Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Militant's 2008 Round-Up!

WHATUP?! It's been a while. Belated Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and Awesome Boxing day to all of you.

What was 2008 like for the Militant? Let's see now!

The Militant's 2008 went off to a slow start - you can say a semi-hibernated state, but then he discovered some new-ish places in Downtown Los Angeles, and even stepped into the Orange Curtain. He also joined Facebook, where he set up his own account (add him as a friend, he won't decline!). He also covered the MLK Day Parade near the Crenshaw District. But instead it was his K-9 unit that went free at last, only to be found safely days later in West Los Angeles, several miles from the compound. Speaking of animals, the Militant helped usher in The Year of the Rat in Chinatown in early February.

In March, armed with a video camera, he rode some Red Cars at the Orange Empire Railway Museum out in Perris and did his very first Vlog entry, where readers heard what may or may not have been the Militant's speaking voice. RE-RUN!:

Speaking of trolleys, he joined a Ride-Arc ride where the cyclists re-traced some of the old transit lines. Speaking of Ride-Arc, what happened to it? He did go on rides through Pasadena, and a solo ride from the compound to Venice Beach. He even explored the other bike culture.

The Militant loves his City's neighborhoods, so he brought you to The 'Shaw, Little Armenia, Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood's Guitar Row and the potential Little Bangladesh. He even featured the City's Hair District.

One of the biggest hot-button issues here in Los Angeles Blogdom is the whole Eastside/Westside delineation thingamabob that no one can get enough of, wether they be the correct locals or the incorrect transplant gentrificados. The Militant finally put his foot down on the issue and defined it once and for all, which came in the form of not a line but an entire central region of the City dividing west and east...But what ever should it be called?

There was no shortage of festive street activities to be found: Cherry Blossom in Little Tokyo, Earth Day in Mid-Wilshire, Historic Filipinotown's anniversary, Echo Park's Lotus Festival and the ginormous Songkran in Thai Town. He also didn't go to Sumshit Dysfunction Sunset Junction. Farmer's Markets in Highland Park and South Pasadena also were neato destinations for this Militant.

Hey, what's that? The crack of the bat? The scent of Dodger Dogs? It's time for Dodger Baseball! And boy was it a time in 2008, with the team celebrating its 50th anniversary with a return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (the largest baseball game evar in attendance, an event so big, the Militant just had to vlog it!) and a memorable Opening Day.

Now that the Dodgers have been a Los Angeles institution for half a century, the Militant figured it was time to use their new bicycle parking facilities. But alas, it was really just the Top Deck's smoking section. Heck, even the Coliseum had better bike parking. But whether he rode to The Stadium on bike, by car or via the new Dodger Trolley(bus), The Militant thought it was a great season. A season of young Clayton Kershaw, and of course, MANNY. A season in which the Boys in Blue won the NL West, and celebrated. They even swept the Cubbies to win their first postseason series since you-know-when. Alas, their NLCS rival had soon their Phil of victory. But hey, at least we can still look forward to the Next 50 years...

In 2008, the Militant celebrated his fi(r)st anniversary as a bloggerista, with a Month of Militancy in the month of May (or may not), and revealing himself to the world (kinda sorta) for the very first time via a vlog entry. And what would a Militant be without dispelling some very popular myths directed at Los Angeles?

The Militant was most proud of his posts connecting the past with the present, especially in 2008, after lots of Militant research, he finally uncovered some of our lost creeks: Sacatela Creek (Los Feliz to Koreatown) and Arroyo de los Jardines (Hollywood to Mid-City). He also loved walking up and down the Franklin Hills Public Stairways.

There were new things to explore in '08: Glendale's Americana at Brand (meh), Downtown's Vista Hermosa Park (cool), Metro's TransitVue info screens (finally) and TAP card (beep).

And who could forget that 5.4 seismic rump shaker that shook on July 29?

Finally, the Militant ended 2008 with a car-less weekend getaway to San Diego, and a failed bid to be appointed as the next LAUSD Superintendent. Better luck next time!

So what does 2009 hold? There's lots in store for this fine City. There's an election coming up, a new Metro Rail extension going to The Eastside, and depending on how things go, there may or may not be celebratory parades for our more prominent basketball and baseball teams. Until then, Happy 2009 to you and STAY MILITANT!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Quantum of Solis*: An Angelena Joins Obama's Cabinet

Okay, so the Militant may or may not have been selected as the new LAUSD Superintendent (damnit!), but the Militant is pleased to find out today that The Funky President has selected a native Angelena to head the U.S. Department of Labor. Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis, who represents California's 32nd congressional district, which stretches from The Real Eastside and through the San Gabriel Valley to Covina, was chosen by Obama on Thursday to join the 44th President's cabinet. Cool deal, since the Militant was concerned that Obama was being a little too Chicago/Illinois-centric in his picks.

Solis is the first person from the Southland to be on board the new administration, especially since her colleague (and the Militant's own congressman) Xavier Becerra opted to stay in da House rather than take on the U.S. Trade Representative position. Though she's a native Angelena, she's not the first So Cal native on Obama's cabinet -- Commerce Secretary-designate and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson was born in Pasadena. And for anyone keeping score, Obama's got three Latinos and two Asian Americans in his cabinet...tokens no more!

So congrats, anyway, Congresswoman Solis! We got an Eastsider (What? And these fine folks haven't taken notice of it yet? Tsk tsk...) in the executive branch!

* The headline alone was the main reason for writing this post, and the Militant is surprised no one's jumped on that headline yet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Superintendent Militant Angeleno?

With the recent stepping-down of Supernintendo Superintendent David Brewer from the Los Angeles Unified School District, it appears that the second-largest public school system in the country is in need of a new leader. Someone with new ideas, who's not afraid to take risks, and one with a true vision for education in Los Angeles.

The Militant knows exactly the person who can accomplish this.


Yes, the Militant Angeleno is putting it right out there: He would like to be the next Superintendent of Schools for the LAUSD.

So the Militant lacks the experience, you say? Surely you jest. The LAUSD needs someone who really knows the school district. Brewer's predecessor, Roy Romer, was once the former Governor of Colorado. Brewer, a former Navy admiral, has military experience. This blogger has, of course, militant experience.

Brewer has had a total of two years of experience in the LAUSD. Romer had five years.

The Militant, on the other hand, has 13 years of experience in the LAUSD.

Okay, granted, all of those 13 years were being a K-12 public school student. But still, who better to know the needs and issues of the school district than an actual product of it?

The Militant, as a high school student, excelled in subjects like English, History and the arts. At the same time, he was an awful Math student, was not so hot in Science, and very mediocre in foreign languages.

When the Militant was but a little kid, he was fascinated with science, so much that one of his childhood aspirations was to be an astronaut. But see, the poor quality of teaching and educational materials made science a dull subject for him so much that his desire waned, and so did the grades. So there you go, that's one of the areas where our schools are sorely lacking.

Again on the topic of experience, maybe it is true the Militant is not experienced enough -- the Militant will gladly admit that he sorely lacks experience in corruption, allowing massive cost overruns and gross incompetence.

And Brewer's $400,000 salary? Heck, the Militant will work for half that! Even quarter that! (It'll still be oodles more than his current militant income...)

As far as a vision, the Militant definitely has one:

First off, stop this idiotic LAUSD land grab we have seen in the past few decades. It's no secret that we've lost a lot of our history because of this. The Militant will build school sites with a smaller footprint, rather than large-acreage schools that take away people's homes, commercial areas and precious parks, recreation and open space.

Develop vocational partnerships with local industries, such as health care, trade/manufacturing and the entertainment/tourist industry. That way we can develop a loyal local pool rather than rely on transplants showing up at the Greyhound station to take all the jobs.

And speaking of local, establish a local history curriculum. The Militant knows his Los Angeles history, as you all know, but virtually none of it came from the classroom. He had to learn it on his own. We have kids who live and breathe and learn and play here, yet they have absolutely no concept of how this City came to be, and how it functions, on a societal, cultural, economic and governmental level.

Lastly, as superintendent, the Militant will make sure the LAUSD follows this one motto: Quality over Quantity. For decades the LAUSD has been psychotically obsessed with capacity, capacity, capacity, resulting in the aforementioned land grab to accommodate the overcrowding. Enough of this, it's the quality of the edjumakation that has to be at the forefront. And losing kids to private and charter schools shouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, if they're that obsessed with containing capacity and keeping classroom sizes down.

Seriously now, the Militant saw his share of teacher's strikes and walkouts back when he was in school; those things leave a lasting impression for a young, aspiring militant. He also recently had a conversation with an unspecified former member of the Board of Education who candidly told the Militant that the situation regarding the relationship between the teachers union and the District is "downright chaotic" nowadays as compared to when the Militant was in school.

Enough of this, the Militant says, crap will be cut and credibility will finally be restored to our ailing school system.

And if he doesn't do such a great job as superintendent, well...they can always buy out his contract.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Well, well, well. The Militant heard today that the great almighty Midwestern colonial slavemaster of the Los Angeles Times, a.k.a., the Tribune Company, is writing a new chapter in its corporate history: Chapter 11!

The big Trib, which owns, among other properties, the Times, KTLA Channel 5, amd perennial losers the Chicago Cubs, about $12 million in debt.

Tribune is expected to zell-off the Cubbies sometime next year, and good for them. Perhaps the MLB's sultans of suck will reduce their suckage factor somewhat by eliminating the suckitude from their ownership end (As far as on the field, well, they're on their own).

Tribune also needs to zell-off the Los Angeles Times, and basically any media entity west of the Mississippi for that matter. And what's this about Tribune buying the Orange County Register and the San Diego Union-Tribune (WTF? A continuous zone of journalistic suckitude from Pt. Mugu to the Mexican Border?)

The Militant knows Sam Zell himself isn't reading this, since he doesn't get the whole blog thing to begin with, but what the hey:

Sam Zell: Dude...Duuuuude. Duuuuuuude. Please oh please oh please oh PLEASE emancip, er, sell the Los Angeles Times. You don't need it. It's not working. Really. And in case you don't know, us Southern Californians are all...umm, illiterate! Yeah, that's the ticket! So why own a newspaper that no one can read? Really. So zell off the Times. To Mr. Geffen. Heck, zell it to a goldfish. The Militant would gladly buy it, though he doesn't quite have the militant funds to afford such a venture. But if he did, he'd show up at your door with the cash.

And as for buying up papers in OC and SD? STOP. YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. You don't keep buying crap when you're in debt. Isn't that the reason why there's a mortgage crisis going on right now? Please, zell off the Times, and don't buy the other So Cal papers either.

Again, zell off the Los Angeles Times.

Do it, please.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Metro To Help Bring Bikes Into The Fold

Okay, okay, so transit ridership is a little low because of this. But in the endless predictable cycle of things, what goes up, must come down, but will inevitably bounce back up again.

Remember during those inflated-gas price days of Summer, there was talk of how to accommodate more bicycles in transit vehicles? Everything from removing more seats to a "bikes only" railcar on trains to a rear bike rack on buses (a.k.a "Free Bikes For The Taking!").

Well, imagine buying one of them nifty, slick $400-and-up folding bikes to stow on your bus or train ride, but getting a nice subsidized discount and paying considerably less for it!

The Militant is pleased to report that such a thing will happen in the very near future, as operative reports have informed him that Metro, partnering with Calstart, received $85,000 in Caltrans Community-Based Transportation Planning grant funds to implement a folding bike subsidy program. Basically, (M) would provide price discounts to transit riders to purchase a collapsible bike to use for their bus and/or train ride(s).

The whole focus of the program are "first and last mile commuters" who require an efficient alternative to autos and a quicker alternative to walking to get to/from their bus and/or train. Since folding bikes take up considerably less real estate than a conventional bike, apparently this program was proposed as a way to address the capacity vehicles on transit vehicles.

So yes, guess you can say that (M) is growing the cojones for the Dahones.

Apparently, these funds were awarded back in June. The money's there, so where's the program? The Militant wants his folding bike!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Militant Recipes: The Militant's So-Cal Lo-Cal Chopped Salad!

This is what the Militant will be preparing for Thanksgiving dinner this evening:


- 2 whole bunches, romaine lettuce
- 1/2 package of prepackaged fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 5 mushrooms, sliced
- 5-8 cherry tomatoes (whole)
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels
- 1/2 bottle, red wine vinaigrette dressing
- 1 cup, large garlic croutons
- 3/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Twist off romaine lettuce into bite-size pieces, place in large salad bowl. Place spinach leaves into bowl, rinse in cold running water, drain.

Add sliced red onions, sliced mushrooms and whole cherry tomatoes into bowl.

Roast sunflower kernels and chopped garlic in frying pan (do not add oil). Use wooden spatula to overturn sunflower kernels and garlic pieces to evenly darken. Remove from heat.

Using salad tongs, toss salad (hey hey, keep it clean, kids!) contents, add roasted sunflower and garlic. Sprinkle on vinaigrette dressing, parmesan cheese and croutons while mixing salad. Serve and enjoy!

This salad is great for any occasion! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

UPDATE: This was a hit at the dinner table! The Miltant's family loved it, and the compliments by one of the Militant's unspecified siblings sealed the deal. The Militant admits he shopped for the ingredients at the last minute. He normally goes to Trader Joes for the ingredients, but since they were closed for Thanksgiving, he had to settle for the nearest Albert$on$. This salad ended up costing him $23. Oh well, it was all for a worthy cause.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vlogstyle Episode 04: The Militant Invades San Diego!

Hey, it's been a while since he made one of these. This time he gets back behind the camera to show you what he did this past weekend in San Diego, armed with his bike, an Amtrak ticket and his trusty Militant Video Camera. From Downtown to Point Loma to La Mesa to Balboa Park to Old Town, the Militant presents his little getaway.

For your curiosity, here's where the Militant rode:

The Militant's Santa Fe Station to Pt. Loma ride route - 9.7 miles

The Militant's Stockton District to Old Town (via Balboa Park) ride route - 12 miles

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ticket To Ride

Sometimes the Militant needs a little break.

No, not just from blogging (he's had many of those), but from the stresses and strains of Militancy. So he's taking a mini-vacation this weekend.

Gas is cheap, so does that mean the Militant will take a drive?

Aw, hell no! Everyone else will be driving, and he refuses to spend his time sitting in traffic with all y'all fools!

So he's taking the train.

The Militant has been on Amtrak a couple times before, once in the West Coast, another time in the East Coast. So this weekend he will go off to an unspecified location, and have a time. And he may or may not take his bike.

Of couse, when all is said and done, he will specify the location. So take extra good care of Los Angeles while the Militant is away. Maybe you can put on your walking shoes and do this on Saturday (the Militant would love to do that, but of course joining them might very well cause him to reveal his identity - especially in a group of bloggers...) If you're good, he just might make another Vlogstyle post!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Los Angeles = Museum Town?

You know how "those people" say that "LA lacks a sense of culture?" Well, for one, we do have our share of museums. There's the requisite Natural History and Children's museums; the acronymic art museums: LACMA, MOCA and MONA; The Getty and The Other Getty; the California ScienCenter as well as a Museum of Jurassic Technology, among many others.

Well, in the next couple of weeks, add two more, both located in Downtown Los Angeles - the South Park (no, not that South Park) district, specifically.

The GRAMMY Museum opens December 6 at L.A. LIVE, also home to CLUB Nokia, which, as we all know, is across the street from STAPLES Center. Come to think of it, maybe that part of town should be renamed the CAPS LOCK District.

At first, the Militant was puzzled what exactly would appear in a Gramm, er, GRAMMY Museum. Aftr all, don't the winners keep their own awards? Oh wait, maybe the surrendered 1990 Grammy from these guys might be on display!

But in actuality, the 30,000 square-foot museum, according to its WEBSITE (okay, the Militant will stop now...), describes it as an institution that "explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music; the creative process; the art and technology of the recording process; and the history of the GRAMMY Awards." So, expect it to highlight the recording studio -- from Les Paul's multitrack wonders to Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound to Quincy Jones' thrilling productions, right up to today's state-of-the-art digital technology that artificially makes Britney Spears' voice stay in tune.

Not too much far south is the Los Angeles Sports Museum, which was featured in today's Los Angeles Times Sports section. This one opens just days from now, on November 28. At 32,000 square feet it's roughly the same size as the GRAMMY Museum.

Now, if the Militant were to make a "Los Angeles Sports Museum," wanna take a stab as to what it's gonna have? Okay, besides all the Dodger memorabilia...No, seriously, it's probably going to have exhibits and mementos from decades of professional sports, two Olympiads, remanants of sports teams of the past - from the Hollywood Stars baseball team to the Rams and the Raiders, and heck, even the L.A. Extreme. It would also feature famous Angeleno athletes, from Robinson to Drysdale to Elway to Tiger to Kwan to the Williams Sisters...right?

Well apparently, for this "Los Angeles Sports Museum," not so much. Yes, there's a plethora of Dodgerabilia, though apparently it's from the time they wore the "B" on the caps. There's even sections devoted to the Yankees and Red Sox, for goodness sakes(?!?!) So yeah, tell the Militant about it, this museum is somewhat of a letdown. It's really less of a true homage to Los Angeles athletica than Some Dude's Sports Memorabilia Collection on display (for the nice price of $17.50 a head).

Oh well. If you really wanna see that $2.6 million Honus Wagner baseball card, this so-called Los Angeles Sports Museum is located near Washington Blvd. and Main Street.

Militantwise, both of these museums will be easily accessible via the (M) Blue Line -- the GRAMMY Museum is a few steps away from the Pico/Chick Hearn station and Some Dude's Sports Memorabilia Collection At $17.50 A Pop is just a short walk from the Grand Station. So don't none of you beyatch and whine about not finding any parking.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Can Feel It Coughing In The Air Tonight

The Milita(cough, cough, cough) wildfires this weekend in three corners of the Southlan(cough, cough, cough) n't be able to go out and ride his bicy(cough, cough, cough). The sky looks as if we have more than one thing (cough, wheeze) in common with Beijin(cough, cough, cough, hack, cough). Except this time, there are more homes bur(cough, cough, cough, hack, wheeze, cough). From his compound he can(cough, cough, cough, wheeze, cough, cough, hock...spit). The Militant can't (cough, cough) wait until all this (cough, cough, cough, wheeze, cough, cough, hoccccccccck, ptui!) the air and (hack, cough, cough, ack, cough, cough, cough, wheeze, wheeze, cogh, cough)...

Oh, forget i(cough, cough, cough, wheeze, hock...).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If I Can Make It There, I'll Make It Anywhere...

What would a Militant post be without talking about transplants? Sure, they're an easy target for the Militant. But this time, the Militant takes a different perspective. He shares a NY Times article link sent to him from an operative who recently transplanted himself out East.

The article is on young professionals from other states, who moved to NYC, sharing their trials and tribulations on fitting in to The Big Apple. Sez the article:

"Newcomers suddenly realize either that the city is not working for them or that they are inexorably becoming part of it, or both."

Sounds familiar to some of you? Since the Militant never had to move here, he'd like to hear from some of you transplanted ones who've read the article and would like to know, NY-local references aside, how similar it is to your experience. The rest of us natives can just observe.

Because in the end, it may not really be about the place, but the perspective.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Cosmetic Surgery Capital of America? Yeah Right.

Ask anyone where the Cosemetic Surgery Capital of America is, and you'll hear "L.A." before you even reach the second syllable of "Capital." Right?

But Men's Health Magazine recently ranked the top metropoli in the United States in terms of cosmetic surgery, botox applicatiions and cosmetic dentists. The number one city? It's in California alright, but you wouldn't have the foggiest idea where. The Militant will just hold that answer at bay. Okay, okay, here's a clue: It's famous for its bridges, and probably now those bridges might have to deal with the ones on people's noses.

And where does Los Angeles rank? No lie - click it on the map yourself - Number 48.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Attack Of The 50-Year-Old Woman!

When an unspecified source offered the Militant a free pair of tickets to Madonna's Thursday night concert at The Stadium, the first thing the Militant thought was, "Madonna has a concert at Dodger Stadium?" but the Militant accepted the tickets, despite not being the hugest Madonna fan (though he's not ashamed to admit he has some of her CDs and LPs in his collection). But (and he's dating himself now), he's a child (well, technically, a teenager) of the '80s, and why not see a true '80s icon while they're still performing? So the Miliant texted one of his platonic female operatives and off they went to the Ravine.

The big three American '80s pop music icons - Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna - are all halfway to 100. Between the three of them, their ages total a sesquicentennial! The Militant saw Prince rock Staples Center four years ago, and after Madonna, it's time to see the fux0red-up King of Pop...if he can guarantee that the tip of his nose won't fly off into the audience.

It's been three weeks since that devastating season-ending loss to the would-be World Champs (eugh...), and the Militant returns to The Stadium. He'd seen a concert there before, and in fact, wrote about the experience on This Here Blog. Again, it's a confusing experience: the familiar aroma of beer, Dodger Dogs and nacho cheese wafts in the air while the crowd is pumped for The Material Girl.

The night began with DJ Paul Oakenfold providing mostly-house music before the show, then a long-ass wait that was accented with the celeb sighting of that dude who used to be a Star 98.7 on-air personality...what's his name...oh yeah, Ryan Seacrest. This sort of stuff is foreign territory for the Militant.

Eventually the soon-to-be former Mrs. Guy Ritchie got on stage and sang some tunes the Militant wasn't familiar with at all. Then came a remixed "Vogue," which he did recognize, interspersed with the familiar and unfamiliar. The singer, who picked up the guitar a few years ago, played nearly half of her set slinging a six-string, looking like the rocker chick that never was, but hey, if anyone's entitled to it, it's Madonna.

The Militant digs going to concerts, but in much more intimate spaces (the Univera, er, Gibson Ampitheatre is as big as he prefers) and with artists more focused on the music. So the big dance productions, and the little segues without the artist onstage (who uses the time to switch wardrobe) was again a paradigm shift for this Militant. The cameos by Justin Timberlake and the 30-second walk-on by Britney Spears were admittedly slightly interesting, of course the crowd of 50,000 went totally nuts. For the Militant, the highlight was the hard-rock version of her 1984 hit "Borderline," with Ms. Ciccone again on guitar.

Given what it was, it was a pretty cool show after all. He give props to Madonna for being a music artist who constantly reinvents herself (and even lampoons her former images in one of her numbers via live costumed "wannabees"), and despite the $20 event parking price (hey, no shuttle and she didn't have her bike on her that night), the show was the right price.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voters Choo-Choo-Choose More Rail

The results are in, the people have spoken. Californians have voted to approve Proposition 1A and Los Angeles County residents have approved Measure R.

Proposition 1A, which will fund the construction of a high-speed passenger rail network stretching from San Diego to Sacramento, won with over 52% of the vote. Interestingly, according to the state county results map, even counties not directly served by the proposed rail system, such as Imperial in SoCal and Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Yolo counties up north, voted for high-speed rail. Of course, they would stand to benefit as well; San Francisco and Sacramento are just a relatively short drive away, and the high-speed train will do the rest.

Most people look at the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train or France's TGV as what the California high-speed train will be like. But both systems are already decades old. Perhaps take a look at Taiwan's high-speed rail system, which is closer in size to California's planned system and opened just last year:

More locally, and perhaps more suprisingly, Los Angeles County residents voted to increase the sales tax by half a cent to fund transit and road improvements in the county, most noticeably securing local funding for extending the Metro Purple Line (a.k.a. "The Subway To The Sea"). What made it surprising was that, despite a recession and sagging economy, this not only got a majority, but (barely) eked the 2/3 majority vote to pass. Perhaps traffic is indeed that bad that the public considers the tax a worthwhile investment. And tho those yellow-shirted sorry-asses passing out flyers before Election Day accusing Measure R of being "Racist" (the yellow-shirted sorry-asses passing them out in front of the Militant were blond-haired and blue-eyed, oh the irony!) well, YOU SUCK!

Measure R continues a 28-year trend of public support of transit, which started in 1980 when voters approved of a Proposition A that helped to fund today's Red, Blue and Green lines. Similar initiatives came before voters since the late 1960s, but they were soundly rejected, which is the primary reason why modern rail transit did not exist in Los Angeles until the 1990s.

The Militant will admist though, that sales tax revenue in a time of recession is not going to generate that much, and the MTA had to scale back on its plans during the last recession. But the prospect of over 210,000 new jobs coming to the region (and, similarly 160,000 jobs statewide as a result of Prop 1A) were probably the dealbreakers for most voters faced with economic reality.

Good work, California and Los Angeles County...can't wait to ride.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Where's The Party?

If there was elect-ricity in the air on Tuesday morning, then Tuesday night was a powerful jolt indeed, as America selected its new Presidential Idol by the name of Barack Obama, who, in his undergrad stint at Occidental College in the early '80s, lived as an Angeleno (an Obamangeleno?) in Eagle Rock (or rather, Eagle Barack?) for two years, at least in the Fall and Spring.

In New York City, crowds at Times Square and Harlem gathered, cheered and danced in the streets. In Washington, DC, multitudes staged an impromptu street party outside of Obama's next home, And in the president-elect's.hometown, an estimated quarter million people celebrated in Grant Park to see El Nuevo Presidente make his victory speech.

Like over 60 million others, Obama was the Militant's choice on the ink-a-vote card (He didn't want to openly endorse him on This Here Blog since his rivals might make a case of the Illinois senator associating himself with...Militants (is that such a dirty word?)). So thusly, he wanted to celebrate this historic moment.

He thought about heading to Century City (via Metro Rapid, because the parking situation was no doubt gonna be nuts out there) to join in the big-ass party that was the Century Plaza Hotel, but by the time he was ready to leave, the polls have closed in California, the networks have just projected Obama as the winner, and McCain's concession speech will soon follow. So the Militant had to scrap the Westside trek and return the compound and see it on TV.

See the problem here? The biggest party in Los Angeles - one of the cities where the president-elect resided in - took place in a private space, a hotel ballroom in the Westside that was limited to a capacity of less than 7,000 people. There was no public celebration (though the Militant has heard from operative reports there were a smattering of small, neighborhood fetes), no dancing and partying in the street. Perhaps the biggest thing he heard in terms of public celebrations were people driving along Wilshire, honking their horns. Whoop-ee.

Surely, one or more of you will respond in the Comments section with a paragraph that includes the phrase "too spread out." Sure for those of you out in Canyon Country, Rancho Palos Verdes or Rancho Freaking Cucamonga, but the Militant lives walking distance from a subway station.

But then again, despite a dense Central area of the city that is more transit-advantaged than the rest of the region, we still have a ways to go in terms of the use, or even the awareness, of public space.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Elect-ricity Is In The Air

Video: The kids from Atlanta, GA's Ron Clark Academy doing, "You Can Vote However You Like," to the tune of T.I.'s "Whatever You Like"

Here it is, folks. The big day has arrived. July 4 may be the day when people wave flags and shoot off pyrotechnics, but this is the day Americans get to do the do.

The Militant knows the reach of this subject goes beyond being an Angeleno, but hey, sometimes bigger things take effect.

The Miliant may have his voting preference, and his presidential choice may or may not be obvious, but the choice is really yours (The Militant does, however endorse Measure R).

There's some long lines out there, which is just awesome. This is the way it should always be. People in third-world countries may face levels of corruption that makes what goes on in our government look like child's play, and there's usually incidents of bloodshed, but people always turn out. Long lines? Be civil, be patient. Bring a book or your unspecified digital music playback device. Get to meet your neighbors, too (just try not to talk about politics, though, that might constitute electioneering).

So get out and vote, folks.

In the interest of expression, please use the Comments section of this post as a vehicle to big-up your specified candidate(s) or ballot measure(s)...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Holly-ween Eve

The Militant, not only lacking in posts lately but a rather procrastinating kind, set out to acquire elements of his Halloween costume on Thursday night. After a quick net search, he realized the best place was the most obvious place: Hollywood Toys & Costumes, right on the boulevard.
As expected, he rode his bike there, and was able to find adequate bike parking horseshoes installed on the Walk of Fame. And also as expected, the costume shop was pure mayhem.

The business hours displayed at the window lists the closing time as "7 p.m." Of course, this being All Hallows Eve Eve, and this being past 8 p.m. when the Militant was in there, they weren't gonna close anytime soon. The Militant, only after a few minutes browsing, was able to find what he was looking for; a missing element in his unspecified costume, which he will wear in public on Friday (This costume non-description may just be a ploy as he may or may not just decide to dress up as his awesome camouflaged self (who's gonna notice, right?) for the 31st).

Finding the missing costume element was the easy part. Next was purchasing the damn thing. Outfitted with just three cash registers, the checkout like stretched as far south as Sunset Boulevard (okay, just an exaggeration, but it did stretch for nearly the entire depth of the storefront). Of course, this being Halloween Eve, the Militant was way willing to tolerate the long-ass queue of fellow procrastinators (pictured left).

The line moved faster than expected and people were rather civil. After making the purchase, the Militant decided to just stand outside with his bike on the Boulevard, watching the healthy-sized throngs of people stroll up and down the Walk of Fame, a few already in costume, a few carrying their costumes, and others already sharing their 'Ween night party plans with their group of friends, or via cellphone.

An ambulance wailed through the Boulevard, halting the slow march of cars, reverberating though the canyon of clubs, souvenir shops, restaurants and theatres. He appreciated this little take-for-granted urban scene, mainly because when he's on the Boulevard, he's either walking, riding the bike or driving -- either way, he's always in motion. But this time, he just stood still, and took it all in.

On another note, here's a sign (pictured right) that's posted all through the Boulevard, warning revelers on the City's anti-silly string ordinance. Possessing the streaming stuff can cost you a grand.

Of course, it raises a few questions:

  • So there is nothing to stop people from unleasing cans of the stuff at 11:59 p.m. tonight?
  • How does one quantify the silliness of the string? Can one, conversely, possess a can of a non-silly string, or even a considerably less sillier one?
Makes ya wonder. Happy Weening, folks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hey DJ Won't You Play That Song...

The Militant always believed that there's a rhythm to this City. Or rather, many rhythms. Angeleno indie filmmakers Jerry Chan and Mitchel Dumlao recently made a 4-minute short film, entitled DJ:LA, proving just that. Just d-d-d-d-dig it (Note: The above YouTube video is just a one-minute preview; the short in its entirely can be seen here:

Special props to Militant Operative Valleypinoy for the tip!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Call the Militant old-school, but he still likes to read the good ol' newspaper (once in a while). It's light, it's portable, it's a good way to kill time while riding on the Metro, sitting at the doctor's office, queuing at the bank, or sitting in the can.

Yeah, nowadays we got websites, news tickers, text updates, Twitter and, you know, those blog thingies. But the traditionalist in the Militant still believes there's still something to the printed word. After all, his trademark long-winded, word-count-heavy posts are testament to that.

Word? Word.

So while walking down an unspecified major thoroughfare on Tuesday, he happened upon a Los Angeles Times newsstand - a common sight - and did a "Hello, what's this?"

The display copy was partially obscured by a wraparound, with an uncharacteristically Wall Street Journal-esque illustration of the Times' editor (the Militant keeps up with local happenings, but he admits that he's never heard of "Russ Stanton" before, although it seems the Times changes editors these days with nearly the same turnover rate as Japan changes prime ministers). It appears that the Times got itself (yet another) facelift, its third in the past decade. And so the big ed sez:

"Today we're introducing changes designed to better match our coverage to your lifestyles and reading habits."


While the state of the traditional newspaper in the 21st century is a surprise to none, the Militant took to these "UI" changes with much skepticism. "Lifestyles?" You already know how much the Militant hates being stereotyped as an Angeleno.

So here we go, comparing today's Times with last week's paper (October 14):

The Nameplate: The most obvious change. Good to know the Los Angeles Times logo banner is still in that good ol' gothic typeface, but now its...SO MUCH BIGGER. And what's with the 3-D shadow? The date has moved from the bottom center of the nameplate to the upper-left. The price, moved to the other end. In the lower right: "" There is a reason for that.

The Headline: Looks the same as previous, though a sample front page rendering inside the wraparound shows one of those column-spanning "OMG NO WAI THIS IS IN ALL CAPS" -type headlines. Expect the November 5 edition to herald the announcement of our 44th president in that fashion.

Graphs and Illustrations: The graphic on healtchare costs looks a bit more USA Today. Of course, ever since McNewspaper debuted in 1982 with them boffo color pictures, all of the black-and-white-and-read-all-overs gradually followed suit. Over a quarter century later, that influence is still happening.

Color-Coded Sections: Speaking of color, the section flags are now symbolically color-coded: California is a dark orange/dark gold color; Sports is dark blue; Business is dark green; Calendar and Classified are red. Not that necessary, but if you wanna save on black ink in these tight economic times, might as well.

Sub-Sections: In the A section of the paper, the various subsections (i.e. World, Nation, Opinion, etc.) are presented in white on grey blocks to stand out. Okay, so much for saving on that black ink, then. But it does emphasize the sub-sections more.

Web-Exclusive: In an era where the Web is king, the new-look Times has ramped up the "web-teaser" sections, inviting readers to stories and features, such as Steve Hymon's popular Bottleneck Blog, and having readers continue their Times reading experience from newsprint to computer screen.

Other Changes: There's a bunch of other subtle, though interesting changes to the various sections. Each section now seems to feature a larger photo towards the top of the page. In terms of Tuesday's Sports section, there's one photo of the USC football team nearly half the size of the page. Speaking of whihc, Chris Dufresne's accompanying article directly below it leads off D1, filling much of the bottom half with oversized typefaces and paragraph symbols. What's disturbing is seeing the colloquial word, "Duh!" written in that oversized typeface, referencing the Trojans' single upset blemish to their season. Dunno..."Duh!" is fine for a blog, an email exchange or a text message, but in the lede of a newspaper article? Oh well.

"Change" is a big buzzord this year. Obviously the traditional newspaper has to keep up with technology and attitudes towards alternate news sources. So, yes, change is inevitable. On the other thand, the changes weren't as radical as what the Times seemed to make them out to be. Of course, if the gothic Los Angeles Times logo got changed to, say, a modern sans-serif font, then, well we might have anothe riot on our streets. Okay, maybe not. Or just a nerdy kinda riot.
So though the Militant might not be too crazy with this new Times look, it's not that bad either. Still, as long as the Times is under the wrath of Zell, and remains a mere outpost property for its Chicago-based colonist operation, the Militant still fears a day when he opens up the Times, and it looks and reads like a different city's paper. With the way things are these days, who knows?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Impossible Has Happened...Twenty Years Ago Today

Before we go any further, the Militant is keenly aware that some of his readers are probably wondering, "WTF, is Militant Angeleno now just a Dodgers blog?" or "Aren't there more pressing issues right now since parts of the City are on fire?" The Militant's thoughts and prayers are with all who are affected by the northern SFV wildfires, especially since at least two of his operatives' families are directly impacted - one of whom were pictured on the website of a major local news source. If the Militant had the time and the resources, he'd be out there covering the fires. Of course, it's not where people should be right now, so to all those out there in the north Valley, hang in there!

On the topic of tragic loss, there's no need for the Militant to reiterate what happened at the Stadium on Monday night. Indeed, the Phillies started their own wildfires that ravaged Chavez Ravine in its own way, and all was glum in Dodgerdom.

On Wednesday, October 15, 2008, the Dodgers will play a game that may or may not be their last game of the year (no, really...). With the Phillies leading the NLCS 3 games to 1, with only one win separating the Phills from a World Series appearance, and with a seemingly improbable 3-game sweep being the Last Blue Hope, it seems that only a miracle can save the Dodgers now.

A miracle.
Kind of like the one that happened on October 15, 1988?

There's no need for the Militant to describe what happened. It's forever emblazoned in sports history, in baseball history, in Los Angeles history, in Dodger history. Wnenever it replays on the Diamondvision screen at The Stadium, the fans treat it like a religious observance - The glorious miracle of St. Kirk of Gibson. Even the irreverent Dodger blog, considers it "The Last Great Dodger Moment" (complete with a clock counting the time elapsed since then). Even the imagery of Gibson's fist pumping, or the equally memorable Scullyisms uttered ("She is...GONE! In the year of the improbable, the impossible has happened!") have become iconic images and sounds in their own right.

Though it's been two decades, and the players, managers, even owners have changed many times over since then, it remains a shining example of a beacon of postseason hope. The odds are against us, but remember, True Blue fans, if there's any team that can do the impossible, from 10/15/88 to 9/18/06 to today, it's our Boys in Blue.

MILITANT UPDATE: Alika, your wish has finally come true. The crown of the US Bank Tower is now lighted in blue. Hey, that rhymes...


Monday, October 13, 2008

It's Time For Dodger Base-brawl!

The Dodgers beat the Phillies 7-2 Sunday during Game 3 of the NLCS and the Militant was there (of course). Thanks in part to the hometown crowd and the great-at-home Hiroki Kuroda pitching, all the Dodgers really needed was the bottom of the 1st inning. Not being a series clincher like the last game here, the crowd was more like a normal Stadium crowd, albeit with more expensive tickets. Also, unlike the last series, the opposing team's fans stuck out like a sore thumb. And then a near-fight broke out. Enough words, here's the pics. GO DODGERS!

The lineups.

(From bottom, right) Garvey, Lopes (in Phillies uniform), Russell and Cey meet their current counterparts Garciaparra, DeWitt, Furcal and Blake after the classic '70s-era infield threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The dude who sat in front of the Militant said to his friends,
"Dude, I'm just trippin' how it says "NLCS" on the field. How awesome is that?!?"

A couple fans wave signs referencing the Dodgers' unofficial theme song for this season. And yes, they got on the Diamondvision screen when the song got played.

A member of the media informs Russell Martin that the Phillies have declared today, "Hit Russell Martin with the Ball Day."

All together now: "Awwwwwwwwwwwww!"

A reporter from Philadelphia's FOX 29 goes live in enemy territory after the game.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Autumn Leaves in the Wind

They say there's no such thing as seasons in Los Angeles. Sorry to break this to you, but there are; it's just more subtle. And if you can't appreciate or recognize the subtleties, Mr. or Ms. Transplant, well, maybe you're the one who's superficial.

Anyway, the Militant spent his Friday night with one of his Is-This-Going-Anywhere-Or-Not female platonic friends in what may or may not actually be a date (no really, in this instance, the Militant isn't that proud of using his famous tagline). Oh it went well, but...wait, hold it! The Militant doesn't want to give out too many details on his personal life, so, enough with the background.

Anyway, as the Militant drove to the Westside, he noticed it. As he drove at the end of the night from the Westside via Downtown, he noticed it again. And from Downtown via surface streets back to his compound, yet again.

It was the sight, sound and feeling of those fallen autumnal leaves, swirling around by the Santa Ana Winds. He saw it on Venice Boulevard, he saw it on 8th Street, he saw it on Vermont Avenue. He has always wondered about those mysterious winds, as if they are a song that lasts all night, and even until the next day, whipping and bending the trees like an ongoing atonal symphony. Or perhaps they are the sound of the dry, invisible ocean that makes a ghostline appearance every so often.

Take a moment, stand still outside and let the wind envelop you. Let it whip your hair and ruffle your clothes. It's free. It's for all. Enjoy it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The Militant was joined by 56,000 loud, hungry - and sometimes rowdy Dodger fans (well, okay, there were a few pro-Cubbies transplants and tourists in there too...) at The Stadium on Saturday night to witness something he hasn't seen in over 20 years (and never before in person) - a Dodgers postseason series victory, SWEEPING THE CHICAGO CUBS TO GO ON TO THE NL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES!

After two dominating games on the road, he admits he was waiting (though not hoping, of course) for the Dodger guard to come down a bit, maybe the Cubs would pull off the ironic win here (only to have us clinch today, of course), maybe add some more drama to the score, heck, to even put up a fight.

Hey, the Militant has been let down before...

...But it fortunately never happened.

It was too good to be true. Of course, the Dodgers were playing the Chicago Cubs, and if anyone is used to letdowns, it's Cubbies fans, who had to endure a century's worth of letdowns. But in Los Angeles, where our relative span of history is shorter than most large cities, twenty years might as well be a hundred.

The electricity in the Stadium began even before Kuroda's first pitch. Fans were just wired to the max in the parking lot. By the middle of the first inning, when the Cubbies' leage-leading season was reduced to its last 24 outs, the Dodger fans, audibly boisterous and visually animated - each of them twirling the small white rally towel given to them at the gate - were ready to just get the game over with and celebrate. In fact, there was no need to rally. Maybe the Cubbies fans needed the towel more -- as something to throw in.

The first inning was all the Dodgers needed, as by the time Russel Martin and Manny Ramirez reached home, the crowd treated every inning from then on like the 9th.

And when the 9th did come - with both the Dodgers and the Chicago Flubs, er, Cubs scoring one run each since - they team had done their first postseason sweep since 1963 and ended that 20-year playoff series drought.

the Militant enjoyed it all from his first-base side reserve seat, accompanied by an unspecified number of operatives. One middle-aged lady a few rows behind him screamed at the top of her lungs every time Blake DeWitt's name was called out on the stadium PA, while a Carnation ice cream vendor told the crowd he was selling "Manny Ramirez Ice Cream," and Dodgers and Cubbies fans taunted each other (mostly in a lighthearted way, though there were a couple incidents where security was called in). This being a playoff game, only the more hardcore fans were present and were focused on the game; there were no official, pavilion-generated waves in the stadium, beach balls were kept to a minimum and no one left early (the ones that did wore blue caps with a red "C" on them, of course).

After the speeches (quote of the night: Manny Ramirez shouting, "There's a party at my house! I'm gonna party like a rockstar...if you can find my house!"), the champagne-spraying, both in and out of the clubhouse, the parking lot wa one huge party zone, with post-game tailgating, horns honking, perfect strangers dressed in Dodger Blue giving each other high-fives...the Militant was in Blue Heaven.

Of course there's two more series and eight more wins to go...The Militant will be there of course (he's waited 20 years, come on...) BEAT THE PHILLIES!

Pics from that wonderful game:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

By Golly, Dodgers Trolley To Run in Postseason!

Another reason for Dodger fans to smile this month: The Union Station-to-The Stadium Dodgers Trolley bus service will be running for all postseason home games, according to an operative's report that relayed confirmation from the Dodgers' front office.

The service, which first ran on July 25 and last ran for the final regular season home game on September 25, even ran an hour later than scheduled to serve fans who opted to stay for the champagne-spraying revelry after the Dodgers clinched the National League West title.

The biodiesel-fueled buses will be running again on Saturday's and, if necessary, Sunday's home games, as well as any possible National League Championship Series and World Series games. So this October, Dodger fans can ride the Red or Gold, Act Green and Think Blue!

SLAM! Dut-duh-dut! Dut-duh-dut!

The Militant is no doubt exuberant that the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 on Wednesday during the first game of the National League Division Series.

D-Lowe was d-lightful, holding down the Cubs to just two runs. Manny rammed, Martin sent one a-dartin', and most of all James Loney pwn3d with an el grande slammo in the 5th, which also sent Cubs starter Ryan Dempster into the dumpster. They went on to score three more after that, thanks to the aforementioned Ramirez and Martin bombs, so even without Loney's slam, they still would have won.

And them poor little Cubbies fans...left their little northside tourist attraction early. For a playoff game. And they claim to be so diehard, lol.

Dude, this is HUGE. This is the very first time since 1988 when the Dodgers won the first game of a postseason series, the first time since 1988 when they won a road game in the postseason and the first time they won a postseason game since 2004. Then, it was Lima Time. Now it's Loney Time. But unlike their postseason efforts in 2004 and 2006, the team isn't fraught with injuries (both on the field and off...). They got crazy depth. In fact, big injuries are behind them, with previously-hurt players like Rafael Furcal and Takashi Saito now back on the field.

The two teams face each other again tonight at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time, which is gonna be a little tough since there's another kind of playoff match going on in the Midwest tonight. Chad Billingsley faces Carlos Zambrano. If they can secure a back-to-back win tonight, it's gonna be a madhouse at the Stadium on Saturday night. And yes, the Militant will definitely be there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Livin' For This

Most people come "out here" (ugh, hate that phrase, would like to pound people in the head every time they say that...) for "the weather," which seems to be the sole reedeeming quality of Los Angeles according to them generalizing-loving transplantia. Of course you all knew that already. The Militant, who never chose to come "out here," simply accepted his fate in terms of his geographical placement and makes the most of it. Ergo, he takes this weather thing totally for granted.

But on Tuesday night, while taking a stroll in Little Tokyo to do some extramilitant tasks, at 11:30 p.m., the thermometer read an even 80 with humidity at 38%.




Though Summer symbolically ended a month ago, and officially a week and a half ago, the Militant longs to keep this Summer thing going as long as possible. In SoCal, it's not too uncommon to have a heatwave just a few days before Christmas. And besides, we won't have to change our clocks for another four weeks.

Yes, he lives for these warm, kind of humid nights. Nice and warm, but without the sun beating on one's skin in an oppressive manner. Nice enough to take a nocturnal bike ride, nice enough to hang out on the porch or a sidewalk cafe and have a chat, nice enough to take a stroll on the streets to take it all in. Ahhhh.

The very place he was in on Tuesday night, people did just that, riding their bikes on second street, hanging out amongst the closed storefronts of Little Tokyo plaza, chillin' out in the front patio of I <3 Boba on 1st Street. The warmth envelops you, but does not beat down on you like when the sun is out. It's like an invisible blanket, keeping you secure from the typical cold of night.

The Militant walked these same streets last Friday night, still warm yet not as warm, catching one of the last Red Line trains back to his compound after attending a Presidential Debate-watching party at an unspecified Downtown location. He saw the bicycles and the people hanging out and walking, as well as the Friday night bar/partygoers in various locations. And not realizing it before, he Though he knows how to handle himself in the City, and has walked through neighborhoods that most of you wouldn't even want to drive through - in a tank - he did feel a sense of comfort and an absence of danger. So for all you Downtowners (or potential Downtowners) wondering what the deal is, there you go from a non-Downtowner who's still down wit' Downtown.

The Militant knows this heat wave won't last, and will soon give way to the cool of Fall and the cold of Winter, so he will be out on the streets tonight. So who knows? You may or may not see him.