In This Case, It’s Dial A to Annoy


The Sierra Madre News’ “Police Calls” column mentions that at 2 a.m. “a woman dialed 911 . . . and told the officer who answered that she had misdialed; she wanted 411 for the number of the Buccaneer [a local tavern].”

Twenty-six minutes later, the police log says, “a bartender at the Buccaneer called to report that he was getting annoying phone calls.”

LATEST CAR CULTURE FAD? In a South Bay weekly, Guy Robert found an ad for a Transmission Meditation group, perhaps formed for motorists who are battling the problem of road rage (see accompanying).


ATTENTION, PROSPECTORS: In Van Nuys, Walt Verbanic snapped a shot of a psychic who can tell you whether that gold mine you bought is worth anything (see photo).

A TOWN TOO WILD FOR L.A.: In Santa Barbara, I’m shocked to report, J.R. Runjavac spotted evidence that a local cathouse is openly advertising in an area newspaper (see accompanying).

LIVELY COMPETITION: You may have heard those commercials by Direct Casket, a cut-rate coffin maker that advertises on the all-news radio stations--during their traffic reports. You had to know that rivals would spring to life. Now a company called Discount Casket has taken to the airwaves. And it claims that unlike its competitors it offers cut-rate, brand-name coffins. Hope the rivalry doesn’t get down and dirty.

MENU ITEM OF THE WEEK: Robin Meadow came across it at a restaurant in L.A.’s Chinatown: “Mu shu pork--burrito a la chinois.”

Says Meadow: “The restaurant should’ve added: ‘Buon apetito!’ ”

PANHANDLING TRENDS: Lately, I’ve noticed panhandlers with the identical appeal on signs in Long Beach, West L.A. and downtown. “Just Hungry,” their signs say.

I wonder sometimes if these sidewalk entrepreneurs have an underground communications network, where they swap tips on which signs are effective and which aren’t. Several months ago, this column ran photos of two different men with signs that said, “Hell, Why Lie, I Need a Drink.”


I received sightings of identically worded signs in several different areas. And a Wall Street Journal reporter even spotted a “Why Lie . . . “ placard in Washington, D.C. Apparently, booze themes are out in ’98.

HARRUMPH FOR HOLLYWOOD: As the gardeners were fasting at City Hall last week amid the debate over leaf blowers, a film crew shooting a miniseries called “Mr. Murder” set up alongside them.

Naturally, the crew had a catering truck and dining table there.

IN A SEA OF POPCORN AND SOFT DRINKS . . . : Maggie Scheibe, 13, and her pals were viewing “Titanic” at a Tarzana theater when the screen went blank. Projector problems. After a while, the spectators became more and more agitated and started yelling.

Finally, a man near the front of the theater stood up and said, “No need to panic. Women and children first in the boats.”

Everyone got a good laugh and the movie finally resumed--with Scheibe and friends in their seats. The kids weren’t evacuating this “Titanic.”


In view of last Sunday’s game at San Francisco’s 3Com Park, I predict you won’t find this billboard along local freeways: “Why the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers. It’s the cheese.”



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