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A Final Salute to 1999’s Odds, Ends and Oddities

It’s time for “Window ’99,” a review of the offbeat from the past year in the Southland:

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QUIZ TIME: Name the city in which former Lakers star Dennis Rodman was not arrested this year: (1) Costa Mesa. (2) Newport Beach. (3) Florence.

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DENNIS RODMAN WAS NOWHERE IN SIGHT: When Agent Mulder said he saw nothing unusual about a brain-eating mutant in a hamburger stand, agent Scully replied: “But this is Orange County.” The “X-Files” episode was set in Costa Mesa but filmed mostly in South Gate.

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FLASHBACK: Paul Simon was midway through a rendition of “Mrs. Robinson” at the Hollywood Bowl when Dustin Hoffman, star of the 1967 film “The Graduate,” was spotted walking to his seat. He was smiling.

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POLITICAL BLOOPER OF THE YEAR: An invitation from Mayor Riordan to attend the 75th anniversary of his restaurant omitted one letter from the eatery’s name (see accompanying).

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HAPPY 2005! But author Kurt Vonnegut discounted fears by pointing out that some historians believe Jesus was born in 5 B.C. That would mean that the year 2000 was actually the year we mistakenly called 1995. He added that an apocalyptic event did occur back then. The O.J. Simpson criminal trial.

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Y2K WARNINGS: In May, reader Bingham Cherrie noticed an ominous forecast on a South Pasadena marquee (see photo).

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BUT HER SMILE NEVER WAVERED: Barbie, now 40 years old, was featured in a museum show “Classic Toys of Yesterday.”

Steve Harvey can be reached by phone at (800) LA TIMES, Ext. 77083, 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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FLUSHING WITH SUCCESS: Bill Perron of El Monte won a $250 prize for creativity at the Fluidmaster Flush-Off in San Juan Capistrano. Perron impersonated the sound of a flushing toilet, then turned on a faucet affixed to his head, allowing a small stream of water to escape. “Don’t forget to wash your hands,” he told the judges.

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IN A MATTER OF SPEAKING: During induction ceremonies for U.S. District Judge Nora Manella, her close friend Laurie Levenson traced Manella’s career, quipping: “And now President Clinton has reached out and touched her. For this position.”

NOW THAT’S GETTING SERIOUS: A new upscale gym in traffic-clogged Manhattan Beach offered this inducement: “Join before 3-7-99 and we will pay your next parking ticket.”

BARBIE WAS A NO-SHOW: Downey Community Hospital held a Medicare seminar in Santa Fe Springs at Geezers restaurant.

ROLE-PLAYING: For a guest reading at an elementary school in Temple City, Manuel Mollinedo brought the book, “If I Ran the Zoo,” by Dr. Seuss. Mollinedo runs the L.A. City Zoo.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Among the winners of a literary contest held by Metrolink, Steve McCaughey wrote: “There once was a man from Corona / Who felt his commute to Irvine was bologna.”

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STRANGEST DECLARATION OF DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY: When Newton Division officers arrested two inebriated women for fighting in a hotel lobby, one told officers: “You don’t tell me what to do. I’m from Detroit.”

STUPID CRIMINAL TRICKS OF THE YEAR: It was a tie among:

* The guy suspected of robbing an L.A. hamburger stand who was later spotted carrying the stand’s cash register in a shopping cart while eating a hamburger.

* The guy who held up an ATM customer in the lobby of the LAPD"s 77th Street station.

* The robbery suspect fleeing from L.A. police who stumbled upon a class of police cadets.

* The young man who allegedly stole a car in Paramount to attend a meeting with his parole officer.

* The El Monte man who was arrested for spousal abuse and chewed off the skin on his fingertips in jail to blur his prints. Guess what? The skin grew back!

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I’M SURPRISED SHE DIDN’T SUE: Palmdale teacher Kelley Messina spoke to a second-grade girl who was furious because a boy had called her the “e-word.” Asked what the “e-word” was, the girl replied: “Idiot.”

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SPEAKING OF THE E-WORD: As a joke, Burbank gas station proprietor Ted Shachory displayed a bucket of pieces of bubble gum that said, “10 Cents Each Or 10 for $1.25.” Several customers opted for the 10-pack. Adult customers.


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