Dare we call it Perrier -...

<i> From staff and wire reports</i>

Dare we call it Perrier - stroika ?

Moscow and Los Angeles, sister cities under their respective goose-bumpy and tanned skins, have struck an agreement to swap water data, both the drinking kind and the flushing kind.

A Soviet delegation ended its five-day inspection of L.A.'s H2O facilities with a City Hall ceremony Tuesday and a pledge that their L.A. counterparts will visit Moscow in the spring, when the snowmelt comes sluicing down the Volga.

The Muscovites did not bring samples of their local tap water, but “they did drink our water and generally pronounced it very good,” says Duane Georgeson, director of the L.A. water system.


For those of you who make out checks to the DWP, be grateful for short favors: the equivalent abbreviation for Moscow’s own water department is GLASMOSVODOCANAL.

The words turned up Tuesday, scrawled in columns on a blackboard in the room used by the jury in the McMartin Pre-School molestation case.

At first glance, they looked ominous: “hung jury,” “hangman,” “2 1/2 yrs,” “verdict,” “wasted” and "$10 a day"--the amount each juror is paid by the court. They seemed to suggest that jurors had been discussing the case despite the judge’s admonition.

Superior Court Judge William Pounders was concerned that the words might indicate some jurors had already made up their minds about the case.

Nothing so serious. Questioned individually, two admitted that they had been kidding around and that the words were merely suggestions for personalized license plates for a fellow juror’s new car.

Pounders said he was convinced it was in jest, and reflected only the jury’s frustration that their lives have been on hold since the trial began in April, 1987.

He would do everything in his power, he said, to conclude proceedings by April.

The package from the mail room looked suspiciously primitive--slats of wood made into a crate, then wrapped in paper and secured with twine.


So the state attorney general’s office on Wilshire Boulevard called Los Angeles police, who agreed: “It did not look official,” Detective Bob Nelson said.

Employees were shepherded out and a bomb-sniffing dog brought in. Nothing. Then the bomb squad began disassembling the crate with all due caution and found only harmless publications and documents from a government agency in Mexico.

There are some, however, who would argue that there is nothing deadlier than government documents.

Second-hand roses:


One float that trolled down Colorado Boulevard on Jan. 2 will rerun along Washington streets on Jan. 20, as the theme float in George Bush’s inaugural parade.

Already en route to the capital, where it will be “put back together again like Humpty Dumpty,” is Hilton/Conrad International’s 55-foot float “In Pursuit of World Peace,” says James Galbraith, a Hilton senior vice president.

The 55-foot float displays an American eagle streaming stars and stripes in its wake, and a globe encircled by an olive branch. Washington is not so strict as Pasadena: The float will use spangly material and cloth to replace some of the flowers mandated by Rose Parade rules.

No promises, but a belated New Year’s resolution: This could be almost the last story you have to read here about the Bickersons of Malibu, a.k.a Sean Penn and Madonna.


With the couple’s divorce already in the works, the British tabloids are reporting that what provoked this split was a bizarre attack in which the singer-actress was beaten, gagged and strapped to an armchair. “Trussed up like a turkey,” is how New York syndicated columnist Liz Smith described it.

The district attorney’s office confirmed Tuesday that Madonna filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Department on Dec. 28. But because the only evidence in the case was her complaint, prosecutors dropped the matter at her request without filing any charges, spokesman Al Albergate said.

Worth noting: Madonna’s new album, “Like a Prayer,” is set to be released on Valentine’s Day.