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Only in L.A

April 20, 1996|STEVE HARVEY

Literary Ken:

Well, we just realized we forgot Ken's 35th birthday. Barbie's friend passed that milestone more than a month ago at El Segundo-based Mattel. But let's face it, Ken seems to be one of those guys destined to be overlooked, if not disrespected. When Democrats referred to former Vice President Dan Quayle as a "Ken doll," they didn't mean it as a compliment.

Nor has Ken fared well in the world of fiction, judging from some of the pieces collected in "Mondo Barbie," edited by Richard Peabody and Lucinda Ebersole.

In a story titled "Kinky" by Denise Duhamel, a somewhat deranged Ken "begged to tie Barbie onto his yellow surfboard, blindfold and spin her on the kitchen table until she grew dizzy."

Ken suffers humiliation in Jeff Weddle's Civil War classic "Confederate Barbie," when the lass is captured by Union soldiers.

And, in "Barbie Comes Out," by Rebecca Brown, Barbie and Ken become lovers (at last!), but only after Ken has had a sex change operation. Goodbye, Ken. Hello, Kendra?

A LITTLE SENSITIVITY, PLEASE! In these perilous times for the work force, Gerald Jones snapped a shot of a company that offers several services, including "axing." We wish the company would use a term that was less crude, such as "downsizing" or, perhaps, "personnel management" (see photo).

AUTHOR IN THE COURT! AUTHOR IN THE COURT! What with all the books being written by jurors these days, we weren't surprised to see a trash can outside their entrance at the downtown criminal courthouse. Must be a repository for discarded chapters (see photo).

LIST OF THE DAY: Some unusual findings sent in by you guerrilla proofreaders and grammar irregulars out there:

* A classified ad saying "Hamburger for sale by owner, $55K" (from Nanci Vernon, who comments, "That better at least include fries.").

* A newspaper article reminding those participating in a flag football league in Hermosa Beach to drop off a "rooster" at City Hall (from Mitchell Dazey).

* An ad for "California strawberries, red ripe, sour of fiber & Vitamin C. . ." (from Dorothy White).

* An announcement that a freeway onramp was scheduled to close "for gang maintenance" (from Terry Kirker, who adds: "And here I thought they were trying to get rid of gangs").

* A sign at a cash-checking company that says, "General relief checks may be cashed here or elsewhere" (from James Garibaldi, who observes: "They seem to have all the options covered").

SACRE BLEU! Joanne O'Byrne of Long Beach points out that France has a much more colorful set of descriptions for smog stages than the United States. In France, the ratings range from No. 10, "Execrable," the worst, to No. 1, "Excellent." Somewhere in the middle are No. 6, "Mediocre," and, O'Byrne's favorite, No. 7, which is "Tres mediocre."

miscelLAny:

You may recall our item about the 1955 movie "This Island Earth," which concerns an L.A. scientist who is abducted by space aliens. We said they fly him to the planet of Mezzaluna. But sci-fi buff Rik Fox says we got it all wrong--they were headed to the planet of Meta-Luna. Our sense of hearing is evidently becoming tres mediocre.

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