Barney’s On the Beat

How to Crash: After observing many, many near-collisions at the Five Points roundabout, I’ve decided to issue some tips about how to avoid near misses and really commit some serious fender bending. First, especially if you’re coming in from Salinas Street or APS, speed into the roundabout. True, the rule is that you’re supposed to approach at around 15 MPH or so, but what the heck, you’re in a hurry, right? As you speed in, do not under any circumstances look left or right. True, traffic coming from your left has the legal right of way and you’re supposed to yield. But are you going to do that? Heck, no. Let them stop for you. All of this will of coursel result in horn blowing, curses, and bird flipping. And, with any luck, someone will slam into you or you’ll slam someone else. The roundabout has become kind of a bumper-car derby, with the aggressive scoring points on the law-abiding. The meek may inherit the earth, but not the Five Points roundabout.

Tortured fish?: Ms. Anon reports of seeing “rays that were tied up on the Goleta pier, stabbed, slashed, and burned with cigarettes. I have seen similar, less horrible activity at the pier and have stopped going there. I feel that anyone who would torture animals this way is a danger to all of us.” Was this some kind of weird payback for croc hunter Steve Irwin being killed by a sting ray?

dscn1272.jpgCemetery Walk: David Petry, Santa Barbara Cemetery historian and tour leader, has published a history of the cemetery, The Best Last Place, and will be signing and reading from it on Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. at Chaucer’s. He’ll also give a talk and a walking tour on Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. and again on Oct. 31 at 10 a.m.; meet at the cemetery chapel. Petry will also give an illustrated talk on Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Historical Society.

Boston Brave: One of the happiest times at the News-Press began in 1993, when the New York Times named Steve Ainsley publisher. Steve had a light touch and boyish demeanor, and he got the paper into the black. For that, he was promoted in 1999 to head the New York Times regional network of 14 papers and has now been named publisher of the NYT-owned Boston Globe. Allen Parsons, who left as publisher when Wendy McCaw bought the paper, is publisher of the New York Times-owned Ocala, Florida Star-Banner. Former NP sportswriter Dave Loveton, who left in 2005, is the new sports PIO at Santa Barbara City College.

Beat Goes On: Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti will make a rare public appearance and read from his poetry at UCSB’s Campbell Hall Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. You’ll recall him as cofounder of the City Lights Bookstore in San Fran and publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” in 1956. (Why is it surprising that he served as a ship’s commander in World War II?)

Iraq for Sale: Mo McFadden reports that Robert Greenwald, director of the film Iraq for Sale, which deals with war profiteering, will screen it at the Marjorie Luke Theater on Oct. 13.

No More Flowers: In recent weeks, members of the embattled News-Press staff have been receiving anonymous gifts of flowers with messages to the effect of thanks from the community. Now, I hear, the unknown benefactor(s) has stopped the flow of petals, leaving only dead blossoms around the desks. Doesn’t matter to the newsies, though, because they voted in the union on Wednesday on a 33-6 vote.

Basket Case: Despite what’s going on in Santa Barbara, journalism can be fun—in fiction anyway. I’m reading Basket Case by one of my favorite authors, Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiassen. His character, Jack Tagger, is stuck doing obits. But then he gets suspicious about a so-called drowning victim. Add some bad guys, a show biz bimbo, and Jack’s female editor love interest, and you’ve got light fall reading.

Great Causes: Halloween is weeks away, but the Legal Aid Foundation wants us to save Oct. 29 for its “Law & Murder Halloween Bash,” a mystery dinner theater benefit at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort. Come in costume: judge’s robes okay, I would think, or prisoner stripes. Info. at 963-6754, Ext. 109.

Nobel Prize: It would surely be the first time a travel writer wins the Nobel Prize, but Montecitan Bill Tomicki, publisher of Entrée travel newsletter, has been nominated by Andrew Simmons, professor emeritus at Cal State Fresno. “Mr. Tomicki is credited with pioneering truth in travel writing,” Simmons said. Bill plans to attend the medal ceremony in Stockholm and promises to give half the $1 million-plus prize to charity if he wins.

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