Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Sportsmen's Lodge - Studio City

Nearly 10 years ago I claimed a very small place in the local Los Angeles history books when I rented out a small banquet hall at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, CA. During the planning of that event, I learned a lot about the rich culture and history of this local treasure. It's origin dates back to 1913 when it opened as the Hollywood Trout Farm. Back then, this attraction featured ponds and a bait and tackle shop. A gentleman named Dave Harlig bought the property near the end of World War II and reopened on December 31, 1946 as the Sportsmen's Lodge featuring a dining room, kitchen, and restaurant. The newly opened property rapidly became a popular hangout for the movie crowd.

Charlton Heston, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Bettie Davis and many other Hollywood Celebrities were known to frequent this quaint San Fernando Valley hot spot. In fact, Ronald and Nancy Reagan hosted their wedding reception here. This was a time when most of this area was surrounded by orange groves and sheep grazed the local hillsides that were later purchased by Universal Studios. The patrons were allowed to catch their own fish and have it prepared (fried) in one of the on-site kitchens. Further, Robert Kennedy stayed on the fifth floor of the hotel the night before his assassination. How's that for a bit of trivia?

Today, the lodge looks a little different and serves as a popular gathering spot for some avid salsa dancers as well as a dinning spot for many of the local retired folks. I'm told that people will travel several hours to dance with the stars! Or maybe that's "Dance where the Stars have danced."


"On New Year's Day, (tomorrow) the Sportsmen's Lodge and its collection of well-known eateries, including the Caribou Restaurant, Muddy Moose Bar & Lounge and a handful of banquet rooms, will be temporarily shut down for remodeling. A new owner plans to reopen the historic venue in Studio City as a modern restaurant and boutique shopping center, perhaps with a new name." (See Los Angeles Times' Story)

(Imagine the people who have sat around this fireplace and the stories they can tell)

A shot of the swimming pool and some of the rooms above

Yesterday, I stopped by the Sportsmen's Lodge and I watched the sun set on yet another section of Hollywood's history. As the name of this institution and the stories associated with it become legend, I know that I'll remember the past and treasure the culture that this property offered. The name will change, no doubt, and the property will be updated - I hope the history will be preserved.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Music Monday - Same Old Lang Syne

As the year comes to a close, I can't think of a better selection to close out 2008 than "Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg. It's been a full year since Dan passed away following complications from advanced prostate cancer on December 16, 2007. I contemplated doing a post about Dan last year but decided not to. I wasn't a major fan of Dan Fogelberg. Not that his music wasn't good - I just didn't get it back then. I did, however, always like this particular song. It tells quite a story and blends the music nicely with the ballad. In fact, I think the combination of the vocals, the music, and the lyrics, makes you listen to the words and follow the tale.

Here's a Youtube clip with some added Holiday and Seasonal flavor.

I hope you enjoy it!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

DWP Light Festival Style

Merry Christmas One and All.......

Many Los Angelenos know that during the Christmas Season there is a light show at Griffith Park. This year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power sponsored their 13Th annual festival. And this season, for the first time since I've lived in L.A., I decided to go down and see what all the buzz was about. Two weeks ago I went down to the Los Angeles Zoo, parked my car, and walked through the light show on one of the pedestrian only nights. (Click here for more details)

It was a chilly night for L.A. so it sort of put me in the spirit. It turned out to be a very nice event. Walking through the lights added a bit of atmosphere. It was nice seeing all of the families out enjoying the evening and all of the lovers snuggled up together. It made me think of this popular song redone by Vanessa Williams.........

Baby it's cold out!

Baby, Its Cold Outside - Vanessa Williams

I've also added a few shots of the lights for your viewing pleasure.

It was a very peaceful and still night. At times, the images seemed to come alive. There was a display representing Los Angeles International Airport that showed an airplane in several stages of the takeoff phase. Quite impressive. I won't ruin it for those who want to see it in person by showing a photo. But overall, it was a nice evening. And yes, it was all free! I'm not sure I'll do it again next year but It was definitely worth the time and effort this year. I'd recommend the trip!

Thinking of you all on this Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas! Peace and Joy to each and every one of you!

Thanks for being my blog friend!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Music Monday's - Believe

I still Believe!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Grinch Sighting!

Have you seen the Grinch lately? You know - The Mean One! The one with the tiny heart! The deviously clever and stingy guy!

Do you remember how the Grinch stole Christmas? Well, almost that is..... I hear he's out there looking for a way to steal it again. He's cleverly thinking of ways to ruin our Holiday season and hijack our cheer. This summer, he was reportedly seen at the gas pumps!

That may have been true but he seems to have departed that location.

I verified that to be true yesterday when I filled up my car and only paid $1.89 for premium unleaded gasoline versus the $4.41 (and higher) I've paid earlier in the year. And believe it or not -Oil dropped to $36 US a barrel today! So I'm not convinced he's still hanging around the oil markets. Regardless, I'm on the lookout for him because I know he's hiding and waiting for another opportunity to get us. Besides, "he owes me money!" He borrowed it from my retirement plan!

"He's a mean one you know?"

He was recently seen suspiciously walking the streets in this little town. He was caught on film "speaking in tongues" by a random tourist who supplied this clip:

If you know his name, please leave it in the comments section.

If you know his whereabouts or happen to see him, please let me know. I want my money back!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Season! The Absolute Madness Of It!

Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanuka, Bah Humbug, whatever the Holiday whatever the season it's truly mad out there this time of year. People dashing and rushing along at a frenetic velocity.

This morning I pondered the shear madness of it all. I watched as crazy lunatics rushed around in the streets and drove like formula one racers. I clinched my steering wheel once as "Maria Gabriella Andretti" raced around my right side and darted in front of me only to slam on the breaks milliseconds later. I'm sure that I closed my eyes for a brief second and listened for the sound of scraping paint and bending metal that fortunately did not come - I'm certain in her haste, she would not have had the time to stop and swap insurance information. I slumbered along in my own little world and thought -

"What a life?"

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait for Christmas Day to arrive. It seemed like an eternity. The days would just drag on and on. Creeping along at a snails' pace until finally Santa came and all was good. Good, bad, or indifferent, my parents never seemed to be in quite the frenzied state that adults are in today. There were no cell phones, PDA's, Internets or cable TV's. All things that should or could make our lives more efficient and fulfilling - Right?

Still, they never seemed to run around like the maniacal shoppers do today. They socialized with friends and family and seemed to move along slowly at a procrastinated and more temperate pace. Did they really? Maybe it was just my perspective back then.

That's when the light bulb came on in my head! A literal Intrepid Ideas moment! It's all about your perspective!

So today I decided to deviate off the airways, taxi clear of the runway, exit the freeway, move through the bike lane, and dismount into the pedestrian path where I intend to stroll along and enjoy the Season at a more measured pace. In order to do this, I'll have to make some concessions. First, some things simply will not get done. So consciously, I'll have to decide what's really important and what can wait until January. Secondly, I'll have to be a lot more efficient. Better planning and better execution will free up some much needed extra time for me. Lastly, and most importantly, I'll be sure to change my perspective entirely! Instead of running around looking like a zombie in a shopping trance, I'll take a second to say Hello! Happy Holidays! Season's Greetings! Merry Christmas! I'll remember to say Thank You! Excuse Me! and Please!

I'll be moving along at my own pace in my own little world. By the way, there's lots of room here. And I invite each and every one of you to stop by the house and join me for some Holiday cheer. Tonight I'm serving hot cider and Manhattans.
We'll sit by the fireplace and eat cookies and talk about the old times.

Please stop by tonight!

(Because next week I'll be out doing my last minute shopping!) Stay Clear!

Season's Greetings!

From Intrepid

Make your own Christmas Tree preservative

Last year, this information seemed to be helpful to some so here it is again......

If you're looking for a homemade preservative solution to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh, young and healthy for the season, the so called experts say that in addition to water, you'll need a food source for the tree; an acidifier- making the water more acidic helps the plant take in water and food; and something to keep mold and algae from growing in your water.

Try this:

  1. 1 gallon of warm or room temperature water.
  2. 2 cups of light corn syrup
  3. 4 teaspoons chlorine bleach
  4. 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar (optional)

If you'll be using the lemon juice or vinegar do not mix it directly with the bleach. Mix it into the water and then add the bleach to the solution. Otherwise you could create toxic vapors by mixing the bleach and vinegar or lemon juice directly. An alternative to using the light corn syrup is to use 4 teaspoons of sugar. Better yet, substitute the corn syrup and the lemon juice/vinegar with one can of non-diet Sprite or 7 -Up. This will supply your sugar source and serve as an acidifier. Besides, Sprite and 7-Up are cheaper than corn syrup and lemon juice/vinegar.Other tips: Make sure you start with a fresh tree. Check the needles before you buy your tree. If you pull on a branch and needles fall off in your hand, keep looking. Ask the sellers how long the trees have been on the lot. Also, have them give you a fresh cut: Have them cut off at least 1/2" from the bottom of the tree before you leave the lot. Finally, try to avoid putting your tree in direct sunlight, near a fireplace, or heat vent. These will accelerate the drying of your tree.

All the Best!

Taken from my post last year: O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree

Monday, December 15, 2008

Creative Minds

Creative minds in the advertisement business.

Watch this:

Now were you thinking what most people were thinking?

Do you think this is successful advertising?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Music Monday! Tom Jones & David Foster - Mary's Boy Child (1993 TV Special)

Something for the Season!

Tom Jones singing Mary's Boy Child. An incredibly soulful song of the season!

This is a great Christmas album with many popular and talented artists.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2008

When Grown-ups Curse

This is funny! Keep an eye on the lizard on the table.

Warning! Don't watch this with a full bladder or if you hate snakes.

Not exactly curse words but I'm sure the reporter wanted to say a few. I give him credit for maintaining verbal composure and abbreviating his swear words!

Did you see the way he rolled on the ground? I wonder if he wet his pants.

Seriously funny!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Piggy Back Ride! The Space Shuttle gets a lift.

A few weeks ago I posted "Sonic Boom" where I wrote about the Endeavours' landing at the alternate landing site, Edwards Air Force Base, in California.

Guess how the space shuttle Endeavour got back to Florida?

The space shuttle Endeavour takes off from Edwards Air Force Base

That's right. You aviation buffs know that it rides on the back of a 747. More specifically, a modified Boeing 747 that NASA uses to transport the vehicles. NASA actually has two of these aircraft. One is a 747-100 model, while the other is a short range 747-100SR. These aircraft are called Shuttle Carrier Aircraft or (SCA's).

Once when I was traveling, I saw one of these planes in flight with a Shuttle attached. I just happend to look out the window and see it. This was pre-digital cameras and camera phones so I didn't have anything available to capture the moment. I believe it was the Space Shuttle Columbia that I saw but I can't remember for sure. I meant to go home and research the process and event but I never got around to it. Here's what it looked like in the air.

(compliments of

I remember thinking to myself. That must be a really cool job. Short of being an actual shuttle pilot, wouldn't it be cool to fly the shuttle around?

Here are some short videos of the the SCA taking off and landing:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Celebrate Repeal Day!

Thanksgiving was less than two weeks ago and yet today I found myself reminiscing. There I was thinking about a pecan pie baked at my house by a relative on Thanksgiving day. I generally don't consider myself to be an expert on pecan pies or baking .... that crown may be worn by Miki at MikisMorsels; (take a look at these cookies) but I've had my share of pecan pies. All different sizes, shapes, styles, and flavors.

For a while, I was hooked on a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. An old girlfriend used to bake me one every few months or so. I'm not sure I've ever had one quite as good as hers. (That's a secret!) A slice of her pie warmed and topped with a scoop of coffee ice cream and I was in dream land. Thank goodness for an active lifestyle and good genes from my parents because I'm sure each one of those pie events was worth about 1000 calories or so. And the sugar! Wow! I'm sure there were days when I managed to double-up and consume more than my fair quota. Anyway, I digress. So this relative bakes up a storm and puts together two fabulous pies. One sweet potato pie and one pecan pie. Both pies enhanced with rum. I found the rum to be quite appealing and a great compliment to each of the pies.

So today while I was remembering the great taste of the pecan pie nearly two weeks ago I tried to decide what was so special about this cousin's pie and think if I should invite her over and ask her to experiment with a chocolate bourbon recipe.

That's when it hit me........

I'd completely forgotten to celebrate Repeal Day!

I've been so busy the past few days with social engagements that I completely forgot to celebrate the end of prohibition. That's right you lushes!

December 5, 2008 marked the 75 Th anniversary of the end of prohibition in the United States. I'm sure somewhere around the country at some dark and lonely bar there were true professionals celebrating this special day. I'm certain that at least one glass of spirits was raised in recognition of the legislation that repealed prohibition. In the history of the United States, Prohibition was the period from 1920 to 1933, during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption was banned nationally as mandated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

There were legal exceptions of course. Like this medical prescription for liquor.

I stared off into space and questioned -

"Could I have convinced a doctor to write a prescription for chocolate bourbon pecan pie?"

Fortunately, I won't have to go that route.

I'll be raising my glass tonight to celebrate.

Happy belated Repeal Day!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Guns for Bread?

Imagine this, you live in a crime filled neighborhood. Each night you make the rounds and lock your doors and windows and sleep with a handgun next to your bed just in case an unexpected visitor calls.

It's particularly difficult for you to sleep tonight. You're stressed out because you've just lost your job. Your boss says business is slow and he can't afford to keep you on any longer. You know that your wife's salary and your temporary unemployment pay will not be enough to cover your rent and other bills. You're unskilled and there are thousands, like you, looking for work. You lie in bed contemplating the prospects of finding a job in the next few weeks and conclude they are pretty grim. Your chest tightens. You lay still fighting back the tears when suddenly you hear a noise in your hallway. You stealthily reach for your weapon and point it towards your bedroom door. The door creaks open and there in the soft light you can make out the image of your 5 year old daughter. "Daddy I'm hungry." Your brief moment of relief after learning that it's not an unwelcome burglar is swept away when you remember that there's no food in the house. Instantly you're overcome with shame and sadness. You point the gun to your temple and for a second, you consider the short road out of this nightmare. You decide that you lack the courage for that route and instead look at your baseball hat and hooded jacket on a chair next to the bed. You consider donning both and walking down to the local 24 hour convenience store with gun in hand and helping yourself to some milk and bread. The image of you being handcuffed and taken off to jail or lying dead on a cold floor while the owner stands over you with a shotgun halts this fantasy. Instead, you comfort your child as best as you can and manage to get her to fall asleep again. You lay awake all night and stare at the ceiling trying your best not to wake your wife. The occasional tear rolls down the side of your face and into your ear. Morning comes far too quickly but you saunter out of bed with a plan. It's a quick fix and short term option but the only solution you can come up with. You get dressed, tuck your pistol into your waist band and walk down to the local Los Angeles County Sheriffs station where you find the "Gifts for Guns" program. Humbly, you turn in your weapon for a $100.00 gift card to the local grocery store. You think to yourself - This just might buy enough food to last us through the Christmas holiday!

This is a sobering fictional story (created by Intrepid) that's probably not too far from the truth for some people. This year, The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department allowed residents to anonymously relinquish firearms in return for $100 gift cards for Ralph's supermarkets, Target department stores or Best Buy electronics stores. Turning in assault rifles yields double that amount. This annual program started in 2005 after a spike in killings in the city of Los Angeles. In years past, Target and Best Buy cards were the preferred choice, with residents wanting presents for the holidays.

According to Sgt. Byron Woods of the L.A. Sheriff's department - "This year, most asked for the supermarket cards. People just don't have the money to buy the food these days."

Deputies expected to collect about 1,000 weapons this year. Authorities said 590 guns and two hand grenades were handed in during the last weekend in November, more than the total collected in any year and eclipsing last year's 387 guns.
Woods said most of the residents who turned in weapons were "family people."
"One guy said he had just got laid off from his job," Woods said. "He turned in five guns and said it would really help him to put food on the family's table."
Gun owners dropped their weapons off at a local grocery store parking lot. Deputies checked the weapons to see if they had been used in crimes, then destroyed them.

Follow this link for more of the above story

Contact your local Sheriff's/Police department if you wish to turn in a weapon for a gift.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Music Monday- Nothing Can Come Between Us!

Always Hope that you remember.........

The unmistakable Sade!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Kids and curse words!

"A Christmas Story" has to be one of my favorite all time Christmas movies. In a pinch, I'll toss it in there with some of my other classic favorites like:

  1. It's a Wonderful Life
  2. White Christmas
  3. Home Alone
  4. The Bishop's Wife
  5. The Preacher's Wife
  6. A Fare to Remember
  7. Holiday Affair

All of these movies are special to me in some unique way. I still remember watching "A Christmas Story" for the very first time and reflecting back on my own experiences with my first BB gun. I really enjoyed the way in which the story is narrated and the overt and sublime humor. When I think of the movie, I can't help but think about some of the signature lines like: "You'll shoot your eye out." and " I Double Dog Dare Ya!" Yeah, it's a good one for me. Silly - of course! A bit of adult humor? You bet! But sentimentally good.

I was thinking about this movie again just the other day. Not only because it's seasonal and it's that time of year. But also because I overheard some young kids talking about curse words and their "made up" names for some of the common words. Here's what I heard:

  1. Son of a Business man
  2. Mother Trucker
  3. Kiss my Astronaut
  4. Go to Help
  5. Holy Ship

Okay, that's about all I can remember. I'm sure you guys/gals with dirty minds can figure out the intended word or phrase. I know it's a bit juvenile but their conversation did catch my wondering ear. And it reminded me of this clip from "A Christmas Story."


What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Golden Boy - The end of an era!

Boxing fans may have seen the last appearance of Oscar De La Hoya, AKA the "Golden Boy," in the ring as a fighter. Tonight, as millions looked on to what was touted as the biggest fight this year, two gladiators stepped into the ring to see who was top. Unfortunately, tonight's fight proved to be a disappointment for Oscar de la Hoya as he fell victim to the relentless Manny Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao, who jumped up two weight classes and weighed in at 142 pounds was too much for the aging de la Hoya who stepped off the scale at 145 pounds.

According to the Los Angeles Times-

After eight rounds of taking a barrage of punches from the stocky, supposedly undersized Pacquiao, De La Hoya (who failed to answer the bell for the 9Th round) walked across the ring to Pacquiao. But not to box. To congratulate Pacquiao on being the better man, the better fighter, the new No. 1 kid on the block. De La Hoya then told Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, who had predicted all this,

"You were right, Freddie. I don't have it anymore."

A touching end to what has been a glorious boxing career for the Golden Boy who has proved once again that great boxers never quit when they're young and healthy. They must fight until they convince themselves and their fans that they can't win anymore! We'll be seeing a lot more of Oscar but outside of the ring. Thanks for the years of boxing entertainment!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sonic Boom!

Yesterday I was enjoying a casual afternoon at home when I was startled by what seemed to be three big booms. Boom! Boom! Boom!

The first one louder and stronger than the second two. My first thought was - Oh no, it's an earthquake. I quickly erased that thought when the house didn't shake too much afterwards.

My second thought - The Space shuttle must have landed at the alternate landing field at Edwards Air Force Base, roughly 65 miles from here.

I turned on the television and sure enough, the Space Shuttle Endeavour ( pictured above) has returned from a 16-day space station assembly mission. It was diverted from a planned Florida landing by low clouds and high winds at the Kennedy Space Center.

For many people today, it must seem like just yesterday when space flight was merely a fantasy. Today's children are born into an environment where space travel must seem to be an inevitability and not the illusion or fairytale dream of children of the past.

I'm curious.......

Will the bloggers of the future post about their travels throughout the Galaxy? Just something to ponder!

Here's a short video of the landing:

Measure Your Life in Love! It's Music Monday!

I couldn't make it through the entire movie "Rent" and I never saw the broadway production but I love this opening. Enjoy!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.