A sad situation ? He begs to differ

The Wilshire Boulevard offramp of the Harbor Freeway has become sort of Comedy Central in downtown L.A. And the star is a panhandler.

I told you earlier about the time he was holding a sign that said, "Having Visions of an IHOP Pancake."

Well, he's got plenty more material.

Recently, commuter David Chan spotted the guy exhibiting this message: "Votes for Change." (And I don't think the offramp comic was referring to the type of "change" that the presidential hopefuls talk about.)

He isn't above sight gags, either. Just the other day Chan saw him with a sign that had chunks missing out of it and bore the explanation: "I Had to Eat This Sign. I'm Starving."

Maybe his agent will lend him a little cash.

Get the idea?

At a private elementary school in Montecito, Guy Brown noticed an especially descriptive warning sign, apparently aimed at adults with reading comprehension problems (see photo).

Talk about low-tech

"Apparently the gate staff at the San Diego airport couldn't get the display to show what they wanted," said Randall Gellens, "so they taped over the part they wanted to change" (see photo).

Makes you wonder how sophisticated the rest of the operation is.

What your clerk doesn't want you to know

At the end of a supermarket checkout counter, Suzanne Moore of Long Beach found a misplaced set of secret directions to employees (see accompanying). "This explains everything!" she said. "Why the hired help is so demonically concerned with my well-being. Why bag boys make me feel 100 years old by offering to carry that box of tea bags out to my car. Why they keep calling me 'Bob.' Warn the public, Steve." Good morning, Suzanne! Thank you for writing and have a nice day.

Still no McDonalds on the moon

My old friend Jeff Bliss sent along a 1961 article from Weekend Magazine forecasting what life would be like in the year 2000.

The authors got some things right: microwave ovens, doors that automatically open, home computers, "machines doing the work of clerks," and recorded phone messages.

But some of their predictions haven't panned out: routine vacations in outer space, 24-hour work weeks, "bus-type helicopters (that) travel along crowded air skyways."

Nor have we seen the arrival of two inventions that would decrease freeway congestion and reduce gasoline prices -- rocket belts that "increase a man's stride to 30 feet," and "moving plastic-covered pavement." (I'd love to rocket to work on foot under those conditions.) And, finally, despite what the authors prophesied back in 1961, clothing has yet to be "put away by remote control." You only need look at my two kids' bedrooms to know that.


I'll bet the ants were jumpier than usual at the recent Bug Fair at the L.A. County Natural History Museum. The event was sponsored by Western Exterminator.


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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