Sunday, November 15, 2009


This morning I got up and went for a bike ride at like 7:00. It was pretty cool for a Sonoma County morning, about 40 degrees. This was not something I'd ordinarily do. I tend to ride later in the day, as I'd rather be a bit warm than a bit cool. I coated myself in layers of garments, ending in my tighest fitting sweatshirt, pulled on my tights and headed out. My ears were cold at first, but after a while I didn't notice them so much when my fingers, exposed beyond my fingerless riding gloves, started to ache from the wind chill (go figure!). But it was a good ride and I had a good time. It was a great way to start the day; a great way to start my birthday.

I think different people approach birthdays differently. Some people host parties. Some do a night on the town. Some, no doubt, spend their birthdays lonely and alone. I think Seventh Day Adventists probably spend their birthdays thinking "OK, I'm not supposed to think about this being my birthday," (Or is that the Witnesses?).

For the past several years, family birthdays have been feted at a Family Dinner. We (by which I mean I) would wash all the dirty dishes, take out all the garbage and recycling (remember, they're two different things), sweep and maybe even Swiffer the kitchen floor, and clear all the shit off the table so all the children could gather around and rediscover how much they all still have in common and marvel at how hopelessly out of touch their father is with reality.

We didn't do that this year. We didn't do the Family Dinner. In the first place, we couldn't because we have no place to put a table with Buster Posey's pen taking up most of the kitchen floor. Regardless of the dog, I don't think we need to do that anymore. 'The Kids' are all pretty well grown-up now, and they pretty much spend their birthdays as they please. If they can, I guess I can too. And that's exactly what I did.

thanks to all.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dateline: Windsor

The citizens of the Town of Windsor have decided, through their elected officials, to ban certain kinds of businesses from the Town Green Village area of their new Old Downtown. If you've never been to Windsor's Town Green Village, just picture Main Street USA in Disneyland and you'll get the picture. And, ala The Magic Kingdom, smoke shops, tattoo parlors, fortune tellers, bail bondsmen, check cashing services and massage parlors will not be allowed. They will be confined to certain Community Commercial, Service Commercial, and Gateway Commercial Areas. (Which, by the way, include the Safeway Center half a mile down the street from the middle school, where the kids like to hang out on the benches behind the cigarette shop.)

The original proposal included tanning salons and spas, but Windsor has decided that those businesses are ok. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat quotes a local salon owner who claims 4000 customers a month and says she helps people feel good about themselves. I guess enough influential ladies felt good enough about themselves to get the places off the hit list.

But I wonder how many of those same well-tanned ladies have a little tattoo somewhere where only their husbands and paramours can see it? How many of their husbands might visit a tobacconist for their favorite cigars, or a massage parlor for, well, whatever? I wonder how many will need the services of a bail bondsman after their next DUI? And if they're fucking stupid enough to go to a fortune teller, then, um, ....

I understand that cities have to plan for various types of businesses in different locations. Warehousing and industrial use needs sufficient access for commercial vehicles. Retail centers need mass transit access and parking for customers. I think Windsor's arbitrary restrictions on businesses the council considers detrimental exceeds the jurisdiction of civic planners.

Welcome to Main Street U.S.A.