Thursday, April 7, 2011
Have you ever heard of Catalina Island? It's 22 miles off the California coast, but it might as well be 2,200 miles from L.A. For starters, there are very few cars on the island. If you're stuck in a traffic jam there, chances are you're in a line of golf carts.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, October 21, 2010
It’s almost November, which means my car registration fees are due. It costs $147 to register my car, a 2004 Toyota. That’s not bad, considering my husband pays more than $300 for his vehicle.
Atop my notice was a big STOP sign and “SMOG Certification Required.” Surely my car, which was tested when I moved to California in 2007, did not need such a test. It doesn’t smoke, sputter or make any loud noises when I drive it. But the governor won’t let me renew my registration without such a test.
The DMV letter directed me to “Please take this notice to a SMOG check station.” (I did, but of course forgot said notice.) I took the car in and had it tested for such things as Spark Controls, Fuel Cap Visual, Wiring to Sensors, Fuel Evaporative Controls and Oxygen Sensor, whatever all of that stuff means. They ran the car at 15 mph and 25 mph to check for CO2. Why no faster? Probably because I rarely have the opportunity to drive much faster in the SoCal traffic.
The car passed. My test results said, “Congratulations! Your vehicle passed the enhanced Smog Check inspection, which helps California reach its daily goal of removing an extra 100 tons (!) of smog-forming emissions from the air.”
Of course, the test adds to the cost of registering a vehicle in California. My test was $71.20, which included a Smog Certificate and a fee for transmitting the test results to the DMV. So really, it’s costing me $218.20 to keep my car on the road for the next year. I guess it could be worse.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Since 1960, the Walk of Fame has attracted tourists who want to see the stars. About 10 million people visit the 18-block walk annually, and it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Hollywood business leaders came up with the Walk of Fame idea in the 1950s as a way to beautify and promote the area.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the walk’s plans called for 1,529 of the biggest stars of film, stage, radio, television and music to be immortalized in the concrete using brass set in salmon-colored terrazzo stars surrounded by black backgrounds. As of March 2010, The Times found more than 2,300 stars on the walk, representing 2,100 individuals or organizations.
Anyone can nominate a candidate, but the celebrity must agree to be considered. And if chosen, a star (or their fan club) has to pay a $25,000 fee for the ceremony.
Surprisingly, there are many big names in Hollywood who do not have stars on the Walk of Fame. There are numerous reasons for this. A celebrity must be nominated, selected and agree to the ceremony — in addition to paying for the ceremony. You won’t see stars for Dustin Hoffman, George Clooney (What?), Julia Roberts, Robert Redford, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie or Denzel Washington. Clint Eastwood doesn't have a star either, but you can see his handprints in the courtyard in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Gene Autry is the only person to have stars in five fields: film, TV, radio, live performance and music. I just learned that Autry was the original owner of TV station KTLA.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Parts of the building are hopelessly dated, but there are some cool things to see at the Los Angeles Times. One of the highlights is the Globe Lobby, which is off the building's 1st Street entrance. (Of course, this entrance is not open to the public. Sorry.)
Summer has finally arrived in Southern California! After weeks of cloudy and cool mornings and afternoons, the temperatures are higher than 80. Unfortunately, they are much higher than 80: Friday's high in Long Beach was 91 and downtown L.A. was even hotter at 97.