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Thank a Vet…Save a Vet progress update

November 11, 2015 in LA

Sergeant Major Acosta of Operation Save a Vet. Photo by D'Andra Jay

Sergeant Major Acosta of Operation Save a Vet. Photo by D’Andra Jay

Gayle, Sgt Major Acosta and the group manning the tent at last Friday’s Monrovia Family Festval were blown away by the support and generosity of the community.  Even with the great turn out they have a long way to go to fully realize their goal of helping every homeless vet in Greater Los Angeles. They will be set up again this Friday at the Family Festival to take your donations.

The press release directly from Gayle Montgomery on the board of Thank a Vet:

Thank A Vet (TAV) Returns to Monrovia Street Fair
A grateful Sgt. Major Jesse Acosta sends thanks to those who stepped up to lend their support at last Friday’s Street Fair. El Nino based supplies for homeless Vets, cash, checks, volunteers, and a unique opportunity for disabled Vets to commune with horses were all generously contributed. TAV is grateful for the citizens of Monrovia and to host Jerry Diaz of Greenleaf Productions for affording it this opportunity.

With its 25% discount on the new water and sewer rates—the only city in the area to have such a fee reduction—and its Veteran supporters, Monrovians have shown time again compassion for the needs of those who protected our freedoms. This Friday will find TAV again at the Street Fair. Come to the intersection of Olive and Myrtle and show your support and meet Lou Herrera. Sighted at birth, Lou’s eyesight mysteriously disappeared

Please show these Vets they are not forgotten! Make a donation Friday night from this list: umbrellas, rain ponchos, tarps, all-weather blankets, travel-sized toiletries (male and female), feminine hygiene products, new underwear, new socks, gift cards to local area fast-food restaurants (Subway, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Starbucks), new and gently used backpacks, recyclable cloth or durable plastic grocery bags, used purses large enough to pack supplies, sweaters/sweatshirts, hand wipes, ziplock plastic bags – quart sized, and most importantly, Messages of Holiday Cheer!

For additional info, contact Thank A Vet, Inc. P O Box 691, Stanton, CA 92680, (714) 517-1077, EIN 27-2348844. Note that TAV accepts PayPal donations, and an Amazon Wish List has been created.

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Operation Save a Vet launches this Friday – start your Holiday Giving early

November 5, 2015 in Events, LA, News, People, Shopping, Social issues, Weather

Sergeant Major Acosta of Operation Save a Vet. Photo by D'Andra Jay

Sergeant Major Acosta of Operation Save a Vet. Photo by D’Andra Jay

I met Gayle Montgomery quite a while back and impressed with the depth of concern she has for her fellow human beings.  Through her job she met Sergeant Major Acosta.  A disabled Vet who lost his eyesight during a batle in the Middle East.  Gayle also works on a local committee trying to find solutions to our homeless problem and became aware that a large percentage of our homeless are Vets with no resources to help themselves.  Sergeant Major and Gayle got to talking about the problems the expected El Nino will bring for them.  Here are a few of the things they discussed.

  • Homelessness in Vets was reduced from 4 years ago. Now 1 in 10 who sleep on the streets is a veteran.
  • There has been a 6% spike in the last year of homeless veterans, probably attributable to the spiraling cost of housing in combination with the draw down.
  • The largest concentration of homeless Vets anywhere in our nation is in LA County where there are over 4,000 Vets who sleep on the street.
  • It is the position of the group that has who have joined hands in lockstep across a wide geographical area, that no person who honorably served our nation should have to sleep on the streets.
  • No person who served our nation should have to suffer such adverse weather conditions without supplies and without knowing that, Gayle’s employer is Glad to Be of Service to those who faithfully served us.
  • This project very closely parallels the Soldiers Angels Program which serves those on the battlefield. This project serves those who were on the battlefield, came home, and have had difficulty reintegrating into society.

From that conversation came the idea to create Thank a Vet Inc and their first mission  “Operation Save a Vet”.  It will consist of a multipronged approach to help the homeless vets trying to survive on the streets during the coming rainy season.  First is getting in kind materials donated to them for distribution.  Second is to raise funds for care and shelter for these vets, men and women trying to cope with life outside the military. Read the rest of this entry →

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Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance 2015 the overview

September 23, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, History, South Bay, Transportation

By far my most favorite auto show in the Los Angeles area has got to be the Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance.  This is a tightly curated show, few if any basic rides, it focuses on the premiere rides of days gone by.  Two categories, restored and survivors that they call “Preservation” that are all original and just detailed out to show quality.

Make the jump for a few of my favorite cars of the day. Read the rest of this entry →

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Souvenir from the ’32 Olympic games

September 21, 2015 in Driving, LA, Transportation, Vintage

License plate ornament from the 1932 games, click to ebmiggen

License plate ornament from the 1932 games, click to ebmiggen

Its no secret that I love to go to car shows, doesn’t matter what kind, new, old, collectible or survivors its all good.  Of late I’ve been into capturing details, mostly pot metal nomenclature as back in the day cars were named and the script font fulfilled the imagery.  One of the other details I like is grill badges and plate ornaments.  Imagine if you will the squeel I let out when I spotted this gem on a ’32 Franklin at yesterdays Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance.

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DiMora Vicci 6.2 to Highlight Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance 9/20

September 16, 2015 in Driving, Events, LA, News, South Bay, Transportation

High Res photo attached. Picture credit: DiMora Motors

High Res photo attached. Picture credit: DiMora Motors

Only 25 examples of this car will be hand crafted.  Its Los Angeles showing will be at the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance on September 20.  (Full details on the car after the jump).

The Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance is one of my most favorite shows in all of Southern California.  IT IS without a doubt the best curated show out there and you can’t go wrong with the location –

General Parking for Concours d’Elegance


  • General Parking is Free
  • Location: Promenade Shopping Center & Peninsula Center – Rolling Hills Estates
  • See map, below for parking entrances
  • Shuttle access is at the Peninsula Center parking area.

We are happy to be able to provide FREE general parking for this year’s Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance through the generosity of Promenade on the Peninsula and Peninsula Shopping Center. Constantly running buses, courtesy of L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, will shuttle you to and from the Concours venue—about a 7 minute drive.


From either Hawthorne or Crenshaw Blvds., turn onto Indian Peak Road.

  1. Signage will direct you to parking entrances
  2. Volunteers will help guide you to a parking spot.

At Promenade on the Peninsula parking structure:

  • Please use ONLY the parking entrance next to the Norris Theater.
  • Please do not use any other parking entrance for Concours parking. These areas are reserved for shopping center patrons. Be courteous.
  • After parking, walk across the street to Peninsula Shopping Center to board the Shuttle.

Pics from last years show in my Flickr Album.  Now make the jump and read about that car!   Read the rest of this entry →

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626 Night Market this weekend for the close of summer

September 3, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, LA, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

For the final edition of 626 Night Market there as a few new tricks to keep it fun and fresh.  First up is Saturday Nights open Mike with the kids from ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and then there is the dancing competiton.  Full details HERE  Even if the new stuff doesn’t entice, the old standbys…incredible food, street vendors and music should keep you entertained and satiated.

Having been a few times, its easy access just a few blocks south of the 210 in Arcadia.  You can enter from the gates on Baldwin, but traffic is bad there with the mall.  The other and better option is to exit Santa Anita, head south to Hungtington Dr and turn right (west) on to Huntington and enter in the massive gates there.

Deets Friday 9/4, Saturday 9/5 and Sunday 9/6 4PM to 1AM.  Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia CA  MAP HERE

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Griffith Park…when size really matters

August 26, 2015 in History, LA, News, Real Estate, Which Side?

The map to embiggen Every now and then I get stuff in my inbox thats just too cool not to share. This infographic from Sparefoot shows just how freaking BIG Griffith Park is compared to other cities of the world.  At over 4000 acres its one of the biggest city park in the world.  No one else comes close, heck its even larger than some national parks.  But I digress, when Brian Shreckengast of Sparefoot reached out and asked if I would be interested in sharing with all of you the answer was an emphatic YES!

Click to embiggen the pic to the right to get the whole effect.  Using some special mapping software Brian mapped the outlines of Griffith Park and then used that map to superimpose it over some of the worlds cities to show just how big and special Griffith Park is.  Massive is an understatement.  The full story on how they did it and larger maps can be seen on their WEB SITE.

I have always loved this park.  When I was a valley dweller, Valley Village to be precise, this was my go to place to hike, walk, or just clear my head.  I miss the road that once was open from the observatory to Travel Town as it gave excellent spots to stop and and soak in the city sights and vistas.  But thats been closed at least 20 years at this point and I doubt they’ll reopen which is sad as it makes so much of the park out of reach for a quick walk on the trails.

What’s your favorite spot in the park?

Image courtesy Brian Shreckengast of Sparefoot and used with permission.



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What do with the kidlets in the SGV this summer?

June 17, 2015 in Art, Education, LA, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping


Summer Art Lessons to embiggen

Summer Art Lessons flyer…click to embiggen

Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia has just the thing to keep kids entertained and busy this summer.  Art classes.  Several to choose from and all expert taught by Lisa Barrios and her loving staff.  Real working pros sharing their talents with kids.  Does it get better than that?

From basic ceramics to Parent and Tot classes its a learning experience and freeing little minds to create.  I really love this stuff.  Most is ages 6 and up, though some are as young as 4, and others you need to be at least 8.  Hard core elementary ages that need some structure and learning activities in the summer…that are fun.

Click the flyer to embiggen and get the full deets on the classes they offer.  Call Lisa Barrios the owner of Paint n Play for the details and to get your kidlet signed up.  You won’t regret it and you’ll be a hero to your kid for doing so.

Deets: Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia 91016  626-256-4648

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Fung Brothers attack the East vs West Coast differences

May 20, 2015 in Entertainment, LA, People, Which Side?

These guys are hysterical.  I actually enjoy watching them and their analysis of what an Asian American is all about. Its entertaining and educational.  This time around they attach the East Coast vs West Coast differences.  Not the usual attack on Angelenos from the NYT or some condescending post on Angelenos making the move to the big NYC.  Its really just a close look at the differences in the two coasts and the Asian communities.

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Concorso de Ferrari 2015 in Pasadena…its a wrap

April 27, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Transportation, Vintage

Yup, this Sunday as promised was the Concorso de Ferrari in Old Town Pasadena. It was a most excellent show. A Ferrari for every budget from 40K fixers for sale to a one of a kind 15M model.  And everything in between.  Making a token appearance to offset the legion of La Ferrari was a Saleen S7.  Even Maserati, the bastard stepchild of Ferrari, was there with new cars under a tent from a local dealer.  Not to be out done, totally non-Italian Aston Martin was present with its own tent as well.  Supercar stars were alligned in Old Town this weekend. Read the rest of this entry →

Dogs Are A Crime On The Lake Hollywood Loop

February 15, 2015 in Crime, environment, Hollywood, LA, Pets, Rants

It was with not a little fanfare less than two years ago that the road around the reservoir known as Lake Hollywood was reopened to walkers, runners and cyclists, a scenic route that had been closed since landslides during those crazy rains of 2005.

10978666_10152558232845044_2128577528160986362_nLittle did I know that when my wife Susan and I drove over there this morning and set out with our faithful — and needless to say well-behaved and leashed-up — border collie mix Ranger to explore that roughly 3.3-mile loop for the first time, we would be greeted by this sign at the north gate and again at the east gate:

Being that I’m law-abiding to a fault I dutifully turned us around and we made our way to the far more enlightened Parc du Griffith where dogs are not a crime. Soon we found our way along a loop that included a rigorously vertical set of dirt steps carved into the hillside and leading to the oasis that is Amir’s Garden.

While one part of me is all “Thank you!” to the dog-banning powers that be at Lake Hollywood for allowing us to discover a previously unknown aspect of Griffith Park, the other part is all “You dog-banning powers that be at Lake Hollywood totally suck!” And it was that latter half that got all googly once I got home in searching out the specific statute — LAMC 64.06 — authorizing the prohibition. Turns out it’s an ordinance designed to prevent water contamination that reads a little somethin’ like this (on the other side of the jump):

Read the rest of this entry →

The Wright Stuff: Hollyhock House Is Back

February 14, 2015 in Art, Events, History, Hollywood, LA, Vintage

I’m an unapologetic fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. So even though I’ve toured his Mayan-revival masterpiece several times over my life, when I heard the city was going to celebrate the re-opening of his Hollyhock House following a two-year, $4-million dollar restoration, by throwing open wide the 94-year-old landmark’s concrete doors for a 24-hour reacquainting period — at no charge and shut up: pictures allowed inside! — I told my wife Susan that we were going to celebrate Valentine’s Day morning by getting up early and getting ourselves over to Barnsdall Park to get all up in some of L.A.’s mostly freshly polished historic starchitecture.

And like thousands of other SoCalians, we did. And it was glorious. Sure we had to park down on the street and then wait in line beginning at 7:30 a.m. for about 90 minutes, and yeah, there were those foodies behind us in said line who just seriously could not shut up about how transcendental the foie-gras was at Union in Pasadena, but once inside…? Ah yes. Now that was transcendental, and Wrightly so.

My Flickr photoset of the thumbnails below is here. Going forward, Hollyhock House will be open for self-guided tours ($7 per person; no cameras allowed inside) Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.



Look What I Found: P. E. Railway Map From The Way Back

February 7, 2015 in History, LA, Mass Transit

When I read current stories with headlines along the lines of “Subway To The Sea Could Reach Century City By 2026,” it makes maps like the one below of Los Angeles’ mass transit system from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, ONE HUNDRED and 1, 2, and THREE years ago seem all the more simultaneously sigh-inducing glorious and heartbreaking.

Feast yer eyes upon the elaborate system we had way back in the year Nineteen Hundred and Twelve (cleek to enlargify) and as you do consider not only:

  • the comparative low amount it would have cost to keep and upgrade through the years versus what it cost to dismantle entirely in favor of the huge sums required to build our long over-burdened freeway system;
  • and the massive amounts it will be costing us to be able to get to Century City in 15 years (probably more like 18).


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Preserving Los Angeles history one building at a time

January 9, 2015 in environment, History, LA, Law, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues, Vintage

Broadway Arcade in DTLA, click to embiggen

Broadway Arcade in DTLA, click to embiggen

The good folks at Esotouric Bus Tour Adventures, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave do a lot more than give really nifty tours of the city.  They are historians with a major heart on for the city.  In the best way of course.

This weeks newsletter outlined the winners and losers in their efforts to help preserve the cities architectural history.  It outlines 25 things this year, good bad and ugly, that happened in terms of historic preservation.

The most exciting bit was the passing of city ordinance 13-1104 requiring public notification when any building more than 45 years is to be demolished.   Why does this matter?  It will give preservation groups around the city the chance to speak up and stop the destruction of those building with a history or architectural significane from being trashed in the name of progress and a new high density mixed use project.  Not all buildings need to be preserved that are that old, but many should as it is part of the texture and character of the city that shouldn’t be trashed for a new parking lot or apartment jungle.

Pic by me of the Broadway Arcade while on an iphone safari.  Click to embiggen

Archival digging: Culver City houses in 1951

January 7, 2015 in History, LA

As has been reported, well, just about everywhere, housing prices in Los Angeles are at an all-time dismal high. As a chronically underemployed academic type, I’m pretty resigned to the fact that my cats and I will be renters as long as we deign to call this fair city home. I was curious, though, about what house prices would have been like in my neighborhood, when it was first established.

I live on the very western edge of Culver City, in a neighborhood practically underneath the 405, near the Ballona Creek. (The city recently put up some banners along Sepulveda proclaiming that the neighborhood’s name is “Culver Village,” but will always and forever refer to it fondly as “Tito’s Tacos-adjacent.”) Most of the homes here are bungalows, built in the 1940s and 1950s.

After a bit of digging in a historical newspaper database, I turned a little gem – a 1951 LA times article about then-new residential developments in Sunkist Park, which I just south of the Ballona Creek. Not quite my neighborhood, but pretty close by. According to the article, developers built about 315 homes in the area, about half of which were sold before construction began. You could pick a house in one of fifteen different styles (including the super cute storybook ranch-style house pictured below), and they came pre-decorated: “early buyers have a selection of tile, wallpaper, linoleum, and paint colors,” the Times reported.


Prices ranged from $10,777 to $11,100. Adjusted for inflation, and that would be $97,884 to $100,818 in today’s dollars – which makes current house prices seem all the more depressing!

Sunkist Park, it turns out, used to be the location of the Culver City airport, which, according to Julie Lugo Cerra, Culver City’s city historian, began operations in 1927. It closed in 1951, and the Sunkist Park housing development was built on part of the airport’s former site. I’m curious to know more about the provenance of the neighborhood’s name – was it once the site of a Sunkist citrus orchard? Did the developers (Richard Diller and Irving Kalsman, according to the Times) have a connection to Sunkist? I’m going to do a bit more digging to see what I can find, but in the meantime, if anyone knows anything else about the origins of the neighborhood, comment away!