Peace and freedom parties

Friendly fire: Peace activists are having to go to ever-greater lengths to get press coverage for a local anti-war event, such as making dramatic promises—“Arrests are possible at Monday’s direct action,” reads the latest faxed press alert—in order to entice jaded media.

Demonstrators kept that promise during an “air raid” and “mass die-in” at the Federal Courthouse Monday morning and reported nine protesters had been arrested (bringing the local total to 68).

The Sacramento demonstration, part of a national day of nonviolent action to stop the war, was unable to compete with a simultaneous action in Oakland, wherein protesters and dock workers alike were hospitalized after police fired on them with rubber and wooden bullets.

Earlier in the weekend, a lecture at California State University, Sacramento, by Daniel Ellsberg—of Pentagon Papers fame—drew nearly a thousand people but virtually no media. These days, if you’re not shooting or being shot at, you’re just not news.

The price of freedom: Fox & Goose owner Allyson Dalton contacted Bites last week to let us know the restaurant’s freedom toast has reverted to being French toast.

About a month ago, Dalton explained, she reprogrammed the cash-register printouts to say “freedom toast” after joking with a customer about the freedom-fries stories coming out of Washington: “Quite frankly, I had forgotten to change the program on the computer until we received a call from a reader of your column saying he would ‘never patronize our restaurant again!’ What began as a joke between me and a customer has unintentionally provoked some passionate people!”

Dalton assures us that it was all just a joke and apologizes to anyone who may have taken offense. If only all international conflicts could be worked out so easily.

Cinderella will no longer wear combat boots: If, like Bites, you look to dinner theater in Rancho Cordova to truly gauge the temper of the times, you’ll be glad to know that Garbeau’s Acorn & Oak Theatre (“where young people experience the magic of theater!”) has changed its upcoming schedule to accommodate wartime sensitivities.

“While Cinderella Wore Combat Boots did not show any disrespect to the military, and only a brief reference to the combat boots was made in the script, we felt the title might offend, and wisdom dictated a change in the show,” said artistic director Allen Schmeltz.

Happily, the folks at Garbeau’s have come up with a replacement show that will remind no one of our colonization of the Middle East: “Out of respect for the soldiers involved in the war in Iraq, we have decided to pull our scheduled show, Cinderella Wore Combat Boots, and replace it with Aladdin and the Magic Lamp.”

SMUD defers to the holy Trinity: Because this paper has spent a fair amount of ink beating up on SMUD for being part of the lawsuit against Trinity River restoration, it’s only fitting that Bites should now salute SMUD for dropping out of the suit.

Of course, Native American tribes, conservation groups and others with a passing interest in nature no doubt wish it hadn’t taken our local utility friends two years and half a million dollars to get there, but hey, better late than never.

Yet, the battle continues: Westlands Water District and the Northern California Power Agency still are expected to stick with the suit, and word has it the Bush administration may sell the restoration project up the river by negotiating a settlement.