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1980

A Lot to Learn

I have come to believe in the prophetic value of Monday Night Football. Example: Ever so slowly in the last four years, the heretofore eternal Oedipal struggle ("Hi, Mom") has been replaced by the Super Bowl Syndrome ("We're Number One!") as the camera roams among the players on the sidelines and, especially. among the fans. Using this phenomenon alone as an unofficial Gallup poll, one could have predicted the outcome of the recent presidential elections, in which The Caners, an Oedipal situation comedy — with Jimmy, Lillian, and Billy equaling Oedipus, Jocasta, and a drunken Teiresias — gave way to an actor committed to the Super Bowl Syndrome, who deserves an Oscar if not for his performance, then at least for his ability to curb his urge to improvise on the script prepared for him. Ancient Thebes has become Marlboro Country. and all was foreordained on Monday Night Football. — Jeff Smith, November 13

One Good Bounce

While the pro's shot was hanging in the air and was beginning to hook toward the out-of-bounds markers on the left, I felt I had to say something, anything, to Mr. Nixon, if only to register our presence. Letting someone play through you on a golf course is a courtesy. I simply wanted it acknowledged. Not that I was going to screak about the need for morality in high public office. (Although our collection of transgressions on the first four holes would not implicate us as unindicted co-conspirators in a public scandal, neither would they qualify my partner or me to reproach the sinful.) No, a subject like that was way off the graph by now. But apparently in the mind of the man standing three feet away from us, Shanks and I were nonexistent, too. Not that we're all that remarkable. Hell, our ideal of greatness is a legitimate par — no mulligans, no gimmies, no what-lucks. But we were extending a courtesy, and I refused to stonewall my urge to say something.

The pro's ball started to hook left and was heading for trouble. But it hit a rock and kicked back onto the fairway. "Good bounce," I yelled, seizing the opportunity to speak. — Jeff Smith, February 28

My Son, the Tube

Do I approve? What's to approve? I love the kid. His name is Vince Wei nick, he's my son, and he plays keyboards for the rock group the Tubes. Lord knows, it's not how his father and I dreamed it when we bought him piano lessons. As a mother, I know too well how the rock scene cripples those not tough enough or wary enough to pick their way through its land mines. But I had to make a choice years ago: either live with the fear and keep a hand on the kid's shirttail or kick him out into the street and reject him, along with his lifestyle. The latter would buy me nothing except the dubious right to claim I wasn't involved if he were to fall prey to the pitfalls he would encounter.

— Jackie Dewey, March 6 | Read full article

This Week's Concerts

A revived interest in surf music has people who never liked the stuff in the first place all abuzz. One of the fathers of the movement, guitarist Dick Dale, will be at the Belly Up Tavern Friday and Saturday. There are certain types of pop music I find amusing but not much more. Surf music is one of them. It bespeaks a culture alien to me, even though I've lived near the ocean all my life. It was campy from the outset, and consequently, I cannot grasp why critics are tossing around such adjectives as "minimalist" and phrases such as "endemic to the California culture" to explain away their love of a genre which is as minimalist and endemic and cultural as a Jumbo Jack and Gilligan's Island. Surf music is just dumb. — Steve Esmedina, April 24

Letters

Isn't there anyone out there that recognizes the total incompetence of Steve Esmedina? He single-handedly bums out my weekly reading of an otherwise well-done paper. Where did he become a musical know-it-all? I've never seen a person that is so misinformed and then goes ahead and prints his faulty information without doing any research or even as much as trying to find out the truth with a single phone call. Come on, guys. Put the boy to sleep! — Marc Berman, July 3

The Muck Stops Here

When [Newsline's Larry] Remer and his reporters hit on a good story, they can be lively and incisive, but any story that has the slightest political content is often drenched in left-leaning verbiage, so much so that the facts are made suspicious. Every strike by workers is good. Policemen think of new ways to oppress minorities as they lace up their boots in the morning. Large corporations love nothing better than to squash consumers like so many cockroaches. And it is this predisposition to write from that particular standpoint that alienates Remer from his colleagues at the more traditional newspapers in San Diego. — Mark Orwoll, April 3

On-the-Job Training

My next stop was May Company in Mission Valley.

"Why do you want to work for May Company?" asked the interviewer. Good question, I thought.

"I love retail; I love to sell; and I feel that May Company would bring out the best in me. It would provide an environment in which I could maximize my potential skills and abilities as a retail salesperson. I feel I could do an excellent job for May Company." (Translation: I need a job. I just happened to be in the neighborhood, so I thought I'd stop in and fill out an application. Any moron can sell underwear, and for $3.10 an hour, you're not going to get Norman Vincent Peale anyway.) I really had the rap down by this time.

"I see here that you have your bachelor's degree in mathematics. and you've even done graduate work in that field. Don't you feel a little overqualified?" A fair question.

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