Tuesday, October 31, 2006


No pictures today, just a little something we call the TUESDAY TOP FIVE

So I'm fresh out of pics from my travels across this great land of ours, and it's just in time to weigh in on the good things in life this week. It's been a while since I've done one of these, and I will try to remain short and to the point in my descriptions.

You might have noticed, Our Man in LA tends to tell a long, involved story. It's just one of my quirks. Whatever. Onward.

5) THE ART OF INTRUSION by Kevin Mitnick. Ever since I saw the movie WAR GAMES with Matthew Broderick way back in the 5th or 6th grade, I've been fairly fascinated by computer hackers. Never had the patience, the computer knowledge, or hard wiring to be one (not to mention the desire to serve time at a federal prison), but I still find them interesting.

Mitnick, allegedly the inspiration for Broderick's character in WAR GAMES and an infamous hacker in his own heyday, writes this as a business book - showing companies how they can get taken by hackers and con artists through a combination of lax computer security, staff negligence and perseverence on the part of an enterprising person with a computer and a modem.

It's fairly chilling on the one hand, but a fascinating true crime read on the other.

4) The NFL stalling on its return to Los Angeles. You might have heard about this, if you read any of the coverage of the NFL Owners meetings in New Orleans last week. Basically, the LA area is on hold to ever get an NFL team again, mostly because the city of LA (and all the other cities around it), as well as the state of California, have no interest in putting up state money for a new team, stadium renovations, etc.

But Wieland, you'll say. You love football. You're against this, right?

Nope. Not for a second. In fact, not even no. Hell, no.


First of all, I'm liking things the way they are. I like seeing the best NFL games on Sunday. I like not being hemmed in by whatever the local guys are doing. And moreover, I'm calling the NFL's bluff. LA's still the second biggest market in this country. Every team with a stadium issue is still going to try and use us for leverage.

And ridiculous as it might sound, I still haven't counted out Al Davis bringing the Raiders back - just as a big middle finger to the league.

But my neighbors and I should have to pay more in taxes or whatever so that we can get the Saints, Jaguars, Vikings, Chargers or whoever to come here?

We can already see them on TV. When they play someone good. Which is not every week.

Does this make my new hometown of LA a bad sports town? Hell, I don't know. If coming to the game a little late and leaving a little early because you want to enjoy the day makes you a bad sports town, then I guess we are. But those teams I mentioned above aren't going to change that. So I might as well catch part of the best game of the week before I head to the beach.

I'm just saying.

3) THE DEPARTED. I realize I'm late to the party with reports that this movie's really, really good. But it is. So go see it if you haven't already. It's been years and years since Scorsese made a movie this powerful and tough.

Ditto the performances. For years, I'd wondered why people loved Jack Nicholson as much as they do. Sorry, but WITCHES OF EASTWICK and WOLF never did it for me. He was fun to watch, but great? Well, forget that. Here he's great.

And pretty much likewise everyone else. Damon hasn't been this good since GOOD WILL HUNTING, Leo since GILBERT GRAPE. And Wahlberg . . . well, has he ever been in anything this good? BOOGIE NIGHTS, maybe? Yeah, OK. He's better here.

The pace and writing are fantastic. You really are on the edge of your seat. It's worth it.

2) Hollywood Vegan on Hillhurst just south of Franklin. Or maybe it's called Green Leaves Vegan. We've got two menus from the place, each with a different name. Either way, it's one of my new favorite haunts in all of LA.

You see, Our Woman in LA likes her thai food, but we haven't been able to find a place that's just right since getting here. A few have been close (Natalee in Culver City's not bad), but this place just hits the spot. Great noodles, great curries, and probably the best veggie spring rolls I've ever had. And it's cheap. $20 for both of us, with a delivery fee included! Wow!

If you're in the neighborhood, you have to check this place out. If you're a tofu guy or gal, it's awesome. If you're a meat substitute kind of person, it's also mighty tasty.

If you're into big slabs of red meat or something, you might want to try something else . . . but if you'll expand your horizons, it's good eating.

1) OK, for this one, I'm going to the pictures . . .

Perched in the hills of Griffith Park, just above Our Home in LA, is the Griffith Observatory. It's a super cool building featured in a ton of films and TV shows. It's where James Dean first met Nathalie Wood in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. In the 50s Superman TV show, it was the home of Jor-El.

And it's been closed for four years for repairs. Until now.

That's right. The Observatory is open, and once again LA has one of its landmarks back. Our Woman in LA and I are heading up there very soon, so there'll be much more to report.

In the meantime, here are a few more images from one of the most majestic places in the western United States.

A view of downtown LA from the observatory.

If that's not Top Five worthy, then I got nothing else. See you later.

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