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There ought to be a column 

For Thanksgiving this year, I forwent the traditional turkey and deep-fried a Cornish game hen instead. It was immensely satisfying.

Here's my recipe: I pluck and gut a hummingbird and stuff that inside of a swallow, which I then stuff inside of a pigeon (no thanks necessary, Pismo), which then gets crammed inside of the Cornish game hen. It was delicious and it didn't even look Cornish. Irish maybe, but Cornish?

Anyway, I then take the game hen and stuff that inside of a plucked and gutted duck, which goes into a pheasant, which goes into a really big-chested spent-hen, which then gets stuffed inside of a goose, which finally goes into an emu. Mmmm. Emu. (Thank you, Charles Paddock Zoo!)

I take the whole thing and I deep fry it in a Unocal tank I grabbed out of Avila a few years back. Awesome.

Later, I make soup.

Anyway, after picking our teeth for stray scraps of various birds and playing team tug-of-war over the emu wishbone this year, my team (two aunts, three uncles, and a step-great-half-grandmother) came away with the bigger half, and I haven't yet decided what to do with my one-seventh of a wish.

Do you have any idea what I should wish for? And, while I'm asking questions, do you have an idea for a new state law? Apparently Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee doesn't. Or doesn't have enough, anyway. He's holding a contest to see who can come up with a good one. It's called the "There Ought to be a Law" contest.

Is this really the problem with Sacramento? Not enough ideas for laws? I'm fairly certain there are too many already--and the vast, vast majority of them are discarded the minute they're dropped in the hopper. We really need another? Really?

Maybe there ought to be a lawmaker with his own ideas.

Speaking of lawmakers, there was much rejoicing in the estuary the other day when news was press released out of U.S. Rep. Lois Capps' office announcing that a recent bill is bringing $35 million to the Los Osos sewer. Hoo boy! Everybody congratulated each other and promptly marched down to the sewer shop to pick out the shiniest one, which they then bought and rode home with playing cards stuck in the spokes to make a bazazazaza noise.

Wait. That didn't happen. And I think it's because people forgot to mention that the money came from an authorization committee, which is the equivalent to your dad saying "If we've got enough money, of course we'll buy you a Corvette for your 16th birthday," just like my Shredderfamilias said to me back when I was all pimply and gawky and uncoordinated.

I'm still waiting for that Corvette. Of course, I'm still pimply and gawky and uncoordinated, but I don't recall physical appearance being a condition for my receiving a car. But enough about me and my family. I've already given too much away.

Authorization committees are the ones that get to spend money like they can print more because it's not real money. It's just the promise of money, or the idea of money, or the hope of money. There's nothing actually there, which they seem to be fine with. Lucky for us, authorization committees don't work with aspiring magicians: "Sure you can pull a quarter from behind that kid's ear. Pull a hundred quarters out. You have our permission."

The real money actually comes from the appropriation committees. That's like when you woke up on your 16th birthday and got to actually take the Corvette for a spin. Oh wait, that didn't happen for you either? Welcome to the way Congress budgets, sewerites.

Maybe I should wish for one-seventh of a sewer for Los Osos. Or one-seventh of a Corvette for myself. Or one-seventh of stability for The Tribune.

I'm getting so confused by the many changes that paper keeps announcing, it's hard to keep up. Just a couple of months ago we were told by Executive Editor Sandra Duerr, in an bouncy letter on the outside of the paper, that they were planning to improve by giving us fewer pages overall--and especially less news--but that we'd all be happy because they were going to compensate by giving us more of those Central Coast Living sections--one every day even--where they cover interior design with genuine tenacity.

So imagine my surprise when I saw that they're now getting rid of some of those sections and giving us back some news--at least the local section on Mondays, anyway. If the other way made the paper better, what does this do? Regardless, Publisher Chip Visci tells us that the latest changes aren't just because people demanded that their comics be in the regular newspaper again, it's because The Tribune apparently needs the money: "The current economic downturn affecting businesses countywide is also causing us to tighten our belts," he wrote in a recent front page letter.

I hate to kick anybody when they're down and out. So the folks over there are welcome to come share my Cornish game hen, etc. I've got plenty left over, and it may feel good to them to actually loosen their belts, just so they know what it feels like.

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