Culver City Observer -

A Vacation In Northern California


December 10, 2015

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

Theodorsia and I recently came home from a two-week vacation in Northern California. As we all know there is plenty to see up state and since we had the expertise pf Betty Kao at the Culver City Automobile Club who helped us with the car and hotel arrangements, we were in excellent hands.

Although we stopped and toured Hearst Castle, the John Steinbeck Museum in Salinas, attended the Monterey Jazz Festival, did the San Francisco cable car and harbor cruise, drove the redwoods, Napa Valley, the 49 highway plus old Sacramento, we firmly believe vacations are indeed special when you meet special people. Two such people we found to be exceptionally nice, Sherry and Peter Swayne, owners and growers of Chardonnay grapes and makers of olive oil at their Bennett Valley Ranch in Santa Rosa ( Soooo good!!!

I bet we spent well over 90 minutes at Richard’s and Sherry’s Collectibles in Jackson, in the heart of the gold rush country. While Theodorsia and Sherry were admiring the antiques, the jewelry and collectibles; Richard helped me with coins and historical items.

Word has it unless you are very brave, please stay away from the three fire houses we have in Culver City. Chief White, the men and even Sparky are very nervous about losing their over $150,000 wages and benefit packages. Those amounts were so crazy the postman got a double hernia delivering their direct deposit checks to the bank and/or credit union. Now, here is the skinny. Do you know who in City Hall doesn’t want you to hear about the new invention by a company called FORCE SV? This device, whether held or mounted on a drone, would use sound waves to put out forest fires, building fires, etc. and without using thousands of gallons of water, tons of chemicals or lotsa firemen.

Can we be honest? Is Culver City the only city that sends a two-person paramedic vehicle with a two-man fire truck? Why can’t we follow the Los Angeles County or the Los Angeles City method of one emergency. one paramedic vehicle? It’s my opinion it’s just another method of boosting income for Chief White’s men. If our city council would check with our finance department rumor has it things would be different. The Force SV is not available right now, but hopefully soon.

Drug manufacturers in the U.S. spend billions of dollars each year to advertise their products to consumers and doctors, but do those drugs really work and are they safe? To answer those and so many other urgent questions, Consumer Reports in 2004 launched Best Buy Drugs, a program that reviews the evidence on hundreds of drugs for dozens of common conditions.

Best Buy Drugs also looks in depth at the cost of medication in today’s marketplace and helps you determine the smartest way to buy it. Their team of secret shoppers, statisticians and data analysts determined national average prices. Learn more at CRBESTDRUGS.ORG, as published in Consumer Reports.

The following chart as noted in Environment Magazine shows water usage in the average U.S. household using 255 gallons per day:

Lawns 29% Faucets 11%

Toilet 19% Leaks 10%

Washers 15% Other 2%

Shower 12% Bath 1%

Mother used to say I was as handy as a pig on ice, and she was right. But if I had some expertise in electrical or carpentry I would buy a house and fix it up to sell. Such an investment is located less than three hours from Chicago and has 1,740 square feet, three bedrooms, one bath, two stories and Queen Anne architecture, all for $8,900 and that includes the lot and a lotta work to bring it up to snuff. Contact Kyle Graham, (309) 525-1111.

Can you believe one state has passed a law expressly forbidding doctors from asking certain questions about patients’ health and lifestyle? The questions concern guns and gun safety. This year the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has been hearing arguments about a Florida statute that says doctors can’t ask a patient about gun ownership – including safety issues and children’s access – unless they believe such information is relevant to the patient’s medical care. In 2013 guns were involved in 11,000 homicides, 21,000 suicides and 500 accidental deaths according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, per Scientific American.

Paris lawmakers are cracking down on noise pollution. One new mandate is an acoustic asphalt coating on the city’s peripheral highway, which could reduce noise by 7 ½ decibels.

As of June an unknown illness has killed more than 120,000 antelopes that live throughout Central Asia, about half their global population. The cause has stumped scientists at this time.

For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in that website’s search box.


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