Smith: You spot those nude mannequins and you think, that guy should have a taller fence

Caution: If there is a chance you’ll drive by Jason Windus’ place on Santa Rosa’s Peterson Lane, be sure both hands are on the wheel and there’s nothing in your mouth that you’d care to blurt hysterically onto the dashboard and windshield.

Going on behind the short, new fence of the Windus side yard at Peterson and Sundance Street is a garden party by five nude mannequins.

Four of the fairly anatomically accurate fashion dummies occupy wicker chairs around a matching table. The fifth stands with her arms over her head and modesty shamrocks placed where they need to be placed.

A posted, hand-scrawled sign by Windus reads, “Reserved seat for the nosey neighbor that complained about my fence to the city.”

The homeowner had paid $9,000 for a fence that would open up his backyard to his sizable dogs, Caine and Domino.

“It was a 6-foot fence, like everybody else’s around here,” said Windus, who runs the Need A Hand moving company.

The next he knew, a city code enforcer was telling him that his fence along the sidewalk could not be taller than 3 feet.

Windus said he asked why he was being singled out for a noncompliant fence and was informed that City Hall was responding to a complaint.

He had the new fence shortened to 3 feet, a height insufficient to safely contain his dogs. He then pondered how he might acknowledge whoever it was who sicced the city on him.

Having started out in trucking by hauling customers’ unwanted stuff to the dump, Windus remembered those mannequins he’d picked up from a Sebastopol clothing store and couldn’t bring himself to throw out.


ROY ZIMMERMAN is a heck of a musician and a hilarious satirist well aware that he appeals most to folks with politics to the left of center.

Zimmerman and his wife and co-writer, Melanie Harby, just returned home to Lake County after a gig tour through the South.

Their challenge, Zimmerman said, was to locate and take his RiZe Up show to blue dots, or pockets of liberalism, in red states. He said by phone, “It’s nice to come back to the big, blue blob that is the Bay Area.”

Zimmerman expects a simpatico, deep-blue audience at his performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Sebastopol’s Dhyana Center. It’s a benefit for the west county’s KOWS community radio.

Red dots, of course, are welcome, too.


BROKEN BREADMAKER: There’ll be no deliveries for a while of lovingly baked delectables from Sonoma’s Relax and Eat Bread.

The bakery’s Ian Conover is laid up after a serious snowboarding accident at Homewood. He’s had one surgery on a fractured tibia plateau and is in line for a second.

“His recovery will be a few months and sadly he will not be mobile or able to make bread,” his wife and business partner, Tara Williams, wrote in an email that broke the news.

Conover honed his culinary skills at SRJC and The Girl & the Fig, and he and Williams came to agree that connoisseurs of good bread would savor it even more were it delivered to their doors. Though they can’t say just when, they vow that the baking and the home deliveries will resume.

You can reach columnist Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 or

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