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.

Now we’re cooking

The latest rounds of buyouts and departures at the Best Newspaper on Q Street has been all over the news, with R.E. Graswich milking his swan song for all it’s worth on every media outlet that’ll let him talk about his departure.

But the fact is The Bee has been a great place to be from for a long, long time, with a list of folks who’ve gone on to win journalism Pulitzers (including medical reporter Diana Sugg at the Baltimore Sun, photographers Caroline Cole and Michael Williamson, at the L.A. Times and Washington Post, respectively) National Book Award writer Pete Dexter, Letters and Drama Pulitzer winner and Friend of Springsteen Dale Maharidge, Tour de France expert James Raia and many, many more.

On any list of notable Bee alums would have to be Elaine Corn, former Bee food editor, top-selling cookbook writer, teacher and current Capital Public Radio (and NPR) food reporter. Elaine is married to top chef David SooHoo, and together they have run restaurants like the late and still much missed Bamboo in Midtown. They’ve a 17-year-old son who hardly knows what fast food is, but can certainly talk knowledgeably on any gourmet subject. Poor kid. Continue reading “Now we’re cooking”

Get your huntin’ gear here

Get wet! SplashDogs at Cal ExpoAs one of a really small subset of political animal — an urban liberal with guns, an account at Cabela’s and a freezer full of ducks — I find myself both delighted and appalled by the International Sportsmen’s Expo, which wraps up today at CalExpo.

Delighted because I love my huntin’ retrievers, and I love being outdoors with my huntin’ retrievers. And I love looking at gear for huntin’ retrievers. The ISE is a great place to do that, better than the biggest Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop combined. For me it’s all about the dogs, the celebration of the bond between a working dog and handler, and a retriever doing what he was bred to do, with enthusiasm and style. I have come to accept rather grudgingly that what my dogs do involves the occasional demise of some very pretty waterfowl. Sacramento, by the way, is smack dab in the middle of some of the best waterfowl huntin’ areas in the nation.

Continue reading “Get your huntin’ gear here”

R.E. off to a Bee-less future

R.E. GraswichI really ought to turn in my cub reporter press pass. Last week I heard from no fewer than three reputable sources that R.E. Graswich was to be among those people taking the buyout offer at Fort McClatchy. But I never got around to posting about it.

Bob himself beat me to it, reporting the news at the end of his column yesterday.

He goes a long way back in this town’s inky history, starting at the Rancho Cordova Grapevine (where he got some notice as a teenager for covering tough news stories). At the Bee, he covered prep sports, ran the prep sports coverage, covered the Kings for a few years and finally ended up turning his bar-cruising and Hawaiian shirt-wearing ways into a career as the short item talk-of-the-town writer.

Continue reading “R.E. off to a Bee-less future”

Tom says snow

Snow!If you’re a weather geek, you gotta bookmark the Web site of Tom Loffman, an honest-to-heavens meteorologist — as opposed to the Ken or Barbie pointing to a blue screen that’s the pretty much the rule these days. Loffman, of course, spent years on the air in this market, first at the mighty KCRA and then at … KOVR? Am I remembering right? And he’s fondly remembered in some circles for his too-true comment on how TV stations were more interested in having their weather types kiss dolphins than work the weather beat.

Good on you, Tom. Good on you.

Continue reading “Tom says snow”

L.A. Times takes another shot

Last week, two swipes at Sacramento from the teetering L.A. Times. Today, another. In Bill Dwyre’s column about Florida’s routing of THE Ohio State University last night for the ridiculous no-playoff championship, he manages to mock our admittedly pathetic local Hornets in defending Boise State’s claim on No. 1:

[…] There ought to be a Sacramento State Rule in college football, as in, no team that plays Sacramento State can end up No. 1.

Hmmm. Maybe that rule makes some sense. Boise State didn’t even have to break a sweat, kicking Hornet tail 45-0 in the season opener for both teams. The Hornets lost six more, but I don’t think you can quite call them the closest thing to a gimme in Division I football. After all, they did beat perennial power houses Eastern Washington, Weber State, Northern Colorado and Idaho State. So there.

Who’ll start the rain?

Tower BridgeLast year at about this time, the rivers were challenging the strength of our levees and across the community you could feel that “Honey, did we pay the flood insurance?” vibe. The American River, normally invisible from the levee top in Glenn Hall park, was suddenly right there, mere steps away, and on theHighway 80 route into downtown Sacramento appeared to be an island at the edge of the vast inland sea that was the Yolo Bypass.

This year? Bupkus.

You could ride a mountain bike across parts of the Yolo Bypass basin today, the Sacramento is content to sit in its channel and the American remains its normal lurking presence off-stage at Glenn Hall park. Up in the Sierra, the reservoirs are nowhere near capacity, with the experts suggesting the rest of the water season will be “either above average or below average.”

Gee, thanks.

With Chicken Ranch Slough meandering right behind my house, I’m perhaps more aware of flood risk than anyone outside River Park or the Pocket. After all, in the floods of the ’80s and ’90s, it was the creeks and sloughs that caused much of the problems, backing up like toilets when they couldn’t dump their run-off into the rampaging rivers. Needless to say, I sent off my flood insurance check to State Farm, although after Katrina I don’t have a lot of faith that insurance will help much after the 100-year flood we all know is coming So like  many Sacramentans, I watch the rivers, pray for the levees, am ready to run and hope for the best.

And in the dry years, I wish for just a little more of the wet stuff, aware that too little for too long is almost as big a problem as too much for a few days. But seems the wet stuff — or even a little of the white stuff — is on the way.