Classic Granola

Dear Readers,
Your Gilbert knows you are all so anxious to see a new granolapark posting that you are spending all your free time, as we are, reading old postings, finding and savoring the best ones.
To aid you here are a few of our favorite opening paragraphs from past postings.
The council returns next week, Dear Readers. Rest assured that Your Gilbert will continue his mission to report and comment on city council meetings and city elections in a lively and entertaining style, because, as you all know, they are certainly lacking it otherwise!
Enjoy these past gems of utter brilliance and invention. Goggle your eyes at the spectacle of metaphors stretched far beyond the third dimension:

– Gilbert

Butterfly, or Moth?

May 14, 2009
Dear Readers,
The budget lives! Like a newly emerged butterfly it floats and flits about the garden, as the council stalks it with net and pin. As fully formed as it is, it is not yet passed into law and still – technically – subject to comment and change. The council will pin it down in upcoming votes, though as far as they are concerned, it is a done deal, ready to be ethered and stuck in the display cabinet.
Saving Little Nell
April 25, 2009
They really should serve tea and biscuits for these annual chitchats. Every year the city’s department heads sit down one at a time with the council to review their budgets. Supposedly, this is the opportunity for the council to bring out the rubber hoses and the red pencils, challenge every expenditure, and cross out every other budget line.
But, it never happens like that. After all, the council are kindly folk who don’t don’t want to threaten people’s jobs or take away city services.
They are also sympathetic to the city’s taxpayers, and they’d LIKE to make cuts, they really would, and they really try. The conversations usually go something like:
Councilmember X: So, uh this expense here, is there any way to, . . . you know, . . . . sort of, “reduce” it?
Department Head Y: No, not at all, that’s the cheapest cost possible and its a service citizens enjoy and expect. Of course, we COULD fire Little Nell, the one with rickets and the cute puppy . . .
Councilmember X: No, no, no, no! Thank you and your staff for the wonderful work you do.
Budge It
April 16, 2009
Dear Readers,
The city budget is driving us to drink. And, since Happy Hour starts in a few minutes, this posting will be brief.
The next time the city manager describes how the budget shortfall, flat income tax revenue, simultaneously rising and falling property taxes, highway user fees, municipal bonds, and staff health insurance relate to one another, will someone PLEASE stop the Mayor from explaining what she meant? As stalwart as His Honor is, that guy can fold and refold sentences like Your Gilbert trying to remember how to make an origami swan.
Yes, Dear Readers, once again it is time to review the city manager’s annual budget, and once again Your Gilbert wants to crawl under the couch with a nice soft blankie.
The Takoma League
April 1, 2009
Dear Readers,
The Takoma Park City Council made the surprise announcement that most of the councilmembers have recently acquired extraordinary powers and were forming a league of super heroes.
Mayor Bruce “Captain Takoma” Williams made the announcement at the special work session April 1. He introduced each councilmember present by his super-hero nomenclature and a brief description of his new power: Doug “Neatman” Barry (ability to clean up neighborhoods with a blast of his super-breath), Dan “Enviroman” Robinson (shrinks carbon footprints with his Frostovision), and Reuben “Snipperman” Snipper (able to cut red tape with his new scissor-bladed appendages), and Terry “The Suit” Seamens (supermodel). Councilmember Colleen Clay said she needed no additional special powers or name – “I’m already a mom!”
Duck Duck Goose
July 2, 2008
Dear Readers,
Hundreds of city residents were not thrown out of work in the local foie-gras industry, and thousands of ducks and geese were not subsequently freed to roam Takoma Park’s streets in the wake of the city council’s resolution to ban, . . . er, impose, . . . no, . . . “oppose,” that’s it, oppose the production of foie gras, and instruct, . . . correction, that’s “encourage” city residents not to purchase any. No city grocery stores and gourmet shops were shuttered, their employees were not arrested, nor were they charged with animal cruelty.
And once again the city council has burnished the resumes of animal rights activists with a meaningless accomplishment. Getting the Takoma Park city council to pass a toothless resolution on animal rights is easier than stealing candy from a baby – it’s more like giving candy to a baby.
Why is Your Gilbert so hard on animal rights activists, or “beastie-borgs” as we affectionately call them? Because we know from experience that they respond like a robot army to any hint of criticism, and we expect the comment section to be flooded with screeds of humorless outrage. This will give the impression that granolapark is widely read and full of lively controversy.
They burnish their resumes, Your Gilbert burnishes his.
Tough Nut
February 6, 2008
Dear Readers,
How boring has the Takoma Park City Council been this year? So boring, Dear Readers, that when former mayor Kathy Porter showed up at the Feb. 4th meeting, the new mayor and council jumped onto the big council desk, scattered papers into the air, and screamed “OOOK OOOK OOOK!!!” while walking on their knuckles like chimpanzees. The former mayor frowned, though with a fond twinkle in her eye, and barked her familiar old admonishment, “Bad council! No cookie!”

The Bells! The Bells!

October 16, 2007
Dear Readers,
Then, slinging Esmeralda across her strong shoulders, Mayor Kathy Porter shoved her way through the riot into the looming, dark municipal building. Stopping just inside the door she turned and bellowed at the crowd “SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!”
Her Honor scrambled up the bell tower, the girl still on her back. The shout “SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!” was taken up by the councilmembers perched on gargoyles. Below them in the square the police chief squared his shoulders, saluted the mayor and councilmembers above, hit himself once on the head with his own truncheon, and reechoed the cry “SANCTUARY!”
Now Is Not That Time
February 22, 2007
Dear Readers,
As the grapeshot zinged past her head and the sulfurous cannon smoke billowed over the poop deck, the Mayor cried “This is not a battle, this is a community discussion.”
The boarding party lowered their cutlasses in shame as she chided them to be respectful of others’ opinions, as she assured them she respects theirs.
City Declares War On Ethiopia
August 4, 2006
Dear Readers,
The Good Intentions Paving Co. wrapped up its most current roadwork project at the July 31 city council meeting. The intentions used in this work were the finest: outreach to the city’s Ethiopian-immigrant community and service to human rights and democracy. The workers laying the pavement were the city councilmembers themselves. The road led to a simple resolution in favor of US House Bill 5680, which calls for human rights and democracy in Ethiopia. It was intended to be a quick and quiet sidetrip from the usual business of the city council.
In case you do not follow the news from Ethiopia, dear Readers, the current regime is currently in favor of rights – it’s own – over those of the dead and imprisoned bodies of its opposition.
The resolution was introduced by councilmember Terry Seamens, whose heart is always in the right place, though in this instance his heart was in a cab on the way to the right place, but the cab driver took a meandering route and got lost in a bad neighborhood – all the time describing the terrible things happening in his home country.


About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.