Run river

Is there any doubt the best thing about Sacramento is that which is also the most dangerous? I write, of course, about the rivers, so high at New Year’s that we watched the levees anxiously, images of New Orleans fresh in our minds. So beautiful now, flowing through river parkways still green with the rains and exploding with wildflowers.

Rivers, floods and levees… these have always been the story of Sacramento. Me? I worry more about a little creek than a big river, backing up as my house does to what by this time of year is little more than a smelly dribble. But at least three times in my lifetime, this little dribble became a torrent, once taking out part of Cal Expo and twice putting Woodside under water.

When the rains fall and the rivers rise, I watch the creek.
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Disappearing moms, disappearing babies

The online magazine Salon has a story (gotta view an ad first, sorry) about a book chronicling the post-World War II phenomenon of sending away young women from “good families” before their pregnancy showed …. and then taking away the babies, without the young moms having a say in the matter.

I’m not old enough to remember such times, but my mother sure is. Which is why when I bought my house in Tahoe Park some 17 years ago (I’ve since moved), my mom said, “Oh! It’s near the Fair Haven Home.”

“The what?” I said.
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Make an offer

Talk about your golden parachutes! Footnoted,org reveals this little gem deep in the filings on the purchase of Knight-Ridder by McClatchy (a/k/a the Best LittleBig Media Company On Q Street):

Earlier today, McClatchy & Co. (MNI) filed this amended S-4, which substantially upped the severance payments that Knight-Ridder’s (KRI) top executives will receive once the merger is completed. CEO Tony Ridder, which earlier news accounts estimated would receive $7.28 million in severance, would actually get $9.36 million in severance according to today’s filing, or nearly 10 times his annual salary of $980K last year. Other top executives also will clean up: as a group, they’ll collect nearly $30 million, with each of Knight-Ridder’s four other top executives collecting over $4 million a piece.

Haven’t been around here long, but I bet McClatchy could get the Rag folks to sell out for a fraction of the price.

I knew it!

Scene: Hoppy’s in East Sac. Two guys, watching the ballgame, discussing the tip.

“I just do what my mom always said, and double the sale tax,” says Guy No. 1. Guy No. 2 nods, and Guy No. 1 adds, “Then, I adjust the amount upward according on the rackage on the waitress.”

At the table next, dining on burgers and kettle chips, I shoot my brother a dirty look. He has a knowing smirk on his face.

“What did I do?” he protests.

High-pitched whine

I admit it: I’m an NPR junkie. Not only do I listen to KXPR to and from work, but I also download the NPR podcasts so I can listen to the stories I missed.

And yes, I donate every year.

Like any good Catholic girl (Sacred Heart, St. Francis), I am driven by nothing so much as a sense of responsibility seasoned with more than a little bit of guilt. Which is why when the begathon begins, I pay up. I don’t even ask for the free year’s subscription to Target Demographic magazine that’s offered if I pay with my platinum Amex card.

“Use it all for the station,” I say magnanimously, turning down the Capital Public Radio commute cup or umbrella as if my $120 annual toss-in were on a level with donations of the late Joan Kroc.

Of course, I’m not in Kroc’s class, but I would gladly double the pledge if only I never again had to hear Donna Apidone, usually the smooth-voiced professional, chirping like a big-haired QVC pitch girl during this week’s run of the “shortened pledge drives” that seems to go on longer than the career of Kings coach Rick Adelma — uh … well, a long time, anyway.
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