Early Tuesday morning, with flagrant disregard for Judge Douglas G. Harkin’s recent order that the city involve the public in the Rattlesnake sewer decision-making process, and after repeated warnings and admonitions from concerned Missoulians at Monday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Kadas allegedly slipped on his left sock without first taking public comment. Sources inside the mayor’s office don’t deny the allegations.

Also on Monday night, pointed questioning from Audrey Tenesch, 81, revealed that the mayor may lack the ability to count. Tenesch recalled that 30 percent of Rattlesnake residents supported the sewer project, but a city report claimed a majority of ayes. Since when, Tenesch wanted to know, does 30 percent constitute a majority? The mayor offered to discuss the calculations with her in private, and at a later date. Since when, she continued, were public comments limited to three minutes? The mayor, undoubtedly flummoxed by the rapid-fire figures—30, 70, three—opted not to respond.

Another private citizen’s behavior at Monday’s meeting may prompt further discussion of the public comment dilemma: Is non-speaking participation a form of public comment? Will Snodgrass spent at least 56 seconds hovering over the podium before accusing the mayor of apathy, amnesia or both. At two recent meetings, Snodgrass claimed, the mayor failed to call for public comment.

The mayor heard Snodgrass out, and in a fit, perhaps, of wishful thinking, moved on to proclaim Friday, Feb. 6, a day to celebrate cardiovascular health. No word yet from the citizenry as to whether a majority supports the proclamation.

•••

Between the moment when a Super Bowl announcer sent a shout out to all the troops protecting America’s freedom and the moment when Tom Brady won his (surely much needed!) Cadillac Roadster, America watched a great football game on Feb. 1. It also watched a heck of a lot of commercials. Some were funny (H&R Block’s talking “Willie Nelson Tax Advice Doll” garnered laughs due to its reckless pull-string financial advice, recommendations like “Willie’d do it” or “I’m down with it”). Some made you want a cigarette (the anti-smoking ad comparing cigarettes to “shards-of-glass freeze pops”). Some were horrible (the Budweiser commercial in which a ref learns to take on-field abuse from coaches by remaining calm as his wife screams some at-home abuse in his ear was utterly annoying). Some were overtly sexual (Ciela can offer 36 hours of erect penis!?!). Others were more subtly sexual (NOTE: When Mike Ditka throws a ball through a tire swing for Levitra, he’s trying to say, “Get it up and get it in the hole, fellas,” like a train going through a tunnel in an old movie). One ad you didn’t see was one for which MoveOn.org offered CBS good money. That ad featured young children working in factories with the tag: “Guess who’s going to pay for George W. Bush’s trillion-dollar deficit?” So just to review: CBS is cool with advertising drugged-up erections, alcoholic beverages and cigarettes (Sure, it’s an anti-smoking ad, but any smoker will tell you that the mere mention of the word “cigarette” is enough to incite the urge to light up), but don’t you dare try to get political. Anyhow, the best ad may well have been the Cadillac commercial featuring about 10 seconds of silence. When ad volumes are cranked up far above game-time levels (as was the case during the Super Bowl), that silence stood out clearly in a field of white noise, giving men and women all over America a brief moment to think clearly, and perhaps ask themselves, “What the hell am I supposed to do with a 36-hour erection?”

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