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SHORT STORIES

May 25, 1986|PATT MORRISON

Take Two CDs--Call Me in the Morning Some of its clients don't make house calls, but Regency Bank of Fresno does. Most of its customers--many of whom are doctors or lawyers--never set foot inside the five-year-old bank. "We found a way to cater to them," says president Robert Dillon. Couriers make a daily circuit of 106 clients, and bank officers hand-carry loan applications. Word of mouth has brought Regency the niche it sought: about a third of Fresno's professional business. Rock of Ageless We're talking shake, rattle and roll--with real rattles. It's Springsteen-come-to-Sesame Street when Steve Zaldin cranks it up, with rhythms off the Top 40 and lyrics a la "My Weekly Reader." From summer camp to military school, Zaldin, 34, and his band perform for audiences of 4- to 8-year-olds, with songs from his Rock of Young Ages album. The Placentia resident and business-administration and educational-psychology graduate, who taught at UCLA's child care center, often heard his young charges singing "irrelevant or inappropriate" adult rock tunes beyond their ken and decided: "I want children to have rock 'n' roll they can call their own." Hence his songs, in driving rhythms and good grammar, about primal primary problems, from the first day of school ("Seemed like my worst day / Felt like I wanted to cry") and a parent's remarriage ("I love my stepmother / It doesn't matter to me / What fairy tales say"). BAM and PTA--the rock magazine and the parent-teachers group, respectively--loved the album, which was endorsed by the National Library Assn. and won an Angel award from Religion in Media. "The idea is to have a good effect on kids," Zaldin says. It's all strictly clean-cut; no drugs or sex in this rock 'n' roll. Zaldin once had to remind his bass player to remove a spiked bracelet before going on stage. Oh, yes: "The volume is quite a bit lower." Where There's a Will, There's a Microcomputer For more than 35 years, Ethel Winant saw and conquered, working on "Playhouse 90" and other shows from the era when "Golden Age of Television" meant quality, not profits. One Emmy and three Peabodies later, things are only slightly different: Winant is still conquering, but just not seeing. The veteran of the most visual of media was stricken by macular degeneration, first in one eye. "I faked my way through work for a long time." Then last year the other eye "went" as Winant was standing in a Georgia field full of military helicopters, producing a TV film, unable to find her way to safety. "I thought, 'What am I going to do? Everything I care about is visual.' " She signed up at the Braille Institute, whose praises she now sings. "When you go there, you've crossed a line, admitted that you're blind," she says. "But you really feel you can learn." And Winant is learning, this time on a synthesized-voice computer that allows her to write and work, currently as a consultant for Procter & Gamble's TV productions. She may buy a computer of her own, but, with electronic readers and Braille writers at home, Winant admits that she sometimes thinks "my house will blow up!" The Mutty Mississippi Mark Twain would have had plenty to say about this one. The June deadline approaches for signing up your doggy to go down the Mississippi on a one-time-only canine cruise, the brainpup of American International Travel, a Dallas travel agency. With fares from a $1,795 first cabin with private veranda to a $995 bargain rate (one owner included, and small dogs only, please), the weeklong December jaunt up and down the already polluted river treats the critters to groomers and aerobics instructors, and a shipboard Christmas pet boutique. It all culminates in a gala masquerade party. In a Cinderella gesture, one dog from the Dallas SPCA will be selected to join the pet set on the cruise, in hopes of finding an adoptive home for the lucky dog at journey's end. There have been several inquiries from Southern California so far, but as yet no bites.

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