Minds on cold porridge

BY BEAU ELLIOT | MAY 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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"Barstow is a popular tourist destination," NPR tells me confidently. In that public-radio sort of tone.

NPR must figure I've never lived in Southern California, have never spent any time in the Mojave Desert, have never stumbled accidentally into Barstow, Calif.

But I have lived in Southern California. I have spent a great deal of time in the Mojave and in the mountains around it. And I have, quite unintentionally, stumbled upon Barstow.

(Note: Do not try this at home. For one thing, when you stumble, you look like an oaf who might as well be attending Iowa State. For another, it costs a great deal of money you probably don't have to turn your living room into the Mojave. For another, once your living room is the Mojave, nobody will visit you, and you'll feel deserted.)

Meanwhile, back at the narrative, Barstow is the Nebraska of California.

In the sense that no sane person would go there intentionally.

Barstow is basically Mitt Romney's mind on cold porridge. Not to insult cold porridge or anything.

Speaking of cold porridge, what's up with the brilliant minds we have so thoughtfully elected to the City Council?

The city councilors' latest Einsteinian move, having already invented gravity, is to ban more than three unrelated people from living in the same domicile.

Why would they do this? you ask.

Beats me, I answer. I'm a liberal, which means I'm in favor of big government reaching into your wallet, stealing all of (or most of) your money, and using it to buy poor people brand-new Cadillacs.

Just because we liberals believe that all poor people should have brand-new Cadillacs.

But even the liberal I doesn't believe that city government (or any government) should have the power to determine who gets to live with whom.

I mean, whatever happened to the Constitutional right of freedom of assembly.

(OK, it probably doesn't cover living with people of one's choosing. But why doesn't it?)

But who is government to tell me with whom I may live and with whom I may not? That's akin to government telling me with whom I may marry and with whom I may not.

Those are my choices. Those are your choices. They are not government's choices.

Government should be busy buying poor people Cadillacs. Because once the Cadillac dealers make a bunch of money, some of it will trickle down to us. That's the theory, anyway.

Well, technically, it's a hypothesis, not a theory, as in "evolution is just a theory." Which we have all heard. A theory is like the Theory of Gravity, which the City Council invented some time ago, back when city councilors had minds instead of cold porridge.

You'd be excused for thinking, given what the City Council has done in recent years, that the councilors aren't all that interested in UI students being around. Hello, City Council. My job, and many thousands of other people's jobs in this fair town, depend on students being around.

But apparently, Iowa City wants the students' money, but it doesn't really want the students themselves. Its attitude (if an "it" can have an attidute) seems to be, So, if you guys could just mail in the checks and stay in Des Moines or Naperville or wherever, Iowa City would be content.

I mean, the City Council wants to turn this place into Barstow?

Well, you can't. For one thing, there's too much water here.

Oh, well. At least we're not thinking about Mitt Romney's mind anymore.

Or cold porridge.

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