A recent View story about dowsing produced reactions farther apart than a water witch's elbows.
One camp booed, claiming that in the hands of an expert dowser, two wire coat hangers will locate bodies or buried treasure faster than any backhoe or metal detector.
The other camp cheered, noting that anything found by dowsers is retrieved solely by guesswork and dumb luck.
Barbara Prisbe of Covina played it right down the middle. She is president of the Orange Countychapter of the American Society of Dowsers. In a letter, she acknowledged both doubters and disciples. Prisbe suggested the entire topic is best regarded with a sense of fun and a touch of scientific curiosity until we know one way or the other.
She also acknowledged fallibility by addressing one ticklish question: If dowsing is so precise, how come dowsers aren't millionaires from locating gold strikes or predicting stock market increases or calling winning horses?
"I have been trying to dowse the winning Lotto numbers," Prisbe said. "The only time I had four correct numbers, we'd failed to buy a ticket."
Pleasant things continue to happen for Jim Bell and Judy Lund-Bell of Fresno, the husband-and-wife fliers who piloted a Cessna Turbo 210 in the recent Paris to Beijing air race.
During that 19,000-mile event, the Bells landed at Amman, Jordan. With other contestants, they were hosted at a reception by King Hussein and Lund-Bell found herself talking with Queen Noor, the king's American-born wife.
Their conversation was of children (Noor has four and Lund-Bell two) and the facility (the Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno) that would benefit from promotion of the Bells' flight. Queen Noor also admired the hospital's mascot, a stuffed giraffe that the Bells were carrying in their airplane.
And one of the royal children fell in love with the toy.
But Lund-Bell did not rise to the diplomatic (and maternal) temptation. The giraffe was a talisman. For the continued good fortune of their flight and its charity, it would have to finish the race with them.
Queen Noor obviously was not upset. She wrote to Lund-Bell last month. With her letter was King Hussein's check for $10,000 made out to Valley Children's Hospital.
"I think," Lund-Bell said, "we're going to have to buy them a giraffe."
Dollars for DARE
Back to donations. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates will pick up an easy $100,000 today at the Monte Vista Elementary School in Highland Park.
That's how much Los Angeles Rotary Club president William L. Plunkett will give on behalf of his club to LAPD's DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. The police project--long encouraged by Gates and currently in its fourth year of operation--teaches elementary grade students in city schools how to stay away from involvement with drugs.
Plunkett also will announce that Arco has joined Rotary's drive to support DARE in the city's 350 elementary schools. Cost of supporting one school for one year, said Plunkett, is $6,250.
Beverly Hills Ferrari
The multimillion-dollar success of "Beverly Hills Cop II" has trickled down to somewhat smaller but relatively substantial profits for Budget Rent-A-Car of Beverly Hills.
That's the company that supplied Paramount with all the luxury cars that appeared in the movie--including the crimson Ferrari 328 GTSi driven by comedian Eddie Murphy during the opening sequences. The car is now back on the rental lot.
"Since 'Beverly Hills Cop II' opened two weeks ago, our phone hasn't stopped ringing with inquiries about what is now known as 'Axel Foley's Ferrari,' " said Corky Rice, general manager for Budget. "A radio station back East wants to rent the car for a weekend as a contest prize; we talked with 7-11 convenience markets who wanted to buy the car for a giveaway promotion. . . ."
Interested parties might like to know that budget motoring in Foley's Ferrari costs $400 a day. The first 100 miles is free. But it's 50 cents a mile after that.
"A lot of kids called wanting to take it to their proms," added Rice. "We turned them down. They might be old enough to drive their parents' cars but you have to be 25 to drive one of our cars."
Axel Foley would have found some way around that.