About this time of year, people who pay attention to politics, and goodness know we have a lot of them in Chico, start talking about possible candidate slates for the City Council race. From what I’m hearing, it looks like we’ll have Ann Schwab and Andy Holcombe teaming up for sure. What if you toss in Barbi Boeger as the third candidate on the slate? Think of the slogan possibilities: “For a better Chico vote Raggedy Ann and Andy—and Barbi too!” Then to complete the slate, assuming you want a full one, you have to decide, who’s more of an action figure, DNA or John Merz? Now, on the other side of the political aisle we have the incumbents Larry Wahl and Steve Bertagna. Who will join them on their slate? Conventional wisdom would say conservative banker and Planning Commissioner Jolene Francis, but I doubt she’s at all interested in listening to the sage political advice offered by Republican Party hatchet man John Gillander, by way of David Reade. That slate will probably be indirectly sponsored in part by LaMalfa Farms. Francis doesn’t need that political baggage and is too smart and independent to pick it up anyway. What about former City Manager Fred Davis? Nope. He’s an independent as well, at least in the fact that he doesn’t have the support of either the building industry or the environmentalists. I don’t know how you do that. His support base is most likely those who’d like to see Chico step back to the 1970s. Sharon Nichols—sister-in-law of former Chico Mayor Bill Nichols—I’ve heard is a registered Republican who also wants to distance herself from Bertagna and Wahl. I can’t begin to conjecture about the other three candidates, Rodney Willis, Phil Brock Jr. and Shawn Hughes, nursing student, small-business owner and law student, respectively. Maybe they should form their own slate and run as the unknowns.

Got a couple of responses from the recent missing-dog column. Don Walker e-mailed to say he’d found the missing Pomeranian a few weeks ago. “They tried to give me a reward,” Walker wrote, “but I was just thankful that my 6 a.m. call did make a difference and no one beat the crap out of me for disturbing them.” And I got an e-mail from a woman announcing that her Pepe, a 5-pound Chihuahua, is missing. “Pepe and my son are inseparable, and I would rather lose a limb than to be without him,” she wrote. She adds, “He has had many molars removed. He also suffers seizures and needs med. and frequent vet visits.” (We assume she is referring to Pepe here, not her son.) “Big” reward offered. Call 891-9089, 828-2052 or 321-3374.

Boy, that David Byrne fellow is one pretentious son-of-a-gun. He comes to town in his fancy caravan of buses and trucks, walks out on the Laxson Auditorium stage and starts making fun of us locals for driving “muscle cars.” “I saw a lot of Camaros,” he tells us with a trace of contempt in his voice. (At this point, I feel a bit conspicuous in my “Hot August Nights” T-shirt, and I begin to think of the Dale Earnhardt No. 3 tribute sticker I have in the back window of my Z 28. And I ask myself: Am I right? Am I wrong? My God, what have I done?) And then, as if to rub our collective lack of sophistication in our faces, Byrne sings Italian waltzes and arias and other wimpy crap in this weird crooner voice. He didn’t play any of the good stuff from the old days, even though I kept yelling suggestions like, “Uncle Lijiah,” “Hot and Nasty” and “When Electricity Came to Arkansas.” Say what you want about this new Byrne, I miss the days when he was playing guitar behind Jim “Dandy” Mangrum and the rest of the boys in Black Oak Arkansas. After seeing how far he’s traveled musically from his 1970s Southern country-rock roots, I seriously doubt that band will ever get back together. At least not with Byrne. How sad.

Just for the record, I know David Byrne never played with Black Oak Arkansas. That was a joke. Every hipster from the late 1970s knows Byrne was one of the founding members of Flock of Seagulls.