Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Oinkster on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives

The Oinkster, one of my favorite restaurants, was finally featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives!  In Eagle Rock, which is pretty close to downtown, they do an awesome pastrami sandwich (I think the chef got his know how from Langer's, the Pastrami Masters of the Universe).  Oh — their chili fries are to die for!  I love going there because the outdoor dining area is so nice and the staff amazingly friendly and helpful.  Of course, they have their critics, and I have to admit that they're not always consistent (like I wouldn't ever go during their slow hours), but when they're on, the place is pretty amazing.

Here's the video, straight from YouTube:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

L.A. Street Names

I found this at Curbed L.A., a video about how various LA streets got their names.  The info is fascinating, the delivery deathly.  I have no idea what they were thinking.  The narration is the worst, voices that might have well have been processed through a computer.  I can't believe the National History Museum of LA was responsible — do they want to perpetuate the myth that history is deadly boring?  Come on, guys, you're in Hollywood!

Anyway, thanks to the video, I finally found out how to pronounce Micheltorena Street!  Hallelujah!  It's me chell tor ena.  Micheltorena was a Spanish governor.  Turns out a lot of street names like La Cienega are named after big rancheros.

Monday, March 15, 2010

LA is an Oil Town — Didn't You Know?

I found this out when, one day, we were using one of the side roads near LAX and I saw rows and rows of little oil rigs.  I was like, "What?  Are we in Texas?"  Turns out LA produces a hell of a lot of oil.  Only no one knows it.  Like who would know that the Beverly Center shopping mall is an actively drilled oil field?  And the famous Farmer's Market on Fairfax?  I didn't, and I've logged a helluva lot of hours at both malls!  There's even a building on Pico that's a complete facade — just there to hide the oil wells!

I found all this out watching a scrappy little documentary called "Uneven Terrain: Oil of L.A."  So worth watching just for the shock value!  I mean, LA is the third largest oil field in all of the friggin' US!  So my question is this:  how come LA is so dirt poor right now?  Where is the money going?  I feel like we're living in Nigeria!  My god, even the citizens of Saudi Arabia see something from their oil revenue:  no income tax, free medical and free education!  All we get is a lame-ass mayor who'd rather cut the education budget than his own expenses.  Oh — and the Oscars.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Pasadena Air Force

Living in Pasadena, one simply does not expect to be under siege from military-style helicopters.  Night and day, they roam overhead, searchlights at maximum intensity, avidly patrolling the deadly streets of Pasadena.  It would seem more reasonable to think we were all part of a big movie set.  Or a video game.  But, no, these helicopters are for real, used by the Pasadena police as a legitimate tool to enforce and deter crime.  Yes, to deter crime.  And I'm not kidding when I call it the Pasadena Air Force.  The police are using actual military planes from the Vietnam War era, which they got for free from a military surplus program.  Okay, they no longer have gun turrets or armor plating, but I still feel like Robert Duvall is going to pop out and napalm me.  (I will give the Pasadena council points for knowing how to get free stuff.)

There are more details in "Trouble Above", a very interesting article in the Pasadena Weekly.