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In an Emergency, Have Parking Fee Ready

“There’s no free parking ever, ever, in L.A.” began the message from Mitch Giannunzio.

This fact of life was impressed upon him the other evening at a health club in Hollywood where everyone was suddenly told to leave the building immediately, owing to a possible hazardous materials spill.

As firetrucks and ambulances pulled up to the gym, “there were people leaving the building in their bathing suits,” he said.

Fortunately there was no leak of poisonous gas that might have wafted over to the parking structure next door.

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Because, Giannunzio said, there was a huge traffic jam of fleeing health enthusiasts.

Why?

“Everyone,” he explained, “had to pay the parking attendant before they could leave.”

Unclear on the concept: On Terminal Island, Allan Pollard of Long Beach found a beached boat that he would have second thoughts about trusting for emergency duty (see photo).

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Unreal estate: Today’s household features (see accompanying) include:

* Some windows guaranteed to provide discomfort (submitted by Anne Olmstead of La Crescenta).

* A sale of secondhand lovers (Sara Meric of Santa Monica, who suspects the ad was supposed to say “armoires”).

* And some Duncan Phyfe furniture misspelled in such a way it sounded more like a rock band (Elizabeth Johnston of Chatsworth).

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In support of the musician theory, Johnston pointed out that the Duncan 5 did specialize in “dinning.”

Back to amours: One of the subplots of Tom Wolfe’s new blockbuster, “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” about life on a Southern college campus, involves a visiting California governor who has a late-night sexual encounter with a student on the eve of his graduation address. Wolfe said it was taken from a real-life incident -- with some facts changed, Californians will be glad to hear.

“I hereby certify that it was described to me by someone who saw it,” he told one interviewer. “I won’t say where. It was not a California governor, but it was a governor.” Oh. I guess you can say anything about California.

Hockey’s suffering image: Not only has a labor dispute preempted the National Hockey League season but Hall of Famer Bobby Hull’s false teeth were put up for auction and fetched $575.96. Sad, isn’t it?

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When the ersatz choppers of baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb were sold in Los Angeles a few years ago, they fetched a whopping $7,475.

miscelLAny: For your unique-menu-items file, OC Weekly recommends the chapulines at El Fortin Restaurant in Fullerton. You know, grasshoppers.

The restaurant preps the little critters “for consumption by soaking them overnight in chile powder and lime juice,” the newspaper said, “then sun-drying them until the critters are snappier than a cracker.” Enjoy!

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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