Sports score big in tough times


MONTCLARION NEWSPAPER – March 5  2009

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to run out and get a roll of Sea Biscuit stamps. And believe me — I get the irony of honoring a horse from the Great Depression at a time when our own economy is unraveling.

But isn’t it interesting how sports boosts morale in tough times? Take baseball, for instance. There’s something about the crack of the bat, the roar of the fans and the bark of the peanut vendor that is comforting.

Even more comforting are the bargain prices for A’s home games on Wednesday afternoons. For two bucks you get a seat to one of the best shows in town — and for 8-bits more — they’ll throw in a dog.

Fight off the urge to splurge on an $8 beer, and you may just be asking yourself “who needs a stimulus package, anyway?”

AROUND TOWN: Another local shop has “closed for inventory,” which often means it’s out of business. Montclair Village Wine and Spirits has been shuttered for days, with For Lease signs on both windows. Not surprising when you consider the competition and the economy.

Meanwhile, word on the street is the old Knitting Basket location may soon see a shop selling eclectic world offerings. And nothing is firm, yet, but the buzz is a bakery may take over the Jamba Juice space.

SIGN OF THE TIME: Talk about spreading the love! 20 new billboards in town are promoting warm fuzzies — something sorely lacking in Oakland today. The massive 30-sheet billboards feature a collage of images and positive messages — like respect, kindness, joy, honor and love. Clear Channel donated the billboard space and the art is the result of a competition sponsored by the organization Health through Art.E-MAIL BAG: It seems a lot of folks want to talk turkey. Reader Mel Harrison is one of the lucky motorists on Scout Drive who’s seen that gregarious gobbler I wrote about recently. “I’ve seen this handsome tom and I’m happy to find that when he advances on my car — his only intent is to eat the bugs off the front.” Harrison says the wild bird looks young, and he suspects he’ll be ready to challenge the dominant male for his place in the rafter soon.

ANIMAL TALES: It may be raining cats and dogs these days, but there’s one pooch in town that’s staying dry. A German shepherd named Rambo takes wet weather walks in a rain slicker — thanks to his hills owners Frank and Maggie Matous. I know what you’re thinking”…a dog named Rambo shouldn’t be afraid of a little rain. But it’s not about the animal — it’s about the owners — who apparently aren’t into the wet dog smell. And with the slicker — even if he steps in a “poodle” — Rambo’s coat will stay dry.

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