As anyone in the Los Angeles area knows, it’s been cold in these here hills. It’s the result of El Nino weather. El Nino, for those Spanish-disabled types literally means “The Child” (named after the Christ Child because it starts around Christmas.) But no matter what languages you speak, a more literal translation is “freaky weather all winter.” This means it’s warm on the east coast, cold on the west coast, and time for anyone afraid of imminent global warming to buy a big bottle of St. John’s Wort.

And for you Lotuslanders, before you get upset about the cold and having to rake leaves for the first time since you moved here from Oinky, Nebraska, consider the main benefit: crystal-clear air!

If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to get out of your house/office/full-scale-replica-of-an-elf’s-lair and take a look around you. But hold onto something tight when you do. It’s a little unnerving to see the cranes of Long Beach from the Hollywood Hills. Or the Hollywood Sign from the 10. Or a mountain you never knew was right there, suddenly looming over you like a giant come out of the mist. The whole effect is like getting a new eyeglass prescription after having put it off for decade or so. Or having Merlin turn you into a Peregrine Falcon for a little while, if that’s the sort of analogy you prefer.

And ‘a little while’ is the key phrase: El Nino only lasts a few months. So head up to Runyon Canyon for lunch today. Scoot over to the Los Angeles Crest this weekend (bet you never knew it was prettier than Italy up there.) Or just sit on your fat-ass and drive down Mulholland. Either way, you’ll be pleased with what you see. And you’ll get some sense what this town would look like if everyone bought a Prius instead of a H2.