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Picking Up Trail of Rock Hounds

A friend on the Westside answered a knock at the door and found himself facing a private detective. “Do you have a dog named Newt?” the private eye asked.

(That’s not the name the detective used; I’m keeping the real name secret to protect the hound’s innocence and to keep myself from being bombarded by angry owners of dogs named--oops, almost gave the real name away.)

Anyway, my friend said he didn’t have a dog named Newt. But he pleaded guilty to the next question: Did he have two teenagers?

An unnamed actor who lived at the bottom of a canyon had apparently complained of two kids with a dog named Newt pelting his estate with rocks.

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The detective inspected my friend’s backyard, which was not within throwing distance of the actor’s digs.

A couple of weeks later, a police officer showed up at my friend’s door with the same questions and took the same backyard tour. And there the matter stands.

One of the many odd aspects of the case is how the dog’s name would be known but not those of the teenage suspects.

Whatever, I hope the actor remembers to give 10% of the rocks to his agent.

THE DEVIL, YOU SAY: In these fractious times, even the Thomas Guide can cause controversy. When the 1997 book for the L.A./Orange County area appeared, it prompted several complaints because its cover said, “666 New Streets.” Protesters said the “666" is a number associated with the devil in the Bible.

And so, the Thomas folks recalled that cover and published a new one that said, “665 New Streets.”

Anyway, you can imagine the relief in the map-maker’s office when the new figures were compiled. The 1998 issue says, “574 New Streets.” Maybe the 1998 guide even picked up that street that was omitted from the revised 1997 book.

ONLY IN L.A.--WORKING FOR A BETTER AMERICA: When a Palos Verdes Estates motorist wrote to an Auto Club publication and asked if anyone “had come up with a universally understood hand signal to express apology” on the roadways, your columnist swung into action.

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An appeal went out to readers to submit photos of themselves with suggested gestures. The result has been, well, interesting. (see photos)

Michael Chanslor of Northridge recommended the beating of one’s breast three times with a closed fist. (Or could that be taken as a sign of aggression?)

Katherine Jewell of Long Beach suggested that one “flip the wrist and the fingers” in a “supplicant’s plea” that “could be interpreted as ‘Beg your pardon.’ ”

Finally, Steve Urbanovich of Burbank said, “I still have to figure out how to steer the car” while making his gesture. He suggested what appears to be the sign of the cross, which might be just the thing to counter someone with a devilish issue of the Thomas Guide.

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TURTLE POWER! Mrs. Ray Macy of Manhattan Beach, you may recall, is the woman who recommends a tortoise as a companion. She originally wrote this column to relate how, when she fell asleep smoking, the faithful snapper nibbled on her neck and awakened her. Macy has written again to say, “Through your generosity many doors have opened. . . . I’ve been invited on [TV’s] ‘The Terry Bradshaw Show.’ ”

Fine, though I wouldn’t mind seeing the chatty Bradshaw go into a shell once in a while.

miscelLAny:

“A sign outside Blue Hills Nursery in Whittier reads, ‘Giant White Flies Are Here!’ ” says Laurel Hall of Whittier. She asks: “Is this good or bad?”

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Steve Harvey can be reached by phone at (213) 237-7083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com and by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, L.A. 90053.


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