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Mother knows best 

The Shredder Hotline has been ringing off the hook this week. Every caller has something he wants to report or she wants to tell me about, and that’s fine by me because the more research other people do means the less work I have to do. Just don’t tell my boss I said that. As far as he knows, I learn all my secrets by showing up at every city council meeting and school board luncheon and police raid. And I do. I just don’t write anything when I’m there. Taking notes aggravates my carpal tunnel syndrome, and I need all my carpals and tunnels in proper working order to sign my name on the check on my way to the bank each payday.

My boss also says that I waste precious newspaper space, space that could be used for something worthwhile or useful, like one half-page ad or two quarter-page ads, by blathering on and on at the beginning of each column instead of diving right into the issues. To that I say add another zero to my paycheck and we’ll talk. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for crab bisque.

Well shoot. I misplaced my cookbook. Looks like it’s time to chalk this round up to The Man and start spilling my rumors.

As best I can remember, since I don’t take notes when I’m at home listening to my answering machine either, talk-show host Dave Congalton used some of his precious airtime recently to pick at Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, who’s started saying that maybe PG&E should think about possibly seeing what would happen if Diablo switched from nuclear power to natural gas power. Since the day of the broadcast was apparently some sort of government holiday, whether Valentine’s Day is now officially marked in red on Assembly calendars or Lincoln’s birthday separated itself from being recognized as a part of Presidents’ Day, Sam didn’t call in to defend himself, so his mom, Diane Blakeslee, called in to tell everyone that Sam was perfectly capable of defending himself, except he was out celebrating with pink hearts or stovepipe hats or something, so leave him alone.

Dave, either thinking that he’d need an extra zero in his paycheck if they expect him to deal with his subjects’ moms or getting some creepy Oedipus vibe, wouldn’t take the call. Sam showed up the next day, sans Mom, all relaxed from his time off, and proceeded to explain that he thinks we should study whether Diablo should chuck its radioactive isotopes in favor of economic vitality and a fuel source that won’t kill us all if a tsunami hits the West Coast and shifts the loose soil under the plant. He failed to mention that if the government had its way, February would be made up of nothing but government holidays, including Groundhog’s Other Day, Valentine’s Day II, Day-After Lincoln’s Birthday, Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and Fat-Ash Thursday.

In his long-range planning notes, Sam did, however, mention that such studies pose questions that make people uncomfortable, but cited the Los Osos sewer situation as an example of why long-range planning is important.

While we’re on the subject, I’m happy to report that the Los Osos Community Services District finally hired its snitch to hover over meetings and make sure no one threatens anyone else with a knife in the back, at least in the literal sense. Marvin McClenahan, who apparently isn’t too concerned about protecting his identity, will now get $20 an hour to attend meetings that sometimes last into the next calendar day. Also, Marvin, or “Chuck,� as he likes to be called, is married to Pat McClenahan, the CSD’s administrative services manager. Mark my words, bedfellows make strange politics, so if he gets another zero on his paycheck anytime soon, well, maybe I’ll have to have my mom call and complain.

With his new job, he doesn’t have to sit alone at home while his wife’s at the meeting, plus he can call himself the “eyes and ears in the back of the room,� which is a cool title, although “Chuck� is a close second. Despite my sarcastic tone here, I think the new position really will cut down on verbal and physical abuse because sewer supporters and opponents will have to wait until Chuck isn’t looking before they try anything.

Meanwhile, in completely unrelated news, some Morro Bay residents are upset that their City Council is hemming and hawing about re-approving a statue to welcome visitors on their way into town. I hear that the old City Council approved the project, so everybody started getting money together and commissioning artists’ conceptions. Then the new City Council came around and told everyone to hold on, it had to approve the statue again, or re-approve it for the first time, whichever was more bureaucratic.

Luckily, it seems, everything was re-approved that needed to be approved again, but I don’t think the situation is worth even the attention I’m giving it, especially since I hear that the welcoming statue is supposed to be a rock and I could be making crab bisque right now.

A statue of a rock isn’t a statue. It’s just a rock. Even if you stick a waterfall on it, it’s still a rock. So why not just find a rock and drop it next to the freeway, along with a big sign that says: “Welcome to Morro Bay. See an even bigger rock a few miles farther!�

One of the strangest things I can think of is some artist getting a check with more zeroes on it than probably I’ve ever seen so he or she can get a big rock and carve it into a smaller rock so it looks like an even bigger rock. I chose the wrong career.

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