Famous after-Shockneks: It was almost 14 years ago, but it remains one of the most dramatic moments in the annals of local TV coverage. When the Whittier Narrows quake struck one morning in 1987, anchor Kent Shocknek jumped under his desk while on the air.
Shocknek, then at KNBC Channel 4, said the brief incident has been wildly exaggerated since then. He told the media Web site ronfineman.com that people have said to him things like, "We remember you from the Great Quake, praying to Jesus to save your soul!" and "We watched you during the 1994 Northridge earthquake burst into tears and scream it was the end of the world!"
Actually, he was later honored by the Red Cross and by a few cities for demonstrating how to behave during an earthquake.
"Most of the criticism came from people who've never been in a TV studio, or knew about 80-pound klieg lights swinging overhead," Shocknek said.
On the other hand (or hands and feet), I can't remember any anchorman jumping under his desk during an earthquake since.
An appropriate exit: A few months ago, Shocknek moved to KCBS Channel 2. The day after The Times reported that KNBC was not picking up his contract, a 5.1 quake hit the Big Bear area.
Guide to Dishes with Intriguing Names: Hi, my name is Steve and I'll be your server today. The selections include:
* A dish that comes with built-in toothpicks (submitted by John Stevenson of Chatsworth, who suspects it's supposed to be "preserved vegetable").
* A bread that vegetarians will certainly shun (Lisa Stevenson of Saugus and several other readers).
* An interesting cut of lamb (Phil Proctor of Beverly Hills).
And, to wash it all down:
* Randall Portillo of La Puente, among others, found some pricey water that apparently is sold by the shot glass.
Stupid Driver Tricks: "We all, from time to time, eat while we're driving, even though we probably shouldn't," wrote Kit Hope of Tustin. "But it's finger food, things you eat from your hand, like a burger, fries or potato chips. However, the guy in the Beemer in front of me Tuesday morning was eating with a fork."
She added: "I just hope he wasn't also using a knife."
Body parts around the world: A while back I printed Elizabeth Petta's photo of an Auckland, New Zealand, store sign that said, "Special Offer! 1/2 Leg Wax." Merle Lee of Whittier mailed the column to a friend in Auckland who showed it to the manager of the store. The manager said he saw nothing unusual about a " 1/2 Leg Wax." But then his name was Kevin Broadfoot.
miscelLAny: A professor who taught bankruptcy law at UCLA is taking a two-year leave of absence to join a local law firm that specializes in bankruptcy. "We're finally at the end of this dreadful economic boom of the 1990s," he joked to the L.A. Daily Journal. "There are some big, substantial cases that provide a wonderful challenge." Good to see that some people are having fun with the economic downturn.