Monday, December 04, 2006

Never Know What's in Store

I have to admit I'm the kind of person who gets excited (of the smiling inside, not the outward oohing and ahhing kind) at the prospect of Wild King Salmon, regularly at $21.99/lb., on sale for $12.99. Pan grill it with just salt and pepper and then at the table top with some mustard-chive-lemon vinagrette and thin-sliced radishes and celery, it's freshness on a fork. So I'm smiling inside by the seafood counter at Lazy Acres, one of Santa Barbara's upscale markets, and a fellow shopper goes by who looks oddly familiar. He seems tooo pleased with himself, and dressed a bit too well without really being stylish--he just seems to have dropped a lot of coin at Brooks Brothers (expensive clothing for the tasteless and clueless™). I suddenly realize it's Arthur von Wiesenberger, co-publisher of the News-Press. Then I realize he's not alone--Wendy McCaw is out shopping with him, too, like she doesn't have minions to do such trivial work for her. Makes me wonder if their shopping cart is full of basil, so they can corner the market if the News-Press predicted shortage happens. McCaw seems collapsed inward and making a "I just sucked an unripe Hachiya persimmon" face. The bad vibes just seem to emanate from her, as if she can't believe she's in a place where people not worth millions are.

Of course, I instantly think there must be some witty rejoinder I can offer, but nothing truly delicious springs into my head, and anyway, I figure if I start a biting comment, she'd have one of her lawyers present me with a restraining order before I finished the sentence. Plus I do sort of believe that people out, whether famous or infamous, should be given some space. Although when they are public figures who refuse to meet with the public or give the public any say (how many negative letters has the N-P comments page run since July?), it might not hurt to try to get a swift verbal jab in, if nothing more than a, "I have to tell you how much I like what you've done with the paper. You've helped make my blog so much more popular in the past few months...."

Alas, I don't even get a good look at what they're buying, which might be fun to report.

I check out in a different line, and then get the bright idea I have to drive my car past them in the parking lot, so they have to see my "Boycott the News-Press" bumper sticker. I actually loop about the lot to try to find them, but, of course, they are oblivious to anyone else. They did get into a brand new Volvo XC90, so Ms. Environmental doesn't mind driving around in a vehicle that at best gets 22 mpg. I guess the dinosaurs already died to make that oil, so wtf.

And now I keep thinking about that bizarrely self-satisfied smile the Nipper had plastered on his face. It makes me even more glad I didn't say anything to them. It's almost as if he felt like he was on parade, and enjoys his infamy; maybe he feels something akin to the opening of George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant"--"I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me." Of course, Orwell is writing with the awareness of what being part of an empire means, and what it did to his soul. I wouldn't want to vouch for the Nipper's.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Mike said...

Not being from SB or even SoCal, I don't know what this is all about.

Short summary of the broader issues?

Either way, I admire your restraint.

3:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More than 10 yrs ago my estate mgmt co rec'd a free copy of the Nipper's newsletter. The writing & reviews were beyond cruel, rude & obnoxious and I shuddered at the thought of my million+ net worth clients reading it (& heaven forbid, liking it) so immediately filed it in the circular file. Hearing about McCaaaaaw & he hooking up - thought never a couple so fit for each other. Ditto the comment on your restraint. Luv your blogsite name btw & enjoyed reading your profile. My favorite saying is, "I want to hug u & squeeze u & call u George!" Now I know why!!!

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enough already with the "von" Wiesenberger. "Wiesenberger" already means "someone from Wiesenberg" (there's one in Switzerland and one in the Ukraine) so the added "von" doesn't make sense: "from, from Wiesenberg?" I realize most people don't know German names, but try looking up "von Wiesenberger" in the Vienna white pages. Not a trace. So much for Austrian barons. Maybe Wendy thinks she'll be a baroness!

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget all the speculation about pre-nups and titles -- the real reason Wendy doesn't marry Arthur is that her name would then be Wendy Wiesenberger! Some houseguests might be confused, though, and think those WW's on the monogrammed towels stood for "Wicked Witch."

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Starshine said...

Ah, I really enjoyed this one, George.
: )

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wuss! Maxwell would have bit them, or at least raised his paw in a nazi salute.

7:01 PM  
Blogger George said...

Dear Maxwell--do you really think it's appropriate for an all-white dog to go around "sieg heiling"?

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enough already with the "von" Wiesenberger. "Wiesenberger" already means "someone from Wiesenberg" (there's one in Switzerland and one in the Ukraine) so the added "von" doesn't make sense: "from, from Wiesenberg?"

So what your saying is that "von Wiesenberger" is the European equivalent of "Del Taco".

12:15 PM  
Blogger George said...

No making fun of one of my alter egos. When Amy's folks used to live in Mission Viejo and we'd go visit we'd pass streets and establishments that made me come up with the famous pair Del Taco Fabricante and Kiki Vallyermo, Mexico's answer to Fred and Ginger. So I still like to think of myself as Del Taco Fabricante at my most suave times.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

you're giving too much away.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous HiAll said...

You are all getting close re: the reason Wendy doesn't marry the Nip (in that her name would then be Wendy Weisenberger). The real deal is that she is currently in negotiations to buy Wendy's Cheeseburger franchise, so that when she marries the Nip, there won't be anything out there that resembles her name, ala the threatening letter she sent the Daily Sound re: their logo looking like that of her stupid newspaper.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Amy's folks used to live in Mission Viejo and we'd go visit we'd pass streets and establishments that made me come up with the famous pair Del Taco Fabricante and Kiki Vallyermo, Mexico's answer to Fred and Ginger.

Amazingly, you picked up on yet another one of my Spanish pet-peeves - which, along with Del Taco, is Mission Viejo. If you had thrown Del Playa into that paragraph as well, you would have completed my personal Gringo-to-Spanish faux pas trifecta.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a Wendy fan, but your comments are extremely mean-spirited. The woman is imperfect, but has money, and so you speak of her as if she is not human.

Would we praise you for being so cruel to a penniless person who had trouble with her misfortune?

Think about it.

9:11 AM  
Blogger George said...

First, I had to delete a bunch of ads that somehow snuck through the spam-catcher. What's up with that, Blogger?

Second, I want to respond to Anonymous 9:11 am. Gee, I'm mean-spirited. I didnt' realize I masterminded by my careless incompetence the destruction of a town's newspaper, messing up the lives of over 30 employees and their families, while ruining a town's major news source.

I'm sorry but I do hold the rich to a higher standard, especially when they choose to run something that isn't just a business but part of the public trust.

And I would hope that if you went through all two years plus of this blog, while you'll find plenty of snark, none of it has been pointed at the poor or powerless. That's mean-spirited. Making fun of the rich and powerful is really the only weapon against them we have, isn't it?

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess if George gets rich, he'll expect us to treat he as sub-human. Good luck with that philospopy in life, George.

4:41 PM  

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