Announcer stumbles over Villaraigosa -- his name, that is

Some unexpected entertainment was served up at the American Film Institute’s 40th anniversary celebration in Hollywood the other night.

Attempting to introduce L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sony boss Howard Stringer botched the name, which came out something like Villarego.

“Don’t worry about it,” the mayor said good-naturedly. “Man, if I took myself seriously I’d be in a lot of trouble right now.”

Cold properties: With the boom over, home buyers are more picky -- especially in San Miguel, near Paso Robles. Effie Blubaugh of Victorville observed that one real estate salesman is trying to offer would-be buyers a wide range of models (see photo).


Caution -- lawyers involved: Teacher Judith Hart of Rancho Palos Verdes was amused by the terms of the Voluntary Student Accident Insurance plan offered to students. Among the innumerable exclusions in the policy was any injury caused by a “space craft” (see accompanying). You’ll notice that the policy applies to any craft designed to fly “beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.” Thus, the exception also includes Martian flying saucers. Can’t be too safe if you’re a lawyer.

School daze (cont.): Tim Creedon of L.A. spotted a marquee at an elementary school that seemed to speak of some sort of union event (see photo). Actually, it was supposed to say “uniform” sale. Students haven’t unionized as far as I know, unless it’s for an episode of TV’s “Kid Nation.”

At least L.A. traffic hasn’t gotten this dicey: Near Fort Irwin, Wendy Hornsby of Long Beach chanced upon a warning of a crossing point for a vehicle you don’t want to collide with (see photo).

L.A. mystery: My colleague Jim Barrero noticed that a likeness of retired ballplayer Keith Hernandez has popped up on a wall near the Spring Street exit of the 101 Freeway (see photo). Why in L.A.? Hernandez never played here. All I can think of is that the artist was a New York Mets fan who was saddened by the team’s collapse this year and wanted to remember Hernandez and the 1986 Mets championship team.


Sorry, I’m not moved. I have my own problems, being a Dodgers fan.

Seeing red: After I asked for a congressional investigation to find out why Heinz hadn’t thought of marketing a squeezable, upside-down ketchup bottle decades ago, John Williams of Simi Valley recalled this ditty by humorist Richard Armour:

Shake, shake the ketchup bottle,

First, none’ll come, and then a lot’ll.


The above is sometimes credited to Ogden Nash, the witty poet. What Nash wrote -- before Armour -- was this verse:

The catsup bottle

First a little

Then a lottle


Not sure if squeezable bottles will inspire any memorable phrases.

miscelLAny: Winner in the L.A. County Fair’s Spam contest, adult division, was Lois Jurgens of La Verne with Spam quiche. Second was Ken Slater of Covina with Spambalaya, followed by Lisa Carter of Lakewood with a Spam torte. Quick, pass the ketchup.


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