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Local Writer of Relationship Stories May Cash In on Thomas-Hill Hearings

You ask: What kind of book is “Is It Sexual Harassment Yet?,” a collection of 17 short stories by San Diego writer Cris Mazza?

Think of it this way:

If the characters on “Cheers” exchanged books for Christmas, “Is It Sexual Harassment Yet?” is the book that the sexy but severely cerebral psychiatrist Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane would give to her husband, the bright but occasionally oafish Dr. Frasier Crane.

Lots of intellect and psychodrama, lots of sexual tension and dark humor, incongruously set amid the easy living yuppies of Southern California.

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In “The Old Gopher Returns,” a secretary-turned-animal trainer confronts her sexist, but attractive ex-boss:

“Then I hit him, as hard as I could, not a slap with an open hand--I slugged him. He turned around and stood there holding his mouth. I couldn’t even hear him breathing.”

Mazza, a San Diego State University graduate who has taught at Mesa College and UC San Diego, explains that some of her stories “have an odd sensuality between things that are normally repulsive or violent.”

“Is It Sexual Harassment Yet?” was published six months ago. The Wall Street Journal says that because of its fortuitous title, Mazza’s book is enjoying a second-round boomlet in the wake of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings.

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“Anyone who buys the book for the title might be disappointed,” Mazza said. “It is and it isn’t about harassment. It’s about men and women being confused and uncertain how to treat each other.”

Like this from “In Six Short Lessons,” where a feminist lawyer wonders if she can use dog-training techniques on her cloddish lover:

“Every time Derek missed a question in Trivial Pursuit, he tore the card in half. I never told him, but there were a few other things I didn’t care for about him: he was fascinated by the sound of his tires burning rubber; he thought it was funny to make mooing noises at overweight girls; he wouldn’t admit to being ticklish; he seemed to live by a rule that fast-n-loud is required in everything from music to cars to TV shows to eating.”

I can see Frasier Crane doing all those things.

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A Chicken Happening

It says here.

* Not chicken feed.

A cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls is suing Ted Giannoulas, Leucadia resident better known as the Famous Chicken, for $1 million.

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Kimberly A. Smith, a dancer for the LuvaBulls, says Giannoulas, while doing his Chicken routine at a Bulls’ game, tackled her and broke her jaw and elbow.

* Power outages disrupted Thanksgiving dinner in households throughout North County.

Dorothy Graham, a retired real estate agent in Vista, found a way to cope: She fired up her potter’s kiln and browned her bird just fine.

* Press releases I released immediately:

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“San Diego Councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer personally demonstrated the diversity of her skills by installing a low-flow shower head for Mr. Walt Hall, a District 1 resident and neighbor.”

* Volunteers for DADD, Dads Against Drugs, Drinking & Driving, handed out brochures this weekend to teen-agers crossing the border on their way to Tijuana.

* North County bumper sticker: “New World Order. Same Old Lies.”

Environmentally Correct Christmas

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Torn between getting a nice big Christmas tree and being environmentally sensitive?

Try Living Trees of Christmas, North County’s first rent-a-tree business, just begun by a stockbroker who has 1,000 trees stashed outside Rancho Santa Fe.

Jerry Christians, 35, who normally is a stockbroker handling municipal and corporate bonds for La Jolla’s 1st Wall Street Securities, feels the market is ready.

“You see all sorts of ‘Save the Tree,’ ‘Plant a Tree,’ ‘Don’t Destroy the Forest,’ things,” Christians said, “but then every year we cut down millions of trees and throw them away after the holidays.”

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His trees are alive in large pots: $40 for a 5- to 6-foot Monterrey Pine or Aleppo Pine. It’s a phone-order business (792-9382); for $10, the tree is delivered to your door and picked up after Christmas.

You can tag your tree and ask for it again next year. Some people are even said to be naming their trees.

Imagine it: A Christmas tree named Willard!


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