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We're going to need a bigger boat 

Have they caught that shark yet? You know, that one that nibbled at that surfer boy but passed when it learned he was from Santa Maria?

I’m itching to go for a swim, since an early-morning lap or two around the Pismo Pier usually helps clear my head, but now I’m afraid to get in the water, and the thoughts are really backing up up there. I’m having so much trouble keeping issues and candidates’ names straight, I’m afraid I’m going to do something stupid like vote Measure Q into office, and I don’t even know Measure Q’s stance on the war in Iraq or legalizing marijuana.

While I’m high and dry, 33rd Assembly District Green candidate Tom Hutchings has been trying to keep me informed on who’s been doing what and when, particularly if such information makes him look like a political saint compared to the major party contenders, you know, the ones who kiss hands and shake babies. Of course, it’s primarily information related to his particular opponents, but I’m not looking my green gift horse in the mouth when it comes to dirt on guys like Democrat Stew Jenkins, who continues to play the disappearing act at local forums and interviews, voila!, now you don’t see him, now you still don’t see him.

One of his most recent no-shows, if you, like me, believe everything you hear, was Dave Congalton’s on-air extravaganza on Oct. 7, which Mr. Jenkins bowed out of, saying that he, um, just remembered he had to be, uh, out of town, yeah, that’s it.

Tom says he saw Stew campaigning at Farmers’ Market that very evening and found witnesses who spotted him at a local bike path dedication earlier that day, which means Stew either has a very narrow definition of “out of town,� or that he had a sliver of a few minutes in the afternoon in which he flew to Sacramento and back. The third option is that he lied to Radio Dave, but I prefer to not assume the worst about politicians. Money-grubbing, two-faced, good-for-nothing politicians.

If this insight is supposed to clear things up, Tom, it’s not working for me, because to top it all off, another politician, who shall remain nameless, is making similar accusations against state senate candidate Abel Maldonado, and I’m getting the two guys confused. According to Peg Pinard, he … well, crap, I just gave my nameless source away. I meant to say that Abel’s Democratic contender got together some quotes from local papers and people who think that he’s all talk and no show. He claims he’ll come by your house and chat and bake you cookies if you only ask him, they say, but when it comes time to make the call, he’s, oh gosh, he’s really busy then, but thanks for voting for him, bye-bye!

Meanwhile, I’m over here just barely sticking my toes in the water and trying to be as un-sea-lion-like as possible, hoping that I can find some other way to organize my thoughts. And I just learned that somebody spotted a gray fin in the waters off the Oceano Dunes, bringing SLO County’s recent shark watch count to four, and my peace of mind to zilch.

With the waves off limits, I’d go for a stroll downtown instead, but I’m afraid that I’ll get beaten or stoned or drawn and quartered by people who think that New Times is no longer the Antichrist, but has progressed to become Satan incarnate, horns, pitchfork, and all.

Let me tell you, New Times isn’t Satan. He does work here, but he doesn’t represent the beliefs of the whole company, and no, I’m not going to tell you his name. For the sake of privacy, I’ll just call him G. Starkey.

Since last week, office phones have been ringing off the hook with screaming callers demanding our heads on pikes to be paraded around Mission Plaza as a warning for others who might consider printing lewd and lascivious photos for anyone to see.

In last week’s issue, for those of you who didn’t catch it, we ran a picture of a few band members extending their middle fingers upward at the cameraman, whom I’ll just call Glen S., who was innocently returning the friendly greeting, unaware that, in some parts of this country, such a gesture is considered, well, improper.

I’ve had a talk with him, and I can assure you that Glen feels terrible about what happened, and extends his sentiments, very emphatically, to the concerned and angry readers who took the time to let us know that what he did was wrong. In fact, he’s still extending them right now. Okay, Satan, that’s enough. ³

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