You'd think that L.A.'s freeways would put the fear of God in most everyone. But a colleague notes that a sign on the Glendale Freeway indicates that one stretch is sponsored by United Atheists.
Speaking of souls: Allen St. James of Ventura visited a gym that apparently won't admit any callous or unfeeling folks (see photo).
Unfeeling (cont.): Bill Robinson of San Diego noticed that one jewelry store will apparently take a pound of flesh in payment (see accompanying).
Such a deal: In our section for questionable bargains, J.S. Brattain of Gardena found some concrete that was pretty pricey, while Helen Whitaker of Pacific Palisades spotted some admittedly dull gift cards (see accompanying).
Musical duels: The Laguna Niguel police log item about the man "who was sitting in a parked vehicle listening to very loud Italian opera" struck a chord with Sharron Kenty of Palm Springs.
"Whenever I am subjected to obnoxious, loud car radios playing rap or heavy metal while stopped in traffic," she said, "I put in a tape of really screechy operatic arias or some really vigorous and energetic orchestra music and blast away with the windows open. ('Ride of the Valkyries' is a good one.)"
Kenty said she's not sure whether the offending parties hear her but she feels better.
Hannibal on the loose in San Pedro: Sir Anthony Hopkins, shooting a scene for his latest Hannibal Lecter movie, escaped the set the other day to chat with residents of a recovery facility he spotted across the street.
Writer Art Vinsel said Hopkins' handlers shouted for him to stay. But the actor, who has spoken of his past drinking problems, explained: "I see some recovery."
Visiting Beacon House, he signed autographs (as "Tony Hopkins") and discussed the subject of sobriety with the residents.
Someone--"inevitably," as Vinsel put it--asked Hopkins if he was hungry. "What's on the menu?" he quipped in the fashion of the cinematic cannibal he portrays.
One resident remarked that Sir Anthony, with his modest wardrobe, fit in with the Beacon House residents. Of course, as Vinsel pointed out, Hopkins was dressed for his movie role, "clad in T-shirt stenciled with jail serial numbers over a loose, floppy pair of old-fashioned, beltless pants."
miscelLAny: Here's a new gift idea for Sharon Stone. You'll recall that last year the actress anted up for a special in-cage visit for her husband, editor Phil Bronstein, with a Komodo dragon at the L.A. Zoo. Unfortunately, the dragon mistook Bronstein's foot for a snack.
Anyway, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is offering folks the chance to participate in a feeding and training session with Miller, a 600-pound sea lion. Cost: $75.
The aquarium says Miller is "lovable." I have no reason to doubt that, although I used to have an editor named Miller who would bite my head off.
Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LA-TIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., 90012 and by e-mail at steve . email@example.com.