A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us

As of late 2019 the music related links and prints noted on this page which had their links to by GAB (Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting) website are no longer accessible. I grew weary of updating my GAB website and let it go away. You can contact me on Facebook. Saunders Stewart Models continues full operation but we are not accepting new clients without a referral.

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Media Quiet About San Antonio Theater Shooting

On Sunday December 17, 2012, 2 days after the CT shooting, a man went to a restaurant in San Antonio to kill his X-girlfriend. After he shot her, most of the people in the restaurant fled next door to a theater. The gunman followed them and entered the theater so he could shoot more people. He started shooting and people in the theater started running and screaming. It’s like the Aurora, CO theater story plus a restaurant! 

Now aren’t you wondering why this isn’t a lead story in the national media along with the school shooting?

There was an off duty county deputy at the theater. SHE pulled out her gun and shot the man 4 times before he had a chance to kill anyone. So since this story makes the point that the best thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, the media is treating it like it never happened. Only the local media covered it. The city is giving her a medal next week.  http://tiny.cc/l4a3pw

My take on this?

Here in Southern California I patiently wait and count the days until all pens, sharp objects, liquids and other items are surrendered at the door of movie theaters. Perhaps this can extend to restaurants and other places?

Am I the only one smart enough to see that this is California's answer to the budget problems in this state after sales tax increases and business taxes have driven so many employers out of the state, reducing revenue?

Yes! We are soon to be the center of the USA for not only being ground zero for the homeless BUT we are going to have our employment problem vanish as one resident it five will now work for the folks who supply the TSA folks at the airports! We just might find those folks at the entrance to every building which has public access! The side business will be coffee stands and snack carts to feed patrons as they wait in line for security checks for their turn through the detectors.

Yes, California will lead our great nation in safety and our economy will flourish (on paper) as unemployment drops to zero as the minimum wage task force of armed folks with GED educations rises to be the primary workforce in the golden state.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reporting from the streets of Los Angeles - Skid Row

The political machine is back in full swing after the November election.  Maybe nationally it will be business as usual? Locally here in Los Angeles they are trying to raise sales tax... again.  Drive consumers to Orange County or Ventura to buy that big screen TV, appliance or your next car and save hundreds or thousands of dollars.

The voters in California approved a measure to give the public school system even more money even though our state government has proven themselves as totally inept at managing money.  California is 47th in the nation when it comes to spending per student and yet our government had the gall to ask for more money.  From my point of view they should have let the system fail and rebuilt it from the ground up.  We should have sent a message to our folks in Sacramento.  Guess we will get what we asked for, get what we deserve ... again.

Meanwhile, here is Los Angeles, the homeless mecca of the nation, things continue to get worse regardless of what the media reports.

No longer are the primary residents people with substance abuse, alcohol abuse or mental illness the primary residents of skid row.  They are now families, children, out of work people who have lost their jobs and run out of unemployment benefits, returning veterans from the mid east and folks who have lost their homes to big banks and big business.

I count folks on the street each month.  I see the number tell a heartbreaking story.  But, rather than trust my numbers let me use some numbers to compare two recent months, September 2012 and October 2012 from Union Rescue Mission, the largest mission in the nation.

Total Mental Health Clinic Sessions -
62 vs 110

Total Health Center Visits -
496 vs 537

Total Dental Clinic Visits - Individual Patients Seen -
453 vs 664

Total Legal Clinic Visits
53 vs 105

Total Meals Served
63,755 vs 65,968

Total Nights of Shelter (per individual)
This does not include families which is another 2,232 people -
22,799 vs 23,445
The above are the figures for only TWO months and the increase from one month to the next.  From where I sit things are not getting better.

Feel free to pass this piece along to others via the link.  If you would like to help just go to www.urm.org.  There are many ways you can help.  You can donate in many ways in any amount.  You can even donate $10 from your cell phone and feed five people in a mater of moments.  (To donate $10 to Union Rescue Mission, text the letters URM to 85944. You will receive a confirmation text message. Reply with the word YES to complete the transaction. )

Thank you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

How do folks feel about Obama this time around?

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Maybe more?  The past ... USA and USSR.

I have written a number of pieces on our economy and government over the last few years.  You can find them in this blog.  One of them ended up in the newsletter of the Speaker of the House.

On November 14, 2012 I wrote this simple statement on my facebook wall:

Just because the election is over it is not a reason to slack off. Keep an eye on the antics of our Government closer than ever before.

The comments and debate are intense to say the least.  

This morning I took a look at the dialogue and posted my own comment on my original post:

Not to digress but ....

How we got here is not the issue, other than the history lesson that showed me that if I look at our nation as a ship I make the analogy that we have a weak Captain with a dysfunctional crew on something much akin to the Queen Mary now docked in Long Beach. A great ship decades ago but her glory days are long gone.

With a proper crew who could work together, some time in the yard for a refit, updated propulsion systems, updated electronics and the "right stuff" the restoration could once more attract attention and be an impressive craft.

But alas, at this point all I see is an outdated rust bucket with things that continue to break as they deteriorate with a dysfunctional crew and clown for a Captain.

There is little value in pointing fingers in regard to how we got here.  It is now time for all of us to keep a closer eye on our government and be more involved by making our voices heard via social media or whatever means one has at their hands.  We have all seen it countless times, grand restorations are possible whether it is a boat, car, airplane, even a country.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Obama or Romney?

Senior Airmen Kristian Robles Cruz and Amber Boyd from the 633rd Security Forces Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. are greeted at the Newport News airport by family and coworkers on Nov. 2, 2011 . The two were part of a group of Airmen that deployed in June, but returned a couple of months early after President Obama announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of the year. They were among about 20 633rd SFS members who returned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis from deployment with the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Balad in the past week. About 10 633rd SFS members are still deployed in Iraq, but they are scheduled to return later this month, hopefully by Thanksgiving, although more are expected to deploy to Afghanistan in January. (U.S. Air Force Photo by: MSgt Jeremy Lock)

A few minutes ago I replied to a comment left on one of my posts where somebody apologized for a comment they left.  I told them, no apology necessary.

I tend to point out some of the Romney antics but bottom line are my brief thoughts below as copied from my reply.

Both of the candidates are awful options with little to hold in esteem by either party. 

If you are one of the troops on duty you can take pride in Ame
rica for the job you are doing regardless of the stupid antics of you civilian leaders. 

If you are in government, the odds are you don't have much to be proud of. Most of you asshats are part of the problem rather than the steps toward an eventual solution. Shame on the lot of you for the most part. 

Obama is a weak leader, never one who would a picked as a Captain of a ship. 

Romney is a fellow so far out of touch with the majority of the population it borders on pure stupidity. 

Anybody who can find more good than bad in either case should go and put their head back in the sand.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A letter from Japan

I just received a letter from my sister who is in Japan.  I felt her food reviews are much better than my own.

As part of that long weekend we made a "pilgrimage" to Sukyiyabashi Jiro - considered one of the best in Tokyo.  A documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" was made about this chef's father (now 87) who has done nothing but make sushi for over 70 (?) years.   See the movie, if you can!  After we saw the film in L.A. We decided we MUST eat at both of the restaurants (son's and father's).   It was *the best* sushi we ever ate (Tokyo fish market coming in 2nd).  

The meal began with sashimi -- I am not usually a fan of abalone (it is in season now) but this was unlike any I've had before.  It was kind of like my tofu experience in Kyoto; before Kyoto tofu I always told people I didn't care for the no-flavor, rubbery substance that was served in dishes in the U.S.  This abalone was not tough, somewhat mushroomy and artichoke bottom-like.  Really fantastic.  We were given a tiny side dish of a darkly colored matter (I thought it was seaweed) but were told it was abalone liver and it was also delicious.  My favorite however may have been the bonito.  It was seared and smoked and heavenly.  I like bonito generally.  When I saw the slices of fish he was preparing for the sashimi I was a bit nervous as they were large, and I've had a few past experiences with very large pieces of sashimi that have been difficult to eat, chew, etc., etc.  This was creamy and buttery and the smoky flavor was amazing.  It was served with a ginger dipping sauce that was fantastic with it.  

After the sashimi course the sushi was fairly traditional:  flounder, tuna from maguro, to mid-fatty toro, to "o-toro" (honorable), uni (again most amazing I've ever had), ebi (shrimp), squid, clam, salmon roe, mackerel and sardine.  The finish was their famous tamago (egg) that was more like cake than omelet -- sweet and a perfect finish to the meal.  Along with green tea of course.  So, you can tell we were given a large quantity of fish and the pieces of fish were also quite large. 

Later in our meal we started talking with some locals (we were happy to be the only non-Japanese there) and when they learned we were living in Kyoto I think they were more impressed (vs. us being a total tourist) and with Ian at the University, etc., etc.  The others were quite friendly and it was a super-fun and memorable dinner!  We do plan to visit the father's restaurant, also in Tokyo (8 seats) when we are again in Tokyo, at the end of November.

Photo courtesy of Ian Piumarta

Photo courtesy of Ian Piumarta

Photo courtesy of Ian Piumarta

Photo courtesy of Ian Piumarta

Photo courtesy of Ian Piumarta

Click on any photo for a larger image

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It is time to think about Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving is upon us once again and there are many folks that don't have much to be thankful for but you can make this more than just another holiday season and do more than just "phone it in", stuff your face with a nice meal, at a nice table, in a nice house .... with a roof .... and heat ... and walls ... and a bathroom ... and running water ...

Please feel free to share this link with as many folks as you can.

The number of homeless on the streets has increased  once again regardless of what the reports of the economy tell the masses.  I have watched the street population rise every year since I started counting folks in 2009.

The economy and increase in homelessness has impacted URM again this year, regardless of what the media reports.  When my involvement started with URM in 2009 the price per meal was $1.84.   You can check out some of the photos from 2011 and 2012 and see how much URM provides for less than half of what one pays for a you pay for a burger and fries at your local fast food place at the links just below.


I think you would be amazed at the meal they provide.

Many of you have seen the post asking you to help the folks at Union Rescue Mission over the last years.  My original post can be seen at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/help-me-provide-thanksgiving-meals-at.html  The people who provided meals in 2010 and 2011 are listed in that piece.

Below is a bit of past information.  In 2014 I stopped counting meals as things became more depressing as I watched the media report on how things were improving .... as the situation became worse.  Bottom line ... by any count, the situation has not improved.  Feel free to contact URM directly if you want to know the figures on meals provided for past Thanksgiving meals.

In 2010 our dinner count was 1,465 dinners!
In 2011 the count from our group was over 1,700 of the approximately 7,000 meals served
2012 the best year yet! - 1,861 meals donated this year!
2013 - Over 4,000 meals were served.
(not counting those who asked to remain anonymous and some cell phone donations) 

Los Angeles continues to hold the title of the homeless capitol of the United States.  Take a look at the two links below for some recent information.

Homeless is not a label which is reserved for people who have mental problems, drug or alcohol problems or have personality disorders.  There are people on the streets like you and me.  People who were a productive part of society who have lost their jobs due to the economy.  People who have lost their homes.


Union Rescue Mission is the oldest and largest of the Los Angeles missions.  They are highly organized, very efficient and have a track record of long term recovery that goes back over 100 years.

Sponsor a table at Union Rescue Mission or 
provide a meal for a family or individual

I am asking my friends for help.  There are a number of ways you can help.  The bullet points below hit the high points.  Further down in this piece there are additional details.
  • Go to the URM website at http://www.urm.org/ and click on the donate tab
  • You may contribute in ANY amount.  Even a few dollars helps
  • All contributions are 100% tax deductible
  • All credit cards are accepted on a secure site
  • You may also donate via paypal from the main donation page
  • In a hurry? Donate $10 (feed a family of four people) via a text message from your cell phone
The cost of a meal is only $2.41. No credit card? No pay-pal? Do you have a cell phone? To donate $10 to Union Rescue Mission, text the letters URM to 85944. You will receive a confirmation text message. Reply with the word YES to complete the transaction. This will supply five Thanksgiving dinners

For $48.20 you can sponsor a table at Thanksgiving.  The table is for 20 people.   You can also sponsor partial tables.  You can donate in any amount.  

Click on either image for a larger presentation.

2011 dinner plate
Pie for dessert.  Not seen in this shot was the four different choices of
ice cream to accompany your pie.
This is a collective effort.  By passing along the link to this piece you help spread awareness.  

If you donate to Union Rescue Mission using any method, please feel free to send me your name or company.  Your supplied information will be included in this piece. How you are listed is optional.  It does not have to be your own name.  The donation can be in the name of a loved one, family member, organization, company, your dog, a cause of some type or just about anything you wish.  Those who have helped in the last two years are listed in the 2010/2011 piece.

Optionally, it helps me if you send me a note or message with a donation amount or meal count.  The amount will not be published.  I use the data to get an idea of the meal count we have raised.

Any contribution goes a long way.  A few dollars helps.  Many of you have spare change sitting in your paypal account.  That "$8.43" that may not enough to buy a book off Amazon or a cool effects pedal off  Ebay may be just the ticket for a better holiday for some folks. The salt alone for the stuffing could be paid for by one small donation.  Here is Chef Larry's recipe for stuffing; for 4,500 people :)

250 pounds crusty bread
32 pounds butter
500 onions, diced
500 celery stalks, diced
63 cups minced fresh parsley leaves
62 table spoons salt
125 table spoons ground black pepper
500 cups chicken broth
500 large eggs

Below, a slide show of the 2011 and 2012 event. Thank you all again.
2011 Event

2012 event

Myles Rose is the founder of Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting which provides support services and training for touring bands and individuals as well as blueprinting services.   You may contact me from the link.  My direct contact information is provided as well as links to two of the Internet forums where I answer technical questions.  You may also ask questions in any post in this blog by using the comment application on each post.

When I am not doing something related to music I do what I can to support the homeless of Los Angeles either directly on the streets at night or through my good friends at Union Rescue Mission.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Skid Row, July 2012

July begins the new fiscal year for Union Rescue Mission.

The homeless situation is not getting better but many of you reading this helped more than words can express.  Here is a bit of a snapshot of last year:

July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the history of the United States and in Downtown Los Angeles.  When the temperature climbs above 85 degrees downtown the folks at URM pass out cold water bottles to those on the street.  These bottles cost money.  Feel free to help the folks at URM with a donation.

July is also the first month in the fiscal year for the folks at Union Rescue Mission so I will keep some of the figures from the last month of last fiscal year in this piece as information.

The number of families on the street increased.

The number of "permanent" dwellings on the street increased.  My definition of "permanent" is tents, shopping carts, cardboard on the street used for bedding, etc.  These items that one can find in the same place night after night.  

All I can do is count the people I see in a specific geographic area.  I don't have any "hard" facts and figures although some folks downtown in some government offices seem to listen to me.

I can however, give you a bit of a snapshot from June from the folks over at Union Rescue Mission, the largest mission in the USA which sits at ground zero in the middle of what is the highest homeless population in the nation.

By the way, if after you read some of the below figures feel free to visit www.urm.org and look at the many ways you can help.  Even $10 will feed a family of five.  The folks at URM accept any credit card on their donation page and even accept paypal.  In a hurry?  You can feed five people in less than a minute from your cell phone.  To donate $10 to Union Rescue Mission, text the letters URM to 85944. You will receive a confirmation text message. Reply with the word YES to complete the transaction. 

A few pieces of data for the month of June and (July 2012.  increases in red font)
  • 123 people were seen by the mental health clinic at URM (124)
  • 436 people were seen by the doctors on site at URM from UCLA (508)
  • 570 people were seen by the dentists on site at URM from USC (605)
  • 55 people were seen by the legal staff at URM for legal assistance (43)
  • 4,293 hours were spent by volunteers (4137) Volunteer hours were down as were donations
  • 20,931 nights of shelter were provided by individual (24,095)
  • 2,501 night of shelter were provided to families (2,700)
  • 70,185 meals were served.  In one month. In June. (73,580)
Services provided continue to increase.  Donations continue to decrease.  Please think about what you might be able to do to help and please pass along the link to this piece.

In the past I have posted Andy Bales status updates in another post which has gotten quite large.  I also have commented on Andy Bales as an individual.  In the future, Andy's latest video update will be seen in a new post such as this post with figures of interest in the post.

For those who want a bit of insight on Andy Bales from some of my past writing see the two links below:


Here is the latest for August status update video from Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The American Economy. A Turnaround?

I have written many pieces on the economy in this blog.  One of my past pieces even found it's way into the Speaker of the House's blog.

Click on this image for the full size image

I have spoken about the government and my observation on the ineffective way they have addressed problems in our nation.  I have pointed out issues with both parties.

There has been a big push to the issues of Medicare.  Perhaps the Republicans no longer wish to point a spotlight on the economy. You can talk about some issues from either side.  You can assert that the current administration was handed a disaster while others assert it was all the fault of the current administration.  I will do my best to avoid retreading old ground.

In the past I have posted a financial model which has now been running for over 500 days.  Rather than focus on Wall Street in reference to the Dow, S&P or NASDAQ, my model uses a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and Gold.  I feel it is a more diverse picture of the economy.

If you look at the chart below, yesterday on August 22, 2012 our nation crossed the high line for the first time since April 29,2011.  Things look to be improving.

The employment situation is still dismal.  There are millions who are no longer counted in the unemployed figures.  They are the 99ers.  Their benefits have expired and they have dropped off the roles of those counted.  But, the numbers of new claims are decreasing.  We still may be much like an airplane headed toward the ground but our rate of decent is slowing.  Perhaps it is slowing enough that the Republican Party is worried.  Perhaps this is why Medicare is being addressed rather than the economy.

Rather than debate these issues, just take a look at the chart on the financial picture and the chart from the current employment figures and take it or leave it.  Draw your own conclusions.

Click on the above image for a more clear image
Look at the total for last year versus this year in the last line

Click on the image for a more clear picture
511 days of up and down
Only time will tell if this is an ongoing trend or just .....???

Thursday, August 16, 2012

If a picture is worth a thousand words ...

Below are a few random photos in a random order taken from August 1, 2012 during the first half of this month (August 15).

All are snapshots.  I do not consider any of them photographic artwork.

There are a few military photos in the batch as August 8, 1969 was my discharge date from the military and I thought a few old shots from that time in my life were nice to post.

If you want an explanation on any of these they are all posted on my facebook photos and many do have explanations.

If you click on any of the photos below many of them will become larger in size.

Click on "read more" for the complete post.

Friday, July 27, 2012

AT&T - so wrong in every way part II

This post has gotten so long it is hard for blogger to save.

I am continuing this post here.  Scroll to the bottom of this piece for the latest, most current, information as this is an ongoing audit trail.

Part 1 can be viewed at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html

July 27, 2012

A new problem.

Click "read more" to continue.....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Skid Row in June. An inside view.

June was a busy month on skid row in downtown Los Angeles.  The number of people living on the streets increased.  The number of violent crime incidents increased.

The number of families on the street increased.

The number of "permanent" dwellings on the street increased.  

All I can do is count the people I see in a specific geographic area.  I don't have any "hard" facts and figures although some folks downtown in some government offices seem to listen to me.

I can however, give you a bit of a snapshot from June from the folks over at Union Rescue Mission, the largest mission in the USA which sits at ground zero in the middle of what is the highest homeless population in the nation.

By the way, if after you read some of the below figures feel free to visit www.urm.org and look at the many ways you can help.  Even $10 will feed a family of five.  The folks at URM accept any credit card on their donation page and even accept paypal.  In a hurry?  You can feed five people in less than a minute from your cell phone.  To donate $10 to Union Rescue Mission, text the letters URM to 85944. You will receive a confirmation text message. Reply with the word YES to complete the transaction. 

A few pieces of data for the month of June:

  • 123 people were seen by the mental health clinic at URM
  • 436 people were seen by the doctors on site at URM from UCLA
  • 570 people were seen by the dentists on site at URM from USC
  • 55 people were seen by the legal staff at URM for legal assistance
  • 4,293 hours were spent by volunteers
  • 20,931 nights of shelter were provided by individual
  • 2,501 night of shelter were provided to families
  • 70,185 meals were served.  In one month. In June.
In reference to that meal count.  At the end of last month URM was half way through the calendar year.  At that point 920,867 meals had been served.  Looks like by the end of this month (July) they will pass 1,000,000.

Services provided continue to increase.  Donations continue to decrease.  Please think about what you might be able to do to help and please pass along the link to this piece.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A night on the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has the highest population of homeless people living on the streets in the nation.

This is one night on the streets of skid row with Andy Bales, the CEO of Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles.  You can learn more at www.urm.org if you wish.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What does the Daily Grill have to do with the homeless?

I generally don't post my Yelp reviews here.  In this case I am making an exception.

Last night I went out with a few friends for dinner and drinks.  I published my review on Yelp.

If I were to base my rating on the food, selection, service or organization of the location in Burbank it would rate a solid four stars based on value for the dollar and the usual criteria.  But .....  the elusive "but" ....

The complete story can be seen in my Yelp review at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mr. President, Senate, Congress ... take a bow.

June 21, 2012

Click on either image for a full size display.

On the financial side:  It seems as if a "well done" or congratulations are NOT to be expected by the financial minds that head our country.  It appears your latest plan failed.  Not much of a surprise.

The Dow is not an accurate indicator.  We have all seen layoffs continue at the rate of over 350,000 per week.  There are other ways to look at a more broad picture of our true economic picture. 

America - a Nation Of No Direction - or a downward direction from another viewpoint
On the employment side:  In the week ending June 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 387,000. The 4-week moving average was 386,250, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 382,750.  Rough concept ... more than a quarter of a million people but less than a half a million people lost their jobs in one week.  

Democrats, Republicans, Senators, Congressmen and government officials, please take a bow.  Don't bother to stand back up.  You do not deserve much of anything other than contempt and a lack of respect from the people of this nation.

Our government leaders continue to argue with each other.  Our government comes up with one plan after another which have done nothing to improve the problems in our nation for a number of years at this point.

It does not matter whether times in Europe are good or bad, if fighting moves from one country to another or any of the reasons for a lack of movement in any direction are considered as they change.  This nation is a nation with no direction and your efforts have been directed toward anything but working together or helping this great nation.

In closing I will repeat again what I wrote above:  Democrats, Republicans, Senators, Congressmen and government officials, please take a bow.  Don't bother to stand back up.  You do not deserve much of anything other than contempt and a lack of respect from the people of this nation.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Homelessness. There are individuals within the statistics.

Each day most of us are subjected to news.  News on the radio, television, newspapers, on the Internet.

The news supplies statistics.  Fires in Colorado which have consumed tens of thousands of acres.  Unless your house or a house belonging to somebody important to you was lost in one of those acres that burned we tend to turn a blind eye to the news.

How many people were killed or injured in Afghanistan this week?  Unless one of them was somebody you loved you probably did not have your life changed much if at all.

How many people lost their homes to foreclosure?  I am sure you understand my point.

When the word Homeless is heard by many individuals their thought process may create mental images of people who are mentally ill, who may be  alcoholics, people who have substance abuse problems or are just people that do not want to work and expect a handout.

There is much more to this story.  Click "read more" below for the more complete story.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Label failure a success! The homeless of Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the city with the distinction of having the highest homeless population in the nation.  

Recently there was a story in the Los Angeles Times.  I first heard about the story last week as a group of us were driving to a birthday dinner party.  I did not know the details of the story but I went off on a bit of a rant as soon as I heard the title and the basics of the story from a passenger in the car.

Housing project for hard-core homeless pays off

A study of homeless adults housed by L.A. County's Project 50 suggests providing permanent housing to vulnerable populations saves local governments money.

There is more to this story.  Click on "read more" below for the more complete picture.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Help the Homeless of Los Angeles on June 14, 2012

Los Angeles - Homeless capitol of our nation.

Click on the link below to learn more or purchase a ticket for this event.
I hope to see some of my friends there.
Many of you folks know that I spend time on the streets of Los Angeles, the homeless capitol of our nation, doing what I can to help the homeless.

Union Rescue Mission, the largest mission in the United States, is putting on their annual Heroes for Hope lunch event in Los Angeles on June 14th.  If you are in the area and wish to attend it would be great to see you there.

For the more complete story click on "read more".

Monday, May 14, 2012

Improvement in the U.S. Economy?

Improvement?  I does not seem to be the case.

The last 420+ days of our economy using a diverse model rather than a focus on Wall Street
rather than where our government wishes us to turn our vision.
Click on this chart if you wish a larger version.
My point here is not to make a political statement.  I feel our government, collectively, are a bunch of incompetent fools.  Some of my other thoughts and observations can be seen here:

During the election debates the economy was improving.  Perhaps it was the attention on the antics of the candidates in the media.  Perhaps it was that the Republican party and Tea Party folks were too busy to stop the wheels of government dead in it's track on each and every issue.   Perhaps it was manipulation by the people in office with big business to make things look better and reduce on of the glaring arguments of the opposition.  Perhaps it was dumb luck and chance.

Click on "read more" for the more complete story.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

UPS - not the tightest ship in the shipping business

Drivers instructions were quite clear yet still ignored

Drivers release location was stated by driver as "FRONT DOOR" which was untrue.

It seems that UPS cannot follow simple instructions.   

My package was delivered and left next to my driveway. 

Nowhere near the front door.  Not behind the short wall at the front in the shade. 

The package was left in direct view of the street traffic or anybody walking on the sidewalk.  Kids walking to and from school.

A few weeks ago another package a few blocks away was marked as delivered according to the UPS tracking status.  The package was not received.  The package was reported as not delivered to the sender who sent out a replacement item.  A week later the lost package showed up after the replacement package had arrived.  It would be interesting to know how the driver reported the package as being delivered.

I am not sure what the deal here is with UPS but I am not happy with the driver in my area today ( 5/8/12 ).  

I am not happy with your declining level of service.

June update:  I had another shipment from the same sender and had the same instructions to UPS.  This time UPS did follow the delivery instructions.  I will report future anomalies if there are more of them in this post.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Very bad customer service - Ammoman

Ammoman - the deeper you investigate the more you are surprised that these folks are in business.

The range where I shoot does not allow shooting stuff like this after a serious
accident caused by this ammunition.

It all started when I considered ordering one of their products.

Click on "read more" below for the complete story.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I just uploaded some new random cell phone photos

The most current shots are at the start of this slideshow.  

If you have nothing at all to do you can keep watching the show for almost 10,000 photos.  New shots will be added automatically to this post.

One of the many shots in this collection

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Amazing Auto Body Repair

A few days ago my car was parked.  It was damaged by another vehicle who was parked behind my car.  The owner of the car who caused the accident was very nice and put me in contact with Jesse Anguiano at

Jesse and his crew arrived at my house at 11am.  They were done in less than 30 minutes.  My cell camera does not do justice to their work which is superb.

Very cool folks.  Terrific work. If you are in the So Cal area these folks should be your first call for any body repair requirement.


After (in less than 30 minutes)

Thanks again to Ultimate Finishes Mobile Auto Body.  You can also find them on facebook at


Thursday, March 15, 2012

A bit of amp blueprinting from the past

I was going through some records on some customers amps from the past.  I came across one blueprinting session that was a little different than most as these were preamps which contained eight tubes.  There were also multiple units that were very different as the model had changed in revision levels over it's production life. 

I thought that going over some of the data would shed a little light on some of the process of blueprinting and some of the ways that tubes are very inconsistent.

Bogner Fish Preamp - 8 12AX7 tubes.

Click on "read more" for the complete story.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

3-13-12 - A day at 65 Amps

It has been a while since I wandered around the shop over at www.65amps.com and took some snapshots. 

Today seemed like as good of a day as any. Activity is on the increase with the Producer, the Empire and the Ventura amps in production added to the continued requests for amps like Lil' Elvis, Tupelo and Soho. 

These shots are raw format. There is no cropping here. No photoshop, color enhancement or alteration of any sort. I just walked around the shop and took about 110 snapshots in less than 15 minutes. If you have issues with my composition that is part of my snapshot style. If I wanted terrific shots I would call in one of my great photographer friends :)

If you look around the shop you will find Lil' Elvis hiding all over the place. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vacuum Tubes Today and NOS

Vacuum tubes continue to be used today in high end audiophile equipment in the recording industry, home and in music instrument amplification.  Guitar amplification utilizes the highest percentage of current vacuum tube production.

I have been publishing test report results on the subject of vacuum tubes since 2002.  The news is not good news.  The trend is not a good trend.

If you click on the above image it will enlarge to a more readable size.  I will refer to this image later in this piece.

For more just click on "read more" below

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tube Test - 12AX7 Tung Sol Reissue

This was the last run in January 2012 of the Tung Sol Reissue that I performed at the request of Dan Boul over at www.65amps.com

This is the current "Tung Sol" tube from New Sensor.  This is the tube which was tested
To see the full story click on "read more" below

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tube Test - JJ ECC803S

Test results of the JJ ECC803S Long Plate vacuum tube.

Today I spent a bit of time working with Mike Franceschini over at 65 Amps.  Mike wanted a bit of data on some of the tubes used in the new Producer from the folks at 65 Amps.

In one of the positions of the design they use a JJ 803S.  There were some anomalies that were thought to be tube related.  I was asked to investigate.

Click on "read more" for the full report.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Etymotic Earphone problem?

This piece is less about the actual product and more about Etymotic's customer service.  There was a problem and I contacted Etymotic in two different ways, twitter and direct email.  I was hoping to be contacted to discuss the problem.  Unfortunately all I received were links to their website. Bottom line, their customer service would be just as effective if it were outsourced somewhere across a major ocean.  Even though this company is based in the USA it seems we were not speaking the same language.

My son has had a set of these earphones for 14 months.  The cord is deteriorating.

In my quest to point out the best in products, the worst, the fairly priced, the overpriced, good customer service and bad customer service I thought this would be a good subject for my next blog piece.

My son knows high end audio.  He knows how to take care of things.  He is careful with his equipment.

I would like to say that my son is happy with the sonic quality of the product.

The MC5 may be a good value for the money from some design points but their lackluster customer service and materials they use in their construction leave much to be desired.  If you want another one of those throw away products that die about the time the warranty expires consider yourself informed.   

If you wish to read the details just click on the "read more" link below.

A few photos over the last few days

Here are a few photos from President's Day weekend, 2-18-12 to 2-20-12

Cell phone shots, not what anybody would call high quality but it does say something ... what is says I don't know.

Lemon Scallops from Frontier Wok in Burbank

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A few photos - 2-18-12 evening

It has been said the a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Thank you Gabriela Maria Gutierrez for the use of your cellphone which has flash so I could augment some of my own cell shots.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ask Mike Franceschini

Ask Mike Franceschini your guitar amp questions.  Just contact him on facebook at http://facebook.com/mike.franceschini1 or from his email noted at the end of this piece.

Who the heck is Mike Franceschini?

Classic Amp is Mike Franceschini. When I count the top amp techs on the planet on one hand Mike is one of those folks.  Mike Franceshini is the guy at the top of my list.  

If I were to list a fraction of the players rigs he takes care of this page would be way too long to display unless you have a 6mb internet connection.  A few of the amp companies Mike has been with are; GT (Groove Tubes), Rivera, VHT, Bogner, Diezel / Salwender,  CAE (Custom Audio Electronics) and is currently the head tech brain trust over at 65amps.

Mike does the repair work for folks like SIR, The Amp Shop, Vintage Gear in Hollywood, Lon Cohen, History For Hire (check out their Vox Book, Mike was deeply involved in the technical aspects of the book), and this is another list that would also go on and on and on.

Mike does repair work, mods, consulting, tour support and just about anything else you can think of when it comes to guitar and bass amps.  (Did I mention that he is THE SVT master?)

You can contact Mike at ampservice@yahoo.com

The slide show below are a few of the shots I have taken over at the shop of some of the amps I found interesting that Mike was working on.  This slide show will be updated on a regular basis.  Click on "more" for the show.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A day at the shop

Many of my friends know that my own shop is in the complex that is known as 65 Amps.  I am one of the folks that are in this tone haven that is not only where 65 Amps produces their amps but is also the home of Colossal Cable ( http://www.colossalcable.com/ ) and a development home for folks like Simon Higgs (pretty amazing pedals and designs).  Mike Franceschini is the head tech over at 65 Amps during the day and his own shop, Classic Amp is within walking distance down the street.  As a side note, Mike has worked for more amp companies than I can begin to list ... Rivera, VHT, Bogner .... the list goes on and on.  He is a personal tech to many big names, a player himself and maintains the classic collections of folks like Lon Cohen Studio Rentals, History for Hire, SIR, Center Staging and others.  Yeah ... he is my favorite tech.

The complex changes for the most part every day.  Different folks come in and out and the compliment of equipment is always in flux.  There are always some great classic amps and guitars around as Dan Boul brings pieces from his personal vintage collection into the shop on a rotating basis.  I think his newest amp is from 1971 as a side note.

Having my own shop in the 65 Amps complex and acting as a consultant for them allows me to see what is going on and watch the development of new products.  From time to time I take a few minutes and take some snapshots of the activities over at the shop.  These shots are generally sent in real time to facebook, twitter, google buzz, diggit, stumble upon and about 30 other places as one touch of the send button on my phone is all it takes.

So .... here are some of the shots that I took today that I have in their own flickr album so I could have this little slideshow below.  It all started today when I was pleased to see the sound booth where amps go through their final QA testing back in place after the booth spent time at 2012 Winter NAMM.

Click on "read more" for the show.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Things we said (did) today

For some reason, when I started to think about the subject of this post a song that was always a favorite of mine by The Beatles became the title of this post.  The text below is from one of my flickr albums:

My friend Kerri is a professional product photographer. Kerri photographs things like furniture, light fixtures, and shoots food photos for some food publications. She has a studio in Toluca Lake California. She is also one heck of a chef. Kerri and I share a number of friends and some of the folks reading this are friends and colleagues with her on various social media sites or work with her. 

Kerri has an office manager / assistant, Gabriela. Gabriela is also a photographer, graphic artist and is involved a bit in the fashion industry (yet does not complain about my lack of fashion sense). 

We share some activities at times and since I typically write about or photograph via my cell many activities I was asked by Gabriela to put some of this in one place. I guess this will be the place. I will also have this set up as an ongoing and updated slide show in a blog post as I already have a lot of info there. 

The order of this may initially be out of sequence but I will try to arrange things properly with the most recent activity first when time permits.

Click on "read more" for the slideshow.