Already tapped out for holiday gift inspirations? Afraid you'll be condemned to give the same tired old thing one more time ("Oh, honey--his 'n' hers lunar rover vehicles again?")?
For a million, you can call your own bluff.
The Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs near Santa Barbara has until the end of the year to jingle its tin cup full, to the tune of $3.95 million, to exercise its option to buy up 52 meadow-like bluff-top acres to preserve as open space.
The first million-dollar donor to the bluffs fund gets to name it anything he or she wants--just so long as the word "bluffs" appears there somewhere.
About a million dollars has already come in contributions with three or four zeros tacked onto them . . . but the Dec. 31 deadline in this limited-time offer is growing near, declares Michael Feeney, executive director of the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. He points out that like university buildings, like the recently christened Douglas Family nature preserve in Santa Barbara, when money talks, it sometimes does speak the name of its owner/donor.
(It's a practice evidently not unknown even in England, where some benefactor seems to have preserved coastal cliffs in memory of a dog; everyone knows the White Cliffs of Rover.)
Smallest rock from the sun: Sacramento, that epicenter of legislative witticisms and wry moments, hosted Music Circus' summer stock production of "South Pacific" lately; had Rodgers and Hammerstein been standing at the back of the theater, they would have been gratified but mystified at the fresh laughter occasioned by their nearly 50-year-old exchange between American nurse Nellie Forbush and her suitor, French planter Emile de Becque:
Emile: "Who is not running from something? There are fugitives everywhere. Paris. New York. Even in Small Rock, where you come from."
Nellie: "Oh, Little Rock."
Emile: "Little Rock. Do you know fugitives there?"
Nellie: "I'll show you a picture of a Little Rock fugitive."
Student union: Accustomed as we have become to indignant college protests over the curtailing of beer privileges, the sight of a roiling mob storming the administration building at the University of Redlands would be fodder indeed for the evening news--if it weren't all being staged for TV already.
A two-day shoot for a network miniseries about the 1960s begins Thursday at the school, following a casting call among students whose generation may be more likely to understand "campus uprising" to mean the consequences of too much beer rather than radical protest.
Like almost everyplace else in the many thousand-square-miles open-air sound stage of Southern California, Redlands will not be playing itself, but is standing in for Columbia University circa 1968, when students took over campus buildings. Surely the name--Redlands--had nothing to do with it. . . .
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Late September is onion time in California. More than a quarter of the nation's total crop is produced here, half of which gets dehydrated into onion powder, flakes and minced pieces for a myriad of uses.
Here are the top 10 onion-producing states last year:
STATE TONS 1 California 798,200 2 Oregon 538,500 3 Washington 445,650 4 Idaho 282,900 5 Colorado 267,750 6 New York 183,000 7 Georgia 173,800 8 New Mexico 150,400 9 Texas 131,150 10 Michigan 97,600
Source: Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Researched by TRACY THOMAS / Los Angeles Times
One-offs: Because of rules prohibiting the living from appearing on stamps, an image by Santa Barbara photographer Philip Channing used in a new 32-cent commemorative stamp was digitally changed to render the ballerina's face unrecognizable, according to the Washington Post. . . . Fresno County authorities say a garbage truck driver is being investigated for allegedly murdering a business rival by running over the man with his pickup truck. . . . A San Bernardino man was sentenced to 18 months in jail for disrupting public meetings--a violation of his probation from earlier convictions for the same offense. . . . The mayor of the village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, in answer to merchants' complaints that they're being crowded out by art galleries, is asking the City Council to consider limiting the number of galleries, which at present stands at 88. . . . A Santa Rosa wine firm has exclusive rights on the auction of some 500 bottles of 1907 Heidsieck Monopole champagne recovered from a Swedish shipwreck and expected to fetch more than $3,500 each at auction. . . . State environmental authorities say they are looking into circumstances at a Mountain View arts festival where hundreds of red-eared slider turtles were crammed into boxes and offered for sale without a permit.
"I don't think I'm going to be working anymore."
--Reynald Herren, a Daly City body and fender repairman for San Francisco's Municipal Railway, after he won a $14-million slot machine jackpot in Reno.
California Dateline appears every other Tuesday.