The Real Nitty-Gritty

With Baby-Boomer Pols In Control, We Need A New Way To Question Candidates.

By Tom Danehy

WHEN I WAS a sophomore in high school, my basketball team made the L.A. city playoffs. We were swept aside by Hamilton High and its star player, Sidney Wicks, who would go on to lead UCLA to three NCAA titles and then become NBA Rookie of the Year.

We got smacked up pretty good, but that wasn't even the worst of it. Late in the third quarter, I managed to snag a stray defensive rebound, then I turned to dribble up court. Somehow the ball bounced off somebody's foot and bounced free. I dove after it, pinned it to Wicks' leg and held on for dear life. The refs called a jump ball, which, back then, was a real jump ball.

Danehy I got in position at their free-throw line, my back to their basket, then watched helplessly as the 6'8" Wicks elevated and effortlessly tipped the ball into his basket. The crowd roared.

The next day at school, I went into the coach's office at lunch to get a basketball. The coach asked why, and I told him that I was going to start practicing that day so that I could be a better ballplayer the next season.

Without skipping a beat, the coach said, "Are you sure a year is going to be enough?"

Undaunted, I knew at that moment that even if it were largely a symbolic gesture, it was important to get an early start if one is determined to right a wrong or reverse a process.

I think about this because the elections are over, and the results are at best a mixed bag. Mostly disappointing, all-too-predictable, and only a couple minor pleasant surprises. (Actually, I'm waxing horse-manure-ic, since deadline restrictions have prompted me to write this well before Election Day. But I've lived through enough elections to know how they're going to turn out.)

Anyway, I'm pledging to you right now that I am starting today, two days after the election, to help make the next election just a little bit better. Make the candidates just a bit more identifiable. Make the ridiculous propositions a bit harder to get on the ballot and pass.

I'm going to do my part to give you added insight beyond the great work done by my homies, Limberis and Nintzel. As you are probably painfully aware, the political coverage done by the dailies bites the foaming lip of an active herpes carrier.

And while The Weekly did a great job, I think we can do even better. So starting now, I'm working on new guidelines to help you, the informed voter, make a better choice in the city elections next year and then the biggies in 2000.

First thing we're going to do is hunt down whoever is responsible for all the really bad radio commercials in town. This year's stuff was perhaps the worst I've ever heard.

The absolute worst, by a wiiiide margin, was that of Kathleen Dunbar. A solo Republican running against two Dems for the two State Rep spots in District 13, Dunbar started off whining about the importance of one vote. She said, "Did you know that in 1776 one vote determined that our national language would be English instead of German?"

Yeah, but in 1918 and 1945 we recommitted to that position by much larger margins.

Then she adds, "And in 1845 one vote allowed Texas to become a state."

And?! Like that's a good thing! We need to find out who that one voter was and punish his descendants.

Anyway, she goes on to beg people to one-shot her district, voting for her and neither of her opponents. Horrible. I considered moving into her district just so I could not vote for her.

The best by a mile were Phil Murphy's, especially the one with that "Going Postal" video game guy going postal on the radio spot. Good stuff. I'm just curious as to how a Libertarian, whose party slogans are "So what?" and "I'm not interested," raised money. Which of those two responses does one get when he asks a Libertarian for a campaign contribution?

I'm still working on the details, but I thought I'd ask the candidates different questions than what they're used to, catch 'em off-guard and show them for what they really are.

For example, I'll ask, "If you could only have three cassettes to listen to in your car for a year, what would they be?" I asked our fearless editor, and he said, "That's easy. I only own three cassettes."

Good answer.

Now, Al Gore last week said that he listens to Hole. HE'S LYING!!! No one actually listens to Hole. Whatever meager record sales that band achieves is due to a network of dweebs financed by money left behind when Kurt Cobain blew his pathetic drug-addled brains out. So if Gore says he listens to Hole, that gives you a clear insight into his character, or lack thereof.

How about "What's your favorite movie?" If a guy says, "The Bridges of Madison County," cross him off your list. There's nothing wrong with liking sappy love stories, but if he's stupid enough to buy Meryl Streep as an Italian, he's an absolute idiot.

See, baby boomers are going to be running this country for the next quarter-century, so we have to be able to gauge the candidates in a meaningful way. Like ask them their favorite concert of all time. If they say they were at Woodstock, THEY'RE LYING!!!

At last count, 37 million Americans claim to have been at Woodstock. THEY'RE LYING!!! There was no Woodstock. Bob Dylan and The Band were having a party at Big Pink and it kinda spilled out onto the lawn.

I'll refine the list and even take suggestions from my 12 loyal readers. (It used to be 13, but one guy escaped from maximum-security. It's probably asking too much to have him log on the Net to read my stuff.) I'll be ready to try it out next year. Just think: "Ah yes, Ms. McKasson, it's 1977. Disco or punk?" TW

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