Christmas came early this year. Or Hanukah. Or Kwanza—take your pick. Whatever snarky journalistic gods live in that big news room up in the sky must’ve been pleased by something I did, because New Times was deluged with such awesomely absurd stories that even my heart grew several sizes too big and broke that magnifying glass frame thingy. Later, when I had been revived after being clinically dead for a minute and a half, doctors called it a massive coronary event, but I’d like to think my cockles were filled with holiday cheer.
The first story that came in wasn’t quite newsy enough to be a news story, but someone looked us up the day after they’d had the cops called on them while trying to pay a parking ticket. Here’s the deal: This guy goes into the SLO pay-your-parking-ticket place to take care of a $30 fine the day before it was due. How did the police get involved? He brought in a box of pennies as payment. Think of it like 3,000 kiss-my-ass tokens. Apparently the people there didn’t want his money—well, pennies—and told him he’d have to pay his fine with real money.
But this guy stood his ground, literally. He wouldn’t leave the building until they either took the suck-it tokens or called the cops. They called the cops. At least three cars responded … to a call about a guy who wanted to give the city pennies.
That was about the extent of excitement. From what I heard, one of the cops reasoned with this guy and told him to just give it up and go across the street to a bank to get paper money. The thing of it is, the pennies he had weren’t just thrown into a big stereotypical sack with a big dollar sign on it. He brought in a box of pennies in paper rolls, and the people at the counter still told him to bugger off. Apparently they have a policy that they won’t accept ticket payments in change, whether it’s loose or neatly arranged.
Hold the phone, parking guys. You mean to tell me I have to drum up a supply of quarters for the meter, but if I go over my time limit and get nailed I still have to follow your payment scheme? This is a public building paid for with public funds in order to turn around and fine the public. Notice the pattern? He wasn’t paying in Canadian quarters or Monopoly money—which isn’t that far off from Canadian money. He just happened to be kind of ornery that day and wanted to be an inconvenience.
In another juicy little morsel of cynical newsiness, an older woman recently had some cell-phone trouble. The story I heard had her buying a mobile phone from a local chain electronics store, but she might as well have bought it at the Hustler Outlet because it came pre-equipped with porn. This wasn’t silly Cinemax porn, apparently, but hardcore, angry, bowel-movement type stuff. Needless to say, she didn’t want the porno phone and tried to take it back. She called the cell company to complain, and they told her to take it back to the store. The thing was, the store wouldn’t take the phone back or give her a refund.
I’m not sure how the phone was infected with naughty imagery—I’m going to change to this carrier as soon as possible—but this is an instance where the store needs to choke down some crow. It doesn’t matter what your policy is: When an old woman comes into the store wanting a return because she unwittingly bought the Spankmaster with rollover minutes, you take back the phone.
How do you expect me to live on just $95,000 a year? Wait, I may have been possessed by a California legislator there. In what might be the ultimate “screw you” to everyone in California who isn’t in the Capitol, members of the Legislature complained to Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown about an 18 percent pay cut.
Sure guys: Furlough every department, cut millions from social services, but don’t cut salaries of the people who helped put us in this budgetary quagmire?
The decision was originated by the Citizens Compensation Commission—I didn’t know there was such a thing either. Luckily Brown told all the whiney legislative maggots to pipe down and take it, but he’s still making a cushy $151,127 after his cut, according to the L.A. Times. The average newbie Sen. Joe Schmo will still make $95,291, down from $116,208. Oh no! How can they afford to crap in a gold toilet on that salary? And it’s almost Christmas!
This cut should have been first on the list, so it’s insulting enough that only now are we trimming their salaries. But to go bitching to Brown about it is like mocking the orphans after you rob them.
Luckily, for Sen. Abel Maldonado, he’s getting a pay bump anyway. It finally happened: The long courtship between Maldonado and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has coalesced in their unity as guv and mini-guv. That’s good news for Abel after his Republican brethren ousted him from the GOP Garden of Eden, which is full of snakes, too.
Now it’s finally time for Maldonado to bask in his job security. He didn’t get to bask at the announcement because, in true Arnie fashion, it was made on Jay Leno’s latest visual-vomit variety show. Non-celebrity politicians need not apply.
And lastly, I’m supposed to say something about Dan DeVaul. You’ve got to feel for the people at Sunny Acres, but their protracted misery seems just as much a product of DeVaul’s melodramatics as the governmental bulldogging. But hey, what are the holidays without a martyr?
Shredder wants your holiday cheer for belittlement and ridicule. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.