tendency to exaggerate or bolster his importance - flaws that can often simply be attributed to a faulty memory or political hyperbole.

Childhood tale

Ironically, a window to understanding why Villaraigosa tries so hard may be in the very Horatio Alger-like tale the mayor himself has often told about his childhood: Abandoned by his alcoholic, abusive father while he was in kindergarten, raised by a mother he describes as "a woman of indomitable spirit who never stopped believing in me," and further traumatized when his father sired another son as part of another family and christened him with the same name he had given Villaraigosa at birth - Antonio Ramon Villar Jr.

In that rocky upbringing, some experts say, lies the seed for the drive, ambition and, yes, even the indulgent bravado behind the self-reinvented Villaraigosa, as well as many others in public life.

"The typical politician," Beverly Hills psychiatrist Carole Lieberman said, "is someone who is unconsciously trying to compensate for feeling powerless as a child.

"Even after being successful, this feeling of smallness and inadequacy from when they were children stays with them. They remain insecure and don't know if people would vote for them if they knew how powerless or small they still believe themselves to be, so they fabricate stories about themselves to make themselves seem more heroic."

It may explain why Villaraigosa, more than any Los Angeles mayor since the late Tom Bradley, has so thoroughly enveloped himself in the trappings of the office.

Celeb photo ops

He moved from his home in Mount Washington to stately Getty House, the official mayoral residence just outside Hancock Park. He seeks photo ops with the famous and the powerful: Hollywood celebrities at the Academy Awards, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mexican President Vicente Fox, former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

When Blair was in Los Angeles for a visit to UCLA in August, Villaraigosa boasted that London's Guardian newspaper had called him "the Latino Tony Blair."

"He knows that real leadership is about challenging your friends and allies," Villaraigosa said, "and from this distant perspective in sunny L.A., that's always been the genius of Tony Blair's record of public service."

In Villaraigosa's mind, experts say, the greater, the more heroic the person rubbing elbows with him, the greater, the more heroic the "Latino Tony Blair." It's all part of sustaining an image of perfection and personal invincibility and attempting to project that impression to others, as well.

But recently the patina has rubbed off some of the stories that Villaraigosa himself says have made him "the poster child of the American dream."

Weary of story

In June, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles reported that retired Sherman Oaks teacher Herman Katz had grown "weary" of the yarn Villaraigosa has often told of how Katz dramatically turned his life around while the teenage Villar was struggling at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights - almost making it seem as if Katz had become his surrogate father, paving his course to eventual political stardom.

It wasn't that Katz hadn't taken an interest in young Villar. But the way Villaraigosa had built up the relationship - introducing him during his inaugural spectacle in 2005 in glowing, almost familial terms - may have made it seem more than it was.

"It wasn't a `this-kid-could-be-mayor-one-

day' type of thing," Katz told The Journal. "It just so happened that this was at a time when he needed somebody who showed a little interest, who would give him the encouragement, and that's what it really was.

"This story is important because it shows people how important an educator can be when you don't even realize it. You never know how you're going to affect a kid."

In fairness to the mayor, experts say, everyone is subject to what W. Keith Campbell, associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and a "narcissism expert," calls "memory distortion."

"It's a self-enhancing direction in which people destroy the past to make themselves look better," Campbell said. "I don't know if it's the politician doing it or handlers doing it because they know it creates a good story.

"If you're someone like (U.S. Sen.) John McCain, you have a good story to begin with. As for others, I don't know how much of it is made up and how much is a memory distortion."

And there is much more. Be sure and read the entire article.

It's great reading and I think the overall impact is that it by examining a few personal flaws of the Mayor common to many people at this time, it allows him to correct the record when his personal popularity is so high that a few past misstatements will do him no harm.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

More On Los Angeles Times Unemployment Coverage!

My last post on this subject was about how the LA Times' online edition yesterday put an insanely negative spin on one of the most positive economic stories I can ever recall about the strength of Los Angeles County economy. Fortunately in this morning's print edition, the story was considerably fleshed out and a lot more perspective was given to this amazing story:

Joblessness in California at record low
Unemployment falls to 4.5% in October as the state's labor market mirrors the country's. Growth in tourism and healthcare are credited.
By Lisa Girion
Times Staff Writer

November 18, 2006

California's unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 4.5% in October, the state said Friday, reflecting what experts say is one of the tightest job markets in years.

The jobless rate was down from 4.8% in September and the lowest since the government started tracking it in 1976, the state Employment Development Department said.

The California job picture mirrors a tightening of the labor market nationwide — reflecting a solid economy in the fifth year of an expansion. The healthcare needs of an aging population, along with a continuing boom in tourism, are helping to fuel the state's employment growth.

The improving job market in California extends across a wide range of industry sectors and occupational categories, from low-skilled workers to professionals, experts said.

"Everybody is complaining that they can't find good skilled workers, and I've never seen so many help-wanted signs every place you go," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

One Monrovia retailer, who asked not to be named, has filled jobs by word of mouth for decades but said she resorted to placing her first online ad last month. Another employer looking for general help belied exasperation in a recent newspaper classified ad that summed up the labor market:

"I'M GOING CRAZY!!!! More work than staff. No experience necessary."

Later, the article goes into despite the housing construciton slump - which was the focus of the first article, almost every other sector of the econmoy is thriving:

Economists expect the unemployment rate to stay below 5% for some time, repeating the pattern of the late 1990s, when the tech boom led to labor shortages in high-skilled, computer-related jobs. This time, tightness is developing in such sectors as healthcare, skilled manufacturing and trucking, recruiters and economists said.

Outside the slowing housing market, things aren't so bad, they said. "If there weren't a housing slowdown now, you'd have a labor shortage," said John Husing, a Redlands-based economic development advisor.

The decline in construction jobs — down 4,000 in October from a year earlier — has been more than offset by growth in the state's service sector, including tourism, education and healthcare.

"They are all growing for different reasons, but they are all growing," said Keitaro Matsuda, senior economist for Union Bank of California. "They are propelling the California economy forward now."

And Mark Lacter over at the business section of LAOBSERVED, puts this story into an even better perspective on the meaning of this plunge in joblessness in LA County:

L.A. unemployment plunges

That's right, plunges - October joblessness was 4.3 percent, down from 4.8 percent in September and 5 percent from a year earlier. It's certainly the lowest unemployment rate I can ever remember for L.A. County and again reflects an economy that's in very good shape (so much for the fears about a real estate recession). L.A. County added 17,400 jobs for the month, much of the growth coming from government (education jobs were a big part of the gain). The county jobless number came in below the state's 4.5 percent and the U.S. rate of 4.4 percent. The local numbers are especially striking because L.A. is a very large, urban economy that's faced with ills not seen in low unemployment areas like OC. I realize economic number stories seem kind of boring, but this is a big deal.