Farewell to the Foothill Cities Blog

I hadn’t checked the FCB for a while, since it’s been mostly dormant for months, but I thought to do so Monday. I was greeted by a fresh post from last Friday that the blog is shutting down. Headline of the farewell post: “The End.”

The blog began in late 2006 and covered Pasadena to Claremont, linking to or excerpting news articles and presenting rumor and opinion. Its founders, who were anonymous, called themselves Centinel and Publius, after the writers of the Federalist Papers. (Eye roll from LA Observed here.)

The blog kicked up some controversy. Accusations about the then-Pomona city manager led the city attorney to try to shut down the blog by sending a cease-and-desist letter.

FCB was popular, claiming in April 2008 to have received 10,000 comments — with one of mine the 10,000th.

I wrote: “My blog recently topped 1,000 comments, so the FC Blog must be 10 times better! Congratulations on the milestone.” (Co-founder Centinel promised to “find some way to reward Mr. Allen,” but never did.)

FCB folded in late 2008, a demise blamed on a server meltdown, then returned that December. Centinel wrote: “…we’re back in action and ready to do what we do best: make unfounded accusations, piss off local officials, and imply that local government is going to hell in a handbasket.”

But the return quickly fizzled. By mid-2009, FCB promised to resume daily posting in mid-August, which never happened.

In Friday’s post, referring to the blog’s long-absent founders, contributor The Real Zajac notes that “the enigmatic Centinel and Publius no longer return even my email. Technological problems with the server software impare even my power to post this goodbye. Were I an administrator I could continue this struggle myself. But, as I sit, I deem it time to throw in the towel once and for all.”

A moment of silence, please, as the towel flutters to the ground.

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Disoriented lizard

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Geico doesn’t seem to know it, but these “I’m here in Rancho Cucamonga” billboards are both placed miles from Rancho Cucamonga in Ontario.

The one at left is on Mountain Avenue between I and J streets (note the Mountain Avenue Car Wash sign), the one below on Vineyard Avenue at D Street. Thanks to reader Amado Cervantes for the tip.

Would you buy auto insurance from a company with such a poor sense of direction?

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Restaurant of the Week: Roady’s

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Roady’s, 160 W. Bonita Ave. (at Monte Vista), San Dimas

Roady’s is an old-fashioned diner in downtown San Dimas. It was introduced to me years ago by reader Gene Harvey and I’ve gone back a half-dozen times since then. I even had a birthday lunch there with friends a couple of years ago.

This time I invited blogger Mike Tanner of the Dinerwood site to meet me there. I’d never met him, but I like his stuff and he’s proved he’s willing to drive out here, producing reviews of Flo’s, Brandon’s, Red Hill Coffee Shop, Stevie Dee’s, Joanne’s Cafe, Corky’s, Mission Family Restaurant and maybe even a few other local staples among his usual L.A. fare. He was game and we met at Roady’s last weekend.

I asked Mike his definition of a diner. “First off, It has to have a counter,” he told me. It ought to have breakfast all day, or at least through lunchtime. It ought to have pie. Whether newfangled or original, the diner ought to have a certain diner vibe. And there can’t be any seafood, Tanner said, unless it’s fried, or unless it’s on the menu but no one orders it.

Roady’s meets all his definitions. There’s a counter when you walk in, and a pie case. Breakfast is served all day. With the comfortable booths, giant windows, wood paneling, experienced waitresses and American Indian art, the vibe is near-perfect. As for fish, I wasn’t paying close attention, but I’m pretty sure no fish escapes the kitchen unbattered.

I ordered a patty melt ($6.85) with cole slaw as my side. The vinegary slaw was above average, the sandwich superior as well: burger, rye, grilled onions, cheese, pickles on the side. Mike had the chuck wagon breakfast ($6.45), two biscuits atop two scrambled eggs, gravy on top and, riding shotgun, two pieces of bacon and two sausage links. He liked it.

For the day’s pie selection, Roady’s had apple, cherry and lemon meringue pie. Mike had a slice of apple and I had lemon meringue ($3.45 each). Darn good pie.

It was a hearty lunch, a chance to exchange views with another blogger, make a new friend and, for a few moments, share the self-consciousness that comes with snapping photos of your food.

If you dote on diners, Roady’s is a must. And so is Dinerwood. Here’s Mike’s piece on Roady’s; we timed our reviews to coincide. Synergy and pie? Wow.

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Now maybe if it were a heart transplant…

Unpersuasive press release for a thriller touted as “provacative” (sic):

“Dear Mr. Allen,

Valentine’s Day is approaching and many singles are in desperate need of a diversion from the reality of their lack of a plus one on the romantic holiday. Nothing takes your mind off your troubles like devouring a new book that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. To that end, the reviews are pouring in over Gerald Deshayes’ debut novel ‘Gene,’ a story about a paraplegic who undergoes head transplant surgery and his life afterwards.”

Gong!

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The old forbidden places

Here’s the portion of Greg Nelson’s letter that I saved for its own post, a few lines about the secret, and possibly dangerous, places near Pomona that kids of the ’50s and ’60s liked to get into. Take it away, Greg:

“As far as tunnels under Pomona goes, there were real tunnels, but they were the storm drains, and we used to break into them in Ganesha Park and travel miles around the town underground. My pal Phillip O’Brien was always talking me into going down there with him. I heard he died in a hang-glider accident somewhere around San Dimas Canyon years ago. I remember his parents were fanatical Catholics. They said a rosary together as a family every night. If you spent the night at his house you had to do it with them.

“Those storm drains were a forbidden place, and we stopped going once we saw the movie ‘Them’ about the giant bees that built nests in the Los Angeles storm drains.

“The other forbidden place to go was Walnut Falls, on the far side of Puddingstone, behind the dam. We loved to hike out there early on summer Saturdays and jump from the cliffs surrounding the pool created by the falls. In the summer there was just a trickle of water over the falls, and around noon the local L.A. Sheriffs would raid the place and chase us all away. It was too dangerous a place to let kids play, I guess.”

Your turn, readers: What risky stunts did you pull as kids? Where did you go that you knew you shouldn’t?

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Sheets mural, downtown L.A.

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Walking on Spring Street in downtown L.A. a while back, I noticed the mural on the exterior of City Hall East, the secondary City Hall building on the east side of Spring. Wondering if the mural might be by longtime Claremont and Pomona artist Millard Sheets, and in no hurry, I stepped closer. Indeed it is.

The 28-by-60-foot mural, “The Family of Man,” was installed in 1972 and envisioned as a way to celebrate diversity. Click here to see more images of the mural and read a short explanation.

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Who dat!

Continuing a long streak, I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. (However, having visited New Orleans post-Katrina, it was cool to know the previously hapless team had made the championship and had everyone there tossing around their giddy “Who dat?” catchphrase. I was happy to hear later that they’d won.)

I decided to take advantage of everyone watching the game to go to Ikea in West Covina.

There was noticeably less traffic on the 10, but to my surprise, Ikea’s garage seemed as full as normal for a Sunday, and the store was thronged with shoppers. In the cafeteria, all the window seats were taken, the ones with the view of the 10 and the hills.

Several TVs in the store were tuned to the Super Bowl. Two guys were seated on a sofa in one of the living room setups, watching the game on a big screen almost as comfortably as if they were at home. (Hmm. Did the store replace its usual fake TVs with real TVs for the day?)

Perhaps the sort of people who shop at Ikea aren’t (mostly) the sort who watch the Super Bowl. I dunno. As I maneuvered around all these non-Bowl watchers, I kept mentally asking them: Who dat? Who dat? Who dat?…

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Restaurant of the Week: Alina’s

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Alina’s Lebanese Cuisine, 2250 S. Archibald Ave. (at Philadelphia), Ontario.

After a tip from the hungry folks at the Ontario Police Department, whose headquarters is nearby, I stopped by Alina’s for lunch this week. It’s just above the 60 Freeway in a small building fronting an office park.

The interior is a bit bare, pleasant but nothing fancy. You order at your table and pay at the register as you leave. Alina’s has eight sandwiches, none more expensive than $5.69, and plate entrees from $7.99 to $13.99. It’s all Lebanese food, including a few items I’d never heard of: makanek? soujouk?

I had a kafta kebab ($8.99), which is made of ground beef; it came with rice pilaf, fattoush salad, hummus, garlic spread and pita bread. It was all very good, and filling. I also tried a jallab ($2.49) drink, which was a taste I may not acquire, but drinkable.

All the food here is made fresh to order, down to chopping the lettuce and tomatoes. Don’t expect your meal in five minutes, but expect it to be good. The dining room was almost full at 12:15 p.m., a healthy sign that Alina’s, in business for a year, may be with us for a while.

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