We’re Number One! In car chase coverage…

According to the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles has more TV stations airing live car chases than any other place in the country. Interestingly, the number of people who try to flee an LAPD officer is up 40 percent in the past three years.

That second data point confirms my long-standing suspicion that people are more likely to flee the LAPD because they want as many cameras on them as possible in case the police decide to go Rodney King on them.

New Times to Los Angeles: “Go fuck yourself”

*sigh*. Admittedly, I’m still embittered from when the New Times organization bought out and shut down the L.A. Reader and Village View back in 1996, but damn…

Los Angeles New Times, the second largest alternative weekly in the L.A. area, is shutting down, silencing a quirky and inconsistent, yet valuable, journalistic voice, while costing the jobs of about 100 employees.

The closure is part of a complex deal with Village Voice Media, the parent company of the L.A. Weekly. Village Voice Media will purchase client lists from New Times, but no hard assets. VVM, in turn, will shut down the Free Times, in Cleveland, turning over client lists to the New Times paper in that city. Privately held VVM, based in New York, operates six remaining papers.

“To me, this is all about making us more competitive, particularly with the L.A. Times,” said VVM president David Schneiderman. “Like most daily newspapers, they have an aging readership and they want our readers. We’re not going to sit around and let them have them.”

The reaction was short and blunt from Michael Lacey, executive editor of New Times newspapers. “Go fuck yourself,” said Lacey, who was reached Wednesday morning at a Santa Monica beachside hotel. He slammed down the phone without responding to questions.

Even more irritating is that the LA New Times article archive is permanently off-line. Should have PDF’ed more. And worst of all, Meredith’s restaurant column now needs a home.

Yesterday’s Vandenberg launch and Brian Webb’s Southern California Astro/Space Alert list

A lot of bloggers were commenting on the Minuteman III launch from Vanderberg last night. Anyway, if you were a subscriber to Brian Webb’s “Astronomy/Space Alert for Southern California” list, you would have been ready for it.

Cool list. Great guy. You should join.

Beverly Hills is a nice place to be a rat

Rats have invaded Beverly Hills. Keep tabs on the invasion’s progress by checking in with the Los Angeles “Food Facility Closure List”

How did rodents end up in the lap of luxury? After four consecutive mild winters, their population has multiplied, though no study has been undertaken to determine exactly how many rats there are in Los Angeles County. The rule of thumb is one rat for every human, Mr. Honda said. Add in the severe drought and you have rats commuting to the neighborhoods with low-hanging fruit, exotic gardens and patios, with their outdoor parties and exquisite crumbs.

Things I haven’t done in years part 2: The Drive-In

vineland-driveinSo over the weekend, I did something I haven’t done in years… Went to the drive-in! I don’t know why I thought of it, and I didn’t even know if there was one left in LA/OC, but a short web search turned up the last drive-in movie theater in the Los Angeles area: the Pacific Vineland up in the City of Industry.

Sort of a long drive up from Garden Grove, but totally worth it to escape the unrespectful who chatter away on a cell phone, kids that won’t shut up, and the whole damn rigamarole of going to the suburban theater hive.

It was a total blast.

You can bring as much food and drinks you want. It was cheap ($6 a person). The movies were first run features (the major features at the Vineland were XXX, Signs, Goldmember, and Spy Kids 2) and are double-billed with a second run flick (like Men In Black 2). You can adjust the volume. The seats were a lot more comfortable. In short, pretty much everything I would want out of a regular theater that you can’t get anymore

So there are a couple of drawbacks… The Vineland is right next to the train tracks so there was one brief moment when we couldn’t hear because of a passing train. There’s a neighboring industrial plant that is a little over-eager with there security lighting (but that wasn’t a big deal after the initial shock). And yeah, there’s that whole rain issue, which is negligible in Los Angeles anyway.

I’ve always had a “if I won the lottery” dream of opening up a revival drive-in theater and show nothing but old black and white noir and atomic bug movies (with a gourmet concession stand), but for reality – I’m happy with the Vineland (may it live on)

Look for a drive-in theater near you.

A photo tour of the old Pacific Electric Glendale-Burbank line

pe-fargoAt my old house in Silver Lake, the site in this photograph (Allesandro and Fargo) was about a half-mile away. Certainly within walking distance. I suppose it’s hackneyed to whine nostalgic about the good old days of Los Angeles’ forgotten mass transit, but damnit – we could have used this! Now the right-of-way is long gone. Thanks guys…