Archive for November, 2011

I was about six months from being born on his birthday when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 48 years ago today. In my possession is this, the Herald Examiner that hit the streets of Los Angeles that day with that horrible news:

 

First you might wonder why I really biked all the way to Montebello and back (28.29 miles) to buy egg nog? Well, this is not just any egg nog. This is Broguiere’s Egg Nog. THE BEST egg nog I’ve ever had. And sure, I could’ve biked (probably about the same distance overall) to stores in the vicinity and beyond hoping and praying I might find some in stock, but the trip out to the source has become something of a holiday tradition, albeit up until this year it was done by car.

See, when it dawned on me that it was three days until Thanksgiving and our fridge was lacking the seasonal staple, I loaded up the two glass bottle empties from last year into my backpack, headed out to make the trek to trade them for full ones, and on my way there wouldn’t you know that a press conference had broken out on the lawn of the new LAPD headquarters at the corner of 2nd and Spring streets to inaugurate the new buffered green bike lane that was installed on Spring from Cesar Chavez all the way down to 9th Street.

So I stuck around for the speeches and then went on the ceremonial first ride along the wonderful lane, then headed up and across the 6th Street Bridge and out Whittier Boulevard well into Montebello, coming back the same way.

Timelapse of the journey:

A Thursday Los Angeles Times article on the then-pending City Council vote to demolish the historic 6th Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River in favor of a replacement of more modern design, illicited a strong enough reaction to what seemed the councilmembers’ foregone conclusion that I wrote the Times a letter that morning.

My issue is not with the bridge’s required destruction — that’s long been mandated by its increasing instability due to a chemical reaction that’s slowly decomposing its concrete. My issue is with those factions who are demanding that no aspect of the 79-year-old icon be incorporated into the new bridge, which renderings depict as having little more character than a Golden State Freeway overpass in Burbank.

On Friday, the council — with the surprising notable exception of Tom LaBonge — did as despicably expected and decided not to remember history, but to forget about  it.

My letter ran at the top of today’s opinion section. Here’s a snap of the print version (click it for the bigger picture):

Sure, the rain started falling last night before I turned in, but it must’ve stopped before I fell asleep because this morning the ground was practically dry and  there was juuust barely 1/8th of an inch captured in the trusty backyard precipitometer.

But a few hours later the skies opened up and stayed open, and when the storm eventually passed the rain amounted to 3 7/16ths inches (let’s call it 3.4375″), bringing us to a seasonal total since I began measuring that first storm October 5 of 10.21875″.

Double digits, baby.

UPDATED (11.21): To you it’s inconsequential, but to the rain geek in me there’s a vast difference in 0.07 inches so in revisiting the rain gauge this morning and seeing some residual wetness raised the level overnight (pic after the jump), I’m hearby revising yesterday’s total up to 3.50″, with the seasonal amount now at 10.28125″.

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Three years ago — almost to the freakin’ day — I was surprised to unearth a spent bullet (pictured above, click it for the bigger picture) from our backyard that never ceases to amaze and mystify. Back then I dwelt a spell not only the projectile’s potential caliber, but also the probable circumstances and potentially chilling results that might have transpired for it to have been fired — and at what… or whom!? Let’s hope it was a what and not a whom!

This afternoon, I didn’t even have to dig to find what I did. I just happened to look down at the ground after pulling a fossilized palm frond down from the fig tree branches it had hung in for who knows how many years, and laying there as if it had been strategically placed was what I first thought to be the end of an old fuse. But after cleaning off the years of crud from the surface around its base the telltale “38 S&W” was revealed along with a deep centerfire indentation left by a firing pin, meaning what I discovered could very well be the spent 38 caliber Smith & Wesson casing for that bullet — or if not that specific bullet, maybe another one… waiting to be found (click the thumbnails for the bigger pictures):

   

Pardon the pun, but I’m just blown away.

I turned from my desk this morning and found this poised pair, as if at a formal portrait sitting, so I grabbed my camera and obliged. And since there was that lovely light in which they stayed put after the snap, I put the cam on a tripod and got 1:37 of video of them further sitting (and in Ranger’s case snoozing with occasional rabbit-chasing twitchings). The only sounds, an outdoor windchime in the breeze, a passing vehicle or two, and the ticking of a wall clock in the house.

Susan and I took Ranger for an afternoon out-and-back along the east bank of the Los Angeles River downstream from the Fletcher Drive Bridge, and Ranger unintentionally ended up  getting very upclose and personal with the water as shown in the still above (click it for the bigger picture) and the video clip below:

I’m not sure what’s more ludicrous, Ranger going for an unplanned dip (her first-ever swim, by the way), or my reaction to it.

UPDATE (11.14): The obligatory slow-motion snip of the dip: