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SLO news day 

I thought it might have been a fluke. A one-time deal. So I bit my tongue and it hurt! I've got to stop doing that. And eating nothing but beef jerky for days in a row. And putting off paying back my student loans. If this was Jan. 1, 2007, I'd be making some serious resolutions, but it's not so I won't.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I've got to stop wandering off on meaningless tangents that don't make sense to anybody but myself. The problem is, I'm usually the only one who listens to me, so I've gotten pretty good at keeping myself entertained. I'm actually quite the cut up! Why, just last week I ...

I did it again. Boy is my face red. Of course, it's always red. And I've got an interesting story about that. Wait, no I don't. Well, I do, but I'm not going to tell it. January or not, I've made a resolution to make more sense.

To reiterate: I thought it might have been a fluke, but here it is again. SLO City News, the area's newest paper, has officially hoisted itself by its own petard. Or bootstraps. Whichever one means it's not a one-hit publishing wonder. A flash in the pan. A will-o-the-wisp. Another metaphor that means what all those previous metaphors meant.

Or were they similes? I always have trouble remembering which is which. Of course, if I didn't have "L" tattooed on one hand and "R" inked on the other, I'd never be able to keep my left and my right straight, either.

But back to it: I was ready to keep an eye out for the next SLO City News issue on Thursday, but I stumbled across one on Tuesday, a full two days earlier than I had expected it. Congratulations! More words in the market, means more people reading more than just little old Shredder, which doesn't bother me a bit as long as they keep reading what I have to say. Anything that takes their focus off of just me, however, is fine in my book. Ire diluted is ire I'd like to get, I always say.

The only thing is, while flipping through the rag we newspaper folks call all publications that, so it's okay I noticed a handful of pictures that I swear I've seen before. Maybe in New Times? Or our sister paper, the Sun? I'd recognize Chris Gardner's style anywhere, particularly since I think he originally shot a few of his new paper's pictures for New Times and Sun stories from a year or two ago. That adding machine? Seen it. The little girl with goggles? A special summer section, I believe. It's not a big deal, I suppose. Great artists steal, and Chris is certainly a great artist. I am, too, and I just copy big chunks of my column from works of great literature.

"Against the wind he now steers for the open jaw," murmured Starbuck to himself, as he coiled the new-hauled main-brace upon the rail. "God keep us, but already my bones feel damp within me, and from the inside wet my flesh. I misdoubt me that I disobey my God in obeying him!"

"Stand by to sway me up!" cried Ahab, advancing to the hempen basket. "We should meet him soon."

So should SLO City News be doing what it's doing? Don't ask me. I don't know how legal junk like copyrights and prior publication rights work, so I'm withholding all judgment. Most judgment. Ethical or not, you saw them here first. Or at least photos that looked very, very similar. New Times management insists that they're taking the high ground by not looking too hard at the photos, but I happen to know that if you take the high road and I take the low road, we'll both end up in some Scottish town together. No harm, no foul, and we can share a pint while we're there.

As for other news at the News, I've heard that the staff box there is potentially in flux. Chris is the editor, see, and Dean Sullivan is the publisher. Before issue No. 2 hit the mean streets, I heard whispers and rumors that the relationship between the two wasn't sunshine and daffodils, but when is it ever happy between the two top names at a paper? Editors and publishers are like Romulus and Remus. They fought a lot right? I mean, I know they were brothers, but didn't they constantly oppose each other? Forget it.

The issue hottest off the presses still lists both SLO City bigwigs under both job descriptions, respectively, as does the paper's web site. Maybe some people are talking about subjects they know nothing about. Mark Twain said it's best to keep one's mouth shut and look like a fool rather than open it and remove all doubt, or something like that. I've never followed that rule myself. Of course, I'm also a blatant plagiarist.

"Aye, aye, Sir," and straightway Starbuck did Ahab's bidding, and once more Ahab swung on high.

A whole hour now passed gold-beaten out to ages. Time itself now held long breaths with keen suspense. But at last, some three points off the weather bow, Ahab descried the spout again, and instantly from the three mast-heads three shrieks went up as if the tongues of fire had voiced it.

"Forehead to forehead I meet thee, this third time, Moby Dick!"

I don't mean to pick too hard at a new local publication. After all, New Times was a hatchling itself at one point 20 years ago, as the new omnipresent logo on the cover will let you know every time you grab a paper. And flipping through some of the old issues, let me tell you: The first few editions of New Times weren't exactly roses. They weren't even daisies.

But they were honest and real and fun, and that's all anyone can hope for in this business. Godspeed you, Chris and whoever else is still around when you read this. A second issue is a remarkable feat. You've already made it in my book, which, by the way, I'm thinking of titling "The White Whale."


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