Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Only in L.A.: No parking none of the time

By Steve Harvey

So, Assemblyman Mike Gatto has introduced a bill to prohibit cities from ticketing cars at broken parking meters, as heartless L.A. does. The Gatto bill is a good start but next we need to eliminate another nuisance: Street signs with contradictory messages.
  Here are some I've collected over the years:

And  then there are the merely indecipherable groupings of signs...

A parking lot's novel approach  
In San Luis Obispo, I found a sign that seemed to appeal to a driver's sense of  justice.


How'd you like to park this one
 Phil Proctor spotted this vehicle on the Westside_a true "green" car.

Who cares about spotting celebrities?
Looks like some tourists  deserted their van to take a gander at the exotic lingerie.


Outside L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Alan Rosenberg bumped into an older gent who correctly guessed that Rosenberg was a New Your native. The gent said he was also a New Yorker and walked fast, just like Rosenberg does. The oldster then demonstrated his speed, Rosenberg told the New York Times, by taking off down the street "like an Olympic sprinter"_as he pushed his walker.

It's a wonder that any passengers dare ride 
Patrick Mauer of L.A. noticed a van with lettering that said: "This vehicle stops on all railroad tracks."

Unclear on the concept:
Jeanne Barney of Hollywood chanced upon an ad for some "gloves" that don't seem to be worn on the hands.

My toughest case
How's this for a twist? Crime novelist Michael Connelly ("The Black Box") contacted ME to solve a mystery.
It seems that one day, while he was eating in Du-pars in Studio City, minding his own business, the author realized that the top of his menu said the selections were from the "grilled."
Referring to his main character, the suspicious Connelly asked: "Does this mean the cooks are cooked or are they interrogated by Harry Bosch before he eats his pancakes?"
Anyway, I'm on the case. With my usual rates, $10 a day, how can I turn it down?

Harry, you there?
I was going to phone Bosch to talk. After all, he has a live line in Hollywood, (323) 244-5631 (a real-life number that the detective gave out in ``The Overlook"_try it yourself).  But when I dial it, all I ever get is his answering machine. And Harry doesn't return my calls_maybe because I used to write for a newspaper. 

Just another reason to be a proud Angeleno
The 2013 Guinness World Records Book says that the record for "greatest number of self-administered kicks to the head in one minute" (115) was set at Staples Center.
And it wasn't set by an L.A. Kings exec frustrated during the long labor impasse. No, the self-kicker was  contortionist Joshua William Reed.
Coincidentally, sculptor Terry Allen's monument to hard-headedness can be seen on Figueroa, just a few blocks north of Staples. Reminds me of some of the folks involved in the hockey mess.

The family that drinks together (a double shot)...
A placard in a Long Beach liquor store window calls attention to "Bud Family 12 Packs."
And Nick Stein of West LA. saw an ad for a restaurant that seemed to give kiddies a discount on the bubbly.

And finally...
If you're wondering where Santa's helpers go after Christmas, my old colleague Rich Roberts found the answer.

Steve Harvey may be reached at His Twitter handle is @sharvey9.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Only in LA: Bewitching time

By Steve Harvey

Halloween won't be a special day for the Museum of Death in Hollywood.
"We do Halloween every day of the year," explained owner J.D. Healy, referring to his collection of  gory crime and accident photos, paintings by mass murderers, and autopsy and mortician instruments, among other treasures.
Even the living exhibits are a bit out of the ordinary. Take the 15-year-old Siamese twin turtles, Eng and Chang (named in honor of the Siamese twins that traveled with P.T. Barnum's circus).
 Said Healy: "They love to pose for pictures."
Still, the museum ($15 admission fee with free parking) isn't for everyone, Healy acknowledges.
Visitors are initially shown a "tester photo" of a crash scene to see if they still want to go inside. Occasionally some misjudge how strong their stomachs are.
``We've had seven faint in the last week," Healy said. ``We call them our 'falling down ovations.'"


And, from the Only in L.A vault
Some delightful shots to get you in the Halloween spirit in case you're not ready to browse in the Museum of Death:

---A mortuary and a nearby store taking the same approach, snapped by Shawn Chanslor.

---A vehicle that makes no bones about its cargo, from Joe Garofalo.

---And a scarier-than-usual outhouse from an anonymous photog. (Perhaps anonymous because you don't want to get a reputation as one who hangs around bathrooms with a camera.)


Carmageddon 3? 
Moving on to traffic horrors, I found a 1985 sci fi mystery, written by Ron Goulart, that depicts a deserted 10 freeway (is that a traffic reporter overhead?). 
But if you're superstitious, don't worry.  The book is set in the year 2004.  And everyone knows that the 10 has never been shut down. Well, except for that stretch after the 1994 Northridge quake.
Dueling signs:
On the web site of KTLA (Channel 5),  Don Bentley of La Puente noticed a space shuttle story paired with an ad for a different kind of shuttle.

But what about Lois Lane?
In a Lakewood store, Gordon Snead of Long Beach spotted a restroom where Clark Kent and the Man of Steel are welcome to change outfits.  

Waving to the occupants is discouraged
Posters at various Metro Rail stations picture different tourist sites around town, including one with very narrow windows.  It's the Twin Towers Correctional Facility


Who says L.A. has no history?
Take a look at the plaque displayed by a Wienerschnitzel outlet in Wilmington. You'll notice it sports the old name,  using "Der." Many years ago, "Der" was dropped after diners pointed out that the correct grammatical modifier would be "Das." Darn. 


Speaking of meat

An eatery on Wilshire Boulevard seems to be offering a different kind of ingredient in its sushi. 

Jeanne Barney says no matter how many times she's reminded her favorite Mexican restaurant, the owners won't fix a typo on the menu. It offers "Hard Sell Tortilla." Maybe it's a reference to the economy.

Steve Harvey may be reached at His Twitter handle is @sharvey9.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bottom Ten (a division of Bottom Ten Int.)

By Steve Harvey

Asst. Bottom Ten Editor

Page refreshes every two years

Sure, Massachusetts (0-3) seems disoriented--and why shouldn't it? Ever since the East Coast school moved to the corn fields of the Mid-American Conference it's been lost.

With a 50-point drubbing by Michigan, Ole Mass took over No. 1 from previously winless Auburned, which squeaked by mighty Louisiana Monroe, 3l-28. The latter is a win that Auburned players no doubt will someday tell their bored grandchildren about.

Colorado State checked in at No. 3, having been forgiven for its one victory (the win was, after all, over hopeless No. 2 Colorado).

Elsewhere,  Wyoming (0-3) and Idaho (0-3) play this week in an early-season Bottom Ten crucial. Rocky Mountain low!

 Fiesta Bowl officers, meanwhile, were ensnared in a campaign financing scheme intended to curry favor with local politicians.  As punishment,  the Fiesta Bowl will have to call itself the Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl for the next three years.

Leaving the subject of bowls_it doesn't pertain to USC, anymore_Trojan coach Lane Kiffin has been taking criticism for his conservative play-calling in the 14-21 loss to Stanford. But, wait! Didn't Kiffin call for a  pass when it was 4th-and-40 on SC's last play of the game?

The Colleges

Wreck, Record.......... Last Loss........................ Next Loss
1. Ole Mass (0-3)........ 13-63, Michigan............... Miami (O.)
2. Colorado (0-3)........ 14-69, Fresno St. .............Washington St.
3. Colorado St. (1-2) ....20-40, San Jose St............ Utah St.
4. US. Davis Cup ..........1-3, Spain..................... Next Year
5. Wyoming (0-3) ........22-24, Cal Poly (SLO)..........Idaho
6. Auburned (1-2)........ Def. La. Monroe, 31-28 ......LSU
7. UA (Birm.)* (0-2)...... 6-49, South Carolina........ Ohio St.
8. Eastern Mich (0-3)... 16-54, Purdon't............... Michigan St.
9. UNLV (0-3) ............27-35, Wash. St. ..............Air Force
 10. Idaho (0-3)........... 14-63, LSU..................... Wyoming
*Sorry I have no idea what the capital letters and abbreviation stand for.

11.Two-Lane (0-2); 12. Southern Ole Miss (0-2); 13. Memphis (0-3); 14. Houston (0-3); 15. Kentucky (1-2); 16. Florida Atlantic (1-2); 17. Vanderbilt (1-2); 18. On sabbatical; 19. Florida International (1-2); 20. USC (0-4 vs. Stanford over last 4 years).

Crummy Game of the Weak: Wyoming (0-3) vs. Idaho (0-3).

Rout of the Weak: Ohio State (3-0) vs. UA (Birm.) (0-2).

Quote of the Season (so far): After Stanford's upset win over USC, Fox scoreboard host  Erin Andrews exclaimed: "Nobody is going to class tomorrow morning!" A cogent observation since "tomorrow morning" fell on a Sunday. And the semester hadn't started yet.

Fighting 'Rash: "This week we learned that Notre Dame will compete in the ACC in all sports except for football," wrote Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, "just like Duke."

The Pros

It seems like a foolhardy statement but either Old Orleans or Kansas City figure to win a game this weekend. That's because they play each other. It's really a must-lose game for Old Orleans if the Aints intend to stay in the Bottom Ten lead.

In another widely anticipated meeting, No. 6 Chicago will experiment against No. 9 St. Louis by fitting QB Jay Cutler with a specially-designed pacifier to prevent him from yelling at teammates.

While Aints fans hide their identifies by donning paper-sack headgear, Denver partisans are covering their noggins for another reason: pigeons. The Denver Post reported that the birds have nested in the rafters of the overhang---key word, overhang---at the club level.  Fans complain that the stadium is doing nothing about the messy situation.

On the field, the low-flying Broncos rallied in the fourth quarter against Atlanta as they did so in so many victories last year. But this time they fell short, 20-27. Of course, last year they had Tim Tebow at quarterback.

Wreck, Record......... Last Loss............. Next Loss

1. Old Orleans (0-2).....27-35, Carolina...... Kansas City
2. Oakland (0-2).........13-35, Miami......... The Pitts
3. Jacksonville (0-2).....7-27, Houston....... Indianapolis
4. Cleveland (0-2).......27-34, Cincinnati.....Buffalo
5. Kansas City (0-2).....17-35, Buffalo........ Old Orleans
6. Chicago (1-1); 7. Tennessee (0-2); 8. Dallas (1-1); 9. St. Louis (1-1); 10. Denver (1-1).

Note: Rankings do not include Thursday night game between Giants and Carolina, mainly because some Bottom Ten selectors are not allowed to watch football on Thursday nights.

Others receiving votes: Philadelphia (2-0) (worst 2-0 team in NFL history).

Crummy Game of the Weak: Kansas City (0-2) at Old Orleans (0-2).

Fantasy Flops: Jacksonville QB B. Gabbert (19 pass attempts, 7 completions, for 53 yards); Tennessee RB C. Johnson (8 carries, 17 yards, no TDs; Jets QB (of the moment) Mark Sanchez (27 pass attempts, 10 completions, for 138 yards and 1 TD); Oakland RB D. McFadden (11 carries, 22 yards, no TDs). (Johnson and McFadden also made the All-Fantasy Flop team last week.)

And finally:
A pedestrian sign that would be ideal for a Bottom Ten campus:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Bottom Ten, or the Power of Negative Thinking

By Steve Harvey



Doesn't anyone want to savor the thrill of being No. 1 in the Bottom Ten? First, New Mexico, last year's champ, triumphs in its 2012 opener. Then, its successor, Akron, nearly wins a game, falling just 38-41, to Florida International Airlines---an obvious slap at the Bottom Ten's replacement voters.

So, there's still another new leader----winless Auburning, which was actually ranked No. 24 in Sports Illustrated's pre-season TOP 25.

Auburning is one of several schools that have defected from the Top 25 to the Bottom Ten, including Arkansas, a 31-34 loser to Louisiana Monroe (school or country singer?); and Boise State, which has yet to win a game.

Then there's Wisconsin, upset 7-10, by Oregon State. On Wisconsin! Stomp on Wisconsin!

Another team that fell for the second time in two weeks in some polls was USC (2-0), now No. 3 in the USA Today rankings. At this rate, by the time USC finishes 12-0, it may be out of the Top 25 all together.

Wreck, Record...........Last Loss...................Next Loss
1. Auburning (0-2)...........10-28, Ole Miss State.....La. Monroe
2. Colorado (0-2).............28-30, Sacramento St....Fresno St.
3. Akron (0-2)..................38-41, Fla. Int. (BT)*......Morgan St.
4. Arkansas (1-1)..............31-34, La. Monroe......... Alabama
5. UNLV (0-2)................. 14-17, N. Arizona........... Washington St.
6. Pitts (0-2)................... 10-34, Cincinnati............ Va Tech
7 Memphis (0-2)............. 28-33, Arkansas State... Middle Tenn.
8. Kansas (1-1)................ 24-25, Rice .......................TCU
9. Vanderbilt (0-2)......... 13-23, Northwestern. .....Presbyterian
10. Boise State (0-1)........ 13-17, Michigan State .....Miami (Ohio)
*BT indicates Boring Time.

11. University of El Tebow-like Pasos (0-1); 12. Wyoming (0-2); 13. Texas A$M (0-1); 14. Idaho (0-2); 15. Houston (0-2); 16. Syracuse (0-2); 17. (O and) Two Lane (0-2); 18. On vacation; 19 Colorado State (1-1); 20. Wisconsin (1-1).

Rout of the Weak: TCU (1-0) over Kansas (1-1).

Crummy Game of the Weak: Washington State (1-1) at UNLV (0-2).

Bowl game? Don't talk about a bowl game. You kidding me? Is it too early for someone to ask UCLA (2-0) coach Jim Mora Jr. about the Bruins' post-season prospects?

The Pros

Welcome back, Aints!

Yes, it looks like winless Old Orleans is returning to the days when its fans wore paper bags over their heads to hide their identity. The Aints' Aaron Kromer should win Interim-Interim Coach of the Year honors (a new classification) if this team wins half of its games.

Losing to Washington the other day, the Aints defenders looked as though they had put a bounty on each other.

Of course, it's a bit early to give the Bottom Ten title to the Aints. Cleveland, Miami and Jacksonville all have the wrong stuff, as well. Any one of them could equal Detroit's feat of posting an 0-16 record.

Jacksonville succumbed to lowly Minnehaha, 23-26, as RB Adrian Peterson scored two touchdowns. The Jaguars later expressed regret that they had gone along with the Vikings' request that no one touch Peterson.

Wreck, Record.......... Last Loss................. Next Loss
1. Old Orleans (0-10)...... 32-40, Washington........ Carolina
2. Jacksonville (0-1)........ 23-26, Minnehaha .........Houston
3. Miami (Fla.) (0-1)....... 10-30, Houston ..............Oakland
4. Buffalo (0-1)............... 28-48, N.J. Jets............. Kansas City
5. Carolina (0-1) .............10-16, Grampa Bay........ Old Orleans
6. Cleveland (0-1); 7. Kansas City (0-1); 8. Bay (Green (0-1); 9. N.J. Giants (0-1) 10. Oakland (0-1).

Crummy Game of the Weak: Old Orleans (0-1) vs. Carolina (0-1).

Fantasy Flops: Tennessee RB Chris Johnson (4 yards in 11 carries), Green Bay RB Cedric (the Admiral) Benson (18 yards in 9 carries), Giants receiver Victor Cruz (3 drops, 6 catches for 58 yards).

Don't You Love...: All those ESPN analysts who talked about how difficult it is for visiting teams to play in Arrowhead Stadium? Against Kansas City? Final score from first week: visiting Atlanta 40, K.C. 24. Real difficult.

Cruelest Tweet of the Week: From Alec Sulkin (@theSulk): "Hope you like Buffalo, Matt Barkley!"


Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Bottom Ten: Brought to you by Yeah, Who? Sports

By Steve Harvey
7,234 hours ago

The Colleges

Still bitter over being edged out for the Bottom Ten title last year, Akron's Zips erupted with a vengeance in their opener, falling completely apart in a 14-56 loss to Central Florida.

The Zips, who went 1-11 last year, shot to the top of the bottom, demonstrating they have what it doesn't take this year to be ranked the worst team in college football.

Meanwhile, New Mexico, the defending champ, opened with a shocking 66-21 win over Southern (La.) and was suspended from the rankings for six weeks by the Bottom Ten's baffled replacement selectors (the regular selectors are on strike).

Another 2011 contender, Indiana, defeated Indiana State, 24-17, in the annual intrastate clash that culminates the two schools' exhausting seasons. Indiana finished 1-0 while Indiana State was 0-1. Have a great off-season, guys.

Elsewhere, Rice moved up to No. 2 on the weakness of its 24-49 drubbing by forgotten UCLA. The Ruins, after all, have not been ranked for 78 weeks (not including the time last June that the BCS computers malfunctioned and ranked UCLA No. 1 after a water polo win).

Savannah State, which checked in at No. 11 after an 0-84 heart-breaker to Oklahoma State, would have been ranked higher expect that Savannah dominated the action in the all-important time-of-possession category. Savannah had the ball for 34:13 while OSU had it for a humiliatingly low total of 25.47 minutes.

And how about a hand for North Carolina, which was retroactively awarded the Bottom Ten titles for 2008 and 2009 after forfeiting all its wins during that period due to academic violations (a time and place for award ceremonies has not been announced).

Team, Record........Last Loss......................... Next Loss

1. Akron (0-1) ............14-56, Central Fla.......... Fla. International
2. Rice (0-1)............... 24-49, UCLA.................. Kansas
3. Cal (0-1)................. 24-31, Nevada................ Southern
4. The SMUs (0-1).....24-59, Baylor.................. Austin
5. Pitt (0-2)* .............10-34, Cincinnati............Va Tech
6. Michigan (0-1)...... 14-41, Alabama.............. Air Force
7. Houston (0-1)....... 13-30, Texas St. ..............La. Tech
8. Kentucky (0-1)..... 14-32, Louisville.............. Kent St.
9. Auburn (0-1)......... 19-26, Clemson.............. Ole Miss St.
10. Ga. Tech (0-1)..... 17-20, Va. Tech ..............Presbyterian

11. Savannah State (0-1); 12. Southern (La.) (0-1); 13. Indiana St. (0-1); 14. Boise St. (0-1); 15.
Colorado (0-1); 16. Colgate (0-1); 17. Iowa (1-0)**; 18. Gone Fishing; 19. Florida International (0-1); 20. Being kept open for USC pending investigation of newest allegations against Trojans.

Others Receiving Votes (in alphabetical order): None.

*Leads nation in defeats.
**Beat Northern Illinois by one point; 'nuf said.

Crummy Game of the Weak: Akron (0-1) vs. Florida International (0-1).

Unrelated Story:
Uruguay's Chief Export: Soybeans

The Pros

What have Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin done lately? Message to Giants: Get rid of 'em!

Wreck, Record........Last Loss.......... Next Loss

1. N.J. Giants (0-1)..... 17-24, Dallas ....Grampa Bay
2. 30 teams tied at 0-0.

Crummy Game of the Weak: Jacksonville (0-0) at Minnehaha (0-0).

Friends don't let friends watch the Jets: Blogger Scott Pianowsky on speculation that offensive coordinator Tony Sparano of the hapless Jets was saving his best plays for the regular season: "And just maybe Matthew Perry's latest inane comedy is saving the best jokes for next month."

Just say neigh: The NFL ruled that Denver linebacker D.J. Williams tried to manipulate a drug test, possibly with nonhuman urine. "So, in addition to his 6-game NFL ban," wrote Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, "he's been declared ineligible for next year's Kentucky Derby."

Zoned out: USA Today's Chris Chase on the Dallas Cowboys' decision to have one security guard watch trouble-prone wide receiver Dez Bryant off the field: "This may be a foolish decision...Dez doesn't seem to have much trouble shedding one-on-one coverage."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Toughest Parking Spot in Town

By Steve Harvey

So something smelled about the astounding $2.15 billion purchase price of the Dodgers, not to mention the never-ending involvement of Frank McCourt? Well, the team is apparently trying to clear the air by offering a gift at your local 76 gas station_a Dodger car freshener. It supposedly emits the smell of newly "cut grass," though I thought I detected a faint whiff of gasoline, too. Anyway, I'm more excited about the newly cut parking prices (reduced from $15 to $10).

Thanks a lot
Can it get any tougher to find parking places around here? Stuart Melvin noticed a lot in the Larchmont area where even those "authorized" to park will be towed.
L.A.: Land of Extremes
I think I read that line in the National Geographic once. Anyway, on the one hand, you can find what is touted as the nation's largest chair, a 40-foot-tall wooden perch, at the downtown L.A. Mart furniture center. It takes up six parking spaces.
Venice, on the other hand, is the home of a 1 1/2-square foot patch of lawn that bears the inscription "world's smallest front yard." A previous lawn there was ripped out by thieves, believe or not, so if you come upon a rival claimant for world's smallest front yard, be suspicious.

Well, Goodbye Dolly
I recently saw the funny stage production, "Notorious Broadway," which parodies famous musicals, including one that Carol Channing made famous. I was reminded of a photograph George Bentley of La Puente took near the Music Center. Bentley noticed that a prankster had added some words to a piece of graffiti, turning it into a commentary on "Hello Dolly Revivals"
Such a deal
Lewis Van Gelder submits the accompanying coupon for your "Bargain Hunting in Beverly Hills" file. The $1,000 discount is no joke; handbag purses run as high as $29,000 at Francesco Santoro, a store employee told me.

The "Saturday Night Live" TV show recently performed a skit about L.A.'s car culture in which an ailing Westside resident is advised to go to a treatment center in Marina del Rey. ``All the way the other side of the 10?" he exclaims. "It's almost Long Beach, man!"

here reading Start (cq):
Dave Voda, an escapee from L.A. who lives in Boulder, Colo., emails to say that he was struck by the AHEDA STOP photo that appeared in this column. Voda suspects that it's an L.A. custom_and a confusing one_ to lay out the words in a pavement sign message "as if you are reading them one at a time as you approach. This presents a problem to me because the nuns taught us to read by taking in entire phrases at a clip."
And, of course, it further complicates things when the message appears to be partly in Italian.

In conclusion:
I guess this photo by Jim Stott would sum up Voda's attitude:

A lifejacket-and-tie function
The Capitol Steps troupe, which specializes in political satire, played recently in Beckman Auditorium at Caltech. Spectators were advised beforehand that in the event of an emergency they should await exiting instructions from "your Italian cruise-ship captain."

Apparently some Long Beach residents don't get along with their furry neighbors. The newsletter of the Belmont Heights Community Association points out that the Internet offers recipes for such delicacies as "Grilled Squirrel," "Squirrel Alfredo," "Cajun Squirrel," and, of course, "Bushytail with Autumn Apples."

That's it:
You've reached the end of the column. Contributor Phil Proctor asks that you to close the door on your way out.