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Barber's Confession: Hiding Sin Mags From the Head of the Church Paid Off

September 19, 2002|Steve Harvey

Joe Navarro, who has been cutting hair downtown for 46 years, is a considerate gent who supplies a wealth of reading materials for his male customers, including Playboy, Penthouse and National Geographic. Until recently, though, Navarro occasionally hid the Playboys and Penthouses in the closet of his 2nd Street shop.

He did so when he was expecting a visit by a customer who lived around the corner: Cardinal Roger Mahony.

No one ever told Navarro, 74, to stash the skin mags; he just thought it the proper thing to do.

Navarro said Mahony "was very generous," revealing under tough questioning by your columnist that the cardinal would fork over $20 for a $9 haircut. "And," said Navarro, brightening at the memory, "he would get his hair cut three times a month."

But St. Vibiana's has shut down, the archdiocese has moved to a new cathedral several blocks away and Mahony is no longer a customer. "He sent me a very nice letter after the last time he came in," Navarro said.

Thanks for the warning: E. Rose of L.A. found an auto shop that is very frank about its rates (see accompanying).

Speaking of coming clean: Aline Reynders found a restaurant that is concerned about sanitary conditions at its tables (see accompanying).

Trudi Dieterle of Malibu, meanwhile, spotted a business whose damaged sign made it appear it would be ideal for laundering money (see photo).

Anything to slow down drivers: Apparently some residents, figuring that speeding motorists don't care if they run over people, have taken to posting eye-catching animal warnings. Bob Patterson of Alta Loma saw a pooch-themed sign in Vermont (see photo). Jay Berman of Manhattan Beach, meanwhile, spotted a sign in Canada that read, "Caution: Blind Cat Crossing."

Surfing 101: Congrats to UC San Diego, which has been named best college for wave-riders on the West Coast by Surfing magazine. One recent grad said, "You're never tempted to skip class, mainly because the waves are always good."

But if a hang-tenner is looking for a surfing degree, he or she will have to enroll in Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, the magazine points out. Cowan offers such brain-busting classes as Surfboard Materials, Design and Manufacture, Competitive Surfing and Event Management and Contemporary Issues in Surfing.

Though the publication cautions young surfers to stay in school, it did honor pro competitor Sunny Garcia as "Best Dropout." Garcia explained that for economic reasons he had to leave school in the ninth grade but had earned good grades until then. "I did well in math and English," he said, and I never missed photography class. It was the only room I knew of that had air conditioning."

Downey must be jealous: The current issue of Back Stage West, the trade publication for actors, carries a casting call for the movie, "Cerritos: The Place to Be." Further investigation revealed that this is not a full-length feature but a "video tour of the city," and the only cast member sought is a young female narrator.

A tour of Cerritos sounds like a fascinating project. Too bad one of its most famous businesses is gone. Years ago the Big Yellow House chain opened a restaurant there. Alas, the city wouldn't permit the eatery to use its customary bright shade. So Cerritos' Big Yellow House was beige.

miscelLAny: Back Stage West also reports that the makers of "Otto," a film "about a tragic love story," are searching for actors to play rock band members. The role description adds: "Do not have to know how to play instruments."

Hey, over the years, I've come across plenty of rock band members who fit that bill!

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