IT'S BEEN a while since I presented any literary references to the Inland Valley in this space, mostly because I haven't received any - other than one about Montclair that upon further investigation turned out to refer to the city in New Jersey.

But then two references crossed my desk the same day.

Jack Kerouac (!), the Beat author of "On the Road," begins his 1960 autobiographical novel "Lonesome Traveler" with a meeting in San Pedro between himself and his friend Deni Bleu, who says he accidentally wrecked another friend's car while driving it to San Francisco.

Where did this accident occur? Bleu says, "the name of the town I can never and I shall never be able to," then pauses to regain Kerouac's attention before trying again:

"Cucamonga, Practamonga, Calamongonata, I shall never remember the name of that town, but I ran the car head-on into a tree, Jack, and that was that and I was set upon by every scroungy cop lawyer judge doctor indian chief insurance salesman common type in the - I tell you I was lucky to get away alive I had to wire home for all kinds of money, as you know my mother in Vermont has all my savings and when I'm in a real pinch I always wire home, it's my money."

There, there.


Advertisement

The loan of "Lonesome Traveler" was courtesy of my former colleague Wendy Leung, who covered the city of Calamongonata or whatever it's called.

Oh, and suddenly I'm imagining David Letterman, in his "Uma, Oprah" mode, introducing the author and the town.

"Kerouac? Cucamonga. Cucamonga? Kerouac."

(I might also note that my spellcheck suggests I replace "Kerouac" with "karaoke." Jack Karaoke? Hmm.)

The very same day, meanwhile, reader Erwin Anderson left me a voice mail about David L. Goldman's "Primeval."

"He has a scene where some kidnappers kidnap a guy at Dodger Stadium and then helicopter and land at Upland High School and transfer him to a house on Mountain Avenue where they torture and kill him," Anderson reports.

Quite a scene.

"Are you still collecting literary references to the Inland Valley?" Anderson asks.

Why, yes. Yes, I am.

In fact, another reference soon surfaced. Will Plunkett had alerted me last year that retired newspaper columnist Dave Barry's most recent book, "I'll Mature When I'm Dead," cited Rancho Cucamonga, but I forgot about it until finishing the book myself.

In admitting that his attempts at screenplays were unsuccessful because he didn't have movie-length ideas, only short ideas for humor columns, Barry mentions one piece from 1995.

"For me, the ideal topic is something like the one I used once for a Thanksgiving column, based on a newspaper story concerning the president of a company in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., who proposed that the poultry industry could reduce meat contamination by Super Glue-ing turkey rectums shut," Barry recounts.

"Now if you're a humor columnist trying to write a Thanksgiving column, a news story like this is a gift from God. It has all the elements you're looking for: Turkey rectums; Super Glue; Rancho Cucamonga; and most important of all, turkey rectums."

Barry adds mournfully: "But this kind of idea doesn't lend itself to the plot of a major motion picture."

The company that made Super Glue, based in Rancho Cucamonga, was developing a product named Rectite for poultry rectums that was aimed at decreasing the risk of salmonella poisoning on Thanksgiving.

As Barry wrote, the original story about this proposed product appeared in this very newspaper, courtesy of then-staffer Randyl Drummer, and was mailed to the columnist by multiple readers.

"I am not making up Rancho Cucamonga," Barry wrote. "It's a real place whose odd-sounding name, if you look it up in your Spanish-English dictionary, turns out to mean `Cucamonga Ranch."'

I updated his piece for a Thanksgiving 2002 column. The company with the rights to Super Glue was no longer pursuing that idea, its new president assured me, having evidently concluded it was a turkey.

Disappointing, but a decade later, taking Barry's advice concerning gifts from God, I just got another Thanksgiving column out of it.


David Allen is stuck like glue to Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Reach him via email or at 909-483-9339, read his blog, check out his Facebook page and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.