As I write this I look forward to tomorrow night’s (Sept. 29) debate between George Bush and John Kerry. I understand there are a number of ground rules to control the content and action, but anything can happen on live TV. Ask Janet Jackson. As I understand it, Bush will have the Dallas Cheerleaders in his corner offering emotional support, and his lovely wife Laura will be there for intellectual support, whispering from off stage the correct pronunciation of the names of foreign leaders and their countries whenever her husband gets confused. And for his part Kerry will don his old Swift Boat commander uniform, tight as it may be. Should be a good debate. By the way, The Lone Star Iconoclast, the newspaper in Bush’s adopted hometown of Crawford, Texas, this week endorsed Kerry. The paper knocked Bush for how he’s handled the war and turned a budget surplus into a record deficit. “The publishers of the Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screen agenda,” the paper’s editorial said. Bush reportedly gets the weekly paper, but W. Leon Smith, the publisher and editor, said he didn’t know if the president reads it.
Congratulations to all the Best of Chico winners—remember the readers do the picking; the editors just facilitate the process. One interesting development: We had a winner for best bartender, Mike Stearns, but none of us here knew where the guy tends bar. (We’re not what you’d call social butterflies.) So we called the number on a ballot filled out by someone who’d named him. That person’s mother answered the phone and was a bit surprised that her daughter would have filled out a Best-of ballot, much less voted for best bartender. Her daughter, she said, is only 7 years old. We were a bit suspicious about the legitimacy of a number of the ballots—a big number, in fact—because we came across a lot of ballot-stuffing evidence. We are not saying Stearns stuffed the box; he had nothing to do with it. But there is a local business we suspect that used its customer database to forge ballots. Shame on you, though we realize you were only trying to keep up with your competition, which was also trying to stuff the ballot box.
This paper is full of references to the late Danny West. I promised some folks at this paper I would not mention him here, as that would prove redundant. Besides, I really didn’t know him very well. In fact, I’m not sure he ever really knew my name. I was one of what I suspect were a whole bunch of guys that Danny referred to as “Hey brotha!” That was OK by me. And this week, driving to work Tuesday morning, I noticed someone had chalked Danny’s name in big cursive letters on the side of the Zucchini & Vine COBA wall.