From e-mail and the memory banks:
HARD, COLD FACTS It got down to 24 degrees Monday morning east of Modesto, if the temperature reading on my rearview mirror can be trusted. When it gets that chilly here in the valley, we rise beyond small talk when discussing the weather.
Here's a blast from the polar past: In January 1989, I covered the NFC Championship Game between the 49ers and Bears at Chicago's Soldier Field. Having heard about the blustery Midwest cold hailed by the Chicago media as that vaunted "Bear Weather" I landed at O'Hare International Airport the Friday night before the Sunday game. The temperature? A balmy 48 degrees, and it stayed that way most of the next day until
eve of the game, when I decided to walk several blocks to my hotel after going to dinner. Wrong.
I emerged from the restaurant to 18 icy degrees and promptly hailed a cab. The next day, the game-time temperature dipped to 15, with a wind-chill of minus 33. Those optically challenged were warned not to wear contact lenses because they might freeze to our eyeballs. Mine worked well enough to see the 49ers blow out the Bears 28-3 that day.
I don't think I've been truly cold since then. That victory, by the way, was the 49ers' last road playoff win a drought they'll try to end Sunday in Atlanta's climate-controlled Georgia Dome.
USE AS DIRECTED Late in 2008, Richard Tosaw called to tell me he'd created the "Obama-Scope," a lightweight periscope he planned to sell at President Barack Obama's first inauguration in January 2009. The gadget enables you to see up and over the throngs at any event unless, of course, the person standing directly in front of you also has one.
I considered Tosaw one of the more interesting people I've ever met. A former FBI agent who later became an attorney, Tosaw spent decades investigating the disappearance of D.B. Cooper, who hijacked an airliner, got $200,000 in ransom and then bailed out somewhere over the Pacific Northwest in 1971.
Tosaw wrote the book "D.B. Cooper: Dead or Alive?" He became an expert on the subject, quoted in the media as a source when federal authorities reopened the case in January 2008, and again a few months later when children in southwest Washington found a parachute the FBI later determined was not Cooper's.
Tosaw also created an online service that listed probate cases in which the beneficiaries are named and cases in which the rightful heirs are unknown.
Anyway, Tosaw that year sent over one of his Obama-Scopes for me to try. He died later in 2009. He would have been thrilled to know the same scope will be in Washington, D.C., for Obama's second inauguration Monday. Maria Figueroa of Modesto, who works in The Bee's newsroom, is attending the event and is taking it with her.
SPEAKING OF INAUGURALS The Salvation Army and Inter-Faith Ministries will hold their first Resolution Run "Stop Hunger in Its Tracks" in Modesto on Jan. 26. The 5K and 10K running-walking events will begin at Johansen High and follow the Dry Creek Trail.
Entry fees and sponsorships will go toward replenishing the food banks of those organizations. The Salvation Army and Inter-Faith will split the proceeds 50-50.
To register online, visit Active.com, scroll down to the Facebook graphic and "more popular events," then slide down to Resolution Run and click on it. Or you can call Inter-Faith Ministries at (209) 572-3117.
And on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, the Tenacious Dreams Film Festival makes its debut at the Building Imagination Center, 1009 J St. in downtown Modesto.
The festival will show domestic and international films that otherwise wouldn't be available locally. And it gives filmmakers a venue to show their works.
Visit www.brownpapertickets.com or call (323) 308-5471 to reach the festival's directors, brothers Greg and Mark Runnels, for ticket information and to learn about the specific content (adult language, etc.) of the available films.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at email@example.com, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.