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Candid camcorder: On a visit to Istanbul...

Candid camcorder: On a visit to Istanbul with a tour group, Richard Deskin was filming the scenery when a fight broke out in front of him.

“It was four or five guys,” recalled Deskin, a retired project manager at Rockwell International in Downey. “Suddenly arms started flying.”

And they seemed to engulf Deskin’s party. When the scuffle ended, one of Deskin’s friends noticed that his wallet was missing.

The group flagged down a non-English-speaking policeman and, with the help of a couple of salesclerks, informed him what had happened. But, of course, a videotape needs no translation.

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Deskin hit the rewind button on his camcorder and gave the officer an instant replay of the incident.

“He was amazed,” Deskin said.

Soon the officer disappeared into a back street and came back with one of the men in Deskin’s video. They went down to police headquarters, where more officers watched the tape. And went out and gathered three more suspects.

The wallet--and the credit cards--still haven’t been recovered. Within a few hours, someone had run up $900 in purchases at a local sporting goods store.

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A report was prepared and Deskin and the other witnesses signed it.

Said Deskin’s wife, Vanessa: “We just hope we don’t have to go back to testify.”

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Railing at poets: David Stuart Leonard writes in the L.A. Downtown News that the fourth annual Blue Line Poetry Reading had some bumpy moments.

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First, officers interrupted the train recital. But the gendarmes subsequently decided to allow the passenger-poets to continue after determining that none of Metro Rail’s numerous prohibitions applied to versifying. Don’t be surprised if an anti-poetry provision is added. After all, as we’ve reported, one businessman taking the train was fined $104 for eating a chocolate candy drop several months ago.

The officers weren’t the only obstacle encountered during the poetry reading. Some members of the captive audience seemed to have flashbacks to past confinements.

When one poet “read something about county jail,” Leonard wrote, “one of the passengers screamed out, ‘What do you know about county jail?’ ”

When that same poet ended with the line, ‘So do you really want a revolution?’ the same passenger stood up and said, ‘Hell, yeah, I want a revolution.’ ”

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Alas, we checked, and Metro Rail also prohibits revolutions.

And major league baseball players think they have gripes: Jeff Pastor of Valley Village found a ball field in San Pedro where the pitchers aren’t the only ones capable of unleashing bullets (see photo). You attempt to steal bases at your own risk here.

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Talk about your left-handed compliments: The subscribers of Lefthander magazine have selected TV actor Tim (“Home Improvement)” Allen as the year’s Top Left-Handed Entertainer, Paul Simon as Top Left-Handed Musician and O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark as Top Left-Handed Prosecutor. No word on whether any of the awards will be appealed.

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miscelLAny Legend’s of Long Beach, one of the better-known sports bars in the Southland, recently held ceremonies at which it named John Morris to its hall of fame. Morris is a co-founder of Legend’s. Guess it’s who you know.


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