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Strung Out

A lot of silly revelations have surfaced in the Lincoln Savings & Loan scandal. But few top the disclosure last week in court papers filed in Arizona alleging that Charles H. Keating Jr.'s American Continental Corp., parent of Lincoln Savings & Loan, spent $1,948 on Silly String for a 1986 Christmas party.

How much string is that?

Silly String, an aerosol toy that shoots a confetti-like string, is no longer made by San Gabriel toy manufacturer Wham-O. At the time, it sold for $1.89 a can, meaning about 1,000 cans were bought, assuming that the company paid retail and sales taxes were charged.

Wham-O used to boast that each can contained a mile of string. That means about 1,000 miles of string were bought for the party.

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House Call From Dr. Doom

If people in California weren’t nervous enough already about the soft economy, Los Angeles is scheduled to be visited today by economist Henry Kaufman, the notorious “Dr. Doom” of the dismal science.

While at Salomon Bros. in the 1980s, Kaufman’s bearish predictions would frequently jolt the market. Today, he’s president of his own company and rarely in the news.

At a National Assn. of Business Economists conference in Los Angeles, Kaufman is on a panel whose topic is “financial crisis.” One of his fellow panelists is Richard Berner, director for bond market research at Salomon, a firm that is all too familiar with crisis.

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Speaking With the Enemy

How far will other states go in trying to snatch companies from California?

The Nevada Economic Development Assn. has invited Jack Kyser to be its guest speaker for a November conference. Kyser is chief economist for the Economic Development Corp. of Los Angeles County, a group that tries to attract business to Southern California and, increasingly, works to keep what’s already here.

Kyser said the group wants to learn more about the Southern California economy, to help it raid the region. “This shows you how bold these types have gotten,” Kyser said.

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Kyser said he accepted the invitation but doesn’t plan to reveal any secrets while he’s there.

“I figure it’s counterintelligence. I’ll get an idea of how the enemy thinks,” he said.

Briefly. . .

Does it lead to Gaul stones? A San Diego area production company says it has finished post-production work on the film “Killer Tomatoes Eat France.” . . . McCash: McDonald’s has put ATM machines in three of its Northern California restaurants . . . . Will it run on CNN? Infomercial Marketing Report discloses that the newest late-night infomercial star is Jane Fonda. She is planning a 30-minute commercial advertising a workout video for an Ohio company known for selling the “Abdominizer.”

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Stringing Along Lincoln Savings & Loan’s parent company allegedly bought enough “Silly String” for a single Christmas party to stretch a line of the confetti-like string equal to the following:

Distance Number of Times Los Angeles to Canada 1 Los Angeles to Phoenix not quite3 New York to Washington 4.75 Century Freeway 58.8


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