May 26, 2021

Six New Warm-Weather Activities Await You!

Get a jump on summer by clipping these ideas. (You’ll need to break the glass on your computer or smartphone)

By Ed Goldman
1 SPF-A-RAMA: A three-day outdoor rock concert co-sponsored by Coppertone and the California Melanoma Research Institute. Promoters will announce details once they find out which three days in a row will be the hottest and whether Death Valley is viable as a venue. Alternate sites include Phoenix, Palm Springs and regional burn centers.

2. INTERNATIONAL WEB-SURFING FINALS. Held in messy teenage boys’ bedrooms or their parents’ basements, wherever Wi-Fi signals are most reliable. Reigning champs will serve as judges of participants in the categories of dexterity, fewest Jolt Cola keyboard spills and filthiest language when their computers crash. Extra points for knowing that “meme” does not refer to the tragic heroine of “La Bohéme” nor the opening notes of an opera tenor’s vocal warm-up.

Edgy Cartoon

A Selfie-Guided Summer Tour

3. THE TASTELESS-HOME TOUR. Forget curb appeal: the actual curbs in front of these homes look far superior to the homes themselves. You’ll get an inside look at:

– The Malibu homes of rock stars who delegated the interior design to their groupies, roadies and pharmacists. This explains why every surface is made of mirrors, the better to slice and dice one’s morning snorts and also cadge a gopher’s eye view of one’s evolving wattles. (Not recommended: Inviting Mitch McConnell to cocktails.)

– Those famous ”upside-down” houses one enters on the top floor and descends as many as three levels to the dining room. The problem with the architectural marvels featured on this tour is that homes of this sort are usually built on a hillside, allowing the resident and visitor to park on a mountain road whencefrom they enter the residence.

But the upside-downers here have been built on city streets in flat neighborhoods, thereby necessitating remedial civil engineering and consultants on water-table violations to achieve the complete effect. To emphasize the downward immersion, one homeowner with a peculiar sense of humor has reportedly decorated each floor of his home as three of Dante’s nine Circles of Hell.

4. THE FABULOUS CARL’S BAD TAVERNS. Most people mis-hear this attraction when it’s first announced. Rather than the famed national park in New Mexico, this is a series of loss-leading saloons opened and operated by disowned relatives of the Carl’s Jr. family to capitalize on the name. The initial idea was to give the fast-food chain some competition by serving cheeseburgers with 12-ounce cans of Busch Bavarian Beer. There was even going to be a Slap-Happy Meal that would have included a burger, pitcher of brewski and designated driver with every order over $89. But the original Carl’s Jr. family prevailed in a copyright infringement case and the “Taverns” are now burger-less and top-less sports bars with at least two television sets each, usually tuned to Xtreme Parcheesi games beamed “live-on-tape” (which means taped) from Medieval India, where the game originated.

5. EGGOLAND. This is another destination whose name is often confused with a justifiably more popular attraction. EggoLand is a park-size outdoor kitchen with individual rides based on familiar breakfast foods. One of the most frequented is the Battered Children go-kart track in which kids are covered in damp waffle mix and then try to see their way to drive around an oval saturated in Mrs. Butterworth’s Palm Syrup. Spills, chills, thrills and litigation await!

Looking for a Great Gift?
6. DROUGHT-RESISTANT FIGHTERS. A tad reminiscent of the band Foo Fighters—who fought Foo wherever they found it—this is a computer game originally created, ironically enough, as a rainy-day activity for children and adults who, try as they might, couldn’t develop a Ritalin dependency. In the game, the villain is called the Reality Of Nature (R.O.N.).

Anyway, the Drought-Resistant Fighters, who wear costumes resembling ice plants and other xerographic flora, must engage in mortal combat with R.O.N to force him to produce rain where none exists, not even when farmers lodge complaints and issue stern memos to the governor. Points are awarded for quoting clever rhetoric about water, such as the late Mitch Hedberg’s memorable “My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.” While this is an indoor game, the liberal application of a high-SPF lotion is strongly recommended by the makers of high-SPF lotions.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


In an earlier blog, I mentioned the benefits of banking with a genuine bank and not just an online company that uses the term “bank” in its name.

Why do I promote real banks? Well, because I’m a real banker, and a former federal regulator, and I believe in the benefits of a bank’s being routinely and rigorously examined and held to high regulatory standards for consumer protections.

Let me tell you a real-life story:

In 2018 to 2020, when traditional banks were paying about less than 0.10 percent on savings accounts, “Beam Financial,” a consumer banking app, advertised that it was offering up to 8 percent on deposits with no fees, no minimum-balance requirements, and easy customer service—including quick deposit account transfers and openings. Customer requests to withdraw funds would be honored within three to five business days.

But Beam was not a financial institution. It was a consumer banking app. Its vision was “to make high-interest bank accounts accessible to all Americans, regardless of wealth status, account balance, or whether they would be eligible for cross-selling of other financial products.”

After receiving complaints that customers couldn’t get their money back and that Beam was not paying the high interest rates it advertised, the Federal Trade Commission began investigating Beam. On its website, Beam listed 50 banks it claimed to be working with, including some of the biggest in the country.

But according to an investigation, some or all had no relationship whatsoever with the company. Beam has an F record with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for failing to respond to complaints filed by its customers.

Meanwhile, another payment app, Venmo, owned by PayPal Holdings, is cooperating with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is investigating allegations that Venmo is involved in unauthorized fund transfers and collections processes. This is not the first time the CFPB has investigated PayPal.

Be sure you understand how a mobile banking app works before downloading and using it. Read the terms and check it out with consumer rating services and such as the BBB. As I said in a recent blog, just because a company uses the word “bank” in its name doesn’t meant it’s FDIC-insured. Or a real bank.

sponsored content

Looking for a Great Gift?