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the skunks of los feliz

Upcoming GGPNC events:

-The GGPNC Parks, River and Open Space Committee meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 4, at the Griffith Park Ranger Station. This meeting will most likely deal with the newly unveiled Draft Griffith Park Master Plan. Let the kvetching begin!

-Traffic in Los Feliz got you down? Take your beef straight to the man, when city traffic engineer Robert Camou takes on all comers at the April 4 meeting of the GGPNC Transportation Committee. This meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Los Feliz Community Police Center.

-Ken Bernstein, Director of Preservation Issues for the Los Angeles Conservancy, will headline April 13th's meeting of the GGPNC Planning/Zoning and Historic Preservation Committee (or, if you prefer, the GGPNC-PZHPC). Held, yet again, at 7 p.m. at the Los Feliz Community Police Center, this one's a must for anyone into historic preservation. Fight the infill housing, GGPNC-PZHPC! Right on!
Indie 103.1 used to be a decent radio station.

Not in the earliest days of the format change, when the playlist was like a hermetically sealed time capsule of a Gen-Xer's college years (all Moz, all the time!), but shortly thereafter, when they settled on a nice mix of old (X) and new (Modest Mouse) "indie" rock. It seemed, for one brief, shining moment, that L.A. radio would finally provide listeners with an alternative to the self-satisfied dinosaurs at KROQ, not to mention the bland whimper-rock of KCRW.

Alas, it would not be long before Indie 103.1 became a victim of it's corporate parent's aspirations of market superiority. The signs of a race to the lowest common denominator have been there for some time: The Mighty Morning Show w/ white-boy ska purveyor Dickie Barrett (also the perpetrator of the inane "Punk Rock Minute"). The slack-jawed mouth-breather who drools out the station I.D.'s between hits on the bong. The station's inexplicable fondness for the "supergroup" Camp Freddy. Giving Rollins a show.

So 103.1 jumping the shark should come as no surprise. It was bound to happen. Success breeds mediocrity. It's the American way. But the way that Indie self-immolated last night, the spectacular manner in which they shredded any remaining credibility, was surprising.

To wit: During the 7 p.m. hour last night, the station aired what was basically an infomercial for a certain Japanese entertainment conglomerate's newest handheld game console/DVD player/MP3 device (hereafter referred to as "Log"). Between short sets of music chosen by Nate, a suspiciously slick "contest winner", repeating loops of "Log Radio" spots, hosted by the execrable Carson Daly, ran incessantly. In these spots, Mr. Daly breathlessly extolled the virtures of Log ("it's better than bad, it's good!") in faux interviews with such luminaries as Tony Hawk and the aforementioned Camp Freddy.

That was the show. All Log. All the time.

Using Daly, whose fifteen minutes of fame were up loooooong ago, to host this garbage was insulting enough. Having this blow-dried buffoon repeatedly refer to Log as "sick" was just the icing on the cake.

Now, I'm all for makin' a buck. Indie 103.1 has the right to do whatever they have to do to keep the lights on at the station. But this kind of crass, blatant display of commercialism is beyond the pale. If you, as a station, are going to become home to hour-long paid advertisements, even as you promote yourself as being "Indie", then you deserve every bit of scorn that will be heaped upon you.

Also, on a personal side note, if the complex calculus of some demographer has determined that Carson Daly sells to the Indie 103.1 demo, then I don't want to be a part of that demo.
Johnnie Cochran, Los Feliz resident and perhaps the most famous lawyer in the world, has succumbed to an inoperable brain tumor.

Get ready for an onslaught of O.J. rehashes.
If you are like me, you always believed that the original name of our fair city was Pueblo del Rio de Nuestra Se├▒ora la Reyna de los Angeles de Porciuncula (you did, didn't you?). However, this L.A. Times piece (via KTLA) says that's not the original name.

Well, maybe not.

Seems nobody knows exactly what the first Europeans settlers called their pueblo (what the native Gabrielinos might have called the place is, like the people themselves, lost to history). Apparently, so confused is the back story that there is quite a bit of controversy about the subject amongst dusty historian types. They are fighting it out with dueling publications as we speak, in a drama that holds the city rapt with....

Ah, who am I kidding? Nobody gives a hoot in hell about this subject besides me, and a couple of septuagenarian NPR listeners in South Pasadena who still read the paper version of the Times because reading the Internets will give them spyware.

I've tried to stay away from the Terri Schiavo situation in this blog. In my mind, it's sickening the way this very private tragedy has been politicized. But this piece about Rep. Tom DeLay's behavior during an end-of-life situation involving his father is instructive enough to override my self-imposed ban.

One aside that just occurred to me: are we as a people so afraid of death that we cannot name it? Since when did dying become the "end-of-life process"?
Checked out Google Maps yet?
As an update to an earlier post regarding the Griffith Park master plan meeting, I'm quoting from an email from Councilmember LaBonge:

"[Y]ou are invited to attend a special meeting of the Griffith Park Resource Board for the presentation of the long-awaited Griffith Park Master Plan. Please join me Wednesday, March 30, at Friendship Auditorium (3201 Riverside Drive). Refreshments will beprovided at 6:00 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m."

So, the location has now been announced, and they're throwing in punch and cookies. Now, no one has an excuse not to go.

Update: More info here.
Hey everybody, the French Gendarmerie D├ępartementale isn't the only law enforcement agency with a habit of leaving explosives laying around airports after training exercises. Looks like it's the LAPD that now has some 'splaining to do, not only on the issue of how explosives were left behind in the first damn place, but also on the embarrassing failure of the K-9 unit that subsequently investigated the package to hit on said explosives.

To make matters worse, after the dog failed to signal his handler opened the package in the middle of a crowded airport concourse, a move which could have been catastrophic if the "bomb" was anything other that a training device.

Doesn't give me much confidence in the LAPD's ability to protect the airport, which, as past events have shown, is certainly on the short list of sites that terrorists would love to hit.
Mayor Jim Hahn's re-election effort took another hit yesterday, as Rep. Maxine Waters threw her support behind Councilmember Antonio Villaraigosa.

As Hahn is learning, payback's a bitch. Rep. Waters has been waiting for just the right moment to reimburse him in full for his firing of former LAPD Chief Bernard Parks (which she perceived as a violation of the trust between Mayor McBland and the Black community), and with her ringing, devastatingly well-timed endorsement, she has.

Coming as it does just two days after the Los Angeles County Democratic Party announced it's backing of Villaraigosa, and accompanied by the big media splash that the charismatic Waters generates with ease, this could be the body blow that makes the Bland One the first Mayor bounced from office since Sam Yorty in 1973.
Crap, it's raining again.

I'm over it. Way over it. As I've expressed (to the point of tedium) to the few friends who have not tuned me out by now, I wish El Nino would pack up his variable water temperatures and go home, receding into the deep ocean like Godzilla trudging home to nap after a long day of wrecking Tokyo for shits and grins.

Which is all well and good, except for the faulty underlying premise of El Nino's culpability. Seems an oceanographer at JPL has established that the blame for this winter's wet weather cannot be laid at the feet of the (figurative) baby Jesus.

Fair enough. I'll lay off the kid. But what is causing this endless deluge?

To paraphrase the JPL response: "I dunno."

Not exactly satisfying, is it? I mean, what are we paying these people uncompetitive government wages for anyway?

I think I'll just keep flogging away at my Godzilla metaphor until someone can provide me with a more adequate explanation of why L.A. has become Drizzle City.

Update: If I'm reading this correctly (and that's a big if) the USGS says El Nino is to blame. I guess it all boils down to which guvmint agency with an alphabet-soup moniker you want to believe: JPL or USGS.
Another nail in the coffin of the "liberal media" myth.
Your daily dose of fear-mongering: al-Qaida frogmen.

That's right, frogmen. Pretty scary stuff, but you know what would be even scarier?

Frogmen with lasers! And they could also have, like, underwater dirty bombs that they could use to, like, attack the Seaview, and stuff!
Ready to take a run around Silver Lake?

This vlog post is not only a nice, comprehensive tour of the poster's nabe, it's also a reminder that Rollins did have that one good post-Black Flag song.

Soap-box racing.

The term conjures up images of helmeted tykes hurtling down hills in plywood boxes, tearful little boys with painful cases of asphalt burn, and that Hummer ad with the smug kid who wins the race by cheating (not to mention being the subject of one of the best Simpson's episodes ever).

In other words, soap-box racing kicks ass. But isn't it a dying sport?

Not in Silver Lake, which will, on June 18, play host to the annual Silver Lake Downhill Derby. The derby, which will feature a showdown between gravity-powered car racers from across the near Eastside, is open to all comers.

Those interested in piloting their own little capsule o' death down one of Silver Lake's steepest hills, please click here to fill out a very comprehensive liability release/application.

Good luck, and Godspeed.

For all you Red Line freaks, from Councilmember Tom LaBonge's newsletter:
A National League of Cities Conference took me to Washington D.C.
earlier this week. The trip doubled as a chance to meet with numerous
members of the California Congressional delegation to discuss issues of
importance to CD4, the City of Los Angeles and our region.
My key topic of discussion with a majority of the members was the
extension of our MTA subway system, whether this means going
underground, above ground or at grade. Many of you know I am a strong
advocate for extending the subway west to the ocean and into the
northwest San Fernando Valley.
A key challenge is to seek reversal of federal legislation that
prohibits underground rail tunneling in the Wilshire corridor, which
was the major topic of conversation in my meeting with Rep. Henry Waxman,
author of the original bill. He assured me that he will work with me
and my colleagues at the MTA on this critical issue. I also advocated
this position in meetings with Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Diane
Watson, Adam Schiff, Howard Berman, Jane Harman and Xavier Bacerra.
There is little chance we can extend the subway without federal
Waxman is on board, people! This thing might actually get off the ground.

The new Draft Griffith Park Master plan is now online for your viewing pleasure.

Those interested in following this process, which will chart the course for the park over the next quarter century, can attend a preview meeting hosted by the Department of Recreation and Parks. The meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m. (where it will be, the press release fails to inform us), will also deal with plans for the grand reopening of the Griffith Observatory.

Speaking of the Observatory, click here for a set of pics of the new planetarium dome and floor. Looks good, but will the seats be comfortable? And, more important, will stoners everywhere still be able to come to the Observatory to enjoy the Pink Floyd laser-light show?
Today's Ironic Conversation Overheard in an Elevator:

Virgin Records employees bemoaning the dearth of quality music in today's marketplace.

What, they don't believe in the creative potency (not to mention the salability) of N2U?
Cures for the breakup blues:

Maker's Mark. Workaholicism.

Built to Spill.

Blogging? Not so much.

See you in a few weeks.

Good news and bad news for the Ennis-Brown house:

The good news is that city officials have upgraded the landmark structure from a red tag to a yellow tag.

The bad news? The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, which was already on the World Monument Fund's list of One Hundred Most Endangered Sites, has sustained significant structural damage due to the recent rains.

Since the original building materials (which were not as well-chosen as they could have been) had already been weakened by the Northridge quake, not to mention 80 years of exposure to the elements, the house is in as precarious a state as it has ever been.

Hopefully this Mayan temple will continue to stand lookout over the city for a long time to come. I think of it and the Hollyhock house as bookends to the neighborhood, guardians of the Rancho Los Feliz. Indispensable components of L.A.'s ever shrinking endowment of architectural treasures, they are Frank Lloyd Wright's gifts to the city, and to Los Feliz.

Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Sullivan's Digital Imaging Project website, which features many fine views (interior and exterior) of the Ennis-Brown house, as well as other significant buildings.


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