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A kernel of good news at Smogdance ONLY IN L.A.

January 25, 2008|STEVE HARVEY

Smogdance, Claremont's most famous film festival, runs Friday through Sunday at Harvey Mudd College, with the attractions including 44 films and a reliable popcorn machine.

"We've finally found a good place to rent the machine," festival director Charlotte Cousins said with a laugh, meaning that the popcorn problems of earlier festivals are just a memory.

Smogdance, now in its 10th year, has become so well-established that it can afford to be choosy about its program. More than 200 entries were rejected, including such unusual ones as:

Two movies about circumcision, "Making the Cut" and "Circumcise This."

"Sneaky Snake Lost in the Holy Land," about a sock puppet that visits Israel and does funny things.

"Kentucky Blues," a four-minute film that opens with 10 chickens on a rotisserie. "I kept waiting for the next bit to happen, and then came the credits," Cousins said.

One film that did make the cut -- that is, was accepted -- was "Strangely Inappropriate Guy," which Cousins said is "very funny." She added: "And it's not too inappropriate."

Voting 'No' on 'Yes'?

Its bad enough that it's so difficult to figure out what the candidates are talking about and whom to believe. Further muddying the picture, points out Marion Graff of Los Angeles, is the "pro" argument for Proposition 91 in the Official Voter Information Guide, which sounds pretty darn "con." (see accompanying).

Digital dish?

Of one beef offering that he spotted on a menu, David Chan of L.A. commented: "Guess this is a case of Chinese food meeting the computer age" (see accompanying).

This is your heart

after a heart attack

Whoops! Thought I was looking at a medical magazine. Actually, this scarily named item was on the menu of a Long Beach restaurant (see accompanying). It's sushi. Or a sock puppet.

You can't be too safe

Law enforcement is understandably security-conscious these days.

Still, Steve Propes of the Beachcomber newspaper was a bit surprised to hear over his scanner a Long Beach traffic cop questioning why a blimp near the local airport was "going so fast."

Nothing came of it, fortunately. Propes noted that pulling the blimp over would have "posed a problem" for the officer.

Stupid criminal tricks

A would-be car thief did some poor planning for the job he tried to pull at about 5 a.m. in Ontario, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported.

First, he set off the car alarm. Second, the car belonged to the police chief, Jim Doyle.

The chief, wielding a gun that didn't quite go with his pajama ensemble, chased down the 17-year-old suspect and arrested him.

Mayor Paul Leon praised Doyle: "Well, I know he wasn't sleeping on the job," Leon said.


Bette Henning of Fullerton shared some post-op instructions that included a ban on laughing (see accompanying). And I don't want to hear any wisecracks about how she could read this column without fear of disobeying the doctor.


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

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