Diary

With the headline-grabbing horrors of the OJ Simpson trial and the Oklahoma bombing, the name of Lyle Menendez has happily faded from the memory. At least, it had.

Unfortunately, the American publishing industry has concluded that there's more gold to be squeezed out of his story, so once again this unsavoury young man is being eagerly pressed upon us. Thus, a book that sheds further light on the trial of Lyle and his younger brother, Erik, after they blasted their millionaire parents to death in their Beverly Hills home.

It's called The Private Diary of Lyle Menendez - In His Own Words, and confirms that, while a jury was unable to agree over his guilt, there's not much disputing his character, which is that of a vain creep. "Buy me a yellow sweater," he urged his friend Norma Novelli, a 55-year-old businesswoman whose tape recordings - reportedly made with his consent - form the nub of the book. "Ever see a violent man wearing a yellow sweater?"

"Trial Lyle", as he now calls himself, evidently has a high opinion of his courtroom skills, a view confirmed after a jury was unable to decide whether he committed murder or manslaughter. "You know, I just come across as this really, really nice kid."

For a man who many believe escaped conviction because of the skills of his female lawyer, he also has a surprisingly Neanderthal take on the opposite sex, boasting that women "love" him. "I'd like a woman to be a good cook, a prostitute in bed, not too independent and waiting for me when I get home." He is utterly convinced that shooting his parents to death with a shotgun will not end in a murder conviction, and promises to "beat the ass" of the Los Angeles District Attorney at his retrial, due to begin on 16 August. We'll see. The DA is taking an unusual interest in the tapes, and has already acquired a court order allowing extracts to be used in evidence. Perhaps this will include the Euphemism of the Year: Lyle graciously admits that shooting his Mum and Dad was an "overreaction".

Just when we thought that, like the Menendez brothers, Arianna Huffington was history, a new squall hits the radar screen. La Huff has been roasting Vice-President Al Gore for not disclosing how much he gives to charity. In a recent Los Angeles Times article, she jeered at him for taking the standard $6,350 deduction on his US tax return - concluding that this means his deductible charitable donations were therefore less than this.

Arianna subscribes to the quaint notion that rich people don't need to be taxed as they are naturally inclined to give their money away. It would be thoroughly mean to suggest that the $28m which her husband spent on his failed attempt to become a US senator last year would have been better given to charity. But isn't it a little strange that throughout his campaign - in which she was centrally involved - he rejected every request for information about his income tax returns?

Some time ago my wife and I bought second-hand bikes. It had something to do with a fantasy in which our Ford Tempo would remain in the garage while we cycled around this car-addicted city, gazing accusingly at all those smog-generating, fuel-wasting drivers around us. So far, I have made two trips, a combined total of about two miles. But I doubt I'll be going out again. Angeleno drivers have more respect for a crushed hedgehog than a fat man on a bicycle.

A solution may be at hand, though. A series of electric bikes called the EV Warrior are, according to their makers, due in the showrooms of LA this summer. Word has it that they are fluorescent, look like mountain bikes, and can whizz along at up to 20 miles an hour - which may not sound much, but is a damn sight faster than the freeways often are in rush hour.

It has a 20-mile range and can be charged up in about an hour and a half. You just wheel it into the office and plug it into the wall. And if it runs out of juice, you can pedal. Just another crackpot invention? Possibly. But the project has reportedly attracted some reasonably heavy-hitting investors, including Georgia Frontiere, the owner of the Los Angeles Rams football team, the novelist Sydney Sheldon and Malcolm Currie, the former chairman of Hughes Aircraft Co. It would be nice to think that Californians will be queuing up for the things (there are three models that cost between $899 and $1,499) and that the boulevards of LA will soon be like Peking's, only faster. But I have my doubts. You can't laugh at bicyclists if you're on a bicycle.

You would, however, have more time to admire Angelyne. People will go to extraordinary lengths to acquire fame in California, but few will better the efforts of this blonde actress. For the past few years her scantily clad figure has appeared on billboards across the city next to a request, usually in giant pink letters, urging passers by to call her. This flagrant self-promotion has paid dividends. Her movie career isn't great - a handful of undistinguished credits and an obscure screenplay called The Bra That Ate LA - but her name has become big enough to command an appearance fee of $4,000.

Now, however, a challenger has appeared on the horizon. Scores of billboards have popped up, uttering only one word, in big black and white letters. Some say "GUILTY"; the rest say "INNOCENT".

The OJ Simpson trial has spawned a multimillion-dollar publishing industry, so it's hardly surprising to discover that the notices are the work of an LA talk radio station, KFI-AM, promoting its trial coverage. They have alarmed Mr Simpson's lawyers, his prosecutors and his judge, Lance Ito. The jury is sequestered, to prevent them being exposed to anything which might sway their verdict. To ease the stress of life under guard, they are taken on outings, most recently to a baseball game. Now the police have to check their route with extra care before they are allowed to travel.

Billboard rows are not uncommon in LA. Not long ago a pirate radio station incurred the wrath of the Duke Ellington fan club after erecting a notice promising "Less Music By Dead Guys". Women's groups protested after a chicken restaurant boasted "The Best Breasts in LA Without Plastic Surgery". And when a chiropractor erected a sign featuring a three-dimensional mannequin hanging by its fingertips, motorists were so surprised that there were long traffic jams.

Not sure how the subject came up, but I found myself floundering when trying to describe a certain type of swimming costume to a roomful of strangers. You know the type - front but no backside, popular among women on the beaches of California and Rio. A lawyer came to my aid with a phrase which everyone seemed to regard as apt. I pass it on without comment: "Butt Floss".

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
Arts and Entertainment
books The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?