Friday, March 27, 2015

I Need Some Advice For Someone I Know Who Is Signing Up For Medicare

I know someone who is about to miss his third enrollment period to sign up for Medicare because he doesn’t know where to get impartial - and well informed advice – for which plan he should sign up for.  And more importantly – which carrier he should sign up with.  He has also heard that by not signing up during his first enrollment period, he may have fewer options.  And his main concerns are about being able to go to any doctor he wants, not being denied due to existing conditions and – most importantly – having a provider who will allow him to try multiple strategies to attack a couple problems he has.  Any suggestions on who can answer these questions?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why Zumthor's New Design For LACMA Makes It Even More Of A Terrorist Target

While Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has changed – and improved - his proposed plan to rebuild LACMA, his new plan also makes LACMA an ever greater target for terrorist groups.  This is particularly true of terrorist groups such as ISIS whose goal is to destroy every culture other than their own version of Islam.    

And to demonstrate they are serious, they have attacked – and destroyed – major cultural monuments in every country they have targeted.   And right after they attacked a major art & cultural museum in Tunisia, they announced they are going to destroy the Louvre when they attack Paris.

So why is LACMA still considering building the most comprehensive art and cultural institution in Los Angeles directly over a six lane road?   

A busy road where any terrorist group – or  single individual -  can drive a car – or  track – packed with military grade explosive devices – and set it off directly under the building - demolishing - and collapsing - the building and the people and the art in it.  

But now Zumthor’s new plan appears to place even more of the museum over the road and it will also provide windows so the people and the art in the museum will be visible to anyone driving on Wilshire.  But that's just part of the problem.   Even the majority of the building that is not over Wilshire will be up on stilts and it will also be just as  unnecessarily vulnerable to attack by explosive devices.  

But no one seems to want to discuss this very real danger.

Twice before (here and, here) I've brought this up – but so far – no one at LACMA or LA County has addressed how they plan to handle the unique - and pootentially catastrophic - danger this design - and only this design -  will create for Los Angeles's greatest museum.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tons of New $1 Books - Plus Whole New Sections - At The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA!

So many books are coming into The Last Bookstore from the  bookstore we  just bought - along with generous customer donations - that we now have 11 shelves of $1 memoirs, biographies, letters and diaries in the literary section - plus a 7 shelf section of $1 literary magazines  - along with 3 shelves of $1`books about books, book collecting and the book arts - which is right next to a shelf filled with odd ball reference books (right next to the $1 poetry section) that is quickly becoming a popular section.

Among the thousands of items we have just received this week- and just put out - are 50 $1 copies of Modern Painting Magazine from around 2006 until 2014,  30 more  Larry McMurtry $1 novels (with 12 different titles being represented in the 30 plus books) in  large and small paperback and hardcover edition and we just had four major donations of  serious theology - along with an exceptionally wide range of all aspects of religion - which has enabled us to open two temporary $1`sections - with one shelf just devoted to saints - to handle the overflow from our existing religious sections.

We have also been receiving a wide range of interest books and journals which we will soon be offering on a lot basis - at $1 for each item.  And I will be posting the first of them this afternoon.

And lastly - if you have not been to The Last Bookstore at 5th & Spring in Downtown Los Angeles lately - all the $1 non-fiction books have organized into 50 different sections and all the $1 fiction has been alphabetized by author and organized into small and large paperback and small and large hard cover sections .   And, of course we still have our color coded book wall section for designers, decorators and film & TV shoots.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Rick Orlov - One LA's Last Great Local Reporters, Died Today.

When I first became involved in civic life, one of the first reporters to call me was Rick Orlov of the Los Angeles Daily News. His call was supposedly about the LADWP agreement the neighborhood councils had just begun to negotiate, but the real purpose  was for him introduce himself to me and to let me know he was always open to talking with anyone who was committed to making LA a better place to live.  He also turned out to know a lot more about me than any reporter based in the San Fernando Valley should have bothered to have known. 

So that first call told me a lot about Rick; that he always did his homework and that he had a genuine interest in knowing what was happening in his city and in getting to know a wide range of people throughout this city.  And I can not offer any new reporter any better advice on how to become a great city reporter.  

Below is the Daily News article on Rick's untimely passing.

Daily News City Hall reporter Rick Orlov seen speaking at the Valley Interfaith Council Spirit of VIC Awards dinner on May 19, 2011, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel, died Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, at age 66. (File photo by Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Daily News)
Rick Orlov, a veteran Los Angeles Daily News reporter who covered local politics for almost 30 years and who became known as the dean of the City Hall press corps, died Monday after complications of diabetes.
He was 66.
News of his death swept through the city of Los Angeles as top officials, journalists and friends remembered Orlov for his fair portrayal of the ins and outs of local politics, his Tipoff column, which became a must-read for City Hall politicians, and his mild manner that earned him respect, even among those he held accountable for wrongdoing.
Born on April 12, 1948, in Chicago, Richard H. Orlov lived in Indianapolis as a young boy and moved to Encino with his family when he was 12. A graduate of Birmingham High School where he was a competitive swimmer, Orlov earned a degree in journalism at what is now Cal State Northridge. Orlov always wanted to be a journalist, his sister Joanne Levy said.
He began working at the Los Angeles Daily News in 1978. After a few years as an assistant city editor, Orlov requested to be moved back to a reporting position. He returned to cover local politics in 1988.
“Rick was a rare human being whose strength of character defined him in a way that engendered deep respect from anyone who knew him,” said Michael Anastasi, vice president and executive editor of the Los Angeles News Group. “He cared about his craft, he cared about his colleagues, and he cared about his city. He was as passionate about journalism as anyone I’ve ever met, and he always knew it wasn’t about him — it was always, always about the reader.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement that City Hall was in mourning.
“We are devastated by Rick’s passing,” Garcetti said. “Rick was a true pro — on the record, he was fair and tough; off the record, he was frank and told it like it was. Rick, the dean of the City Hall press corps, was so much more than a journalist. He was a mentor to young reporters, a counselor to elected officials, and a friend to us all. He will be missed. City Hall will never be the same.”
City Council members rarely visit the press rooms located behind City Hall’s third-floor chambers, but politicians routinely came by to talk to Orlov in person.
“He was a wonderful, caring man,” said Councilman Tom LaBonge. “His door was always open.”
City Council President Herb Wesson said he planned to introduce a motion Tuesday to name the media room behind City Council chambers in Orlov’s memory.
“This will be a fitting memorial for someone who gave so much to journalism and to our city,” Wesson said.
Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who sat on the City Council from 1975 to 1994, said he couldn’t remember a time when Orlov was not a political reporter. Orlov was soft-spoken and a man of few words, and he paid attention to what he said and what he wrote, Yaroslavksy said.
“His information was always gold,” Yaroslavsky said. “I never had a time when I quibbled with the accuracy of his reporting. When Rick Orlov said something, whether you looked good or not, it was accurate.”
Yaroslavsky and journalists said it was Orlov who hosted a friendly gathering every Friday after 5 p.m. in his Los Angeles City Hall office, including politicians and reporters socializing over gin and vodka.
“He loved people,” Yaroslavksy said. “He had a great sense of humor. “When he called you out, it wasn’t mean-spirited. At the end of the day, he was a decent human being. Everyone who knew him considered him a friend.”
Longtime Daily News columinst Dennis McCarthy said sources always went to Orlov to make sure their side was told fairly.
“He was one of the most prolific and loved reporters at the paper,” McCarthy said. “He was the go-to guy. To say he’s going to be missed is not enough. He was the heart and soul of the newspaper for a lot of readers for a number of years. Sources always went to him because they new he would give them a fair shake.”
“Rick Orlov was kind, thorough and the consummate professional,” said Carolina Garcia, senior editor of the Daily News. “He was a bellwether for many of us, reminding us about doing the right thing. “
Journalists often sought out Orlov for advice and support. Channel 2 reporter Linda Breakstone was one of Orlov’s best friends. The two met in 1978 during the statewide campaign to pass Proposition 13, and the two talked nearly every week, she said. Breakstone said he was a father figure to young reporters at City Hall.
“He kind of took care of everyone,” she said.
Longtime journalist John Schwada worked in the City Hall press offices for 15 years, reporting for the Herald-Examiner and the Los Angeles Times. He called Orlov “one of the last of the city’s great beat reporters.”
“He covered City Hall and politics with wit and wisdom. No one had his institutional memory or contacts,” Schwada said.
Levy, Orlov’s sister, said there was no other job her brother wanted. His dedication was rewarded in 2011 when he won the Los Angeles Press Club’s Quinn Award for lifetime achievement. He also won numerous awards from California journalism associations.
“He had a career he loved,” Levy said. “I know that he was very well-respected by local politicians. We were all proud of him. It was nice to see that side of his life, how respected he was and how he knew everybody in the city.”
During the ceremony, he was called the most respected and well-liked reporter in Los Angeles. Orlov covered five mayors and five governors. He jetted around the world and even negotiated the surrender of a murder suspect.
Orlov was writing about a gruesome murder involving the Israeli Mafia, and one of the fugitive suspects called him, and negotiated a deal. Orlov was able to get a 20-minute interview and a deal that the suspect would surrender to police. LAPD officers on the scene tried to take the suspect right away, but Orlov called then-Assistant Chief Daryl Gates, who ordered his cops to back off, saying a deal is a deal. Orlov got his interview.
Orlov’s last story about a City Council race appeared in Monday’s Daily News.
Orlov is survived by his sister Joanne, her husband, and two nieces and one nephew, and three great nephews and one great niece.
A public memorial will be held at Levy’s home at 2 p.m. Thursday at 502 N. Elm Drive, Beverly Hills.
A separate public memorial for Orlov also is being planned by the Daily News. Details will be announced soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

30 Brand New & Newer Computer Books Just Arrived in $1 Room of The Last Bookstore!

The One Dollar Room of the Last Bookstore has just acquired 30 computer textbooks (almost  all with CD's) and while a few are from 2007/9 - most of them are from 2012 - 2014.  Included are multiple Technology in Action books with 10 of them being brand new 2012 8th editions - and we have multiple instructor and non-instructor visions.   

Among the other books are various C programs, Visual Basic 2012 and many other different textbooks in general computer technology.   And remember - the Last BookStore closes at 9 PM on Sunday nights, but I will be out of the upstairs space by 8:30.

453 S. Spring Street - enter off of 5th - in the Spring Arts Tower.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Any Artists or Decorators Need Any FREE Branches & Twigs - TODAY?

We just disassembled an old installation at The Last Bookstore and are preparing to depose of the above branches.  But I thought I'd see if any artists, decorators - or fireplace owners - might want to pick them up.  But it would have to be today at 5th and Spring in Downtown LA.  They are from 3 to 8 feet tall and the thickest are the size of a man's thumb.  Call me if you are interested.  Brady Westwater 213-804-8395

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

UPDATE at end! What the Hell is Google's New Division - Workers Uniting Group? And Why is Google Alerts Sending Me There?

As of today,  my Google Alerts are falsely leading me to a site which tries to get me to download books that are fraudulently claimed to be about the subject of my Google Alert.

And the URL of the site was supposedly just registered by Google after it was allowed to expired by a left-wing European labor union while the site has now been renamed - Watch E-Book Online.

Also no information is given on the site as to who they are (other than a link) and I am hesitant to click to 'who we are' link since their products appear to be merely randomly put together, barely related,  news items - and  the site also appears to be less than a week old (see 3rd paragraph below).  So all this makes we question even more - how could this site have a sky-high Google authority ranking?
Again, here is what Google Alerts sent me as a match for the Southern California Historical Society - even though that phrase is a one time mention in an alleged e-book about gardening that is only a collection of barely related on-line stories about gardening.

And here is a many years old link to where it is stated that the organization has disbanded (the organization which first owned the domain name) and that their website will be removed.

Now when I tried to research the history of the URL (something I have never done before), I found it appeared to still be owned by GoDaddy but when I looked for an update to include the past few days - this is what I got: - with it now showing a Kansas address for the site,

However, another site shows it as being located on Google's Mountain View Campus. - but I have no idea if I did this correctly - or not.

And since this a realm I know less than nothing about - I can not even begin to parse any of this.

The only thing I can be 100% certain of  is that Google Alerts is now sending me to sites that have close to zero about the word or alert that is in my Google Alert.

UPDATE!   My Google Alert for The Last Bookstore does to a site that bares little resemblance to the site described in the link.  It is - instead - another yet request for me to download a file  
Now this may be a perfectly innocent site - but the hosting site is  in French - and the Google Alert appears to show that the linked to site is in English - which it could be.   But I'm not going to download anything this suspicious to find out

Friday, December 19, 2014

One Hundred Christmas Books at $1 Each at The Last Book Store!

It you looking for books on how to craft Christmas decorations - or  make Christmas gifts - or gifts of any kind - or if you are looking for new - or old - recipes for any of the year end holidays and celebrations - the $1 room at The Last Bookstore (at 5th & Spring in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles) now has three different displays where you can find those $1 books as well as Christmas themed novels ranging from romantic to inspirational - and most everything in between.  Below are photos of a few of those hundred books taken by what is - undoubtedly- the world's single worst camera phone.

And - if you are still looking for stocking stuffers - or the hard to find perfect gifts for those special people on your list - be sure and pick up some gift cards at the check out register.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Now That The SONY Hackers Plan to BOMB the Theaters - Will the White House Continue to Be Silent on the SONY Hack?

Even before this threat to bomb the theaters showing the SONY film about North Korea - I've been wondering - where the hell has the present administration in Washington been during this whole nightmare?   If these hackers succeed - this will make every US company - and every government entity - a sitting duck for them and others to cyber attack.  And what is now happening to SONY - could be happening to dozens of companies - and government agencies.

 And yet - so far - not a word from the White House.  Here's the opening to the Variety article:

The Sony hackers have threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen Seth Rogen and James Franco’s North Korean comedy “The Interview,” substantially escalating the stakes surrounding the release of the movie.
The attackers also released the promised “Christmas gift” of files. The contents of the files are unknown but it’s called “Michael Lynton,” who is the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“The world will be full of fear,” the message reads. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment
Past messages have included budgets to Sony films, salary information of top executives, and employee medical records and social security numbers.
There have been suspicions that the attack may have been launched by North Korea in retaliation for “The Interview’s” depiction of an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. The country has denied involvement but praised the attacks.
A spokesman for the studio, an FBI spokesman and a spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners were not immediately available for comment.