Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | February 5, 2005

Bugs, intestinal and otherwise

Waking with an intestinal bug on deadline day is enough to make even a basically optimistic person like me concentrate on pet peeves. It’s not enough that I’ve got a bug that has made my bathroom my new best friend, there are other things bugging me too, and I’m going to wallow in them, darn it.

First, mispronunciation bugs me. This is not “two thousand AND five,” it’s “two thousand five.” We didn’t call 1999 “nineteen ninety AND nine;” I fail to grasp the logic of adding the “and” once Father Time’s year odometer turned that third zero in 2000 into a one.

Realtor is a two-syllable word, and masonry is a three-syllable word, despite the ignorance of those who add an extra syllable to both terms. The person who sells your house is a real-tore, not a real-UH-tore, and the person who installs your brick patio practices the trade of may-sun-ree, not may-son-AIR-ee.

I’m really bugged about losing icons from my youth. Johnny Carson died late last month, dashing any hope that he might return to entertain us in his classy, self-effacing, utterly charming style.

When I was young, sometimes sick with a bug as I am today, it was a special treat to watch The Tonight Show with my parents. I loved how Carson handled jokes that bombed, often flashing the audience a knowing grimace, sometimes breaking into a few soft-shoe steps. If I happened to watch when Carson was doing Carnac the Magnificent, well, it was worth being sick to see him deliver double entendres in that goofy hat.

Because we didn’t have a color television until the 1980s, I didn’t know for years that the famous Tonight Show curtain was multi-hued. I still remember the shock the first time I saw the show in color and realized that the curtain that I had assumed was a solid color actually sported a rainbow of pastels.

While recuperating on the sofa today, I watched a PBS tribute to Fred Rogers that I had saved on TiVo. Although Rogers died nearly two years ago, I felt about his loss the way I had about Johnny Carson’s death: That a touchstone of my childhood was gone.

Rogers’ gentle manner, his reassurance that everyone was special and lovable, his magical neighborhood of make-believe were important to me as a child, and to millions of others as well.

Although we’re fortunate that they’ll live on in videotape, these talented men are gone forever. And that really bugs me.

Locally, I continue to be bugged by the City of San Jose’s handling of Coyote Valley development planning. It’s bad enough that Gavilan Community College and Morgan Hill Unified School District don’t have any representatives on the planning task force, but then task force member Russ Danielson had to cast an irritating “conditional yes” vote on the draft plan.

This is irksome because Danielson, a former MHUSD school board member who failed retain his appointed seat in an election, is the only voice that Morgan Hill schools have on the board. Despite the district’s grave concerns about the plans thus far (including worries that the size of the proposed school sites in Coyote Valley do not meet state standards), Danielson cast a “conditional yes” vote.

Danielson’s vote looks to me like a try-not-offend-anyone, hedge-his-bets, have-it-both-ways decision, and it really makes me peevish.

That “conditional yes” vote allows San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales and his cohorts to tout unanimous endorsement by the task force. The summary of the Jan. 10 task force meeting posted on the Coyote Valley Specific Plan Task Force web site states that “The Task Force passed the motion unanimously.” Notice that there’s no mention of Danielson’s whimsical creation, the “conditional yes” vote.

If you read the San Jose Mercury News’ account of the meeting, you’ll note that Danielson is not even mentioned, nor are the concerns of the school district or the South Valley.

In deciding not to cast the lone “no” vote, Danielson squandered an opportunity to tout those concerns and perhaps bring them to the attention of a larger audience.

Instead, he chose a wishy-washy “conditional yes,” gave Gonzales and company exactly what they wanted – the appearance of universal acceptance of the draft Coyote Valley plan – and really bugged me to boot.

By the time these words reach print, it’s likely I’ll be over whatever is bugging my intestines. But I’m guessing that South Valley will be bugged by Danielson’s “conditional yes” vote for a long time.



  1. […] Mr. Rogers Thursday, March 20, would have been Fred Rogers’s 80th birthday. I think Mr. Rogers was a national treasure who is sorely missed. So, when I heard about this event set for […]

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