Etc...

Fill me up...with history?

An old dilapidated gas station in Pacific Palisades, Calif., doesn't look like much. But to a few local residents, it apparently has sentimental value. The 80-year-old station has just been labeled a historic "landmark" by the Los Angeles City Council. Proponents of the move claim the station must be preserved as a tribute to the origins of car culture in Southern California. (Never mind that the glorified car culture has led to terrible smog and snarled traffic). "It's bizarre to look at a gas station as a monument," admits Mary Klaus-Martin, president of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, "but this is Los Angeles." Next-door neighbor Chris Hoffmann, who spent $2.1 million to buy the station when it closed last fall, says he has "no idea" what he's going to do with it.

"Emily" and "Jacob" enjoy perennial name appeal

Each year the Social Security Administration tallies the most popular American baby names, but there really hasn't been a lot of suspense lately. "Emily" and "Jacob" have had a lock on the top spots, "Emily" finishing first among newborn girls for nine straight years, and "Jacob" enjoying a six-year reign among the boys. According to Cleveland Evans, president of the American Name Society, Old Testament names are popular with both Christians and Jews. "Emily" is popular, Evans says, because it conjures up images of a woman who is both beautiful and smart - the latter perhaps owing to associations with literary figures Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte. The 10 most popular names for boys and girls:

Boys/ Girls
Jacob Emily
Michael Emma
Joshua Madison
Matthew Olivia
Ethan Hannah
Andrew Abigail
Daniel Isabella
William Ashley
Joseph Samantha
Christopher Elizabeth
- Associated Press

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