People and Events

From staff and wire reports

California Highway Patrol officers say they now know why a 28-year-old transient believed that he had the right to drive a CHP car around Los Angeles for a couple of hours.

Jose Luis Rivera was arrested in Sun Valley (the one here, not Idaho) after a deputy sheriff reported seeing a man "who didn't look like he should be driving a black-and-white police car." Rivera was jailed on suspicion of auto theft.

CHP Officer Janet Engler said she had parked on the shoulder of the Santa Monica Freeway east of the Harbor Freeway on Saturday to cite a motorist. While she was thus occupied, she said, Rivera clambered up an embankment to the freeway, jumped in the car and sped away.

The car was not damaged when it was finally recovered. But Engler's lunch was missing, presumably eaten by the suspect.

"He stated," says CHP Officer Joe Wolf, "that he was God and could drive any car he so wished."

Having interviewed more than 200 working adults and having received survey answers from about 300 others, psychologist David J. Abramis, an assistant professor in the Cal State Long Beach School of Business Administration, has a few suggestions for the boss who wants his employees to have fun on the job.

In an earlier report, Abramis concluded that only 10% of the workers thought their jobs were "very fun," while about 60% thought their work involved "some fun." (That did not surprise Abramis, who said he has met "very few people who think their work is very fun.")

Pay, said Abramis in the earlier report, is "not a big factor in making work fun."

In his latest paper, Abramis is offering 12 ways that organizations can help their workers have more fun in the plant or office. Employers, he says, should not punish or put down people who have fun in their work. In addition, they might consider staging contests, parties and company-sponsored lunches.

"Why is this so great?" asks Abramis. "Well, for one thing, if you give them lunch, they stick around at lunchtime--no two-hour breaks. And not only that, but employees often talk about work and solve work problems over meals."

Also, suggests Abramis, management should "try to hire fun people. . . ."

Of course, he adds, "there are times when it's not appropriate to be playing around at work . . . particularly when you're dealing with clients or customers."

About that lunch. . . .

Edward F. Schmit admits he missed the deadline. But it's not as though he didn't turn in his picture eventually.

On the day Japan surrendered, Aug. 15, 1945, Schmit was working in Los Angeles as a Southern California Edison Co. clerk. A camera enthusiast, he stuffed a rubbish can with such WWII items as an air raid warden's gas mask and helmet, rationing books and a copy of The Times headlined PEACE! VICTORY!

He lured a dog into the set-up by smearing something attractive on an adjacent garbage pail, then snapped his picture.

Schmit said he planned at the time to submit it to the newspaper but didn't get around to it. Then he figured it might make an interesting VJ Day anniversary photo, "but so help me, each year I remembered too late."

Schmit, who will be 76 next week and now lives in Shingle Springs, Calif., took no chances this time, sending it in a few months early.

Greg Vizzini will have a chance to limp around Sydney, Australia, now that he has jumped up and down on one foot for 2 hours, 1 minute and 14 seconds.

The 26-year-old Garden Grove man bounced longer than about 50 other contestants in Burbank, where the finals of the competition staged by a restaurant chain were held on Sunday. Top prize was a trip Down Under.

Taunya Wentzel, of Canoga Park, out-hopped other women in the contest, lasting 1 hour and 8 minutes. She won a case of wine and a stuffed kangaroo.

The sixth annual Southern California Garlic Festival is scheduled for Sunday on San Vicente Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. A bunch of Los Angeles-area restaurants will send over such tempting items as garlic chili sauce, alligator jambalaya and Szechuan garlic pot stickers.

Several musical groups will perform and the Community Emergency Services of the American Red Cross is in line to get some of the proceeds.

Among the sponsors is a breath freshener.

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