I can't stay off the freeways -- even in this column.
Just the other day I wrote that "Hollywood Squares" panelist Martin Mull, asked the most populous country outside China, responded "the San Diego Freeway."
On Thursday, in the San Fernando Valley, my colleague Beth Shuster saw a car bearing the license plate HATED101.
A slangy translation would be HATE D 101, I guess. Or maybe HATED was just an adjective, describing most commuters' view of that god-awful roadway.
I was reminded of another plate, HATE405, seen around these parts in the mid-'90s but not lately. Who knows? Maybe they both belonged to the same motorist, a South Bay resident who moved to the Valley.
In my Highway Vanity Plate Hall of Fame: First place would go to the Westside motorist with PCH CLSD.
But, let's not forget the 5: Its most notable critic was the late Richard Nixon, who said of the traffic in Moscow: "It's worse than the Santa Ana Freeway." Don't think Nixon ever owned a plate that said HATED5, though.
The 5 (cont.): My father once told me that, even if I never listened to any other advice he gave me, please observe this one rule of life: "Never, never drive on the Santa Ana Freeway unless it's absolutely unavoidable." (But then I'm sure thousands of you readers out there heard the same thing from your parents.)
Which explains this ad: James Reed noticed a Santa Ana listing for the house-seeker who wants to steer clear of malls and freeways (see accompanying). And, yup, the 5 would be the closest freeway.
For those who love traffic congestion...: And other nerve-wracking experiences, and want to play them over and over again in their minds, Patricia Davey of Northridge found just the specialist (see accompanying).
A place to meditate? Nothing more relaxing than a beautiful view, but Kate O'Connor of Culver City said that the unreal estate ad she saw either lacked a letter of the alphabet or "their alley is considerably nicer than ours."
Mondegreen of the Day: "I blame the AM radios of my childhood for my many mondegreens," wrote J. M. Schwartz. "You recall, I'm sure, the 1-transistor, 2-inch scratchy speaker variety everyone had in the '60s."
Most embarrassing, he said, was when his wife corrected his version of the chorus of the Shirelles' "Mama Said": "Mama said there'll be days like this/There'll be days like this, my marmoset (marmoset, marmoset).' "
Explained Schwartz: "I thought 'marmoset' was someone's term of endearment, just not in my house."
miscelLAny: I admit I've opened junk e-mails after being fooled (or frightened) by the subject lines. "About your online purchase," said one. "Someone tried to use your password," said another.
But I can't believe that a spammer would think I was dumb enough to open the solicitation I received Thursday -- the one sent to me by email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Marmoset, marmoset. (Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.)