Thursday, April 24, 2014

How do I get in on this food activism thing?


From page A2 | March 27, 2012 | Leave Comment

HUNGER PANGS … a few weeks back, as I was fervently reviewing stories on the front page of this very newspaper, I learned that our former mayor, Ann Evans, is a “food activist.” … no sooner had I read those words than my friend Julian called to ask “What the hell is a food activist?” … frankly, I didn’t have an answer for him … so I pulled out my great big dictionary — turns out I’m a word activist — to see exactly what the term means … and while even the most unabridged of unabridged dictionaries doesn’t have a definition for “food activist,” it does define “activist” as “An especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause.” … fair enough …

But given the absolute certainty that I have eaten more food — and more foods — in my lifetime than Ann has, does that make me some sort of “super” food activist? … I’m going to have to get ahold of this Evans woman and see how I, too, might get on the “food activist” bandwagon … make that gravy train …

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE … before the rains came to spoil the last half of March, I was sitting comfortably in a collapsible lawn chair in the front yard of my East Davis estate … or at least as comfortably as one can sit in East Davis on what used to be lush, green grass that had turned brown in what until then was an unusually dry winter … watering the lawn from the municipal supply at this time of year is cost-prohibitive, especially when heaven usually soaks the lawn for free …

Apparently, the city is aware of my plight, for the mailman arrived and handed me a special postcard from our esteemed leaders as I sat on what’s left of the lawn … the postcard included a “Reminder” that noted “Your sewer rate is affected by your winter water use. Now is the time to cut back and re-set your irrigation timers for winter.” … fair enough, but given that the postcard arrived in March and the sewer rate is affected only by water use from November through February, the “reminder” was a day late and a whole bunch of dollars short … then again, maybe this was an early reminder to conserve water next year …

The postcard also wanted me to know that “The City of Davis will never solicit, either directly or through a private company, for insurance on the water or sewer line on the customer’s property.” … why the city felt it necessary to inform me of this simple fact is unclear, but I suspect the city also will never solicit anyone to pay my mortgage … next time, please, save yourself the postage … or at least mail this postcard in late October when the time is ripe to lower those sewer charges …

LOOKING SKYWARD … the only problem I have with UC Davis’ move to the Big Sky Conference for football is the fact the league has recently expanded to 13 teams, which makes scheduling an absolute nightmare … because you can’t play yourself, there are 12 potential conference opponents every year, but as a I-AA member, you’re allowed to play only 11 regular-season games … given that just about everyone wants to spread their wings and play some non-conference opponents as well, the Big Sky limits each school to eight conference games, which leaves three openings for non-conference matchups …

The problem with this arrangement, in case you haven’t done the math, is that every year you are guaranteed not to play four league foes … now, every league has its strong teams, its weak teams and its mediocre teams … the Big Sky is no exception … and no matter how carefully the master schedule-maker works to make things “fair” for everyone, in some years, you’re going to have a relatively difficult schedule and someone else will win the conference championship because they had a relatively soft schedule … it’s unavoidable …

Just about the only exception to this rule is perennial conference power University of Montana, which beats just about everybody on a regular basis … everyone else’s fate, it seems, is in the hands of the guy making the schedule … in the first year, the Aggies catch a break by missing Montana, but also miss potentially “easier” games against Northern Colorado, North Dakota and Southern Utah … and the worst aspect of all this is that it’s hard to build rivalries when you don’t play the same teams every year …

True, the Aggies are guaranteed dates with traditional rivals Sacramento State and Cal Poly every year, but I’d gladly swap either of those for an annual battle with those powerful Montana Grizzlies …

REMEMBERING WHEN … my friend Dean on the Bird Streets sent me a photo from the Picnic Day Parade of 1967 and wants to know how many of his fellow Davisites “remember the day Carol Doda came to Davis.” … the photo Dean sent shows Doda, of North Beach fame, waving to the crowd from the back of a convertible with its top down … let’s just say the car wasn’t the only thing exposed to the elements that day … “We all thought Carol was terrific,” Dean adds a bit too enthusiastically for a family newspaper … “What a change from the usual mayor and other politicians/university leaders who had been traditionally featured in the parade.” … don’t know what the Picnic Day committee has planned for this year, Dean, but it will be hard to top 1967 …

— Reach Bob Dunning at


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