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Helpful Honda guys help my favorite local charity

January 22, 2016 at 9:00 am in Media, News, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

How cool is this.  A charity that helps people here in the SGV and is near and dear to my heart got a big help from the Helpful Honday Guys.  The publicity for the brand aside, its nice to see Torrance based Honda and its local dealers step up and help the entire community they do business in.  This is what a good corporate citizen does.  Thanks Honda.

Foothill Unity Center is always in need of some help…you can visit them here for ways to help them out.


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Help the homeless in DTLA with tarps and tents

January 21, 2016 at 9:40 am in Downtown, environment, LA, Seasonal, Social issues

Screen grab from the Crowdrise donation page.

Screen grab from the Crowdrise donation page.

Its sorta the lull between storms and the homeless are getting a bit of a break from the rain, but not the cold so much.  I got this email from former BLA’er Dave Bullock and thought I’d share it with you all here.  Its a campaign to raise funds to buy tarps and tents for the homeless on skidrow.  Help if you can.

Hello,

People are dying from exposure in Skid Row and there is something we can do about it.

My long time friend, community activist Don Garza, has been walking the streets of Skid Row before and during the rain storms and handing out tarps and tents to the homeless who don’t have adequate protection from the elements. He needs our help to buy more tarps and tents that he can hand out. Please consider donating and sharing to your friends and social network:

https://www.crowdrise.com/TentsAndTarps

Don and I really appreciate your help.

Thanks,

Dave and Don


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Happy New Year Los Angeles

January 3, 2016 at 10:56 am in Driving, Entertainment, Mass Transit, News, Seasonal

B2 Bomber buzzes my 'hood

Its that time of year again.  The SGV just KNOWS its the New Year when a B2 bomber flies down over the Rose Parade route and on down the 210 before they turn it to its home base.  The rest of you get to watch it on TV.  Yeah, we’re special.

A lot of cool stuff is happening in Los Angeles this coming year.  Sometime this month the NFL is meeting to talk about moving not one but THREE teams to Los Angeles.  Feetball isn’t my thing except for the odd Packers game and the Superbowl but a ton of Angelenos are terribly excited by the prospect so I am for them.

The iconic 6th street bridge falls this month sometime to be replaced by something new spanning the Los Angeles River.  On the topic of the river…the Corp of Engineers signed off on a plan to turn the river back into a natural stream bed replete with trees and parkways along its course to the sea.

The Gold Line extension opens all the way to Azusa March 5.  The Expo line this spring makes it all the way to SaMo.  Progress in spite of ourselves.  Personally I can’t wait as it will be possible to make a quick jaunt to SaMo from the SGV to lunch with a dear friend instead of spending hours on the 10 trying to get there.

Of course this is a big city and room for lots of voices telling what they saw or did.  Care to join me in sharing your L.A stories?

 


Merry Luna-See: Rare Christmas Day Full Moon Sets On LA

December 25, 2015 at 8:13 am in Events, News, Photography, Seasonal

When word hit that Christmas morning would bring with it a rare full moon (last one to happen on December 25: 1977), of course I got up in time so you wouldn’t have to and snapped it (click the pics below to enlargify) setting over the ridge to the west of our humble Silver Lake abode.

The first shot is plain sight from the porch, the latter two at about 40x magnification through a scope, with the last one getting photobombed by a palm tree. So LA! Happy Holidays!
moon1

moon2

moon3


School v. Tool Revisited

December 20, 2015 at 9:06 am in History, LA, Law, Media, News, People, Politics

Screengrab from LATimes.comThis story in today’s Los Angeles Times (link) explores the incident from which I derived a foundation-level disdain for Donald Trump, and I, like much of 1989 Los Angeles, was only all too relieved when his proposed tower plan was killed.

It’s understandable given Trump’s recent and meteoric rise as a politician that the article’s tone is chest-thumpy about how he “got schooled,” but still it’s interesting (and disappointing) given the ultimate loss of the Ambassador Hotel. The irony, of course, is that at the time of the clash the subtext of the LAUSD’s efforts to build public opinion against the project wasn’t just how distasteful it was for Trump to erect a quarter-mile phallic monument to himself, but that the Ambassador deserved the far better fate of being preserved and repurposed as a school, rather than razed in vein for so vain an endeavor.

Here’s a surprise: Turned out school and civic officials were rather disingenuous in their commitment to preserving the historic landmark. And while one could well argue that the new school there now is better than a giant tool and how, what we’ve learned a quarter-century after Donald’s failed deal is that  the Ambassador was doomed to be collateral damage either way.


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Santa did a recon visit in my neighborhood

December 17, 2015 at 8:55 am in Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal


To the delight of the kids on my street the MPD and MFD escorted Santa through my neighborhood the other night.  Call it recon looking for the kidlets and getting them amped for his arrival Christmas Eve.  Kidding aside this is a wonderful tradition in Monrovia one that helps build community and break down walls between neighbors.  I love it.


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It’s not the fat lady singing…it is Santa

December 4, 2015 at 2:03 pm in Entertainment, Events, Holidays, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal

Yup…we end our Christmas Holiday Parade with Santa.  Not some fat lady singing an operetta.  AND in 2 short weeks he’ll be cruising the streets of “M” town with escorts rolling code up and down every street and cul de sac in town.  It’s Merry Christmas in my ‘hood.


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It’s #GivingTuesday sweet charity guide to giving

December 1, 2015 at 8:56 am in Holidays, LA, Seasonal

Even Facebook is promo-ing Giving Tuesday to its users...click to embiggen

Even Facebook is promo-ing Giving Tuesday to its users…click to embiggen

Bah humbug to Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday and Cyber Monday.  #GivingTuesday is where its at.  Its the true fulfillment of the holiday dream.  Giving back to your community and those less fortunate.  It started with a whimper last year, but this year its getting promo’d to the nth degree by the big guys like Facebook.

There are multiple ways to help the many local charities and non-profits in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

First up…good old cash.  Cold hard cash fills their coiffers and ensures that they have operating capital to cover their overhead and fund programs.  Its usually tax deductible if they’re a 503(c) non-profit.  Also check with your employer, they often match cash contributions which is a nice way toy double down your good deed.

Volunteer “in kind” gifts.  Socks for the homeless, food for the hungry drives will take those donations.  If you buy new for the cause save your receipts as those too are tax deductible.

Donate your time to them.  EVen some employers will make a cash donation for your time donated to a qualifying non-profit.  As an example a friend at the Gas company helped out the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts at this fall’s Celebrate the Arts and ChalkFest.  The Gas company made a cash donation for the 16 hours she donated at the rate of $10/hour.

Check with your local food kitchens.  They need help putting out meals daily, not just for the holiday.  Check what they need and if your skill set fits jump in and help them prep, cook, serve or bus tables.

The point is, give back to your community and make lives a little better.  There are so many options and ways to help you can’t go wrong for trying.


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Sneak peak blogathon at “A Christmas Memory”

November 25, 2015 at 9:27 am in Entertainment, Holidays, Media, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Theatre/Stage

Buddy (Jeff Scott Carey) and Anna Stabler (Theresa Ford) reunite at play opening. click to embiggen

Buddy (Jeff Scott Carey) and Anna Stabler (Theresa Ford) reunite at play opening. click to embiggen

Last night was the sneak preview blogathon at the Sierra Madre Playhouse for “A Christmas Memory” based on a short story by Truman Capote.  This is a musical with live musicians, not canned sound tracks.

I was captured from the get go with this play.  The performances by the cast were engaging and brought the story to life.  To avoid spoilers I’ll not give away too much of the plot or story line. The setting is a man’s boyhood home and sequences between the now and his boyhood spent in rural Alabama raised by cousins in the depression.  The story is about a man returning “home” after being gone a long time for the funeral of a cousin who raised him.  Its an interesting story of familial love and bonding, with adventures and making fruitcake.

The latter is central to the story and the song “Fruitcake Weather” is lively and just adds to the story line. Young Buddy (Ian Branch) and Sook (Diane Kelber) have a bond that is magical and plays out well on stage.

The music gets a big round of applause, but one of the best sequences in the production is when the cast breaks out the ukelele’s and busts out into song.  Fun, well done and did I mention fun?

To read more about the cast and production team visit their website HERE. The Sierra Madre Playhouse has another hit on its hands here.  The play has already sold out for Friday and Saturday night its opening weekend.  You can still get tickets for Sunday and the remaining dates (the play closes December 27) via the Playhouse HERE.

Deets Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre CA

More pics from the blogathon in the a flickr album


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What you missed at L.A Auto Show Press Days

November 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Seasonal, Shopping, Technology

One the things you get in Press Days of the Los Angeles Auto Show that you don’t get in the public days is the grand reveals and Green Car Drives. It is physically impossible as a party of one to hit every press conference so I have to pick and choose which to attend so I can get in and see all the cars on display and photograph them.  Trust me its a lot of work and not all party and booze and great food.  There is some of that, but the thrust of the 2 day event is press conferences and not all are wowsers.

Audi was a real surprise.  Instead of the ususal hype and bluster, they started with an apology for the current diesel kerfuffle with fudged testing vs operation parameters.  They promised to earn their customers respect back.  Then they went into the discussion on the future of Audi relying on electric cars, first to come is the A3 E-tron and soon to follow an all electric SUV the E-tron Quattro in a few years.  By 2025 Audi expects 25% of all cars they sell to be electric. Read the rest of this entry →


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2015 L.A. Auto Show Highlights

November 21, 2015 at 10:40 am in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Technology, Transportation

First up…Chevy’s Volt took the green car of the year award in a ceremony held Thursday Morning.  Later I got to drive it and was impressed.  Smoother ride, smoother transition back and forth between EV and gas mode, with much more time in pure EV mode than the prior version.  Add in a much more refined, high end materials and fit in finish inside this car is nothing like its hard edged predecessor.  I can see easily why it won “Green Car of the Year” for its technilogical and creature comfort advancements.  Nice job Chevy.

Read the rest of this entry →


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38th Occasional Doo Dah Parade Sunday 11/22 in East Pasadena

November 18, 2015 at 10:00 am in Events, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal

The parade flyer...click to embiggen

The parade flyer…click to embiggen

No one’s lining up yet, but they will be early Sunday morning to catch the 38th occasional Doo Day Parade.  It officially starts at 11:00AM but you’ll see folks as early as 8 staking out a spot with their lawn chair and hot cocoa.

The parade route continues to be in East Pasadena where the gentrifiers haven’t invaded and booted the Doo Dah’ers away like what happened in Old Town.  Yet.  The route is on Colorado Bvld between Altadena Drive and San Gabriel Blvd.  It will start at the midway point at Vinedo Ave on the north side of the median on Colorado Blvd.

Queen this year is Ms Juli Crockett at the Grand Marshall, and Veronika MeowMeowz as the queen.  Look for the usual cast of crazies rounding out the parade, Snotty Scotty and the Hankies and new folks as well to march in the parade.

Coming from out of town and don’t want to hassle with driving in?  The Hilton Garden Inn is having a special for Doo Dah fans…Contact Jason Casas, Sales Manager,Hilton Garden Inn – Arcadia, CA. 199 N. Second Ave. Arcadia, CA 91006.  Phone D: 626.321.4498 | F: 626.574.9910.  or on the web

The parade route:

Parade route...click to get a bigger view

Parade route…click to get a bigger view

 


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Fruitcake tasting at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch 11/20

November 17, 2015 at 9:44 am in Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Holidays, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Theatre/Stage

acm posterFruitcake that ubiquitous bundle of fruit and nuts, sometimes soaked in booze that you either abhor or adore.  I fall into the latter and think this Friday’s Fruitcake tasting party at the  Vroman’s book store in the Hastings Ranch shopping center looks to be a ton of fun.  The tasting is a joint venture with the Sierra Madre Playhouse who is opening its holiday play “A Christmas Memory” based on a short story but Truman Capote next week.  ‘

There are planned to be over a dozen fruit cakes at this event.  They are sourced from bakers all over the country as well as the Los Angeles Area.  A sampling…

  • Sumi Chang and Europane Bakery, Pasadena
  • Karen Hansen and Copenhagen Pastry, Pasadena
  • Mike McLellan and Patticakes Desserts, Altadena,

Deets:  Friday 11/20 6PM Vroman’s  3729 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

If you’re interested in seeing A Christmas Memory you can order tickets HERE.  The Sierra Madre Playhouse is located at 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre.


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Thank a Vet…Save a Vet progress update

November 11, 2015 at 8:24 am 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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Elio P5 best kept secret to be revealed at L.A Auto Show

November 6, 2015 at 10:23 am in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Shopping, Technology, Transportation

We know little of this car other than an entry on the schedule of premieres during Press Days of the L.A. Auto Show coming up in 2 short weeks.  Elio is a new car company the P5 is their debut car.  Little is known.  Rumors abound.  Its a 3 wheel car, .9liter 3 cylnder, 80+mpg, 0-60 in under 10 seconds, top speed over 100. This is either going to be the greatest thing since the Tesla to make us change how we think about cars or will will be another blip on the radar that we snicker over like the Dale.  I fear the latter as with “cheap” gas again and a resurgance of guzzing SUV sales and falling hybrid sales, but we’ll see.  It may just wow us.

The L. A. Auto Show is open to the public 11/20-29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Buy your tickets now and avoid the lines at the ticket booths.  While there judge for yourself if the Elio Motors P5 is the future or a blip.