If I were king

Tuesday’s LA Times had a funny story from North Korea on how no one there is talking about Kim Jong Il’s health, and also about how venerated Kim and his late father are. Their images are considered sacred and people must hang portraits of the two in their homes: “People who fail to dust them regularly are fined.”

But here’s what grabbed my attention:

“Foreign visitors are advised upon their arrival in Pyongyang not to throw away any North Korean newspapers lest they despoil a photo of the leaders,” the story notes.

” ‘Don’t tear or crumble the newspapers. Don’t throw it in a dustbin. Don’t wrap something with it or use it for some other purpose,’ warned guide Gil Hyun Ah, who said offenders would have to write formal letters of apology before being permitted to leave the country.”

When I rule the Inland Valley — it will be a benevolent tyranny — I expect to apply the same rule upon the populace regarding the Daily Bulletin. Do not tear or crumble it, don’t toss it away and for goodness’ sake don’t wrap any fish or coffee grounds in it. You might despoil my image.

If my image isn’t in that issue, do whatever you like. Let Blackstock or Sholley set up their own regimes, if they’re concerned about their images. See how much freedom I’ll allow you?

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Wednesday column preview

Did you see the Bangles, Motels and Berlin in concert at the Fair last Friday? I did, and that ’80s flashback is my first item Wednesday.

From there we get into Monday’s Pomona council meeting, specifically, the move to rename Madison Park. The founding fathers get no respect. Also, a councilman responds, in a surprising way, to Sunday’s column about his cell phone use. Look for all this in Wednesday’s paper and online.

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The Passerby Museum

I went to the Claremont Museum of Art on Saturday evening for the opening reception for “The Passerby Museum” exhibit, in which objects that could fit into a sandwich bag were collected from passersby in the Village and at Pitzer College. The collection was a recent column topic.

Among the items added since I’d written about it:

* An extinguished cigarette and handwritten note reading “Hope it’s my last.”

* An apple core, beginning to brown.

* A Costco shopping list that included this item: “TP (?).” I wonder what the deciding factor was.

* An Aug. 24 Angels vs. Twins ticket.

The community-driven exhibit is “an intriguing way to get people into the museum who might not otherwise come,” executive director William Moreno told me.

In the first gallery space, the walls are covered floor to ceiling with pinned-up Passerby Museum sandwich bags, not just the nearly 300 from Claremont but hundreds from previous stops in Cuba, Spain, Canada and New York City, each city identified near the ceiling in bold letters.

Now that its name is alongside Havana, Mexico City and New York City, has obscure Claremont suddenly vaulted among the great cities of the world?

Well, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada isn’t all that well known either, and it’s represented, co-curator Nicolas Dumit Estevez pointed out when I brought it up. But he saw my point and thought that when the “Claremont, California” items are shown in other cities — San Antonio, Texas, is the likely next stop, sometime next year — the unfamiliar name might spark curiosity.

“When people see ‘Claremont,’ I think they’ll want to look it up on a map, don’t you?” Estevez said.

I do.

In the meantime, see the exhibit at the museum through Dec. 28. The first Friday of the month, admission is free.

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Sunday column preview

Skipping Thursday’s Ontario-Montclair School District board meeting, under the theory (apparently borne out) that nothing could top the last meeting, I instead turned for a topic to our friends on the Pomona City Council.

Some weeks back, in a burst of journalistic enthusiasm, I requested and received copies of council members’ expense reports. I sweated over a hot calculator to make sense of them. Then it became clear that cell phone use was counted separately. I went back and added up all those charges. I wasn’t sure what to do with the results. Then I had a good idea what to do but couldn’t find a free column in which to present it. Hence, skipping the OMSD meeting.

At last, the results will be presented to you, the reading public. My editor says the effort was worth it. Decide for yourself on Sunday.

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Restaurant of the Week: Fratello’s Pizza and Pasta

This week’s restaurant: Fratello’s, 1667 N. Mountain Ave. (at 16th), Upland.

There aren’t many places to eat above 16th Street in Upland, which is probably how privacy-lovin’ homeowners up there like it. One of the few exceptions is Fratello’s, which is in the Stater Bros. center along with Rancho Los Magueyes, Happy Wok, Legends and the Bulldog Pub.

I first visited Fratello’s last week. It’s on the small side, just a few tables, a bar and an open kitchen, but the ambience is pleasant enough: golden paint, dark wood, comfortable seating and vintage wine posters. The insistent music may be a bit much.

I tried one of the $5.99 lunch specials: a cheese pizza slice, salad and soda. The salad was above average, aided by the vinaigrette dressing. The pizza was quite good. The crust was uncommonly light and chewy. Based on this slice, Fratello’s is now my second-favorite pizza in Upland (although I still need to try Petrilli’s).

On Thursday I went back for the pasta lunch special (also $5.99): a half-order of either spaghetti or penne, meat sauce or marinara, and a soda. I went for the penne with meat. Pasta is pasta, and hard to mess up, but the sauce was hearty.

So were the ’70s rock classics playing over the sound system: “Blinded By the Light,” “Rocket Man” and “Brown Sugar,” among others. Until the next table asked that the volume be turned down.

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Friday column preview

In Ontario City Council news, the city touts an oddly timed award from Laura Bush, an Ontario councilman undergoes a drug test (and passes, in case you were in suspense) and the entire council pulls a CAPER (which is an acronym for something boring). Also, I report from the Vampire Weekend concert in Pomona. All of this and more is in Friday’s column.

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Inland Valley blogs

If you’re new to the blog today, welcome. Walk around and explore the place.

The Archives buttons on the left will take you to older material by date and the Category buttons on the right will take you to particular areas of interest. And the Search field on the right will also be useful; we’ve only scratched the surface of the Inland Valley, but we’ve touched on a lot of businesses and places, past and present.

In today’s column, I mention the local community-oriented blogs of which I’m aware. I’ve asked our online folks for a blogroll, or permanent links from the home page to these blogs (most of which link to my blog), but so far, no dice. Can’t blame ‘em; they’re an overworked crew. They haven’t even linked this page to dailybulletin.com.

So here’s the best I can do: links from this post to these local blogs.

Continue reading

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Love is like a Heath Wave

When I wrote about getting the name of my newspaper into Steve Harvey’s L.A. Times column 82 times, I joked that I really ought to get some kind of kickback from the Bulletin’s marketing department.

This prompted our marketing department to give me a $15 gift card from Cold Stone Creamery with a note reading: “Here’s your kickback.” Hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Frankly, I’m not a fan of Cold Stone, Marble Slab and the like where they pull taffy-like ice cream out of a bin, toss it on a slab, add the “mix-ins” of your choice (Cap’n Crunch, M&M’s, etc.) and massage the whole mass with paddles. I like my ice cream straight.

However, I’d recently read in our paper (story no longer available online) and in the Courier about a Claremont High junior, Loraine Ong, who created a Cold Stone flavor for the Claremont location as part of a national contest.

Heath Wave, as it’s called, has French vanilla ice cream, Heath bars, a brownie and chocolate sauce. That sounded worth trying.

So on Monday after dinner I used $5.59 of my $15 to get a dish at the store, 101 N. Indian Hill Blvd. in the Village Expansion. Heath Wave isn’t on the menu — and the official promotion recently ended — but the scooper knew what it was and how to make it. The result was quite tasty.

Or as Ong described her flavor to the Courier: “It’s smooth, crunchy and chewy.”

Mmmm…smooth, crunchy and chewy.

It was no Elvis Special, the peanut butter and banana flavor at Bert and Rocky’s, but what is? If Heath Wave sounds like something you’d like, go for it. And raise a spoon to Loraine Ong. I raised one for our marketing department, too, but that’s just me.

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