A random Thanksgiving memory.
I was probably about 10 or 11. My parents had invited friends to visit for the holiday. They had two children. The youngest was 7 or 8. He was super annoying.
So my sister, my deliciously evil sister, concocted the following plan.
She cored out the top of a carrot. Poured tabasco sauce inside. Then capped it.
We kept track of where the TNT-laced carrot sat in the vegetable bowl.
And then we both dove into the carrots, exaggerating just how wonderful they were. The visiting child became curious. My sister offered him the bowl in such a way that he was bound to choose the deadly orange stick.
He bit into it. At first, nothing happened. And then, his face contorted and soured. And he began to cry and carry on and then outright scream. And I knew that I had to make myself scarce immediately because otherwise I might collapse on the floor in laughter.
And he kept carrying on and blubbering and the adults couldn’t figure out what had happened. Why was he so upset over a carrot?
Until my mom, more of a detective than the rest – my Dad and his friend Larry were already a few drinks in and couldn’t have cared less – sniffed the carrot. And then she knew.
She interrogated my sister but my sister held firm, because my sister is nails. She would have made a fantastic secret agent.
Then mom went looking for me … and I was done for. I couldn’t help but break into a smirk.
And then I had to take the fall, because there was no point in implicating my sister, who would have made my life miserable if I did.
That was a long weekend of never-ending chores.
But don’t fret too much for tabasco breath. I just Googled him. He’s a vice-president at Capital One.
The above should readily clue you in to the fact we’re on a short week.
I don’t have much.
I was, however, thinking a bit more this week about Mammoth Lakes Tourism’s new slogan: “The Real Unreal.”
There are so many possibilities. I envision a new video montage:
-Christmas week shopping at Vons at 5 p.m.
-A dilapidated 1,200-square foot Mammoth home listed for $895,000.
-The local ratio of single males/females
-Vegans who snort horse tranquilizers (this is a thing, according to Crocetti, and damn funny on at least one level).
-Anxious horses snorting tofu
-Herschel Walker’s U.S. Senate candidacy
-A $15 million MUF which doubles as an avy hazard (see below)
Post-Thanksgiving, Inyo County Supervisors, flipping their caps sideways and re-constituting as the Inyo County Board of Equalization, will again revisit the Xanterra tax assessment appeal.
Xanterra is the corporate entity which owns the Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch in Death Valley.
The appeal hearing will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 29 – the timing clearly meant to maximize public awareness.
Let’s hope that this time, Supervisors can more clearly differentiate between their roles as Supervisors as opposed to their roles as members of the Board of Equalization [BOE].
It’s one thing to make public comment as a Supervisor bemoaning how an assessment might affect tax revenue and school budgets. But a member of the BOE isn’t supposed to factor the impact an assessment has on school budgets when he renders a decision. It’s not about impact on services. It’s about treating the taxpayers fairly.
When Supervisors cum BOE members get their roles confused, you know what it says to me? Lawsuit.
The solution is easy. Inyo Supervisors shouldn’t serve that dual role. And should appoint an entirely independent Board of Equalization. That’s how their neighbors in Mono County do it.
As an addendum to the front page story on local air service … I reference a Wall Street Journal story from June entitled “Small Cities Lose Flights Despite Airline Travel Boom”
The principal reason: Pilot shortage. Regional carriers can’t hold onto pilots being poached by larger carriers, and there’s an approaching bubble of pilots reaching mandatory retirement age.
And in case you think the subsidesMammoth pays for flight service are excessive, consider the plight of four small cities discussed in the story: Twin Falls, Ida. went from four flights a day to one, upon which it spends $400,000 in annual revenue guarantee.
Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series and a city of 30,000, lost its last commercial flight in 2021.
Elko, Nev. spends $950,000 annually to guarantee its one daily flight.
Pocatello, Ida. spends $800,000 annually to preserve its one flight.
One other thing to discuss …
All the ballots have been counted in Mono County as of 5 p.m. Monday. Amanda Rice ended up beating out Betsy Truax for the third and final Mammoth Lakes Town Council seat, 989-983. So Truax had 300 more votes than Kirk Stapp did in 2018 when he captured the third and final seat – and yet she lost.
When I ran into Truax at the post office the other day, she said she did not plan to ask for a recount, though the vote is well within the half-percent margin of error. I guess when you ask for a recount, you have to pay for it. Sounds like she’d be on the hook for a lot of expensive staff time.
And something to meditate on. I’ve been reading Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman’s 1999 book about J.G. Boswell and the Boswell agricultural empire titled “The King of California.” I may have to review it just because it really captures that great American tradition of the rugged and clever individualist who loathes government … but gets government to do his bidding when required.
Anyway, there’s this great part where the authors interview the Boswell ranch foreman who goes into great detail about the art of raising cotton. How you have to plant at the right time, irrigate at the right time … that the key is to stress the plant, but just the right amount.
And then they write, “On the other end of the spectrum was the sloppy farmer who watered too often and fertilized too much. His fields stood a good chance of turning rank, all leaves and little fruit.”
I couldn’t help but think that they may as well have been talking about parenting.