All posts by la_robert

Buttafuoco + Ammo = Jail

Talk about your “We Love The 90s” fodder — Joey Buttafuoco of “Long Island Lolita” fame got a year in jail yesterday for possessing ammo (a no no for a felon, apparently). This is only the latest in a long string of legal problems for Mr. Buttafuoco, who was perhaps destined to be infamous with a name like that.

Buttafuoco was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation in March 2004 after pleading guilty to insurance fraud. Prosecutors said Buttafuoco, who co-owned a San Fernando Valley auto body shop, told undercover investigators how to file false claims and cheat insurance companies.


How much for just the Mediterranean stuff?

Getty: “We’re happy to report that with the return of the black-market artwork to Italy, we are a completely legit museum again. Or ‘at last,’ depending on how you look at it. Ha ha. Boy, it sure feels good to get that over and done with so we can move on with our…”

(indistinct murmuring in the background)

Getty: “Okay, okay, okay, jeez. We’re happy to report that with the return of the black-market artwork to Italy and Greece, we are a completely legit museum again….”

Rob Blake returns to LA

So this was anticipated yet still a surprise. Not a “Holy Mother of God, I just soiled myself!” surprise — more a, “Huh. Weird.” surprise. Rob Blake returns to the Kings.

With the Kings, Blake was a four-time all-star who helped the team to the 1993 Stanley Cup finals, and won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenceman in 1998. He was the team’s captain from 1996-2001 and one of its most popular players.

Blake was a target for fan hostility whenever he returned to play at Staples Center, but he hopes all will be forgiven.

“I hope it’s a warm reception,” he said. “I think things will be put behind us.”

We’ll see about that.

Continue reading Rob Blake returns to LA

Six Flags Magic Mountain being sold or closing?

As pointed to on Theme Park Insider (via Digg), Six Flags announced late Thursday that it is “exploring strategic options” regarding six prime properties, including Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor:

Although the Company cannot predict when, or if, any specific transaction will occur with respect to these properties, potential options include a sale of the parks as going concerns in a single transaction or a series of transactions, dismantling and re-utilizing certain rides and attractions and selling the underlying land for real estate development purposes, as well as other potential alternatives.

Now wouldn’t that be a revoltin’ development?


Robertkennedy.jpg Today is the 38th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, who was shot just after midnight on June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel here in Los Angeles. He died 25 hours later.

After all these years, over 40 since his brother was killed and with the intervening Kennedy comedies and tragedies, it is perhaps easy to dismiss an event like this with a shrug and a shake of the head. But that would be a mistake.

How might American history have been different had RFK not been killed that night? It’s immeasurable, of course, but just consider for a moment who wound up winning the presidential election that year.

And consider what Ted Kennedy had to say at the funeral:

“My brother need not be idolized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.”

Point Doolittle?

Sticking with the avian theme, the Ravens in Hollywood blog pointed to this very cool video: The Ravens of Point Vicente. It’s about 5 minutes long and shows a pair of birds ruling the general area as they face off against a pair of cats, a squirrel, a raccoon, and redtail hawks. I kept expecting to see a giraffe and elephant wander past the camera with all the wildlife running around, including seals and dolphins in the water. :)


beakspeak_stellarsjay.jpg This gorgeous example of birdkind is a Steller’s Jay (wikipedia article). The picture was taken by local photographer, birder, and blogger Jason Stuck of Beakspeak. Here’s his Flickr site as well. What’s most amazing to me, apart from his obvious talent, is that he’s only been birdwatching since January of 2005.

While we’re on the subject, head on over to the LA Audubon site and check out the upcoming events and recent bird and environmental news.

Babe in Brooklyn? Barry in Blue?

Couple of years ago, I posted a story here showing off a cool picture of Babe Ruth in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform. He was a first base coach for the team in 1938, after his playing days were done.

Stainback, Hasset, Cuyler, and Ruth On Flickr just now, a poster uploaded another cool pic from that era, showing the Babe clowning around with outfielders Tuck Stainback, Buddy Hassett, and Kiki Cuyler.

Now, that brings up a pretty cool thing to ponder — what would life had been like for the Dodgers if the Babe had wound up playing in Brooklyn rather than the Bronx?

Asking the question right now is not strictly academic — after all, the infamous Barry Bonds might just reach Ruth’s 714 home run record later this weekend against the Dodgers, in San Francisco.

Which brings up another question — how might recent Dodger history have been different if Bonds had left the Pirates to become a Dodger, instead of a Giant? Might his *own* history been different here in LA?

And again, this is not entirely idle speculation. It almost happened.

Walking the earth.

Jules: I’ll just walk the earth.

Vincent: What’cha mean walk the earth?

Jules: You know, walk the earth, meet people, get into adventures. Like Caine from “Kung Fu.”


I remember reading about this fellow when he first set out from SoCal, a little over a year ago. I’m glad to hear he made it.

Steve Vaught didn’t count each mile he walked or weigh himself every day along the way. And as he completed the final leg of his trek across America, he said making it to New York City from California on foot was only part of his story.

“I’m glad that I’m here, but for me it’s never been about the destination,” he said as he crossed the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey to Manhattan more than a year after he began the trip to lose weight and find happiness. “It’s been about the journey.”

Vaught, 40, began the roughly 3,000-mile trek from his Oceanside, Calif., home to Manhattan on April 10, 2005, when he was 410 pounds and suffering from severe depression after he accidentally killed two elderly pedestrians while driving 15 years ago.

He ended the journey Tuesday about 100 pounds lighter….

This is my song / My serenade

This is my song / My serenade (closeup)

Found in the grass along the road during a long walk with the poodle. It’s the back cover of a book, with writing on the inside. I think it’s excerpting a Sinatra song “This Is My Song” —

Love, this is my song, this is my song, my serenade to you
The world cannot be wrong, if in this world there is you…

I found this a few minutes after getting off the phone with Animal Control. Walking through a neighborhood, I had heard a woman’s voice telling what I figured was her kid to “come here” — but which turned out to be a puppy or small dog, as I saw looking into her back yard.

She had the dog by the throat, holding it down on the ground, and slapped it a few times. It squealed a little. “When I tell you to come here, you better come here!”

They disappeared behind the side of the house.
Continue reading This is my song / My serenade

Body Count

Young kids nowadays probably don’t remember, but there used to be a big professional sports league in North America that played hockey. Now, it’ll be hard for you whippersnappers to imagine, but picture an activity combining the gracefulness of figure skating and the violence of football, with the added bonus of an occasional fistfight.

There was even a team here in Los Angeles, believe it or not, called the Kings. Good team, though they were mired in mediocrity for years. The closest they came to the championship was cut short by an illegal hockey stick (a piece of equipment mostly used to beat on opposing players if they got skating too fast), which should give you some idea of the collective team karma.

Things were bad enough for the Kings season to season, but then the team made the mistake of putting up a statue of Wayne Gretzky, an amazing former King who never played at the new arena they were dedicating. This karmic grenade resulted in years of collective injury, controversy, and malaise, not to mention the near-fatal embarassment of the Orange County team almost winning a championship. (Sound familiar?)

Fast-forward to today, when the Kings wrapped up the abysmal regular season by firing everybody on the Kings payroll who doesn’t wear a uniform. The bloodshed and screaming down at Staples Center has been awful to hear, with much gnashing of teeth, anointing with ash, and rending of limited-edition commemorative sackcloth jerseys. For once, the famously pessimistic denizens of aren’t sounding all that out of whack. ;)

So wave goodbye to Luc Robitaille (which sounds like a line from a Canadian country song) and repeat the mantra — there’s always next season.

Except for those years when there isn’t.

The Emerald Diamond

Tonight at the Westside Pavilion Cinema at 7pm, there will be a screening of The Emerald Diamond, a documentary about the Irish national baseball team, which has an LA connection.

“The Irish National Team probably would not exist today without the help and support of fomer Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley,” says John Fitzgerald, director of “The Emerald Diamond.” “His role in the development of baseball in Ireland can’t be overemphasized.”

Baseball in Ireland began in the early 1990s, despite a lack of fields and equipment. Ireland’s National Baseball Team began play in 1996 at the European Baseball Championships. Peter O’Malley spearheaded the building of Ireland’s first true baseball fields in 1998 – a move that solidified baseball’s presence on the Emerald Isle.

I was struck in the trailer by one team member saying, “Growing up in California, you never think you’re going to end up in Dublin playing baseball.”

(via Jon Weisman)

Here comes the rain again

I ventured inside an old-school mall today, a trek I rarely make, on a mission to exchange an Xmas gift. Of course I head to one end of the ginormous building, thinking I remembered where the store was — which naturally meant the store was on the opposite side of the world. I discovered this on a handy map kiosk, a twin of which I passed merrily by on the way in, because I remembered where the store was. Ahem.

As I backtracked, I reflected on how little time I spend in malls nowadays compared to my teenage years, which mostly coincided with the Reagan years. Having a family, a house, a job, and a life really serve to reduce your mall exposure. ;)

Just then, the mall PA system started playing a Cure song: “Friday, I’m in Love.” Pretty loud, too.

Now, granted that this song came out in 1992 (if I’m not mistaken), but the thought of a mall playing any Cure song actually loosened space-time’s grip on me long enough to allow a brief trip to the 80s and a sudden flashback to where the nearest Licorice Pizza used to be. Not inside the mall, oddly enough, nor right across the street as I initially thought, but across the street from the other mall a few miles down the road.

The Eurythmics came on next, which really didn’t help matters:

Continue reading Here comes the rain again

Google Earth

Google Earth (GE) has finally been released for Mac, so I’ve had a chance to download and play with the 3D mapping program. If you haven’t tried it out already, I recommend you do not if you have any hope of productivity for the next couple of days.

That said, there is a sizeable user community grown up around the software, dedicated to finding and posting cool locations and tidbits all over the world. If you load GE and head to the LA basin, turn on “Goodle Earth Community” under Layers, and your screen will fill with all sorts of cool places, from celebrity homes and death locations, to the obligatory free wifi spots and webcams, to spiffy pointers like the bottom of Angels Flight and where the Watts Towers are, to fun sightings like people in a swimming pool and a car accident (naturally) — all contributed by GE users. Like micro geo-blogs. ;)

Here are three I put up:

* Tommy Trojan
* The Arrowhead in San Bernardino
* X-Plane Flight Sim Starting Location