Krispy nation

Driving out past the new Krispy Kreme doughnut factory last weekend just before noon, I was stunned to see the parking lot full and a long line of cars snaking around the building, waiting in the drive-thru lane. My gosh, I thought, what are these people doing? Is this what they are having for lunch, the nutritional equivalent of cotton candy? And the smell that drifts from the factory—it employs 100 people—is sickly sweet. For the life of me I don’t understand the attraction. What is it that makes a first-grade teacher, someone in whose care we put our children’s welfare, line up in the predawn hours so he can get his students big doses of sugar? Why does the local daily feel the need to report that the drivers of two cars have had a minor fender bender in the parking lot of the new doughnut manufacturing plant? Were the drivers hopped up on sugar? Have we lost our minds? Oh, the promotional folks at KK dropped off a couple dozen of their product to our offices before they opened (remember the dealer’s motto, “The first one’s free”), and, big shot that I am, I was invited to a “private tasting” of the sugary circles on the eve before the doors were thrown open to a public that responded like Pavlov’s dogs. I didn’t go. Some of us have to resist so we can act as sponsors for those who eventually are forced to kick the habit.

Jeff vonKaenel, owner of the News & Review, got a letter this week from Marc Racicot, chairman of the Bush-Cheney ’04 Team. (The letter was placed in my mailbox here at work, and I went ahead and opened it. I think vonKaenel will be OK with that.) The letter begins, appropriately enough apart from the faulty capitalization, “Dear Mr. Vonkaenel.” But someone—Marc maybe?—has drawn a line across the “Mr. Vonkaenel” part and hand-written in “Jeff.” I guess that’s to give the letter, which is all about begging for money, a folksier, more personal air. “Will you become one of the first to join the Bush-Cheney ’04 Team as a Charter Member in California? I would be thrilled to tell the President you are with us. As a small token of appreciation and to welcome you to our team, I am proud to present you with the enclosed photo of the President and Laura Bush—complete with a special, personal inscription to you.” The letter goes on to warn that Bush needs vonKaenel’s help because next year’s “election could be very close. It could be difficult. The Democrats will be relentless in attacking the President, distorting his record and trying to mislead the voters.” There is a return form that begins, “Dear Marc,” and ends, “To help promote the President’s compassionate conservative agenda and to help nominate and reelect President Bush, I am sending a contribution of $100, $50, $25 or Other.” We didn’t send anything but kept the photo anyway.

Bush, by the way, has already raised $84 million and is looking to hit $170 million for next year’s primary, which pits him against no other Republican candidate. We expect him to do just fine.

Chico City Manager Tom Lando had his heart surgery in Sacramento on Friday, Oct. 10. I’ve learned that all went well and he’s already home recuperating. The most difficult chore at this time, I was told, is keeping him from overexerting himself. If a guy’s going to be bedridden for a few weeks, he could do a lot worse than having it happen in October, what with the MLB playoffs and the World Series as well as college and pro football. And the Kings’ season is right around the corner. We wish Lando a complete recovery and advise him to take advantage of a chance to lie around for the house for a while. We know we would.