Of wiretaps and crossed phone lines…

Its a bit of a surprise that nobody here at Metblogs has written about the Anthony Pellicano trial now taking place in downtown L.A., especially considering its a uniquely LA story full of intrigue, local scumbags, celebrities, and locations many of us frequent.

In short, Pellicano was a private eye to the rich and famous who would (illegally) wiretap phones of clients’ enemies, ex-wives, and allegedly use strong arm tactics on his client’s behalf. When Feds raided his office a few years ago they found grenades and plastic explosives. Its the kind of stuff that could only happen in the movies, and in a few years will likely make for a great movie.

This weekend I tried catching up on the trial’s proceedings, largely focusing on phone calls that the Huffington Post now has online between Pellicano and some of his clients, including Courtney Love, Chris Rock, and director John McTiernan. Until now, I had realized not only the extent and ease of his wiretaps, which should frighten anyone, but also how blase and matter of fact this all was to these entertainment heavyweights.

The whole thing reminded me of an incident that took place to me years ago…

…my tale after the jump…

64 Worst: Lack of Dunkin Donuts vs. Transplants

I’ll just say it: Los Angeles has no Dunkin Donuts. We have Krispy Kreme, we have Yum Yum, we’ve got Bob’s. We even have California Donut (my personal favorite). But there is no Dunkin Donuts anywhere to be found. None of their legendary coffee, not one single Boston Creme. Here on the left coast, it is never “time to make the donuts.”

On the other hand, if it weren’t for all these damn transplants, LA wouldn’t be full of east coasters whining about their precious donuts. What the heck, transplants? If you miss it so much, GO HOME. And for heaven’s sake, stop planting grass in your yard. Native plants will grow better and make you look like less of a water-wasting ass.

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Friday Yard Sales

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Click HERE for larger pic.

I don’t know about the rest of the city, but in Lincoln Heights yard sales seem to be most common on Fridays. I’m not sure why that is (payday?) but on any given Friday you’ll see a few yards full of stuff someone is trying to exchange for extra cash. There’s a few houses that do it every week and nobody seems to complain; in this neighborhood people understand the concept of trying to make ends meet. While some may object to this type of weekly scene, I appreciate the way it brings people together, offering a reason for neighbors to interact with each other. And once that initial contact with other local residents has been overcome, normal neighborly relations can commence.

64 Worst: Parking Tards Vs. The Grove

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Continuing in our scientific investigation of the 64 worst things about LA I humbly present two stomach churning examples of rampant douchebaggery. People who park like complete dickfaces, and of course, The Grove.

nice parking retardWe’ve spent a lot of time here talking about Parking Tards and with good reason. Being a car-centric city parking is important, and when some asshat strolls in and wrecks it for everyone else someone has to take note, someone has to stand up, someone has to speak for the little people and say “You sir/madam are a Parking Tard!” There are really only two excuses for this kind of behavior, complete and utter disregard for your fellow man, or complete ignorance of your surroundings. Both are equally crappy, and no question one of the worst things about LA.

But what could possibly hold it’s own on the suckatude scale against such a menace? Only something so shallow, so fake, so contrived that the simple mention it of brings the proudest Angelino to his or her respective knees. Something so appaling that tourists clap when they see the preprogrammed fountains splash around to pipped in oldies, something so forced that nimrods will wait 15 minutes to get on a fauxtrolly that will transport them all of 500 feet. Of course I’m talking about The Grove (incase you missed that from the title and lead in). It’s horrible and I wish it would die in a fire. But at least there are good views from the top of the parking structure.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Poll closes April 1

It Caught My Eye: Historic Artvertising

For years — and especially these last few months biking along Venice Boulevard — I’ve spied the substantially sequestered circular Globe A1 signage that’s barely visible atop the ramp and at the rear of second parking level serving the Crossroads Mall situated between Culver and Robertson boulevards. Even though the screengrab below of Google’s Streetview is crapastically bluriffic, it adequately shows how easily missed the sign can be (its location indicated by the Arrow Of God):

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I’ve been curious about it, but not enough to go on an infoquest, until a few days ago when checking out the latest additions to the Flickr Guess Where L.A. Pool. I found a shot of the big bad badge by Flickr member Googiesque who got all up in it enough to show everyone that it wasn’t just a bunch of paint, but rather a pretty fantastic mosaic installation, as you can tell from the clickably immensifiable pix after the jump that I snapped of it while on the way to work this morning.

Continue reading It Caught My Eye: Historic Artvertising

Space Telescope Named!

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You voted and the top choice was….drumroll….Gamma Gamma Hey! So I sent it in today and received our Certificate of Participation. (You can click on the image for a much larger version that you can then download and hang proudly in your home or office.) (No, that’s not geeky at all, why do you ask?)

Thanks for participating. I’ll let you know when the official name is announced later this summer. (I know you are all DYING to find out what it will be called.) Cross your fingers!

I do love living here.

Cahuenga Pass

Driving through the Cahuenga Pass with the moonroof open, listening to my kid sing… Sure is lovely.

I’m coming up on my six year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles, and I haven’t regretted it once yet. But it’s nice to be reminded.

64 Worst: Curb sneakers vs. LADWP’s Festival of Lights

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Curb sneakers, noun
1. drivers who speed into the right turn lane at a red lights, then cut back into traffic when the light turns green ahead of the rest of us suckers.
2. bastards, assholes, scumbag alpha males

LADWP’s Festival of Lights, noun
1. the tackiest holiday display in the city
2. annual car only event billing itself as “eager-to-green” while marked by miles long lines of idling, emissions spitting vehicles, moving through at a snails pace while forbidding pedestrian foot traffic and providing only one bike only night per year.

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Poll closes Monday at 3pm.

Daily News Writes Funny

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Am I the only child who can’t stop giggling from reading the above headline from the Los Angeles Daily News?

Here are some fun excerpts from the story, taken completely out of context:

“The individual left some kind of package.”

“They checked it out and it’s not an explosive device.”

The lone suspect remained at large as of midday.

Juvenile, yes. But, it is Friday.

Friday Bullets: RIP, Firefighter Brent Lovrien

Brent LovrienThis week Los Angeles lost a true hero, firefighter Brent A. Lovrien, age 35, a 10 year veteran of the LAFD assigned to the ‘A’ Platoon at Fire Station 95 since October 2005. He died shortly after arrival at the Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center, Marina Campus after responding to an explosion in Westchester.

“Get well soon” wishes go out to engineer Anthony J. Guzman, age 48, an 18 year veteran of the LAFD assigned to the ‘A’ Platoon at Fire Station 95 since February 2002, who suffered multiple fractures and facial trauma at the same event. He was transported to the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, where he remains in serious but stable condition following surgery.

A couple of ways you can show your support to our LAFD family:

  • The L.A. Firemen’s Relief Association Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund maintains a website here.

Elsewhere in LA…

This incident is just a classic case of Los Angeles arrogance. This preppy young punk who thought he was so bad ass driving this Kia Spectra made a non-signaling left turn from Curson onto 6th St. directly in front of a car that was going straight. The other car honked in protest, and this motherfu*ker had the gall to honk back. Now make no mistake, he knew exactly what he did was wrong, but he just didn’t give a damn.

A barista said to the other two baristas while making my chai latte, “You know I send my brother my screenplays to correct. He only has an 8th grade education and he corrects my screenplays!”

  • beFrank provides shots of Tent City, a homeless camp just outside of Ontario Airport.

LAFD File Photo of Firefighter Brent Lovrien courtesy of LAFD.ORG

It Caught My Eye: Beef / Ham Fountain

yumI’ve been passing Papoo’s Hot Dog Show on Riverside in Toluca Lake for months now, since I started working in the area about six months ago. I love their signage: happy hot dogs with daschund faces and sunglasses, one with angel wings flying over the front door–hot dogs always seem to inspire such a love of anthropomorphism in advertising. And a hot dog “show”? Do they dance? Strip? Some cabaret, perhaps? But what slips past a lot of people–blinded as they are by the glory of the angelic hot dog–is the sign that says “Beef Ham Fountain.”

Forget dancing hot dogs. I want to see the Beef Ham Fountain! Mmmm, fountains of MEAT!

But…no bacon fountain? I’d buy a bacon fountain. Screw those chocolate fountains. One more pic behind the jump. Continue reading It Caught My Eye: Beef / Ham Fountain

Tips for Metblogs Shills

astroturf-suit.jpgI’m one of those people who really did kill her television. I pretty much hate hype, and “PR” to me still stands for “punk rock.” But the reality is we live in a city with a disproportionate number of publicists and PR goons, and I can accept that.

Here’s a simple request though: if you’re going to spend your life pressing flesh and kissing babies, at least do it well. A recent run-in with an Astroturf queen here on Metblogs made me realize that a few tips might be useful for y’all whose life work is devoted to manufacturing desire.

1. If we post a rant/slam/critique of your client/project/company, say for instance, hypothetically speaking, a post like my send up of Blankspaces, and you want to post a rebuttal comment, don’t pretend to be a random customer/fan.
Continue reading Tips for Metblogs Shills

64 Worst: Left Turn Signals Vs. Parking At Trader Joes

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So far many of these “64 worst things about LA” posts have been about something that sucks, well I’ve got two things that are awesome, unfortunately we we don’t have nearly enough of them. Left turn signals and parking spots at Trader Joes.

A little over a year ago I was asked by The LA Times what the biggest problem facing LA in 2007 would be and obviously my answer was the city’s bias against people turning left and sadly the situation isn’t much better today. We’ve got major streets and major intersections all over the city but in most cases it’s easier to shoot past the street you want to turn left at and then make 3 right turns rather than sit at a light for what will certainly be hours trying to make a signalless left turn. Who was it who decided that these things weren’t important for LA when all the stop lights were being put in? They are all over the rest of the world in ample supply, but in LA not so much. I know people who purposely map out every single trip across town so that they never have to turn left just because it’s such a nightmare. True story.

But no tale of the haves and the have nots would be complete without talking about the parking that Trader Joes does not have. This is truly a Los Angeles paradox because everything inside the store makes you want to go, but everything outside makes you want to run screaming away. The problem wouldn’t be so major if the food Trader Joes sold wasn’t so damn tasty and inexpensive. Every time I go there I’m amazed at what I was able to pick up, but going there requires massive planning and scheduling to make sure that the least possible other people in LA might be there at the same time. And it’s not just that there aren’t enough spots – lots of places in LA have fewer parking spots than they should, but Trader Joes goes a step further by introducing the bottleneck. It’s almost as if they were designed that way on purpose, but getting into the lots to begin with is next to impossible, and then getting out.. well lets just say I advise against buying frozen perishable items if you drive there.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Poll closes March 31

Redline Action

Street Art, Literally!Coming home by train from a lovely viewing of Doomsday at Universal City Walk this evening I saw something I’ve somehow managed near 10 years in LA without seeing first hand and in person. Police tape and chalk lines. Sure I’ve seen after the fact clean up, but this seemed incredibly recent. Basically the entire northbound side of the Hollywood and Highland Redline stop was tapped off. This seemed a little weird as no train was there and my first instinct was just that it was caution tape and some repairs were going on. I was on the train heading south and got to stare at it for 30 seconds or so while the doors were open as we passed through the station. At some point I realized it was crime scene tape and not simply “keep out” stuff, and I looked down and started seeing circles of white chalk all over the platform. Small circles mostly, and then a much larger person sized on near a bench. That’s when the doors closed and we pulled out of the station. My skills must be getting rusty because I didn’t even think to take a phonecam shot until we were in motion (here’s one I snapped later in the evening which has absolutely no relation at all). Scanned the news when I got home to try and see if there was any info and found nothing, anyone else hear anything?