Wind Propelled Pine Cone Packs A Wallop

What are the chances of a giant pine cone catapulting from a tree and shattering a car windshield? I figure it’s like getting struck by lightening, but then again — if ever there were a poster child for Murphy’s Law — it would be me.
I was driving down Grizzly Peak Road the other day when a pine cone hit my car with such force that the glass splayed like a cobweb and showered me with shards. Could the wind have launched this projectile? Or was it some kind of bionic squirrel? The whole thing is just nuts.

ANIMAL TALES: Speaking of animals, we all know raccoons are resilient, but here’s proof. A three-legged critter is making the rounds near Manzanita and Skyline, right along the ridgeline. He digs in the Dumpsters with the best of them, then leaves at a pretty good clip. Neighbors have a name for him. It’s “Stumpy.”

HOT TIME: It was great to see so many folks at the Montclair Wine and Jazz Festival. The weather was perfect for a little libation and while many drank wine, there was at least one group of guys having an alternative beverage under a big sign that read “BEER.”

VILLAGE UPDATE: Montclair Bistro is expanding into the space left vacant by the neighboring Montclair Physical Therapy. Chef/owner Henry Vortriede is opening a new banquet room by Dec. 1 — just in time for holiday parties. The restaurant just celebrated its first anniversary with a charity brunch to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

ON CRIME: Talk about adding insult to injury. A reader had her Honda stolen in broad daylight from the front of her hills home recently but it was dark before Oakland police could take the report. Really dark. They called her at 2:30 in the morning to say they were coming out. She had no other choice but to throw on some clothes and wipe the sleep out of her eyes before giving a description of the vehicle to the patrolman.
Speaking of crime, there has been an increasing number of car thefts and burglaries in the Merriewood, Thornhill, Mountain and Moraga areas. For the latest reported crimes, visit The most vulnerable cars are the ones parked on the streets. Keep yours in the garage whenever possible.

SPOOKY SHOPPING: The Montclair Safeway is awash in cobwebs and spiders — and it’s not because they need to dust. Employees have been putting up Halloween decorations throughout the store and have turned the elevator into a mini haunted house. I think I even saw a ghost “goblin” up a deli sandwich.

PUNNY PLATE: Spotted on a green Land Rover in Montclair, the vanity plate CAFFN8D.
Reader John Richmond says with a message like that, he was surprised the driver wasn’t speeding.


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