Untitled Document Home
Chef & Hotel Profile
Publisher's Page
Gift Guide
Travel Adventures
Epicurean Events
Health Minded
Spa Baby Secrets
Book Bites
Culinary Coup
Sense of Style
Kids Kaleidoscope
Tinsletown Tidbits
Radio Show & Links
Contact Us

Cars & Cells
As of July 1, 2008 people under 18 cannot drive while talking or texting on a cell phone, or use any other data transmission device. Fine is $70 for first offense and $175 for subsequent offences. Adults, 18 and over may use these devices if they are hands free. 
Ban on Smoking in Cars
On January 1, 2008 a new law makes it an infraction to smoke a cigarette or pipe or cigar in a motor vehicle; this applies whether the vehicle is at rest or in moving. Fine can be $100.
DUI Offenders
July 1, 2008 marks the date that people obtaining or renewing a driver's license must sign a declaration of understanding that they can be charged with murder if they cause a fatal accident while driving under the influence. 
Cheating the Photo Machine
As of January 1, 2008 it is illegal to sell or use product that shield your licence plate from stop light cameras. The fine is $146 plus penalties; selling these products can be a $900 + fine.


By Laurence Vittes


It was about 40 years ago that I owned my first BMW, the 2-door 1600 sports sedan which was the German car company's opening salvo telling the North American market, "Here we come!" After a recalcitrant Ford Falcon and a pokey VW Beetle, it seemd like I had found driving Nirvana


The 1600 car was a miracle of simplicity and spare beauty which set the tone for a marque that has since grown to be a standard setter in the art of driving quickly, safely and efficiently, while still riding comfortably and handling enjoyably. The current 5 series is a prime example of how BMW combines the mature, the worldly and the spirit of adventure in a way that understates the sheer driving pleasure to be had. Equally impressive, the 5 series seemingly adjusts itself to your emotional state.


bmw 528XIFor a performing arts reviewer like me, that means that the car, in reality a thing of high-tech metals, soft leathers and lovingly-fashioned plastic and ingenious German engineering, senses where I'm at and where I'm going--and not only theatrically speaking--and actually seems to comfort, protect and encourage me. For one glorious week in December, that meant driving a splendid dark blue BMW 528xi 4-door sedan through the streets of West Hollywood, into a deliciously mysterious neighborhood of Santa Monica, and along assorted mountain and seashores highways and byways.


The 528xi (the "i" stands for the precision of fuel injection, meaning a more responsive engine and improved mileage--though this is definitely not a Prius killer, the "x" stands for all-wheel drive) also offers BMW's all new xDrive system which provides added traction and stability while maintaining BMW's trademark smooth and graceful ride. With 230 horsepower at your disposal, controlled by a smooth automatic transmission, you can reach 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. The all-wheel drive system (available only with the V6) keeps the car planted on even the windiest or snowiest roads.



It was neither blowing nor snowing when we made our way to La Cienega, a few blocks north of Beverly Center, and we delighted to find a parking place right in front of the Coronet Theatre. The boys and girls waiting in line for the press opening of Girls Night: The Musical oohed and aahed and smiled in a happy way.


The musical's energetic if predictable look at the lives of a group of female friends at a karaoke bar, reliving their past and rekindling lost dreams, had the audience eating out of their hands, and there was even dancing in the aisles at one point. You probably know the types: Carol is born to party, Anita tells it like (she thinks) it is, Liza's still hung up on "issues," Kate likes to drive men nuts with her boring attitudes, and Sharon is a sexy angel who tags along because that's what angels do.


The Bulgakov ProjectA few nights later, we ventured out to the Highways Performance Space and Gallery in that uncertain area of Santa Monica adjoining Crossroads School to check up on the latest iteration of a very Russian theatrical event called The Bulgakov Project. We were amply rewarded for it was such an atmosphere-drenched production, and the actors were so immersed in playing their occasionally bilingual parts, that we felt we had wandered into St. Petersburg (oops, Petrograd) in the 20s when for a few brief years the Russian artistic imagination was being loosed without restriction upon Russia and the world. In addition to being a fascinating experience, The Project is also an unsettling one, compared to the neat and clean theater I regularly see.


The work-in-progress play intensely fulfills its aim of capturing the essence and soul of the Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940), whose cult classic novel The Master and Margarita powerfully and unnervingly follows the Devil during his visit to the newly atheist Soviet Union. By digesting and reconstructing images and passages from his life and works, the actors reach across the footlights in hopes of engaging in an implied dialog with the audience about not only Bulgakov and his world, but also about larger worlds beyond. The play's great ambition, and the fact that it may always be unfinished, enables it to harnesses the power of words and the strength of the imagination and hurl them against the opposition's guns and terror.


After the play, we lit a couple of Russian cigarettes, felt very intellectual, and let our roaring BMW take us quickly if not so stealthily up the PCH for a quick bite at a seafood bar followed by some romantic nibbles and snacks. As my father once told me, there's nothing like the performing arts to warm up your engine.


Caveats: As always, prices will vary depending on dealers and prevailing market forces. Value varies depending on whether you want to buy or lease, and for how long. Visit Michael Karesh’s astounding TrueDelta.com website for current information and insights about what constitutes value these days, and which manufacturers offer it. Ascertaining value in an automobile is never as straightforward as we would like it to be. So, don’t be afraid to make some preliminary choices, and then let your heart influence your head. After all, for most of us in Southern California, driving is a large and important part of the emotional side of our lives.

March 08 | April 08 | May 08 | June 08 | July 08 | August 08 | September 08 | October 08 | November 08 | December 08 | January 09 | March 09 | February 09 | April 09 | May 09 | June 09 | July 09 | August 09 | September 09 | October 09 | October 10 | November 09 | December 09 | January 10 | February 10 | March 10 | April 10 | May 10 | June 10 | July 10 | August 10 | September 10 | November 10 | December 10 | January 11 | February 11 | March 11 | April 11 | May 11 | June 11 | July 11 | August 11 | September 11 | October 11 | November 11 | December 11 | January 12 | February 12 | March 12 | March 12 | April 12 | May 12 | June 12 | July 12 | August 12 | September 12 | October 12 | November 12 | December 12 | January 13 | February 13 | March 13 | April 13 | May 13 | June 13 | July 13 | August 13 | September 13 | October 13 | October | November 13 | December 13 | January 14 | February 14 | July 14 | March 14 | April 14 | May 14 | June 14 | August 14 | September 14 | October 14 | November 14 | December 14 | January 15 | February 15 | March 15 | April 15 | May 15 | June 15 | July 15 | August 15 | September 15 | October 15 | November 15 | December 15 | January 16 | February 16 | March 16 | April 16 | May 16 | June 16 | July 16 | August 16 | September 16 | October 16 | November 16 | December 16 | January 17 | February 17 | March 17 | April 17 | May 17 | June 17 | July 17 | August 17 | September 17 | October 17 | December 17 | January 18 | September 18 | February 18 | March 18 | April 18 | May 18 | June 18 | July 18 | August 18 | October 18 | November 18 | December 18 | January 19 | February 19 | February 19 | March 19 | March | April 19 | May 19 | February 08

© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved