Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Grammatically Incorrect Graffiti Underscores Need For Stronger Focus On Syntax In English Classes At LAUSD Schools

By Charlotte Rudnick, Quilt staff


A series of spray-painted messages found along Strathern Street and Alabama Avenue, in Canoga Park’s industrial Strathabama neighborhood, is being regarded as a “much-needed wakeup call” among the area’s teaching professionals.

Initially "Prump Fuck," the artist went over the T numerous times to correct his error on this
apartment's garage on Strathern Street. Multiple exclamation points are a bold choice!!! Staff photo.
The graffiti, which reads “Trump Fuck!!!,” can be seen on an apartment building, the wall enclosing a parking lot and other privately-owned buildings, is presumed to be the work of an unknown former Los Angeles Unified School District student or students. 

“It’s extremeling disturby,” notes Betty Winslow, who teaches AP English at Canoga Park High School. “It’s clearly we’re going to has to work very harder to reachify these kids before they drop ou—  ...er, before they graduating.”

A near-matching pair of Trump Fucks bookend the wall surrounding a private parking lot. 
According to LAUSD-approved textbooks on traditional grammar and English usage, in basic sentence structure, the subject “Trump” would come before the predicate — here, “fuck.” However, in this case, such a sentence  — constructed properly as “Fuck Trump” — would be an indirect directive using an implied reflexive pronoun with the subject and verb reversed.

 A big, audacious Trump Fuck. By choosing a contrasting color for the background, in this case a white
expanse of wall recently repainted to cover previous tagging, the artist's message stands out clearly.
Expressed syntactically or not, the vandalism has sent a powerful message to the community. Blythe Street resident and former Canoga Park High junior Radek Murta, who was in the vicinity of the graffiti, crouching down alongside his car with a can of black Krylon “uh...just touching up...my, uh, tires, yo,” described the writings as “like, important because of, like, freedom an’ shit...? An’ like empower an’ shit...? An’ like...um...you know, like um, society an’ shit...?” 

Havemeyer.  Photo: LAUSD
Most agree that such ideals as these, dramatically illustrated by the painted messages, are almost as valuable as the time, materials and labor necessary to eradicate the inspiring defacements, plus the potential cost of added security to prevent future thought-provoking commentary — all costs which will be proudly borne by the property owners whose structures were so affected. 

Yet some are not so easily swayed. 

“I don’t care what the so-called message is,” declares Dr. Ernest B. Havemeyer, superintendistrator LAUSD’s West Valley district. “This graffiti is absolutely unacceptable.

“Backwards phrasing, horrendous punctuation, and sloppy spraypaintmanship — dear God, I hope this isn't one of our kids. It’s poor performance like this that’ll cost us even more federal funding.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Days Numbered For Canoga Park Public Art Space Due To Ongoing Construction

By Sherman Farralone, Quilt staff


The Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council convened for a rare emergency meeting last night to discuss the future of a popular public art space just off Topanga Canyon Boulevard near Hart Street.

Located on the north side of a privately owned building, Canoga Park Tagging Wall #44265 has been legally recognized as a public art space “designated specifically for the purposes of illegal tagging, prohibited graffiti and other unlawful defacement(s)” for close to a year now since the building on the adjacent lot, an abandoned car dealership and popular tagging spot itself, was demolished. 

While still currently visible to passersby, the future of Tagging Wall #44265 is in jeopardy
due to ongoing construction that will ultimately block it from the public's view. Staff photo.
But ongoing new construction on that same lot threatens to compromise the wall's visibility for its intended audience: those who happen to glance over to the left for a second while driving southbound on Topanga Canyon Boulevard. 

“Like technically an’ shit...? We could probably still keep tagging it an’ shit,” says Canoga Park's official tagger laureate, DAИK, “But if a building goes up there an’ shit, no one’s going to see our tags an’ shit. And that’s just unacceptable an’ shit.”
pOOpyPantz keeps in practice by tagg-
ing one of his cans. Photo: pOOpyPantz.

A number of Canoga Park tagging and graffiti artists took the podium to speak about the importance of keeping CPTW #44265 accessible to area artists and visible to all. 

“Its like proximity an’ shit...?  To Canoga Park High School an’ shit...? Is like important, you know, for up-and-coming taggers an’ shit,” explains street artist pOOpyPantz. “Like if someone wants to hit it, they only have to cut one class, instead of cutting all day, ‘cause it’s so nearby an’ shit. So it’s good for, like, education an’ shit.”

The owner of the building to which the wall is an integral part briefly took the podium himself to voice his opinion but was quickly shouted down. “How is wall recognized as public art space?!” demanded an angry Razmik Barsamian. “Is private property! Is on my building! My insurance premiums go up with boolshit like this! I am tired of painting over this crap!”

[Barsamian’s outburst was not well received and the building owner was forcibly removed from the meeting by police. —Ed.]
Canoga Park's dearth of Starbucks
will soon be slightly less dearthy.
According to paperwork filed in early 2016 with the Canoga Park Department of Building Construction and Construction of Buildings, coffee powerhouse Starbucks as well as a self-storage company are planning to open businesses on the lot adjacent to the wall. Construction is already well underway.

Despite Canoga Park’s commitment to public art and youth empowerment, members of the Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council voted 9 to 8 to allow construction to continue, with the two members who did not vote, Vera Morris and Jim Gutierrez, having gone on a coffee run for the rest of the council. 

Reached later for comment, Morris said, “See, now if we didn’t have to go all the way to the Starbucks on Canoga Avenue, we would’ve been back in time for the vote [and] could have put a stop to this construction.” Added Gutierrez, another opponent of blocking wall access, “If only there was a closer Starbucks, we could have prevented this nightmare.”

With the injunction not passing, construction will continue and unfettered enviewability of the wall will come to an end within the next few months.

Mural, Mural On The Wall: The artist responsible for one of the wall's largest pieces has reacted to
news of its impending obscurement with a resigned sense of dispassionate indifference.  Staff photo.
Local artist 'Apathy,' whose 20-foot piece will soon be hidden from view by the self-storage building, summed up the morose, defeated feeling shared by a number of his fellow taggers by the meeting's end. “Who gives a shit anymore? Really, what difference does any of it make?” he shrugged. "I just don't care."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March On Canoga Park A Huge Success

By Blythe Moorcraft, Quilt staff


In a peaceful show of empowerment, local women banded together Saturday morning here in the very bosom of Canoga Park and participated in a march to support women’s rights, social justice and civil liberties. 

Image: Facebook.com
Open to everyone, the non-partisan march was a part of a vast movement to unify, empower and inspire women across America and “to help make our voices heard,” according to a Facebook page affiliated with the nationwide series of events. The Canoga Park march was organized to allow those—unable to attend the larger march that was held downtown—to participate locally and show solidarity with other participants in Los Angeles as well as across the country.

The march began shortly before nine a.m. at the 8200 block of Canoga Avenue and proceeded up towards Roscoe Boulevard. The marchers, which according to some estimates numbered as many as five, waited patiently for the ‘Walk’ signal and then headed across Canoga en masse and continued east on Roscoe. Along the way, others were inspired to join the band of activists, including a guy on a skateboard and two other guys heading to Home Depot to loiter around the perimeter of the parking lot. 

Encompassing two major Canoga Park streets, the route of the Women's March is
 marked in red with its starting point denoted with "Start." Participants followed this
path in its entirety to the finish of the march, here delineated with the word "End."
The march continued for another approximately sixty feet to its terminus: a covered area featuring a series of benches. The peaceful march was evidently well-organized as traffic was not impacted nor were there any road closures scheduled for the event. A spokesman from the Topanga Division of the Los Angeles Police Department reported no vandalism nor violence throughout the slightly over six minute march, and there were zero arrests.

The end-point rally of the Women's March on Canoga Park had a festive, party atmosphere. Staff photo.
The historic march ended on a poignant, powerful note as many of those participating silently looked to the north, perhaps wondering what the future would bring.

Correction: Turns out what we thought was a Women’s March was just the ladies from Xposed’s midnight to 8:30 a.m. shift walking across the street to the Metro bus stop, waiting for the Orange Line and going home. We regret the error.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Canoga Park Department of Traffics Announces 2017 Topanga Canyon Boulevard Closure Schedule

By Sherman Farralone, Quilt staff


File photo.

Following last year's Water Main Break (December 27) and ensuing Road Entearupment, Repair & Repaviation, and yesterday's Hit & Run, Police Evadement, Parked Car & Newspaper Box Demolition Derby and Karmic Crash — both resulting in the extended closure of Topanga Canyon Boulevard between Sherman Way and Hart Street — the Canoga Park Department of Traffics (Snarls, Jams & Pain-in-the-Ass Detours Division) has partnered with $10 Psychic Readings & Childcare to announce the full schedule of 2017 Topanga Canyon Boulevard closures along that same stretch of road, as a service to Canoga Park drivers.

2017 Topanga Canyon Boulevard Closure Schedule
Please note that Magic 8-Ball-based predictions and modern road repair are inexact sciences and the Topanga Boulevard Closure Schedule is subject to changes and additional catastrophes.

January 25:  “Suspicious Package” reported at side of road. Road and surrounding neighborhoods evacuated 6:02 a.m. until 5:32 p.m. (Turns out to be an empty Amazon Prime box discarded by a littering 'porch pirate.')

February 17:  Driver of bulk pickup trash truck neglects tie-down process, loses entire load of used mattresses. Southbound lanes closed for six hours while volunteers locate urine- and bedbug-resistant hazmat suits before cleaningup roadway.

March 26:  1st Annual KFC to Arby’s 0.34k Marathon.  All lanes closed from 7 a.m. to 7:17 a.m.

April 14:  Adorable family of ducks crossing street. Northbound lanes closed from 2:42 to 2:44; Southbound lanes closed from 2:44 to 2:47.

May 2: After LAUSD signs contract with new frozen food distributor, progressive Canoga Park High School students form “Tater Tots Matter” social justice movement and block roadway to protest Free School Lunch menu changes. All lanes closed 8:00 a.m. until 1:17 p.m. when activists get hungry and rename event to “Occupy Taco Bell.”

Topanga Canyon Boulevard between Hart St. and Sherman Way was again closed to traffic on
 January 15 to honor the hit-and-run driver who risked his life trying to evade police. Staff photo.
June 22: Irritating but not quite cataclysmic impact of poorly-aimed North Korean missile. (Meant for Reseda.)  Northbound lanes briefly closed.

July 1-7: Asphalt patch from missile crater repair resembles Virgin Mary and/or beloved comedic actress Ann Morgan Guilbert; entire road and nearby side streets unnavigable due to pilgrimages of large numbers of fervent Catholics and Dick Van Dyke Show fans.

August 4-9: Broken-down RV ‘city’ appears after dubious court order forces two dozen dilapidated Winnebagos off of fancy-schmancy West Hills ooh-la-la residential streets. All lanes impassable; uptick in normal level of Canoga Park sidewalk defecation.

September15: Pedestrian loses contact lens while using crosswalk at Gault — everyone ordered to "just stop where you are, stay still, don’t move around," while she looks for it. All lanes closed from 2:07 p.m. until 11:38 p.m. when search is called off by tearful LAPD sheriff.

October 28 - November 2: Standard, run-of-the-mill, and increasingly common car-swallowing 25-foot diameter, 15-foot deep sinkhole, sponsored by DWP. All lanes closed.

November 3-5: Sinkhole yields "unprecedented” discovery of archaeologically-significant 
Papier-Mâché Army. (Later revealed to be illegal dumping of unsold 2011 Captain America piñatas.)

December 31: Massive 14-meter asteroid — dismissed by JPL’s Near-Earth Object project because “it was just heading for the West Valley” — hits middle of street. Topanga Canyon Boulevard closed permanently; apocalyptic rain of empty cardboard boxes, sporting goods, cowboy boots, roast beef sandwiches, original recipe and extra-crispy chicken, party rental supplies, lifetime brakes, automotive stereos, donuts, house paint, communion wafers and dollar store merchandise showers Canoga Park for several days.

Related: Canoga Park Quilt editor already “feeling pangs of regret” after burning off a dozen “brilliant” premises for one bullshit listicle-type piece.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Shelves Overflowing After Canoga Park Thrift Stores Reap End-of-Year Bounty

By Blythe Moorcroft, Quilt Staff


Donations to thrift stores in the Canoga Park area were “through the roof” in the days leading up to the new year, according to an industry insider, leading to an abundance of fresh merchandise on the charitable organizations’ shelves in the first weeks of 2017.

Some of the fabulous offerings currently available at Salvation Army's Family Store.   Staff photo.
“Oh, yeah, it was ca-ray-zee,” laughs Trenice Campbell, Donation Intake Coordinator at the Salvation Army Family Store on Roscoe Boulevard. “The last week or so? Through! The! Roof! They kept me hopping with all those bags of clothes — some nice stuff, too — an’ Christmas decorations, an’ mugs for your coffee, an’ whatnot. They just kept coming an’ donating! Now don’t get me started on that last day, New Year’s Eve! It was off the hook! I’ve never seen so many donations!”

Generous to a fault, Canoga Park residents continued to donate gently used goods even after
Council Thrift Store was closed, by arranging them neatly outside the back door. Staff photo.
Most thrift stores in the area reported similar situations with increased drop-offs during the week of December 26 to 31. Says court-mandated volunteer D’onatio Nardone of Goodwill Owensmouth, “Yeah, all day long there was a line of cars [of] people dropping stuff off. It never ended. Next time I have to do community service, I’m signing up for freeway trash pickup instead.”

Things of Leon: A handsome ceramic mug donated by a mostly anonymous donor.  Staff photo.
Donations were brisk at Assistance League Thrift store in the Ralphs Shopping Center as well, according to Joan Mitnick, who runs the cash register on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and sometimes Saturdays if Annette is out. “It was a little hectic. I had to coordinate drop-offs and keep an eye on the usual itinerants who wander in and spend the better part of the day ‘browsing’ and making everyone nervous,” reports the spritely volunteer.

Albert Sheldrick. File photo.
“What we’re seeing is the annual uptick of people who have come across some bit of information leading them to believe that by donating these goods to charitable organizations by the end of the year, they can get a significant break on the taxes they owe come April 15th — maybe even get a larger refund,” says Albert Sheldrick, a licensed CPA, or Canoga Park accountant, and owner of Peppy Accounting on Saticoy. “However, what many of them fail to realize is that the value of a bag of threadbare underpants, a half-burned salted caramel-scented candle and a string of non-working Christmas lights is often less than what your accountant will charge for filing an itemized list of donations to what would otherwise by a standard 1040-EZ form.

“Or maybe everyone was just getting rid of crap, wanting to start the new year with a clean slate, free of useless junk and unwanted, thoughtless, last-minute gifts,” he concedes. “By the way, thanks for coming in and asking about all this. Here, take this complimentary National Lampoon Christmas Vacation Hot Sauce set, never opened. Seriously, take it, or it’s going in the garbage.”

RELATED: Canoga Park Dollar Store Celebrates The New Year With Enormous Buyout of Mostly-Still-Good Pumpkin Spice-Flavored Merchandise

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Topanga Canyon Water Main Break Has Devastating Consequences For Canoga Park

By Charlotte Rudnick, Quilt staff.


Cast Iron Water Main Burstage Floods Topanga Canyon at Gault Street
Topanga Canyon Boulevard Closed at Site of Pipe Enbreaktion
Section of Rte 27 Also Closed Due To Broken Pipe
Wait, Wait — Turns Out Topanga Canyon Boulevard & Rte 27 Are The Same Thing
Nearby Canoga Park High School Closed During Pipe Repairment
Water Main #CP-4268-32: Just One Of Many Legendary Water
   Mains We've Said Goodbye To In 2016 [Slideshow]
Celebrities React To Loss of Canoga Park Water Main on Twitter

The closed section of Topanga Canyon Boulevard on Wednesday.  While DWP crews worked
tirelessly to repair the broken pipe and replace the road, many citizens questioned their own faith,
wondering how such a tragedy could occur in the shadow of a church at Christmastime. Staff photo.
A WATER MAIN BREAK below a busy thoroughfare in Canoga Park forced the closure of a northbound section of Topanga Canyon Boulevard on Tuesday, likely resulting in devastating long-term economic, cultural and psychological consequences for the area and its residents.

Staff photo.
Local boot business leader Boot Barn, located along the now-closed section of Topanga Canyon, has reported a marked decrease in sales of Kiwi brand 36” brown & yellow round nylon work boot laces. “We sold two pair last week. This week — well, since Tuesday — we haven’t moved any,” says Carl Zapatos-Botas, a sales representative with the store. “Of course we sell mostly non-lacing boots to begin with, and people can still get to us from the back alley, so, eh, maybe take all that with a grain of salt.”

Further up the street — yet still affected by the closure — a popular storefront was shuttered. “Back In 10 Minutes,” reads the sign on the door of ABC Party Rental & Sales, “Went to Boot Barn to buy new laces for my workboots.” It’s unclear when — if ever —  the business will open again, since there was no way to tell when the announcement had been posted. Two, five, six, seven minutes before? The terse, impassive hand-written note yielded no clue.

Another 'sign' of the devastation the broken pipe wrought. Staff photo.
The failure of the ancient 6-inch cast iron pipe and resulting road closure has taken an emotional toll on the people of Canoga Park, as well.

“Christ almighty! You know, I usually avoid Topanga altogether,” says Téodor Pasternak, who had to traverse a circuitous detour to get to his home on Vassar Avenue. “But the one time of the year — the one goddamn week — between Christmas and New Year’s — when it’s not wall-to-wall goddamn traffic out here, when things lessen a teeny-tiny bit because so many people are out of town, and this shit happens. And this is after I just spent six minutes negotiating the clusterf_ck of traffic cones, rent-a-cops, and slow, stupid, stupid drivers, none of whom ever heard of a turn signal, all the way from Erwin, up past Victory, along the frickin’ gridlocked entrance to Westfield Topanga — who even goes to that mall anymore? — and up to Vanowen.
The scene facing Canoga Park resident Téodor Pasternak and others as they reached the closed
section of Topanga Canyon Blvd and had to take alternate routes to their destinations. Staff photo.
“And I get through all that, go one more block and the goddamn road’s blocked off,” Pasternak continues. “I could really use a Mint Chocolate Swirl Shake to calm the f_ck down, but I’m damned if I know how I can even get to Arby’s now. And those things are only available for a limited time!”

Other area residents have been similarly bothered by the closure.  “Shit, man, that’s not cool, you know?” says Davtak ‘Davvy’ Barsamian, one of the most popular up-and-coming stars of Canoga Park’s fast-growing sport of illegal street racing. “Two, three a.m., I’m usually tearing up and down Topanga, you know? I guess I can just go against traffic for the north run, but they better fix that shit soon, you know?”
Illegal street racing is increasingly popular in the West Valley.  Road closures such as the one
caused by the broken water main could have a negative effect on the growing sport. Staff photo.
The pipe breakage is “typical for this time of year,” says Dr. Morris Detzer, Professor of Hydraulic Pipery at Pierce College Winnetka's Municipal Engineering Department.  “When you take LA’s horrendously crumbling infrastructuve and couple that with the fact that we’ve recently had rain, giving all of Southern California an enormous surplus of water, you’ve already got a problem. Then factor in the DWP’s decrepit waterworks and add the fact that everyone’s out of town and therefore not using water: the pressure builds up and the water’s got to go somewhere. These pipes are 98 percent rust at this point.” he says. “Most of them have the consistency of a deep-fried tortilla from a soft, flaky José Olé Microwave Chimichanga. Pardon, I haven’t had lunch yet.”

Dr. Morris Detzer, left, likened the LA DWP's system of disintegrating pipes to the outside of
a delicious chimichanga, right. Photos: Morris Detzer: Mimi Detzer. Chimichanga: José Olé.
Detzer went on to note that he wouldn’t be surprised to see many more pipe failures over the next few days “with water mains popping, perhaps somewhat suitably, like corks from champagne bottles on New Year’s Eve. This being Canoga Park, André champagne bottles.” 

With the broken pipe occurring at Topanga at Gault Street — the location of Canoga Park’s Firestone franchise — the well-liked tire retailer & automotive garage, now completely cut off from its customer base, has permanently closed. “Such is the catastrophic impact of an incident such as this,” notes Mariel Coleman of the Canoga Park Chamber of Commerce. “And look next door. What used to be a bustling BMW dealership is now nothing more than an empty lot. This road closure is sure to have enormous effects on the Canoga Park economy and beyond. Will the West Valley recover? Will we ever be able to return to our way of life? It’s much too early to tell.”

Canoga Park's former Firestone Complete Auto Care Shop had the misfortune of being located
on the very corner where the water main burst.  It is now permanently closed.  Staff photo.
While officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power claim to have the repairs completed by Thursday, many are less optimistic. No one knows exactly when the three-tenths of a mile stretch of Topanga Canyon Boulevard between Hart Street and Sherman Way will reopen, with some predictions putting it as late as June 2018 and—

Update: Well, it’s all fixed and Topanga Canyon Boulevard’s open again. Thanks to the hard-working DWP employees who fixed the problem in record time.Turns out Firestone had already closed before the pipe burst, Bob Smith’s dealership relocated to Calabasas years ago, those shakes at Arby’s are still available, Boot Barn is the place for Western wear, boots of all kinds plus hard-to-find laces; and we challenge you to find a better $3.99 bottle of champagne than André. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Canoga Park Quilt's 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the 'Park
Not a creature was tagging
(Except on Lanark)

Christmas in Canoga Park is a festive time for all and once again, we've sent our merry band of elves into the finest local businesses to seek out only the best in gift-giving ideas for the holiday season. You'll find unique items from old favorites as well as from shops making their debut appearance in the CPQ Gift Guide. We hope you'll like what we've found — and we think friends and loved ones receiving any of the marvelous gifts listed below will have their own Christmas wish come true!

All items are available as listed as we went to press, and all of our local merchants included are good folks, no foolin', so shop locally and tell 'em you saw it in the Quilt!

Oh — and be sure to click on the photos to see each gift in exquisite enlarged detail!

SPICE UP CHRISTMAS this year with a Hot Jalapeño Flavored Snack Stick from your friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven. Three and a half inches of beef and mechanically-separated chicken never tasted so good — and they're still a holiday bargain at just 39¢ each. • Coconut Lime After Sun Aloe Gel helps moisturize dry, sun-damaged skin and it's the soothing secret of those who’ve enjoyed a few too many Hot Jalapeño Flavored Snack Sticks — apply liberally to outer anal tissue as necessary. $1.99 on the 7-Select endcap. 22215 Sherman Way, Canoga Park.

TAKE THE STRESS OUT of a hectic holiday season with nature’s relaxer, marihuana-weed. In fact — not a “weed” at all, but a cultivated plant known for its therapeutish, relaxious and encalmatative properties—and very popular with Canoga Park’s “teen-age” crowd. Choose from such varieties as Sherman Way Sherbet, CPA Topshelf,  Valerio Amnesia, EBT Kush, Saticoy Gold, many others. From $15 to $250. Must suffer from “extreme anxiety" as attested by scrawled note from Medi-Cal-licensed physician's receptionist to purchase. High AF Collective, 420 Deering Avenue, Canoga Park, CA

POINSETTIAS ARE WONDERFUL, but a bit monochromatic. And they tend to lose their impact after December. This spring, plant colorful, climbing Sweet Pea flowering vines. Burpee’s Galaxy® mix yields large blooms in a rainbow of colors. What’s more, their robust fragrance is a gift indeed — helps mask the pungent odor of that rank skunkweed constantly wafting over the fence from your  extreme anxiety-ridden neighbor. Just $2.29 on the seed packet carousel at Green Thumb Nursery, 21812 Sherman Way, C.P., Calif. 

VAPING MAY BE ‘IN’ THIS YEAR but clothing decimated by pesky moth larvae is never in style! Keep your colorful Christmas sweater in tip-top condition and be part of the fashionable vaping revolution with the Apex Moth Vaporizer. Kills destructive moths by continuous penetrating poisonous vapors of toxic paradichlorobenzene; keeps garments hole-free and ready for jolly holiday entertaining. $5.50 at the Salvation Army Family Store, Boutique Section, 21375 Roscoe Boulevard, Canoga Pk., Calif.

IMAGINE THE LOOK OF DELIGHT on the faces of your hosts as you drop by their annual holiday party with the thoughtful gift of sauerkraut. A Christmas favorite well-known for its laxative properties, all-natural Lowell sauerkraut — made from only the highest quality cabbages — is best served hot or cold and pairs well with most anything. Versatile, too — looks magnificent draped on the tree as a fragrant tinsel or placed on the buffet table to be enjoyed as a finger food right from the jar! Imported. $2.50 at Big Lots, 21910 Sherman Way, Canoga Pk., California.   

GIVE YOUR PERRY COMO CHRISTMAS ALBUM A REST during this joyful season and why not give another beloved Italian singer a spin? ‘Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites,’ from High Fidelity MGM Records, offers a dozen peppy songs to be sung during “Hannukah” — the Yiddish word for Christmas. Lovely shikse Connie throatily warbles, burbles and caterwauls her way through the most requested tunes, from “Mein Shtetele Belz” (Carol of the Bells) and “Oiren Prepetchik” (O Christmas Tree) to even “Havah Negilah” (Holly Jolly Christmas), guaranteed to have you up off your tuches and dancing a good old-fashioned Christmas Horah under the mazeltoe $3. National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop, 21716 Sherman Way in Canoga Park’s bustling thrift district.   

WHETHER YOU'RE HEADING to an all-night blowout at Canoga Park's beloved Women's Club, or you're lucky enough to live in its vicinity, one thing's for sure — it's not going to be a "Silent Night!" For the Women's Club partygoer, she'll want to douse herself with plenty of this classy sailor tattoo-inspired value-priced perfume (an  "impostor" brand — but we won't tell!) all but guaranteeing a late-night drunken parking lot assignation with her cousin in the back of an unlocked 2005 Ford Expedition. • Women's Club neighbors will appreciate this bottle of sleeping pills to help get some much-needed shut-eye despite the never-ending blaring music. 3-oz. bottle of perfume / 30 caplet bottle of sleeping pills are enough for almost an entire weekend of typical residential area revelry. $1, your choice, at 99¢ Only Store (north), 20914 Sherman Way, Canoga Park.

IT’S JUST NOT THE HOLIDAYS without the great taste of Master brand Fish N’ Nuts, a modern tradition that traces its origins to the very first Christmas, with some Gospel translations describing the three wise men presenting the Christ-child with gold, frankincense and fried sardines with peanuts. $1.19 for the convenient 155 gram can. Island Pacific Supermarket, 20922 Roscoe Boulevard, Canoga Park 12. 

CHRISTMAS AND MUSIC GO TOGETHER like fish n' nuts. And to make your holiday merrier, twenty of the most popular songs of the season are available in one definitive collection on Compact Disc. From the holy Vivas Equivacado to joyful Canchis Canchis; from the traditional carol Linda y Mentirosa to the jolly La Fronterita, all of your holiday favorites are on "Radio-Papi.Com: Cumbia Sonidera - 20 Hits" to be enjoyed year after year. Just 50¢ at Pay 99¢ + Or Less, 21828 Sherman Way in the heart of Canoga Park.

IT’S A SAFE BET NAT KING COLE would have given chestnuts the ol’ heave-ho and ‘The Christmas Song’ would open a bit differently had he tasted the hot & spicy goodness of El Sabroso Pork Cracklins. Fried-out pork fat with attached skin is a must for every holiday dinner table, but why not start a new tradition this year? Gather the gang together and, with needle & thread, string a gay garland of the delicious crispy wads in place of humdrum popcorn! $1.39 at TIP Mini Mart, 7300 Topanga Cyn. Blvd #1. “Next to Subway.”

GIFT CARDS ARE TOO IMPERSONAL. And cash always just seems so crass. Good thing there’s one thing everyone likes getting: the gift of cheese. Tasty 1 oz. Cracker Barrel Cheese Stick wrapped in shiny Christmas red — perfect for the holidays. Convenient, too. Just slip one into your Christmas cards this season: The mailman, the gardener, the fellow who comes by twice a week to paint over the gang tags on your back fence will think it’s an idea as sharp as the tangy cheddar inside! $1.19 at AM/PM Minimart, 22375 Sherman Way at Shoup.

NO ONE LIKES BEING SICK during Christmastime — or any time! And if illness strikes late at night or on the weekend when Canoga Park’s many storefront urgent care clinics are closed, it’s good to be prepared! Here’s Walgreens to the rescue with the latest in technology: A new-fangled electronic thermometer. Simply insert into rectum, clench and wait 30 seconds for an accurate reading. May also be used orally. $6.79. Walgreens — “at the corner of happy & healthy & Topanga Canyon & Saticoy.™”

TODAY’S HUSTLE-BUSTLE HOLIDAY SEASON simply doesn’t allow for such time-consuming traditions as baking delicious treats as Grandmother did in her day. But Christmas cookies with that personal touch are still within reach thanks to 99¢ Only stores. Sprinkle festive, red Cielito brand Extra Hot Chili Powder atop Lil‘ Dutch Maid sugar cookies for that homemade, Canoga Park taste that’ll fool even ol’ Saint Nick himself! 99¢ each at 99¢ Only Store (south), 6420 Desoto Avenue. "On the Winnetka border." 

SHE MAY NEVER KNOW who left it on her desk, but she’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness of the “Secret Santa” who gives her the gift of self-assurance with Personal Care Feminine Hygiene Spray. Hypo-allergenic and offers all-day freshness control, too! Generous 2 oz. aerosol can packed with enough spritzes to neutralize more odor than even eight maids-a-milking can emit.  •  There’s nothing fishy about the good taste of Beach Cliff Sardines in mustard sauce — the savory snack chock-full of protein in the handsome keepsake tin. Have a gift-wrapped supply by the front door as last-minute gifts for the postman, carolers and Canoga Park's ubiquitous Mormon missionaries, or to throw at package thieves. $1 each at Dollar Tree, 20936 Roscoe Blvd, C.P., Calif.

WHETHER YOU GIVE OR RECEIVE these spirited holidays gifts, you’re sure to get a warm glow! Classier than chugging off-brand Nyquil, this 50ml ‘mini’ of UV Cherry Flavored Vodka looks and tastes just like cough syrup. $1.50  •  Pound this trendy “Fireball” Cinnamon Whisky and the bridge you’re squalidly living under along the LA River is transformed — if just for a little while — into something a little less squalid out of a Florida Georgia Line song. $4.00. Find both & more at Papa Mac’s Liquor, 8219 Canoga Ave., C.P., California.

CHRISTMASTIME BOOTY CALLS are much easier when your holiday hook-up has his own key!  And starting at just $3 each, you’ll want to get plenty of spares to hand off as thoughtful remembrances to friends new and old — from that handsome security guard patrolling the parking lot behind the laundromat, to that sketchy guy who smells of Red Hots candy and unwashed hair and keeps singing shitty bro-country music but appears to be hung like a pony, to the entire hot, sweaty fútbol team practicing on the field at Lanark Park. Jay-Jay Lock & Security, 7138 Owensmouth, Canoga Park.

WITH TIES TO CHRISTMAS going back as far as the timeless poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” is there any ‘Moore’ appropriate gift than the versatile kerchief? Whether used as a decorative accent in the breast pocket (or even as a tiny reindeer blanket!), displayed in the back pocket to subtly indicate homosexual availability and preference, wrapped around the head for a handsome ‘old-school’ gangsta look, or even as a receptacle for nasally-propelled mucus during cold and allergy seasons, this handy handkerchief fits the bill. Available in a rainbow of colors, and with prices ranging from $1 to just $2.50, you’ll want to pick one up for everyone on your list, from the well-dressed watersports enthusiast to the CPA member afflicted with hay fever. T-Mart, 20924 Sherman Way in Canoga Park.

THINGS CAN GET LONELY for Mrs. Claus this time of year, with overworked Santa spending more time filling stockings than his wife’s ...needs. Her solution? A delicious, fat lollipop that stands proudly at the ready to satisfy her sweet tooth ‘til the Christmas rush is over. Hard candy sucker is a sweet substitute in festive holiday colors — a thick, sticky mouthful of fun she’ll enjoy for hours and hours! And no worries, St. Nick — at 4” it’ll never replace the real thing. $3.95 at Private Moments, 8223 Canoga Ave., Canoga Pk. California.

SHE’LL ENJOY TRANSFORMING herself from an abominable hair monster into a vision of yuletide loveliness with the Xtra Care Cream Hair Remover Kit. Slather onto legs, upper lip or groin, wait, then scrrrape off with spatula (included). Voila — hair’s gone and her tips at the club will rise like the Christmas star.  •  From Bokados, the first name in tortillas de maíz sazonadas, come Enre-2 — mini rolled corn tortillas with the Extreme flavor folks love. Enjoy at home, on the go, while working the catwalk at the club. Enre-2 tortilla snack or Xtra Care Hair Remover, your choice, $1 each at Super Dollar, 7025 Topanga Cyn Blvd in Canoga Park.

YOU'LL FIND A FANCIFUL WONDERLAND 'neath most every tree and leading the toy parade at better homes will be this year's hottest plaything: Item 11-982 PLUSH FROG (PURPLE). Lovable, huggable and surface washable, this funny amphibian is resplendently decked out in royal purple with yellow stars — and will fill a lucky tots' eyes with Christmas wonder. From the good folks at Peek-A-Boo Toys (maker of fine, polyester fiber-filled playthings since 1995) and available for just 50¢ and a steady hand from the 'Hot Stuff' steel claw game in Lavaderia El Gringo, 21720 Sherman Way in Canoga Park's bustling shopping district.

Merry Christmas
From The Canoga Park Quilt!