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Ranger Rich

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Newspaper editorials can be funny, although usually without that intent. Sometimes, ramblings of newspaper editorial writers meant to be serious and important are instead mocked and ridiculed. This makes them not unlike U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Eyes Too Close Together.

Take, for example, the Pueblo Chieftain (motto: "We Mak'um Big News"), which the other day offered a progressive view in an editorial about the city offering health insurance to partners of gay and lesbian city employees.

Of the insurers' reported claim that it would cost only "an additional $54,000," the Chieftain wrote: "We are deeply suspicious. If any employee's partner were to contract AIDS, the cost to the insurance pool would balloon."

Or how about the Gazette's Wayne "Shootout at Dopey Corral" Laugesen who, on Sept. 25, offered this view on why we should love rich people like Mitt Romney and the late Michael Jackson?

He writes: "The iPhone waiting lines should remind us of the late Michael Jackson's album releases. His hard work, talents and creativity improved lives. Jackson was rich because he created and spread wealth."

No need to bring up those little child-abuse allegations, or his pet monkey. (On a positive note, at least for a day the Gazette wasn't telling us that we can stop gun violence by shooting more people.)

But once in a while a real gem is unearthed, an editorial so strange that the paper follows it with a story about it. Followed by another editorial about the story about it. So come along to the small Colorado mountain town of Craig, 40 miles from Steamboat Springs, and the Craig Daily Press (motto: "Journalism Is the Foundation Of ... Oh Look, There's Another Moose!!!") It began early last month with an editorial saying the town's schoolteachers were, more or less, cheap bastards who don't care about the kids or the schools.

"... the school district doesn't have a problem sending its students out to panhandle in the community whenever there is a need for school supplies, athletic uniforms or better technology for teachers," the editorial said. Then it really got funny. "How often," the editorial read, "do teachers contribute $20, $30 or $40 to these causes? ... Where is your commitment to excellence?"

Ooohhhhhh. Teachers, as we know, are highly overpaid and just in it for the money. My own high school math teachers, for example, were paid annual salaries of $800,000, which would, if converted to today's dollars, be nearly 306 cubic hectares or "several acre-liters."

Anyway, after the Craig editorial, teachers and townsfolk apparently would see publisher Bryce Jacobson on the street and offer some well-intended feedback. An example would be, "Hey Bryce, go @#%* yourself!"

So Bryce took a whack at an apology, starting with how he loved teachers and how dedicated they are and how he stupidly allowed the editorial to run. "I make mistakes sometimes," he told readers, "and I believe this is one of my largest to date and I am sure I will make some in the future."

A few days later, the author of the original editorial, Al Cashion, launched into one of the strangest apologies to appear in any newspaper. He began: "Last week's prose came out my nose. (Essential Sequential Linearity.)"

Huh? "Confession — Apology — Excuses — Spin ..." editorial board member Cashion wrote. "I was somehow able to walk past the Spin but I quickly started to view Excuses as the Promised Land."

(Sounds like maybe someone has been wandering around in a National Forest marijuana field for 40 years.)

"Crossing from Excuses to Apology is a translation from dark to light, from pride to humility," he wrote. "I landed happily on Apology. I was satisfied that I had travelled the distance from Spin past Excuses and arrived at Apology. I'm at journey's end. I've arrived at Confession.

"I confess to you, Teachers. My carelessness broke your spirit, caused deep anger and took the joy from your job. I confess to you, Craig, in carelessness, I did not protect our peace."

Finally, about the board meeting before the initial piece: "If a description of Monday's meeting progressing to Wednesday's editorial was defined, it would be 'a comedy of errors.' Except ... there was nothing humorous."

Oops. Wrong again.

Rich Tosches (rangerrich@csindy.com) also writes a Sunday column for the Denver Post.

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