Hey, let’s not jump the gun

I have to admit that I’m becoming a tad bit concerned over the growing number of disgruntled Californians – and probably a half-dozen Iowans – who are loudly demanding the recall of Gov. Gray “I Am Not A Weasel!” Davis.

Oh, sure, he’s managed to successfully annoy millions of voters year after year, and he’ll gladly back anyone who’ll donate more than a 12-pack of Schlitz Malt Liquor to his campaign efforts, but he’s still the governor and he’s still got a lot of political savvy California’s going to need in the coming months of statewide turmoil, chaos and despair.

Consider the cost of fuel. Gasoline prices have jumped to more than $2 a gallon at the pumps for no readily discernible reason (although major petroleum producers will tell you that a broken pipe in the executive men’s room at Chevron’s Richmond refinery caused a significant slowdown last month).

Gov. Davis apparently became aware of soaring gasoline prices sometime last week. He promptly frowned, rolled up his sleeves and boldly indicated that he’ll probably think about looking into the causes of the price hike to make sure that there’s no likelihood that gouging might be going on.

He’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. At least not for long. Probably. I mean, he could be really annoyed and be considering taking some kind of action in the not-too-distant future. Really.

We’ve got to give Gov. Davis a chance to think about turning this gasoline crisis around.

After all, he’s almost done it before.

Remember two years ago when gasoline prices skyrocketed and the petroleum producers said cost increases were necessary because there’d been a Dumpster fire behind the Martinez refinery and a pump broke at the Sebastopol Shell service station?

You better believe Gov. Davis was on top of that crisis. He repeatedly shook his finger at the petroleum industry and warned them if they didn’t do something to regulate themselves soon, he was ready to think about calling for volunteers who might like to perhaps consider investigating the situation.

The big oil boys were no match for the governor. They quickly capitulated and sent in their campaign contributions.

And what about the so-called energy crisis?

Gov. Davis stared those crooked energy producers straight in the eye and promptly bought up all the energy reserves in the Western United States. And he didn’t care what it cost, either.

That’ll teach those pinstriped punks to call Gray Davis’ bluff.

And now a few whiners want to recall Gov. Davis before he’s even had a chance to fix the gas crisis…

Sorry, disgruntled voters, but this is the time to exercise a little restraint and show some patience. Give Gov. Davis a chance to think about maybe doing something eventually.

Besides, who knows what we’ll wind up with once we recall Davis? If we just wait a little longer, though, outgoing Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura will have enough time to establish residency in California and enter our next gubernatorial race.

And that, amigos, will be a win-win situation…

Originally published March 23, 2003

A little on the heavy side? Learn how to spill and win!

Some of my less-than-tactful acquaintances (you know, the loud and witless kind) have accused me of being somewhat, er, clumsy at mealtime.

To be honest, if I sit down to a three-course meal, at least one of the courses will probably wind up on my shirt.

This doesn’t, however, necessarily mean I’m clumsy. Sometimes things just get carried away. Sometimes I bring a little too much boyish enthusiasm to the dinner table with me – such as when I’m demonstrating a Seattle Seahawks’ long bomb pass with a baked potato.

(Hey, cut me some slack here – I didn’t realize it was going to hit the gravy dish and my butter-fingered daughter should have been able to catch it, anyway …)

What the problem comes down to is the fact that I’m a little more rotund than I want to be and my “clumsiness” is actually the unconscious rejection of foodstuffs that might make me more rotund than I already am.

Really. A psychiatric technician-in-training once explained this to me during a Beer and Pepperoni Festival on the outskirts of Sebastopol after I’d inadvertently dumped a platter of marinated cocktail sausages onto a gap-toothed motorcycle enthusiast named, as I recall, Gnargh.

Boy, I lost a ton of weight that night …

I know it seems improbable, but this technique – conscious or unconscious – really works. I don’t weigh 350 pounds and part of the reason is that about a third of the food I cook winds up somewhere other than my mouth (tablecloths, carpeting, nearby walls or dinner guests are all eligible receivers).

Although it’s much easier to engage in this multidirectional dieting technique at home, it can be practiced at one’s favorite restaurants, too. How well I remember the night I was regaling dinner companions with the details of a zany liquor store holdup in Fairfield when our waiter stepped up behind me and discreetly shouted “I think some of your little friends are getting away …”

Sure enough, my animated narrative had unceremoniously jostled several small potatoes from my plate and onto the floor, where they were joyously rolling to freedom.

Needless to say, those potatoes never had a chance to expand my waistline.

Even though this unconscious dietary program has become a very personal part of my lifestyle, I’m sure that just about anyone can manage the tried-and-true weight loss technique with a little practice and determination.

For example, go to a fast food restaurant. Order a cheeseburger, fries and a milk shake. Drop the shake on the sidewalk. Or, if you’re taking a lunch break at work, toss that shake at the loudmouth bully on the forklift. Either way, you’re not gaining a single calorie or gram of fat from the milk shake (and you’ll get a lot of healthy exercise running away from the guy on the forklift …).

When you’re cooking at home, you might want to consider my late brother’s alternative to feeding your shirt, table or carpet – serve everything en flambe.

Pork roast? Whoooosh!

Fondue? Foooom!

Mince pie? Whoaaaa!

Plum pudding? Aieeeee!

You know the rule: No flame, you gain …

Originally published February 25, 2001