For Ogling Motorists, an Old Friend Is Gone

It's hardly as notorious as the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa or the Lindbergh baby, but even the offer of a $250 reward has failed to produce clues as to the whereabouts of Pacific Beach Toyota's comely Blue Bikini Girl.

Southbound drivers had come to regard the female mannequin, suggestively draped over new cars on the balcony outside the dealership's fourth-floor showroom overlooking Interstate 5 at Garnet Avenue, as something of an old friend. But several weeks ago, Blue Bikini Girl disappeared in what apparently was a bold mannequin-naping.

Spence Caudra, PB Toyota's general sales manager, hoped the reward for information leading to Blue Bikini's return would crack the case, but it has generated no leads. "It's rather distressing," he said. "At first we thought we had an in-house job--that one of our employees had some kind of a strange quirk or something. The only other theory we have is that somebody scaled the outside wall with those grappling hooks used by mountain climbers and took her during the middle of the night. It's an interesting mystery."

Two mannequins wearing jogging suits--one female, one male--now adorn the cars on the balcony. But Caudra said Blue Bikini can never really be replaced. "That new girl is not nearly as pretty," he sniffed.

Keeping in Good Graces

Everybody knew parking would be at a premium as more people were attracted to a redeveloped downtown San Diego, but divine intervention already has been sought to clear up disputes over who should be granted the choice locations.

Bishop Gilbert Chavez of St. Joseph's Cathedral on 3rd Avenue has been leaving cards that read "Parking reserved for priests" on cars taking prime spots in the Ace parking lot across the street from the cathedral.

Technically, there are no reserved spots in the lot in question--the priests just want to park as close as possible to the cathedral. But an Ace attendant said even people who have come close to exchanging blows over parking places meekly move their cars when they find one of Chavez's cards placed on their windshields . . . just in case someone upstairs is watching.

So Why Study?

How quickly they learn.

According to a recently released survey of students at San Diego State, 95.5% of the idealistic, wide-eyed freshman up on Montezuma Mesa feel their major field of study will be a very important factor when they enter the job market. But cynicism--or realism--doesn't take long to rear its ugly head.

Among sophomores, only 64% of the students think their major prepares them for the working world. The percentage improves among juniors (81.6%), but dips again as the real world looms closer (73.6% for seniors). Amazingly enough, 80% of SDSU's graduate students think their studies will help them find jobs.

And the Answer Is . . .

"Silent radio," in the form of tiny message boards, each day delivers a plethora of information to riders of San Diego Transit District buses.

For example, those passengers paying attention to the boards can tell you that John Jefferson tied an NFL rookie record by scoring 13 touchdowns in his first season with the San Diego Chargers. And that Muhammad Ali has earned more money than any other sports figure.

As a promotional tool, the transit district offers a prize club for passengers (if your number shows up on the board, you win a bus pass or tickets to a Padres game). And there is "Memory Lane," which quizzes riders' recall skills by listing five words or items and, a few minutes later, asking whether they can remember the items. SDTD General Manager Roger Snoble, by the way, reports he never has lost a game of "Memory Lane," but, alas, that game offers no rewards.

Snoble said the transit district last year was offered about $100,000 by a San Jose firm to place the machines on more than 300 buses, but the company soon went bankrupt. SDTD never got its money, but it did assume ownership of the "silent radio" boards. Snoble said that what at one time appeared to be a potential advertising revenue bonanza has "produced peanuts for the district, although the passengers seem to like it."

Perhaps there has been little cold cash earned, but who can place a price on the educational benefits of a machine that tells who holds the world record for the longest water-ski trip? (The San Diego at Large sleuth arrived at his stop before the answer to that one appeared.)

Trivia, of course, knows no bounds. But when the really critical facts about water skiing and the like run dry, maybe SDTD will get around to providing more mundane information on its buses--like route schedules and the correct time.

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