Town Crier: A New Kind of Road Rage

MONTCLARION: September 3, 2010

My mechanic gave me a tongue-lashing the other day. It was like something out of a Seinfeld episode.

“Have you been rotating your tires?” he inquired. “Because your tires are shot and your wheels are out of alignment.” Wait. Didn’t I just buy new tires a year ago? And didn’t I just get a wheel alignment?

Then it dawned on me. It’s Ascot Drive and dozens of other Oakland roads that are so pitted and potted, they might as well be in Beirut.

“What is going on around here?” asked a friend who’d just bumped and ground her way down Ascot from Joaquin Miller School to the bottom. “Why is the street such a mess?”

Here are some possible culprits: It could be the fault of the earthquake fault, or a menacing underground stream.

It could even be a batch of bad asphalt the last time the road was repaved.

Whatever the reason, it’s supposedly a “high priority” on the city’s emergency road repair list. In the meantime, we just keep pumping more money into our cars and hope our suspension holds up.

ON STAGE: Two iconic films are coming to life at the Golden Gate and Curran theaters in San Francisco. “Beauty and the Beast” and “Dreamgirls” are both polished productions with strong vocals, characters and storylines.

I especially enjoyed “Beauty and the Beast” — as a smart and sensitive love story with threads of delicious dialogue delivered by Nathaniel Hackmann, who plays Gaston.

“Dreamgirls,” on the other hand, is a poignant look at the hardships of show business, especially for African Americans breaking through barriers back in the ’60s. Both shows are feasts for the senses, with brilliant staging and singing every bit as strong as their movie counterparts.

LOOKING GOOD: Speaking of beauties, a very self- assured lady was meeting and greeting the happy hour crowd at a local watering hole the other evening.

Piedmont’s Ashley Stuteville was lining up sponsors for her bid to be this year’s Miss California USA. She’ll host a sponsorship reception at Monaghan’s On the Hill Restaurant, 3-6 p.m., Sept. 18.

E-MAIL BAG: Reader Kevin Tom is lamenting the decision by AC Transit to cancel the No. 59 bus from Montclair through Piedmont to Rockridge BART.

“It was great to get to appointments at Kaiser,” he writes, but admits he was often the only rider on the line. The moral of the story, he says, is to use it or lose it. Ride the hills’ No. 18 and V lines whenever you can, or they, too, could disappear.

ANIMAL TALES: Sometimes I feel like I’m on the migratory trail for pussycats. At least eight different tabbies padded into my yard last week to get water and “bird watch.”

Down the hill, reader Jane Fuerch says mating season is in full swing in her yard, where she recently witnessed a rutting buck rub the bark off one of her husband’s prize trees.


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