News of Oakland's ranking in the top five places to visit in 2012 is "blowing up Facebook," according to my college-aged daughter.

A lot of young people are commenting on a New York Times article, which cites Oakland's "excellent restaurants, exciting music venues and thriving night life" as reasons to visit. It's nice to see our young people taking pride in Oakland. It's their infusion of talent that helps create positive buzz for our city.

Speaking of buzz, the second annual Oakland Restaurant Week is set for Jan. 20 through Jan. 29. Prix fixe menus will be offered at eateries all over town, and many will also have drink specials. See visitoakland.org/restaurantweek for the list of participants.

Overexposure: Hope you weren't caught with your pants down last Sunday during the Facebook-organized "no pants BART ride." If this isn't an "only in the Bay Area event," I don't know what qualifies. Riders showed up sporting boxers and briefs and bikinis and split themselves up in alphabetical order to cover the routes. One thing's for sure -- no one was in danger of getting a wedgie that day.

EMAIL BAG: Oakland artists Nancy and Chuck Overton say they've met a lot of new friends since my article came out last summer on their whimsical paintings and bird art. Not only did Nancy get commissions from as far away as San Ramon, she says, "With readers contacting me through the article, I gave two birdmaking classes and will plan more for the spring."

It's nice to know our readership is so strong — and it's good to get feedback from folks I've featured. Thanks Nancy and Chuck!

Also, thanks to reader Fiona Jackson and others for catching my typo last week regarding the Oakland police crime alert website. Here is the correct link: http://www.nixle.com/.

And regarding my article on the popular new East Bay Regional Park calendar for 2012, marketing director Emily Hopkins informs me that the free printed copies are all gone but you can always download a green copy at www.ebparks.org.

Road rage: Every now and then I get a traffic tale too strange to pass up. Reader Mort Landsberg says he was coming up Colton last week when he encountered a green station wagon stopped in the middle of the road. "I pulled to the right to ask if she required directions," says Landsberg, and "she started to scream that her daughters felt my car hit hers." He told her he was nowhere near her car, but she continued to claim that her daughters "felt a bump." " Landsberg drove off and the station wagon stayed put. He thinks, now, the incident may have been a scam and warns drivers to stay in their cars if they encounter a similar situation.

Star power: Young Montclair singer Mara Hruby is crafting quite a career for herself, including a recent sold-out gig at Yoshi's. The promo page on Yoshi's website called Hruby a mesmerizing artist with poise and grace whose music "will enter your heart and bring out love and inspiration." Hruby just finished a nine-month project of recording, arranging and engineering her debut EP called "From Her Eyes." Each song is connected to a memory from her youth. Google her name and all kinds of information will come up, including her official music video on YouTube.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-723-2525, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.