DROUGHT OPTIONS: How to stop worrying and cut your water use by 20 percent or more: Easy. Rip out your lawn.

Get this: Long Beach is PAYING people to do it, $3 per square foot to replace turf with drought-tolerant stuff. (Limitations apply.) Talk to a city councilmember or water district trustee about it.

It’s only money. Water is gold.

Other options:

Shower with a friend.

Rub-a-dub: or two in a tub, together or serially. I know a mom and daughter who’ve done it for years.

Don’t wash the car: This isn’t a beauty contest after all.

Water bottle in the toilet tank: Where’s my 1980s brick? And the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” flushing system.

Barney Brantingham

A woman I know suggests this: Take a long vacation somewhere in water-plenty-land. Save your own while using theirs. Problem is, all over California in H₂O-stressed towns, people are probably saying, “Hey, let’s take a vacation in sunny Santa Barbara and save our own water. Or book one of those four-day coastal cruises, get off the ship in Santa Barbara, eat, drink, shop, and flush toilets without worrying about our meter at home.”

Is this the time to promote Santa Barbara tourism?

Since the last drought, 1980s-91, we’ve developed bad habits. Like washing down sidewalks or taking long, leisurely showers long past the point of getting clean. I heard of a guy who takes 45-minute showers once or twice a day.

Time to get serious, folks.

TY FACES APPEAL: Tax cheat Ty Warner’s troubles aren’t over. The feds are appealing his sentencing. The Beanie Baby billionaire got no jail time, despite pleading guilty to concealing over $100 million in a secret Swiss account. A federal judge last month sentenced Warner to two years’ probation and 500 hours of community service, plus back taxes and penalties. Warner, who’s worth $2.6 billion, should find it easy to pay up while avoiding jail chow. In a wonderful plutocracy like the U.S., what are the odds that Ty will be sent behind bars?

TOM BIRD MYSTERY: He’s listed as founder and publisher of the sbview.com commentary website, but Santa Barbarans wanting a word with him over snarky items aimed at them have been unable to locate Bird. A former contributor, Ray Estrada, claims in his blog that Tom Bird does not exist and is just a fictitious cover for Erik H. Davis, the real boss, who is also PR man for Old Spanish Days and Pacifica Graduate Institute. When I asked Davis if he had any connection with the site, he denied it, other than doing minor help. He also denied knowing the mysterious Mr. Bird.

NOISES OFF: The Brits are famous for their madcap sex farces, and Noises Off is one of the craziest. As performed at Ventura’s Rubicon Theatre, it’s two-hours-plus of pratfalls, a blonde in her underwear, and much slamming of doors. If you missed it, the Theatre Group at Santa Barbara City College will stage Noises Off March 7-22.

MARIMBA-ETTE: Who knows what Bach would have made of the marimba? My guess is he would have gotten a big kick out of Korean-born Ji Hye Jung’s zesty version of his Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor with Camerata Pacifica. On March 7, the marimba will be rolled away, replaced by Camerata at Hahn Hall with good old Brahms and Benjamin Britten.

FOUR GUYS FROM USC: They formed the Calder Quartet, and now it’s rated as one of the top classical quartets in the U.S. They got a standing ovation at Hahn Hall Thursday night. (Sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures.)

UNFINISHED SYMPHONY: We’ll never know why Franz Schubert never picked up where he left off. But he was a busy man, and maybe just forgot to complete it. It’s a natural for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, coming to the Arlington on March 5, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

DOWNTON ABBEY: Fans of the long-running PBS series jammed (60 were turned away) the Santa Barbara Library’s Faulkner Gallery Sunday for tea, a talk by Westmont prof Alister Chapman on The Decline of the English Aristocracy, and a screening of the series’ final show of the season. Next year’s is now under production in the U.K. Who will Lady Mary marry? What new scandal will erupt and have to be dealt with? Will Downton Abbey itself survive the decline and fall of the Brit manor-house elite and idle rich?


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