Sure, L.A. is the bank robbery capital of the world, but a visitor to First State Bank in Paramount was still a bit taken aback Friday to see people inside wearing masks. Luckily, they were worn by employees--dressed for Halloween.
BLIMEY: Britain and the United States, Winston Churchill once observed, are two countries divided by a common language, a quip Howard Bensen of Woodland Hills understands only too well.
In this column's latest installment of Angelenos in London, Bensen recalls arriving there after a nonstop flight and "as I was boarding a taxi, the driver said 'Mind a pint?' Considering the long trip, a tall cold one sounded good to me, and I was ready to accept his generous, albeit startling, invitation.
"However," Bensen added, "further conversation revealed that his comment, translated into American, was 'Mind the paint.' He was cautioning me not to scratch the cab's finish with my luggage."
IS THERE AN IQ TEST AT THE ENTRANCE? Clive Grafton of Whittier found a parking lot in that city that you could accuse of being elitist (see photo). Unless you knew it was on the property of the Bright Medical Center.
IN THE NOT-SO-BRIGHT CATEGORY: The outbreak of malapropisms in this space inspired Hugh Hoskins to recount the time "in my early days in engineering" when "one of my co-workers dictated the results of some research and mentioned that any rounding errors were due to his performing the calculations with a slide rule."
The stenographer, however, recorded it as "with a sly drool."
EVERYONE MINDED HIS PINT: Trip Harting was driving home on the Ventura Freeway "when I came up to a truck from Montana with a sticker that said: 'I'm not going to work today--the voices told me to stay home and clean my guns.' "
L.A.: IT'S EVERYWHERE! If you're drooling over the looks of the L.A. Chinese Cuisine eatery snapped by Jay Berman of Manhattan Beach, don't try to take a taxi there. It's in Vancouver (see photo).
NOT FAR FROM SELF-SERVE ISLAND: Lisalee Anne Wells of Long Beach thinks I missed the point the other day by implying that there was a typo in the "Semi Valley" notation on a truck dealership's sign on the 118 Freeway. Wells explains: "Obviously, the dealership sells semi trucks. Semi Valley would be like Cerritos Auto Square. . . ."
UNOFFICIAL ECONOMIC INDICATORS: Art Vinsel of San Pedro's Beacon House for recovering addicts says the facility just received "a very large and very generous donation from a large L.A. law firm that is upgrading apparently across-the-board. We received computers, varied office furniture and a few personal care products."
As for the personal care items, I take it as symbolic of the economy's recovery that the firm felt it could give away its Bismuth tablets (for indigestion, etc.), Kaopectate and Preparation H.
"Gotta say this for L.A. cops," says writer Rich Roberts. "They've been accused of a lot of things, but never anything that cruel." He was referring to a Times article about a Roby, Ill., woman who was under siege for five weeks while the police tried to roust her with "tear gas, pepper spray and Barry Manilow music." Talk about hearing voices. . . .
Steve Harvey can be reached by phone at (213) 237-7083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by e-mail at email@example.com and by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, L.A. 90053.