Monday, April 27, 2009

And Then There's Maude

I posted this a couple of years ago, but since Bea Arthur died this weekend I thought it was time for a bump.

As it were...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Subway's Coming!  The Subway's Coming!

The Purple Line to be precise.  Metro has come up with several schemes on how it should be done; the one at the right is the one that I favor.  It would combine an extension West from Wilshire/Western along Wilshire with stops at LaBrea, Fairfax, La Cienega and Beverly.  There's some debate about the next two stops- they can't decide whether they should stop at Santa Monica/Avenue of the Stars of closer to the mall.  Personally I always vote mall.  The next question is Westwood/Wilshire of closer to UCLA,  That's a no-brainer to me; I'll never quite understand the decision to can the #21 bus, which went to campus and was wildly popular with students.  This is a perfect chance to make up for that mistake and get a lot of kids to school without a car.  It's also a way to avoid taking some very pricey private property for a subway entrance and getting putative pedestrians out of a very dangerous intersection.  Not to mention it's a way to keep the Metro people using the Purple line to kill off bus service on Wilshire.  Because you know they're thinking of it...

The other stops would be along Wilshire, at Bundy, 26th, 16th and 4th in Santa Monica.  But perhaps the most exciting part of this is the "pink line", which would start at Holywood/Highland along Santa Monica Boulevard with stops at La Brea and Fairfax, either La Cienega or San Vicente (uh, hello?  Metro?  You have property at Larrabee one block away from San Vicente that will allow you a subway entrance with very little Eminent Domaine nastiness), a "Beverly Center area" stop (which the Bev Center should help pay for and offer up the old, unused Hard Rock Cafe as the entrance to.  While they're at it, get the Caddy back to be the canopy) to rejoin the purple line at Beverly/Wilshire.

Now it's not perfect.  It's still not possible to get to the Valley to the beach on one train.  There are no plans to put a subway under the 405 from the Valley busway to the airport, which would seem like a no-brainer to me.  Some of the stops are a bit odd (16th street?), and there are going to be some big-time eminent domain issues that will have to be worked out.  But in general there's going to be the main issue of getting Angelenos to actually use it.  The guiding principle of the people of the City of the Angels is that we love our cars.  It's our little bubble, and while we curse the traffic we are loathe to give up our bubble of AC and our own soundtrack to actually use public transport.  Sure, when the gas rose to nigh unto $5 a gallon I saw more people on the bus, but that didn't last.  I wonder when I hear people talking about getting people on the subway that they aren't talking about getting other people on there so that traffic would be lighter for them.  Those people clogging the streets would be safely underground.  

I never thought I would write this, but I'd take it in heartbeat.  That is, if they can manage not to collapse Wilshire the way they did Hollywood Boulevard, the reason the project met with enough resistance that I'm not taking the subway to work today.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

"MILF Island" Lives!!

You might have thought it was a joke on "30 Rock" and that it never could happen in reality.  Well, never underestimate how goofy reality TV can be.  "The Cougar" is going to be infesting gracing the airwaves on TV Land Prime, courtesy the people who brought you "The Bachelor".  I'm sure someone, somewhere is pitching "The Waggler".  Of course, that would just be any casting office.  Or for that matter (insert mogul name here)'s last few marriages.

Photo: TV Land

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Eating well

My friend Beth Gehring wrote a post a while ago about eating at a properly set table.  I know these days that we tend to (and I include myself in this) just sort of scarf down whatever we can defrost, in front of the TV or the computer.  My dinner tonight indeed was three ounces of to-go tuna salad eaten with a plastic fork and three Carr's Table water crackers eaten on the sofa while simultaneously chatting on the phone with my BFF Bitsy and writing a review of the latest Le Labo scent.  Which would account for the sentence fragment starting the third paragraph.

But really, I kind of miss the idea of formal meals.  Not formal in the idea that one dresses, just formal in the idea that A) there was a time and B) appearance wasn't optional.  I admit that my parents didn't go whole hog; the formal dining room was Sundays and holidays and the odd day that my Mother decided we should eat there, which was more about the fact that she's gotten all Julia Child and felt that it needed a separate room to celebrate.  Otherwise it was at the table in our kitchen that we ate breakfast and lunch (if we were home) at, which my father hewed out of some wood he had brought from Africa or Arizona or Alpha Centauri, because both of them were nuts who should have created both the Food Network and HGTV.

But I digress..

Beth points out that this sort of dining is the ultimate in recycling: linen napkins care re-used until they're used to wash the car (and to the novice: napkin rings are never used at a formal table.  They connote that you're not getting a fresh napkin), and plates can be used for generations.

But the main point is that people forever have looked upon the ideas of knowing what fork to use as being exclusionary and classist.  It's not; it's the most democratic system imaginable.  It's logical, as easy to follow as a DMV test, and as inclusive.  As Beth points out, it also forces you to actually savor your meal.  You might even savor your company.  Your china, the heft and design of your silver, you stemware, your surroundings and the fact that you're lucky enough to have this in your life (or like me aspire to it).  Or silently judge the vulgarity of it and the quality of the conversation and the Claret.

There are a lot of things in our collective past that we need to jettison: bigotry, hatred and nastiness come to mind.  Good manners and dinner I think aren't on that list.