IOWA MEMORIES: John Hogan, U.S. Navy, 1945-49, was one of several dozen spectators who gathered at the Port of Richmond to see the USS Iowa leave for Southern California on May 26. Hogan waxed rhapsodic about his days on the destroyer USS Davison and how on a visit to the Iowa, he got lost in the bowels of the famous battleship. "It was really something," he said.

Having paid homage to the inspiring symbol of U.S. naval might, Hogan hopped in his car and headed for home. A sticker on his back bumper read, "I'd rather be on the train."

A little HYPERBOLE?: After the many years that The Eye has covered public meetings, something new was heard last week.

During the Antioch City Council discussion about the possible renaming of L Street, Councilman Brian Kalinowski ticked off several objections to the idea, including the current makeup of the area and that it has "the restaurant that does midget throwing."

The comment had most in the meeting looking around with puzzled expressions. One person in the audience whispered to The Eye, "Did I hear that right?"

According to City Manager Jim Jakel, Humphrey's on the Delta restaurant went through a period several years ago where it had theme-based special events and promotions, such as wrestling and boxing matches, in violation of its special events permit.

"If we caught wind of them, we had to remind them that it's not a concert hall, it's a restaurant," he said.

Community Development Director Tina Wehrmeister said fliers were spotted throughout the city promoting the midget-tossing event. She was unsure whether the city interceded before the event occurred or found out after the fact.

Humphrey's owner, Eva Romero, said no midget throwing has happened under her watch.

CHERRY FRENZY: There were a couple of telltale signs over Memorial Day weekend that the annual U-Pick season has arrived in force in Brentwood.

Rows of cars lined country roads searching for a parking spot near one of the many orchards that have opened for cherry picking. While the cherries were plentiful, parking was scarce, and The Eye spent nearly an hour traversing the city before finding a parking spot near Nunn Better Farms on Sellers Avenue.

The other sign of U-Pick frenzy was the sight of overzealous cherry pickers navigating tree branches in search of the ripest fruit, much to the dismay of farmers who politely but firmly admonished them that climbing is not allowed. The harsh reality of cherry picking is that the ripest cherries often seem to dangle just out of reach.

Of course, that may not always be a bad thing if you're trying to watch your budget. Knowing when to say when is not always an easy thing during U-Pick, as evidenced by the customers ahead of The Eye in line who dropped $65 on their bounty of cherries.

occupy the phone: Make a call to a help center these days -- even the advice line for your health maintenance organization -- and you never know where in the world the person on the other end is located. The same is true of "boiler room" marketing or campaign calls.

In that vein, the residents of University Village, the UC Berkeley graduate student housing complex in Albany, are organizing a June 23 phone bank to sway voters in so-called "swing states."

University Village residents and neighbors have recently been focused on a free-the-land, urban-planting movement known as Occupy the Farm at the neighboring Gill Tract open space in Albany, but that doesn't mean they aren't looking ahead at national politics.

The announcement says: "Students and Albany and Berkeley neighbors are welcome. We'll be calling a battleground state. Bring your cellphone, your charger and your positive energy. If you speak Spanish and are ready to call Spanish-language voters, please sign up not for this event but for the Spanish language phone bank."

Occupy the Phone is scheduled for 1 p.m. June 23.

Interestingly, the announcement about the phone bank doesn't mention which way volunteers are supposed to sway voters, but The Eye thinks it would be wise not to mention to out-of-staters that the calls are coming from the Berkeley area.

Staff writers Gary Peterson, Paul Burgarino, Craig Lazzeretti and Chris Treadway contributed to this report.