Great communicator

Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, is endorsing Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor, calling the Austrian-born movie muscle head “an extraordinary communicator who will effectively carry our message of fiscal and regulatory reform to the people of California. His enthusiasm, vitality and independence can surely raise our public discussion above the political fog that has obscured our vision of hope for California’s future.” Well maybe, but I gotta wonder about that “extraordinary communicator” stuff. I have trouble understanding Schwarznegger and have often thought that his movies should carry subtitles, at least for his speaking parts. I think it was Anthony Lane of the New Yorker who, in reviewing Terminator 3, wrote that even after two decades of making films in America, Schwarzenegger still enunciates like a guy who bought a “Teach yourself English” kit and then promptly lost half the audio tapes when he brought it home.

The students are back, arrests are up, parking spots are filled and grabbing lunch downtown is more of a challenge. Same as it ever was. But you know what would be great? This year maybe it’ll rain on Labor Day weekend and the Sacramento River will be spared the annual trashing by tubers [See cover story].

As I wind up my one-year reign as the Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Celebrity, I can look back fondly on the many places I visited and the people whose lives I touched and changed. (That would be the people I pestered into giving me money so I could kick that Todd Thornton guy’s ass over there at KCHO.) Now I’m getting ready to relinquish my crown to a worthy successor, who from what I understand will either be newspaper publishing magnate Bill Fishkin or popular TV personality Rob Blair. Looking back, I remember as though it were only yesterday the shock and surprise that rushed over me last year when I was sitting there in the Sierra Nevada Big Room, sweating in my rented tux, trying to drink as much of the free wine as I could gulp, when suddenly Master of Ceremonies Pat Haley announced: “and the winner is Tom Gas-cow-knee!” I was so stunned I hardly recognized my own name. But when I did I yelled, “Ha, take that Thornton,” sprinted to the stage and grabbed my award. I gave a little speech until the music started up and they forced me off. (Actually, by the time that happened I’d only gotten to the part where I describe the importance my third-grade teacher Mrs. Fletcher played in molding my life.)

All joking aside, I wish the candidates all the luck in the world and can’t wait to see your faces plastered on a billboard real soon. Cliché as it sounds, this is for a good cause. If you can afford it and are asked to give to a candidate, do so, but make them beg.

Just a couple more weeks left to submit an entry for our “What’s your personal best?” writing contest. Just write about the greatest thing that’s happened to you, the most wonderful experience, the veritable zenith of your existence while living (or visiting) here in Chico. Impress us enough and we’ll treat you and a friend to dinner at one of our finer restaurants, which in itself could establish a whole new greatest experience for you and you could write about that next year. Come on, folks, get those things in here. Your lives in Chico can’t be that dull, can they?