Hardball Politics: What Are the Odds?

Addressing Pete Rose, Dan Engler of Santa Barbara remarked in Tom FitzGerald’s San Francisco Chronicle column: “Your admission that you’ve been lying to the American people for the past 14 years [about betting on baseball games] shouldn’t make you eligible for the Hall of Fame, Pete. But it does make you more than qualified to run for political office.”

When not to use your head: Ten-year-old Neal Donahue of Coto de Caza was lighting a candle at the dinner table when he noticed some cryptic instructions on a match box (see accompanying).

“I thought it meant hold the match 3 inches from your head and got very confused,” he said. Actually, the reference was to the head of the match. “Luckily,” Neal added, “I had already lit the candle so my head was saved.”

About your resolution to lose weight ... : Dolores Russell of Huntington Beach found just the piece of furniture to help you get in shape (see accompanying).


Speaking of the dangers of sweets: A photo of a player shattering a backboard during a college basketball game in Arkansas appeared in The Times the other day. I was reminded of an even rarer disruption in my son’s youth league in Long Beach -- a spill of M&Ms.;

A bag was dropped in the stands by the sister of one of my son’s teammates, and the candies bounced and rolled all over the court. I wasn’t totally upset at the delay, because the other team had been heavily outscoring us. The game was resumed (alas) after coaches, parents and players scooped up the chocolates, the players mostly resisting the urge to sample them.

Talk about a flowing title: Steve Leffert of Van Nuys spotted the eye-catching sign of a medical practitioner in White River, Vt. (see photo).

You can say that again: The owner of one boat qualifies for our first Department of Redundancy Department award this year (see photo).

Conspiracy of speeders? A resident wrote to the Palisadian-Post to complain that when a police car is stationed on Palisades Drive to enforce the frequently ignored 45-mph speed limit, “there are quite a few drivers who blink their lights to warn approaching motorists” of its presence. Another resident wrote to the newspaper the next week to suggest that maybe the blinkers “should be applauded. Regardless of their intent, the message is clear: Slow down. I bet that works every time and isn’t that what we want?”

To which the Post replied: “If people are speeding and there’s a cop up ahead, why help these speeders avoid a ticket and traffic school?”

Turning from the traffic to the weather ... : Specifically, the apparently inexhaustible subject of meteorologists with apt names. Michael James of Studio City wrote: “How could you fail to list famous New York City weathercaster Storm Field?” Yes, there was a Storm Field. I saw him in New York several years ago.

Like the late sportscaster Jim Healy used to say: “We don’t make ‘em up, pally.”


miscelLAny: I guess there’ll be a lot of disrupted conversations if the city of L.A. bans the use of hand-held cellphones in cars. You know, drivers saying things like, “Hey, I gotta hang up. I’m entering L.A. I’ll get back to you when I get to Culver City.”

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATimes, Ext. 77083, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at