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Two Kings of World in Town

A friend noticed “King of the World” banners hanging from light posts throughout Mid-City L.A. and concluded that Jim Cameron’s ego had really veered out of control. That was the title, you’ll recall, that the director of “Titanic” assumed on Academy Awards night, possibly in jest.

The signs, however, refer to a show at the L.A. County Museum of Art--"King of the World: A Mughal Manuscript From the Royal Library, Windsor Castle.” The king was an Indian monarch who ruled more than 300 years before Cameron. Like Cameron, he was also involved with grandiose projects, commissioning the building of the Taj Mahal.

The “King of the World” exhibition, by the way, opened two months before the Oscars show, so the museum needn’t worry about being sued for trademark infringement for using that title.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF WAITING IN LINE: My colleague Wendy Miller went to the movies in Santa Barbara and noticed that British physicist Stephen Hawking was with a group of people waiting to buy tickets. The author of “A Brief History of Time,” Hawking has been visiting UC Santa Barbara. “It turned out he was going to see ‘Titanic,’ which started half an hour earlier,” Miller said. “It seemed amusing to me that this is a guy who can deal with the concept of infinity but is daunted by ‘Titanic’ in real time.”

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SECESSION TALK: The Brentwood News published a huge piece on a proposal to combine that town with Pacific Palisades and part of West Los Angeles to form the city of Rancho San Vicente. (As you know, the name of every new city in Southern California must apparently start with “Rancho” or “San.”)

Among the advantages listed by backers of a Rancho San Vicente was this: “Parking cheap during day.” To which Wendy Mollett, a Brentwood resident, asks: “Where?”

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ONE DOMINO HAS ALREADY FALLEN: While unrest is seething in parts of the Westside, Phil Proctor of (stable) Beverly Hills notes that in the San Fernando Valley, Toluca Lake has not only seceded from L.A. but has formed its own country (see photo).

Let’s hope Toluca and Canyon Country quickly negotiate a peace treaty.

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THESE CUTBACKS ARE REALLY GETTING SEVERE: Truls Orvum of Santa Monica snapped a shot of a court building in Topanga that would seem to be too small for a jury (see photo).

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STAYING AFTER SCHOOL: Here I am 52 and still getting in trouble in school. The other day I showed you some practice questions for a statewide test for high school students--questions that contained several misspellings. It turns out they were written not by the testing firm but by the school whose teacher spotted them.

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MARXIST NONSENSE: While I’m at it, when I quoted some Groucho Marx dialogue from the movie “Horse Feathers,” several of his fans said I was full of same. The movie actually was “Duck Soup.”

I was discussing Groucho’s sleuthing talents after learning that novelist Ron Goulart has written a 1930s-era mystery, “Groucho Marx, Master Detective.”

On that subject, Steve Stoliar, author of “Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House,” points out that in “Animal Crackers,” Groucho and brother Chico investigate the theft of a painting. They conclude, Stoliar notes, “that it must’ve been eaten by left-handed moths.”

miscelLAny:

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Driving through the San Fernando Valley, Shirley Deutsch saw a residential sign that said, “A Really Rotten Dog Lives Here.” I’m not sure whether the description means the pooch would be a really good, or really bad, watchdog.

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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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