NEIGHBORS : Banner Sales : A flag store is cashing in as more people fly Old Glory because of the Mideast confrontation.


As military activity in the Mideast gradually escalates, so does business at American Eagle Flags and Banners in Ventura.

“People tell me, ‘I’m going to fly the flag until this mess is over,’ ” co-owner Frances Harwood said. “One woman said her son-in-law was called to action and she would fly it until he got back.”

What have been the fastest selling flags recently? “Marine flags,” Harwood said. “I sold out, reordered and sold out again. People are seeing more Marine flags with the boys over there. I usually sell about one every three months, but I’ve sold 12 in the last two weeks.”


Congratulations to Ventura’s Joseph Harper, who just returned from the national canoe championships in Indianapolis with four gold medals and one silver medal. Ventura Olympic canoe and kayak teammate Jim Werland picked up two golds and another member, Mark Collitch, won the all-around points competition.

And a belated congrats to Norman Pollak of Westlake, he of the iron stomach. Earlier this month, Pollak won his Optimist Club’s annual pie-eating contest. According to his good friend and publicist Lynn Richards, “He won because he was the only one who didn’t get sick.”

Always a sign of good eating.

Ever since the motion picture came out, Dick Tracy’s silhouette and machine gun have been plastered everywhere. Who do we have to thank for this? In large part, Camarillo artist Jonny Kwan, who had a hand in most of the design work involving the movie logos and posters.

While working on the project, Kwan had a chance to meet some of the stars in the film.

Warren Beatty: “He had control over everything. He had a lot of power, but he has good taste,” Kwan said. “Working with him was really nice. He has an air about him.”

Al Pacino: “Pacino was sitting two chairs away from me; I didn’t know who it was until Warren Beatty said, ‘Big Al, how are you doing?’ I just thought he was an old man because of his makeup.”


Madonna: “She looked at a drawing and said it was a little too dark. That was her response. I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Meeting her was a memorable experience, but she was dressed up very plain. She was very ordinary at the time. Everything is makeup and lighting.”

Anyone notice the hand-drawn sign on Valentine Road that reads “Recycling Center” and has an arrow that looks like it’s pointing to the Ivy Lawn cemetery?

As you may be aware, September has been designated National Piano Month by none other than the National Piano Foundation. (Of course, it’s also National Cholesterol Education Month, National Honey Month and National Courtesy Month, but we have limited space.)

In honor of the keyboard, we spoke to Dorothy Schecter, a 20-year veteran of teaching piano and a piano professor at Cal Lutheran University, to find out how instruction in the ‘90s compares to that of years past.

Number of students: Schecter has noticed wide fluctuation. “Ten years ago, I noticed a drop off, possibly attributed to the lessening of the arts in the public schools,” she said. “But in the last two years, I’ve seen an upswing. Enrollment in private lessons and classes at Cal Lutheran has almost tripled.” She partially attributes the increase to computerized instruction.

Embarrassing moments: Whether past or present, horror stories are a given. “One time I told my students to dress nicely for a recital, but not to be drab. One student wore a black dress and the hottest pink shoes . . . they blinded the audience.”

Schecter also vividly remembers a particularly awkward moment of her own. “I remember playing a piece and having two of the keys fly off in my face.”