COFFEE CARRIER: Spotted on a recent morning walking along West Elm Street: a woman and her friendly dog, which looked like a yellow lab of sorts.
The woman had the leash in one hand and a Starbucks cup in the other.
The dog was also carrying coffee. In its jaws, the tail-wagging dog held an unopened package of coffee beans.
SMOKY DAYS: On a very smoky day in Lodi last week, firefighters were called to a report of a column of smoke coming from a back yard. They got there and told a dispatcher: "We're on scene with nothing showing - but we do have heavy smoke throughout the city."
IN THE NEWS: San Francisco Chronicle columnist Peter Hartlaub recently wrote about city mottos and took a few shots at Lodi's motto:
"'Livable, Lovable Lodi' is another city motto that seems a little desperate, perhaps because that Credence Clearwater Revival song has forever put city leaders in an impossible marketing position. They could build an art museum more prestigious than the Louvre, open 10 new four-star restaurants and lure the Boston Celtics into town, and people would still sing the words 'Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again' as they roll past the Central Valley city on Highway 99."
SIZE MATTERS: You can learn some amazing things through e-mail. Recently, a News-Sentinel reporter learned that the size and shape of your conference table says a lot about your company.
A consultant from Ohio announced the following:
• A round conference table hampers discussions.
• A long, thin table encourages cliques.
• A U-shaped table that keeps participants far away from each other causes people to look directly at one another and not at the leader. Participants also tend to be rude to each other, especially those directly across the table from them.
• One solution is a rectangular table, with the leader standing at one end. The "perfect solution" is for the table to have only one end, with the other end pushed against the wall. The leader should put his or her most loyal supporters at the end near him and his opponents at the farthest end.
And you thought having a conference table was simple.
STATING THE OBVIOUS: As the Lodi area was preparing for its big heat wave, AccuWeather.com, a private forecasting firm, stated the obvious by saying that the chance of rain was zero percent.
An AccuWeather meteorologist, commenting on that going-out-on-a-limb prediction, said of budding climatologists, "If you can get that right, you're on your way."
RELIGION HUMOR: It seems that Lodi's Westside Assembly had a pirate theme at its recent Vacation Bible School. That prompted Pastor Chan Keith to ask, "Do you know why Christians never see pirate movies?"
(Warning: You're going to groan.)
"Because they're rated Arr, Arr, Arr."
HONKS OF PROTEST: Some cars have names and some have personalities, but did you know that some cars protest? No, they don't hold signs or hug trees, but they do flash lights and blare horns.
One particular car, spotted by a News-Sentinel staffer as it was being towed in Sacramento recently, was moaning and groaning as it rolled down the street.
Each time the tow truck went over small bumps in the street, the red Honda honked and flashed its alarm along with the rhythm of the road.
What was it's purpose? Who knows - maybe it just wanted a reason to complain.
Items in Grapevine, which runs on occasional Mondays, are written by various reporters on the staff. If you have an item to contribute, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Grapevine" or call 369-7035 and ask for the newsroom.