Sunday, February 17, 2019

Los Angeles Times Cancels 'Non Sequitur' Comic Over Obscenity

As the LA Times' comic section has been condensed over the years, the paper has been left with just a handful of strips — most of them legacy, and rather unexciting. One of the few comics with any sort of edge, "Non Sequitur," has now been axed as well — over an subtly obscured obscenity that made it into print.

See above: In the one frame, scribbles appear to read, "We fondly say go f**k yourself to Trump.” Alas, that was too much for many newspapers — including the L.A. Times, which wrote in an editor's note:

In the Feb. 10 comics section, the “Non Sequitur” cartoon by Wiley Miller contained a vulgar message that was hidden in an illustration.

Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes the cartoon, apologized Monday for missing the offensive wording in its editing process. “If we had discovered it, we would not have distributed the cartoon without it being removed,” the statement said. “We apologize to Non Sequitur’s clients and readers for our oversight.”

Miller, in a statement, said he had prepared the cartoon with the vulgar message several weeks ago, intended to remove the message before the cartoon was distributed but neglected to do so. However, in a Twitter post Sunday, the cartoonist wrote: “Some of my sharp-eyed readers have spotted a little Easter egg from Leonardo Bear-Vinci. Can you find it?”

The Los Angeles Times considers this a breach of trust with our readers and will halt publication of the “Non Sequitur” cartoon. The Times' comic pages are prepared in advance, so readers may see “Non Sequitur” cartoons for several more Sundays.

Other newspapers that have dropped the strip include the Chicago Tribune, which wrote an identical editor's note, with just the newspaper's name changed (and signed by Tribune editor Bruce Dold). Strangely, the Trib's statement even ran on the LAT's site — a legacy, I assume of the papers' former co-ownership.

Other papers dropping the strip include the San Diego Union-Tribune, and reaction from readers was very mixed.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Free L.A.: Powering the Tesla Coil at Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is forever a favorite to spend a Saturday morning — although the parking situation has changed quite a bit over the years. On this morning, we parked in a designated lot next to the Greek Theatre and then walked up the hill. (It was probably about a 20 minute hike.) There are also buses, but require exact change — which we didn't have. (It's a long time now since parking was free at the Observatory itself; and even nearby, parking is no longer allowed on the street.)

This time out, the Blogger Kid 2.0 was especially excited to see the Tesla Coil and its electric shocks. Back in the day, an Observatory staffer would pass around a light bulb and audiences would watch it light up. Now, the Tesla Coil is safely inside a Faraday cage.

As always, the other treat up at the Observatory: The view.

Monday, January 14, 2019

In Support of LAUSD Teachers: The Strike Begins

The rain is pouring in Los Angeles, but that's not dampening spirits on the picket line as teachers and supporters fight to improve the quality of education being offered by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Maria took these shots this morning outside the Blogger Teen's school.

Higher pay, smaller class sizes, more support staff. Our children, and the people tasked with preparing them for the future, deserve it. And as a society, we need to get our priorities in order. 

The fact that we rank so low in education funding is California's shame. Time to do something about it. It's truly unfortunate that we got to this point. In solidarity with LA's teachers.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Ralphs Ditches 'Van de Kamp's' Name, Rebrands Its Store-Brand Bread Under 'Kroger'

Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakeries was once a staple of Southern California, particularly thanks to the bakery/restaurant chain's trademark blue windmills. Founded in 1915, Van de Kamp's evolved into a chain of more than 300 bakeries and restaurants up and down the west coast. A grand headquarters was even built in Glassell Park. The building still stands (today it's the LA City College's Innovation Center, and also home to a charter school) — but Van de Kamp's went out of business in 1990.

The name has lived on via local grocer Ralphs, which holds the license to sell its in-house bakery items under the Van de Kamp's name. But that may now be changing.

Eagle-eyed Friend of Franklin Avenue Jim Ellwanger posted on his Twitter feed that it looks like Ralphs is ditching the Van de Kamp's brand in favor of its parent company, Kroger. That would bring items like bread, buns, and pastries, in line with its other Kroger-branded in-house store items. Here's what he found:

"Van de Kamp's bread has a new look. Same Great Taste! Now... KROGER." I guess chalk it up to another end of an era.

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