Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One Year in 40 Seconds

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wafaa Bilal

Just heard about this artist on The World.

Great Depression Cooking

We all thought it would never happen again, but today we stand on the precipice of another depression. Our elders told stories of enduring hardships we could only imagine. Now those stories are no longer outside the realm of possibility. What lessons can we draw from their experiences and innovations? Here's a start: Cooking Lessons from the Great Depression, brought to us by Clara, a 91 year old who grew up during those trying times.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LA Philharmonic visits Van Nuys High

What a glorious concert I heard tonight at Van Nuys High. The LA Philharmonic's annual neighborhood and community concert series is a free program where they play throughout Los Angeles at schools, churchs and other community gathering places. Tonight, the brilliant young conductor, Ryan McAdams, played 3 great pieces:

Vaughan Williams
: Fantasia on Greensleeves
: Exsultate jubilate
: The Nutcracker, Suite No. 1

Another young star, soprano Ji Young Yang from the SF Opera, sang an amazing Mozart piece that blew me away. As McAdams tells us, she filled in as there weren't any castrados in L.A. to sing the part. There was something magical about seeing and hearing this timeless music in that setting. Plus, I never turn down free tickets to see great music. The series continues this week with concerts in Pomona tommorrow and Inglewood on Friday.

Call to Action! Urge Corrupt City Council to stop Billboard Blight!

Yes, they put a billboard up in the middle of a bike path!

Trying not to appear in the pockets of outdoor advertisers, LA City Council is conducting much of their business regarding outdoor digital billboards and illegal billboards in secret, closed door meetings. They need to hear from us that we're not happy with their give-aways to advertisers who are ruining our city. Today, Ron Kaye urges Angelenos to contact the city council and let them know what you think about this subject:

(So you have a 24-hour digital sunrise in your bedroom? So, your kid was maimed in an accident as a result of a distracted driver watching a digital billboard? Ever tried to sell a home with a ditigal billboard in your backyard? Much to ponder. The City needs time from the moratorium to get its house in order.)

councilmember.reyes@lacity.org councilmember.greuel@lacity.org councilmember.zine@lacity.org councilmember.labonge@lacity.org, councilmember.weiss@lacity.org councilmember.cardenas@lacity.org, councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org councilmember.parks@lacity.org, councilmember.wesson@lacity.org councilmember.smith@lacity.org, councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org councilmember.rosendahl@lacity.org, councilmember.huizar@lacity.org councilmember.hahn@lacity.org Jan.Perry@lacity.org, mayor@lacity.org

Not sure what to tell them?

Try this:

From: The Engaged Observer
To: councilmember.reyes@lacity.org; councilmember.greuel@lacity.org; councilmember.zine@lacity.org; councilmember.labonge@lacity.org; councilmember.weiss@lacity.org; councilmember.cardenas@lacity.org; councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org; councilmember.parks@lacity.org; councilmember.wesson@lacity.org; councilmember.smith@lacity.org; councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org; councilmember.rosendahl@lacity.org; councilmember.huizar@lacity.org; councilmember.hahn@lacity.org; Jan.Perry@lacity.org; mayor@lacity.org
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 10:07:02 AM
Subject: Billboard Blight in our fair city

Dear Leaders of Los Angeles:

You're failing me and every other resident of Los Angeles. Your refusal to:

1. Enact an immediate moratorium on billboards
2. Enforce and remove criminal and illegal billboards
3. Effectively regulate outdoor advertisers

has eroded the trust and confidence we the citizens place in your hands. You're not looking out for our best interests. You're a disappointment at best and perhaps criminals at worst.

We are watching you. Please behave like your jobs depend on our trust and confidence.

Best Regards,

The Engaged Observer

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Moon Over The Vista Theater

Shot last night on our way to dinner at Blairs. The food was incredible, atmosphere was warm and cozy, perfect dinner option on a cold windy night.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The End of Wall Street

Here's the best article yet to explain what the hell happened to our financial system.

The End,

Meth Lab by Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe

Meth Lab by Jonah Freeman Justin Lowe. As seem installed at The Station in Miami, December 7th, 2008.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Meth Lab at The Station in Miami

One of the highlights of Miami this year was the installation piece by artists Jonah Freeman Justin Lowe at The Station. Wandering thru a meth lab, complete with thousands of sudafeds, stuffed coyotes and a kitchen turned laboratory was akin to a haunted house. I'll post a 4 minute as soon as I get a good wireless connection.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

30 Americans - Rubell Collection

Before arriving at Aqua this morning, Heather and I joined her parents for a quick tour of the Rubell Collection in Miami's Wynwood district. The current exhibition, 30 Americans, is a powerful and dynamic showcase of 31 artists. Why 31?

As the show evolved, we decided to call it “30 Americans.” “Americans,” rather than “African Americans” or “Black Americans” because nationality is a statement of fact, while racial identity is a question each artist answers in his or her own way, or not at all. And the number 30 because we acknowledge, even as it is happening, that this show does not include everyone who could be in it. The truth is, because we do collect right up to the last minute before a show, there are actually 31 artists in “30 Americans."

We saw Mr. Rubell walking thru his museum with a happy smile on his face, visibly joyed by all the people he inspires thru his collection. I hope Los Angeles has philanthropists that think in the same way as Mr. Rubell. Perhaps they'll step in and solve the mess that has become MOCA.

Glenn Ligon

Hank Willis Thomas

Jeff Sonhouse

John Bankston

Kara Walker

Kehinde Wiley

Leonardo Drew

Nick Cave

Rodney McMillian

Noah Davis

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Foggy L.A.

Shot this the other day. I'm heading to Miami, hopefully it'll be sunny and warm. See you next week!

eBay: Do you think you're a monopoly?

Here's a great comment on my previous post about eBay's failures to serve their customers with integrity. I thought it was worth reposting.

moonrockmuzik said...

I was thinking about this article last night while I was working and if my memory serves me right the last article I read about eBay actually had John Donahoe quoted as saying something to the degree of "well, the good thing about the internet is that there are alot of alternatives out there for disgruntled sellers....

"That is the very crux of this problem. The attitude of John and the rest of the eBay CEO's clearly shows that a) they choose ignorance, which is stupid....b) they are actually so snide and nasty about their current destruction of their customer base and the eBay platform that they ACTUALLY TELL YOU TO LEAVE....as if they are TEMPTING you do to do it with their SMUG WE HAVE A MONOPOLY AND YOU WILL EITHER DO WHAT WE SAY OR SELL NOTHING attitude......They don't care about ANYONE....we are only NUMBERS in their NIFTY ALGORHYTHMS which are created by techie idiots anyway.

Ever since Pierre sold eBay and Meg and her tenure started eBay has gone straight downhill (....remember that folks??? when ebay auctions cost 1/3 of what they do now, SafeHarbor (Trust and Safety) actually GAVE A DAMN about what happens on eBay, and PayPal actually paid you 5 bucks if you got them a new customer....) ......Every year, half-year, quarter in some cases they come out with a new brilliant scheme that they pitch as "necessary for eBay to continue to grow" and they say "it is going to make eBay a better selling environment...."....BUT their changes are NOTHING BUT A) AN EXCUSE TO RAISE FEES AND COSTS (whether with explicit fee hikes or hidden price hikes, and most of the time they try to hide them.....), B) A PLAN DEVELOPED BY SOME NEW UP AND COMING EBAY EXEC (I think there must be an indoctrination into the ceo pool at eBay....They probably take you to a secret hidden magic room with a cauldron and you have to develop some evil scheme to screw the public before you can escape from the devils grasp.....), and C) A FURTHER ATTEMPT TO BECOME BIG BROTHER IN SOME ORWELLIAN EBAY NIGHTMARE THEY ALL ENVISION.....I AM SURE THAT THEY ENVISION A WORLD IN WHICH ALL CITIZENS OF EARTH HAVE AN EBAY BARCODE BURNED INTO THEIR FOREHEAD WITH A LASER AND WE ARE DIRECTED BY BLOCK-WIDE PLASMA TV'S THAT TELL US WHAT TO DO AND THINK, ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORWELL'S 1984 AND EBAY'S OVERALL LONG-TERM PLAN IS THAT EBAY RUBS YOUR FACE IN WHAT THEY ARE DOING INSTEAD OF TRYING TO HIDE THEIR EVIL PLOYS AND SCHEMES....

eBay representatives attributes their horrifying decline in profit margin and site activity "....on the bad economy."....it is the standard quote they have all been instructed to tell sellers while they get ebay stuck further in the La Brea tarpits.....And of COURSE they tell you to hang on and not close listings, THEY WANT YOU TO KEEP PAYING THE LISTING FEES!!!! They refuse to believe that they have made the customer base so mad that we NEVER want to return, and they ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO.... A) WORK, B) STAND BEHIND THEIR GOOD FAITH POLICIES THAT THEY STATE IN THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE CONTRACT, C) ACT IN A TIMELY MANNER (regarding ANYTHING!)......AND D) THEY REFUSE TO TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING WHATSOEVER.




A former PowerSeller/one of the former 5000 largest eBay stores/sellers

Monday, December 1, 2008

Los Angeles rests in fog while the Moon dances with Venus and Jupiter

Imagine if Antonio was more like Gavin

From Streetsblog:

“We’ve accomplished a great deal together, but much work remains to be done to improve the safety and convenience of bicycling,” said Newsom. “I will continue to push for a better bicycling environment as part of my deep commitment to improving the health of our environment, our residents and our city.”

If only Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa placed bicycle transportation on equal footing with other transportation options, Los Angeles would be a better place to live, work and commute. Our air quality would improve and our residents would suffer from less pollution-caused health problems.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jupiter dances with Venus and Luna

Thanks Dad for the heads up, literally!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cai Guo-Qiang Installation at Melrose and Highland

My favorite site specific installation in Los Angeles.

Mozza and Casa Bianca: Italy's Ambassador's in L.A.

Calamarata with guanciale, tomato & spicy pickled peppers, perhaps the most perfect incarnation of "pasta" ever conceived. Osteria Mozzo

Casa Bianca's "Deluxe Pizza" with sausage, mushroom and green pepper. This is the kind of pizza that conjures up memories, real or imagined, of playing stickball on a busy street in Brooklyn in the 1950s, riding bikes to the movie theater and sneaking in to watch Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.

On the street: BMW H7

Last weekend, I spotted this BMW H7 parked outside the gallery. I had a feeling it was being used by auto dignitaries in town for the LA Autoshow. But is it available? The distributor plates tell me that it's available to an extremely select few individuals with serious clout in Bavaria, Jay Leno for example.

Monday, November 24, 2008

L.A.'s Solar Initiative: Green Revolution or Insider Scandal?

LAIST reports today that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will unveil a plan to install solar panels throughout the city that will deliver 10% of the city's power within 12 years. Dubbed Solar LA, the mayor states the plan will jumpstart green economy jobs in Los Angeles and claims it's the "largest solar energy plan in the country."

While this sounds like music to the ears of all environmentalists, there's another perspective on this deal that explains the inner workings of how a plan like this gets formed and who really benefits from it:

From Ron Kaye LA:

The mayor cut thea deal with his long-time pal Brian D'Arcy -- the IBEW union boss who runs the publicly-owned utility behind the scenes -- to suddenly end 10 years of resistance to solar energy and embrace it as a city-wide mandate.

The price is that all the work must be done by IBEW workers on the DWP payroll -- humble workers who thanks to the mayor's generosity are enjoying 6 percent wage hikes in the nation's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, increases that come on top of their already inflated salaries.

In a matter of a few short weeks -- without public hearings of any consequence or any kind of coherent analysis or study or even the involvement of the public and DWP commissioners -- the City Council agreed to put this outrageous plan on the March 3 primary ballot "to let voters decide."

Whoa! Now this proposal sounds terrible. Why is the City Council putting this plan before voters when it was drafted by the union that stands to benefit from it? Why didn't the council simply approve the plan without voter approval? Where is the truth? Is Solar LA the dream of green energy realized or a blank check to the Mayor's buddies at IBEW?

The Pink Sari Gang: India's A-Team

I just heard about the Pink Sari Gang on Morning Edition. All I have to say is these ladies are the physical incarnation of all that is good in the world. If you're a drunkard or corrupt official in India, watch out! The Pink Sari Gang is out there. Reminds me of another vigalante group of freedom fighters...

The A-TEAM Intro - Click here for more home videos

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Best Pork Chop of my life

Last night was our second visit to Animal on Fairfax. Their food is incredible. The service is so friendly and warm. The spartan decor and rock music are de-riguer of fancier, more expensive joints. Best of all, there's a real joy expressed in the dishes there. You're just happy when you're eating the food. I can't explain it any better. The food is a true anti-depressant.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

eBay still doesn't trust me to sell "branded" items

It's been months since I first got blocked by eBay for attempting to sell genuine "branded" items. eBay continues to block my sales, with no evidence of counterfeit intent on my part. They insist I have to build up my feedback, but block me from selling, which is how one builds feedback. When I manage to sell something within their secret restrictions, I get glowing positive feedbacks. In fact, my feedback scores exceed eBay averages in 75% of categories. Their logic is fundamentally imbecilic, which may explain why their Trust and Safety Department took 6 days to come up with this excuse for an explanation to their unjustifiable policy:

Dear 69fasty,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to the recent blocks you have encountered. I apologize for the delay in our response to you as we've been experiencing unusually high email volume.

We understand that you may be disappointed about the selling limits you are experiencing, and we hope you'll understand that account and listing restrictions are intended to provide the most positive buying experience possible, which increases overall sales for sellers. We apologize for any unnecessary inconvenience.

Unfortunately, we can't raise your selling limits at this time, but we'd be happy to review your account again after 90 days. Our considerations include buyer feedback, time and activity on site, and compliance with eBay policies.

It is important to note that the restriction you encountered was not directed specifically to your account but rather a site-wide initiative that we've implemented. As such, all sellers that regularly sell various items on our site were faced with this restriction at one time or another.

The best course of action for you at this time would be to continue selling your luxury items on the site within your limits.

If you have other types of items you may be able to list them on the site once you have hit your monthly limits to help you build your selling reputation on eBay and generate revenue.

Please visit eBay's Help pages for more information on our listing policies and guidelines:


Thank you for your time.


eBay Customer Support

Once again, eBay encourages me to continue selling within the limits they placed on my account, but fail to disclose what the limits are. I can't think of any other comparable situation where this paradox of logic exists, at least in the free world. Maybe Guantanamo? Why eBay fails to enact real policies that address counterfeit sales without restricting legitimate activity is beyond my comprehension. Their shareholders are missing out on my seller fees, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching.

Mailman Steve: A True American Hero

Hero or Criminal?

Mailman Steve, as he's affectionately known by the neighbors he serves in Apex, North Carolina, was found guilty of failing to deliver years worth of junk mail. When prosecutors notified the neighbors he serves of his accused crime, only one person responded, in support of their mail carrier.

From The News and Observer:

Padgett built up good will on his route by handing out treats to dogs, making sure packages were left on dry porches and introducing himself to customers. Children called him "Mailman Steve."

The U.S. Postal Service never received a complaint about the missing mail and didn't know anything was amiss until they were contacted by a utility worker who noticed the excess mail at Padgett's house in Raleigh. Postal inspectors went to the home this spring and discovered the third-class mail piled in his garage and buried in his yard.

The judge showed mercy and gave him a fine, probabtion and community service. I say he deserves a medal and presidential pardon! Mailman Steve, I salute you!