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I started a heat wave 

Whew! I've been sweating so much, you'd think I was on the stand again. Nothing gets the glands working overtime like a possession with intent to sell charge. Good thing I have a good lawyer, who didn't sweat at all, come to think of it, even though he was wearing a suit throughout the whole proceeding. Maybe he's from back East, where it's muggy all the time. I'll have to ask him next time he's defending me.

Not that there will be a next time. There's no pre-meditation here. See? Tra la la. I'm thinking happy thoughts about how much I love following every little law down to the letter.

In the meantime, I'm sure glad the heat wave's over. Back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper or whatever other alcoholic drink was on hand my dad used to tell me that I was cooling off the whole world when I left the front door open while the air conditioner was on. I've been taking his advice these days, because I'm nothing if not civic-minded, and have been opening all my doors and windows and cranking my AC to the max in an effort to share cooler temperatures with the whole neighborhood. It's been murder on my electricity bills, but hey, generosity has a price.

And now that the heat wave's over, maybe other papers will go back to reporting about something other than what most of us could figure out by looking at a thermometer. If you need the Tribune to tell you it's hot, you deserve that paper, and it deserves you as its reader. But we don't all get what we deserve, which is probably a good thing, because I can't think of anyone who doesn't deserve to be up you-know-what creek without a paddle for doing something or other at some point. You know. Bad stuff. Yes, I'm looking at you.

In the interest of full disclosure, New Times even has something about the heat wave somewhere in this week's issue. I'm not too bothered by that, though. We deserve our readers just as much as the Tribune deserves its readers. And in the world of journalism, we all ultimately get what we deserve, which is typically angry phone calls, ulcers, and cirrhosis of the liver. I've got two out of three at the moment, and a doctor's report I'm waiting on will probably confirm the third.

The worst part of all the recent heat besides the sweating and the lethargy and the incessant obvious headlines and the melting of my entire vintage wax-lip collection is Al Gore's freshly minted global-warming army. He got thousands of new recruits from his movie, and they're all sweating and pointing at their own local papers to prove that the world's getting hotter. "See that girl sitting under a hose in her swimsuit, just to keep cool? Just to survive? That's front-page news, and news doesn't get on the front page unless it's important!"

Well, we've got barns on our cover this week. What's that tell you?

If An Inconvenient Truth had hit theaters in the middle of a chilly winter, I'll bet my stash that most of the mercury-is-rising, sky-is-falling reactionaries' knees wouldn't have jerked as hard as they did. Those rank-and-file moviegoers would have just pulled their jackets tighter around themselves and reminded each other that there's a reason Gore didn't win the election.

Then, they'd start yammering away about voter fraud and ballot problems, which is just about as annoying as gabbing about how hot it is when everyone can clearly feel that it's hot.

What's obvious is obvious. Heat makes you hot. Politicians cheat and break the law to get what they want. These are simple, undeniable laws of physics, like gravity and centripetal force and whatever it is that makes cats land on their feet, unless you throw them really, really hard.

If people really cared about global warming, they'd do something about it. Maybe they'd drive less. Or maybe they'd turn their air conditioners on and open their doors and give people like me a break once in a while. Is that too much to ask?

But it's never their fault. You too. It's never your fault, is it? Whether you're someone who deals with building taller buildings or bringing big-box stores into town or bungling crime investigations or putting guys on toilets on the cover of your newspaper or someone who opposes any of those people it's never actually your responsibility to take the fall for it.

This is a dog-eat-dog world, which, many will argue, is necessary, but the dog doing the eating should at least acknowledge that another dog is being eaten.

I don't know where I was going with that one. Maybe it's the heat. Or now the lack of heat. I never really replenished any of my fluids after I sweated so much, so I'm probably as dehydrated as a goldfish in the Sahara. I got a paper cut the other day and only sand poured out.

This would be the perfect place to start talking about SLO County's contaminated sand packing its bags for an extended stay in Santa Barbara County, but frankly, I don't have the energy, and now my keyboard's all messed up. I think I got a few grains of whatever I'm bleeding down in the wiring. ?


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