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A greeting for taxpayers:A colleague wonders if...

A greeting for taxpayers:

A colleague wonders if the Cost Plus stores began advertising their “GO AWAY” welcome mats now because they were hoping to tap into a new market--federal offices.

STEALTH MAYOR: It isn’t easy for reporters to get a sighting of Mayor Richard Riordan, who generally prefers to discuss city business out of their presence. The City Hall press has long complained about late notification of Hizzoner’s public appearances.

So, media types were delighted to receive a fax 24 hours ahead of time, announcing that the mayor would be the keynote speaker at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

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Then, reporters were contacted by the mayor’s office, which said that the notice had been sent out erroneously, the luncheon was a closed event and would the press please not attend.

The mayor doesn’t need a “GO AWAY” mat.

STEALTH JOKE-STER: Riordan, by the way, finished fourth in the mayoral division of Comic Relief VII at the Universal Amphitheatre the other night. (This is not a joke.) The competition consisted of the playing of videotaped bon mots of mayors from eight cities, who were then ranked according to the applause of spectators.

The mayor’s routine, in case you’re wondering, was mostly of the man-goes-to-a-psychiatrist variety.

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Perhaps the best line about local politics was uttered by actor/comic Robert Wuhl, who said that it was unjust to criticize the L.A. County district attorney’s office for losing high-visibility cases. Noted Wuhl: “They got Zsa Zsa.”

TOMMY TROJAN VS. JOE BRUIN: It’s USC-UCLA week--a period often marked by cross-city guerrilla operations staged by students from both schools. Over the years, there have been kidnapings of mascots (such as USC’s dog, George Tirebiter), paint attacks on campus symbols (UCLA’s Bruin and USC’s Tommy Trojan), and even one fertilizer drop on Tommy Trojan.

There have been phony flyers, including one that announced the cancellation of a pregame Bruin bonfire--with the result that hardly anyone attended the rally.

And there have been parodies of the Daily Bruins and Daily Trojans secretly dropped on each other’s campuses. In one of the most memorable exchanges, the Daily Bruin contained stories about a planned missile silo at UCLA while the Daily Trojan had a USC chemistry professor winning the Nobel Prize for his discovery of bean dip.

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WHICH WILL BE LOOKING DOWN-IN-THE MOUTH LATE SATURDAY? The rivalry between USC and UCLA extends even to their respective dental schools. At UCLA, student dentists always have been taught to view full-mouth X-rays as though they’re facing the patient. USC student dentists, on the other hand, have traditionally been taught to view X-rays from the opposite vantage point--as though “sitting on the patient’s tongue,” as one grad put it.

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Have you noticed that bus benches in L.A., once mostly covered with cemetery ads, now are dominated by real estate ads? Neither industry is very lively these days.


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