When it's Q&A time at Wednesday's 7 p.m. talk by wildly famous cartoonist Steve Pastis at Santa Rosa High, someone could reasonably ask, "Why are you here?"

Pastis, creator of the "Pearls Before Swine" strip and the books starring kid detective Timmy Failure, certainly is not a Panther.

But his son, Thomas, is a junior at SRHS and his wife, Staci, is an alumna. And Staci's uncle, Mike Daniels, is a giant in the Santa Rosa High Foundation, which is sponsoring his appearance.

Pastis will bare his soul about drawing and writing "Pearls" and he'll say what he can about prospects for a film based on his bestselling kids' book, "Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made."

The second Timmy book debuts in February and Pastis is about finished with the third.

Who'll ask him why he's so paunchy and unattractive in the self-portraits in his strip?

IF YOUR AROSE EARLY Saturday to see the "Today" show segment on blind Sonoma County artist Ken Rossi, I need not tell you it didn't appear.

NBC tells Ken and the Sonoma County Museum, which had him in to draw with oil pastels and answer the questions of a group of Windsor fourth-graders, that the violence at Los Angeles International Airport pushed back the airing of the piece shot at the museum.

It could be broadcast on "Today" Sunday morning, or next Saturday morning. It should be worth the wait.

CLEAN-UP AFTER OZ: Magical, phenomenal, professional — John and Jennifer Webley's re-creation of the Emerald City in the yard of their home, Mableton/The McDonald Mansion, on Halloween night was almost unbelievable.

What a gift it is that the Webleys and many of their neighbors on McDonald Avenue present to this community and its children each Halloween.

Legions of costumed kids of all ages waited patiently for a good, long time to enter the Webleys' gate and behold the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and his pals, the witches and the entire Wizard of Oz spectacle. Simply stunning.

Early the next morning, more magic.

Ken Pedersen and nine other members of the Pedersen's Furniture family took to McDonald Avenue with trash bags.

The picked up and hauled off a whole lot of candy wrappers, beer bottles, fallen-off costume accessories and who knows what.


Ken Pedersen said he loves being part of the great, happy crowd treated to a grand Halloween by owners of the city's finest old homes.

"Everybody is so mellow and having a good time," he said.

"Those people put out so much to make that happen, the last thing they should have to do is clean up the day after."

BRIGHTHAVEN? It's a sanctuary in Santa Rosa that for a quarter century has taken in senior, disabled and special-needs animals.

And it's getting help with a campaign to purchase the land beneath it.

Lagunitas Brewing Co. is hosting a benefit for BrightHaven at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Petaluma brewery.

Music will be live and so will the emcees, KRSH's "Big Dave" Gross and Sister Scarlett Billows of the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

LOU REED HAD DIED, so Robert Malta trekked to open-mic night at the Hopmonk in Sebastopol prepared to pay tribute by singing the former Velvet Underground rocker's shadowy "I'm Waiting for the Man."

Malta, the tried/true Santa Rosa musician who performs with Matt Norelli as HUGElarge, stepped onto the stage when his turn came Tuesday night.

And here were all these young faces. It turned out another of the night's acts was a chorus of pre-teens.

Malta froze for a second. "I was looking basically at a school assembly," he said, "and I was about to sing a song about scoring drugs in Harlem."

Quick switch. He went instead with "Boris the Spider" and the kids cheered him like he was Lou.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)