How I’m Preparing for the Big Rainstorms Coming to Los Angeles


Rain is a rare sight in Los Angeles, and we have a big storm moving in. The news reports all say to be prepared, and that’s what I’m doing.

I started prepping today by taking my life-coach-hike on Runyon Canyon on Monday instead of Tuesday. My life coach and career guru Tapan said that rescheduling our weekly walk is the kind of proactive maneuver he’d like to see me take more often at work. As a result, I plan to make pro-activity the theme of my evening meditation.

On the home front I had our housekeeper Esmerelda shut all of the windows, weather-strip the doors and climb up on the roof to check for possible leaks. Many Angelenos hire young, cheap domestic assistants, but you can’t beat having an experienced housekeeper. At 70-plus-years-old she knows exactly how to spot a roof leak among our Spanish-style ceramic tiles.

Over the weekend I asked my driver Gary to replace all of the wipers and put four new radial tires on the Escalade. I also asked him to make sure that we had an E-Z Pass for the 406 in case we need to use the freeway. (The 406 is an exclusive, invitation-only freeway located underground and adjacent to the 405.)

With torrential rain expected, I had my dog and dog walker flown to a sustainable canine spa. I can’t recommend “Paws And Reflect” of Phoenix enough. Our pooch is always so centered upon return. So focused. So Zen.

My wife and I will miss Chartreuse, our Pomeranian-Doberman rescue, but we won’t be alone. We’ll batten down the hatches with Verisimilitude, our Japanese land penguin, who is unable to travel due to a recent tough mudder injury. We will also be joined for the week by Giacamo, our crossfit trainer, so we don’t miss any sessions.

The panic room, where we will ride out the storm, is stocked with a fabulous array of Napa reds, French whites and gluten-free gluten cubes, which contain no gluten.

Now, of course, it’s just a matter of waiting for the rain to fall, fall, fall! (The rain will not be falling on our house, thanks to the drone-tarp, but it will be neat to see what it does to the rest of the city. We’ll get through this together, Los Angeles!)

Joe Donatelli is a journalist in Los Angeles. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo by AudioVision, Public Radio

Remember The Union


Like most Bobcats I was saddened to learn about the fire on Union Street. Two of Athens’ favorite public establishments, Jackie O’s and The Union, were hit hard. It sounds like Jackie O’s will remain open in some limited capacity while it rebuilds. The Union as we know it “is no more,” according to its proprietors.

Here’s hoping the owners rebuild.

It’s hard to imagine Uptown without The Union.

When I was at Ohio University in the 1990s The Union was the alternative, grunge, dive, $1-for-a-Schlitz, indie music bar. Downstairs was for townies and regulars. Upstairs was literally for everyone.

For some students The Union was a stop on a shuffle. But for others it was the central organizing principle of their social lives. It was a place accepting of various fashions, scenes and lifestyles. It was smokey and dark, rough around the edges, yet tolerant. More so than a lot of places Uptown, it was a true melting pot.

The pretty people were at The Crystal and Pawpurr’s. The people who had tattoos and piercings and tattoos of piercings or didn’t care to judge the tattooed and pierced were at The Union. The Union gave the “goddamn independents” who exist outside of OU’s self-organizing social classes of greeks and jocks and bros and basics a place to drink and socialize and dance and sing. It was the definition of a proper dive bar as well as a place to see The Black Keys for-crying-out-loud.

Obviously I have fond memories of the place, and of all of them the most recent stands out.

Two years ago when my wife and I returned to Athens for a semester we attended a live performance of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on the second floor. The room was packed. Everyone was dressed in drag and lingerie, the audience and cast blending together, singing and dancing in a buckshot blast of freak humanity.

It was loud. It was fun. It was weird.

It was The Union.

Joe Donatelli is a journalist in Los Angeles. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo via The Post

I Think Playboy Wins Sexiest Halloween Costumes of 2014


Playmate Scarlett Keeegan as Weird Al

This is the most fun thing we’ve done at the new yet. For Halloween we turned the old “sexy” costumes cliche on its head and had the Playmates dress as pop culture heroes who, for the most part, are not known for being sexy. This photo shoot was intended to be humorous, not hot, and I’m thankful it was received that way.

So if you’ve ever wanted to see Sexy John Oliver, Sexy Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sexy Alex Trebek, Sexy George R.R. Martin, Sexy Louis C.K., Sexy Joe Biden, Sexy Questlove, Sexy Craig Sager, Sexy George Takei and Sexy Weird Al all in one place, click here. (The photos and videos are all non-nude.)

How did it go over?

John Oliver led with it on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:



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