Adventures of Subversive Kitty

Capitol Kitty ambivalent on recall: Normally, Bites doesn’t get excited about book signings, but the Davis library event hyped in last week’s Capitol press release turned out to be anything but normal. Realizing the guest of honor would be none other than Governor Davis’ ball and chain, first lady Sharon Davis, Bites felt the call to duty. One small stumbling block: Davis was signing her children’s book, The Adventures of Capitol Kitty: An Almost True Story, and it’s been a decade or two since Bites could pass for a kid. So, Bites enlisted the help of Nibbles, Bites’ very own 8-year-old loin-fruit, to help ask Davis the questions.

Nibbles was nervous, so index cards were made up ahead of time, and a few hours of coaching took the edge off.

“One more time,” Bites insisted, careening over the causeway.

“OK. … Mrs. Davis, is Capitol Kitty worried about the REE-call?”

“Don’t say REE-call. It sounds like Boss Hogg is having electoral problems in Hazzard County. It’s just recall.”

Pulling into the parking lot, Bites, pere and fils, were ready for executive action. The room boasted an odd cast of characters: security spooks with index fingers on earpieces, Assembly peeps and an array of moms ’n’ dads with kids in tow. Davis was there, looking like the stewardess she once was, along with the book’s illustrator, Daniel San Souci. Following an amiable chat with the crowd, and a reading with children hovering around her ankles, the book signing was announced.

Nibbles stood patiently with book and index cards in hand. The line of schmoozers and kiddies crept forward until he was face to face with the first lady. Bites, the proud parent, took snapshots. Nibbles’ first question, also known as “the setup,” was about how much money she and her book have raised for literacy programs for California schools. Davis beamed at the question.

“We raised about $750,000. That’s three-quarters of a million dollars! That’s a lot, isn’t it? We’ve given out $5,000 grants to about 150 schools. With this book, we’ve raised about $25,000.”

Nibbles smiled and nodded approvingly. Then the next question.

“Is Capitol Kitty worried about the REE-call?”

Davis’ expression turned terse, and her face dropped. She regained composure and replied.

“Uh, good question. I’m not sure if Capitol Kitty is worried about the recall because governors come and governors go, but Capitol Kitty can stay right where she is. Isn’t she lucky? She will never get recalled. So, there’s your answer.”

“Thanks!” Nibbles said, beaming, his book signed and his first undercover assignment wrapped up. Grabbing celebratory cookies and lemonade, we high-tailed it out the door and made a beeline for the car. Bites and Nibbles were giggling like a couple of, uh, school kids as we made it back to the homestead.

Nibbles showed off his book with as much braggadocio as an 8-year-old could muster while Mama Bites looked at the inscription. She laughed as she showed what the first lady had written.

It says: “To [name withheld]: It was a pleasure meeting me. Sharon Davis, July 2003.” Nibbles believes she might have been a little distracted.

Judgment day: Despite efforts to become less judgmental, Bites was enlisted this weekend to help judge the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ annual Northern California competition. Of course, it was a golden opportunity, not only for Bites to “give back” to the community, but also to get inside the heads of a new generation of journalists for whom Bites will one day be working.

Diving into news entries covering everything from the budget crisis to feral cats on campus, Bites was very much impressed. But it was a theater review by Contra Costa writer Melissa Navas that ended up being passed around the room to judges in all categories. Reviewing The Vagina Monologues, Navas opened with this perfect lead: “Who knew vaginas could make you laugh and cry at the same time?” Who indeed.