It ain’t over until the big dog barks

MaceyWant a local rooting interest in the “Super Bowl of dog shows,” the Westminster Kennel Club show? In tonight’s finale in Madison Square Garden, root for the Akita. Ch. Redwitch Reason To Believe (known to her friends as Macey) will be taken into Best In Show competition by Laurie Jordan-Fenner, part of an Elk Grove family of professional handers.

If the team takes the top prize, it arguably won’t be the biggest win for this family. Last year, Larry Fenner handled an Australian shepherd to Best In Show over more than 20,000 other dogs (Westminster is limited to 2,500 because The Garden is a relative tiny venue) at the four-day English canine entravaganza known as Crufts.

The Jordan-Fenner clan may be local, but Macey comes from a British line of Akitas who have won big all over the world. Her win in the Working Group last night makes her only the second Akita in the show’s history to advance to the final seven.

Update: Make that two locals. Larry Fenner won the Herding group with Bouvier des Flandres. But neither dog took Best in Show.

What a haul!

Lost in all the blah-blah over King Ron’s dog problems and astronaut love-triangles was this little gem about a state worker accused of using her procurement card to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dough on everything she could think of:

A state Department of Child Support Services analyst used a state credit card to embezzle $320,000, buying a flat-screen television, hot tub, gazebo, iPods, handcuffs, chains and whips, according to California Highway Patrol officials.

Carey Renee Aceves, 34, later fenced many of the items to buy a new Lexus, officials said. But even as her bosses began probing her purchases in January, Aceves was being trained to be make purchases for another state agency.

Wow, that’s some haul! Especially since, as recounted in the local beancounters blog, it can be difficult under normal circumstances for state workers to buy day planners.

Frankly, I think Ms. Aceves has a future with Halliburton.

Dog’s best friend he’s not

More in The Bee on the problems dogging Ron Artest:

Ron Artest says he loves dogs, but the Kings basketball star has a string of complaints on record in Placer County for failure to care for his own pets and letting them roam loose.

Since July, his four dogs have spent a total of 77 nights at the pound — at a cost to their master of $1,942 in boarding and impound fees.

One of his dogs got out and never returned, another was hit by a car, and yet another was killed in his yard. Artest admits his dogs have aggression issues, but suggests a wild animal killed the dog. Other complaints noted the dogs tied up without food or water. (Incidentally, tethering dogs for extended periods is now illegal in California, in part because animal behavior experts say the practice makes the animals more likely to attack.)

He says he has hired someone to help, but I gotta think the better thing would be to give them all up for adoption to the Placer SPCA., along with a big donation. They’ll find people who do more than claim to care about animals, as King Ron does.

Hey Ron, do the right thing, will ya? Being a dog dad is clearly not your calling.

Earth to Ron: Hire a pet-sitter

Surprise to no one given my non de blog, I love dogs. Got myself Sac County’s legal limit of them, all well-cared-for and not a nuisance to the neighbors. The aforementioned ’98 Plymouth Voyager I schlep around town in is because of them, because you just can’t fit that many dogs in your average sports car.

I’m sure it will also surprise no one that I don’t make as much money as the King’s Ron Artest does. And yet, surprisingly, no one has ever had to get on my case about feeding my dogs. Further, although I don’t travel nearly as much as an NBA star does, I am on the road from time to time. And guess what? There are these lovely people called pet-sitters who will come in and — get this — FEED AND CARE FOR MY PETS while I’m gone. There are also boarding kennels, too, such as the fabulously upscale Wag in West Sac, the cost of which should not give a professional athlete pause.

And yet, King Ron can’t pull it together for his best friends.

Continue reading “Earth to Ron: Hire a pet-sitter”

Sacramento’s coolest car sighting? Give it up!

Nash MetropolitanWhat’s the coolest vehicle you’ve ever spotted in Sacramento? On a recent trip to L.A., I was astonished by how many Aston-Martins, Ferraris and the like that oh-so-casually blew past me on the 405.

Here in Sacramento, I’ve had to make do with the one-time sighting of one of the Maloofs in a red Ferrari, along with midtown spottings of a classic Edsel, and in East Sac an original two-tone Nash Metropolitan and the 50th anniversary edition of the Ford T-Bird. Oh, and you can still spot a few old convertibles of the “Fix It Again, Tony” variety, a/k/a a Fiat 124 Sport Spyder convertible (I owned a ’69 in red once) or a classic “The Graduate” version of the Alfa Romeo.

So … what have you all seen, and where? And if you’re looking for me, I’m in a nondescript ’98 Plymouth Voyager … sigh.

Flooding, of a limited nature

Sunday morning, I reached for the hot water tap in my bathroom, only to have it snap off in my hand, sending a six-foot geyser of hot water straight up to the ceiling. The shut-off under the sink was likewise dysfunctional, and there was a problem with the water main cutoff, too. Yes, the dreaded hat trick of disaster: I got me a flood.

Thinking quickly, I slammed a mixing bowl over the geyser to re-direct the water into the sink, where it could drain without more mess and potential damage. And then I started calling people.

First on the scene: The on-call guy from the Sacramento Suburban Water District. Now, I’m already grudgingly in awe of the water pressure my house has — water was literally bouncing off the ceiling when the geyser first erupted — and now I’m likewise impressed by the speed, helpfullness and thoroughness of the guy who turned up on Super Bowl Sunday to help. He told me my neighborhood is a “spider’s web” of pipes, and for him to turn off the water to my house from his end would require shutting off untold number of my neighbors as well.

He smiled, and shook his head, “I’m not shutting off the neighborhood on Super Bowl Sunday.”

Continue reading “Flooding, of a limited nature”

The Bee clicks with history

The Crocker Art Museum has a special exhibition starting tomorrow, “Without Words: The Sacramento Bee’s Most Powerful Photographs.” From the catalog:

Protests. Tragedy. Disaster. Despair.  Each day in the pages of The Sacramento Bee are photos that tell a story few words can. Since the first photographic image appeared in 1898, The Bee’s photojournalists have taken our readers to the frontlines of the most important events that have shaped our history.

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee, The Crocker Art Museum presents the photography that brings to life events seen through the lenses of The Bee’s award-winning photographers.

A collection of nearly 20 images will be on display in the Crocker Art Museum’s Ballroom. A highlight of the exhibition is Assassination Foiled taken by longtime Bee photojournalist Dick Schmidt, who captured the image of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme after her failed 1975 assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford in Capitol Park.

You can hear Dick Schmidt (long-time friend of mine, by the way) being interviewed today at 2 p.m. on CPR’s show “Insight” (KXPR; FM 90.9). He’s a low-key, charming and funny man, so I’m guessing the interview will be a great one. The Crocker exhbition runs through March 21.