Southern California environment news and trends

Song of the Week: "Smoggy Mountain High," by Key Losers, for clean cars and air pollution news

Mercer 15335

David McNew/Getty Images

The Hollywood sign and the undeveloped land that surrounds it are seen against the snow-covered San Gabriel Mountains.

This week's song comes to me courtesy of my Off-Ramp colleague Kevin Ferguson. "Smoggy Mountain High," by Key Losers, is a song from the band's most recent album, "California Lite."

Smoggy Mountain High (from "California Lite" by Key Losers) by P.W. Elverum & Sun, ltd.

Its specific subject is the San Gabriel Mountains, hard to see through particulate matter and smog pollution that gets trapped in the LA Basin. 

Beyond the city they are towering
obscured sometimes, but still they bring
eternal height in a dying world
a deeper look into the sky
beyond the city they are flowering
I see them sometimes when I'm in my car
I often want to go up to them
I get distracted and I forget

Key Losers is a band whose name is perhaps inspired by a Guided by Voices song. According to their website, "Key Losers is a band based in Portland, Oregon, whose songwriter, singer, guitarist, and only constant member is Katy Davidson." Davidson seems to be in several bands I have liked, including Dear Nora (in San Francisco) and YACHT. She says about the record:

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Photo of the Day: Watch the vivid yellow of the sun's coronal mass ejection

NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Coronal mass ejections have no potential to hurt people, but they can affect communications systems and satellites.

NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Gases that are heated and electronically supercharged brighten the surface of the sun.

NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Solar material ends up flowing off into space. That's the bright spot.


Sometimes, journalists spend all day monitoring regulatory hearings. So it has been with the advanced clean cars provram at the Air Resources Board (here in LA, happening at the Metropolitan Water District offices). It's risky business, alright. You run the risk of going cross eyed listening to public comment, techncial talk, and discussion among board members. Someday I'm going to come up with a bingo board for regulatory hearings, and it will include phrases like "kicking the can down the road," "broad cross-section of stakeholders," "landmark," and "bravo." At some point this afternoon, one guy in favor of what the Air Resources Board is doing spoke just after several specialty and minority Chambers of Commerce that don't, and he remarked on it. Chair Mary Nichols must have been punchy, because she advised the guy to form a chamber of commerce of his own.

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