Eddie Raheb of Arcadia was surprised to receive a letter from the U.S. Marine Corps saying it could turn him into an "elite warrior." Raheb's as patriotic as the next guy, but he does turn 78 Monday.
"The U.S. military is in need of your service," the letter began. "Now is the time to put your unique language skills to the test as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Your command of the Arabic language will be invaluable among the elite few."
The Brooklyn-born Raheb, a Navy veteran of Syrian descent, does speak Arabic but has no idea how the Marine Corps found out -- or why the corps didn't find out his age.
Whatever, the septuagenarian is respectfully declining the invitation, despite the Corps' offer to push his "physical and mental limits beyond anything you've ever known."
You can park only one thing in there: Margaret Kerry of Glendale noticed a warning that no doubt kept one outhouse from getting too crowded (see photo).
I've heard of stores closed for remodeling ... : But national parks? Nancy and Roger Burg chanced upon a sign that could have given you that idea near Bass Lake in Central California (see photo).
Unclear on the concept: Marilyn Stein of Beverly Hills found a no-bake recipe that was a bit of a misnomer (see accompanying).
Also known as ... : Caltrans' hulking new downtown building looks like something out of a sci-fi movie to some critics, who have taken to calling it the Death Star (see photo).
It joins a short list of other nicknames for local edifices -- not all of them kind -- including:
* The Blue Whale: the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
* The Ziggurat: the pyramid-shaped Chet Holifield Federal Building in Laguna Niguel.
* The Taj Mahony: the $200-million Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, whose principal backer was Cardinal Roger M. Mahony.
* The Assyrian Tire Factory: the former Samson Tire Works, whose Assyrian palace motif is still visible off the Santa Ana Freeway in Commerce. It's now the Citadel discount shopping center.
* The Witch's House: a Hansel-and-Gretel-style cottage originally used to house dressing rooms in a Culver City film studio, later moved to its current location on Walden Drive in Beverly Hills.
* The Million-Dollar Jukebox: the Triforium, a three-pronged, six-story sculpture near the intersection of Temple and Main streets downtown. It's supposed to play music and occasionally does.
Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, 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 email@example.com.