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Punctuation Is Key to Understanding Fowl Happenings on the 101 Freeway

Long Beach writer Steve Propes was listening to KNX radio at 4 in the morning when he heard a traffic reporter announce that a car “hit a chicken hauling big rig on the 101.” There was some question about how the above phrase should be punctuated. Propes said “the reporter went on to speculate whether the big rig was hauling chickens, or whether a chicken was hauling the big rig.” Such thoughts can come to a person at 4 in the morning.

Why did the chicken cross the freeway? The KNX bulletin did not reveal whether any birds tumbled onto the roadway. If so, we could have a revival of “Freeway Chicken” sightings, which reached a peak in the 1970s and 1980s after a poultry truck crashed along a stretch of the Hollywood Freeway.

The surviving creatures clawed out an existence along the shoulder of the freeway with the help of a nearby resident, Minnie Blumfield, who became known, inevitably, as the Chicken Lady.

The birds even inspired a video game, “Freeway Chicken,” in which motorists chalked up points for running down the title characters. And there was a movie script about the saga, but it never reached the screen.

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Too bad -- I think Streisand would have been dynamite as the Chicken Lady.

But in Hollywood, I guess, chicken movies rank pretty low in the pecking order.

But enough about chickens: Sara Bajkowski of Canoga Park came upon a listing of another fried dish (see accompanying).

A sign that would make a freeway chicken cringe: Gene Schrier of Rolling Hills sent along a photo he took when stationed in Tokyo that didn’t translate well (see photo).

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Kids driving teachers crazy? One reader came away with that impression after seeing a headline about the Buena Park school system (see accompanying).

This wouldn’t help Buena Park teachers face the day: Chris Maddy of Huntington Beach spotted an ad for a beverage that wouldn’t seem to give you much of a jolt in the morning (see accompanying).

Name game: LAPD Det. Rod Gregson notes that the department has “two types of justice: Lt. Joel Justice of the Professional Standards Bureau and Sgt. Bill Justice of the Valley Traffic Division.”

Added Gregson: “Sadly, two officers I used to work with, George Lawless and Daryl Laws, are now retired.”

miscelLAny: On its website discussion of the relative flabbiness of America’s cities, Men’s Fitness magazine says of San Diego: “Although there are plenty of courts, basketball is exceptionally unpopular.” Can’t figure that assertion out, unless ...

San Diego became turned off to basketball between 1978 and 1984 when the woebegone L.A. Clippers made their home there.

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com.


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