Flashbacks: Steve Almond’s bid for the California governorship, must see Christian TV, and bank robbing in the ‘70s


5 years ago

September 12, 2003 | In announcing his campaign for the governorship of California, Phoenix writer Steve Almond outlined the issues he planned to run on.

"Southern California secession. Anyone who’s lived in California knows that SoCal is fundamentally another state. I will simply ratify this reality, in the process cutting off all water supplies from up north. The administration will then charge Hollywood’s richest stars $1000 per gallon of water, thus erasing that pesky deficit.


Car-pool or die. In an effort to unclog the roads of our fair state, I will introduce legislation that makes car-pooling required by law. Simply put: if you do not find at least two people to accompany you each morning, you will be subject to an automotive execution, to be staged in a live pay-per-view event each month.


Secretary for a day. In an effort to raise additional funds, and to involve ordinary citizens in government, various key roles (secretary of agriculture, secretary of transportation, and so forth) will be filled by lottery. These newbie politicos will, if selected, become the basis of a reality-TV program called Wow, I Run the State!" Read Full Article


15 years ago

September 10, 1993 | Liz Galst reported on a couple of AIDS educators who were venturing into gay cruising areas armed with condoms and safe-sex advice.

"As part of his job, Chris Wittke and fellow outreach worker David Kegler...offer safer-sex supplies, information, and referrals to the men who frequent the bushes. ‘One of our interventions is called the ‘stealth condom drop,’ he explains. ‘We make up these little packets of condoms and lube and safer-sex info and hang them in the foliage with clothespins.

" ‘We’ve found that this totally crazy stuff happens. Like at one location, the queens take the packets and put the clothespins right back where they were. I can go back and find 60 clothespins and just put new packets up.’

"Wittke and Kegler also try to establish a presence in the parks so that the men will talk to them about their AIDS concerns. Material evidence suggests the outreach is working: used condoms and lube packets litter the ground in the cruising areas they service."


30 years ago

September 12, 1978 | Larry Simonberg was digging the religious programming on channel 25, the Boston outlet of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"The talk on television talk shows is rarely worth attending to, but consider the following pieces of information I’ve recently picked up:

-- The Phoenicians visited Davenport, Iowa.

--A woman who saw two sandaled feet and the bottom part of a white robe realized it was Jesus.

--Athletes live a clean life.

"These are the kinds of nuggets mined on the 700 Club, a nightly 90-minute mélange of chat and song telecast by the Christian Broadcasting Network, and its Boston outlet, channel 25.

"...The show features a wholesome-looking studio audience, a wholesome-looking band and a wholesome-looking set that adds churchly arches to the usual desk and sofa. Presiding over the kingdom is Pat Robertson, a CBN honcho who pushes salvation much in the manner Will Rogers, Jr. pushes cereal..."


35 years ago

September 11, 1973 | Reporter Vin McLellan got some choice quotes from Mark Frechette, an actor-turned bank robber who had recently robbed a Brigham Circle Bank.

"It was going to be a ‘personal revolutionary act,’ said Frechette. One of the little rebellions, the system is designed to absorb...It was just a little personal act (‘I mean, man, they’re all insured anyway’) but ‘banks deserve to be robbed.’ The people who work in banks are the ‘real criminals,’ said Mark, taking back more than they give, living all for a profit. ‘They hold back so much, man, they hold back so much.’

" ‘Besides, he said, ‘robbing a bank is a really fuckin’ honest thing to do -- standing there cleaning out a teller’s cage -- man, that’s about as up-front as you can get.’ Embezzling from a bank might be dishonest, he said, but standing there with a gun, putting yourself on the line -- ‘that’s about as fuckin’ honest as you can get man!’ "

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