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STEVE HARVEY / ONLY IN L.A.

USC student all wrapped up, but not in studies

April 13, 2008|STEVE HARVEY

Bicycle traffic was tied up at USC the other morning -- really tied up. Skull and Dagger, the school's mischievous honorary society, wrapped every rack on campus in industrial-strength cellophane, trapping hundreds of the machines (see photo).

And trapping at least one human who tried to interrupt the operation.

"This one kid came up to us and yelled, 'You can't wrap up my bike!' " a Skull member said. "He ended up getting wrapped up with his bike."

Skull's pranks are an annual tradition at USC. Last year, mock security guards asked students to take off their sunglasses, saying they were a violation of the school dress code. Another time, students were duped into swallowing goldfish as part of an audition for the (nonexistent) TV reality show "College Fear Factor."

Then there was the time that a fake funeral service was held for Traveler IV, the school's horse mascot. When his supposed successor was introduced, it turned out to be a donkey carrying a sign that said, "Traveler IV is alive. Don't you feel like an ass?"

The early-morning bicycle-wrap was aimed at freshmen and sophomores who tend to have early classes. "These freshmen came out of one dorm and they looked like they all had an 8 a.m. class and they had about five minutes to get there," said the Skull member. "One kid was so sleepy he didn't even notice his bike was wrapped. He kept trying to pull it out. Once they realized what happened, they all took off running for class."

As for the student who was himself wrapped up, he regained his freedom after about 10 minutes.

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Unclear on the concept:

Is the housing slump worse than we figured? His lender informed Aaron Walker of Simi Valley that he had minus equity in his house (see accompanying). Guess that means Walker would have to pay someone to take the property off his hands.

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Go, Methodists!

This is the time of year when anxious parents of high school seniors are college-shopping, investigating every aspect of their favorite schools. But too often, I think, one important area is overlooked: the mascots and nicknames of the athletic teams. Luckily, Dr. Roy Yarbrough's book "Mascots" has the sometimes controversial scoop on this category.

Some local examples:

* The Fighting Methodists was an early nickname of USC's teams, dropped in part because no one could think of what the mascot should look like. Trojans were chosen in 1912 (even though the Trojan horse was used by the Greeks to defeat the Trojans).

* The Matadors has always been the nickname of Cal State Northridge, though in 1994, after the Northridge earthquake, students unsuccessfully pushed a measure to change the nickname to the Quakes. Would the stadium have become the Epicenter?

* The Diablos was originally the nickname of Cal State L.A. but it was dropped in favor of Golden Eagles in 1980, reportedly because some folks protested that they couldn't back a team whose name translated as the Devils. Wonder how the Devils would have done against the Fighting Methodists?

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miscelLAny

"It was only a matter of time," quipped The Times' Veronique de Turenne in her blog on laobserved.com after she discovered a shop for fashionable Fidos in, where else, Malibu (see photo).

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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 steve.harvey@latimes.com.

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