Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Congress shall make no law. . .

Free speech flourishes on Hollywood and Highland. The citizen peeking between the signs asks that you help his important cause by posting a picture of his signs on line. We'll do what we can, pal.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Police pursuit a good way to learn our freeway routes

A known LA gang member and a young woman led the California Highway Patrol on a low-speed chase for more than an hour and half last night, as we kicked back and watched the show.
He had committed some traffic violations and when police came to pull him over, he took off, reporters said. We dipped into the wall-to-wall television coverage and traced the route on our google maps. The miscreants passed through our community at about 9:30, and we noted the familiar landmarks and speculated about his next move. Will they take the 5? He avoided some spike strips and pit maneuvers as KCAL9 kept listeners up to date with play by play reports. The car was being driven by the brother of the owner and the tv station got an interview with the mother, who said that her son "was a good boy." After about an hour and a half, they finally stopped, without incident, on Northbound 170 Freeway in North Hollywood. The driver threw the keys out the window, revealed himself to the police and the television camera overhead, and soon he and the girlfriend were in custody. KCAL9 returned to its coverage of the Michigan primary.. . and probably lost at least half the audience.
The 134, the 170, the 101. Through Pasedena, Glendale, Burbank, Studio City.

Our house guest continues around the world

We don't know how this picture was made either. It's Alim, so anything is possible.
The Asian traveler we taught to swing a golf club while he was visiting Shakopee, Minnesota, continues on his round the world trek, greeting us today from Capetown, South Africa. When Alim spent a long weekend with us last July, we were a bit incredulous when he said he was going to return to his Malayasia hometown by land, stopping along the way to earn some money as a systems engineer to cover expenses.
Since then, he hopped from South America to Africa (his only flight) and sends his regards and a ton of beautiful photographs of his experiences there. We're amazed at the courage, single-mindedness and sensitivity of this modern Marco Polo and were privileged to be a part of his epic journey.
He sends along his impressions of South Africa, a complicated nation still very much in transition.  The multi-linguist writes:
People are generally nice, regardless of whites, blacks, Asians, Latinos, colored because we are all the same biologically. I love every single person I have met on this trip. They all my friends.
Some of my travel mates enjoyed and had great time in Africa. I am still hopeful Africa can “blow-off” my mind and give something good and memorable until I reach Cairo.
Please enjoy the amazing shots I have taken while visiting lovely South Africa.
Click here.
Johannesburg, South Africa
God speed, Alim. We've never met another like you.
Cape Town

Thanks, Wayne. Now -- what's a Filetto?

Elder Publisher Wayne Kasich responds from International Falls with this helpful idea for the Frenchmen's surplus tomatoes:
He writes: Here you go, a light sauce recipe from Barron's "The Joy of Pasta."

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 lg onions
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano (1/2 tsp dried)
2 TBL fresh basil (2tsp dried)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 lb can crushed or diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar 
Blk pepper

Heat oil, add garlic one minute, add onion and sauté until opaque.
Add salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes and stir well for one minute.
Add tomatoes and sugar and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered  for 30 minutes.
Add black pepper before serving over any large pasta. 

The book says that this is the sauce you see the restaurant staff having in Italy and it should not be overcooked. I will look into it when I get to Italy.

Looks like you have enough tomatoes to feed the neighborhood.

Sent from my iPad

Monday, February 27, 2012

Merci Beaucoup --- we think

Bright and early this morning, the three young men next door packed and headed home to France, after two weeks of light-housekeeping in LA. Before departing, they kindly left a grocery bag of their leftovers at our door. By the looks of it, they didn't cook up as much Italian as they thought they might. We're either going to have to find a food shelf drop off or rely on our good readers for some really dandy tomato-based recipes. Whadda ya got?
Their donation also included a big bag of Doritos, Nacho Cheese style. We know what to do with that.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

We've always had a soft spot for the union label, so when Johnnie boarded the bus and fruitlessly dug in his jeans for a couple of quarters, we handed him the fare. "Hey, thanks, man," he said sheepishly and sat down. Stan asked for a picture, he said okay, but wanted a moment. Then he frizzed up his hair and slipped on his shades, only now ready for his closeup. Hollywood. Johnnie probably intends to pay us back, but something tells us that even if we should meet again, he won't remember anything about this, man.

How to get in without a ticket?

The book being promoted here is "How I Went to the Oscars Without a Ticket" by Dee Thompson and you can buy it on Amazon. Ironically, this interview was being conducted on the public sidewalk  . . . on the outside. . . of the Academy Awards security barrier. Hey buddy, read Chapter 2.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oscar is just about ready

Hundreds of yellow roses adorn the Oscar
in the reception area.
"The real Hollywood is private, hon," the kind father said to his disappointed young daughter as they looked for signs of stardom this afternoon in front of the Kodak Theatre. Dad speaks the truth, of course, but none of the thousands milling around Hollywood Boulevard today want to believe it, including a tourist from Minnesota looking for his Oscar.
The bald one is Oscar
He found it inside the theater, surrounded by a remarkably relaxed group of florists, considering the big day is tomorrow. He got a look at the famous red carpet too, stagehands walking all over it like it was in a basement rec room.
Road closed. Patrolled by tricycle.
Hollywood Boulevard is closed in front of the theatre these days, but gawkers are encouraged to straggle around the massive preparations for tomorrow's network coverage . . . as long as they keep moving and don't bunch up too much. Merchandising rules.
The aluminum grandstands where fans will adore the arriving stars are all vacant today. They're reserved by guest ticket only, of course.
The Academy must have mailed them to his Minnesota address by mistake. Oh well.
Photos by Stan Rolfsrud

Harold gets a North Dakota facial

Breaking news from the Rolfsrud Ranch in the oilfields of western North Dakota:
Our cousin, Harold Rolfsrud, 75, is back from the hospital, he's okay, the bandages are off. Harold is a family patriarch, entrusted with the care and management of the Rolfsrud homestead, and not given to much exaggeration.
Pre-facial file photo
He had a phone conversation with Cousin Stan this morning. Harold in North Dakota, Stan on a cellphone in Hollywood. Harold didn't call to complain about his accident, he just wanted to tell Stan he'd seen him on the Tonight Show and allowed that Stan's appearance there was extremely brief.
Eventually Harold got around to remarking that he was back from the hospital. What happened?
"Well, see, I was chasing this here bull through a gate and I slipped and fell and my face sort of smashed down into a cowpie and it pushed my glasses back into my head. The bandages are off now."
"Wait a minute," his incredulous cousin gasped, "You mean, at age 75, you're chasing a bull through a gate and you slipped and fell head first into the muck?"
"Yes, I know, and with an artificial hip too. Sometimes we just have these situations that come up, you know. Now don't give me a lecture."
"Oh no, I'm not going to lecture you," Stan responded to his elder. "I'm from your gene pool. You give us all hope. I admire you. I want to be chasing a bull around when I'm 75!"

Friday, February 24, 2012

French seal

Two weeks ago when they arrived here, Nicolas was a pasty sun-deprived Parisian. By night, he often serves as the SUV driver for his fellow musical Frenchmen on their LA business/holiday.  By day, he flops out like a seal on the rocks, moving with the sun, in and out of water, shrewdly avoiding the encroaching shade (above), so that when his pod departs this weekend, he'll bring a West Coast tan back to The Continent.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Riding with Ronnie

You could see the Pacific Ocean from the mountain top overlook on what turned out to be a perfect day in every way. No serious traffic on the freeway complex from Hollywood to Simi Valley, no crowds or lines for the Reagan museum or the walk through Air Force One. Then a quiet outdoor lunch under a shade tree near the Memorial Gardens, seated before a deep, verdant valley under calm blue skies. Mounting up for an imaginary trail ride with the memory of our 40th President was just a bonus.
Air Force One, circa 1984. No photography on board.
As the elder guide said, you want pictures? Google them.
They're not kidding. Click here. We can't do better.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ron Magers' bro, still telling it like it is

Still the best-looking of the Magers
Former Golden Valley KARE 11 news anchor Paul Magers is alive and well in LA, appearing nightly on CBS Channel 2. It's pretty soft stuff he's doing these days: Here's the sample story list from tonight's 5:30 show.
1) a teaser on lipstick choices 2) a teaser on new diet pills 3) a live report from the Kodak Theatre asking, now that Kodak is broke, what ever will they rename the theater? (we still don't know) 4) Jennifer Aniston has a Walk of Fame ceremony 5) what's showing on TV tonight -- there's a GOP debate in AZ  6) the weather (sunny and warm as usual), 7)promotional clips from the trailer of the movie "John Carter," 8) sex allegations against a substitute teacher  9) what makes white asparagus white - (it is kept away from the sun  - yes, this is news), 10) Lindsay Lohan gets a glowing review from the judge 11) the opening of a Black History museum in some other state, 12) And why today is the day to celebrate margaritas (no one knows who made the original margarita but it is a popular drink).
Paul, we knew ye when.
Oh yes, breaking news, a CBS2 news exclusive, so good it was held back until now: stay tuned to see items taken from Madonna that a stalker had stashed in a locker.

Sister Act: Jen helps Missy redo a wall

We don't know the origin of this chunk, but it's a champion, for sure.
A leaky pipe connected to an outside spigot spelled trouble for our daughter Melissa, who is redecorating her Eden Prairie home.
One thing leads to the other, as it always does, and Jennifer eventually discovered some irregularities in an exterior wall.
We don't know exactly what went down, but we have to assume, based on the photo of the grin on Missy's face, that the troubles are subsiding. That chunk of ice was in the wall??? Really? Details and text messages are sketchy.
We're not sure if our wallboard specialist (right photo) is grinning or not, but we're glad she's wearing a mask.
We'll inspect the work in April.

Sometimes a house is so pretty. . .

This Silver Lake neighborhood home has a view of downtown LA.
Sometimes a house is so pretty, you have to stop the car and take its picture.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Enlightenment

Photos by Stan Rolfsrud
After a cloudy weekend, today the sun broke through the grove in nearby Barnsdall Art Park, high above bustling Hollywood Blvd. We  strolled quietly through the calm, serene setting, listening to a wonderful jazz mix on a nano I-pod, the playlist graciously provided by our longtime friend, Randy, who has a lifetime of choosing and blending just the right music for our varied occasions.
Reservations Not Required
Kathleen and Stan will return soon with a picnic lunch.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh no. Not again.

This isn't his first 2012 Beetle. The first one was still sitting on the
auto transporter when its windshield was chipped by a flying stone.
If you recall reading here last August about Kathleen's VW Beetle getting a new windshield after taking a flying stone from a passing truck on Stan's birthday, you might consider skipping this post.
Last November, Kathleen traded her blue Beetle, new windshield and all, for an all-new yellow Beetle, which we drove to Los Angeles, arriving precisely in time to meet a flying stone from a passing truck on Hyperion Avenue.
Welcome to LA. We know the drill.
Today, John from "Nu Glass 4 U" or something like that, arrived as promised with a back-ordered replacement window. He went right to work. Near as we can tell, he did it exactly the same way the Minnesota guys did it, though John claims he's extra careful, putting in more masking tape to protect the finish, just in case.
He did a good job, did it quickly and efficiently, just like the Minnesota guys.
There was one difference, however. In Minnesota, we got a receipt, a life-time guarantee, and some big aerosol cans of glass cleaner as parting gifts.
In LA, John gave us a receipt, a life-time guarantee. . . and a handshake.

No cracks, please.

Linsanity strikes Edgewood Vista

Linsanity victims
New York Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin has captured the attention of a basketball fan in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Beverly Rolfsrud's daughter, Linda Letnes, reports that Mom followed the action closely when the Knickerbockers beat the Dallas Mavericks Sunday afternoon. The 91-year-old fan snacked on a Subway sandwich and soft drink while cheering for the new kid.

Her basketball-playing son, Steve, says that Mom is no newcomer to NBA action. He writes: "Back in the '60s, Mom  liked to watch the Boston Celtics with John Havlicek, Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, et al, on Sunday afternoons way back when Bob Cousy, Elgin Baylor and Dolph Schayes were also playing. Glad to see that she is still enjoying the sport."

Look who slept over . . .

Our landlords, Deana and Jose, are heading to an upscale mountain resort for a three-day vacation. No Dogs Allowed. They asked us to take in Prissy while they are away. Even though we knew that 9-year-old Prissy snores like a Marine sergeant, we couldn't say No.
Birdie is sharing her toys and a spot on the couch.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Breaking news

The house fire was hidden behind a high fence in front of the gated community at Harvard and Franklin, but Jessie (above), our source on this, says the Sunday afternoon blaze that drew all this equipment was quickly contained. The LA firefighter said a living space above a garage in this exclusive community caught fire, but there wasn't too much danger of it spreading. "It's pretty green back up there," he smiled.
Three blocks away on Normandie, Stan and Kathleen smelled the smoke, putting them in the mood for a barbecue tonight.
Apparently Los Angeles firefighters know the combination to all the
security gates. They got in immediately. :)

Thinking of you, Jennifer!

"Spring" Click to read about it.
This Impressionist painting, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema entitled "Spring," appeals to our daughter, Jennifer. It's a favorite, she says, and urged us to find it at the Getty Center.
It served as a pleasant reminder of what's ahead for us, not only of the exciting Minnesota reawakening, but of the loved ones we left there.
Just around the corner in the Impressionist gallery, we really liked Jean-Fracois Raffaelli's "Promenade," depicting an austere Paris street scene of an older couple, (a retired newspaper publisher and his wife), making their way together on life's journey, against the cold winds, with their little dog in the lead.
Hmm. Is that you, Birdie?

Friday, February 17, 2012

French lessons

Our Parisian neighbor, Kevin, had never heard of a French Poodle. He's heard of French Fries and French Toast alright, . . but no French dog. So we prevailed upon Kevin, a keyboard musician who is in town meeting with music executives, to teach Birdie a few words in his native tongue. All Kevin got back was a French Kiss, but he didn't seem to mind too much.
Russian visitor, Luda, has studied here
for four years, but her English is
excellent, she says, "because I have an
American boyfriend."
Kevin, who has family and a girlfriend in Paris, loves LA and would live here in a heartbeat if he could. Says that Paris is too crowded, too stressful, too compact, too pressured, which is exactly what we say about LA. He's been to the Louvre many times as a youth on field trips, and hasn't been to the Getty or any museums here.
He loves the sun and it's cold right now in Europe. Very cold. Parisians are angry and stressed about that too, he says.
When Stan reminded Kevin that the Americans had saved the French from the Germans, Kevin reminded Stan that the French had saved the Americans from the British and if they hadn't, we'd be toasting the Queen tonight.
Kevin shares an adjacent apartment in Fawlty Towers with two of his business partners. He knew about the Black Dahlia murder, had no idea it occurred just around the corner on Franklin Avenue.
We sent them on a walk up to the Griffith Observatory and plan a buffet perhaps next week on the patio. We'll probably order some take-out; cooking for the French might be a bit intimidating.

Morning stroller

When you think of blue-haired ladies, this isn't what usually comes to mind, so we were momentarily taken aback when Robin came striding up our sidewalk this morning. Stan complimented the young woman on her choice of hair color and she graciously offered this photo opportunity.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We share a bench with a legend

Jewel Akens, in red suit (with matching shoes) and Hurley D. Fabolous Taste
We don't make this stuff up.
One-hit wonder Jewel Akens, 72, sat across from us yesterday while we waited to get in to the Tonight Show. He sat there with his sidekick, both were dressed in what appeared to be zoot suits. Kathleen surreptitiously snapped this photo with her cellphone camera, hence the quality issue. Photography ain't supposed to be allowed on the lot, but Katie's not always the rule follower that her husband is, and she claims she took the photo before the announcement not to do it so the picture is "grandfathered" in, which sounds somewhat ironic.
In 1965 Jewel recorded "(Let Me Tell Ya Bout) The Birds and The Bees (And The Flowers and The Trees And. . .)" . .  . and that was about all she wrote. Remember the tune? Of course you do, it sold a million copies and made No. 3 on Billboard.
His pal, "Hurley D Fabolous Taste" gave Stan his business card and told Stan he was a lead singer for the Drifters ("This Magic Moment," "Up on the Roof," "Don't Go, Please Stay") and did most of the talking for the bodacious pair.
We report. You decide.

Here's what Wikipedia says about Jewel:
He first recorded with Eddie Daniels as Jewel and Eddie on the Silver Records label in 1960. A number of his recordings featured Eddie Cochran on guitar.

He later went solo and recorded "The Birds And The Bees" in 1965, on the Era Records label. The single went to Number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year, and Number 2 on the Cash Box chart. Across the Pond it reached Number 29 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[3] But the follow-up, "Georgie Porgie" only reached Number 68.

Akens has toured regularly since 1965 and includes a tribute to his mentor, Sam Cooke, in most of his shows. Akens also recorded what he considered to be his finest recordings, cover versions of Thurston Harris' "Little Bitty Pretty One" and Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On". He toured with The Monkees and continued to record until the mid 1970s in a variety of styles. In 1973 he co-produced the critically acclaimed Super Taylors, a duet album of Southern soul by Ted Taylor and Little Johnny Taylor. In 1989-91 Akens recorded three singles with a group called The Feathers.[1]

However, lack of further commercial success leaves him labelled as a one-hit wonder, but despite this, he continues to perform to this day.

Note to Sosie. The Sam Cooke house is just down the street from Randy's place. We shoulda gone there too. Next time.

In case you missed our appearance on the Tonight Show. . .

Stan and Kathleen were on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night and here's proof taken from a tv monitor: Stan is the bald guy on the far left and Kathleen is the white-haired babe peeking out from behind Jay's back. If you'd like a full-color reprint suitable for framing, please notify your blog hosts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fire Up Your VCRs! We're on The Tonight Show!

Photo courtesy NBC
We were seated on the main floor of the Tonight Show this afternoon, so we got to rush the stage and high-five Jay Leno during the opening monologue, and sat close to his guests, Bill Maher and Ali Wentworth. Lots of laughs. Great time.
Photos inside the studio are forbidden, but the photo above is a tiny poloroid souvenir shot taken by an NBC staffer. That came about when Kathleen got invited to the stage and dragged along her husband for a brief interview during the warmup before the show. We discussed snow, the Market Barbeque and Schinder's dirty bookstore. . . and when Jay learned that Stan had retired from the newspaper business, he had to remark "Phew, you got out just in time," which got a laugh from the audience and a raised eyebrow from Stan.
Ironically, Jay did his popular Headlines feature tonight.
The guests selected for the main floor audience appeared to be mostly youthful and good-looking; obviously they want the young demographic to boost the marketing of the show. We're not exactly sure how we got mixed into that batch of 30somethings, we were clearly the only grandparents in our front section.
Show is on in Minneapolis at 10:30 tonight on Channel 11. Don't miss the introduction!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heeeere's Birdie!

Heeere's Birdie and his sidekick at the Johnny Carson Memorial Park in Burbank, dedicated to the King of Late Night Television, located just across the street from the NBC studios.
For 30 years, Johnny kept America up late and laughing.
Click to enlarge and read.
The lush grounds proved too tempting for Birdie, and she promptly initiated them, catching Kathleen off-guard and having to await a rescue baggie from Stan, who was gone, of course, talking to a gate guard about parking opportunities.
Incidentally, nearby Forest Lawn was actually more verdant than the Carson park, but we didn't think it would be in good taste to release her for a romp amongst the stones while we inspected the grounds. Still space available, far as we could we see.
We'll return to Burbank tomorrow to attend a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  Scheduled to appear are Bill Maher, Alexandra Wentworth and the Punch Brothers. Check your local listings and stay up late and laugh tomorrow night.

Happy Valentines Day from The Temple of Love

Photo by Kathleen Rolfsrud
Sosie, Bill, Stan and Kathleen wish you happiness on this day for lovers from the Huntington Library Greek Temple dedicated to Eternal Love.
Constructed of Colorado Yule marble, the mausoleum of Henry and Arabella Huntington overlooks the gardens from a knoll in the middle of the orange groves. John Russell Pope, one of America’s most distinguished architects, designed the mausoleum in the form of a Greek temple. The classic circular peristyle (or double colonnade) and dome are well suited to the grounds because it presents a perfect front from every angle, and is a combination of two perfect forms, the circle and sphere.
We loved it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stair masters

Plaque memorializing
staircase system.
Numerous hidden public staircases, cut into the hills and valleys around Los Angeles, provide great opportunities for exercise as well as observation of unique neighborhood architecture.
Sosie, Bill, Stan and Randy took advantage of this lightly used resource, choosing a circuitous route on the south side of Griffith Park. The hillside yielded tons of floral and architectural delights as the quartet huffed its way through a vertical workout with a Frank Lloyd Wright house as the hilltop goal.
The 1924 Ennis-Brown House showed some wear, but the distinctive textile block appearance and unique windows provided topics of interest while catching our breath. Plans are under way to rehab it.
The Los Angeles grid spread out in the flatlands below us, peeking through again and again between the street lights, hedges and distinctive garden walls edging the twisting urban hillside pathway on our way back down.
Then a visit to the Greek Theater and an In and Out burger joint in Glendale to top off the day.
This Frank Lloyd Wright design house looms over some fantasy
rooflines on the hike to the top.