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In the summertime 

I memorialized Memorial Day by having a few beers, barbecuing a chunk of meat, and thinking for most of the time I was awake that I was celebrating Labor Day. Basically, I memorialized it like most Americans memorialized it.

Nah. Seriously, I thought of all the soldiers who deserve memorializing while I was barbecuing my chunk of meat. I even thought of a few who probably don't deserve any memorializing, but got a little bit of it anyway. I also thought of the whole veterans memorial fiasco going on in Atascadero, where a special meeting scheduled for May 29 brought up not that issue, but one involving the Atascadero Land Preservation Society and a bunch of questions from surprise, surprise those guys who want to recall councilpeople Mike Brennler and Ellen Beraud.

Seems like hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars were up for grabs, and at least one of the names behind the recall attempt Mike Jackson or Ray Buban wanted to know why there had to be a special meeting to decide what to do with the requests for cash.

That's a good question. A special question. A special question for a special meeting.

I tend to not involve myself in politics, but when I see dollar signs, I'm drawn to the proceedings like a drunk moth to a gaslight. Maybe I hope that amid all of the public comments and protests and votes and such, someone will accidentally do something like pick me to receive $250,000 to purchase city property on Highway 41. I'm sure I'd find something interesting to do with the land. Maybe set up a theme park with rides and everything.

So anyway, I took a peek and saw that the recall boys were calling for some more transparency, which is the same clear concept that swept up Ellen and Mike in their bids for office.

Whoever comes out on top, it looks like Atascadero wins. Sort of. From the outside, it looks like everyone's trying to make everything as visible as possible, which is good for everyone. Sunshine is the best disinfectant and cancer causer. But from the inside, it looks like there's more infighting, and cash is getting thrown around one way or another, whether it's to help a group buy land or to help try and oust a leader or two. By the way, I saw one estimate that puts the potential cost of a recall at $75,000, but who knows how accurate that figure is. Besides the people who actually do know, I mean.

But back to Memorial Day. As sentimental and patriotic as I am I draw the line at jingoism, in case you're wondering I also still can't help but mark Memorial Day as the first day of summer. I can wear white again. School's almost out. And the tourists are flocking to local beaches like sand flies to a dead sea lion.

Remember Jaws? The first one, I mean, not the one in 3-D set in Sea World. Remember how the mayor of Amity refused to acknowledge the existence of the real shark, pretending the little itty-bitty shark the fishermen caught could have been flossing with all those bikini strings?

I think the same thing is happening in Pismo Beach. Something is poisoning the water south of the pier there, and the city officials, just like Amity's Mayor Vaughn, seem to really, badly want to believe that it's the pigeons you see on the pier that are responsible. They want to believe those pigeons' itty-bitty poops are soiling the water day after day, week after week, month after month.

I admit that those Pismo pigeons are a particularly fat and ugly lot and I'll bet their poops are noxious. I'm fairly certain those pigeons were originally from the Central Valley the beak rings, rat-tailed haircuts, and wife-beater tees are the giveaways. Yet I'm not convinced they're responsible for soiling the water. There are similar pigeons, after all, on all the local piers, and they don't have the same problems as Pismo.

Some folks suspect leaking sewer pipes are the real culprit. That sounds more plausible. After all, every news story in the Central Coast leads to sewage. We're obsessed with our own waste here, like my old roommate Savoy, who kept detailed reports of his every bowel movement. Shape, size, texture. He kept a diary. That's the sort of thing that teaches you not to read other people's diaries.

It's worse here, though. Communities don't just look at and obsess over their own waste in this little bit of paradise, they take particular, obsessive, interest in the waste of their neighbors.

"Oh my, have you seen that Morro Bay thinks they need to clean their sewage to tertiary standards? I guess they think their poop won't smell then, huh?"

"Well, technically, maybe it won't, but still, I see your point just who do they think they are?"

So odds are it's the sewers, but I'm sticking to the Jaws theory. And if this were a shark flick, the culprit wouldn't be all those itty-bitty pigeons on the pier it would be one monster pigeon who makes rare but terribly impressive appearances. Where is our Chief Brody? The pigeon poisoning Pismo Beach would make geese look like sparrows and drop bombs that could sink an elephant seal.

Whatever the cause, I think I'll just stay out of the water and spread out on a towel with a good book. Summer is my favorite time to get some pleasure reading done besides winter when I can curl up with a book and some hot buttered rum in front of a roaring fire.

And speaking of reading, a local reader with his ear to the ground and nose to the grindstone and possibly other parts of his body pressed against various other objects dropped me a line to introduce me to Bill Morem, who's writing a column in the Tribune now. Bill used to edit people's opinions at the Trib, and now he's back with a vengeance to unleash his mighty pen upon the unsuspecting masses of SLO County.

I have to admit, I'm often tucked happily into my own little world, so the name doesn't ring a bell. It did with my friend, however, who suggested this warning: "Do not read Morem before operating heavy machinery. For somnolence lasting longer than 16 hours, call your doctor. May cause impotence, headaches, and dizziness. Pregnant women should not read Morem."

My opinionated benefactor sent me his benefacted opinion under the heading "More Morem is less," which makes me wish I'd thought of it first. And maybe I did.

No word on the paper's other new columnist, Bob Cuddy, though. I guess I won't worry about fooling around with my wood chipper after reading one of his new missives. Unless someone tells me otherwise.

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