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Pay Toilets, Pink's Hot Dogs, and S-C-R-A-B-B-L-E

First, I want to cool down some of the Scrabble hysteria. Not all of it, just some of it.

Yes, Mattel did announce that there is going to be a new version of the game that allows players to use proper names. This has been absolutely verboten and, as I can attest, the cause of innumerable Scrabble scuffles over decades.

But this version of the game won’t be sold in the United States, because in this country and Canada, Hasbro, not Mattel, makes and sells Scrabble.

Still, the new Scrabble Trickster edition is something of a lame, dumbing-down marketing outreach to what Officer Krupke might call the ‘’yute’’ among us. Evidently Mattel has no faith that younger gamesters have an adequate vocabulary to take on Classic Scrabble, which admittedly can run to obscure words like ‘’ern’’ as well as to loftier words.

But to debase the game with proper names? To cater to a generation brought up in a product-placement world, where they wear every name except their own? Fie on that Scrabble. ‘’Fie?’’? Oh yes indeed. Six points.

I am taking quite personally the hold-up of the venerable Pink’s hot dog stand in Hollywood. The employees told the gunman they couldn’t get into the safe, so the thief made off with the tip jar. That is the definition of low. But why is it personal? Because, amid all the shiny awards I’ve won, what honor can top the fact of having a Pink’s hot dog named after me? It’s the Patt Morrison Baja Veggie dog, with guacamole, tomatoes and onions – vegan, and delish.

If I ever run into that guy who pinched the tips, I’ll squeeze him like a diner catsup bottle until he gives up the loot.

If you were watching CNN today, you would have seen a story about Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s showdown with the City Council over the DWP -- go listen to the story on the Patt Morrison page if you didn't hear it. It's one of the most intense city political stories since ... I don't know, since three of former-Mayor Sam Yorty's former harbor commissioners were indicted for bribery in the dark backward and abysm of civic time [and one of them had ''mysteriously drowned.'' I love the ''mysteriously.'']

Anyway, what was odd about the video CNN used is that it was so outdated. It showed the mayor, all right – but he was flanked by police chief Bill Bratton, who left the chief’s job last year, and Rocky Delgadillo, who hasn’t been city attorney for about nine months now. CNN may not know about the changing of the guard, but we Angelenos do. Why the flashback?

And you heard that Spirit Air may start charging for carry-on baggage that goes in the overhead compartment. But the Irish-based discount carrier Ryanair is already way ahead of that. It’s considering in-flight pay toilets. For flights lasting less than an hour, a trip to the head could cost you a pound, or a euro. And Ryanair is thinking about removing some of the lavatories to make room for more seats.

Pay toilets have been banned in California since the crusade by former California Secretary of State March Fong Eu to get rid of them, in part because they’re discriminatory against women. She actually smashed a toilet to pieces on the steps of the Capitol. So Ryanair, don’t plan on any California routes.

-- Patt Morrison