a 6 foot 8 drag queen and JJFad & FamilyForce 5


My friend and former roommate planned a night out..  It had been a while since we’ve been out together.  The last time we were out  we stopped at the Touch Club and listen to live blues, the club was the second choice but neither felt dressed up enough to step into Dreams next door.

After a late start, we found ourselves on J Street, where do you want to go?, I asked. Anywhere she said, well do you want to sit,dance, what do you want to do?(I wanted to go to  MIX) oh I don’t feel well and not up to dancing.

As we where driving up J, I started naming clubs.   At 16th, she turned left and left again on  G Street and another  left of 15th,

Theres Avalon, no……Dreams...were not dressed for Dreams …..  Capital Garage…. don’t like the looks of the people.…..(jeez I thought to myself)   The park….oh hell no!

Now on to K Street, there the new hot spot..Lounge on 20..…..FACES let’s go to  FACES! she screamed

Faces was the last place, I wanted to go….so I convinced her to at least check out Lounge on 20…. they have dancing here I said,   its nice, let’s go to Faces.

What was he thinking? He wanted to be outed, I said to myself about the California Senator Ashburn as my friend and I were walking in Faces friday.  Of all the gay bars in Sacramento, why didn’t he just wear a rainbow suit in the halls of the capital.  Faces has three dance floors, a VIP lounge and a swimming pool, its also one of those bars where one wants to be seen.

As we entered the bar on 20th we passed a hopeless  blonde ,drag queen (a dark skinned black man with a ton of light powder on his face-if he shook his head he could start a dust storm)

I visited Faces last summer with a group of friends….while there were a lot of women, there was also a lot a thin young men, I saw a few men my age who seemed to be staring  at the young boys… not my place at all.

While my friend was all smiles, my legs grew heavy….   I immediately hated to music in the first dance floor., on this evening the only skinny boys were the dancers on platforms wearing skimpy undies.  My friend  seem to be in her  element her eyes were all smiles as we watched the people on the dance floor. ….you know, I could be home watching Judge Judy on You Tube-I said to myself.

Let’s walk around I said…. on the the next room, as we walked through this huge drag queen( 6.8 or 7 feet in heels) a blonde wig  nearly knocked me down…   Ok I said to myself…….   I’m not feelin this…..    I don’t like this music in this room  either….. lets move,( I was really in a negative mood)in the front room, are heads responded to an oldie . “Supersonic”  oh shit, as we both moved towards the dance floor. . There they were on the huge video display  JJ Fad and the Family Force five in their eighties hairstyles. On the floor everyone seemed to know the words to the song.

see the S is for Super

and the U is for unique

the P is for perfection

and you know that we are freaks

the E is for Exotic

and the R is for Raps

so the those noisy people just to stay the Hell Back!

I was gone, the clouds parted  JJ Fad and Family Force was on a wall in front of me.  D was on my left, two sleek power lesbians dressed to kill was on my right.   We had taken over the center of this crowded floor, arms up fingers snapping.   Keep up or get the hell back!!!

On the floor mixed in with the twentysomethings I spoted some forty, fifty somethings. (What the hell!!)  I danced as she  was ordering her drink, I rocked with people as the walked by..   The giant drag queen (with great legs) danced  from room to room..    I held my stomach in as this muscled fiftysomething walked by in tank top (damm him-go eat some cake)

The crowd and the bar was fun.   There seemed to be a lot of  straight couples, and straight men on the prowl in this gay bar.   On this night , I observed a lot of thugged out gay men and women, baseball jerseys and caps, gold chains. and while there were quite a few gay men,  it’s a mix not expected.   I’m from San Francisco and I’m a part-time New Yorker and one rarely sees straights in gay clubs and openly gays in straight clubs….

No fights broke out in the four hours we were there,  no one was offended at the sight of two men or two women kissing.  That’s is the way it should be…. And there were men and women my age!!!!

My friend , who is from New Orleans said this was the most fun, she has had in Sacramento.

A few years ago, Time magazine said Sacramento was the most integrated city in the nation, perhaps the most sophisticated.

I left Faces, exhausted ..and proud of the people who live in this city.

and for the last time SUPERSONIC………….


C.F.

Lost Luggage: It’s War, You vs The Airlines


First the good news… Airlines are losing fewer bags.  Now the bad news, if you become a member of that minority whose bag is permanently lost, is very difficult.

Let’s begin with the baggage fee, if your luggage doesn’t arrive when you do, most airlines will not refund the baggage fee.  currently only Alaska/Horizon Airlines will issue one voucher for a $25.00 discount or 2500 frequent flyer miles per passengers.  Some of the other airlines might offer a refund after you file a claim.  Its a case by case basis.

“It’s a service charge for the handling and carrying  of a checked bay”says tim Smith of American Airlines, “That does not imply any other promise” American doesn’t routinely refund checked bag charges simply because of delays, Smith said.

“However, if the individual situation gets to the point where the customer files a claim seeking reimbursement for any covered loss ,they are welcome to include checked-bag charges as a part of that claim” said Smith

That’s too vague to suit Kate Hanni of Flyers Rights. org (www.FLYERSRIGHTS.ORG) an airline passenger rights group.  her organization is pushing the U.S. Department of transportation (DOT) to include checked bag fee refund in proposed new consumer protection rules due out for review in June on airline baggage polices.

We’re hearing a lots of complaints about baggage fees not being refunded ” she said. “it should be automatic.”  In lieu of refunds, a few airlines offer vouches for discounts on future travel. Some do it as a matter of policy,others only if a passenger complains.

Not good enough, says Hanni,whose organization has helped some consumers recover baggage fees by filing compliant  with the DOT.  “It should be cash for cash”

The top nine U.S. Airlines collected $2.5 billion in baggage fees, in the 12 months ended Sept,30,2009, and are on track to raise more this year.

Last Saturday, on KGO’s consumer talk radio show. Hanna say’s fewer than 6% of passengers collect on loss luggage.

ITS ON ROUTE

Many airlines will deliver you bags to you and if delay is longer than normal, most of the airlines will reimburse you for toiletries and some instances give you a small allowed for clothing.  Continental  to me they would reimbursed me for $100 in clothing. However, being an XL man, in a foreign city $100, didn’t come close,fortunately my clothes arrived at my hotel ,before my presentation.

WHAT IF THE WORST HAPPENS?

The lost luggage limits has doubled to $2500.00.  Camera’s and jewelry is not included.

You arrive at your destination and after a couple of days, your bag is declared officially lost., you will have to submit a claim, This usually means you will have to fill out a second claims form.  Missing the deadline for filing could invalidate your claim altogehter.Says’ Kevin Coffee of Corporate Travel Safety.  If your flight involved a connection involving two carriers,the final carrier is normally the one responsible for your claim,even if it appears that the first airline lost the bag.

Airline don’t automatically pay every claim the receive. first,they will use the information on your form to estimate the value of your possessions. Like insurance companies,airlines consider the depreciate value of your possessions original price or the replacement cost.    If your tempted to exaggerate your claim, don’t. Airlines may completely deny claims they feel are inflated or frudgulent.. They often ask for other documentation to back up claims,especially if a large amount of money is involved.  Extensive records,receipts will be required.

Expect to dicker with the airline over the value of your goods. Refunds take anywhere from six weeks to three-month to pay you for your lost luggage. As an option they may offer you the option of free tickets on futures flights in a higher amount. in lieu of cash. Be sure to ask about all restrictions on these tickets, such as blackout periods and how far in advance are you permitted to make a reservation..

WHAT HAPPENS TO UNCLAIMED BAGS?

It is said the airlines earn nearly $100,000 a month on unclaimed bags.  Some airports like Miami International hold annual baggage auctions.  Through the years travelers have left I-pods, laptops,cameras and jewelry.  The bidder bids  on an unopened luggage.  In 2002, one bidder walked away with 10,000 in cash left in the suitcase.

Many airports send unclaimed luggage to what is known as the Lost Luggage Capitol of the World.  The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro,Alabama. the store itself has become a tourist attraction, attracting shoppers from all over the world.

The store takes up an entire city block, and nearly everything imaginable can be found there a signficant savings. www.unclaimedbaggage.com

TIPS

Kevin Coffey recommends, if you suitcase doesn’t connect at your destination, don’t panic. The airlines have a very sophisticated systems that track down about 98% of the bags they misplace and return them to their owners and in many cases will absorb reasonable expenses you incur while they look for your missing bags and the while the airlines may have different ideas of what is reasonable,the amount may be subject to negotiation.

If  you bags don’t come off the conveyor belt, report this to the airline before your leave the airport.  Insist on filling out a form and getting a copy,even if they say the bag is on the next flight.  The form should contain the name of the person who filled it out.  if not write his or her name on your copy as well as the date and time for your memory.

Don’t assume the airline will deliver the bag without charge. ask them about this. Most carries set guidelines for their airport employees that allow some money at the airport for emergency purchases.  The amount depends on whether or not you are close to home and how long it takes to track down your bags and return them to you. if the airlines provide you a cash advance, it may still reimburse you later for the purchase of necessities.

As frustrating  as this is, keep your head. The airline representative did not lose or misplace your luggage, how much he gives you is at his discretion.

Consider shipping your special purchases (keep the receipts with you) via The Postal Service or UPS the cost  are about the same as you would pay for the airlines. Do not pack medicine or expensive jewelery or cameras.

at ease troops

C.F.

Additional information provided by Carol Pucci Seattle Times/keith Evans

Fashion Sacramento: (the clubs) The Best and the Worst of 2009


Black is New York’s signature color, no city in america comes close to matching the cities style subway to Bus ,New Yorker’s own full length mirrors.  On the west coast its San Francisco.  For years, sports professionals turned to Rochester’s big and tall for style.(the store now owned by Casual Male XL )can be now  found throughout the country.  The city is the home to the largest Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks’ Fifth Ave outside of New York. If there was one word to describe San Franciscans is tailored.

Last year ,Sacratomatoville, visited 10 midtown/downtown clubs.

 Avalon, Mix, Faces,Harlow’s,Badlands,Capitol Garage, Dreams,The Park Ultra lounge, The Lounge on 20,Club 21.

There were few fashion hits last summer at the clubs, perhaps this can be attributed to the stores in the area. While there are hundreds of discount stores, (with last year’s  fashions and beyond on the racks) There are few department stores with personal stylist in area, and fewer midrange and high end  stores. 

The stylist can often give the shopper a sense of what works on your body and a tailor or seamstress can fine tune the look.    No matter the body type, it’s all about the fit.

The lil black dress

A staple or jus something to do?   At Club 21, black was imaginative,and fun.  Sexy and hot at Dream, Lounge on 20, and Harlow’s.  seriously hoochiefied at the Ultra lounge, washed out legs, too tight, too short, too loose, tired sometimes down right scary, particularly on windy evenings.

Imagination and color was the rule at Avalon, take offs of the school uniform and unlike the Ultralounge, the floor was a washed in color..

WhiteTee shirts and chains (The lil Wayne,50cent affect)

This phenomenon began in the mid eighties.  It also should have died in the mid eighties. White tee shirts, reversed baseball caps ,sneakers and chains..  It could be ,the men are dressing for each other?-Ladies, just say no! 

There is room for the tee shirt, tucked into pants ,layed under a  shirt, a vest, or sports coat.  This look can be found at Harlow’s, Club 21, Lounge on 20, Capitol Garage,Mix, Dreams and Badlands..

The current look for men in town is blue or black jeans with a dress shirt worn over.  Suits and Sportcoats and ties can be found at Harlow’s, Lounge on 20,Dreams and the Ultra Lounge.

Fashion Sacramento:(the clubs) The Best and the Worst of 2009

the Worst (men)

The I just bought my outfit at DD’s Discount or some discount store award goes to the men at Avalon.

The how Thug am I award goes to Faces

women

My breast in this tight dress should find me a man. goes to The Park Ultra Lounge.

The best male looks

A nice combinations of casual to dress can be found a Dreams and Harlow’s

Trendsetter Imagination, industrial to punk, Club 21,Badlands

The best looks female;

Casual to Dress, Dreams, Harlow’s, Lounge on 20

Trendsetter, Avalon, Club 21,

Fashion Sacramento: The Worst clubs 2009

1. Faces (20th & K Streets) this is the premier gay club in the city.  This is also where the good  meets evil and the effect is bad pizza. Tailored suits vs thug wannabees.  Expensize Jeans vs ripped torn jeans  and finally G Q vs Farmers monthly.

2. Capitol Garage (15th & K Street) Phat  Farm meets the Jersey Shore, its the situation.

Fashion Sacramento :  The best  clubs 2009

1.(tie) The new “Lounge of 20” & Harlow

The Lounge of 20 (20th &K) opened in 09 and was an instant hit.  It’s crowd is younger than Harlow’s the dress is current, your not likely to find extremes here,its cool and comfortable.

Harlow’s (28th & J) has been around for few decades now. It’s one of the few clubs ,where you would run into a visiting or local celebrity. The crowd is middling, unlike The Lounge, a man wearing a suit and tie would not stand out. its a good mix of Levi and wool.

3.Dreams

Like Harlow’Dreams (15th Street between I & J) crowd is middling. The setting is sophisticated and industrial, with a fireplace and smoking patio ,a good place for people watching.  The Dress is casual to dressy.

4. Club 21

This was the surprise… For several nights during the summer,we would see  these very trendy people. and after asking them what club they came from. we had to visit.  Club 21 (21st Street between L & K street) is an alternative club, on some evenings the minimum age is 18.  It is the home to extreme fashion.  Not everyone was  a hit.. .but one would never call Club 21 boring..

  

C.F.

 

 

 

 

online insurance: Not happy with the Gecko


Car Insurance is one of those unhappy necessities.  Unhappy because its expensive and most of us never use it.     I had long wanted to change carriers and went online to compare prices.

All the companies ask for your email address, they will email a conformation number.  All the companies will ask you to confirm  that you’ve read their privacy agreements.  Some of the companies will ask for your social security number ( I avoided those) .  It’s amazing how many people don’t read the privacy agreements.

The click is  your electronic signature, by agreeing to the privacy agreement you authorize them to release (or sell )some of all  your personal  information to third parties  I’ve learned  pass if I need to call my attorney to assist me with the agreement or if it’s overly long..

One of the insurance companies suggested that I simply unsubscribe to each of the companies they planned to share my info with. (spam for my reading pleasure).

My first quote came from Progressive insurance and true to their commercial I did get three additional quotes and of the three companies Allstate was $60.00 lower than Progressive.

The next stop was Geico, navigation was easy.and my quote was nearly $100 less than Allstate.   No need to shop any further….sold!!!!

A week went by before I signed up…   I was pleased by the savings.   Just as I was entering my debit card system I noticed an increase in my premium., so I called their 800.number.

The very nice young lady told me that they discovered that I had an accident on my license.  It wasn’t a driving accident, I returned from Jury Duty in 08 and discovered someone hit my car in the counties parking lot..  With a push of a button, my profile was corrected and she happily took my debit card and took the first of six $93.00 payments.

Thirty six hours later I received my full policy.  Impressive!  Two weeks later, I received a reminder notice of the next payment.  I didn’t open the letter, its $93.00.   Two days later I received an electronic reminder notice via e-mail.  On Feb 26, they were going to take $326.00.     Huh?  A mistake,

The next morning, I called Geico and spoke to another very cheerful employee.     Sir, in 08, we discovered that you had two moving violations, yes I said they were not moving violations , the ticket was for was for driving a vehicle with expired tags.  Well that’s why your insurance increased, you lost your safe driver discount.

These were not moving violation, there were no points   How much was the safe driver discount?   my insurance increased 130 percent.  I don’t know she said. You know those violations will come off next April or if you want you can go to traffic school. There aren’t any points this wasn’t a moving violations, I reminded her.    Why can’t you or anyone there tell me what the discount is?   I reminded her.   Well, I’m feeling a bit insecure with an insurance company who can’t tell me a detail amount of my coverage and the Good driver discount is  vague at best and should I get an actual moving violation, will my insurance increase another 130% .   Sorry she said….

I may return to my old company, they did not increase my rates as a result of those tickets…  or I might complain….   but at the moment the Gecko sucks….

OUT


Sen. Roy Ashburn: ‘I’m gay’ Republican

Sen. Roy Ashburn, who has been on leave from the Senate since his DUI arrest last week, confirmed today that he is gay. “I’m gay,” Ashburn told KERN radio host Inga Barks in an interview this morning. “Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long.” Ashburn’s announcement follows reports that Ashburn was leaving a gay club before he was arrested for driving under the influence last week.

 The Bakersfield Republican, who has consistently voted against gay-rights measures, said his votes were a reflection of how the majority of voters in his conservative district would have wanted him to vote. Ashburn, who is divorced, has been on personal leave in the Senate since last week’s arrest. He is expected to return today.

Benjamin Lopez, lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition, said, “I don’t know why Roy strayed. But he said that the Rev. Louis Sheldon, founder of the coalition, was open to help Ashburn with counseling. Lopez stood with Ashburn at a rally in Bakersfield in 2005 to support a state proposal to block gay marriage as well as to get rid of domestic partnerships with any benefits of marriage. “I think it’s sad more than hypocritical,” Lopez said. “We’re not in Roy’s head. We don’t know what is he thinking. We hope he comes to terms with whatever is making him make a choice to be a gay man.”

. Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, a gay rights group that sponsors many state bills, called Ashburn’s comments about his voting record “a lame excuse.” “He’s blaming his constituents,” Kors said. “There are legislators in the Central Valley who have voted for LBGT (lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender) rights.” In a press released midday Monday, Equality California said: “We can empathize with Senator Ashburn’s long and difficult journey to admit that he is gay. Equality California looks forward to working with the Senator to use his experience to educate the people in his district on why he deserves the same rights and privileges as a gay man as any other Californian.

Ashburn said on the radio show: “My votes reflect the wishes of the people in my district. I have always felt that my faith and allegiance was to the people, there, in the district, my constituents. And so as each of these individual measures came before the Legislature I cast ‘no’ votes, usually ‘no’ votes, because the measures were . . . almost always acknowledging rights or assigning identification to homosexual persons.” Kors said: “People elected him to lead. I would be shocked to see if there is any polling that shows that most people in his district believe that anyone should be fired from their job because of their sexual orientation or kicked out of public accommodations because of their sexual orientation. And yet he voted against bills to prevent that.” Kors said that former Assemblyman Simon Salinas, D-Salinas, voted for a bill to legalize gay marriage “and then was told he could never run for anything again. But he went on to win a county supervisor race by 70 percent of the vote.” Kors said: “It seems that there have been a number of politicians who seem so concerned that it (being gay) will impact their careers that they not only hide, they vote against LBGT rights to squash rumors about their sexual orientation.” Lopez said Ashburn will have to “take a back seat” on the cause against same-sex marriage. But he said if Ashburn continues in the Senate, as he suggested during his radio interview, he should continue to cast votes “consistent with his district.” “We thank Roy for all his votes on social issues,” Lopez said.

Sacramento Through The Eyes of a New Yorker-You may be Surprised


We have long said Sacramentians have a poor view of  their city.   Here is a view from the East Coast.

36 Hours in Sacramento

By Beth Greenfield -New York Times -November 1,2009

DESPITE California’s fiscal crisis, Sacramento has no deficit of quirky cultural offerings. Situated at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, this capital city has a gentle, small-town charm, with a strong theater tradition, delightful new restaurants and a vibrant art scene. It also has a wealth of greenery — residents proudly claim more trees per capita than any city in the world besides Paris. It’s enough to make you forget about the state’s yawning budget gap.

Friday

4 p.m.
1) GRIN AND BEAR IT

Who says California’s capital is a mess? A stroll through the California State Capitol (10th and L Streets; 916-324-0333; www.capitolmuseum.ca.gov) — a neo-Classical confection of Corinthian and other classic columns, parget plasterwork and mosaic floors — makes everything feel like it’s in grand order. Painstakingly restored in the 1970s, the interior is graced with numerous artworks, including presidential portraits, WPA murals and a stunning marble statue of Columbus and Queen Isabella by Larkin Goldsmith Mead. There’s also a lush park and a 250-pound bronze statue of a grizzly bear guarding the door to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office. Wander at a leisurely pace while government employees rush by.

6:30 p.m.
2) FARM TO TABLE

To dine in modern elegance head a few blocks to the Ella Dining Room and Bar (1131 K Street; 916-443-3772;www.elladiningroomandbar.com), which is draped with dramatic scrims of white linen and which emphasizes local produce. Dishes include pappardelle, poached egg and prosciutto in preserved lemon butter sauce ($15), and grilled flat iron steak with caramelized salsify and braised celery root ($29). You could also have a soothing elderflower gimlet ($11) and chocolate crème caramel for dessert ($9).

8 p.m.
3) ACT THREE

Sacramento has a vibrant theater scene, judging by the well-chosen productions at the intimate B Street Theatre (2711 B Street; 916-443-5300; www.bstreettheatre.org). A current production is “The Maintenance Man,” a comedy about divorce by Richard Harris, a prolific British playwright. “Entertaining Mr. Sloane,” a tale of seduction and sibling rivalry by Joe Orton, opens Nov. 15. Draw out the drama with a nightcap at Harlows (2708 J Street; 916-441-4693; www.harlows.com), where you’ll find live rock or jazz downstairs and purple backlighting and plush and inviting seats in the Momo Lounge upstairs.

Saturday

10 a.m.
4) MIMOSA BRUNCH

Get to the Tower Cafe (1518 Broadway; 916-441-0222; www.towercafe.com) early, and you’ll have a better chance of snagging an outdoor table under the shady mimosa tree at this quirky restaurant across the street from the original (and, sadly, defunct) Tower Records. But you could do a lot worse than sitting indoors — where you’ll be surrounded by an eclectic collection of objets d’art, including African beaded belts, Mexican Day of the Dead sculptures and 1930s travel posters — as you dive into toothsome specialties like the Mexican scramble ($8.95), blueberry cornmeal pancakes ($8.95) or chorizo burrito ($9.95).

11:30 a.m

5) A BUFFET OF ART

The Crocker Art Museum (216 O Street; 916-808-7000; www.crockerartmuseum.org; $6 entry) is the perfect museum for a weekend getaway: compact yet diverse, including works from prehistoric to modern times. Oswald Achenbach’s painting, “Festival and Fireworks by Moonlight,” circa 1855, has a fiery luminescence so true that you expect to feel heat rising off the canvas. In the contemporary gallery, the Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo’s “Laughing Woman,” from 1950, is dark and whimsical. And the building, an 1872 Victorian Italianate mansion, is absolutely grand; an addition tripling the museum’s size is scheduled to open in 2010.

1:30 p.m.
6) BOATS AND TRAINS

Old Sacramento (www.oldsacramento.com), a historic district with costumed cowboys and Old West facades, is a hokey, tourist-mobbed scene. But two spots stand out: the Pilothouse Restaurant (1000 Front Street; 916-441-4440; www.deltaking.com) and theCalifornia State Railroad Museum (Second and I Streets; 916-445-6645;www.californiastaterailroadmuseum.org; $9). The restaurant is on the Delta King, a 1920s riverboat-turned-floating-hotel, and offers dishes like a Shrimp Louie salad ($13) and fish and chips ($12). The museum features restored locomotives and railroad cars that you can climb aboard, including a 1937 stainless-steel dining car with white linen, fancy china and a vintage menu offering a “lamb chop, extra thick, 80¢.”

4 p.m.
7) SHOP MIDTOWN

Midtown, the area bordered roughly by 17th and 29th Streets and H and P Streets, may be Sacramento’s hippest district. Stop into boutiques like Dragatomi (2317 J Street; 916-706-0535; www.dragatomi.com), for designer collectibles like Kidrobot. Midtown is also home to art galleries, so if you’re not in town for a Second Saturdays Art Walk, pop into a few, including b. sakata garo (923 20th Street; 916-447-4276; www.bsakatagaro.com) and the 20th Street Art Gallery (911 20th Street; 916-930-0500; www.20art.net), which focuses on Sacramento artists.

6:30 p.m.
8) SEASONAL FARE

For a taste of Sacramento’s new culinary scene, make reservations at Grange (926 J Street; 916-492-4450; www.grangesacramento.com), a sleek new restaurant in theCitizen Hotel. Michael Tuohy uses local ingredients to make seasonal dishes like risotto with morels and fava beans ($22), grilled sturgeon with polenta and shiitake mushrooms ($25) and slow-smoked pork shoulder with turnips ($25).

8:30 p.m.
9) CLOSER TO WINE

If the art gods are on your side, you’ll be in town for a Second Saturdays Art Walk (www.2nd-sat.com), when galleries stay open until 10 p.m. with live music, food vendors and, of course, vino. Though most of the action is in Midtown, around K Street, galleries in other neighborhoods get involved, too; it’s best to check in with the art walk’s map, on its Web site. Any other Saturday, remind yourself how close Napa Valley is at Revolution Wines (2116 P Street; 916-444-7711; www.revolution-wines.com), a tiny industrial-chic winery with free tastings, or at L Wine Lounge and Urban Kitchen (1801 L Street; 916-443-6970; www.lwinelounge.com), which has at least 20 wines by the glass.

10 p.m.
10) PAINT THE TOWN GREEN

Sacramento isn’t known for night life, but there are a few surprises. One is the glossy and upscale Lounge on 20 (1050 20th Street; 916-443-6620; www.loungeon20.com), where a seat on the patio, glass of emerald absinthe ($8 to $15) in hand, conjures up South Beach — without the limos, celebrities and models. Across the street is Faces (2000 K Street; 916-448-0706; www.faces.net), one of five gay clubs clustered near K and 20th Streets.

Sunday

10 a.m.
11) GOING COUNTRY

It may be stuck under a freeway overpass, but the Sunday Certified Farmers’ Market(Eighth and W Streets; www.california-grown.com) is a country-fresh way to start your day. Open year round from 8 a.m. to noon, the market offers a bounty of white pomegranates, Asian pears, fragrant persimmons, harvested honey, farm-fresh eggs, cut flowers and just-caught fish. It feels like a festive street fair, with nothing but delicious foods.

Noon
12) BIKE THE RIVER

Bond with the American River by riding along the Jedediah Smith Memorial Bike Trail, a 32-mile loop that snakes along the water and through a series of parks featuring sand dunes, oak groves, picnic areas and fishing nooks. City Bicycle Works (2419 K Street; 916-447-2453; www.citybicycleworks.com), which is less than a mile from the trail, has rentals starting at $5 an hour and $20 a day.

THE BASICS

JetBlue (www.jetblue.com) offers direct flights from Kennedy International in New York to the Sacramento International Airport. Round-trip tickets in November started at $369, a recent Internet search found.

Another, often cheaper option is to fly to San Francisco and drive 90 minutes northeast.

The Citizen Hotel (926 J Street; 916-447-2700; www.citizenhotel.com), which opened downtown in 2008, is a designer boutique hotel that is part of California’s Joie de Vivre collection. The 198-room hotel features a tented meeting space, gym and the trendy Grange restaurant and Scandal bar. Rooms start at $189 on weekdays and $129 on weekends.

The Inn & Spa at Parkside (2116 6th Street; 916-658-1818; www.innatparkside.com), in a 1936 mansion at the edge of downtown, has a spa, outdoor hot tub and 11 elegant rooms with spiritual themes like Dream and Tranquility. Rates start at $169 during the week and $199 on weekends, breakfast included.

The Delta King hotel (1000 Front Street; 800-825-5464; www.deltaking.com), aboard the Delta King riverboat in Old Sacramento, is a quirky and affordable option with river- or town-view rooms starting at $99.

CHRISTMAS IN MARCH


For those people who have followed my blogs over the years, know I enjoy a bit of hypocracy. The Jimmy Swaggert’s and Jim Haggard’s( The Crystal Methodist ) of the world.     This month we may have a new member to the club.

Anti-Gay Lawmaker At Gay Club Before DUI Arrest

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ―

Roy Ashburn

Sac County Sheriff’s Dept./CBS

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ―Sources tell CBS13 a state senator from Southern California was arrested for allegedly driving drunk after leaving Faces, a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento, early Wednesday morning.

The California Highway Patrol pulled over Senator Roy Ashburn at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday after an officer noticed a black Chevy Tahoe swerving at 13th and L Streets.

The Sacramento County district attorney says Republican state Sen. Roy Ashburn’s blood-alcohol level was .14 percent when he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving near the Capitol.

Ashburn, a father of four, is a Republican Senator representing parts of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino Counties with a history of opposing gay rights

When the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, the driver identified himself as Senator Ashburn. He was arrested without incident and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level higher than .08% or higher.

A male passenger, who was not identified as a lawmaker, was also in the car but was not detained.

Ashburn was booked into the Sacramento County Jail and released on $1,400 bond.

Ashburn issued a statement on the arrest Wednesday afternoon:

“I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment. I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me – my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate.”

Ashburn served six years as a state Assemblyman before being elected to the State Senate.  According to Project Vote Smart, Ashburn’s voting record shows he has voted against every gay rights measure in the State Senate since taking office including Recognizing Out-Of-State Same-Sex Marriages”, Harvey Milk Day and Expanding Anti-Discrimination Laws.

Ashburn no-show in Senate after DUI arrest

A day after his arrest for investigation of drunken driving, state Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, did not show up for Thursday morning’s session of the state Senate. Senate officials said Ashburn was out on personal leave, meaning he would not collect a per-diem check.

The state-issued car Ashburn was driving at the time of his arrest early Wednesday was returned to the state Capitol garage. There are no impounding fees, said Senate Secretary Greg Schmidt.

Officials in Ashburn’s Capitol office said they did not know where the senator was Thursday.

Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said, “I’m confident Roy will return very soon.”

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday that Ashburn’s blood-alcohol level was 0.14% when he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving near the Capitol. Drivers are considered intoxicated by law if the level is 0.08% or greater.

Gay


California’s First Openly Gay Legislator  John Perez

California Speaker of the Assembly John Perez came to his new position bearing a gift for each legislator; a rubber duck. It was to symbolize his refusal to “duck” the difficult questions and situations of his office. Perez is an avid collector of rubber ducks.

Free to marry in DC

Darlene Garner, left, comforts her partner Candy Holmes after applying for their marriage license at the DC Superior Court, Wednesday, in Washington, DC. Yesterday, the US Supreme Court refused to block a law allowing same-sex marriages in Washington DC, clearing the way for the legislation to go into effect today.

Loyal Americans

Former members of the military, from left, Anthony Woods of Arlington, Va., Stacy Vasquez of Denton, Texas, David Hall of Washington, and Todd Belok of Ridgefield, Conn., are seen during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 3, 2010, to discuss an effort to repeal the military’s ban on openly gay service members.

Openly Gay Israeli Soldier

Israeli soldiers march in the gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

Job Insecurity: San Francisco Today (Is Sacramento’s Tommorrow?)


It’s not over til its over.   Cities are in crises, to make up for the shortfall, cities are reducing hours first and then position.     Last week the state’s superior court ruled the state illegally furloughed and reduced the hours of  thousands of  state Employees and ordered the state to reimburse state workers.

The City of  San Francisco faces a $550 million dollar deficit and in controversal move, Mayor Gavin Newsom  will hand out pink slips to 15,000 thousand  workers, most of those workers will have the option of being rehired, working a shorter work week.

Sacramento, faces a $40 million deficit, unlike San Francisco, the Mayor cannot make a similar move without approval from the city council.

15,000  S.F. workers face layoffs ,Shorter Weeks

Heather Knight-San Francisco Chronicle 3/3/10

More than 15,000 San Francisco city workers across all departments will receive layoff notices Friday, and most of them will have the option of being rehired to work a shorter week, Mayor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

Newsom’s controversial plan to help reduce the city’s $522 million budget deficit for the 2010-11 fiscal year would shift the majority of the city’s 26,000 workers from a 40-hour week to 37 1/2 hours, cutting their paychecks by 6.25 percent.

The plan is expected to save $100 million – half in the city’s general operating fund and half in money-generating departments including the port and airport – but is being decried by unions and some supervisors as a slap at the rank and file.

They also pointed to the mayor’s inability to promise that the move would spare future layoffs. Newsom said not all workers who receive layoff notices Friday will be rehired but refused to specify how many that may be.

The mayor insisted, though, that it’s a smart way to spare several thousand layoffs and ensure that workers retain jobs as the city faces its biggest budget deficit. The move to a shortened workweek would not affect employees’ health benefits, vacation or sick time.

“This is a pro-job alternative,” Newsom said. “We can keep people employed and keep their health benefits.”

He announced the idea last month and said he was open to cost-saving alternatives from unions. But Tuesday, he said he didn’t receive any and needed to move forward because his budget proposal is due to the board on June 1.

“I have not gotten any better ideas, and so it is my intent to go forward this Friday,” Newsom said.

Unions seek alternatives

Tim Paulson, executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council, said many city unions have joined to form a “public employees committee” to craft alternative cost-saving proposals, but declined to say what they were likely to include or when they’d be unveiled.

“We’re going to do the right thing because we care about the city,” he said. “The mayor’s cookie-cutter method is not going to work.”

The mayor’s proposal would affect most job classifications including librarians, gardeners, secretaries, clerks, street cleaners, janitors and more. The vast majority would be rehired at the reduced schedule within 60 days and would continue working as normal in the meantime.

The plan wouldn’t affect police officers, firefighters, deputy sheriffs, Muni operators or attorneys for a variety of reasons, including that some of those groups have mandatory staffing levels or work hours inscribed in their deals with the city.

Newsom stressed those groups would be asked to take 6.25 percent wage cuts, though that would require agreements from those unions.

Carlos Rivera, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said union members are unlikely to see their actual workloads reduced – just their paychecks.

“Cutting down the time doesn’t eliminate the work,” he said.

Newsom said he didn’t have sympathy for workers who complained about their workloads.

“Well, they have a job,” he said. “Let’s be adults. Let’s deal with reality.”

He added that he won’t accept city-run operations opening their doors to the public a half-hour later or closing a half-hour earlier and that he’ll rely on managers to stagger workers’ schedules instead.

Avalos opposed

Newsom’s plan doesn’t need approval from the Board of Supervisors, but some members haven’t shied away from publicly opposing the plan.

Supervisor John Avalos, chairman of the board’s budget committee, said the plan hits the city’s lowest-paid workers.

“It is not something that is equitable,” he said. “The people who are making more could give up more.”

Avalos suggested that the city look into declaring a fiscal emergency, which would allow city officials to make across-the-board wage reductions to preserve services and jobs.

Chronicle staff writer Rachel Gordon contributed to this report.

Would you like cow dung with that toothpaste?


From the West Australian,Perth Australia 03/02/10

“God resides in cow dung,” says Kesari Gumat, as he walks through his laboratory where researchers mix bovine excreta with medicinal herbs and monitor beakers of simmering cow urine.

The lab in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad is one of a growing number of research centres that have embraced the sacred status of cows in India and sought to push it to a new level.

Promoting the practical alongside the spiritual, they have developed a line of dung and urine-based medicines they say can cure a whole herd of ailments from bad breath to cancer.

“These formulas are not new,” Mr Gumat said. “They are contained in ancient Hindu holy texts. We are just making them with a scientific approach.”

The raw materials are generated on site from more than 300 cows that roam the compound housing the centre.

Visitors must remove their shoes and socks before entering and brave a barefoot walk across a carpet of semi-soft dung drying in the sunlight.

“Walking on fresh cow dung is very healthy,” Mr Gumat said.

“It kills all the germs and bacteria and heals wounds. And dry cow dung is a great scrub to get rid of dead skin and improve blood circulation.”

Mr Gumat said the list of derivative applications was extremely lengthy, stretching beyond medicines to toiletries like soap, shampoo and toothpaste, and incense sticks and mosquito coils.

The products have been applauded by Hindu nationalist groups, the largest of which, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, unveiled its own urine-based soft drink last year as a “healthy” alternative to Coke and Pepsi.

Gau Jal (which means cow water) was developed at the RSS Cow Protection Department, a research facility in the northern city of Haridwar on the banks of the holy river Ganges.

“This will end the market for carbonated fizzy drinks,” predicted the facility’s director Om Prakash.

Gau Jal is awaiting government approval. In the meantime, Mr Prakash said his team was focusing on packaging, marketing, and preservation – to prevent the drink spoiling in India’s summer heat.

Cows are sacred to India’s Hindu majority, precluding them from eating beef, but the animals’ bodily waste falls into the same acceptable category as dairy products.

The dung is generally dried for more than a week, then blended at a very high temperature to kill all harmful bacteria and germs. The final product, a dung powder, is mixed with various ingredients to make the medicines and toiletries.

The urine is distilled to remove any impurities.

Raghav Gandhi, who heads the cow nutrition department at another research centre in Ahmedabad, stressed that the process began long before the waste was harvested.

“It might seem that all we do is collect cow excreta to make medicines but it is not so easy,” Mr Gandhi said.

“We have to serve the cow on a minute-to-minute basis.”

Mr Gandhi personally feeds his charges on grass dipped in milk, herbs with unrefined cane sugar and water containing essential salts.

He also sings to them.

“It’s simple, what they eat is what they release,” Mr Gandhi said.

“Cow dung stores all the vital nutrients and minerals. The urine is blessed with disinfectant properties.”

Mainstream doctors are divided about the medical benefits, with some pointing out that the curative claims have never been validated by independent bodies. Others see no harm in patients consuming a product they believe is helping them.

Mayur Patel, an oncologist working at the Gujarat State Cancer Research Centre, said he had read about the benefits of cow urine and dung.

“My patients take it and I allow them to do so. It’s an alternative form of medicine and it has no negative effects,” Mr Patel said.

Ahmedabad housewife Nila Parmar, 42, has been kickstarting her day with a shot of cow urine for years, and she has no doubts about its efficacy.

“Trust me. I tried allopathy and homeopathy to cure my liver disease but nothing worked,” she said.

“I kept changing doctors for over two years but it’s gau mutra (cow urine) that did the trick.”

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