The Flintstones in California

You may have seen the house on your way to or from San Francisco International Airport. Its general appearance is of large boulders painted purple and orange. It overlooks I-280, about a dozen miles below SFO. Built in 1976, the home soon became popularly known as the “Flintstone House” because of its perceived resemblance to the “Modern Stone-Age Family”’s Bedrock residence.

The house recently sold for $2.8 million, well below the surrounding town of Hillsborough’s median $4.1 million. The former publisher of the former newspaper the San Francisco Examiner purchased it in 2017 and began a redesign of the outside landscape. The transformation included 15-foot dinosaurs, a giraffe, a mastodon and sign declaring “Yabba Dabba Doo.”

Neighbors were not appreciative. Complaints to the town resulted in an inspection that determined the owner had done the work without necessary permits. The owner paid a $200 fine but as yet has ignored the town’s order to remove the unapproved embellishments. The matter is now in civil court.

The controversy is reminiscent of a Seattle building affectionately known as “The Blob.” Its last tenant was a Greek restaurant before the structure was demolished in 1997.

Meanwhile, seventy-five miles north of the Flintstone House, a homeowner in my erstwhile hometown Santa Rosa built a fence around his property. Jason Windus erected the six-foot-high enclosure to contain his dogs. A neighbor’s complaint brought out a city inspector who advised Mr. Windus that the code required a fence bordering a sidewalk could be no higher than three feet. The owner complied and installed a garden-party tableau, easily viewed from the street over the now three-foot fence, of five nude mannequins. A sign resting on a vacant lawn chair read, “Reserved seat for the nosey neighbor that complained about my fence to the city.”

A thief absconded with two mannequins a couple nights later, but Windus has four more on the way to increase the number of naked partygoers to seven.

Monica Lewinsky’s Legacy

Smartphones don’t make people smarter; in fact, a smartphone in the hands of a dumb person makes it easier for a dumb person to suffer the consequences of dumbness.
Luca Mangiarano walked into a bank in Austin Texas and handed a note to a teller: “This is a robbery, please give me all your 100’s and 50’s in a envelope and everything will be ok.” The bank employee complied. Mangiarano left the bank, hopped on an electric scooter and rolled away.

(If you haven’t yet been nearly run over by scooter or had to walk around one abandoned on a sidewalk, you soon will. There are several companies scattering their for-rent scooters around various cities. You download an app to your smartphone to rent one.)

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You Are What You Eat

The Los Angeles Times recently published their quality ranking of French fries from fast-food chains. The grades assigned resulted in nearly two-hundred reader responses – not the deluge climate change or gun regulation topics generate, but a lot for fried potatoes – ranging from agreement to ho-hum to outrage that one’s favorite was rated poorly.

Number one: Five Guys, with McDonald’s ranked a distant second.

But what really generated controversy was the dead-last rating of In-N-Out. The California burger icon, lately creeping across borders into other states, is noted for its freshly-cooked menu items. It is also famous for its secret menu, so secret that it could take as long as twenty seconds to find on the Google machine.

  • “In-N-Out’s fries the worst? Del Taco’s fries among the best? What hot garbage is this???”
  • “In n Out Fries are awesome. What sucks is this list…who eats at McDonalds?!?!?!!!!!!!!!”
  • “Anyone who puts McD’s number 2 and In N Out last needs to be deported.”
  • “I’m horrified to read these blasphemous words about In-N-Out’s fries.”
  • (Tater-tot advocates also put in a few comments.)
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Is Vancouver Wash Sending Its Best Across the Border?

Three decades ago – maybe four – in the waning days of music on AM radio, the era of morning drive-time disc-jockey teams supposedly being light-hearted and humorous, a pair of funny guys on one Portland station had a running gag, blaming incompetent Washington drivers for any traffic problems. Now in 2019, a study by something called WalletHub ranks Washington motorists number 48, the worst in the continental United States. Numbers 49 and 50 are Alaska and Hawaii respectively.

Vancouver – not the British Columbia Vancouver – sits just across the Columbia River from Portland – the Oregon Portland.

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Flying Over The Wall

The advertisement has been featured on the national news – CBS, CNN, Fox, USA Today – and the YouTube video has gone “viral.” Aeromexico offered discounts on flights from the U.S. to Mexico. Fares are reduced the same percentage as the passenger’s percentage of Mexican DNA.

In case you haven’t seen Aeromexico’s ad:

You won’t find it on the airline’s web site. The discounts were offered through travel agents in the southern U.S.

DHO Studios of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida produced the two-minute commercial. Founder and Creative Director Danny Holguin is a native of Colombia. He has won numerous awards for short films and documentaries in addition to DHO’s advertising work.