Monday, August 31, 2009

UCLA and the Internet

September 2, 1969--UCLA became the first node on the ARPANET, the ancestor of the Internet.

On that date, a team of engineers established the first network connection in the world. The connection was made via a IMP--an Interface Message Processor, a mainframe (SDS Sigma 7) and a 15-foot gray cable. The IMP is pictured at right, with Prof. Leonard Kleinrock. He led the team of about 20 men at UCLA who developed the fledgling network, and he still teaches there.

For his pioneering efforts--as UCLA Today announced--Kleinrock will receive the National Medal of Science from President Obama in a gala celebration at the White House, on September 29.

Linking up with another location took a few more weeks, but on October 29, a connection was established between UCLA and Stanford Research Institute. UCLA is waiting for the October date to celebrate--you can see their plans here.

In case you're interested, ARPANET's name came from the Advanced Research Projects Agency, started in 1958 to fund computer research and other scientists in the U.S. By the 1960s, they'd floated the idea of linking the computers in different research facilities so that research could be easily shared.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Maynard L. Parker Collection

This link takes you to Maynard L. Parker's page at the Huntington, where you can access finding aids and info on the 58,000 articles donated to the library: "negatives, photographs, and other material consists of 58,093 black-and-white negatives, color transparencies, black-and-white prints, and color prints; 39 presentation albums; and 17 boxes of office records, 1930-1974." 231 boxes.

According to the Huntington's bio, Maynard "Mike" Parker came to L.A. in the 1920s and set up a photography business. From the 40s through the 60s, he was the principal photographer of the magazine House Beautiful. Through that and other work, he became one of the top architectural and garden photographers around. Here's a tidbit: because of his interest and skill at archery, Parker appeared as an extra in the 1938 movie Robin Hood.

The Los Angeles Times reported that 6,000 of the collection's photos are already accessible online, with more to come.

This 1939 picture is of the Earl Carroll Theater, just opened on Hollywood Blvd. It is now the home of Nickelodeon. The neon lariat is gone but the statue still graces the lobby.

The introduction to Parker's work--a video narrated by Curator Jennifer A. Watts--shows many of his photographs of model homes in the mid-20th century, and talks about how Americans turned away from public spaces at that time, creating privacy and insularity in their backyards. Fascinating stuff. The whole idea of public spaces throughout history and what it says about societies seems to be a rich topic among academics.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Fire from Gardena

Not that this compares to the footage shot by TV cameras, but here's the incredible smoke plume/bank as seen from Western Avenue in Gardena. That's about thirty miles, going straight north.

Pretty impressive, The Palos Verdes fire could not be seen from points only 2-3 miles away, because of the canyons and hills.

But I guess the real story is that we're breathing all this gunk, one way or the other. Nothing can be done about that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Zeppelin Rides Over Los Angeles

Let's face it: nothing says "History" like a zeppelin ride. Am I right?

From September 3rd through the 8th, 2009, the world's largest Zeppelin will fly over Los Angeles and Orange County, giving lucky sightseers a thrill. That's it to the left; the good ship Eureka. All 246 feet of her.

Eureka usually flies in Northern California, docking at Moffett Field, but Airship Ventures is bringing the zeppelin south for a few days. One and two-hours trips, as well as private charters, will be offered.

For $495 (one hour) you can hover over the Queen Mary and see spectacular views. The two-hour flight ($990) (ouch) will take passengers over Dodger Stadium, Beverly Hills, and several studios: Disney, Dreamworks, NBC, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and well as a close fly-by of the Hollywood Sign (yes, I am reading from a press release.) Sunset tours and coastline tours will be offered as well. You could even book passage back to San Francisco, one-way--that's $1500.

All flights will depart from the Long Beach Airport at Cherry & Wardlow (AirFlite Aviation Services facility). Here's the site for reservations, or call 650-969-8100, ext. 111.

And I'd be remiss if I did not mention that the big reason for this trip south is to fulfill the dream of a young man battling cancer. He and his wife & two sons will be on the first local flight, courtesy of Dream Foundation of Santa Barbara.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mozian Photos

The previous post showed signs by Karen Mozian, and I've just gotten some basic price information on them. For 20 x 30 inch reprints, most start at $225 unframed, $300 framed. For 18 x 24 inch, it's $200 unframed, $275 framed.

The frames she uses are handmade and add to the urban feel of the photos. Once again, my picture-of-the-picture suffers from glare and dirty window glass; check out the original at her for a better view.

Karen also updated me on the Millie Riera sign, but I'm going to do a little more research and save that for a future post. She tells me the sign is no longer up, sadly.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More Signs in Los Angeles County

No sooner had I finished the previous post about a studio in San Francisco selling linocuts of signs, some local, than I came upon a window display of sign pictures by a local photographer, Karen Mozian. If anyone wants to buy me an early Christmas present, prints of some of her local shots would do just fine.

Blame the glare on me; her pictures are quite wonderful. The Pantages sign photo is in full color but my picture-of-the-picture doesn't capture it well. The b&w sight on the right is actually taken in San Francisco. See the photographs in a better light at As for how much a print costs, I don't know that yet, but I'll try to find out and amend this blog with the price later.

Mozian has other shots as well: her Foster's Freeze sign was taken in Santa Cruz but looks exactly like the local places. She photographed the Millie Riera Seafood Grotto sign in Redondo (The sign is piece of history, but does anyone still living remember the restaurant? Seriously? It opened in 1948, and I hear Millie tended bar, giving rise to a few scandalous rumors, but I don't think it stayed open past the 1950s.) Photos of Philippe's in Los Angeles, Old Tony's on the Redondo pier ("Since 1952" the sign reads, but it's really since 1953. Just a bit of trivia that doesn't matter), an Arby's on PCH, the Vetter Windmill (Hermosa Beach), and Pacific Park in Santa Monica are also available.

I particularly like this pair. Rebo's is a local joint straddling the line between Hermosa and Redondo Beach. I must have passed it a thousand times before someone clued me in on the name. "Read it backwards." Oh, yeah. Not that anyone in the place is expected to remain sober.

Again, blame me for the quality of the picture--the Rebo's sign is b&w, while the Hangar Inn is in color. (Hangar Inn slogan: Slinging beer for 50 years!)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Own a Print of Circus Liquor

As pointed out in Sunday's Los Angeles Times, 3 Fish Studios of San Francisco sells linoleum-cut prints of notable sights--like the Circus Liquor sign in North Hollywood, at Burbank Blvd. and Vineland. The sign was immortalized in the movie Clueless when Alicia Silverstone was mugged or ditched in the parking lot underneath.

The cost of the print is $25--not too bad for fine art. Just click on Eric's linocut prints at the 3 Fish Studios site.

If you'd rather have the clown on your skateboard deck--I am completely serious--you can go to for that. So each time you look down you can see that smilin' face, just before you wipe out . . . or eat it, or whatever the correct terminology is. Faw down 'n' go boom?

Monday, August 17, 2009

San Pedro's Oldest Church

125-year-old churches are in short supply, at least here in Southern California. It makes sense to preserve the ones we still have, but funds for that are also in short supply. What to do, what to do?

Hey, wouldn't it be neat if a civic-minded neighborhood business, say, oh, a cemetery and memorial park, stepped in to take over the task of restoring a church that's seen 125 summers? If said church has been vandalized and grafitti'd, these benefactors could repaint and repair it. Stained glass windows could be replaced. Such an effort might even inspire other community members to get involved and hey, maybe some of the church's stolen furniture and artifacts would be returned!

Now that would be a really Good Deed, and as we know, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. (thank you, Elphaba.)

The Daily Breeze reports that instead of receiving thanks and praise for volunteering to move the former St. Peter's Episcopal Church to its property and restore it, (deep breath) Green Hills Memorial Park is drowning in bureaucracy, courtesy of the city of Los Angeles (no doubt they have good intentions, but...)

Here's the history of the church in a nutshell...well, not a nutshell. More of a bottom-of-the-Local News-page frame, augmented by info from the church's website:

Old St. Peter's was built in 1883 on Beacon Street between 2nd and 3rd in San Pedro. The church's hand-hewn pews and lectern were carved of redwood. In 1904 the church shuffled off to 10th and Mesa, a move that cost St. Peter's a steeple. The current belfry was built to replace that. After 50 years, the Episcopal congregation built a bigger church, and deconsecrated the old one, carefully moving it to 24th and Grand. The LA City Parks and Recreation Dept took over maintenance at that point, and the church was made into a memorial chapel for the Harbor View Cemetery. (Coincidentally, that graveyard was also officially established in 1883 as the San Pedro Cemetery, though there were some graves at the spot already.)

About 20 years ago the city of Los Angeles decided that they didn't have the staff to maintain the church/chapel, and locked it up. Vandalism ensued. The community banded together, and one year ago, Green Hills Memorial Park stepped forward with the offer to move and preserve the old church, at a cost of up to $300,000. But Los Angeles, instead of paving the way to move the building, is putting up all sorts of road blocks. Boo. Hiss.

Los Angeles city officials concerned with preservation want things done their way, which is not necessarily wrong. But in this case, with a well-funded offer on the table, it seems foolish to let the building sit and deteriorate further.

Big Orange Landmarks has a page on St. Peter's, with lovely pictures.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dinner of the Century: August 13, 1969

President Richard Nixon hosted a 'Welcome Home' dinner for the Apollo 11 astronauts on this date, forty years ago at The Century Plaza Hotel. It was the first state dinner held outside the White House in over a century, according to the the Los Angeles Times. The L.A. Conservancy has pictures and all the details here.
It was an intimate soiree for 1440 people, and of course, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were front and center, with their wives. They were flown in on Air Force One, after a ticker-tape parades and festivities in New York City and Chicago.
VP Spiro Agnew, Red Skelton, CA governor Ronald Reagan, all but six of the other state governors, other astronauts, senators, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, Wernher von Braun, Billy Graham, diplomats from 63 nations, and movie stars like Rudy Vallee and Gene Autry all attended. And there were anti-war demonstrators outside the hotel.
Guess who declined their invitations? Howard Hughes, Charles Lindbergh, former presidents Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson, and all the Kennedys. And California's Republican senator, George Murphy, was invited--but not our Democratic senator, Alan Cranston. Oooh, snap!
Don't you love trivia? Here's my favorite bit: the seven-course dinner (paid for by NASA, mostly) cost about $30 a plate. For that princely fee, guests dined on salmon poached in champagne with prawns, oysters, truffles, and crayfish butter, fillet of beef on a crouton and gooseliver pate and a truffle sauce. . . . I could go on (this is from the Los Angeles Times of the day) but why not check out the menu yourself at the CookedBooks blog?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The second page of the Los Angeles Times (August 11, 2009) talks about a feature of Los Angeles that most of us never think of: creeks. Yes, there are still creeks in L.A., in spite of the concrete, macadam,and condos, and strip malls. Hector Tobar describes seeing fresh, cool water bubble up from the ground near a science building of University High School on the West side.

Jessica Hall of the LA Creek Freak blog guided Tobar. According to the article, our city is still criss-crossed with waterways, and they still carry water from the foothills to the Pacific.

I took one name from the article--Sacatela--and searched the L.A. Library's photo collection. This 1924 picture shows the intersection of 7th Street and Vermont, with Sacatela Creek in the foreground. Here's what the accompanying text says:

Sacatela Creek is shown on the 1902 USGS map as a perennial stream that began in the Franklin Hills and joined Ballona Creek in Koreatown/Mid-City, approximately between Wilton, Westchester, and Country Club Drive. A season stream flowing from today's Silver Lake Reservoir also joined Sacatela Creek near the intersection of today's Beverly Boulevard and Madison Avenue. In 1930, a stormdrain was laid in the stream's path and the creek was filled.

Tobar and Hall talk of "daylighting" streams, which seems to mean not just exposing sections of them to the daylight, but restoring chunks of their environment.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fishing off Los Angeles Wharves in 1907

Here's what anglers were catching off fishing piers in the area in August, 1907 (and I doubt that mercury levels were a concern):

In Redondo Beach:

"After several weeks of catches of mackerel, small fry, occasional yellowtail and halibut, Redondo boasts the latest sensation in catching barracuda from a wharf...Half a hundred fine fish were taken.

"A school of sardines and a number of small mackerel were playing about the wharf when a school of barracuda rushed up, snapping hooked fish from the leaders and playing havoc with tackle generally. The barracuda turned back and continued their depredations. Jig lines and jigs soon were in operation, and fresh bait was at a premium. One after another the barracuda came streaming up to the wharf. It was literaly (sic) wriggling with them."

The above picture, btw, is of Redondo's Wharf #1 in 1908. Brazenly copied from the library resource page of

Further north:

"Anglers casting from the beach between Del Rey and Manhattan have made some good catches of corbina, but the yellowfins seem rather scarce for the season, and fishers are at a loss to account for it. As a rule, they are very plentiful during this month and September."

In Venice, a ten-and-a-half pound croaker was caught, with the help of the wharf policeman!

Points South:

In San Pedro, croakers are reported, and "the trolling outside from Point Fermin to Portuguese Bend is improving steadily, and yellowtail are striking the spoons better every day."

"Long Beach is infected with what Sherman Baker calls 'critters'." Turned out to be stingrays.

In Balboa, "J. Frank Jones ... hooked a good-sized sea trout, and was playing him when along came a big yellowtail and engulfed trout, tackle and all at one fell swoop."

At the mouth of Newport Bay, "Bass are biting well in the bay, and a few goodly strings of croakers are on record ... Some big corbina are caught every Sunday from the Del Mar wharf."

"The trolling off Newport, Laguna, and Arch Beach is excellent just now, and plenty of fist are being caught."

Don't know too much about fishing, but croakers and corbinas are in the same family. This picture of a California corbina is from Wiki.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Zane Grey Estate, Altadena

Such a beautiful place! Built in 1906 by Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey for an inventor dude named Arthur Woodward. Who was he? Well, he joined the Intermatic Company in 1895 and became its president a few years later. Intermatic made fare collectors--those coin drops on trolley cars and buses. Woodward, ever the tinkerer, invented things like machine gun sighting mechanisms. To this day, the Intematic Company makes timers for lights, security, pools, etc.

But who cares? In connection with this house, Woodward's contribution is mainly insisting that the house be as fireproof as possible. His wife Edith had survived the terrible Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903 (571 people died in it!) so they insisted the house be fireproof. That's why the place is largely poured-in-place concrete.

Zane Grey (here's his bio) bought it in 1920 and added a second floor with a 3000-square-foot library and office. This is the view from that office. You can just see one of the southwest/Indian sytlized paintings that decorates the concrete, to the left of one of the current owners.

This room is where Grey did most of his writing until he died in 1939. His son Romer inherited the place after Grey's widow died, and he sold it to a family named Rudicel in 1970. Apparently, it was quite a mess then. "The house smelled of cigars and sardines and was covered with over sixty tons of vines growing into the windows and choking off all natural light," according to a printed handout. Given the size of this window, that's a lot of vines.

The Rudicels say they had to camp outside for a week before they could get even one of the bathrooms in working order! Yikes. To look at the house now, you'd never guess that it hadn't been cared for like a museum piece over the last hundred years.

Anyway, the second generation of Rudicels live in the house now. It's a work-in-progress; solar panels provide all the electricity, a green-roof installation is scheduled this month, and rainwater collection and storage is planned, along with other ecological improvements. They even have goats!

More professional pictures can be seen at Unreel

Just shows you can teach old dogs new tricks, and you can bring old homes into the 21st century without sacrificing beauty and history.