Archive for January, 2007

Orange switcheroo: Did they trick you?


It’s no secret that oranges got the short end of the cold stick during our unseasonably freezing weather here in the state. But how are retailers passing it down to us consumers?

Well, consider that before the freeze, a crate of oranges, say between 10-15 lbs, was going for 9.99 at Costco. Just last weekend, a much smaller bag of oranges–8 lbs to be exact–is going for 9.99. Same price, less fruit. I noticed this same trend at the local Raley’s as well.

Did anyone else notice this? I guess as long as we don’t have to “pay more” we can live with less. No one will be the wiser (except you and me).

Going “Ghetto” at Marshall’s

I had a really amazing experience at Marshall’s in the Lake Crest Village Shopping Center a few days ago. Have you ever been to that Marshall’s? It’s a bit back from the other store fronts, and it seems like they always have a long line to the cash registers.

This weekend, my daughter and I were in line behind a couple of children. The two boys were probably 2 years old and 7 years old. One was in the cart; the other was climbing on the cart. They were African American, and the tall, striking woman just in front of them was also African American. But all the while these two boys were fussing, the tall woman had her back to them. I kept wondering why she wasn’t looking after her kids.

Turns out, they weren’t her kids. The mother of these kids had sent them to wait in line. She showed up a bit later. Then her sister and a very tall man jumped in line too. There are ways to let the line know someone’s saving your place. The way these folks shouldered into the line was extremely rude. My six year old thought they were cutting and said so. The café-latte-colored woman behind us was incensed.

Eventually she was loud enough in her complaint that the tall man turned around. He asked, “Who cut the line?” The woman behind us shouted, “You did!” And the fight was on.

We like freebies: Museum Day Feb. 3rd

What could be better than a Saturday afternoon wandering around Sutter’s Fort or the Sacramento Zoo with a couple of kids in tow and lots of things to look at? Why, getting it free, of course! Saturday, February 3rd, is Free Museum Day.

The last two years my family has gone to Sutter’s Fort, which has had folks in costume and been relatively empty of people-swarms. The Zoo was a different story two years ago–snaky lines that trailed out and down the street, and sardine-packed exhibits. The Crocker had a huge line as well, so we didn’t go there. But the Crocker has other days during the year when it’s worth visiting.

If you don’t like big crowds, go see Sutter’s Fort. It’s an interesting glimpse at the origins of our fair city.

Other free museum locations to note (out of the 25 participating) on February 3rd from 10-5 PM are:

The Explorit Science Center in downtown Davis

The Governor’s Mansion

The Towe Auto Museum

The Discovery Museum’s Science and Space Center

Maybe we’ll see you there?

For any observer: A Midtown Parade of Dogs


You can see just about any kind of dog in the morning taking a turn or two around Winn Park. A few days back we saw a huge black dog that made us do a double take. It was a Giant Schnauzer. We know because we asked the person walking the dog. These big dogs are striking–this one had a walker (owner?) just as striking. The walker was wearing long well-groomed dreadlocks and was dressed all in black. Sights like these certainly make it worth getting up from one’s desk and putting the shoe to concrete.

In retrospect, I have seen German Shepherds, Collies, Great Danes, and amalgams of all types of dogs at this location. The big ones inspire awe and a little internal fear. (Can the leash hold the dog?) But I have to nod at the cool little ones on parade, particularly the Dachshund with two different eye colors. He seemed like pure Midtown breed to me.

State of disunion

Did you watch it? You know, the State of the Union speech our president gave the other night. I watched–actually, not because I wanted to hear the speech, but because I wanted to see “Madame Speaker” up there behind the prez. It was a moment for the history books. Yes, 2007, the first time a woman has held that high an office in this country, and it’s not even the highest. Or the second highest. Yeah, it’s the land of opportunity, all right.

But I truly enjoyed watching. The contrast between the Veep and the Speaker was sharp. He was like a pale, motionless frog on a lily pad, and she was all color and movement, working her jaw in TMJ fashion during the most worrisome remarks. I wonder how much more interesting it would have been if Cheney was relegated to frosting his hair, wearing baby blue, and choosing a flattering lipstick?

But what really struck me were the comments made on a local morning radio show (no, not “The End” ) the next morning. References were made to her “doing her nails” and “writing her grocery list” during parts of the speech. That has nothing to do with her as a political figure. Or the fact that she does her job well. No one made snide comments like that about any of the other political figures. The ones made about Pelosi weren’t even funny. They didn’t say much, but they did say a lot about the way woman are viewed as public figures. And they said volumes about the real state of the Union.

You get a free night out when a local journo poos in local artists’ sandbox

I missed it when it first ran, but back at the end of December, an apparently troubled and humorless Sac News & Review writer went for Sacramento Comedy Spot’s jugular while reviewing their regular Wednesday night improv show at the Capitol Garage.

I won’t bother to get into exactly how ignorant the reviewer is of comedy styles and the practical reality of just how difficult it is to get up and just make up funny shit on the spot – funny shit based on audience member input a significant amount of the time, by the way (Mr. Reviewer, I’m looking at you) – but I will relay the anecdotal evidence that shows like Who’s Line Is It Anyway? routinely rolls tape for about 2 hours so they can splice together a meager 22 minutes of high quality funny bits for broadcast.

And those guys get paid. Quite well.

But you stand to benefit from this bad review. Sacrament Comedy Spot managing director Brian Crall, in responding to the review in a letter SNR published this week, has offered free entry to anyone who shows up and decrees he or she heard this show is a train wreck. So you can save the regular $5 entry fee and check out the show for yourself. Who knows – it might really turn out to be a train wreck. Or you’ll laugh a lot. Or you’ll laugh at a train wreck. As Crall says, they can’t all be winners – but take your chances anyway.

Of course, if you like it, you should ante up. It’s just $5, you cheapos.

Improv at the Capitol Garage 1500 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 $5.00 (or free) at the Door. Wednesdays at 9:00PM.

1/8W+(D-d)3/8xTQMxNA: This formula does not compute.

It’s a blue Monday. Or at least that’s what they tell me. The formula above is a way to calculate why more people are sad today on blue Monday than any other day of the year. I’m more inclined to attribute the word “brittle” to my Monday attitude. But since we’re “supposed” to be sad today (OMG did you SEE your American Express bill???), here are a few sour notes from the news for your pity orchestra:

1) Fires in the city.
I am bummed out to no end when I heard about Antwone Johnson and his two small children perishing in an apartment fire. Too many people are being injured or perishing this way.
Check your fire alarms, your plug outlets–turn off the space heater if you’re going to be out. Have an escape plan.

2) Car crashes in the city and on the freeways in and out of the city.
I watched the news10 video of the recent I-80 crash with the fascination reserved for train wrecks. This was almost as disturbing.
Stay alert on the road. Thank your lucky stars. Be glad you don’t work on the cleanup crew and that you weren’t on the freeway that day.

Need a passport? Try City Hall

Now that you need a passport to travel outside the U.S. (there are some exceptions for cruise & land trips to Canada & Mexico, but not for long), many people–myself included–will be lining up to renew or obtain a passport. Most people know that you can go to the Post Office to get one, but less known is Sacramento City Hall. I can’t guarantee the lines are any shorter than other places, but it’s local and for less than a hundred bucks you too can have a passport in time for that next trip to Cancun or Quebec.

Spank this! It’s a free country.

I cannot believe the legislators meeting in Sacramento have nothing better to do than write bills outlawing spanking. Don’t we have child abuse laws? That should cover spanking if it is excessive and more than a “scare tactic” for a small child. Sometimes the mere threat of a spanking is enough to stop a child from misbehaving, but will that be legislated too? Where will it end? I’m not against good parenting–but I’m certainly against being told that if I choose to discipline my child with a spanking (and who would determine the levels of severity–“love tap” vs. beating) I will be guilty of a misdemeanor. That’s why we have Child Protective Services–to remove children from parents who are extreme in abuse or neglect. And they don’t always succeed. With an anti-spanking law, who would enforce this? Would you get a ticket? Would the ticket “rank” the spanking? I mean, once you sit down and think about actual implementation of a ridiculous law like this one, you find so many ludicrous examples and puzzling questions–does law enforcement have time for this? Or could I make a citizen’s arrest? HA! Since as Californians we’re devoted to keeping lawyers employed, here are just a few more ideas for ludicrous legislation. Read carefully, Sacramento:

  • If you cough in public is should be a misdemeanor because you are polluting the air with your germs.
  • If you use improper English in conversation, you should be fined. Fines should go to support the crumbling education system.
  • If you speak loudly in your cell phone in a public place, you will be forced to spend a week in monastery taking a vow of silence.
  • If you eat cake and you’re overweight, the food police will arrest you and you will be forced to grow broccoli on a commune in Salinas.
  • If you blog, you should be spanked. Isn’t that going to be illegal? Oh wait, that’s perfectly fine, because I’m over the age of 3.

Old Soul’s Back Open!


I finally had the chance to sample the baked goods and coffee at Old Soul Co. They’re in the alley between K & L streets, right behind 1716 L Street. If you recall, they were shut down by the County Health Department for lack of a retail permit. Let me just tell you it was worth the wait. The coffee was piping hot and well-caffeinated–no watered-down stuff here. And today’s pastries included a blueberry bran muffin that was full of plump blueberries and flavor, with a slightly crisped top. Also learned that they have bread and rolls available starting at around noon, so stop in over your lunch break if you don’t have time for coffee and pick up something good to take home with you.

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