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A LITTLE BIT OF A LOT OF THINGS

Halloween, '95 is memorialized in the following scrap of sidewalk

conversation:

First speaker: ''Interesting isn't it? You can't tell who's wearing a

costume and who's not.''

Second: ''Yeah, that's what makes this country great.''

YOU CAN, however, tell those sidewalk cyclists who near-miss you on the

downtown streets that their days of grace are numbered.

There is a proposal before the City Council to make it illegal to cycle,

skate or skateboard on the sidewalks of the central district.

Santa Rosa police Lt. Scott Swanson has written a downtown public safety

report for Chief Sal Rosano that was sent to the council several weeks ago.

The report, Swanson says, indentifies public safety issues confronting police

in the central part of Santa Rosa. It offers alternatives for the council to

consider, including additional foot-beat officers, video technology AND,

Swanson says, ''hidden in there is a suggestion'' that the central district be

posted (as the transit mall and Old Courthouse Square already are) prohibiting

cyclists, skaters and 'boarders on sidewalks.

Matt LeBlanc of the City Attorney's Office is working with the department

on language for an ordinance. Swanson will make the presentation to the

council in late November or early December.

Footnote: This will be good news for Martha Ours, who wrote to the council

last week making an official request for an ordinance. Ours has, she told city

officials, ''been nearly run down twice in every block while I was walking

downtown.''

THE WILD and crazy Scorpios, a trio of Sonoma County men who were born

under that sign, have been celebrating their birthdays in an increasingly

unique and elaborate style for 17 years now. In 1977, two Santa Rosa

restaurateurs, Claus Neumann and Dieter Meier, met Petaluma auto dealer Bob

Benson on a Colorado River rafting trip and discovered they all had November

birthdays.

They decided to take turns planning some special birthday event each year.

The first year they took their wives for a weekend in Santa Barbara. Then they

got competitive.

There was a canoe trip with an elegant picnic complete with linen napkins,

champagne and real silver; a chartered yacht; a Wyoming dude ranch. Benson

took them all on a fall colors tour of New England in 1986. That was the year

Neumann went into an outhouse at a country inn and Meier talked Benson into

helping him tip it over. Claus has been plotting to get even ever since.

The height of their birthday glories was a ''Dutch treat'' culinary tour of

the south of France for the 10th anniversary of the parties. Since then, Claus

says, ''old age and fixed incomes'' have subdued the celebrations. But not a

lot.

Last week they returned from a tour of the antebellum south -- Charleston,

Savannah, Augusta, Atlanta -- and Claus got his chance to wreak revenge on

Dieter.

They had divided responsibilities. Claus was in charge of lodging; Benson,

transportation; and Dieter, food. The hotel in Augusta had no restaurant, but

Dieter had interviewed caterers by telephone and arranged an elaborate feast

which he bragged about, Claus says, for a month or more before the trip.

Upon arrival in Augusta, Claus visited a small market and bought a quantity

of rusty, wilted lettuce, some mooshy tomatoes with black spots, some slippery

parsley and a squeeze bottle of yellow mustard. The produce was so bad the

checker was embarrassed and Claus had to convince her he really wanted it that

way.

Back at the hotel, he made contact with the caterer and explained his

mission. He built a sample salad with squiggles of mustard on top, and left

the rest to the chef's helpers, who thought it was a hoot.

When dinner was announced, the hostess announced that the special pate

Dieter had ordered as a first course was unavailable and the chef was

substituting a first course speciality which had won him many awards. Then

they served Claus' salad.

It took a minute for it to sink in. Dieter's wife, Edith, had in fact

actually picked up her fork to begin when Debbie Neumann jumped in, suggesting

they all join hands and say grace. Dieter bowed his head and got a good look

at the salad. Expressions that registered from disbelief to sheer anguish

crossed his face, which turned beet red as perspiration started on his brow.

The ''amen'' was scarcely over when Dieter started out of his chair, saying

''There's been some mistake. I'm going to talk to the chef.'' He was stopped

by the raucous laughter of his ''friends.''

It was a clear, clean ''Gotcha!''

THE SANTA ROSA-Montgomery game, which has been the traditional ''big game''

in Santa Rosa prep football for 35 years, will be held on a Thursday night

this year (Nov. 9) because of the Veterans Day holiday Friday.

The change from the original Friday night date was requested by Santa Rosa,

which is the home team this year, and it presents a unique problem for

Montgomery -- not the football team, but the band.

Band director Steve Dixon says the move puts the game in direct conflict

with a scheduled Jazz Night concert by the Montgomery music department.

Loath to send the student body off to the big game without a pep band,

Dixon is issuing a call to Montgomery band alumni to find an instrument and

come to Bailey Field to play for the game. If there are enough old trumpeters

and saxophonists, and at least one drummer, they can make a band -- at least

until the concert's over.

Willing alums should call Dixon at the school.

LAST QUESTION: Social historians tell us that men stopped wearing hats when

JFK appeared bare-headed at his inauguration. And the J.B. Stetson Co. went

out of business. Now I see by the business news that Fruit of the Loom Inc. is

closing seven plants in this country. Aren't people wearing underwear anymore?

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