The Rundown

By Allen David

Posted May 31, 2012 in News


The Rialto Unified School District adopts a new logo and slogan created by students six months after they told officials they wanted something that more accurately represents their experience. The old logo featured the Rialto Bridge and the slogan, “Youth: Our Most Valuable Resource.” The new logo still features the bridge, but depicts it leading from a graduation ceremony toward representations of an unemployment office, a fast-food restaurant, a meth lab and a prison, with some students shown jumping off the bridge when they see their options. The message in the new slogan cannot be determined because of numerous misspellings.


No, wait, the slogan is: 2DAZE SKULLERS, 2MOROS LEADRZ.


Master gardener Ottillia “Toots” Bier of The Press-Enterprise leads off her column with a letter from a reader who wants to know what to plant in a garden to attract hummingbirds. As usual, the mere mention of that crazycute bird sends me into a reverie of wonder—beginning with, “I wonder what someone named ‘Ottillia’ has to do to become known as ‘Toots’ Bier?” From there, it’s a short trip to terror, as memories return of master brewer Arthur “Chugs” Biegsteins and the Monday afternoons we spent in the garden where the old artisan tended to pass the hours after long weekends of performing drinking stunts at German restaurants. Chugs warned of the aggressiveness of hummingbirds, recounting in horrible detail the many times he’d been victimized by swarming attacks in that very garden—and asserting that if “a hummingbird were as big as an old crow we would all be dead.” It was delirium tremens, of course. But Chugs ultimately took on the challenge of proving his theory true—R.I.P., old friend—and it was only when they found him dead in that garden, surrounded by his assailants, that we all realized that “hummingbird” was his nickname for a bottle of beer and that he was referring to “old crow” in a context better understood if those words are capitalized.


Meanwhile, Toots Bier responds to her reader’s request for hummingbird magnets by serving up the usual brew of bogus plants—citrus, redbud and mimosa trees; shrubs such as grevillea, hibiscus and rosemary; and vines like honeysuckle and trumpet vine.  By the time she finally gets around to mentioning salvia (or sage) plants nobody even notices—they’re still trying to imagine a trumpet vine. But Toots, let’s hope we never again see any version of the sentence with which you ended your column: “Most importantly,” you wrote, “a friend tells me that the hummingbirds literally fight over the blossoms on her salvia plants.” Get your gladiatorial kicks somewhere else, or we’re changing your nickname to Ottillia “The Hun.”


Welcome to the unofficial first day of summer.


Eric Tipton of Running Springs is online early, so just-can’t-wait is he to put up this 5:27 a.m. post on the Yahoo! group, InlandCountyBirds, about his Sunday of birdwatching: “I birded Arrastre Creek and had a very rewarding day. The Indigo Bunting found by Sandy Remley put on a great show, along with several Lazuli about 300 yards above the big pine, just south of the 2N02 creek crossing. Wilsons warblers and Warbling Vieros were the predominate migrants in the willows, but I did come across a few Townsends, Orange crowned, Yellow and one Hermit Warbler. Found a Swainsons Thrush as well, but not in the numbers seen last weekend. At the end of the valley and in the willows amongst the Jeffrey Pines I found a male Northern Parula feeding with the Wilsons Warblers. On my way out I ran into Gene Cardiff and his daughter; I hope they were able to find the Parula. It was great to see Gene, especially that far up the canyon. The mountain birding is heating up.”


Four days after Bob Hedeman, his wife, Suzie and neighbors Chuck and Margie Karcher witnessed men cutting down Verizon cable lines to sell the copper inside . . . then called police, chased the thieves and cornered them until the cops arrived . . . the heroes are still waiting to find out whether Verizon will pay them the $10,000 reward the company promises on its website. When Hedeman called the company, he was told there was no such reward. A few days later, a company official called to say there was a reward, but it expires in June. Now Verizon says the reward is being processed, but the amount depends on the level of involvement.


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