Grunion--those elusive and tasty little silvery fish--were expected to come ashore to lay eggs Saturday night because there was a full moon. So the folks at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography figured it would be the perfect night to hold a lecture and show a film on grunion.
About 100 people turned up at La Jolla Shores for the show-and-tell on grunion reproduction rites. The problem was, the grunion were no-shows.
Bob Snodgrass, Scripps senior acquarist, offered assurances to the grunion fanciers as they spent several hours strolling up and down the wet sand, flashlights in hands. "Just a little longer, they'll be here," Snodgrass insisted. Patiently, everyone waited, but still, no grunion. "You probably don't believe grunion exist, do you?" he said. "I can see it now: Grunion, Myth or Mystery?"
The grunion never did appear, but that isn't to say there were no souvenirs of the evening.
While everyone was at the beach, San Diego Police Officer D.R. Plein left his (or her) autograph on parking tickets on the 60 or so cars parked above. Seems that parking is prohibited at the beach between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily.
That, in retrospect, explains why the grunion didn't show up. They obviously know better than to go and park on the beach.
May We Quote You?
In our Department of Government Memos, we bring you this gem from the county's Office of Intergovernmental and Public Affairs. It is titled, "News Media Relations Do's and Don'ts."
It offers some insight into how government officials view the press--and by extension, perhaps, the public at large. The comments in parentheses are ours.
"Do look upon the media contact as an opportunity to make you, your department and the county look good." (In that order?)
"Do avoid any appearance of evasiveness, dishonesty or cover-up." (Is that to say you can be evasive or dishonest or cover up, but just don't let it show?)
"Do wear at least a tie for TV interviews." (At least.) "If you don't wear one on the job, consider keeping one in your desk for such occasions."
"Do expect to be quoted, especially if you say something 'catchy,' risque, critical of others, or exaggerate." (Or, if you write memos about the media.)
'R' Stands for 'Jury'
It looks like the jury commissioners have gotten to the Rs.
At the Ray household in Del Mar, within the span of a few weeks, brothers James and Chris got summonses for jury duty in Vista while their mom, Nancy, was told to show up as a potential juror in the federal district court in San Diego.
Mom is quick to remind her sons that, even in jury duty, she's the higher court.
A Lesson in Tolerance
In this era of increased specialization in the halls of higher education, United States International University is offering a degree in "club management."
As in country clubs, yacht clubs, athletic clubs and private men's clubs. There are 12,000 of them around the United States, and 100 or so in San Diego.
The class instructor is Jim Robson, who has been in the club management business for 20 years, the last eight as manager of the La Jolla Country Club.
Club management is a challenge, he notes, because the manager works within a system of committees and boards of directors--and the members are in a constant state of flux, unlike corporate boards. "In 20 years, I've served for 20 presidents, and every year, the board membership usually changes by at least one-third," he said.
"If you work for a corporate board, you are judged by your results. When you work for a board of directors of a club, your success is based on how well you work with them. You're dealing with all sorts of personalities, egos, prestige, power and authority.
"You're the (management) professional, but you're always getting direction from a group of amateurs."
What has Robson learned during 20 years in the business?
"Tolerance of other persons' points of view," he said.
(Wrong) Time for a Change
There's little wonder why politics in Washington can seem so confusing. Consider, for instance, what we got in the mail the other day from U.S. Rep. Jim Bates (D-San Diego).
Bates has introduced legislation calling for a national poll-closing time, to eliminate the problem every four years when the polls on the East Coast close three hours before the ones out here, giving the TV networks the opportunity to announce the winner before we've put in our 2 cents' worth.
The official press release from Bates' office says the bill calls for polls everywhere around the country to close at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
But in a "Dear Colleague" letter to other congressmen, Bates says the polls should close at 10 p.m. EST.
They never said lawmaking was a precise science.