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Okay, here it is!  We are now on current time!  Which means my dad has ended his six week vacation to LA a few weeks ago.  It was unfortunate he went home because it was really nice having the big man around the corner (He rented a house down the street so we wouldn't drive each other crazy).  We had a great time together, dined every day and night, and even managed a couple side trips to Hawaii and San Diego.  This week's newsletter I will close out my Dad's trip, show you around the controversial LA Cathedral and tell you about the crazy Hollywood party I went to on Sunday.  Then we will play a little guessing game.

First of all how lucky is my dad?  He picked the best six weeks to leave Connecticut to come visit me in California.  He was here the entire month of January which now holds the record for Los Angeles as the warmest and driest month since the city began keeping stats.  Not only that, I believe it was a record cold month for January in Connecticut.  I experienced it for a few days myself and I have to tell you, it was down right freezing, brrr brrr.  Of course, he had perfect timing, because the day after he left LA, the temperatures dropped and the much needed rain started to fall. 

As many of you know one of my dad's (and mine) favorite pastimes is dining out!  I tried to take him out to dinner in all the different sections of LA, which is pretty much impossible to do even with six weeks time, because there is so much to do, see, and eat here.  LA is similar to New York when it comes to food, because it's hard to find a bad place to eat, even at the beach.  But of course I am partial to the LA food which is deeelicious, and since we are Italian we love our food.  Not to mention food loves us.  One of the last dinners we had here was with my good buddy Kevin and his wife.  Kevin was kind enough to pick my dad, and his companion Nancy, up at LAX when they arrived (I was in NYC).  To thank him, my dad said he would take Kevin and his wife out to dinner anywhere they wanted to go.  Well, I told Kevin to pick something in Pasadena because we hadn't made it over there yet.  Kevin said, "No problem", and that they really liked to eat at Twin Palms restaurant.  My Dad went to his favorite food cheat sheet (the one and only Zagat Guide) and wasn't too keen on going after reading the low rating (Food: 16, Decor: 20, Service: 17 Cost: $32).  But it was Kevin's choice and Zagat did give the atmosphere a good grade:  "A great patio with twin palms" and "it's the atmosphere that really makes this place."  Well, they were right about the atmosphere and wrong about the food.  It was actually pretty good.  We really had a  nice time Twin Palms ; 101 West Green Street; Pasadena, CA  tel. 626.577.2567

The next night we went to another area that we hadn't yet explored, Beverly Hills.  My Dad and I tried to keep Amber Airplane and Nancy away from there as long as possible, but it was the ladies night to pick and we couldn't do anything about it.  So, naturally when we asked, "Where do you want to go?"  They answered "Anywhere in Beverly Hills," then they high fived each other.  They were surprised when we told them it was an excellent choice, of course they didn't realize the shops close early on Rodeo drive.  Ha Ha Ha!  They didn't think it was very funny.  That night we dined at  Trader Vic's because one my friends had recommended it.  Before we left my Dad checked out his Zagat guide (F: 18, D: 22. S: 19, $43), approved the plan, and we were off.  This place had two themes going on that I could see.  The main room was a tropical Tahitian theme, but the room where we dined had more of an old English sail boat feeling.  The waiters were professional, and dressed only too well.  They definitely were not starving actors moonlighting and if they were, they should win an Oscar for best performance.  Not only was the service excellent, but so was the food.  Except this is not the place to go if you are a hungry Italian man, because the portions were a bit small, and the prices were a bit steep.  This is more the place to go to get some cool tropical drinks and some poo-poo platters.  Trader Vics is located in The Beverly Hilton hotel at 9876 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA  tel. 310.276.6345

Before my Dad left, he made all the rounds to say good bye to some of our relatives, we have so many here, that it would've taken a week to see them all.  The highlight was when our cousin Anna took us to see my Dad's aunt Katherine .  She is so cute and sharp as a tack.  It's always nice to visit relatives.  Well, my dad is now freezing his tail off back East and wishing he was back in Southern California, and to tell you the truth, I wish he was here too.  

Wooo hooo everyone, we are now current!  This past Friday I went to  downtown LA to have lunch with my colleague Jane Engle from the LA Times.  I don't get downtown too often, except for sporting events or meetings, so it actually was a treat to see Jane for lunch.  She was my tour guide and took me a few blocks from her office to the brand new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.  We ate outside with many other visitors and locals who were there. We decided to eat at the inexpensive cafe and tour the amazing new structure.  The Cathedral has caused quite a stir.  Especially because the amount of money the city spent.  The story begins back in 1996 when the city condemned the old St. Vibiana's Cathedral because of damages sustained due to the Northridge earthquake.  Since the Archdiocese of LA was left without a Cathedral Church, it was time to build a new one.  LA has approximately four million Catholics, and when you have that many Catholics in one city it's a good idea to have a Cathedral, don't you think?  Of course you do.  They realized they couldn't rebuild St. Vibiana's or tear it down and so they preserved it.  Then the city bought a 5.6 acre piece of property that was mostly a parking lot in the heart of downtown, next to the Hollywood Freeway.  The new 58,000 square foot Cathedral cost a whopping $195 million (that's what was controversial) and was opened on September 2, 2002.  It can accommodate close to 3,000 worshipers and supposedly the structure will be able to last for about five centuries.  They also named the new Cathedral in St. Vibiana's honor and transferred her remains (yes her remains) that were gifted to the city of LA Diocese in 1854 by Pope Pius IX.  She is now resting in the Crypt mausoleum, which contains 6000 crypts and niches for burials.  I took a tour down there and the place is kind of erie.  Squeaky clean but erie.  There aren't many bodies down there yet, but I hear people are dying to get in there.  I know it's not funny.  For your information the Cathedral was designed by Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo, who did not use any stained glass except for the some of the windows in the crypt. Go check out the Cathedral for yourself.  Right now they have the Basilica in Baltimore Exhibit on view at the Cathedral's Art Chapel through September 2003.  The big draw for this exhibit is there's a Solid Gold Cane that weighs 90 pounds and is worth more than one million dollars.  No wonder they have a guard watching it . Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is located at 555 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA. Mass schedule .

What a day and night I had on Sunday.  A friend of mine had asked me if I wanted to help him out and work the First Annual TV Land Awards show.  TV Land is the TV cable channel that airs all the classic TV shows.  That meant almost every single TV star that I grew up with would be in attendance.  From the Brady Bunch to the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  If I couldn't get an invite, the least I could do was work it.  Work it boy, work it!  And that's just what I did!  I arrived to the world famous Palladium in Hollywood at 7:45am, and didn't leave until after midnight.  You wouldn't believe how much work goes into an award show.  It's mind boggling.  It was the first time I was ever on the "other side" of an event like this and I'm glad because it was a great experience and an eye opener.  I had no idea of how much money and time is spent to put one of these on.  They had an army of guys at the Palladium for a solid week before setting up.  From the event planners, to set designers, carpenters, models, dancers, camera crew, lighting, caterers. You name it, they were there.  I was a PA (Production Assistant).  Which should be renamed: gofer boy.  I did everything, from helping set up tables, to going to the Home Depot for errands.  At one point, I was even mopping the floor. 

What's great about working in the entertainment business is they take care of you.  Well, at least for this show they did.  Everyone was paid well and ate really well.  They had awesome food available all day long, and on show day, we of course had what the stars ate.  From Tri-tip, served with creamy mashed potatoes, with a dark onion gravy, to all kinds of vegetables, ravioli, and of course the highlight for me was... dessert.  They had this chocolate chip bread pudding dish which was out of this world.  It is now in my top10 desserts of all-time.  It was incredible. Soft, mushy rich brownies served with cooked bananas and a scoop vanilla ice cream.  I need that recipe, ah, on the other hand, no I don't. 

I was one of the few who was given a two hour break during the post party (which was the dinner party).  So guess what?  I ate with the celebs. The best part: I was dressed in my tux so everyone thought I was a guest.  The worst part, I wasn't allowed to bring my camera, and I was dying!  I could've gotten pictures with everyone.  The list is too long to list but the Fonz was there, David Cassidy and Shirley Jones from the Partridge Family, Laverne and Shirley, the Captain and Doc from the Love Boat, Lee Majors from The Six Million Dollar Man, and my favorite genie, from I Dream of Jeannie...  get the picture? Well I didn't! But I was not going let not having my camera get in my way.  So I did something I have never done before.  I asked the person in front of me (on two different occasions) if they wouldn't mind doing me a HUGE favor.  I said "Is there anyway you could take my picture with your digital camera and email me it to me?"  They just looked at me like, "Huh"?  Then they each kindly agreed.  You should've seen the first lady's expression when I asked her if she also had a pen so I could write down my email.  After that I ran and got my business cards.  The picture she took was with Dick Van Dyke, a nice guy, but the lady still hasn't sent it.  It may be gone forever.  I didn't care as much about that picture as I do the next one.  My goal was to get a picture with the girls I grew up staring at, and when I saw my chance: I went for it. 

Ladies and gentlemen here is Johnny Jet with Cindy and Marsha, Marsha, Marsha .  Now, how cool is that?  I was on cloud nine, and still am.  In fact, the rest of the night I didn't even bother taking anymore pictures, I was content with that one.  For the rest of the party, I just hung out with all the nice people.  By the way: all the of the Brady kids were there except for Jan.  I had already met Greg (Barry Williams) before so I didn't need to talk to him this night.  The funniest story of the night involves Chris Knight (Peter Brady).  Get this: It turns out I had met Chris a few times many years ago, because he was one of my old neighbors friend's best friend (that's Hollywood talk) and the three of us used to go out and about every so often.  I used to tell him, "Man, I swear I know you.  Are you sure you didn't grow up in Connecticut?  How about maybe we sat next to each other on a long flight?"  He used to just shake his head and say "nope."  Then last night when I recognized him and realized who he was I went up to him and said Chris "You were Peter  Brady?  He just smiled and said what are you doing here Johnny Jet?"  I said "I was a child star too!"  He said "No way, who?"  I said "I was Eddie Munster," then we both laughed.  How funny is that? Peter Brady duped me.  

Don't miss the First Annual  TV Land Awards which airs on March 12 on Nickelodeon.  The show is hosted by John Ritter and is very entertaining.

Travel Trivia!  Guess where Johnny Jet just landed?  Here's a hint or two: it was a long flight from LA, it's warm because it's Summertime, and they drive on the left side of the road.  Any guesses?  Tune in next week to find out!  Also, Johnny Jet's Travel News and Tips will most likely be delayed by a few days next week, so expect it next Saturday or Sunday. 

Cheers Mate!

Johnny Jet

  • Dude you live more of a pimpy lifestyle than movie stars - Jackie Yo - NYC
  • LOVE your hotel games! Glad you're on my side!!  Scott M - Anchorage
  • I, like many recently, found your website through the Frommer's email newsletter.  Let me tell you, it's great to find a website that screams "regular guy who travels a lot."  I think your website is very useful, and I very much enjoyed my first update on your recent travels.  I'll be going to your website regularly, now that I know it exists. I read your eulogy for your mom - it really touched me.  I'm so sorry you had to lose her so early, but I'm very glad she was able to make it to Europe with you. Keep up the great (and entertaining) work!  Jenny - Too poor to travel often, but it's fun to plan!
  • Love the picture of the flying food on your Dad!  Mark - Greenwich, CT
  • I found your site about six months ago on my break at work.  Told my wife; now she's hooked.  You did a newsletter very recently on Hawaii with your dad as a main traveling companion.  We've planned one to Oahu in June, and since we no longer have your Hawaii comments, could you please send a copy? We wouldn't think of planning such a trip without using your site, for it is ALL-inclusive and very entertaining, as well.  No matter what happens to the airlines, don't stop the great job you're doing at JohnnyJet.  Denny -
  • Not sure if you remember me.  But I've been keeping up with you since we met and I am so excited for the success and accolades you've achieved!!  That's very cool that you were invited to speak on a panel at the LA travel show.  Way to go!!!  Keep up the awesome work and best of luck in making it to every country in the world!!  Suzy - Boston
  • Love your newsletter.  Looks great.  Gardin ~ Baltimore
  • Nice Layout brother. I really like it. Great Job. Andy - Santa Barbara
  • Hey Johnny,  Captain Troy is your twin!?!    - Deborah C., Seattle
  • Bonjour Johnny,  Thanks for your always interesting newsletters! Linda T.  Editor of Paris In Sites
  • I have been reading your newsletters as best I can for the last few years. I remember your pages and newsletter when the format was dramatically different. You are really looking good. I am normally in some very expensive place with no time to sit in internet cafes for hours. So in the end I am always skimming emails. Hard to concentrate.  The HTML pages that came in were clean and crisp. I think for your type of newsletter. Perfect.  Read and lead to the full story.  The newsletter is packed with good stuff.  I really think the success of your site and newsletter is because you keep the personal touch. This is always what I want. A real person.  So thank you,  Andy the
  • I enjoyed your newsletter and the links very much.
  • Thanks for your funny story and tips about negotiating the rate down for your stay in La Jolla.  In January my husband and I visited the Cabrillo National Monument and Old Point Loma Lighthouse--a treasure that many visitors don't know about--great information on your site. FYI, the media press pin for Super Bowl 37 (held in San Diego) is a 3D cast pin that looks like a miniature pin of the lighthouse! Susie ~ Houston
  • I found some good luck on my flight from LAX-Sydney on Qantas the other day.  Between coach and first class there was an empty section of biz class, I snuck behind the very last row of seats on the floor and slept for 5 hours before being noticed. Was so awesome!  The flight crew was also really some of the best I have experienced. 15 hours and 50 minutes, not single bit of attitude on the flight!!  Richard  

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When in Germany last spring, the econobox I rented didn't have an alarm system and being paranoid as I am and traveling to the Czech republic I stopped by a local radio shack store in the U.S. and got a small 9$ red led flashing light for my dash! I hid the box under a local paper, and at night I would have that red light blinking brightly to deter thieves and the curious, the local paper also shows that even though the car may scream rental it might be a locals!

From Reader J Sheets, Colorado

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