April 29, 2004 at 12:15 pm in Uncategorized

The L.A. Phil released a statement that a rare Stradivarius cello played by their Principal Cellist Peter Stumpf was stolen from a home in Loz Feliz. They’re asking the public for tips and information. From what I understand, this cello is one of only 60 Strad cellos in the entire world. Even people who don’t know/like/care about classical music have at least heard of the famed Stradivarius stringed instruments & know how exceptional & uncommon they are.

Peter Stumpf with the cello. Click for the hi-res image from laphil.org (1.9 mb) The cello case.  Click for the hi-res image from laphil.org (130 kb) Peter Stumpf playing the cello.  Click for the hi-res image from laphil.org (384 kb)

If I was a professional cellist who had my cello (especially a Strad) stolen, I think I would probably just cry until it was returned.

But what’s the point of stealing something so unusual? To me, it’s akin to stealing a piece of artwork that is “priceless” because it’s unique. Though valued at $3.5 million, this cello is really irreplaceable. It’s not like you can go and sell such a cello without someone realizing that it was the stolen cello. Besides which, part of the value of the cello (aside from the obvious quality & sound of the instrument), is the fact that it is a Stradivarius and that Strads are rare. And if you don’t say it’s a Strad, the value would go down considerably.

I don’t get it.

The L.A. Phil statement is below…
Read the rest of this entry →

PSA: Voter Registration Alert

April 29, 2004 at 11:06 am in Uncategorized

I volunteered to be a poll worker during the last election in California, when the presidential primaries, judge and senate seats, and several state measures were on the ballot. Because there were presidential primaries on the ballot, we had to check each voter’s party affiliation and give them the correct ballot for their party. Two of my neighbors came in, and when I checked their registration, both were registered as Republicans. When I informed them of this fact, they flipped out. You see, not only are they staunch lefties, they have never registered as Republicans in their lives.

I mention this because several of my friends, all lifelong registered Democrats, have begun receiving snail mail from the Republican National Committee recently. This is exactly what happened to my neighbors – they began receiving mail from the RNC unexpectedly, but just chalked it up to being on the wrong mailing list somewhere. Turns out their party affiliation had been changed without their knowledge or consent.
Read the rest of this entry →

LA Attack?

April 29, 2004 at 11:04 am in Uncategorized

Federal officials have warned the LAPD about an unspecified potential threat to a Los Angeles area mall and said an attack may have been planned for today.

“As of now, the information is uncorroborated and the credibility of the source is unknown,” the Police Department said in a statement.

No specific shopping mall was named, but the warning indicated a mall near the Federal Building in West Los Angeles could be targeted.

What Possible Good Can Come of It?

April 28, 2004 at 9:34 pm in Uncategorized

I’m confused by people sometimes. They seem to want something, but I am unable to figure out what it is. Then they seem annoyed at my befuddlement.

I drive home on Santa Monica Blvd. I come to a fork in the road. I can take the 101 to Silverlake Blvd, which is not a shorter route, but certainly faster if the traffic is moving. Or I can stay on Santa Monica to Sunset Blvd. It’s the same really, slower traffic, but reliably steady.

When I get to the on-ramp, I can’t tell if traffic is backed up. So, if certain conditions are right, I will get into the turn lane and when I get up there to turn, I can peek at the traffic. If it’s stopped up, I’ll simply merge back into the traffic on Santa Monica. I only do this if the traffic allows me to, of course. Occasionally though there’ll be someone behind me. They will honk, ride my ass. I’m unclear why. A horn really is an inadequate communication device. That doesn’t stop people from using them, after all, the government mandates that every driver possess one.
Read the rest of this entry →

That’s “Heavyweight,” with an 8

April 28, 2004 at 4:17 pm in Uncategorized


Well, is this is turning out to be a fine weekend for art. First Skewville, and now HVW8! This Friday night, 33 1/3 Books and Gallery Collective in Echo Park will be hosting an art show with the Montreal-based collective.

“Politcal Minded II” is the second installment of Heavyweight’s ongoing series of portaits and hommages to figures that the painting collective has considered of social and political influence and interest. Heavyweight’s work is known to feature portrait dedications to musical, artistic and cultural icons in elaborate colorful canvases. I don’t know if they’re planning on doing any of it, but these guys are some of the best live painters in North America as well. Hopefully we’ll get a taste of that.



Down By The River

April 28, 2004 at 3:11 pm in Uncategorized

river.jpgSure, the Los Angeles River is recognized more as an embarrassing concrete-encased flood channel rather than a marvel of modern civil engineering. And yeah, save for a few stretches between the San Fernando Valley and Long Beach (such as Bull Creek, pictured, in the Sepulveda Basin), she might not be all that much to look at. But she’s ours and it’s that time of year when a bunch of her dedicated friends get together to wax about what possibilities for river renewal may come and to give her an extreme makeover.

May 1 (from 9 a.m. to noon) is the big day for La Gran Limpieza, otherwise known as the 15th Annual Great Los Angeles River Clean Up organized by the Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR). Each year these river rats get down and dirty and wet together, freeing their beloved waterway from some 25,000 pounds of debris.

There are 10 clean-up sites, from the Tujunga Wash off the 210 Freeway to the Golden Shore Wetlands off the 710 in Long Beach. More local to LA, clean-ups are planned in Griffith Park, Los Feliz (where I’ll be) and Elysian Valley. The first hundie volunteers at each site get a free t-shirt.

FOLLOW-UP (05.02): A report from the front at the Los Feliz clean-up area

Profile photo of la_bill

by la_bill

Supersize me!

April 28, 2004 at 1:38 pm in Uncategorized

I love to smile

Hanging around ucla on a record breaking hot day meant seeing a lot of girls in skimpy clothes and a free screening of Supersize me, courtesy of my friend jessica.

Its no surprise that mcdonald’s serves unhealthy food so the film about morgan spurlock and his 30 days of eating strictly big mac’s and everything else offered on the menu was slightly anti climatic but still gives an emotional jolt – you know his health is failing but you’re still in shock over the outcome ie:weight gain of 20 lbs, high cholesterol, liver deteoration, and symtoms of nausea and depression. Two things really make this docufilm. 1. Morgan spurlock who wrote, directed and starred (this is an indi film afterall) is charming and likeable with an eye to see what makes this experiment amusing, weather its his subtle bill murray gestures to agree supersizing his meals or watching him vomit outside the local mickey d’s after his first quarter pounder. Also, 30 days of watching him eat would make boring filmmaking but he drops in various snippets of interviews with doctors, school cooks and random people on the street around the country. Also, did you know that the salad with dressing offered at mcdonald’s has as much calories as a quarter pounder with cheese. Not that healthy man. Incidentally, spurlock himself is not a vegetarian (although his girlfriend is a vegan) and doesn’t heavy handily preach his sermon to the choir.

His karma must have been watching over me. Grabbing a self made salad, strawberry soda and chips at luvalle commons (some eating place on the campus), the cute freshman clerk forgot to charge me for my healthy dinner.

Notes: Mcdonalds has since stopped offering the “Supersize” option on their menu. Also, McDonald’s CEO Jim Cantalupo passed away from a heart attack last week, april 20, of a heart attack.

Kyle on Kinkos

April 28, 2004 at 12:29 am in Uncategorized

Is it just me or are the Kinkos in LA especially crappy? I remember going there in college and getting what I needed done no problem. Since moving to LA, I’d say about 100% of my Kinkos experiences have been nightmares. From ancient hardware, to employees with no idea what they are doing, it’s a trainwreck, as Kyle just found out…

“Ummm, ok, well, you have any way I can get the 30MB file I just scanned off of that computer?” I inquire.

“You could put it on a Zip disk,” he offers up.

At this point, my brain almost explodes. The girl next to me saw it, and sort of flinched.


“Yeah, well that will get it off, but then I’ll have no way to get it myself, because it isn’t 1996 and no one I know has a working Zip drive anymore,” I reply, utterly exasperated, and still remembering that the meter is ticking on the computer that still holds my credit card in its reader slot like so much meatloaf in John Madden’s belly.

Last Exit: Hubert Selby Jr.

April 27, 2004 at 5:56 pm in Uncategorized

The NY Times and AP are reporting that Hubert Selby Jr., author of the astounding Last Exit to Brooklyn, local resident, and USC professor, died yesterday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75 and still writing.

Here’s an extended bio at his official site. RIP

We are the champions

April 27, 2004 at 5:28 pm in Uncategorized

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t it look like we broke a record today? Survey says 90 degrees was the high for the 27th of April, set back in 1992.

Screw you, 1992! We WIN!

Thank goodness for this, huh?

Lock ‘Em Up!

April 27, 2004 at 4:16 pm in Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO ó The state prison system has declared a state of emergency and begun triple-bunking prisoners in two-person cells in response to an increase in the number of inmates, which is approaching historical highs. (LA Times)

I sure am glad the prison system works so well.

/end sarcasm

What’s better than “STORMWATCH 2004!!!!”?

April 27, 2004 at 2:58 pm in Uncategorized

HEATWATCH 2004!!!!

I swear it was not a heat-induced hallucination when I heard/saw that on some local TV newscast (though I must admit I kind of wish it was because who comes up with stuff like that?!).

Profile photo of la_koga

by la_koga

Free Ice Cream Today & Tomorrow!

April 27, 2004 at 12:45 pm in Uncategorized

Just a reminder that today is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s (store locator) through 8:00 PM.

And tomorrow is Free Scoop Night at Baskin Robbins (store locator) from 6:00 PM-10:00 PM.

Thanks to Metafilter for the tip.

Perfect timing, especially since it’s been so frickin’ hot the past few days!

Stymied When it Comes to Describing the Latest Film?

April 27, 2004 at 12:30 pm in Uncategorized

This little key might be helpful next time you want to post in your blog about the last movie you saw.

Paul Davidson has just uncovered the Movie Reviewer Construction Kit, which can be used to create pullable quotes for any film review situation under the sun. No more struggling to figure out what you thought, just pull one from column A, B & C.

This simple kit allows you to form such pedestrian reviews as “The most haunting, depressing, extremely disturbing film of the decade, which is ten years, and that’s saying a lot because 10 years holds a lot of movies!!” or maybe “God help us all because I laughed so hard my spleen exploded, oozed on the floor and made the audience fall to the floor in hysterics which must mean the movie is the most hilarious flick all year!!”

San Berdoo Fires 2004?

April 27, 2004 at 10:11 am in Uncategorized


Out in the San Bernardino Mountains yesterday morning, an arsonist thought it would be a good idea to set five fires. This during a day of record high temperatures and very low humidity, amidst tons of drought-ravaged dead and dying trees. Various suspicious folks were seen, some hunted. No captures yet, but more details were seen this time. The fires were put out by mid-afternoon, thanks to a massive response by area fire crews. Coverage: L.A. Times. San Bernardino Sun. Riverside Press-Enterprise. (Here are some photos I shot during last year’s blazes.)