The folks at Catalina Island's Chamber of Commerce thought they had heard just about everything in the way of comments from tourists. Until, spokeswoman Gwen Bronson says, "we got an e-mail from someone who said, 'Thank you for the great salad dressing you made.' " No one at the chamber knew what salad dressing the e-mailer was talking about (or whether it was French, Italian or bleu cheese). But a compliment's a compliment. The chamber let it go at that.
Stupid tourist questions: The chamber keeps a record of some of the unusual telephone requests it has received from inquiring minds, including:
* Information on "purchasing a baby buffalo for a pet."
* A room "on the main street close to the lake."
* Some "flight information--we have a lady in our party who explodes every time she steps aboard a boat."
* Applications "for employment in Mammoth."
* A room at a hotel "that has glass on the windows."
* Passport requirements for visitors.
* The time that "the sun will set on Oct. 3."
* Information about the currency used on the island.
* A list of activities "in Avalon for our dog."
* The lyrics to Catalina's theme song, "Twenty-Six Miles." When no one could help the caller, she suggested she could hum the tune while a chamber staffer tried to sing the words.
Speaking of pains in the neck: John Barrett of Encinitas noticed that an acupuncturist's ad mentioned an ailment that evidently affects commuters (see accompanying). I hear the McClure Tunnel off Pacific Coast Highway can be murder in this regard.
Somebody wake up the scorekeeper! Several readers noticed that a 99 Cents Only stores ad congratulating the Lakers didn't quite add up (see accompanying).
"They're a Devean George short," said Louis Hirsch, referring to a Laker reserve who wears No. 3.
Steve Sussman had another thought: "I guess this means that the Lakers will have to trade Brian Shaw (No. 20) for Michael Jordan (No. 23) to get up to 99."
Another reader quipped: "Maybe they're using a discount calculator."
Moondoggie over Malibu: Gidget hasn't given up the waves quite yet. The days when she hung out with Mysto, Moondoggie and the other shack-dwellers in the 1950s at Malibu Beach are gone (along with the shack).
But when Kathy Kohner Zuckerman turned 60 this year, she went tandem surfing at Waikiki and caught two waves. And the novel that her father wrote about her experiences is being reissued in softcover (see accompanying).
"Gidget is about can-do-ism for girls," said Zuckerman, who works as a restaurant hostess in Santa Monica. "Girls weren't supposed to surf back then."
She was christened by a surfer named Tubesteak, who declared that the 5-foot-tall Kathy was "a girl and a midget--a Gidget."
While she hasn't plied the waves at Malibu for awhile, she does visit, occasionally running into Mysto, who has never stopped surfing.
She visited Wednesday and reports, "It was pumping white water."
Mysto was there. And what did he say? Zuckerman: "He said, 'Hi, Gidge.' "
miscelLAny: Sheriff's deputies in Paramount received a call from a local hospital about an act of thievery. When they arrived, the city's newsletter reports, they saw security guards with the suspect: a patient who had checked out of the hospital without his doctor's consent and allegedly snatched a wheelchair for the trip home.