You say you're one of those motorists who grows nostalgic for L.A. rush hours the moment you go on vacation? Well, here's a rare opportunity, announced by Santa Monica radio station KCRW: Now you can have your own "Freeway Platinum" credit card (see photo). What could be more comforting while away in some bucolic retreat than the sight of the Santa Monica Freeway sign emblazoned on the card?
PAGING LONG BEACH: In an article on the disappearance of warehouse-size used bookstores, Smithsonian magazine says that "with urban rents soaring, the only affordable place to house acres of books is in a remote town that lies far from the madding malls."
Actually, a store called Acres of Books, a warehouse-size emporium that is one of the largest of its kind in the nation, exists in downtown Long Beach.
I hate to see Long Beach referred to as a remote town.
WATCH YOUR STEP? James Craig of Redondo Beach noticed a sign written in somewhat awkward shorthand (see photo).
COURT ACTION: Referring to the pro basketball lockout, Mad magazine published an article with the headline "How the NBA Plans to Win Back the Love of their Former Fans." Included among the "plans":
* "Shaq will be hand-delivering refunds to all 614 people who paid to see [his movies] 'Steel' and 'Kazaam.' "
* "Dennis Rodman will visit our nation's nursery schools and let the kids doodle tattoos on the rest of him."
* "The players' private cell phone numbers will be printed in the programs, so fans can call them up on the bench and harass them."
* "On off days, NBA superstars will hang out in supermarkets to help regular people get items off the top shelves."
* And, in a swipe at Magic Johnson's disastrous TV talk show:
* "Everybody gets a complimentary 20-minute highlight videotape: "All the Best of the 'The Magic Hour' Complete."
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO: At the height of the streaking craze, three young people wearing nothing but tennis shoes sprinted past the Vienna Symphony Orchestra during dedication ceremonies for Ambassador College Auditorium in Pasadena.
They were arrested and sentenced to six months' probation. Quoting an old English saying, Municipal Court Judge Warren Ettinger reminded the (clothed) defendants, "Do anything you want, but don't do it in the streets or you'll frighten the horses."
SACRAMENTO IDENTITY CRISIS: Mention was made here of the newspaper that gave Gov. Gray Davis' Web site address as email@example.com. In San Diego, meanwhile, Union-Tribune columnist Diane Bell reported that in one high school class, no one could name the new governor. The student who came the closest was Dustan Beitey.
"Who did you say?" his father asked him.
"Pete Davis," he responded.
No doubt [Gray] Davis will make good use of the team jacket that the San Diego Padres sent him--the one that says GOV on the back.
In a radio interview on KRLA's "Traffic Jam" program, actor Walter Matthau lamented that L.A. drivers are "almost as bad as New York drivers." He added: "I wish L.A. drivers would drive a little better. Especially myself. I'm probably the worst driver on the road." No freeway credit card for him!