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Ringing Up the Sequels

Perhaps you noticed that novelist Dennis Hensley’s “Misadventures in the (213)” was No. 14 on the Sunday Times bestseller list. I assume his sequel will be a lot thinner after the 323 area code goes into effect in L.A.

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HARDEST-WORKING PERSON IN THE NATION: “We thought having a baby is a demanding job, what with the feeding and changing every three hours around the clock,” wrote Jeff Reynolds of Hollywood. “But nothing compares to the working conditions suffered by the reservations person mentioned in the enclosed advertisement.” Poor Pat! (see accompanying).

Speaking of not-so-wonderful jobs, I came upon this opening with the city, which may involve working with “obnoxious” equipment (see accompanying). A sassy computer?

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SEAL’S APPROVAL: Bonnie Tiegel, a producer for TV’s “Entertainment Tonight,” was dozing on the beach at Malibu when she awoke to find about 50 people surrounding her. But they weren’t looking at her. They were looking at a surprise visitor--a baby seal curled up on her blanket.

“Several lifeguards came over to see what the commotion was all about,” she said. A wildlife expert was summoned and concluded that the animal was not sick. “One lifeguard put up a big sign in front of me and the seal which warned, ‘Do Not Disturb. $10,000 Fine,’ ” she said. “It wasn’t clear whether this applied to both of us.”

After awhile, the sea beckoned and “sadly I watched my flippered friend swim very far out in the ocean.”

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And passersby stopped asking her: “Is that your seal?”

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LITERARY EL LAY: Random House’s list of the 100 best English-language novels of the last century has some interesting L.A. links.

* James Cain’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (No. 98) was set in the Southland. Cain modeled the adulterous housewife Cora on a saucy woman who pumped gas at a station near Thousand Oaks.

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* Nathanael West’s nightmarish “The Day of the Locust” (No. 73) was “inspired by the hot, terrible summer that West spent in [a] Hollywood boardinghouse . . . when he was broke and suffering from gonorrhea and prostate problems,” as Cecilia Rasmussen notes in “Curbside L.A.”

* James Jones wrote the last chapter of his classic novel “From Here to Eternity” (No. 62) in a North Hollywood trailer park on Lankershim Boulevard.

* Others on the list include Theodore Dreiser (who is buried in Glendale), F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller, Henry Miller, Aldous Huxley and William Faulkner, who lived for a time in the L.A. area, though none wrote the works for which they are known here.

During his stormy stay as a screenwriter for Columbia Studios, Faulkner is said to have announced that he was leaving the office early “to work at home.” Only later did the studio learn that, by “home,” he meant Oxford, Miss.

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DIDN’T CATCH THE NAME . . . : Time magazine recently noted the creativity of celebrities in naming their offspring, citing kids with such handles as Hopper Jack (Sean Penn and Robin Wright), Speck (John Mellencamp and Elaine Irwin), Indio (Robert Downey Jr. and Deborah Falconer), and Ireland Eliesse (Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger).

My own list includes Gulliver (Gary Oldman and Donya Fiorentino), Zelda (Robin and Marsha Williams), Wolfgang (Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli) and, of course, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva (Frank and Gail Zappa).

MiscelLAny:

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The recent item here about the fisticuffs between a group of prostitutes and a group of Christians on Hollywood Boulevard moved Bill Robbins to comment sadly: “Perhaps they all should have just turned the other cheek.”

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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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