Epitome of an oxymoron

Now this would be the epitome of an oxymoron, and one of the few times I get to use “epitome” and “oxymoron” in a sentence. I received an email about a kickstarter campaign for FAST, a tail light for bicycles and electric scooters that will alert someone of an accident and warn you if your bike is being tampered with, and among a few other features. The nearly three-minute promo video extols the bike’s safety features. If the bike is left in a horizontal position the tail light’s app will send a signal to the Android phone of an emergency contact. That sounds pretty cool.

But in the video, the rider is not wearing a helmet. Maybe they should work on an app to prevent you from riding your bike if you’re not wearing a helmet.

Click here to see the video for yourself.

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My rant of the day: school pickup and drop-off traffic

What is it about school drop-off and pickup of students that turn rather sane people into reckless ruffians who think rules do not apply to them?
Too often while taking my kids to school I see drivers disobeying traffic signs, such as turning left or right when a sign, and sometimes traffic control equipment, says not to. Or they are cutting in and out of lanes as if they own them and no one else is on the road. Or worse yet, they have kids exiting their cars and crossing the street in front of traffic in unsafe locations.
It’s dangerous and an accident just waiting to happen.

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Breakfast, it’s what’s for dinner

I freely admit that I am a breakfastarian.

I eat breakfast foods for lunch, for dinner and even sometimes for snacks.

Sometimes I mix breakfast items with others such as the French Toast and chicken sandwich I had the other day or the French Toast and turkey burger sandwich or the oven friend chicken and waffles I recently made.

I don’t know where this inclination began. Rarely as a child did we have breakfast at night. As a broke college student I often ate pancakes when I could because they were cheap. Not nutritious mind you because they were made with basically flour and water. And for 99 cents you could buy a tub of syrup. They were filling and tasty enough, that’s all that mattered back then.

But now, omelets, pancakes, waffles, all work their way into a rotation of lunch and dinner menus.

But little did I know that there is a group that celebrates this culture – the Breakfastarians.

Their slogan: See the light. Eat breakfast at night.

For more info go to gobreakastarian.org


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Gotta quarter for a gumball?

It was a view that brought back memories. In the auto service department lounge were a bank of five old-school gumball machines. For some reason this time they caused me to take pause.

I thought of how I used to see these all of the time as a kid. They were at grocery stores, gas stations, barber shops and many other places.. And every so often I would have the change to get some bubble gum.

I remember that it never seemed to be quality bubble gum as the gum was often hard to bite into and the flavor did not last long. Yet I always yearned to get a piece. It was probably the thrill of dropping the coin in the slot, turning the handle and hearing that piece of gum drop into the slot and then my hand.

I passed on getting anything out of these machines this time around.

Yet the memories they brought back were worth far more than the 25 cents needed to purchase a gumball.

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10 officials considering a city-to-county jump

Here’s a countdown of 10 former, current or potentially future officials who made, wanted to make or still desire to make the city-to-county jump:

Victor Mow

Prior to Mow, there was no discernible trend of council members looking to move on to the Board of Supervisors. But after serving Stockton in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mow made the decision to run for supervisor. He served two low-key but largely effective terms beginning in 2001.

Larry Ruhstaller

Next in line for the transition was Ruhstaller. His terms on City Council involved some thorny issues in an uneven economy. During his tenure on the supervisors, Ruhstaller became one of the board’s go-to voices on water issues. Ruhstaller termed out last year.

Steve Bestolarides 

If he’s successful in a 2016 run for mayor of Stockton, Bestolarides could earn the nickname “Back And Forth.” He served as a Stockton council member — and termed out. He’s now in his final term as a supervisor. Then he’ll likely look to boomerang back to the council as mayor. Bestolarides is a savvy politician and leader who knows how to win elections.

Kathy Miller

She was elected to the Board of Supervisors after six memorable and tumultuous years on Stockton City Council. Miller was one of the leading voices on the panel during the bankruptcy process. She exhibited a tough streak and made some enemies among current and retired city staffers. She’s pledged to keep Stockton as a priority on her new panel, which she chairs.

Gary Giovanetti 

The former Stockton council member and vice mayor ran in a crowded, five-person field in the June 2008 primary that included current Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva. Giovanetti was unable to emerge from the primary, and Carlos Villapudua won the seat. Villapudua terms out in 2016 and could run for Stockton mayor.

Steve Gutierrez

In the opposite direction, this termed-out supervisor ran for mayor of Stockton in 2008 but didn’t make it past the primary.

Paul Canepa 

Part of a well-known Stockton business family, Canepa served one term on the council before opting to run against colleague Miller for supervisor. Because his council term was up that year, it was sink or swim for Canepa. He was defeated by Miller and shows little inclination to get back into politics. Queried about running for Stockton mayor in 2016, he said, “Not right now. I’m just kind of fresh out of it.”

Moses Zapien

The District 4 council member has made it clear he intends to run for the seat Bestolarides will vacate in 2016. The attorney will find himself in a similar position to that faced by Canepa last year — win the supervisor race or be out of office altogether.

Michael Tubbs 

It’s not certain Tubbs will run for supervisor in 2016, after one term on City Council. It would be a political gamble for the young council member, who would have an excellent chance of being re-elected in District 6. But he’s young and ambitious, so even a defeat in a District 1 supervisorial run wouldn’t leave his political future adrift.

Ralph White

It’s not an election if White, 72, isn’t running for something. He served as a Stockton council member for 16 years in the 1970s and 1980s. More recently, he’s run for the Stockton Unified school board and for mayor of Stockton. Now he’s prepared to run against a crowded field, potentially including Tubbs (of whom he has been critical) for the District 1 supervisor seat.

— Record editorial board

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Habits can be habit forming

Congratulations. If you have made it this far with your New Year’s resolution, you are well past the 21-day mark needed to establish your new habit.

That’s the common goal a number of researchers say have to be reached in order for a new habit to become ingrained.

So whether it be going to the gym, reading more or getting more sleep, if you are still at it, then you have the habit going. Of course habits can be broken, so be careful to not backslide.

I usually do not set resolutions but I discovered that I inadvertently started a new habit that my family is pleased with.

I began cooking more during my Christmas week vacation. You can read that story by clicking here.

More than a month later I am still cooking, primarily on weekends, much to my wife’s delight. She is even happily picking up ingredients for me during her grocery shopping trips.

Last weekend I made Shepherd’s Pie, scones and French Onion Soup. This weekend I am making Lemon Chicken, Pigs in a Blanket (with dough from scratch), Boston Baked Beans and a double chocolate cake. I may also make some biscuits and a lemon loaf, depending on how my time works out.

One good thing about this habit is that it keeps me around the house more, which is another thing my family is pleased with.



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Getting fit, if I can do it, so can you

The gyms this time of the year are full of people wanting to make a fresh start by getting into better shape.

I usually wait them out and look to see how many are still gym regulars in February and of those, who will still be a regular patron come the fall.

Making a change is not always easy.

I have always worked out regularly but it has only been recently that I have gotten myself into the shape that I have wanted. And it took me the better part of two years.

In 2014 I rode my bike 6,512 miles.

For perspective, I drove my car about 10,000 miles.

I ride for heart health, fitness, performance and stress release.

It has really taken me two full years to get to this point that I can do bike rides that I only dreamed of before.

The Tour of the California Alps Death Ride, 122 miles over five mountain passes. Double centuries, 200-mile rides. This year my goal is to do three 200-mile rides to get what is called a California Triple Crown.

A friend of mine since college saw a recent photo of me and commented on how fit I looked. He was surprised when I told him that I have not weighed this little since my college track days.

And he asked why I did the work of getting into shape.

As I have said before, it is because I wanted to get into better shape for riding my bike. I also wanted to get my health back.

I have high blood pressure, it’s hereditary. I have arthritis – had my right hip replaced in 2004 and need my left hip replaced. And I was carrying around some additional pounds.

I would have been happy to have lost 10 pounds. Instead, I lost 30.

More importantly, I got my health back.

You don’t have to be in the gym now, you can start a program at any time. My real weight loss work began in April 2013. You just have to have the right method and the desire to work at it.


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Nomophobia study

Nomophobia is an interesting term used to describe the anxiety of not being able to use your mobile device. Fast Company writes about a California State University, Dominguez-Hills study of the anxiety among a group of 163 student-volunteers, average age 24, who are not allowed to use their phone for an hour. That’s right, just 60 minutes. Some of those students had their phone confiscated, while others were just asked to put their phone away.

You can read the Fast Company story here.

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No change for the meter, no problem

A letter to the editor today decried the use of parking meters in downtown Stockton. Looking for change, the letter writer states, is a deterrent to coming downtown. I do not know how much revenue the city generates through the use of meters but perhaps what is needed is a system similar to Parkmobile.

This system is used in Santa Cruz and appears headed to Sacramento. Fees can be paid at the meter or by using a smartphone app. I think it takes cash too.



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Can’t make sense of these things

Sometimes things happen that are beyond words. Here our community still grapples with last week’s bank robbery that resulted in the death of a hostage and two suspects.

In suburban Philadelphia, a psychiatric patient rants about the hospital’s gun ban before firing his weapon, killing his 53-year-old caseworker and injuring a doctor before the doctor returns fire on Thursday.

The patient was eventually wrestled to the ground and was to be arraigned on murder charges today. According to the Associated Press, it is unclear why the doctor had a gun at work but without it, he and others may have been killed.

Read about it here.


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    Don Blount was named been editor of The Record in May 2017. He joined The Record as managing editor in 2005. He has also worked at newspapers in Modesto, Calif.; Sacramento, Denver and Allentown, Pa. A Philadelphia native, he is a graduate of Lehigh ... Read Full

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    Mike Klocke is editor of The Record. He is a native of Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University in 1978 with a degree in journalism. He has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Indiana, Florida and California. He was named editor of The ... Read Full
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