L.A.'s the place--again and again:Is there no...

L.A.'s the place--again and again:

Is there no end to the spate of catastrophes that L.A. must suffer on the screen and in novels? One of the latest is, “The End of the Age,” a “Christian thriller” written by televangelist Pat Robertson in which a meteor strikes the City of Angels. It causes some nasty problems--though it doesn’t do as much damage to Hollywood Boulevard as the MTA has.

“AVOID THIS MOVIE"--GOD: Robertson isn’t exactly a L.A. booster. When a fire broke out at Universal Studios five years ago, the televangelist suggested that the inferno was “the judgment of God,” the supreme movie reviewer.

Robertson explained that “it’s an interesting thing that the company that produced ‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’ which many people thought was blasphemous in the extreme, finds this kind of activity taking place.”


(As if poor Universal hadn’t already suffered enough from the movie’s disastrous performance at the box office.)

Investigators, by the way, found a more earthly cause for the fire--an arsonist.

IT’S ONLY HALFTIME: There’s plenty of suspense surrounding Saturday’s football matchup between USC and Stanford at the Coliseum, but it has nothing to do with the outcome of the game, which the Trojans are expected to win.

It centers on the halftime show by Stanford’s irreverent band. Will the topic be O.J. Simpson, the ex-USC star? (It’s halftime for Simpson in a sense anyway--with the criminal trial behind him, and the civil suits still to come.)

A year ago, when Stanford was in town to play UCLA, 21 band members gathered outside the courthouse one day during the Simpson trial. Wearing red shorts and red band jackets, they played such tunes as “It’s Too Late to Say You’re Sorry.” And they drowned out defense attorneys Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro, who were gabbing with the media.

Shapiro, offended at the interruption of this sacred rite, accused the musicians of staging “a spectacle.”

We’re surprised he didn’t sue.

WHY IT’S NO FUN FIGHTING CITY HALL: The mail carrier brought us a document that explains why City Council members and city department heads get paid so much money. Of course, it also applies to private industry--the legal profession, for instance.

YOU BETTER HAVE A GOOD EXPLANATION, IRS: Daniel J.B. Mitchell of UCLA found “an interesting bit of information for anyone facing an IRS audit.” It’s a 1995 report from the U.S. General Accounting Office, “IRS Financial Audit.”

It says: “GAO cannot express an opinion on the reliability of the financial statements of the Internal Revenue Service. Among other reasons, total revenues collected could not be verified, amounts collected for various types of taxes could not be substantiated and estimates of a accounts receivable were not dependable.”

Maybe the IRS should hire H&R; Block.

miscelLAny Tired of having to tell your brother-in-law to stop smoking in your house? Let the Cigarette SmokeBuster do it. A press release from Voice Products Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio, says that its sneaky product senses tobacco smoke and “then plays a verbal message, which makes it ideal to enforce no-smoking rules in public and/or private locations.”