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Westside Watch

Getting Wind of Primo Weather for Board-Sailing

August 18, 1994

Gone with the wind.

That's what some of Eugene Fama's academic friends think when the avid windsurfer's pager starts beeping in the business faculty lounge.

Fama, a part-time resident of Pacific Palisades and a visiting professor of finance at UCLA, from the University of Chicago, has wired himself into a new paging service, "Call of the Wind." It beeps him when local wind conditions reach 13 m.p.h.--perfect for board-sailing.

The 1 1/2-year-old service, based in Ventura, monitors wind conditions at 14 of California's most spectacular windsurfing locales, from Seal Beach to the Sacramento River Delta.

The company measures wind speeds using an anemometer, a monitoring device that sends digital information to an automated voice machine that is updated every eight seconds. For $16 to $21 a month, users can either call in for wind information, or when conditions become prime, receive an automatic page with specific information.

"It's a windsurfer's dream--to have access to these instant wind reports," said Fama, who often drives 25 miles to Leo Carillo State Beach.

"Without my pager I used to do a lot of driving for nothing--winds in this area are not reliable," he said.


THE FALL OF THE FLAKES: When we first heard about Santa Monica businessman Larry S. Lipsman's campaign to rid Southern California of flakes, we thought he was talking about certain people in Venice or Malibu or Hollywood.

But it turns out Lipsman is onto something far broader. "Your cleaning wasn't ready when promised; your important lunch appointment across town never showed; your 2 o'clock meeting was an hour late, and your mechanic still hasn't finished the brake job. Is this some sort of conspiracy? Punishment for some wrongdoing? Don't be too alarmed, it might be just the case of the flakes," he said recently in announcing his campaign.

Flakes, he said, are "the kind of people that find it difficult to live up to the commitments they make."

So Lipsman, an ad man, is selling T-shirts, decals and bumper stickers that depict a snowflake in a red circle with a horizontal bar over the words "No Flakes."

Given the heat wave this week, we're not sure how many people will welcome that message.


MUDDY WATERS: For a little while last week, they were singing the blues at the hot new nightclub, House of Blues, on the Sunset Strip.

With the group War on stage and Liza Minnelli, Richard Pryor and Jerry Seinfeld reportedly among the 800 in the audience, a water pipe burst on Sunset Boulevard, releasing more than a million gallons of water. At least eight businesses were closed temporarily, and the nightclub patrons had to be evacuated.

The water flowed over a dirt lot near the House of Blues, churning up mud and spilling it over the hillside, said Metropolitan Water District spokesman Robert Gomperz.

The club, built downhill from where the break occurred, sustained minor damage from the water and mud flow.

A spokesman for the club said the establishment's closer-than-usual brush with the Mississippi Delta blues did not stop the music. The club, he said, reopened the next day.

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