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I'm back, baby 

So I’m still here. If you read last week’s column, you’ll know that I spoofed my own retirement. Sorry to disappoint by showing up again. What’s worse is some people around the office actually thought I was finally skedaddling and had tons of plans to fill the space with a self-help column or more ads or another cartoon or something else along those lines. There were some pitches for an effeminate cat that chastises its office drone owner. Garfield meets Dilbert is about as creative as it gets in this place.

But I’m still here in my closet-sized office under my bare bulb with my barely functioning typewriter and a glass of fine port, which could just be really old grape juice.

Not everyone fell for it. Nausmo King (get it? get it?) wrote: “Cute little logo you came up with—Enjoy this story in the Spirit of April 1st???????? And the fierce SHREDDER?????? Well went for the logo plus an Italic sentence—‘Don’t worry guys, I’m just kidding.’ (Well that’s a relief). Do you think It’s possible you guys are little weak on the concept?? Or what? Scared to death you might startle some unsuspecting reader. Possible liability for a cardiac event?? Pretty dim you guys, but you have found your niche—San Luis!!!”

Wow. That was a lot of angry question marks. On the plus side, I had a lot of time on my hands. I waited in line for a few hours at the Apple Store, then got home and puked a dozen Peeps and just as many Cadbury Eggs on my fancy new iPad. Thanks, Steve Jobs. Don’t suppose that’s covered under the warranty?

Regrettably, during my fake absence, the SLO City Council also had some downtime to brainstorm the most inane policies they could.

“We need a new law that will waste police time and really annoy the public,” they said, pondering over venti caramel frappuccinos, I assume. “Eureka! Let’s ban smoking in all public places—even outside bars and apartment complexes.”

If you put your ear to the ground, you can just barely hear the fecal hurricane about to crater this town after the council makes the law an official law on April 20—probably. Anyone who’s ever tried to take a smoke away from someone in front of a bar knows how well that goes over.

Not enough for ya? How about fining groups of 20 or more $700 for a first offense if they’re deemed to be unruly?

Why is it that the most restrictive laws farted out of the council chambers are usually the most loudly touted as things that push SLO to the forefront of progressive cities? Next on the list: drinking, dancing, and masturbation. Better watch out Kevin Bacon: Try that freewheeling stuff around here, and Deb Linden will give you a face full of Mace.

   Not that I would ever encourage rebellious behavior, so I certainly won’t point out that large hoards of smokers are still free to roam most public places until the law goes official. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Puff, puff.

   And all that was just a precursor to the real mind-melting action the council took. They banned duck feeding. That bears repeating. They baaaaanned duck feeding. It’s hard to follow the logical roller coaster that crashes into this particular conclusion to BAN feeding ducks at parks, but the underlying argument is that ducks cause pollution by pooping in the water. Bing, bang, boom—they figured just stop feeding the ducks and the ducks will stop pooping all over the place.

Ever look at the type of person who feeds ducks at the park? It’s either an octogenarian or a little kid. What are they going to do, taser grandpa and little Jimmy for giving handfuls of breadcrumbs to a mallard? This particular flavor of crazy is usually reserved for the guy at the park eating his own shoe. How lucky we are to watch it within our own government. There should be a team of scientists studying our city officials to find out what causes brain function to stop and somehow reverse.

You may want to buckle in for another bout between local farmers and the Downtown Association, too. Maybe pepper in a few local businesses while you’re at it. From chatter in the newsroom, I’ve gathered there was a disagreement between some business owners on Higuera Street who were being blocked out by booths at the Farmers’ Market (I’m not calling it that stupid other “proper” name anymore).

Usually the booths flip from one side of the street to the other every other market or so, to give every shop a chance for some fresh air and face time with passersby throughout the month. If folks see you, they shop with you. If folks don’t see you as much, well, they don’t shop with you as much. For a while, construction obliterated one side of the street on a stretch of Higuera, and the businesses on the other side were blocked by booths every week for several months straight, severely crippling one of their busiest, most profitable nights.

Apparently the issue got resolved—at least in theory—and the booths are rotating once again—or are supposed to be sometime soon. The Farmers’ Market Association and Downtown Association reportedly have an agreement ready to go. Actually, they reportedly had an agreement ready to go public, minus some i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed, more than a week ago. Seems they were all prepped to send out a press release announcing the good news, but on last check, they’re still in a holding pattern. Here we go again.

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