NEW ENTERTAINMENT VENUE: Much was made last week about the canceled flights and relentless delays that besieged the nation's airports because of winter storms. But for those stuck at Oakland International Airport, the holiday travel news wasn't all glum. Stranded travelers were treated to on-site entertainment courtesy of the airport's volunteer performance arts program, which has been building steam over the past year.
That's right, live airport entertainment. From Wednesday to Friday last week, beleaguered travelers were able to pass the time watching Sam Zabb-Parmley, a UCLA student and Port of Oakland intern, perform magic in Terminal 1.
Of course, for most travelers, the magic they really yearned to see was the on-time arrival of their flight. But if you're going to be stuck in an airport during Christmas week, why not enjoy a little sleight of hand? Buskers perform magic, music and other acts, and it's all free (tips are welcome). Similar programs have been launched at the San Francisco and San Jose international airports.
Who knows? Maybe a local airport will be the site of the next reality television show? Airport Idol? Dancing with the Airlines? If it really catches on, travelers might start missing their flights on purpose. (OK, maybe The Eye is getting a little carried away.)
Spelling challenged: No, Benicia hasn't changed the spelling of its name, despite a sign on northbound Interstate 680 in Alamo last weekend warning motorists of high winds on the "Benecia" Bridge.
A GIFT FOR THE EYE: The Eye was on the receiving end of the holiday gift-giving last week when a loyal subscriber walked into our Oakland office with a large bag of rubber bands -- a year's worth from her home delivery.
"Newspapers have no money any more," she said. "Use these over again and try to keep going." She said she'd come back with plastic delivery bags, too, if it would help.
The Eye isn't one to look a gift horse -- or rubber band or plastic bag -- in the mouth.
THE GIFT OF FREE PARKING: Speaking of gifts, the parking meters in downtown Martinez are not being enforced through Jan. 6. The Martinez City Council is giving motorists a holiday from feeding the meters to encourage people to shop downtown and because the city workers charged with bagging the coins are on vacation.
The new solar meters that accept credit cards along Main Street alert drivers to the meter reprieve, but the old-fashioned, coin-only meters do not, so people last week were inserting their change in vain.
THE FOULEST OF FOWL: The Eye recently experienced a driving etiquette conundrum as about 30 wild turkeys, circling, flapping and emitting guttural sounds, blocked a Moraga roadway.
What to do?
Past attempts to clear East Bay streets of these foul fowl with a horn blast had resulted in full-out retaliatory attacks by their apparent leader. Nor was waiting for clear passage an option: When it comes to wild turkeys -- who spindrift incessantly, according to their own inner compasses -- "leader" is a term belonging in quotation marks.
Bravely shepherding the treacherous poultry and splitting them like a feathery Red Sea with a Honda bumper, The Eye encountered humanity's ambiguous verdict on the choice.
A red-faced man in a parked vehicle madly waved his fists in a zealous display of animal activism. Pointing at the obvious, he hollered, "Stop! Turkeys! Turkeys!"
But a driver in another vehicle (also trapped in the morass) begged to differ, shouting to The Eye, "You go, Girl!" while pumping fisted hands in salute.
When it comes to wild turkey gangs, fists are required, but the rest is uncertain territory.
Staff writers Craig Lazzeretti, Thomas Peele, Cindi Christie, Malaika Fraley and correspondent Lou Fancher contributed to this report.