Girl in the Window, 1999, Wim Wenders
omg there are so many
Most delicious law firm ever!
This is where you put the Internet.
Guys I found the tattoo I’m gonna get
I recently saw Eric Garcetti bowl seven strikes in a row. It was at a campaign event just before the primary election, at the Spare Room in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Eric’s technique is probably better suited to discus throwing. He hurls the ball with such force that by the time it makes contact with the ground it’s already halfway down the lane. The momentum of his own arm lifts both his feet off the ground, so that for a moment he bobs in the air like a buoy. I’m not sure the pins get knocked down so much as they dive out of the way of Eric’s throw in fear of obliteration. The frames that were not strikes were all spares, except for one, which was an eight.
If you want to know about Eric Garcetti’s actual achievements in office, about how, during his terms representing East Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Atwater Village on the City Council, those neighborhoods transformed from gang-ridden cesspools into some of the most dynamic and desirable areas of Los Angeles, go ahead and Google that. I support Eric for that reason, and also for a handful of other small details you might think are unrelated to the skills you need as Mayor of Los Angeles, but which I think demonstrate something essential.
Here are some additional minor data points.
Eric Garcetti dances like a Jewish kid who grew up in the Valley —which is to say, really well. Jewish kids from the Valley are raised on hip hop. At some point everyone had a home video that taught you how to breakdance. You showed off for girls at bar mitzvahs by demonstrating the moves you spent months learning in secret. At some point Eric mastered the pop and lock. He will bust it out with little provocation. The professional dancing crew that inaugurated the South Los Angeles campaign office was genuinely impressed.
The first time I heard Eric Garcetti speak was at a fundraiser for his City Council reelection campaign in 2005. I remember it well because I embarrassed myself. Eric was talking to the room about the history of Spanish missions in California, and he asked “How many of you here have been to the mission of Los Angeles?” I was the only person to raise a hand. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “That was a trick question. There was no Los Angeles mission.” While I shrunk back cringing into the crowd he went on to explain why this was, and demonstrated what I would come to realize was an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Los Angeles.
Before the Mayoral campaign, when he had a bit more free time, Eric Garcetti would never turn down a game of Lexulous, the Facebook equivalent of the Scrabble knock-off Words With Friends. He’s the only person I cannot beat at that game.
Steve Lopez, the usually cantankerous columnist for the Los Angeles times seems genuinely won over by Eric Garcetti, which is something, because Steve Lopez doesn’t ever seem to get won over by anything. Here’s one of his typically acerbic passages, from January: “Since my knee replacement surgery less than two weeks ago, I’ve been popping narcotic painkillers that come with long lists of potential side effects. Among them are vomiting, hallucinating and impaired thinking. It is perhaps that third one that made me feel compelled to write about the race for mayor of Los Angeles.”
But jump ahead to last week, when Lopez admitted that he is “humbled” by Eric Garcetti’s experiences. “He’s George Plimpton, Bono and Seinfeld’s Mr. Peterman all rolled into one,” wrote Lopez about Eric. “When he says: ‘And then there was the time I commandeered a snowmobile at the North Pole while on a climate-change fact-finding mission and located Salma Hayek’s lost purse in the frozen tundra,’ he’s not kidding.” You may detect a hint of sarcasm, but the fact that it’s only a hint is telling.
The title of Steve Lopez’s article is “You name it, Eric Garcetti has done it.” But that misses the point. From what I’ve seen, you name it, Eric Garcetti can do it. You might be tempted to dismiss him as one of those annoying guys who is good at everything, until you realize that he’s not good at everything, he’s only good at the things he loves —but he loves a lot of things. He loves service, he loves Los Angeles, he loves the pop and lock. And the thing about someone who has that kind of heart, who gives his all to the things he loves until he masters them, that sort of heart is infectious. It wins people over. Even curmudgeons like Steve Lopez.
The office of Mayor in Los Angeles is not like the office of Mayor in New York or Chicago. In eastern cities, the executive is invested with large amounts of unchecked authority. Eastern mayors, to some extent, rule by decree. Not so in Los Angeles, which spreads executive power over several independent bodies and offices. To be successful as mayor here, you have to exercise what they call “soft power,” which Wikipedia describes succinctly as “the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce.” The secret to soft power is winning people over. The secret to winning people over is to demonstrate a lot of heart.
There are specific reasons I’m in the tank for Eric Garcetti. I think he’s a leader. Not only do I think he’s the leader that Los Angeles needs, I think he’s the leader everyone needs. I want to see what he can do as Mayor. Please join me in voting for him tomorrow.
If you are in LA and undecided, this is pretty much every reason you need to vote for @ericgarcetti next week.
“I know he was there in the crowd, somewhere,” said Agent Cromwell. “I felt him.”
“Well, let’s find out,” said Jones.
Jones typed command after command into his terminal. Dozens of images flashed in rapid succession on the screen array before him, a composite of every surveillance camera in the downtown Cincinnati area. Nobody in the room saw this as an Orwellian nightmare; all such moral objection vanished in the light of terrorism.
“Wait, stop!” yelled Agent Cromwell. “Go back to that one!”
Jones flipped back to a crowd outside the mall.
“Zoom in on that guy, the one in the red shirt.”
Jones tapped some keys, and the computer beeped diligently as it magnified the image.
“Zoom in further.”
The man in the red shirt filled the screen. At this zoom level, his face was blurry.
“Enhance.” demanded Agent Cromwell.
The computer beeped as it sharpened the image.
Beep beep beep. The photo’s resolution increased, and sharpened more.
The man’s face became clear. Then some of his blemishes vanished, and his red-eye was reduced. The computer applied a satisfying HDR effect to make the scene a touch more dramatic, along with a lovely prefabricated filter, some yellow in the highlights with a lower saturation and increased exposure, that sort of thing.
“Oh look at that,” said Agent Cromwell.
“Try it again!” said Jones.
The computer found a much better image of the man’s face and composited a lovely, smiling suspect for Agent Cromwell’s approval. Then it assembled a GIF of the man half-stepping forward and back. On a loop, the GIF gave the impression he was dancing.
Agent Cromwell clapped his hands, delightedly. “Where can I ‘like’ this?” he asked.