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LAist posted this photo on its website and in light of the MTA’s plans to raise fares this summer I just had to put my — shall we say: spin — on the the transit monopoly’s current ad campaign:

Before:

After:

Photo by RobeRt Vega via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Couple weeks ago I posted on LA Metblogs about the irony of that “Need Repairs?” sign pictured at right (that I saw on my way to work), screwed there by some brainiac handyman so damagingly — not to mention unlawfully — high up the trunk of a palm tree in Hancock Park. But this wasn’t just any palm tree. It was one of all of those trees on the median of Highland Avenue between Wilshire and Melrose, which collectively make up Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark No. 94.

I wrote about calling the phone number on the sign, getting the person’s (his name is Jake) voicemail and leaving a message suggesting Mr. Fixit get back over from the 818 at his earliest opportunity and repair what he hath wrought.

He ignored me, as I figured he would. So at the same time I contacted him I also filed a request with the Bureau of Street Services that the sign be removed. They fulfilled my request about a week later.

Oh and I almost forgot! I also googled the gentleman’s phone number and wouldn’t ya know it matched up with a Hollywood-based construction outfit’s website, which in the wake of his noted unwillingness to rectify, made it all the easier to post up a review of his company’s negligent promotional strategy on Yelp:

The proprietor at Hopwood Construction may very well be one of the finest craftsmen around. But unfortunately all that’s known is that he saw fit to promote his business by screwing a sign advertising his services into a Hancock Park palm tree, which is not only unlawful but also damaging to public property.

In addition, he ignored a request to remove the sign, leaving it instead to our taxpayer dollars via the city’s Bureau of Street Services to do so more than a week later.

As said, the level of quality of this person’s work is not something that can be spoken of here, but this sign and his unwillingness to remove it, is something that speaks volumes and such willful negligence should be taken into account if hiring this person becomes a consideration.

Lastly while the sign was removed successfully by Bureau of Street Services personnel, they neglected to extract the seven ( seriously, seven!?) screws that held the sign to the tree, as you can see in the picture at left (click to enlargify). Though I pointed this out in the follow-up call I received advising the sign had been removed, I wasn’t given much hope that personnel would be in a rush to return any time soon and finish the job.

Nothing against the worker who got rid of the sign, but it was enough to bring to mind one of my favorite lines from  the movie Poltergeist: “You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn’t you? You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the head stones. You only moved the head stones!”

So I expect that, while it might take a couple weeks, I’ll load my truck up with a ladder one of these Saturday or Sunday mornings and extract those bodies myself.

Unless of course, Jake beats me to it.

UPDATE (03.25): It crossed my mind that removing those and any other older screws embedded in the trunk might be detrimental to the tree’s health, leaving wounds that could potentially make it susceptible to infestation and disease. So I called the city’s Urban Forestry Division and spoke with a supervisor who advised that the only removals that could pose a threat would be those older foreign objects that the palm’s trunk has actually grown over. He said to leave those alone and just go after the screws and nails that are easily pried or screwed out without doing further damage to the trunk.

I’ve been biking by this latest (click for nominal enlargification) in the curbside ad stand found on La Brea between 9th and Olympic now for a few days, and it induces a snicker in passing not only because of its perpetuation of such a lame and passé cult-of-celeb conceit, but also because I’m just enough of an Ed Hardy clothing hater to deduce an ulterior message from the image.

Certainly what the folks at EH so desperately want us  to do is rush out and buy their garments so that we can vicariously be like the alleged platinoid poptart pictured who is shown clad in the brand whilst fending off the paparazzi as she exits what looks to be the deathlessly trendy Ivy on Robertson, perhaps on her way to a breast augmentation consult, or maybe a reading for a juicy part on the next big pile of weekly stupid that’ll be coming out of the MTV series mill to a TV near you this summer.

My alternate snark on the staged scene is that her frustration isn’t with the encroaching parasitic tabloid photogs so much that they caught her wearing such ridiculous clothes. That, and she’s pissed because the Ivy carded her barely-legal ass and her assistant cousin is crosstown in Echo Park with her ID and her debit card. Shopping at American Apparel. You know, a classy place.

I’ve long had it with Audi. Like most cliché-loving car companies that can’t help but sell the sizzle for the steak they hypervaunt their cars to be magical life-changing devices full of sexy. In the past Audi’s claimed their product line can “reawaken one’s long-lost love of driving.” Really Audi? Is that the best you could do?

But then it gets even worse with this most recent ad above — slickly filmed here in Los Angeles to add insult to injury. My wife Susan can attest to how much I loath it. The several times we’ve seen it she’s had to endure me involuntarily contorting, usually followed with obscene gesticulations that underscore a monologue laced with foul language directing where Audi can uber-shove their stupid and stupidly expensive cars.

Do I take it too seriously? Absolutely. But why shouldn’t I what with the cheapshots Audi felt compelled to take at such easy targets as crowded buses (trundling along the 6th Street Bridge), bike commuting (in fake rain no less while going the wrong way up one-way Flower Street south of the Disney Hall), Segways (at 7th and Grand), and veggie-powered wagons (in Griffith Park). Bastards. Go pick on someone with your own overinflated sense of self-importance.

Particularly rankling is the spot’s elitist tag line: “Many people are trying to do their part,” the narrator intones over a scene of a Segway rider having trouble negotiating through pedestrians at the aforementioned downtown corner. Then it cuts to a winding section of what looks to be Mt. Hollywood Drive (ironically closed to vehicular traffic) wherein an Audi A3 TDI “Clean Diesel” five-door aggressively blows by an aged Volvo wagon sporting a “Powered by Vegetable Oil” bumper sticker (passing on a blind curve no less). After that comes the narrator with the kicker: “Some, just have more fun doing it.”

At 5,141 commuter miles biked this year Audi: some of us just have more fun calling bullshit.

bikemotorI love Google ads.  Lovelovelove ’em! It’s almost endearing how they can be so hamfistedly incorrect in their arrival, like the one above, showing up uninvited and unwanted on the YouTube page hosting my timelapse video of the LA Bike Tour —  not unlike (for want of a better metaphor) the way “Animal House’s” Bluto Blutarski might barge into an otherwise gentile social gathering hosted by the uptights at Omega House and grab a comfy chair with a belch and a smile near the finger sammiches. After spiking the punch. And then drinking all of it. From the bowl.

Because you know, given my sliiiiiiiiight predilection for pure pedal power, pretty much the last thing I’d promote in any way, shape, or form is some sort of goddam after-market internal combustion powerplant that can somehow be mounted to a perfectly good bicycle so that not only does it consume fossil fuels and emit noxious emissions, but it probably pollutes the air with something that sounds eerily like a lawn mower.

In short, I appreciate Google bringing BikeBerry.com to my attention as the LAST place on the world wide inturnip I’ll ever go shopping.

Agh. I waited too long. For the past however many days I’ve been snickering ever time I biked by a monster billboard north of Venice Boulevard at National, and of course I knew better to get a snap of it while I could, but I didn’t and this morning, it’s gone. Bah.

The billboard up until yesterday was part of a mega ad campaign promoting the DVD release of a 50th-anniversary edition of  Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty,” and most prominently featured the above classic moment when Prince Charming is about to bestow the kiss that will awaken her from her comatose state.

I’d seen several variations on the promo featuring different scenes accompanied by the headline of “See More Than Ever Before,” but whoever created and approved the pairing of that headline with the above image of Charming positioned atop the pronated babe either is really really numbskulled or — more likely, gawd bless ’em —  knew exactly what the hell they were double entendre-ing.

“Sleeping Booty,” anyone?

Pardon the craptacity of the above 12x-digital zoom snap from the window of my 10th floor office, but I couldn’t resist documenting this irony no matter how catastrophic the pixelation. Because as oxymoronic as it strikes me to use a vehicle as so outlandish a rolling billboard for booze, there is something oddly appropriate —  along the lines of “parking while intoxicated” — in the poor manner within which this Jose Cuervo-lovin’ SUV was left lodged on the roof level of the garage adjacent to my building.

Tequila!

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