Columns - 2003

    Partial Recall

    by Doug Brook
    Deep South Jewish Voice Columnist

    A mother of mine, who shall remain nameless, recently waxed (well, emailed) philosophical about whether California or Alabama is more ridiculous these days.

    Unable to let a measurable, scientific question like this go unanswered, I set up a debate between the two states.

    A veritable David and Goliath story. Medicinal marijuana versus "there's no marijuana problem; anyone who wants it, has it." College football versus the NFL. Oh, wait. Sorry, Los Angeles.

    Since it was logistically difficult to arrange for both states to travel to a neutral site, the media recently gathered in Oklahoma, which is OK because it's a midpoint from which we could hear both states equally well in this historic matchup. The Vegas line was Alabama by 4.

    Of course, California dismisses this spread because it's well-documented that Nevada prays every day for California's demise. Think about it, one good earthquake and Nevada's sprawling deserts would become beachfront property.

    Moderator: Good evening, and welcome to this unprecedented interstate debate. This evening's debate will be in the Beverly Hills, 90210 format. That is, each state will say something petty and accusatory about the other. Please excuse the time lag between each side's statements; there is a two hour time difference, after all.

    Alabama: I object to this debate being conducted in a California-bred format.

    California: We aren't so particular about where the format comes from. We can use an inbred format, if you prefer.

    Moderator: Well, I guess we've started.

    Alabama: You're trying to have only the second recall of a sitting governor in the history of this country.

    California: And nobody can recall who most of your governors were. Except for George Wallace, of course.

    Alabama: You have more candidates for governor than there have been governors in every state on your coast, ever.

    California: How many presidents have been from Alabama?

    Alabama: None. And that's no insult. You have a candidate for governor whose policy for interacting with the Federal government would be, "What you talkin' 'bout, Congress?"

    California: You have a Chief Justice who, in the middle of the night, wheeled a fifty-three hundred pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments into the lobby of your state judicial building and told a Federal court that it has no business telling him to do otherwise.

    Alabama: He did it in the middle of the night so they could take their time and not scratch the marble floors.

    California: Oh, I thought it was so nobody would hear him bulldoze the wall between church and state.

    Alabama: You have Berkeley.

    California: The Crimson Tide is on probation for the next three hundred years.

    Alabama: You have Berkeley.

    California: You barely have enough Jews for a minyan.

    Alabama: You have twenty-five times as many Jews, and still barely have enough Jews for a minyan.

    California: Most of your state doesn't know what a Jew is.

    Alabama: Most of your Jews don't know what a Jew is.

    California: Most people don't even know where your state is.

    Alabama: Most people in your state don't know where they were last night.

    California: You had a blackout that covered the entire east coast.

    Alabama: That was only in the northeast, bandana-brain. Or, as Fox News put it, "North America, Canada, and the United States."

    California: Everything past Vegas is east coast.

    Alabama: You had your own 9-state blackout in 1996. Apparently you haven't recovered. And yours was caused by sagging power lines and warm weather.

    California: You have humidity.

    Alabama: You have droughts and flooding, but not when they'd help offset each other.

    California: You have HealthSouth.

    Alabama: You dumped your state treasury into Enron.

    California: Your chief justice will cost you $5000 a day in fines until he removes that monument.

    Alabama: You squandered a huge budget surplus into the biggest state debt in history in two years.

    California: You're behind the times.

    Alabama: You're two hours behind us all the time.

    California: You can't even approve a state lottery.

    Alabama: Your likely next governor's re-election campaign slogan will be, "I'll be back."

    California: Your first Republican governor since reformation celebrated his victory by having "a whim-doozy of a fish fry."

    Alabama: You should have tried the fish. It was a whim-doozy. And there were no brussels sprouts.

    California: You had to look up how to spell that.

    Alabama: Better than having to digest them.

    California: We have kosher restaurants and butchers, and don't have to go to the next state for it.

    Alabama: Brussels sprouts.

    Alabama: We have Indian Springs School.

    California: We have Indian Springs Winery. (Columnist's note: No kidding! Nevada City, California. Between Sacramento and Tahoe. It's really there. Good wine, too.)

    Alabama: You pronounce Nevada, Ne-vah-duh.

    California: So do people from Nevada.

    Alabama: You, them, and nobody else.

    California: We have Hollywood and everything that comes out of it.

    Alabama: You have Hollywood and everything that comes out of it. Including gubernatorial candidates.

    California: Our national guard regiment is bigger than yours...

    At this point, the debate was cut off by the overwhelming sound from the loud rustling of corn that's as high as an elephant's eye. When the rest of the transcript is made available, we'll pass it along to you. Until then, this unbiased journalist says Roll Tide.

    Doug Brook is a technical writer in Silicon Valley, who asks for your vote in the upcoming election in California. His campaign slogan: "The other 3754 candidates truly put the 'goober' in 'gubernatorial.'" For more information, past columns, other writing, and other current events, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.