Can’t we all just get along? Although Bites is a staunch defender of the free-market and First Amendment rights of parasitic corporations to create video games in which young consumers can spend their after-school hours as virtual skinheads murdering an ethnically diverse array of victims, we have to give at least some props to Assistant Speaker Pro Tem Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, for introducing legislation last month that would restrict the sale and marketing of violent video games to minors. The main reason we love it, of course, is that one of the first-person massacre games Yee is going after just happens to be Terminator, a vehicle for the actor currently playing the role of California’s governor. But even Bites was taken aback by Yee’s latest resolution, in which he urges the state to consider the principles of feng shui as part of the California Building Standards Code. Assembly Concurrent Resolution 144 would encourage the state to consider the 4,000-year-old “earth science” when designing work environments. “The concept of feng shui is a simple one: to improve your life by improving your relationship to the environment around you,” notes Yee in a press advisory that explains how “many large Western companies practice feng shui,” including Citibank, Merrill Lynch, British Airways, The Wall Street Journal and Chase Manhattan.
Though the bill won’t cost the state any money, it’s already caused Yee some embarrassment from newspapers that dismiss his proposal as another one of those “only in California” phenomena. “Is mandatory yoga next?” wonders San Francisco Examiner reporter Ethan Fletcher. Still, the image of John Burton and Jim Brulte peacefully sipping tea together in a harmoniously redesigned Capitol is an inviting one, even if it wouldn’t make for much of a video game.
Lottery loser: The odds of winning the lottery vs. getting struck by lightning always have been just a bit too close for Bites to catch lottery fever. But where Bites lies down and admits to defeat, other more enterprising shysters are developing brave new ways to beat the Lotto system. Take the “America’s stupidest criminal” candidate who, according to Posey’s General Store manager Bonnie Gonzalez, broke into the downtown general store “four times in a week and a half” during January. Apparently, the thief was satisfying an after-hours craving for massive amounts of lottery tickets. “I didn’t notice anything else missing,” said Gonzalez of the late-night lootings, which spilled over into liquor stores on the other side of the Capitol, as well. Unfortunately for the thief, retailers keep meticulous records of lottery-ticket sales and those same numbers that impart vast amounts of wealth also can bring you to justice. “They were caught cashing their lottery tickets,” said Gonzalez, proving once again that, unlike the lottery, crime does not pay.
The Scott Peterson special: Covering crime, on the other hand, does pay, as Bites recently learned with the relocation of the Scott Peterson trial. We’re talking about: Upscale surroundings! Free local phone calls! Tasty breakfast buffets! Yes, Bites was intrigued by a solicitation last week from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Belmont, offering a special Scott Peterson media rate for anyone covering the trial in nearby Redwood City. For a mere $85 a night, reporters who are staking out the over-hyped, grisly murder trial are invited to “Stay Smart” at a hotel that offers “fresh fruit, breads, sweets and assorted brewed coffee and teas,” all in a setting “resembling a fine private club.”
Token liberal: The Sacramento Metro Chamber has announced the speakers in its Perspectives 2004 lineup, and unlike recent years, it doesn’t read like it was booked by Roger Ailes and his Fox News Corp. Sure, Bill O’Reilly and Rudy Giuliani are topping the bill, but to Bites’ amazement, Molly Ivins also will be on hand. The event will take place September 24 at the Sacramento Convention Center.