Add another pet peeve to the long list of driver distractions

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Over the years I’ve received reports of multitasking drivers playing a guitar, a trumpet, a flute, a kazoo and a violin while behind the wheel (no, not all at the same time). I’ve heard of drivers reading a newspaper, typing on laptops or (those two old standbys) shaving or applying makeup.

But the other day I saw a commuter sport that was new to me: playing fetch with a canine passenger.

This driver would throw a toy into the back seat, whereupon her poodle would scamper to retrieve it, return to the front seat and jump into her lap. Then the driver would wrestle the toy out of the dog’s mouth and throw it into the back seat, beginning the game all over -- all the while, supposedly, keeping her eye on traffic.


Grrr. Bad owner!

Harvey’s Hall of Wonders: Today’s exhibits (and I hope you didn’t sneak in without paying your admission) include:

A doughnut shop that seemed to have a 2-for-1 promotion involving “Rs,” from Fred Dobrian of Anaheim (see photo).

A cemetery ad promising what Kathleen Austin of Whittier dubbed a “hereafter high” (see accompanying).

And from an Egyptian restaurant, an unusual menu item -- a $15 energy booster, from Jerry Kleinsasser of Bakersfield (see photo). If you’re in the mood for something “foul,” at this eatery you can order a jokester with corn oil.

Annals of unusual crimes: Inside USC’s Leavey Library one late night, a thief “removed a wallet from a student’s pants pocket while he slept at a desk,” the school’s Department of Public Safety reported. (Good to hear that kids are still studying as intently as when I attended that school.)

Which reminds me: Some even odder offenses were committed by an intruder in USC’s Doheny Library in 1980 and 1981. He would surreptitiously paint the exposed toenails of females while they were studying.


Campus police called the perpetrator -- a non-student -- “Leonardo da Toenail.” His M.O. was to sit at a table across from a lone female, drop something to the floor and, while picking it up, quickly daub her toes.

After a witness alerted security about one incident, the victim was asked at the scene if her toes had been painted.

“She said she thought it was a crazy question and answered no,” a spokesman for the city attorney’s office said. “But outside in the sunlight she saw that her big toes had been painted apricot. She hadn’t felt anything.”

The intruder was finally apprehended on campus while carrying 15 bottles of nail polish.

He was cited for a misdemeanor act of battery but never appeared for his hearing. As far as anyone knows, that was the last time he played footsie on campus.

miscelLAny: In a bin of used publications, Donald Bentley of La Puente found a rare literary treasure -- a 1997 Thomas Guide with the words “666 New Streets This Year” on the cover (see accompanying).

The edition was recalled by the Irvine-based company, after several people claimed that 666 was the mark of the devil in the Bible. A spokesman said that Thomas Bros. wanted its buyers “to feel confident with the use of our product.”


The replacement cover said there were “665” new streets. One of the old streets that the publication lists, by the way, is Devilwood Court in Westminster.


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 Street, L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at