Steve Harvey, who is teaching at a journalism seminar, will return next week. While he's gone, this space will be filled with excerpts from his book, "The Best of Only in L.A."
Burbank police looking for an escapee from Municipal Court on a cold winter morning chanced upon a swimmer in a nearby motel pool. The man helpfully pointed out the direction the escapee had taken. Upon closer inspection, police saw that the swimmer was wearing boxer shorts only. He was transferred from the pool back to the cooler.
TAKING THE FITNESS CRAZE TOO FAR: Judi Birnberg found a supermarket in Monterey Park that seemed perfect for the health-conscious Southland (see photo). Actually, the phrase "shun fat" means "prosperous" in Chinese. And, with the high cost of health care these days, shunning fat may increase the odds of becoming prosperous.
MAYBE THE WINDOW WOULD BE SAFER: Steven Mandell and his daughter Joanna came upon a self-dueling sign that could be described as useless (see photo).
PROTECTING A GANG OF REPORTERS: Members of the press covering the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign in 1988 were given red and blue bandannas during a Texas stopover. But when the campaign came to Southern California later in the day, Secret Service agents asked them to stash the bandannas. The colors, the agents cautioned, were the same worn by members of the Bloods and Crips gangs to identify themselves.
LIST OF THE DAY: Some statues of notables in unlikely places:
* Amelia Earhart in North Hollywood Park (she was a resident of North Hollywood before disappearing on her last flight in 1937).
* Actress Myrna Loy at Venice High (she posed for it while still a student there).
* French heroine Joan of Arc in Chinatown (in front of the Pacific Alliance Medical Center, formerly French Hospital).
* Actor James Dean at the Griffith Observatory (in memory of scenes shot there for the movie "Rebel Without a Cause").
* Comedian Jack Benny at the Epicenter baseball stadium in Rancho Cucamonga (an old Benny joke involved a train conductor crying out, "Anaheim, Azusa, and KOOK-amonga."
Alas, Dennis the Menace Park in Downey has no statue honoring the fictional troublemaker.
DON'T EVEN ASK ABOUT THE COFFEE: A film crew shooting the 1990 TV movie "Parker Kane" on Terminal Island was given a citation from a county health inspector who investigated the food at the Standing Eight Cafe. The odd thing was, the Standing Eight was not a real diner, but a movie set.
What caught the inspector's eye was some 4-day-old chili and doughnuts used as props in an earlier scene.
The film's location manager theorized that fishermen angry over the crew's presence tricked the county into visiting the nonexistent health threat. The citation was later dismissed.
HE CLAIMED THEY WERE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS: The Azusa City Council banned then-Mayor Eugene Moses from opening the refrigerator at City Hall after grumblings that he had snatched some employees' food.
WHO WEARS THE PANTS IN THE CAPITOL ANYWAY? Sponsoring a bill that gave women the right to wear pants at work, state Sen. Charles Calderon (D-Whittier) explained that he had "worn a skirt on occasion--during Halloween or pranks--(and) it's the most uncomfortable thing I've ever worn."
Considering the purpose of the form, Wolcott's stationery store downtown couldn't be blamed for posting this announcement on its counter: "No bankruptcy kits sent out COD (cash on delivery)--except to law firms."