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Interesting LA Times Paragraph of the Day

Downtown Loft Boom Frames Indie Rom-Com Dorfman in Love

Producer Leonard Hill, who got his start in Hollywood as a writer on the TV series Adam-12, is intimately familiar with downtown LA’s residential renaissance. As an LA Times article by Richard Verrier documents, he and a partner converted a pair of landmark buildings into the trendy Biscuit and Toy Factory loft complexes.

After a break from the TV movie business he once dominated, Hill is back with the independent romantic comedy Dorfman in Love, due to hit theaters and VOD in March. The film tells the story of a San Fernando Valley woman (played by Sara Rue) whose life is shaken up when she temporarily relocates to cat-sit at a downtown loft. From Verrier’s piece:

“The truth is, old producers die hard,” Hill said. “Making movies is more fun than making buildings. I really missed the creative aspect of the business.”

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This IMDb Catalogs Firearms

Twenty-nine-year-old Glendora freelance Web designer Christopher Serrano got some nice press over the weekend for his sideline project IMFDB.org, which stands for Internet Movie Firearms Database. His grassroots enterprise, which he launched back in 2007 because of a desire to itemize weapons shown in The Matrix, was the subject of an LA Times Calendar front-page story by Rebecca Keegan.

IMFDB is both a rewarding and time-consuming hobby. Serrrano told Keegan his site gets about 1.5 million visitors a month and requires him to work on it three-four hours a day:

Relying on the same wisdom-of-the-crowd model as Wikipedia, Serrano and a stable of about 300 regular volunteers have meticulously cataloged the [movie and TV] weapons, along with screen shots, in more than 11,500 articles, including entries on underwater firearms, missile launchers and flame throwers.

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This Guy Owns a Ferrari, a Bentley and Now… A Local Newspaper

Alan Smolinisky‘s 15-month old son Charlie was named in honor of billionaire investor Charles Munger. In his home, there is also a framed, flattering hand-written note from another three-comma titan, Warren Buffett.

So why would Smolinisky have paid seven figures for the money-losing Pacific Palisades weekly newspaper the Palisadian-Post? Because, like Aaron Kushner with the Orange County Register, Doug Manchester down in San Diego and the LA Times‘ imminent new owner, this savvy investor believes in the future of a well-targeted and storied print publication. Per Martha GrovesLA Times write-up:

Bill Bruns, managing editor since 1993, likes to joke that, if a resident of Brentwood won a Nobel Prize, the paper would not cover the story. But if the person lived in the Palisades the news would land on the front page.

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LAT Letters-to-the-Editor Champ Recalls His Most Succinct Moment of Glory

Responding to a recent LA Times article about an Eagle Rock resident who has placed a dozen and a half letters in the paper since 1990, a neighbor to the north revisited an even more impressive total.

Per Reader’s Rep Deidre Edgar, Trent Sanders of La Cañada Flintrige has since 1985 scored a whopping 54 published LAT letters to the editor. Along the way, he has kept things interesting by means of some additional personal challenges:

“At one time I set a goal of writing a letter published in The Times containing only one sentence,” Sanders said. “I met that goal on December 13, 2006, under the heading of ‘Bills Come Due.’ Shortly afterward, and much to my horror, another writer wrote a letter with not only one sentence, but it contained only three words!”

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Real Half of Manti Te’o Girlfriend Hoax Has a New Set of Social Media Rules

Today’s LA Times op ed by Diane O’Meara, the woman whose photo was used to prop up the sordid Manti T’eo social media hustle, will likely lead many readers to consider anew for whom among their Facebook friends the “R” might be silent.

The LA media consultant comes across as rather calm in the first few paragraphs of this piece, despite the clear violation of her image and personal rights. Then, as she has with AP and Anderson Cooper 360, O’Meara acknowledges the crucial extra mistake she made of sending the Te’o faker an additional non-Facebook picture (shown). She also outlines her social media recovery plan:

In the last week, I’ve shut down all my social media accounts. But I realize that’s not a long-term solution. I use social media to connect with a network of friends and family, and with business associates… Giving this up is unrealistic…

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Veteran Chronicler of Haiti: Google Alerts Have Changed EVERYTHING

Here at FishbowlLA, we know first-hand just how much of a game changer Google alerts have become. Many times, within minutes of posting an article, we hear from the person profiled, their publicist or other associated party. Especially if there is a typo or mistake in the item.

Over the weekend, author and veteran journalist Amy Wilentz shared a great op ed in the LA Times about this topic. For years, she writes, her pieces about Haiti in The Nation and TIME magazine felt like they were disappearing into a vacuum. But in 2013, even a humble blog post reverberates directly onto the radar of anyone and everyone:

Now, when I write about Haiti, it’s noticed not just by my closest friends and family but by the people I’m writing about, and anyone else who could possibly care anywhere in the world. Now, everyone, even that maiden aunt in Dubuque, has a Google alert set to bring instant news of people or topics of interest. Response to the written word is immediate and highly judgmental.

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Internet Takes Some of the Show Out of CES Show-and-Tell

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), set to temporarily swell the Las Vegas downtown populace by 25% January 8 through 11, is no longer your grandfather’s CES. Heck, it’s not even your father’s CES.

Take Microsoft. In 2001, they used CES to unveil Xbox; this week, they have no booth on the convention show floor and are not participating in any keynote addresses.* Although a staggering 20,000 new products are still expected to be unveiled, including an 85-inch ultra-high-definition TV from Samsung, the reason for the new M.O. is pretty much universally acknowledged. Per a preview piece by LA Times writers Andrea Chang and Chris O’Brien:

Groundbreaking products are rarely launched at the show anymore because of the 24-hour news cycle of the Internet, which makes it easy for companies to promote whatever they want, whenever they want.

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Herald-Examiner Custodian Finally Following His Defunct Newspaper Into the Sunset

There is absolutely no trace of today’s newspaper tweet, Facebook and “Like Us” madness in the daily routine of Chuck Lutz, the 68-year-old custodian of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner‘s former downtown headquarters. A fact that LA Times columnist Steve Lopez suggests should make for a smooth transition to retirement January 9:

Think about it. Lutz’s boss [Hearst Corporation] is 400 miles away in San Francisco. The checks never bounce. He gets to work before traffic is a problem, and his most arduous task on many days is to watch the minutes tick away until he punches out at 2 p.m. and goes home to Mission Hills to walk the dogs.

Good for him. The last edition of the Herald-Examiner (pictured) was published November 2, 1989. But Lutz remained at the 11th & Broadway building to let in film crews and make sure nothing (too) out of the ordinary occurred.

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LA Survivalist Stockpiles Condiments, Turns Away Professional Clowns

Mayan apocalypse or no Mayan apocalypse, the organizer of the Los Angeles Survival Community did not want LA Times reporter Gale Holland using his last name. That’s because although Tony never personally bought into all the December 21, 2012 guff, he firmly believes that a super-volcano or earthquake could one day trigger the mother of all local TV newscast storm watches. And when that happens, the naysayers will be hungry.

Holland paid a visit to Tony’s extremely well-stocked San Fernando Valley stucco HQ. There she found lots of mayonnaise and another critical condiment:

A row of barbecue sauce jars takes up one shelf. “We want to make sure food tastes good, with the different wildlife we might be eating,” Tony explained.

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Meet the 64-Year-Old Centering the NHL Player Bottom Line

There are a couple of noteworthy LA tidbits in Bill Shaikin‘s great profile of NHL players’ association executive director Donald Fehr.

In the 1930s, Fehr’s grandfather owned a clothing store on what is now the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, but was forced by the Great Depression to close up shop and move back to Indiana. Then there’s this reminder that the 64-year-old Fehr is someone who does not concern himself with how fans and media view an ongoing NHL lockout:

“He is as impervious to media criticism as anyone I’ve ever met,” said Dodgers president Stan Kasten, a friend of both Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

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