Monday, March 31, 2008

Recession or Depression?


Almost ten percent of our population on food stamps? Here's a grim look at the current state of affairs in the Homeland.

Things look worse than I thought. May have to stay out of the country longer than expected...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Los Altos cancels election


It seems that my hometown can save $100,000 every election cycle by moving city council contests to even-numbered years.

You know what else would save money? Not having elections.

In vintage Town Crier fashion, much of its coverage focused on the unruliness of a member of the public, but reassured readers that this sort of rambunctiousness is uncommon.

The Town Crier editorial gets it half-right
, criticizing the plan for its potential impact on the school district. Ignoring for a minute whether the district would be smart enough to make the same change rather than shoulder the costs of an off-year election itself, the bigger and more obvious problem is that the change would allow the council to unilaterally extend their own terms. I'm no fan of voters, but not even the Los Altos Water Polo Alumni Security Council is that undemocratic.

Monday, March 24, 2008

22 years ago today

My sister came into my room to wake me up.

"Dad got you a puppy for your birthday! Dad got you a puppy!"

By way of background, I had wanted a dog ever since I could talk. My first word was "dog." My best friend had been the neighbor's cocker spaniel, Molly. (I was three or four years old when she died -- my parents told me it was because she went into the creek in our backyard and got poison oak -- and honored her memory by subsuming her identity and insisting on eating my dinner underneath the table.)

Anyway, this was the most exciting thing I had ever heard in my life (certainly more exciting than when I was three and they told me I was getting a brother). I shot out of bed and bolted upstairs, my sister trailing behind. I ran into my dad standing near the front door.

"Where is it?! Where is the puppy?!"

"It's outside," he said, "playing on the porch."

I opened the door and looked around, but there was no puppy to be seen. Confused, I turned back to see my dad, with my sister standing next to him.

"Where is it?" I asked.

"April Fool's!" they both said.

To clarify, my birthday is not on April Fool's Day, it is today. My father explained that it would be too obvious if they had waited until the one day of the year that is reserved for telling lies to six-year-olds and laughing at them when they believe you.

Any readers out there still trying to come up with a gift idea?

They are going to go far in this field

Yesterday, the number of American soldiers who have died in Iraq reached 4,000.

With this milestone approaching, shortly after the fifth anniversary of the invasion, the Daily Bruin ran the following two stories side-by-side on the front page:

Girl Scout cookies popular
Individual responsibility vital to future of Undie Run

The Sacramento Bee marked the occasion by reprinting a year-old e-mail from my sister about her faceplant into a duck pond (which was first published here last year).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I really wish they would identify these kids by their high schools instead

Then the Mercury's story about a property theft ring at Santa Clara would reference "St. Francis water polo."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I probably should have expected this

This week marked the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War. How did the Town Crier commemorate this tragic milestone?
Seriously, this was the cover story. Here's the lede:

Many decisions across Los Altos are made under the influence of coffee – companies come together, civic policy is dissected, book club alliances are formed and neighbors nestle for a chat.

The coffee bean is one of the world’s largest agricultural exports by value, and the United States is the No. 1 coffee importer, trailed by Germany and Japan. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consumed an average of 24.2 gallons of coffee in 2005 – enough fluid to fill two tanks in a typical sedan.

Coffee consumption peaked in volume in the 1940s, when Americans drank nearly twice as much as they do now. But today boutique drinks like espressos, lattes, mochas and coffee-style beverages that totally lack bean, such as chai or high-end teas, share the mass market.

The only mention of the war in this week's issue was Charlotte Jarmy's discussion of why she doesn't care about it.

How to make lawyers work for the public welfare:

Bribe them.

Congrats to our esteemed publisher on managing UCLA's PILF auction two weeks ago, which, sadly, had nothing to with auctioning any of these kind of PILFs. Though lacking sexually attractive Platypi, our publisher raised funds in excess of $100,000 towards grants for UCLA law students who work in summer public interest or governmental legal internships.

Some highlights:
- As our publisher attempted to win a John Wooden Autographed Pyramid of Success, the auctioneer encouraged him to increase his bids because he was, "from Los Altos," and "could afford anything." He however, ducked out when the price went beyond $800.00.
- Later, he auctioned himself and sold for $15.00 (to his Mom).
- The singer was "good looking" and "good."