Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

A generous donation and a pinch of salt -- or, “There’s No Trouble with Harry (Saltzgaver)”

Harry Saltzgaver, major domo of the Long Beach Gazette Newspapers, does double duty for us at least once a year when he not only renews his KPCC membership, but writes about it in his column, “Pinch of Salt.”

This time, in publicizing a rival media outlet’s fundraiser(!), he even mentions our new “sustaining member” feature. And Harry being Harry, he doesn’t sugarcoat it.

“To give them credit, KPCC has come up with a new twist to membership and fund drives. That would be something called a sustaining member. You sign up for it once, and it automatically takes a set amount out of your checking account or charges the amount to a credit card every month. It sustains the station with a constant infusion of cash and allows the member to never think of it again. There’s only a couple of things wrong with that approach, at least for me. First, I’d forever be trying to figure out why my checkbook was $10 out of balance. Second, I’d still be subject to the fund drive bombardment, at least assuming the station still needed to raise money. … Now can I have my regular KPCC back, Mr. Rabe, sir? Please?”


The New York Times’ Zachery Kouwe problem.

In an editor’s note in the New York Times, the paper reveals that reporter Zachery Kouwe “reused language from The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and other sources without attribution or acknowledgment … Copying language directly from other news organizations without providing attribution — even if the facts are independently verified — is a serious violation of Times policy and basic journalistic standards. It should not have occurred. The matter remains under investigation by The Times, which will take appropriate action consistent with our standards to protect the integrity of our journalism.”

Just how dumb do you need to be to steal from the Wall Street Journal … especially when you work for the New York Times? Cutting-and-pasting from a friend’s email, a la Maureen Dowd, is bad enough, but at least in that case you’d have a small chance you wouldn’t get caught. But people at the Times read the Journal, and vice versa, even if they don’t especially like it.


Off-Ramp's John Rabe explains John "My Stupid Mouth" Mayer

By now, you’ve probably heard that not only has John Mayer granted an interview to Playboy magazine, but he’s apologized for 99% of it.

For instance, he used the n-word.

Playboy: “Someone asked me the other day, 'What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?' And by the way, it's sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a 'hood pass, you could call it a n---- pass,’” he said, then added: “But I said, 'I can't really have a 'hood pass. I've never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, 'We're full.’”

Props to Mayer for admitting he’s never been discriminated against the way millions of blacks have been. And for apologizing:

AP: “… the point I was trying to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself. It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it, because I realize that there's no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally charged."


Designer Nick Verreos boosts Rabe’s ego like a pair of padded shoulders, at FIDM Oscar costume shindig.

We attended the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising Oscar costume party last weekend, and met top designer Nick Verreos, of Project Runway fame, and discovered his secret.

(2-6-2010: Nick Verreos, Julian Bermudez, and John Rabe at FIDM. Photo courtesy FIDM.)

Nick turned to talk with my husband Julian. I, of course, continued talking. Suddenly Nick turned to me and said, “Now I know where I know you! I didn’t recognize your face but I knew your voice!” Turns out, Verreos not only listens to KPCC, but he’s a big fan of Off-Ramp.

I was pleased as punch.

For more photos of FIDM’s exhibit of costumes from the 2009 crop of movies, check out Nick’s blog.

(Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.)


Yet another beautiful rainbow shot – with a difference.

My friend Scott Johnston looked out the window of his home in Los Feliz yesterday afternoon and was transfixed by the brilliant (double) rainbow that captivated much of Los Angeles. “It was the brightest rainbow I've seen,” he wrote.

Being short of cash (because of the recession), I immediately drove to Glendale to find the end of the rainbow, and snapped my own photo of what I found there:

I will, however, be donating 10% of the net profit -- after state bullion taxes and the cost of a corned beef sandwich (for the leprechaun) at Billy’s deli -- to KPCC to support the upcoming membership drive.

(Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.)