Because I said So: April 1 2000 column and prior
Because I said so!
The April Fools Edition I'm Too Mature to Run
in Place of the actual El Cerrito Wire front page, but not too mature
By Betty King Buginas
State steps up efforts to recoup school loanApril (2000) Fools edition!
The state is stepping up its efforts to recoup a loan made to the West
Contra Costa Unified School District.
The state has announced it will garnish the milk money of students in
the district to speed repayment of a loan made to the impoverished district
by the state a decade ago.
"The state has only a $9 billion surplus," said Governor Gray
Davis. "Clearly this is not enough to ensure that I look really good
in the next election year. I believe we can provide a greater cushion
and teach these children responsibility by this move."
Although Brandi Robinson, 5, wasn't even born yet when the district went
into debt the Fairmont kindergartner feels an obligation to do her part
to repay the funds. "I know it's going to be difficult doing my best
on my school work with my throat parched and my stomach rumbling but I'm
sure someone as wise as the governor would not ask me to make this sacrifice
unless he needed the money really badly."
Pennies for the plazaApril (2000) Fools edition!
With financing of the swimming pool renovation assured by the passage
of Measure A, the city's children are turning their attention to saving
another beloved facility in town, the El Cerrito Plaza.
Children at the city's daycare centers, who had been collecting pennies
for the pool, now say they will collect coins for renovation of the El
"We really care about the pool because it's a fun place to go,"
said Erik Smith, 7, a regular patron of the Harding daycare center. "But
at this point we felt financing of the El Cerrito Plaza was the greater
concern. With our contribution to the effort, we're hoping we'll have
enough political clout to get the owners of Albertsons to reconsider ousting
Chuck E Cheese."
Albertons' owners have officially stated that they are concerned about
the potential hazard of disposal of all the pizza that goes uneaten by
children busy playing games at Chuck E. Cheese. The rumor, however, is
that the chain is actually concerned that the the arcade-like pizza parlor
would conflict with sales at the gumball and sticker machines inside the
Test for state assembly membersApril (2000) Fools edition!
Students at El Cerrito schools have announced that they will assess assembly
members and state senators on their knowledge of Pokemon characters and
ability to match each with its card numbers. The scores will be used to
rate the legislators on a scale of 1 to 10. The students will also gather
information on how often the legislators have their dry-cleaning done
and what color underwear they have, and use this to compile a second 10-point
scale. Legislators will be given a year to improve their scores, during
which time the criteria will change. Legislators who do not improve their
scores by the end of that year face having their districts taken over
by a team of fourth-graders.
City hall-in-a-mobile-home trend is on the moveApril (2000) Fools edition!
El Cerrito city employees, after years of being called trailer trash
by officials of other California municipalities, are having the last laugh.
El Cerrito has finally embraced the virtues of having its city offices
located in mobile homes and are being eyed with envy. In fact, several
other California cities have announced that they will abandoned their
more stately but fixed abodes in favor of city halls on wheels.
"We're going to be able to take more employees to this year's conference
of the League of California Cities than any other city," boasted
City Manager Gary Pokorny. "We're simply going to break off a section
of City Hall and drive it to the conference. We will not only save on
transportation but on lodging. It's a win-win situation."
Pokorny said the idea came from a city employee who is a Star Trek fan.
The employee came up with the idea while watching a Star Trek movie in
which a section of the Enterprise is detached and flown separately.
Employees of other cities with theatre-like seats and state-of-the-art
sound systems in their council chambers once taunted El Cerrito city employees
about their digs. Now, however, some of them are moving toward mothballing
those immobile facilities in favor of something that requires DMV licensing.
If enough West County cities decide to drive their city halls to the
League conference, they may put together a convoy.
Study looks at expanding recycling servicesApril (2000) Fools edition!
City waste management officials are looking for input from residents
on ways in which to expand recycling services.
One of the intriguing early ideas submitted to the city is a plan to
expand the book exchange. Residents have suggested that this free swap
program be expanded to trade unwanted family members, co-workers and bosses.
Another suggestion would have the exchange stocking jokes.
"My neighbor only knows about 20 jokes" said Elizabeth Smith.
"That might not be so bad but he insists on telling them at every
gathering, and about 19 of them aren't funny. I'm hoping that I can at
least get a few knock-knock jokes or maybe an elephant joke or two for
them. If not, I'd gladly trade them for someone else's flattened cardboard
The state Department of Education has contacted El Cerrito's integrated
waste services manager, Becky Dowdakin, about having the center mimic
the agency's practice of taking ideas that didn't work 40 years ago and
recycling them today in hopes that they will now somehow make some sense.
State announces testing schedule for next yearApril (2000) Fools edition!
The state has released its latest schedule for assessing California's
school children. Students will be tested on the following dates in the
coming school year: Sept. 5, Nov. 8, Jan. 4-15, and the entire months
of April, May and June.
The state also has decided that elementary school is too late to begin
testing children and has announced it will begin assessing children in
The Wire is changing with the timesApril (2000) Fools edition!
Meetings that go late have often been the thorn in the side of local
officials, who complain that they can't help but say stupid things that
they regret later when meetings go into the late hours of the night. To
help readers differentiate stupid remarks made because of the lateness
of the hours from just generally stupid remarks, we will be color coding
quotes from officials and members of the public based on the hour at which
they were made.
Comments made before 10 p.m. will continue to appear in black. Comments
made between 10 and 10:30 p.m. will appear in yellow/orange. Comments
made after 10:30 p.m. will be printed in red. Officials who get up in
the morning and realize they said something stupid after 10 p.m. the night
before have 24 hours in which to contact the Wire and offer rebuttal to
their own comments.
The Wire continues to reserve the right to quietly remove stupid comments
written by its own staff, regardless of the time they were posted.
The danger of relying too heavily on technology
By Betty King Buginas
I didnít say anything during the November election when
the daily newspaper identified Larry Damon by age and profession but neglected
to mention he is an El Cerrito city councilman.†
But garbling the name of a county supervisor as it does in the
Feb. 12 issue is just too much to ignore, especially when they decide
to call him John Gooier.
Even though John Gioia was elected from way out here
in West County, he still is a countywide elected official. Youíd think
the folks on the copy desk in Walnut Creek would have come across his
name once in a while.
They werenít even consistent. After two Gooiers he became
Personnally, if I were John, I would have preferred they
stick with gooier. Goiter, according to†
online, is:† ďan enlargement
of the thyroid gland visible as a swelling of the front of the neck.Ē
Need I state the obvious? Remember, Supervisor Gioia
(pronounced Joy-uh, spelled G Ė I Ė 0 Ė I Ė A), this isnít coming
from me. Iíve seen you at all those El Cerrito events. Like the recent
Martin Luther King Jr. rally where you sat with your young son on your
lap. And the council meeting on the proposed cuts to county Animal Services.
I'd never say anything like this. But according to the newspaper: Youíre
a pain in the neck.
I hope youíll keep that in mind when you're deciding
where to send your hot news tips. The Wire has never called you a swelled
neck. It hasnít even called you gooier.
When I was promoted to a city desk job in the Times organization in a
previous life, I had to take a spelling test that included words like
annihilate and raspberry. This presumably was just in case aliens landed
in someoneís garden and I had to edit a story that said something like:
"Extraterrestrials land in El Cerrito garden; raspberries annihilated."
I hope if the powers that be at the newspaper, if they
werenít already, are considering changing the test to take out things
like annihilate and raspberry and put in questions like, ďHow do you spell
Gioia? and ďWho the heck is Larry Damon?Ē After all, the spell
checker on my computer will let me know if I misspell raspberry or annihilate
but it doesnít know quite what to make of Gioia
It does want to put in gooier so I suspect this
is the newspaperís source in re-christening our supervisor.
I highly recommend against going with your computerís
recommendations on spellings all the time, especially when it comes to
Albertsons, for instance, comes up on one of my spell
checkers as albatross (Definintion 2: something that causes persistent
deep concern or anxiety †b: something that greatly hinders accomplishment:
encumbrance.) Considering the impact the chainís take over of the local
Luckys stores has had on the already painfully long process of revamping
the El Cerrito Plaza, Iím afraid that†
name might stick.
I'm sure, however, that people around here will have
way too much class to ever tease our honorable county supervisor about
being gooier and goiter. Well, except for that e-mail I sent him.
What you can do for
By Betty King Buginas
When the City Council and school board met jointly Feb.
7, Councilman Larry Damon suggested the board make a list of specific
ways the city can help schools.
Knowing the school district as well as I do, Iím guessing
this is going to take some time. So Iíve started my own list, just to
get the ball rolling.†
Councilman Damon suggested teaching should be left to
teachers, and only non-educational items be included.† I like this suggestion in spirit; it respects the fact that teaching
is a job not just any schmuck can do. But the truth is one person canít
know everything and it would be valuable if people with special expertise
such as in music or business share that knowledge with students.
My list isnít just for the city, either. Thereís been
talk about how business, parents, and other community members can help
education as well. Plus our schools need†
a whole lot more help than can be provided by the city, which isnít
rolling in money either. So if you see anything youíd like to take on,
go for it.† Iím sure Councilman Damon wonít mind.
What you can do:
--Volunteer to read to a class; tutor children; set up,
perform and clean up from a science experiment or art project;† photocopy, staple.
--Donate paper, art supplies and office supplies, sports
equipment, books, software, computers, toner cartridges, science equipment,
musical instruments, and chairs and tables that donít fall apart while
students are using them.
--Read to your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews
and neighborhood children. Teach them to respect adults and value education.
Talk to them and take them places like the Lawrence Hall of Science, the
library and on hikes to lure them away from video games and mindless television.
--Make sure all children have health care, enough food
to eat and a safe place to sleep at night so they are healthy, and well
rested and fed enough to concentrate in school.
--Volunteer to work in a school library.
--Read to children or lead other activities for them
at lunch time.
--Offer an afterschool or weekend recreational or educational
program in your church, community center, or other facility.
--Offer services such as furniture repair and† computer repair, programming, training and
--Offer to speak to a class about your profession, local
history or another subject.
--Perform before an assembly if you are a musician, storyteller
or other performer or have another interesting presentation to give.
--Help make a field trip possible by providing a place
to go and a way to get there. Offer to guide a field trip such as a hike.
--Repair plumbing, broken windows, leaky roofs, electrical
systems; rewire classrooms to provide sufficient electrical outlets and
Internet connections; repair broken heaters.
--Build additional restrooms, classrooms, and multipurpose/lunch
--Slow down when students are crossing the street. They
may do something that seems kind of dumb once in a while; some of them
are as young as 5 and walking themselves home through neighborhoods some
of you wouldnít drive through;
--Substitute for a day for a teacher, administrator,
aide, secretary, yard supervisor or custodian and see what the job is
really like. Better yet, work as a teacher for a year and see what you
can do for test scores.
--Write a grant.
--Run a fundraiser for local schools.
--Donít assume educators have available to them† all the resources you have at your work such
as adequate clerical staff,† telephones,
office equipment and supplies.
--Donít take statistics, like test scores, too seriously
when the people putting them out refuse to give all the information on
which the numbers are based. For any numbers you are given about schools,
ask questions just as intensely as you would about spending of city funds,
of funds within your business, or of someone asking you for money.
how youíd feel if people from outside your profession decided what you
should accomplish at work and how you should do it, asked you to have
the job done before they were done telling you what they wanted you to
do, then assessed the success of your efforts on something different than
what they told you to do.
--Lobby the state for better funding and more rational
curriculum, standards and testing.
--Show some respect for teachers, students (even teen-agers),
and the parents who devote thousands of hours of free labor to keep the
Iím sure if we can pull together and do all these things
our schools will improve dramatically. And you wonít need test scores
to prove it.
Betty Buginas is a first-grade teacher at Castro Elementary
School and editor of the Wire.
Bond measures and why I love
By Betty King Buginas
During one of the many council discussions leading
up to the pool-resusitation measure on the March ballot, Councilman Larry
Damon accused Norman La Force of never having met a bond measure he didnít
Iím not sure if Larry meant this as an insult. If he
meant that he had a better sense than Norman of how to write the ballot
measure so that the more tight-fisted El Cerritans would vote for it,
heís probably right. Iím certain Councilman Damon has a better idea of
how to write a ballot measure that will pass than I do.
I donít know if then-councilman La Force has ever met
a bond measure he didnít care for, but I know I sure havenít. Every time
a bond measure and I have met in the voting booth, weíve embraced like
long lost friends.
Itís not that Iím too naive to know there is such a
thing as government waste. Heck, I worked in Walter what-me-worry Marksí
System for Choice for two years.
Itís just that I know if I give the city $58.46 a year
itís going to spend it much more responsibly than I would have.
After all, the city government has to operate under
intense public scrutiny, and prepare cost/benefit analyses and that sort
of thing to justify what it buys. All I need to do is swish my credit
card through one of those little keypad thingies at the checkout counter.
Costco is a great example of why my faith in my ability
to spend money wisely has been shaken. I remember well the day I decided
I could no longer have a Costco membership.
Nothing wrong with Costco -- the prices are great --
except that there is some kind of cosmic force inside that store that
prevents you from leaving with less than $200 worth of merchandise. You
donít need to have a spread sheet program to know that going†
into a store to save $4 on a wheel of brie and walking out with
$200 worth of junk you didnít even know you needed is not fiscally sound.
It wasnít the five-pound bag of M&Ms, and it wasnít
the case of catsup purchased more than a decade ago thatís turning brown
(the catsup, not the box) in my garage, or the jug of Hersheyís chocolate
syrup that made approximately 270,000 ice cream sundaes. It was the foot
and a half tall Mickey Mouse phone. Mickey made it the full length of
the five-mile-long store and back before I made the startling discovery:
ďI donít need that.Ē (Itís a good thing, too, because now I have room
for my 18-inch Snoopy phone.)
So thanks to the Mick, the Costco card is gone. Otherwise
I could have spent four yearsí worth of my share of the bond money in
one fell swoop.
Iím guessing there are plenty of other people who arenít
going to spend that $58.46 any more wisely than I am. Hey, I wasnít standing
in line at Costco alone. I saw what some of you had in your carts.
I also remember a tough-as-nails reporter I used to
work with who came in one Monday morning eager to put in some overtime† hours because she saw a pair of purple boots
over the weekend she just had to have. More overtime hours were no doubt
in order once she realized she had nothing to go with her new footwear.
(Iím not going to give her name, though, because that would be very embarrassing
to someone who is now chief of staff for a state senator.)
If it does pass, hereís just one of the plans Iíve
put together to compensate for the loss of funds:
The cost of the pool measure breaks down to $4.87 a
month. Once a month, I can skip the popcorn at the theater and smuggle
in my own. Broken down by week, itís $1.12. My plan is to order pizza
with one less topping and add it myself.
If it doesnít pass, here are some other uses to which
that $58.46 could be put each year:
* Place 61.54 directory assistance calls through ďOĒ
* Rent ďAustin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged MeĒ 19.49
* Send a 45-pound package Priority Mail to New Jersey;
* Buy 84 percent of a Harley Davidson Barbie No. 3.
Iím just thankful my spending doesnít fall under the
scrutiny of El Cerritoís Finance Review Team.
Live from El Cerrito, itís Monday Night !
By Betty King Buginas
As he took his place as mayor, Mark Friedman said heíd like to make City
Council a little more fun.
This makes sense. The council meetings are broadcast during Monday night
prime time. Clearly five people sitting behind a table talking about economic
development and the waste stream cannot compete with Moesha, Ally McBeal
and Monday Night Football.
Iím assuming Mark has something more sophisticated in mind than party
hats and whoopie cushions. Just in case Iíd like to offer a few suggestions.
Letís start with the meeting agenda. Each agenda should include one fake
item, with a prize for the audience member who figures out which item
Then weíll need a theme song. (Entries are now being accepted; extra
points if you rhyme ďinfrastructure.Ē) And the lighting could use a little
work -- perhaps the neighboring Contra Costa Civic Theatre could be called
upon to help add a little razzle dazzle.
The staff reports are usually informative but the presentation is a
bit dry. Staff members should be given alternatives, kind of like school
kids do on their book reports, such as preparing a diorama (those little
scenes built in shoe boxes), performing a skit, or presenting the report
in rap. Ditto for members of the public who wish to speak.
Further ideas for audience participation:
* borrow inspiration from midnight showings of ďRocky Horror Picture
Show,Ē for example, throwing calendar pages when the consent calendar
is passed, doing a special movement every time someone ďmakes a motionĒ;
* assign a section of the audience to each council member with each group
cheering their council person, applying body paint to match the sectionís
color scheme, and heckling the other council members and their sections;
* select a council member and everybody try to make faces and see who
can make him or her laugh.
If the meeting goes late, we up the ante a little.
Every council packet includes a note that ďThe City Council believes
that late night meetings deter public participation, can affect the Councilís
decision-making ability, and be a burden to staff.Ē You might think this
means the council meetings stop at a certain time. But no, it just means
they make a motion to keep going, despite the absence of any medical proof
that a council motion bolsters the councilís decision-making ability,
sparks public participation, or relieves the burden on staff.
So if the meeting goes late, more stimuli are needed. Either the council
has to do something drastic to liven things up, or the audience is going
to have to take matters into its own hands. I suggest pulling out blankets,
bunny slippers, teddy bears, blankets, and hot chocolate, and yawning,
snoring, and setting off alarm clocks. My personal favorite: reciting
ďMarvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now.Ē (The time has come. The time
is now. Just go. Go. GO! I donít care how. You can go by foot. You can
go by cow . . .)
For the Cable TV rebroadcasts of the meetings thoughtful political analysis
could be provided by those little wiseacre robots from Mystery Science
Next stop the school board.
Open this column in the year 3000
By Betty King Buginas
A while back some folks in Livermore went to dig up a time capsule. Only
trouble was, they couldnít find it. Many of us can relate to this. A friend
of mine uses one-hour photo so she can pick up her prints before she forgets
she took any pictures.
If we canít find our keys or the remote control we were holding 15 minutes
ago, why would be think weíll be able to find something we buried 50 years
So if youíre going to do a time capsule for the millennium you might
want to try some other options like: Put it where you canít miss it, or
get the kind of time capsule that beeps when you clap. Unfortunately,
the first could interfere with your interior decorating and to my knowledge
the second hasnít been invented yet.
Another possibility is to mail it to yourself but address it really
badly so that it takes a while for the Post Office to get it back to you.
(Another approach, address it correctly but mail it UPS so you wonít recognize
it when it gets back to you.)
Iím personally going with the letís-not-and-say-we-did approach -- you
donít make a time capsule, you just say what you would put in it if you
did. This saves time, money, and the embarrassment of running around a
field with a shovel followed by a bunch of people including journalists
with cameras trying to find a misplaced time capsule.
So basically Iím just going to list what I would put in a time
capsule if it werenít for the fact that Iím totally unmotivated to locate
a container, put stuff in it, and find a place to bury it that a) the
dog wonít dig up and b) I can find again.
Now for the question of what to include:
If youíre going with the approach where you put actual things in an
actual container, Iíd recommend burying things you donít want to see for
a while. Why take something you like and put it where you canít get to
it for many years? Put in stuff that is reminiscent of recent years but
you wouldnít mind not seeing until say the next millennium, like
Barney, that screechy voiced lady from The Nanny, or all
those ugly cartoons theyíve been making lately. That Luckyís Reward Card
isnít worth squat anymore; toss that in.
Time capsules also often contain letters to the people of the future
and heck that will cost me virtually nothing, so Iíll throw in one of
Dear Futurians (I got that from an * American
Heritage article so that subscription has practically paid for itself
Itís like 1999 and we are really excited about this millennium thing
so I just wanted to tell you what itís like right now.
Home computers are relatively new right now so we are seriously obsessed
with them. We spend almost all of our time on them. We are able to do
this by saving time on other activities like eating, sleeping and bathing.
Weíve found some wonderful applications that are improving the quality
of our lives: We play solitaire on them, which previously required a $2
deck of cards; We have computers all over the world hooked up together
so that we can do important global projects like voting on whether Beanie
Babies should continue to be made (see enclosed purple hippo -- oh wait,
I might need that. See enclosed photo of purple hippo) ; and, We
can play games and have dumb conversations with people all over the world,
whereas we used to have to do this with our own relatives.
You may laugh your butt off at this, but I have high hopes that computers
will lead to all those things weíve been wishing for all these years like
world peace and a clean environment.
First of all, on this clean environment thing: We really donít need
paper for much any more, though a lot of sentimental types still do things
like print out their e-mail messages to read them. Also, weíre needing
to drive less and less since we can do so much just sitting around in
front of these screens. Really, most of us could work at home most of
the week, though itís taking employers an inexplicably long time to figure
this out -- I think they are either highly suspicious types or perhaps
just slow. You can buy stuff this way too. I know the postal carrier or
UPS truck still has to drive around, but I figure thatís like carpooling
for merchandise. And really we donít need as much junk as we used to.
Maybe you still need a few clothes, especially if your boss hasnít figure
out this whole telecommuting thing yet. But you can find stuff to listen
to and to read, and you can play games so you donít need to buy so many
plasticky things that you canít figure out how to get rid of when you
donít want them any more.
As for world peace, when youíre on the Internet you get to communicate
with people everywhere. You learn that there are other people just like
you all over the world, meaning other people who sit at their computers
listening to little clips of songs because they are too cheap to pay to
download the full version, and looking for parodies of Dr. Seuss stories,
and trying to find out whatever happened to the guy who played * Andy
on ďWKRP in CincinnatiĒ (OK, maybe that last one was just me.) I mean,
what if we drop a bomb on some foreign country and it turns out we just
blew up CyberGuy007 from my favorite game room? Plus, if we hardly ever
leave our houses we donít need to fight over silly things like borders.
So anyway, thatís how things looked as we entered the year 2000. If
youíre reading this thatís a very good sign, because it means we havenít
f#$% up the planet to the point where it is unlivable. Plus it means you
figured out where I left my time capsule.
Betty King Buginas is the editor of the El Cerrito
Wire. She is able to do so much more with her writing now than when she
was a print journalist a few years ago, thanks to the Internet and the
fact that she has no boss.
How the Grinch Stole Education
By Betty King Buginas
Every person in Richmond liked children a lot
But the governor who lived just east of Richmond, did not!
The governor gypped children! A whole district of children!
Now please donít ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasnít screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his staff was too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
But whatever the reason, his Hart or his compassion
He sat there in office, without taking action.
Staring down from his office with a tight, Grinchy fist
He left those needy children off his holiday list.
For he knew not a child had time nor money to lobby
And contributions to campaigns arenít their favorite hobby.
ďYouíre not paying Marksí debt,Ē he snarled with a sneer,
If I let you off the hook other districts will hear.Ē
Then he growled with his Grinch fingers nervously churning
"I must find other ways to stop children from learning."
I guess what he doesnít know
Is that someday children grow.
And then! Oh the votes! Oh the Votes! Votes! Votes! Votes!
Thatís one thing heíd miss: The Votes! Votes! Votes! Votes!
When the voters, young and old, walk in to cast votes
How theyíll Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
They might vote for John Gioia, and the third George Harris
But they sure are unlikely to vote for Gray Davis.
In the meantime weíll do something he likes least of all
All the folks in West County, the tall and the small
Weíll work close together so he canít ignore it
Weíll call, write and fax to say that weíre for it.
Weíll write! Any weíll write! And weíll write, write , write, write!
And the more the Grinch reads maybe heíll see the light!
ďWhy, for eight whole years theyíve put up with it now!
I must stop being such a Grinch, but how?Ē
Then he got an idea! An overdue idea!
The Grinch got a wonderful, overdue idea!Ē
ďI know just what to do!Ē The Grinch said just in time.
And he make a quick Santy Claus suit that looked fine.
He loosened his fist, and decided to put children first.
So as governor we wonít remember him as worst.
He still worried what would look to the public best
So instead of ďforgiveĒ he said heíd reinvest.
And while he was in the true holiday spirit
He saw if you have an absence and donít clear it.
Or mom or dad forgets to put the date
An $ 8.6 million fine is a bit hard to take.
So he stopped by the controllerís and said with rare sense
"I really canít believe you guysíre that dense.
I know where to find money, I know just what to do
Letís take the tests and incentives that reward just a few
And letís stuff them up the fireplace flue
The test sellers, theyíll all cry boo hoo.Ē
We can bring back the supplies, seal the roof in a cinch
And maybe just maybe kids wonít think Grayís the Grinch.
By Betty King Buginas, in the spirit of Dr. Seuss' "Richard M.
Nixon Will You Please Go Now."
Background on the move for debt relief see * West
County School Watch including * May
27, 1999 and *
Oct. 22, 1999
Response from governor's office
Background on attendance money see * superintendent's
Friends donít let friends forward annoying e-mail
By Betty King Buginas
When little kids get mad at each other, one of the meanest things they
can think of to say is, ďIím not going to be your friend anymore.Ē Well,
Iíve just gotten another one of those stupid e-mails that says if I forward
it to five friends I will a) get something for free, b) bring about world
wide peace, or c) save the life of a dying child.
Although I was trained as an investigative journalist and have links
to sites that list urban legends and hoaxes, I make no effort to investigate
the validity of these claims. Iíve gotten less jaded since leaving the
world of daily journalism, but Iím still pretty convinced we canít cure
all the worldís ills by forwarding e-mail.
So if you happen to get one of those e-mails from one of your so-called
friends, and youíre trying to decide who you should forward it to: Iím
not going to be your friend anymore.
Donít take this too hard. When kids say, ďIím not going to be your friend
anymoreĒ it usually lasts, tops, about five minutes -- until the other
child: gives them the ball, lets them cut in line, gives them the good
chair, etc. So our breakup only has to last a short while, until you are
done forwarding that annoying chain e-mail. Or better yet, until you have
something for a spine besides jelly and develop the inner-strength to
*gasp* delete it.
I hope youíve enjoyed this column. If so, please forward it to five
friends. It will not a) get you or them anything for free, b) bring about
world peace, or c) save the life of a dying child. It will, however, likely
mean you will get fewer dumb messages in your e-mail in-box. It may tick
of a few of your friends, but hey, it will probably raise the opinion
your remaining friends have of you by several notches.
This brings up another point, which is there is really no need for all
these tests and assessments the state is imposing on school districts.
You can figure out how smart someone is simply by sending them an e-mail
that tells them they can make $50,000,000 by forwarding e-mail. If they
delete the message, theyíve passed the statewide just-how-stupid-can-you-be
proficiency test. If they forward it to five people, serious intervention
Betty Buginas is editor of the El Cerrito Wire. During her 10 years
as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers, what she really wanted to
be was a columnist.
is relevant plus I really like linking stuff
Run dates: 2000-04-01 - 2000-05-01