January 31, 2021

Pandemic Amusements: Happiness Is A Warm Candy Cane

In 1933, Frances Logan and Charles (Pop) Logan founded their own eponymous candy shop at 216 N. Euclid Avenue in Ontario, California. 

Once called Logan's Candy but now known as Logan's Candies, it's best known for its Christmas candy canes—but it also caused a stir for going "Dodger Blue" last year upon our hometown team's World Series win. 

And second only to the Christmas season is Valentine's Day, when the shop breaks out the cinnamon striped candy canes.  


January 28, 2021

Pandemic Amusements: The Quest for Dinos

After hearing out my adventure through the Jurassic Quest drive-thru animatronic dinosaur show, a friend said, "You've been on a dinosaur kick lately."

January 27, 2021

An LA Decade

Ten years ago today, I fled a snowstorm in New York City and landed in sunny, warm Burbank—where I immediately stripped off my winter boots and headed to Target to buy a bikini. 

I had no idea what the next few weeks would hold—much less the next 10 years. 

January 26, 2021

Photo Essay: The Wonder of Bob Baker Marionette Theater's Window Displays at the Santa Monica Pier Carousel (Updated)

Last updated 3/1/21 9:24 PM PT—video embed from Bob Baker Day added at bottom.

Updated 1/31/21 7:39 PM PT—nighttime photos added at bottom. 

Because of the pandemic, I haven't been able to get inside the circa 1916 Looff's Hippodrome, the building that houses the Santa Monica Pier Carousel

In fact, it's been pretty hard just to get outside of it, with the Pier closed to the public on certain weekends and holidays to prevent overcrowding and infection-spreading.

But last week, I finally got to check out the "Windows of Wonderment" exhibit in the carousel building's windows—a retrospective of a handful of Bob Baker Marionette Theater's stringed spectaculars. 

January 22, 2021

Livestream with the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles: Treading the Offbeat Path in Deceivingly Familiar Territory

I couldn't believe my little world of adventure would be compelling enough for a club full of scuba divers, anthropologists, island hoppers, and treasure hunters. 

But this week, I had the honor of guesting on a livestream presentation hosted by the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles. (Scroll to the bottom to watch the replay.

January 19, 2021

It's a Holiday Dino Dress-Up at Cabazon Dinosaurs

Back in November, the larger-than-life biomorphic buildings known as the Cabazon Dinosaurs were kicked up a notch by being painted in Christmas colors—green for Dinney, the 150-foot-long Apatosaurus/Brontosaurus, and a Santa suit for Mr. Rex, the three-story concrete Tyrannosaurus rex

I didn't think it could get any better than that—but much to my delight, they've now been repainted once again. 

January 18, 2021

Who Wants In On A Split Pea Soup Empire? In Its 97th Year, Andersen's Is For Sale (Updated for 2024, Closed)

Last updated 1/14/24 11:41 AM PT—In January 2024, Pea Soup Andersen's in Buellton closed. We knew it was eventually coming, but there wasn't enough notice for folks to make the trip to say one last goodbye. Reports are that the restaurant will be demolished and redeveloped, and the business will have a space in the new, contemporary building.

But who wants a new building, when the old building is such a big part of its charm?? (See also Taix.)

The Santa Nella location of Pea Soup Andersen's is still open. Below, here's my blog post from 2021 about the Buellton location.

January 10, 2021

Photo Essay: Tiptoeing Across Carpinteria's 'Black Gold' Beach

Unlike on Hawaii's black sand beaches, the black you'll find on certain SoCal beaches—especially at the southernmost section of Carpinteria State Beach, just south of Santa Barbara—isn't exactly exotic or romantic. 

January 09, 2021

2020, In Hindsight

As I embark on this new year—one that's not so different from last year, at least so far—I feel inclined to record some of my personal accomplishments of 2020. 

January 08, 2021

R.I.P. Tom LaBonge, One of LA's Most Engaging and Enthusiastic Public Servants

In 2013, then-City Councilmember Tom LaBonge had helped arrange a tour of Griffith Observatory for the Los Angeles City Historical Society—but he'd gotten called away and couldn't join us there until the very end.

Tom LaBonge at Griffith Observatory, circa 2013

When he finally arrived, he brought a sign with him that said "Enjoy and Love Los Angeles." And that was pretty much his motto his entire life—right up until he died this week at home in Silverlake (where he was also born).

January 07, 2021

Photo Essay: Driving Back and Forth Across Long Beach's New 'Bridge to Everywhere' (Updated for 2023)

[Last updated 6/3/23 4:15 PM PT—The new name of the bridge has been added below.]

Back in 2019, I took a tour of the construction site of the as-yet-unnamed Gerald Desmond Replacement Bridge in Long Beach (now called the "Long Beach International Gateway")—a project that first began in 2013.

Photo: Courtesy of the Port of Long Beach

And as of October 2020, the new bridge is open for traffic—while the bridge it replaced still stands.