Weekend notes

CarsonJohnny Carson: No shortage of appreciations and retrospectives online and on the air for the late-night pioneer who died Sunday at home in Malibu (of emphysema at age 79). David Letterman: "Thank God for videotapes and DVDs. In this regard, he will always be around. He was the best. A star and a gentleman."

Location scout: Annie Flanders was the editor and publisher of Details before turning L.A. real estate agent. Laurie Pike writes in the New York Times Magazine that Flanders doesn't drive or sell anything west of La Cienega, but her Hollywood and hipster clients trust her taste. Also in the NYT Magazine: KCRW has more than 1,000 New York members and a growing nationwide fan base.

Cliche alerts: Raymond Chandler died 45 years ago, and quit L.A. much earlier. Still, Monica Corcoran opens a piece in today's NYT Sunday Styles section, about parties at the Hammer Museum, with this outdated nugget: "Granted, the Los Angeles tourism board will never lure visitors with 'Got culture?' After all, even a local hero, the writer Raymond Chandler, once called this place 'a hard-boiled city with no more personality than a paper cup.'" And in last Thursday's LAT Weekend Calendar, Meghan Daum wrote that the break from rain storms means a return to "the bare midriffs, conspicuous cleavage and exposed toes that make this city such a playground of epidermal excess."

Johnny Mountain: The veteran Channel 7 weathercaster is retiring, says RonFineman.com. Garth Kemp is his replacement.

Michael Hiltzik book: The L.A. Times business columnist has sold The Plot Against Social Security—"debunking the myth of the Social Security crisis and the plan to privatize it," says Publishers Lunch—to Harper. Sandra Dijkstra is his agent.

BookDonna Barstow: The Los Angeles-based New Yorker cartoonist's book What Do Women REALLY Want? Chocolate! makes the Book Circle in the current Family Circle. One of her cartoons on the magazine website depicts the Vista Theatre on Sunset.

Road trip: George McGovern and his wife are driving across country in a 1997 Subaru, without a cell phone and with their Newfoundland and a cat named Kitty, listening to Peter, Paul and Mary CDs. When they blew into L.A. for a book signing, Dennis McCarthy asked if he could imagine Richard Nixon doing such a thing: "Highly unlikely," McGovern says.

Joan Sweeney: The author of numerous romance novels and former LAT reporter-editor died of Lou Gehrig's disease at age 68.

Times adds color: The LAT has nearly finished a $45 million upgrade to its presses so that more advertising can be printed in color. The color capacity will grow by eight pages, the L.A. Business Journal reports.

Wilderness wi-fi: SBC is putting wireless access points in 85 California state parks, but getting online won't be free. It will cost $7.95 for 24 hours, the NYT says.

Marc Cooper: A couple of bloggers profile the LA Weekly editor and columnist, here and here.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent Hollywood stories on LA Observed:
Hollywood Reporter gets political
Rejected Joe Eszterhas' Maccabees script is "a Jewish Braveheart'
Publicist Michael Sands dies after choking on sample at Gelson's
Moving day at KCET
Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas exchange words over Maccabee script *
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