Thursday, July 26, 2007

Adios, for now...

The Bear is going to hibernate for a short while to do some summer traveling and tend to some outdoor projects at the cave (small ranch house) while the good weather smiles upon us.

Before The Bear leaves on his summer trek, I'd like to point the way for you to do some exploring on your own.

In today's LA Times, staff writer Richard Marosi writes about officials in Mexico cracking down on police extortion of tourists on the road between TJ and popular Baja beach destinations. Here's a bit of the article:

Sunday, July 15, 2007

First Felix, Now Dutton's

First, Felix the Cat (or a likeness of the famous feline) is officially deemed a landmark by the city. Next, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted to designate Dutton's Brentwood as a landmark.

This, of course, upset Charles T. Munger, the building's owner. From the Los Angeles Times:
"'If the council votes to approve this, Dutton's will die as sure as God made little green apples,' Munger said after the hearing. 'These people are trying to save Dutton's [but are] using techniques that will destroy it.'"
Will Dutton's be given an institutional nine lives, like the giant neon cat downtown? (Photo by Paytonc at Flickr)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Morning Coffee

I had not yet consumed my morning coffee when I read an LA Times piece on Indonesian civet cat scat coffee. Yes, it's coffee cherries consumed by the civet cat in an Indonesian forest, excreted, collected and cleaned (really!, but to what extent?), then roasted. It's called, according to the Times:
"...kopi luwak, from the Indonesian words for coffee and civet, and by the time it reaches the shelves of swish foreign food emporiums, devotees fork out as much as $600 for a pound — if they can even find that much. The British royal family is said to enjoy sipping it. A single cup can sell for $30 at a five-star hotel in Hong Kong."
Now you know why Starbucks shares are falling. Wouldn't you rather have a good cup of (not excreted) Aged Sumatra from Peet's or Sumatra Siborong-Borong from Starbucks? Or skip Starbucks and Peet's (both of which, I frequent often) and head for a truly local latte. Maybe enjoy the caffeine and ocean breeze at Tanner's in Playa Del Rey or the pleasant confines of the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company? (Thanks to for the link and image of Tanner's.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Once More, We Visit Dutton's

Writer Callie Miller at the blog LAist offers a nice, brief account of why Dutton's matters. The post includes some quality photos of the Dutton's courtyard.

California Boom!

From the Daily Breeze (So. Cal.):
California, L.A. County populations will go boom: "Los Angeles County's racial makeup is expected to change dramatically by 2050, with Latino and Asian populations doubling to account for more than 80 percent of residents as the number of whites and blacks shrinks in half.

The county's population will grow from its 2000 mark of 9.6 million to 13 million in 2050, with Latinos growing to 8.4 million, or 65 percent of the total, according to state population projections issued Monday."
All of this begs the question: where are we going to park? (Oh, and maybe too, the additional hospitals, freeways, subway terminals, apartments, houses, public service entities, and jobs?) Don't worry, the politicians are all about getting this under control, especially LA's mayor. (Viva Operation Pothole!)

Times Opinion on Dutton's

Culture wins one - Los Angeles Times:
"LOS ANGELES has a way of plowing under its landmarks. It is a corollary of our enthusiasm for the new and a consequence of our free-spirited capitalism that local institutions are sacrificed to progress. The great old steakhouses have largely faded into memory, the streetcars are garaged, the grand movie houses downtown remain mostly as relics. "
Read the rest of the op-ed here.

Soon, I'll write about the loss of the great movie houses, mentioned above.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Brentwood building owner reworks plans to retain Dutton's - Los Angeles Times

A while back, I wrote a post about Dutton's Bookstore in Brentwood (LA) and the billionaire Charles T. Munger who wanted to raze the building that Dutton's occupies to build condos and stores. This wouldn't have eliminated Dutton's, but it would have changed its footprint, which would have drastically altered the nature of Dutton's. (According to the Los Angeles Times, "With its multi-room layout, ripped carpet and overflowing shelves, Dutton's is considered by many to be a city institution and one of the nation's great idiosyncratic bookstores.")

The Times reported on Friday that Mr. Munger has changed his mind. The 60-unit-luxury condo plan is " favor of erecting a two-story retail complex that would retain Dutton's Brentwood Books in a new and improved space."

Mr. Munger to the Times: "Bookstores are fragile,' he said. 'Jostle them slightly and they never reopen. The best thing is to make sure it never closes.'"

Good news indeed. Bibliophiles win, perhaps for the last time.
(Photo: Doug Dutton shelves books, LA Times)