Introducing Bites Lite!™

Childhood’s end: Bites was startled last week to receive a letter from a concerned citizen warning that the Iceland Skating Rink—the very same rink where a wee Bites first learned to play hockey—soon would be closing its doors for good unless there was “some outside intervention.” Racing the Bitesmobile out toward Arden Fair, Bites flashed back on the obligatory montage sequence featuring slow-motion memories of frosty fun and missing teeth.

Was Bites too late? Upon arrival, Iceland staff confirmed that the rink may be closing—though no decision officially has been made—but added that the potential closure would only be for the summer. The reason? The 65-year-old Iceland doesn’t make enough revenue to pay the $6,000 summer SMUD bill.

Inside Iceland, the scene was dreary. Two employees sat behind the counter, overcome with boredom, their eyes gently closed to catch a quick nap. The rink was nearly empty, with only six skaters, mostly young children, methodically making their way around the ice. The wooden stands, filled to capacity in years past, sat empty.

Forget outside intervention; Iceland may need some divine intervention to escape its financial woes. Barring a miracle, the rink soon will close its doors, leaving skaters out in the cold. Or, make that out from the cold.

The Nuge: Still hoping to recapture that idyllic childhood, Bites dropped in to see Ted Nugent on Friday. The Motor City Madman was making a side trip from his Sleep Train Amphitheatre gig to sign autographs for his book, Kill It & Grill It: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, at the Borders book store on Fair Oaks in the heart of yuppiedom.

The Nuge, dressed in jeans, a blue camouflage shirt and a green camouflage cowboy hat, smiled for photos as he signed books, album covers, CD slips, arrows, gunstocks and posters, with the proceeds going to the Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids. More than 500 people, including a couple dozen camouflage-wearing babies, showed up from every walk of life. The majority were middle-aged, balding men with gray ponytails.

As a gregarious member of the board of directors for the National Rifle Association, the Nuge spouted off for everyone within earshot about his views. Among them were: “I got a great recipe for owls,” “my book will teach you more than school ever will” and “I love women with guns.” He railed against giving addicts free syringes, against Governor Gray Davis and against “teaching people to fight AIDS and then telling them it is OK to butt-fuck.”

Several members of the conservation group Ducks Unlimited got his dander up and received a five-minute sermon for their refusal to back gun rights. Afterward, the Nuge offered Bites a refreshing Vernor’s ginger ale, a Michigan tradition since 1866.

Gadfly on the wall: Bites was surprised to see Bee media writer J. Freedom du Lac sassed by his own secret source after his column last week ruminated about who’ll replace departing KCRA anchor Kelly Brothers. Surfing for scoops, du Lac hit TV news guru Don Fitzpatrick’s site, where frustrated broadcasters anonymously swap gossip and stab each other’s backs.

“On—a usually unreliable gossip site for folks in the broadcasting business—somebody has suggested that KCRA morning anchor Walt Gray is a lock for the job,” du Lac reported. “Another industry gadfly says it’s going to be John Alston, a weekend anchor.”

Du Lac’s eaves-snooping didn’t impress a presumably male user, who, under the handle “gotbigsac,” asked: “Any other sacto-ites incredulous over the fact that J Free-dumb DuLac of the Bee actually used quotes from a chatroom?? He could work for the NY Times.” Preached another: “That sacbee article excerpts things from tvspy … these very postings, as if they are something more than pure speculation.”

Tough—but amusing to see TV types slamming print scribes for running poorly sourced rumors.