Sep 21, 2022

Farewell, Summer of Sirens

It quietens here in the fall. And latens at night. And earlies in the morning

By Ed Goldman

I’m anticipating that tomorrow, September 22, the first day of fall, will also mark the end of what I’ve nicknamed the Season of Sirens.

No, I didn’t spend the past three months re-enacting “The Odyssey.” The sirens in that epic poem led men to their deaths. The sirens in my life are First Responders on their way to save lives.

Edgy Cartoon

The Idiot and the Oddity

I live about 100 yards from a noisy intersection, American River Drive and Howe Avenue. Howe Avenue is a thoroughfare for every Tom-Dick-and-harried commuter, impromptu drag-racer (as well as racers who don’t cross-dress), all the motorcyclists with no knowledge of mufflers, and, as aforementioned, ambulance personnel racing toward and away from Highway 50. This is the route that runs east to Folsom, Placerville and South Lake Tahoe and westerly to Highway 99 and Interstates 80 and 5, which head everywhere else in California and beyond. You can take I-80 to Teaneck, New Jersey for example, but I’d think long and hard about it.

Don’t get me wrong about the noise. I opted to live here when I sold a big house on a semi-placid street in an area of East Sacramento dubbed the “Fab 40s” by people given to describing things other than laundry detergent as Fab. True, the block I lived on had a hospital at the end of it but the emergency room was on the other side of it, so at worst I’d hear a muffled rumor of sirens. Many years earlier I’d owned a house on the ER side but I think there was a local ordinance restricting siren noise if you grossed at least a certain amount of money each year.

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I now live barely within the city limits—in a community I call Cramps ‘r’ Common, owing to the average age of my neighbors being at least 77. The development’s real name is Campus Commons because of its proximity to the state university but I’ve yet to meet any college students here unless it was an octogenarian finishing a degree she’d started in 1957 before she married and dropped out of college to have 13 children and start an in-home journaling business which she sold after its successful IPO and subsequent sale to the international conglomerate REALLYBOR INC.  

My condo feels more urban than my house ever did. That’s partly attributable to the sirens blaring at all hours but also because at night I can see lights from cars and the illuminated signs of an office park on the corner. Since I have shutters on the windows, the optics give off a film-noir vibe on rainy nights, making me want to pour a stiff drink and start smoking filterless Camels. As they say, anyone can give up cigarettes, but it takes a real man to live with emphysema, heart disease and lung cancer. (Did you ever notice that practically the only guy who smoked in those movies and made it past the age of 70 was Kirk Douglas? He died at 101. I’ll bet he gave up cigarettes, like, 55 years earlier. —Note to Lung Association: Just leave my public service plaque on the doorstep. Thanks ever so.)

I’m not sure why I can slide into sleep easier while listening to metropolitan din than nocturnal frogs and chirping larks. 

Maybe because I’d only worry something was wrong if the din diminished—that old movie trope, “It’s quiet, Sheriff.” “Yeah. Too quiet, Pilgrim”—whereas the crickets and larks would probably go right on ribbeting and chirping even if a hatchet murderer was going door-to-door here.

If you think that’s a morbidly fanciful way to illustrate why I prefer the noise, remember: Nobody axed you.

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, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, which I discussed in last week’s blog (and in glowing terms) recently announced the 2022 AHEAD Grant Award Winners.

This year, the Bank awarded $1.5 million in grants to 55 projects that will boost economic development activity and promote financial stability in communities throughout Arizona, California, and Nevada.

What is a 2022 AHEAD Grant Award? you ask.

Well, since I’m a Director of the FHLBank of San Francisco (and so proud of this endeavor), I can tell you! 

AHEAD Grants are “Our Access to Housing and Economic Assistance for Development” grants aimed at advancing innovative economic development initiatives that bring greater opportunity to underserved populations.

Through the AHEAD Program, bank members boost local programs and projects supporting a broad range of beneficiaries, including aspiring homebuyers, people experiencing homelessness, minority- and women- owned small businesses, tribal organizations, and workforce training programs. 

In 2021, the Bank awarded $1.5 million in grants to 60 projects to boost economic development activity and create greater opportunity in underserved and low-income communities in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

In 2020, the Bank’s board allocated an additional $2 million dollars to AHEAD to support pandemic-related relief and recovery efforts.

Since 2004, the Bank has awarded $20 million in AHEAD Program grants to support 660 nonprofit projects and programs across Arizona, California and Nevada. 

Just thought I’d get a jump on the awards season by announcing these grants. They may not be Emmys, Tonys, Oscars or Grammys, but when did those awards ever provide shelter, comfort and a pathway to solvency?

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