Matt Weinstock — January 29, 1959

Samaritan on Trial

Alvin Thomas is deeply distressed.

Health inspectors came into his apartment on N Van Ness Avenue a few weeks ago and cited him for violating a city ordinance, harboring pigeons, nine of them.

He told them he was merely taking care of injured and sick birds and
that when they were well he turned them loose. He pointed out that he
carefully sprayed every bird and took every health precaution.

Out of his love and understanding of pigeons, he decided to fight the
case. He felt he had done no wrong, that his rights had been invaded.
He pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial.

When he appeared in court a few days ago the judge took him aside and
questioned him, then gave him until Feb. 19 to remedy the situation.
This means disposing of the pigeons.

THOMAS HASN’T decided what to do. All but two of the birds
probably will be all right by that date, but these two need constant
attention. To turn them loose, he said, would mean certain death for
them. "After a while they lose their wild instincts," he explained.

Although he feels that he has been harassed, Thomas is not angry at the
health inspectors. He found them friendly and considers them merely
doing their duty. But helping needy pigeons comes first with him. He is
very proud of his work.

"Sometime when you’re around Sunset and Gower take a look at the
pigeon that stands on the neon sign that reads ‘Cut Rate Drugs,’ " he
said. "He keeps his feet warm on the sign. He’s there every night. He’s
one of mine, No. 27. I put a band on them when I turn them loose, you
know. I found him in the alley on 11th Street between Broadway and Hill. He was in bad shape."

Thomas, who served on Guadalcanal and New Guinea in WW 2, added, "I know what it is to lie in a field, wounded."

* *

SOMETIMES the best thing is to walk away and pretend you didn’t
hear what someone said. As in the case of a young lady at a party. The
host asked what she’d like to drink. She frowned thoughtfully, then
replied, "I’m driving, I guess I’ll have a Martini."

* *

THE WAY Eloise Lomas tells it, a sports fan enthusiastically
addicted to photography became fascinated by the graceful postures of
basketball players in action and concentrated on taking pictures at

He kept improving his technique, and at the recent UCLA-SC games
captured a shot that was poetry in motion. A friend couldn’t believe it
was read and said it looked like a posed studio shot.

"Naw," was the reply, "it was just a flash in the Pan."

* *


THE PHONE RANG at the home of Nancy, 6, while her mother was next door and the caller said, "Please have her call me at Capitol 3-2210."

There was a long silence so the caller asked, "Are you sure you have the number?"

"Oh yes," Nancy replied, "only I’m not sure how to make a capital 3."

* *

1959_0129_page02PAGE 1 ANY DAY
Seems a fellow went to prison
‘Cause he took what wasn’t his’n.

* *

AT RANDOM — Believe it or not, there is such a thing as
National Break a Cold Month and, according to a communique from a N.Y.
public relations firm, this is it . . . Inquiry by Nate Fischer: Is it
true that Emile Zola’s mother was calledMaZola? No, Lalapazola . . .
What difference a comma can make. An apartment house in Hollywood has
this sign: "Apt for rent all electrical fixtures patio swimming pool
fully carpeted" . . . Redundancy note J. OrlandoNorthcutt heard a TV
announcer mention programs "in the future weeks to come" . . . Simile:
As conspicuous as a bandage on a girl’s ankle.  

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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