Your two cents: ‘Ungrateful’

I get so few angry letters or comments that it’s kind of a treat when I do. Thus, my pulse quickened the other day at a belated comment here by reader Jeff in response to my Dragon Loco Restaurant of the Week. Since you wouldn’t have seen it unless you keep close tabs on the “Recent Comments” section, let me present it here in full:

“Wow, This Guy!!!! David after working for daily bulletin for decades you haven’t gone nowhere. This Kid is the future, he is bring something different and new, not like the antique places you like and over done…. We seen it ate it, been their. I visited Dragon Loco After your review. Let me Say you are totally wrong, the ingredients are fresh and great. What do you now about ingredients you are just a run down columnist that just writes about the past and places from the past. I admire this kid he has something going on and it will catch on. you are a ungrateful person for him trying to contact you, WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE NEW YORK TIMES!!!! Come on man…… BE THANKFUL PEOPLE STILL READ THE NEWSPAPER AND KNOW WHO YOU ARE……… YELP, AND ALLEN BORGEN, LOVE THIS PLACE….. AGAIN WHAT DO YOU KNOW, RUN DOWN COLUMNIST.”

Wasn’t that awesome? Who I think I am indeed!

I just reread my blog post and my criticism, to my eyes, seems awfully mild, especially compared to the above. You can find my official response attached to his comment after that blog post.

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Sideways stoplights in RC

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If you’ve traveled in western Rancho Cucamonga along Foothill Boulevard of late, you may have noticed with curiosity the new traffic lights at Baker Avenue just east of the new overhead crossing. The lights are arranged horizontally, not vertically.

What gives? Is this temporary, or a retro design to match the bridge? Neither. Curt Billings, associate city engineer for Rancho Cucamonga, said it was done to ensure motorists heading east could see all three phases of the signal from as far away as possible.

“The signal heads were rotated horizontally to increase the sight distance for eastbound traffic because of the overhead obstruction of the bridge,” Billings says by email. “This horizontally mounted signal head provides the greatest amount of time to see all the lights, most importantly the red light, and as far ahead as San Bernardino Road.”

There’s a second signal like this in Rancho Cucamonga, at the intersection of Etiwanda and Miller avenues, due to sight issues because of the 15 freeway overpass, Billings said.

Nice to know that Rancho Cucamonga doesn’t mind bending over backward, or at least tipping sideways, to make us safe.

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Column: Wait, Pomona College used to be in Pomona?

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Sunday’s column (read it here) takes the president of Pomona College on a tour of two significant sites in Pomona: the corner where the college began in 1888, and the house, now relocated, that used to be on that corner.

Above, David Oxtoby, the college president, admires the monument at Mission Boulevard and White Avenue that now seems incongruous outside Angelo’s Burgers. A thumbnail image of the plaque is at left.

The home at that site, which constituted the entirety of the campus, was moved to Hamilton and Phillips boulevards in 1947. Below, college official Don Pattison, homeowner Maria Barajas and Oxtoby walk toward that home. Classes were held there for the fall 1888 semester only before the college packed up and moved to Claremont.

One addendum to the column, because someone has already asked about this: The site described as “north Pomona” near today’s Webb Schools that was planned for the Pomona College campus was not in Pomona, nor would it be today. I couldn’t include every fact but perhaps I erred in not explaining this, or in not writing “north of Pomona.”

As I understand it, the land was called Scanlon Mesa and was eyed as part of a new town that would be named Piedmont. Had the college been built there, perhaps it would have changed its name to Piedmont College. But a SoCal-wide land bust circa 1888 (not so dissimilar from our own housing crash) scotched a lot of big dreams, and Piedmont was one of them.

The college is marking its 125th anniversary (the charter was granted Oct. 14, 1887). Here’s the anniversary website. Events are planned all year, but an open house and celebration are set for the weekend of Oct. 13 and 14.

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Restaurant of the Week: Limericks Tavern

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Limericks Tavern, 1234 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Mountain), Upland

An Irish pub in an Upland shopping center, Limericks opened in 2011 in a not especially promising storefront by a Stater Bros. and a thrift store on the southwest corner of Foothill and Mountain. Once inside the doors, things improve: a lot of dark wood, a long bar, semi-private three-sided booths and antique-like lights.

I’ve visited twice recently. The first time, after bowling with friends, I wasn’t hungry enough for an entree, but a friend shared his meaty popcorn shrimp. Others got fish and chips, fish bites (like popcorn shrimp) and a salmon burger, which was said to be “crumbly” and perhaps not successful but not bad.

They also have burgers (including a 50/50 with beef and pastrami), corned beef sandwiches, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, ribeyes, seafood and more. In other words, the menu is reasonably serious, not just bar food.

I was impressed enough to return a few days later for lunch, ordering the fish and chips ($10, pictured). My platter arrived with a substantial portion of both: three pieces of fish, pretty tasty, and skin-on fries that were delicious. My iced tea was $2.

A first-timer seated near me got Irish nachos, which use corned beef, and he not only cleaned his plate but declared that he might lick it next. He also joked about sending the empty platter back because the food “wasn’t right” so he could get another one.

As a nondrinker, I’m in no position to comment on the beer, but one discerning friend from the first visit said the selection was “pretty awesome” and about as extensive as you’ll find in the 909, especially for a non-chain. Also, the happy hour special Monday to Thursday, from 9 p.m. until closing (the period we went), was buy a beer for $5, get the second one for $1, which was deemed “ridiculous” (in a good way). At that hour the place was quiet and laidback, as it was during my lunch. The bartender was nice and let us stay past the 11 p.m. close.

I liked the atmosphere and the food and I think any of our group would go back.

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Workin’ at the dog wash, yeah

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Just in time for the dog days of summer, Crossroads Car Wash by Ontario Mills has installed a do-it-yourself doggy wash.

On-the-spot correspondent James Rodriguez of Fontana, who recently found the roadside mannequin beckoning customers to an auto glass shop, discovered this oddity while getting his car washed and contributes the photos.

“Upstairs in the same building is a hair salon,” Rodriguez continues, “so a lady can get her Mercedes washed while she washes poochie, then get her hair and nails done all in one outing. Sweet.”

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John Cage in Claremont

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Happy birthday to the avant-garde composer, who was born Sept. 5, 1912, died in 1992 and attended Pomona College his freshman and sophomore years. The college has several events planned this semester, starting with a John Cage Centenary at 7 p.m. Wednesday. If nothing else, the people-watching should be excellent.

Other events this fall include an organ recital, a lecture, an evening of music cheekily titled “Cage-o-Rama” and, in October, an orchestral concert that will include Cage’s famous “4’33″ — 4 minutes, 33 seconds of silence. Here’s the schedule.

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Reading log: August 2012

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Books acquired: none.

Books read: “Men Without Women,” Ernest Hemingway; “The Illustrated Man,” Ray Bradbury; “The Bride of Fu Manchu,” Sax Rohmer; “Partners in Wonder,” Harlan Ellison; “Family Man,” Calvin Trillin.

Five books read in August, their titles forming something of a romantic arc, if you can picture the Illustrated Man and the Bride of Fu Manchu apart, meeting, marrying, living happily and spawning a family. (Me, I’m in the first phase, living vicariously through book titles.)

Hemingway’s book is an early collection of short stories, one of his best; Bradbury’s is his second story collection and ditto; the Rohmer novel is the sixth in the Fu Manchu series and silly fun; the Ellison book is a collection of not-bad collaborative stories with various SF greats, enlivened by the warm introductions; and the Trillin is a loose-limbed, humorous memoir about life with his wife and two daughters in Greenwich Village.

The Hemingway and Bradbury books were the clear winners with me. I’m of two minds about Trillin’s book. It’s often quite funny, but on the other hand there’s something of the insularity of a Salinger book or Wes Anderson movie.

I’ve owned some of these books a loooong time. Bradbury’s, which still has “10 cents” on the cover in grease pencil, might be the first one of his I bought, circa the mid-1970s. I read it back then but hadn’t touched it since. The Ellison was bought on vacation in Atlanta at the Book Nook in probably 1982 and unread ever since. Yikes! It’s satisfying to see it on my shelf now and know I’ve read it.

The other three are much more modern acquisitions: Trillin came from the former Foozles (!) remainder-bookstore in Ontario Mills around 2003, Rohmer from St. Louis’ Book House around 2006 and Hemingway from Powell’s in Portland in 2007.

So, five more down (and only, um, 523 unread books to go!) means I’ve finished an even 60 books in 2012, the precise number I read in all of 2011. A part of me would like to knock off for the rest of the year, but I’ll press on. New goal, based on what I expect to read in the next four months: 80.

Have you read any of the above? What are you folks reading? Are you getting to some of the books you had been hoping to get to this summer, or this year?

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