Watching Time

By Andrew Lim. Like most people I’ve gone through a number of hobbies, photography now being the greatest one. However the fascination with watches is one of the oldest. In general, I’ve always liked anything small and complicated, anything with tiny clicking bits. My very first watch was probably a yellow plastic Garfield watch that … Read more

Los Angeles, what are we standing on?

By Jeffrey the Barak. Geologists would say that the Los Angeles Basin is like a huge bowl of sand The geologic center for the Los Angeles Basin is the place where the Los Angeles River and the river known as Rio Hondo merge in South Gate. At this central point, sand, silt, clay and other … Read more

The hazards of imagining countries

By Jeffrey the Barak. Nomadic tribes move independently of each other and occasionally come together to interact through trade, war, sport, cultural exchange, intermarriage, murder etc. In the dense jungles of South America and Africa and Asia, the boundaries formed by geographical features such as ridges and valleys are all it takes to keep two … Read more

Errol Flynn’s Barnes Period

By Ajax Bardrick BARNES` LOST HOLLYWOOD CONNECTION UNCOVERED A handful of sparkling stardust from the glamour of old Hollywood fell on an obscure corner of South West London this week with the solution of an enduring mystery of the film actor Errol Flynn`s early life in the district. Flynn was the biggest star in Hollywood … Read more

The least continental place

By Jeffrey the Barak Nake Islet, part of Millenium Island, formerly known as Caroline Island, now in the Republic of Kiribati, is the closest point of land I could find after moving the Google Earth globe around to a spot that showed the least land. The only significant continental land visible at the edges of this hemisphere … Read more

Station Wagon is a dirty term.

By Jeffrey the Barak Once upon a time, car drivers who occasionally hauled around a lot of stuff and/or large objects from place to place, bought station wagons. In Europe these were called estate cars, and still are, but in the United States, they were called station wagons, presumably because they transferred goods to and … Read more

The Ford Crown Victoria is a lousy taxi

By Jeffrey the Barak Having just returned from the airport by cab, I have been moved to rant about how ridiculous it is for Los Angeles taxi cabs to pick the American dinosaur Ford Crown Vic as a cab. It’s a large sedan, with a big engine, and many cab operators buy them as used … Read more

The Urban Tango Phenomenon Explained

An interview with Makela Brizuela, by Jeffrey the Barak. In 2006, a very different dance performance was first presented in Venice California. Entitled “URBAN TANGO, The Agony and Ecstasy of Amateur Tango – In Search of the Elusive Embrace”, it was different in many ways and attracted the attention of many in the dance community. … Read more

Taking the “A” Train

By Cherie Magnus What is it about trains? We all love them–the waiting, the leaving, the whistles. Who can hear the distant “woo-woo” of a train without feeling something’s longing, nostalgia, the urge to hop on and leave your old life behind? Literature abounds with romantic train symbols: The Polar Express, Streetcar Named Desire, Train … Read more

Shaving – The Old Fashioned Way

By Jeffrey the Barak New things are better than old things and new gadgets are better than old gadgets, right? Wrong! Sometimes the impetus for tools and gadgets to evolve is not to make them better, it’s to change the marketplace to receive more expensive goods. There is no better example of this than the … Read more

Exion Scooters

Exion Scooters – Cees Bakker’s amazing home-built speedsters By Jeffrey the Barak Just one look at the carbon fiber creations above tells you, now those are some fast looking scooters! And fast they are. Designed for the racing circuit which exists in Europe, but not in the USA, these home built human-powered scooters make everything … Read more

Artie. It wasn’t about Big Bands, it was about The Big Bang.

Artie Shaw passed away on December 30, 2004, at age 94. Sigmund Shonholtz, his friend in later life, spoke at the funeral, and his well-received words on that day were almost exactly as written below. By Sigmund Shonholtz My friendship with Artie Shaw began over a business transaction about eight years ago. He had answered … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 11

The Worlds of Xochimilco By Cherie Magnus A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable. ~William Wordsworth In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. ~Sam Llewelyn Xochimilco, the “place of the flower fields” (in Nahuatl), is at once an ancient Aztec dream, a modern Mexican fiesta, and … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 10

Tango Magic in Oaxaca By Cherie Magnus Imagine a large leafy square with fountains and huge trees, surrounded on four sides by the colorful arcades of ancient colonial buildings. Imagine the kiss of a chocolate scented breeze on your skin. Imagine a concert band playing a classical concert with elderly couples rising casually from their … Read more

We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Gravity

By Jeffrey the Barak Far from the million dollar science grants and laboratories of Pasadena, and Los Alamos, in a village in Romania, and in the kitchen of a most unattractive apartment building, Gnelj stumbled across the secret of gravity control. Impossible you say? Isn’t the attraction of mass as inevitable as a slowing satellite … Read more

A Comparison of Giants

A Comparison of Giants – The Modern SUV versus the American Seventies Car By Jeffrey the Barak In the early 1980’s Americans bought little Toyotas, Hondas, BMW’s etc. in such numbers that many of the manufacturers begin building them right here in America. The buyers of these cars developed a severe distaste for the enormous … Read more

Hell hath no Fury, like a Plymouth scorned

By Mike (Roadie) Marino Published May 2004 Lights, camera’s, action! Quiet on the set! The casting couch and the Golden Age of Film. It was the heady Hollywood heydays. Glitz and glamour were personified by Gable and Garbo, and it was the same era of over consumption and arrogance that inspired the Gloria Swanson/William Holden … Read more

The Ballerina Interviews

By Kim Knode Published March 2004 Sven Toorvald’s life and his PBS documentary, The Ballerina Interviews, give an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the ballet world. Filmmaking is Sven’s passion. First and foremost, however, Sven is a danseur. Ballet “mesmerized” Sven at age fifteen. He signed up for classes at a local studio after seeing the … Read more

Human Powered Scooters

Human Powered Scooters – The Undiscovered Transportation Solution By Jeffrey the Barak Energy Efficient or Exhausting? Apart from the in-line scooter craze of 1999, the use of scooters in our society has been almost totally non-existent. Many would-be scooter riders have observed that it can be much less tiring to ride a bike for mile … Read more

Godzilla and the ’49 Merc.

By Mike (Roadie) Marino The Fabulous ’50’s weren’t just about Cold War nuclear politics and the fear of a Soviet takeover of America’s heartland. It was also about Brylcreem, ducktails, ponytails, fuzzy dice, hula dashboard ornaments, rock ‘n roll, V-8 muscle and a Saturday night car culture of testosterone on overdrive. We were Ben Hur … Read more

Collecting Portable Time

By Sigmund Shonholtz The History of Collecting Collecting antiques is not a new idea. Historical records indicate that 3,000 years ago, there were collectors and dealers of coins and artifacts in Egypt. Today, collecting antiques is different than it was in Egyptian times. For one, now it is a matter of semantics. According to Merriam-Webster’s, … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 8

Corpus Christi in San Miguel By Cherie Magnus My first day back in San Miguel de Allende after three weeks, I ran around doing errands, unpacking, organizing, but I wasn’t too busy to notice the hanging of red and gold satin and velvet banners from balconies along the main streets. Thinking a weekend fiesta was … Read more

The Bel Air Kid

By Kim Knode Los Angeles, November 2002 Twinkling in the baby blues of “The Bel Air Kid”, Alphonzo Bell Jr. (progeny of Bel Air’s founder) is a Wyatt Earp spirit. Etched in the crevices of his leather-tanned face are the compassion and contentment of a cowboy who dared to fight for the dictates dear to … Read more

A Tiara in 2001, A Marriage Forever

By Kim Knode The stereotype of beauty queens as Barbies with silicon breasts stuffed into swimsuits topped off with tiaras is starting to loosen its self-righteous grip in my mind.  The pageant gals I spoke with: Mrs. United States 2001, Dana Opsincs; Mrs. Globe 2001, Stacey Cooper; and Mrs. US Globe 2001, Becky Coomes are … Read more

Spielberg’s Mom and The Milky Way

By Nicola Pittam He’s the biggest director in the world and the mastermind such box office hits as ET, Jurassic Park, Jaws and Indiana Jones. But while Steven Spielberg makes movies that pull in hundreds of millions of dollars, his mum still runs the tiny restaurant she began 25 years ago. Petite Leah Adler, who … Read more

Hotel Home

Hotel Home – Peter Greenberg’s Unique Odyssey By Nicola Pittam Traveler Peter Greenberg has transformed his house into a real holiday home. Peter was so impressed with his stay in hotels around the world, that he immediately turned to them when he wanted to decorate his home. Now the travel writer has decked out his … Read more

Riding the Range

Riding the Range – Stress, Success and Failure at the School for Street Motorcyclists By Jeffrey the Barak It may be a cliché to call this a mid-life identity crisis, but at the ripe old age of 45 I suddenly find myself with an overwhelming desire to put an amusement park between my legs. What … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 4

Semana Santa in San Miguel By Cherie Magnus I can’t think of a better place for a practicing Christian to be for Holy Week than San Miguel de Allende–except maybe for Rome, but I’ve never been there, and here I am in Mexico. (Who knew?) Even for those not Christian or Catholic, the cultural expressions … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 3

Auto Mexico By Cherie Magnus After a mind-expanding long day with ghosts, pyramids, and mysterious ancient art in Teotihuacan, our little tour group cruise along the Autopista with just two hours to go before hitting San Miguel de Allende and home. Gene, an archeologist from the University of Texas, Jaime, our Mexican guide/driver, and me, … Read more

The Church of Tango

By Cherie Magnus   It was known as La Cat’dral. Not easy to find in Buenos Aires’ dark side streets at three in the morning–no signs, no cars, no people in front. But once I climbed the stairs to the second floor of the old warehouse, I could hear the siren call of music. It … Read more