A New Way To Fly?

An interesting development is reported by the Sacramento Business News.  Surf Air, a private membership airline headquartered in Santa Monica and flying out of the old McClellan AFB,  is flying round-trips between Santa Rosa, Hawthorne and San Carlos beginning next month, and will add service between Monterey and Hawthorne and San Carlos in July.  On August 24,  they’ll begin round-trips between McClellan and Hawthorne, San Carlos and Santa Barbara. Then in November they’re adding service between Palm Springs and Burbank and Oakland.

A private airline? Affordable?? Well, maybe.  Surf Air’s customers pay a flat monthly fee starting at $1750 for membership and unlimited flights.  If you’re doomed to fly more than three or four times a month, it starts looking downright reasonable.  Add in the sheer pleasure of not having to deal with the major airlines and…well, I’d sure like to try it.

In another development, Pen Air, which is supposed to start service beween Crescent City and Portland later this year, is making nice with the Redding airport folks and has been heard to say they are interested in flying out of AVC.  We’ll see. Stay tuned. 

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The RCMF 2014

Before the memories have faded, I wanted to say something about the Redwood Coast Music Festival,  formerly the Jazz Festival,  that wrapped up a couple of weeks ago. This year we had the added pleasure of being able to show out-of-town friends why Humboldt is so special. 

The headliners were a mixed bag. Dana Fuchs was very theatrical, very talented but left us cold. Curtis Delgado,  on the other hand, was a complete knockout, and I can’t believe I’d never heard of the guy. He has several songs on You Tube. Other knockouts included the Au Brothers and Miskha Lake, both from New Orleans. 

Then there were the dancers. Ah, the dancers.  How do they learn that stuff? And the kids!  If I had learned to dance like that as a kid…You look around and there are a few faces missing from last year. But there are always the kids.  And there will always be more. 

The Music Festival is expected to raise $300,000 for local causes this year. What a wonderful way to spend a Spring weekend1  See you next year.

Happy Easter? Bah, Humbug!

Easter is my least-favorite holiday.  At Christmas you get good chocolate and lots of presents.  At Easter you get Peeps. No comparison.

As a kid growing up in Eureka, I was subjected to all kinds of barbaric treatment by well-meaning family members. I HAD to have a new coat, made from scratch by a lady on “A” Street, Audrey Hansen and her mother. Anyone remember them? Every coat involved two or three fittings all of which involved repeatedly being stuck with pins. These days we’d call it child abuse. The ladies were still in business when I was in sixth grade and had to have a Tiger Lily costume for the Christmas Pageant. More pins.

My normal hair wouldn’t do for Easter, either. My grandmother would march me down to Daly’s to have my hair permed. Remember that salon on the mezzanine level?  The sulphurous fumes from the frying hair filled the whole store.  Ah, the good old days.

Like it or not, Easter is a big holiday for retail spending. The National Retail Federation tells us each of us will spend $140 on Easter this year.  I’m not even close. I bought some Reese’s and a Paas egg coloring kit.  Don’t ask.  Our Easter Dinner will be a pork roast rescued from the freezer. I like to slow-cook them so that the house smells good for hours.  

That NRF article includes some fascinating data on how people plan to spend the holiday. almost half of you will be in church.  Which is good.  I don’t go myself, but I definitely  approve of church. Almost a third of you will be surfing the web on Easter, maybe doing some online buying. I asked the friendly staff at Partrick’s the other day about their holiday sales and they reported that while their big days are Christmas and Valentine’s,  Easter comes in a close third,  representing maybe 15% of yearly revenues. That’s pretty much the same as on the national level.  

So Happy Easter, everyone.  Support your local candy store and don’t make your kids get their hair fried. And go to the Zoo. It’ll make you feel good.

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It’s Back?!! OH’S is Coming BACK?

I hadn’t realized it, but according  to a Facebook page there are folks in our community who have been longing for the return of OH’s Town House, Virginia Bass’ steakhouse which closed in 2008. I felt  bad when it closed, because I had always intended to eat there.  Guess I didn’t want it bad enough to actually GO there. In those days,  I was pretty uninterested in steak. Then I discovered the AA and since then I’ve only eaten AA steaks.  I don’t know how they get that char to be so perfect but they are a hard act to follow, if anyone is really interested in opening up another meat palace here.

The thing is,  Virginia and her hubby-in-the-middle Matt Owen are using the Facebook page (bringohsback) and postcards, who knows what else, to float the idea that our 4th District Supervisor is seriously interested in reopening the restaurant that failed so recently. What’s changed?  Other than a few more folks going vegan every week.  Virginia squeaked by challenger Chris Kerrigan to retain her seat in 2014 so she won’t have to face another election for three more years. 

Well, here’s a theory.  The Facebook page shows a thousand “likes”.  That ain’t the same as a thousand investors. I claim the whole idea of bringing back OH’s is spurious and is intended to keep alive the notion that Virginia is a friend to business.  She ran on a platform of bringing in more jobs to the community, and , since she hasn’t done that,  and since she is an honorable person , perhaps she thinks that the only way to bring jobs to the community is to revive OH’s.  I’ll eat my hat if OH’s reopens.  I’ll also try one of their steaks.  Really!!

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No Silver Lining

I was surprised,  as was airport management, apparently,  to hear that the Silver Lining restaurant at the Humboldt County Redwoods whatever airport is closed. That’s a big step backward for the folks who have been promoting the airport and while I don’t think many flyers would cancel a flight because their destination didn’t have a coffee shop, it still doesn’t say much for the infrastructure we offer our visitors.

According to the NCJ,  an attempt will be made to find another operator.  That might be difficult.  Most airport restaurants overlook a busy runway where diners can observe takeoffs and landings more often than four times a day. Maybe the County should contract with Dell’ Arte or Access Humboldt or someone else who can produce a light show to resemble a busy airport. At least it would LOOK like the return of normalcy. Stay tuned. 

Henderson Center is Hoppin’

…and we don’t just mean celebrating Easter. Here’s a summary of recent events in my favorite part of town.

Little Japan, which used to be on 4th Street across from where Liu’s used to be, is open for business at their new home on F Street next to the BofA. Harvey says they are yet to have a full-on grand opening but they’e already had the Chamber ribbon cutting and a cash mob. The new store is gorgeous and well-stocked.   I bought some miso and realized how much I had missed this store as I tucked into my soup with the March winds blowing outside. No website, but they do have a Facebook page.

Next door, in the old pharmacy are signs indicating a Eureka Planning Commission hearing concerning four parking places in the adjacent lot. The parking is for a Chinese restaurant named Zoe,  which will  be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.  Converting  a drugstore to a restaurant is expensive so this is a massive investment for someone. 

Another massive investment is contemplated for the space now occupied by Glow, a facial and nails salon that has taken its operation to an appointment-only model. A gentleman from Fortuna has advertised his intention to open the Diver Bar and Grille in the Glow space but the fictitious business name statement was filed back in December and it doesn’t look like much is happening.  Stay tuned. And if you figure out the difference between a ‘grille’ and a ‘grill”,  kindly inform me. 

Lastly, the space vacated by the short-lived Caribbean Picnic operation is now occupied by Nourish Bistro and Catering  which has a website up although it’s awfully heard to read. They will have their grand opening tomorrow,  Friday,  at 10am, and according to the Times they will be serving beverages and appetizers so there’s a chance to sample their wares.  Wish I could make it. 

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A Call From St Joe’s

I had knee replacement surgery at St Joe’s in December.  I’m the only person I know who still has operations done locally- everyone else seems to be going to St Helena or elsewhere. Me, I’m stubborn.  I live five minutes from St Joe’s and if I’m unhappy with my treatment I want to be able to find my doctor quickly and yell at him/her at length if needed.  So I stayed local.

This morning I got a call from a young man (he sounded young) asking me to “participate in a quality assurance survey regarding my recent experience at St. Joseph’s”.  I explained that my experience wasn’t over. I am still under their care and don’t have my closeout visit for another month. He consulted his instructions and said nothing required the treatment to be OVER before the evaluation. I questioned the value of doing an evaluation of a course of medical treatment that hadn’t been completed but he wanted to press on. Okay,  we’ll go on.

Now he asked:  how would I evaluate the check-in procedure? I had absolutely no recollection of checking in, except that it took place at 5AM which is an ungodly hour. He seemed to accept this.

Next question was: How would I evaluate the treatment I received from the staff?  Which staff, I asked.  Are you asking about the surgeon, the nurses, the anesthesiologist, who?  Which staff?  It just says, Staff, he replied.

At that point I cut my losses and told him I had better things to do than participate in a survey which was totally meaningless.  We all do.

If you get a call like this,- from St Joe’s or elsewhere-  remember it is YOUR time they are helping themselves to. Don’t participate in BS surveys which aren’t gathering useful information,  only being done to cover someone’s ass or to meet some bureaucratic requirement.  The corollary is to speak up or,  better, write a letter when you receive less than your due.  It’s up to us to write effective and fact-based letters of complaint.  Like the one St Joe’s is going  to get if they call me again with that survey.

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Things You Didn’t Know About Redding

I call Redding our step-sister city. No one really likes it,  but we’re joined at the hip. The following are factoids gleaned from the Bee, the Record-Searchliight and the Sac Business News.

Their mall, the Mt. Shasta Mall,  is owned by the owners of Bayshore Mall and has roughly the same number of stores.  Unlike our mall, theirs is scheduled for a major renovation to make it more upscale. Hmm.

Like our ACV,  Redding has also this week experienced the return of jet service, except for the flight to SFO that was cancelled this morning.

A couple of WOMEN are kicking butt in IT services.  Their company is called Nerd Chicks , or officially Nerds on Call and is an onsite computer and laptop repair service. I wonder why we don’t have the equivalent over here.   They write a column for the R-S a couple of times a month which is worth watching for if you’re not a complete geek yourself.

..and the good people of Palo Cedro, pop. 1400, are fighting  Dollar General over its plans to build in their community.  They fear the local stores already there will suffer if DG opens. 

Stay tuned.

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Commercials That Glorify Jerks

Have you noticed a strange trend toward commercials that glorify obnoxious behavior? They used to show shiny happy people smoking the Marlboros or whatever so that you, the viewer,  would be motivated to emulate that  behavior. Now they show jerks. 

Take that National Car Rental ad with the boorish guy who doesn’t want to talk to people and thinks control is sexy.  It may be, but he’s not.  The followup ad in which he’s talking to cars about why he’s not picking them adds to his cred as an MCP but I don’t see how it’s selling car rentals.  That is the point, isn’t it? 

How do you like the Experian ads that encourage folks to show their “credit swagger” which apparently excuses all kinds of asshole behavior. If any bozo or bozette has the nerve to put their feet on MY desk or shines a laser pointer in MY face,  they’ll be given the bum’s rush fast.   Of course I’m not a loan officer,  so I don’t have to put up with jerks on a daily basis. 

Civility in business will never go out of style.  Trust me on this.

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