boulderdash n: a road game played by California drivers during the wet season <Penelope called her friend to tell her about the ~ that was already underway along Pacific Coast Highway.> -more-




Woman Pays $50,000 For Clone of Pet Cat
SAUSILITO, Ca. — Genetic Savings & Clone has produced Little Nicky: the first-ever cloned-to-order kitten made from the DNA of a woman's much beloved albeit deceased cat of 17 years. The Texan woman, who requested anonymity for fear of being targeted by anti-cloning groups, paid $50,000 to the California-based company to get a copy cat of the original. She claims that the cat has the same personality and looks as her former cat. The first commercial cloning of a pet dog is expected to follow sometime this Spring. — AP

Disney Uses Feng Shui to Set Opening Date of New Park
BURBANK, Ca. — Disney's new Hong Kong park is scheduled to open on Sept. 12, 2005, due to the auspicious date. Feng shui masters were consulted in order to comply with traditional Chinese methods of numerology and design. — Bloomberg News

Graffiti Clean-Up Time Shortens

CARPINTERIA, Ca. — After an outbreak of graffiti, the city council shortened the clean-up period by which property owners must erase any graffiti on their property. The former length of time was 30 days; now it's 10 days — or face a fine of $100 per day. [LAT 10-04]

Disney Gets Politically Correct

DISNEYLAND — Responding to disappointed theme park attendees, Disneyland is reversing its previous politically correct stance on the removal of guns which shoot hippos on The Jungle Cruise, the softening of the spin on the Mad Tea Party ride, and the toning down of maiden-chasing on Pirates of the Caribbean. The park's officials describe the changes as a way of "restoring the magic" as the park prepares for its 50th birthday next year. [LAT 10-04]

Anti-Terrorism Chief Stopped at LAX

LOS ANGELES — In keeping with the new TV drama, LAX, about Los Angeles International Airport, L.A.'s top anti-terrorism official was stopped after screeners found an undeclared, loaded .38-caliber pistol in his carry-on bag. John Miller was questioned and later released after his identity could be verified. Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton noted that "It was embarrassing for him, certainly embarrassing for his family, and embarrassing, to be quite frank with you, for the department. Could it be that the TV show LAX paid Miller to bring real-life drama to the airport in order to boost its ratings? [LAT, 9/28/04]

Feds Ease Off Hemp

CALIFORNIA — The Feds backed down from a 3-year battle to ban hemp food products, which are found in certain bread, protein powders and other foods, and which carry only trace amounts of the intoxicants (THC - tetrahydrocannabinol) found in cannabis. The Drug Enforcement Administration's attempts to block sales and consumption of hemp foods were thwarted by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling in favor of the hemp food industry. Hemp seeds and oils are said to contain omega-3 fatty acids and other helpful nutrients. [LAT, 9/28/04]

LAPD Has a Hit With New Rubberized Flashlights

LOS ANGELES — Shortly after LaLa Times writer, Brad Schreiber, penned an article about the LAPD switching to rubber-covered flashlights after the beating of motorist Stanley Miller, the police did just that. L.A. police chief Bratton banned metal flashlights in lieu of rubberized flashlights. Could it be that the LAPD is taking its cue from humorists? [LAT 8/4/04]

Man Surrenders to Junk Food

SIMI VALLEY — A five-hour standoff in Simi Valley, between police and a barricaded man, ended peacefully when he surrendered after he was promised a pack of cigarettes and a diet soda. Initially approached by police for possession of marijuana, the man put a gun to his own head and didn't surrender until the deal for snacks and cigs was brokered. [Ventura County Star, 9/15/04]

Hybrid Owners Watch Out for Tailpipe Suckers

LOS ANGELES — Hybrids are 90% cleaner than the typical passenger car. Believe it or not, the stuff coming out of their tailpipes can be cleaner than the air most Angelenos breathe.
[L.A. Times Magazine, 8/29/04]

L.A. Unified Wiped Out

LOS ANGELES — Budget cutbacks have forced some L.A. Unified schools to go without toilet paper. It was not clear how administrators who made those cuts expected students to take care of business. [LaLa Times, 5/04]

4th of July Celebration Toned Down in San Diego

SAN DIEGO — Beachgoers who previously celebrated the Fourth of July by bringing refrigerators, couches and other furniture to fire rings will not be allowed to do so this year. Pets, smoking and alcohol are also being added to the list of restricted items and activities. [LAT, 5/04]

Man Gets Nailed

LANCASTER — A construction worker stumbled on a scaffold and fell onto a co-worker who was holding a nailgun. In the process of trying to catch the falling man, the man with the nail gun accidentally fired six nails into the man's skull. Miraculously, the man is expected to fully recover. [LAT, 5/04}

Avoiding Algebra Altogether

SANTA CRUZ — After Santa Cruz got a waiver from a law requiring high school students to complete one year of algebra in order to graduate, nearly 200 other statewide districts jumped on board to request the same exemption on behalf of 4% of the state's senior class. A Santa Cruz official claimed that no one was aware of the requirement, which was passed in 2000. [LAT, 4/04]

Sand and Smoking Don't Mix on L.A. Beaches

LOS ANGELES — The L.A. City Council voted unanimously to ban smoking on all city beaches, from Malibu down to Manhattan Beach. Council members, however, agreed to form a task force to consider smokers' requests for smoking on designated patches of sand. [LAT, 4/04]

Sacramento Hangs Up on State Teens

SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers are considering a measure that would forbid teenagers from phone use while driving. Lawmakers last year banned driving if a video monitor is within a driver's view. [LAT, 4/04}

Shake, Rattle and Robles

PASO ROBLES — After a December earthquake near this central California town, there have now been a reported 3,334 aftershocks. According to geological scientists, half of those shocks occurred the week after the original jolt. [LAT]

Scholarships Notices Accidently Sent

DAVIS — UC Davis mailed out 6,000 notices to the wrong students, declaring that they'd received a prestigious scholarship worth $7,500. In sending out an email apology, the university sent out 6,000 more notices to yet another group of students undeserving of the scholarship. [LAT]

Pass De-Salinization

THE PACIFIC — By 2030, more than 1.5 million Californians are expected to be sipping water that has been desalinized. At least 20 desalizinationprojects by water agencies and private companies are now on the table and will be considered by the state of California for bidding. [LAT]

Water Danger -- Or Not

ALISO VIEJO — City officials proposed a law that would have banned foam cups from being used at events which require city permits. A supposed danger posed by "dihydrogen monoxide" (a.k.a. water), a chemical used in the production of the cups, turned out to be a hoax. [LAT, 3-13-04]

Serious Chihuahuas

ACTON — A woman convicted of keeping 235 Chihuahuas in a four-bedroom home faces nearly six years in prison and fines of $500,000. The 72-year-old woman, when convicted of keeping the dogs in fetid conditions, collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. [LAT, 3-17-04]

A Stinking Rescue

CHATSWORTH — A tow truck was used to rescue a horse that fell through the lid of a septic tank. The horse treaded water for an hour before being rescued. [LAT, 3-12-04]







Fatal Guacamole Recalled Along With Gov. Davis

CALIFORNIA — Holy Guacamole! Nothing is safe from recall. Now there is a Mexican food company which may have shipped guacamole that is contaminated with a bacteria known as listeria, which can be fatal. [LAT, Feb-04]

What's In A Name? -- L.A.

LOS ANGELES — The financially challenged city is contemplating whether to sell naming rights or not. Beverages, vehicles or other products could be "the official [whatever] of Los Angeles." In a sense, this has already begun: A mega-ton, neon sign for U.S. Bank is already slated for the top of L.A.'s highest skyscraper. [LAT, Feb-04]

Dog Suit Settled

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA — A man whose 3-year-old Labrador died while under the care of a veterinary clinic sued for malpractice to the tune of $500,000. The man, 61, who brought in his dog initially due to seizures, spent $375,000 to see justice done in his dog's name. The clinic, which has fielded complaints in the past, claims that the man has "an unusual degree of attachment" to his pet. In the end, the man was awarded $39,000. [LAT, 02/04]

LAX Security For Felon

LOS ANGELES — A convicted felon on probation for burglary sauntered past several checkpoints at LAX, boarded a Delta Airlines plane and hid in a bathroom before passengers on the plane alerted crew members. The man was apprehended by police, but passengers were doubly shocked when security personnel at the state's #1 terrorist target failed to search the jet further prior to takeoff. [LAT 02-04]

Smoke On The Water

The Metropolitan Water District's supply at the Weymouth Filtration Plant in La Verne has been doing its share of taste testing to determine why the water has a smokey taste. MWD water flavor analysts are said to use the same tasting procedures as wine tasters. Officials say the contamination poses no health hazard, though they are trying to adjust the blend by adding greater amounts of Colorado River water. [LAT 12-03]

No Smoking Near Anything

SACRAMENTO — A new state law prohibits smoking within 20 feet of an entryway, exit or open window of a public building such as a city hall or a state university structure. The new law is an extension of a 1993 law which prohibits smoking within 5 feet of those same types of structures. The new law, signed by former Gov. Gray Davis, lists the crime as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a $100 fine.
[LAT 01-04]

Soup du Profylactique

IRVINE, Ca — An Orange County woman who found an unwrapped, rolled-up, unused condom in her clam chowder is suing the restaurant where the incident occurred. "We said, 'Of course. You're chewing on a clam,'" said one friend. But the woman was soon on her way to the restroom, where she threw up. The restaurant said that it was as much of a mystery to them as to how the condom ended up in the soup. [LAT 11-03]

Not Par For the Course

DIAMOND BAR, Ca — A 54-year-old woman was struck down by a golf cart driven by one of her golfing partners. After being accidentally hit, she was then dragged behind the cart for an unspecified distance. The woman later died at the hospital.
[LAT 12-03]

No Fruitfly Zone

VALLEY CENTER, Ca — A governmental team working to eradicate Mexican fruit flies has sterilized millions of males prior to releasing them into a fly-infested area of northern San Diego County. The males fruit flies have been marked with a fluorescent pink dye for the purpose of identification.
[LAT 11-03]