Hollywood Underground

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 3.11.28 PMThere’s plenty of hiking trails around Los Angeles, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the wilderness and hike places such as Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. It’s a really interesting place that not many people know about, and it’s not really explored. There’s no end to the amazing amount of art displayed. Their collection includes the complete replicas of Michelangelo statues, dozens of beautiful stained glass windows, including two that have absurd multi-media presentations, a mosaic of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and a giant bronze statue of George Washington.

Originally developed in the early 1900s, it quickly became one of the most progressive cemeteries of its day – permanently changing the business aspects of American cemeteries through its example. Fate brought a man named Hubert Eaton to become its president in 1916. Eaton’s vision, and the fact that Forest Lawn has continued to hold firm to Eaton’s famous Builder’s Creed, has turned the concept of a cemetery from that of crumbling tombstones to a true “garden” of peace.

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A visit to Charles Bukowski’s grave

I’m a huge fan of Bukowski, and an even bigger fan of his writing style – which was in the stream-of-consciousness vein, a la Hunter Thompson. Bukowski often said “Don’t try,” and some would think he meant just let the words flow, don’t try to make sense of them. His wife, Linda, says it means don’t just try, but rather, DO.

“Dirty journalism” is the phrase some people use to describe Bukowski’s writing. Some of it borders on pornography (let’s just say you wouldn’t want to be reading his novel Women on an airplane and have your neighbor glance down at the words). Calling it misogynistic and crude is to put his prose mildly. His poetry, however, is quite beautiful. Here is one of my favorites from his book, You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense.

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The Point Fermin Lighthouse

The Point Fermin Lighthouse is different from most other lighthouses on the California coast. Instead of standing like a lonely pillar, Point Fermin’s light is part of a Victorian-style house. Point Fermin is one of only six lighthouses ever built in this design and one of three still standing (the others are East Brother in the San Francisco Bay and Hereford Light in New Jersey).

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Chiquito Falls Hike

Chiquito Falls, named after former ranger Kenneth Munhall’s horse, was an ideal opportunity to see a seasonal waterfall, however in recent years the falls have all but dried up. Now what remains is the opportunity to rock climb and see plenty of Great Basin Fence Lizards along the way. Despite the water shortage, the 9-mile out and back hike to Chiquito Falls is still worth exploring for its beautiful scenery and grueling workout.

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Lake Elsinore views & history

Originally known as Laguna Grande by early Spanish explorers, Lake Elsinore has a rich history in the region, used as a rest stop to camp and water animals for trappers, prospectors of the Gold Rush, and for the great explorer of the Wild West, John Charles Frémont.

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The Los Angeles Zoo: Then and Now

The Griffith Park Zoo was originally opened in 1912, amusingly built on the former location of Griffith J. Griffith’s old ostrich farm. It was opened with 15 animals, and due to lack of funding; it opened without any cages, simply stockades to keep the animals in, which were inadequate for several of the species, kept on site.

Stories claim that the history of the zoo was rocky, and it was always struggling. For example, in 1916, the zoo was apparently leaking sewage into the L.A. River, and later during World War I, a meat shortage made it hard to properly care for the animals, forcing the zoo to substitute horse meat for beef, leading to the deaths of many of the meat eating animals, particularly the big cats. Luckily the zoo was free which kept visitors coming.

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