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Saluting ’99’s Oddities, Ends

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

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.

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).

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

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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.

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.

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.”

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

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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.”

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.

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* 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!

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.

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.

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.”

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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