Even Alfred Hitchcock's writers never thought of this one. The police log of the Los Alamitos News-Enterprise said a driver complained that "his windshield had been cracked when a crow dropped a steak bone it had gotten from a restaurant trash can."
Boards that didn't bore: The L.A. City Council, as you may have read, has voted to ban all new billboards inside the city. Eyesores they may be, for the most part, but some have provided humor (intentional and unintentional). Here are a couple I've collected (see photos):
* The hanging dummy who startled motorists.
* And, the apparent gastric warning for one fast-food maker.
No shrine was safe: My colleague Steve Lopez points out that no one seems anxious to apologize for the crimes committed during the L.A. riots of a decade ago. I was reminded of one anonymous young man who did, however, make partial amends after the violence. He dropped off a bag of stolen garments with Robert Fambrini, the pastor at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hollywood.
As Fambrini told the story: "He said he was one of the looters at Frederick's [of Hollywood]. He wanted to return it but was afraid to go there." The bag contained two items stolen from the store's Lingerie Museum: the pantaloons of the late actress Ava Gardner and a bra donated by actress Katey Sagal of TV's "Married With Children." Conscience-stricken? Perhaps. Or maybe dissatisfied with the haul. The thief admitted to the priest that he had been looking for a bra worn by Madonna, but by the time he had arrived at the store it had already been stolen.
Why should L.A. have all the fun? David Allen, the columnist of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, read about the campaign to have Angelenos read Ray Bradbury's novel "Fahrenheit 451" as part of a national "One Book, One City" campaign. And Allen, wanting to include his area, has invited his readers to tackle "a 1992 thriller that offers a darkly comic view of our region and its citrus history. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Kem Nunn's 'Pomona Queen,' perhaps the only novel of suspense whose hero is a vacuum cleaner salesman."
Getting the Shaft: One of the challenges of being a private investigator, says Frank Crescentini of Long Beach, is that you not only have to compete against other gumshoes but TV and movie characters as well. "I had a client tell me, 'Columbo would have done it different,'" Crescentini said. "I had another guy call me and say, 'I watch "Law and Order" every night so I know exactly how the law works.' I said, 'So why don't you handle the case yourself?'"
But the topper was a caller who wanted Crescentini to emulate the private eye in "Shaft."
"This guy said he saw [actor] Samuel Jackson walk into the office of a police friend and start typing into her computer to get some information," Crescentini recalled. "I said, 'I can't do that.' The guy said, 'But I'll give you $100.'"
Crescentini, who doesn't usually watch sleuth shows, said he had to rent "Shaft" to see if that scene was really in the movie. "It was," he said. "Unbelievable."
miscelLAny: My colleague Brady MacDonald spotted a U.S. Postal Service delivery truck carrying a bumper sticker that said, "Dog Bites Delay Mail." If I was a mail carrier, I think I might add: "Yeah, and they can hurt like the dickens too."
Steve Harvey can be reached 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.