It’s Halloween, which as everybody knows is English for Dia de Los Muertos Eve. Also? Happy Birthday, Mom!
It’s Dia de Los Muertos, which as everybody knows, is Spanish for the Day After Halloween. It’s also organized religion’s best-executed holiday. I’m dead serious about that—and did you enjoy how I just embellished my seriousness with a post-mortem reference? This being the Day of the Dead, that’s funny, right? Or did I just do a total misread of the situation? I did, didn’t I? That dead-serious crack offended you . . . or somebody . . . although please believe me, it was not my intent. And see what I mean about Dia de Los Muertos being organized religion’s best-executed holiday? It’s a mixed-and-bulging bag of our deepest loves, losses, pains, fears, superstitions and super-cool costumes, a combination simultaneously so chaotic and yet so finely nuanced that everybody ends up nervous to the point of paralysis because ultimately nobody knows how to act. Dia de Los Muertos absolutely nails people with uneasiness over the proper degree of respect in that place between death and fun. Congratulations, Catholicism!
It’s Dia de Los Muertos—again . . .yep, two days in a row—which as everybody knows is Spanish for Day to Dedicate an Elementary School in Lake Elsinore to a Deceased Pioneer from Menifee. And talk about uneasiness over the proper degree of respect in that place between death and fun: this particular pioneer—the late farmer Herk Bouris, as of today officially the man for whom Herk Bouris Elementary is named—was a no-nonsense guy who seemed to make it quite clear that he did not want a public facilities named after him. “We hope he’s OK with it,” says Betty Bouris, Herk’s widow. “We think he might be.” Yeah, and then again Herk Bouris might be rolling over in his grave. At least once during his lifetime—in the late 1980s, when somebody suggested putting his name on a park that was being constructed in the Menifee Lakes community—Herk Bouris emphatically but diplomatically declined. Bouris already had a relationship with the about-to-be-a-park land. “I used to farm it,” he said. “It was a wheat field.” And thus it was named Wheatfield Park. But now there is a Herk Bouris Elementary School. What gives? Well . . . Betty tells us . . . that Herk told her . . . well . . . “Herk said, ‘When I’ve been dead and gone 10 years,’” Betty says, “‘maybe you can do it then—if anyone remembers me.’” Whew! That’s a relief. Except Herk Bouris died in 2004, which is only eight years ago.
The principal at the elementary school named after a guy called Herk—short for Hercules—is a woman called Midge, which is short for . . . Midge James.
Setting my clock back an hour gives me 60 more minutes of bad dreams.
The debate among San Bernardino City Council members about the future of the Police Department goes on and on and on—and still on and yet on and further on. Some council members say eliminating the Police Department is necessary to show that the City of San Bernardino is serious about putting together a financial plan to justify the bankruptcy petition it filed in August. Others say they don’t want to do that yet. Four hours pass before the Council finally casts a 4-3 vote that authorizes city representatives to explore the possibility of buying San Berdoo’s law enforcement from the Sheriff’s Department. After so much time and so much talking, some council members are apparently concerned that their constituents may have become confused by all the big words, so a couple of them feel obliged to describe their decision by putting it into a context that the plain, ol’ everyday San Bernadoofus can understand. Mayor Pat Morris says the circumstances are like undergoing emergency surgery. He says, “We’re in the ER and we’re in surgery, and unless we act intelligently, we will not leave this room,” Morris says. City Attorney James Penman compares the situation to taking medication. He says, “It’s a bitter pill to swallow . . .” Hmmm. Those are nice tries, I guess, but to me they still fall short of really getting to the crux of the matter in a way that people can truly comprehend. I’d go with something like this: “It’s like we’re the leaders of a big city and we have fucked up so badly that we have no chance of paying our bills, our employees or our employees’ pensions, and we have fallen so short of providing even the most-basic services that we have just taken the first step toward eliminating our Police Department.” Anybody having any trouble grasping that?
After all this talk about men named Herk and women named Midge, it’s such a relief to learn we’re not going to have any presidents named Mitt.