April fools 2010
He might be giant
Frustrated by stalled strong-mayor bid, Kevin Johnson takes quest for power to unchartered heights
by Andre Roussimoff
If Mayor Kevin Johnson is still stung by the defeat of his “strong mayor” proposal earlier this year, he’s not showing it. Johnson announced last week he’s restarting his bid for greater mayoral powers.
“There’s still time for accountability. We’re a long way from the final buzzer,” Johnson explained, adding that in recent weeks he’s realized that “A truly strong leader is big enough to let go of the past and get on with the future ahead of us.”
That’s why he’s abandoned his strong-mayor approach in favor of something even more controversial. “Sacramento has giant challenges,” Johnson said. “Sacramento needs a giant mayor.”
Johnson’s proposal would give Sacramento’s mayor unprecedented new stature and powers. If approved by voters, the plan would allow Johnson (and all future mayors) to grow to a height of 10 to 20 feet, and would also impart the strength of 12 average-sized men.
It’s not yet clear what a giant mayor could accomplish that a normal-sized mayor cannot. But sources say that Johnson plans to use his size to personally eradicate the city’s crime problem, rescue cats stuck in trees and to dunk a basketball for the first time in more than a decade. Also rumored to be on the giant-mayor agenda: snapping Councilman Kevin McCarty in half like a skinny, dry stick.
When asked how Johnson plans to achieve these extraordinary proportions, the currently diminutive mayor replied, “The process is not what is important. What’s important is accountability, and are we big enough as a city, is Kevin Johnson big enough as a mayor, to get the job done?”
Johnson was briefly interrupted by very special assistant R.E. Graswich, who informed the mayor that it’s grammatically incorrect to talk about himself in the third person since he’s no longer a professional athlete.
The mayor’s announcement drew immediate criticism from some longtime opponents. At a public meeting on Tuesday, City Attorney Eileen Teichert told the city council, “I’m pretty sure the giant-mayor initiative is unconstitutional. It’s definitely super messed up.” Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy agreed, telling Teichert that “Everyone knows size doesn’t matter, anyway.”
Johnson made the big announcement flanked by Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce President Matt Mahood—who is himself 10 feet tall, including goatee—and Graswich, who’ll become associate giant mayor should the measure be approved by voters in November. Curiously, while his title will change, Graswich will remain the same size.
Get ’er done!
Citing prodigious productivity increases, tweaker advocacy group plans to mainstream methamphetamine
by Jackson Griffith
A quarter-century ago, public consumption of then-moribund caffeine beverages was jump-started by an advertising campaign that spotlighted “America’s coffee achievers.” A consortium of Northern California methamphetamine cooks are hoping to perform a similar feat with “speed” or “crank” or “crystal,” as the compound is often called on the street.
America’s Crank Achievers, as the Rio Linda, Calif.-based Meth Advisory Board is branding the media offensive, will begin by launching with commercials on classic-rock radio stations and down-market-targeted cable shows, including the entire programming slate of the Fox News Channel, before expanding into other demographic arenas. “We think meth has some pretty broad-based potential across the spectrum, with all ages and ethnicities,” said MAB spokesman Ralph “Shovelhead” McGonigal.
The National Coffee Association’s campaign in the 1980s tapped such well-known persons as Kurt Vonnegut, Cicely Tyson, David Bowie and the bands Heart and Electric Light Orchestra to pitch caffeine consumption to the masses, and McGonigal sees similar potentials with today’s celebrities. “Jesse James, for example, had to be wanked to the eyebrows on crank to be hosing Michelle ‘Bombshell’ McGee,” he said. “Come to think of it, she seems like she’d be a pretty good spokesmodel for us, too, assuming she’s not to busy doing Nazi photo shoots. And Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister has already contacted us!”
While meth use may be derided in certain sectors, which include most medical and law-enforcement professions, according to McGonigal, the compound, first synthesized from ephedrine in 1893 by Japanese chemist Nagayoshi Nagai, has been a catalyst for many developments in popular culture. “Most people don’t realize that if it wasn’t for speed, there wouldn’t be any rock ’n’ roll,” McGonigal said. “Back when Elvis was a weirdo teen in Memphis who wore eyeliner, everyone thought he was totally flaming. Then he talked Scotty Moore and Bill Black into coming over to play music one day, and they raided his mom’s medicine cabinet and found her little pink hearts [Dexedrine pills]. When they went to play Bill Monroe’s ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky,’ suddenly there was a little extra jump in the rhythm, and Elvis was hiccuping all over the place. That’s right where rock ’n’ roll started.”
One special blend of meth that may hold some appeal to elitist users—similar to premium “civet coffee,” a blend from beans that are eaten and subsequently defecated by a small Indonesian catlike mammal, then collected, cleaned and roasted for consumption by enthusiasts—is “Speedy Gonzales,” which is a product of meth-cooker residue eaten by mice, rats, squirrels and other small animals, then defecated in pellets by the suddenly hyperactive varmints and collected by prosaic hillfolk and then smoked, typically in corncob pipes, around convenience-store parking lots. “We’re thinking that Speedy Gonzales may account for 10 to 15 percent of the growth in meth consumption,” McGonigal said, “especially among designer-conscious professionals and ‘hipsters’—you know, the people who already pay through the nose for microbrews and indie-house coffee.”
by Cosmo Garvin
It seemed innocuous enough. Proposition 13, on the ballot this June, is a technical fix to state property-tax statutes, and has no organized opposition. Indeed, it looks like a slam dunk, having been placed on the ballot by unanimous votes in both houses of the state Legislature. Snore … Bites figures it has to be the most boring ballot measure ever.
But things are heating up in the wake of revelations that the law’s main sponsor, Kern County Republican state Sen. Roy Ashburn, is really an Obama-style socialist.
“Property is theft. Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long,” Ashburn admitted to SN&R, via a post on West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon‘s Facebook page.
The measure prohibits local tax officials from reassessing property that’s upgraded to meet seismic safety standards. While the measure is in keeping with the conservative anti-tax image that Ashburn has cultivated over the years, he’s recently admitted that “in my heart,” he believes such property should be confiscated by the state in order to close California’s budget gap.
He said that even more revenue could be raised if the confiscated properties were leased out as medical-marijuana dispensaries.
Ironically, Ashburn said that his personal political identity wouldn’t cause him to remove his name as a proponent of the measure or sway him from supporting anti-tax legislation in the future.
“I was elected to do a job, and that’s to represent my district. I have to ask, what would my constituents want? I think that’s pretty clear,” Ashburn said. Along those lines, he’s also sponsoring a constitutional amendment headed for November’s ballot that would ban interracial marriage and motorcycle helmets, and remove the Buena Vista Lake shrew from California’s endangered species list.
Critics have called Ashburn’s position hypocritical, but Ashburn dismisses the label. “All things—including state senators—have within them internal dialectal contradictions. These are the primary cause of motion, change and development in the world,” Ashburn said.
Finally, this will be Bites last column for SN&R. As we all know,newspapers everywhere have to do more with less. And for this paper, that means a lot less snarky and skeptical coverage of City Hall and the state Capitol. It was a mutual decision, and had nothing to do with that unfortunate misunderstanding over last week’s column, “Steinberg’s shame: Land Park dogfighting ring exposed.” Bites stands by the story.
Next week … well, Bites doesn’t know what you’ll find here next week. The higher-ups do have some exciting new content environments planned for this space. Possible new features include pictures of drunk pretty people at local nightclubs and a weekly column on sustainable arts and crafts. It’s been fun.
When gays go straight
Song of Solomon and healing-touch therapy light the path back to homosexuality
by Kel Munger
Rob Templeton had almost given up.
Like many gay men, Templeton, 23, has wrestled with opposite-sex attraction for most of his life. Templeton realized he was gay—a real flamer, in fact—at an early age. However, as soon as he hit adolescence, heterosexual attraction literally popped up out of nowhere.
“One day, I was sitting in the locker room with the other guys, and I started thinking about my drama teacher, Mrs. Anderson, who is really kind of matronly, to tell you the truth, and the next thing I knew, I had an erection,” Templeton shuddered.
As strange feelings raged through Templeton’s arteries, his gym-class buddies lent a hand or two. Or three. However, the coach reported the alleged feeling of heterosexuality, and when Templeton returned home from school that day, his parents were in a quandary, horrified their son might be branded as a straight.
“They were extremely disappointed in me,” Templeton recalled. “Mom and Dad figured if I wasn’t gay, maybe I wasn’t good-looking and talented, either.”
They sent the then-16-year-old Templeton to Song of Solomon, the controversial religious organization that claims to “pray away the straight” through the use of time-honored Christian traditions such as flagellation, the wearing of hair shirts and the molesting of altar boys. After three years, there was no improvement. He still struggled with his attraction to women.
“I’d do fine for a while,” he said. “But eventually, I’d see something, like maybe an ad for an Angelina Jolie movie, and I’d start having those feelings again.”
That’s when Templeton discovered “healing touch therapy.” Devised by Bart McKee—inventor of the Nubby Stump Butt Plug—the therapy is based on the idea that heterosexuality is the result of an incomplete or unhealthy relationship with one’s opposite sex parent. Re-enacting and resolving those conflicts in a safe environment, McKee says, is the key to really, really great gay sex.
In the session SN&R attended, Templeton was placed in the lap of an attractive woman who pressed him close to her breasts. Other attractive women sat on the floor around them, stroking Templeton’s arms and legs. As soft-core porn music played, the women assured a decidedly tumescent Templeton he was a strong, handsome, virile man. A popper was broken under Templeton’s nose, and the patient ejaculated in a shower of bright-white sparks.
“Whew!” he said. “I feel like I’m back on top of things. Or, you know, on the bottom. I’m gay and I’m versatile. What a relief!”
Dr. John Taylor, a critic of healing-touch therapy, accuses McKee of selling “sexual snake oil.”
“What he’s doing is dangerous,” Tyler said. “Suppose one of his patients really is a heterosexual, but the therapy keeps him from fully realizing that. Isn’t that going to dilute the gay talent pool? This could end up giving homosexuality a bad name.”
McKee cautioned that healing-touch therapy isn’t for everyone.
“We certainly recognize that some people with opposite-sex attractions are perfectly happy that way,” he said. “We really don’t try to get involved in any straight-rights controversies. But it’s important for people who are struggling with unwanted opposite-sex attractions to know that help is available.”
Drinking! Driving! Debauchery!
More alcohol-fueled Republican legislators arrested after stumbling out of Faces
Entire conservative contingent forced out of the closet!
by Jackson Griffith
California Republican Party officials were reeling today after it was revealed that all 43 GOP members of the state Legislature—14 in the Senate and 29 in the Assembly—were arrested in Sacramento during March 2010 for driving while intoxicated. According to a California Highway Patrol spokesperson, the arrests took place in a 10-block radius of the Midtown Sacramento intersection of 20th and K streets, home to several gay-identified nightclubs, including Faces, Badlands, Head Hunters and nearby Stiff’s, the new Edward Gorey-designed, mortuary-themed bar and restaurant that recently opened in SN&R’s former offices.
According to CHP investigators, the legislators had been spotted drinking in Faces by habitual patrons at the club. “Oh, those Republicans party here all the time,” said Herbert Garrison, a local elementary school teacher who frequents Faces. “You should see them get all crazy on drag-queen nights.”
In more than half of the arrests—25—the tipsy legislators were accompanied by unidentified young men that one unnamed CHP officer described as “hot”; most of the arrests involved state-owned vehicles.
GOP spokesmen were quick to frame the arrests as a byproduct of overly zealous CHP officers midway through the third week of March, when St. Patrick’s Day revelries were at a peak. The presence of artificial phalli and lubrication recovered by officers from several of the vehicles was dismissed as an anomaly by a GOP source, who wished to remain anonymous.
Nearly every arrested legislator evaded comment, but Assembly Minority Leader Martin Garrick, R-Carlsbad, countered the idea that Republican lawmakers were embracing any kind of gay lifestyle, intimating that GOP members were only looking for place to have a quiet drink on the down low. “Downtown was a little too rambunctious, what with all those ridiculous drunken Irish bars,” Garrick pointed out. “I’d heard from some of the old-timers around here that Christie’s Elbow Room at 20th and K serves a pretty nice steak dinner, and the cocktails are decent and the crowd is genteel. And someone told me [former longtime KXTV sportscaster] Creighton Sanders hangs out there, and I wanted to discuss this year’s baseball prospects with him over some drinks.
“I think a bunch of us in the Lege had heard good things about Christie’s,” Garrick added.
Local yogi achieves dog consciousness, arrested for urinating on Capitol Park trees!
Lethal combination of dyslexia and kundalini yoga land Swami Bawawananda in jail for public urination
by Jackson Griffith
A Davis man may be in hot, or at least reasonably tepid, water after a string of yoga-related shenanigans on the grounds of Capitol Park. Raoul Loofahberry, 33, a yoga teacher who goes by the name Swami Bawawananda, told California Highway Patrol officers that his yoga practice had catapulted him into a state of “advanced dog consciousness,” which Bawawananda claimed makes him incapable of controlling his behavior in public situations but has heightened his sensory perceptions.
Bawawananda was arrested the afternoon of Sunday, March 28, after CHP officers observed him lifting his leg and spraying a stream of unidentified golden liquid, presumed by officers to be urinary in content, on a certain southern magnolia, listed as Tree No. 143 in the Capitol Park arbor manifest. The tree, which stands in a grove of magnolias due east of the south face of the governor’s office, is prized as a trysting spot by local romantics, perhaps because of its catalog number. “My wife and I would meet there for lunch when we first started dating,” said arresting officer Lafayette S. Cadrille, “and now this freak has done gone and ruined it.”
According to CHP reports, Bawawananda has been acting strange ever since the weather warmed up in mid-March. Accounts of him magically appearing out of nowhere and sniffing the posteriors of random people—qigong practitioners on the lawn, power walkers during lunchtime, and on one occasion, Gov. Schwarzenegger and gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman during a mid-morning cigar break—began cropping up in CHP incident ledgers before St. Patrick’s Day, when Bawawananda was observed going completely crazy, chasing squirrels around the Capitol. “I was channeling an Irish wolfhound that day,” he told arresting officers, one of whom quipped, “Yeah, I think that dog’s initials were ‘LSD.’”
Bawawananda told examining mental-health professionals that pranayama, or yogic breathing techniques, coupled with a form of kundalini breathing, changed his relationship with his olfactory sense. “You know how dogs live through their noses?” he asked rhetorically. “That’s what suddenly happened to me. Smell became my primary sense. That, and touch. I can’t help myself. Pet me. Please, can you pet me now?”
Cat scratch fever
Area boy horribly disfigured attempting to shave feline, says he’ll never do it again
by R.V. Scheide
They say there’s more than one way to skin a cat,but shaving a cat, that’s another story. Just ask Carmichael single mom Patricia Hansen.
Last weekend, Hansen went grocery shopping, leaving her 10-year-old son Warnie in charge of his two younger siblings until she returned from the store. While she was out, Warnie rummaged through the bathroom cabinet and discovered a disposable razor and a can of shaving cream. He then Scotch-taped Pringles, the family cat, to the kitchen table and attempted to shave off all of the frightened feline’s fur.
“I was only going to be gone for a little bit,” Hansen tearfully told SN&R. “He’s never done anything like this before.”
According to his oldest sister, Denise, 8, Warnie had just finished shaving Pringle’s whiskers and face fur right down to the bone when the cat suddenly broke free from its transparent tape bonds and latched on to Warnie’s face “like that thing in Alien.”
Pringles was still attached to Warnie’s blood-streaked face when Hansen returned home to a houseful of screaming children.
“It was horrifying,” she recalled. “Warnie hadn’t done such a great job shaving Pringles, so it was kind of hard to tell the cat blood from the human blood. Pringles was making this low growling noise, the sound that means, ‘Don’t touch kitty if you know what’s good for you,’ but I couldn’t just leave Warnie like that.”
Hansen and Denise were eventually able to pry Pringles off Warnie’s face with a broomstick.
“My poor little punum’s face was just cut to ribbons,” she sobbed.
Fortunately, aside from horribly disfigured features that will no doubt haunt him the rest of his life, Warnie is expected to make a full recovery. Plus, he’s learned a valuable lesson.
“I’m grateful,” the 10-year-old said, his face still plastered with bandages. “My friends in junior high told me shaved pussy was the bomb, but from where I’m sitting, I’d say it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.”
Poseur concentration in Midtown reaches critical mass, transforming once placid district into postmodern mash-up
by Jackson Griffith
A young woman dressed like Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s leapt out of the way on 20th Street just as two young men who could have wandered out of a circa-1970 Sears catalog with their Sebring haircuts, porn-star mustaches and plaid shirts juxtaposed with corduroy shorts collided on fixed-gear bicycles and tumbled onto the sidewalk.
A bearded man in sunglasses and dashiki pulled a chopstick out of his long-haired geisha wrap and appeared to direct traffic, like an orchestral conductor, around the fallen cyclists. A powder-blue 1962 Plymouth Savoy sedan slowed as its driver, with lube-slicked rockabilly hair, squinted through thick horn-rimmed glasses to gauge the damage. Three female pedestrians, wearing shorts and T-shirts bearing nonsensical “Jingrish” slogans, laughed nearby.
If you thought you’d stumbled onto the set of some postmodern mishmash of fashion and style at a Hollywood back lot, you’d be mistaken. It was merely another average day in Midtown Sacramento, where a rapidly increasing influx of poseurs has some longtime residents concerned.
“They’re everywhere,” a quartet of hippie graybeards were overheard grousing between arguments about sourdough bread, extra-virgin olive oil and cabernet sauvignon. The patio in front of Peet’s Coffee & Tea at 20th and J streets has become somewhat of a headquarters for disgruntled Midtown veterans and dyspeptic conservatives, not to mention a prime vantage spot to observe the Brooklynization of the state capital, an accelerating process that has some social scientists alarmed.
“We’ve seen this sort of concentration of so-called hipsters and poseurs in other urban areas,” said Dr. Christian Kiefer, a professor of sociological mutation at Close Cover Before Striking State University, Rocklin. “In certain neighborhoods of San Francisco and Oakland, along with Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district and Chicago’s Wicker Park area, there is a marked point of density where hipster populations eclipsed the nonposeur citizenry, after which the continuing sustainability of businesses—ones that were not upscale thrift stores, oddball ethnic restaurants, comic-book and anime shops, ‘dive’ bars serving Pabst Blue Ribbon and cheap well drinks or ‘420 clinics’—was threatened with immediate extinction.”
While pop-culture terminologists split hairs over what to call this fashionable uprising—the common appellation is “hipster,” although the New York gossip Web site Gawker recently staged a contest to find a new term, with “doucheoisie,” “fauxhemian,” “Pabstsmear,” “probo” and “trendslut” being the five finalists—experts agree that the poseur phenomenon may not be something entirely desirable. “When you reach a tipping point,” Kiefer added, “and we’re almost there in Sacramento, an urban area’s overall health moves into jeopardy.”
McClatchy Co. CEO Gary Pruitt takes over Sacramento Bee distribution
by R.V. Scheide
In a move that has stunned the newspaper publishing world, last week the Sacramento-based McClatchy Co. announced that CEO Gary Pruitt will be assuming all distribution duties at The Sacramento Bee.
“Unfortunately, our first quarter wasn’t as strong as we’d hoped,” McClatchy treasurer Elaine Lintecum noted in a tersely worded statement. “We’ve laid off all of the distribution drivers systemwide, with top-level executives at each site taking over delivery duties in addition to their daily management chores.”
The move will cost McClatchy’s estimated 1,000 distribution drivers their jobs, saving the company an estimated $1 million annually, said Lintecum, adding that while that might not seem like a lot, times are tough and every penny counts.
Pruitt, whose salary averages $1 million annually, drew the Bee’s distribution duty because he lives in Sacramento and has a running automobile. He’s taking his expanded role at the company in stride.
“Except for the hours, it’s not so bad,” Pruitt enthusiastically told SN&R. “My Mercedes SL550 convertible has a bitchin’ stereo, and you should see how many newspaper bundles I can stuff into that thing with the top down!”
Bee distribution drivers were quick to criticize the decision.
“I will no longer be able to afford chemotherapy for my wife,” said Sam Iyam, 72, who began driving for the Bee five years ago to augment the couple’s monthly Social Security checks. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. Without the monthly tip money, we’ll no longer be able to afford Top Ramen.”
That came as news to Pruitt.
“I get tips?” he said. “Bitchin’!”
No gears, no brakes, no bike
Fixed-gear enthusiasts say fed clampdown on brakeless bikes won’t stop movement
by Alastair Bland
Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have ordered a nationwide recall of fixed-gear bicycles following increased reports of out-of-control bikes colliding with pedestrians and cars due, authorities say, to a serious manufacturer oversight: Hundreds of thousands of the gearless bikes also have no brakes.
Manufacturers deny any wrongdoing.
“These bikes are supposed to have no brakes and are carefully designed to be impractical and dangerous, yet irresistibly trendy,” said Jonah Peterson, CEO of Shiftless Youth, a major manufacturer of the popular style of bicycle. “We feel our products have met consumer expectations, and while some models do include a single hand brake, we encourage customers to remove them.”
While pedestrians, drivers and business owners in neighborhoods frequented by cyclists on fixed-gear bikes applaud the recall, aficionados of the trend vehemently oppose the government-order.
Brock Porter, an artist and documentary filmmaker who lives in Midtown, rode a fixed-gear bike until last week, when it was recalled along with more than 10,000 other “fixies.”
“The recall amounts to a government takeover of personal liberties,” said Porter, a self-described anarchist. “It’s the government that needs to stop, not our bikes. He further threatened that “If we lose our beloved gearless, brakeless bikes, we’ll simply adopt a new convention meant to look like a smart social rebellion that is in reality just another lame consumer trend.”