This being the unofficial start of the holiday shopping campaign, public service-minded Only in L.A. wishes to offer a few handy tips derived from seasons past (see accompanying). For instance:
* Don't waste your time at sales that offer minor discounts on everything (photo by Gerald Jones).
* ... Or major markups (contributed by Sue Siani).
* Men, guard against buying trousers that could walk out of your closet (contributed by Fred Stone).
* And, guys, no matter how nice that frilly frock looks on you in the mirror, check the price (from Janet Paulson).
* If you're searching for an antique, try to find something with a little age on it (from David Freed).
Speaking of prices: "Movies shot on location, especially since the '60s, often represent a time capsule," points out film historian Rick Mitchell.
"For instance, in 'Dirty Harry,' shot in San Francisco in the summer of 1971, the prices for two grades of gas at a station seen in one shot are $ .24 and $ .28, I assume for leaded.
"In 'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,' shot in Montana two years later, prices are up by a nickel.
"In 'Die Hard,' shot in the winter of 1987-88, the prices for unleaded at the Arco station on Olympic Boulevard, just west of Century City, are $ .74 and $ .78." Remember when gas stations used to have price wars?
Sour note: The Huntington Beach Independent reports that a resident called police the other evening about a man "standing next to a house singing folk songs in a cowboy hat." It was not Glen Campbell, in case you're wondering.
Stop the music! I'm starting to wonder if I haven't stumbled upon some sort of a musical conspiracy.
You'll recall the recent sighting of a bagpipe player outside a Rancho Santa Margarita residence and a harmonica player in the Mission Viejo area.
Not to mention the woman who drew a complaint in Seal Beach for walking down the street while "carrying a 40-ounce Budweiser and singing Elton John songs."
miscelLAny: At least there are no reports of accordion players on the loose.