If anything, I could say that this cab is rare …

11 01 2012

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I whistled for a cab and when it came near

The license plate said FRESH and had a dice in the mirror

If anything I could say that this cab was rare

But I thought nah, forget it, yo holmes, to Bel Aire!

Courtesy yesterday’s Busted Tees calendar.





The “99-cent Taco” of City Street Repair

9 01 2012

As if affirmation were required, the New York Times of all places is offering more evidence that Los Angeles has some of the worst roads in civilized America.

The NY Times’ article is just another in a long series of [totally justified] media bashing of our sad city streets. But the real gem in this article is definitely buried all the way at the end, where Nazario Sauceda, the interim director of street services, is quoted as saying that the smaller, less-expensive projects tend to take priority over larger ones. His analogy is awesome:

“If I gave you $20 to eat for the next 20 days, would you go to Black Angus for one night or would you buy 99-cent tacos?”

Clearly Mr. Sauceda hasn’t been out to Black Angus in quite some time, because $20 isn’t going to buy you the kind of meal that I personally go to Black Angus for.

Following are a few snapshots from the streets directly around the offices of RttRL, taken at lunch today. And these aren’t even the worst places! It was too busy to get a shot of those.

If you hit some of these on a motorcycle, you’d have a wreck for sure. I’d be wary of that, if I were the City Attorney.

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Chance Vought “Flying Flapjack”

5 01 2012

Sometimes you have to wonder, “what were they thinking?”

Such is the case when you first see the XF5U-1, aka V-173 or Flying Flapjack.

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The Chance Vought Corporation was an aircraft manufacturer (now known as Vought Aircraft Industries) who became famous during WWII for their iconic carrier-based fighters, the F4U Corsair. Later, during the Cold War, they produced the F-8 Crusader and the derivative A-7 Corsair II jet fighters.

The flying pancake or “flapjack” as they used to be known, was a “discoidal” shaped wing – a round wing, essentially – that had small horizontal structures sticking out of the tail area, and twin rudders.  It had two engines with massive 16-foot diameter propellers.

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It could fly as slowly as 40 MPH and as fast as – get this – 425 MPH. That would be quite a ride in that airframe, I’d wager.

The U.S. Navy ordered it built for testing purposes in 1942, based on designer Charles Zimmerman’s design. However it was not to make it into production due to the advent of and wide acceptance of modern axial flow jet engine technology.

A fun story I read related how one time, when they flew it down to New York for a Navy Day show, beachgoers on the Long Island Sound reported seeing a “flying saucer” nearby! 

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Los Angeles Sports Fans

4 01 2012

I watched the Lakers play the Houston Rockets last night, on my last day off before returning to work (and what a bummer that has proven to be already). 

It was an exciting, high-scoring game with multiple ties and lead changes. And the fans?  It was so quiet at times, I mistakenly thought that the audio feed had been cut.

Seriously, with the Laker’s home crowd, it seems like they can’t be bothered to cheer for their team. They will cheer loudly only if a player makes some unbelievably difficult or glamorous shot, or if the team is rallying to come back from behind.

I have a theory that goes something like this: Lakers tickets at The Staples Center are so expensive, that it mostly draws an older, wealthier, more subdued crowd. And for whatever reason, those people don’t get excited about seeing an NBA game live.

After three quarters of each team taking the lead from each other, finally in the last quarter the Lakers began to pull away for the win.   In that final quarter, at one point the TV was so quiet I figured that they were bleeping out some unruly fan as they do from time to time.  I was surprised, but not shocked when instead I heard one of the commentators sniffle a little bit.  It was just that quiet.

Why do they riot during the championship parade, but not make a sound during the games?