We received a hand-written, anonymous letter recently in response to our Dec. 8 editorial calling on the governor to pardon the celebrated (and now-deceased) inmate Stanley Williams. The letter said: “The reason capital punishment isn’t working is because ultra-liberal communist-front organizations like yours give would-be murderers the idea that if they intentionally kill another human being (or 2, or 4) trash rags like yours will promptly come to their aid, should the nearly impossible happen and they get arrested, convicted and sentenced to die. You make sure there is no deterrent for premedicated murder.” (We guess that premedicated murder takes some of the sting out of the act.) “Shame on you! You are a disgrace to ‘news’ industry. How would you feel, Mr. Editor, if some thug murdered everyone in your home, except you? It did happen to me while I was away at work. I’ll bet you would change your opinion in an instant. I did when it happened to me. GO BACK TO CHINA!” I’m not sure how I’d feel if that happened to me. I would probably be really thankful I had a job. And if I’ve never been to China, how can I go back? (I am interested in checking out one of those Chinese autos that are being introduced in America later this year.)
Hokey headlines. Man, who’s writing the headlines for the Enterprise-Record these days? Dr. Seuss? The use of alliteration at our daily has gotten out of control. Some recent examples: “Meatloaf metamorphosis;” “Olive orthodoxy overturned;” “A driving division;” “Relief resignation;” “A troubling trend;” “Squishy street;” “Alcohol animosity;” “A growing girl;” “Gonzo for gadgets;” “Beiji bombing;” “A picking problem;” “Soggy suburbs;” “All aboard!” “Pills by postman.” The last four ran on the same front page, above the fold.
One of the good things about global warming, an issue explored in this week’s cover story, is that you can have an NFL playoff game played in Cincinnati in January and it’s a comfortable 62 degrees! What’s wrong with that?
Another story in this week’s paper concerns the feud between two markets in Forest Ranch. The story mentions Sam Sayegh, owner of the 99 Cent Store Plus Grocery here in Chico. I first met Sam in Paradise back in the early ’90s when he opened a store there and I was working for the Paradise Post. Our paths have crossed on occasion since then and it’s always a pleasure when that happens. Sam is a smart guy and good businessman and I wish him and his partners as well as the Zavattero family good luck in their respective ventures. Surely Forest Ranch can support two small markets. Though inevitable, the town is probably still a few years away from its first Wal-Mart.
I’d like to end this column on a lighthearted note, the way the local TV news ends an otherwise bloody half hour of murder, crime and mayhem by running, oh I don’t know, the video of a squirrel that water skies behind a little boat. (I know that sounds cliché, but NVN did just that last week at the end of its 11 o’clock newscast. And the anchor, a veteran of 20 years, actually said she’d never seen anything like that before, to which the weatherman responded, “That’s really amazing, though.” No kidding.) I end this column with dog humor: I’m teaching my dog to heal, which is much more difficult than teaching her to calmly walk next to me on a leash. I figure if I’m successful I can drop my health insurance. Also, the dog, whose name is Teida, has taken to ripping off large chunks of bark from an old stump in my back yard and scattering them about. I figure there’s joke there somewhere, I just can’t put it into words.