Environment, News »

California, on cutting edge, gets an official state lichen

Posted January 27, 2016 by | 1 Comment | ]
Lace lichen. (Photo by Shelly Benson)

Among new state laws taking effect at the beginning of 2016 was one designating lace lichen as the official lichen of California. The organism joins a list of more 30 officially designated state symbols, including the redwood tree, California poppy, purple needlegrass and of course, the California dog-faced butterfly.
State Assemblyman Marc Levine, who sponsored the lace lichen legislation, said, “They are biological indicators of both air …

Food, News »

Christmas dining in L.A.

Posted January 4, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]
Hungry patrons lined up outside Canter's Deli on Christmas Day.

It was Christmas Day in Los Angeles. Schools, offices, stores closed. On the streets, a Christmas miracle: no traffic, and plenty of parking. For once, quiet reigned in the city. Mostly.
At Canter’s, the venerable deli on Fairfax, the line was out the door. Longtime patron Rita Rose sat at the counter, eating blintzes.
“I’ve never seen it this busy,” she said.

At Hop Woo Barbecue and …

Arts & Culture, News »

Is virtual reality the future of entertainment?

Posted April 21, 2014 by | 2 Comments | ]

When USC film student Cosmo Scharf proposed a meetup group for Angelenos interested in Virtual Reality (or VR) a few months ago, he was picturing something casual — like some guys sitting around on folding chairs.
But that was before Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced he was spending $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR, a fledgling company whose sole product is a virtual reality headset …

Arts & Culture, Bad Driving »

Inside the nerve center of LA traffic surveillance

Posted April 1, 2014 by | 7 Comments | ]
Traffic on the 10. Photo by Raymond Shobe/ CC/ Flickr.

The relationship between Angelenos and traffic is a dysfunctional one. In a city without much weather, we obsess, instead, over traffic.
So a trip to ATSAC is sort of a traffic pilgrimage. ATSAC is the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control center located under City Hall East, downtown. The computerized system monitors and controls every traffic light in the city, making real-time adjustments based on traffic conditions …

Commentary, Environment, News »

New Year’s Eve at the Smoking Deaths Billboard

Posted December 31, 2012 by | 113 Comments | ]

Every December 31st, huge crowds of people all around the world gather to welcome the New Year. They huddle together in barren public squares, exhausted and freezing, in the belief that if enough people do something unpleasant at the same time that makes it worthwhile.
I’ve never been tempted to join them. Why would I, when a neighborhood near my own home has a public …

Arts & Culture, News »

Remembering Nora Ephron, filmmaker and funny, funny writer

Posted June 27, 2012 by | 2 Comments | ]

Writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron died yesterday from complications from leukemia at age 71. Director Rob Reiner worked with Ephron on films including “When Harry Met Sally.” He told KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis yesterday that Ephron’s greatest strength as a writer was her mastery of the subtleties of how men and women interact. Reiner says some aspects of the Meg Ryan character in “When Harry …

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