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May 22, 2003

Postcards from L.A.


I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 22 years now, and while the man-made environment can often be described (in my father’s phrase) as “pretty miscellaneous,” the natural environment has always struck me as God’s country.

To keep my feelings about the local landscape from being completely buried under the detritus of everyday life, I thought I might make some “picture postcard views” of it from time to time for this ‘blog.

My View When Picking My Daughter Up from Middle School

My Route to the Beach

Looking forward to your views of Manhattan.



posted by Friedrich at May 22, 2003


Hey--I live in St. Louis---doncha wanna see St. Louis?? (The views are beautiful. But it does strike me---with so much natural beauty around, why is L.A. known for its worshipping of so much artificial?).

Posted by: annette on May 22, 2003 9:14 AM

I hate to tell you this, but that top picture is Teletubby land. Doesn't it creep you out when all those speakers come up from the ground to announce the next activity?

Posted by: Yahmdallah on May 22, 2003 9:29 AM

Thanks, Yahmdallah--I just shot coffee all over my moniter. It does, it does look like Teletubby land.

Posted by: Deb on May 22, 2003 10:16 AM

What's teletubby land?

Posted by: annette on May 22, 2003 10:27 AM

As a fellow Angeleno, I more or less recognize
the bottom picture. Which is to say, I'm not
sure which stretch of road it is, because there are
so many hillsides around here that have that exact same look. But the top one looks more like the area south of San Jose (near Morgan Hill or Gilroy) in the spring after a good rain, with the Vibrancy knob turned all the way up. Where the heck is it?

Posted by: Will Duquette on May 22, 2003 12:02 PM

Mr. Duquette:

The view in question is Malibu Canyon. That should tip you off the fact that this reply is being typed in (drum roll please) the San Fernando Valley!


Yes, I would like to see St. Louis. Feel free to mail us some digital photos and we'll put 'em up. Apparently (see Michael's post above) we're on a Beauty of America run here.

You raise an interesting point when you ask why Angelinos are so into artificial things (hair color, breasts, an enormous range of plants that aren't native to the region). I think it's because there's no earthly reason why L.A. should exist as a major metropolis in the middle of a mountainous desert in the first place. Apparently, starting with the earliest settlers, we just on strike against the whole notion of reality. I mean, our two iconic industries are movies and aerospace contracting, and neither has any well-defined connection to reality!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on May 22, 2003 2:03 PM

My views of Manhattan? Why do I suspect that you're gloating?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 22, 2003 2:06 PM

There's something terrible wrong with me. These lovely photos of the LA area made me long for, instead of a long day of rock climbing, some greasy Mexican food from a pushcart.

Posted by: j.c. on May 22, 2003 2:53 PM


"Teletubbies" is or was a show on PBS for young children that originates, I think, in Britain. There are 4 teletubbies--sort of stuffed toy, asexual baby toys that babble in an almost comprehesible baby talk--the purple one that carries the purse was accused of being a promotion for the gay lifestyle by Falwell, I think. My facts on this are somewhat hazy since I watched the show once and deemed it so incredbibly stupid that my kids were banned from watching it.

Posted by: Deb on May 22, 2003 8:09 PM

um, it's spelled "incredibly" not incredbibly--I had a long day after I got my moniter cleaned up and replaced the keyboard.

Posted by: Deb on May 22, 2003 8:14 PM

As to southern California and the artificial:

1. could just be a cliche;
2. could have some truth to it as SoCal is young and built on the car so is spread out with lots and lots of roads and parking lots.

i don't think of them as "worshipping the artificial."

my own take on southern californians --- silly as these regional cliches are --- is that they are the outdoorsiest people in the USA, partly because they really do have great weather and so it is nice to be outside a lot of the year. (actually that goes as north as well past the Bay Area.)

There is a difference between the natural environment of Southern California -- awesome! -- and _much but not all_ of its built environment -- soulless.

But that's true of virtually EVERY part of the USA: great naturtal environment but dull/ugly cities.

Posted by: David Sucher on May 22, 2003 8:17 PM

Hear, hear. Darn it.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 22, 2003 9:45 PM

speaking of regionalisms:

I looked at this web site and I had no comment.

Posted by: David Sucher on May 22, 2003 11:02 PM

Thanks for the lecture on southern California and the healthy, non-artificial outdoorsiness, which may be partially true, but it isn't needed. Been there several times---and it does in fact celebrate the artificial.

Posted by: annette on May 23, 2003 3:22 AM

you are welcome, annette.
always happy to help. :)

Posted by: David Sucher on May 23, 2003 8:44 AM

David--- just a helpful guy!:)

Posted by: annette on May 23, 2003 9:03 AM


I was thinking about quietly banning the teletubbies, but after we watched it the first time, my little daughter (who was 2 at the time, I think) who was normally bright-eyed and involved after a decent kid's show, seemed stunned. After watching it once, during which I could not look away because it was like the people who did the Brit paranoia spy show "The Prisoner" had been consulted for a kiddie version and the child/sun creeped me out beyond description, I looked over at my baby and a string of drool ran from her slack mouth to her belly. I said, "that was mind-numbing wasn't it" to which she responded, "Wha" (her form of "yes" at the time). And she never asked to see it again. She watched it once when she was five, and said "it's really creepy - especially the TVs in their stomachs" and that was it for the teletubbies in our house.

Posted by: Yahmdallah on May 23, 2003 9:32 AM


Why so formal? Call me "Will". Anyway, I buy the bottom picture as Malibu Canyon (it could just as easily be La Tuna Canyon); but the upper picture, the bright green one--what's that?

Posted by: Will Duquette on May 23, 2003 10:16 AM


I actually think "incredbibly" is the better descriptor for "stupid."

Posted by: annette on May 23, 2003 10:48 AM


The top view is a hill in Calabasas. It was unusually green (albeit not of the exact shade in the "postcard") because of the heavy rains this winter. Based on a driving trip I took to San Simeon a few weeks ago, even the Central California coast is looking far more green and far less tawny brown than usual for this time of year.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on May 23, 2003 11:59 AM


The baby/sun thing was pretty weird. I'd forgotten that part. And that machine thing that came and cleaned up all the messes. Yeah right, this is something I want my kids to internalize. Make a mess and someone else cleans it up.

I banned Barney too--that one just made me want to gag--and set severe restrictions on Sesame Street.

I still get the bad Mommy award for banning things. My now 13 year old daughter is having a hissy because I wont let her go see The Matrix II cuz it's rated R for sex and violance. I'm the mom, you're the kid, end of story.

Posted by: Deb on May 23, 2003 12:55 PM

Right you are about the natural environment in LA area. And there's more. Out near Pomona (not the nicest city) we have Mt San Antonio or Old Baldy as it used to be called. Over 10,000 feet, snow in winter. Rainbow and brown trout in the creek that flows off it.

Posted by: gerald garvey on May 24, 2003 11:46 AM

Well, if the money gods ever truly smile upon me, I might some day be able to live in the parts of LA that I could stand!

Anywhere around Laurel Canyon would be nice, as would the pedestrian lifestle possible in the Marina Del Rey/Venice area, but ye gods the expense.

Barring that, I'll probably stay in the somewhat sleepy and cheap southwest.

Posted by: David Mercer on May 27, 2003 6:10 PM

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