FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The passing of the fifth anniversary of Orange County's bankruptcy declaration brought to mind a flier that Merrill Lynch sent out a few years ago (see accompanying). Certainly there was no free lunch for Merrill, which was sued by the county for some allegedly reckless investment strategy and wound up paying more than $450 million to settle the investigation.
ON THE ROAD: James Vallone of Marina del Rey couldn't help but notice the proximity of a Pennsylvania taxidermist to a diner (see accompanying). Wonder if the eatery serves bear or moose?
ORANGE COUNTY MOVIE MOMENTS (CONT.): In "Beauty and the Beast" (1991), those rascally Disney animators sneaked in a single frame in which Belle's lost father, crazy old Maurice, encounters a directional sign that says:
You may recall that El Segundo-based Mattel declined to have Barbie appear in "Toy Story"--no one knew what a smash hit the movie would become. Now, Mattel's profits are down, and so the sometimes overprotective company allowed the perky blond to have a part in "Toy Story 2."