Friday, September 9, 2011
Whenever I hit the home stretch into West Hollywood after a jaunt out-of-town, a sense of well-being overwhelms me, and my mood is likewise elevated.
It's probably the sight of the picturesque cottages hugging the canyons, exotic palms whispering in the breeze, or even the dreamy-eyed lovers dining al fresco at trendy waterng holes that have triggered the warm and fuzzy emotions.
"Out there" the world may be a cold cruel place , but WeHo is a safe welcoming respite from it all.
A casual stroll along the boulevard, catching a few rays on the lush grass at a the park at the edge of Beverly Hills, and a carefree day of window-shopping on trendy Robertson Boulevard remind me that I've safely made my way back home.
Of course, WeHo was not always the affluent neighborhood it has come to be.
Film buffs may recall that West Hollywood was depicted as an outlaw town in the period thriller LA Confidential starring Guy Pierce and Russell Crowe.
Once the city achieved incorporated status many moons ago (free of the clutches of Los Angeles County) City Council set out to implant their style (in this instatnt case it was visionary).
The bus stop shelters that were installed were not only pleasing to the eye, but also aesthetically-pleasing.
And, a smattering of pink dollars in the city coiffers, were earmarked for landscaping throughout the city.
The stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard that reaches from Beverly Hillls to La Cienega Boulevard was virtually transformed into a lush exotic garden-like setting.
Once City Council got a bug in their ear about the need to implement a comprehensive plan improve the traffic flow, they dove in with vigor.
For example, a cramped left-turn lane at San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevard (which jammed rush-hour traffic and was prone to trigger heated confrontations and foul insults) was widened and boldly marked.
Now, motorists sail though the intersection usually with ease.
By the way, at one point, I thought alll of the City Counsel members were toilet-trained too early.
Their attack on every little blight in the neighboord was a classic sign.
Although a "bump" warning etched on the pavement ahead is generally the universally-accepted -way to mark such a phenomenon, Council pondered the issue.
Suddenly, there was a "Eureka" moment.
"We'll call it hump"
Camels have humps, city streets have bumps.
City Hall was also mindful that Art should play a role on the thriving cityscape.
For the past few years, residents and tourists alike have been blessed with a myriad of exhibitions of Art (some of top qualiity, others not) to ponder.
They don't call WeHo the creative city for no good reason!
Monday, September 5, 2011
Virgin Airlines has probably single-handedly transformed the travel industry from a dreary exhausting one, to an joyful experience worth looking-forward to!
At a check-in counter along the departure level - world-wearing travellers have not only been spied toughing it out in nerve-wracking queues that snake endlessly as far as the eye can see - but often caught shifting their feet endlessly to stay awake.
In contrast, the Virgin Airlines check-in pod is abuzz with excited travellers non-stop, anxious to participate in their own booking process.
In fact, Virgin Airline's launching pad bears a striking resemblance to an eclectic hub along-the-lines of a Facebook think tank (where Mark Zuckerburg kick-back and held court with his super kids).
The rich color scheme (Royal Red mostly) can't help but draw the passengers in like moth to flame.
Within minutes the competent staff will have guided their darlings through the boarding pass routine with few snafus.
No frowns (or rude conduct) on duty here - which makes 'ya wonder - is that company policy or are the employees truly thrilled with their jobs?
Now-and-then Virgin Airlines will post a flight special or two at rock-bottom prices to snatch up the following day.
With at least one provisio.
The savvy jet-setter must accept the departure slot the system coughs up automatically.
Unfortunately, at this juncture, Virgin 's snake-and-oil saleman may run amuck with passengers.
For instance, after one business man inputted his passenger data and credit card information, the system spat out a 6:45 a.m. - 7:45 reservation that was a bit upsetting because the traveller was led to believe that the flight would be later in the morning.
What did 6:45 - 7:45 - actually translate in real-world speak?
The businessman was confused.
Was he supposed to show up at the ticket-counter during that time frame - at which point - he would be assigned a cherished seat?
The e-mail confirmation did not address or clarify that niggling point.
And, what if he missed the fllight, would he be SOL?
Virgin neglected to addres that mighty important what-if scenario.
As fate would have it, the businessman was bumped from the flight, in spite of the fact he arrived at 6:15 a.m.
Not a happy camper!
As fate would have it, the frustrated businessmn missed the flight.
Although he dashed up to check-out at 6:15, he was bumped.
According to the flight personnel, the airline does not dawdle for stragglers.
"We are proud of our reputation for taking off on schedule," she beamed.
At this juncture, the hapless passenger had two options.
He could go standby on the next flight out, or guarantee a seat by paying a $25.00 surcharge (penalty?).
"In the pay-up scenario, he would come out the loser, because the tacked-on fee would no longer make the ticket a bargain.
"I'll give it the old College try," he countered.
Fortunately, the Godesses of the Divine Heavens smiled down, and he nabbed the lone standby seat available on the next flight.
Once he was settled into his comfy black-leather bucket seat, he was able toccess the state-of-the-art entertainment center installed in the back of the passenger seat, and while away the hour trip to San Francisco musing to music videos, web TV, and news updates.
Later in the evening when he met up with friends at a popular watering hole, he could jokingly boast, that he hopped on a Virgin earlier in the day.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Across the street, a good-humored Chef was serving up tailor-made cheese plates featuring quality product from around the face of the culinary globe.
Then, I jogged back to the other side of the street (the zig-zag approach appears to be a practical one at this high-profile food fest) where quiche was being enlivened with a dash of proscuitto was being snatched up by all who passed by.
When appetites for the heavenly cuisine had been satiated, the guests were inclined to stroll into high-end designer boutiques that Rodeo is known the-world-over for some serious shopping
Within their reach?
A smattering of buttery-soft one-of-a-kind leather jackets, pricey baubles that define signature style, and a host of fashionable ensembles sure to turn heads.
Once the delightful event began to wind down, I floated home on a cloud totally at peace.
To quote Lou Reed:
"It (was) a perfect day. I'm glad I spent it with you (Beverly Hillls).
Locals and tourists alike, casually streamed into the lofty climbs of Beverly Hills this afternoon, as palm trees whispered in the breeze above a picturesque setting that charmed.
The Los Angeles Times sponsored event was a delicious hit with both regular food yap stuffers and coinnoseurs of fine dining!
Rodeo Drive was dotted with eye-catching tents where vendors artfully-crafted plates of fingerfood that were downright delectable.
Glasses of chilled white wine and Vintage reds were ceremoniously presented on demand too.
At one festive tent, I scoffed down one of my favorite snacks - Bagles & Lox -crowned with a succulent tomato medallion.
Daily, on the nightly news, Americans are constantly assaulted with ugly images of man's inhumanity to man.
On the streets of their neighborhoods, they daily witness nasty confrontations and other hateful behaviour that shocks the sensibilities.
Americans appear to be going to hell in a handbasket.
Consequently, when a loving individual steps forward and acts like a Saint out-of-the-blue, the random act of kindness impacts.
For example, one day when I was whiling away idle time at the Las Vegas Airport, I suddenly longed for a cool refreshing bottle of ice-cold water.
I strode into the variety shop and cruised over to the beverage coolers.
Every 12 ounce selection was priced at $3.50 a bottle!
Regular readers at the Tatttler are keen to fact I do not support "greed".
So, I was inclined to beg off, after I noted the items were a bit pricey to the clerk.
When it comes to water, no matter what the brand, $3.50 is outrageous.
"Are you thirsty?" she casually quizzed me.
"Yes, but I'll wait," I responded politely.
At this juncture, the fresh-faced cashier strolled over to the cooler - plucked up a bottle - then handed it to me.
"Let me buy you a bottle," she beamed.
"No, it's okay," I politely responded.
"I can afford to pay for it. It's the principle."
She wasn't about to relent.
Then I recalled a handful of spiritual teachings worth taking heed to.
The ability to open up your heart and give freely is precious.
For starters, the giver experiences the joy of pleasing a loved one, family member, or friend
And, the recipient feels all warm and fuzzy inside.
But, the ability to receive, iis just as important.
In my own instant scenario, the kind-hearted shopkeeper was bent on gifting me.
Why deny her that joy?
Over the centuries many tragic characters were forced to endure remarkable hardships because they could not swallow their pride or graciously accept a helping hand.
If possible, balance the joy of giving and receiving, to manifest harmony (and bliss) in your life!
Critics in the arts, and celebrity entertainment reporters - gossip mongers, in particular - are always wise when they artfully muse about their high-profile subjects.
After all, then professional snoopers ever really know when they may cross paths with the sometimes volatile individulas bent on mainttaining control over their name, image, and stature in the industry.
Perez Hilton learned that lesson the hard way.
The truism hit home for me last week at the Las Vegas International Airport.
As I was getting my bearings in a crush of travellers touching down and jetting out, when I overheard a woman utter in astonishment:
Do you know who that is?
As I turned in the direction of the source, I was slightly startled to come face-to-face (a close encounter indeed) with a well-known actor grinning at me about a foot away.
The charismatic performer was actually handsomer and sexier in person.
Though coverage at the Tattler hasn't amounted to a hilll of beans in the past for the talented man, I intend to transform potential dribble into juicy tid-bits in the future.
Over the past couple of years, Greyhound has put a thrust on its mage in the travel industry - and customer perks - to enourage Americans to hop on board and tour the country hassle-free and cheaply.
For example, the top brass launched a state-of-the-art website to encourage online booking facilitate the option of reserved seats of the traveller's choosing for a nominal fee of $5.00.
Once a dinosaur on the American landscape, the carrier took a giant leap forward when it also introduced free WiFi.
Now, tourists can check e-mail at each stop on their itinerary, keep relatives and friends abreast of their whereabouts (and even check the weather forecasts during the course of the trip).
Unfortunately, Greyhound took a misstep when they neglected to hire qualified trained personnel and security guards capable of interacting with customers in a courteous professional manner.
In that department, Greyhound's image is in the dumper!
For example, customers routinely omplain that cashier's treat them in a rude insulting manner.
But, the security guards are downright intimidating.
And, their conduct usually arises to the level of harassment.
For instance, one cocky guard in a monkey suit often strides up to tourists (minding their own business as they wait to embark on their bus) and interrogates them at whim.
"Are you a Greyhound customer with a ticket," he grills them.
It should have been obvious they were if he any deductive reasoning powers.
The person in question is - was not only obediently standing in a line behind door No. 4 - but casually holding their precious ticket in their sweaty palm.
On occasion, the cavalier guards overstep their authority, and end up trampling on citizen's rights.
According to eyewitesses, a short squat Asian guard (who appeared to be under the false impression that he has a big-swinging dick hanging between his legs), made patrons uncomfortable when he strutted around the waiting room giving the ticket-holders the evil-eye.without justification.
At one point, the wacko Greyhound employee dashed to the rear of a holding-area with anger in each step.
Bystanders literally gasped in shock when the out-of-control guard was spied hurling a young white man in his mid-twenties across the full length of the greyhound station hand-cuffed and crying out in pain.
"Ok, I'll go," he was heard to say.
After barking out - "Call Metro Police" - to the customer service staff, he proceeded to angrily propel the distraught man through to a secure area outside.
"Don't fuck with me," he belted out in a vulgar tone of voice.
As expected, the travellers assembled nearby, consisted primarily of young children, mothers, on-the-go teens, foreign students, and a smattering of seniors.
Understandably, the whole lot of them were troubled by the demented guard's foul-mouth, and overall disregard for their right to pass freely through the Greyhound terminal without being subjected to the guard's violent outrageous behavior - which ultimately established in the eyes of the witnesses - that he was not only poorly-trained in people skills, but also - drunk with power - and totally lacking in discretion and humanity.
When I took the position that the guard had overstepped his color of authority, the local Police appeared to agree, when you consider that the Police Officers determined about thirty minutes later that the had not committed any offense that cried out of prosecution.
In view of the foregoing, Greyhound must seize the tapes and launch an investigation with the ultimate aim of disciplinary action against the rogue security guard,
Otherwise, in the future, the end scenario may not turn out so favorably for the victims.
If 'ya ask me, the volatile loser is a walking time bomb waiting to explode.