Guy Adams: Los Angeles Notebook

The end of a great American institution

Sunday 23 October 2011 04:10

In this town of beautiful people, you've got to feel sorry for at least one beleaguered minority: the fatties. If Los Angeles wasn't already a hard place to be obese, summer 2008 has provided rampant food inflation, sky-rocketing petrol prices and a salmonella scare that saw tomatoes withdrawn from the city's (suddenly very expensive) drive-through burger restaurants.

Now, a further blow this week, after Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a ban on trans-fats, the yummy but artery-clogging additives used in junk food. By 2010 they will be illegal in all Californian restaurants, a move billed by the Governor as "a strong step towards creating a healthier future".

As with anything that prevents citizens from doing something they have previously taken for granted, there are plenty who reckon this initiative leaves a distinctly dodgy taste in the mouth – and not just because Schwarzenegger, with his former diet of steroid cocktails, makes a fine one to lecture on healthy eating.

Some say that, at a time of deepening economic recession, with people queuing for food stamps, politicians shouldn't make comfort-eating more expensive. Others complain that banning trans-fats will drive small eateries out of business.

Still more point out that, when you live in a country that eschews an NHS in favour of private healthcare, eating your way to an early grave (with all the expensive treatment that entails) really ought to be a fundamental right.

So, while history may remember Arnie as the Governor who taught California to eat its greens (and he needs some sort of legacy), blue-collar America, with its tradition of ever-expanding waistlines, may wonder about what they have lost.

How was it for you?

The earth moved at my home in Santa Monica on Tuesday. The reason: a quake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale. My coffee cup rattled, the bungalow shook like a doll's house – and I dived under my desk in the cowardly fashion of someone who's seen far, far too many public information films. Nothing was broken, but there's an ugly crack running across the kitchen ceiling, which serves to demonstrate the historic stupidity of plonking a large city on one of the world's most active earthquake zones. For that reason alone, I rather like it.

A stunt too far

Shia LaBoeuf's arrest on Saturday poses two questions. First: if the actor really did his own stunts in the latest Indiana Jones flick – racing jeeps and razzing his Harley Davidson – how come, drunk or otherwise, he couldn't negotiate a set of traffic lights at half two in the morning? Second: could the revelation that a bona fide Hollywood heart-throb drives a big truck save the US gas-guzzler from extinction?

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