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[whitespace] Girl Scouts
Photograph by Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Girl Scout Cookie Time: This interesting, authentic, historic photo was taken April 9, 1954. I don't have any names to attach to these dedicated little devils, but you can see that the cream-filled variety was being pushed that year. For more on the same topic. read below.

Bruce Bratton

SANTA CRUZ HISTORY FANS. There's a book that came out last October that is an incredible bargain. It's a necessary addition to your collection of historic area photos, and it has a nicely detailed historical background to our city and county. The book is Historic Context Statement for the City of Santa Cruz. It costs $7.50, it's about the size of three Sunset magazines, and you can get a copy at the City Planning Department, 809 Center St., Room 206. Don Lauritson of the City Planning Department told me about it. The historic work for the book was done by Susan Lehmann, local historic consultant. It was done primarily with grant funds from the State Office of Historic Preservation--and yes, that price was $7.50. Maybe the historic Octagon store at Cooper and Pacific has some copies.

FINDING FLUORIDE. I didn't see anything in the local papers but the San Francisco Chronicle (Feb. 17, 2001) carried a fine article titled "Fluoridated Water Will Flow in South Bay." The well-written article says that "the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission voted [unanimously] to add fluoride to about 460,000 customers on the Peninsula and in the South Bay." It continues, "Public health experts say fluoridation is nothing less than a 20th-century miracle, reducing the incidence of cavities in children by some 50 percent." Then it says, "San Francisco's vast Hetch Hetchy water system already fluoridates the water for most of its 2.4 million customers. Water in San Francisco has been fluoridated since 1952." I want to thank all the folks who have sent me anti-fluoride material, and I want to emphasize again that, yes, I have done my research on fluoride. I've been reading that crank anti-stuff since the '60s in Berkeley and produced several radio and TV programs dealing with the issue. Most of the anti-fluoride folks I've been hearing from have probably given up on down-to-earth issues like repealing the law of gravity or saving our flat Earth. I think it's about time Santa Cruz joins the rest of the world that is informed on fluoride and starts fluoridating its water.

DARK PLEASURES RETURNS. Now that I can get into theaters again, I can tell you, as of this moment, there are some fine films out there. The absolute finest is Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, starring George Clooney and made by the Coen brothers--masterpiece. Even the music is perfect. Forget reading the Odyssey, it's just a small plot idea, but don't miss the movie. The House of Mirth is no way funny. The Mirth in the title is about what the Bible says fools think the rich life is all about. The film is dark, somber, moralistic and slow-moving, and it all works together, but don't go in a bad mood., and guys, don't take a woman dotcommer. John Malkovich, Eddie Izzard and Willem Dafoe working together in Shadow of the Vampire are a film nut's delight. These guys must have had great fun with this campy, over-the-top vampire film. To say Chocolat the film is sweet is terrible, but one does tend to look for a Disney or Hallmark label somewhere in this truffle of a film. Better to visit Donnelly's chocolate place on Mission Street and have some very real world-class delights. Speaking of eating, Hannibal is one well-done film. Elza Minor, noted New Jersey and Santa Cruz film enthusiast, reminded me that this is Hannibal Lecter's third film and that Anthony Hopkins wants to do his role a third time. It won't hurt anything to tell you that Hannibal doesn't eat any you know what in this film, and Gary Oldman, David Mamet and Ridley Scott are part of the reason this film works so well. Snatch is a much more violent foreign film. Brad Pitt (of Fight Club fame and character) is back and so are blood, tears and plenty of sweat. Not for the faint of heart, and it's excellent.

RUMOR DEPARTMENT. I couldn't track down the rumor in time, so all I can tell you is that I've heard that some restaurant is going into the Cathcart and Pacific location. I don't know if it's local or some franchise. ... Speaking of rumors, Cynthia Mathews is completely right. I should have said that "according to rumor" or "the progressives are now convinced"--with no direct word from Mathews herself--that it looks certain she and Mike Rotkin are going to run for City Council again. What is important here is that there is so much talk, so early, about our next City Council election.

THOSE LITTLE COOKIES. The two letters to our editor last week about my urging the boycott of Girl Scout cookies miss many of the points I've been trying to make for years. Get the Scouts to sell something else in some different way. What many have brought to my attention in the last few weeks is the terrible amount of pressure that moms and dads put on their friends and business associates annually when they sell those junk food specials for their daughter's credit. Regarding "team work" then, let's stop the newspapers from printing the sales-winning individual Girl Scout's photo (local example: see the Sentinel, April 16, 2000)--they never show the troop. Lots of former Girl Scouts tell me that the Scouts should stop giving individual awards for cookie sales and give team awards instead. Others have asked about my reference to the "files" I've kept over the years on G.S. cookies. I can't believe they want to read the names of the troop leaders and parents who have failed to turn in the cash from cookie sales. One scout leader in Montgomery, Ala., did five days in jail. Scout officials in Cleveland many years ago were going to prosecute 25 people for losses of $8,000 from one year's cookie sales. In the '80s, an 8-year-old Brownie from Monterey was asked to leave her troop when she was $8.75 short; exactly the same thing happened to another 8-year-old in Clinton Township, Mich. She was short the same amount and was asked to leave her troop, too. A Connecticut Girl Scout leader of Troop 370 not only boycotted cookie sales but led two troops of Girl Scouts to burn their membership cards in protest against those cookies (photo of the burning available). Three other troops joined her boycott. As I mentioned before, the Girl Scouts hired a New York marketing consultant for $100,000 back in 1998 to change their image and "find out why they are best known for selling cookies." Letter writer M. Ivy missed it again on my urging of selling flower seeds. Those seeds might work, but the Scouts should get those hired experts to come up with stuff that would be good for the environment or good for people to eat. Besides, cookies cause cavities.

LITTLE NOTES. David Boye Knives Gallery in Davenport is closing. They still have some of David's knives on sale. I remember back in '70-'71 when David would come into Ted Giubbini's Eastside Hardware when I was working there, and we'd try to figure new ways to make his knives from Big Creek Lumber's discarded band saw blades. ... On advice of my computer expert and a friend who told me I had a virus, I got an antivirus defense system installed. I've only had three viruses (virii?) and never noticed any changes of any kind in my computer. Better get one installed. ... As for installing, Janus Recovery Center now uses neurotherapy, i.e., brain wave viewing, as a tool to help control response behavior in dealing with alcohol and chemical dependency problems. Neurofeedback has gained a lot of acceptance. Janus has been working wonders in Santa Cruz County for 25 years now. Thanks to all the response about checking the DMV handbook re emergency intersection laws. But how do we get everybody else to ever read that book? When was the last time you read it? Or do you know where your copy is?

BUMPER STICKER, SOUTH COUNTY. Joan McNair, who lives in Watsonville (and leaves occasionally), saw this one in Capitola: "That Was Zen, This Is Tao." That's very good for Capitola.


Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9) at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at bratton@cruzio.com or call 547.5814, ext. 400.

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From the February 21-28, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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