There’s music in the air — and some missing signs

A tangerine half moon was ablaze in the sky the night I began my hunt. Winding along a quiet stretch of San Pablo Dam Road into Richmond, my thoughts were focused on a little flame-point Siamese that had just been rescued from the wild. If she proved tame enough, I would take her home to be part of our family.

She wasn’t. The little white and orange kitty cowered in the corner of her cage as the gentle foster mom approached her. “This one needs a little more work,” said the lady from the Feral Cat Foundation. “But I know a woman with Hopalong Animal Rescue who just got a gorgeous little Tonganese kitty.”

We climbed in the car and drove to a place where animals roamed in several rooms of a house. There I found the perfect pet, with a sable coat, Siamese mask and emerald eyes. If Tonka had been abused or abandoned, you wouldn’t know it. She purrs like a finely tuned engine. And if most cats seem arrogant and aloof, rescued cats are grateful, almost indebted to you for your act of kindness.

So it’s Tonka, me and the rest of the family now. Each with our own personality and story to tell. And because she’s Siamese, believe me, she’ll be talking.

See Spot run

See Spot jump. See Spot hump your friend’s leg and keep your neighbors up all night with his barking. This is what many folks face as they try to train the family hound. Because they’re such social animals, dogs do naughty things when they’re left alone for too many hours each day.

That’s where the Oakland SPCA comes in, sending a dog trainer to your house to work with your pooch. At $75 dollars an hour, a goldfish is looking better and better.

‘Round and ’round

If life seems like one big merry go ’round, you might as well flaunt it. On the auction block this weekend at Harvey Clar Auction Gallery on Telegraph Avenue is a 107-year-old carousel. The company’s Jane Alexiadis says the bidding will probably start around $20,000. “That’s $1,000 per horse, and it doesn’t even take into account that there’s a whole carousel attached to it,” she says.

What do you do with a merry go ’round? The last owner, the guy who fully restored it, took it to county fairs and shopping malls — making a pretty penny. And if you really want to penny pinch, it has a hand crank so you don’t even have to run the motor.


N. Davis has a beef with the Jack London Theaters, which are being renovated right now. He says he and his wife got burned when they checked the Sunday paper and made plans around the advertised movie schedule. “Much to our surprise, we arrived to find they were only showing four films, not the published nine,” he writes, adding there were a lot of disappointed patrons. It might be a good idea to call before heading over there.

Steppin’ out

A couple of things are coming up that readers want me to point out: one is the Rita Coolidge concert at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, Sept. 27. I’ve always liked her, and this is a benefit for the Native American Health Center in Oakland. You can call 510-535-4487 for more information on the Strong Medicine Concert. Then on Sunday, Sept. 29, the Oakland Fund for the Arts has its big garden party. There’ll be live jazz and fine wines at the home of Jaleh and George Bisharat, a Piedmont couple with a garden that’s to die for. Log on to for more on this event.

Village rip-off

Who stole three banners advertising last weekend’s Family Flea Market in Montclair — and why would they do it? Lions Club member Richard Jue says the banners disappeared shortly after they went up along Moraga Avenue, leaving just one of the expensive vinyl signs to advertise the big annual event at Montclair Park. Still, they had a good turnout — making about $2,000 for Oakland Blind Center.

Speech, speech!

Once again, Gary Wong is the toast of the town. The Movie Express owner, who does so much for Montclair, has started a toastmasters group at the Oakland Blind Center.

How is it going over? Reader Rita Schnaidt says there are over 40 members in the group already, and they take turns with public speaking each Friday during lunch.

Shopping secret

Hills hairstylist Tommy Kohl has an eye for fashion and an unusual knack for finding bargains. His secret? He shops at the Goodwill Store in San Leandro. It’s not for every taste, but Tommy finds some incredible deals there, like the top he was wearing last week. A living memorial to the Sept. 11 anniversary, his silky blue shirt had the skyline of New York emblazoned across the front — Twin Towers and all.


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