TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
It’s the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and the Pennsylvania countryside, and Americans commemorate the tragedy the way most of us might expect–with respect for the victims, with solemn memories of the day and the changes they have wrought, but also with the perspective that six years of distance bring to any tumultuous event. The San Bernardino Sun doesn’t like that last part–the part about the perspective. The newspaper runs an editorial titled "Memories of Sept. 11 should never fade." A sample: "Six years with no attacks on our soil has helped some forget the horror of that day . . . Let’s not." No, let’s stay mired in the same blind, knee-jerk, snap-judgment, blood-thirst vengeance state of mindlessness that provoked us to make so many mistakes in the aftermath of the attacks–especially with an election year approaching. Certainly, Americans were traumatized on 9/11, but perhaps these anniversaries can give us empathy for the plight of so many other people who live through their own kind of 9/11 traumas every day. Either way, the exhortation to "Never Forget!" is ultimately bound to go the way of all the other odes to never-letting-go, from "Remember The Alamo!" to "Let’s Remember Pearl Harbor!" to "Breakfast With The Beatles."
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
If it gives you any solace, it looks as though there are other means of remembering 9/11 that are not going away–such as a just-approved plan by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to conduct background tests on every new employee hired to work for the county. This kind of thing is becoming so commonplace that the supervisors engaged in no discussion or debate before taking their vote–not over issues of privacy, not over infringement of liberty, not even over the cost, which will range from $145 to $2,000 per employee, depending on the amount of background to be checked. And at the top level, that will include a credit report, verification of criminal history and college education, a review of court records, personal interviews with current and former employees, professional references, and an interview with the candidate’s spouse, along with the mandatory physical and drug test. It would seem the Board has covered all the bases, but actually, it hasn’t. Elected officials are not bound by any of the rules.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
The Little League baseball season finally ended a few weeks ago in Omaha, but the people of Bloomington are already working hard in preparation for the 2008 season–basically, to be sure there will be a 2008 season, in the aftermath of the financial scandal that surrounds its former board president. While Wesley Adams awaits his day in court on charges of embezzlement and grand theft, parents are trying to figure out how to compensate for–among other things–$30,000 in lost snack-bar receipts and a $27,500 debt to Reader’s Digest for a candy fundraiser. They’re trying to raise money with an adult softball tournament on Oct. 6 at Kessler Park. If you’ve got a good team–or a really crappy one–call (909) 874-9363.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
Eric Smithfield of Yucaipa, who has spent the last 10 years having himself disfigured with tattoos and piercings–sort of like, to one extent or another, just about everybody in the United States–nonetheless rates a profile in the San Bernardino Sun on the occasion of the Route 66 Rendezvous. Smithfield says pretty much the same thing that everybody always says in these stories–basically, how unique it makes him–and kind of ironically encourages others to be unique, too. "It could be anything," he says. "The way you dress, your hairdo or hair color. Anything someone does to express themselves." In an era when you can basically buy your revolution at the mall–when there are tattoo shows on TV–maybe it would be unique, or unusual, at least, to try to have an original thought.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
Movies are so crappy at this time of year, but the holiday blockbuster season is a couple calendar pages away, and behavior in theaters is getting so bad that Maura Graber of the RSVP Institute of Etiquette in Ontario actually has a variety of tips for being a mannerly moviegoer. Who knew? That Ontario had an Institute of Etiquette, I mean.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
How messed up is the housing market? Only a smattering of prospective buyers show up in Victorville for the first weekend of a 10-day sale by Standard Pacific Corp. homebuilders, which is offering low-interest mortgage loans and plasma-screen TVs in an effort to clear out its stockpile of new houses. That’s messed up.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
A new U.S. Census Bureau Survey reveals that more than 1.57 million of the Inland Empire’s four million residents converse at home in a non-English language, which . . . you know . . . I guess . . . could mean that they’ve never read this column. ¡Qué lástima!