Total Pageviews

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Cross Over Hollywood

The large white cross over Hollywood seems like an appropriate image on this Saturday before Easter. 

The cross, which is lit at night and clearly seen from the Hollywood Freeway, was originally designed to be part of the Hollywood Bowl's Easter sunrise service. 

Another view, in the neighborhood adjacent to the Hollywood Bowl. The cross was originally on public property. The small plot of land was sold to private non-profit organization, which is responsable for it's upkeep, maintenance, and electrical bill. 

It's a link to a previous post with a bit more information. And how a cross wasn't part of, then was part of, then wasn't part of, and is again part of the Los Angeles County Seal. 

While we've hosted our fair share of neighborhood Easter egg hunts over the the years, I still love this cartoon:

Christianity Today, April 2009

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. 

Wishing you a happy and meaningful Easter from Experiencing Los Angeles. 

© 2019


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Emerson College, Los Angeles campus

When we lived in Los Angeles, my son was in Kindergarten through 4th grade. This year, he's a Freshman at San Diego State University. Tims flies. Time really flies. 

He applied to a lot of different colleges and universities. He was accepted to Emerson College in Boston. Great campus, amazing location, but just wasn't going to work for us financially. That's OK. 

Emerson has a Los Angeles campus, located on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, pictured above. Pretty cool. 

We were in Los Angeles this past week, spending time together as a family. In some ways, a repeat of a similar family three day get-away back in 2013.

Except now, it's not a given that my kids will have similar Spring Break. This year we did, so we seized the day. 

I'll post some photos of this most recent trip when I get a chance. 

© 2019


Saturday, March 23, 2019

States with a smaller population than Los Angeles County

A few months back I stumbled across this map in the Geography Department at University of California, Santa Barbara titled "States with a smaller population than Los Angeles County."

It certainly caught my attention. I'd love to know who first came up with. 

The City of Los Angeles (people 4 million) is within the much MUCH larger Los Angeles County (population 10 million).

Here's a link to a previous post "where or what is Los Angeles" explaining the difference between LA City and LA County

For better or worse, Los Angeles is huge - in terms of people, size, and - yes - influence around the world. 

© 2019


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley

Metro Los Angeles is home to two Presidential Libraries: the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. 

I was in Simi Valley early last year and got a free sign-in to the Reagan Presidential Library. Sure, why not? 

First stop just outside of the entrance is a section of the Berlin Wall. The Pacific Ocean is off in the distance. 

I believe it was Ronald Reagan who once remarked, "most walls are used to keep people out. The Berlin Wall was designed to keep people in." It's hard to imagine the Reagan Library without a section of the Berlin Wall. 

A piece of the 96 mile wall seems like a fitting start to the Library. An even larger section of the Wall can be found in Los Angeles along Wilshire Blvd (here's a link to a previous post).

Let's head back inside. 

The Library was PACKED. Chalk it up to lots of out of town visitors during the Christmas Break, or the special displays they had from the Titanic (which was a special ticket and I opted not to pay to see) - the Library was crazy crowded. Certainly an older crowd, that would have remembered - and probably voted for - Reagan. 

The Library starts with photos from Reagan's childhood and growing up years in Dixon, Illinois. Reagan moved to California to pursue a career in acting in 1937. He eventually, served as the President of the Screen Actor's Guild, host of General Electric Theater, and Governor of California from 1966-1974. A life long Democrat, he switched political parties in 1962. 

Hands on, interactive displays. 

Air Force One. Regardless of your political affiliation, this was impressive. 

I opted to wait in line, go inside. Pretty cool. 

A display outside on the Secret Service, the agency entrusted with protecting the President (as well as former Presidents, and their families). 

Ending the Cold War (or hastening the end of the Cold War) was Reagan's greatest legacy. While Reagan was not solely responsable for ending the Cold War with the USSR, even his detractors generally credit his foreign policies resulting in it ended sooner. How much a difference he individually made is the subject of endless discussion. 

Even growing up in this era, I didn't fully understand that West Berlin was located 100 miles from the rest of West Germany, located on four sides by Communist dominated East Germany. Meaning that the 96 mile Berlin Wall was designed to keep the East Germans from "escaping" to the city of West Berlin, what was considered an island of freedom. 

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, and finally torn down in 1989 at the collapse of the Soviet Union, two years after Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech. 

Photos of Eastern Europeans resisting the Soviet domination of their respective countries. 

The two men ultimately responsable for the end of the Cold War: US President Ronald Regan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev.

Polish Solidarity leader Lech Valenza and President Reagan posting in front of the section of the Berlin Wall at this Reagan Presidential Library. 

There's a lot more to see. I felt like I got a great "highlights" version, time to exit through the obligatory gift shop. 

Having lived through this era, it's easy to only have nostalgic view of the 1980's. That everything then was better than today. I think that's just human nature. Were there things that were better 35 years ago? Of course, yes. Were there things that weren't? Again, yes. 

King Solomon wrote: "Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions." (Ecclesiastes 7:10). 

Elsewhere, the Hebrew Scriptures refer to the tribe of Issachar as a group of individuals "who understood the times and knew what Israel should do." (I Chronicles 12:32). 

Understanding the times comes from knowing the past, engaging with the present, and looking to the future. How in the world did men and women in the past deal with the challenges and opportunities they faced in their era? What can we learn that will help us as we work through the challenges and opportunities in our era? While looking back, it's equally important to engage with the current era, with the current generation. To think what will the next 35 years - and beyond - look like? And what kind of legacy are we leaving? 

A final view leaving in the early afternoon. The museum was insanely crowded when I showed up in the morning. By the afternoon, it wasn't bad. 

I could not believe how popular the museum was. I guess Reagan was a popular president. 

The museum's parking lot was no doubt filled even before the museum even opened. I parked by car at the bottom of the hill, and then got a ride to the top by my sister-in-law, who was a museum member and kindly signed me in. 

The 1980's meet the 1980's -- there was a DeLorean parked about a half a mile from the entrance. DeLorean's were manufactured from 1981-1983, during Reagan's first term in office, and gain noterietay through the "Back to the Future" film series. Fitting car for the era. Even more fun if it was parked out front of the museum. 

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is located approximately 50 miles north west of downtown Los Angeles in Simi Valley. Here's a link to the Library's website. 

© 2019

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, Part IV

January 2018, my extended family and I were in So Cal, and took time to enjoy the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. 

To reword my question from last time, is The Huntington a library, a botanical garden, or an art gallery? Yes to all three.  

Here's Part I focusing on the Chinese Gardens, Part II on the Japanese Gardens, and Part III on the historic library collections. 

The Huntington also has an incredible art collection, housed in the former residence Henry and Arabella Huntington. Let's head inside. 

Walking through their former living room. 

An original Frederick Remington. 

Gilbert Stuart, George Washington (1797). 

Charles Willson Peale, George Washington (1779–81).

The main gallery.

Sarah Goodwin Barrett Moulton, Pinkie (1794).

Info on Pinkie

Thomas Gainsborough, The Blue Boy (1770). As a kid, I remember taking me (it probably felt like dragging me) to The Huntington. This is the one painting I remember. Wasn't super impressed as a kid, probably thinking "who in the world would dress like this?" Um, someone in 1770. 

Info on The Blue Boy. 

The Huntington's family dining room. Beyond the high end furniture, crystal chandelier, and tall ceilings, the room was ultimately a place where they ate meals together. 

For some reason, this room reminded me of Henry and Arabella Huntington's humanity. That despite their incredible wealth, they were mortals with 70 or so years on earth. And, like all of us, would have to account for their lives. 

Thinking about their humanity was less about them, more about me. As a Christian, how am I living out my life? If my faith central to how I'm investing my time, my talent, and finances? How do I treat others? How I love my enemies? As I've commented elsewhere, if I was on trial as a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me? 

More info on Henry and Arabella Huntington.

The outdoor patio. It's wild to remember that this was originally built as a museum, but as a private residence.

Tropical plants galore. This is just outside of the art gallery. We simply didn't have time to see and experience all of the various gardens on the 120 acre property. 

Classically inspired statutes that were part of the original Huntington estate. 

A modern fountain added in a few years ago, towards the exit. And, yes, obligatory gift shop. 

Here's a link to The Huntington website. 

© 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Celebrating the Reformation: The Huntington Library, Part III

Is The Huntington a library, an art gallery, and a botanical garden?

Yes to all three. Here's a link to Part I, highlighting the Chinese themed garden and Part II, highlighting the Japanese themed garden. This post will focus on the Huntington Library (above). I'll finish out with a fourth and final post later this month focusing on The Huntington's art collection. 

Don't expect to to check out books like a traditional library. The Huntington Library consists of an incredible collection of priceless, historic books and manuscripts. 

On display, front and center, an an original Gutenberg Bible. Of the 170 or so original copies printed, less than fifty survive today, eleven of which are in the United States. 

According to The Complete Pilgrim"The Huntington Library is the only institution on the West Coast of the United States to own a Gutenberg Bible, and its copy is one of the best. The Huntington copy of the Gutenberg Bible is a complete edition on vellum, one of only five in the world and the only one in the United States outside of the Library of Congress."

Regardless of your religious faith or background, the Bible is - without question - the most influential book in Western Civilization. It's difficult to fully understand Western Civilization without at least a partial understanding of Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (often referred to as the Old and New Testaments). 

The Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, were written in Hebrew (with a small portion in Aramaic); the Christian Scriptures, the New Testament, in First Century Greek. 

The Bible is really a collection of sixty six different "books" written by 40 different authors over 2500 years. If you've never read any portions of the Bible, I'd suggest starting by reading one of the four gospels - the historical accounts of the life of Jesus. The names of the gospel's refer to the authors. Matthew and John were written by eyewitness. Mark was written by an early follower of Jesus, and companion of St Peter, who was also an eyewitness. Luke was by an physician who interacted with a number of eyewitnesses. 

Speaking of eye witness accounts, I've enjoyed the work of Los Angeles based homicide detective J Warner Wallace. For years an agnostic, Wallace took the time to read through the four gospels for himself. Initially skeptical, as a "cold case" detective, he was so convinced by the historic reliability of these eyewitness accounts that he became a follower of Jesus Christ.

A group of visitors enjoying a close up view of The Huntington's Gutenberg Bible. 

Time Magazine consider Gutenberg's printing press the single most important event of the past 1000 years. No argument here. The printing press created an explosion of knowledge and information throughout the entire world. 

Leading us on to The Huntington's "The Reformation" exhibit.

The Protestant Reformation is generally considered to have begun on October 31, 1517 when German monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis on the door to the Wittenberg Church, questioning the abuses and practices he saw within the Medieval Church.

An original copy of Bible Protestant Reformer Martin Luther's German translation of the Bible. While the original Gutenberg Bibles were in Latin, what followed were translations in German, English, French, Spanish and multiple other languages. 

Today, thanks to the work of organizations like Wycliff Bible Translators, there are complete translations of the Bible in over 1000 different languages. 

The Huntington also has an original copy of a Tyndale Bible. This is what the Pilgrims, coming to America, would have used and read. 

Speaking to a cleric, William Tyndale stated his intention to "cause the boy who drives the plow to know more scripture than thou dost." Tyndale paid for this conviction with his life. He was deemed a heretic, killed, and burned at the stake in 1536. 

The Huntington also has copies of the John Wycliff's English translation of the Bible. Unlike the printed Gutenberg Bible, or Luther's German or Tyndale's English translations, the Wycliff Bible (translated between 1382 to 1395) was written by hand. 

Wycliff's Bible was translated into Middle English. This is much closer to what Geoffrey Chaucer than William Shakespeare. 

Here's what a section of the Gospel of John looks like in 14th Century Middle English: 

For God louede so þe world, that he ȝaf his oon bigetun sone, þat ech man þat bileueþ in him perische not, but haue euerlastynge lijf.

Here's what the same passage, John 3:16, looks like in modern English: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Speaking of of Chaucer and Shakespeare, back in the main hall, The Huntington also has original copies of the Chaucer's Canterbury Tales ...

... Shakespeare's works (yes, he was a genius) ... 

... Polish astronomer and mathematician Nicolas Copernicus's "On the Revolution of Heavenly Bodies" (in Latin). 

... and Thomas Jefferson's United States Declaration of Independence. 

Really, something for everyone. 

A final view of the main reading room. The library is much - much - more extensive than just this one room and the Reformation display, containing an incredible nine million historical items. Here's a link to their collections.   

Next time, we'll finish out with a tour through the art galleries and home of Henry and Arabella Huntington. 

© 2019