Round and Round We Go

Five Points Causes Problems for Drivers

Roundabout at Five Points
Sue De Lapa

Roundabout Jerks: I’m a big fan of traffic circles for many reasons: smoother traffic flow and no need for expensive traffic lights and wasted power. But too often negotiating the small roundabout at Five Points – APS, Salinas, Montecito and Sycamore Canyon – is white-knuckle time.

Many people who use it are not only clueless, but dangerous. If they know the rules, they ignore them. You’re supposed to enter at low speeds and give the right-of-way to vehicles approaching from the left. But too many drivers, especially bullies from Salinas, come roaring in no matter what. APS is little better. The other day a woman came zooming in from APS. She was not only in high gear and apparently not watching, she sped around the wrong way; left instead of right. Everyone else had to put on the brakes. No one was hurt, thankfully. There are warning signs posted at the roundabout, but they take a fearful beating and many remain sheared-off.

Wacky Brit Comedy: Metropolitan Theaters honcho Bruce Corwin says he laughed his head off at the Riviera Theater, where Death at a Funeral is currently showing. “It’s a British comedy along the lines of A Fish Called Wanda.” By the way, he said, the Riviera now has digital sound. So Sue and I went, enjoyed the new sound and cracked up at the bizarre English style of movie-making, including bathroom humor, a funeral gone wacky, and a dead body coming to life.

Craig Didn’t Get Permits: For an account of why the county is claiming that Craig McCaw, Wendy’s ex-hubby, didn’t get permits before he cut trees on his newly acquired coastal land, see Chuck Schultz’s story in the Santa Maria Times.

$120 Montecito Margarita?: We all know that everything costs more in Montecito, but a margarita priced at $120 at the San Ysidro Ranch? True, food and beverage manager Tom Johnson will whip one up for you, using two ounces of Don Julio Real tequila, normally $95 a shot, and one ounce of Grand Marnier 150th Anniversary, usually $48 a shot. And people are ordering them. Let’s see, if ten of us chipped in $12 and each took a few sips:

If Pigs Could Fly: Let’s hope they don’t take wing to Santa Cruz Island. It’s official now: Every dad-blasted porker has been killed off on the island by a $5 million eradication program. The feral domestic pigs were destroying the environment and were a factor in killing off the endangered Santa Cruz Island Fox. Sheep ranchers introduced the pigs in the 1850s and when the ranchers left, the porkers remained. So now, please, no one should smuggle a pair of the snouted ones out there and set them free to breed. But who, I wonder, would want to do that?

Circle Bar B Ranch: Sure you’ve been to roadside diners, but I’ll wager you’ve never ever come across two dizzy, lovable, curly-haired blond waitresses like Susie Crouch and Tiffany Story. They sing and dance like mad, accompanied by small-town musicians in the adjoining gas station; the Pump House Boys. All in all, the current fun and games at the Circle Bar B Guest Ranch is a kick and a half, and one I promise you’ll never forget. Sue, myself, her family and friends took it in on Friday night, after the lip-smacking barbecue served on the patio. Pump House Boys & Dinettes runs through Sunday. I Hate Hamlet opens Sept. 21. Call 967-1962.

Play’s the Thing: Speaking of live thee-ayter, the Ensemble Theatre Company has quite a lineup for the season. The Clean House, by Sarah Ruhl, opening Thursday, September 27, is “a strange and poignant comedy about clean houses and messy lives,” and love and loss. Who could resist? Speaking of love, all is fair in Evan Smith‘s The Uneasy Chair, when Amelia Pickles, “a prim and proper spinster of modest means,” agrees to rent a room in her Victorian London home to a retired military man. Oddities arise and they find themselves married “and ready for battle!” Opening Thursday, November 29. Emile Zola‘s drama, Therese Raquin, caused a scandal when it appeared in 1873. It’s a “haunting story of murder, lust, and psychological terror.” Are you ready for this? It opens Sunday, January 13. In Pamela Glen‘s The Syringa Tree, opening Thursday, March 27, a 6-year-girl tries to make sense of the sweeping political upheaval in South Africa. OId Wicked Songs, written by Jon Marans and opening Thursday, May 29, is alive with the music of Robert Schumann, a passion for life, and a good dose of humor. The story follows a 25-year-old piano prodigy traveling to Vienna.

Dine and Dash: This appeared on Edhat but in the interests of those who missed it, I just had to pass it on. It’s Ryan’s story, with no mention of the restaurants involved:

“This story is too funny: A man during Fiesta weekend came into the restaurant I was working as a server at. He sat alone in the patio then ran out on his food bill. The same person called our restaurant this week and set up a job interview. Yesterday, he arrived at the same restaurant he ‘dined and dashed’ at for his scheduled interview. We asked him if he remembered running out on his bill. He replied, ‘Certainly not.’ He was asked to leave and never come back. The man immediately walked down the street to another restaurant and dined and dashed on them. One of the servers chased him down and held him until the police arrived to arrest him. Hearing the nearby arrest in progress, myself and my manager walked over with a copy of the bill he ran out on over Fiesta, as well as his resume for the police.”

Barney Brantingham can be reached at or 805-965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays.


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