Overdone L.A. news feature #12 *

Paramount is home to the Zamboni machine!

Sorry, pet peeve. At least some editor or reporter didn't discover...the Tree People!

* Pro and con: Deanne Stillman emails:

The Zamboni story is the LA equivalent of NY's "houseboat life in Manhattan," which appears every six months in one or more of the local papers, and sometimes NY Magazine, along with "what to eat on jury duty" (courts are near Chinatown). "Houseboat life in Manhattan" is such an old hack story that John O'Hara even made a comment about it in "Butterfield 8," in which a character turns down the sorry assignment. I read "Butterfield 8" in high school, and a few years later, while living in Manhattan, an editor called me with that pathetic idea. Because of O'Hara, I turned it down!

But a Times reporter emails to defend his colleague, pointing out:

I've lived in Southern California for 7 years after a decade in Detroit...and I never knew the Zamboni came from out here. Might seem an overdone topic to you locals but it was news to me, which raises an interesting question about the shelf-lives of features. Given the population growth here, how much time needs to lapse before old is new again?

Valid point. Some stories deserve to be done over. I definitely agree that maybe I've lived here too long — but there's more of us than many realize. Meanwhile, Bob Timmerman ferrets out that the last full-blown Zamboni feature in the Times ran in 1999. Since then, he counts "numerous" mentions in the "Only in L.A." column by Steve Harvey, who himself wrote a Zamboni feature in 1988.

Last edited 12:15 p.m.

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