I remember former Signal editor Ruth Newhall going completely Ape Poopy once. Well. More than once. Some bureaubozocrat in Sacramento sent a press release. Couldn’t tell you what it was about. No one could.
Ruth truly earned her nickname of “The Godmother.” You get on her bad side and you’d wake up not only with a severed horse head in your bed, but noggins from giraffes, voles and Presbyterians. In her patented and delicious vibrato Katherine Hepburn voice, Ruth promised:
“I’m going to KILL-llllllllllllllllluhlillllll somebody…”
Except the KILL was in 196-point type, which, sadly, due to budget cuts, no longer fits on The Mighty Signal’s opinion page. Ruth let loose a diatribe that would send a Barbary pirate to his knees, cuffing his ears and praying to Allah not to be so fiercely scolded. Rightly so, Ruth pointed out she was a rather smart cookie.
Amen. Boy howdy. And then some.
She could not understand a single word the writer had sent. Well. She understood individual words and recognized some as English. But, in sentence/idea form, they made as much sense as an interpretive dance/speech from Bronx congresswoman Alexandria Occasional Cortex. Mrs. Newhall crushed the press release into a ball, threw it at the closest minimum-wage reporter and swore, asking an age-old question:
“Why can’t people in government speak English?”
Back in 1972, California created the Landscaping and Lighting Act. It was for local governments to finance — “Anyone? Anyone? To finance — Bueller? Bueller?” Yes. That’s right.
Landscaping and lighting!
It’s actually a good idea. You simply gather some bureaucrats, add vanilla and form a lighting/landscaping district. The district figures how much money is needed to buy a light bulb or hanging air fern. If it were you or me doing the ciphering, we’d visit Home Depot and get the job completed for a couple bucks, including a tasty jumbo all-beef hot dog, chips and soda pop afterward.
Studies will have to be studied. Shamans contacted. Moon and tide charts printed. Runes to be divined. And, of course, there’ll have to be consultants consulted.
You know what a consultant is, of course.
Someone who knows 216 ways to have sex but doesn’t know any women.
Or, in these hepcat daddy inclusive PC times, men, farm animals or The Splinter-Rich Next Gas On Freeway 43 Miles sign pointing you to Boron.
Recently, our normally sanguine and honest city of SClarita mailed 33,000 notices, penned in fluent baby talk and clicking noises. Essentially, our very own Lighting und Landscape black hole notified homeowners that The Party Of The First Party Ergo Notwithstanding Mitigating Circumstances To The Party Of The Second Part Hey OMG What’s That Behind You Is That Halley’s Comet!!!!???? Spin Three Times Around Because Yes Could Mean No Or Know And Certainly Vice Versa Lowering Our Voice To A Whisper Because We’re Raising Your Taxes A Billion Percent Ha-Ha Mwa-Ha-Ha You Dumbbell Condo Monkey Imbeciles!
In a pretty cutesy shell game, someone at City Hall tried to fool the local rubes into raising their mulch and light bulb fees by 560 percent.
Which I can understand.
SClaritacityhall didn’t want to scare anyone into a heart attack, especially a heart attack in the dark.
On the bright side, no pun intended, our municipal handlers didn’t send out the notices in Pig Latin. Nor did they mention part of the tax would pay for a progressive new city program: “Extra Dimly Lit Streets For Blind People.”
Way to go, city o’ SClarita. You’ve turned into Chicago.
Of course, there is another, gnarled, hairy index finger that needs pointing. It’s at us. The Mighty Signal.
Notice what everyone’s been talking about the last few weeks?
It’s “the city.”
Not the PARTICULAR PERSON who initiated and/or wrote the missive. Just the vague, all-encompassing, “City Hall.” Which, as you know, you can’t fight.
What if we got specific? What if we named names?
Imagine if there were a 4-by-6-foot color photograph of the actual person behind this scam on the front page of the newspaper along with a 3,600-point headline identifying them as:
BIG FAT STUPID SMELLY-FOOTED
FAT FATHEAD OBFUSCATION COMMISH
MRS. SARAH TIPPISH-LEE BEHIND DEADLY
CITY o’ SCLARITA PONZI SCHEME
Uses Tax Dollars for Chocolate
Throw in a map of the route his/her offspring take to school. I guarantee — the warlords and minions of the faux brick facade at 23920 Valencia Blvd. would jolly well quickly learn the proper and honest use of the English language.
John Boston is Earth’s most prolific humorist and asks that all taxpayers walk up real close to someone they don’t know and slowly, romantically, mouth the word: “obfuscation…” without smiling. It can’t be done.