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But the Bag Gave a Beep, Not a Burp

The commotion that had Sunset Boulevard at Sunset Plaza closed off to all people and cars Jan. 17 started when someone at Clafoutis restaurant noticed a white bag outside and heard a “beeping noise” coming from it.

Could it be a bomb in what resembled a Chin Chin takeout bag? No one knew for sure, but the police were called. They evacuated the location and alerted the bomb squad.

Several hours later, the police determined the suspect bag contained Chinese food.

“I don’t even know if it was one of our bags,” said Chin Chin owner Bob Mandler. A Hollywood Reporter columnist reported that it contained Chin Chin’s delicious Chinese Chicken Salad, but Mandler never could verify that either.

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“What kind of Chinese food could beep?” he asks. “But it’s not funny because I lost a whole night’s business.”

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Grateful Designs: In our mailbox we find a record of L.A.'s artistic eclecticism.

Just this last week, invitations had beckoned Deadheads and others to “a show of the artwork and home furnishing designs” of Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist and vocalist for the Grateful Dead, held Thursday at the Beverly Prescott Hotel.

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Verse Reversal: For a somewhat different crowd, we guess, a new translation of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” was introduced Saturday at Los Angeles Central Library.

Guests paid $150 to attend a reception and meet the translator, Omar Ali-Shah, who worked from a centuries-old manuscript owned by his family of the 12th-Century Persian poem.

Being romantics, we compare.

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Here is a verse famous in the Western world from the Edward Fitzgerald translation:

A Book of Verses underneath the bough,

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness--

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Ah, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

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THE SHAH TRANSLATION:

Should our day s portion be one mancel loaf,

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A haunch of mutton and a gourd of wine

Set for us two alone on the wide plain,

No Sultan’s bounty could evoke such joy.

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For English-speakers familiar with the 19th-Century Fitzgerald, this could take some getting used to. The event at the library, a fund-raiser for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, was sponsored by the Committee of Library Supporters and the Institute for the Diffusion of Sufi Ideas.

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Computer Spuds: Also in our mailbox, though heaven knows we do not go in a kitchen when we can sup on something catered, is an offer for “Ready, Set, Dinner,” a software “library of 40 mouth-watering dinner recipes” from The Potato Board. From the press kit, we learn that in 1993 the per-capita consumption of potatoes by Americans was 135.7 pounds each.

--COMPILED BY THE SOCIAL CLIMES STAFF

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