Home NEWS Local Scene The View From Here: Smoky Daze; Joy Riders; And Cougar Juice

The View From Here: Smoky Daze; Joy Riders; And Cougar Juice


Life in our chosen Suburban Jungle cruises on with people trying to hook up, Skywatchers trying to look up – and seeing a hovering haze – and youthful paramours doing what kids do today: borrowing Dad’s car and leading police on a white-knuckled tour of San Ramon.

We get a lot of tips and inquiries here, with folks writing us at all hours with all manner of questions and observations – most of them legitimate and leading to reportable stories. We only make note of that because, having worked many years in that interplanetary sanitarium known as San Francisco, it’s refreshing to work a story that doesn’t involve space aliens or having to wrap our heads in aluminum foil.

Last night, fer instance, was Fire Watch. Now, we’re more sensitive to the prospect of fire in our area than most, having seen close-up far too many times what a raging blaze can do, but we usually wait to see flame or at least a heavy plume before raising the alarm.

Saturday night, courtesy of the air inversion we’ve experienced lately, we received about a dozen “What’s burning?” calls from anxious Moragans concerned about the “heavy smoke” downtown. We do what we normally do whenever called to action in this way, pushing away a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon and making some calls to see if maybe Nation’s was over-grilling the burgers again.

Nope. Last night’s conflagration was eventually traced to a slightly naughty fire pit burning against those very strict “No Burn” admonitions at a residence near Donald Drive. The scofflaw burners may have been surprised to see a squad of MOFD Hook and Ladder people peering over their fence.

Slick McGreedy (not his real name ’cause he’d get fired for telling us stories about his clientele) says business is booming in Walnut Creek, with suitors of all ages and sexes plying the opposite gender with expensive libations in the hope of… what, some great conversation about Brexit or the recent cease fire in Aleppo? We don’t think so.

This spirits-enhanced mating ritual has been both lucrative and fun to watch for Slick, who like all great bartenders is a real people person and observer of life. Rombauer, a saccharine, buttery and “big” (everybody wants big) Chardonnay known to plank pushers like Slick as “cougar juice” or “Danville crack” still presides as the go-to introductory libation of choice during the opening stages of countless suburban mating rituals – even though, Slick says: “I wouldn’t drink the stuff if my throat was on fire.”

Slick is something of a wine snob, you see, and even though “The ‘Bauer” – as some of his more unenlightened customers refer to it – still sails off his wine list he says he often finds himself stifling a chuckle when he hands the unwitting customer their bill.

Danville Crack was not in play Thursday morning in San Ramon, apparently, but police down there may have thought the driver of a red Volkswagen may have been impaired when they fell in behind the car at Bollinger Canyon and Dougherty roads around 1:25 a.m.

The vehicle briefly left officers behind as it sped away at an estimated 70 miles per hour on Dougherty Road and officers lost it in the area, police searching the area until they relocated the abandoned car and found an aspiring Bonnie and Clyde – a 15-year-old San Ramon kid and a 13-year-old female passenger – hiding in the bushes.

Their outing did not end well as the driver was arrested for evading a peace officer and for not having a license. Both had time to contemplate the experience as their parents were called – dad telling police his son had borrowed his car without his knowledge.


Both were eventually released to their parents.


  1. When I got my license back in the eighties, my Dad said “congratulations, and remember; you can’t outrun the radio”. Looks like that 15 year old learned the hard way.

  2. Ooooh. Police and your own parents would be bad enough — but stop to think of what that girls parents would do to him if he had rolled that car with their daughter in it.

  3. Out walking last night and the smell of smoke was thick and the air wasn’t moving at all. That makes us like a big bag of Jiffy Pop, everything was sealed in and cooking!!!

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