Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Fugitive from Justice

Today I was excused from the jury in the murder trial of gangsta rapper "Dolla."

Here's some information on his slaying last May from

The man killed during a high-profile shooting at the Beverley Center in Beverley Hills, California today was Atlanta rapper Dolla, sources have confirmed with

Dolla, born Roderick Anthony Burton II, hailed from East Atlanta and Los Angeles. He was signed to Akon’s Konvict Muzik imprint.

The rapper was shot and killed shortly after 3:00 PM near the La Cienga Boulevard entrance, after a fight between a group of individuals broke out.

Witnesses report that a woman was seen firing a handgun. Another source said a male suspect was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport as he attempted to board a flight.

Dolla was originally a member of Hip-Hop group Da Razkals Cru, before he landed a gig for Sean “
Diddy” Combs as a model for Sean John.

Dolla had gained a buzz via his track "Who The Heck Is That?" which featured
T-Pain and Tay Dizm.

The rapper was reportedly working on his debut solo album titled a Dolla & A Dream.

The defendant in the case, a different "rap artist," was arrested at LAX a few hours after the shooting with a semi-automatic weapon in his undershorts.

I can't say I'm upset about not being on the jury for what the judge said would be a two-week trial.

The defense attorney didn't seem to like it when I challenged his suggestion that it's OK for jury selection to go on as long as necessary to secure a fair jury. I said there was a point at which it would simply be dragging it out.

I was the first juror excused by the judge (other than a few jurors who were excused for extreme hardships). It took me all of thirty seconds to get out of the courtroom.
Posted by Picasa

During the lunch break I ate at one of my favorite Downtown Los Angeles restaurants, the Nickel Diner. Located on Main Street (formerly known as Skid Row), it's remarkable how much that part of Downtown has improved in the last few years.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Civic Duty

Spent today in Downtown Los Angeles in the Criminal Courts Building doing jury duty.

I'm currently on a panel of prospective jurors being considered for a trial set to begin next week. I'm not allowed to write about the trial now but I can after I'm excused or the trial is completed.

What I can write about is how much Los Angeles County has improved the jury duty experience since I last was called about five years ago.

They've completely switched over to the one-day jury service system. Jurors are "on-call" for up to five days and if you have to report for jury service you only have to serve for one day or one completed trial.

Two improvements worth noting -- 1) Jurors now can check their status on-line instead of having to call-in. The on-line service is really easy to use and convenient. And 2) -- and this is the big one -- jurors now can complete the orientation on-line. Those who do the on-line orientation are allowed to report to the Courthouse 90 minutes later than other jurors. When you're fighting traffic to Downtown Los Angeles the difference between having to get there at 8 a.m. vs. 9:30 a.m. is huge.

They have a system in place to make sure you really do complete the on-line orientation -- it's timed so you can't blow through it completely and you have to answer a few quizzes to insure you've absorbed the information.

It's not like the questions are really hard. For instance, one question was "In which County will you be performing your Jury Duty?" I'd say that's not setting the bar too high.

Here's one other interesting tidbit I picked up today: Judges aren't allowed to be on Facebook. Never thought about it before, but I guess it makes sense.
Posted by Picasa

Another improvement is the free parking for jurors has moved from an awful Tonka Toy parking structure to the glamorous Walt Disney Concert Hall.

I know Los Angeles County owns the parking lot underneath the WDCH and I'm glad to see they're putting it to good use.
Posted by Picasa

I've been reading about a new restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles that just serves macaroni and cheese. During my lunch break I took the Dash bus about nine blocks to 8th and Spring check it our for myself.

"Mac & Cheeza" was a huge disappointment. If you're only going to serve mac and cheese then at least it ought to be good mac and cheese. This wasn't. It was goopey and flavorless.

And the place is so tiny they don't even have tables -- just a couple of benches available if you don't mind balancing your mac and cheese on your lap.

New York City has a tremendous mac and cheese only restaurant (in the East Village I think).

This round goes to NYC.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I See Your Point

Lately several people have told me I need to get back to blogging more frequently. Apparently it doesn't matter whether or not I have anything interesting to write about. So I'm going to give it a try.

My glasses broke yesterday. The left arm just snapped off from the front of the frame.

I'm not completely blind without glasses, but I certainly can't drive without them. So I found my old, back-up pair of glasses (at least 10 years old).

I went to the Lens Crafters at the Westside Pavilion where I purchased the now broken pair in 2004. The salesman (once he realized the glasses were five years old) was pretty quick to tell me there was no way to repair the glasses and the only option was to purchase new frames and lenses. This is not what I wanted to hear.

I asked him if he could recommend an eyeglasses repair store that could possibly repair them. He said I could go to Fast-Fix on the third floor of the mall but he knew they wouldn't be able to fix them.

Up to the third floor I went and, sure enough, Fast-Fix told me they could fix them. They said they'd be ready in an hour. I opted to leave them overnight and picked them up today. At $45 I think Fast-Fix was probably overpriced but it sure was a lot less money then getting a new pair when I hadn't planned on it.

And that's as interesting as it got today.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lots of Lobbying

Went to the brand new J.W. Marriott Hotel last night to attend a portion of the California Democratic Party Convention.

It was my first time here since this hotel opened up right next to the Los Angeles Convention Center.

I was impressed! It's beautiful and seems like a wonderful space to have a convention. The lobby is very open and flows into the restaurant and into the bar area. Lots of opportunities to see and be seen. And isn't that what conventions are for?
Posted by Picasa

You never know who you are going to bump into in the hallway.
Posted by Picasa

Hotel security was there in about .3 seconds. How does Lyndon LaRouche keep finding these young people?
Posted by Picasa

Spent Wednesday night in San Diego and had a chance to have dinner at the Old Towne Mexican Cafe in (wait for it) Old Towne.

Great Mexican food in a lively setting at affordable prices. What more could one ask for?
Posted by Picasa

This isn't a gimmick -- they really do make and serve fresh tortillas at the Old Towne Mexican Cafe.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Over the past few months I've become a real fan of the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." If you've never seen it, it's a fast-paced show about really interesting -- good -- restaurants around the country.

For most of the restaurants they cover my thought usually is, "that restaurant looks really good but I'll never be in that town to try it." So my ears perked up when they reported on a Sacramento restaurant called "Jamie's Bar and Grill."

For the first time since I saw this particular episode I'm in Sacramento tonight and I made a bee-line to Jamie's. All I can say is "wow!" It's a little off the beaten path from downtown Sacramento but worth the effort to get to.

Great food in a bar room with a dining area at affordable prices -- what more could you want?

I had the beef barley soup and chicken enchiladas -- both of which were delicious.

Plus, how can you go wrong in a place with a buffalo head on the wall?

My waiter told me appearing on "Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives" increased the restaurant's business by 400%. Ka-ching!
Posted by Picasa

Jamie's certainly looks like a dive from the outside.
Posted by Picasa