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

Rabe spots USNS Mercy in drydock in San Francisco. It’s a big boat.

We were driving to breakfast in San Francisco Sunday when I spotted a huge red cross on a huge ship.

I didn’t have time to do more investigation until today. Turns out, according to Sam Spade’s San Francisco, it’s the USNS Mercy, the sister ship of the USS Comfort, which is helping earthquake victims in Haiti.

USNS Mercy is the lead ship of her class of hospital ships in the United States Navy. In accordance with the Geneva Conventions, USNS Mercy and her crew do not carry any ordnance. Firing on the Mercy is considered a war crime. The Mercy class hospital ships are the third largest ships in the U.S. Navy Fleet by length, surpassed only by the nuclear powered Enterprise and Nimitz-class Supercarriers. Mercy is out by the drydocks at Mission Bay. Her homeport is San Diego and she is in port for a little maintenance.


Rain Update: Tuesday Scenes from the Arroyo and LA River

A nice break today (at blogtime) from the rain, and a chance to update the arroyo and river photos without getting my shoes wet.

Here’s the Arroyo at about 8:30 this morning, taken from the new Avenue 19 bridge.

And the LA River from the bridge over North Broadway – as two (!) trains go by.

And – nothing to do with rain – a little homeless outpost along Avenue 19. Will the charcoal still light?

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


Andersen’s pea soup hits spot on long, bleak drive.

You’ve done the drive down the 5 from San Francisco. The only thing worse is when it rains.

You should stop every hour or so to stretch your legs and clear your mind, but every minute you stop is another minute later you get home.

Then, two hours out of San Francisco, Pea Soup Andersen’s beckons.

A hot cup of coffee …

Special seasonings …

Free butter …

And a bottomless bowl of pea soup!

I'm also a sucker for the real tableclothes, polite service, and Scandiavian decor. Andersen’s turns 87 this year.

Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.

(All Photos by John Rabe.)


Rain swells the LA River and Arroyo Seco – photos and movie from John Rabe

This was the scene at about 1pm this afternoon where the Arroyo Seco joins the LA River.

...a movie I took panning down the Arroyo Seco (note: it's San Fernando Road, not Avenue 26, as I say in movie):

... a still view from under the Avenue 19 bridge, looking out onto actual whitecaps on the LA River.

... and looking down the final yards of the Arroyo toward the river.

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


Supervisor Mike Antonovich: Don’t wait. Start prepping for the storm now.

The rains are coming, and the Supervisor says you should get to work now – if you haven’t already – if your home is in the path of possible mudslides. Here’s the release:

January 15, 2010
For Immediate Release


LOS ANGELES COUNTY – To prepare for forecasted winter storms that could produce up to 8 inches of rain next week in areas affected by recent fires, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich encourages residents in hillside communities and fire-impacted areas to take precautions now.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works’ 24-hour toll-free hotline, (800) 214-4020, provides homeowners with engineering advice and recommendations on how to prevent damage utilizing sandbags, k-rails, and deflection walls to protect individual properties. Sandbags are available at all Los Angeles County Fire Stations.