A tip from an old friend of mine at DHS interrupted my usual coffee routine at Bottega Louie. “The government is covering up the numbers, Stan.” I can’t say what else I was told as I don’t want to compromise my source, but so credible is my source that I raced over to Vaughn Blake’s and dragged him out of bed. I called Shannon on the way to Vaughn’s. I told both of them the bad news and being downtownster’ bloggers they agreed to go with me to Hidalgo Guadalupe the third largest city in Mexico to get to the bottom of this pandemic.

The trip there was somber. Unfortunately, it also took an extra day – we got caught in the middle of a shootout between the police and some drug dealers on the outskirts of Ensenada, fortunately both Shannon and Vaughn are good with guns and we were able to hold our own long enough to get out of there. My Suburban took at least a half dozen rounds, but was still drivable.

The Mexican military had all roads into the city blocked ten miles out. So, with really no other choice we buried and camouflaged the Suburban as best we could and humped it on foot. I had hoofed it through this area twenty-five years ago, it was no picnic then—at forty-four and out of shape it was pure hell. Well not exactly. Pure hell is what we found as we stood at the outskirts of the city. The citizens that were still alive were looting every building that was not occupied. Gangs of young men were raping young girls right out on the street corners. And the army was doing nothing but making sure no one could get in or out. THEY WERE LETTING MAYHEM REIGN! Vaughn wanted to intervene, but I refused to let him. “We’re here to report, not get ourselves killed,” I scorned.

I sent Shannon and Vaughn to the hospital to see what they could learn. I made my way to an old friend’s villa. He happens to be a major narco trafficker, so nobody knows what’s going on more than he. I explained upon my unexpected arrival that I was a blogger now and that I had been tipped off that all hell was breaking out all over the world and that our government was covering it up. Although, Vice President Biden at least had the decency to tell the world that he himself would not be in any public place especially an airplane. My old friend sat me down and explained that things were actually much worse than my friend at DHS had lead me to believe.

“An Arab from Saudi Arabia came here and brought the disease with him—in a bottle,” said my friend in a heavy Mexican accent.

“What?” I questioned in total shock.

“He was heading for your side of the border, but he stopped at one of our local whore houses. It was in his jacket on the floor and the whore stepped on it by accident. They were both dead in three days. Since then the people are dropping like flies on a hot August day.”

Vaughn and Shannon confirmed that the first two deaths reported by the hospital were indeed the whore and the Arab. We all would have liked to have stayed and helped in whatever way we could, but word had gotten out that we were there and my friend the narco trafficker informed us that the national police had issued an order to apprehend us preferably dead. We had no choice, but to leave and tell the public what was really going on.

In San Diego I was able to meet up with another old friend of mine. He confirmed our worst fears. THE DEATH TOLL IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE WAS EXPECTED TO REACH THIRTY MILLION. WORLDWIDE THE CDC EXPECTED SIX HUNDRED MILLION DEAD!

I did question him as to whether Tamiflu would be able to save lives. He informed me of yet anther government cover-up. There isn’t enough Tamiflu to save even ten percent of the population and most of what we do have on hand is past its expiration date so it is possibly even more deadly than the N1H1 virus. Basically what the public is not being told is that one in ten people in this country will be dead soon.

I asked how we might save ourselves. My friend one of the top men at the CDC said, “Everyone should stay indoors. And nobody should eat pig. And in most people significant consumption of alcohol kills the virus dead. Oh, and whatever you do avoid contact with Mexicans.”

Back in LA, Vaughn, Shannon, and myself decided to have drinks—lots of drinks. We talked about the horrors we’d seen. And we talked about the media and government that keep talking about the swine flu as if what I’ve just written is true. Chris Mathews actually compared President Obama’s handling of this PANDEMIC to President Bush’s handling of Katrina. Joe Biden really has said don’t fly. And Janet Napolitano Director of Homeland Security has said go ahead and fly, but keep your kids at home. Here’s the truth, thirty-six thousand people die of the flu each year here in the U.S. To date, one person, a small child who had been flown in from Mexico has died of N1H1 in the U.S. But if the mainstream media wants to make a story out of this—take notes boys and girls, take notes. Because this blogger is tired of seeing everything done half-ass! 


There are major topics and discussions in the news world over right now (other than Swine Flu and the economy).  Hot on the heels of Earth Day, citizens and activists are still abuzz over the environment and global warming while for the rest of us, the impending release of “Star Trek” seems to be the number topic of conversation.  So, for those of you that are looking for your own little galactic adventure with some potent underlying social and environmental messages, you can do no better than with Aristomenis Tsirbas’ BATTLE FOR TERRA – a little gem of a film that wends its way through the universe of animated 3D onto the big screen with intelligence, charm and appeal for the entire family.

Terra is a beauteous and peaceful planet; Continue reading BATTLE FOR TERRA

Robert Vargas

It’s a brightly lit Tuesday afternoon and I’m sipping on an iced mocha at LA Café, chatting with downtown resident artist Robert Vargas for the second time. The painter is having lunch while flipping through a book of Albert Moore’s languorous nudes, feeling inspired by some of his favorite romantic compositions between nibbles of salad. We’re talking about his first solo show currently at the Edgar Varela Gallery, which opened this weekend.

The scene is all very pleasant and professional; as I said, this was our second meeting. The first meeting makes for a much better story, though. So let’s rewind the tape a bit, all the way back to Friday evening, round-a-bout midnight, when Continue reading Robert Vargas

Fighting on Sundays – Eleven Former Trojans Taken in NFL Draft

A wise man once said – if football player wants to make football his profession, football player must sign with USC. Okay, so a philosopher didn’t provide this adage. It was former NFL Head Coach Herm Edwards and he said, “If you want to play pro football and you’re a high school athlete, you know going to USC is going to give you the best opportunity…”

It seems that although unemployed, Edwards still has some coaching wisdom. This weekend 11 former University of Southern California players were selected in the 2009 NFL Draft.  USC led all schools, the closest follower being Ohio State with seven players. It was the second consecutive year, and third time in the past four years that USC has topped all schools with players brought into the big leagues. Continue reading Fighting on Sundays – Eleven Former Trojans Taken in NFL Draft


Foreword by Stan Lerner: You might notice that downtownster writers, including yours’ truly, write about or mention Varnish often — this is what happens when a place is this cool. And since I tell my writers to go with their gut when it comes to blogs I’ll never say no to a story about a place even if every downtownster writer feels a need to write about it. I’m thinking about doing a piece on the ice cubes at Varnish, next. 

I’ve been a fan of Sasha Petraske since my first drink at Milk & Honey in NYC not too long ago. Subsequently, I’ve consumed a beverage at every one of his other locations in New York including, Little Branch, East Side Company Bar, and his newest absinthe bar that opened last summer, White Star.

With regard to Sasha’s cocktail coverage in Los Angeles, he first started by consulting with the bar at Comme Ca, and he has finally opened his own West Coast spot called The Varnish with Cedd Moses and Eric Alperin inside Cole’s French Dip in downtown LA. I was so excited when I read about this place opening up, Continue reading Varnish

Tyrese Gibson Brings Mayhem to Lucky Stike Lanes



“Nah man, you’re not on the list. Sorry.”

A summer ago I worked a door at the Ivy Hotel in San Diego.  The Ivy is a boutique hotel that also features several nightclub venues.  Think Modrian Hotel and the accompanying Skybar in Hollywood.  Drunks bad-mouthing you. Hotheads challenging you. Older women grabbing you. Sigh. Well, that one I kind of miss. I’m only teasing.

Still, despite the occasional tussle, epithet and sexual harassment, there was one thing I especially enjoyed while working at this venue – the ability to make connections. Continue reading Tyrese Gibson Brings Mayhem to Lucky Stike Lanes

Hello Wine Lovers!

Hello Wine lovers tonight from 5pm til 8pm we will visit the region of South America and Spain for our wine tasting.   Malbec is considered a blending grape in most Bordeaux. In certain parts of the world this varietal is treated as its own single wine.  Much like that of a Cabernet from Napa valley, or a Pinot Noir from the central coast.   Malbec adds color and structure to any blended wine it could be considered a cohesive binder to a blended style wine that fills in the gaps that other varietal blends lack.  Be it lack of color or thin mouth feel Malbec will bring a perfect balance to blended wines. Continue reading Hello Wine Lovers!


It was Monday night and like most Monday nights, most of my friends weren’t quite up to heading deeper into downtown for some nightlife. Fraternity Row was quiet; the registered party fiascos were over and one house was silently dealing with a sexual assault case (they still are). So, with nothing better to do and some time to kill, a couple of my friends and I head over to The 901 Bar & Grill, better known as “The 9-0.” Or as I like to call it, “The Plan B.”

 The Plan B…sorry…The 9-0 is never anyone’s first choice in ways to spend an evening. And if it is, you must be one of the following: Continue reading AN EVENING AT THE 9-0


Welcome back,

Question: What’s better than wearing a skirt?

Why in his right mind, he would ever say yes, is beyond me…  but I wasn’t about to question it. His ASSistant emailed me the address, and then after a nanny emergency, I was emailed another.

I was supposed to meet him that night on the roof at the Standard in downtown Los Angeles. That is definitely NOT where we met.

 When my friend dropped me off (in a 1990 Eagle mind you) I wasn’t at all surprised by the location, but I was convinced that I would have NO real one on one intimate time with him… which was disappointing. I could have swept him off his feet… (sigh)

 I had to show my I.D. at the door. The large man, accompanied by three other large men, was in plain clothes… which insulted my intelligence when I saw his surveillance ear piece.

He asked me if I had any weapons on me and then, as if he’d known me for years, leaned down and gently said “flask please, ma’am”.  I looked at him in my best “f*ck you, how dare you assume… (I can’t even finish that).

 I handed him the flask in my bag. He smiled, and moved out of the way, letting me inside.

There were kids everywhere! It was like Michael Jackson’s house at midnight. Continue reading BETTY BOOZE 3

Crown Café Best Panini In LA!

           “Stan you should try out Crown Café—and blog about it,” said cute little Sarah a wine tasting buddy of mine at Ralphs.

            “Really, I haven’t heard of it.”

            “It just opened. Emma, my roommate is the supervisor—you’ll like it.”

            “Well, what do they serve?” I asked, not always feeling up for restaurant reviews. I’m a foodie so while I enjoy restaurants, writing about them can turn a hobby into work and I’m sure you know what that can be like.

            “Coffee, panini, and some deserts,” answered Sarah.

            “Okay, but you have to go with me for lunch.”

            A week or so later I was walking with Sarah over to Crown Café, 531 S. Los Angeles St., 90013, between 5th and 6th. And since I was expecting a hole in the wall with a couple of tables, I was more than pleasantly surprised to find Crown Café to be quite spacious—perhaps 2,000sq. feet or so. The décor is reminiscent of a Starbucks, but much nicer. And no automated espresso machines, they’re grinding and pulling shots by hand the way it should be done. Continue reading Crown Café Best Panini In LA!